Tagged with " Autism"
Oct 17, 2011 - Autism, Family    No Comments

Fire Prevention Week

Fire prevention week was last week and I am doing a fire safety unit with the girls during our homeschooling day. I realized in the process that I had not really talked with Adrian about fire prevention and safety very much. I’m not sure if he will get it but I definitely want to put in the effort.

I looked up autism and fire safety and sure enough there was a nice article here that I really wanted to pass along.

I just wanted to encourage everyone to check your smoke alarms and do practice fire drills with your kids with autism especially so they know what to expect if an emergency like that happens in your home.

Aug 30, 2011 - Autism, Family    No Comments

Autism and my Cycle of Grief, Anger, and Guilt

The other day I was looking at Adrian. He’s an adorable little boy. Big blue eyes surrounded by long eyelashes. Looking older all the time. He was sitting there quietly. Not stimming. Just sitting there quietly and as I was watching him I grieved. I was so sad. What would he be like without autism? I don’t want him to grow up and have to live with mom and dad forever. I want him to grow and be able to be the man of his house and accomplish everything he wants. So after the grief usually comes guilt and anger. Of course I always love Adrian for who he is and he means everything to me so I feel bad about grieving what could have been. And then anger that I can look at my girls and imagine a much more positive and fulfilling future. My thoughts of Adrian’s future are riddled with turmoil and concern and that makes me angry.

Lincoln is stimming a lot, well at least what I think of us as self stimulating behavior. He picks at my face and moles constantly and pulls very hard on my ear lobes. He searches for individual hairs on my head to pull out and he grinds his face and head into my face and head. He grinds and grits his teeth. I don’t want to go through all this again. I really don’t. When I was pregnant with Lincoln and someone asked me about him possibly having autism I responded with “we’ll love him anyway, just like we do Adrian” and we do and always will, I just pray his challenges aren’t as difficult to overcome as some of Adrian’s have been.

Lincoln is starting to talk in some full sentences and has many more words then Adrian had at his age. I hate comparing them but it’s really hard not to. Tonight Lincoln got it in his head that he was going to clean the house. So this little 3 year old guy is running around like a wild man picking up blocks as fast as he can while being cheered on by me and Sanura. Then he ran out to the kitchen and was trying to scrape leftover food from a plate into the garbage. After we got the plate dumped he handed it to me and said “here ya go” one of his common little sentences he uses. It was so cute.

I love my boys so much. I’m so glad to have them but sometimes I still wish that things were a little less complicated and a little more normal.

Jun 7, 2011 - Autism, Family    No Comments

Autism Walk and Other Stuff

We did the autism walk on Saturday. There was a threat of rain and we saw lightning and heard thunder in the distance but we didn’t get rained on so that was nice! On our way home our windshield was pelted pretty hard with rain so I’m glad we left when we did! So we didn’t get a lot of pictures but we got one of the people ahead of us walking (really exciting right?):

And this is the tshirt we got:

So that’s that, I’m glad we participated. We had a good time.

I finished another scarf for the Special Olympics Scarf Project, so here is a picture of that:

I thought of another fine motor activity yesterday. The kids and I took a bucket of water outside and some little paint brushes (big ones would have worked better but I didn’t have any) and the kids “painted” the house, rocks, and sidewalk with water. They loved it:

That’s about it around here. I need to figure out what to do with the kids today because it’s going to be very hot out but Adrian doesn’t feel well so we may have to hang around home today!

May 12, 2011 - Autism, Family    1 Comment

Our Week

Sanura had an eye doctor appointment yesterday afternoon. She’d been having some trouble seeing the board from the back of the room. It turns out she needs to wear glasses at school, her vision is 20/50 so that’s not bad but enough where she can benefit from wearing glasses at school. During the eye exam the doctor was asking her the usual “Is one better or two?” then switching the lenses and again “Is three better or four?” Well she would just say the number and he would move on but towards the end of the exam he said “One or two?” and she said “One” and he said “One is better?” and she said “One” and he said “One is better!?” and she said “one” and he said “One is better?!?!” and he was getting increasingly agitated. I explained to Sanura that he was asking if one was better. I guess she wasn’t picking up from his tone that he was asking her a question. He was out of line with his attitude and we won’t be seeing him again. He was nice for the most part but the extreme irritation by her not understanding he was asking her a question was too much. Sanura also really had trouble following his light with her eyes, she kept moving her head and not just her eyes. I could tell that was really hard for her.

After the exam Sanura got to go out and pick some frames, that’s the fun part. She picked some cute purple frames. They were my favorite too so I was glad she picked them. Anyway, all is well, exam is done, glasses are bought.

Adrian has had a good week at school. I got to talk to his teacher today for a little while. The only thing he’s been doing is refusing to take his red sweatshirt off at school. He never takes it off at home either so it was not a surprise. I have to wrestle it away from him here and there to wash it but you’ll almost always seem him in that red, fleece, zippered jacket. This wouldn’t be a problem except it’s been in the 80′s and even 90′s some this week here. I am going to take and hide it soon but we’re expected some 60 degree weather this weekend where the jacket will be appropriate so I’m going to let him have it at least through the weekend.

Adrian has also been insisting on wearing the same pajamas to bed every night. Ever since he started picking out his own clothes and dressing himself in March he has been very very particular about what he wears. He used to never care. He would just put on whatever I gave him. Not anymore! He has his opinions and they don’t always match up with what the weather is doing so we have a little work to do in that department.

Adrian has still been pretty obsessed with Universal Studios but he’s also been jotting down “Disney”, “Pixar”, & “Sony” and he’s excited looking over my shoulder as I type these in which makes me giggle, here is his most recent collection of film making companies:

Nevaeh is doing good. She saw the OT today at school and they are working with her on holding her pencil properly. (she’s still doing a fist grip on her pencil) The OT apparently was shocked at how neat Nevaeh’s handwriting and drawings are considering the way she holds her pencil.

Lincoln is doing great at his speech therapy. They’re always telling me how impressed they are with how well he’s done. The only thing he’s not wanting to do right now is physical imitation. I will hear them say “Lincoln, do this!” and then I hear them clap or slap their knees or whatever they’re trying to get him to do and he screams! He hates it. They’re trying a few things like adding sounds with the actions like “boom boom boom” while slapping knees and that seems to hold his interest a little better.

So that’s been our week. We have lots of changes on the horizon for our family. Some big decisions that are scary and stressful! We’d appreciate all the prayers we can get!

May 10, 2011 - Autism, Family, Special Needs    1 Comment

How Soon ‘Not Now’ Becomes ‘Never’

My mom shared an article with me by Karris Golden that was published, I believe, in our local newspaper. The article is titled “Motivation is the Key to Achieving Positive Change”. I wasn’t able to find the article in it’s entirety on-line but I’m going to share some parts of it with you:

“One of my favorite quotes by Protestant reformer Martin Luther is, “How soon ‘not now’ becomes ‘never.’”
Motivation is essentially a desire to minimize negative results, such as pain, and achieve and sustain positive results, such as the physical pleasure derived from eating chocolate.
You can want something but you have to make it a priority and remain focused on the goal. It’s easy to revert to past behavior and become unmotivated; “how soon ‘not now’ becomes ‘never.’”
According to “Managing Your Mind: The Mental Fitness Gide” by Gillian Butler and Tony Hope, all roads lead back to motivation. That is if we can train ourselves to want to reap the benefits of self-control more than we want what’s bad for us we’ll usually maintain hard-won good habits. And we won’t allow ourselves to believe all is lost when we slip a bit. The bottom line is, that positive changes are possible if we’re able to determine our motivation. Whatever it takes-Rewards, avoiding “bad” triggers, sheer determination of will-each of us has the ability to be and do better.”

So there is a lot of things this article made me think about but specifically about autism it made me think of a couple things.

#1-It made me realize I have the motivation to help advocate for Adrian and other people with autism. Even if we all have our different causes that we’re interested in and even when I feel like nobody else cares…I have the ultimate motivation to keep going and that’s my special boy Adrian.

I wanted to say that there are times when I get frustrated and angry. We all have our “causes” that we’re passionate about and it’s usually something that you personally, or someone you love is dealing with or has dealt with. I understand that and there is nothing wrong with that. I am obviously passionate about autism and things that go with it because Adrian has autism and I love him. If Adrian didn’t have autism would that be a cause that I’m excited about? Probably not. There are times though that I’m writing about autism and other special needs and I start thinking, “I’m preaching to the choir here” & when I’m in an especially bad mood, frankly, I’m thinking “Nobody who doesn’t deal with autism day to day gives a crap about autism and what we’re dealing with” When I’m in my right frame of mind though I know that’s not true. I know there are people who do care.

#2-It’s hard to keep going sometimes. Working with Adrian day after day and seeing little fruits from my labor is difficult. Again, I have the ultimate motivation, Adrian. And he’s worth it, he’s worth 100% of my effort 100% of the time.

We can all do better, we can all do more.

With that I’ll end with quote from another “Martin”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

May 9, 2011 - Autism, Family    1 Comment

Motherhood and Autism

“Every child is gifted. They just unwrap their packages at different times.”~Unknown

When Adrian came into our lives not only did I receive the title of “Mother of 2″ but I also received the title, of “autism advocate” prior to Adrian’s diagnosis in April of 2006 I knew practically nothing about autism. Now, Adrian is 7 years old. On the day he was born back in March of 2004 he came out an 8 pound 6 ounce healthy baby boy. We breathed a sigh of relief, healthy, perfect, grand dreams of his future. Looking back I can see how naive that is. I was 21 years old when I had him and had a “it can never happen to us” kind of attitude when it came to sickness, disorder, or disability. Very little can make you gain more compassion and understanding faster then a special needs diagnosis being placed on your child.

“One may walk over the highest mountain one step at a time.” ~ John Wanamaker

As he grew into a toddler and we watched him develop we had no clue any of his behaviors were atypical . We joked that he was the strong and silent type and the hand flappinig he did? “Well isn’t that cute…he’s so excited.” At that time, little did we know, that is a big red flag. And “Oh look, he’s going to be engineer, look at him examine the hinges on that cupboard!”, another waving red flag of autism.

By the time Adrian was 18 months old we knew that autism was our new reality. It hit me and before I knew it I was diving head first into the autism world, soaking up information and mourning what could have been. Most of my days were filled with appointments for Adrian, getting him the early intervention that he needed. In the quiet moments I would cry out, “Why? Why our family? I don’t understand, it’s not fair!” We recently passed the 5 year mark of Adrian’s diagnosis and the whole family has really come to terms with autism means for Adrian and for our family. We still go through difficult times but the hard times seem to get further apart and the good times are more often.

I am thankful for autism’s early warning signs. We were able to start Adrian with early intervention before he turned two years old. Early intervention can really make all the difference.

We were and still are full of hope for his future.

“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~Albert Einstein

Adrian is now talking in full sentences most of the time. Adrian is beginning to read and write. Adrian is starting to behave more appropriately in social situations. We celebrate these accomplishments. Every word he says, every word he reads, every social outing can be a celebration for our family. Adrian’s victories are his to own and we are very proud of him. It hasn’t come easily, I will never forget when he was about three years old for some reason I resolved to teach him to say the word “water”. It was absolutely painstaking. I would work on it every day for months and months and I remember thinking one day that he was just never going to say it and then lo’ and behold he did say it. Sometimes working with him I didn’t see the progress , it seemed like I was just treading water, although, slowly but surely we were paddling our way forward.

“Not everything that steps out of line, and thus ‘abnormal,’ must necessarily be ‘inferior.” ~Hans Asperger

One day someone told me “I’m sorry about your son.” I was really taken aback, confused, sorry about my son? Why? My son is everything I want. I couldn’t imagine another son or a different kind of Adrian. Adrian is who he is, and there is nothing to be sorry about in that.

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” ~Washington Irving

I can say without a doubt, I am so glad that Adrian is mine. I am proud to be his mother. The joy, love, and happiness that he has brought our family is too great for words. I will love him, I will accept him, I will stand by him. He is my son. He is my friend.

I hope everyone had  a great Mother’s Day with their loved ones. If you’d like to enter my Mother’s Day Giveaway please do so by this coming Saturday. I will choose a winner on Sunday.

May 9, 2011 - Autism, Family    2 Comments

Motherhood and Autism

“Every child is gifted. They just unwrap their packages at different times.”~Unknown

When Adrian came into our lives not only did I receive the title of “Mother of 2″ but I also received the title, of “autism advocate” prior to Adrian’s diagnosis in April of 2006 I knew practically nothing about autism. Now, Adrian is 7 years old. On the day he was born back in March of 2004 he came out an 8 pound 6 ounce healthy baby boy. We breathed a sigh of relief, healthy, perfect, grand dreams of his future. Looking back I can see how naive that is. I was 21 years old when I had him and had a “it can never happen to us” kind of attitude when it came to sickness, disorder, or disability. Very little can make you gain more compassion and understanding faster then a special needs diagnosis being placed on your child.

“One may walk over the highest mountain one step at a time.” ~ John Wanamaker

As he grew into a toddler and we watched him develop we had no clue any of his behaviors were atypical . We joked that he was the strong and silent type and the hand flappinig he did? “Well isn’t that cute…he’s so excited.” At that time, little did we know, that is a big red flag. And “Oh look, he’s going to be engineer, look at him examine the hinges on that cupboard!”, another waving red flag of autism.

By the time Adrian was 18 months old we knew that autism was our new reality. It hit me and before I knew it I was diving head first into the autism world, soaking up information and mourning what could have been. Most of my days were filled with appointments for Adrian, getting him the early intervention that he needed. In the quiet moments I would cry out, “Why? Why our family? I don’t understand, it’s not fair!” We recently passed the 5 year mark of Adrian’s diagnosis and the whole family has really come to terms with autism means for Adrian and for our family. We still go through difficult times but the hard times seem to get further apart and the good times are more often.

I am thankful for autism’s early warning signs. We were able to start Adrian with early intervention before he turned two years old. Early intervention can really make all the difference.

We were and still are full of hope for his future.

“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~Albert Einstein

Adrian is now talking in full sentences most of the time. Adrian is beginning to read and write. Adrian is starting to behave more appropriately in social situations. We celebrate these accomplishments. Every word he says, every word he reads, every social outing can be a celebration for our family. Adrian’s victories are his to own and we are very proud of him. It hasn’t come easily, I will never forget when he was about three years old for some reason I resolved to teach him to say the word “water”. It was absolutely painstaking. I would work on it every day for months and months and I remember thinking one day that he was just never going to say it and then lo’ and behold he did say it. Sometimes working with him I didn’t see the progress , it seemed like I was just treading water, although, slowly but surely we were paddling our way forward.

“Not everything that steps out of line, and thus ‘abnormal,’ must necessarily be ‘inferior.” ~Hans Asperger

One day someone told me “I’m sorry about your son.” I was really taken aback, confused, sorry about my son? Why? My son is everything I want. I couldn’t imagine another son or a different kind of Adrian. Adrian is who he is, and there is nothing to be sorry about in that.

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” ~Washington Irving

I can say without a doubt, I am so glad that Adrian is mine. I am proud to be his mother. The joy, love, and happiness that he has brought our family is too great for words. I will love him, I will accept him, I will stand by him. He is my son. He is my friend.

I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day with their loved ones. If you’d like to enter my Mother’s Day Giveaway please do so by this coming Saturday. I will choose a winner on Sunday.

Apr 30, 2011 - Autism    3 Comments

My Thoughts on the Value of Autism Awareness Month

As we are seeing April’s Autism Awareness month come to an end I wanted to share my thoughts about the value of Autism Awareness month. Autism Awareness month isn’t necessarily for us who are dealing with autism day to day. It’s, in my mind, more for the people who are unfamiliar with autism, and for those who will in the future, have children or family members diagnosed with autism. Although, it’s nice for our families who are dealing with autism too. I loved all the articles and programs that were on about autism this month and it’s nice to see people really care about autism and some of the struggles and triumphs that we are dealing with.

I’m glad that there was more pieces this month on real families dealing with autism because we are not all like Max’s family from Parenthood or “Rainman” and his family. We are all different types of families and all people with autism are unique individuals and it was great to read a wide variety of people’s experiences and stories this month.

We need real awareness. Not just sympathy from people when they’re in their homes. We need to see this claimed compassion displayed in public when our children have meltdowns or other inappropriate behaviors. Autism never seems to cross people’s minds at these critical moments. They just see a defiant child and inadequate parents. When we get to the point where we can take our children in public without having to “grow thicker skin” or ignore all the stares, pointing, and whispers, then we will have achieved the true autism awareness that our families are looking for and deserve. I believe that Autism Awareness month is vital to the public’s growth as far as acceptance and compassion.

The only way I can think of to achieve this goal of true autism awareness is for our families to share, share, share our experiences with whoever will listen. Take our children in public and explain to people when it’s necessary why they may do what they’re doing. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed of autism or the symptoms of it.

Technology provides a wonderful and convenient way to share your thoughts and experiences with autism. There are very strong and passionate opinions about many things in the autism community. It doesn’t take long browsing around the internet to find vicious words exchanged between people who have differing opinions. During this Autism Awareness month it has been refreshing to find more of a unity among the autism community. It would be great to see this increased harmony continue so we can achieve our ultimate goals instead of kind of chasing our tails with bickering.

I want people to understand and to realize, that this common quote: “Autism is not a tragedy, ignorance is the tragedy.” is the truth! The tragedy is that some of our families greatest challenges come from other people’s reactions to our children and not from autism itself.

Even though we are at the end of Autism Awareness month we have to keep bringing autism to the forefront of people’s minds. It’s the only way, short of everyone having a loved one with autism or they themselves having autism, to have our children get treated as the wonderful people they are. So scoop up some autism awareness and acceptance and give it to all your friends and tell them to pass it on.

Awareness is the key to acceptance.

So let the cat out of the bag, inform, expose, report, talk, unfold, give the low-down, affirm, proclaim, broadcast, tell, announce, communicate, utter, divulge, let slip, make known…your autism story.

Apr 25, 2011 - Autism, Family    1 Comment

Adrian’s Antics

The worst thing a mom can wake up to…”Mom! (Insert child’s name here) threw up in the bed!” Ugh.

It was Adrian and most of the day for him was not good. He never got sick again the rest the day so I’m hoping it was just something that didn’t agree with his tummy and not a virus that everyone is going to get! He was just grumpy and crying a lot today.

Adrian has been balancing some really defiant and undesirable behaviors with some really cool growth. I have so many stories from the last few days because I haven’t really had much opportunity to write lately. One thing he did on Friday was pretty funny. Sanura was sitting at the computer playing a game and he ran up behind her and said “See??” and she turned around to see him standing there in her pajamas. He laughed so hard and ran off from her. He’s been really enjoying poking fun at his sisters, on Easter morning he took Nevaeh’s Easter basket it and hid it in a cabinet in the bathroom. He thought he was pretty clever for that one too. It’s kind of neat to see him do normal things like pick on his sisters a little bit.

When we were at my mom’s house we were all in the backyard and the kids were playing. Adrian went inside without asking me first so I went in and got him and told he had to ask before he goes inside so I know where he is. A little while later he started to go in and I caught him and said “you have to stay out here with us” and he said “I got to go potty” and I said “alright go ahead” well when he came back outside he had a sucker in hand and I’m pretty sure he did not go potty. A few minutes later he looked at me and said “I got to go potty”…hmm, I’m very suspicious that he was lying about the potty thing so he could go in and sneak candy. My brother offered to take him in to go potty and he said “no” so yeah…kids with autism do indeed lie sometimes. LOL

About the last hour we were at my mom’s house Adrian really started acting up. Throwing things at people, kicking the toys in the yard, sticking his tongue out at me and running away. It was not good. Then today when he was grumpy he refused to get dressed to go pick up Nevaeh from school with me for almost a whole hour and he scratched my arm pretty bad. So we’ll take the good with the bad I suppose!

All in all we had a great Easter weekend and a so-so kinda Monday.

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