Busy, Busy, Busy.. but we’re still around

Thomas, just after coming home from summer school

It’s been a couple months since I last posted
anything. As a family, we’ve stayed really
busy. With school having just wound down, it’s
been downright chaotic at times.

Thomas has been able to log a little bit of
time online, but it’s been mostly spent on
rolling new alts, the greater majority of
which are death knights. I’m not sure what it
is about death knights but he seems to enjoy
playing them.

Thomas is also going to ‘summer school’. He
has issues retaining stuff over the summer
that he’s learned during the school year,
especially mathematics. So, three days a
week, he’s attending class.

On a good note, Thomas and myself did get to
spend a little time leveling a handful of death
knights through part of the starter zone with a
blog reader. Thanks for the fun times, Skylar!

Categories: News Tags:

Thomas Enjoys ‘Shake That!’

Thanks to Lee for sharing this with us!

Thomas watches a lot of wow-related videos on Youtube with me. I screen videos
before he sees them, and oftentimes we find ourselves coming back to the same
favorite videos.

We’re always up for checking out new videos and depending on the nature of the
video, I’ll have him sit down and write/draw a response. Below, you’ll find a video
shared with us and Thomas’s drawn reaction to it.

The video: Baron Soosdon’s Shake That!

Shake That! from BaronSoosdon on Vimeo.

Thomas’s drawn response:

Thomas’s thoughts on the notion of what NPC’s would do during NPC downtime:

If I had the slightest bit of sense in my head, I would’ve posed this question to him
before letting him watch the video. Now, when I ask, all he can say is those happy
little NPC’s do nothing but dance during realm maintenance.

Thomas’s thoughts on the video:

He liked the music. He began to dance rigidly to it, singing along. He enjoyed
naming off the different places and NPC’s visited in the video. He called out
‘Sindorei’ when he saw the Banshee Queen, and quickly corrected himself with
‘Lady Sylvanas.’ He knows that she’s the NPC the Lament of the Highborne was made
for, and he loves that song! A fun kid-safe video, good music, good visuals. ;)

Thanks again, Lee, for sharing this with us!

Categories: Videos We Like Tags:

Comparisons Thomas Draws

Thomas might have Asperger’s but when it comes right down to it, he does still
do a lot of things typical kids do. And he’s got a great imagination.

The other night, he wrapped himself up in towels and told me he looked just
like his death knight, hood and all. Last time I checked, death knights don’t
stride around in white garb but I’m sure in Thomas’s head, he was a dark-clad,
eyes a-glowing, hooded human death knight.

~shrugs~ I thought it was cute.

Categories: Memorable Moments Tags:

We Love Wow But It’s Not Thomas’s Only Learning Medium

It came to my attention recently that a rather presumptuous individual commented on
Wow.com that I only use Wow as a learning medium since it’s fun for me and insinuated
that the game time with Thomas is the only time allotted for learning activities. Which
is grossly untrue.

We keep Thomas pretty busy outside the game and as I’ve mentioned before, Wow is a
fun, motivating thing for my son. It’s not his sole focus. It’s not his babysitter. And it’s
certainly not his only means of learning with his father and myself at the helm.

Thomas has 3 siblings: a 2 year old sister, a 4 year old brother and a 5 year old sister.
Because Thomas’s learning is delayed, he does get some benefit out of the same learning
activities we do with them.

One of their favorites (and Thomas’s favorites as well) is a very simple game. We haven’t
named it and it’s not anything groundbreaking, but they really enjoy it. I basically go
through and randomly pick letters from the alphabet. I call out the letter and whichever
kid whose turn it is has to come up with a word starting with that letter. If they can’t
figure it out, they can choose one of their siblings to help them out.

I haven’t figured out why they enjoy it so much, but they do. Thomas plays scorekeeper
and though we add tick marks for when they successfully come up with a word, we don’t
really make a big fuss over who got the most points.

At any rate, my point is we DO do other learning activities. But that was
never mentioned in the wow.com article nor do I elaborate too much about that stuff since
this blog is supposed to focus more on Thomas’s ingame adventures.

I’ve never claimed to be a super mom but my boy is well taken care of. He’s thriving and Wow
is a 30ish minute fun diversion each day. To anyone (that’s you, that one presumptuous
wow.com commenter) thinks otherwise, tough nuggets. Judging us based on what you’ve
done is silly. Period.

If there is interest out there in non-wow activities we do with Thomas, I wouldn’t mind
blogging about it. But since I wanted to focus more on his ingame activities, I’m more likely
to blog about his wow experiences instead. :}

Categories: Observations Tags:

A Quick Thanks from Thomas!

So, like aforementioned in my last post, I planned to sit down with Thomas
and read through the guestbook entries with him. Sometimes it seems like he
has a hard time reacting to praise. I asked him how he felt and he gave me
one word answers like ‘good’ and ‘nice’.

So, since he wasn’t feeling too talkative, I figured a couple pictures instead
would do a better job of talking for him:

We did read through every guestbook entry (and continue to.) I’ll be answering
them as time permits. If I don’t get to yours, rest assured we did read it… just am
a bit overwhelmed at the moment.

Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and stories. After so many
years of fighting to get Thomas a diagnosis and now finally making progress as well
as speaking up about the condition, it’s an incredible feeling to connect with other
people who can totally relate.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Completely Taken Aback :P

Here recently, I exchanged emails back and forth with Wow.com and Massively.com
writer, Lisa Poisso. She interviewed me at length about Thomas and the article she
wrote
appeared on wow.com today.

First off, I have to say she did a wonderful job with the article. I was really nervous
about how it’d turn out, and how people would respond to it. But she did an excellent
job with that article, and the greater majority of folks responding to the article were
kind, thoughtful and even supportive.

I really wasn’t looking forward to the flamers that’d pop their heads in. Of course,
there were a couple but their bile didn’t really bother me. I showed Thomas the article
and he got the biggest grin on his face.

I just wanted to give everyone who’s visiting ‘Running With Merve’ a quick heads up.
Lots of comments and guestbook entries coming in – a little bit faster than I can keep
up with. Me and Thomas are going to sit back and read through them tonight and
comment then. :D

Thanks again, guys, for making this such a positive experience for us!

Categories: Memorable Moments Tags:

What’s In a Name?

When I first started writing this blog, Thomas was really only playing one toon (Merve)
regularly. Since then, he’s rolled several lowbie alts and he switches off between them
depending on his mood.

When he creates a new character, I let him completely customize the character’s looks.
I don’t nudge him towards any sort of look for his toons. It’s his toon; He should choose
exactly how it looks without any input (unless requested) from me.

But names are a different thing altogether. Thomas, for some odd reason, has a tendency
to lean towards very feminine sounding names. He also often wants to name his toons after
playmates he’s fond of, some of which are girls. His first toon, another druid, he named
Caralin (sounding very much like the female name, ‘Caroline’.) When the time comes when
he’s able to communicate well enough to group up with people, I don’t want him to have to
worry about people picking at his name. For that reason, I try to steer him towards more
masculine sounding names.

He rolled a death knight on Farstriders the other day and this time, without any nudging
from me, he named the dk. I was actually a little surprised with what he came up with.

In school, he’s been reading full pages out of an old book titled Nathanael Greene:
Independent Boy. He’s come home from school telling me about what he read. And sure
enough, when it came time to name his new dk, Nathanael (albeit a different spelling due
to availability) is what he chose.

I think we all, at times, have pretty interesting reasons behind why we pick certain names
for our toons. This is one of Thomas’s. :D

Categories: Observations Tags:

Merve LF Macho Armor

After a run through Shadowfang Keep, Merve found himself donning some robes.
While they were a huge upgrade over the grey item he was still wearing (O.o), he
didn’t seem too thrilled to see his big, beefy tauren in robes.

~shrugs~ I thought it was funny.

So, we’ll definitely be looking for something more fitting for him in the near future.

Categories: Funny Moments Tags:

Merve’s New Home

To make things easier for Thomas, I try to streamline things for him. If he ever needs a
portal, I’ve got an 80 mage alt that can port him to any major Horde city. If he needs a
quick ride through a rough area, I have an 80 dk with a mechanohog that can give him
a lift to just about anywhere (within reason, of course.)

We ran SFK together earlier and he hearthed back home to Tarren Mill. I’d realized he
needed enchants and wanted to get him to Dal where my enchanter was situated. So,
I whisked in my 80 mage and portaled him to Dal.

While at Dal, I realized it would really simplify his travels if he was hearthed in Dal. I could’ve
sworn I’d portaled him to Dal before but I can’t remember. At any rate, he’s now hearthed
at Dalaran and I’m hoping he’ll keep the hearth there to make getting around more quick
and smooth for him.

Categories: Observations Tags:

Day 1: Wow’s a Go!

In my last post, I mentioned a behavior contract I introduced to Thomas. In a
nutshell, it was an agreement between me and him that if he did well in school,
he’d get to play Wow that day and if he didn’t do well, he’d forego wow for the
day.

Today was the first full day that agreement was in effect and the difference in
his performance was noticeable. He’s worked really hard and improved vastly
in various areas over the last year or so. But in the last couple of weeks, he’s
really been dragging his feet.

At first, we determined his meds were no longer doing the trick. We upped them
and they seemed to be working. And again, we hit a wall with his behavior. I had
a gut feeling that his behavioral issues (being really impulsive, not paying attention,
not being able to follow directions and generally acting out) had nothing to do with
the meds, but more to do with his attitude.

The quick and complete turnaround of his behavioral performance on the heels of
instituting the behavior contract was rather telling today. Thomas loves Wow.
Absolutely loves it. With some wow play time as the proverbial carrot, he busted
his butt today.

His teacher sends home a journal that we communicate through (in addition to
morning time visits) and today, she wrote:

“Thomas had an excellent day. He tried hard all day to focus.”

Needless to say, Thomas is getting his wow game time in right now. This isn’t
something I’m going to follow every day. I’m sure he’s going to have his ups and
downs but it was definitely something I wanted to share.

Things are getting better for Thomas. There’ll be a little tweaking here and there
to improve things, but we’re definitely making progress.

=)

Categories: News Tags: