Friday, November 25, 2016

Break Time

As of right now, I am taking a break from blogging due to certain circumstances.  Thank you for following our story and I hope to be back soon one day.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Everyone has a story

One of my daily devotions today was "Everyone has a story". The devotion was as if I wrote it. It is absolutely everything that I have said before. It  was my exact words when I spoke at my last event...everyone has a story. What is your story?

Often when I am in the grocery story or at the gym running I look at someone and wonder what their story is. Do they too have a child with special needs? Have they went through a divorce? Have they lost a parent, a child, or a friend too soon?  Are they suffering from cancer? Do they suffer from a terrible, hidden disability? What is their story?

Each and every one of us has a story. Just as Tim McGraw's big hit says, " Stay humble and kind." We all need to be humble and kind to everyone. We do not know what the struggles of the person next to us in the check out line goes through. So instead of pulling up your phone and getting on Facebook, look at them and give them a nice nod or smile. Speak to them...say hi...strike up a conversation. It could be someone who is literally dying inside and it just might make their day a little brighter.

We can't control how our life turns out. God is in control and handles that.

As my story goes on with the boys, I have found myself to be more compassionate to others. It's okay if the lady you passed in the grocery store doesn't smile at you....maybe she just found out about the death of a loved one. Therefore, just give everyone a nice nod and a smile. Help spread love to others. It is exactly what God would have wanted.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

He can always make me better:)

It was a terrible day yesterday. TERRIBLE! ( Explain in later post) Today doesn't appear to be much better. But, at the end of the day I can always count on Andrew to say something to make it better. Yesterday was one of those no make-up, hair thrown up any which way with comfy clothes on kind of day. Andrew looked at me right after his bath last night and said, "Moochies you are so pretty with no make-up on." BAHAHAH....This kid is great!!! He always knows how to make Mommy feel better.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Doctor

Andrew had an unexpected day home with Mommy on Thursday. He woke peeing blood and it was a lot of blood. It scared me to death. Of course, we went to the doctor and he is on medicine for an infection. The doctor was in shock at how much he had in his urine. He said it was very uncommon in little boys. He sent his urine off for more testing. We pray they don't find anything else.



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

My Boys

Love my boys:)
A few good pics of us that I took the past few weeks. Love them more than they know!




Psalm 127:3-5  Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Self Stimulatory Behaviors

The majority of individuals on the spectrum have a "stim". A stim is a self stimulatory behavior which is repetitive body movements or repetitive movement of objects. Researchers have suggested various reasons for why a person may stim. One set of theories suggests that these behaviors provide the person with sensory stimulation . Due to some dysfunctional system in the brain, the body craves stimulation; and thus, the person engages in these behaviors to excite or arouse the nervous system. Another reason why people with autism stim is  that these behaviors release beta-endorphins in the body and provides the person with some form of internal pleasure.

Others stim because these behaviors are exhibited to calm a person. That is, the environment is too stimulating and the person is in a state of sensory-overload. As a result, the individual engages in these behaviors to block-out the over-stimulating environment; and his/her attention becomes focused inwardly.

Trenton has had numerous stims. His main ones that he always reverts back to is verbal stims with noises from his mouth and the constant rearranging of his toys, his constant pacing, etc. Often a person may refer to autism as a person who flaps their arms and hands. A few years ago Trenton flapped for about a 24 hour period but that was it. Trenton has started flapping again about nine days ago and he is still doing it a lot. I wonder how long it will last this time.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Going to Sleep with "Item of the Day"

Both boys go to bed with their "item of the day". Trenton's is a small hand sanitizer in an animal covering.
 Andrew has been attached to our pressure roller so he went to sleep with it tonight.



Testing of Faith Produces Perseverance

It is very easy to want and demand everything to happen NOW! The type of world we live in doesn't help that either, it only makes it worse.  The world makes us forget about what the scripture says and all the examples that we have in the Bible that tells us the opposite way the world is going.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

If you go to the Bible for examples, you will find that Noah waited 120 years for the flood, Sarah and Abraham waited nearly 100 years to be parents. These and countless others waited on God and since they waited and were patient, they were rewarded.

Today, most people do not want to wait. It is hard to wait. We want what we want and we want it now. It is so easy to get inpatient like the rest of the world. But, we must remember when we wait we learn to be a better person. We build strength and perseverance which is a very strong trait of a Godly person.

I want things to be better for my boys now. I would love that but God knows better. He is using this time to build me up and to make me an even stronger woman. He is seeing what is truly deep in my heart and that is not giving up...being there each and every step of the way with the boys.

Would we all really appreciate things if God just gave them to us. If you think about it....I am sure we all know a spoiled person and that is why they got the name "spoiled" because things were always easy for them or just handed to them. God doesn't want to hand us things in life which is why we have trials and hard times. It is to build us up and to make us a better person if we respond that way.

One of my trials is autism and divorce and if I would predict, I am predicting that it is literally taking years off of my life. Stress does that. But, overall I am living a better life than if things were just handed to me. My heart is more open to others and I am a more empathetic person than before. My strength is better. God has taught me a lot in these years of trials and that is exactly what trials are for....to build us up if we allow it to. It is to see what is really in our hearts. It is to test our faith.

If you are facing trials in your life, just remember it is happening for a reason. Open your eyes and find out what you need to find out about yourself and who you need to become from your trials. I suggest you open your Bible and read the examples of how others went through trials. It helps me to know that others had to wait and build up their strength and perseverance.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Birthday

Andrew had been counting down his birthday very regularly since the very beginning of October. He started talking about his birthday since August. The one thing that he kept telling me he wanted was a birthday party with "friends" there. To Andrew, everyone is his friend but he was talking specifically people his age.

After he started school and making friends became very hard for him, he started  to worry that no one would recognize his birthday let alone come to it. Andrew said numerous times, "No one likes me at school. No one will come to my party. My birthday party will be terrible." A little piece of my heart was tore away each and every time he would say that.

I witness Andrew weekly around kids his age, his peers from his class and other places. He is very socially awkward and it hurts to watch so I can't imagine what he feels like. Sadly, I have witnessed kids his own age say very mean things to him and "bully" already. It is such a huge shock to me how neurotypical children are these days and how down right mean some of them  can be. What is even sadder is how the parent reacts to their child being mean to my child. I have came to the conclusion that there are many parents out there who don't realize how lucky they are and who simply don't discipline and try to raise their child right these days.

Anyway, Andrew ended up having a wonderful party and he had two friends come besides family. Andrew was on cloud nine because he was five. He had an amazing day and socialized really well (Andrew's confidence is the best when his cousin Lincoln is around.)  I was very happy to see how happy Andrew was at his party and how he was bouncing on the bounce houses with all the other kids. It was just a reminder of how it really is the small things in life that can make us the happiest:)      
Psalm 68:19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation

Bouncin Barn

Andrew had a fabulous party at The Bouncin Barn yesterday.





Thursday, November 10, 2016

Andrew is Five!

I have a birthday boy on my hands tomorrow! Andrew finally gets to hold up a whole hand. My baby boy that was born on Veteran's Day in the year 2011, is five!

He has been such a joy in my life. I have seen him struggle in many ways but I have also witnessed amazing joys in his life.  He has been one of the greatest teachers that I know.

As Andrew gets older, he is becoming one of the sweetest little boys with the biggest heart. It sure makes me know that I am raising him up right. He has a love for God that is very strong and a love for his brother that keeps growing daily and it is amazing to watch.

He is very in tuned to the world and catches on to things that many kids his age would never catch on to or even realize, let alone  talk about. Not many children at the age of four talks about how hurt he is  and sad about something but he is going to love and show others how to be good. He knows when people do wrong and it upsets him but he wants to help them. Seriously....Andrew is amazing. I would love to get in his brain and find out even more that he doesn't talk about.

He still has many challenges due to his autism and they become more evident as he gets older. However, he is a hard worker. Between him and his Mommy who works daily to help him, he will be the best he can be one day. I just know it:)

Enjoy being five Andrew! It is a honor to be your Moochies and to spend our life together. I love you more than you ever know.

It's been an amazing 5 years so far!






Dentist

If you woke up today breathing and able to go about your normal day, then please consider yourself lucky. If you lived through the day and are able to crawl in your bed and pull the covers over your healthy body then please consider yourself lucky. I know I consider myself lucky even with all the trials I go through.

It is so sad all the people in this world who have a voice and are able to talk but use it to do nothing but spread negatively.  I'm not going to lie....I logged on Facebook today and immediately got off. Good grief, it was terrible.

I can't help but think, "What would some of these people do if they had my life? What would these people do if they were like Trenton and many other children who can't speak...what would they do if they had such fear every day and couldn't even leave their house....what would they do if they had severe sensory problems and couldn't even brush their teeth like a normal person should...what would some of these people do if they couldn't even sit down and relax on their couch when they don't feel good because they have a child who doesn't stop moving and getting in harms way so he has to literally have an adult with him by his side 24/7....what would some of these people do if  they never were able to leave their house past 5 o'clock....what would some of these people do if they were never able to sit at a restaurant and enjoy a meal relaxing with their 6 year old? I could say so many but it would never end! Seriously, would people still have such negativity about things if they went through major, life changing trials?

Today, I took Trenton to the dentist. It was not the worst experience we have had but it wasn't the best experience either. Trenton did well waiting in the waiting room and pacing back and forth making his noises. When we walked back to the room, it was a different story. I won't go into every detail but I had to hold him down like always. I found out today that it is much harder to hold him down now than when it was even a year ago. He is getting bigger and stronger which makes it much harder.

As I was laying on his body while he was squirming and screaming, he did something different. It was something he has never done before. He kept his eyes glued on my eyes. I talked to him the whole time making sure he knew he was doing good and that Mommy loved him and was there for him. Trenton has never kept his eyes on me during all of the numerous times that I have had to hold him down. Before, his eyes were always everywhere but I felt reassured today that he kept his eyes on mine. I felt like he was taking in every word that I was saying to him.

Our day to day challenges are exhausting on both Trenton and Mommy. It was torture to put Trenton through that today but it had to be done. If you have never had to hold your child down just to put a toothbrush to his front teeth or just so a dentist can simply look in their mouth, then consider yourself lucky.

I consider myself very lucky. It wasn't fun today by any means and those visits never will be. Our days are difficult and will always be difficult. However, I am open about them so I can help educate the world. One thing that I have found is that the people who lack knowledge on things are the people who tend to be negative or pass judgement on situations. I am sure there were people in the dental office who just simply thought that Trenton was being a difficult child. However, that is far from the truth and if people like me don't share our stories and educate others than individuals with autism will always be judged.

Another thing that I have learned along the way is that it takes going through something to understand. I don't wish what we go though with autism on anyone. I don't wish the pain of a divorce or the pain of abandonment that is felt when a spouse leaves on anyone. However, just maybe if everyone is educated on everyone's trials in this world, there wouldn't be such nonsense and such negatively in the world!

We are all different. We all need to accept, educate, and move on while helping each other out.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Huge Improvement in two years

Below is a link to a post on my blog that I posted in 2014 shortly before Andrew started ABA therapy at Harsha Autism Center. You can read through this post and see how much Andrew has improved in two years. It is amazing to me!!
Again, all I can say is to NOT deny what is going on with your child. Get them the help that they need because it can make a huge difference in your child if the right help is started early in their lives.

It was only two years ago that Andrew was just simply repeating language. He would repeat back what I said to him or he would simply walk around repeating language that he had heard before whether it was earlier that day or a week or so ago. Now, he can carry on a conversation and simply doesn't stop talking:)
Love you Andrew! Keep up the amazing hard work Lil A!

http://twobrothersonejourney.blogspot.com/2014/08/andrew.html

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Thank you & Pizza

It's been rough on Mommy lately.  Thanks so much for all the thoughts and prayers. I have some pretty amazing people here in Terre Haute that love my boys. I can't thank you all enough and I know you know who you are! Thanks to everyone who came to our aid last week:)

What was amazing tonight was the simple fact that I didn't have to worry about supper after a long day of school, therapy, and appointments. We had some ladies from our church bring us by pizza! The boys were thrilled!

 Trenton clapping at his cheese stix!!

Monday, November 7, 2016

First Signs in Andrew

I want to talk a little about Andrew this week in honor of his upcoming birthday!

I get asked often about what were the first signs in the boys that I noticed. Both boys were completely different babies and displayed signs of autism at different ages. Andrew was such a happy baby and toddler. Therefore, one of his first signs was when he suddenly stopped smiling and greeting me when I would get home. Around 20-22 months of age, Andrew really got sucked into his own world. He didn't care about who came home.....he didn't respond to his name....he just was in his own world. The picture below is a very typical picture of Andrew from 22 months of age-27 months of age. He would not look at a camera and smile. He used to love to smile for the camera too and it suddenly disappeared. He soon became obsessed with stickers and placing them on top of each other on his shirt.
 Then he started to get obsessed with making lines.
Around this same time, Andrew did not sleep. He would wake up every half hour to hour screaming and crying. He only wanted me. About fifty percent of the time, Trenton was awake running wild in the house while I was trying to calm Andrew down. Wow...we seriously have lived through some things that most people can't even fathom or even begin to imagine.

Shortly after Andrew was diagnosed with autism and started therapy, he made huge improvements. Andrew responded and still responds fantastic to therapy.

I am so proud of him and his huge improvements that he has made the past 2 1/2 years. I honestly don't think Andrew would be where he is today if it wasn't for being so proactive and catching his signs immediately and getting him the early on therapies that he needed.

The one therapy that was the best for him was Applied Behavior Analysis. Andrew immediately started to make huge improvements once he started this type of therapy at Harsha Autism Center in Terre Haute. He responded well to it and worked with some of the best therapist that we have ever met.

Now, he smiles great for the camera. He stopped making lines but has recently started again but he sleeps great at night!!!
If I could give any advice tonight it would be to NOT deny what is going on with your child. Get them diagnosed and start therapies as soon as possible. I really do believe that it can make a world of difference in your child. The sooner you get them the help that they need, the better they will be able to cope with their autism.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Speaking Event

I had the honor and privilege to speak at the Lawrence Crawford Association for Exceptional Citizens on Friday night. I was asked to come speak, share my story, and my book. It was the best night! Seriously! It was the second time I spoke in front of an audience and there was a very nice size crowd which made me nervous. LOL! It was the first time I got to speak about my book. What an amazing night it was!!

LCAEC is about supporting the independence of individuals with Intellectual Disabilities to the fullest extent possible.  Their goal is to do whatever they can to help them overcome the challenges their disabilities present and live full, enjoyable, productive and as "normal" a life as those without those disabilities.

They operate sheltered workshops in Lawrenceville and Robinson, IL as well as an 8-bed CILA home in Robinson.  They are able to provide a wide range of services from Evaluation to Case Coordination to Goal Setting and Work/Work Training, as well as Referral to other agencies and organizations. 

The banquet they had on Friday night was to honor all of the businesses in the areas that keep this organization going. It was for the families and the individuals they help and for their employees. I met some AMAZING families. It was nice to see and talk to families of grown adults and to hear their encouraging words. To talk to a family who has lived through it and is going through the adult stage of a child with a disability really helps prepare me for what lies ahead.

As I took the stage, I was nervous but within minutes my nerves were gone and I felt great! I do believe this is just the very beginning of an amazing advocating role. As I told my crowd, " Everyone's life is a story. I chose to tell mine to help others and to help connect the lonely world of autism." No one else is going to advocate for their children other than the parents and loved ones.

I was so happy that my mother, who has been one of my biggest supporters and biggest help to the boys was there to watch me. Lil A was there too! It was awesome to look out in the crowd and to see him sitting on his Nana's lap while I spoke and talked about the disability that simply makes things hard for him.

It was bittersweet to see all of the adults with autism and other intellectual disabilities. A few grown men reminded me of Trenton and I sat there wondering if I was looking at my future. They made me smile and I just wanted to go up to each and every one of them and hug them for ever.

I can't praise this organization enough! When I move back to Clay County, Illinois I just may switch my goals and dreams and look into getting an organization like this going. Lawrence and Crawford Counties in Illinois are very blessed by this organization and praise to the businesses that donate and help this organization keep on going because we all know the state of Illinois lacks in funds.

I wish I had a pictures from the night. My mother forgot to take pictures of me speaking and I was extremely busy selling books and talking to people. So I don't have pictures:(


Below is Andrew and I right before we left for the banquet. He was so cute on Friday night. Before they called my name he gave me a great big kiss and said "Good luck Moochies"
As I always say, It is amazing the doors the good Lord will open for you if you trust in his plan! Praise all my glory to Him for everything!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Introduction

I have a lot more followers these days, so it is time for another introduction!

Below is a picture of Trenton, aka T-man. He is my first born son who has severe autism. He is the reason my life took a traumatic turn in 2010. Trenton is non-verbal. He can say a few words such as juice, cookie, spaghetti, ketchup. However, overall he can't communicate his needs. He literally did not sleep the first 5 years of his life. Now, thank goodness, he does! We may be up everyday at 4 AM but he will sleep till that! Woot Woot!!
He has a lot of sensory needs and they are severe. He has to constantly be moving. His body needs it. It helps him to feel his body. He is not a child that can just sit still, he has to move. He paces and runs non-stop. He is rarely still.

He is a wanderer. Hence why we have special locks on our doors. He doesn't know danger. He has severe anxiety issues. He can not go places, especially unfamiliar, small indoor places like a home or restaurant. This is due to his anxiety and sensory problems. He does much better at unfamiliar  places if it is outside but it has to be low-key and with Mommy. Even at that, he only last about 45 minutes. He makes a lot of upset noises and sounds when his anxiety is acting up.

It took me 16 months but we finally achieved potty training, with pee anyway. It was brutal! However, I am so glad that I stuck through all the kicks, screams, scratches, pulling of hair and everything else because the long hard 16 months was worth it! He can't tell me when he has to  go, I just make sure I take him to the bathroom regularly to avoid accidents.

Trenton doesn't play with toys. Instead he just paces and walks around the house and make messes. He loves to scatter his animal figures and line them up but he won't play with them. He likes to just look at his animals. He loves to watch Baby Einstein videos on youtube and Elmo's World.

He is my hero! The reason behind all of my advocating and awareness that I do. He is truly my heart and I am truly his voice:)
Below is my second born son, Andrew, aka Lil A. Andrew has mild autism and is completely different than Trenton in almost every trait of his autism. Andrew talks and doesn't know when to stop. He has to know every single little detail of everything. He has a hard time reading social cues and to know what is appropriate and what is not appropriate.

He is very social and wants friends. However, he doesn't know how to make friends and doesn't know how to play appropriately with his peers. He gets really low self esteem. Once something wrong happens, it can ruin his day and he won't recover till the next day if he recovers at all.
He has a lot of sensory problems as well. He is very sensitive to noise and his whole surroundings in general. He is delayed in motor skills and appears to be clumsy to others but he simply has a difficult time managing his body as he gets bigger.

Andrew will get an obsession and fixate on it and it literally controls his life until he gets a new obsession. Andrew loves Cars, PJ Mask, Blaze and the Monster Machine, and superheroes!

Andrew is my other hero and the reason I do all of my advocating work.
There is so much more to both boys but I just wanted to give you a quick introduction....Oh I guess I should introduce myself, right?

I am a former special education teacher. I currently am unable to work. I take care of the boys and manage therapy and school schedules daily. I am a single mother. My ex-husband left a year ago. I do a lot of freelance writing which lead to my first book, Two Brothers One Journey: The Loving, Courageous Struggles of an Autism Mom.. I volunteer for Autism Speaks and The Autism Society of Indiana. I do anything that I can to connect the autism world together. I am very active in all autism awareness events. When I do have a few minutes of spare time I love to drink coffee and run!

Thank you so much for following our story and allowing me to educate you on what life is like with two little boys on the opposite ends of the spectrum.