So, Is it better to save the best for last?

My head has been full this past 7 days with a lot pride, worry, respect, determination, fear and love.  I literally had so much writing going at once in my journaling this week that if you were to have picked it up by accident, you would have thought it was a place where different people were leaving comments instead of just being one person with a jumbled mixed emotion head.  I would bounce back and forth or think about something else and then finding myself with a ton of unrelated words scrolling along my computer screen.  All of which I wanted to capture in some capacity but at this point they were in a scattered fashion.


Earlier this week as I was sorting through all these 1000’s of words on my computer screen and finally making sense with them all, I ended up writing three entries in my boys blog. Two of them you may have already read, Family Tradition and My Letter to Cody.  In my mind, I wanted to save the best for last but I am struggling with this saying because I have such love and respect for Cameron and his bond with his brother and of course sharing our family traditions.  And today is another HUGE milestone for Cody Rivers and could not be so proud and anxious to share with you all his progress.

So, Is it better to save the best for last?

 Perhaps for the majority of us, we say it in passing with sarcasm attached to it.  For me, I believe it’s not. I would agree that the last bite of your taco does taste the best.   And if I were interviewing mentors, the last candidate you might consider typically the best or worst for the job because the last in a series of options is the most memorable.

But I also agree putting the best first. You show yourself what it’s like for you to be at your best, which helps motivate you to continue seeking resources necessary so that you can continue performing at your very best.

I chose to share the best at the beginning and the end.

Here goes.  As you know Cody Rivers works a very hard 45 hours a week where most of his goals are all communication driven with some cognitive thinking and motor skills filtered in but primarily all focused toward verbalizing.  He has conditioned his self and will cat nap in between on random days when he feels he has had enough.

I want you to think about this.  A child’s language skills develop at different rates.  Most children will be able to master a FEW sight words by the time they are 4 years old.  They say, a good goal is that children should master 20 sight words by the end of Kindergarten and 100 site words by the end of First grade.

You may recall when we discovered that Cody learned his colors, shapes, numbers and alphabet and most of this was taught through video modeling. He would watch between therapies a series of DVD’s that were called Preschool Prep that focused on these subjects.  Since this discovery, we are now working on him vocalizing these words.  In addition, I went ahead and purchased the next series which was Levels 1-3 on Sight Words.

This past weekend, my mother in law said it would be interesting now that Cody has been watching this next series of the DVD’s for the past 4 weeks, to see how much he has retained of these. I thought it was a brilliant idea and found no reason for us to wait to ask the therapists to do the probing.  I took some index cards that had the alphabet drawn on them, flipped them over and started writing each site word.  I had Cody come sit at table with me and laid out 3 words and requested for him to show me the word.  He literally mastered EVERY SINGLE WORD!  I sent a quick text to his BCBA and she mentioned to take the same words and make them all caps and in different ink colors and mix them in your current index cards.  This is literally video of his first time with multiple exemplars added. Watch the magic unfold.

Click here to watch video.

Since then, we have incorporated the words they are working with him on into the sight words I am working on and he has been doing a fabulous job this week receptively picking them out and in some cases repeats it would a vocal!  We are currently up to 45 words which would be at the development of a kindergartner half way through his/her school year! Still looking like he may read before he speaks.

Love watching him studying the function of the ball drop in these photos:

Another mystery to me on how brilliant his minds work. He can recognize 45 sites words at 4 years old yet struggles saying the word “Go.” Until all the pieces fit…..we will never stop.

Proud of Our Veterans today and Team Cody!



Published by mamalamaneustupa

Bio My name is Shelley Neustupa. I am a mother of two cool boys and a wife of 22 years to my high school sweetheart. My oldest son attends the University of Oklahoma. Boomer! My youngest is in 2nd grade and was diagnosed with Autism and Mixed Receptive Expressive Disorder at age 2. Since his diagnosis, I promised him I would advocate and educate as hard as he works each day in therapy. I began writing and have been able to touch many parents that may be new to this journey providing them with actual experiences (not candy coated), support and resources through my entries. Writing is my therapy and my hope one day that my nonverbal son will be able to take these diaries and speak about his own journey and how autism relates to his own experiences. Who knows he and his older brother may become National Speaker’s one day? Come along on our journey to better understand our lives through the eyes of a boy with autism, his Skilled Companion dog Jude, his big brother (and best friend) and mom and dad. My raw vulnerability captures the everyday moments of our journey and will bring even more awareness. A week does not go by where we do not learn something new about ourselves and I want to share these chapters with you. My Sons Undeniable Strengths… Extremely smart and figures out things quickly. Has a memory that allows him to remember more things than I could ever hope for. Persuasive by his personality and sheepish looks. Overabundance of stamina and strength. Loves the outdoors. Enjoys life and always has fun with an unforgettable smile. You can find us here: Writer: Autism Through His Eyes Facebook Instagram YouTube Pinterest Canine Companions for Independence News Interview Cody and Skilled Companion Jude - Our Story

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