Saturday, July 30, 2016

It's here

The day has finally came! Two Brothers One Journey: The Lovely, Lonely Struggles of an Autism Mom is released! Some of you have already started to read it in a Nook Book form. Some of you are waiting for it to arrive on your doorstep. I want to thank each and every one of you who is supporting the boys and reading the first book of our journey.

The Lovely, Lonely Struggles of an Autism Mom was wrote with a newly diagnosed family in mind. My words were meant for them. I wanted them to be prepared for what may lie ahead of them on their journey. Of course, it all depends on the child or adult with autism and how severe their autism is. A family raising a child with more severe autism will relate to my book much more than a family raising a child with high functioning autism. A family member, friend, neighbor, community, church, or whomever will relate more to the book if their loved one has a more severe form of autism.
Not only did I write with autism parents in mind but I also wrote it  while keeping the family, friends, neighbors,  and community of autism families in mind.  Autism is such a misunderstood disability. My goal is to make people more aware of the daily challenges that it brings.  I tell exactly what autism is.

I have often been asked, "How can I help you?" I hope from my book, others can understand how exactly to help their loved one.

I have had some amazing support from my family, friends, community, church, friends churches, etc. Sadly, I know there are some people who don't have that. I hear it from them. I hear from autism mothers weekly reaching out to me for some inspiring words because they don't have the emotional support from their loved ones.

With all of that said, when you read my first book please keep in mind how my words are preparing another family for their journey. I didn't hold back. I let the reader know what it is going to be like . I didn't sugar coat how hard of a life it is.

As I say in my book, "Everyone deals with storms in their life. The storm I live every day isn’t an easy storm by any means, but it could be worse. Nonetheless, it is my storm. I own it and I will make the most of it. Dance in your storm!"

Book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Happy Noises & Happy Pacing

Here are two videos of Trenton making his happy noises while pacing in the waiting room at therapy. I wanted to post these to let you know what I mean when I say something about Trenton making noises. I know in many post I will talk about Trenton making noises. Therefore, you know what I mean now when I refer to his happy noises.

Also, just another example of how he never quits moving. Even when he is in a happy place where he is familiar with, such as therapy, he is unable to sit and wait till his name is called.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGEWpRjnBaA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfopbX-FFWg

Lil A

Lil' A loves to take pictures!!! I love to see his cute little dimples!
We had a contest today to see who looked better in Mommy's glasses. We decided that he did:)



Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Be a Blessing to Someone

I heard a phenomenal sermon this past Sunday. I got several things out of the sermon but one of them I want to share with you.
A segment of the sermon was on how to be a blessing to someone else. The preacher said that we could pray to God asking him to help us to be a blessing to someone. He gave several reason of why we should take advantage of our amazing Christian life and be a blessing to someone.  It doesn't matter what you have been through in life, be a blessing to someone. He said to turn our blessings into blessings for someone else.

 Honestly, can you imagine what this world would be like if everyone thought that way!!!

That part of the sermon about blessings was perfect! I related to it on so many levels. I have always been the type of person that went above and beyond to help others. I never thought that I would have so many people help me in my life. I have had people help me in almost every way possible from buying food for the boys...to helping with therapy bills....buying items for the boys that they needed....praying for us....you name it, someone has blessed me in that category! I have and will forever remain grateful for each and every blessing that I have received in not only my whole life but especially since my life went down the road that has autism in it:)

I wrote my book because I wanted to help someone...just one person was good for me.  I wanted to be a BLESSING to someone. I knew what it felt like to have received blessings and I wanted to return it to someone else. If my book is a blessing to just one person then I have passed on that feeling of what it feels like to have an answered prayer,....to have a blessing!

I read numerous books in the beginning of my autism journey that were major blessings to me. All the memoirs and educational books helped me to be a much better mother. Therefore, if my book could help one parent of a child with autism....one neighbor to an autistic family...one family member to an autistic family....one teacher to a child with autism......one community to an autism family, then it was a success! Then I was able to turn my blessings that God blessed me with into someone else's blessings. I bear others burdens like I said in a previous post. I have lots of burdens but I bear others. My book is my way of bearing others burdens and turning a blessing into an answered prayer for someone.

Let's all try to turn our life into a blessing to someone. We all have went through something in our life where we can turn it into a blessing for someone else. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Haircut

Andrew got a haircut over the weekend. He used to love to go to the salon and get his haircut. Not so much anymore! He doesn't have the sensory issues with haircuts like Trenton does but he has a little anxiety over the anticipation of a cut.

With all of the said, I somehow talked him into me giving him a haircut. I told him and went on and on about how I could cut his hair just like Trenton's. (I shave Trenton's head with a number 2 guard because he has very severe issues when it comes to haircuts.)
Andrew thought that was the best idea ever! Having a hair cut just like Trenton was going to be great! He, for the first time in a long time, was excited over getting a haircut with a number 2 guard just like T-mans! it was the shortest Andrew's hair would have ever been.

After I cut his hair I went on and on about how cute he was.
I said, "Andrew. No one is going to know that is you. They might think you are T-man in that haircut."

Well that was the wrong thing to say! It was on his mind all day that no one would know that he was Andrew.

"Mommy, they have to know it is me. I am not T-man." I heard numerous times.
At one point he said, "They will know it is me Mom. I talk and T-man don't so that will make people know it is me and not T-man. I am Andrew, not T-man. I don't want people to get me confused with T-man cause I have hair like him now"

All day long he would randomly say, "Mommy it's me not T-man. I just have hair like T-man."

This my friends is the funny stuff that I LOVE about autism. If I don't laugh.....I would cry!!

(People on the spectrum have a hard time understanding jokes.)


Huge Highlights

I am the type of mother that tells my boys, "I Love You" approximately 50 times a day......ok maybe not that many times but  I am telling you its up there.  Even if I don't hear it back from Trenton, I tell him just as many times as I tell Andrew. 
The past four days I have heard Trenton spontaneoulsy say, " I love you" two to three times each day. Twice he was looking right at me, smiling, and clapping. He knew exactly what he said and he was so happy. Of course, we celebrated and I jumped up and down with him giving him kisses and hugs. The other times, he said it while he was pacing around the house.

So, was it directed at me while he was pacing and not looking at me? I have no idea but many individuals with severe autism are unable to show their feelings or are unable to act happy when they are happy. Majority of the time, when they are happy they can't show it. So, I am going to guess and say that there is a good idea that those " I love yous" that he said when he wasn't looking at me and instead pacing around the house could have been meant for me:) One way or the other I will tell myself they were!!!

Another highlight for T-man is potty training. WOW! He is really doing great and I could not be prouder of him. It has been one of the hardest things that I have went through with Trenton and we started early spring 2015. I battled scratches..being hit at...kicked at by my own son. My hair was pulled by him. He would refuse to go to the bathroom when it was time.....I am not joking when I say we went through what seemed like H-E-L-L! But....we are accomplishing it folks! To top it off, I have went through it all by myself with him. I didn't have a partner who took over after I was hit at constantly by my son for ten minutes. I had to battle through it. So....yes I am very prould of what Trenton and I are accomplishing in the potty training area. VERY PROUD!!! Trenton and I would not be where we are today with the potty training issue if it wasn't for the great team at Harsha Cognitive Center.

Three times this weekend when Trenton needed to pee, he stopped what he was doing and went to the bathroom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I didn't have to tell him that it was potty time!!!!  So exciting folks!!! So exciting!
Now, please understand that even though he did that this weekend it doesn't mean that he will do it every day. Autism is a mystery. Trenton has done many things and never did them again. Whatever the case is... I am beyond proud of this boy this weekend!!
It is moments like the ones that I shared with you that makes all the hard times so worth it! It gives me the fire that I need to keep going.

Now don't get me wrong, even through we celebrated a few areas this weekend it doesn't mean that we had an easy going weekend at all. I won't tell you about the other battles....the messess....the house that was destroyed.....the meltdowns due to his inability to communicate and all the other battles we battled through. The good definitely outweighed the bad this weekend. I give all praise and glory to the Lord who is guiding me on the this amazing journey with my two amazing little boys:)


This is how I found him one time when he went all by himself:)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

John 3:16

One of the most popular verses in the Bible is John 3:16- For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

What a powerful verse in the Bible!! WOW! This verse, along with many others, have helped me on my journey with autism.  Truthfully, the hardships in life that I have went through has put on a much deeper understanding of many verses in Bible. However, this is the one that I want to talk about tonight.

I get asked a lot, "How do you do it?" "How do you stay so strong?"....and many more questions that are very similar to those. The first thing that I tell people is that I couldn't do it without my faith. My faith and love for God and what he has given me is what gets me through the challenging times in life.

When I want to get mad.....when I want to get frustrated and jealous of others...I simply think of the multiple examples that we have in the Bible that are there for us to read and relate to.

The first part of John 3:16 tells us that God loved us so much that he gave up his ONLY son. I can't think of any other love that is stronger than the love that someone gives up their only son for.

This is such an amazing example of how we should be as parents. It tells us that our love should be so strong that we should do what it takes to get through the hard times in life. God gave His only son for us.....so I can forfeit the life that I dreamed about in order to make a better life for my sons.
God gave His only son for us so I can give up my sleep.....I can give up my social life.....I can give up where I want to live.....I can give up a "typical, normal" life....I can at least do that for my sons after the amazing example that God set for us.

So, when you think you have it bad in life....honestly....you don't! Don't get me wrong, its hard and very difficult raising two boys with autism. However, I am not the one living in the severe autism body. I am not that one so I am blessed. If I could I would trade spots with T-man in  heartbeat. I would move mountains upon mountains for him. My love for him is that strong! God's love for me and my children was so strong that He gave up His only son....and that is simply the only example that I need! So when times are tough my friends and when you want to have a pity party...just remember...God gave up His son for you and I and we should be able to give up things and follow His example.

Lisa

When you have children who need extra support in their life such as therapy, I can't even begin to tell you how special those therapists and coaches are. If you don't have a child with special needs maybe you can compare this to the time that a loved one was sick and in the hospital. The team of doctors and nurses that took care of your loved one was, I'm assuming, special to you. I am sure you were ever so grateful for them helping your loved one.

For me, it is the team of therapists and coaches that I hold so dear to my heart. If it wasn't for them, my boys wouldn't be where they are today.

I spoke a few weeks ago about the special bond between Trenton and his lead coach at Harsha Cognitive Center. Andrew also has a very special bond with his lead coach, Lisa. Almost daily on our way to Harsha Cognitive Center, Andrew will tell me that he is excited to see Lisa. When Lisa has days off, Andrew does not like it!  In fact when she went on vacation a few months ago, Andrew said, "Mommy, I am mad Lisa is gone this week. She better be back soon." He cracks me up with the things that he tells me. I think he may also have a little crush on his coach. He told me one day, "Mommy, I like Lisa's eyes. They are pretty."

These two are quite the pair together:)



Sunday, July 17, 2016

Mr. Potato Heads

Mr. Potato heads were the items of the day with T-man. They ate lunch with him, played in the water with him, and they are in bed with him.
This is one of those things about autism that just makes my heart so happy! I love how he takes whatever he is "into" whether it is for one day or one month and takes it everywhere! LOVE IT!!



Saturday, July 16, 2016

Just One of the Many Challenges

Trenton has had several doctors and therapist since he was born. One of Trenton's doctors told me right after Trenton was diagnosed with autism that Trenton's form of autism was the "classic, severe autism" not like the autism that is most often heard about these days. (Autism is at higher rates than years ago but many of the cases are the milder cases.)

One of Trenton's first therapist prepared me for a hard, difficult life with Trenton. She told me that Trenton was one that most likely would be harder to care for as he got older. She prepared me really well for the road that likely lies ahead of us.

Another doctor told me that Trenton's anxiety, impulsive, hyperactive, and sensory problems was one of the most severe cases that he has evaluated.

Yet, another doctor told me, that Trenton will be harder to take care of as he got older due to the severity of his autism.

I like to be told things up front. I don't want anything to be sugar coated and since these doctors and therapist were so truthful with me, it has helped us in many ways.

I have seen a lot of good with Trenton lately but the good is always evened out with the bad.
Tonight, I want to discuss Trenton's anxiety. His anxiety and inability to handle the world is getting worse as he gets older. It was much easier to try things when he was 3 years old compared to now when he is almost 6 years old.

I have worked really hard with Trenton on trying to go out in public. We have worked hard with 3 different stores. It has taken a good year but now in these three stores I can walk in the store with him while he holds my hand. We only last approximately 5 minutes in the store but it is a huge improvement to where he was one year ago. It's autism....meaning baby steps are our life!

Stores and people's houses are very hard for Trenton. He never last long in someone's house. The only houses he loves is his own because it has all of his own stuff in it and Nana and Pop's house because it is the only house that he has known from the day he was born. Other than that...if he goes into your house he doesn't last long and it is only getting worse as he gets older. This is typical with autism in some cases and it proves to be huge in Trenton's autism. There are many indicators of why he doesn't last long in someone's house and I will post those reasons at a later post.

If I take him to an outside event, he still doesn't last long. It depends on his day and he may last longer than if the event was inside. However, it all depends on what stimuli is around. He doesn't take in and release the world around him like you and I do. We look at a ferris wheel and simply see a ferris wheel. He looks at a ferris wheel and sees every color flying at him....every flashing light's little noise that they make that we don't even hear...well....he hears it...the spinning of the wheel starts to come at him and before you know it, he is in sensory overload. There are several great videos on youtube that you can find what sensory processing disorder is like and that is what it is like for Trenton and Andrew on some of the issues.

I did prep Trenton for almost two weeks and talked to him about the fair. I did take him to the fair. I don't do anything without Trenton. I am teaching that to Andrew as well and it is working for us. The three of us try everything together as a family! A family sticks together so we are sticking together through everyone's challenges. Of course if we try an outing, we always need extra hands. Nana and Pops are normally our extra hands. They have been there through it all with us from day one.

 Andrew wanted to go to the fair so we all tried. Trenton got out of the van and walked the strip where the rides were with me once while holding my hand. After one walk down and back, he was fussing and pushing me towards the parking lot....so we left! Trenton got out and last about 10 minutes. He didn't like it. His anxiety was going strong the whole entire time. When he pushed me to the parking lot, I had no choice other than to leave. If I forced him to stay  then the situation would become aversive and I would probably never get him to go back again. That is where some people mess up with trying to teach their child with autism. We can't push aversive situations on them...or we are only making things worse.

We tried another event today and Trenton lasted about 5 minutes.

The progress we have made in this area is very slim....and in many ways we are regressing due to his anxiety and sensory disorder getting worse as he gets older.  I won't ever give up on Trenton. There are many grown individuals with autism who still don't go anywhere because they are unable to handle it. All we can do is pray that he is able to improve on some of his challenges.

The boys with their cousin, Lincoln, before we walked the strip in the fair.


Friday, July 15, 2016

On the Move

I have always been jealous of the parents that could have their children sit calmly and play...or even sit calmly for an educational tv show. Below are 2 very short video clips of how T-man watches tv....and as you will see.....he is on the move at all times.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFqvbvA_WSA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4ivpnMVnTQ

Generalization

Individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have a difficult time with generalization. Generalization is the expansion of teaching, beyond what was directly or intentionally done. For example, teaching a child to take turns  during a therapy session at the place of therapy is great but they need to be able to understand it enough to do it everywhere.  For some individuals, they can't. They will only do something where they learn it. Generalization does not automatically happen. This is where the parent/guardian has to do their turn to try to make it happen at home if they go to a facility for their therapy. (autism families never stop teaching/learning)
Generalization  goes extremely deep. For example, if someone with ASD learned that a "car" looked like a mustang, then they might have a hard time learning that a "car" is also a Malibu, etc.

Trenton does a great job in ST of shaking his head yes/no. It brings tears to my eyes just watching him do it. I am trying really hard to make him generalize this into our home.
 It is difficult because generalizing is actually very hard for both boys. This is one topic that I love to discuss and explain:) More on this topic later...



Thursday, July 14, 2016

Smart-aleck or ASD?

Research proves that sometimes individuals on the more high functioning end of autism suffer more from depression and loneliness as they get older. This is because they have a complete understanding of almost everything, yet they are not accepted by their peers as much as typical people are. Sadly, one of the reasons they are not accepted as much as their typical peers is because they are "different".
We all have our quirks yet they take quirkiness to a whole new level.

High functioning individuals have a difficult time with language even though they are verbal. Andrew is my very verbal child. No, not every person with autism is non-verbal or have limited language. Fifty percent of the individuals on the spectrum can talk functionally. Andrew is one of them. As Andrew gets older, he is really taking his  understanding of language to the extreme. Everything is taken literally. Once you tell Andrew something, it is what it is...and there is no telling him the opposite. He takes what you say the first time and there is no changing it!

For example, Andrew was walking up to a maze at the fair. Andrew just so happens to be at the beginning of the line. The worker told everyone to walk slowly and not to get in a hurry because he didn't want anyone to get hurt. Wow! Did Andrew ever take this man seriously!

Everyone was telling Andrew to walk faster. Andrew kept saying, "I was told to walk slow and I don't know how slow to walk."

It took Andrew 15 minutes to walk through a 1 minute short maze. Everyone was getting disgruntled with Andrew....the kids in the line...the workers at the fair....the parents around us. Finally, the other kids got smart and went around Andrew. Did Andrew follow their lead? NO! He continued to walk slower than a turtle. In fact some kids went through the maze  a few times before Andrew even reached the halfway point and this is no exaggeration.

The workers were beyond frustrated. Everyone was frustrated but Andrew just went at his own pace....it was unreal! You seriously had to be there to understand how slow he was moving. When he was done I told Andrew that he could have walked faster and Andrew said, "The man told me to walk slow and he didn't tell me how slow so I went slow mom."

My point of this is....neurotypical people have a good sense of understanding what is accepted as "slow" The other children involved in this situation  understood slow but had enough common sense to walk at a decent slow pace. Children on the spectrum do not have the understanding of something like this. They have to be explained in detail and shown what exactly a person wants them to do or it is all taken to the extreme!

How does this tie in with depression and anxiety? Easy! As Andrew gets older, his peers won't be as accepting of his challenges. A situation like this could be very easily turned into a bully situation. Sadly, I hear of those types of situation often. What is even more sad, I have heard adults talk about kids who are like this...adults who are teachers...adults who are coaches....adults who work with others with ASD......adults who don't understand ASD. These adults and fellow peers who don't understand think the person with autism is being a smart-aleck.

I thought I would pass along that story to make people realize that maybe they should think before they "judge" a child or even an adult.....they just may have an ASD.

Gap

He loves to look at the gap in his teeth:)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Two Brothers One Journey: The Lovely, Courageous Struggles of an Autism Mom

In August 2014, I decided to write a book. At that time I didn't care if I could get a publisher or not to support it, I just wanted to write a book. My plan at the time was to have a few books printed through a printer store and sell them off my website. All I wanted to do and all I still want to do is to share my words. Even if my words help one person, then it was all worth it!
Much to my surprise, I did get a few publishers who were interested in my book. With that said, I went for it.  I wouldn't have been able to do it without the support of my family, especially my younger brother, Brent.

I am getting asked a lot about how I wrote the book. What is the style? Is it a biography style book that is wrote in chronological order? Well, the answer to that questions is, No.

I wanted my first book to be different than all the other memoirs on autism that I have read. I wanted my first book to not just be able to help a mother or father of a child with autism, but I wanted it to help their family....their friends...their neighbors...their community.....their therapist....their teacher....the whole world! I wanted it to be a book where anyone that knows someone with autism could read it and get something from it. Therefore, I came up with the book that I wrote.

Two Brothers One Journey: The Lovely, Courageous Struggles of an Autism Mom has 38 chapters in it. Every chapter is on a different topic. The book covers everything that I, a mother of two boys on different ends of the spectrum, have learned and endured the first six years of my autism journey. I discuss everything from the physical and mental exhaustion, heartache, and the joys of autism. I am open and honest with my feelings. I have had the pleasure of meeting and talking to numerous other autism parents since my journey and almost everything that I am honest about in my book, is what many of the other parents have expressed to me as well.

I already have received an email from a publisher who is reading my book now. She wrote me to tell me that she had a cousin with autism and my book opened up her eyes to what her aunt and late uncle went through raising her cousin. Therefore, she wrote her aunt a letter to thank her for doing everything they did for her cousin.
That my friends is exactly why I wrote my book. In my eyes, my book is already a success. All I wanted to do was to help one person and I already did:)

Released July 30, 2016
Stay tuned for more details!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Community

Trenton has received 100% of his training from Harsha Cognitive Center in their building. We are in the works of adding some community training in his program. I am very happy about this and can't wait to see how it helps Trenton. Every opportunity that I get, I take Trenton out in the community and work with him. It is hard with both boys and always require extra hands. We have  came a long way just with me working with him. I am really excited to see what we can do when he goes out with his coaches:)

Today, however, a group of his coaches took him out in the community and they went to the fair to see the animals!! There is no  better way to start than with one of his favorite things....animals!!!
It made this Momma's heart so happy to know that he went out in the community today with his coaches!!!


Monday, July 11, 2016

Special Education Series: Who Is Elgible for Special Education

Who is eligible for special education?

In order to qualify for special education, a child must meet two eligibility requirements. The requirements are:
1. He or she must have a disabling condition. The conditions that fall in this category are:
  • hearing impairments
  • Speech or language impairments
  • Visual impairments
  • multiple disabilities such as intellectually disabled
  • orthopedic impairments caused by congenital anomalies
  • orthopedic impairments by disease
  • orthopedic impairments caused by cerebral palsy
  • learning disabilities
  • emotional disturbance
  • autism
  • traumatic brain injury
  • other health impairments such as epilepsy, ADHD, heart conditions, etc
2. A condition must have an adverse effect on your child's education. In other words, it is not enough to show on paper that your child as a disability, you must show that your child's disability is causing enough problems to where they need to be in special education.

Sadly, since it is not enough to show that your child has a disabling condition; you must show that your child's disability has an adverse effect on their education.  No where can you find how "adversely effected" is measured in a definition in any special education book that I have came across. However, you and their teacher can measure this by grades, test scores, classroom behavior, etc.

You can get your child to qualify for special education without one of the specific conditions on a "Developmentally delayed" condition. Nonetheless, this disability can only occur from the ages 3-9. Once your child is older than nine, they have to have one of the conditions above and can no longer qualify under the developmentally delayed category.

After your child is evaluated, the school will schedule an IEP meeting to discuss your child's eligibility for special education.

I remember learning all of this when I received my special education degree. Never in a million years did I ever imagine that all of my special education knowledge would come in so handy with my own children. NEVER did that thought cross my mind. God sure takes us down one path in order to prepare us for our next path in life!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Tears can speak more words than you ever imagined

I'm sitting in public right now crying. It's not the first and we all know it is not the last.
It's the silent tears that are flowing down my checks and as always the tears are not for me. They are for Trenton.

I've seen a big jump in the way Trenton comprehends language, the world, and everything in it. He understands so much when his body allows him to. On some days he can comprehend life much better than others. It all depends on his modulated sensory processing disorder. A few years ago we were still wondering if he understood anything and now he can understand so much. It is simply amazing!  However, this comes with heartache. A lot of heartache and let me tell you why...

Trenton knows there is a world and he knows he can't handle it. He knows and realizes when he can't do things. The hurt in his eyes....the tears he cries...the sadness that overcomes him breaks my heart and rips my soul to the core. There isn't much more that can hurt a parent than to see your child suffer.

I've seen the sadness a lot lately with Trenton. I've seen his huge crocodile tears flow down his face while he looks me directly in my eye and tries to talk. He may not be able to utter the words from his mouth but his eyes speak enough. I know exactly what he is saying and he is hurting and suffering.

I've seen the sadness take over  when he sits on a bike and wants to pedal but he can't.
I've seen it come when he has a potty accident. He knows he isn't supposed to pee in his pants but he did and it upsets him.
I've seen it happen when he can't express to me what he wants.
I've seen it happen when he sees things that grab his attention that kids his age are doing.
I've seen it happen when he can't handle a public place, church, and store. He wants so badly to be able to sit quietly and to sit still in a pew at church but he can't. He has to make noises....he has to move his body...and between what his body needs and all the noise and lights filtering into his body from every single angle sends him into sensory overload so we leave because he goes into a meltdown. However, the meltdown stops and the sadness takes over a few minutes later after we leave because he is disappointed in himself. He wants so badly to be like YOU and ME!

When the sadness takes over I have tried to take him back in to church or the store but his anxiety takes over and he goes into a meltdown again. Sometimes he will cry his sad tears and be upset with himself for a while and at other times I can get him out of his sad mood rather quickly. It just depends. One way or the other, it is heartbreaking to witness, especially when it is your child.

There are obviously many things that come with autism that are hard. As I watch Trenton get older, this is one area that is getting harder as a parent and for him. It is one story when you are "different" and don't know that you are. However, even individuals with severe autism can know that they are different and that takes things up to a whole other level. Like I said above, it is not every day that Trenton does this. There are many days when Trenton's autism doesn't allow him to realize that he is different but there are days that it does.
Depression and suicide rates are extremely high with individuals with an ASD diagnosis.  The rates are  much higher for individuals like Andrew who are high functioning than for Trenton who are severe. This is one reason why the rates are high, they know they are different and they can't handle it.

It doesn't matter how bad it gets, I will always be there for you T-man! Momma walks this journey with you daily. If T-man can't do it...then Momma don't do it! We are in this together!



Thursday, July 7, 2016

Lil A Stickers & Decor

Do you want to know what Andrew's side of the van looks from the inside?

 Yes... I know.....terrible! HA!
He told me it "helps him" to be able to look at all of his favorite characters and things that he likes. This kid is a hoot!

Remember when I posted that he took down his "decorations" in his room?!?!?

Well....we have new d├ęcor up! He took down his old characters that he was obsessed with and put up some new things that he is obsessed with lately.
His new obsessions are Angry Birds and Powerpuff Girls. Both were the latest toys in Happy Meals. I had to buy a Happy Meal every single day just so he could get the toy. Buying the happy meal was fine because Trenton is back to wanting to eat only McDonalds' chicken nuggets at night so T-man got the nuggets and A got the toy:) On a side note....I am really staring to know the employees at McDonald's very well......
His room is also decorated with PJ Mask, Finding Dory, things he cut out of magazines that he is "thankful for."

Love my Lil A!! He is the most thoughtful yet funniest kid around!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

HOPE

Hope. A four letter word that we, as autism parents, have to hold dear to our hearts. I know all too well how easy it is to see that four letter word diminish. We have to be careful or we let go of hope and sometimes it is hard to get it back once we let go of it.
Where would we be without it? Our days are trying enough. It is difficult to say the least raising children with any special needs. I just hate to think where I would be if I didn't have hope.

Hope is found all the way back to the beginning of time. Noah and his family had "HOPE" that God would remember them.

Genesis8 :1
   But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

We can also find hope in Psalm 147:11
       the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love

There are numerous other examples we can find on hope in the Bible.

I often try to imagine if I didn't have hope. Hope, along with my faith, is what is getting me through the difficult travels in life. For example, I have battled through some meltdowns lately with Trenton because he is unable to express what he wants and he gets frustrated. His frustrations get worse as he gets older. He knows exactly what he wants but his beautiful soul is trapped in a body that is unable to let him express. I can't imagine. I. CAN'T. IMAGINE.

It is hard for me to get through his frustrations and I am not the one that is unable to express myself. If I didn't have hope then I am assuming I would be depressed because there would not be anything to hold on to. That is another thing that I couldn't imagine...just couldn't imagine not having hope!

So, yes, I hold on to hope. It gives me a glimpse into a beautiful future. It gives me something to look forward to. It gives me everything!!

So, we should never lose hope. We simply have no idea what tomorrow or even the next minute will bring.

Trenton smiled at me today and looked at me and spontaneously said, " I love you." when I dropped him off at Harsha.  I see the hope that I have held on to for so long lately. I will keeping on holding on to it!

This picture was taken a few minutes before he told me he loved me:)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Stickers

This is what Andrew's side of the van looks like from the outside. LOL!
He is very, very protective of his stickers. I have learned this the hard way.


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Wish I Knew.....


Trenton has had some very erratic behavior this week along with several sad moments where he cries a very quiet, sad cry. His sleeping has not been good. He has woke up twice from sleeping in the night crying profusely. A few times this week he has acted like he was seeing things at night. He has vomited a lot this week. He has acted like he had the ant/fire feeling this week and I haven't seen that in a long time.  He is out of control.  If he is not in ABA, he is at home. When he is at home all he does is jump from couch to couch. He walks. He runs around the house. He climbs into the sinks in the kitchen. He climbs on top of the kitchen counters, computer desk, and anything that he can find to climb up. He runs up and down the stairs. He is not happy. Not happy with anything. The only time he is happy is when he is stimming. All he wants to do is stimm and for Trenton that is watching the first 30 seconds of his favorite video over and over.

I am often asked by people, "What does Trenton like to play with?" When I tell people the truth, they are completely floored!
The truth is....he doesn't play with toys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My next question is always, "If he doesn't play with toys, what does he do then?"

Well....he paces around the house...opens the fridge and if I am not right by him he will take the lid off of the milk, juice, or anything else that he gets a handle on and dumps it out all over the kitchen. He takes all of his animal and play figures and  scatters them all over his room. He walks around and kicks them. He will go in every room of the house and see what he can get his hands on to scatter and kick around. He goes into the bathroom if it is not deadbolted and runs the water in the sink and splashes water everywhere. He cries. He fusses. He hits. He throws items and everything that I mentioned in the above paragraph, too.  That is what Trenton does. He doesn't play with toys...he isn't even close to being age appropriate with anything like that. If he is outside, he plays in water and jumps on the trampoline.

With that said, when he is in a bad phase.....it makes everything WORSE!!!!

I know mothers love it when their children play with toys and keep themselves occupied so that they can make dinner, clean, laundry, make a phone call, etc. I don't get that! Never have and probably never will. I have to follow Trenton around 24/7. He is a child that doesn't know danger...he would hurt himself badly if he is not supervised every minute of his life.


Why did he have a bad week and will it just be a week? Did he get over stimulated at some point and just not able to calm down from it? Is he going to start a bad phase after we have worked so hard to get in a good phase? Is he hurting? What in the world is making him have such erratic, out of control behavior at home and at night? Will he get back in his bedtime routine that I worked so hard to accomplish??

Oh how I wish I knew the answers. The only thing I know is that this life is hard and doing it as a single parent is rough but I will not give up on my boys! I have gave up my whole life for them and will continue to do so.

I do think one thing that is playing a role this week is his teeth. He has some loose teeth and he actually lost a tooth this week. I think this has played into the rough week.  That was a big change for him and the slightest bit of change can get everything "off". When he lost his tooth he handled it well at the time but I think it was due to the fact that he was right in the middle of some of the best sensory stimulation he had in a while. Therefore, his mind was focused on that.

Trenton's autism comes and goes with strengths and weaknesses. He will be in a great phase for a long time and then it disappears and the rough phase is in full swing for awhile. Sometimes his strengths and weaknesses are splintered. He goes a lot into modulation with his challenges and sensory problems. He is a mystery just like his disability.