Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Frustration...

This is not going to be a happy post. I am just very frustrated, and sometimes I am not even sure what I am frustrated with. It seems like nothing I can do is right, in my eyes or anyone's for that matter. I feel like I should be doing more for my kids, I feel guilty if I try to take a break. I even feel guilty for writing on this blog while they watch "Scooby Doo". It doesn't help to see posts on facebook and other places where parents put themselves out as being the "Mother of the Year". I guess with typically developing and special needs kids you will always have those parents who make you feel like you could do more. I have been told by a family member that I don't do enough, I should be in the floor with my children their every waking hour, maybe I should, but then I am confused when the same family member tells me that I spend "to much" time trying to get services for my kids, and that I shouldn't spend so much time thinking about their disabilities, or talking about them.

I just want to say.....I feel bad enough, there are things I want for my kids that I am just not able to get. A lot of things bother me right now that probably shouldn't, I am easily offended by things that probably shouldn't offend me.

I have had a lot happen in my life over the past 3 years. I don't really need to go into all of that, but I am going through a grieving process, multiple grieving processes actually. Maybe I am stuck, who knows, maybe I do need counseling. But, having people constantly tell me what I am doing is wrong, making me feel guilty for trying to take the occasional break, well that isn't making me feel any better.

I love my friends and family, I want a good relationship, but sometimes I feel so confused.

I know I am not the only mother who blogs about her kids, I know I am not the only mother who writes things on facebook to try to raise awareness. So, why are people trying to make me feel like a bad person, why do people act like I should be ashamed of my son's Autism diagnosis and hide it.

I am very proud of my boy, the fact that he is on the spectrum does not make me any less proud. Actually I feel more joy at his achievements than I would if he were a typically developing child.

Finally, my biggest pet peeve....STOP telling me that "A" isn't "autistic enough" that because he is so high functioning and he is so smart that I should let people think everything is okay, that he is some sort of child prodigy. He is smart, but there are issues, that is why I take him to doctor's and multiple therapy's. That is why I spend my nights online looking for the latest in treatments, even special diets. I tell people to raise awareness, autism isn't always what it appears to be, it isn't always "rain man" or a child in the corner banging his head into the wall. I suspect and I have seen that there are many children (and adults) out there, smart children, who are going undiagnosed. Children who struggle with social skills, smart people who lock them selves away, who have to be home schooled or who are miserable in regular school, adults who have a hard time holding down a job, who spend their lives on their computers because they don't have the social skills to go out into the world. Young children with whom intervention may make a world of difference in their lives as adolescents and adults.

So if you don't like the way I do things, then don't try to make me feel bad, you don't have to read my blog or be my friend on facebook. I struggle every day. I will do what I have to do, if you don't agree with my methods then I am sorry. Especially don't criticise if you have never dealt with what I am dealing with.....

Here is some information about families dealing with Autism, and what YOU can do to help.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Autism and Imagination...

I have been told by many professionals that because "A" has autism he can't use his imagination. I have to disagree! At least this don't seem to be the case with "A".

Just a little while ago he was sitting on the table, you probably think it is strange that I let my son sit in the middle of the table. We do a lot of strange, but fun things at my house! Anyway, he was sitting on the table, the table was his ship and he was a viking. He was spinning a big tale, sitting there with his viking hat on. He was fighting pirates and dragons. He had to get in a airplane to get off the ship, because "mommy I can't get off in the water." If that isn't imagination what is it! Maybe it is because he is "high functioning?"

I love this quirky, sweet, creative moments! I think about them when I am dealing with a big meltdown, and we have been having quite of few of those lately. Thanks to medication issues and school being out for almost two weeks due to snow! Even though "A" likes to be home, he misses his routine and schedule!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A "IEP" for Christmas...

I am sorry I've not kept up with this blog. I will do better. Tomorrow we have our first IEP meeting. I'm nervous, but excited that "A" will be receiving some intervention, AT SCHOOL! Last year at this time I was fighting for that, remember this poem?

We had Christmas pictures made, "A" did very well. Usually sitting for pictures is difficult for him, but he seemed to enjoy it this time, we had a really good photographer!





Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A big Pet Peave of mine...sorry if it offends!

I don't know if this bothers anyone else as much as it does me, and maybe it shouldn't even bother me. I am talking about those annoying parents who love to tell the world what geniuses their children are. Okay, I know that parents are going to brag about their children, it is normal. I do it too.

I am talking about those parents who are convinced their child is smarter than everyone and they want everyone to know it. They post about it on facebook, and twitter, they tell everyone they meet about their child's "poopie in the potty, and she's only 6 months old". Their baby slept through the night, walked, talked, and mastered quantum physics before any other child. They compete with everyone, they compete at daycare, church, school, and the PTO meeting.

Yes, this annoys me. As the mother with two special needs children this annoys me a lot. It is okay to be proud of your child, but don't be pushy! Do we really need a play by play of your child's day? I'm sure someone is going to say I'm jealous, that I wish my kid was as smart as their kid?

Well, no I'm not. I am very proud of my children, I would not trade them for a million of yours. A. is amazing, he is so smart, he works hard and every accomplishment is hard earned! The same goes for his brother Elijah, that little guy is amazing. No, he may not be able to walk yet, he has a limited vocabulary and he struggles. But, I can guarantee, he has accomplished more in his short life then the most accomplished, scientific, artistic, verbal, potty trained two year old!

Now for a little "brag" of my own..... some of the most intelligent people who ever lived had autism! Don't believe me? Google it!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Invisible Disability

I never really thought about it this way until I read another bloggers buzz on seededbuzz. She speaks of people telling her that her son with autism "looks normal." This is so true, especially concerning my son who is high functioning. With little brother Elijah who has cerebral palsy it is easy for others to tell he has a disability, he can't walk at two and a half, and he wears orthotics. With Alex it isn't as easy, and sometimes it is hard to convince people that he even has autism.

When a person sees him in the store having a meltdown, they look at him as being out of control and they look at me as being a bad mother. What they don't understand is yes he has autism. Yes, he may be high functioning but he still has difficulties. He has a hard time with social interactions, and he has a hard time concentrating especially when his senses are overwhelmed.

He doesn't think like we do, I would love to know half of the things that go on in that amazing mind! He has a difficult time telling me how he feels, and why he feels that way. I could go on and on. I hope that someday people are a little more sensitive to these children. If you see a child having a tantrum don't just assume that the child is naughty, and the result of bad parenting.

No one can understand what a parent is going through so stop being so judgemental. Instead find a way to help. Don't stand there and stare, roll your eyes, whisper, or smirk! It doesn't help the situation, it just makes the parent feel upset, embarrassed, or angry.
It isn't logical to expect a parent to keep their child with autism home all of the time just to make the so called "normal" world more comfortable. Our kids are learning important skills, parents are learning too. If I learn that a certain situation sets my child off, then I know to be more aware next time.

Yes, my son has autism! He is cute, smart, and can be very sweet. He also thinks differently, he reacts differently, but he is perfect in my eyes! I will do everything possible to see him succeed in life! Just know that!

Friday, October 29, 2010

About sensory processing...


Good morning, wow it has been a difficult one at my house. Not only do we have about $10,000 worth of wind damage to deal with, but our own little "hurricane" "A" blew through this morning. Talk about stormy, he was extremely irritable. From the moment he woke up until I walked him into the classroom. We had a MAJOR meltdown this morning. It was one of the most serious I have seen so far! I'm not sure what is making "A" so upset. Maybe it is the change in weather. Alex has sensory processing disorder this is common with children with autism but can also occur with other disorders or even by itself.


Children with SPD may be hypersensitive to touch, as infants these kids often do not like to be held or cuddled. They may be fussy during diaper changes and hate having their hair washed or brushed, they wipe kisses away, and they prefer being hugged. They dislike messy play, certain textures and they may hate wearing clothes, dislike the seams in their socks and are picky eaters. A's baby brother Elijah is like this. He was born extremely early he was not held often during his early months and when he was held it was often to receive uncomfortable or painful treatments.


Children with SPD may also be hypo sensitive to touch. These kids are considered under responsive they


  • crave touch, needs to touch everything and everyone

  • are not aware of being touched or bumped unless they are bumped with extreme force or intensity

  • are not bothered by injuries, like cuts and bruises

  • may not be aware that hands or face are dirty or feel his/her nose running

  • may be self-abusive; pinching, biting, or banging his own head

  • mouths objects excessively

  • frequently hurts other children or pets while playing

  • repeatedly touches surfaces or objects that are soothing (i.e., blanket)

  • seeks out surfaces and textures that provide strong tactile feedback

  • thoroughly enjoys and seeks out messy play

  • craves vibrating or strong sensory input

  • has a preference and craving for excessively spicy, sweet, sour, or salty foods

"A" seems to be more of a hypo sensitive kid, but has some hypersensitive tendencies as well. One of the things A does is play with my bangs. When he is nervous or sleepy he wants my hair, it doesn't matter where we are at, he will ask for my hair. A is also a kid that likes to wrestle, jump, and pretty much bounce off of things and people! One treatment A has been prescribed by his OT is a Sensory Diet with Heavy work Activities. Some of these activities are:



  • Whole body actions involving pushing, pulling, lifting, playing, and moving

  • Oral actions such as chewing, sucking, and blowing

  • Use of hands for squeezing, pinching, or "fidgeting"

I have found that allowing A a small stretchy toy to fidget improves his concentration. My main concern is getting A the supports at school for his sensory needs, but that is a whole other story, and I promise to write about it soon, we have a eligibility meeting next week. I am sure it is not going to go well. So I am getting prepared!


There is so much more to understand about sensory processing, I just wrote about the two that seem to pertain to A. the most. To learn about the other aspects of SPD go here


A great book to read about Sensory Processing is "The Out -of- Sync Child" by Carol Stock Kranowitz. It is a great book for parents and teachers alike!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordish Wednesday

"A" really enjoys Lego's he will spend hours on them!
A therapy session.


http://www.autismspeaks.org




Wordish Wednesday

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What is the difference between High Fuctioning Autism, Aspergers, and classic Autism?

My son has a diagnoses of Autism, his autism is high functioning, possibly Aspergers. Autism is actually a whole spectrum...a child with high functioning autism can be described in the following way"In the case of high functioning autism, the afflicted person will have high IQ and is regarded as genius some times, but they lack in understanding non-verbal communication and social skills." These kids are often called "little professors because of their almost adult way of speaking. In many ways "A" seems like a normal four year old, it is actually hard for people to believe he has autism. "A" prefers the company of adults, he doesn't like to make eye contact, he says that eye contact "makes him embarrassed". He likes to be around other children his age, but he has a difficult time approaching them. He prefers to play alone or with his 15 year old brother. "A" can spend hours building "structures" out of Lego's. Right now he is building houses.

"A" does not get it when someone is joking, he takes everything very literally. Pet names confuse him, and figures of speech are frustrating for him. If I get mad at the dog and say "I am going to kill her" really believes I am going to kill the dog. "A" has a hard time reading emotions and is constantly asking if someone is happy, sad, etc.


"A" is very smart and his IQ is high, but he has trouble remembering his colors. He has a hard time sitting still because his sensory system is so overwhelmed. Sensory problems are common with autism, but that is a whole other issue, I will post more on sensory later!



Here are some symptoms of Aspergers Syndrome:

Signs and symptoms of Asperger's syndrome include:
*Engaging in one-sided, long-winded conversations, without noticing if the listener is listening or trying to change the subject
*Displaying unusual nonverbal communication, such as lack of eye contact, few facial expressions, or awkward body postures and gestures
*Showing an intense obsession with one or two specific, narrow subjects, such as baseball statistics, train schedules, weather or snakes
*Appearing not to understand, empathize with or be sensitive to others' feelings
*Having a hard time "reading" other people or understanding humor
*Speaking in a voice that is monotonous, rigid or unusually fast
*Moving clumsily, with poor coordination
*Having an odd posture or a rigid gait





Early Red Flags that may indicate Autism:

No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
No babbling by 12 months
No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
No words by 16 months
No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age.


Early intervention is important, it is no longer acceptable to just ignore these symptoms and see if the child grows out of it, they may, but what if they don't? Then you have lost precious months and years of intervention, if your baby shows any of these red flags you should see your pediatrician for an evaluation.





"A" at 18 months old. He started talking in full sentences well before his first birthday, he could sing Amazing Grace all the way through when he was 15 months old.


Bright lights are painful for "A" sunglasses are a must on a sunny day.

"A" can often be seen playing "beside" other children, without actually interacting with them. This type of play is more typical of young toddlers.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Meltdowns and Medication

Hello everyone, I am enjoying this lovely fall weather. But not looking forward to winter. The doctor started A on medication again a couple of weeks ago. We are pretty much having the same issues we had last time. It works at first, then he starts having more meltdowns and becomes really emotional. It seems to work at school, I think it wears off in the afternoon and makes him a zombie the rest of the time. I am not against medication, especially for older children who really need it to concentrate and learn. I do worry about long term side effects. I have made the decision to wean A off of this medication once again. I'm sorry if he is a little more hyper at school without it. I don't like to give a child something that erases their personality, and he is so very sensitive to this type of thing.
I have finally found some services geared toward autism in this area...I will post more about that as soon as A attends his first appointment. I am excited about this opportunity!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday Mayhem


Join Us for Monday Mayhem
Welcome to Monday Mayhem- the happenin' Monday Place to be.Today's we are playing a modification of a tag- the 8's tag. By 'modifications' we mean we edited out some of the questions we never want to see again.Have fun!

1. Are you living the dream??
Maybe a twisted version of it!

2.Is this what you imagined your life would be like?
Honestly, No. But, whose life turns out exactly like they imagined. If I were living the life that I imagined as a young girl then I would have prince charming, a million dollars, and a maid!

3. I'm coming for dinner, what will you make for me??
I hope you like chicken nuggets!

4. What's your favorite cuss word? I don't have a favorite cuss word!
A. does though, thanks to someone near and dear to me who I won't mention, his favorite cuss word starts wit a D and ends with a N!

5. Tell me one thing you would change about anyone's blog and why?
I really don't know of anything I would change, a blog is like a journal, so whatever!

6.What is your biggest blogging pet peeve?
People who don't comment and don't follow...come on I'll follow you if you follow me!

7.What's your favorite tv show this season? I need a new show! :)
This is crazy, I am 34 years old and I am really hooked on that show, Teen Mom!

8. What's your favorite 'down' time {nothing computer related}? Downtime, what is that....I gues when I get it, it is reading, I love a good book!

Your son has Autism??


A lot of people don't know my son has autism, a lot of people know, but don't believe it. A. isn't what most people typically think of when they think of autism. This makes it difficult for us to get the services he needs to be successful. The school constantly denies A. the rights to the accommodations he needs for success.


Because A. does not exhibit the signs of classic autism does not mean that he doesn't struggle. He does struggle, he is extremely smart, but he has a hard time learning because his sensory system is so overwhelmed. Everyday things like bright lights, sunlight, and even the textureCheck Spelling of his clothes are very distracting to him. He can hold intense conversations with adults and he loves older children, but somehow approaching children his own age is hard for him. He will say "mommy go ask them to play with me."


He has good days and bad days. On the good days I will forget about the Autism diagnosis. On the bad days, the days when it takes 30 minutes to get from the door to the car, when I am chasing A. around the school, with a two year old on my hip, everyone staring at me trying my best to keep my son from dashing out in the road, A. oblivious to my shouts and warnings of danger.....well on those days I remember.


To learn more about High Functioning Autism check out this article.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Am I wrong??


Okay, so stress is a major part of my life. I should be used to it by now, but I am only human!

Today I was at Wal-Mart with my boy's. Alex has been a sensory mess for a couple of weeks now so I should have known better. But.....I desperately needed a few items so I loaded the kids up and went.

Things started going downhill almost immediately,
  1. A. didn't want to hold my hand, so he bolted in the parking lot.
  2. A. didn't want to ride in the cart, he wanted to walk, so I made him ride in the cart.
  3. A. wanted to wait on the bench outside of the restroom, I made him go in with me, so he waited until I was in the stall, OPENED the stall door, and bolted out of the bathroom, while I followed him as I hiked up my pants! What a lovely scene for everyone in the bathroom!
So is it any wonder that as we were leaving the bathroom with A. in the back of the cart, screaming to the top of his lungs and totally melting down, I noticed a couple of ladies staring.

Now this is not so unusual for us, we get this a lot. But, at this particular moment I was way past my breaking point and on the verge of a meltdown myself! I looked right at the two ladies, now usually if I make eye contact that is enough to make nosy people turn away, but no, these ladies were whispering, giving me evil looks and one of them even smirked at me! So I simply looked them right in their faces and said "what is your problem, haven't you ever seen a kid with autism in the store before?" And then I walked off, A. never let off of his screaming through this whole ordeal.

So did I do wrong? I just am so tired of being made to feel like I am a horrible mother because my child throws tantrums in Wal-Mart. SO WHAT! Get over it people!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It must be the weather!

Wow, A. had been a sensory mess for the past few days. At home and at school. I wonder if it is the change in the weather? You know how you hear teachers say that all of the kids are wild before a snowstorm? I am beginning to believe they are on to something. Recently our weather went from 90 degrees in the shade to the low 60's. Alex's sensory system, which had been improving, went haywire! He has stopped sleeping, is easily distracted won't listen, bounces off the walls, harasses the pets, rolls around in the floor, and is smelling EVERYTHING! So maybe it is the change in the weather, or maybe it's a full moon!



Recently our town had it's annual festival. A. did a finger painting for the festival, and he got a first place ribbon! I'm so proud of my little artist!





Friday, September 24, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Our meeting


Hi, everyone. Well the "child study" meeting with the school went better than expected. They have agreed to evaluate A, but we are still not getting the OT or behavior evaluation. I guess we will see how things go from here!
School is going fairly well for A. He has good days and bad days. He still has trouble napping and he needs a lot of help with fine motor activities. He is so smart though! I know he will be just fine, some of the most brilliant people in the world have had to struggle a bit, look at Einstein and Mozart, both thought to have had Autism!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

School Meeting

Hello everyone. Well I have a meeting with Alex's school Monday morning. A child study meeting. I have been trying to get a IEP for Alex for over a year. I hope and pray that we are getting closer. Alex does well in school, but his sensory needs are causing him to have some problems with behavior and he needs OT for writing and cutting (important pre-kindergarten skills)! He gets private OT, Speech, and PT, but I have to pull him out of school to get him there, which is ridiculous! I have bought books and I am going to learn as much as possible about special education law, I am also taking classes!

Eating dinner!


My little artist, he loves to finger paint, but is not crazy about the mess :)

Weekend Blog Hop

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday Blog Hop

A Mommy Bloggers BFF


I am supposed to be doing homework but my sister over at Life of This SAHM says I don't do enough blog hopping! If you visit please leave a comment and follow me, so I can follow you back!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Excuse my mess...

Please excuse the appearance of my blog, I have been "trying" to work on it!

Denise

Weekend Wind Down Blog Hop- Fav Holiday




This week's question:With Labor Day weekend just passing, what is your favorite holiday and why?

My favorite holiday is Christmas! I know that is probably what everyone says, but I love Christmas. Time with the family, the lights and decorations, the joy on my children's faces. I am excited because this year Elijah is old enough to understand more about what is going on! And last but definitely not least Christmas is the celebration of my Saviour, Jesus Christ!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Fun...

A. is doing well, ups and downs. He is in a summer program with his baby brother and he seems to enjoy it. He is such a smart, talented, child. I think his main problem is going to be social skills, he loves the company of adults and older children, but he seems to have trouble approaching children his own age.



Swimming on a recent vacation, he hates the big pool, but loves shallow water...





A. will be starting pre-k next year, I hope this will help with social skills! :)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Last day of school....

It seems like just yesterday Alex was starting school.....



He was a little nervous and not sure what was going on....



Now on his last day of school...



He has built confidence....




And made great progress....

I'm so proud of my big boy!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Alex!







It is so hard to believe it has been four years!


Monday, May 10, 2010

Not Me Monday

Mckmama- Not Me Monday


I am participating in Not me Monday, okay here we go

I didn't catch Alex walking the dog, by his tail, I mean literally pulling a 50 lb dog by his tail, Not Alex! :)

I didn't then put the dog in his crate because Alex just wouldn't leave him alone, therefore putting the dog into "doggy timeout" because of Alex, not me!
I would never be late for church because I had to run into the grocery store at the last minute for my mom's Mothers Day gift, not me!

No More Medication....

Alex is no longer on the meds, so far he's doing good! Fingers crossed! :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

What to do???

My big question of the day is, Headstart or Pre-k. I'm really trying to decide what would be the best option for Alex. Pre-k is more academic so the teachers would expect a lot more out of him. A couple of his therapists have suggested putting Alex in Headstart this year and pre-k next year and then starting him in Kindergarten a year late. I'm just not sure what to do? Anyone have any suggestions?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Clean house.....

whats that?  I think I am going to give up on that dream. I spend so much time worrying about keeping my house clean because so many people come through here. I have been trying to paint for over a month now and it's just not happening. I am to the point that I don't care what people think anymore, I mean try chasing a very hyper four year old, taking care of a two year old who still needs lots of medical care, and not to mention a 9 month old lab and a husband! LOL, it is a miracle that my house is still standing!

I know I have really slacked on this blog, I am going to try to pick it back up.

Alex is doing well. We were promised a reevaluation by the school in Feb. but have heard nothing yet. I did take Alex for a pre-k evaluation and am praying he gets in. He is also on the list for Head Start next year. I do know that he needs some sort of structured program.  Well I guess I'll go, I'll leave you with our most recent pictures!