Thursday, November 26, 2015

Sensory Overload Video

This sensory overload video was done in a store. However, this is what it is like for the boys when they go to unfamiliar houses with people in it and everyone is talking. It is what it is like everywhere except for the comfort of their own home. Unfortunately, Trenton can even get sensory overload in his own house. The plus side in being at his own house, he is able to go to his bedroom which is his "safe" area to help him calm down.
Sometimes the sensory overload can happen immediately or it may take a few minutes to an hour to happen. It depends on their day.

This next video is what it is like for a person with autism to simply walk down a street. Once again, I have no doubt that this is what both boys experience. For the most part, Andrew verbally tells me everything that the person in this video thinks.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Day My World Stopped

To the families who are just receiving their child's diagnosis, hang in there! Here is a short summary of what it felt like on that life changing day. I hope you can find some comfort in reading this.

I remember the numbness that overcame my body after hearing the words, “Trenton has autism.”  It was August 2, 2012 just two weeks shy of his second birthday. I knew in my heart that he had autism but hearing it from a professional takes the waves of emotions to a whole new level.

We had already been through hell and back in Trenton’s first two years of his life. Nothing made sense from what he had put us through the past year. Yet, it all made sense now with one word, autism.

As I felt my body go numb, I could feel the room spinning around me.

“Don’t pass out Angie.” I kept telling myself. I looked at the doctor as she was talking to us but I can’t exactly tell you what she was saying. Her lips were simply moving to me but I didn’t hearing anything after the word autism.

How could this be happening? Why my child? Why God why?

I finally collected myself. “What do we do now?” I asked fumbling over my words.

The doctor went on to explain how she would write a script for ST, OT, and ABA.  That’s it? I kept asking myself.  Finally, I asked her what I had been thinking and sadly, she said, “Yes that is it. Just get him in as much therapy as possible in order to give him the most productive life that he can have.”

Soon we were walking out of her office with only a script for therapy. How could this be happening?

The two hour car ride home that day was silent. Not one word was uttered between my husband and I. Our world seemed to have stopped. Yet at the same time, every one else’s was going strong.  I kept looking at our sweet little boy in the back seat. He was so precious. So sweet. Yet, he just received his life changing diagnosis that would forever rock our world.

The days following his diagnosis seem like a blur. I was a special education teacher at that time and I started my school year. I walked into work every day after being up all night with my child who never slept. I was sleep deprived to say the least.  I heard story after story of everyone’s fun summer vacations. I heard about everyone’s fun weekends. Their life was still going on but mine had still stopped! My child just received a diagnosis of autism. How can the world still keep going?

I learned rather quickly how to face my fears and how to put one foot in front of the other foot. The world that stopped for me slowly started up again. However, the world I once knew was gone and we welcomed a new world. A world full of OT, ST, and ABA quickly started.  I soon realized that our new world wasn’t so bad even during its times of tribulations and trials.  It may just be a little harder than the average family but it is an amazing world once you accept it. It is a very unique journey that God blessed me with and I am forever thankful!

I will never forget how I felt the day of Trenton’s diagnosis. Unfortunately, I went through the same numbness with my second child a year and a half later when he received his diagnosis. The world may stop for you during your child’s diagnosis but once  your world starts up again, it is an amazing ride.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Potty Training!

Since March of this year I have seen more of toilets than I have ever wanted to see. I have said the word, "potty time" enough times that if I got paid by how many times I have said it the last 8 months, I'd be rich. I have been peed on, hit at, kicked at, scratched at, screamed at, and even my hair pulled at so many times that I have just wanted to crawl in a ball and cry at the end of each day. Just when I was on the brink of feeling like a failure when it came to potty training a child with severe autism, I finally saw the light this weekend! I got a glimmer of hope!

After talking to his team at Harsha, we decided to change things up at home. I ordered a portable potty and it finally came in Saturday morning. I put the potty in his room and that is where he went all day on Saturday and Sunday. One of my biggest challenges with Trenton at home was transitioning him to the toilet in the bathroom from where he was. Most of the time he would be in his room. Trenton put up some huge fights to not leave his room to go to the bathroom. Potty training was going no where at home until the portable potty came in! He gladly sits on the potty in his room and smiles and pees!!!!!!!!!!!!! Today, he didn't have an accident until 6:00 PM!!!! DO YOU KNOW HOW AMAZING THIS IS?!?!?!?

He is unable to communicate when he needs to go so it is a matter of taking him to the toilet every 30 minutes. It has been brutal and exhausting but I finally felt a glimmer of hope for Trenton this weekend! We still have many months if not years of potty training him but I can see progress and it is awesome!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Andrew's final birthday party

Andrew celebrated his birthday with the Conrad's today!! The boys had a great time with everyone. Once again Andrew was blessed with some great gifts.

Andrew was such a sweet little boy and let Trenton open half of his gifts. Andrew can be such a great brother:)

Reading his birthday cards with Uncle Sol.
Oh, What's that Grandpa!!!!
 It's a Spiderman scooter!!

Andrew was too excited about his gifts, he wouldn't look at the camera. He just wanted to look at all of his gifts.

Trenton loves the Spiderman scooter too!
I love Trenton's face in the background of this picture! Trenton loves birthday parties!!!
Putting together his Spiderman Lego set.

Trenton did an amazing job playing with toys today! It was the best day that he has had in a long time playing with appropriate toys!!! It is amazing what we can get excited about!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Better to give than to receive

Andrew has been talking a lot about Christmas ever since he was at his cousin Lincoln's house last weekend. (They had their Christmas tree up so that triggered it.) Anyway, as Andrew and I were talking about Christmas on Thursday, I explained how it is more important to give than to receive. I asked him if he would like to help some less fortunate kids and he said, "Sure Mom!"
I said, "You know how you love to open presents?"
Andrew says, "Oh yeah, Mom. I love presents."
I said, "Well, would you like to help Mommy buy some presents for some kids whose Mommy and Daddy can't afford presents?"
Andrew says, "Oh they don't have money for  toys?"
I said, "No, some parents don't have money for toys so we should help them so they have toys for Christmas."
Andrew says," Ok, Mom. But can you save money for me so I can have some toys?"

I also went on to explain how some people don't have a lot of money for food either. Andrew said, "They have mouths to eat with right?"
I said, "Yes they have mouths but just not money to buy food with."
Andrew said, "Ok we need to buy them food as long as you save money to buy me food too."

This morning when Andrew woke up the first thing he said was, "Let's buy toys and food for some kids today."

I found a great charity place in town and Andrew and I bought some toys for the less fortunate kids and we bought some food for a Thanksgiving drive.

Here he is buying a toy:)
 He picked out green beans, corn, and spinach:)

Andrew with his three bags of toys, socks, and bath bubbles:) He made sure he carried all three bags into the charity place and handed them to the lady. He said, "These are for the kids."
 He walked into the store and dropped his two bags of groceries into the Thanksgiving food drive container.
 I was beyond proud of him today. If I had tons of money, Andrew would have spent it today on others and not himself. He kept on picking up toys and he would say, "The kids would like this Mom."
It is amazing what a person can teach a young child. This world is becoming more scary by the day. If more people would just teach their children at a young age about how to treat others, than maybe this world would be a better place!

Later in the day, Andrew ask me, "Do the kids have their food yet Mom. They need to eat it."
I just love his big heart!!!  I am really trying to teach him to always put others first:)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Holidays & Autism-It's that time of year again

My article at this week is titled, Holidays and autism- It's that time of year again. Click on the link below and enjoy it!!


Have you heard the saying, " They have the patience of Job." Many people may know where that comes from but to the ones who don't, Job was a man in the Old Testament. He had everything. He had a large family, great health, wealth, and every blessing that anyone would ever need. Satan didn't like it. Satan told God, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.  But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face” (Job 1:9-11).

God accepted the challenge from Satan. God knew that Job was a righteous man and that he wasn't just a follower of him because he was blessed. Before he knew it, Job lost everything. He lost his family, wealth; he simply lost everything.

Here we can plainly see Job’s reaction:  he worshiped God, he said that he came into this world with nothing and will return with nothing, the Lord has taken away all he had except his wife – and his wife told him to “curse God and die” – and Job also blessed the name of the Lord.  In all of this, “Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong!”   He blessed God’s name, he worshiped God, and he did not sin.  Satan must have been angry at Job’s response.  Job suffered unjustly and yet he did not blame God or say, “why me?”

Job is an amazing example of how we all should be during our trials in life.  I believe that our trials and tribulations only make us stronger if we allow them to. However, it takes a believer and someone that has faith to turn their trials into triumphs. There is not one week that goes by that I don't think about Job and how he conducted himself during his trials in life. What an amazing example that is provided for us to follow. When I have my times of getting down, I think of Job and I am immediately ok! Job is one of my heroes of the Bible! He is a true example of how people should live. He didn't blame anyone for his trials. Not one person! Not even God. What an amazing man he was. He simply grabbed the bull by the horns and lived his life to the fullest during his trials. Wow! What an amazing example!!!

Just think what kind of a world we could live in if everyone had the patience of Job!