Thursday, November 6, 2014

Amazing Us All: A Mae Update

Mae has been busy amazing us all.

Yesterday she looked over during her therapy session and saw me hand her sister an eraser.

Now the thing about erasers is that they're just about one of the most appealing things in the world to Mae.  First off they're the perfect size.  They fit in her hand just right.  And she loves toys/objects/just about anything that fits in her hand that way.  Secondly, they're the right texture and flexibility.  They're smooth and also bendy enough to be interesting.

So when she saw me hand the eraser to Sadie she sprinted across the room and proceeded to try to steal it from her sister.  Her therapist quickly said: "Mae why don't we find a block to go in your hand." and much to my surprise Mae stopped and backed away from the table before turning and running straight across the room to a small plastic bag that was filled with one of her therapy activities for the day.  Inside, the bag held four animals and a red lego.

While the red lego was obviously what Mae was thinking off when she went for the bag, she quickly put it to the side as the animals captured her attention.  "Dog.  Tiger.  Cat.  Hippo."  She picked up each animal and put it in a line.  We'd never heard her say hippo.  In fact I'm fairly certain I'd never heard her spontaneously say any of those words.  She glanced over and at me and smiled proudly.

She found two of her sisters old pairs of tights
and put them on over her sleeper.
She was definitely having
a sensory sort of day!
Her therapist asked her is she wanted to show me how she can make a pattern and she took picture cards and quickly did that.  Her therapist started the pattern: hat, bird, hat, bird, hat, bird (or something like that).  After adding the correct cards in order to the pattern Mae turned and looked at me and smiled broadly.

Then she showed me how she could match objects.  She's been matching picture cards with objects, like a picture of a couch with our couch, a picture of a television with our television.  Now she had six cards in front of her and she beamed as she was handed a card for a chair and quickly matched it with a table.  Next she matched a card with a backpack with a school bus, a slide with a swing, a diaper with a picture of a toilet and two others that completely escape me right now.

After matching them she turned again and smiled at me, obviously very pleased with herself for knowing the answers, and happy to have my attention while Sadie read her "fun" book for the morning.  Her therapist told me that when they first added the cards they'd worried some might be too abstract (like bus and backpack, since Mae doesn't really have any experience with how those things would be connected) but that she got them right away.

And of course there was this.  She drew this during therapy earlier this week.  She loves to draw... and I'm fairly certain that this is Boots (from Dora):

Perhaps the best part however, is that none of those moments were the best part of the day.  The best part of the day came when she walked over and stood by James' head while I was holding him and looked down at his face tenderly.  She touched his cheeks gently, resisting the urge to squeeze them (you can always tell she wants to, but she's been battling the impulse of those pinchable little cheeks) and then said "Love, love, love" softly while continuing to gaze at him.

Love is exactly right.  There was nothing I could have loved more about that moment!  While I'm proud of how much she's learned, how she can identify all the letters in the alphabet and loves to count and can tell me she's four and can say that her name is "Mae!" in a sweet little sing song voice, my favorite thing to see is her love when she gazes at her little brother!  It's such a wonderful gift!


  1. Wow, that looks like Boots! That's actually pretty good for a pre-schooler. She got alot of details....ears, nose(or tongue) and the boots.

  2. What a heartwarming post!! Way to go Mae!

  3. Yeah Mae! Such progress!

    Here is a question, I thought you might know after all the reading you've done: are sensory issues always a part of autism or simply a different problem in a child that also has autism? I'm just curious, trying to more fully understand Mae.

    My 15 yo daughter has always had "strange quirks", was one to run away, etc. She had an in-depth assessment with an OT a couple weeks ago and she has significant sensory issues, huge problems with executive functioning, but no one has mentioned autism although I swear she has a touch. So, when you mention sensory issues I can really nod my head in understanding. There are things that set my daughter off, as in she goes running from the room, hands over ears - when I turn on the vacuum, blender, or a toilet flushes. She literally covers her ears when she has to flush one. To lightly touch her arm is a form of torture. The smells of restaurants (even a salad bar place) really get to her, and her anxiety is such that she has medication. Keeping her groomed is a major source of problems because it "hurts" to brush her teeth, and water coming from the shower on her head "hurts". I could drone on, but won't bore everyone to tears. The OT promised that with therapy she can get better, so I am trying to remain optimistic. As a teen, she wants to be very independent, but knows she needs help.

  4. I've been reading for a while and just want to send you a virtual hug, say congrats on James's birth, and yay for Mae's loving beautiful heart. And yours! It's really fun to hear bits and pieces of your story, and I've started to be way more careful about what my little one does with Cheerios at Mass, thanks to a post on allergies you wrote a while ago. Hugs and love for your whole beautiful FAM!

  5. That's what I thought too Emma! I was so proud of it! I've showed it to everyone who's come into the house!

  6. From what I've read about sensory issues the statistics usually say that the majority of kids on the spectrum have sensory issues, but that not all kids with sensory issues have autism (and of autistic kids I think it's something like 8 out of 10). Sadie has them too (and ADHD) although they seem mild compared to Mae's, which I think is why it took me so long to notice them!

  7. Hi Jenn Anne and welcome! Their allergies have opened my eyes so much to what they do with food now (mostly because so much of what they can eat has nuts in it). But it's something I never gave any thought to before having these three.

  8. Thanks Madeline! When I started typing this morning I was looking for something upbeat... because when I woke up I was feeling a little bit whiny and was trying not to head in that direction!

  9. Great update! I was wondering if you saw this: Jerry Seinfeld believes he is on the spectrum as well.

  10. For the last ten years or so the rosary I say as part of my night prayers has been dedicated for "an end to abortion, a cure for autism, and (whatever is most on my mind).

    It gives my heart joy to see progress, visible progress that God is working, in His time frame.


I love comments and I read every single comment that comes in (and I try to respond when the little ones aren't distracting me to the point that it's impossible!). Please show kindness to each other and our family in the comment box. After all, we're all real people on the other side of the screen!