Sunday, December 23, 2012

All I Want for Christmas......Is a Friend.....

  This post is hard for me to write, but I am because I can't get this off my mind. Like many children with ASD, Liam struggles with socialization. On the rare opportunities that a neighbor kid does come over, Liam either ends up having a meltdown, smothering them, or bossing them around too much. He has "friends," but not ONE that comes every day or so to play with him. I think he just over whelms them. I understand, however, my sweet, well meaning son does NOT.
  At his last eval he even told Dr. Dan he "wants more friends." So it's obviously on his mind. We work with him. When a kid is here, we try to make sure he takes turns, isn't too bossy, isn't in their space too much, and so on. I don't think it's working.
  Now, pair him with his friend "J" that has Aspergers, and they go together like birds of a feather. It's great. I wish she lived next door though so they could play together every day....
  So the other night we were talking about going to see Santa on Saturday, and I asked Liam what he was going to ask Santa for.You see, for months, Liam has asked for EVERY toy under the sun. He has made list, after list, after list. He has pegged out his Amazon wish list TWICE!!! (those of you not familiar with the list and how much you can put on it...that's over 5 THOUSAND toys!!!) He has asked for EVERYTHING.....

.... but this time however, his reply stunned me. Shattered my heart, and made me have to hide some tears from him..... .
   "All I want for Christmas Momma, is a friend." Yep. That's what he said. My heart sunk into my stomach. We may not have a lot of money, and we try our best to grant his wishes every Christmas. But how in the world do I grant this one? I can't MAKE someone be his friend....
   I always try to view my son's Autism in a positive light. I know he has mild Autism, but that doesn't make some of his struggles any less. We are in the process of changing service providers for him, and the new provider is trying to get him 20 hours of TSS. I know this is something I can ask his new TSS to work on, but I don't know when he will be here. Waiting on paperwork and red tape is frustrating. What's more frustrating is seeing your child struggle and not being able to help. What's even more frustrating than that is seeing your child struggle over something many of us take for granted. The companionship of a good friend.
Play to children is a necessity. It helps them grow, learn and flourish.

  My child doesn't have this opportunity, and as a parent it pisses me off!!!! Not being able to help your child is to me, one of the hardest parts of Autism. So I am left with not knowing what to do. I will of course try my best to help him relate to the neighbor kids. I will of course keep asking them to come play with him. In the end though, a friendship is out of my control......
   So Santa, PLEASE help my child make a friend. PLEASE set his mind at ease about trying to fit in. PLEASE help him see that in order to have a friendship you must GIVE and take. PLEASE help him find just ONE kid, that can help my son grow and flourish and be happy......
 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Max Gamer~Aspie Superhero~A Review

  Yesterday Liam was stoked to find a copy of the Max Gamer comic book in the mail. He was even more excited when he opened it and saw it was signed, "Liam, You are Awesome! Dr. G" It made him feel so special, and his smile was ear to ear!
See, I told ya so :D

I originally learned about the comic book from a post in my news feed. I wish I could remember where, but my fibro fog is making it impossible to remember much of anything these days. I searched for the web site and emailed Dr. G. I told him how AUSOME this is for our kiddos, and what a great idea! I got an email asking for my address, and Dr. G came through and sent Liam a copy. What a kind man!!! To learn more about Dr. Frank Gaskill, you can visit his website here: Southeast Psych

Photo courtesy of the Max Gamer blog.


When I went to the website, one of the first things I saw was a statement from Temple Grandin.
"I read your Max Gamer Super Hero comic book
 and really Liked it.  I think it will help the smart Aspie kids to feel proud of themselves.
This comic would have helped me when I was a teenager who was being teased.."
-Temple Grandin -

Why was Max Gamer created?  "Max Gamer is intended for all children and was designed by “Aspies” for “Aspies.”  Asperger’s is not considered a syndrome by the the Max Gamer Authors but is considered a gift and an amazing skill." So Max Gamer was created by Dr. Gaskill and Ryan Kelly, for AUSOME kiddos like ours!!!!
To read more about the why's and how's or to order a copy please visit the MAX GAMER website.  


So, what did we think????? Well....


Liam couldn't wait to dig in and read it!!!

So before we settled in to watch our Christmas movie, we settled in to read Max Gamer. At first, Liam was all over the living room. He was listening, but as usual, unable to sit still. However, by the second page, he was at my side, listening, looking and smiling. You see, the book never comes out and says Max has Aspergers, but in the descriptions of him, there's no doubt. Liam looked at me and said, "Momma, was this written for me?" I told him no, but it sure does seem that way. Everything they describe about Max was like it was written for my lil man. (Kudos Dr. G and Mr. Kelly)
Moving through the story, (and I won't give it away here, because I am not one to spoil something for others) Liam became very intent on what I was reading. I could see how he was relating to Max's life. When it came to the part of Max's Dynagon cards, Liam was stoked!!!! (they were like a mix of Pokeman/Bakugan cards) That touch was especially a winner in Liam's eyes. He also liked how Max "kind of looked like Ben 10." Another of Liam's "heroes." 

Max Gamer, Aspie Superhero!
Photo courtesy of the Max Gamer Blog

In a nutshell, as a mother, I give the book 2 thumbs up. (The plot was great for kids. The pics were very eye catching too) Liam also gave the book "2 fums up!" His favorite part was "the Dynagon cards." And he "liked that it was about me." Meaning he related to the fact that it was written about a boy like him.

Max Gamer is the first comic book of it's kind to feature a super hero with Aspergers. I think it's a home run for Autistic kids, and I believe that every kiddo with Autism should have a copy. I also think it would be great if schools would read this to their students. It may just teach NT kiddos a little something about our ASD kiddos.

To get your copy please click here!

Thanks again Dr. G. Also a big thank to Ryan Kelly who helped in creating Max Gamer, and Kara Dahlheimer whom helped with the animations.
GREAT JOB by all!!!!!










Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Our Review of the Jiggler Gator Oral Motor Tool

         Today's post is a review of this:
The Jiggler Gator Oral Chewy (this sucker vibrates too!!)



 I can't remember where I first saw these AUSOME chewies....I know I was blog stalking, but I can't remember whose blog introduced them to me....I am sorry...If you know who you are, PLEASE tell me so I can give you props!!!
  When Liam saw these chewies he got really excited!!!! Momma went to Amazon to find them. There are many to chose from, and prices vary, so do you research! I aid $9.99 for Liam's and $4.99 shipping.
  These are made and distributed by Abilitations. However, they are pricey!!! They charge more than other stores that are selling the same product. As I said, I ordered Liam's through Amazon, but it came from Sensory Junction. You can CLICK HERE to go to their Amazon Store, or CLICK HERE to go to their website.
 So what did we think? Well for starters I was first concerned with the size. Liam is a gagger. EVERYTHING makes him gag. I was worried about the size of it and it just causing him to vomit when place in his mouth. He REALLY wanted it. I have his grant money set aside from Autism Hearts, so I figured, what the hell, let's get him one.
  When I opened it, I wasn't happy about the way it turned on. I installed the battery and when you turn it to turn it on, the bottom comes loose. Last thing I need is :Liam to be gnawing on a battery. Well, surprise, surprise, if I READ the directions, I would have avoided this. PLEASE FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS!!! Loosen the screw, install battery, then tighten the screw. This will keep the bottom from coming off when turned on. Okay, now momma was happy.....BUT, was Liam???????
  YES! He loves it! He mainly chews on the arms, because as I thought, the head is too big for his sensitive gagger. But he likes it!!!! He loves how it vibrates, and I have literally seen him with it at least 10 times a day. This is good!!!! No more chewing on his toys. No more chewing on me!!!!!
  So all in all, it was a great buy. I'm happy with it, he is happy with it, and I totally recommend getting one for your little chewer :)

                       The proof is in the pics:

He liked it so much, he even slept with it!!! He chewed himself to sleep :D


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tony Hawk Hoodie is Autism Friendly

  Do you have a kiddo who likes to hide when overwhelmed? I know I do! He has a body sock that he gets into when at home and he has the urge to hide, but in public, what can he do? Well, what he DOES is crawl up the back of my shirt, flashing my goodies to all who are close, and embarrassing the crap outta me!!! I have been thinking for months of what I can do when in public from stopping this from happening. Another fave thing he does is hiding his face in his shirt, and then he mows over any unlucky people in his way because his vision is inhibited!
  A month or so ago, my nephew got the coolest new hoodie. It zips all the way up, hood and all. It has mesh  for the eyes and mouth so you can zip up, hide your face, yet still see and breathe! Made by Tony Hawk, I thought this is the coolest damn thing I have seen. Now I know it wasn't made with kids with autism in mind, but it sure seems that way!!
  When Mimi and Paw asked for Christmas ideas for Liam, this was at the top of my list. When he opened that box he shrieked with joy! He put it on as soon as he was done opening gifts, even wore it outside and of course got it dirty. No matter, I will scrub those stains out. I am just happy that we can now go into public without my worrying about his need to hide when he is nervous. Without worrying he will flash my goods to strangers. And without me worrying that he will mow over some poor defenseless senior citizen because he is overwhelmed and can't see.

This is his "WOW" face :)

Rockin' the Autism Friendly Hoodie :)

For more info on these kick butt hoodies, or to get one for your Autie kiddo (and I totally, 100% recommend them) you can get them at Kohl's, or click here!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I told you so......

 Yep, I sure did!!! As a special needs parent, a wife, a daughter, one of the many things I have learned is to choose my battles wisely. This is often hard for me because I am a firm believer of letting my opinions be known, and I don't often like to back down. The older I get however, the easier it gets. So the battle I chose to let slide was the video game battle.
   We are a "techy" family. We love our video games and devices. Liam especially LOVES his video games. He would play them for days if we let him! (we don't!)  He got a baby video game system for his first Christmas, he was 7 months old. He LOVED it! It was called Little Leaps Grow With Me Learning System. You can check it out here. He then grew out of that and moved on to the VTech Vmotion. (Kind of like a Wii for kids but with learning games) He grew bored of that within a year, moved up to the Wii, and that took about a year for him to grow tired of, so he has now "graduated" to the Xbox 360.
I miss the days when we would play this together :(

   This is where the battle ensued. There are MANY games for the Xbox that I as a mother, DO NOT like. His dad didn't agree with me. His argument, "you don't censor his music, and cable tv is awful, so this is no worse." Now, I don't censor his music. If the song has multiple F words, then I do skip it, but otherwise I let it play. I feel that music is an artistic expression, made to invoke feelings and I don't think it deserves censorship. Liam loves ALL music (but slow and "sad") and he knows NOT to repeat the cuss if he hears it. As far as tv, we do have cable, and yes, it is horrible at times! Even if we censor the content, a nasty commercial will slip thru every now and then. So it is for that reason that I chose not to argue with the Mr.
    Now, those who know me, know I am a worrier! I worry A LOT!!! I worry about worrying. I worry that worrying about worrying is unhealthy. I worry that my mom (also a worrier) will worry about me worrying. So yeah, I am neurotic and I worry a lot! I worry about how these games will affect Liam. However, he is REALLY good at them. His faves (other than Skylanders) of course those damn "killing games." See below...

these are just a few of his faves!!!

So yeah, my son is 6 going on 16 in so many ways, but I was not comfortable with this,. Regardless, I shoved my thoughts back in my mind, swallowed my pride, and I stepped back. I told the Mr., "Fine, your call, but I will say I told you so if this blows up in our face!"
Fast forward a few months....Liam says, "Momma, my mind has scary pictures and I don't like it!" He wouldn't go into detail, but I knew something was up. He quit playing with his army guys, and he would get mad if his dad wanted to play one of the above games. So I pulled hubs aside, and told him, the games are done, put them away!!!! Liam still won't go into detail about the pictures, just that they have to do with the games. I am assuming he is replaying the games in his mind (damn photographic memory) and let's face it, they are graphic!!!! 
 So the games are put away. I got to say, "I told you so!" Liam was on the phone with his brother who asked for Call of Duty Black Ops 2 for Christmas (btw, the kid and his uncle beat it in one night when we rented it from the Redbox), and Liam already informed his brother, "you can't play that here. It's bad and I don't like it! Besides, we already conquered it!"
So that's that..... See, my worries were right......hubs needs to listen to me more ;)
(He knows that, but he will never admit it!! ha ha ha)

<3<3<3<3
 

Monday, December 10, 2012

How about NO.......

  Liam is a bargainer......He bargains for EVERYTHING!!! More computer time, more Xbox time, eating, going to bed, and most importantly SCHOOL!
  As soon as he walks out in the am, he will say, "momma! Can I skip school?" EVERY DAY he says this!!! When I say NO, he then starts the bargaining....."I will just do my core subjects if you......How about I pick what I do today, after I play Xbox......." It goes on and on.....
  This is ALL my fault. Yep, no hiding it here. I am a briber.....or should I say, "a positive re-enforcer." (To read a previous post on this, CLICK HERE)  From the time he was able to talk I have had to "re-enforce" his behaviors. "Eat your food, and momma will give you (chips, cookies, whatever junk he was into at the time) "Don't freak out in the grocery store, and momma will get you a prize." (Remember these we pre diagnosis days so I had NO clue why he was so rotten at the grocery stores.) "Pick up your toys and you can_____________" Whatever was his fave thing to do at that time.....So you see, I was ruining my son!!!!
  EVERYTHING is a bargain with him! "I will feed the cat, IF I can skip school?!" (his cat, his chore) "I will brush my teeth, IF I can skip school?!" "I will pick up my toys, IF I can skip school?!" So as you can see, there is a pattern here....

As I stated in a previous post, (You can read that here) this is the reason I started the First and Then approach..... NO sends him into a fast and furious downward spiral!  FIRST you feed the cat, THEN you do school, THEN you can play Xbox all day!!!! FIRST you brush your teeth, THEN you go to bed, THEN you get up and watch some cartoons before school.... It's hit or miss, but I'll take it.....I am just wondering when my 6 year old became smarter than me?!?!?!?!?
 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I Believe....

  I am starting to freak out! Liam is 6 and super smart for his age. He is already questioning the existence of Santa Claus. I don't lie to my child, but this is one exception. I will go out of my way to make him believe for as long as I can. However, pulling the wool over his eyes is NOT an easy thing to do.
  The shopping alone is not an easy task. He doesn't like to leave my side, so getting him to go anywhere so I can get some secret Santa work done is impossible. Sneaking stuff in the cart, under my coat is impossible as well. He likes to help empty the cart and put stuff on the register belt. Especially this time of year. He is no fool!
  I picked up some wrapping paper and tags the other day. His response, "well now I know what presents will be from you and daddy!" I have always used different wrap and tags from "Santa", even disguised my writing. He is SIX, why is this so hard ALREADY!!!!!
  He knows the store Santa's are "helpers" and report back to the man in charge, so that's not an issue. The issue here is how long am I going to be able to keep up this charade? I was older when I quit believing, like 4th or 5th grade.....my step son was 13 when he lost the magic of believing....I am afraid Liam will be like 7 and that breaks my heart. Once the magic is gone, how will I carry on.....I know, I know, Christmas is about Love, and Family, and yada yada yada.....For me it is also the MAGIC!!! The look of his face when he walks out Christmas morning, sees his Santa express around the tree, with its tunnels of gifts, choo chooing away around the tracks. I am glad I have a smart kid, but not happy that that may jeopardize the Christmas MAGIC......


This is Christmas Magic at it's finest! Liam was 3 and Santa brought him a stuffed reindeer. It was one of his most favorite gifts that year <3


Friday, December 7, 2012

Autism and Marriage

  So I have wanted to write this post for awhile now, but I have been thinking hard on what I was going to write. My original title was Autism Vs Marriage, but I didn't feel that was right. First of all, I don't feel my son's Autism is up against our marriage. Secondly, I didn't want to offend anyone because this can be a touchy subject.
  Those who follow my blog know I am an honest person. I tell it like it is, and I hide nothing. So, with that in mind, here goes......
  Our marriage is FAR from PERFECT. As a matter of fact, we tend to argue~ a lot. You see, hubs is the authoritarian, and I am well... I am the sucker. Thing is, I have read all the books, I follow all the blogs, and when Liam is behaving a certain way, and hubs gets on him, I am quick to defend. I don't like to do that. I don't. However, if a behavior is Autism related, I make no qualms about letting hubs know. This does cause issues in our marriage. He gets upset with me. He thinks I baby Liam. I get upset because I think he needs to educate himself more.....This is where Autism causes a rift in our marriage.....Also, let's face it, it's stressful. The meltdowns, the lack of sleep, the obsessions.....the list goes on.... Hubs and I haven't even slept in the same room, in I think 4 years!!! We didn't sleep in the same bed because of his back problems, and he would toss and turn a lot, but then I had to sleep in Liam's room, because it was the only way for any of us to get any sleep. So now, Liam and I have a bedroom with our own beds, and hubs has his own room. NOT your typical marriage, but hey, it works for us. My mom reads this blog, so I am not even going into the sex issue. I'm just not. (you're welcome momma :)) I will share this pic though because it's perfect for what I want to say......Just scroll past it momma ;)
ha, told ya this was perfect :)



For all of these reasons, Autism has put a strain on our marriage, BUT......it has also strengthened it.
  Autism has also made our marriage stronger. In the almost 8 years we have been married, we have been through a lot. A hurricane, hub's back problems, his 2 major surgeries, Liam and Autism, myself and Fibromyalgia....It hasn't been an easy life, but it's our life. Autism has taught us to stick together. To stand up for Liam and to educate others about Autism. It has helped us stand together to fight for what Liam needs and deserves. Autism has done all this for our marriage....So while I can say it has made it harder,  it has also made it stronger......I guess I am on the fence with this.....
This is kinda how I feel. Either hubs and I are at war with each other, or at war against the world and fighting for Liam's needs and advocating to spread awareness!



   So, I reached out to reader's on my ALFL page, and asked for their input on this subject.... Below I will add what was sent to me on this topic:


Anon:
"I am currently married, but he is not the father of my children. I am divorced from my sons' dad, and never married my daughter's father. My sons both have ASD. Their dad doesn't accept that they have it, so now he has supervised visitation. He fights me at every turn. My husband is trying his hardest to be the dad that they deserve. He still has problems with some of their "issues" but I am strong and I deal with it in my own."


Sarah H says:
-I am married - 10 years
-Hubs & I both are NT
-Oldest daughter (6 years old) is autistic, SPD, ADHD, etc
-Also military family <--- adds lots of strain on top of it all
-We argue a lot over discipline w. Lou. What should we expect from her? What is too much? Do we expect less during medication changes? What about when she's had bedtime meds? Does medication mean she can act horribly and get away with it? One day I will be losing my mind and hubs can be the calm one, while the next day we flip roles. He lets her get away with more, gives her more treats to calm screaming and tantrums, while I am more of the iron-fist more often. We've done marriage counseling to assist with parenting her, but found that it didn't help as much as it can be hard to find a counselor who actually deals w. SN families.
You can find Sarah’s page here: https://www.facebook.com/LifeWLou



Harry writes:
"Hi. I am divorced and have been for 10 years. My son is ASD and was diagnosed while our divorce was already in the process. I will tell you though I am sure it would have been a deal breaker anyway because his was and still is in denial. It has been a source of added conflict throughout our divorce which is a shame for our son. One of the biggest issues was, with the court giving her full medical authority, she stopped his private speech, occupational and psychological therapies years ago which has hindered his development."


Jan shares
"Hi Jan here...Yes, i am Married ,been married 10 years but together for 20.I am NT, spouse NT but i think aspie, he has as many traits as kieboy.1nt child,19 years olld,1 autistic 13 year old. we handle life together, but don’t always agree. I say no shouting, hubby likes to shout, silly things like that.autism has put a huge strain on us because no one believed me when i said kie was autistic, even his dad, no one medical listened until he was 12.but,slowly it is making us all stronger, if we are honest. Diagnosis made a difference as i know i wasn’t going mad, kie knows what’s going on and his dad is slowly getting used to it. All we need now is to get him diagnosed LOL~~Jan."
You can find Jan here:



Kelly writes:
Hi! I'm married and my husband and I are both NT. We have 2 children. Isabel is 4 and she has ASD and Nathaniel is 8 months so we are not sure about him yet. He is not showing any symptoms of ASD but you never know. I believe that our marriage has become stronger since Isabel was diagnosed. We are really a team now and we communicate so much more. Our kids are everything to us autism or not. Isabel was diagnosed when I was pregnant with my son and I was so worried that having a baby would upset her. She has actually started interacting with him and it's great to see. I hope this helps.


Christel writes:
"Not married, divorced my first husband, and my second one is deceased. That is many years ago, so I consider myself single now.

I have a ASD, and so does my son, (12) My daugther(19) is NT
How do you handle life together/apart......I Live on my own, with some help, my son lives in a group home, and has found his place in the world too. My daughter lives on her own.

My son comes home every other weekend and a few days extra for the holidays, never more then 4, which is the limit for him and me being in one place without much trouble. My daughter visits when she wants and can.

When my daughter was a teen I was undiagnosed, and it caused a lot of trouble. She was a very difficult ten, and we almost lost contact between us completely. Since I have my diagnosis now and know i have an ASD, it has gotten easy. She now knows why mom is different, does some things different than the rest of the world, and why I am the way I am. Knowing has helped her Understand and to give some things a place in her life. Between me and my son I have had some difficulties, but it’s easier for me to understand him, then it is for me to understand some things my NT Daughter does/did. A big support for all of us is my mother, a super-strong woman who does what she can despite having a physical handicap to keep things as smooth as possible. ( and yes, that is a big shout-out/thank you to her!)


I have recently started to blog about my life, and my views on asd on my website. i also post other stuff there, so it also a page that shows some of my interests. Not sure if i should connect a facebook page to my blog, i might soon, though."
If You would like to connect with Christel and get a perspective from an adult on the spectrum, you can find her here…

Sheila shares:
“Hi in answer to your question on relationships. I have been with my hubby for 20years and married for 14years since our son was diagnosed 3 years ago with ASD and co-morbid ADHD we have come to the conclusion that hubby is and undiagnosed aspie he and my son have a lot of similar traits and since researching Aspegers to try and understand our son a bit more we have said hubby is definitely on the spectrum. My hubby often struggles with the feel of certain textures for example he can't stand sand, he can't wear thongs as the post between his toes irritates him, when shopping for shoes they have to jump out at him and say buy me or he won't even try them on and when he does eventually find a pair if they don't feel right straight away he won't buy them. I used to struggle in the early years of our relationship when he used to find it difficult to show his emotions to me he very rarely hugs me or kisses me but I know he loves me in his own way. When his dad passed away 4 years ago in a tragic accident we had to travel by plane for 24 hrs to get back to the family not once did he show any real emotion it was only once he saw his dad in the funeral home did it really hit home about the fact his dad was no longer around even then he didn't cry and show a lot of emotion he just looked shell shocked. I have known my hubby since we were in high school and I remember him at school as being this quite guy who never really looked people in the eye and was always the one in the group who seemed quite shy (luckily he was taken under the wings of a great group of guys who have always accepted him for who he is). he is 40 next march and has only ever had 2 jobs in his adult life as he doesn't like change but when he does make a change it is on his terms and he does it big style. when we bought our 1st house he told me that he would never move from there as his mum and dad had lived in their house forever and he had only ever lived there that was until the day he calmly came downstairs to tell me he had applied for a job in Australia with the company who he was working for at the time, 4 mths later he was on a plane to try out his new job in Australia to see if he liked it and to see if they wanted him it started out as a 4 week trip which eventually dragged out to 7 weeks and then he only came home because he missed me and Tom and we had our home to sell by January of the following year we were in Australia and have been here 7years now and have just bought our own home (which I have been told he will never move from again). Over the years we have had some trying times were we have had our issues mainly because Rob doesn't tell me what is wrong and I end up screaming at him (which we all know gets you nowhere fast with someone on the spectrum) but to be honest I wouldn't change a thing and it helps me to know that the right girl is out there somewhere waiting for my handsome young man to be their special someone and I often say to people who I speak to on the spectrum that worry about relationships there is someone for everyone and that person will come along just be yourself and they will either love you or hate you if they love you hold onto them with all your heart if they hate you let them go they are not worth worrying about. Hope this inspires other people out there to give someone on the spectrum a chance.”




Jackson shares
“okay I'm rather ADD so I didn't pick up on exactly how you wanted me to answer questions. I can share with you what Autism has done to our marriage through 23 years. Right now what frustrates me most is that I'm the "interpreter". My husband seldom talks directly to Ian. He talks through me. This is partly my fault. I'm so afraid hubby will say something in the wrong way and he will melt down and I don't need that in my life...that I just jump in. This is tiring. This is old. I wish I could stop. I wish I could be in a place in my life that I could handle an occasional meltdown and not walk on eggshells. I know it has been hard for hubby to put up with my seeming obsession with this child/person. Now that he is technically a "man" (and that is a HARD word to use) hubby wants him to have a "normal" life. I'm still protective. I know my hubby sees eternity stretching out before him with this person always in our home. We are at the point where we are planning our retirement and our retirement includes a grown person in our home possibly forever. We yearn for an empty nest where we can run around the house naked and that's just not going to happen. Hubby keeps making plans and I keep saying "What about Ian?".
I know that a lot of your readers are struggling with younger austistic children, but I wanted to put this out there. They become autistic adults and they still need care. We are not saintly. We struggle and disagree about what's to be done.”
Jackson also opens up to me about SEX in an Autistic household”
“I was reminded this morning also of another challenge to marriage with an autistic "child". Sex. I swear we went years without it. Ian was in hospital quite a bit so we were not even physically in the same spot. We celebrated a wedding anniversary in the hospital. Later the code word for sex was "Is the boy asleep?" He has learned to knock before entering our room if the door is shut. He has NOT learned to wait for the "all clear" before opening the door. This of course leads to lots of embarrassment. Later he will ask "were you having sex?" It seems he asks this in front of other people a lot. His brothers get grossed out at the thought of 50 year old people having sex and the pastor just turns red!”


Heather writes:
“I’m sending this message in response to your questions for your blog. I am married. My spouse and I are both NT. We have three children. All boys... they are Caleb 10, Aden 5, and Logan 3. Aden is our only child with a diagnosis of ASD. Our life is one big roller coaster...lol. I am a stay at home mom and my husband works 12 hour days, 7 days a week. So finding "adult" time is hard then you add in 3 kids, one with autism. It can be very straining on our relationship. But we have learned to take each day and embrace it. Our son Aden has helped us open our eyes and see everything in a different perspective. I wouldn't want my family and my life to be any different.”



Nita shares:
I will say I believe autism has strengthened our marriage. We had a lot of issues before, especially backbiting. When we received Kylee's diagnosis that caused a lot of turmoil and practically no one in the family even talks to us on my husband's side. It is so sad. Before, I would have said it could've made our marriage wobbly but my husband has stood up and been amazing. Once he was on board, lol. Long story short, we do not let anyone's negative opinions color our situation and feelings. People have nothing better to do than ignore us and our daughter, go for it. My mother in law has practically ignored my child. She let her stay over New Year's of this year. Hasn't called to do anything with her. All year! That used to take it's toll before but now, neither of us care. When Kylee brings it up, we answer her truthfully and carry on.




Wendy shares:
I am happily divorced. My son's dad has no clue where my son is. The last time I talked to my sons dad the awful man told me that when my son turns 18 he would kick my sons a** and beat the autism out of him. To say the least if this man ever found out where my son is he is not allowed to go near my precious baby. Even though my son resides in a group home sometimes there is a strain. Misbehaviors  that I also have to deal with. Sometimes I do wish I did not have to do this alone but then I think what an awful man his dad is and then I think how lucky we are not to have him in our lives. My son does miss having a dad at times. Btw I call his dad a sperm donor. My son is now 15 when he was 1 his dad went to jail and when he got out only seen him a few times. So for the last 14 years I have been mom and dad.


So there you have it.....Different people, different perspectives on Autism and Marriage. Months ago, I read a blog by Autism Daddy where he listed ways he and his wife keep their marriage strong. I LOVED it. You can check it out by clicking here: Autism Daddy


For info on Autism and Marriage, check out the link below. I turned to Google , and found a site with many helpful links:
More info CLICK HERE



Friday, November 30, 2012

Liam the Brat

  This is a post that is kind of hard to write. As parents we tend to see our kids with rose colored glasses. I know my son is NOT by any means PERFECT, but I try not to dwell on his flaws. Last night however, that was impossible!!!!!!
  Liam had his little friend "A" over last night. She is so cute we call her Chewy, so that is how I will refer to her :) They started out jumping, launching and tumbling onto the crash pad. Having a blast I might add. I noticed Liam was being awful rough and quickly got on him to stop. He didn't listen. He then proceeded to push her off the couch (onto the pad).  At first she was laughing, but  it didn't take long before I could see the annoyance in her eyes. I told him to stop being so rough, she is a girl and girl's don't like rough boys. That didn't matter, he kept on being a hellion. Then Chewy decided playing school would be better. (You rock Chewy!!!!) So they got out some school supplies and began. Liam was mouthy, rude, bossy and just plain annoying. "Chewy, you can't do that, you're a girl! Chewy you can't do that you're only 5...." and the rude comments kept coming! Let me say that he is lucky I am not Chewy. Had I been Chewy, even at the age of 5, I would have told him just where to put that notebook and pencil!!!!!!
  I couldn't believe my ears. I have never seen Liam act quite like the way he did last nite. He was just so, God I can't even think of a word to describe how he was acting......Everything they played (as always) he needed to dominate. It was more than that though. The condescending manner in which he was speaking to his friend was appalling. We NEVER speak to Liam that way. We are always working to build his confidence and self esteem with positive words and actions. I have NO CLUE where he could have picked this behavior up from.....
  As I said, I know he isn't perfect, but Liam lives his life by imitations and observations. He is a "monkey see, monkey do" kind of kid. This leads me to believe that he may be picking this up from the older peers he INSISTS on playing with. In keeping with my honesty, I don't like him playing with these older kids, but Liam's dad keeps stressing the fact that he NEEDS the socialization. (which he does) So if these kids are behind our house playing,  I do let Liam go join them. I want nothing more than to be out there watching with my eagle eye, but that is HOVERING (so I am told) So I sit inside and hover from the window. Problem is, I can't hear what is being said......So my intelligent observation is this.....He is hearing it from somewhere, someone, and I would bet it's from these kids.
  He went over and played at one's house the other night. He came home looking very sad. When I asked him why, all I could get from him was, "They told me I am too little to play that with them." Liam holds negativity inside and it brews and brews until it explodes. Last night it exploded and poor Chewy was on the receiving end.  :(
  After she left, we had a talk about why we don't act like that. He showed no emotion (typical) so I can only hope it sunk in. That being said, I am glad it's getting very cold outside and these other kids will be inside all winter. This way I don't have to worry too much about Liam playing with them and copying their every action! I do NOT like Liam the BRAT!!!!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Guest Blog for a friend :)

So today I guest blogged for Red Vines and Wine. She is one of my FAVE facebook pages, and I always look forward to her posts!!! You can check her out by clicking on her name......
 To check out my post on her AUSOME blog, CLICK HERE.....
 Hint: Autism, Paranormal, and a bit more about me :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

"Momma, I'm just joking...." Does NOT Lighten the Blow....

  So, Liam has a "new thing!" Lately he has really been hurting people's feelings because he has no filter, has no idea how to joke, or when to be serious..... His daddy and I have been working on this with him. He is a very funny child, and loves to laugh and smile. With that being said, he has no clue how to tell a joke or know the difference between being funny or offensive. This means, it's nothing for Liam to tell you, "You're fat! You are not very pretty. I think I love you, but I'm not sure because sometimes I don't like you...." and then LAUGH hysterically!!!! He thinks these statements are funny. (and trust me there are so many more, I would be here all nite typing them!)
  We have been pointing out what he says, and how it's wrong. His father has also been working with him on how to tell a joke. One of the things Patterick said to him was, "Buddy, just because your laughing doesn't make it funny, or make it a joke. How will people know you are joking when you say things like that???" Okay, seems logical.....Fast forward to today.
  This morning, out of the blue Liam says, "Momma! I am just joking, but your breath stinks!" I reply, "ok buddy!" Then, "Momma! I am just joking but I love and hate you sometimes!" Hmmmmmm,I can see where this is going..... "Momma! I am just joking but sometimes you are pretty and sometimes I think you're ugly!" Now, he is laughing each time he says this....I am NOT!!! Buddy I don't care how you sugar coat your words, you are MEAN!!!!

  I tell him those are not jokes and he says, "but momma, I told you it was a joke, that makes it one! I warned you before I said it, so that makes it okay!" Well, I don't know how to argue with that! That's Liam Logic for ya! So if you know my kid, I apologize in advance if he offends you with one of his "jokes...."
(Was this made for Liam????)


                                                                   <3<3<3<3

Sunday, November 25, 2012

All I Want for Christmas....

YES! Finally those pesky two front teeth came out!!!!! It took forever to get the first one out. I was beginning to think it was never coming out. Once it did though, it was a week later that number two came tumbling out. Now for Christmas we can sing this:
Liam on the other hand is not so amused. He thinks we are "picking on" him when we sing this song. He wants them back!!!! He even took the tooth (before the fairy came of course) and attempted to shove it back in there! He "looks ugly" without his teeth..... (he says this many times a day) LOOK AT THIS FACE!!!!!!

Who in God's name would call this ugly????? Ugh he has such a bad self esteem. The morning after losing number two, he got up, checked his tooth bag, and then cried.....You see, last year around this time he lost his VERY FIRST TOOTH!!!! The tooth fairy thought this was a HUGE milestone, and that 5$ was in order for number one...Well, that damn tooth fairy was a bit strapped for cash due to her Christmas shopping for her fairy kiddos. Sooooooo, instead of getting 5$ for tooth number one, Liam got a 5$ toy. Needless to say he was STOKED!!!! Problem now is, he 1) expects 5$ every time and 2) expects a toy. I explained that you only get that much for your very first one because it's so super special. He doesn't care, to him, they are all special. Every time he loses one, he cries he wants it back. He cries that the tooth fairy takes it. Little does he know, momma has them all stashed safely away for when he loses them all....then and ONLY then will the "tooth fairy" return them. I bet by then he won't even care.....or will he???? He does have odd obsessions (that I love him for :) ) So, I kind of screwed myself with that damn 5$ toy and it seems, he will NEVER forget it! (Memory like an elephant.) So each time a tooth comes out I am reminded of yet another parenting mistake I have made! (yep I admitted it, I'm not a perfect parent, though I try very hard to be the BEST one I can be!) 
Sooo, want some free advice??? If your autie kiddo hasn't lost his/her teeth yet....when he/she does, DO NOT get excited and over pay for the first!!!!! It will come back to bite ya in the arse, every time, because our kiddos, forget NOTHING!!!! (except chores and stuff we ask of them, but hey, can ya blame them???)

<3<3<3<3

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Yes, even Santa makes mistakes.....

So this morning I had a VERY upset little boy.......seems Santa screwed up!!! Damn it all to hell!!!
   Liam has a magic mailbox. (Great mimi gave it to him a few years ago) Each year, Liam puts his letter to Santa in it and puts the flag up. While he is sleeping that night, Santa comes, takes his letter, and leaves behind a small prize or piece of candy.
   Yesterday Liam frantically dug thru Christmas totes to find his magic mailbox. When he did, he took it inside, and promptly put his letter in, flag up, and on the table. Now, the rest of the day was super busy! Got the yard all decorated. Went through all the lights, realized our tree lights were no good. Trip to town for new tree lights, and extension cords for the yard. Came home, put the tree up and the new lights on. Now it's late. Liam is crying because the tree "needs ornaments" and momma is too tired and in too much pain to take on this task. (damn you FMS!!!!) So instead we settle for a snack and a movie.
    Now, I completely forgot about the mailbox. (FMS fog strikes again)  I get up this am, go about my normal morning routine. Liam walks out, goes right to the mailbox. In that instant, my heart sank. I knew what was going to happen. He slaps it back down on the table and walks away. Tears welling up in his eyes, his bottom lip fully protruded...... dammit Courtney, think fast.....
    DAMN U SANTA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I get him into my lap, and explain that Santa called late last nite. Vixen fell very ill, and needed Santa to stay by her side in her stable to care for her and work his magic. Santa also said he would be by tonight as long as Vixen was feeling better. (Hey, gotta leave myself an out, in case I forget again!!!!)  That seemed to work.....for now. Crisis averted!!!! Now onto decorating the tree because it "can't be naked!!!"

Here's hoping your Santa has a better memory than me, I mean mine ;)


                                                                       <3<3<3<3

   

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Freedom, oh sweet freedom!!!!!

First, let me start by saying, I am sorry I have neglected my blog. I never realized how much my ALFL page would take off, and I use that for most of my venting/sharing..... Also, I seem to be in a fog most of the time, so writing anything lengthy just doesn't work for me.... (damn FMS!!!!)
    Today I write because sweet freedom is just hours away!!! That's right! Tonite this momma is hitting the town with some friends!!!! It's our annual movie date. Yes, I said annual. (I know, I don't get out enough!) We are headed to the movies tonite to watch the end of the Twilight saga. (Go ahead Twilight haters, roll your eyes) You see, I read all the books, and LOVED them. After I watched the first movie, my girlfriends and I started a tradition of leaving the kids with the men, and heading to the midnight showings. I know many people do not like Twilight (just "cray cray" to me!) I however love them, and I don't care. Stephanie Meyer jumped into my adolescent mind and wrote the greatest love story a macabre girl could ever want. Vampires, werewolves, and hotties, OH MY! In all seriousness, the only way it could be better is to put some witches in there! (Also obsessed with Salem witch history)
    There's more to it than enjoying the movies for me. It's my one time a year that I get out WITHOUT LJ. I put on makeup, wear something other than jeans and a tee shirt, and I even do my hair! (Gosh, it's like a luxury!) To me, this is the one time a year, where I get to be Courtney. Not momma, not the wife, just ME!!!! Now, I would like to tell you I turn off my cell phone, and forget for the evening that I am a momma, but I don't. I can't. I set it to vibrate and hold it all nite. I know he is with his dad, but he is super attached to momma (yes, some would say his UC is still attached to me) and I can't go out and just forget him..... (I even sneak out before the movie starts, and check in. Yes, I know, let it go, RELAX. That's not my style!)
    So because of the Dark Knight shooting, tonite the movie will start at 10. We have to be there at 8 to get our seats, and then we will sit and visit while listening to the DJ. Talking won't be easy because the music is so loud. I don't care. I will be surrounded by my ladies, and I am away from home. It's a win win in my book.
     So for those of you who don't like the Twilight Saga, you can hate all you want. As for me, it has given me a chance to get out, and be me. In some weird way, I am kind of sad, this is the end......Now we need to find another excuse to get out once a year, lol!
                                                                    <3<3<3<3


           

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sometimes, I'm not so tough. Yet, life it seems, always is...


  This quote above is my life story. I learned early on not to show pain. In my mind, showing pain was showing your weakness. People take advantage of those that are weak....
  As a special needs momma, this held true as well. Once the shock of the word Autism wore off, and it came time to get my little man what he needed, the warrior in my soul came out. This is when I truly believed I couldn't let anyone see me cry. I couldn't let anyone see my weaknesses. Now, more than ever I had to be strong for my son, for my family, for myself. 
  I dove in head first. I fought the school. I made phone calls, sent emails. When that didn't work, I started The Legion page. I wanted a voice. I wanted to tell other momma's that Autism isn't the end of the world. It won't kill us. It will make us stronger. We Will Get Through It Together. 
  I also believed that if I see it in a positive manner, it couldn't get me down.....I was wrong. It will get you down. It will kick your feet out from underneath you. It will punch you when you're down. It will knock the wind out of you, make it hard for you to regain your breath. It will TRY to get the best of you.......
  Autism is sneaky. Autism is heartless. Autism can take a good day and make it hell. BUT.......It can also be fought.
  Yesterday and today, Autism did all these things to me. It took me down. It made me cry. It made me question my life, our life, our purpose.
  You know what else it did??? It made me stronger. It made me realize we all have these days. It made me realize I will NEVER give up. It made me realize that this fight is worth fighting. It made me realize that my son, and your sons/daughters need us to keep on fighting for them. If we don't, who will? 


It is some relief to weep; grief is satisfied and carried off by tears.  ~Ovid

Let your tears flow and where they go, let your sorrows follow.  ~Dodinsky,



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Halloween Social Story

With 22 Days until Halloween, and about 2 weeks until our kiddos are Trick or Treating, I thought now would be a good time for a Social Story. Here it is, feel free to share.



Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rustic 2x4 Pumpkins

  


  Okay, I know, this isn't a sensory craft, or Autism related, but I am a Fall Freak. Halloween is my favorite holiday and I love making Fall Crafts. So when I saw this idea on Pinterest, I HAD to make it myself! Before I go any further I want to link credit back to where I got the original idea. So if you want to see the original ones, head on over to Totally Fabulous Finds, and check hers out. Her's are a bit more fancy, but I made mine for $.99 (cost of paint) so I was going for the cheaper way to re-make them.  


                                                             Here's What I did:

     First, I dug through Hub's scrap wood pile and found a 2 x 4. Then, I got hub's to cut it for me. He cut mine in three pieces. One 9 inches, one 6 inches, and one 3 inches.

     Next, I got out hub's files, and filed all the edges off the wood. I also sanded the rough parts. I didn't make them completely smooth, (I like the rough kind of look) but I took off any slivers.

     Then Hub's and I found a thick branch, and he cut me off 3 stems. (He doesn't trust me with the table saw, (he's smart!)) 

      Time to paint. I bought tiger orange (it was all they had) then I mixed it with a bit of brown until I got a muted orange. I then added a few brush fulls of water, and mixed it well. I didn't want a thick coat of paint. I wanted them to look like they were stained orange. 

       Once the paint was dry, I got the files back out and re-sanded the edges. Make sure to get off any orange paint. (You want to see the wood) I made sure to round the corners a bit too.

       Time for the fun part. I used hot glue to attach the stems. I found some raffia in the craft bin, made little bows and glued them on. That's it. Easy peasy!!

         Now I have a great decoration for Halloween and Turkey Day. The best part, it only cost me $.99!!!!!!!
                                                                        <3<3<3<3

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Autism Bites! No Literally.....it does!

  I am usually so upbeat and positive about Autism, that sometimes I get on my own nerves. In all seriousness though, I feel it doesn't pay to sit around and dwell on the what if's and why us. I feel if I go through every day with a positive attitude then that will reflect on LJ and maybe make his days will be a little easier. Let's face it, we all know if mom's not happy, NO ONE is happy!

  Well today, I give autism the middle finger. Yep, I sure do. You see, autism has a way of creeping into your day and turning it upside down, without notice. Autism is a sneaky turd!



  My day started like any other. Coffee, facebook, peace and quiet. Liam was up super late, so he was in bed later than usual. Yay me!!! Finally I heard him yelling for me. No "good morning momma," but "MOMMMMMAAAAA I NEEEEEDDDD YYYYOOOOUUUUU!!!!" Ugh! What could it be????

  It was nothing. Nope, nothing at all. It was a waste of walking into his room just to hear him say, "momma. I don't want to do school today." Well! I don't want to wash your laundry, do your dishes, clean up your messes, and so on! (Of course this is what I was thinking.) What I said was, "I'm sorry buddy, but it's Wednesday, a school day. Now let's go and get it done, it's gorgeous outside!"

  What followed was hell. Pure hell! I literally was waiting for him to puke pea soup on me, and to see his head spin around on his shoulders.

 Instead he tore through the house screaming at the top of his lungs, "NO SCHOOL!!! I WANT HARRY POTTER!!! YOU SAID I COULD WATCH HARRY POTTER TODAY. I WANT HARRY POTTER!!" Yep, I said that, guilty as charged, but I told him last nite, he could watch it today AFTER school. When I told him this he got more angry. He grabbed the movie, I took it from him. He went into his father's room (where I put it on the highest shelf (I could barely reach it), and proceeded to scream in there. When hubs held out his hand for Liam to come over and attempt to calm him, Liam hauled off and slapped him, not once, twice. Wow! Someone was feeling brave! He then tore out into the entryway, grabbed a flip flop and took off. I knew what he was thinking. He was gonna go throw it at his dad. I took it. He threw himself on the floor, smashing his head. He didn't notice. He got up and  just started running through the house screaming, grabbing whatever he saw and throwing it. Now, I normally tell him to calm down, and let him kind of wind down, but this was the worst meltdown he has had in a few weeks. So instead, I finally got a hold of him. Now this is where momma got brave....

  I got him to sit on the floor, in a calm voice I just said, "let's sit, we will rock." He did, so I managed to get my legs over his, and cradle him in my arms, and I started to rock him. For about 10 seconds he went with it. I thought, "oh thank God, it's gonna work." Boy was I WRONG!!!! Next thing I knew I had teeth laying into my arm!!!!! You guessed it, he bit me that lil booger!!!!!! Then he started to arch his back and I let his legs loose, and then the kicking started. For my own safety and his, I backed away. I let him lay there and kick and scream and in a few moments, he stopped. He got in the rocker, and finished rocking his melt down away. 


yep, still hurts :/


  He stayed like that for about 30 minutes, just rocking, staring into space. Almost as if in a trance. Then, out of now where, "Momma, can we do school now?" Ummm, yeah buddy! We were able to get his 3 core subjects done. He had a phonics test, scored a 94% and only got angry over it once. (he hates tests!) So I let him skip history and instead of their art lesson, we did a sensory craft. 

  As I write this, he is with his daddy. They went to the campground to pick up his wooden snakes. (That was another day, another meltdown~ when Josie ate the ones he had. Thankfully, the owners of the campground are so nice, they went to another campground, and picked him up some more.) Hubs took the camera, and they are gonna take some pics of the fall colors while they are gone. As for me, I am enjoying this peace and quiet. I would love to nap, but I hear the laundry calling my name......

  I just wanted to share this moment, to let you all know, you are not alone. Autism sneaks up on us all every now and then, knocking us to the ground. Our job is to get back up, and not let it win!!!!
                                               <3<3<3<3


DIY Halloween Sensory Bags

Instead of the curriculum art, today we did something more festive for Halloween. We made Halloween Sensory Bags. Very easy to do. I can't however take ALL the credit. I got the idea from Hands On: As We Grow while scrolling through my Pinterest. We made one like hers, but Liam wanted to green. Then we did our own using bugs we got in the Halloween section at the Dollar Tree.
Ours look like this:



Ready for the how to???? It's super simple

NEED:
Hair Gel (can be found at Dollar Tree. One bottle made 2 bags)
Ziploc Bags Sandwich Size (we used one regular, and one Halloween bag
which we purchased at the Dollar Tree.)
Googly Eyes (you guessed it! Can be bought at the Dollar Tree)
Various Bugs (again, thank you Dollar Tree, you ROCK my world!!)
Food Coloring (Dollar Tree, you're the bomb!)



DIRECTIONS:
Open bag, squeeze in about half of the hair gel. Add a few drops of you coloring choice. Close bag, smoosh around to mix color. Add in googly eyes, bugs, what ever you choose. (we even added some sequins) Now, close, all but a small bit and carefully squeeze air out without letting gel out. Seal and VOILA! Home made sensory bag! Great for tactile input and cool to look at as well. (NOTE: my son gets into everything, I add duct tape to the top of ALL his bags so he doesn't get into them!)
Hope you enjoy making this with your kiddo (s). I know I sure did :)
<3<3<3<3