Joshua on Vacation

We had the opportunity to go to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, as well as the NE corner of Washington State for 8 days of vacation.  Living in Western Washington, this summer, to get any sunshine, we had to go East of the Cascades.

Joshua did quite well on the car ride and it was a delight to hear him sing Katy Perry’s “Firework” song, as well as some Taylor Swift and Michael Jackson songs that his older siblings have been listening to.  The challenge was in finding Joshua a way to get his needs met while touring about.  We were fortunate to have a great playground with two huge slides for him to play on while Daddy took the older kids fishing on the dock at the Day Use area of Heyburn State Park, (near the southern tip of Lake Coeur d’Alene 8040680).  This is definitely a place we’d like to visit again and explore!  Joshua played, for the most part by himself, until two children came to join us.  He referenced them while playing, but eventually, laid down on the platform for a while, before being ready to rejoin us to play, coming over and asking me to push him on the swing.

Joshua on the tallest slide I've ever seen at a playground

While at a toy  store in downtown Coeur d’Alene, we came across another family with an autistic child, getting a goop for their daughter to squeeze when stressed.  I perked up hearing her plea to the sales associate and not only bought some of the goop for Joshua (perfect for pulling out at Mass or anywhere he needs to be quiet yet occupied), but struck up a conversation with the lady, who told me of all the resources available in the area for autistic children, including the Katie Beckett Waiver for disabled children not covered by medicaid due to income disqualifications.  That really peaked our interest as Joshua has been on a 8 year wait list in Washington State for financial assistance from the Department of Developmental Disabilities for any financial assistance.  He would get at least 12-22 hours of service a week, or about $29,000 a year, for autism services, in addition to what we could get with the Katie Beckett, for OT or Speech.  This is all, outside what we could provide with our medical insurance.  In addition, there is also scholarships  available for folks from Spokane and the Panhandle, to help pay for alternative treatments for autistic kids, with the The ISAAC Foundation  There is a lot to look into, and compare, as I’m frustrated by how little we can provide for Joshua here unless we have exceptional insurance or loads of money.  Considering the beauty of Northern Idaho and the appeal of a smaller community with less traffic, natural beauty, more house/land for the money, yet still with resources that can help Joshua improve, (and Spokane 20 minutes away), we have a lot to consider.  The appeal is strong, not to mention, my older sister lives in the area and the home schooling is supported and with less restrictions in the state.  With Bryan’s internet business increasing every month and his marketability with working with computers/software, we really could live anywhere we wanted.  The difficulty, is with all the resources I have found here for Joshua, in Western Washington, most especially our family, friends and faith community, who provide so much support for us.  However, we are still close enough to come for visits, should we make such a move, and would do so for at least 4 weeks next summer when Joshua goes back to the DIR/Floortime Summer Camp.  Tough choices for us to pray over, and we would ask for all to pray with us to determine what is best for our family.

Joshua didn't care to get his picture taken. He'd rather go play at the Cataldo Mission. No can-do when his parental units keep a vice grip on him to keep him close.









Cataldo Mission, the oldest building in Idaho, with the rectory next door.










Getting set to explore the Silver Mine in Wallace, Idaho.

Michael and Joshua reading before bedtime at Coeur d'Alene Campground

Learning to pan for gold

Joshua, while the family panned for gold...

Joshua, after his first bath in 4 days, got cozy on the couch. Of course, we still wanted to do a group picture with Aunt Fran and Uncle Brad...

After visiting Cataldo Mission,  exploring Silver and Coal Mines, and visiting my older sister, Fran and her husband, Brad,  in Athol,we headed to Metaline Falls, WA, in the NE corner of Washington State and spent the day at Sullivan Lake, swimming.  Here, Joshua showed how social he has become with folks outside the family, taking what he learned from DIR/Floortime Camp and applying it to life.  After playing with his siblings, Joshua was enjoying walking around in the water, occasionally saying:  “I’m swimming!”  He’d throw some rocks in the water he found and play with the kids for a little, here and there.  At some point, however, he noticed two men playing catch with a water proof football (looked like a junior size).  The man nearest Joshua dropped it.  Joshua who had been laughing, while watching them, went over to retrieve the ball and the man bent down to play catch with him.  Joshua then proceeded to play catch with both men for about 10 – 15 minutes.  It was really neat watching him not only notice others, but seek to engage with them.  After playing elsewhere for a while, Joshua later went back and joined the guys again, to play catch.  They both were teachers and marveled at how well Joshua was doing when I explained he was mildly autistic.  Times like this sure encourage us as we see him progress socially.

Joshua playing catch with the guys at Lake Sullivan

The last place we stayed, near Republic, WA, however, while swimming, he went over to another boy about 8 years old, and poked him in the stomach, attempting to engage in a playful way, but was too a tad rough.  Of course, it was misinterpreted and I had to work with him to first apologize and then see how to play nicely with the boy.  It was kind of a bust, however, as the boy was put off by Joshua’s initial behavior, as well as his inability to verbalize an apology, and most likely had no idea what being autistic meant.   I couldn’t tell who/where his parents were and had to just let it stand with a quick explanation and apology, and a verbal message to Joshua to play gently, taking his hand to demonstrate how to gently pat the boy, and asking to play, while seeing the need to stay all the more closer to Joshua when around other children he doesn’t know, to guide him in his social interactions.  I was close, but not close enough.  I know, despite the hard work, that Joshua will continue to improve with his peers, but it will continue to take a lot of work, humility and good communication to encourage understanding.  Some will be supportive, but realistically, we will encounter those who are not and we need to be prepared for that, learn from the experience and go forward.

One of the many reasons Joshua wears a life vest. He doesn't listen to his sister to stay off the dock.


This entry was posted on Monday, August 29th, 2011 at 1:46 am and is filed under Autism Resources, General Autism Info. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.