Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Justin’s progress….through artwork

Justin has always been good at writing letters and numbers, but it took quite a while to get him to draw pictures.  He started using markers when he was about 16 months old and he always loved painting.  We didn’t see much more than scribbling at first, but then I watched him one day as he took a marker and drew a perfect circle on the page.  I couldn’t believe it!  I thought he would draw a smiley face, or an animal, or embellish it somehow.  And then I watched him draw scribbles all around the outside of the perfect circle.  I wondered what he was thinking, so I gave him another sheet of paper and he did the same thing!

This is how Justin’s drawings looked when he was 3 years old…
justin 006
I took another look at what he did and felt inspired by it.  I knew that this artwork was a representation of Justin and his speech delay.  We didn’t know at that time that Justin had Autism, although we had some suspicions.  But the drawing showed me that his world, the perfect circle, made sense to him—and all the scribbling around that circle was the communication that goes on with the rest of us, and it’s just a bunch of unorganized, chaotic mess to him.  Amazing…
I remember how frustrating it was when he was younger, and how helpless I felt not being able to help him find a voice to request his needs or express emotions.  We had some success with sign language, but it was very slow-going and inconsistent.  I felt an incredible amount of worry for him and how he would function in life—and not having any answers just made my anxieties worse.
I can’t say that we’ve ever received many “answers” about Justin, even now.  Having the diagnosis of Autism has helped to guide us to some treatments that have made a huge impact for Justin.  But there is no handbook on how to treat Autism or what the future will hold for Justin.  Having the diagnosis did relieve some of our anxieties—just like Justin’s picture, we felt like we weren’t out in scribble-land and that we had some closure, like the circle.  Most of the time, our anxiety level isn’t any worse than the anxieties we feel for our typical kids.   The only thing that relieves those anxieties is prayer.  We believe that Heavenly Father loves Justin and our little family, so he will guide us through the unknowns of Autism to find answers that work best for our family.
And here’s the great update to the story, this is the picture that Justin drew this weekend when I asked him to finish his worksheet…
justin 002
He did it all by himself!!  With a big, goofy grin on his face the whole time!!  Looks like his world is becoming more and more organized instead of chaotic.  That’s what we hope for!!  Love that kid…
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fabric Puppet Theatre

The kids got Muppet Whatnot Puppets this past year for Christmas and they are awesome!  They come with interchangeable eyes, noses, and hair to make different Muppet characters.  Our family loves the Muppets, so we decided this would be perfect for the kids and Justin has been really into puppets lately.
So I wanted to make a puppet theatre, but I don’t have a lot of room to store something big.  I looked online and found several door frame puppet theatres—but I knew that Justin wouldn’t like that and would end up not participating with us as a family.
So, I designed this fabric, hanging theatre to match our playroom…
puppet theatre 007
There is a dowel at the top, and an eyelet on each end to hang it from the ceiling with rope.  I also have the curtains hanging from a rod behind the reinforced opening so that they can really open and shut.  You have to be able to open and shut the curtains while saying, “Ladies and Gentleman, presenting….” Right?   Justin did think it was a window should be a door, and he tried to go through it…but he’s over it now;)
puppet theatre 027
It took about 3 1/2 yards of fabric, two dowels, two large eyelets, iron on pellon, two flat wooden rods to reinforce the window, and wonder under for the bunting.  Imagine all the fun fabrics you could make this out of?? 
We have collected so many hand puppets over the years, that we have a whole collection of characters to play with besides the Muppet Puppets.
We have had so much fun with this, and we just roll it up and let it hang from the ceiling when we are not using it.
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I am linking to the following parties!
Ladybird Ln I Heart Nap Time Keeping It Simple Raising Oranges Making A Diamond in the Stuff Pincushion Creations A Crafty Soiree Fine Craft Guild mop it up mondays Creative Itch Photobucket It's OVerflowing Whipperberry Somewhat Simple HookingupwithHoH Sew Happy Geek The Taylor House Design Dazzle wednesday's wowzers One Artsy Mama Goings on in Texas I'm Topsy Turvy
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