Sunday, February 28, 2016

House to Home

What a great organization!
It is depressing however to know that 81% of adults with autism live with their aging parents. I will do my best to have my boys live with as long as I can instead of a home.

https://www.autismspeaks.org/HouseToHomePrize

HCC

If you live in the Terre Haute area or within driving distance and have a child with autism, send them to Harsha Cognitive Center! They are amazing!! I couldn't have picked a better place for my boys, especially Trenton, to attend to help them with their challenges. We need lots of prayers that God will help us find a way to stay in Terre Haute. I can't sleep even when I can worrying that the boys' future is in jeopardy.

Trenton with one of the amazing coaches, April.


 He loves to give his coach, April, some cuddles and love:)
 Little A you are too funny!

Piece by Piece

It has been one wild week! A week full of sickness and love. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't an emotional week too. With that said, I would love to get some of my fellow autism parents to send me a private message to discuss your take on a few things in this post.
However, first things first, and without going in to much detail, Andrew has been one very sick little boy. By Friday morning, I could just smell all the vomit in our house and I felt like it didn't matter how much I showered, I still smelled like vomit. I was glued to the rocking chair for two straight days rocking Andrew, being puked on, and checking his temperature non-stop. He FINALLY played with toys on Saturday so I know he is on the upside and hopefully will be 100% soon.
One of the highlights from this week was when the boys' coaches at Harsha told me that Andrew was coughing on Wednesday, his last day of going anywhere before he got real sick, and Trenton walked up to him and patted him on his back and kissed him. IS THAT NOT PRECIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, the highlight of the year right there!!!

Trenton still battled a bad cough and running nose as well but he appears to be much better now too!

I have so many amazing moments with my boys daily. The joy of being a parent is the most wonderful blessing that God can give anyone. I hide a lot from this blog about the pain of divorce and what has happened.  However, I can deal with that. I deal with that by myself and with God. However, nothing has been painful to watch lately is how Andrew is dealing with his father leaving and breaking up our family. He says things to not just me but to everyone that he sees almost daily.  I hurt so bad for him. The realization of how deeply scarred he can be for the rest of his life came to me the other day when Kelly Clarkson say her song, Piece by Piece, on American Idol.  I never sat and cried so hard at a song before in a long time but that song got to me. I have attached the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FHYBQxURQo

On Thursday, Andrew and I saw a commercial about a wedding. Andrew said, " What is getting married?" I said, " One day you will find one woman that you want to love for the rest of your life and you will marry her. You will spend the rest of your life with her."
Andrew said, "I want to marry you Mommy. I won't leave you. I want ten kids and they all will have their own iPad. I will be a Daddy that stays."
It's not the first time I have heard this out of Andrew's mouth and it certainly won't be the last.
The people that I have spoke to about this tell me how divorce and a parent leaving is extremely hard on neurotyical kids so they can't imagine how hard it is for my boys.
It is on his mind 24/7. Most of the time when he says things are completely out of the blue. It is amazing what he sees and what he notices for a 4 year old little boy. With all of the said, fellow autism parents who have dealt with a spouse/parent leaving, I would love to know how your child with mild autism/Asperger's dealt with it. Send me a private message to my email, you can find under the Mommy tab. I would love to know if it got better. It has been 3 months of Andrew telling random people everywhere what has happened to him and how he feels about it. This Mommy's heart is breaking for her kids.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Mommy!

Every parent's heart melts when they first hear their child say their name. I have longed for Trenton to say my name every day. I am beyond overjoyed to report that Trenton is saying my name EVERY DAY!!!!!!! Today it was 4 times! It is on average at least twice that he will say my name spontaneously without any prompts or anything! He will say it when he wants something! I feel like I have won lottery folks! It is amazing!! It has been 5 1/2 years of hard work and it is paying off! Seriously....hearing my name daily from Trenton is the best thing ever!!
I love you so much Trenton James!!! Keep up the hard work. Mommy is so proud of you!
Always and forever T-man!!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Article for Autismawareness.com

I need you. I don’t know if you feel the same way, but I need you. Who am I talking about? You! I am talking to you reading this. More than likely, you’re a loved one of a child with autism, maybe a fellow autism parent or autism family member. I couldn’t go through this journey without you.

Please go to the link below to read more from my latest article for autismawarness.com

https://autismawareness.com/i-need-to-know-that-im-not-alone/#.VtDGvXnSnIU

Thursday, February 25, 2016

StickerKid.com

One of my fears is Trenton escaping from me and someone finding him and he is unable to tell them his name or where he lives, etc.
I am so grateful to have found some labels that iron onto clothes. If I am going to be taking Trenton out and about, I am going to iron on his personalized label on the front of his clothes. The label says his name and my phone number. This is going to make me feel so much better when taking him out in public.
I attached the link below in case you are interested in the labels. I can also offer you a 5 % discount. Please use this code....  US19PA5585 ...when checking out.


http://www.stickerkid.com/usa_en/#oid=1035_4

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Changes

It has been really hard to blog lately. On some days I force myself to blog something about the boys in order to let all of our followers know that we are doing good! I appreciate all the love and support that we have been given on our journey and especially since Tim left. It has helped me in so many ways. The boys and I are doing great. I have had numerous people ask me how I am managing taking care of the boys by myself and honestly that has not changed. I have been used to taking care of them by myself for a long time. With that said, not much as changed. Sadly, I believe we are in for some big changes in the months ahead. I am doing everything that I can as a single mother but I can only do what I am able to do. I know God will take care of us and whether we are to stay in Terre Haute or move back to Flora, we will survive because we have each other. All I can do is to pray that God will help me find a way to provide for my two precious sons.

I never thought a year ago when we moved to Terre Haute that the boys and I would be going through what we are today. I had so many hopes and dreams about Trenton's future in a state that provides him with what he needs.  I am heart broken that it may all be taken away from Trenton

When I got married, it was for life. Marriage was never promised to be easy and fun filled the whole time. I don't understand how people can just give up and walk away. I don't think of myself first in life which is why I am having a hard time with that lately. It is hard to deal with the consequences of a  failed marriage especially when things and relationships were going on that should not have been. Of course, when there is special needs children too. However, I am trying to focus on the boys and spend every minute of my life trying to figure out our plan.

So thank you to everyone that has checked in on us. I am a very strong woman. The thoughts and prayers are appreciated as we are healing during this difficult time.

Here is one of my favorite quotes when I think about love and parenting...

This quote is so true. Nothing makes me happier than when my children are happy! There are lots of things in life that I want to do but I won't because my children's happiness is far more important!


Exactly! Children and their needs should always come first which is why I am trying my best to make whatever possible happen for the Trenton to get his therapies wherever this road takes us.

Monday, February 22, 2016

T-man

 Trenton has been sick. I actually took him to a walk in clinic on Saturday. It is very difficult when he can't express what hurts or how he feels. It is just like having a newborn baby every day. However, my newborn baby is 5 1/2 and still can't tell me what or where he hurts at. Nonetheless, I took him and he had some fluid in his ear along with bronchitis. He got his antibiotic shot because he does not take medicine. We are finally feeling much better!!!
It is world of difference when Andrew is sick than when Trenton is sick. Andrew can tell me things, Trenton can't. I hurt more than anyone can imagine when Trenton is sick. The sadness in his eyes just break my heart. Oh how I wish he could talk!! I never stop fighting for you T-man!!! So glad you feel better Bubba!!

Here are a few pictures from Harsha last week! He LOVES that place and so does Mommy!




Friday, February 19, 2016

Andrew

Andrew had a rough Wednesday. He has actually had a few rough days in the last few months.
Neurotypical children have a hard time with divorce. With that said you can only imagine what it is like for children on the autism spectrum. Andrew is very vocal and says things that leaves me in tears daily. I hurt so badly for him. However, his love and dependency on me is growing larger and larger each day. I am really needing to spend a lot of time with him to reassure him of many things on many different levels lately. He is such an amazing boy who has so many teachers and coaches looking after him. We are one very lucky family.

With all of that said, he has been asking me all week if I would have "fun" with him on his free day, which was today. I let him decide what he wanted to do. Therefore, we had some fun at the Bouncin Barn.



At the end of our day, Andrew says, "Mommy, I really love you like more than you know."
This Mommy's heart melted over and over:)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The long road ahead

As I sit here tonight watching Trenton have a difficult time with his body, I keep thinking about how time is going way too fast. I can't believe that he is 5 1/2 years old. I heard something on the radio today that a 5 year old did and I was shocked! It was something that I couldn't picture either one of my boys doing. It was just another reality check that we are very unique and live a much different life. On some days I just simply forget what "normal" is because we are so unique.  I wish I could say that it will get better with Trenton but sadly enough it is just one long, difficult, up and down ride for the rest of our lives. The same with Andrew, but hopefully in a much different way.
The picture below was taken 3 years ago. I remember this moment just like it was yesterday. It was the first time he really acted like he noticed snow and liked it. I was trying to get him to say "white". Some day when I will be taking care of him as a grown man or when I am having to put him in a home, I will look back on this picture and smile just like I will smile at every other picture that I have. I most certainly try my best to treasure these moments when he is small because the pain that I have ahead of me isn't going to be easy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Fun in the Snow

We had some fun family time in the snow yesterday!
Andrew had a snowball fight with Mommy. We laughed so hard it hurt. Love my boys:)

 Our Olaf family we made.


 Snowball fight Mommy!!!
 
 
 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

My Two Valentines

I had a great weekend with my two Valentines!! These two boys are so amazing to me!

Trenton has said, "Mommy" spontaneously a few times in the last few days!! LOVE IT!!! I get the best kisses from him when I ask for them:)
Even though sleep hasn't been perfect, it has been the best the past 2 months than it has in a long time!

Andrew is the smartest boy in areas that he shouldn't be so smart in. Some of the things that he says daily just simply astonishes me! I am left in shock and usually don't know what to say because he catches me off guard.

However, he can say some of the sweetest things as well. Yesterday he said randomly, "Mommy I really love you. You are a really good Mommy." The thing that just made this comment the sweetest was the way he emphasized really.

A few days ago he said, " You are pretty with and without make-up Mommy." LOL!!! Crack me up Andrew!

This morning when I told him Happy Valentine's Day he ran and got some fake flowers that we have and says, "Here Mommy these are for you. Happy Valentine's Day."

The boys loved getting some Valentine Day cards in the mail this weekend!!


Friday, February 12, 2016

Valentine's Party

Valentine's Day is in the air at our house!
I had the pleasure of attending Andrew's preschool party on Thursday and the boys' party at Harsha today.
Love. Love. Love doing stuff like this. They are only little once.

This picture cracks me up!! Andrew you are too funny:)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Waiting Room

While we were waiting for speech to start Wednesday morning, Trenton entertained the whole waiting room with all of his dvds and animals. I am so used to him carrying his items around that I just don't stop and think what other people might be thinking who are witnessing it for the first time.

The waiting room full of people caught my attention Wednesday. The looks on their faces was priceless! Each and every one of them was in complete shock. Trenton lined his dvds and animals up right in the middle of the market.

Andrew was very protective of his brother too. A little boy walked up to Trenton and asked to look at his dvds. Of course Trenton doesn't respond. Andrew walks right up to the little boy and said, "Those are Trenton's not yours. He can't talk."


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Highlights


I rarely talk in detail about the boys therapy programs. However, I like to throw a few high and lows out there every once in awhile.
Here are a few of the boys "highs" at Harsha lately.

Trenton manded for “marker” from a peer and waited five minutes without complaints before receiving it.
• Trenton manded “Rosie” and initiated ring around the rosie with a group of four (the game lasted over two minutes!)
• Trenton spent 15 minutes at his home base with no complaints.


• Andrew completed 18 different three step patterns/sequences without any prompts from his coach.
• Andrew has been engaging in different group settings by answering questions and not attempting to leave.

Way to go boys! I love you and your hard work so much!!

Harsha knows how to show the boys a good time too!!


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Routine

Children with autism tend to appreciate order, routines and repetition far more than neurotypical children. Any disruption to this routine can lead to high levels of anxiety and emotional outbursts. Both of my boys thrive off of routine and schedule!!! I was reading a fathers blog the other day and he was talking about how his kids go wild and don't sleep when their routine is off. WOW! Can I ever relate! My boys are like his boys...the anxiety and stress over change of routine comes out at home and Mommy deals with the aftermath for the next 24 plus hours.
Keeping routine is crucial to their learning and therapies. Children with autism can regress way to easily. Many times the cause of regression is the change in routine.

The following is from www.autism.org

Many people with autism have a strong preference for routines and sameness. Routines often serve an important function – they introduce order, structure and predictability and help to manage anxiety. Because of this, it can be very distressing if a person's routine is disrupted.
Sometimes minor changes such as moving between two activities can be distressing; for others big events like holidays, birthdays or Christmas, which create change and upheaval, can cause anxiety. Unexpected changes are often most difficult to deal with. 
Some people with autism have daily timetables so that they know what is going to happen, when. However, the need for routine and sameness can extend beyond this. You might see:
  • changes to the physical environment (such as the layout of furniture in a room), or the presence of new people or absence of familiar ones, being difficult to manage
  • rigid preferences about things like food (only eating food of a certain colour), clothing (only wearing clothes made from specific fabrics), or everyday objects (only using particular types of soap or brands of toilet paper)
  • a need for routine around daily activities such as meals or bedtime. Routines can become almost ritualistic in nature, having to be followed precisely with attention paid to the tiniest details
  • verbal rituals, with a person repeatedly asking the same questions and needing a specific answer
  • compulsive behaviour, for example a person might be constantly washing their hands or checking locks. This does not necessarily mean they have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) but if you are concerned about this, speak to your GP in the first instance.
People's dependence on routines can increase during times of change, stress or illness and may even become more dominant or elaborate at these times (Attwood, 1998). Dependence on routines may increase or re-emerge during adolescence.
Routines can have a profound effect on the lives of people with autism, their family and careers.





Monday, February 8, 2016

Turn Around! No!

I am a firm believer that Trenton talks all the time in his head! Many other parents have said that they believe that their non-verbal child talks in their head as well. Some individuals with autism talk in their head and they think that they are really speaking the words which is part of the reason they have meltdowns because they think they are not being answered. Twice over the weekend, Trenton blurted out words. The words that came out of his mouth sounded so normal. His voice sounded completely different than when he says the words that he can say such as juice, Mommy, etc. It literally stopped me in my tracks.
The first time that Trenton blurted out the words he was lining me, Nana, and Pops up. He was lining up the chairs and making us sit down. Pops sat down the wrong way and he got very upset. In the middle of his frustrated noises he blurted out, "turn around." It did NOT sound like Trenton. It was such a different sounding voice that I have ever hear.
The second time he was in the middle of a tantrum and he was making his noises. My brother asked him, "Are you okay T-man?" Trenton blurted out, "No". Again, it was the not the voice of Trenton that I am used to hearing. I have full confidence that he answers every question all the time but he just can't verbally express it.
Autism is simply amazing!!
On a lighter note, love the boys and their smiles today when they saw snow again!!
 
 
 



We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps.
Proverbs 16:9

OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a genetic disorder that generally causes extreme discomfort. Sufferers are often riddled with persistent and recurrent impulses, thoughts and images that are unwanted.
OCD can be very severe in people and control their lives. OCD is very severe with Trenton and Andrew is moderately affected by OCD. On some days, Andrew is severely affected too. It just depends on his day. OCD is a characteristic of autism.

This morning we had OT at 8 AM. Trenton went back to his therapist room. He left behind one of his animals. Andrew could not handle the fact that Trenton left his animal. Andrew broke down crying and started to breath real heavy. Andrew went into a full blown meltdown because Trenton left behind one of his animals. I tried everything to calm Andrew down. Nothing worked. Andrew ran to the door that leads to the therapist room but it was locked. Andrew was crying and pounding on it yelling, "Trenton needs his animal."

I finally got a lady to unlock the door for me so I could interrupt Trenton's OT session to give him his animal. When we got back to the waiting room a lady said, "He suffers from bad OCD, doesn't he? I know that was beyond a typical child's reaction to their brother leaving behind a toy."
I smiled and was so glad that someone noticed that and that she wasn't there thinking that he was a spoiled child. I said, " Yes, he has OCD and some days it is really bad and others it is not so bad."

As both boys get older, I see more and more issues with their OCD. Both of them can't get things off their mind. It controls their whole day. I just can't imagine living like that!
OCD goes way beyond what most people might think of ...such as food not touching on the plate or constantly checking something. Those are OCD symptoms but OCD can be very severe and life altering.  Severe OCD can make it impossible to work regularly and to take part in family life.

Here is a good article explaining OCD.

http://www.psychguides.com/guides/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-symptoms-causes-and-effects/

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Pizza

Since pizza is about the only thing he is eating these days, I had his favorite pizza in the van waiting for him after Harsha:) As you can see, he was all smiles!!
 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Baby Bunnies

I got the boys some rabbits last summer. The rabbits came from two different places. We asked for females at both places and thought I had both females.
About two weeks ago when I walked outside to feed the rabbits for the day, I had a pleasant surprise.....baby bunnies! So much for two females!
Sadly, the male rabbit got to a few of them and killed them. However, I was able to save 3 of them. I am so in love with my babies!! Here is a picture of two of them. The third one looks just like the white one.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Trying Times

Will it ever get better for Trenton? That question scares me and I leave it to God every day. All I can do is to provide him with the best possible life that he requires..

Trenton is doing as good as he can be in some areas. He thrives off of structure, schedules, and routine. The slightest little thing can throw him off and it is brutal when he is thrown off. For example, we are just now having success at home with potty training again. The change in routine during the holidays made him regress.

Sadly, it is just not changes in his routine that can make things worse for him, it can be changes in his body. I am not sure what is going on right now but Trenton has had more aggressive behavior at home towards himself, others, and our belongings in our house.  He can't handle any unstructured time or he is causing havoc everywhere.

He will only eat fruit roll ups or pizza right now. Last month it was fruit roll ups and chicken nuggets......and NO he won't get hungry enough to eat anything if I don't give him these two items. I refuse to starve my child and have him end up in the hospital on a feeding tube like many people with severe autism. It's on the internet under autism.....just look it up.

If I don't have these items just johnny on the spot when he wants them he is hitting me, attacking Andrew, running into walls, scratching his head, hitting his head, and doing almost any type of self destructive behavior that you can think of.

Trenton's frustrated noises, squeals,  and screams are very unnerving to say the least. In fact, they scare Andrew and Andrew starts crying and is upset for the rest of the night. Trenton maintains these noises all the time.

Trenton's OCD is getting worse. Almost every time before he heads up the stairs in our house he has to put his foot a certain way on the rug before he will walk up the stairs.
Trenton has to open and shut his dvd cases all the time while rearranging them. His OCD rules his life on certain days. It is very sad and very scary!

Like I said, all I can do as a mother is to provide for him daily, advocate. educate, and leave it in God's hands. Prayer....it is a wonderful thing.

Sometimes we have to go through the hard times to realize just how strong we are and just what kind of character and a person we really are.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Pajama Day

Pajama Day at school today!!!

I know you all know how much I love being a mother! It is the best thing ever!
I love all the fun things that motherhood brings like pajama day at school. Andrew was so excited for this day. Nothing is better than seeing my boys so happy and to go through all the daily joys that life brings:)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Looking to the years ahead

An article that I wrote for autismawareness.com was published yesterday. I have received some great feedback. I've had autism moms email me thanking me for sharing my story because they are going through the same things in life.  I feel so blessed!
I write to connect with others. I write to let others know that they are not alone. I write to raise awareness in all areas of a persons life that is affect by autism. Writing has done wonders for me!

https://autismawareness.com/looking-to-the-years-ahead/#.VrFQunnSnIU

Monday, February 1, 2016

Birthday

Turning 35 hasn't been so bad after all:)
I had a fabulous weekend with my two sons and my family. Spent some time with my brother Brent and his girlfriend Mallory whom we don't see very often.

I love Trenton's smile in this picture! I just had to post it:)
The boys made me the best cards ever today at Harsha. Trenton is showing his off in the picture:)
 To top it off I got gas today for .89 cents a gallon! I felt like I was 20 years younger getting gas in the 90s!! This made me feel great:)