Thursday, September 29, 2016

First Field Trip

Andrew's class went on a field trip today and we had a blast!!! We went to Ashlee's Cupcakes and the class got to decorate their own cupcake. The lady showed them how to decorate a Minion cupcake but Andrew made sure he told everyone over twenty times that it was not a Minion but instead it was Pac-man. He didn't drop it! The whole time we were there he kept saying, "I am making a Pac man cupcake not Minion.".....and that is Andrew's type of autism...






Planning for the Future?

One of the reasons I started out blogging was to simply educate my readers on autism. Autism is a very misunderstood disability that people are quick to judge based on numerous things. Therefore, the only way for people to understand it is by being educated on it.

With that said, I hold back and refrain from educating my readers on many things because I don't want my readers to think that I am wanting sympathy because that is far from it! However, I can't hold back any more on particular topic and please know that I am blogging about this tonight because it is a serious situation not just with autism but with every disability and illness that requires 24/7  care by a caretaker. What am I talking about? Financial burden on families.

I came across an article today on the importance of planning for retirement when you have a child with autism or special needs. The article is what has encouraged me to write this post.  I understand completely about planning for the future. In fact, everyone does. I have in place a special needs trust which is way too complicated to try to explain on here but it is the one thing that I have done to help protect Trenton when he is 18.

One thing this article pointed out is how can a parent plan for their child's future when they are unable to work because their child requires constant care. When a child's needs are severe even if they are in school it doesn't mean the parent has that whole 7 hours to work...you have to consider drive time......that may take the time down to work till 6 hours...then if there is other children like Andrew that has therapy and school so that takes my time down to 3.5 hours I have without the boys to work per day....its hard to find a job in that exact amount of time that is understanding about the situation...because finding a babysitter who is willing and cheap enough to babysit a child with severe autism is impossible to find!)

The article was a decent read that just simply stated the facts. It ended with this...."A special needs family can easily drain all of its savings. You are going to be plus years older than the child, and the worst thing is getting to the point where you are to old to care for you child and you don't have enough money to pay someone else to care for him."

Now, lets switch gears for a second. A person who has a disability and has been proven by the state  that they are disabled can get social security. The max social security payment is 700 a month which you don't get till the person is 18. How can a person who is permanently disabled live off of 700 a month?! It cost money to live in a home for disabled people. After the monthly rent in a home, food, etc...how can anyone live off of the max?!? They can't. This is why it is so important that families start putting back money now for their child who will never be able to work and take care of themselves. But how can a family do that when they can't make it now?!?!?! Families can't make it now because one parent can't work and the divorce rate is 60-80 percent for autism families. Sadly, there are about 60-80 percent of autism moms out there just like me.

We are well below the poverty rate and I have been working for months on trying to get a loan for the house. It is hard to find anyone that wants to help and support single parent families of special needs kids. Please someone tell me how can families, single parent families, make ends meet and put money back for their dependent child one day?!?!? Especially when states don't provide the help to families now when they are younger. Very few states give funding and respite care to single parent families so they can go to work, etc. There is a huge lack of good people wanting to work with individuals with special needs and a lack of the right programs for families raising children with special needs.  So yes, I fear the future for Trenton.

Given the trials in the life that I have been given, it sure has opened my eyes up and made me look at things differently than I would have if it wasn't for autism. We just never know what life will bring.  We all need to count our blessings daily because they can change in a heartbeat and you can find yourself living a life that you never dreamed or imagined and that is perfectly okay! The worries and heartache that I have daily are all for the boys. I do what I do to make their life a little better for when I am no longer here with them.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pepper

We have the best cat ever!! Seriously, look what she let Andrew do to her yesterday. Pepper was part of his bridge for his cars. He thought it was so awesome that Pepper let him do that.
 It's been awhile since Trenton has laid down in his animals. Yes, he is in that picture just look closely.

Frustrations of a Spectrum

I have been thinking a lot lately on just how different every single person is with autism. Obviously, I know every person who lives on this planet we call Earth is different. But, seriously folks, autism is a disability where every single person is completely different and that plays a huge role of why it is so hard for people to understand. When we think about other disabilities, they are much more comparable to each other than individuals with autism. My two boys are just one fine example of how you can't compare two individuals with the same diagnosis.

I am involved right now on an autism acceptance committee and there is going to be an autism event in October in the town we live in. The event is going to consist of a lot of vendors for families, such as mine, to meet and get information on. A few of the vendors and sponsors of the event are planning games. GAMES?!?!? I'm glad there will be games for all the "typical" siblings there and for the kids with autism that can do that. But, it is not going to happen with Trenton but it may for Andrew. Trenton is unable to do anything like that. Andrew....he may be able to but he has a very hard time with following directions. If he gets it in his head that the game isn't going the right way, he is likely to go into a frenzy and cause quite the scene.  My mind can't fathom games. I know there are several kids with autism who have autism so high functioning that they can handle the games, especially if they are older. As of right now, anything that is close to what neurotypical children do....well....we can't even come close to doing it. That is one area why this disability is so beyond frustrating. BEYOND FRUSTRATING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With that said, being able to even take my child to an autism event is HARD work. I have every year since 2012 but he doesn't last long. While he is there, he will be pulling away to go home. He will make his upset noises. He will cry. He may go into a meltdown. He won't stand still, he will constantly pace...CONSTANTLY. He won't even look at anything. His body will be doing what we can't even fathom. So, why try?!?!? Why even put him through that?!?!? Well, I'm simply not. Life is going too good for our routine to put that stress on him. It might just be enough to get him out of his routine and yes it just takes one simple thing like that to totally mess up his sleep pattern, etc.
Yet again, this leads me to the questions, How do people take their child with severe autism to autism events?  I don't know. I am always involved in the events because I enjoy raising awareness for my boys disability but it is hard when your child can't even participate in the event.

I have came to the conclusion, that every person with autism at autism events are on the mild to moderate end of the spectrum. If they do have severe autism, they are not severe in their anxiety and/or sensory processing challenges. They simply can't be!!
Since I have been doing events the past fours years, last year was the first year that I saw an individual with autism pulling away from their parents, pacing, and doing exactly what Trenton does. This person was a grown man. I know this man and I wonder if that is the way Trenton will be when he is an adult?

I talk with a lot of parents of children with autism. I love it!! We learn from each other and share ideas, etc. Honestly, I have only met one family in the four years of talking to other autism parents that had a child with autism where they can't go places due to their child's severe anxiety and sensory challenges along with their autism.
I am very blessed in many ways. Both boys could be a lot worse. However, it doesn't make it better when your child falls into that very small place on the spectrum where you are literally stuck in your own house because their disability doesn't allow them to go places. It really stinks! I am sure if I challenged you to stay in your house every hour of the day except when you are at therapy and the grocery story for two weeks, you would get cabin fever! Guarantee! I am used to it, doesn't mean I like it but I am used to it. I have learned to accept it but it doesn't mean I don't hope for and pray for a huge breakthrough for Trenton one day where we can attend events and feel like a somewhat "normal" family even if it is just for one hour!
Every time I see a child or adult with autism that is out in public, my heart is so beyond happy for that family because there are many families who are forever stuck in their own little bubble because they can't go anywhere!




Friday, September 23, 2016

Apple Orchard

Andrew is like me and he loves fruit! We have been eating lots of apples lately. In fact, Andrew told me this week that apples grow on trees. Then he asked if the next time we bought apples if we could pick them. I loved his idea!! So we went to the apple orchard today and picked our own apples.


Andrew picked most of them! He LOVED it!!




Thursday, September 22, 2016

Bonding

Two straight days this week, Trenton has only wanted to do things with Andrew. My heart melts...SERIOUSLY!!!! Trenton goes up to Andrew and takes his hand and leads him to where he wants to go. Andrew doesn't know what Trenton is doing so I remind him that its Trenton's way of talking. Love these two boys and love how they are bonding in their own "special" way.




 Crazy hat day at school yesterday. He was too nervous and anxious to look at the camera and he only put on a fake smile. Poor child just hates going to school.....its a chore every morning to get ready to go but we are making progress!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Baby Steps Are Happening!

Every single day I wake up and think, "Oh please Trenton let's just keep our good phase and baby steps going." I know all too well how he can go from a good phase to an extremely bad phase in the snap of a finger. I will never understand it but as I always say , "It is what it is." I can't do anything about it other than adjust to the day and do what our day needs.
The baby steps that Trenton is making these days is phenomenal. I do think one thing that has contributed is the consistency that I display with the boys.  It is just me and the boys. I know what is best for them and I do it every single day even if I don't want to. The rigidness in the routine is so monotonous. There are some days that I just want to scream because I am so tired of doing the exact same thing all the time. But, look at the progress we are making!!! I am pushing myself through it because I know it is the best for the boys. It is really amazing when I look back on my daily notes and see how both boys behaviors change when we go out of our consistent schedule.

One area that I spoke about in my book is church and how it has been so brutally hard. Where many parents gave up, I didn't. I pushed through the hard times because I knew if I ever wanted Trenton to attend church I had to push through the hard times. If I gave in and quit, he would know exactly  what to do to get his way. (A lot of information on this that I hope to post about soon to help parents understand the behaviors to give in to and not to give in to.) We have made numerous scenes in church. In fact we have totally disrupted church I don't know how many times. Trenton has ran on the stage with the preacher and song leader....which led to me running down the isles to get him.  I recall leaving church a few times crying uncontrollably because I couldn't control Trenton. He has thrown food and toys at people a few rows ahead of us and there is nothing to do other than just give a nice nod to the person we just hit in the head. You name it, it has happened. But now, six years after the battle, we are finally going to church and it is going better than I ever thought was possible! Never in my wildest dreams did I think that Trenton would be doing as good as he does in church as he does now. I have a fantastic church that has went above and beyond to make it happen for us. They are amazing and I can't thank God enough for leading us to them.

The boys know the routine of holding hands that I have been consistently displaying with them the past year when we are out in the community. Today we got out of our van to walk up to church  and without me giving them any prompts, Trenton took my hand and then he reached for Andrew's hand. I have taught the boys that Mommy holds Trenton's hand and Andrew is my helper and holds his other hand. It works fantastic!!! My heart melted when Trenton reached for Andrew's hand without me even telling him!! The bond they are building is nothing like neurotypical children but it is precious. Andrew really does help me look out for Trenton and Trenton really is showing Andrew love these days. I am so blessed!!!!!

All of this hasn't came naturally to us. Nothing does! When I say it is hard work, I mean it is hard work. Like I said, the majority of parents would have gave up. I have gave myself health problems because I was so determined to NOT give up because I knew I couldn't and I knew we would never achieve these small goals if I gave up.

So, to the parents  out there wanting to give up...DON'T! I speak first hand telling you that I know what it feels like to be up around the clock and never sleep. I know what it feels like to push through the physical and mental exhaustion. I know what it feels like to walk in church with the fear and wondering what will happen today....or asking yourself "Wonder how long we will last today?" I KNOW!!! I know the heartache of having a child who you think will never get potty trained. I know exactly how hard it is!! But, please don't give up.  If baby steps are starting to happen for Trenton then I know they can for your child because I have been through H-E-L-L and that is no exaggeration!!! Autism is diagnosed on a 1-3 scale with 1 being mild, 2 moderate, and 3 severe.  Trenton falls in the 3 category in every trait. His needs are severe. If we can do this, I know you can too. It will just consume every minute of your life and I know how much that plain stinks! However, it is the life you have been handed. Nothing was ever guaranteed to us so just do what you have to do to get by and make progress! One day you will start seeing the light  that you have so hoped for and it will be simply beautiful!


I continue to work with Trenton and going to public places. We still have a very limited number of places we go. I don't want to introduce a new place to him yet because we haven't mastered the ones we are working on. However, we are still doing great!

 He holds my hand like big boy:)

 This picture is from church. Most of the time Trenton stands up during church and sways back and forth while he claps his hands and makes his happy noises. Today he sat down a lot! So unusual for him. I was so happy, I had to take a quick pic:)
 
There are two elephants in town so we stopped to see them after church. Trenton took one look and said, "elephant."

      

"For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things

Friday, September 16, 2016

Andrew' Challenges becoming more obvious

The average age for a diagnosis of high functioning autism is between the age of 6-8 years old. I am very fortunate that I got Andrew diagnosed at the early age that he was. I often wonder since I was  proactive and didn't live in denial if it saved Andrew in a few areas.  Nonetheless, Andrew's diagnosis of high functioning autism is getting very noticeable as he gets older. Sadly, it is harder to find the correct therapies for him because he isn't severe enough for one on one ABA therapy yet he needs supports in so many ways.

Ever since Andrew has started school, there has been a decline in areas that he shouldn't be regressing in. His repetitive behavior is getting worse and I believe it is his way of dealing with his anxiety and his challenges. He wants to lock himself into his "obsession" so he doesn't have to deal with his challenges because he is smart enough to know that he has challenges.

 The main difficulty with Andrew is with social interactions. Naturally, this may not be obvious at young ages when social settings are simple. Think about how preschoolers play together – say, running around pretending to be superheroes. Now consider a group of 8 year olds – or teenagers! As the “rules” of social behavior get more complex, problems with social interaction become more obvious. I already see this becoming more obvious with Andrew now and he is almost five. A year ago at 3K preschool Andrew blended in much more than he is this year. Andrew wants to be social but he doesn't know how to and his challenges such as repetitive behavior, OCD, and his obsessions take over while he is trying to play with the other kids and it simply ruins the situation for him. If it is this much more noticeable this year what will it be like next year?!?!?

The other day at a play place here in our town, Andrew was attempting to play with two other kids. They were 3 and 4 yeas old so it was perfect. Andrew's challenges took over and the situation was soon ruined for Andrew and he withdrew from the two children and became upset.

The kids kept on going down a bounce house with three slides on it. Andrew went down the slide farthest on the right side the first times while the other two kids went down the other slides all at the same time. All the slides were right by each other. The kids loved it and they kept on wanting to go down the slides. Andrew was fixated on the slide he went down first. However, the other 2 kids kept on wanting to change up and take turns. Andrew wanted nothing to do with the other slides. He wanted the one he went down first and that one only. When the other kids went down "Andrews slide" he became very upset and soon he simply couldn't even talk nor play. He was done. His body couldn't adjust to what happened other than shutting down, so he just shut down and stopped playing with the other kids. He cried and cried. His day was ruined and he had a very bad rest of the day. He couldn't get past what happened. Therefore, he did what comforted him for the rest of the day and it was his repetitive behaviors.

This is just one example and sadly, situations like this happen daily for Andrew which is why he isn't a fan of school.
Andrew is like many kids who are high functioning where he has a difficult time talking to his peers but can get along with adults much better. In fact, I had a lady yesterday say, "He acts and talks like he is a 30 year old." Yes he does which is not funny to me. He needs to act and talk like a 5 year old but that just doesn't come naturally or easy for Andrew.
To recognize high functioning kids social difficulties, one may need to observe how they interact with their peers. Too often people judge or say they don't think anything is wrong because they don't see the child with their peers and that is the key to seeing their challenges.

All in all, I am very fortunate for the early diagnosis because if Andrew still didn't have the diagnosis like many kids with high functioning don't at his age, then we would have many more problems than what we have already. However, the older he gets the more challenges Andrew has and the more I realize the very long, tough road that Andrew and I have ahead of us. However, he has a Mommy that won't stop. We will just keep on looking for social therapies and other ways to help his OCD and repetitive behaviors because the more and more that he is out of his comfort zone ( in school setting with peers), the more and more these behaviors get worse.


Below is from a website that I came across today and I thought it explained things very well.

How Much Support Does a "High Functioning" Individual Need?

While few people with "high functioning" autism need help with toileting or basic hygiene, they may very well need a good deal of support in other settings.  For example, a very bright individual with severe sensory issues, anxiety, and perseveration might actually have a MORE difficult time in the workplace than a less intelligent individual with less anxiety and fewer sensory issues.

What's more, a "lower functioning" individual might spend most of their day in a supported setting where the possibility of dangerous interactions is almost zero. Meanwhile, the individual with "high functioning" autism may need to navigate a world of complex and hazardous situations. Who needs more support under those circumstances?






Yuck!

Never thought the word "yuck" would be so beautiful! Just one little word can put such a huge smile on this Momma's face:)
Trenton said "yuck" to his cold chicken nugget at Harsha Autism Center this week and I was elated when I heard that he did this and so were they!!
Such a small little thing but so huge for us!!!
So blessed by the word yuck right now:)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Too Good Not To Share

A few things I want to share!

1. This morning when I said, "I love you" to Trenton, he immediately said, " I love you too."
He not only said it back before I could even finish saying it to him...but he also said it in a different kind of voice. It wasn't his stern, robotic repeating back voice...it was such a natural voice. PLUS, HE SAID TOO!!! Wow!!!

Right after that we had a rough patch for a few hours. He was very upset and made lots of upset noises and was not happy with anything. However, after his episode was over he had a great day:)
(I hate when he has episodes of where he is upset. I just wish I  knew what made him upset. I have a feeling his stomach hurt. His gut issues fluctuate so much and right now he is constipated.)

2. This morning, Andrew wanted to do my hair. I was sitting on the couch and he grabbed one of my headbands and a clip for my hair. Once he finished my hair he said, "Wow Moochies. You are so cute. Way cuter than any other girl today."
BAHAHAHA. Andrew cracks me up!
Last weekend I had earrings in which I very rarely wear these days. Andrew took one look at me and said, "Moochies you are so cute."

I told him this morning that he was going to make a good husband one day. He said, "What is a husband?"
I explained it to him and he said, "I only want to be your husband Moochies."

3. Friday while we were at the store, I had to tell Andrew "No" to a few items he wanted. He asked me why we couldn't get it and I said, "We don't have the money." Well, I should have known better than to say that because when we were checking out, Andrew told the cashier all about how we didn't have any money. It was very comical and the cashier got a good laugh out of him going on about us not having money. I know kids say the funniest of things but seriously kids with HFA can really say some funny and inappropriate things that I just can't help but laugh at:) I have SOOOO many stories on Andrew in that area.

Seriously every day he gives me a good chuckle:)


My hairstyle that made me cuter than everyone else. LOL!

 It is not a normal day without a trip to McDonalds' for Trenton's chicken nuggets. Andrew stole a few day.

 The day ended with almost every peekaboo in bed with him.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Preschool

Andrew has been in school for two weeks now. I can't decide yet how it is going. He doesn't want to go but I am able to get him to go. His information about his day is very limited. I am starting to realize that it is hard for him to relay information and he also doesn't remember details or just isnt' able to re-tell the information.  Andrew is great with one on one but his challenges come out when he is in a group.
He tells me he is nervous every day. I always tell him that God is always with him and Mommy is always with him in his heart. I told him that when he gets nervous to picture Mommy holding him tight and to remember that I am blowing him kisses all the time.(We love to blow kisses to each other.) One day last week Andrew said, " Moochies, I didn't catch your kisses today. I had to let them land on my back."
Love this kid!! I just never know what he is going to say:)

In the picture, he is holding up a string from his shorts. The string came from his shorts that he lost that morning at school and he held on to it all day. He named his string, Laser. He told me that Laser made him feel not so nervous that day.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Just One Area of Andrew's Challenges

The comparison of high functioning to severe autism can hardly be compared. They are really two different disabilities that are simply under the same spectrum. I have heard many times how much better off Andrew is compared to Trenton. Yes he is in many ways but in some ways he isn't.

High functioning individuals on the spectrum are much more likely to suffer from depression because they know and understand that they are different. They are the targets of a lot of bullying situations. They know what it feels like to be different. They are less likely to have friends and less likely to be included. They are much more likely to commit suicide compared to neurotypical peers. The statistics are sad and scary. By now, I am sure you have seen and heard about the football player who sat and had lunch with the boy who had HFA. I can't watch that video clip without crying and thinking of Andrew.

Andrew already displays some of these situations and he is only in preschool.  I have been warned that it will only get worse for him and I. I read the statistics. I do read the information that is given to me by the doctors, etc. I have to. I have to get prepared and get ready for the battle that will come. I have to do what I can to make his life a little bit easier. I have to be his advocate because his challenges lay greatly in social and self esteem areas.

The fears and worries that I have for Andrew go away when we go back to Flora. He loves to play with Lincoln, his cousin, and always has. The older Andrew gets, the harder it is for him to make friends.  I see a different child when Andrew is playing with Lincoln than when he is playing with other children. Andrew is comfortable with Lincoln. He has been around him a lot from day one and again, just like with severe autism, it takes being around someone constantly to make things better.
Andrew has known Lincoln from the time they were babies and it makes it easier for him to play with Lincoln than any other child.
Now, don't get me wrong, Andrew has a lot of his social challenges that  come out when he is playing with Lincoln too. Andrew is still a follower and does whatever Lincoln does. Andrew knows that Lincoln can do some things that he can't and he gets very upset and the rest of the day is ruined. Andrew is very sensitive and if his feelings are hurt Andrew displays a very low self esteem and  it seems to be getting worse as he gets older. The difference can be seen. There is no way you can miss the difference between the two cousins. However, you can see the love and the spark that Andrew has when he is around Lincoln that I miss seeing when he is around any other kids. I love seeing that !! It makes me so happy and I just long for the day when Andrew can have that around other kids. I know we will get there with all the training and help I am getting him, I just know through our faith and loyalty to God that he will help us through this and lead Andrew to be the best that he can be.
In the meantime, this world can be very cruel, especially to children like Trenton and Andrew....but especially to Andrew. I will pray every single day that the cruelty of this world goes away for the sake of many things in this life and for my boys.


Love watching these two boys play together. It makes me so happy:)





If Only I Knew Exactly What It Felt Like

Twice this past week, I have been greeted by Trenton running to me with the biggest grin on his face. Goosebumps blanketed my body within seconds. To see his amazing smile light up by seeing my face is breathtaking. It is what every parent wants. Sadly, with autism, parents don't often see this kind of excitement and life in their child's face and eyes. It is more common on the high functioning end. However, with children like Trenton, it can be rare. It does happen and when it does it is such a wonderful, amazing moment. My fuel to help me get through our days is by that moment of life on his face....that moment where he lit up when he saw his Mommy. He lights up everyday when he sees me, I can see it and I know his looks and what they mean. I know that look his gives me through the corner of his eyes while his lips slightly move.....that is his expression of love and excitement to see me:)  But, it is nothing like what he has shown me twice this week. I can't get it out of my mind! I am going to sleep thinking about those moments. I take my runs thinking about those moments. I do everything while reliving those moments.

If my boys were neurotypical, moments like that would be taken for granted. It wouldn't be so special. I am confident I would smile and enjoy the moment but nothing like I do now. Those moments make all the difficult times a little bit easier to get through.  Just the other day, I was having a hard time with Trenton. He was making his upset noises and having a typical meltdown that would not stop. It continued for a good half hour like they usually do.  I'm not exactly sure what triggered the meltdown, I have a few guesses. Nonetheless, the whole time he was having his meltdown, I kept picturing the good times that we have had lately. The amazing moments that we are blessed with is what helps me get through the rough patches.

I often wonder what he feels like during meltdowns. I can watch all the videos that have been published to help neurotypical people know what it feels like but that is normally just a few minutes long. It is nothing like being in his body and living it every single day. Oh I would just give anything and everything to be in his body to know what it is like. I wish I knew what it was like when his body allows him those rare moments to express emotion. What does that feel like for him? What does it feel like to be trapped in a body 24/7 with no way to express anything?
When I say I would give up everything to trade places with him, I would in a heartbeat!! If only I really could!

At the end of the day, I may never be able to trade spots with him. I will never be able to know what it is like to live in his body. I won't be able to get in his head and understand his challenges.  But, at the end of the day, I can tell you about what it feels like to watch your child suffer from daily challenges. I can tell you all about the unconditional love and bond that I have with my boys. I can tell you all about sacrificing, strength, courage, perseverance, determination, and much more. 
I can tell you all about the ups and downs of autism. I can tell you all about the beauty that I see every single day.

The pictures below captured some of the beauty that I got to witness the past few days. I love to watch Trenton play outside, especially when running and water is involved. On his good days and when his body lets him, he will just smile and laugh. It is so beautiful to watch. SO BEAUTIFUL!!


Both boys  love and miss Nana and Pops farm. Trenton started clapping and making his excited noises Friday when we pulled up to Nana and Pops house. (Our first house where we lived before TH is next door to Nana and Pops house)  I just know when our life takes us back there, that the boys will be so happy.
When we leave there if Andrew does not cry half way back to TH, he is talking to me about how much he wants to live in Flora in the grey house like we used to. (I will talk about this in another post)




Saturday, September 3, 2016

Book Signing at Flora Public Library

We had an amazing day!! My first book signing was a huge success!! I am so grateful for the amazing support that was shown today. There were tears of various emotions shed today.  I have many days where I question myself if all the time spent on advocating is worth it. I found out my answer today.
I don't advocate for sympathy. I don't advocate for attention. I do it to help my son's way of life. I do it because Mommy won't always be around to help them in life. I do it to educate the world that they have to live in so they can be better supported by their community.
I have got various support through the years and have heard numerous things that just made it all worth it. Today, I watched a grown man that I met for the first time that drove all the way from Tennessee to meet me. Him and his wife have been followers of my blog and story the past few years. I watched this man and his wife cry and tell me how much my story has impacted their life. They expressed how they are changed people because of my story and my faith. They no longer judge children who act out in public. They no longer judge the parents who are trying to control that unruly child.  THAT IS EXACTLY WHY I ADVOCATE!!!!!! Thank you!!

Therefore, I found myself being so grateful for everyone who allows my story into their life because you are allowing me to educate you. You are learning and bettering yourself to help the next family that you come across with autism. That just makes absolutely everything worth it! All the time I spend writing to help other autism families and to help others learn is worth every minute!

I realized again today how blessed I am. God has given me an amazing life...a hard life... but a life that I have turned around to see the beauty in every minute and I am just so grateful and blessed.  God is amazing and I give all glory to Him!

Thank you to everyone who made today such a huge success. I met people for the first time and I saw friends that I haven't seen in a very long time. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!

Ecclesiastes 7:12        
For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.

Proverbs 16:3   
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established

I wanted to get more pictures today but it was a very busy afternoon that didn't leave time for many pictures.









Friday, September 2, 2016

Lunch conversation with Andrew

Today at lunch, Andrew just said the most amazing, funny, sweet things.

"When I grow up I am having ten kids. One a girl and the other 9 will be boys."

I said, "Wow, you still want ten kids?"

A says, "Yes, Moochies.  All ten kids will sleep in the same room as me. You are going to live with us so my kids have more than one person helping them and when my kids need help, I am going to help them."

I said, "Well that is so nice of you Andrew. I am proud of you."
Andrew said "I can't wait to have ten kids. It is going to be so much fun helping them and Moochies you better help me with them cause you are going to still live with me."

Oh this boy cracks me up!! He said more...much more. He just kept on talking about his kids.

The joys of parenting is such a blessing!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Raising Mulitple Kids on the Autism Spectrum

I was asked by Special Needs Resources to write an article on tips that I would have for other parents raising more than one child on the spectrum.  In the link below, you can find my tips. What works for me with two boys, might not work for you. Every child's autism presents itself differently and each family has different situations. However, these are only a few that I have found works best for the boys and I.

It is really amazing how over time, the boys can see and understand exactly what I am doing and why I do it and they just respond so well. What makes it even more amazing is how Andrew responds because he can show it. There have been times where we had to leave places because of Trenton and over time Andrew has learned to respond well and have a heart of gold. He will say things like, "Poor Trenton. We are going now Trenton." When I hear words like that out of Andrew's mouth, it melts my heart!
I've talked a lot to Andrew about Trenton and Andrew responds so well. He knows we are a family and families stick together no matter what and he is really showing that to T-man and it makes my heart so full:)
Anyway, here are my tips

http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2016/09/01/raising-multiple-kids-on-the-autism-spectrum/