Monday, June 22, 2009

Here we gooooooooooooooo...........

Denise came down to our house for a visit today. Mom thought she was going to take Bond back to Brigadoon today, but that wasn't the case. Instead, Denise worked with Mom on training Bond and Pippin. She gave Mom pointers, told her what she needed to work on, and showed her how to do it. Mom has a LONG way to go, and hopefully she'll figure it out. :) Bond is here as a permanent fixture in our lives. Bond will go back to Brigadoon a couple of times this summer while I'm in school or at camp. Mom's friend Jennifer was here as well, and that was a big help. Now there are a total of 3 people who know how to handle Bond. This has given Mom a little bit of relief knowing that there is someone else who can help and give encouragement.

It's hard to believe that we are here. That this is actually happening. Thank you to all of you who made this happen! It's hard to believe that we're really here. We have a long way to go, so there will be a lot more blog posting as we go through the training process. But as for now, here we go!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bond Day 3

Sorry I didn't post yesterday. It was a long and tiring day! By 9:00 Mom was DONE!!! Yesterday was more of the same. We took a trip out to Costco to get out in public. This time Mom tethered me to Bond. I didn't mind it, and she liked the added security of knowing I wasn't going anywhere. Mom also spent some time yesterday working with our other dog Pippin. Working on getting his energy level down, and making sure he stays down when she tells him to. They are also working on a "place" command. Denise says that if she can put both dogs into a down position then the energy level will come down and that will hopefully get rid of the dogs trying to play together. This is a bigger undertaking than Mom originally thought!

Day 4 is half over. We went to church this morning and that was a pretty good experience. I don't think he was used to the loud music. :) He went up to junior church with me, and Mom explained to the kids that they couldn't touch him, and the reasons why, and all that good stuff! It's hard to tell a bunch of people you know that they can't touch your dog. About half of them understood without an explanation, and the other half really didn't "get it". So for all of you out there who think service dogs are really cute (and they are)--please resist the urge to touch them. Pretend like they aren't there--please--it will make the handler's job much easier! The rest of the afternoon will hopefully be spent relaxing. Pippin is taking a nap with Dad, and Bond, Madison and I are about to go outside to play.

Denise is coming tomorrow morning to work with Bond and Mom on some more training stuff. I'll let you know how that goes.

I hope you are all having a nice Father's Day. If your dad is still around make sure you thank him and love him. I've got an awesome dad, and I'm so thankful for him!

Happy Father's Day,

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bond Day 2

Well we survived day 2! This has been a lot more work than any of us expected. Don't get me wrong, we didn't think this was going to be a piece of cake; however, any of you out there who are thinking about getting a service dog I have a message for you: THIS TAKES A LOT OF WORK!!!!

I thought I'd give day 2 a grand entrance at 4:00 this morning! Yup, I woke up and went to Mom & Dad's room to play on the computer--well there was a problem with that (well there were lots of problems with that, but the one I'm going to tell you is this). Bond came with me (which is what he is supposed to do by the way). With Bond coming with me, that meant Pippin (our golden retriever who is 1 year-old--for those of you who haven't been following the blog) woke up, and was quite excited that there was someone to play with. Mom woke up to the dogs romping around--which is a BIG no no. She put me and Bond back to bed and locked the door. I stayed up and they finally had to get me out of my room at 6:30 because of my persistent knocking. Dad got up and took me and Bond on an errand and then out to breakfast at a local cafe. Bond was really good--sitting under the table, and I got to enjoy a big old cinnamon roll.

When we got back Bond and Pippin started playing again so Mom kept having to separate them. She didn't realize how hard it was going to be to keep them apart. She ended up calling her mom to see if she would take Cameron and Madison (she figured if she got rid of 2 it would be a little easier)--Grum (my grandma) took them and Pippin so that Bond would have a chance to hang around with me and not be distracted by everyone else.

So we spent part of the day at the house--Bond following me around, and then we went to Target, the grocery store, and off to horse riding. Bond has never been around horses so it was a new experience for him. He did pretty well (picture 3), and he watched me most of the time. After Pippin and the brother and sister came home, it turned out to be a fairly mellow evening. Mom didn't have to separate the dogs from playing too many times--I think Pippin was exhausted from running around with the dogs at Grum's house.

So that's where we're at. There isn't anything planned for tomorrow, but Mom is thinking about some sort of outing--we'll see tomorrow what she has in store for us. Right now though I need to go to bed--I was up early this morning--and Mom REALLY needs to go to bed! I'll try to blog tomorrow too!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bond's first day

Well, it's one of the days we've been waiting for--Bond's first overnight visit. We met Denise at Costco this morning, and we walked Bond around and did a little shopping (specifically to replace the toilet paper I destroyed a couple of days ago--if you don't know the story just scroll down). After that Denise came to our house and gave Mom and Dad a crash course on dog training/what to do/and a whole bunch of other information. Mom's head was spinning about this point, and she was jotting down a bunch of notes...poor thing. We needed to get Bond some treats and a little more food so Mom convinced Denise to take us down to our local Country Store (she really just wanted an excuse to have one more lesson of going out in public--little did she know that would be the easy part). Once done with The Country Store Mom dropped Denise off at her car and decided to take me on a couple more errands. We went to the grocery store to get me some chicken strips because I was starving. Then we went on to Costco to get Bond a doggie bed, and then to Pet Smart to get the remaining supplies. Bond and I did pretty good. We went home and took a rest, and then left again for swimming lessons. Again, Bond did well--he watched me swim the entire time. So that was the outing section.

Now for the home section--HOLY COW! Mom knew it was going to be work, but didn't realize the weight of the work. First of all, she's a perfectionist and doesn't want to mess anything up--so that doesn't really help her all that much. Then there's Pippin--our sweet, HYPER golden retriever. He was so excited at the prospect of a new playmate only to find out that the playmate isn't there to play. So now that we're at home Mom has to make sure that Pippin and Bond don't play, that Bond pretty much ignores Pippin, that Cameron and Madison ignore Bond, and that Bond hangs out with Aaron (and makes sure that Pippin gets some attention--but Bond can't see that). She's pretty much decided that she needs to be cloned, so if any of you out there know how to get your hands on a magical cloning machine let me know.

What about me and my reaction (because that's really what this is all about right)? Well, so far pretty good. My biggest complaint is that he's in my space a lot--but apparently that's what is supposed to happen...I only escorted him out of my room twice today--the rest of the time I tolerated him :) In public I hold onto his vest and just hang out. It's going to take a while to get this whole thing flowing. This is only day 1, so we'll see how tomorrow goes! I think Mom is going to find a place for Pippin to hang out tomorrow though! I'll keep you posted!

Me and Bond hangin' at Costco

Me and Bond hangin' out in my bedroom

I'm peeking at the camera from around Bond's behind...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Visit with Bond in 4 days!

Bond is coming for a weekend visit in 4 days! Denise is bringing him down on Thursday and giving Mom a crash course on what to do over the weekend! I have swimming lessons, horse riding and church, so Bond will go all of those places with me (and who knows where else we'll go).

Mom is VERY excited Bond is coming especially after the trouble I got into today. She had just told my dad that it was too quiet when she came upon my masterpiece of destruction--THE BATHROOM. It's been a while since I've had a "good" disaster (the minor ones aren't always worth noting--if it's just dumping shampoo out, but not smearing it everywhere, it's not a disaster--just an inconvenience). Mom hasn't figured out how I did it yet, but I flooded the bathroom and then "toilet-papered" it. Little clumps of toilet paper were everywhere (and I mean EVERYWHERE). Lets start from the top: the sink (and the toilet as well) was full of water with toilet paper in it, followed by the counter covered in water (with water pouring over the sides). The drawers and cabinet were full of water (ruining the contents of the drawers and 23 rolls of toilet paper that were under the sink--but who's counting?) There was standing water in the cabinet as well as all of the water that was absorbed into the towels. Moving to the outside of the cabinet--toilet paper wads all over it. Finally, the floor--1/4" of standing water that was running out onto the carpet in the hallway. She's got most of the mess cleaned up, and I just saw her stealing a few bites of my sister's chocolate muffin drizzled with chocolate syrup--doesn't she know that is going to ruin the workout she did earlier? Oh well--it probably made her feel better :). So there you have it! I'll be sure to keep you posted on how it goes with Bond. I may even try to blog daily--that's only if I have enough time in between making messes!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bond coming for a visit

Bond is coming for a weekend visit on the 18th (NEXT WEEK!!!)--this will be our first overnight(s) visit, so we are all excited and not sure what to expect. Denise will come on Thursday morning and walk us through what we need to know! It is surreal that after a year and a half of waiting, this moment is here! Keep your fingers crossed that Bond and Pippin will get along, and that Bond will be able to focus on me and not be distracted by a playful golden retriever!!! I'll keep you posted!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No new news

We are still waiting, waiting, waiting. Mom send Denise an email, and here is the reply:

Bond is doing well. He is following Madi’s (puppy raiser who has him) little brother around everywhere. He worries about new things, but then settles. He still won’t jump up into her jeep. Silly boy. When school is out, we can start visitation with Aaron.

So there you have it. It's not much, but what I've got! Thank you all for checking in and I'll let you know more when I do!



Monday, April 6, 2009

Bond update

It's been a while since my last post about Bond. Mom has been waiting to hear from Denise about the next step, and she got an email from Denise yesterday giving an update. Denise has had Bond staying with a teenager in her area to get him used to living in a home and to teach him how to go to school. She plans on having him stay there another three weeks or so, and then we will set up our next visit. It's pretty exciting! I will keep you posted as I know more!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's World Autism Awareness Day!

I was diagnosed with autism on February 25th, 2003. At that time 1 in 250 children were affected by autism. In the past six years, the number of children with autism has skyrocketed to 1 in 150. Every 20 minutes a family will be told that their loved one has autism.

Know the facts and the warning signs--BE INFORMED! If you know a child who is displaying some of the symptoms of autism--tell their parents. The earlier the intervention, the greater the chance of "recovery". I'm posting a little about autism, some funding facts and what the signs are. This information comes from Autism Speaks. Check out their website:

Also, PLEASE check out this video It's 13 minutes but worth the time (get your kleenex before you sit down).

Here we go (this is kind of a long post--sorry):

Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person's lifetime. It is part of a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Autism impairs a person's ability to communicate and relate to others. It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively arranging objects or following very specific routines. Symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe.

Did you know…
*1 in 150 children is diagnosed with autism
*1 in 94 boys is on the autism spectrum
*67 children are diagnosed per day
*A new case is diagnosed almost every 20 minutes
*More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined
*Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
*Autism costs the nation over $90 billion per year, a figure expected to double in the next decade
*Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
*Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism
*There is no medical detection or cure for autism

Incidence vs. Private Funding
*Leukemia: Affects 1 in 25,000 / Funding: $310 million
*Muscular Dystrophy: Affects 1 in 20,000 / Funding: $175 million
*Pediatric AIDS: Affects 1 in 8,000 / Funding: $394 million
*Juvenile Diabetes: Affects 1 in 500 / Funding: $130 million
*Autism: Affects 1 in 150 / Funding: $42 million

National Institutes of Health Funds Allocation
*Total 2007 NIH budget: $29 billion
*Of this, $80 million goes directly to autism research. This represents 0.28% of total NIH funding.

Know the signs
*Does not babble or coo by 12 months
*Does not gesture (point, wave, grasp) by 12 months
*Does not say single words by 16 months
*Does not say two-word phrases on his or her own by 24 months
*Has any loss of any language or social skill at any age

Having any of these five "red flags" does not mean your child has autism. But because the characteristics of the disorder vary so much, a child showing these behaviors should have further evaluations by a multidisciplinary team. This team may include a neurologist, psychologist, developmental pediatrician, speech/language therapist, learning consultant, or other professionals knowledgeable about autism.

Now you know! If you have any questions my mom would love to talk to you. Send her an e-mail at the e-mail address on the right.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bond came to school!

Yesterday Bond came down to Stanwood to do a home and school visit. Denise came to the house (I was at school) to check out Bond’s new home. Bond checked out my bedroom, the backyard, around the house, and Pippin (our family dog). Bond took a tour of the backyard and my bedroom before he was able to say hi to Pippin. Once he did say hi to Pippin, it was brief, and then he walked around the living room checking things out (this is exactly what Denise wanted to see!!!)

After the home visit Bond, Mom, and Denise came to school to show my class my new helper. Bond was quite the celebrity from the moment he walked into the building. He visited at the front office for a bit, took a walk down to the ASSIST (special ed.) classroom to meet one of my teachers, and then went down to my general ed. 2nd grade classroom. Bond sat next to me while Denise answered the other kids’ questions. At one point I got up and ran to a different part of the classroom, and Bond got up and followed me. The other students had some great questions, and it turned out to be a successful visit.

So what is our status at this point? Well, Mom is going to schedule a time for me to go up to Brigadoon for another visit, and then Denise is going to start scheduling trainings and more home visits. Probably by May, Bond will come and stay with us for a few nights at a time and work his way into our family life. We are all very excited to start this phase! Here are some pictures of yesterday’s school visit:

Bond was a hit in the hallway!

Me, Bond, and Mrs. Kay

Waiting for the other students to arrive.

Just hanging out
(that is a picture of me and Bond on one of our visits to Brigadoon that I'm looking at)

I'm as happy as can be

Doggie kisses


The other students are arriving

Denise is talking about what Bond will do for me...

and answering lots of questions from curious 2nd graders!

Talking about different types of service dogs

Mrs. Kay hanging out with me

My peer mentors

One of my friends

My class!

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