Bryce

As a mother, I will never give up on my child. As a mother of a child who has autism, I will never give up hope.
I look into his eyes and I see all the potential that he has to offer to this beautiful world and I just know that one day the world can see what I see.

Follow my blog as I share my life with you and my experiences as a person who loves someone with autism.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Speech-Language Report

I thought I’d share with you the discharge report from Bryce’s school district’s speech-language pathologist. (June 2012)

Bryce received speech-language pathology services through consultation with his Special Education Assistant (SEA), classroom and skill development teachers, and also through direct therapy. His communication goals and progress are also documented in his IEP.

During direct therapy sessions we again worked on understanding sentences in which the subject of the sentence is the important word (e.g. “The dog is pulling the sled” versus “The boy is pulling the sled”). If I stressed/repeated the subject, Bryce was more likely to choose the correct picture to match the sentence, but even then he sometimes still made mistakes. This indicates that Bryce is still paying more attention to the end of the sentences than he is to the beginning. Those working with Bryce need to be aware of this, so they can make sure that the most important information in what they tell him occurs at the end of the sentence rather than the beginning.

I also used an iPad with Bryce to work on various activities such as matching and categorization. Although Bryce often just chose things randomly at the beginning of each activity, if we kept going he would usually settle down, start paying attention, and try to choose the correct answer, and would also start repeating some of the words.

Friday, June 29, 2012

On Our Anniversary

Today is me and Daniel’s 4 year wedding anniversary. I’m in love with him today as much as I was 11 years ago when we first met. I love you, babe!

Just wanted to share what the Hallmark card he got me said. I feel it has a really strong message in it that sometimes people need to be reminded of. I know having a child with special needs can put a lot of stress on a marriage, and you just have to see each other through.

On Our Anniversary

We’ve seen each other GRUMPY
and we’ve seen each other GLAD.
We’ve seen some good behavior
(and of course we’ve seen some BAD!)

You’ve even seen me FLOSS
but still ADORE me more each day.
I’ve seen you with a RUNNY NOSE
and LOVE YOU anyway.

You’ve seen me in my BAGGY SWEATS
(and think I’m kinda CUTE).
I’ve seen you dressed up to the NINES
and in your BIRTHDAY SUIT!

We’ve seen the WORST.
We’ve seen the BEST.
And like we always knew:
No matter what life’s UPS and DOWNs...
We’ll see each other through.

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Thursday, June 28, 2012

You never gave up.

It was a day of sadness and tears as we said our final goodbyes to the staff and students at Bryce’s last day of school today. The school only goes up to grade 5 and Bryce will be in grade 6 next year. As I opened the car door for Bryce, I turned around and looked at the school and said, “Say goodbye to your old school, Bryce,” and I began to tear up.

Six years we have been in this school. Throughout those six years we have had over a dozen Special Education Assistant’s (SEA) working with Bryce. Some whom are really close to me and Bryce’s heart. We may never even see them again, but we will definitely never forget them. (You guys know who you are.) If by chance they are reading this, I just wanted to give them a little message:

Thank you for everything you have done for my son. I know some days were headaches and you may of even wanted to give up, but you never did. You never gave up. You believed in Bryce. I respect you so much for never giving up on him. I really appreciate how you never singled him out, never labeled him, and never made him feel alone. I appreciate you for not focusing on the things he wasn’t good at, and instead, showcasing the things he is good at. Bryce is everything he is and ever will be, because of you. Thank you.

And lastly, I can’t forget about the 6 different teachers Bryce has had throughout his time as his school. Each one of you played an important part in Bryce’s life, too. You accepted him and you included him. That’s all that I wanted.

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

P.S. Thanks for the 2012 Olympic gloves, the Bee & Me book, The Rock ‘Bring it on’ t-shirt, the wrestling ring, and Star Wars book. You guys know Bryce so well!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The podium is waiting for you.

“Whenever we think of the Olympics we will remember your enthusiasm for drawing and telling us about the Olympics. Bryce is a gold medal artist in our eyes. The podium is waiting for you.”

Bryce graduated grade 5 today and that was the speech his teacher wrote as Bryce walked down the runway to take his seat.

We are so proud of you Bryce!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Seed to sow.

Bryce graduates school tomorrow!

We have been with this school since kindergarten and it only goes to grade 5, so this is our last year with this school. I am very sad to be saying goodbye. This school has been very supportive, understanding, and above everything else, accepting.

We wanted to give gifts to each of Bryce’s past and present teachers, support staff, and faculty members as something to remember him by. There is not enough Hallmark cards in the world to even begin to thank everyone, but you gotta start somewhere, eh? So where else better to look than Walmart?

I was browsing around the garden center when I came cross these flower grow kits from Buzzy.

There’s 3 different flower kits: Sunflowers, coneflowers, and daisies. Each kit comes with everything you need to grow the flower in a cute little coloured tin can. It was perfect and exactly what I was looking for. It may sound cheesy, but I thought the flower kit was a great way to thank someone who has helped our child grow and blossom into the young man he is becoming.

We will be giving them to everyone tomorrow.

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Visit Buzzy’s website to find a store near you: http://www.BuzzySeeds.com Makes a great gift!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Last week of school!

You know that school’s almost over when they start sending home your child’s artwork from throughout the year.

Bryce did an oral presentation awhile back for peer assessment of speech. Each student stood in front of the class and discussed a topic and then their fellow classmates scored how well they did in volume, expression, posture, eye contact and how they spoke to the audience. Bryce’s presentation was on the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. He drew pictures for each part of his presentation and said everything himself. He was really quiet and shy being in front of everyone but proudly talked about the gold medals Canada won, the Olympic clock in Vancouver, and of course the Olympic torch carriers. I filmed the whole thing and it was really cute. In the end the teacher asked how he did in each of the categories, and despite being really quiet and focusing on his pictures more than his audience, everyone gave him the highest score possible for each category. I was so proud of him.

Follow us on Facebook to see more of Bryce’s artwork.

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Friday, June 22, 2012

So proud of you my little monkey.

Today was Bryce’s Sports Day last Sports Day at his school. It ended with a bang, as this years theme was the Olympics (Bryce’s favourite thing!) and medals were being awarded (also Bryce’s favourite thing!). His school was divided into groups and each group represented a part of the world. Bryce’s group was Kenya.

Bryce mastered ‘archery’ right away, tossing the bean bags into the center of the hoola-hoops ‘bulls-eye’ like a pro. He even made his own rules throwing all three at once and walking right up to the target and dropping the bean bags in the middle. It was really cute to watch.

There were a ton of Olympic themed sports to participate in but the grand finale every year is a game of tug-o-war. Bryce’s grade was split in half to tug against each other and Bryce helped pull his side to victory!

Speaking of victory, during the closing ceremonies each group went home with a medal for most friendliness, most kindness, most sportsmanship, etc, but Bryce’s group scored the most points throughout the day and went home with gold medals.

So proud of you my little monkey.

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Thursday, June 21, 2012

smile

One of the many perks of being VancouverMom.ca’s 2011 Top 30 Fabulous Vancouver Mom Bloggers was receiving a goody bag full of thank you gifts from local businesses. One of the things we got was a $10 off coupon for custom hand stamped jewellery from 2unique.ca. After much deliberation of what I wanted to get, and what I wanted it to say, I finally redeemed my coupon and ordered a 3/4 inch rounded square to say ‘smile’ in epic font. It just came in the mail and I am absolutely blown-away at how delicate and beautiful it is! Even the packaging was gorgeous!

I’d like to personally thank Michelle, one of the owners and creators of the jewelry, alongside with her twin sister, Shannon, for being so extremely patient and understanding as we corresponded through e-mails ensuring I got exactly what I wanted. I really appreciate what you did for me. I’m just completely and utterly satisfied with my necklace charm. It is so beautiful and means so much to me. Thank you, Michelle and Shannon!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

If you’re looking for a special and original gift check out 2unique.ca for custom hand stamped jewellery.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Learn the signs.

We recently sold some of our bubble blowers and partial proceeds benefited Autism Speaks Canada Walk Now for Autism event. I went to their website today to make to the donation and the very first thing you see on their website is the really scary latest numbers of the amount of children diagnosed with autism.

These numbers are real. My son, Bryce, is one of those now 88 children and one of those now 54 boys.

Please share this information with your friends and loved ones. The more people know the early signs, the more people can detect it, and get their child an early diagnosis.

From the Autism Speaks Canada website:

Autism affects approximately 1 in 110 88 children and 1 in 70 54 boys.

Autism prevalence figures are growing.

Learn the signs.

  • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
  • Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age

For more information about recognizing the early signs of developmental and behavioral disorders, please visit First Signs or the Centers for Disease Control.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I love my daddy

I love my daddy
each and every day
He shows me how to climb things
and how to wrestle play

He always holds my hand
and loves me no matter what
He takes care of me, takes pride in me,
and all that mushy stuff

When I grow up I want to be just like him
in all his special ways
Respect people and be kind
and always love and praise

Daddy you taught me so much
So that I can be all that I was meant to be
For everything I will do in my life
I will always make you proud of me

Before I end this poem
there’s one thing left to say
I love you, daddy, with all my heart
Happy Father’s Day!

Love Bryce
(written by Bryce’s mommy)

Bryce made this rock magnet Father’s Day gift with his school.

Monday, June 11, 2012

One person really can make a difference.

This blog post will be detailing my full experience working for the Children’s Miracle Network through Walmart. I hope it inspires you to get involved with your communities charities and events. I know it sounds very High School Musical cliche, but it’s true... We are all in this together!

In case you are not aware, I work for Walmart. :)

Let me just start off by saying that I heart my Walmart and it’s involvement with the community, especially with the Children’s Miracle Network. Since joining the network in 1994, Walmart has raised over $50 million dollars helping children’s hospitals across Canada. That is A LOT of smiles!!

I wanted to share with you all the fundraising events my Walmart did to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network this year. For example, just before we became a Walmart Supercentre (selling produce, meat, and frozen goods) we got to throw pies at our managers. It was a great ‘stress reliever’ for all the efforts the associates made to ensure we would be ready and opened by our grand opening deadline. The more you donated, the closer you got to stand towards your target. Everyone who participated donated the full price, including me... Remember, proceeds of getting to toss a pie at the store manager benefited the children! It was all for the children! ;) I pied my store manager and co-manager... at the same time... hehe

One of my favourite fundraising events was selling popcorn. The aroma of freshly popped popcorn (even better than the movie theatre popcorn) lured all over the store. I became a master at the craft of popping the popcorn and volunteered my time to make it.

While the Vancouver Canucks were in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year if you donated $1 to the Children’s Miracle Network you got to wear your Canucks jersey at work. Every single game day I took my fan power to another level and wore a green wig, green and blue makeup, and a Canucks shirt. We didn’t win the Stanley Cup, but we got to rock out in something other than our black and white dress code at work. That alone was worth it. :)

Another fundraising idea (remember, it’s all for the kids) was to stick our store co-manager in a dog cage for hours and customers could donate either to get him out, or keep him in. Who would of thought that that would be a big success! ;) And don’t worry, no managers were harmed in the process. We occasionally tossed him a bone. :)

We also had an International Pot Luck where you could bring in your cultures dish and everyone could donate to eat it. Daniel made our little shark watermelon for me to bring.

Some associates even baked their own food to sell to other associates and the proceeds benefited the Children’s Miracle Network too. I discovered I like baklava! :)

We had more potlucks for the staff, BBQs for our customers, and even a book sale. All of these events proceeds benefited the Children’s Miracle Network.

Now where my involvement REALLY began...

A month or two ago I was asked by one of my managers to attend the Children’s Miracle Network fundraising kick-off event. This is where we find out what kind of official fundraising events would take place for the upcoming weeks to benefit this charity. It was a huge honour to be asked to go as it’s managers only invite, and when I discovered that it would be hosted at the same facility that Bryce was diagnosed with autism, I just felt even more compelled to do whatever I possibly could do to be successful with this fundraising event and exceed all expectations.

During the meeting it was mentioned that their would be a little friendly competition between the Walmart’s of British Columbia to create the best way to display the Children’s Miracle Network balloons (balloons we sell to our customers who donate $1). This is my first year in the charity committee and officially being part of the brainstorming process so I wanted to impress. I came up with the idea of making inspirational words out of the paper air balloons pieces of paper and hanging them up around the store. I personally made each word at home and had many different associates help me hang them around our store. You can check out our Hope. Love. Courage. Strength. Dream. Create. Live. blog post to see how that turned out.

We even bought a Children’s Miracle Network big donor balloon to show our support!

During our latest charity committee meeting we were thinking of some more fundraising ideas that Walmart could do to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. Off the top of my head I blurted out, “penny drive!” I figured with pennies being discontinued and eventually not being of any value, I figured people would probably have no problem donating a few here and there. I put up an aquarium right in front of the entrance and people immediately started leaving their spare change and it wasn’t just pennies! It was very heart-warming. It was just a visual reminder that people actually care. I don’t have the numbers yet, but I’m pretty sure we raised over $300 alone from the penny drive!

I almost had an opportunity to be part of the Children’s Miracle Network Miracle Weekend telethon but due to some miscommunication it ended up falling through, however I do plan on attending next years televised broadcast, so make sure you watch me then! :)

The real icing on the cake for me was Walmart’s Walk for Miracles. Our store’s team name was Burna-bees. I made the banner we proudly carried along the walk.

It was my first year going and it was super fun for the whole family. Bryce enjoyed the bouncy castle and I blew bubbles for everyone. The music, the atmosphere, the people, the reasons we were all there, it was all very beautiful! It really just made everything we all did, just feel so worth it!

Anyways, I just really wanted to share this experience with whoever reads this. I really enjoyed fundraising for the Children’s Miracle Network and I encourage you to do whatever you can to be part of your community or local charities. I like to think I did something to make tomorrow a little better. One person really can make a difference.

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Update: We got the final count from the penny drive... $535.05! I’d like to thank all of our customers who gave us their change!

Special thanks to Stan, the branch manager of the Bank of Montreal that we used the coin counter at. He was extremely helpful, very friendly, and helped fill the bucket we used to put our coins in to dump into the machine.

Bryce was a big help with the last load of the 13,000+ pennies we dropped into the coin counter at the Bank of Montreal.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

We found Nemo!

We are very proud members of the Vancouver Aquarium here in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. If you are ever in the area, it really is a must-see attraction! We specifically went today to check out the new African Penguins exhibit. Bryce is a big Happy Feet fan so we thought he’d appreciate checking out the penguins.

We discovered that as much as Bryce enjoys watching the dolphin show, he is not a fan of the loud sounds the splashing makes when the dolphins do their tricks. He knows when they are about to jump in the air, and he quickly prepares by covering his ears.

We also met Jack and Daisy, the recently rescued harbour porpoises (not to be confused with baby dolphins.) They are extremely friendly, and love the camera!

OH! And we found Nemo!

And finally, no visit to the Vancouver Aquarium is complete without watching the beluga show!

We absolutely love the aquarium, and plan on visiting once a week this summer. Love the atmosphere, the crew, and all the care and love that goes into the exhibits, research, and education! You can sneak a peak of some of the animals that have live web cams!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Check out the Vancouver Aquarium’s website for more information!

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Cycle of Acceptance

I saw this on Autism Acceptance and Understanding’s Facebook page and thought I’d share it with you.

The Cycle of Acceptance... With examples of what happens in the different steps. The cycle applies to individuals or organizations. Most of the examples are for an individual. The cycle begins with receipt of bad news.

1. Normal Existence
Capable of objective, valid reasoning, unclouded by doubt and undue emotion.

2. Receipt of Bad News.
Wow, that’s bad news.

3. Denial
This can’t be true. This is not happening to me.
We are not falling. In fact, we know what we’re doing.
It is you who are wrong.

4. Anger
Get out of here, you so and so!!! Don’t tell me anymore! This is Nuts! I can’t stand news like this!

Anger sometimes leads to…

Aggression
I’m going to slap (or fire) anyone who says anything more about this. I’m going to sue my doctor because he is not doing all he can to help me. You’re not even qualified to say what you’ve said!

5. Depression
Oh no, it is true. But there’s nothing I can do.
I’m trapped.
It’s hopeless.
Nobody could solve a problem like this.

Depression usually leads to…

Confusion, early bargaining, and continued anger and denial
Why did this happen to me? I didn’t do anything to cause this. What are we going to do?

6. Bargaining
I might as well agree things are not going to change. A miracle is not going to happen.
If I can do that, I can at least get on with the rest of my life. Besides, if I can get out of all this wallowing in misery and avoidance I can think clearly again, manage the problem better, and work more effectively on possible solutions.

7. Acceptance
Well, it could be worse. We’ll just have to make the best of this.
And hmmm, this is starting to look like a blessing in disguise.
I’m glad this happened.

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