Thursday, August 29, 2013

All Done!

I was pushing Andrew in the swing today. When he was ready to get out he said, "All done." I said, "No, you are not all done yet. Lets keep swinging." Andrew said, " I said all done."

Mommy

I received a note from Trenton's teacher today. On the note said that Trenton looked at a picture of our family ( I sent to school with him a few days ago), and said "mommy" while looking at me! This made my day! I know he can say it but it is so rare that I hear it!
Trenton had a better day today at school. Mommy is so proud of him!
No school tomorrow, we will be in Saint Louis at a doctor appointment.

Trenton had an amazing ABA session with Heather in Effingham today. It was awesome to listen to. Trenton tried to say so many words it was music to my ears. I love to hear that sweet little voice when I can! He is doing super going from school to either Effingham or Olney  for therapy. Trenton loves structure and routine!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Welcome to Holland & Welcome to Holland Part 2

I have posted this before but I have several new readers now. This is a perfect poem to describe what it feels like in the special needs world.

Welcome to Holland" by Emily Perl Kingsley
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability—to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this....

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip—to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland." "Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy." But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy...and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned." And the pain of that will never ever, ever, ever go away...because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But...if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things...about Holland.

Part 2

 Welcome to Holland (Part 2)" by Anonymous
I have been in Holland for over a decade now. It has become home. I have had time to catch my breath, to settle and adjust, to accept something different than I'd planned.

I reflect back on those years of past when I had first landed in Holland. I remember clearly my shock, my fear, my anger—the pain and uncertainty. In those first few years, I tried to get back to Italy as planned, but Holland was where I was to stay. Today, I can say how far I have come on this unexpected journey. I have learned so much more. But, this too has been a journey of time.

I worked hard. I bought new guidebooks. I learned a new language and I slowly found my way around this new land. I have met others whose plans had changed like mine, and who could share my experience. We supported one another and some have become very special friends.

Some of these fellow travelers had been in Holland longer than I and were seasoned guides, assisting me along the way. Many have encouraged me. Many have taught me to open my eyes to the wonder and gifts to behold in this new land. I have discovered a community of caring. Holland wasn't so bad.

I think that Holland is used to wayward travelers like me and grew to become a land of hospitality, reaching out to welcome, to assist and to support newcomers like me in this new land. Over the years, I've wondered what life would have been like if I'd landed in Italy as planned. Would life have been easier? Would it have been as rewarding? Would I have learned some of the important lessons I hold today?

Sure, this journey has been more challenging and at times I would (and still do) stomp my feet and cry out in frustration and protest. And, yes, Holland is slower paced than Italy and less flashy than Italy, but this too has been an unexpected gift. I have learned to slow down in ways too and look closer at things, with a new appreciation for the remarkable beauty of Holland with its' tulips, windmills and Rembrandts.

I have come to love Holland and call it Home.

I have become a world traveler and discovered that it doesn't matter where you land. What's more important is what you make of your journey and how you see and enjoy the very special, the very lovely, things that Holland, or any land, has to offer.

Yes, over a decade ago I landed in a place I hadn't planned. Yet I am thankful, for this destination has been richer than I could have imagined!
.

Rough Day

Today was a rough day for Trenton at school. He did some crying in the classroom and much more on the playground. He did well at breakfast with the other students from my understanding however it went down hill from there.
Trenton's sleeping is AWFUL again. He is averaging around  5 hours in a 24 hour period and that 5 hours is broken sleep. Mommy is averaging about 2.I pray pray pray one day we can find the right key to helping him  with this issue. Like I have said before, sleep deprivation is the worst human punishment of all. I truly believe that!

On the bright side....day 6 with no meltdowns!!

Trenton received a belated birthday present in the mail today. It was a perfect gift! It brightened his day up after we returned from therapy.
 A floor puzzle with letters and numbers!! Perfect!

Trenton received a puzzle that spells out his name for his birthday. This puzzle does everything with him. It goes to bed with him, he wakes up and eats breakfast with it, it is on his lap during TV time and it takes the car ride to school and therapy with us! He loves his "Trenton Puzzle"


Team Trenton

I am ordering our t-shirts for Team Trenton in 7-10 days. This is my last call for anyone who wants to attend the walk in October. Please do not feel obligated to attend. I do not expect anyone to drive two hours to walk. However, if you would like to please email me at angelaconrad09@hotmail.com and will send you the link to sign up. You will also need to email me your t-shirt size.

Thanks!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Keeps getting better!!

Trenton had another great day at school!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so very proud of him!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is an amazing thing that school happened to start for Trenton during his good phase.( God works in mysterious ways.) This will make the tougher phases easier for him because he will know the school and know that it is a great place to go.
I was telling my mom today that the 40 hours of therapy all makes perfect sense to me. Children who are affected with autism the way Trenton is need ROUTINE every minute of their day. That is impossible at home to do even though I did the best I could every day. With some children with autism, and I know from my own teaching experience, that school can be an answered prayer.  School provides routine, routine, and more routine.Honestly, I didn't think it would be for Trenton but so far it is. I couldn't be more thrilled!
The longest this phase has lasted was one month. Hopefully this time it will last longer! He did start new medicines a month ago so maybe it is all coming together!
We are on day 5 with NO MELTDOWNS!!!! WHOOOOOHOOOOO!! Go Trenton!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

First Day of Early Childhood

God answered some prayers today! Trenton had an AMAZING day.  His body is allowing him to tolerate noise, people, and new environments during this good phase that he is in. As one of his therapist told me today, " When he is in this phase he is just oblivious to what is going around him and his body is oblivious to all the stimuli." In return, it makes him able to tune all the stimuli out and he goes with the flow. I love it when he is in this phase.

This morning before we left I had already shed several tears and the feeling in my stomach was about to make me sick. Right before we left when I was putting on his shoes, " I embraced him and told him to remember that God is always with him even at times when Mommy can't be. Trenton and I said a little prayer together and we were out the door.

When we arrived, I walked him to his classroom and he ran immediately to all the fun new toys. In return, I just left immediately and sneaked out without saying good bye. I wanted to hug him and kiss him but I knew if I would, it would make the transition harder on him. Therefore, I just left.

I was so anxious to pick him up at 10:30. I drove by the school around 10:00 and saw him outside on the play ground. He was holding the speech teachers hand and looking at all the other children playing. It broke my heart. I drove by several more times to see him standing by himself. I was very thrilled that he wasn't wandering away but saddened that he wasn't playing with the other children.

His speech teacher walked him to the front door to meet me at 10:30. I, of course, would have done ANYTHING for him to run to me and acknowledge my existence. However, that is not the case with Trenton. He did not even respond to my voice (that is how much he is tuning everything out right now). When I finally grabbed his attention, he just looked past me with that blank, emotionless look. I just wanted to cry right there. Sometimes that is the hardest to handle. His inability to show love is very hard to handle when I just want him to really show me the typical love a toddler shows his mom. Anyway, the speech teacher said he did excellent! He didn't engage with anyone but he stayed right by everybody. He even sat in his seat at breakfast time and had some Fruit Loops! Its amazing what a day with low sensory problems can turn out like!!!!!!!!!!!! Trenton's sensory problems make or break his day. It makes or breaks his life.
I had a good feeling about today when he tolerated all the noise and children in Sunday School class really well yesterday. It is just simply amazing when he has low sensory problems how different his days can be.

Trenton and I drove immediately to therapy in Olney. He did not participate very well in ST. His therapist believed he was trying to relax and get the stimuli out of his body from school. I would probably agree. On our car ride over, he did fuss a lot and flap his hands continuously. His OT said that was his way of releasing.
He participated a little better in OT.

We arrived home around 1:00 and had a two hour break and welcomed Alicia in our home at 3:00. He did FANTASTIC for ABA therapy with Alicia. She could not have been more thrilled. I couldn't have been either. I love it when I do not listen to a meltdown the whole time during ABA.  When she would ask him to hand her the blue pig out of a bucket full of animals.....he did!! Just like that!!! Again....amazing how he can even THINK when his threshold is low with his sensory disorder. Absolutely AMAZING!

Guess what............he hasn't slept well in three days either. Clonodine is not working anymore....at least not the last three nights. We are back to square one....waking up by 11:00 or 11:30 and back to sleep around 3:30 or 4:00. And up for the day around 5:30. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!  Back to sleep deprivation. Something that NO ONE understands, not even Tim. What I put up with in the night during those hours are simply unimaginable to most parents....even to Trenton's dad. I wish I had a video camera in our house so Tim and everyone else can see what it is really like in the night with a child with autism......

I hear a lot of opinions that if Trenton's sleep could get figured out then maybe he would be better behaved. I have always said this isn't true. The past three days are a good example. Trenton has averaged very little sleep and has had the best three days he has had in months. Trenton's key is help for sensory problems!

GOOD JOB TODAY TRENTON!!! YOU WERE SO BRAVE AND STRONG! MOMMY IS SO PROUD OF YOU! I LOVE YOU!!!!

ALWAYS AND FOREVER.

Pictures of his first day of Early Childhood.





Sunday, August 25, 2013

Devotion from Jesus Calling

Wait with me for a while. I have much to tell you. You are walking along the path I have chosen for you. It is both a privileged and a perilous way: experiencing My glorious presence and heralding that reality to others. Sometimes you feel presumptuous to be carrying out such an assignment.

Do not worry about what other people think of you. The work I am doing in you is hidden at first. But eventually blossoms will burst forth, and abundant fruit will be born. Stay on the path of life with me. Trust me wholeheartedly, letting my spirit fill you with joy and peace.

 

Prayers

Let's all remember Addy in our prayers tonight and tomorrow. Her surgery is tomorrow.
Let's all remember Trenton. His first day of school is tomorrow. Trenton and I both need strength.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Birthday Party

Trenton had an amazing day! I had a good feeling about his birthday party Thursday when his sensitivity to noise started to not appear very bad. Looks like he might be able to handle all the input going into his body fairly well for the next phase that we are in. Yay!!!
After all the guest left, Tim said, "This was Trenton's best birthday party." I said I agreed!! Simple is how it will be for now on!

Before our family arrived, Trenton had a great time on his bed with all of his friends!


 I decorated with what  I knew would calm his anxiety down....balloons and letters!
 Nana helped me make some homemade decorations. They worked well! He loved seeing all the letters around the house.


 He enjoyed opening presents this year at his own pace!! Good Job Trenton!!

 The party ended in the sprinkler
You can see more family pictures on our family blog!!
Great Job today Trenton!!!
Always and Forever!!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Car ride

Andrew loves our car rides to look at horses just as much as Trenton does.

Our Day & Thanks!!

Trenton had his three year check up with the doctor today. Trenton weighs 35 1/2 pounds and is 38 3/4 inches tall. Before his doctor visit we had speech therapy with Jill.  He did well. He was refusing to work with some of his picture cards with her that he usually likes. Overall, a good session with no meltdowns.
Honestly, we had a good day today. The last two days have been very managable. This is great! Tomorrow is his birthday party so maybe he will be able to handle the people and noise. I am keeping my fingers crossed! I have shed enough tears this week, I really don't want to end my day tomorrow crying because the party was a disaster.

A big THANKS to my family who understands and has been very supportive this week. Like I said before, Trenton's birthday has been very hard on me and still is. I reserved the day and time for his party 6 weeks ago. Within the last week, I have cancelled his party and put it back on again a few times. Like I said......its been a rough week for me and for Trenton in the beginning of the week.
Unfortunately, its not going to get any better soon. We start school on Monday. Just typing the sentence makes me sick to my stomach. Lots and lots of prayers folks!!! We appreciate it!

Another huge THANKS to my new readers! You all have been very supportive and it means a lot to me!! I am so pleased to know that many of you are taking time out of your day to know how my Trenton is doing! Plus you are sending me cards and letters and much more! Honestly, that is what is helping me through this journey. You and your support!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Therapy & I Love You!

Today was the first day in three weeks that we did not take multiple car rides a day in between therapies!!! Also, the first day in three weeks that he went to bed without having to take a car ride to calm him down! This is great!! I hope this phase has passed us for now. It will return one day again soon but hope its gone for now.

We have seen Heather the last three days in a row. In all three of his sessions with her, he has been a little hyper and not able to concentrate very well. Yesterday, when she would ask him to point to the specific animal she requested, he would just point all over the page. She said he couldn't concentrate on anything. Today was some what better.
We will see what tomorrow brings!

Andrew on the other hand, said his first four word phrase today. Nana looked at Andrew today and said, " I love you Andrew." Andrew looked at her and said, " I love you too." It was so cute! Mommy got on to him though because I have not even heard this yet:-)

Sounds & Words

Trenton has been doing a fantastic job during this phase of trying to say words and sounds. When he wants to play a game on his Kindle Fire, he say "k". When he wants a car ride he goes to the door, knocks on the door, and says "door". When he wants a piece of birthday cake, he walks to the counter where the cake is and says. "cake".
GOOD JOB TRENTON!!! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dr. Morton

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mw0yGH2ME7s

Hate Letter Sent to Mother of Autistic Boy

If something like this EVER happens to me or if someone EVER puts Trenton down..............they will have rude awakening! They will REGRET the day they ever did it. What is wrong with this world?????? People like this mother who is so scared that she can't sign her name are the most worthless uneducated people in this world. I have so much "not nice" things going through my head right now.  She should be thanking God every day that she has "normal" children. She will answer one day to the all mighty!
http://fox2now.com/2013/08/20/anonymous-hate-letter-sent-to-mother-of-autistic-boy/



Autism


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

8.20.10

A few pictures from one of the best days in my life!!






Happy Birthday Letter

Happy Birthday Trenton!

I can't believe you are three years old!! It makes me so sad. You are such an amazing little boy who has suffered so in his first three years of life. No one knows that and understands that more than me. God knew what he was doing when he gave you to me! I can't thank him enough for that. God is a true and amazing God and I just know we will have a much happier, suffer free life together in the next. Thinking of that is  what gets me through these days. I think of it everyday Cutie Patootie!

On your third birthday Mommy wants you to know just how strong you are. Trenton you do things that most people could not even imagine doing. Through your strong efforts,  you are doing the best you can to battle against autism every day. You put up the best fight that any three year old can do. I am a much stronger person because of you! You have taught me to be strong. I hear those blood curdling screams you do in therapies when you can't do what is asked or you just simply don't understand. I witness those kicks, screams, body slams every day. Through that, you have made me a much stronger and better person.

I also want you to know that you are the best teacher anyone can have. The family, friends, and community that you have educated are much better people because of you!  This community and your family are aware of the disorder that you suffer from every day. If it wasn't for you, there would be a lot more uneducated people about autism.

Oh how I wish you knew what today was!!! I would lie if I told you that if didn't hurt because it hurt really bad today.  After therapy when I strapped you in your car seat, you smiled at me and I said, " Did you know you are three today?" You ignored me like you usually do. I said it again, you smiled and met my eyes for a few seconds and that was amazing! I love looking in your eyes. I said it again and you repeated the word three. Just hearing you say three on your third birthday was good enough. That enough was music to my ears.

I was told once that I could not compare you to neuro typical kids your age. How can I not do that?? That is impossible to not do.  I know neuro typical three year olds do things that you would have loved Trenton! I just know it! However, we have our things we love right? You and I have met some amazing people on this journey! Sometimes I think the ones that we have met on this journey understand us the most and make us feel not so alone.

I hope one day I can read this to you and you understand every word of it! I hope one day I can tell you how much you have overcome!! I hope one day you can look me in the eye and say, " I love you mom" I hope one day you know how much I have sacrificed for you and how much certain family members have sacrificed too! I hope one day you will love your brother! He loves you so much Trenton!!

 We are in this together until the end Bubba!!! I dedicate every minute of my life to autism. No one will ever be able to tell you that I was selfish. This Mommy does everything for you!!!

I am so proud to be your Mom!!!! I will NEVER stop advocating and fighting for you. Keep up the hard work Trenton. It will pay off, I know it will!

I love you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Always and Forever!!!!

Mommy

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Thing About Birthdays When You Have A Kid With Autism


I am so glad I found this article. I am not the only Mom!!! Actually it is very normal. Just a part of raising a child with autism.

http://www.parents.com/blogs/to-the-max/2013/01/23/autism/the-thing-about-birthdays-when-you-have-a-kid-with-autism/

Horrific Day

Today was a very rough day. Awful. Nightmarish. Horrific. Ghastly. Just a bad day.

We walk into therapy at nine o'clock and he was fine. Thirty seconds later he has a huge frown on his face, big tears rolling down cheeks, he starts shaking his head, he looks white as a ghost with hives all over him. His anxiety went sky rocket high in a matter of seconds. Nothing could calm him. Nothing. He normally has speech first but his occupational therapist said she would take him first in hope of getting some sensory therapy going to calm him down. This didn't work. I knew it wouldn't. He is refusing all sensory help right now except car rides. For the first half of OT, he ran as hard as he could into the wall continuously, he threw himself down on the ground continuously for fifteen minutes.  It is a good thing the floor is padded in there or we would have ended up in the ER.  I heard every scream, yell, kick, and body throwing while I sat outside the room in disbelief that that was my child and that this was my life.
After this escapade was over, he sat in his chair finally. Emily tried to do some fine motor skills with him since he was not doing his sensory therapy.  He always grasp a crayon, may not be the right way, but he does. Today he couldn't even grasp a crayon. While in the chair he started scratching and digging into this skin everywhere. He continued to do this for the remainder of the time.
Now, it was time for speech. He sat in his chair for speech but wouldn't take his hands out of his mouth. He tried to participate but wasn't very good.
Now it was time to head home for ABA with Alicia. Surprisingly this was not as bad as I had anticipated. He did not have a meltdown but he screamed "all done" the whole time.
If he was not in therapy, he was either spinning in circles or wanting a car ride. I feel like I have lived in the car for the past two weeks! We tried to go to Grandma Greats but he wouldn't stay long at all. Trenton is going through a bad phase of not wanting anyone around except Mommy. I am back to where I am not seeing Andrew hardly at all. My time with Andrew is when Trenton goes to bed at night and then I can FINALLY spend some time with Andrew.
I have no idea how we survived church yesterday but we did. He was able to filter out all of the sensory input on Sunday during church. However, after church he couldn't.

This phase is taking every ounce of strength that I pray for daily out of me. We have way to much stress right now. This is our first week of no EI therapy. His birthday is tomorrow.......yes I am so happy for his birthday but do you know how hard it is???? Very hard. Every year he gets older is more of a realization how far we are away from normal. I would do ANYTHING if he knew that it was his birthday. I would love to see him hold up three fingers and enjoy unwrapping presents. I would love to sing "Happy Birthday" to him. I WISH!! I WISH!!! Plus we start school next Monday. This is nothing but a huge added stress!!!!!!!!! He is only three, he shouldn't be starting school yet. I wouldn't have him start school yet if it wasn't for the 80 minutes of speech he will be receiving. STRESS. STRESS. STRESS. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Prayers for Adelyn

I know I have lots of people that read my blog that believe in the power of prayer just as much as I do. I am asking you all to also pray for a sweet little girl named, Adelyn Rose.
I know Adelyn's aunt from working at North Clay.

 Adelyn Rose, 3 years old. She has Dandy Walker Syndrome Variant which has caused her to have physical, cognitive, and visual disabilities. She will have hip surgery on August 26 and will have a 4 day hospital stay. Recovery will take approximately 4 to 6 weeks. Addy loves being outside, riding horses, listening to music, and is a Daddy's Girl!

Please keep Adelyn and her family in your prayers. 

Job 42:10 

And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.

1 Timothy 2:1

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,

Psalm 127:3-5 

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Psalm 127:3 

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

Trenton's Phase

The "phase" that Trenton is in has some pros and cons.

Pros
1. He tries to say some words. The words he says are words we have been working on for the past 16 months. Today was the third day that he said "help." Last night he looked at a picture of me and said "mom". Today he went to a door and said "door"

Cons
1. He will not use his sensory swing.
2. He wants car rides to meet his sensory needs all the time. For the past two weeks, we have been on numerous car rides per day. Our first car ride starts by 6 AM. Last car ride is at night right before bed time. Most days, we go on ten plus car rides.
3. He can not take any noise.
4. If he is in a small closed in place, such as a house with people in it other than mom, he wants out and will not quit having a tantrum until we leave. He simply can not tolerate the noise that people make and being around people.
5. He wanders! This is bad!!
6. He had done a lot of spinning in circles to meet his sensory needs as well.

Sleep is still a lot better! Friday night he didn't sleep but that was the only night last week that he received very little sleep.  He gets up super early but as long as he is letting me get at least 4 consecutive hours I am good!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Cutting their Food


Overall, Trenton does not play with toys. His idea of playing with toys is lining them up or throwing them. If he does sit and do anything it is puzzles or he plays with his play food. Today, he practice cutting his food.
 Once Trenton was done, it was Andrews turn. He ALWAYS has to do what Trenton does.
It is breaking my heart lately.......I think Andrew is realizing a few things about Trenton. Of course, he gets upset when Trenton is mean to him. Andrew always tries to play with him but Andrew is really wanting Lincoln all the time now. For the past few days, he has been asking me where Lincoln is. I know he is asking because he goes to do the door and says "door, Winc" He knows Lincoln is his play buddy!
Today we saw a truck that looked like Uncle Brian's truck. Andrew got very excited when he saw this truck. I am fairly certain he thought Uncle Brian, Aunt Mindy, and Lincoln was in that truck ready to play.

I worry about Andrew just as much as I do Trenton.

Severe

The past few days have been nothing but an emotional circus.
I had a great conversation with Trenton's occupational therapist on Friday. I know I have mentioned before but I will say it again, she has many years of experience with children with autism. I enjoy every time I get the chance to speak with her in depth about Trenton.  Right away on Friday, she noticed he was back to wandering, meaning he runs and doesn't look back or care. The second we walked in the office he took off running. After his therapy was over, he took off running through the building, through peoples therapy sessions. He is fast and it takes only a split second for him to be gone! This was better for the past few months but it is back and it is BAD!
Anyway, this led to our conversation how Trenton goes through cycles. She said this is not uncommon for children with autism to go through cycles all the time. She said it goes hand in hand with his sensory modulation disorder. Trenton goes through cycles with sleep...sometimes he sleeps, sometimes he doesn't. Sometimes he can take a bath, sometimes he can't. Sometimes his behavior is not aggressive, sometimes it is. Sometimes he wanders off, and sometimes he does not. I think you get my drift.
This led to her telling me that Trenton has severe autism. Her exact words, " From my experience Trenton's autism is very severe. However, he will have the high intelligence that some display but unfortunately I believe Trenton's case is severe."  At this very moment it took every ounce of strength not to fall to the ground screaming and crying. It took everything I had to not yell at every individual in sight and tell them how lucky they are to have normal lives!!!!!!This is the second professional in three weeks that has told me that Trenton has severe autism.
In fact, it has took every ounce of strength to function the past few days. I keep recalling the dreams I had the day I got married. Dreams of a normal family with healthy children. The dreams I had of taking my family to restaurants, vacations, family get together s, etc. Those dreams were stolen by autism and nothing I mean NOTHING in this world can ease the pain.  Instead of family vacations, sporting events, fun church functions, my mind thinks about what will happen to Trenton when I am too elderly to take care of him. Who will take care of my baby????????
I keep recalling the statistic that is glued to my mind.....Only 3 percent of autistic adults live independently. Just 6 percent hold paid, full-time jobs. I am living a mother's worst nightmare. If you are reading this just put yourself in my shoes and imagine putting your precious child in a home because they are so mentally handicapped that they can't live functionally. What would you do? How would you handle it?  Imagine your child is suddenly struck by a disorder that took them from you.

There are two things that NO mother wants to do.
1. Bury a child
2. Be told your child has  a disability with very little possibility of a functional life.
Guess what??? Every doctor, therapist, and counselor will tell you that both to of these situations suffer the same type of grief. I can honestly say I know that is true.


Stage 1:  Denial
Denial is the worst stage for a child with special needs.  Early intervention is critical and if a parent is unwilling to believe they have a child with special needs crucial time is lost.  Some parents never get out of this stage and the only one that loses is that poor child.  It is a parent’s job to be their child’s advocate and that can’t happen until they come to terms with the disability.
Stage 2: Anger
Once in the second stage, the parents recognize that denial cannot continue.   In this stage the child starts getting the crucial help they need but often times the parents alienate themselves from their friends, family and often times each other.  During this stage there are many stresses on the marriage and sometimes this anger will lead to divorce.   The parents need to get past this anger while creating a strong support network.   If the parents stick together often times their bond will become stronger and the marriage will flourish.
Stage 3: Bargaining
The third stage involves the hope that the parents can somehow cure their child.  Usually, this involves prayer to a higher power, “Just let my child be like other children and I will do whatever you want”.  What the parents need to learn is the joys of being special.  Every child has unique abilities and skills.  Through therapies, practice and trial and error you will find what makes your child special.  My son has a bigger heart then anyone I have ever met and continues to amaze me with his generosity every day.
Stage 4:  Depression
During the fourth stage, the parents start to blame themselves.  They think they did something to cause their child to have a disability.  Instead of blaming the world and each other they blame themselves.  Trying to cheer someone up in this stage is very hard.  Common sense is thrown out the window.  The individual needs to realize on their own that they are not to blame.
Stage 5:  Acceptance

In this last stage, parents can start to dream again.  They buckle down and do the hard work it takes to raise a special needs child but now they also see the beauty in it.  They see their child as they are and not defined by their preconceived ideas.  This child has talents and abilities far beyond what they ever imagined.  While they might struggle at social interaction or sports they might flourish somewhere else.  My son’s brain works in pictures and has become my personal navigation system in the car.  He directs me through the city with an ease I still don’t have myself.  He also has become a great swimmer.  While he was not able to keep up in traditional team sports in the water he has the advantage.
Also, unlike many of life’s losses raising a child with special needs is an ongoing commitment.  It would not be unusual to run through these stages more than once as life happens!!  This doesn’t mean you are a horrible parent it means you are a human being.

I have no idea where I am on these stages of grief because on some days...............I feel I go through them all daily.

Today we tried to do a fun family morning but it didn't go very well. All it did was leave me in tears.  I wanted so badly to do something and enjoy it. Instead, the time we were out, I was fighting Trenton to stay with me, the second I let go of his hand he was off running. When I would catch up with him and grab him, he would throw himself down on the ground in an autistic meltdown. The moment when I said "We are leaving", is when people were getting up to look at us and see what was going on. If they only knew!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

 
Grief& Loss: Internal Contributors to Stress
As parents, we develop hopes and dreams about who our baby will be in the world and how we will be as parents. This process of creating an internal life for our baby and ourselves is a natural part of what all parents go through. We do not expect that our baby will be born with, or develop, a disability or special need; when that happens, much of what we imagined and planned is forever changed.
For parents of children with special needs, feelings of stress are often compounded by a profound sense of grief that results from this loss of one’s initial hopes, dreams and expectations. These feelings can be similar to those experienced when we encounter any other significant loss, such as a death or divorce. Recent research has indicated that parents of children with special needs may even experience feelings and symptoms of traumatic stress, particularly at the time of their child’s diagnosis. These feelings of grief and loss are often experienced but rarely spoken about or shared. Parents may be worried that expressing their feelings of anger, depression or fear may not be welcomed or tolerated by those around them. They may even feel pressure from family and friends to be “strong” or to remain positive, leaving those feelings of grief without a place for expression. It is important for families to understand and talk about these feelings, and to know that what they are feeling is natural.

States of Grief
We typically think of grief as having distinct “states” (Moses, 1987). For parents of children with special needs, grief rarely happens in a predictable or linear fashion. Oftentimes, the sense of loss is on-going and it is very common for parents to re-experience various feelings of grief at many points throughout their child’s development. A parent who may have adjusted expectations for their child’s needs at home may find themselves again experiencing feelings of denial, fear or depression when presented with new challenges their child is facing at school.While these feelings are often difficult to sit with and even harder to talk about, it is important to remember that all of the feeling states associated with grief serve a purpose and help us to cope, manage and mobilize. The feeling states of grief that we all experience following loss are:
                             •Denial •Anxiety • Fear • Guilt • Depression • Anger
Every parent is different, and grief is a uniquely individual process. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to experience grief; however, parents need to have the space to fully experience and express all of these important feelings. Letting go of the hopes and dreams that we originally had, and which no longer serve us, is an exceptionally complicated and complex process. Doing so can help us connect more fully with what is right in front of us, and can enableus to develop and create new hopes, expectations and dreams for ourselves and our family.
Outside Stressors Also Impact Families
Parents also experience stress due to the challenging external realities of raising a child with special needs. Parents often find themselves juggling the daily needs of their family with medical and therapy appointments, teacher meetings and advocating for services. Siblings may experience stress; feeling overlooked or overly relied upon. Financial pressures may develop when parents are unable or choose not to work in order to care for their child, or when families need to pay for services that are not covered by insurance or other agencies.
For many parents, support is limited. Agencies that once provided services have been impacted by state and local budget cuts. Supportive services for families, such as respite care, are being greatly reduced or eliminated. Parents may experience long waitlists or delays in getting the necessary and needed services for their children and for themselves.
- See more at: http://www.abilitypath.org/areas-of-development/delays--special-needs/states-of-grief.html#sthash.x6H2l5vd.dpuf
Grief& Loss: Internal Contributors to Stress
As parents, we develop hopes and dreams about who our baby will be in the world and how we will be as parents. This process of creating an internal life for our baby and ourselves is a natural part of what all parents go through. We do not expect that our baby will be born with, or develop, a disability or special need; when that happens, much of what we imagined and planned is forever changed.
For parents of children with special needs, feelings of stress are often compounded by a profound sense of grief that results from this loss of one’s initial hopes, dreams and expectations. These feelings can be similar to those experienced when we encounter any other significant loss, such as a death or divorce. Recent research has indicated that parents of children with special needs may even experience feelings and symptoms of traumatic stress, particularly at the time of their child’s diagnosis. These feelings of grief and loss are often experienced but rarely spoken about or shared. Parents may be worried that expressing their feelings of anger, depression or fear may not be welcomed or tolerated by those around them. They may even feel pressure from family and friends to be “strong” or to remain positive, leaving those feelings of grief without a place for expression. It is important for families to understand and talk about these feelings, and to know that what they are feeling is natural.

States of Grief
We typically think of grief as having distinct “states” (Moses, 1987). For parents of children with special needs, grief rarely happens in a predictable or linear fashion. Oftentimes, the sense of loss is on-going and it is very common for parents to re-experience various feelings of grief at many points throughout their child’s development. A parent who may have adjusted expectations for their child’s needs at home may find themselves again experiencing feelings of denial, fear or depression when presented with new challenges their child is facing at school.While these feelings are often difficult to sit with and even harder to talk about, it is important to remember that all of the feeling states associated with grief serve a purpose and help us to cope, manage and mobilize. The feeling states of grief that we all experience following loss are:
                             •Denial •Anxiety • Fear • Guilt • Depression • Anger
Every parent is different, and grief is a uniquely individual process. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to experience grief; however, parents need to have the space to fully experience and express all of these important feelings. Letting go of the hopes and dreams that we originally had, and which no longer serve us, is an exceptionally complicated and complex process. Doing so can help us connect more fully with what is right in front of us, and can enableus to develop and create new hopes, expectations and dreams for ourselves and our family.
Outside Stressors Also Impact Families
Parents also experience stress due to the challenging external realities of raising a child with special needs. Parents often find themselves juggling the daily needs of their family with medical and therapy appointments, teacher meetings and advocating for services. Siblings may experience stress; feeling overlooked or overly relied upon. Financial pressures may develop when parents are unable or choose not to work in order to care for their child, or when families need to pay for services that are not covered by insurance or other agencies.
For many parents, support is limited. Agencies that once provided services have been impacted by state and local budget cuts. Supportive services for families, such as respite care, are being greatly reduced or eliminated. Parents may experience long waitlists or delays in getting the necessary and needed services for their children and for themselves.
- See more at: http://www.abilitypath.org/areas-of-development/delays--special-needs/states-of-grief.html#sthash.x6H2l5vd.dpuf
Grief& Loss: Internal Contributors to Stress
As parents, we develop hopes and dreams about who our baby will be in the world and how we will be as parents. This process of creating an internal life for our baby and ourselves is a natural part of what all parents go through. We do not expect that our baby will be born with, or develop, a disability or special need; when that happens, much of what we imagined and planned is forever changed.
For parents of children with special needs, feelings of stress are often compounded by a profound sense of grief that results from this loss of one’s initial hopes, dreams and expectations. These feelings can be similar to those experienced when we encounter any other significant loss, such as a death or divorce. Recent research has indicated that parents of children with special needs may even experience feelings and symptoms of traumatic stress, particularly at the time of their child’s diagnosis. These feelings of grief and loss are often experienced but rarely spoken about or shared. Parents may be worried that expressing their feelings of anger, depression or fear may not be welcomed or tolerated by those around them. They may even feel pressure from family and friends to be “strong” or to remain positive, leaving those feelings of grief without a place for expression. It is important for families to understand and talk about these feelings, and to know that what they are feeling is natural.

States of Grief
We typically think of grief as having distinct “states” (Moses, 1987). For parents of children with special needs, grief rarely happens in a predictable or linear fashion. Oftentimes, the sense of loss is on-going and it is very common for parents to re-experience various feelings of grief at many points throughout their child’s development. A parent who may have adjusted expectations for their child’s needs at home may find themselves again experiencing feelings of denial, fear or depression when presented with new challenges their child is facing at school.While these feelings are often difficult to sit with and even harder to talk about, it is important to remember that all of the feeling states associated with grief serve a purpose and help us to cope, manage and mobilize. The feeling states of grief that we all experience following loss are:
                             •Denial •Anxiety • Fear • Guilt • Depression • Anger
Every parent is different, and grief is a uniquely individual process. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to experience grief; however, parents need to have the space to fully experience and express all of these important feelings. Letting go of the hopes and dreams that we originally had, and which no longer serve us, is an exceptionally complicated and complex process. Doing so can help us connect more fully with what is right in front of us, and can enableus to develop and create new hopes, expectations and dreams for ourselves and our family.
Outside Stressors Also Impact Families
Parents also experience stress due to the challenging external realities of raising a child with special needs. Parents often find themselves juggling the daily needs of their family with medical and therapy appointments, teacher meetings and advocating for services. Siblings may experience stress; feeling overlooked or overly relied upon. Financial pressures may develop when parents are unable or choose not to work in order to care for their child, or when families need to pay for services that are not covered by insurance or other agencies.
For many parents, support is limited. Agencies that once provided services have been impacted by state and local budget cuts. Supportive services for families, such as respite care, are being greatly reduced or eliminated. Parents may experience long waitlists or delays in getting the necessary and needed services for their children and for themselves.
- See more at: http://www.abilitypath.org/areas-of-development/delays--special-needs/states-of-grief.html#sthash.x6H2l5vd.dpuf

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Before Regression

One of the things that I discussed a little on the radio yesterday was Trenton's regression. The whole first year of his life, we thought we had a perfectly normal baby that just was a little difficult. Tonight I would like to share some pictures of Trenton before we lost him to autism. He was SO SOCIAL it breaks my heart every day.






 He loved his bath EVERY NIGHT!









Always and Forever!!!

Information that explains ABA


Behavior analysis is a scientifically validated approach to understanding behavior and how it is affected by the environment. In this context, “behavior" refers to actions and skills. "Environment" includes any influence – physical or social – that might change or be changed by one's behavior.
On a practical level, the principles and methods of behavior analysis have helped many different kinds of learners acquire many different skills – from healthier lifestyles to the mastery of a new language. Since the 1960s, therapists have been applying behavior analysis to help children with autism and related developmental disorders.

What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

Behavior analysis focuses on the principles that explain how learning takes place. Positive reinforcement is one such principle. When a behavior is followed by some sort of reward, the behavior is more likely to be repeated. Through decades of research, the field of behavior analysis has developed many techniques for increasing useful behaviors and reducing those that may cause harm or interfere with learning.
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the use of these techniques and principles to bring about meaningful and positive change in behavior.

As mentioned, behavior analysts began working with young children with autism and related disorders in the 1960s. Early techniques often involved adults directing most of the instruction. Some allowed the child to take the lead. Since that time, a wide variety of ABA techniques have been developed for building useful skills in learners with autism – from toddlers through adulthood.
These techniques can be used in structured situations such as a classroom lesson as well as in "everyday" situations such as family dinnertime or the neighborhood playground. Some ABA therapy sessions involve one-on-one interaction between the behavior analyst and the participant. Group instruction can likewise prove useful.

How Does ABA Benefit Those with Autism? 


Today, ABA is widely recognized as a safe and effective treatment for autism. It has been endorsed by a number of state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Surgeon General and the New York State Department of Health. Over the last decade, the nation has seen a particularly dramatic increase in the use of ABA to help persons with autism live happy and productive lives. In particular, ABA principles and techniques can foster basic skills such as looking, listening and imitating, as well as complex skills such as reading, conversing and understanding another person’s perspective.
More information about behavior analysis and ABA is available at the websites of the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts, the Association for Behavior Analysis International and the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

What Does Research Tell Us About ABA and Autism?


Autism Speaks has funded and continues to fund research on developing and validating ABA techniques. You can explore these research grants here.
A number of completed studies have demonstrated that ABA techniques can produce improvements in communication, social relationships, play, self care, school and employment. These studies involved age groups ranging from preschoolers to adults. Results for all age groups showed that ABA increased participation in family and community activities.
A number of peer-reviewed studies have examined the potential benefits of combining multiple ABA techniques into comprehensive, individualized and intensive early intervention programs for children with autism. "Comprehensive" refers to interventions that address a full range of life skills, from communication and sociability to self-care and readiness for school. "Early intervention" refers to programs designed to begin before age 4. "Intensive" refers to programs that total 25 to 40 hours per week for 1 to 3 years.

These programs allow children to learn and practice skills in both structured and unstructured situations. The “intensity” of these programs may be particularly important to replicate the thousands of interactions that typical toddlers experience each day while interacting with their parents and peers.

Such studies have demonstrated that many children with autism experience significant improvements in learning, reasoning, communication and adaptability when they participate in high-quality ABA programs. Some preschoolers who participate in early intensive ABA for two or more years acquire sufficient skills to participate in regular classrooms with little or no additional support. Other children learn many important skills, but still need additional educational support to succeed in a classroom.

Across studies, a small percentage of children show relatively little improvement.
 More research is needed to determine why some children with autism respond more favorably to early intensive ABA than others do. Currently, it remains difficult to predict the extent to which a particular child will benefit.

In some studies, researchers compared intensive ABA with less intensive ABA and/or other early intervention or special education programs for children with autism. Generally, they found that children who receive intensive ABA treatment make larger improvements in more skill areas than do children who participate in other interventions. In addition, the parents of the children who receive intensive ABA report greater reductions in daily stress than do parents whose children receive other treatments.

ABA and Adults with Autism

A number of recent studies confirm that ABA techniques are effective for building important life skills in teens and adults with autism. Many comprehensive autism support programs for adults employ and combine ABA techniques to help individuals transition successfully into independent living and employment. However, the benefits of intensive ABA programs remain far less studied in teens and adults than they have been with young children. This is a research area of particular interest to Autism Speaks and its supporters.

What Does ABA Intervention Involve?

Effective ABA intervention for autism is not a "one size fits all" approach and should never be viewed as a "canned" set of programs or drills. On the contrary, a skilled therapist customizes the intervention to each learner's skills, needs, interests, preferences and family situation. For these reasons, an ABA program for one learner will look different than a program for another learner. That said, quality ABA programs for learners with autism have the following in common:
Planning and Ongoing Assessment
* A qualified and trained behavior analyst designs and directly oversees the intervention.
* The analyst’s development of treatment goals stems from a detailed assessment of each learner's skills and preferences and may also include family goals.
* Treatment goals and instruction are developmentally appropriate and target a broad range of skill areas such as communication, sociability, self-care, play and leisure, motor development and academic skills.
* Goals emphasize skills that will enable learners to become independent and successful in both the short and long terms.
* The instruction plan breaks down desired skills into manageable steps to be taught from the simplest (e.g. imitating single sounds) to the more complex (e.g. carrying on a conversation).
* The intervention involves ongoing objective measurement of the learner’s progress.
* The behavior analyst frequently reviews information on the learner’s progress and uses this to adjust procedures and goals as needed.
* The analyst meets regularly with family members and program staff to plan ahead, review progress and make adjustments as needed.
ABA Techniques and Philosophy
* The instructor uses a variety of behavior analytic procedures, some of which are directed by the instructor and others initiated by the learner.
* Parents and/or other family members and caregivers receive training so they can support learning and skill practice throughout the day.
* The learner’s day is structured to provide many opportunities – both planned and naturally occurring - to acquire and practice skills in both structured and unstructured situations.
* The learner receives an abundance of positive reinforcement for demonstrating useful skills and socially appropriate behaviors. The emphasis is on positive social interactions and enjoyable learning.
* The learner receives no reinforcement for behaviors that pose harm or prevent learning.

What Kind of Progress Can Be Expected with ABA?

Competently delivered ABA intervention can help learners with autism make meaningful changes in many areas. However, changes do not typically occur quickly. Rather, most learners require intensive and ongoing instruction that builds on their step-by-step progress. Moreover, the rate of progress – like the goals of intervention – varies considerably from person to person depending on age, level of functioning, family goals and other factors.
Some learners do acquire skills quickly. But typically, this rapid progress happens in just one or two particular skill areas such as reading, while much more instruction and practice is needed to master another skill area such as interacting with peers.

Who Is Qualified to Provide ABA Intervention?

Just as a medical treatment program should be directed by a qualified medical professional, ABA programs for learners with autism should be designed and supervised by qualified professionals, which include either licensed clinical psychologists with training in applied behavior analysis or behavior analysts, who are board certified with supervised experience providing ABA treatment for autism or who can clearly document that they have equivalent training and experience.

Because of the huge demand for ABA intervention for autism, many individuals and programs now claim to provide ABA. Some are private practitioners or agencies that offer services in a family's home. Others operate private schools. And still others provide consultation services to public schools.

Unfortunately, some who claim to offer ABA lack the field’s established minimum requirements in education and practical experience. Family members, teachers and others involved in developing an individual’s therapy and support program should keep the following in mind when choosing an ABA program or practitioner:
Always check credentials of those who claim to be qualified in behavior analysis. For example, for licensed clinical psychologists, you should inquire about the level of training in behavioral interventions for autism, including training in applied behavior analysis. For behavior analysts, you should determine whether the person has been credentialed with the Behavior Analyst Certification Board or the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts. These professionals often supervise other people, including paraprofessionals, who will be working directly with your child. Thus, it is important that you feel confident that the licensed clinical psychologist or behavior analyst is providing regular supervision to anyone working directly with your child.

Parents, guardians and other care givers should monitor the program by observing sessions and participating in training sessions and consultations.

Here are a few pictures of Trenton's room where he does ABA in Effingham. Trenton sits on one side of the table and Heather sits on the other side. Of course, he gets up and walks around and can't stay seated long but she redirects well!


School Visit

Trenton and I met his teacher and aide today. Trenton loved his classroom and all the toys that were in it. I think his favorite was all the shapes in the classroom. Shapes were on a rug, on the wall, and he even found a puzzle with shapes! He loved it!!!

I took several pictures of his classroom and teachers. I plan on showing Trenton these pictures every day so he will transition better.

The problem will be when there is students, noise, and no Mommy. Let's continue to pray for this transition.

Today we said good bye to Margaret. She has worked with Trenton through the Early Intervention program. She was fabulous with Trenton! We will miss her very much!

Trenton enjoying a puzzle in his new classroom.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Good Note

On a good note....Trenton keeps on having a fantastic week!
At one point this week, he came up to me and said "Hep me" and grabbed my hand and took me to his toy. He needed help with his toy. I was so proud of him!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He spontaneous kissed his therapist today. It was adorable!

Andrew's new word is "again". If he is looking at a book with  us and we come to the end, Andrew says "again" and opens the book to the beginning. It is so cute.

James 1:17


17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Transition & Change

These next few weeks is all about BIG changes for Trenton. We do not handle change very good at all! Before I get into that, I just want to tell you how much I enjoyed doing my first "talk" about autism and Trenton today. Unfortunately, I started off the show crying but I got my strength and recovered well. A big thanks to the R & B Revue on WNOI for allowing me to participate on their show today. My final BIG "THANK YOU" to the Billingsleys and Clay County for making Miracle Treat Day a HUGE SUCCESS!

Transition and change are not handled well by Trenton. This week we are saying good bye to our Early Intervention therapist who have been working with Trenton since April 2012. These three women have been a huge part of Trenton's life for the past 16 months. Trenton's life is all about routine and it is coming to a sudden change at the end of this week. Trenton turns three next Tuesday which means he has aged out of Early Intervention. This is why we are starting the Early Childhood class at McEndree. What does all of this mean??? Its goodbye to three familiar therapist that he sees weekly and hello to all new therapist, a new teacher, new kids, and a new place. OUCH! I am so not looking forward to the consequences in his behavior due to these changes. To be honest, I am an emotional wreck anticipating the change. I am making myself sick of just the thought of dropping him off at a whole new place with lots of new people and lots of noise. He will have a typical autistic meltdown for numerous days every minute he is there. UGH!!

Tomorrow after we get back from Effingham, Trenton and I will be meeting his teacher and visiting his classroom. I will be taking pictures of the school, classroom, and his teacher so  I can show them to him everyday to help make the transition a little easier.

Trenton will still be receiving his therapies at Olney and Effingham. We will still be extremely busy! We will go directly to Olney and/or Effingham every day after school. He will attend school from 8-10:30 and we will be in therapies til mid afternoon.




MIRACLE TREAT DAY A BIG SUCCESS

news picture 1  
MIRACLE TREAT DAY A BIG SUCCESS
(08/14/13)rp
Miracle Treat Day at the Flora Dairy Queen last Thursday was a huge success.
During this one day event, the Dairy Queen donated $2.00 per Blizzard Treat sold to the Children's Miracle Network and an additional $2.00 donation to the family of local child, Trenton Conrad, who has autism.
On Monday, Dairy Queen owners, David and Melissa Billingsley, presented a check in the amount of $5,254 to the Conrad family to assist with Trenton’s many trips to therapy.
Thanks to everyone for their generosity and for making a difference in our community!





Our family would like to take this opportunity to thank Dave and Melissa Billingsley for sponsoring our son, Trenton, this year and making the  DQ Children's Miracle Network Blizzard fundraiser such a huge success!  We will forever be grateful to you for all the effort and hard work you put in before, during and after this event.

We would also like to send a special thanks to Barb Tackitt and the nurses at the Clay County Health Department for the part they played in making this happen for our family and allowing us to become acquainted with Dave and Melissa.  

We would be amiss if we didn't thank the workers at the DQ for their hard work and dedication.  I know you had a very busy day and we appreciate your efforts! 

 Last, but not least, to each and every individual that purchased a blizzard... THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!   The support that has been shown to us from our community far exceeded our expectations!  We love and appreciate everyone of you and what you have done for us will never be forgotten.  It is our prayer that we can tell Trenton one day the story of how a small town came together to help him one blizzard at a time!!!!

 We were so humbled and honored that our son was selected this  year!  Thank you Clay County! 

The money that was raised will make it possible for Trenton to be able to continue his many therapies that are needed for him to live a functional life.

We are so proud to call Flora our home!  God bless you all!

Tim & Angie Conrad