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WELCOME to Tyler Dean's website!

Life is ever busy this summer for Tyler and his family. In addition to summer school, Tyler had swimming lessons with the WSSRA and music at Creative Exchange Music Therapy. He and his sister Megan are now enjoying the inbetween days of summer, with nothing to do but color sidewalks with chalk and play dress-up.

Tyler continues to love dinosaurs, and can name them by sight, but has expanded his interest to include exotic wild animals. Ice Age; Dawn of the Dinosaurs provided a link from dinosaurs to mammoths and saber-tooth tigers over to the big cats of Africa and other exotic animals around the world. He can categorize species—mammal, reptile, avian, etc—extinct or endangered, and can tell you what habitat they live in, on what continent, whether they are carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore, and what they eat!

His favorite books are nonfiction, and the star of his collection is one that plays the sounds of each animal, and lists facts including habitat and endangerment status. His favorite shows are Dino Dan, Dinosaur Train, the Ice Age movies, Land Before Time (an old favorite), the Lion King, and National Geographic documentaries about Big Cats and other animals. He saw his first theater movie, Dinseynature: African Cats, this summer.

Tyler is so knowledgeable that he surprised his teachers by informing them that the lion is NOT the king of the jungle, but king of the savanna—the phrase is misleading as lions do not live in jungles! It caused quite the amusing controversy and we had to look it up. But he was right!

Since his diagnosis (high functioning autism) we have begun to expand his therapies and fill up his schedule—much to Megan's jealousy, so we sign Megan up for classes with the Park District each season, such as art and dance. We are adding OT to Tyler's existing speech therapy at Kids Unlimited in Oak Park—a really neat place full of colorful equipment to climb on. Plus a social skills/engine group there starting this fall. And that's not all!

Biggest for Tyler is entering Kindergarten in just a few weeks! He is so excited. He talks about that more than his own birthday! (He will be 6 next month.) He loves school, and has been looking forward to the mythical wonderland of Kindergarten; I only hope it fulfills his expectations! He already shows very strong skills in vocabulary, logic and categorization, memory, following directions in school projects, and really excellent math (he'll do math at home for fun!). Wish him (and us) luck as we explore this new world of full-time school. His new teacher is wonderful and his IEP team is as usual excellent. A bright future awaits.

Tyler's current dream of what he wants to do when he grows up (abandoning paleontologist and train conductor) is to protect wildlife habitat and participate in endangered animal breeding programs or rescue centers, preferably in Africa! Until then, he rescues his growing collection of Schleich plastic animals (and dinos) and arranges habitats for them.

Be sure to link over to Tyler's sister's website too. I'll be updating photos over there more regularly, up through age 5 (Megan is now 3). My promise is to keep the Babysites up to date up through age 5, after that I may start up a family site or all-in-one blog.

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Love and hugs to all our family and friends!

Signing off—Mom-Mom, Webmaster Extraordinaire, 8/4/11
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