Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Why I advocate-Part 1

Why do I advocate? Why do I spend my only "free" time educating and sharing my story?

I do it for many reasons. I want to talk about one particular reason right now. I advocate to educate others because some families of typically developing children don't do their part in educating their children that some children are "different".

Both my boys are absolutely amazing. I'm sure deep down Trenton wants friends just like Andrew. It shows more with Andrew because he is able to express it to me. Andrew has always had extreme difficulty in socialization. Many people think that the social challenges in autism is like Trenton, where he doesn't pay attention to you. But you couldn't be more wrong. The social challenges can also be like Andrew, where he is hyper social but has no clue on how to be properly social.

Ever since he started school this year, it has become so evident the gap between him and his peers in this area. He is in two  programs after school, I volunteer at one and take him to the other and he is struggling big time in these programs and it is because no one wants to be his friend! He knows he is left by himself so he starts doing very unusual behavior and it makes it worse.

Yes, he has challenges and is very unique and different. He doesn't know how to just be a boy and play. Yes, he shoves his hands in his mouth when he is nervous. Yes, he copies what other kids do but takes it to a whole different level but it is because he needs help in this area. He needs other kids to accept him and to play with him so he can work on these. But, when kids ignore him, it does nothing for my son other than making him feel terrible about himself. We wonder why there is such a high percentage of suicide and suicide attempts with Asperger and high functioning autism? IT's because kids can be so mean and terrible. They are the way they are because no one is teaching them the right things at home.

Andrew got invited to a party a few weeks from a peer in his class. I asked him if he wanted to go and Andrew said yes. He said, "Moochies I only got invited because you have to invite everyone. I know he doesn't like me, he never lets me play with him at school but I want to go anyway and get him a gift."
My son may have problems and no one may want to be his friend but I am raising him to treat others how he wants to be treated and that is what he is choosing to do!

Yesterday, Andrew came home from school. I asked him if he played with anyone at recess. He said, "No one would let me play with them so I sat on a bench by myself."
Talk about breaking a mothers heart!
This is where I put some fault in the schools. I have no idea what the teachers were doing during his recess time. However, teachers need to be aware of these situations and help kids play with their peers. Teachers are still on duty during recess. I see it all the time with teachers huddled in groups during recess. Why can't teachers help more with socialization at recess time? I am a former special education teacher so I know first hand that most teachers just talk to each other during recess time, lets get the teachers involved in recess more!
It is just a small simple way where teachers can try to teach "kindness" at school. .

Last night before he went to bed he said, "Moochies I know my brain is different. I really want to be different and do better but I can't."
He may be six but he knows he is different. He is one smart little guy!
I told him that I wish I could take it all away and he said, " I wish you could too but you can't. You would have to get in my brain and change it and I don't think that is possible."

So....why do I advocate? I advocate so my children can be accepted by their peers. I advocate to educate the parents of their peers so they can have a little compassion and teach their kids how to be kind and how to accept everyone.

If you are the parent of typically developing children, I challenge you to reach out to the kids in your childrens class who have some struggles. You just might have a huge impact on them.

Please stay tuned for more post on why I advocate........

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Visual Supports-Tip 2


Many individuals with autism think in pictures. Temple Grandin said her mind was similar to a search engine searching for pictures on the internet. She says her thoughts are in photo-realistic pictures, which flash up on the ‘computer monitor’ in her imagination. Words just narrate the picture. I believe 100% that this is how Trenton is and how he learns.

From day one he has always loved Baby Einstein, Brainy Baby, Baby Signing Time, and a hand few of other educational learning dvds. Why did he navigate towards these? These dvds are all educational shows that show a picture while teaching the word. Trenton can spell and read almost everything from these dvds.
Trenton has potential to be able to read and understand anything that is shown to him with a picture and a word.  
When I say "chair" to him, it means nothing unless he is taught with the picture and the word. Therefore, I am in the process of labeling my entire house. If I can label my house, he will eventually know how to spell it and this will lead to him being able to read it and use it one day to communicate.
Temple Grandin said that is someone used the word "steeple", her mind went to the first picture of "steeple" that she knew, then to the next one, etc. Therefore, it is important to always show in pictures every way that a word can be used. If not, this can lead to a communication gap with individuals with autism.


Here are a few examples of what I have going on around my house.






Sunday, November 12, 2017

Six!

No time to blog lately!!! It is definitely taking a step back as the needs of the boys and my demand is getting greater.

However, Andrew turned 6 yesterday. 

He has came a long way in many areas since his autism diagnosis. However, it is very apparent lately, that I am just getting started with some of his challenges. I am so proud of him and what he has accomplished since he first started therapy at 2.5 years old.
I see his daily fight with his challenges from high functioning autism. He, just like Trenton, is one of my heroes. I can't find the words to describe what he has been going through. But, no matter what he makes me so proud to call him his Moochies!!!!
Love you Lil' A.
Happy 6th Birthday!



Me and the two birthday people at our special birthday event:)
James 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Yes, I still believe

Yes, I have a son with classic autism. Yes, I have went through the pain of a husband who left which lead to divorce. Yes, I have had health problems. I have went through a lot that would make most people say that there isn't a God. But, I do believe in my God and I love him more than anyone!

But, why? How could you believe there is a good God? I get asked that question a lot and I am going to do my best to explain why....

I  know my Bible and have a good understanding of what it says. I am going to skip the whole part of God creating us and how we got here and go straight to the bullet points.

We as humans want to focus our attention and everything to this life. However, this life isn't what we are here for. Colossians 3:2 tells us to focus on things above and not earthly. The entire book of Ecclesiastes is focused on telling us that we come into this world with nothing and we leave this world with our body going into a grave. It is all about telling us that this life is just vapor. It's our soul that lives forever in Heaven if we choose to be a Christian. So we have to set our mind on Heaven, not Earth.

Just think about how we are as humans when everything is going fantastic. Are we humble? Are we grateful? Do we take time to thank God for our gifts? If we do, we don't have a true meaning of gratefulness until it is all taken away from us. 

Trials develop Godly character. God gives us trials to develop our character. For example, I was grateful for what I had but I really became grateful after I had Trenton. I really learned what God meant when he said he wanted us to lean on him in life. I wasn't asking for God's guidance enough in life. However, I do know. God tested me......he gave me trials to build my character. Now, God also gives us free will. Free will to make our own decisions. 

Trials and tribulations come with both a purpose and a reward. "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. . . . Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him" (James 1:2-4,12).

I have been given the trial of autism but I will receive the crown of life in return and I couldn't have asked for a better life because it is the eternal life that is the one true life. We are only here for a short time. It is our test.....it is our trial to see where we spend our real life at. 

Trials can lead into atheism as well. When your faith is small the devil can rip it out. Don't let him put you in despair and bitterness towards God. I've seen God use trials to not only build me up, but open doors, and I have seen miracles happen daily. 

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

1 Peter 5:6-8 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour

Psalm 9:7-10 But the Lord rules forever. He sits on his throne to judge, and he will judge the world in fairness; he will decide what is fair for the nations. The Lord defends those who suffer; he defends them in times of trouble. Those who know the Lord trust him, because he will not leave those who come to him.

God’s glory: The storm will not last forever and trials are an opportunity for a testimony. It gives God so much glory when everyone knows you’re going through a tough trial and you stand strong, trusting in the Lord until He delivers you, without complaining.

Psalm 40:4-5 Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.

Psalm 71:14-17 As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long— though I know not how to relate them all. I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.

I could go on and on. If you know your Bible, the answer for your trials are in it.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Mommy

There is nothing like picking your son up and taking his AAC device out and finding my name on it😊😊😊😊

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Visual Supports - Tip 1 Post

The use of visuals supports is very important with individuals on the spectrum.  A visual support refers to using a picture or other visual item to communicate with a child who has difficulty understanding or using language. Visual supports can be photographs, drawings, objects, written words, or lists. Research has shown that visual supports work well as a way to communicate.

Using a picture card to communicate helps the individual understand and it can eventually lead to the individual being able to read.
I am in the process of labeling everything in my house. This will help Trenton put the word with a picture. Trenton is very smart and if he sees a picture with the label on it, he will be able to read it. Trenton already can read all of Andrew's Kindergarten stories he brings home. Therefore, labeling everything in my house from door to chair to wall to refrigerator, etc.....he will be able to read it in a story and eventually spell it to communicate if he needs to.


The main features of ASD are challenges in interacting socially, using language, and having limited interests or repetitive behaviors. Visual supports help in all three areas. Visuals supports are social stories, schedules, first/then boards, etc.
I plan on doing a specific post on social stories at a later date.

Another example of a visual schedule for Trenton that I have done lately is a picture schedule at the table. Trenton has a hard time of sitting at the table to eat. I now have a picture schedule when he is eating. It reminds him that he needs to stay seated to eat. Trenton like so many on the spectrum can be doing what they are told but they soon forget in mid-action what they are doing and they will elope away. However, if they have the visual picture in front of them, it will help them to complete the task.

I have the steps to brushing teeth in the bathroom. This is a struggle and always will be but we have the steps to look at when we do it:)
Above the sink, I have the steps to washing hands. The more he sees this the more of a habit it will be.
Above each toilet in the house, I have this....

As soon as I get everything else labeled, I will share.
Being an autism parents takes a lot of time, energy, and research. Our children do not learn how neurotypical children do. Everything from washing hands, eating, dressing, to a typical conversation between two people has to be taught. Everything has to be taught and to teach with visual aids is a must!
I have found out first hand lately just how differently Andrew learns too. I will share Andrew' stories at a later date.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Some Days Are Harder Than Others

It's Every Single Day.

The battles are every single day but some days they are much harder to get through. It's always the days that most people enjoy the most.

It's thrown in our faces daily. I can't do anything without seeing people with such "easy" lives. My children can't go anywhere without seeing it as well. They may have autism but they are smart. They know they are different. They want to fit in but CAN'T.

It's Halloween. The time of the year that deep down I love but despise so much at the same time. For once I want to be able to do the Trunk or Treats or Trick or Treat nights without all the chaos, battles, and fights that come along with autism. Just for one time I want to be that parent that gets to walk the neighborhoods and relax while your child does exactly what they are suppose to do. Just for one minute I want to feel what that is like.

Instead,  I go through a two week prepping period where I get my boys ready for what we will do. Instead, we go to only three houses, if that, as a family before Trenton is pulling on me and making his noises to go home. Instead, I walk up to the house holding onto my child for dear life because he bolts faster than lightening coming from the sky. He pulls and tugs and I pull and tug back.
Instead of the smiles from some people I get the "what is wrong with him" look. Before I know it, we are back home watching Halloween happen from inside our homes.

Instead of enjoying it, it was just another battle of the autism wars. Instead of having a child come home and dumping his candy in the middle of the living room floor like I did as a kid, I have a kid that wants nothing but to take his costume off and try to release his anxiety and stress from the experience.
My other son loves the experience but it can't be done without a hundred questions and explanations.

What I feared the most happened!  Trying to trick or treat  in our neighborhood was just  enough damage to make him not sleep. He had just enough stimulation and "hiccups" to his routine that he didn't sleep.

So I ask myself, "Why did I even try?"

The pain is so real. It is with everything we do and can't do. It's a constant reminder that our life is not like our neighbors, family, and friends. Yes, I accept it but it doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt daily.

Deep down I am just a normal mom who wants what any mom wants. I accept my child doesn't like the normal traditions in this world but it hurts. I dreamed of these things while being pregnant and no matter how much  I accept my children for who they are, there is a part of me that is always in constant pain and grief. It's real. It's normal for families like ours. I grieve because I know deep down he wants to do it but can't.

So, instead we continue to try to fit in a world where we feel so left out of. We continue to be defeated each year with Halloween. I grieve and hold back the disappointment and smile behind my pain. What else can you do?
It's a real experience for us daily and for many other autism families.