Autism in the Movies

I googled: movies autism and found this website:
http://www.autism.com/families/life/movies.htm

This is what they said, I’m kind of shocked. . . WDYT???

Autism in the Movies

Autism Research Institute — Spring 2007

This list contains only movies which were released in the cinemas, and all have been subsequently released on videocassette and/or DVD. There have been numerous made-for-television movies as well as television shows with an autistic character, but there are too many of these to list.

Most of the actors/actresses in the movies do a reasonable job of portraying a person with autistic traits. However, the majority do not provide an accurate description of the underlying cause of autism and may, in fact, either label a person as autistic who, given the circumstances presented, may not be, or fail to recognize the disorder and confuse it with another neurodevelopmental disorder.

If you are aware of any other movies not included on the list, please let us know!

Mozart and The Whale

Stars: Josh Hartnett, Radha Mitchell
Released: 2005
Director: Peter Naess
Length: 94 Minutes

A love story between two savants with Asperger’s syndrome whose social disparities sabotage their budding relationship. This film is based on the story of Jerry and Mary Newport.

I Am Sam

Stars: Sean Penn, Dakota Fanning, Michele Pfeiffer
Released: 1998
Director: Harold Becker
Length: 108 Minutes

The story of an autistic man living independently and functioning well in the real world until his life changes drastically when he becomes a father and is left to care for his small child.

The Other Sister

Stars: Juliette Lewis, Dianne Keaton, Giovanni Ribisi
Released: 1999
Director: Garry Marshall
Length: 127 Minutes

A girl with many autistic traits proves herself capable of living independently when she moves into an apartment and starts college.

Mercury Rising

Stars: Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin, Miko Hughes
Released: 1998
Director: Harold Becker
Length: 108 Minutes

A brilliant 9-year-old autistic boy becomes a target for assassins after he breaks a top government code. An undercover FBI agent finds the boy hiding in his closet and protects him.

Cube

Stars: David Hewlett, Julian Richings, Helen Holloway
Released: 1997
Director: Vincenzo Natali
Length: 91 Minutes

This low-budget science-fiction drama, winner of a 1997 Toronto Film Festival prize for “Best Canadian First Feature,” depicts the plight of a group of people clad in prison-style uniforms and trapped in futuristic cube-like metal cells. One of the prisoners is Kazan, an autistic man.

Forest Gump

Stars: Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Robin Wright-Penn, Gary Sinise
Released: 1994
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Length: 135 Minutes

A best-picture winner presenting a comical view of the American experience from the 1940s to the 1980s as seen through the eyes of a man with some autistic traits.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

Stars: Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Juliette Lewis, Mary Steenburgen
Released: 1993
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Length: 118 Minutes

Gilbert Grape lives in a small town where nothing much happens. The town’s most interesting resident is Gilbert’s autistic brother Arnie.

Little Man Tate

Stars: Dianne Weist, Harry Connick, Jr.
Released: 1991
Director: Jodie Foster
Length: 118 Minutes

Fred is a genius with many Aspberger’s traits. His mother, Dede is determined to protect Fred from opportunists who wish to exploit his intellect. An interesting insight into the emotions of a child with autistic traits.

Backstreet Dreams

Stars: Brooke Shields, Sherilyn Fenn, Tony Fields, Burt Young, Anthony Franciosa
Released: 1990
Director: Rupert Hitzig
Length: 104 Minutes

A gangster, with apparent mafia connections, winds up taking care of his autistic son. The child displays many autistic behaviors, such as social withdrawal, does not speak, and rocks. A graduate student decides to help the child as well as help the father leave the mafia.

Change of Habit

Stars: Elvis Presley, Mary Tyler Moore, Jane Elliot, Barbara McNair
Released: 1969
Director: William Graham
Length: 97 Minutes

Elvis plays a physician who runs a medical clinic in a poor neighborhood. Three nuns are sent to assist Elvis in his medical practice. A parent brings her girl to the clinic for an evaluation and treatment. The girl is diagnosed as having autism because she rocks, does not want to be held, and does not respond to sounds. Elvis treats the girl, and she begins to break out of her autism.

Run Wild, Run Free

Stars: Mark Lester, John Mills, Fiona Fullerton, Gordon Jackson
Released: 1969
Director: Richard C. Sarafian
Length: 100 Minutes

Mark Lester (of Oliver fame ), plays Philip Ransome, a northern English boy about 10 years old, who has been mute since age 3. He spends his days roaming the moors alone. His parents despair of a cure. Gradually Philip emerges from his shell. But the way out is full of heartbreak and setbacks.

House of Cards

Stars: Asha Menina, Kathleen Turner, Tommy Lee Jones, Esther Rolle
Released: 1993
Director: Michael Lessac
Length: 107 Minutes

A bright, young girl withdraws soon after her father is killed by falling off a cliff. She believes that by withdrawing socially and climbing tall structures, she will reunite with her father who she believes is near the moon. She exhibits many autistic characteristics, such as insistence on sameness, good coordination, lack of social interaction, and no language. At the end of the movie, the mother builds a circular tower which is similar to a tower the child built from playing cards. The mother climbs the tower with her daughter, and the girl comes out of her autistic-like state.

Killer Diller

Stars: Lucas Black, Fred Willard, William Lee Scott, Ashley Johnson
Released: 2004
Director: Tricia Brock
Length: 107 Minutes

A guitar playing car thief meets an autistic savant piano player, and together they transform a group of reluctant halfway house convicts into The Killer Diller Blues Band

Rain Man

Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino
Released: 1988
Director: Barry Levinson
Length: 140 Minutes

A car dealer returns to his boyhood home soon after learning about his father’s death. His father left a large sum of money to a benefactor, who he later discovers is left to his autistic brother, Raymond. Raymond was institutionalized soon after his mother’s death because of the fear that he might accidentally hurt his younger brother. Raymond has many autistic features, such as perseverations, insistence on sameness, rocking, self-injury, and savant abilities. Throughout the movie, the car dealer gets to know his brother during a cross-country car trip. (Dr. Rimland was the technical advisor on this movie ).

Silence (also known as Crazy Jack and The Boy)

Stars: Will Geer, Ellen Geer, Ian Geer, Richard Kelton
Released: 1974
Director: John Korty
Length: 99 Minutes

An autistic child is lost during a camping trip and is befriended by a hermit. The child leaves the hermit’s house and is then faced with the dangers of the woods. He is later rescued.

The Pit

Stars: Sammy Snyders, Richard Alden, Jeannie Elias, Laura Hollingsworth
Released: 1981
Director: Lew Lehman
Length: 97 Minutes

Twelve year-old Jamie Benjamin (Sammy Snyder) is a misunderstood lad. His classmates pick on him, his neighbors think he’s weird and his parents ignore him. But now Jamie has a secret weapon: deep in the woods he has discovered a deep pit full of man-eating creatures he calls Trogs…and it isn’t long before he gets an idea for getting revenge and feeding the Trogs in the process!

The Boy Who Could Fly

Stars: Jay Underwood, Lucy Deakins, Fred Savage, Colleen Dewhurst, Fred Gwynne, Louise Fletcher
Released: 1986
Director: Nick Castle
Length: 114 Minutes

A teenager with autism is sent to live with his uncle after his parents die in an airplane crash. The teenager exhibits many features of autism such as social withdrawal, no languge, and stereotypic behaviors. A girl who lives in a house next door befriends the teenager. Initially, she becomes his friend, but later she becomes his tutor. After much one-on-one contact, the teenager becomes more aware of other people and starts to show emotions. Because of his uncle’s alcohol problem, the teenager is sent to an institution. At the end of the movie, the teenager flew away to avoid being institutionalized.

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Vacationing with autism

from website: http://www.childrc.com/caregiver-resources/camps-programs.php

Camps

Camp Jabberwocky
Off the coast of Massachusetts lies the small island of Martha’s Vineyard, a picturesque tourist destination that’s also home to Camp Jabberwocky. First established in the summer of 1953 as a small camp for kids with cerebral palsy, it’s now a 14-acre space designed especially for children with all kinds of disabilities. Jabberwocky is set up to care for disabled kids and adults, while also fostering their independence. Each camp session is typically one month long. Though the stated cost is $50 per week, no one is turned away due to insufficient funds.
http://www.campjabberwocky.org/

Camp Huntington
Camp Huntington, located in High Falls, NY, is an ideal summer camp for kids and young adults ages 6 to 21 with “hidden abilities.” Featuring individually designed programs, it caters to children with autism, developmental disabilities, and learning disabilities. Camp Huntington combines activities such as swimming, horseback riding, and arts with social and life skills training and health therapies. A full season is six weeks, though campers can spend from one to three weeks as well. Tuition ranges from $1,825 to $9,850.
http://www.camphuntington.com/

Easter Seals Wisconsin
Easter Seals Wisconsin offers a number of camps for children and adults with disabilities. Camp Wawbeek and Trailblazers in the Wisconsin Dells includes 600 acres where campers with physical disabilities and cognitive impairments can camp, fish, and enjoy the outdoors. Choose from weekly, weekend, or day camp options. Respite Camp provides one-on-one caregivers for children and adults with a wide variety of physical and cognitive disabilities. Tuition for these programs starts at $180. Check with your local Easter Seals chapter to find out if it offers similar camps.
http://wi.easterseals.com/site/PageServer?pagename=WIMA_homepage

Handi Kids
This unique, year-round facility is open to kids and young adults with both physical and cognitive disabilities. It features therapeutic recreation options such as horseback riding as well as Boy & Girl Scouts programs. Choose from after-school care, School Vacation Camp, Saturday Camp, and Summer Day Camp. The 20-acre complex in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, provides arts and crafts, fishing, sports, nature walks, boating, and much more.
http://www.handikids.org/

The Lighthouse Project
In addition to providing occupational speech therapy services year-round, The Lighthouse Project offers themed summer camps (like superheroes, science, and pirates) that allow kids to have fun while working toward their therapy goals. Programs in this Campbell, California-based camp are designed for kids ages 3 years through high school.
http://www.thelighthouseproject.com/

 

Programs

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) Information
Whatever your special needs child is passionate about, you’ll find great resources on adaptive equipment through the UCP website. From bowling to golf to scuba diving, learn why nothing is out of reach for your child.
http://www.ucp.org/ucp_channelsub.cfm/1/15/11383

Villa Esperanza Services
This resource center offers programs for preschool through high school-aged children with developmental disabilities in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Villa’s School provides special education services specifically designed for developmentally impaired students, geared toward their age and ability. All of their services are free for low-income clients.
http://www.villaesperanzaservices.org/children_intro.asp

Friday’s Kids Respite
Everyone needs some time off, and that’s especially true for parents of kids with special needs. To the rescue is Friday’s Kids Respite, a nonprofit organization in Utah that provides babysitting for disabled kids on Thursday and Friday evenings to give parents a well-deserved break. Kids get one-on-one time with volunteers while mom and dad get to do whatever they want- or nothing at all!
http://www.fridayskids.org/app/?page=home

Conductive Education Center of Orlando
This center offers a number of programs to help kids with cerebral palsy improve motor skills and become more independent. Options include all-day programs for kids ages 4 to 16, after-school programs for kids ages 4 to 10, and the Youngster program for kids ages birth to 3. In addition to their individual educational activities, kids learn motor skills and sensory processing, as well as engage in physical activity.
http://www.cecfl.org/AboutUs/ProgramsOffered/tabid/3475/Default.aspx

Disabled Sports USA
This nonprofit organization offers sports rehabilitation programs to anyone with a permanent physical disability. Children and adults with visual impairments, a wide array of physical disabilities, and neuromuscular conditions can participate in water sports, cycling, riding, golf, snow sports, and social activities. Each regional chapter has its own set of activities.
http://www.dsusa.org/

To learn more about other camps and programs for special needs children, contact the local chapters of nonprofit organizations dedicated to your child’s specific disability.

Families With Autistic Children Get A Break At Israeli Vacation Spot

Upon first glance, Aluteva looks like another homey and quaint country family resort in northern Israel, one of the country’s most popular vacation destinations. The campus is surrounded by forest trees at the edge of Carmiel, families are lounging on plastic lounge chairs, and the green lawns and playground are dotted with colorful picket fences. Only upon closer look does it become apparent that Aluteva is highly different than any other country resorts in the area.

Aluteva is the only vacation spot in Israel, and possibly in the world, designed to cater to families with autistic children. The clues quickly become obvious; the campus is enclosed by fences and a security gate, the pool is raised instead of at ground level, and a young boy paces in a repeated pattern along the cement paths, clapping his hands.

Aluteva doesn’t have the funds or intention to offer five star amenities, but it provides one amenity that makes some families feel like it’s a five star resort: sensitivity to the needs of children with autism.

The concept was devised in 2003 by Alut, the Israeli Society for Autistic Children, to provide an innovative, permanent year-round solution for families for whom vacation is an essential need, but one that is often out of reach.

“We understand the complexity for families with autistic children to go out on vacation,” explained Aluteva’s director Nechama Amidan. “Often they don’t take a vacation because it’s difficult to go out on a vacation with an autistic child given the behavior of the child and safety concerns. The children are sometimes not aware of the dangers, and they can jump in a pool, cross a red light. They require the parents’ constant surveillance.”

Autism is a neurological development disorder that falls under the umbrella of pervasive development disorders (PDD) or autism spectrum disorders, and is usually characterized by abnormal social interactions, limited communication skills, and repetitive and obsessive behaviors which range in severity from individual to individual. According to Alut’s estimates, some 5,000 to 6,000 Israelis are diagnosed with autism, a disorder which crosses all racial boundaries. More and more children are being diagnosed with autism worldwide, in part because of improved diagnostic techniques. Today about one child out of every 250 is diagnosed with autism.

Upon discovering their child has been diagnosed with the disorder, parents are often required to restructure their lives to learn about it, to discover appropriate educational frameworks and therapies, and to normalize as best as possible the family dynamic.

“Parents are often stressed from the moment they discover their child has a problem, and they naturally take upon themselves the responsibility to give their child the best care,” explained Amidan. “Their concern with the future stresses them out and they aren’t emotionally available to think about the long-term. Vacation seems like a special luxury for people who are in survival mode.”

Vacation is particularly difficult for families of children diagnosed with low-functioning autism since at times these children can exhibit behaviors that deviate from what is socially acceptable in public places. At one point during this reporter’s tour at Aluteva, a 15-year old boy named Ron repeatedly came up to smell my hair, a behavior which would have likely startled any vacationer at a regular hotel.

“He seems to like certain smells, certain shampoo smells. You’re not the first one, but you can take it as a compliment,” Ron’s mother explained on the lawns of Aluteva. Ron’s parents and younger sister are regulars at Aluteva. Ron cannot read, write, or speak, and smelling hair is likely a form of self-stimulation and a means of social interaction.

“My son needs constant activity; it’s hard taking care of him. He likes going places, but it’s hard to take him places because of the way he behaves. He doesn’t enjoy himself, and we have to run around after him.”

Generally children on the autistic spectrum prefer and require routine which steadies them in a world they perceive as threatening and ever-changing. Usually after a few days of acclimating at Aluteva, they begin to enjoy themselves. “He’s already used to the place so he’s happy when he comes here,” Ron’s mother said.

The premises of Aluteva have been converted from an Israeli army base. They are cheerfully decorated, compact and, what is more important for parents, enclosed. A specially trained staff is on hand full-time to keep an eye on the children as they freely wander around. Accommodations include eight guest rooms, most of which are built with two bedrooms and a small living room.

Children with autism generally require healthy doses of physical movement and sensory-visual stimuli due to impairments of the sensory system, and Aluteva is equipped with an indoor Gymboree and a unique room called “Snoozyland”, which features furniture and items that titillate the senses: strobe lights, puffy cushions, and background music. The staff organizes special activities and tours in northern Israel catered to the learning needs of autistic children.

For the parents, the luxuries are not physical, but social and psychological.

A typical entry in Aluteva’s guestbook reads: “You gave us the strength to continue with our routine, to enjoy the feeling of being a normal family, and to rest in a way we can’t do in the center of the country.”

At Aluteva they need not feel embarrassed or uncomfortable by their children’s socially abnormal behaviors. It gives parents and siblings of individuals with autism the opportunity to share their experiences and challenges in a relaxing and casual environment.

Younger guests are not necessarily aware that Aluteva is a guest house for children with special needs. This is Sarah’s third visit to Aluteva with her four children, ranging from ages three to eleven. At age four, her eldest son, Yonatan, was diagnosed with high-functioning autism, an informal term used to describe individuals who are able to function more independently in the real world. They have higher cognitive abilities and more mainstream day-to-day behaviors. Eleven-year-old Yonatan attends a regular school and only recently learned that he has been diagnosed with PDD.

“They think it’s a vacation place with strange kids walking around,” his mother explained.

Sarah recalls one frightening incident in which a boy with severe autism innocuously trespassed into her children’s room in the middle of the night. When it happened a second time, her children simply escorted the boy back to his parents without discomfort or umbrage on the part of either families. “It’s very educational,” she said. “For higher functioning kids and their siblings there can be a positive sense of helping the lower functioning kids.”

Next door to Aluteva is a petting zoo belonging to a neighboring boarding school where Aluteva sometimes takes the families. Animals are often used in therapy for children with PDD to teach them empathy and communication. As a few families staying at Aluteva take a walk across the forest to the zoo, one boy claps his hands routinely.

Sarah’s five-year old daughter, who does not have autism, tugs at her mother’s shirt and asks: “why does he do that?”

The scientific answer is that it is a form of self-stimulation, but her mother lovingly replies: “God made everyone different.”

http://www.israel21c.org

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/83399.php

Bike Riding Champion!

Here’s Jais, almost ready for the Tour de France! I got this in an e-mail from his guardian angel of a teacher:

Really cute photo attached of our little bike riding champion!!!!!  He is so determined to be independent in this skill. He pedals, keeps his feet on the pedal, steers by himself, problem solves when the bike gets stuck, protects his body when the trike goes down hill by sticking his feet out for better balance, says up when the bike goes up the hill. We love this photo and know you will too.

We’re so proud of you Jais, keep on truckin!

Diagnosis

We got the official diagnosis of Autism. The psychologist was awesome, so sweet and thorough. She kept saying how beautiful Jais was.

Jais did well with the evaluation. He’s improved so much. However, his social interaction is still off the charts behind. Having a final official diagnosis is sobering. I didn’t think I would be upset because we’ve been researching and reading and dealing with this for over a year now. But, I am upset. I feel bad for being upset. I feel like I’m betraying Jais by being disappointed. I guess somewhere deep inside I hoped we would go to the doctor and they would say “he’s normal”. Or a more PC term “neuro-typical”. And again, because I hoped for that, I feel like I’m betraying my baby. I love Jais, I love Jais more than I could ever explain in any way. I love who he is. He’s not “normal” he’s extraordinary! He’s an angel on earth. I am sad for the challenges I know we’ll face together. I mourn the loss of experiences we’ll never have, things that too many people take for granted. I don’t know what Jais’s prognosis will be. And I am far too hopeful and optimistic to believe that Jais will have anything less than everything he deserves. I just know it will be a long road. But, please don’t misunderstand, I wouldn’t trade Jais for any neuro-typical child in the world. Seriously. What Jais gives me is more than any other child ever could. He strengthens my faith, challenges my patience, makes me a better person. I am more loveable, more understanding, more caring, and my life is filled with a potpourri of joys I never knew existed. I love the way Jais helps me to see life. Together we will continue on this journey, we will fight side by side, and we will embrace this life, come what may.

I’m allowing myself to be a little sad, only because I know what will come if I don’t. I’m blessed to have such a sweet husband by my side to pick me up when I fall. He is a man who can stand beside me and love Jais and Charlise for exactly who they are, but can also hope with me, for more, for everything. And yet, be thankful for what we have, and feel just as blessed with or without that everything that may or may not come. Jais was given to me by God. God knew I would know what to do with such a special angel. He knew that I could give this angel the life he deserved and help him find his purpose in life. He has special gifts to give. He may not be able to talk just yet, but he brings joy to all he comes across. Right now this is his gift. How lucky I am to be a recipient of this love and joy. And how lucky I am to be the caretaker of such a beautiful creature. I love you Jais, so much.

This Dixie Chicks song is one of my favorites, and I have added the names of my children and sing it to them every night. Jais has begun to join me in singing it, and we do our own sign language. Both Jais and Charlsie have gotten so good at the song, and smile so big when we sing it. It is my and Chris’s favorite time of the day.

“Dragon tales and the water is white, pirates sail and lost boys fly. Good night moon will find the mouse, and I love you.

God Speed Jais and Charlise

Sweet Dreams Jais and Charlise

Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings, god speed, sweet dreams.”

Evaluation Day

Today Jais has an appointment in Sacramento. A psychological evaluation. As it stands his diagnosis is “Autism Spectrum Disorder” which isn’t specific enough to qualify for services in CA. He needs a diagnosis of “Autistic”. So, today they will evaluate him and decide what his diagnosis will be. If he gets an official diagnosis, then well, he’s autistic, and he’ll qualify for services. Amazing services that cost thousands of dollars, that we can’t afford. Services like ABA therapy and respite care. If not, then I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know if I’d be happy, it’s not like just because they say so, he’s not autistic, he still can’t verbally express 90% of what he wants to. No, he doesn’t flap his hands, or line things up, or injure himself, or sit in a corner and rock. But, my baby needs help, and I can’t stand by and not do anything.

I’ll update tonight about what happened, but in my experience, it will take weeks to actually find out something this important . . .

Jais the fishy

Jais’s grandparents just got a pool put in. So, this weekend was the grand opening pool party. I was so scared to let Jais outside. Previously when he sees water, he wants to just run and jump into it. The number one cause of death for children with Autism is drowning, because a: they are attracted to the water, and b: they have no sense of danger. However, Jais was wary, I was very pleased to see him act cautiously before entering the water. He eased himself in (life jacket on of course) via the first step, moved on to the subsequent steps etc. I held on to him as if his life depended on it, which it did, and was afraid to let go. As the day went on and I showed Jais how to kick his legs, he got more and more comfortable, and so did I. I tried to show him how to doggy paddle, but he was holding on to Lightning McQueen in his left hand, which hindered his ability to paddle. Eventually I began to let go of him, and let him kick his way to me, first 1 foot, then 2 feet, etc. He did great! Kept his head above the water, kicked his little legs, balanced himself just so . . . it was so awesome to see, and he was the happiest boy in the world- he LOVES water!!!!!!! So, by the end of the day, little Jais, with much supervision, toodled around the pool all by himself in his life jacket. We are SO proud, and feel so secure in knowing that he will be okay in the pool. I was so worried when they decided to put the pool in. But, they have been very conscious of Jais’s autism in this situation. There is an extremely obnoxious alarm on the sliding glass door so that if Jais escapes, everybody in the neighborhood is alerted. And they are going to put up a metal fence around the pool. I feel happy and confident now about Jais’s sense of awareness in the water. 

Now, Charlise is a different story. She tried jumping in the pool after seeing her cousins do it, and wound up swallowing water down the wrong pipe, coughed etc. And now she’s very wary. Which I guess is good too, but she won’t let go of mom, dad, or g-ma g-pa in the pool. She’s kind of scared, which I suppose is to be expected.  She’s my cautious one anyway . . . time will warm her up.

I had sooooo much fun swimming in the water, with all of the relatives there, I was able to hand off the babies and dive right in, I have always loved the water, it makes me feel like a mermaid! I got great exercise, if only I had my own pool, I wouldn’t have to worry about the gym! Me, Chris, Lindsey, her boyfriend, Chris’s cousins, and his mom and dad all played a game of pool dodge ball, that was super fun hitting all the boys in the head with beach balls. Haven’t laughed that hard in a while, except with my sisters. Gwynn and Jamie and my mom can crack me up like no other, but it was fun to laugh that hard with Chris’s family!!

A truly successful weekend! Wish I had pictures, but I forgot to bring my camera, and I think it was a good thing, I was worried about having fun, and not taking pictures for once! You’ll just have to imagine our smiles 🙂

Jais and the magic bus

Once upon a time, a beautiful, sweet, bright, and very happy little boy named Jais began a long and arduous journey toward a magical land, he did not know what was at this magical land, he did not know how to get to this magical land, but he knew that with hope, hard work, and with his army of soldiers (his family, friends, and special helpers), he could make it to this magical land. Along the way, Jais met beings who helped him find his way, Angels, Fairys, Knights, and other magical forces.  And as time went on, Jais began to see the magical land, it was so close! As he got closer, he grew stronger and more powerful. Jais continued, but became weary. He sat down, tired, and just when it felt like this land was so close, yet so far away, and he felt like he couldn’t go on, he opened his eyes and before him was a yellow bus. He was cautious to get onto the bus, but curious, and hopeful. With bravery, Jais climbed onto the bus, and it carried him into the magical land, where each day he could explore parts of this land, and gain more power and more strength. Now, everyday Jais boards the magic bus and enters the magical land where his army of fanciful beings helps him to  build his own little magical castle within  the magical land . . .

 

We are so happy to say that Jais is doing AWESOME! We have been in CA now for about 2 months. Jais attends pre-K on Beale AFB with 2 other children, and a 2 teachers. He rides the bus to school and home from school.

Jais has made so many amazing improvements that I have been too busy celebrating to blog about it- which was my ultimate dream!!!

To show you how well he’s doing, here is a day in his life: Jais wakes up and sees me, and says “hi”. I ask him if he wants to eat, and he goes to the drawer of plastic plates and grabs one, sets it on the table, and sits down in his chair, he then sits still and quiet, happy while I fasten his seatbelt. I serve him breakfast and tell him it’s hot. He says “hot” and blows on his food, dramatically with a giggle. He drinks juice out of a cup, and points to the orange juice bottle and signs “more” when he’s ready for more. When he’s finished, after being prompeted, he says “up”. We then get dressed, and practice “Pee pee” by sitting on the toilet and wiping off imaginary “pee” (we have yet to turn this concept into reality” and then we are able to flush our imaginary pee, which is our favorite thing about the toilet. Then I say “shoes on” and he says “choose-on”, and we find his shoes, and put them on. While we are playing, he finds a butter knife on the counter, and I say “Jais, give it to mommy . . . 1 . . . 2 . . . and at 3 he is handing over the knife. After hearing mommy count, he decides he wants to practice counting, so mom starts us out with one, and he says “Dooo” and “Weeee” and “Foe” and
“Fie” “Sickee”. We are so excited to be counting, mommy finishes with 7, 8, and 9 and at ten we are arms up! Yay!!! Then daddy calls and we know daddy’s favorite song to sing with us is “Twinkle Twinkle” so on the phone we softly sing to daddy “Twikkle Twikkle  . . . staw . . . bu-bu-bove . . . eye . . .sigh . . twikkle twikkle . . .” and daddy and mommy are so happy that he is singing, that they have tears in their eyes. When it is time to ride the bus, Jais says “Bus!” and grabs his bag, waits anxiously at the window, runs out the bus, climbs up the stairs with a smile, and says “buh-bye”. When he comes home, he waves the bus driver with a smile. When it is bedtime, we hold Charlise up to his crib and he gives her a kiss, Mommy says “Jais give me a kiss” and Jais grabs mommy’s face with both hands, kisses her, and says “la-loo” and mommy says “love you too”.

Now, not all of these things happen perfectly every day, somedays Jais needs more prompting, somedays he doesn’t need much. Somedays he surprises me with more songs or words. Last friday, I found him on the love sac, quietly flipping through our “Twinkle Twinkle” STORY book, singing “twikkle twikkle”  for the first time, after not having been read the book since we left NC. I was floored, and amazed, and ecstatic!!!!!! And it confirms my suspicion that there is SO much more going on in his genius mind, then all of us know.

We had Jais’s IEP meeting last week, and I could not be happier! Jais has once again been blessed with a team of angels. His teacher, para-educator, occupational therapist, and speech therapist, understand him! They care about him! And they HAVE A PLAN!!! I was in tears the whole way home after talking with them, just so excited to be on a road to success. I am so thankful for the blessings that God keeps sending out way for Jais and Charlise, we have been touched by the love and care of so many . . .

Tara, Kelly, Mrs. Mills and team, all of our friends with their never-ending patience and support through our tough acceptance of his diagnosis- the Kims, Gentrys, Kolarciks, Parkers, Masons, and now our new team of angels, Kristen, Mary, Elaine, and Tara . . . not forgetting all of our grandmas grandpas aunties and cousins with whom we celebrate EVERY victory, small and large

And of course Jais’s partner in crime, his ever patient, ever loving sissy, Charlie, and daddy, his best friend.

We love you Jais and are here with you every step of the way. It warm our hearts to watch you connect with the world around you. It brightens our world to hear that sweet voice you have and all of the beautiful songs you have to share . . .

La-Loo SO MUCH

My Jais

Jais was born at a whopping 5 lb. 12 oz. He came into this world with bright eyes and a big heart. At 26 months, Jais was diagnosed with Autism. This blog is a celebration of his successes, and an account of our journeys- We love you Jais!!