Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Time to take them down

Andrew hung up pictures we had printed from the internet of some of his favorite characters well over a year ago. Tonight he said, "Mommy these pictures are old. Time to take them down."

So, he took down his pictures that he so dearly loved. But.....guess what?!?!?!? He wants new ones up now.
Love this kid and all of his crazy ideas!!


Dear World, I Miss You

Click on the below link to read my latest article that was published yesterday.

https://autismawareness.com/dear-world-i-miss-you/

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Back Seat

This is how we roll these days. Andrew loves the back seat:)


When The Tears Roll



When the tears roll down your face, I want to make it better. I want to hold you in my arms until you are done crying.  I want you to be able to let me hold you but you can’t. I know it is not your fault.

When the tears roll down your face, I want to wipe them away. For every tear that falls down your precious face, they fall down mine too. We are in this together.

When the tears roll down your face, I want to take away your struggles. I want to tell you that it will be better one day. I want to tell you that you won’t always have these struggles. I want…..I want…..I just want so much for you. I want to tell you that you will have friends one day that will come over and play. I want that just as bad as I know you want it.

When the tears roll down your face, I want to tell you that you will fall asleep tonight without a fight. I would do anything to make it better for you. I would move mountains for you if I could.

When the tears roll down your face, I want to give you what you want but it’s not that easy. What you want sometimes is not what is the best for you.

When the tears roll down your face, I want to hear you say, “Its okay Mommy, I understand.” I won’t ever give up hope on that!

When the tears roll down your face, I hurt more than you can ever understand. The pain that pours over me is unbearable at times when I see your tears.

When the tears roll down your face, I am here for you no matter what! I am educating myself more and more every day to help you.

When the tears roll down your face, I want you to know that sometimes it is for the best. Mommy wants to take them way but sometimes autism moms have to do “tough love.”

When the tears roll down your face, my heart is breaking in two. I break for you, your brother, and every other person with autism.

When the tears roll down your face, I want you to be able to swim, pedal a bike, catch a ball, hop, and all that fun stuff that other kids your age are doing.

When the tears roll down your face, I want you to be able to understand. I want your body to let you understand.

When the tears roll down your face, I want to take it all away. I want it go away and to never return. However, it is not that easy. Therefore, we will keep on traveling our road together and when the tears start to roll down your face, they do mine too. There is nothing stronger in this world than the bond that we have. Your tears are my tears.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Loving the Improvements & Praying They Stay

I have said numerous times on here how autism is a rollercoaster ride. It is a constant up and down battle. Some days and some weeks are smooth and then the next few weeks could be a disaster. When one area seems to be in a "good" phase, sometimes it brings out the worst in other areas. It is part of the splintering affect with autism.

However, right now we are doing the best that we can.  I have had a really hard time with Trenton's hyperactivity and impulsive behavior a few months ago. It was so bad that it was dangerous. Trenton's psychiatrist saw him a few weeks ago and like always, Trenton destroyed her office within one minute of being in there. She said, "Is he still like this all the time even with the medicine I put him on?"
I said, "Oh this is good. He is good right now."
She said, "You have no idea what good really is. He is a severe kiddo that has so much going through his body that he can't even calm down for one minute."
I said, "Oh I know. Trust me. But he is in a good phase for us."
She just couldn't believe it. But, we have been through so much that what is good for us is normally "not-good" to others. It just depends on your story.....

Anyway, all in all, we are at a fantastic place right now and have been for a few months. Overall, Trenton has slept the best he has ever slept since December. Sure he still has his nights where he gets up at 2 AM for the day. His average wake up time in the morning is 4 AM but it is wonderful for us! WONDERFUL!  I will take a 2 or 4 AM start to our day over the H-E-L-L that I went through his first 5 years of his life.  ( Every night he would go sleep on average around 10 and be up at midnight and go back to sleep around 5 AM) Wow...I have no idea looking back how I did it....I literally went on 1-2 hours of sleep every single night and drove to Olney and Effingham daily for therapy. But, I didn't give myself a choice...I pushed through it for the boys. So, let's pray that the decent, best ever sleep that Trenton has done in his life still sticks around!! Seriously, I love my 4-5 hours that I am getting!! Now that I just said that, we will have a really bad night. LOL!

Another, area that has greatly improved is potty training. Potty training was going great around November last year. It started to take a nose dive in the wrong direction in December. It was TERRIBLE come January of this year.  Remind you, I have been potty training Trenton for 14 months now. I have my theories of what went wrong last December/January. Another role in his potty training that helped make it go wrong was the changes that happened in our house.

A neurotypical child who is potty training will regress during big changes in their life from what I have been told. This all happened around the time my ex-husband left. Even though I have always been the primary care taker of the boys, I believe this had a negative impact on Trenton and his potty training. Trenton's anxiety became at a new high during this time. Trenton would not let me out of his sight for the months to follow. He wanted me right by him all the time. He would cry if I just walked out of the room. Trenton would tell me to, "stay" while holding my hand. I seeked help to try to figure out the situation and the therapist agreed with my therapy that Trenton was having anxiety issues and afraid that I was leaving next. I am "his person". I am the one that he leans on and I know exactly what he wants by the slightest sound that he makes.  Much more on this but I won't discuss...long story short....I have literally sweat with actual sweat running down my body from January to April trying to potty train Trenton. I have cried from January to April with Trenton during his potty training problems and anxiety problems. It has been extremely hard. Words can't express how hard it has been while taking care of another child and their challenges.  But, I didn't give up. I kept researching, talking to his team at Harsha Cognitive Center, and we came up with a new idea with his potty training. It was pretty much the last resort.  I spent lots of money to make it happen and it worked!!!!!!!! So far anyway!!  I implemented it all in April...I believe I did a post back in April on this...and we are doing great at this point:)

Trenton is doing the best he has ever done with potty training for me at home consistently!!! Lets hope and pray that it continues. Potty training has been one of the hardest things for me to accomplish with Trenton and we are still  not close to accomplishing it. (Much more different steps to follow with a child with autism) However, we are making progress and I am beyond elated!!!

All in all, between sleep and potty training, we are at a really good place in our lives. We have many challenges daily and always will. However,  the strict, consistent night time routine that I do with the boys has had a huge impact on the way they sleep.  Since it is just me at home with the boys, I have implemented it daily and we are doing awesome!! Consistency is the key in helping children like my boys!!

Consistency is the key with autism!

Of course, things can change and Trenton's sleep could go south again. Autism is a mystery and his sleep has always been one of them. Potty training could go wrong too. The slightest bit of anything can throw Trenton off course....which is why I am very picky about what kind of stimulation, etc the boys receive. Just another reason why families like ours are trapped in our home...we do it for the sake of our kids and their progress. We have to!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

When we know love we know how to give love

I John 4:7
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God

Deuteronomy 6:5-9  
          
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Autism & Vomiting

The other day someone asked me a few questions about the boys and I completely blew them away with my answers. This person had no clue of the things that the boys and I couldn't do because of their disabilities. I explained why and they were completely dumbfounded.

Sensory problems got brought up and I was trying to explain to this person about the severity of Trenton's autism and sensory problems....again...completely amazed. They had no clue.
The sad thing is, I talk about the issues on here occasionally but it is just a very short glimpse into the challenges that come along with an autism diagnosis.  Plus, I can't even come close to touching on the majority of the challenges that come with autism. This is just a short blog that I use to advocate and educate others on and finding the time to go in-depth is hard to find.....the boys come first!

With that said, I would like to raise awareness today of an issue that many people have no clue of that accompany an autism diagnosis. I have been battling a serious issue that can turn into a very serious problem with Trenton. Challenges come and go. Many challenges with autism don't occur till the child is older. Some challenges come and stay for while and then they leave. It is autism folks.....the best way to describe autism is ......the never ending, never changing unique disability.

A challenge that I have been battling for approximately the last 5 months with Trenton is vomit! Trenton vomits from time to time. No, he is not sick when he vomits. It is actually another challenge that comes with autism.


According to autismspeaks.com...Many parents report gastrointestinal (GI) problems in their children with autism. The exact prevalence of gastrointestinal problems such as gastritis, chronic constipation, colitis and esophagitis in individuals with autism is unknown. Surveys have suggested that between 46 and 85% of children with autism have problems such as chronic constipation or diarrhea. One study identified a history of gastrointestinal symptoms (such as abnormal pattern of bowel movements, frequent constipation, frequent vomiting and frequent abdominal pain) in 70% of the children with autism.

I battled chronic diarrhea with Trenton from the time he was born till about 4 years of age. I battled doctor appointments in STL with him....had his feces tested...did test after test to yet be told again..."It is just a part of autism. Many individuals battle this."

Around 4 1/2 years of age, Trenton went from diarrhea to constipation. It was day and night with Trenton and it was BAD. I battled him waking up in the night crying his cry that he does when he is in pain. Of course he can't tell me what is wrong....oh the battles of autism are just simply heartbreaking.  I have went through many laxatives, supplements, you name it, I tried it. I have seen this child cry for literally hours because he had a rock hard stool at the opening of his bottom and it wouldn't come out. He was in real pain folks. I have seen his bottom bleed from constipation. I have had to do things that only a mother would do to help my child through his constipation. As of now, that stage is gone......for now:) It can come back tomorrow, I just never know because it changes a lot.
I know it is easy for a neurotypical parent to read this and think, " all kids have diarrhea and get constipated." However, I am talking about an every day issue. Every. Single. Day. Every. Single. Hour.....it was weeks without having a bowel movement with chronic tears from the pain. It was changing 10 plus diapers a day with his chronic diarrhea. Nothing helped...NOTHING. Not medicine....no special diet...Nothing!

However, the next issue right now that I am handling with Trenton is his vomit. He will puke and it comes out of nowhere. Most of the time it is right after he eats or within an hour after eating. If he does not vomit, he gags a lot.

Vomiting is a very common issue among kids with autism and sensory processing disorder. The following website gave me great comfort in knowing my child wasn't the only one who has autism & SPD so severe that he vomits


As always when a problems arises, I do a lot of research to find out what is the best way to handle the situation. Sadly, sometimes there is nothing that can help...it is just simply part of the disability.



Friday, June 17, 2016

Pepper & Andrew

We have a really good routine around here.  After a certain time, it is quiet time around here. It has been hard but we are doing great! Just like everything with autism, it takes time, patience, and consistency. During quiet time, Pepper is always with Andrew:)


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Annie

It takes a lot of time and patience to build a strong bond with a person/child with autism.  So much more effort, time, and love has to be put into the relationship. A bond between a neurotypical child and a parent comes natural. A bond between a neurotypical child and another loved one or friend comes natural. It is simply built naturally. Nonetheless, a bond between a child with autism and a loved one, parent, friend, therapist, etc. does not come naturally. It takes a lot of hard work.

When I have wanted to just relax for 5 minutes while Trenton was being good, I knew that 5 minutes could be the chance that I could get some eye contact or some natural touch.....and in return...it could make a huge impact on my relationship with him. Therefore, I almost always never chose the 5 minutes break, I chose him instead.

All the extra effort has paid off in many ways. Trenton and I have a very special relationship.
However, another relationship that has blossomed over the past few months is Trenton's relationship with his lead coach, Annie. I have never seen Trenton do such lovable gestures all on his own before with anyone besides me.  Trenton is with Annie about 50-75% of his days at Harsha Cognitive Center. That one on one time between the two of them has most certainly paid off. Trenton greets her every morning with a love pat on her shirt, great smile and great eye contact. That is his way of greeting her. Recently, Trenton won't leave Harsha Cognitive Center without giving her a kiss or a hug spontaneously! T-man sure does love his Annie! To top it off today, Trenton said, "I love you" three times to Annie today:) This kid has one huge crush:) But, most importantly, Trenton is a very smart kid. He spends a lot of time with her and he enjoys the structured one on one attention that she gives him and he thrives off of it.  I always thought that Trenton had a very strong intuition. I know that from day one he has picked up on Annie's genuine, loving, caring attitude. I have been told that everyone at Harsha Cognitive Center is jealous of their relationship.  Annie is one lucky girl and Trenton is one lucky boy to have such an amazing lead coach! Thank you Annie for helping Trenton. You are doing more than I can ever repay you for!


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A whole new world


As a kid, I could not have asked for a better life.  I loved living in the small town on a farm. I even liked the smell of pig manure. I know…crazy! I guess that is just how much of a country girl I was. In fact, I was a tomboy who loved to get dirty, sweat, play sports, keep up with my brothers, take care of my animals, and participate in any other good old fashion activity you can name. I would have even drove a tractor if my dad would have let meL

Then came my high school years and they were full of sports, dances, small town Friday nights of dragging main street, and so forth. I was that girl that was student body president, Sweetheart queen, one of the top athletes of my class, yet the girl that was nice to everyone and made sure everyone was nice to everyone.

After high school came my college and young adult days. They were mostly care-free days but I had my fair share of challenges and health problems. I learned along the way, dated a few of the wrong guys, took advantage of living life with no worries yet I remained grounded in my faith and always carried my strength through God. Before you knew it, I was walking down the aisle in a white dress marrying someone who I thought was committing himself to me for the rest of my life. Little did I know that it was the beginning of a whole new chapter in my life.

After chugging along in my new chapter in life that brought me two children with special needs and a divorce, I have learned more the last seven years than the whole previous twenty eight years before.

To be perfectly honest, the list of what I learned could go on forever. However, the one thing that could sum it all up in nutshell is the pure fact that my new chapter opened up my eyes. In my pre-autism days I thought I was a thoughtful person and I was but my compassion and empathy for others are looked at on a whole different level now.  I don’t think one can be on that level unless they go through some life changing heartaches in life. The true act of appreciation is measured beyond words for me now. I see things differently and always will. I know what it is like to live a life and then to have that life taken away by a life changing disability.  I know what it is like to raise kids who fight the hardest of battles daily. When you walk in those shoes, you are a changed person yet a much better person who is the definition of appreciation.

I am physically the same person before my new chapter started.  In my pre-autism days I didn’t have two dependent children with special needs that needed me 24/7. Now I do. With that said, my priorities are different. I have been forced to change for my two little blessings that call me mom.

I wonder what I would have said if someone told me then what I would have went through and still go through daily now. Would I have believed them? I don’t know.

Deep down I am still the small town, country girl. I still have that loud, boisterous laugh.  I just don’t have an opportunity right now to be that person. Will I ever be that person again who gets to sit at a baseball stadium and watch my favorite team without the worries that I have now? That is a question that is yet to be answered. However, what I do know is that I have my world in the palm of my hands and it is all I need. Their names are Trenton and Andrew. Yes, they have special needs. Yes, it is a whole different life than I had before. However, God knew what I needed and what I could handle.  He led me to this life and it is my decision to embrace it and see what good we can make out of it or run from it.  I am embracing it and going above and beyond daily for the boys.

  My whole world is my boys, their autism challenges, and a life spent on helping them to be the best that they can be.

It is a whole new world that’s for sure! I am bound and determined to make our new world the best that I can. It comes with daily tears, struggles, and heartache. But it is ours and I am proud of it!


I was pregnant with Trenton in this picture. Little did I know then that I was carrying the beginning of my new world inside me:)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Special Education Series: Evaluations

Evaluations are important tools  that will help you and your child in their journey. Evaluations are observations, reports, and tests that information about your child's academics, cognitive, social, linguistic, and emotional status. The evaluation report will be a key factor in decisions made at an IEP meeting about your child's program. For example, if you feel that your child needs speech therapy, your chances of securing that are increased if the evaluation report recommends it.

There are two kinds of evaluations: an initial evaluation to determine whether your child qualifies for special education and a follow-up evaluation to get up to date information on your child.

IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act) requires the school district to complete your child's first evaluation for special education within 60 calendar days of receiving your consent to do the evaluation.  IF your child is found eligible for special education, he or she must be evaluated every three years.

Depending on your child's disability, many tests are available including ones to evaluate general intelligence, reading, psychological state, social, and physical abilities. An evaluation should also include teacher and parent reports, doctor information, work samples, etc.

The school district has to get your consent to evaluate your child.  If you do not give consent to have your child evaluated the school district can still test your child they just have to go through other routes such as due process.

After your child is evaluated, the evaluator will issue a report. I recommend that you ask to see the report before the IEP meeting. This will help you keep a sense of control over the process and prepare for the IEP meeting.

If you do not agree with something, you have the right to reject it. I would wait till the IEP meeting to state why you do not agree with it. Hopefully, you and the rest of the IEP team can come up with a plan. Like I mentioned earlier, your child will be re-evaluated every three years. You have the right to ask for your child to be evaluated earlier than that but no more than one time a year.

Sprinkler

We have some special friends who made us a pvc pipe water sprinkler and the boys love it! I MEAN THEY REALLY LOVE IT!! So much fun with our new sprinkler today!





Saturday, June 11, 2016

I. Love. You

Our Saturday morning started off early like always. It was the normal morning.....Trenton turning the house upside down and making his "T-man messes" everywhere.
I made him sit down in his usual spot at the table to eat his breakfast. I sat down to eat my breakfast and right when I sat down, Trenton dumped his breakfast all over the floor.
"Trenton! I wish you didn't have to make so many messes all the time." I said in my aggravated and tired voice.
Trenton continues to look down at the table and then I hear in a very deep, robotic voice, "I. Love. You."


No Prompts! Nothing! He just spontaneously said it! Unbelievable!!! Thank you God for that moment. I needed that. So....so...amazing! I was just thinking and crying the other night about Trenton and the fact that he can't talk or express himself. Then God gives him and I this moment and my hope is restored again:) I know you will be able to express your feelings one day T-man!! Just keep on fighting. Mommy right here with you each step of the way:)


Friday, June 10, 2016

Moments like these are the best

I am so proud of the little guy that Andrew is becoming. There isn't one day that goes by that he doesn't break my heart with his autism struggles. They are much more evident at times as he gets older.  However, for every broken heart moment he sure does know how to mend it back together.

Today on our way to pick up Trenton from Harsha Cognitive Center, Andrew said...."Mommy, I want to give Trenton one of my toys."
I said, "Andrew that is so nice of you. Mommy is so proud of you for thinking of your brother"
Andrew said, "Mommy I want to make God proud of me."
I said with tears in my eyes, "Mommy and God are so proud of you."
Andrew said, "I know you are proud of me Mommy. I love you. I want to make God proud of me too."

Love moments like this!!! Love my life!!

He gave Trenton one of his dinosaurs and Trenton loved it:)


Thursday, June 9, 2016

The First Time Since We Moved to Terre Haute...

For the first time since Trenton started speech therapy in Terre Haute well over one year ago, I got to sit in one of his sessions. Normally I have Andrew with me and I am unable to sit and observe and take part in his speech and occupational sessions due to having Andrew with me. However, I finally got to sit in his session this week!! IT FELT AWESOME!!! I thoroughly enjoyed watching Trenton in action with his speech therapist. I saw things I hadn't seen Trenton do before. It brought happy tears to my eyes:)
So, how was I able to go? Nana has stayed with us this week. She came to watch Trenton every night while I took Andrew to VBS. Therefore for the first time since we moved to Terre Haute  I had someone who watched Andrew in our house so I could sit in on Trenton's session!!  For the first time in years, I  was away from my house in the evening time for a few consecutive nights in a row! WOW!!!!! I am NEVER out in the world past 5 o'clock. Extra stimulation is the last thing that Trenton needs past 5 at night. So, it felt amazing being out and in public 4 nights this week!! It is just one of those things that most people take for granted.
It was a terrific break for me. It was a great experience for Andrew and Trenton.

Thank you Nana for always helping things happen for your grandsons! It means the world to us!

I can't emphasize enough how GREAT it felt to leave my house at night. It would have never been possible without the help from Nana!


Just one of those struggles...


One of my articles I wrote for autismawareness.com
This is a real struggle for us. In fact, I have got to do this tonight....

https://autismawareness.com/trimming-nails-a-strategic-planning-job/?utm_content=bufferce8a5&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Water slide

We can't go to a water park because of Trenton's autism and Andrew is deathly afraid of things like that at this time.....so we made a very small water slide where  no one's head is going under water in our own backyard:)


The smiles on their faces and the sound of their laughs were breathless. I am one lucky Mommy:)
Life is all about the moments spent with your loved ones. These two little boys make me a much better person and I am so lucky to have them!



Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The other role I always dreamed about

I always looked forward to being a wife and mother one day. In fact, I am certain I was talking about it way before most of my friends. Another "role" that I was looking forward to becoming was an aunt. I remember being called "aunt" for the first time and I just thought it was the coolest thing ever! I remember taking out my future niece and nephew one night with my ex-husband but at the time he was my finance. I suggested it because I just couldn't wait to do fun things with my future niece and nephew. I thought for sure that was the beginning of a fun "aunt" role.

I remember the day when my ex-sister in law was having her first son. I was beyond excited and couldn't get my husband at the time to get to the hospital soon enough. Again, I was so excited to be an aunt.I remember the excitement I felt for each nephews birth and how excited I was to meet them. Then life changed.

I had my own children but that is not what changed about my "aunt" role. Autism entered in soon after the birth of my oldest son. I soon was a sleep deprived, grieving mother who didn't have enough time in the day for my own child with autism nor myself.  Next, came the birth of my other son and then the birth of more nephews. Every time we were able to be around family, I couldn't enjoy my family. I was the one chasing around Trenton trying to control him and to keep him happy so an autistic meltdown wouldn't happen. This is the way it is still when I am around family.

So, how do I get to enjoy the "aunt" role in life?!?!?!? I still haven't found that answer. Trenton's autism is severe and he is 24/7 care. I can't tell Trenton to just "play" with his cousins so I can enjoy family. He needs someone around him every minute. As he gets older, he relies on me even more. As Andrew gets older, I am his security with his autism traits and really thrives off of having me close by to help him socialize correctly, etc. Therefore, there is no time to enjoy my cute nephews.

For the first time since autism entered my life almost 6 years ago, I had a day where I enjoyed being an aunt. My nephew, Lincoln, came to our town and went to VBS with Andrew. Nana ended up having to stay home with Trenton. However, I had the time of my life taking Andrew and Lincoln to VBS. I felt for the first time, the joys of being the"aunt" that I always wanted to be.

Before I had my children, I day dreamed about taking my boys, nieces, and nephews out to eat, or to have them all over to play together while I cooked them food...even daydreamed about fun summer days at the pool, etc.
The roles I wanted to be for so long, didn't turn out at all like I had imagined. Nonetheless, that is okay. God had better and bigger plans for me. Even though I have accepted the life God granted me still doesn't mean I don't wish I could be a better aunt, it just means I am making the most of what I have been given.
 He had plans I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be doing or living but I am. It is one amazing ride. Thank you God for knowing better than me what I needed in life.


The Batmans and I had a blast together. Andew was so sad when he had to go to VBS all by himself tonight. There are a few people that make Andrew cry when he has to say good-bye to and Lincoln is one of those special people.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Autism & Church

Going to church is no walk in a ball park for families with children on the spectrum....most for families raising children on the severe end. For three and a half years, almost four years,  I have been getting the boys ready for church every Sunday by myself. The dreaded anxiety of what may unravel that morning during church always and still does haunt me every Sunday.
It is not being easy being "that mom" that walks in to church every Sunday after going through WWIII in our own home. Yet, I go and walk in with a smile on my face ready to serve the Lord. It may be five minutes or it may be fifteen minutes after we walk in where Trenton has hit his limit of sensory overload.
Why is attending church so hard for autism families? Kids on the spectrum have a very difficult time being in an environment with a lot of people, noise , and unfamiliar objects and sounds. Even though my boys have grown up going to church and the routine of church is not unfamiliar to them, it is still hard.
Some days Trenton does ok and we make it through the first half of church but too often than none, it is extremely difficult to make him comfortable during his time spent at church.
It is beyond stressful on me. I know EVERYONE knows that the boys have autism, yet it is still stressful to be "that mom" in the back with the unruly children.
There have been many times that Trenton has got away from me and ran up front during preaching or singing. What else can  I do other than run up there, grab him, and give a nice big wave and smile to the crowd. We always get smiles and laughs in return which makes it much better:)

I know a lot of autism families. A LOT!! The majority of them  have gave up going to church because of the stress and anxiety.  I just think it is extremely sad that there are situations...disabilities that are so severe where you can't even go to church...or anywhere else for that matter.

It is not easy. In fact it is my hardest weekly task but I keep on trying:) One day we will stay for the whole service.....I just know it!

I found a few great articles on autism and church so I thought I would pass along:)

https://www.reviveourhearts.com/true-woman/blog/four-practical-ways-to-welcome-autism-into-your-ch/

http://thinkingmomsrevolution.com/autism-and-the-church/


This week we have VBS. Andrew is so excited. In fact, Lincoln is here to go with him tonight.
The boys were both very excited. Very thankful for Nana who came up today to watch Trenton so I could actually step out of my house past 6 in the evening to pick up the boys!






Saturday, June 4, 2016

Class

As Andrew gets older, his anxiety and nervousness appears to be getting worse. This summer I have him enrolled in a weekly class. It is a small class and is the perfect size for Andrew. He was so very excited to go the past two weeks but was very nervous. The entire first day he was there, he didn't take his fingers out of his mouth at all. (He puts his fingers in his mouth when he is nervous and has rising anxiety.)
I take advantage of every opportunity that I can to help him with his social skills. His social skills will only become harder for him to manage as he gets older. Therefore, the more that we can make an impact in that area now, the better.

This past Friday, he was very proud of his sun that he made:)



Thursday, June 2, 2016

Special Education Series:Getting Organized

The next part of my special education series I want to talk about is just simply getting organized. If this is your first time entering special education, then prepare yourself for a vast amount of paperwork.  Gathering information( last special education post) and getting organized are both related. As I go through my series, you will understand why something as simple as getting organized is important.

First, you need to get a large 3 ring binder. This will allow you to keep everything in one location. In this binder you should keep the following:
  • evaluations
  • past & present IEPs
  • samples of your child's work
  • correspondence to and from the school
  • Notes you have taken
  • notes and information on programs that are available in your area
  • any forms sent to you from the school district
  • medical information from your child's doctor
Now that you have your IEP binder made, you should highly consider keeping a journal on your child. In this journal, you should keep track of all conversations between you and the school, follow-up actions, and notes from your IEP meetings. (Yes, you need to write down notes during your meetings. I will have more on that on a later post.)

Part of the "getting organized" process is an overview of your child's IEP process. In the beginning of the school, it is a great time to gather your information and develop a sense of what your child needs help in. This is especially crucial if you are just starting the process of wanting to get your child in special education. After the first few months of school, the process will take off. During the early winter months, you will have enough information to  start looking over your child's information. If your child is already in special education, keep tabs on their IEP and see how they are progressing. Next, in the early spring months, is when you focus on working toward getting an IEP program in place for your child if they are not in special education already. If your child is in special education already, you start evaluating how they have progress throughout the school year and what you want on their next IEP.

All in all, it is vital that you keep track of your child's progress throughout the school year. It will provide you with a basis for comparing one semester to the next, and one subject to the next. IF you don't keep close track, it is hard to tell how your child is progressing. Also, keeping tracking of your child's progress will make your case for eligibility. If your child is not yet in special education, you can use the materials you gather to show that your child is not improving. It will help you argue for a particular placement in case you have to. Also, most importantly, it will help you develop a positive relationship with your child's teacher. As a former special education teacher, I LOVED when my students parents were involved and active in their child's life. It will help you and the teacher to learn from each other.

It is extremely hard to keep track of your child's progress without being organized. Organization can be the key to helping your child.

Please stay tuned for more special education series post...