I hope I don't bore anyone, but that is the beauty of blogs: you don't have to read them if you don't feel like it! I just had such a great day with the kids, especially Danny, which led me to think about all the breakthroughs we have had recently.
First off, I know this will sound strange to anyone not familiar with Danny's supreme dietary pickiness, but bear with me. In the past 2 weeks Danny has tried a couple of bites of a hamburger on his own and he ate an entire piece of meatloaf with no arguments. I don't think ground meat has passed his lips in at least 2 years. In fact, the only meat he has consumed in that time has been highly processed: chicken nuggets, hot dogs and pepperoni. Danny's therapist has explained that most of his problem has to do with his being very sensitive to textures, especially when there is more than one texture present. She has also explained that with therapy, he will probably eventually make progress in this area. So, the fact that he is trying new things has been so huge for us. He also has added grilled cheese to his repertoire of accepted foods. We couldn't be happier.
He has also been a veritable angel at church the last month. Church was the one place where we were really still struggling with his behavior. Partly, I think it has to do with the fact that he has little opportunity to move around in the three hours we are there. Also, there is a lot of sensory overload: tons of singing, lots of other kids having difficulty concentrating, etc. It had gotten so bad that I would come home from church crying out of frustration. I even considered quitting church. Instead, I prayed about it and begged for help. All of a sudden, I had all these ideas of how to help Danny. And they worked! I truly feel like it was a miracle. We do a bunch of exercising with Danny before church, and then after Sacrament meeting and again after his Sunday school class, we take him in an office and do some spinning on an office chair. I also collected a variety of exercise bands and he uses them to work out some of his energy. He carries around a heavy backpack in between classes. It's funny, because now Danny knows that I will come get him from his class early so that he can do his exercises. It is amazing how much more attentive and less frazzled he is now. He no longer breaks down crying during the last hour of church.
And Danny gave his first talk in Primary yesterday and it went so well. I helped him practice his talk on Saturday, but he actually helped me write it. I told him he was supposed to talk about Jesus and he said his favorite story was when "Jesus told the storm to BE QUIET!!!" He practiced his short talk at least 6 times and seemed to enjoy it. When it came time for him to speak, he came up to the podium and I showed him the pictures we used to practice. Immediately, with no prompting from me, he said, "I'm going to talk about Jesus, everybody!" I got a bit choked up when I helped him with the rest of the talk.
He has come so far and has had to work much harder than most kids his age. Everyday he is saying and doing things that amaze us. I think too we are so much more grateful for the small things than we would have been had he not struggled. For example, this winter when he finally learned how to pedal a Hot Wheels, we were ecstatic.