This article, entitled "A Teacher in 'Training,'" comes from Cathy B. at bountiful plate.
Several years ago, on a trip back to Maryland, Dominic got carsick. We learned a very important lesson that day. We have to ALWAYS tell him where we are going in the car. If we don't, he gets tons and tons of anxiety! We have also learned that if we tell Dominic too far in advance about an important upcoming event, car trip, etc., he will incessantly talk about it!!! Lauren came up with the perfect solution earlier in the week - a "countdown" calendar!!!
Dominic is a "visual" learner. If we told him there were nine days until he gets to go to summer school or there is one day until music therapy camp, it wouldn't have made sense to him. He has been getting such a feeling of accomplishment from tearing off each sticky note. I would have never thought of this idea in a million years! She is very creative and has always liked to do arts and crafts projects. The other day, Lauren went down to our basement and found some Play-Doh. I think I put it down there several years ago, because Dominic had zero interest because of his sensory "issues." Did you know September 16th is "National Play-Doh Day?" You learn something new everyday, don't you?!?!?! Anyways, they spent a while making things at the kitchen table. Just the fact that Dominic was sitting and interacting with Lauren is cool. For a child with Autism, "interactive" play can be very difficult. I had a rule when Lauren was little - absolutely no running in the house. When Dominic came along, I changed that rule because a favorite game for Lauren and Dominic to play is "hide and seek." I get such a kick out of watching them. Lauren was hiding behind the couch the other day and when Dominic found her, he said, "there "it" is!" We had to gently remind him Lauren is not an "it." We are still working on the proper use of pronouns :) Lauren has contributed so much to Dominic's ongoing and continued success. When she and I went to get her balloons on her 18th birthday two weeks ago, she said she wanted to get Dominic his own balloon, so he wouldn't feel "left out."
That was a "double" tissue moment for sure :) Dominic is one active young man and has LOTS of energy. Lauren (with her gymnastics and cheer background), has taught him handstands, cartwheels, front rolls, etc. A few months back, totally on her own, she came up with the idea of teaching him a gymnastics "routine." With Dominic also having ADHD, it took a while, she had to teach him in bits and pieces! Eventually, he learned the whole thing. Last week, Lauren came with the hubby and I to Dominic's first baseball game. There was a young girl with no arms who went up to bat for the opposing team. She put the bat under her chin and the coach pitched the ball to her! Lauren looked right at me and said, "if that's not inspirational, I don't know what is!" I had to agree :) Since Dominic made his First Holy Communion at the beginning of May, Lauren has sat next to him in the pew and will help guide him through the Mass. When he sang the Alleluia this past Sunday morning at Mass, I think both she and I needed a tissue! Lauren celebrates every small bit of progress that Dominic makes just as much as the hubby and I do. She will be starting college in about two months and wants to go into Elementary Education. I know that will be an amazing teacher - she has already "taught" her little brother so much, not the least of which, is how awesome an older sister can be!