Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Animals

Trentons animals are going everywhere with him again lately.
 They even waited for the bus by the front door with him.
 Of course, he packed them in his bookbag for school.

 You betcha.....they went to therapy too!




Monday, August 28, 2017

Texas



As the nation watches and prays for Texas, my mind takes me one step deeper than it ever used to when I would watch national disasters. Everyone watches the news sitting in front of their television sets shaking their heads in disbelief. I say what you say, "Those poor people." "I can't imagine."

No-one can put themselves there and no-one can even begin what it is like to be living through that disaster, unless you are them. As I was watching the news the other day, I watched as they were airlifting babies from one hospital and sending them to other hospitals. I have always prayed for people living through disasters, such as Hurricane Harvey.

Now, as mother of autism boys, I can't help but think specifically about autism families!

So many people's homes are destroyed and you know that there is a good hand full of families who are raising children with autism who have had their homes destroyed or forced to evacuate their home for awhile.
How can those precious kids and adults with autism ever begin to understand! Individuals with autism LOVE their home. They LOVE their belongs. They LOVE their routine in life and all of  sudden it has been interrupted for days!
The majority of people with autism get more attached to their belongings than anything else in this life. It is what comforts them! All of a sudden it is taken away from Mother Nature. I can't even begin to imagine the anxiety that this brings to them and their families.

For example, the boys spent the night with their dad for the first time this past Friday night. Their dad called me  Saturday morning to come get the boys. When I arrived, Trenton was ready to come home.  I could see the anxiety and uneasiness in him when I arrived.  He hadn't been in his home with his belongings and his normal routine for over twelve hours and he was ready to get back to it. For some families in Texas, their kids won't be able to go back for days! I can't imagine how this will affect them!

Another example is when we lost electricity for about seven hours this past summer due to a storm. Trenton was beside himself because he loves to hang out in his room, with his animals and belongings, and watch his videos through the internet. He couldn't do that! He had some anxiety because his Wi-Fi was taken away. (As we all know in the autism community that Wi-Fi is crucial to our kids) There are numerous kids with autism that aren't able to do the things that comfort them during this disaster! I. CAN'T. IMAGINE!

Andrew, who is high functioning, suffers greatly from over stimulation and does not handle a change in routine well. I can't even imagine how families raising kids with high functioning are handling this. This is a major interruption in their lives! If you are reading this and have a child with high functioning autism, I know you understand exactly what I am talking about here!

Putting a child with autism in a situation that produces anxiety only causes more problems and challenges. When you are not able to reduce that anxiety due to a natural disaster.....that only means that individual has to live in that anxiety filled life for an extended amount of time which can lead to regression from therapies, etc.  There is so much to think about when disaster strikes autism families!

Yes, this Hurricane Harvey situation is very sad for everyone. Unfortunately, some families have even more difficulties and trials to handle during this crisis already. It's not that autism is enough....but now some have been forced away from the exact things that comfort and help their disability. It makes my heart hurt so much for them!

As we all come together and pray for Texas, lets remember the people who are already fighting daily battles and this just makes it so much worse!
Before autism entered my life, I would watch natural disasters like this and not think about the families of special needs children or the families who have other heartaches going on. A disaster like this is not good for anyone but it really isn't good for the people who are already fighting battles and daily life challenges, such as autism.

May God Bless the people in Texas!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Friday, August 25, 2017

Self-Stimulatory Behavior



Self Stimulatory Behavior is a huge characteristics of autism. It is repetitive stereotyped behavior that does not appear to serve any other function other than sensory gratification.  It can involve any of the senses. These behaviors often occur in situations where the child/adult is bored and/or stressed.  When bored, everyone will engage in different types of self stimulation. Most of the time you might find yourself tapping your foot, shaking your leg, biting your lip, etc. The typical person is able to do their self stimulatory behavior while attending to their task on hand. However, individuals with autism are not able to. Their ability to attend to their task is dramatically reduced which often causes problems. Their mind concentrates on their self soothing behavior and nothing else. They block everything else out of their mind.

Often times, people with autism do not find other people or the environment pleasing. Therefore, they get wrapped up in receiving gratification.  The behavior is done to block out the environment around them and/or to self soothe due to their stress and anxiety. Often it can be a source of communicating to us to correct the problem, reduce the source of frustration, stress and anxiety that is making them self soothe.



Often Trenton self soothes by making noises out of his mouth (verbal stimming). He also will visually stim by placing objects in front of his eyes, looking at his hands. He paces and runs. He holds items. He applies pressure to his stomach area. He also obsesses over a certain item or video. He splashes water form the sink.
Andrew often self soothes by playing with his Cars toys. He talks about the same things over and over and obsessing over whatever he decides to obsess over for that day. 

The obsession self soothing often gets worse over time. As you can see, what the boys self soothe over involves a variety of senses. Both boys completely block everything out around them. It greatly interferes with learning and the ability of the child to pay attention to his/her surroundings which then lead to another problem area.

Reducing self stimulatory behaviors will be one of your greatest challenges. Trying to eliminate this throughout the day will be impossible. Although reducing it is vital. Implement a plan if you are able to. I would suggest to talk to your child's therapist, ABA therapist preferred, to come up with a plan.

Both boys used to self soothe by lining up items. However, for the most part, they don't do this anymore.



Train Your Child Up

Proverbs 22:6
Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.

Being a parent is very hard work. We have a responsibility from God to raise our children up in the correct manner.  More than likely, if you train your child up correctly the likelihood of the child turning away from what he has been taught is slim. It does happen but more than likely the child will go back to the way he has been taught.

In Ephesians 6:4 there is a direct commandment to the fathers of the household.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; instead, bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

As a single, Christian mother this verse drives me to be even more to my boys. They don't have a father at home that is going to train them up in the Lord and to discipline them. I have double the duties and it keeps me busy! However, I have a responsibility to my boys to serve both roles in the house. 
I know there are many single mothers out there that are struggling! Just know that you are not alone! I am single raising two boys with autism by myself and doing my best to be the Godly woman and live my life by all the commandments of our Lord. I need to provide for my boys. I have to do what it takes and most of the time that is sacrifice! If I can do it, you can too! In fact, life has never been better till lately. Find the balance you need to get it all done and it will get done!

As we are adjusting to our schedules the past three weeks, we are finding time for the Lord each day. Andrew gets a daily Bible lesson after school. We have the best time during our Bible lesson. Most people put God last in their life.  We will always put God first and make sure that even though they are little kids, they need God and his instructions taught to him daily!
Please know folks how important it is to find time with the Lord daily!


Andrew was very proud of making the discipline, Andrew:)



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Elijah



I LOVE to read the scripture. The answers are all there for us. We often have so many questions about our life but if we really open our eyes, open our Bibles, we can find answers. It may not be the exact answer we are looking for but we find EXACTLY what we need to help us.

There are numerous people  and stories in the Bible where I get a lot of inspiration from. When people often ask me, "How do you do it? How have you gone through what you have in life and still keep the faith in the Lord like you do?"
My answer is very simple. I trust in the Lord. I read the Bible. That is exactly where I get my inspiration and strength.

I often will read a story and apply it to my life. I do it with almost every story. The person from the Bible that I want to talk about tonight is, Elijah, a prophet of God. What an amazing man he was!
At times in his life he was bold and determined and at other times he was iffy and fearful. Much like me! Much like my life as a single mother raising two boys.
One thing for certain is that Elijah knew the power of God. God used this man to teach us many things.
Elijah lived an amazing life. He was fed by ravens. He saw the widow’s supply of oil and flour miraculously never run out. He raised her son back to life. And he faced down the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel.
What was it about Elijah that made his prayers, his life, so powerful and effective? What can we learn from the life of Elijah to help our own prayer lives?

Elijah learned to be completely dependent on God.
Elijah was brave! He spoke and asked God things with the most incredible faith. He believed God was faithful and would answer his prayers. Elijah prayed fervently until he saw his answers. He knew answers didn't come immediately. He knew he had to pray repeatedly until he saw his answers.

How can I look at Elijah and relate it to my life?
Elijah demonstrates to me that I must pray with full obedience and trust in the Lord. I must pray and pray and pray. I must never give up on praying!  I must have an attitude that I know that God will answer my prayers.

So many people give up. Whether they have been going through trials for a  few months or a few years, they give up. They don't trust in the Lord like Elijah did.

Elijah faithfully carried out God's mission in the times of hardship. My life is full of hardship but like Elijah, I won't give up. I trust God on the mission he has planned for me and my sons. The more I pray with full obedience to God, the more I see how God is directing me in my life.

Just like how God used Elijah to be a blessing to a poor widow, God has blessed me with many people who have blessed me and my boys. In fact, I also believe that God is using me and my boys as a blessing to others. God uses the most unimaginable situations to mold us and to provide for us. For example, since my divorce the boys and I have struggled financially. I am unable to work because I need to be with Trenton and to help him. We may not have two extra pennies to rub together but God has provided for us because of my obedience to him. He is providing for the boys and I in some of the most unimaginable ways, just like he did to Elijah and the widow.

There were times when Elijah wasn’t sure what the Lord’s leading was. He did not always know how God was going to work, but he knew enough to trust. Just like Elijah, I am trusting the Lord in how he is going to lead me in this life. I am not sure at times, much like Elijah, but I will keep on trusting and obeying the Lord.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Birthday Boy

My beautiful baby boy is seven today. It seems just like yesterday, he was still growing in my belly. I loved being pregnant. He was an active baby in the womb, just like he is now.
If someone would have told me when I was pregnant how much my life was REALLY going to change, I would not have believed them.  Of course your life changes when you have kids but its a whole new level of change when you are raising a child with special needs.
From the moment they first placed him on my chest, I learned love on a whole new level. It was the beginning of truly understanding what sacrifice means. This was the first of many nights without sleep. It was the beginning of a whole new rollercoaster life. A life where I barely keep my head above water on most days. However, it's a life of many blessings and miracles. Not everyone gets the pleasure of raising a innocent angel from the Lord.

 
Even though the majority of our time was spent crying as a baby and toddler, I treasured the happy moments when they happened and took every opportunity for a good picture. I do the same now:)
Just like now, he loves to run around on the farm at Pop and Nana's farm.

I loved every line you have made and still make.
Trenton has such an amazing sense of humor. I have the pleasure of seeing that. I am sorry that most people don't know his silliness and love for life like he has. It is locked up inside of him most of the time. But, I get the pleasure of seeing it every day! I witness it and it makes my heart swell:)
I love how he can spell words and has since you were 2 1/2 years old! You are so smart, T-man!
Trenton enjoys to play in the snow, just like his Momma.
I will never forget all the nights I pushed him in his swing to calm him down. The nights were so long where he cried and meltdown. But, we made it through them together.
This was the first time he enjoyed people singing Happy Birthday. I will never forget when he turned four! The first birthday he didn't cry through!

Yes, we have autism but Mommy sure likes to take advantage of fun times when we get to have them!
Almost every night he used to just dropped and fall asleep wherever his body let him! Wow, we have came a long way T-man.
 I love to watch him play. I always have and always will. I learn so much from watching the way he interacts with his toys.

I always love to share a few pictures on his birthday of the T-man in action over the years:)

To My T-man



To my beautiful baby boy on his 7th birthday-

Trenton-
Where does time go? You are seven! Wow! Absolutely amazing.

You have done and accomplished so much the past seven years.  I can't help today to think of everything that we have been through. Your first seven years of life have not been easy. It hasn't been easy for me and I know it hasn't for you.

I think back to all the times I had to drive you all night long......to the times I tried over and over to get you to walk into a store without a meltdown.....to all the times when I had to drive for hours each day just to get you to therapy with you screaming and throwing items around the van......to the days where you would scream bloody murder when water touched you.......to all the days I pushed you in a swing to calm you down.....to all the times you dragged me around the house crying because you had something to say but couldn't.....to all the food mess....all the McDonalds's drive thru orders....Papa John pizza orders...there is way too much to even put down.....it gives me goosebumps and tears. You are one big fighter!

I will never forget the days where you had to pretty much take your bedroom with you before we could leave the house.  I will never forget all your lines, cries, tears, and frowns. However, you sure can make up for it with that big, beautiful smile you have.


With each kiss and hug that you gave, my heart melted. It still does because your willingness to give those are few and far between but the world stops when you give them to me. The world stops when your eyes meet mine! There is nothing else that I focus on in that moment, other than your touch and eyes.

I know you are in there T-man! I know that soul of yours is screaming to break away from your body because it keeps it locked up. I want you to know that I will never stop fighting for you. I will never stop fighting to help you find your voice and to release what is inside of you to the world!

Sacrifice is what it takes. You and I know the definition of sacrifice, strength, perseverance, and courage. We do it daily no matter what! We do it through the strength and love that we have for our Lord and savior. There is nothing else I would rather do in my life than to help you! We struggle in many ways to keep our head above water in many areas in life but we have each other and our life is built on Christ. He most certainly takes care of us!

We have fought together for seven years and I will keep fighting till the day I die. You have came such a long way! I am so proud of you and all of your hard work. Nothing makes me happier and prouder than to watch you and your successes in this life.

As always, on your birthday I want to thank you for being the best thing to ever happen to me! Thank you for teaching me what life is really all about.  Thank you for making me a better person. You are absolutely amazing Trenton. I am beyond honored that God gave me you. I am so blessed to be your Mommy and Andrew is so blessed to have you as his brother. The three of us make one awesome team together:) We never give up! We keep going and fighting no matter what else is happening in life.

Very few things are perfect in this world. However, one of the most perfect, beautiful things I witness in this world is when you want me and say my name. There is so much you are telling me when you want me and say, "Monie." For years I cried myself to sleep wanting to see some sign of affection and love from you. I wanted to hear you say my name and mean it. For years I was happy to hear you repeat my name back but now you say it! I am so beyond blessed! We have worked so hard for this and we have accomplished it! I am so proud of how you are growing and maturing. Since the beginning of  2016 till now, things just keep going up! Keep it up T-man!


Whatever it takes, whatever you need in this life, I am right here doing it with you and doing my best to make your life better. I am right here for you until the day I take my last breath. When that day comes, I look forward to seeing you in paradise free from all of your trials that you have went through in this world. Won't it be wonderful there, together:)

I love you so much T-man! Keep up the fight! I am right here with you always and forever.

Love you,
Monies

Saturday, August 19, 2017

T-man & His Pops

We had a great day celebrating these two's birthdays. Pops today and T-man tomorrow!

Cards

Thank you so much for all the birthday cards for Trenton this week. HE LOVED THEM!!!
I practice taking the boys across the street and to our mailbox and Trenton was thrilled each day to see he had mail with his name on it!! He loves to get mail!


Friday, August 18, 2017

Birthday at school

I brought cupcakes into Trenton's class today. He celebrated his birthday early with his classmates. He scarfed down his cupcake and then he wanted to go with Mommy.  


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

I love mom

During speech therapy today,  Trenton did the most amazing thing.  When his therapist asked him to tell her who he loved,  he told her on his device, " I love mom."

Homework

We just finished our first set of homework!

Monday, August 14, 2017

What is your giant?



It has been awhile since I have spoke about one of my favorite stories in the Bible. I have many stories in the Bible that are my favorite but the the Story of David and Goliath is one of my top five favorite stories.
It didn't use to be. However, since autism came into my life it has become a favorite.
If you are unfamiliar with the story let me tell you a brief account of the details.

David was a shepherd boy. Goliath was a huge 9 foot giant. Goliath was taunting the sovereign Lord of the universe. He was challenging God's people to stand up to him and demonstrate that their God was more powerful than he was. Until David came into the Israelite camp, there was no one who was willing to step out in faith and face the giant. However, David's faith was so strong that he was willing to believe that the Lord would go with him and enable him to defeat Goliath.

David's faith was from God's grace and mercy in his life up to that point. David had such amazing faith in God that he knew God would help him defeat Goliath.

If you were to look at the two individuals, no one would have ever dreamed about David defeating Goliath. However, he did. David took Goliath down. The giant that no one else had the courage to stand up against.

This story wasn't written for just pure history sake. It was wrote down for our good. We can learn from this story. We can learn that if we serve our God, put our trust and faith in him, he is capable of helping us through our giants in life.

What do you mean? We don't have 9 foot giants? No, but our giants are autism, cancer, sudden loss of a loved one, depression, mistakes in our lives that cost of us many things, financial trouble, doubts, worries, etc. Those are our giants.

The challenges and giants I have had in my life with autism are unthinkable to some people. The challenges and giants you face are unimaginable to me. We all face our own giants.  Some people run away, sadly some have taken their own life, and some have hid from their giants. Those individuals are not trusting God. They aren't putting their faith in God. They are not letting God lead them through it.

Our battles in life will always lead us to victory if we put our trust in God. It may not be the type of earthly victory that you want but it'll be an eternal victory. The Lord test many of us through trials and giants. He does this because he wants us to TRUST him. He wants us to lean on Him. He wants to see if we will respond to Him.

On some days, I question if I can get through my days. When the nights are long from the lack of sleep yet I still have therapy appointments to arrive to on time, insurance calls to make, while meeting the demands of a child with severe autism; I want to fall in doubt. I want to crawl in a hole and just cry! But, I don't. Instead, I speak to the Lord. I open up His word, and I recall many inspirational stories from the Bible, like David and Goliath. I am immediately back on track and ready to fight my giant.

What do you do to fight your giant? Are you a David? Or are you like everyone else and running away from the giant you face daily?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Yummy

You can't beat making lemonade and s'mores at ABA therapy at Harsha Autism Center!