Monday, September 30, 2013

The Little Boy

The Little Boy

What is it about the little boy . . .
and all his strange little ways?
What is it about the little boy
and the odd way he plays?

What is it about the little boy;
when will he start to talk?
We wonder about the little boy,
since he was very quick to walk


What is it about the little boy;
why can’t he look you in the eye?
What is it about the little boy,
so quick to scream and cry

What is it about the little boy;
he acts different in every way
What is it about the little boy;
they say it won’t go away

What is it about the little boy?
What is the cause for concern?
What it is about the little boy,
has a diagnosis we’ve learned

Now we know about the little boy
So now where do we turn?
Now we know about the little boy;
there is so much to learn

So, who will help the little boy?
Insurance says no way!
Who will help the little boy
If we cannot pay?

Who will show the little boy..
show him how to play?
Who will show the little boy
What will happen each day?

So what will help the little boy;
his mother's determination and love.
What will help her with the little boy...
grace and strength from up above

Sunday & Sleep

Yesterday we played Ring Around the Rosey until we were all dizzy. No joke! Trenton wanted to play off and on all afternoon.  He had a fantastic day yesterday. He was content to play at Nana and Pops all afternoon which is unusual. Nana's house is like home to him and he still can only be there for so long. However, on Sunday he was happy as a lark there!
He had such a good day he let Mommy go to night church!! Mommy was very excited!

Andrew had a big day yesterday as well. He woke up from his nap and did not use his diaper the whole time. Therefore, Mommy put him on the pot and said, "Potty Andrew." A few seconds later, he  peed! Way to go Little A!!!!!!!!

Trenton's sleep is just about as bad as it can get. No improvement at all and he is on two medicines to help this. In the past, he would give me at least one night a week where he would sleep. However, he has not given me that for the past two weeks. In addition, we are back to taking car rides in the middle of the night to meet his sensory needs.  It is truly amazing to me how one's body can go on three hours of sleep a night for an extended period of time. No one would ever know what little sleep he gets in a 24 hour period because he very rarely shows signs of being tired throughout the day. Instead he has a body that keeps going and going and going. Kinda like the Energizer Bunny!

I took Andrew to Wal-Mart one day last week while Trenton was in school. I overheard a conversation from one employee to the other about how much he hates working second shift when he is scheduled because he gets so tired.  The conversation ended how he "catches up" on his sleep on his days off. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!! There is no "catching up" in this household!! 

Trenton's babbling has been very limited the past week.  He is participating very well in his therapies just very quiet. As I type this I am listening to another meltdown free ABA session in our home!! YAY!!!
Twice last week he looked at a picture of me and said, "Mommy" My heart melted both times!


Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.



Saturday, September 28, 2013

Saturday

Saturdays are always rough for Trenton. We have no therapy, no school, and Mommy always has house hold items to take care of. However, we usually manage and get through it. I always try to incorporate something to do out of the house to add a change in the routine. Today we went to The Shreves Pumpkin Patch in Fairfield. We had lots of fun but it is never a relaxing time. We were only there a few minutes shy of a half hour but in that half hour both boys were all over the place. Trenton would have rather run away and kept on running away but I redirected him back. The patch was right next door to the family's house. Trenton really wanted to go on the porch and line her plants and flowers up differently. This was a chore to keep on redirecting him from the front porch. However, we left and did not have any meltdowns. We left when I could feel one coming on. The best thing to do is to leave before it happens because it doesn't matter if you ignore him during a meltdown or stare at him the whole time, he doesn't know how to stop himself for a very very long time.

Andrew enjoyed himself and you can see lots more of what Andrew did on our family blog.

 Trenton enjoyed running and the mazes!!
 Trenton used his headphones for a while today. He seemed to be very calm when they were on too!
 We did lots of floor puzzles today
We did a new next activity today and it was finger painting.

 Trenton got it all over his face and hair, No big deal!!! He had a good time so that is all that matters.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Autism Experience

Some individuals with autism do not have severe sensory problems. I was told that Trenton has severe sensory problems. This video is enough to make me sick to my stomach just thinking about Trenton and his sensory disorder.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gSSkr-qFhc

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bless those who see life through a different window and those who understand their view. <3

Anxiety on the spectrum

Anxiety on the Spectrum!

Over the next several days we will be discussing anxiety and strategies for combating anxiety.

Anxiety is the most common co-occurring disorder in people with autism spectrum disorders. It is understandable since their nervous systems have to work so hard just to "fit in" with our world. The constant stress on the nervous system due to all the sensory, cognitive, social and emotional vulnerabilities they experience naturally leaves them very prone to anxiety. Their nervous systems are on “high alert” leaving them anxious and on guard. It is important to help the child feel "safe and accepted", and to minimize the amount of stress in their lives.

For many children on the spectrum anxiety is a daily experience. Anxiety is one of the most common conditions associated with autism/aspergers. Their nervous systems are so fragile that simple day to day processing and regulating our world is very taxing for them. What comes natural for us is hard work for them. Much chaos and confusion naturally results in anxiety. Studies have shown that even in a resting state, their nervous systems are on high alert with greater levels of stress chemicals, as compared to neurotypical (NT) people. Since the world can be very overwhelming, it makes sense that there would be stronger levels of anxiety for these children. This anxiety is often expressed in obsessive compulsive behavior, oppositional defiance, rigid/inflexible thinking, perseverations, rigid reliance on rituals/routines, compulsive need for sameness, mood swings, as well as a variety of other challenging behaviors. In providing proactive supports to lessen stress it is important to isolate the type of anxiety your child experiences. Below, I have tried to list several of the anxieties that children experience.

Which of these does your child experience?
How does your child express his anxiety?
What supports/techniques have you found to be helpful in lessening the anxiety?

Types of Anxiety

1. Anxiety of uncertainty: Fear of anything new or unfamiliar, seeks sameness; can be controlling and oppositional.

2. Social anxiety: Interacting with others, participating in social events; fear of not knowing how to act or fit in. The stronger the desire to fit in, the greater the anxiety.

3. Performance anxiety: Perfectionism; fear of being wrong; asking them questions or prompting to do something. Any demand for performance puts them “on the spot.”

4. Anticipatory anxiety: Becomes anxious over an upcoming event; either good or bad. May ruminate/perseverate on upcoming event.

5. Sensory/informational overload: Becomes anxious in settings that present strong sensory stimulation, or informational processing demands.

6. Separation Anxiety: Has to be next to mom or dad at all times. Becomes highly anxious when parent leaves their sight.

7. Defused generalized anxiety: An ongoing, pervasive anxiety that is not connected to a specific event. Seems to always be apprehensive and insecure.

In future discussions we will look at different techniques (bio-medical, sensory diet, exercise, meditation, graded exposure, desensitization, and medications) that are used to help reduce anxiety. First it is important to isolate out what types of anxiety the child experiences.

Ring Around The Rosy

Mommy and Nana played Ring Around The Rosy today with Trenton. He loved it! He was having so much fun he went and got Andrew and brought him to our circle. The four of us held hands and sang the lyrics  to the song. When we all fell down, Trenton laughed and smiled great big! Andrew smiled so big his dimples showed and he shouts, "Again. Again." We did it again numerous times.

This was the first time Trenton has engaged in play with his brother. It was a breathtaking moment!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Routine & Habit

After school today, we traveled to Effingham to see Heather! We missed her! Trenton was so excited to get back in his routine with her!  When she came out in the waiting room to get him, he ran straight to his ABA room and sat in his chair ready to work. We are so glad she is back and we are on our full normal schedule again! Thank goodness!

Trenton is still doing fantastic in school! It is unbelievable how he can work in school and go straight to therapy for a few hours on only a few hours of sleep. For example, last night Trenton was up from 11:30 PM to 5:00 AM.  He fell back to sleep at 5:00 and slept for two hours before school. Mommy on the other hand is extremely tired. Trenton is in bed right now as I type but Andrew is going strong!

Trenton said "mom" today but it was out of routine and habit. Not meaningful. Let me explain.....Every time Heather ends her session with Trenton, she tells him, "Let's go see mom." She makes Trenton repeat mom. Today, Heather said, "Lets go see...." Trenton says mom before she could finish. I was very excited to hear that special word out of his mouth but I can't wait til he uses it spontaneously and meaningful! Another example is, I got in the habit of saying " 1,2,3" before I would get Trenton out of the bath tub. He will not get out of the bath tub until I say, "1,2,3."  He does it for me only and only in his bath tub. If he takes a bath at Nana's house, I do not have to say "1,2,3."

This is the area where a majority of people fall short of being educated on autism.  Children and adults with autism are very trainable but in some cases it is out of habit and routine. Another example.... a mother of a  child with autism one time said that her son knows how to wash his hands at home but no where else. It became a habit for him at home but when he is any where else, he has no idea how to wash his hands even though he has a sink, soap, and towel to dry his hands.  I wanted to educated you that the autistic brain is like this. Unfortunately, this is one area that parents are always judged on.

We had some great moments today and I wanted to share some pictures from our day.

 Trenton has some vestibular and proprioceptive sensory problems. Trampolines are a great way to help these areas. Today he used his trampoline a lot!
 Of course, if Trenton is doing it, Andrew is too.




 Another line....can't help but love them!
 These two animals were our "items" of the day.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Normal

I can't look at this picture without crying. This picture speaks many words. Although the picture was staged with Trenton's arms around his brother and cousin, it is adorable! It only lasted a few seconds and I am surprised we got a snapshot. However, I look at this picture and I see normal. NORMAL! Trenton looks so normal! That is a battle for every child with autism and their parents.....they look normal! In this picture I see a normal Trenton running around playing with his brother and cousin, laughing with them, talking with them, telling on them, fighting with them,and so forth. I look at this picture and DREAM what life could be like for Trenton......

Play Doh Story

We finally have ABA with Heather again tomorrow. We are excited. We haven't seen her in two weeks and we miss her!
Trenton did a great job in therapy on Monday. He was a busy boy. Our last therapy session didn't end til 5:00 but he did great! I haven't had to listen to any crying, screams, or kicks during ABA in our home for several weeks! This is wonderful!!!!!!!!

Trenton had amazing eye contact with me today. He looked me in the eye for about 5 seconds during lunch. It was awesome!

We haven't been successful on the IPad the past two days. This is the story with autism.....some days he can do things and some days he just simply can't. I am hoping we have a successful  experience tomorrow!

A few days ago, Trenton was playing with his play doh and using his play doh cutters to make shapes. He was missing a few pieces and he didn't like it. He picked up his play doh shape cutters and grabbed my hand. He took me to the front door. I knew that he wanted to go and try to find the piece that he was missing but I had no idea where it could be. I distracted him and he cried but after about 30 minutes he let it go and went on to something else. I know that Trenton knew where the piece was but he could not tell me. My guess was either Nana's house or the play yard area since he didn't look in our house for it. A few days later Aunt Mindy brought the shape cutter to us because he left it at their house. Trenton's face just glowed  when I gave it to him. How awful is that to know where you left your toy but you simply can't communicate that to your mom. The only thing he knew to do was to take me to the door. That was his way of telling me we need to get my toy. This has really bothered and has made me sick just thinking about it. I have often thought that we all need to not talk and use limit forms of communication for one day and see what it is like for Trenton. I am sure we all would be thankful when the day was up. Unfortunately, Trenton's is an everyday experience.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Love it!



Interesting Article on Autism- Very Informative

Rigid/Inflexibility

For the next couple of days we will be discussing the last in the series on “cognitive issues”. This topic has to do with “rigid/inflexible” thinking that often leads to so much stress for the child. I am sure you will recognize some of these challenges.

People who are flexible are able to see different perspectives, consider different options, and can easily shift gears when things don’t go as expected. Generally speaking people who are flexible are by the far the happiest people. They can go with the flow, and bend with the wind. They don't get easily anxious, and have minimal difficulty seeing different options or trying different ways. They don’t seem to be disturbed by simple snags, irritating people, or experiencing failures along the way.

To live successfully in our world, you must be flexible!

In order to be flexible we need to understand that everything is relative based on the demands of the given situation and the options available to us. We all have known people who hold by rigid beliefs, even in the face of strong evidence against those ideas. We are all different in the degree of flexible thinking. Most people on the spectrum have difficulty with flexible thinking. Rigid, inflexible thinking is at the heart of much of their anxiety. Listed below are some of the qualities of rigid/inflexible thinking.

Rigid/Absolute Thinking

• Autism thinking is very concrete, literal, and absolute.
• Rules, regulations, and expectations are black and white, right or wrong, with little room for interpretation.
• Thinking can be rigid and inflexible, with little tolerance for variability.
• Variability creates insecurity and anxiety.
• Child may hold onto rigid beliefs and expectations, and meltdown if things are not going as expected.
• Child feels safer with concrete, predictable rules and laws that remain constant.

When your thinking is very "literal" and tied to the facts, thinking tends to be very "black and white", "either or" and "right or wrong", with little room for gray area. This type of thinking leads to the person applying rigid rules to situations that require variability and flexibility. Rarely do rules and regulations (especially social rules) apply rigidly, without variation across situations and settings. Unfortunately when you cannot read the fluctuations between situations, then you cannot adjust your thinking, and must hold tight to your rules and expectations. Our world is way too relative for most people on the spectrum. What applies in one situation, doesn't necessarily apply to the next situation. This results in anxiety, misreading situations, out of place behavior, the need to control all situations to match their expectation, and extreme anger when things don't go their way. Things have to be the same and stay the same, each time, or the world falls apart.

Black and White Thinking

• Things are either right or wrong, good or bad, with little in between.
• Cannot see gray area.
• Needs one right answer.
• Difficulty with multiple alternatives.
• Difficulty with evaluating “good enough”.
• Inflexible, hard to change mind.

Black and white thinking consists of two extremes on a continuum of variability. When you cannot read the gray area, you need to have one right answer. For them, multiple options that need to be appraised and evaluated can cause extreme anxiety. They prefer one right way of doing something. That way, once they learn it, it is constant. However, most of the world does not operate that easily.

Many of these children are strong perfectionists, who meltdown if they are not perfect at something the first time. They are unable to evaluate when a response is "good enough!" and must get it perfect. Hence they are rarely satisfied, and may spend countless hours trying to get it right. They have a very difficult time changing their mind, even if what they are doing is not working. They may freak if you try to interrupt them, or offer them a different way.

Related Behavior Challenges

As you can imagine, this rigid, inflexible thinking can lead to a host of behavior challenges. The anxiety that rigid thinking generates can be expressed in the following behavior challenges.

Related Behaviors

• Rigidly seeks predictable, static routine/activities.
• Actively resists change.
• Must control all activity & interactions.
• Seeks rigid routine and self controlled activities to avoid chaos/confusion.
• Strong resistance to follow the lead of others.
• Compulsive, repetitive, ritualistic, self absorbed, oppositional, self stimulation and tantrums.

Of course this rigid/inflexible thinking results in a lot of the acting out behavior that we see in our children. When the world doesn't go exactly the way they view it, they can meltdown very quickly. Now, the biggest problems occur when a rigid/inflexible child meets a rigid/inflexible adult! All "hell" breaks out. The more rigid the child, the more flexible the adult has to be. Since the adult supposedly has better self control and is "wiser", they should become more flexible to hold off major confrontation.

For many of you your children must control all activity and interaction to feel safe. Uncertainty creates strong anxiety, and they resist following your lead. To keep sanity in the household, you usually have to give in and follow the child's lead. This rigid/inflexible thinking can control a whole household, holding everyone in it captive.

In addition to sensory issues, rigid/inflexible thinking is at the heart of much of the anxiety experienced by those on the spectrum. It creates major stress, both for the child and for the people around him. The world has to be his way, or it crumbles. This inflexible thinking can be very difficult to change. The adherence to rigid beliefs, rules, and rituals helps reduce the chaos and confusion. It also serves as a defense mechanism to reduce uncertainty and anxiety. To help teach greater flexibility we must start where the child is at, help them feel safe, and then gradually stretch their comfort zone. The following posts will suggestions ways to promote flexible thinking, reducing both anxiety and challenging behaviors.

Attending Family Events....not possible with autism

Trenton had had a great weekend! We were successful on our IPad again today with picking something out to eat. At supper time he hit the spaghetti button. Therefore, I served him spaghetti and he ate it and was very happy! Two days in a row!!! YAY!!!! I hope and pray this keeps going!

On Saturday, I had a cousin get married. I would have LOVED to have attended the wedding. I had intentions on attending and leaving behind my boys and husband. However, as the day approached I didn't go. I didn't go for a few reasons. First, I was so sleep deprived and felt like complete crap. The things a person body does when they are so deprived from sleep is very scary. Several times throughout my days I feel like I don't feel my face. My face is tingly and just does not feel normal. Very hard to explain.  Two, the extra pounds I have packed on from stress makes my wardrobe extremely small. Being the mother to a special needs child does not contain time to travel and go shopping for the day. THAT JUST DOES NOT HAPPEN! Three, it is very hard to go to public events or to ANY event when I know my family can't be there also. If we were a normal family, we would all be there. However, we aren't normal. I simply did not want to go somewhere if I couldn't go with my family. Four, I would have to look around at all the other normal families there and that is enough to make a person even more depressed than what they already are.  Don't get me wrong, I am VERY HAPPY that many many families in my area don't live the life we live. However, it is just very difficult on some days to see what life could be like. Some days it is easier to handle than others. To be honest, on Saturday I was so sleep deprived that if I would have attended the family event......well....more than likely, I would have been in the bathroom crying my sorrows away. Sleep deprivation brings out many emotions especially on this journey. Therefore, my cousins wedding goes on the list of very important functions that we were unable to attend.....AND IT WAS ONLY FIVE MINUTES FROM OUR HOUSE. On that list has been two very close family members funerals, another wedding, and many other family functions No matter the distance, we simply can not attend functions.



When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. (Psalm 34:17)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pancakes!

I cried happy tears today for the first time in many days...or should I say many months!

I was fighting a normal battle I fight every day which is trying to figure out what Trenton wants to eat. I showed him his choices on his IPad like I always do. He immediately hit pancake. This is very odd. For one, he never chooses pancakes. Two, the liklihood that he would have went crazy hitting all the choices was much higher than choosing one item. However, today he hit pancake and stopped. He waited a few seconds and hit pancake again. I took the IPad away and started to make pancakes and realized I didn't have all the ingredients. I called Nana and she put Pops to making Trenton a pancake. We had the pancake ten minutes later and Trenton was so happy!!! HE WAS SOOOO HAPPY!!! He ate the whole thing!!!!!!!!! It was the happiest moment I have had in a very long time. I know that Trenton knew he did something good! He smiled and smiled. I hugged him and sobbed like a baby and we treasured that moment! A moment I will NEVER forget!

Good Job Trenton!! Mommy loves you!

Only a mom of a non-verbal child with autism gets this excited over pancakes!

I know I am crazy but I grabbed the camera and took pictures while I was sobbing.

Here are a few pictures from our astounding moment!




We also went into Uncle Brian and Aunt Mindys today. The boys had so much fun running around in their fenced in yard.

Trenton did some lining up while we were there.
 He was very impressed. Trenton grabbed Lincolns baseball gloves and put them on his hands!
 He just ran and ran!
 On Friday both boys actually sat at the table and had breakfast with Mommy! This very rarely happens.

 Andrew had lots of fun Friday with his train!

 Some very special people sent the boys some puzzles in the mail! We thank you!! They loved them and the puzzle Trenton is doing in this picture was his security for the day!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Autism Awareness Video

I love how this father advocates for his daughter!!!

http://blog.theautismsite.com/?p=340

Lil Swig

Andrew got his first Lill Swig on Wednesday! He loved it! The only thing good about no therapies the past few days was that I got to spend a little more time with Andrew!


Past Few Days

The past few days have had some spectacular moments and some unimpressive  moments. First for the good part! Trenton attempted to say "cereal" at breakfast at school on Wednesday!!!!! Today at breakfast, he pressed " I want juice" button on the Go Talk ( communication device)!!!! Mommy is so proud of him.

For the unimpressive moments.....he fussed and cried all afternoon on Wednesday. He was not happy after school with anything. I actually video taped him for a few minutes through out the whole day and I had full intentions on posting a few clips so you can see what I am talking about. However, I am having trouble getting the videos to upload from my phone to the computer. My intentions on the video were for you to imagine yourself listening to that 70% of our day (on average....some days less, some days more), on an average of three hours a sleep for the past three years of your life. Most of all, image yourself being so tired your whole life but your body will not let you sleep. What it must feel like to be Trenton?? No wonder by mid day he has had it and is very fussy.
I SERIOUSLY about had a nervous breakdown this week. I do not think anything can be harder than living your worst nightmare each day over and over knowing that your nightmare will NEVER leave. I can't believe I haven't had a nervous break down already.
Your worst nightmare would be MUCH EASIER to handle if you and your spouse actually had time to talk and if both actually wanted to talk about "your life".  Just another thing autism ruins.

He does not want the swing this week. In order to meet his sensory urges, we have to drive, drive, drive. Yesterday I put over 60 miles on my car just driving around Clay County.
The past two nights, he has fallen asleep laying on the couch.

Sleep is still atrocious. Clonazepam is not working. Very very scary! I was told this was a "for sure" medicine to make him sleep. However, I am afraid Trenton has this characteristic so severe that he is one that simply does not need to sleep. How am I going to get through a lifetime with no sleep???

Wednesday night
 Tonight.
 He wanted his weighted lap pad tonight. Bless his sweet little heart!
I am glad we actually have a day of therapy tomorrow!!! The past few days have been very challenging with no afternoon therapy!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Carly

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHPsc08WQkw

Carly is my inspiration! I hope I can say that due to our intense therapies, my unconditional love and desire, my every minute of my life that I commit to autism and not one minute committed to something of my desire.....will be paid off like Carly's was!

Quick Update

We had no therapy today and none tomorrow and Thursday. I HATE DAYS WITH NO THERAPY! Structured environments, learning environments, and routines is what helps Trenton cope with his life. However, we survived without too many tantrums. I tell you a few things autism Mommy's hate.....it is days with no school and therapies, holiday breaks, summer breaks, weekends, etc....... basically days that most people look forward too!

Trenton is still doing amazing at school and I could not be more thrilled. This road is very difficult but one of the things I am very thankful is that we caught Trenton's autism early. Early intervention is the key. I have no doubt in my mind that if we didn't catch his autism so early and if I didn't get him in therapies at 18 months of age...well....we wouldn't be doing as well in school as we are. Those early months in therapy were brutal. He screamed, kicked, hit, ran away from his therapist for several months. However, he learned over time and his brain got trained so we are now very successful in our therapies, school, and any learning, structured environment! So I am very thankful that we caught this early.

Trenton has been very "sensory seeking" the past few days. He has been very hyper the past few days. However, he slept good last night!! YAY!!
The past few days I can not get him to say anything. One of his favorite things to say is "ice cream" and I can't even get him to say that. So frustrating how he can say something one day and NOTHING the next several days. Wish I knew why!!!

Here is Trenton on his special swing. There are many days where he needs to lay on his stomach to meet some of his proprioceptive sensory problems. This swing is great for that. He can lay across the boards on his stomach. It is also great to go in a circular motion which is another movement he needs to meet his proprioceptive and vestibular sense.


OK

"Andrew, stop it!"

"OK"
"Andrew come here"
"OK"
"Andrew quit running with that in your mouth."
"OK"
"Andrew bring that to Mommy."
"OK"
"Andrew get down."
"OK"
"Andrew I said to get down."
"OK OK"
"Andrew lets go outside and play."
"OK"
"Andrew it is time for a bath."
"OK"
"Andrew it is time to eat."
"OK"
"Andrew did you like your supper."
"OK"
"Andrew it is time for night night."
"OK"

OK has been Andrew's favorite word for the past two days.

Stimming Video

Here is a boy with what appears to be VERY HIGH functioning. He explains what stimming is to him.

http://www.upworthy.com/meet-anthony-hes-about-to-educate-us-on-one-of-the-most-perplexing-and-obvious-signs-of-autism?c=ufb1

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Information Overload

A friend of mine who also has a son with autism forwarded me this information from an article.

Information Overload! Overwhelmed by irrelevant detail!

We have discussed how, for people on the spectrum, since they have weak neurological connections between the different brain centers (different brain wiring), they have difficulty “rapidly processing multiple information simultaneously.” This makes processing much of our fast paced world very difficult and exhausting. We, neurotyical (NT) people, can process rapidly changing information more rapidly because we "filter out" all of the irrelevant information that is not important to the central theme. This allows us to "attend to, and focus on" only the information that is important to the topic of focus. There are some differences in "attention" for people on the spectrum that make this filtering very difficult.

1. Difficulty sorting out the relevant information from background information. NT people easily filter out 80% of information that is not important to the topic at hand. People on the spectrum often take in and have to process all the information. They either have difficulty filtering out information (take in all) or they hyperfocus on a small detail, and cannot get past it.

2. Because of the problems filtering out irrelevant detail, people on the spectrum often have difficulty understanding which detail is important to attend to. They can become distracted by all the irrelevant detail and lose sight of what is important to focus on. The important details do not necessarily stand out like they do for us.

2. Once information is "attended to" NT people immediately categorize it into concepts (files) based on past information and memory. Since people on the spectrum have trouble filtering out irrelevant information, they have to find categorizes to store and make sense out of all the information. This drastically slows down processing, taxes, drains, and overloads the brain. The brain cannot "categorize" all that information as fast as it is coming in.

4. Many people on the spectrum have difficulty "shifting attention" and tend to hyperfocus on information too long; unable to let go and get past it. This drastically slowing down processing. Their attention can get "stuck on" and caught up in the detail, making it difficult to slide through the processing quickly and easily.

5. Since people on the spectrum are so hyperfocused on the details, they often do not see the “big picture”; the overall meaning underlying all the details. Neurotypical people immediately infer from a few pieces of detail what the overall picture is. From there, they use this “overall meaning” to interpret the individual details. We immediately look for the invisible relationships between the parts that define the “whole”, often ignoring each individual detail. Our brains immediately look for meaning between the parts, so we can extract overall “big picture” and move on. For people on the spectrum, who have difficulty reading these invisible relationships, they have to piece together all the details to arrive at the overall meaning. This is why people on the spectrum are good detail thinkers and can do great work in engineering and computer sciences. They see can see the imperfections in the details, that we often miss. They can focus on all the individual details to a pattern, and analyze them concretely.

You can see that these "attention differences" can drastically slow down the processing speed. When the information is coming in faster than the brain can process and categorize it, then overload occurs, and the brain becomes overwhelmed. So, please share this "processing speed difficulty" with teachers. Slow the information down, to allow the child to process and categorize it, at a pace that is comfortable for their brains. It is not about "intelligence", it is about speed of processing.

Sleeping Boys

The boys and Mommy attended church as usual. However, today was a rough day at church for Trenton and pretty much the whole day. I loved hearing in Sunday School how Trenton knows the routine and helps his teacher!!!! On the other hand, we were unable to stay for the sermon because Trenton was just having a rough day. As soon as Mommy and Trenton got out to the car, he was asleep ten minutes later. This is very unusual. He doesn't take naps, this is how stressed he was today. He only slept for about 20 minutes while we waited for church to be over in the parking lot.  We had to wait on Andrew. (Andrew sits with Nana and Pops in church and Mommy and Trenton sit in the back pew). When Pops brought me Andrew, he was asleep.
For a few short minutes the boys napped together and this NEVER happens because Trenton NEVER naps.  I had to take a photo!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Big Boy Bed

Mommy is sad.....we no longer have a crib in our house. That means my baby is not a baby...he is a little toddler. Tonight was his first night in his big boy bed. Andrew received Trenton's twin bed. We recently got Trenton a bigger bed since I have to sleep with him.



Hep. Me. Mom

Trenton had a random AWESOME moment today. It made me stop in my tracks, jump up and down, run to Trenton, hugging him and kissing him and telling him how awesome he was. Want to know what he did??? He wanted a box opened that contained a puzzle in it. Trenton walks behind me and  says, "Hep. Me. Mom." WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We were just discussing yesterday how Trenton is very mute lately and won't say or attempt to say anything.Then this happens!!! On the other hand, five minutes later he needed help and instead of doing what he just did, he laid on the ground screaming. Autism. Such a mystery!

However, I was on cloud nine for the rest of the day from that five seconds. Not only did he say three words, he said "mom" without repeating it! Music to my ears!  I, unlike the majority of mothers but like the majority of special needs moms, appreciate the very very small things in life and celebrate what most take for granted. Trenton- Thanks for making our Saturday an AMAZING day. Five seconds is all it took but it was the best five seconds I have had in a very long time!

Praise the Lord, Trenton has slept the past two nights! Thank you!!!!!!

Later in the day, I found Trenton trying to wrap his legs up. This is what has been happening when he has shorts on and he sees his "boo boos" We can't have anything foreign on our skin.   Mommy helped him and we got back in our long pants.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Trenton Trenton

Andrew spent the night last night with Nana again. When I walked into Nana's house to get him this morning, Andrew comes running to me saying, "Trenton Trenton". Andrew was very disapponted when it was Mommy.
I picked Andrew up and him and I went to the park. We had some fun Mommy and son time together. We had the park to ourselves. As soon as another kid came to the park and started playing, Andrew ran to the kid saying, "Trenton Trenton" Andrew ran across the whole park to get to his little boy and he was very disappointed once again to find that it wasn't Trenton.
Do you know how this breaks my heart!!!! Andrew loves Trenton and Trenton has NOTHING to do with him. I would do ANYTHING if Andrew had a neuro typical brother to play with every day. I do not just cry tears everyday over Trenton.....they flow as equally for Andrew.

Security

We can't go anywhere without having numerous objects in our hands. This is a type of security for some children with autism. If they take something with them that they like....then they feel better and can adapt to their environment better.  It also makes them feel more secure. It was explained to me that without their objects and securities with them, they feel naked. It would be like you leaving your house without your clothes on, or without a bra, or without your purse, etc.
Sometimes it is very hard to handle all of Trenton's objects, especially when they are big....like this puzzle.

Matthew 11:28- Just wanted to share one of my devotionals

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

We all have those times we wish the voice of God would audibly speak so loudly there's no way we could miss it: "THIS IS THE DIRECTION I WANT YOU TO GO." Then we'd know whether to stay the course or head in a new direction.

Have you ever wished for this kind of certainty?

I have.

Most of us want to know what to do. Without that confidence, sometimes we stay in a place too long. But the greater loss happens in those times we quit too soon. Then, we can live with this nagging sense of "what if?" What if I'd persevered one more year, one more month, one more day?

Knowing when to stop and when to keep on keeping on is a crucial life lesson. One I want to learn well. Often, the more I struggle on my own, the less confident I am with the right next step. It's exhausting!
But the truth is, I don't need to be confused or tired. There is one central place I can go for direction and rest. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus encourages us, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

I used to get so frustrated with this verse because I thought, I don't want rest. I want reassurance! I'm burdened by this decision I have to make. I don't want to mess up by missing a cue from You, God.
But the rest Jesus offers is not a spiritual sleep aid. The Greek word for this kind of rest is anapauo which has as one of its definitions, "of calm and patient expectation."

In other words, Jesus is saying if you come to Me, I will take your exhaustion and uncertainty and turn it into a calm expectation.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

This one takes the icing for my worst night ever

Trenton walked into school so well today. If I would have told anyone what I went through the night before, I am sure NO ONE would have believed me.

I thought I had seen Trenton at his worst before but last night takes the icing. The exact time was 11:15 when it all began.......
Trenton is awake crying, screaming, roaming around the house like a lost puppy. The next thing I know Andrew is awake crying. Both crying for 45 minutes until Andrew goes back to sleep. This was just the beginning.
For the next four hours Trenton screamed, cried, ran himself into walls, hit himself in the face, covered his ears shaking his head, turned the lights on, turned the lights off, turned his music on, turned his music off, threw his sippy, threw his toys, threw himself on the ground and made his body as stiff as a board, relaxed, threw himself in our kitchen cabinets, and stiffened again screaming out in pain. I did EVERYTHING to help him.........nothing worked. What does a mom do when she is watching her child do this and nothing can help him?????????????????????????????????? She sits and cries and day dreams about what he would be like if autism never existed! Finally, at 3:45 he let me give him a car ride. This calmed him and after driving around for 15 minutes he was asleep. I carried my three year old baby and put him to bed and collapsed next to him and fell asleep on a prayer. A prayer I never finished. Maybe there was a reason it was never finished. I'm not so sure it was going to be nicest prayer ever.

Therefore, when he walked in to school as happy as can be....it made the hellish night disappear for a few seconds.
Lots more to say but sleep sounds so much better right now.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hand Foot Mouth

I'm going to tell you what Hand Foot and Mouth Disease does to a child with autism......

I didn't know that you can have this and not have a temperature. Andrew was sick for 24 hours, running a fever before he broke out in his rash. Trenton did not do this. Trenton just slowly started to get a rash on his mouth, a few on his hands, a few on his feet, and then on his legs. No fever though. No fever means he isn't contagious and is good to go.

After another nightmarish night last night ( see details in bottom of this post), Trenton appeared fine this morning besides a few sores on his mouth and feet. We went to school as normal and he did good. I picked him up from school and we were on our way to Effingham for ABA therapy with Heather. About ten minutes before we arrived, he started to scream from his car seat and waving his hands in the air. I put my hand up in the air and angled my hand in the back towards him. HE grabs my hand and tried to put it on his legs. I knew something was wrong. This continued until we arrived at therapy. As I got him out of the car, I noticed he had a few spots on his legs and he DID NOT like seeing these spots on his legs. He wanted his legs wrapped up in his blankets so he couldn't see them. This reminded me of the time he had his surgery and did not like the IV in his hand. He covered his hand with his blanket and refused to use his hand until the IV came out.

Anyway, we walk into therapy having a huge tantrum. Today, there were about ten people in the waiting area and Trenton drops to the ground and starts stimming. It is a very sad sight when he does his floor stim. I kept on stopping him by picking him up. I did this several times and each time I picked him up he screamed and it was sharp enough to pierce through glass.

He went into therapy a few minutes later and surprisingly he did well after the first ten minutes which was spent screaming. Therapy got his mind off of his rash. On the way home from therapy, he screamed the whole time. I listened to ear piercing screams for 45 minutes. He had to have his legs wrapped in all four blankets so he could not see or even come close to seeing his rash. I could not get home fast enough. My nerves were completely shot by the time I got home. I immediately took him in his bedroom and put long pants on him so he couldn't see them. He was completely happy as soon as he got long pants on.

Nothing. Nothing. I mean nothing can appear on Trenton's skin without him having a tantrum or meltdown. He needed a band aid the other day at school and he had a fit about that. Every time he scraps his leg or knee playing outside, he tries to cover it up for awhile. Thank goodness for long pants and long shirts!!!!!

Trenton's sleep issue has not improved yet. In fact, last night was just about as bad as it could get. It took all my will power not to step out on my porch and scream bloody murder at the top of my lungs at 1:00 AM. Trenton had a one hour and 20 minute meltdown. Our first meltdown in weeks. To top it off, it was in the middle of the night. These are the worst kind. By meltdown..... I mean....crying with not knowing how to stop, screaming and not knowing how to stop, kicking, hitting, throwing his body around on the ground and not knowing how to stop and control himself. Every time I tried to help, I got kicked and hit at,  and my hair pulled. His eyes were almost swollen shut from crying and he could not catch his breath.  Honestly, it was my strength through Christ who literally kept me from going haywire on my front porch. Thank goodness Nana kept Andrew last night and tonight. This is a huge help when Andrew doesn't feel good, Trenton can't sleep, and a husband who is working second shift.

Last night, once again, was very little sleep. Please. Please. Let us get some rest tonight!

Psalm 22:19

But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me.

Psalm 28:7-8

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.  The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sleep

I wish I understood autism. Trenton is back to very little sleep each night. It's a wonder how I am still functioning each day. The last two weeks have been awful and even more awful the last three nights. Last night our day started at 1:30 AM and we only slept for about two hours before this. Saturday night our day started at 12:30 AM. On Friday night we were up and down all night long.
Trenton even had his new medicine last night and it obviously didn't help. He takes two medicines at night to help him and they do not work consistenly. UGH!
His OT told me today that she is afraid Trenton is one that nothing will work for him consistently. I'm afraid so too!
The little sleep did not effect his school and therapy today. He actually did wonderful in his therapies. Mondays are our busy days. I pick him up at 10:30 from school, we head straight to Olney for therapy and then we head straight home for ABA in our house. All three sessions of therapy was FANTASTIC! From my understanding, so was school! Sleep does not effect his behavior.

Andrew has Hand Foot Mouth disease right now. He hasn't felt good the past few days at all. He still felt like playing with Mommy while Trenton was in ABA.

 After his bath he hid out in his room for awhile. I found him sitting in his Elmo chair looking at a book.
 He received a birthday gift today and he LOVES it!! It's horses!!!


Trenton played with the train set appropriately for the first time this weekend.

 I always smile when I see one of his lines in the middle of the house.
I still use the IPad every day for communication with Trenton. I primarily use it to show him pictures of where we are going so he will transition better. I still try to use it for food choices as well. However, I decided to take out my original plan....the PECS System on velcro strips. Both, the PECS system and the IPad will be readily available to him to use. On some days, the IPad might make more sense and other days the PECS system might make more sense to him.

I asked Andrew where his belly button is. He loves to show me!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Quick Update

Trenton ended his school  & therapy week doing amazing things! His teacher said he tried to imitate some of the students today during a song. WOW!!
It has been 3 weeks of this good phase. I hope and pray it keeps going!!
He is still waking up in the night this week. I am starting to panic. I do not want to give him more medicine but I need sleep to be able to raise a child with autism and handle the daily struggles that brings.

A few things that Trenton is doing now that we weren't 6 months ago
  • He is able to handle about 5 minutes with only his diaper on. 6 months ago he would barely let me dry him off after our "bath attempts" because he had to have his 4 layers of clothes on ASAP!
  • He will go for an extended period of time at night without socks on. Again, 6 months ago our "bath attempts" had to be with socks on.
  • He tolerates Andrew for awhile before he starts to get aggressive with him.
  • He will let me brush his teeth very lightly while I sing the "ABC"song.  6 months ago, the attempt at trying to brush our teeth just led to a meltdown.

A few things Trenton continues to do and is getting worse as he gets older is
  • He is a big chewer. He needs chewy toys to help him cope with his anxiety. Most of the time, he always has something in his mouth chewing on it. Most of the time it is his sippy cup. I have to buy new sippies every month because he chews right through the tip of them.  Trenton thrives a lot from oral sensory output right now and that is chewing on a hard surface to release input and anxiety. 
  • Trenton does less physical stimming but he is doing more oral stimming. Trenton always has noises coming out of his mouth in the late afternoon and evening hours. This is his way of releasing his input from the day and releasing anxiety from school and therapy. The noises are not babbling, it is just random noises.

Keep up the hard work Trenton!! I know this is not easy for you but you are  such a strong boy and you show that to me everyday!! I love you sooooooo much!


Father Along

This is one of my favorite church songs. On most days, I can't listen to this or sing to it without crying. I highlighted the part that I wonder every day.

"Farther Along"


Tempted and tried we're oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all the day long
While there are others living about us
Never molested though in the wrong

[Chorus]
Farther along we'll know all about it
Farther along we'll understand why
Cheer up my brother live in the sunshine
We'll understand it all by and by

When death has come and taken our loved ones
It leaves our home so lonely and drear
And then do we wonder why others prosper
Living so wicked year after year


[Repeat Chorus]

When we see Jesus coming in glory
When he comes down from his home in the sky
Then we shall meet him in that bright mansion
We'll understand it all by and by

[Repeat Chorus]
Yeah we'll understand it all by and by
"

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Andrew time & Open House

When Trenton is at school I try to relish my time with Andrew. Andrew always sees me leave with Trenton for therapy and we are always gone for an extended period of time. Therefore, 8:15-10:15 is my time with Andrew. The only other time Andrew and I get to enjoy each other is after Trenton goes to bed.
Today we went outside for a short time and we had fun!
 He sees Trenton walk on the edges of the sandbox so Andrew thought he had to try it today.

I had Trenton's open house tonight at his school. I didn't expect to walk into the classroom and my eyes fill with tears immediately but it happened. It was a mixture of emotions steaming from the whole week, pictures of Trenton I saw in his classroom, and just the whole school experience.
I could not be more thrilled on how he is doing! He has some great teachers and professionals working with him. His teacher told me tonight that today when Trenton was getting his book bag on ready to leave, he said "Mommy". I am so glad she shared that with me! He knows now that when his book bag goes on he sees his Mommy soon!! I love the fact he knows who I am and that I am his MOMMY!

Trenton did awesome today in ABA with Heather. I sat outside the room and got to listen to that sweet little voice of his. When asked, Trenton pointed to the following pictures: lion, ball, zebra, whale, pear, kite, seal, rabbit, nest, flower, cake, bus,car, helicopter, and airplane. WAY TO GO TRENTON!!!! YOU MAKE ME SO PROUD!! ALWAYS AND FOREVER BUBBA!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

If only more people were like this!!

http://www.wbtv.com/story/23317889/mystery-diner-pays-for-familys-dinner-leave-encouraging-note



Update

Today Trenton met with a specialist at Olney in the Speech Language Department. This lady from what I gathered came to help guide the therapist in which direction to go with all their children with autism that come into the clinic. The information I received was nothing I didn't already know or have been told before. She was impressed with the large vocabulary that Trenton has or at least attempts to say. She noted that it will be difficult to get Trenton to cross over and use his speech functionally and not just say the names of objects while in therapy. This will be the huge key factor with Trenton...whether or not he will be able to use speech in a functional manner. She told his therapist to focus on getting him to try to put two words or two attempts at words together.

School seems to be going as good as it can be. Both days this week he has been upset when I dropped him off. Today he was crying loudly but he seems to know that he has to stay and participate so he adjusts and goes with the flow.
No one knows their child like their mother does. I have to say, everyday I pick him up I see the stress of his anxiety in his eyes. For the 30 minutes following school he chews like crazy on his chewies and squeals. These are two ways he deals with anxiety.
Just imagine.....it would be like dropping you off at China. You don't understand every word people are saying to you, noises coming at you from all angles, no family member is with you, so what do you do??? Just like Trenton does....go with the flow. I am sure he feels like this.

Overall, Trenton is adjusting to his new schedule. Every day I pick him up from school and we travel to Effingham or Olney immediately for therapy. Trenton participates in therapy and then we come home for him to actually just relax and try to be a regular three year old. Although by this time, it is already two o'clock or after depending on the day.

Trenton is still not sleeping good. He is either awake for the day around 2:30 AM or wakes up in the night from 12ish to 4ish. I REALLY don't want to add this new medicine on his load of medicines and supplements but I am afraid he isn't giving me a choice. I am still going to wait a week.

It is very difficult to explain what it feels like to have a child with special needs...especially autism. There are no days without heartache and no days without tears. No days without wishing things were different and no days without some type of anger and sadness. The other day I witnessed Trenton in an environment where he had the opportunity to play with other children. What did Trenton do?He  ran and cried from them. He eventually stood and stared at them for a few minutes and then turned his back to them. This hits a mother right in the gut!! It was pure torture to watch your child do this. I kept wondering.....What was Trenton thinking? Was he wishing he was like them? Was he wanting to play with them but his brain won't let him?   Honestly, he looked like he had no concept of what the children were doing.  It was torture for him to be in that environment.

No one ever thinks it will happen to them. I never thought my child would be the one that they all stared at and talked about. I never though my child would be the one standing in a corner upset because other people and kids are around him. I never thought I would have to stop the life I knew and start living a new life of special needs. I never thought I would be a mother who will have to face the fact that one day, more than likely, your child will have to live in a home so people can take care of him. My "I nevers" could go on and on. So yes it can happen to you. Anything can happen to any of us!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day

We went to Grandma and Grandpa's house today. Trenton did as good as he could have. We lasted three hours which is good. When it was time to go........it is time to go! We wish we could have stayed longer but I am pleased with three hours. On some days, its more like three minutes. It all depends on the day.