I am struggling to come up with just the right word to describe what this year has been like for Nicole and for us. It was almost exactly a year ago that we got her Autism diagnosis. At first it seemed like no big deal, it didn’t actually change anything about her to have a name for her peculiarities. Then everything changed. It was almost like she knew she had a title and now she needed to live up to it. Only she didn’t really know anything because we didn’t tell her. The first real memorable change came just before our trip to Ohio. She came with me to run some errands and while we were out, Ila needed to use the potty. Nicole refused to go in the multi-stall public restroom. I don’t remember the specific details, only that she screamed and I felt panicked about leaving her outside of the restroom by herself or leaving Ila to go in by herself.
Search Results for: Nicole at 7
My Mom always made birthdays a really special occasion. The whole day was special in every way should could think to make it special and I always try to do the same for my kids.
Since Nicole loves “The Rainbow Queen” so much, I thought it would be nice if she got some rainbow clothes fro her to wear to school on her birthday:
She choose french toast for breakfast, but I was so busy making and serving it to everyone that I didn’t get any pictures of her eating her birthday breakfast. After breakfast, Nicole and I made this rainbow crown for her to wear to school on her birthday:
I have been thinking about writing my annual post about Nicole for the last month since her 9th birthday, but I feel like I’ve written about her so much that I’m not sure if I have anything new to write. I’ve written a yearly post near her birthday she turned 8, when she turned 7, her 6th birthday (I can’t seem to find the about her post for turning 6), Nicole at 5, Nicole at 4, Nicole at 3, Nicole at 2, and Nicole at 1. In addition I’ve written about her neuropsychological testing part one and part two, autism diagnosis, a personality sketch at age 2 1/2, starting a new school a year and a half ago, an example of one of her tantrums (say what I said), her sense of style, Q and A with Nicole (Comparison at age 3 between October and March), evaluation at 3 1/2, and a variety of other posts. Not to mention the one liners I share on fb regularly and the things I wrote about her in April for autism awareness and understanding month.
I guess the only answer is to just start writing and see where it takes me.
Here’s what I wrote about Ila last year when she turned 6.
Ila has blossomed with the whole school experience. She was worried that she wouldn’t love first grade as much as she loved Kindergarten, but she has found that first grade is great too! I don’t have as many opportunities to volunteer in her class this year, but everytime I come in she is always thrilled to see me. She eagerly anticipates the days I am coming in and she jumps up and hugs me as soon as I enter the classroom.
I’m constantly amazed by this girl and how much she grows and changes every year. Last year I wrote about her first year with an autism diagnosis.
Nicole is a deep thinker with an inquisitive mind. She comes up with the most off the wall questions and makes me laugh all the time. She makes life so much more interesting. I regularly share the funny things she says on facebook and several of my friends have told me that she is the most amusing part of their fb feed. She is curious about everything and her enthusiasm for things draws everyone in. Read more »
Nicole was telling me that she has started writing a story at school and she is excited that she gets to finish it tomorrow. I suggested she could write a story at home to show her teacher and this is the story she wrote:
“The Magical Ms Bre By: Nicole” Read more »
We got a call towards the end of September offering Nicole a spot at Spectrum Academy. It’s a charter school for kids with Autism. We toured the school last year and felt like it would be a really good option for Nicole. I really love my kid’s home school (Foothill Elementary) and I loved having all 4 of my school aged kids in one school. Unfortunately, I felt like our home school didn’t have the perfect place for Nicole. The regular ed class is too big and didn’t have enough support and the small group seemed too restrictive and not challenging enough. I love the idea of her being in a class with her peers. Kids with the similar abilities and similar disabilities. The thing that I was most excited about is that they said they were seeing the kids develop genuine friendships.
They gave us 48 hours to decide or they’d offer our spot to someone else. Spectrum Academy does a lottery system for enrollment, so it can be tough to get in. Clearly by the title of the post, you know what we decided. We got the call on Tuesday and she started at her new school the following Monday. I picked Nicole up early from her last day of school at Foothill on Friday. This picture is of Nicole with her Foothill teachers.
Her teachers have been very kind and supportive. I felt a little sad pulling her out. I took her straight from Foothill over to Spectrum so she could see the school and meet some of her new teachers. This is Nicole in her homeroom.
The school runs a little bit like a Jr High. The students start out in homeroom and then they go to other classrooms for other subjects depending on their levels. They test the students to determine appropriate levels for math, reading, ect. If the student preforms well, they can move up, if the work is too challenging/stressful, they can move down. It’s a continuously leveled system. The whole school is designed for kids with autism which is particularly evident in places like the bathrooms. It’s a new experience for all of us. Nicole was telling me about the upcoming fire drill for two days and we got an email from the principal about it before it happened. (Things like fire drills can be traumatic for these kiddos).
She has been in her new school for about a month now. I asked her today which school is better and she said “Foothill is better because it’s the best school and it has more stuff” but when I asked her if she wanted to go back to Foothill she said that she wanted to keep going to Spectrum so that she could “get used it it.”
She had her first friend from Spectrum over on Thursday.She was super excited to have her friend over, but they occasionally had to be reminded to play together instead of just doing their own things.
I feel like I don’t know exactly how she’s doing at school because I haven’t been able to observe her at school. They require background checks to enter the school and I can’t volunteer to help out in the classroom on a regular basis. I can schedule 15 minute observations which I haven’t done yet since I wanted to give her a chance to learn the routines.
The school itself is about 15 minutes away which means it has added more than an hour in the car to my daily schedule. Since she started I have felt like my schedule is more demanding and stressful. I think I expected to have more free-time with 4 kids in school. I suppose that might have been true if I wasn’t volunteering in the schools as much as I am and if I didn’t have a half day kindergartner breaking up my day.
Popcorn party with some of Ila’s best friends:
It’s been hard to find time to write much or share much the last few weeks, but tonight I thought I’d share what I’ve been working on for the last few days. We decided that we needed to move Nicole into her own room. I had to deconstruct our guest room, which was admittedly really bare. I forgot to take official before pictures, but here are some pictures I took after I got rid of the bed and moved most of the stuff out of the room.
On Day 7 My Dad took Isaac, Charlotte, Paul, Michael, and I to Put-In-Bay on South Bass Island which is located in Lake Erie. We took a ferry across the lake. The ferries are much smaller than the ones we were used to in Seattle. Most people walked on, very few drove cars. The ship swayed much more and even splashed the kids once as they leaned against the railing. Read more »
I have many, many pictures to share from our trip, but I will start off with some pre-trip pictures and then probably break the trip itself into parts.
Thomas had his friend Ian over for a bit. Thomas was so excited to see Ian. Thomas has seen Ian much less frequently since school has been out (I watch Ian a few times a week during the school year).
Ila and Nicole started taking a dance class on Mondays:
We met with the pediatric neuropsychologist (Dr. Julien Smith) to receive the results of her evaluation last Tuesday (4/22). Dr. Smith said that she would send the full report sometime in the next two weeks, so what I’m sharing here is from my memory and may not be complete. I literally did not even write anything down.
We started noticing that Nicole was different than our other kids in more significant wayswhen she was two. I remember as her third birthday was approaching, Zach and I were trying to determine whether her “weirdness” was on the normal spectrum or whether it was disordered in some way. We went back and forth a lot with Zach tending to put her on the disordered side and me wondering if it was possible that she was in the range of normal.
I just love how expressive Nicole is. Check out this myriad of emotions and expressions. She was telling me she’s concerned because she doesn’t know who she’s going to marry yet and she wouldn’t consider any of the boys in her class because “all the boys are bad.”
This is a picture of Nicole the other day before school. I have a love/hate relationship with her sense of style. I love it when it works out, but sometimes it’s a delicate balance between looking fun and colorful and looking like she should ride the short bus to school. I talked her into the denim shorts that morning. She’s generally opposed to denim (she has refused to wear jeans for years). After getting dressed we went upstairs where I started making breakfast and she sat down at a Xylophone and started banging on it while singing “I’m still like Nicole, I’m still like Nicole!” I don’t know if she felt her identity was challenged by the denim or if she was just proud of her outfit that morning, but somehow the song seemed to be related to her outfit. Also, the song went on and on and consisted entirely of that one line repeated over and over until her father yelled from the other room that it was too early to be banging on a Xylophone.
I have had a really hard time finding time to write lately, so my annual post about Nicole is a little late this year. Here is what I wrote about her last year.
Nicole has grown up a lot over the last year. She started preschool at the beginning of November. She really likes it and is learning so much! She can now spell and write her name and has developed a new interest in letters and letter sounds.
I liked this little picture that Nicole was given in primary on Sunday, so I used it as a centerpiece for Nicole’s monkey birthday:Nicole started off her birthday with a batch of apple-spice pancakes: