Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Born to be Mikan's Dad?

I know every dad has a moment when they realize one of their biggest (if not largest) roles in life is to provide for their kids.
After having moved, I am coming to realize that my entire life to this point was somewhat intentionally preparing me to take care of my kids, especially Mikan.  I am convinced of this for the following reasons...

1.) I am as frugal as they come, and always have been.  Had it not been for this frugality, there is no way we would be living where we live now without Jenna working outside the home.  Our only reason for moving is because of Mikan's BACA therapy.  So, me deciding to attend college and go to grad school largely based on where I would not take on any debt allows Jenna to better care for Mikan and Anica today.  This goes without mentioning the vehicles we drive.

2.) Spending large amounts of time studying maps in elementary and middle school.  I know where Mikan is talking about and ask him questions about it.  I see many adults who interact with him shy away from geographical conversations as if they are geophobes or something.  Not me.  I nearly went to Western Michigan to get a Master's in Geography.  However, it is probably better that I have the insurance of a teacher to help cover much of Mikan's therapies.

3.) My last 7 years teaching, especially those with autism or CP.  Those students are helping me become a better dad, while my son definitely helps me be a better teacher.  I get to use what I learn about Mikan on them.  I didn't have to go into education, but I did, and this complements my duties to family.

4.) I have a job close enough to BACA to have allowed us to explore it as an option for Mikan.  Often I hear from Jenna that she has no doubt that this is the best place for him to be spending his days.  Imagine if I worked in Ft. Wayne or further from Elkhart.  We might never have entertained the thought of driving him to the north side of Elkhart everyday to even give BACA a try.

5.) I have a math minor.  Mikan loves numbers.

6.) Almost needless to say...Marrying Jenna nearly 7 years ago was pretty damn good for Mikan as well.

There are times when I wish God didn't think of me as being so capable (God only gives us...).
However, it is with this in mind that I can have the confidence to keep on improving, because much improvement is absolutely necessary.

Monday, September 17, 2012

He's Looking at the Camera

Since behavior therapy has been improving Mikan's eye contact, I've also noticed an increase in pictures where he is actually looking at the camera and smiling.  Maybe there will be more of these to come.  What you are looking at in this picture is Mikan's dinner last night: chocolate chips.  There were other things on his plate that he frowned at and said "I don't want this on my plate," and then he moved them off.  Sometimes he gives whatever he doesn't like to Anica, like he's feeding the dog.  Usually when he's done eating she migrates to his end of the table and eats his scraps.

So Mikan has been in another feeding slump.  I've struggled to get anything besides Pringles, chocolate chips, M&Ms, Life, milk and juice in him in about a week.  I'm not sure why he is so picky.  I feel like he rarely keeps interest in a food unless he has daily exposure.  This makes variety difficult.  What I've listed above are the only foods I think he will eat nearly every time they are offered.  Anything else, even similar foods, he has to be in the perfect mood for.

Mikan just got into a new PT program at a local hospital.  We were told he was on a five-month waiting list, but we've actually only been on it for one month.  We had started him at a smaller clinic so there wouldn't be a gap in therapy after the move, but he's only attended sessions there for two weeks.  Apparently the waiting list was for kids that needed after-school times.  We are happy because this hospital is closer to our house and is a much nicer facility.

We are continuing to explore our area a little more.  We've found several nice parks that the kids love.  Anica even calls our backyard a park because it is about twice the size of our old house.  Whenever she hears our back door open, she says "Outside, play, park!"  Mikan thinks her sentences are hysterical since she can't quite pronounce all of her sounds.  It helps give him some ownership of his skills and he's good about trying to teach her what he knows.  Consequently, she has her number recognition down and points different numbers out wherever we are in public, to Mikan's delight.  She also can recognize when she sees a state shape.  She can't identify any states, but when she notices one (either a magnet, puzzle piece, etc.) she will say "State!" and then run it over to Mikan because she knows he will demand to have it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


We've been a little absent in the blogosphere lately, busy with our move.  Although we are still living out of bags and boxes, we are officially living at our new residence.  This house is 12 minutes from Mikan's ABA therapy school, which was the primary motive for the move.  Next week he will be starting his ABA 3 full days and 2 half days.  We are planning on scheduling him for PT during the mornings of the 2 half days.  We've decided to drop the OT and ST since he is receiving those services regularly through his ABA program.  We have been very impressed with the quality of treatment he has been receiving.

Mikan likes the new house and doesn't appear to have any problems with the transition (except that he likes it so much that he wants to stay here instead of go to school in the mornings).  The day is long for him (8 hours), but he does well, and we continue to see progress.

Potty training is going well.  He still doesn't tell us when he has to poop, but if we are paying attention, we can read his body signals and take him to the toilet.  However, he still needs motivation to go.  Tonight after I took Mikan to the toilet to poop and he refused, John went in with him.  John told him that if he pooped on the toilet, he could write a number 4 on his chest.  Mikan's eyes lit up and he pooped within 2 seconds.  Mikan requested a purple marker and drew a 44 on John's chest.  Whatever works, I suppose.