JONATHAN’S WAY CHAPTER 12

EMBRACE ALL THE HELP YOU GET

I can truly say that I have been blessed to have the best help and resources for my Jonathan. I don’t have but one complaint—I can’t take his elementary school teachers and para support personnel with me to middle school.

From his first pediatrician to his first neurologist, his Earl-On professional who first visited me, the school district special education persons, bus drivers, Kindergarten through 5th grade teachers, his resource teacher (the best), social workers, speech therapists, psychologists, principal, secretaries, lunch aids and especially the friends he made in elementary school, Jonathan’s Way has been forged by the best of people. I am blessed to have known them and I keep in contact with some of them even now.

  • His pediatrician told me, “Mom give it time. He may be a big boy, but he’s still a little guy.”
  • His neurologist told me to help his development by putting him into Karate classes. We kept him there as long as we could. He was almost a brown belt with the money ran out. My poor husband struggled to pay for it!IMG00610-20130218-1839IMG00443-20120723-1648
  • The Early On Professional told me, when I told her I wanted to home school Jonathan, “He has to get out and get exposure. You cannot home school him. She was so right. (I became his road manager taking him to every event, birthday party, pool party and school event I could).
  • All the teachers for the many parties, concerts, field trips, and more that gave him the exposure he needed. He developed so well.
  • Therapists, social workers, psychologists and para-professionals helped me to help him grow and develop into the pre-teen he is. They pushed me and I pushed him to go beyond what is expected of a “special needs” individual.

Don’t underestimate those who know about your child’s challenges. Seek them out and use all the knowledge they have. Follow their instructions to the best of  your abilities. Appreciate them. Thank them.

More tomorrow.

Rosa

 

 

 

JONATHAN’S WAY CHAPTER 11

I’M NOT A TIMID PERSON NOR AM I A TIMID MOM

Lest while reading this series you may think that I am a soft and timid person, I want to dispel that notion right now. My husband and I raised six children and had three others in our home that we kept for a considerable amount of time, influencing them for their full potential. We also had two dogs.

When I say that I cried a lot, I did. But after wiping my tears I continued to work and nurture Jonathan so that he can survive in a world that really doesn’t love children and would rather them be a statistic for a report than a person of strength and an asset to their community and society. I am not intimidated by the world’s skewered idea of parenting. Case and point:

I was on my way down to wash clothes. I had two laundry baskets full of dirty clothes, plus the detergent and softener, and a change purse full of quarters. Jonathan was about 5 years old, I think. I said, Jonathan get that laundry basket and take it downstairs. His reply was, “Mom, it’s too heavvvvv” (heavy). I repeated, “I said pick up that laundry basket and take it downstairs.” He said, “It’s too heavvvvv.”  Now for the record, it was ‘heavvv’, but my Jonathan is unusually strong, and he was big for his age. He is also a member of our family and in our home we always taught that everyone work together so that one person wouldn’t have to do everything. That kind of systems breeds anger, resentment, and strife.

Well, Mr. It’s too heavvv found out that Mom wasn’t concerned about it being heavvv. I reached for my little wooden backscratcher, and before I could even get it in  my hand, he had the very heavvv basket, opened the apartment door and was down the stairs before I could even pick  up my own load of clothes. I laughed a lot while I stumbled down the stairs. 

dirty laundry in a basket, white background

The moral of the story: I refuse to let my grandson be a liability, even with all of his challenges. I raise him as if he has no additional challenges other than what is common to all children growing up. I know he has them, but I don’t brandish them to him or anyone else. I also refuse to handicap or disable him. More tomorrow.

I’ve told all my children this: Your shoulders have to be big enough for someone else to lean on.

Rosa

JONATHAN’S WAY CHAPTER 10

at work with daddy

At work with daddy

At Zoo on class trip

At Zoo on class trip

Jonathan’s Dad

Suffice it to say that Stanley Jr, Jonathan’s dad, had him by his then girlfriend. Stanley Jr. confessed that in the beginning he was afraid of his infant son. I didn’t know what to think about that at the time. But I must clarify that along with Jonathan growing up, his dad has had to grow up, too.

It seemed to me that at first he wasn’t trying to grow up. But just like his son, he had to learn how to cope with life and the issues that come with it. While he was learning about what it means to be a dad, I sent him along Jonathan’s way to almost all the field trips, which was great for me.

Eleven years later I can say that his dad has grown and matured and is continuing to make progress. Jonathan loves his dad. By the way, they have both slimmed down over the years.

Rosa

JONATHAN’S WAY CHAPTER 7

JONATHAN HAS 3 AUNTS!

Johanna, Jennifer, Erika

Johanna, Jennifer, Erika

Erika, Jennifer, and Johanna are their first names. All of them are in their mid to upper 30s. So, when I tell you that they should have grown out of rivalry, I think that they should have. That truly isn’t the case. When Christmas time comes around instead of the smell of pine cones and peppermints and mistletoe and egg nog, there is the smell of blood between two of his aunts. They vie to give him the best gift. Not necessarily the most expensive gift, but truly the best gift. I stay far away from that feud! But there can’t be any three aunts who love their nephew more than these three love him. He is covered and surrounded by the love of adults, as he is the only child among them. He can truly bask in their love. It makes my job a bit more pleasant, especially when they come and get him and take him places with them. I couldn’t ask for better aunts for him. If money is needed, and they have it, there is nothing that they won’t do for him. He is blessed with aunts who spend time with him.

Erika, his oldest aunt has been his constant playmate. Since he cannot act as if he is 30 something, she acts like she is an 11-year-old kid. Truth!

Auntie Erika and Jonathan

Erika and Jonathan

 

 

 

 

Jennifer, Erika’s rival is loving and dotes on him. She thinks she can take my place. Please do, I say from time to time. She is tender-hearted and protective of him.

Jen and Jonathan at Xmas

Jen and Jonathan

Johanna, is Jennifer’s twin and the younger of the two. She,  of all of them knows how Jonathan thinks. She and Jonathan have checked out many a cartoon DVD and cartoon movie. She is able to identify with him.

Johanna and Jonathan

Johanna and Jonathan

 

 

 

Support is a beautiful thing!

Rosa

 

JONATHAN’S WAY CHAPTER 5

At 7-Eleven with Auntie

At 7-Eleven with Auntie

Jonathan’s neurologist, after diagnosing him with ASD scheduled several tests to see why he wasn’t talking. The primary test was one to check his hearing. I tell you medical technology is a wonder. My blissful ignorance began to morph into knowledge. That knowledge equipped me more and more to help him.

I thought that when he went for the hearing test, that there would be a doctor with a bunch of tuning forks to strike on his own elbow and put behind Jonathan’s ear. Don’t laugh, you probably thought that, too. But along with one of my daughters we went to a specialist and my daughter was directed to sit in a room that was just great for little children, with all the books, toys and stuffed animals to keep them happy. Jonathan was nervous so he just sat on my daughter’s lap. The test was simply a sound was piped into the room and when the child would hear the sound, they would look in the direction of that sound. Jonathan aced that test. Every time he heard the sound, he turned in that direction. His hearing was fine. WHEW!

The next test was a CAT Scan I believe. Because he was so young, he had to be put to sleep to complete it. Goompa and Jonathan’s Dad went into the room with him. I stayed in the waiting room looking at decorating books. There again, the professionals put him to sleep with a mask over his face before starting an IV in his little foot to keep him asleep for the remainder of the test. I wish they would do that with me before inserting an IV. The scan was normal. So, his neurologist had the school district to come out and evaluate him. They were like a lifeline to a drowning person. These two women were great. In fact, they put my mind at ease so much that I felt for the first time I could help him. They told me that the first thing they wanted to do was put him in preschool. He was a month from being 3 years old and still wasn’t potty trained. But they said he would benefit from preschool. He did. I was the one who was having the anxiety attacks and separation anxiety. I imagined him in a corner of the classroom huddling and shaking and crying for me. He came home that first day and nothing changed. I got better as I dropped him off and picked him up. Still no change. But I continued to get better with the idea of him being in a classroom setting.

I don’t remember when it was, but two significant events happened. The day he actually turned 3 years old, we had a party for him at the bowling alley. From that day to this day, without ever having an accident, he potty trained. Joy, joy! No more pullups! The next thing that happened was he came home from preschool one day and I said something like, “Jonathan, pick up your toys.” I heard in a loud clear voice, ‘NO! STOP!’ I was shocked. It was music to my ears. He had spoken for the first time. The tears formed in my eyes. More tomorrow.