Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Progress with our yearly zoo outing!

I have tried every year to take Trenton to a zoo or a small animal place to see animals. Every single year, including last year, he refused to go in. He would pull my hand off of his and walk/run away. One year he lasted thirty minutes and the entire time I was managing a meltdown. He simply couldn't handle the new environment and all the stimulation coming at him. It was a terrible trip every single time. TERRIBLE! I left more stressed and in tears every single time. Last year I sat with him in the van so Andrew could enjoy some animals with my family.
A few weeks ago, I tried it again. I wanted to try it before the busy summer season started. You always have to try things at a non-busy time. It is a must! If there is a crowd it is a guarantee Trenton won't stay. We were very lucky and there wasn't many people there. The zoo was a very quiet day, few people and little stimulation. If there was a lot of people or if it was a place that had a lot of different movement coming at him from all different directions, then Trenton would have went into  sensory overload which you can read about here.....https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensory_overload. 
Every single thing is all about timing with Trenton. Plus, having me there is a huge plus since I have been the one that has worked with him constantly.
I am beyond HAPPY to report that Trenton walked into the zoo this year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We actually walked around the zoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now before you start thinking it was a normal family outing, let me explain......
It took four adults tag teaming him. He did hold someones hand at all times but as soon as you let go of his hand, he kept on walking. He didn't stop. He wouldn't look to make sure he was with his family, he wanted to keep on walking. We had to pull him away from things multiple times. He doesn't know what he can look at and what he can't. He didn't stop and look at the animals, he just kept walking. So lots of times Trenton and I or the adult he was holding hands with was always ahead of everyone else. The only animal he stopped and admired for a few seconds was the penguins.

He did his anxious noises and his anxious gestures such as scratching his neck like he does. However, he walked in and it is a huge improvement for us!! I am hoping maybe in a few years he will actually stop and look at the animals instead of a place for us to just practice holding hands and walking. LOL!!!

Doing something such as this is a huge stress. My guard was up the entire time and so was my parents. If a hand is taken off Trenton, he would be gone in a heartbeat. It is impossible to have your hand on someone the entire time. As he gets older, he gets faster which means he can get away even faster.

The entire time I was there I kept thinking how our service dog will help us so much!! For example, in our future zoo trips, Trenton will be tethered (connected) to his dog. The dog will be trained to follow my lead. If  I stop the dog will stop and command Trenton to stop. I might actually be able to take my hand off of him and get in my purse without trying to wrap my legs around Trenton's legs to keep him still. Instead, I can take my hands off of Trenton and get in my purse or whatever I need to do while the dog keeps Trenton still. WOW!! I just can't imagine how nice it will be! It will be such a blessing. A blessing that has been prayed about for a long time.

The other day I took Trenton into the grocery store. I had to take my hands off of him to get  the groceries out of the cart. Every time I tried to take my hands off of him to reach for the items, he walked away. I had to stop and go grab him. I would try again and he would walk away again. I eventually put him in between me and the cart and tried to get the items out as fast as I could. I would grab an item and throw it to the cashier while I kept my body against Trenton's pushing it against the cart. We had some strange looks but I have to do what I have to do. I have a child who I can't take my hands off of! Needless to say, future shopping trips will be amazing once the dog is here. The dog will hold Trenton still while I get the groceries from the cart to the counter.

I am so proud of Trenton and how he is able to start to do some things. It has been hard work! I have lived through some of the most embarrassing moments just trying to teach him and make him to where it was possible to get him out of the house. I have had some of the rudest things said to me. It has been terrible! However, we are making progress! I am so proud of him! Him and I work on this constantly. I go into Harsha Autism Center and go with him on as many community outings as I can. We are accomplishing many great things and its because we don't stop. We work non-stop on this! Even though we work non-stop, our outings are nothing like a typical experience....nothing like what most families get to experience but it is good for us!!! It will only get better when our service dog arrives!!!
By the way, I did the final paperwork and mailed it off on our future family member. I got the final cost which is higher than what I thought but it is due to Trenton's severe needs. Just another reason why we really do need a service dog! However, the fundraiser in my hometown is going amazing!!!!  I am so excited and grateful what Flora  and the residence of Clay County are doing for Trenton. I am so blessed!! God is so good to us! God has given me one amazing life! Sometimes I think the boys and I are the luckiest people in the world. It's a hard life but I put my trust in God and knew that he knew what I needed more and it was this life! Wow...it sure is one amazing life!

Here are a few pictures. It's always hard to get pictures of Trenton and especially when he is in that environment. 

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