Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Light It Up Blue!

Those of you who know me are aware of the fact that I have an autistic child. Now, those of you who don't know me, personally, know as well. 

My son was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Asperger's when he was 8 years old. Today, he's a thriving 12 - almost 13 - year old boy. He's truly a wonderful child. He's incredibly bright, witty, and sometimes way-too-serious. He loves to play chess, but he beats everyone he's ever played so it's not all that fun for him these days. (We are sending him to chess camp over the summer!) He's uber competitive, so he's also a Special Olympics participant. This year is actually his first year as a competitor but he's a "Blue Valley Blue Streak" tennis player and he's on the Track and Field team.  Josh does have many strengths and just as many weaknesses, but we'll chose to simply focus on the positive right now!

Every year, Autism Speaks tries to "shine a light" on autism for World Autism Awareness day. There are very simple things that *everyone* can do to show support and raise awareness on April 1 & 2.  Go to Home Depot, buy a blue light bulb and stick it in your outdoor fixtures. Wear blue. Go to http://www.lightitupblue.org to see pictures and suggestions.

For fun - here are a couple pics of my Aspie!  And, if you want to know more about him... see the rest after the pics!!! =)

 Receiving a Pop Warner All Nation Scholastic Certificate

 Learning to ride a two-wheeled bike, at age 11, with the Loose the Training Wheels camp! Balance is often a pretty big issue for spectrum kiddos.

With 2 of the Kansas City Chiefs at the World Autism Day rally in KC, 2010.

A little more about Josh (5/98):
* Started speech/language therapy in March, 2000 - with no language skills at all.
* November 2000, released from services because he'd started speaking in full and complex sentences,  much to the surprise of his family and his therapists, who could no longer find any reason to continue with the therapy
* August, 2001, evaluated at request of his pediatrician - diagnosed with Sensory Integration Dysfuntion
* September 2001, began intensive occupational therapy to help deal with sensory issues: proprioceptive, vestibular, oral, and auditory
* August 2002, preschool
*August 2003, started half day kindergarten 
*January 2004, discontinued O/T in order to integrate him into full day kindergarten
*May 2004, sent to University of Kansas Medical Center, Child Development Center for Autism screening - diagnosed with continued sensory difficulties. Asperger's was mentioned at this time, but he was too young to meet their diagnostic criteria
*2006 - formally diagnosed with Asperger's as part of the PDD umbrella
*2007 - wins Shawnee Mission school district wide Mathletics award for 3rd grade
*Jan, 2010 - named to Pop Warner All-Region Scholastics for the Midwest region academic honors
*May, 2010 - named to Pop Warner All-NATION Scholastics Team for academic honors
*August 2010 - begins 7th grade in an integrated middle school
*December 2010 - is invited to participate in the DUKE Talent Identification Program after scoring in the 97th percentile on the Measures of Academic Progress tests in the area of Math & Reading
*January 2011 - begins Alternative Education program, as sensory difficulties have started to manifest again to the point where he can no longer participate in an integrated school setting
*February 2011 - takes the ACT national college admissions test as a 7th grader and scores a composite score of 18, scoring higher than 34% of high school seniors nation wide. 
*March 2011 - is invited to attend Duke TIP’s Academy for Summer Studies Program based on Science and Reading scores on the ACT  (22 and 21 respectively)
March 2011 - begins competing with the Blue Valley Blue Streaks Special Olympics team

To come: 
 July, 2011 - Chess Camp for Advanced players at the Barstow School
August, 2011- 8th grade at Lawrence LVS
 



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