Friday, April 29, 2016

Mother's Day Invite

Andrew was excited to give me my invitation for a Mother's Day party at his preschool! I can't wait!!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Why are you following me?

I posted a few weeks ago how Trenton said a sentence in the middle of his noises. Well today his coaches said he said a sentence again! He turned around to one of his coaches and said, "Why are you following me?"
Do you know how excited and proud I am?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?
Many individuals with autism live their life and will say words intermittently their whole life. This is the second big thing he has said in one month!!!!!
Way to go T-man!


A Work in Progress

I am reading this book right now.
I have read numerous books about autism and how to help your child, etc. I have also read countless family stories about their life with autism. Each and every book that I have read has helped me in many ways.
This book, however, is the BEST educational  book on autism. The authors did a tremendous job in writing everything in layman's terms.  My degree is in special education which has help me tremendously with my own children. I believe I have had people doubt me...thinking that I was just exaggerating or overacting on the depth of help the boys need, especially Trenton.
I am certain I have had people judge me when I have said that it takes only one time to not follow through on a procedure with Trenton for it to totally mess him up and never "get" what I am working with him on. 
The importance of CONSISTENCY is beyond critical with kids on the spectrum!! Just one time....only once for someone else to do something different and the child  will not follow through on the procedure. I haven't always been consistent myself. It is hard living 24/7 with autism. However, this book was the boost that I needed to refresh my mind!

The reason why I love this book is it is everything that I have said since Trenton got diagnosed. EVERYTHING! So....I suggest this read to anyone that has ever questioned why I do what I do!!!
 I am only on page 57 and have lots more to read but that is just how truthful this book is! LOVE IT!

Since it is just me raising the boys now, I have changed a few things and it seems to really be working with the boys. I am only away from them a few hours a week when they are with their father. It is amazing the difference I have seen in the consistency every day. Hence, this is why parents need to be involved in therapies, etc. It all carries over to the home environment.

Now, I will soon begin a few new task. Trenton's potty training got all messed up in December. TOTALLY MESSED UP! I am still in the process of getting it all together with them and will be starting the new process at home soon!

The importance of consistency is really hitting hard lately. Trenton will be 6 this summer and his early intervention years are almost gone. The type of autism that he has requires 24/7 care. Many families have 24/7 hired care for their child with severe autism. Sadly, they can't have any down time because that is when errors creep in and you lose progress.
I am not wealthy enough to have the around the clock help with Trenton. It's sad that someone's life is at stake because of money but sadly that is what most autism families deal with. However, I give him all that I can and do my best to stay consistent with everything, especially now since it is just me at home.

The key to helping children like Trenton and Andrew is changing their behavior. The more we go on without changing their behavior, the harder it is to change a person's behavior. That is with everyone but is especially hard for kids on the spectrum which is why the early years before the age of six are so crucial.
I am starting to panic in many areas with Trenton. He is getting older and we have to get a handle on many things with him before it is too late.

I watched a really good Lifetime movie the other day about a family with a daughter with autism. This family didn't get their daughter help till she was four and the mother blamed herself because her daughter was low functioning, she reminded me of Trenton. I don't ever want to live with blaming myself....I know I won't because I am doing everything that I can. Would it be easier to sit on the couch and not stress myself out fighting him with potty training and fighting him with not climbing on top of the fridge and counter tops....and fighting him with not constantly turning on water from the sinks, etc.....oh heck yes. My life would be so much easier to just sit back and let him destroy the house with his out of control behavior. .......but how is that helping him. Sadly, parents can't relax and enjoy the fun things in life while raising kids on the spectrum, especially the lower functioning end. It is 24/7 work and no down time. When you are dealing with autism, you can't afford to take one hour break....it's not the normal family life. It's not the normal play with my kids kind of day....it is work and nothing but work!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Hardest Part

Here is one of my latest articles on autismawareness.com

https://autismawareness.com/the-hardest-part/

The Importance of Early Intervention

I've been asked before if I think that there is truth in the fact that earlier the better  for an autism diagnosis. My answer is most definitely!! Do not wait parents! Trust your gut and find out what is going on because if it is autism, the earlier the better. In fact, it can mean the difference between a functional life and a life full of dependency on other people.
The earlier you intervene in your child's life, the more likely you can help your child in the area's of speech, behavior, social, and reduce all autism symptoms.

In neurotypical children the early child development sets the foundation for lifelong learning, behavior, and health. The experiences children have in early childhood shape the brain and the child’s capacity to learn, to get along with others, and to respond to daily stresses and challenges. The same holds true to children with autism and even more so!

The most information learned occurs between birth and the age of three, during this time humans develop more quickly and rapidly than they would at any other point in their life. Love, affection, encouragement and mental stimulation aid in development. At this time in life, the brain is growing rapidly and it is easier for information to be absorbed; parts of the brain can nearly double in a year. During this stage, children need vital nutrients and personal interaction for their brain to grow properly. Children's brains will expand and become more developed in these early years. Therefore, a child with autism or any other special need, needs early intervention more than any other child.

I often think back to Andrew and when he was going through his regression stage around the age of  20 months to 26 months. I recall conversations with a few people and we were often worried that Andrew's severity would be just as bad as Trenton's.  However, Andrew started to blossom as soon as he started therapy. His brain really responded to the early intervention.  Trenton's brain had a harder time adjusting to the therapy. However, he has made great strides in his therapy. It is just different than Andrew's.

My point of this post is.....our brains do so much shaping in our early years.  The longer a child goes without interventions to help them, the harder it is to change the behavior.  If a child is severe, it is going to be extremely hard to change any behavior past the early intervention time but it can happen with hard work.
The earlier the diagnosis, the better. I believe in this so much. I have witnessed it with my own two eyes with my own boys.

I have more to post on this but it'll come later....I am one tired Mommy!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Autism Awareness Game

Over the weekend, we had our third annual autism awareness baseball game in my hometown of Flora, Illinois. I am so proud of my brother, the head coach, who started this three years ago. The boys threw out an honorary ball before the game started.
Trenton was unable to stay for the game. We lasted for the pre-game festivities and that is it. I barely got him to last for that. Until he improves in some areas, I am not sure we will even try it next year with him. He just can't handle situations like that.
Andrew, however, had a great time and enjoyed himself.

Trenton did hand the ball to the baseball player when it was his turn to throw the ball.

Loved seeing the boys in their autism shirts for the day.


 Andrew got his picture with the team. Trenton did not....we were walking to the van at this point.