Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Jacob is finally starting to really increase his babbling and is even echoing what he hears from us.  He repeats E-I-E-I-O by singing "E-I-E-I-uh" its so cute.  He has been babbling dada for a while and also sings along to the Talking Words Factory by singing "uh-uh-eeeeeeeee" when they sing factory.  Today, however, he clearly said "IN" when his speech therapist was having him put puzzle pieces in a bag and she was saying "IN" to him.  When I told the doctor that Jacob would say dada when we said it she said it didn't count as a word because he wasn't actually using the word about his dada.  This may just be echolalic speech, but since he was in fact putting something in, I am choosing to call it his first word!!!!!!!!!!!  Woo hoo.  I can't tell you how much I love this sweet lil guy.  I downloaded his singing on YouTube.  If you would like to see it please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE43JUYRRCk&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Jacob's ABA therapist will start working with him Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week for an hour and a half each time beginning next week. I am totally excited for that to start.  She will come to our home and help him with behaviors, speech, concentration, etc.  I will post blog updates as he grows and learns new things. 

Jacob has gotten a new coach at church.  She has worked with autistic kids before in the school system and seems AMAZING.  Jacob has been doing really well in his new age appropriate class at church and I am so thankful for that.  If it weren't for the class going outside (where he tends to eat rocks and fall off the jungle gym) I don't know that he would need a coach.  They are saying that he is doing most of what the other kids are doing, however, I know that he isn't listening or understanding anything because he doesn't understand most commands or communication except simple "no" or "come here".  I think he will show his true colors a bit more when they start expecting more from him, such as to sit down at a table for a while or listen to a lesson without getting up.  He just isn't capable of those things yet, but I am hopeful that he will be soon.  I just can't explain how thankful I am for my church.  This year they have begun a coaching program for the special needs kids and I am just so thankful that they are willing to meet the needs of all their members.  It is so nice to feel so loved by my church family.  If you aren't involved in a church I really encourage you to find one in your community.  Being a parent of a special needs child is so difficult.   I can't stress enough how having a strong support system grounded in Christ is just what we as parents need.  I love the constant encouragement to stay in the Word, stay focused on what really matters and just people who genuinely care about our well-being.  This past Sunday, I had a friend come up to me and hand me this super cute Autism Speaks notebook just to show me she was thinking about me.  I don't think she even realizes what an encouragement that is. It is so nice to be able to serve God by serving others at the same time.  Its just nice to keep my focus on HIM.   I am so so thankful for my church. 

Meanwhile, I have started school myself.  I am enrolled in the Applied Behavior Analysis program at Ball State University working towards my Masters degree.  Many people in my classes are professionals and have been working with kids with autism so I find myself at a disadvantage in some areas, but being a mom of an autistic child has helped me in other ways.  For instance, every single book I read and all the information I learn is to help my child and therefore I am not simply studying to pass, I am studying to truly learn.  This has been great for me because I have aced all my tests and essays so far! Yippie.  It has been challenging to juggle all my responsibilities.  Between my family, homeschooling, my school, Jacobs therapy, Church service and Bible Studies, I definitely have my hands full, but I am really excited about this year and ready to take it all on.  Everyone keeps asking me how I am going to do it and I just have to say that God gives me the strength to do what I need to do.  I have prayed about where to step down, where to step up and I feel like I have a good balance of things in my schedule with my priorities still where they need to be.  My studying mostly takes place in the middle of the night while the family is sleeping.  I am a night owl so it works.  People have also inquired about what I plan to do with my degree.  I am not getting educated to make a career of it, I am getting this education to be the best mom I can be to my son.  I don't think its a necessity for a mom of a child with autism, but since I was reading every book I possibly could anyways then it seemed appropriate to go ahead and learn from professionals and from research.  What do I plan on doing with my education?  For now, my plans are to just keep learning until I know how to teach and train Jacob.  After my kids are older, I would really like to train other parents to do therapy for their children.  I would especially like to help families with lower incomes or that do not have insurance coverage.  A typical ABA therapist makes anywhere from $80-$220 per hour.  Not a lot of people can pay for that type of therapy or training, especially since research reccomends 30-40 hours per week of ABA.  I just hope I can help other parents to teach their own children so they aren't driven into poverty due to these fees, or just left helpless.  Those are my goals.  Please pray for our family as we have so much on our plate this year.  Please continue to pray for Jacob's development.  I sure would love to hear him say "mommy" or some sort of communication that is purposeful by the time he turns 3.  I think I want that to be a goal we focus on in therapy. 

BIG HUGE thanks to all that donated and participated in the fundraiser and raffle I had.  I am so thankful for the outpouring of love and support we are receiving.  God is so so good! We are still planning on doing some other fundraisers at the local grocery store and if you feel like donating directly to autism speaks please visit www.walknowforautismspeaks.org/houston/rejoiceforjacob