Thursday, September 11, 2014

Griffin's Day

I know today is a somber anniversary for our nation.  My kids have been discussing it at school all week, and it was our topic of conversation before school this morning.

But this day is also significant to our family as the day Griffin received his official diagnosis from Easter Seals.  I wrote about it on this day last year (read here).  I actually had to look up that blog post to figure out how many years have passed since the diagnosis day!

I guess it's hard to believe that today only marks two years since that day because SO much has happened since then.

This week we had a little regression with Griffin, and it was a painful reminder of how things used to be.  It was also a great reminder to be grateful for how much progress he has made.  

Griffin is difficult to describe to people.  He recently moved up to a new class at church and is now in "Kidzone," which is a branch of church specifically for 1st graders through 6th graders.  The teachers he had in his preschool class and kindergarten class at church were phenomenal and took the time to get to know him personally and figure out how to work with him individually.  His new teachers in the 1st and 2nd grade class are also amazing teachers, but they have a very large class and are also used to kids functioning better on their own without needing so much individual help.  

One of his teachers from church recently told me about an incident that had happened the Sunday before.  Griffin got very upset and wasn't really able to say exactly why.  After a little work, she figured out that he had messed up on his worksheet that they were doing, and his perfectionism just couldn't handle it.  {What?!  Where did he get that??}  Once she figured out the root of the problem, she gave him a new paper and he was good as new.  She was telling me how that simple solution solved the whole problem.  Then she said I need to tell her how to prepare for these moments and what to do.  The problem is:  we don't know how to help Griffin until each hurdle presents itself.  

Last week I met with Griffin's school teacher to check in and see how things are going so far.  She also asked for ways she can help Griffin.  I felt kind of tongue-tied as I searched my brain for pointers to give her.  I guess we have just become used to the little things we do to help Griffin through everyday life and don't really think about them anymore.  We also really do just take each struggle as it comes and figure out a way to overcome it.

Here's what I do know.  Griffin is doing amazingly well in school.  He follows rules, excels academically, and has friends.  He has adjusted pretty well to changes at church (moving up to Kidzone, moving up in our Wednesday night scouting program, etc.).  I have learned more and more that he's actually pretty sensitive, which is not what I expected from someone on the Autism Spectrum.  He still has trouble controlling his reactions to things not going his way or someone hurting his feelings.  (Don't most of us still struggle in these areas?)  He gives me hugs and kisses when I want them.  If you get him connected to the right book, he will read and read and read.  If he is not interested in the book, he will not read.  He loves Minecraft more than life itself, and I just have to make sure he spends more time in the real world than in his virtual world.  He likes "voting" for lunch at school (eating school lunch) a couple times per week.  I think it makes him feel independent.  He likes to be in control whenever possible.  He has his own way of eating any food, and he basically has his own way of going about any task.  I have to force myself to allow him to accomplish tasks in his own way rather than insisting he do it my way.

This kid has the softest skin ever created and one of the best smiles around.  His brown eyes melt my heart, and his bony frame is precious to me.

I feel as though we have lived about five years worth of life with Griffin in the last two years.  I'm very satisfied with where we are today, and I'm so proud of how far he has come.  If you're interested to read any more about our journey with Griffin, simply click on the label "Asperger's" to read other related posts.

I'm so thankful for how far God has brought us in the last two years, and I am beyond grateful for the blessing of Griffin in our life!


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