Today is officially one month since Owen started IBI therapy at Bethesda, which is funded by our government after a grooling 3 year wait. When they named IBI - Intensive Behavioural Intervention, they were correct - the Intense part is how much this therapy becomes what you base your whole life and day around.
The hours for Owen are long; 25 hours a week to be exact - he has therapy in our home and will not go to school for the rest of the year on Mondays - he has school every morning with IBI every afternoon for a minimum of 3 hours each time. The drive back and forth to Bethesda - back to the falls - back to Bethesda - it is intense, but all I can say is that it is worth it.
I have always written about Owens LOVE for, "nametag" how when I would drop him off he would even forget to say Goodbye because he was so happy to be there, or when we were driving down that way he would see Bethesda from the Highway and point it out right away. This is how it was at the beginning of IBI, he would want me to leave, he loved going - he had wonderful days at school knowing he was going to therapy; 1 month deep, not so much anymore.
Why has his love changed? Simple; because he is being challenged. Everything was great at first because his therapists were learning about him; finding out his likes his dislikes, what he is amazing at, what he needs help with; building a solid relationship with him so he trusts them, likes them - which he does, but Owen does not enjoy being challenged, which is something he has to get over.
Prime example of 1 of Owens hardships; he is having hard time with transitions. He is so pissed off now going to Bethesda, anytime the EA tries to transition Owen (not only to leave with me, but to go to the library) he freaks, throws himself to the floor and goes in the fetal position. After that, as I arrive at the school to actually pick him up to go to Bethesda, he is outside the classroom with 5 typical peers and his teacher, ACTUALLY working on a letter worksheet, and not only does it do it perfectly, he was done first! before all his typical peers! He then sees me, I say (in the happiest voice ever), "Okay Owen!! Let's change shoes and go to Nametag" - he is fine, changes shoes, no issues, says goodbye and we are off.
Owen gets to Bethesda, he is fine - I leave, he goes to start therapy, meltdown. His therapist had a great idea we have not really tried yet, so I am going to let the EA know; Owen (as any person) likes to feel in control; so giving Owen a choice he responds really really well too; why not right?
That is IBI. I am lucky in the sense we are hitting hard Owen's behaviours; we are fortunate enough that Owen is potty trained, and we don't have to waste great IBI hours on potty training. For that, I am thankful, because he has a lot of little behaviours that really add up, and this is the time to hit them, before he starts grade 1, where there is no more "play based learning", he WILL be required to sit like his peers and complete worksheets (which he has proven he can), its the sitting amount of time, its the sensory issues always there; this is what I want to work on, and I am glad they are seeing it and so wonderful at giving some great ideas.
How is this affecting Maddie and Ben? They have become used to Owen going there, Maddie even refers to Bethesda as Owens, "other school". Maddie comes out to see me, because she knows everyday without fail, I pick Owen up from the school at 12:30pm- so she runs her little legs down the hall to give me a quick hug and runs back. When we pull up to Bethesda, Ben is also along for the ride, and knows we drop Owen off and get a cookie; at first, Ben wanted to leave with Owen, so bribing with a cookie has worked for him transition better.
I know a lot of parents bitch about the wait; I am still one of them - the wait is awful, it takes too long and sometimes it is so long, the "Early" part of the intervention, isn't early enough. What I am thankful for? there is something to wait for. Years ago, there was little to nothing; I am fortunate to have women in my life that their children were the children that had nothing, and they would kill to go back in time to have what we have; so even though the wait is awful, I am thankful and grateful that my sons have this chance.
April 2 was National Autism Awareness Day; and we celebrated by all wearing Blue, and I thought after seeing another ASD moms video of her son, I wanted to make one of my sons; so I did. The response to the video was amazing, and I have attached the link here.
Please enjoy; and know that Owen is doing wonderful with challenges, but who wouldn't right?