Featuring Guest Blogger from Momtisms

http://momtisms.blogspot.com/

Bio: I am the mother of two boys, ages 10 and 13, with ASD and other co-morbid conditions. Each of them are truly unique with their own gifts and challenges. Our youngest received his diagnosis at the age of 3. Our oldest was diagnosed later when we started recognizing some similar symptoms. However, they presented differently as he was deemed “higher functioning”.

This mom has become a really good friend of mine. We have many things in common and are both strong autism advocates. Her blog is awesome. This post is just a glimpse. It is real life, it is autism. It is called spectrum for a reason. Have a good read and enjoy!! – Dany

A Parade of Empathy

I remember when Nugget was 3 and we were going through all the required testing prior to receiving the autism diagnosis. “Lack of empathy” was always one I checked off, for obvious reasons. He simply did not show empathy or seem to appropriately respond, or tune in to others emotions. Even if he was the cause of such emotions. If another person cried, he seemed oblivious to this fact. He never changed what he was doing or how he was acting, in response.

It was unbearably cold outside during the St. Patrick’s Day parade this past year. Nugget was covering his ears as he always does if their are sounds he doesn’t like. The marching band that went by was really loud, but we knew he had been to louder parades before. This just happened to be one of those days. He was not in a good mood because they had forgotten to put ketchup on his cheeseburger at the food stand. My husband and I were doing everything we could to keep him engaged during the parade. This day he was not going to have any part of the parade and would rather run up and down the sidewalks. I joined him in running, trying to initiate a game of tag. I didn’t mind since it also helped keep us a little warmer. “Tag, your it, Mom!”. Finally, a smile and laughter. We had overcome the cheeseburger incident and went back to where hubby and Bear were standing. He seemed to be enjoying the parade this time and even threw some of his candy over to some little girls sitting across the street from us. They had not been quick enough to grab any of the candy flying around and Nugget had noticed this. I was surprised. What made him notice? He is usually so absorbed in his own thoughts and actions, I thought.
Finally, the parade was done. Hubby had found a neighbor and was standing talking to him. Still cold, Bear, Nugget and I walked into an open school building where people were gathering to get warm. Bear and Nugget were standing behind me against a wall. I turned to look to see if hubby had followed. When I turned back, I noticed that Nugget was nowhere to be seen. Panic quickly set in. I asked Bear where his brother went. He pointed straight ahead, through a crowd of people. Nugget loves the color orange, so we had bought him an orange winter coat.  We always dress him in bright clothes since it is easier to spot him in a crowd, but looking around, I did not see him anywhere. I told Bear to stay where he was and I pushed my way through the crowd to find Nugget. I finally spotted his orange coat. But what was he doing? It looked like he was trying to lift a little boy up. I didn’t recognize this child and scanned to see if a parent was close by. No one was reacting to what Nugget was doing. I started running towards him. As I approached, I saw a water fountain and realized immediately that Nugget was trying to lift this little boy up to the water fountain. I just stood and observed. Nugget wasn’t much taller than the boy he was helping. He persevered, struggling to lift him up. Finally, he was able to lift the boy all the way up to the fountain. Nugget watched the little boy drinking and patiently waiting. I just stood there, dumbfounded. The boys mom had been standing right there. She turned and thanked Nugget for helping. I nodded to her, still a little surprised at what I had just seen and relieved that this time no explanations or apologies were required. We could just walk away, proudly mind you. I couldn’t help but wonder what had changed. When did it change? I could not see any amount of therapy producing this seemingly natural way he had noticed and empathized with the little girls not getting any candy and noticing a little boy struggling to reach the water fountain.

It was during the St. Patrick’s Day parade this year, that I learned that the term “lack of empathy” should either be reworded or stricken from every autism checklist in existence. Nugget, who has had many anxiety and behavioral issues throughout his nine years on this planet, and still does, has proven to me that this “symptom” is quite inaccurate. Their is absolutely no lack of empathy. No therapy did this, I did not do this. It was there all along, just waiting to come out.

 

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Featuring Guest Blogger from Words and Dexterity

http://www.wordsanddexterity.com/

Bio – My name is T L Holliday. I have a huge mind that can sometimes get me in trouble, but I mostly use it to educate ignorance.

I totally recommend this awesome page. It speaks volumes. The words, the art, the photos. It is all there. This is the kind of stuff that needs to be spread around the internet like wildfire. It is food for the soul. Have a good time reading this guest blog post and when you have the chance, I recommend that you go on over to her website and experience the amazingness that is unleashed from a super creative soul. One who I love very much and am very proud of. Even if she was not my niece, I would say all of this because I totally mean it.

xo Namaste, Dany

535033_3174082588331_593966042_n Photo taken by Holliday (it is my son’s hand and a puzzle piece he was playing with outside a few summers ago)

 

#CONTINUETOEDUCATE2015

Something that never fails to astound me is the lack of humanity in the world. Everyone is worried about who’s doing what, who’s doing who, who’s getting what and how much of it. What does any of what other people do have to do with your life? Why do you care about how someone else identifies? They’re not doing it to personally hurt you or to make you feel uncomfortable. SURPRISE! The reason they do anything has absolutely nothing to do with you. Stop judging people based on their race, sexual orientation, gender, religious beliefs, just stop judging people period.

There is no race except the human race. We are a species. We only have different skin tones to better suit the geographical areas we live in. Take animals for example; there are many different species and breeds of animals depending on where you are in the world. Some can survive easier in parts of the world that others cannot because they are born with the traits necessary for life in those regions. But they don’t kill each other because of it, they use it to survive. So when someone is racist and violent towards another person that is literally telling you that they have more basic human rights than that person because their skin color differs.

I also don’t understand the need to label everything. Why do you need to put me in a category? And then get upset if I tell you that I don’t fit in that category? Everyone needs to understand that sexuality and gender is fluid. Being born with certain sexual organs does not determine what your gender is. Each individual person decides for themselves what gender they feel they are, not the gender roles forced upon them by society. Same thing with sexuality. As a human you are attracted or not attracted to someone based on the person they are, not about what’s between their legs. Society teaches you to assume everyone is a cisgender heterosexual until told otherwise. We need to teach our kids to not assuming anyone is anything and to accept people for who they are.

Religion is another touchy subject, but I’ll shed a little light on it. I have no problem with religion, the problem I have is, again, with the people who “practice” it. I say “practice” because religion is supposed to be personal, not displayed for the world to see and shoved down everyone’s throat. And just like gender and sexuality, it is something you yourself decide what best fits how you feel. Religion is your personal relationship with whatever god(s) you believe in, not a love triangle between you, your god, and the rest of the world. There are many different religions and spiritual practices in the world, so it makes absolutely no sense when people try to enforce their religion onto other people as if their religion is the only religion. It also has no business being in law enforcement, but I’ll save that for another day.

Being a human is like being an animal; we all look different, have different sets of skills, and were put on this earth unwillingly without a hand book. But for some reason animals have a better understanding of how to live, and they’re so simple yet complex to us. How can the very things we call wild and unpredictable be more human and understanding of how life works than actual humans? How can they co-exist with so many other species and manage not to destroy each other or the earth? They stay in their lane, that’s how! They take care of each other and their habitats, they don’t shit where they sleep.

Just take a second and sit down. Zoom out of your own life right now and picture the world as a whole. All the different countries on different continents spread out in a big ball of ocean. Now zoom out of that image and picture all the planets in our solar system. Now zoom out of that. What do you see? Some people know what that actually looks like and others never even thought to imagine that such a thing exists. It does, and even beyond that exists. There are billions of other solar systems in billions of other galaxies. Just imagine what could be out there. How small does that make your life seem? Small enough to realize all the bullshit in your life? And that most of the things you do, say, and think are pointless because now you see that you were only doing those things because you’re a product of society? If it did then you’re one of the lucky ones who has the ability to broaden and take their minds to the next level. And if it didn’t then hopefully one day it will.

So to end this post I’ll just say,

Love yourself, love your neighbor, love your earth and you’ll be happier for it I promise.

– T L Holliday

Featuring Guest Blogger…

Looking Back: Counting the Blessings of Autism

Below is a great post from a guest blogger who I have come to know via Facebook. We share autism in common. We understand and we can relate. This post comes from the heart and I am very thankful that she is sharing it on here. It is an awesome read. Go ahead, you will see. Double blessings. Eye opener.

BIO -A newspaper reporter turned stay-at-home mom to 4-year-old twin boys on the autism spectrum, Heather Meade keeps her sanity writing at chockfullasd.blogspot.com, where you can learn more about her and the twin terrors, Gamble and Gage. Follow on Facebook or Twitter @ChockFullASD.

As 2014 comes to a close, everyone’s reflecting on their year; the ups, the downs, the plateaus – in autism parenting it seems like every step forward is followed by half a stumble backwards. Just when you think you’ve got the routine down, school takes a break or you unintentionally give your dye-free-for-a-year twins mac n cheese with yellow dye and all hell breaks loose – seriously, I’m surprised those boys didn’t sprout horns and a tail, carrying little pitchforks around, then again, that would require them to be willing to touch a fork…

The twins have come so far this year, however. No, they’re still not talking, they’re still crazy for spinning, and they’re certainly still autistic, but that’s okay. For all the negatives of autism, and there are a multitude, I must say that I’m thankful for my boys’ autism diagnosis.

I should probably elaborate, because I’m sure some of you are rolling your eyes, thinking I’m going to spew the typical “Oh, we’re so blessed…” or “I wouldn’t change a thing.” That’s not it at all, if I could take away all of the negatives of their autism, the sensitivities, the inability to effectively communicate their wants and needs, the meltdowns – you can bet your sweet bottom I would, in a heartbeat. What mother wouldn’t want to make life easier, more comfortable for her children?

The thing is, without the boys’ autism, without the stress, without that push to do whatever I need to ensure that they have the best possible life they can, to guard against my children having the tumultuous childhood that I had, who knows how long I would have coasted through this parenting stuff?

Because my boys were born autistic, because I’m the person that I am – I don’t do things half-arsed, I never have – I mean, I got pregnant by accident, and with twins – because of the every day stress, life kicked my butt, handed it back to me, and told me to walk it off. I had to kick myself into high gear, I had to take a hard look at the things I was doing, the choices I was making, including being with the boys’ father.

At the beginning of December 2014, I was ready to become another statistic, a single autism mother. I packed the boys up after a particularly nasty spat between their father and I, I packed one basket of their clothes, and grabbed the titles to the house and the cars. I was ready to leave it all, but I was also covering my bases, because most everything is in my name.

After I calmed down, I could tell something was off – something wasn’t right, I hadn’t felt this sense of urgency, this panicked feeling in my chest, in quite a long time. I had recently started a new anti-depressant, one that was meant to help some of my other medical issues, as well. I went to see my doctor, and she could tell I was manic, I needed a mood stabilizer. It was like I woke from an eight year coma and took a look at my life and asked myself “What the heck, Heather?”

It took me eight long, hard years to finally be able to be in a place to look back at the things that had happened and to realize that I couldn’t keep living the lies I’d built to protect myself and those around me. I had to let it go (the boys had their Frozen phase). I had to tell someone my secrets. By this time, the boys’ father and I were able to be in the same room together for more than a half a second without arguing, so I told him. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but without the stresses of our autistic twins, who knows if I’d ever have had the courage to tell him, or anyone else? He assured me that nothing between us had changed in his mind, he said he’d give me some time and some space to heal, we’re finally starting to develop a relationship after five years.

So yes, I’m blessed to have had the stresses of the boys’ autism to get me to take a good, hard look at what was going on in our lives, and to make the decision, not an easy one, that we could not continue to live in the same manner we’d been living. Barely surviving, and certainly not thriving as parents or as a couple.

Not only that, I’m blessed to have my sweet, goofy boys – my yin-yang twins – they complete each other, but they also complete me and their father. Would I give up a piece of their autism if it meant I’d lose touch with them? Not a chance. I’m blessed that my boys are lovers, like their mother. They seek attention and affection from me and their father, though they might not connect with many other people. Gage gave his grandma a hug and kiss after Christmas dinner, and it was the highlight of her day. Gamble tickled his brother without scratching him, and Gage used soft touches to rub his brother’s neck.

Perhaps it isn’t anything to do with their autism, their sweet, loving nature, but I wouldn’t take a chance on losing that part of them for anything in the world…not even a meltdown free lifetime. They are quick to smile, to give kisses and hugs, they love being held and tickled. They laugh, and their laughter is contagious, it’s still sweet baby giggles with the occasional belly laugh, when they’re out of breath from getting tickled.

So while I have no guarantee that I’ll ever hear “Mommy, I love you,” I will always treasure their laughter. I listen to them babble back and forth, a recent development – it really does sound like they’re having a conversation in their own little twin language, and oh how I would love to have the translations, to know what’s going on between them, to share in that. But not at the expense of missing out on who they are, autism and all.

They’re beginning to communicate in their way – Gage will grab me by the hand, lead me to where he wants me, and “yell” until I figure out what he wants. Both he and Gamble are also starting to let me know when they want a snack. Do I wish it were something other than standing at the threshold of the kitchen, holding their ears and screaming? Absolutely, but baby steps are good enough for now – one day they’ll have a better way, we just have to keep working towards those goals.

Autism life is daunting, I’m dreading potty training and the energy that’s going to take, and I know I need to start really getting into it with them soon, because I’m going to have to go back to work, but the idea of potty training two non-verbal 4-year old boys has me tired just thinking about it.

I’d say I’ll be in bed before the ball drops, but the twin terrors took a brief nap earlier, so they’ll probably be up til the wee hours, when their daddy gets home from work, which means I’ll be up til then, too.

Happy New Year, everyone – here’s to the thought of never having to scrub poo off the walls (or your child), to keeping what sanity we’ve managed to cling to, and to figuring out how to scrape by with some dignity in tact.

 

 

Featuring Guest Writer from S.L.A.P.

S.L.A.P.

Strong Loving Autism Parents

https://www.facebook.com/slapautism

This wonderful, heart warming and genuine post was written by my dear friend, Lisa. She is a great person and an amazing autism advocate for her son as well as all children on the spectrum. We met online and have many things in common other than both of our sons being on the autism spectrum. She runs an awesome autism page on Facebook, which is listed above. Go on over and have a visit, of course after you read this post. This will open your eyes to see how a diagnosis of autism is not the end of the world but a beginning of a new one. Let us all welcome Lisa.

xoxo, Dany

Bio-

Hi, I’m Lisa and I’m a stay at home Mom. I have been happily married to my husband for 18 years. My husband and I have four children, ages 17, 13, 9, and 8.  By no means am I a blogger, but I’m willing to learn. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a guest blogger for Loorducation.

 

Acceptance

I received my sons diagnosis of PDD-NOS in October of 2008. My son just turned 2 in September. After my shock of the diagnosis; I knew somehow I had to accept it so I can help my son. I wasn’t even sure if I had the strength to be able to cope with raising a child on the spectrum. Jovani is my youngest of four. I was terrified. I didn’t know anyone else who had a child with Autism. I remember asking myself time and time again, Where do I go for support? Where do I go for help? What next.. I felt so alone. I felt that no one in my family or friends understood what I was going through.
One day I met a woman in my sons pediatrician office. She was sitting with her daughter. Again, not knowing anything about Autism, I noticed she had a tote bag. The tote bag had a ribbon ( Autism Ribbon) and under the ribbon it said “ I love someone with Autism”. I approached her and said, Excuse me my son was just diagnosed with Autism. She couldn’t speak to me much as her daughter was antsy. So she handed me a brochure. I went and read the brochure from back to front. I, of course did not call her right away. I was terrified. Terrified to learn something that I was unfamiliar. But eventually I did make that call and joined her support group. I joined the support group and learned so much. I was glad to be part of a group that accepted me and my family. I was happy to show my NT children that there were other families that had children with Autism. I wanted my NT children to know that even though their little brother was on the spectrum, we were going to learn about Autism together. The support group was a resourceful guide for my family and me. All the information I learned was due to attending parent support meetings. Each minute of gained knowledge turned into an hour. An hour turned into a day. A day turned into a week. Now five years later after my son diagnosis I am thankful. Thankful for the parent support group. Their support and understanding gave me strength to continue to advocate for my son. I learned through life that the only thing we truly own is the knowledge we gain. With that said, the knowledge I have gained learning about Autism, is one I want to share with as many parents as I can possibly reach. Initially, Autism was my worst enemy. I was angry as it took the normalcy away from my child. Away from my home. But as time went by I realized that Autism has been a special gift to our family.

Featuring Guest Blogger from Jsack1’s Blog

Life with my sensitive child

written by : JSACKMOM

http://jsackblog.wordpress.com/

Quick Intro:

Hi I’m J and I’m a stay at and work from home Mom of two sons. I work as a transcriptionist and raise them with my loving husband. I’m an avid reader and writer and I entered the blog world a year ago. My sweet son’s are my light and my loves as well as my amazing husband. Who allow me to be inspired and loved and able to share my journey. I’m honored to be guest blogging with the lovely Loorduation.

*JSACK MOM and I have become great friends who share many great things in common, not only a child on the spectrum. She is a sweet, caring soul who is very empathetic. She writes from the heart and her words come to life. I invite you to read this guest blogger post here. It is beautifully written and I am sure many out there, including myself can relate. Happy Reading FoLOORs!! Enjoy.

xo & Namaste. Dany

 

Tomorrow I have a meeting and I’m feeling very nervous about it. I’m asking for help for my son. I’ve been his Mom OT (occupational therapist) for a year now. I’ve wrote about his sensory “diet” before with exercise, deep pressure massage, skin brushing, and joint compressions. I’ve recently started using essentials oils and adding in more vitamins, and Epsom salt baths. I also use PECS (picture example cards) for transitions. He knows when we’re leaving for school, choices to make after we’re home play Legos, Color, cartoons etc. He knows what we do for quiet time, read, cuddle, yoga, or IPad time. He knows when his meal, snack, and bath times are. Now this may sound very structured and read that I’m a anal retentive control freak. I assure you this is not the case, he needs to know everything about his daily life as change is his nemesis. For some people change is comfortable, adaptable, and like an elixir in life. Not to my son, with his SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) it’s one of the most terrifying things to experience. With the traffic jam in his brain while trying to process his five senses, as well as the proprioceptive and vestibular ones, is a lot for him to take in. He gets exhausted as I can see how he struggles with a world that can be too indifferent, too loud, too bright, and too busy for him to live in. I keep him regulated as much as I can, and when I know there’s going to be a change I prepare him with social stories, plenty of positive feedback, and sensory tools like fidgets and things for him to safely chew. When we recently went away for the weekend we talked extensively about our trip beforehand. He knew we would drive there, stay at a hotel, go swimming, and watch hockey. When we arrived at the hotel my husband and our oldest son went for lunch. We decided to go swimming since we ate at the hockey game. I got our luggage upstairs and to the door and walked in. My sweet sensitive boy wouldn’t come, in he told me he was scared and stayed in the hall. I had to sit and hold him, assure him he was safe and I would protect him. As he’s very sensory he’s also highly sensitive to the spirit world and sees what others don’t. So it took me a half an hour to talk him into the room after blessing it and asking whoever was there to please go. If you’re still reading you’re probably thinking get that Mom a Xanax STAT!!! I get my son more than any other person on the planet, being empathic I feel what he sees. And sometimes I’ll see it too if I’m tuned right in. After all was settled we went for a swim and soak in the hot tub. This is just what the doctor ordered as we both felt refreshed and rejuvenated. So back to the room to shower and change and go for dinner. We walked over to McDonalds home of holy grail of chicken nuggets. The only chicken my son will eat by the way. We get our food and sit down to eat and then my son is upset. He wants to have his drink which I say after and I substitute for his water. Yes I get your typical 3 year old reaction of Noooooooo!!!! Then he just escalates from there as this McD’s doesn’t look like ours back home, why can’t he play, followed by crying and whining. As his frustration grows I’m almost packed up our food and ready to go. This time he’s in full sensory overload and the whole restaurant is there to watch the show! I’m dodging slaps, punches, and scratches, and yes I’m frustrated as well. I pick up my son and ask him to use his words and tell me how he feels. He says “I’m so scared Mommy I want to go home!” So back to the hotel we go, I held him in my arms and hugged him so tight. My heart was breaking for my sweet boy as he shared with me all the things he was scared of. Too many transitions in one day, tired, travelling, hungry, boom sensory overload was the result. So after I had him regulated and calm we watched cartoons and used my Sesame Street app called Breathe to help. Which brings me to the meeting I have tomorrow, I’m asking for help with my sons needs. It’s not easy for me to ask for assistance but yet here I am doing it. I’m scared of handing over the reins of his primary care but I’m also exhausted. I’m tired of being the Mom who’s worn out, with bags under my eyes that now are a set of luggage! I’m tired of being the only one advocating and protecting my bear cubs. I’m tired of everyone around me getting more sleep than me, and telling me I look tired!!!! One thing you NEVER $@@@%# say to a sleep deprived Mombie!!! I’m tired of staying up late after my sons naps out of sheer exhaustion. I’m tired of feeling lonely and missing feeling special, for a date night with my husband. I’m bone tired of having to sleep with one eye and one ear open, when the dreaded Obstructive sleep apnea takes over and my son wakes up scared, coughing, because he’s stopped breathing. I feel like the most impatient, misunderstood, pathetic, angry Mom. Who in my worst moments swears and yells at the my precious sons when my patient bucket is empty. Most of all I’m tired of struggling and surviving on vapors of sleep. It’s hard for me to accept some days this is my life, because I wanted to be so much for my children. So I’m asking for help for the Calvary to come in and join me on my team of no sleep or “barely enough to function sleep.” It breaks me to hear my son snoring and knowing that soon he’ll stop breathing. And I will run to him while he’s crying and alone for those moments. I feel like the oldest saddest woman, who’s only nice thing I do for myself was go see my favorite band Fleetwood Mac in concert. And it took nearly 2 years to do that, since the last concert of theirs. So that leaves me lying awake, watching my son sleeping peacefully, and praying it will continue throughout the night. And my heart lies here on my sleeve open, exposed, and bleeding, while my tears silently fall on my sons cheek.

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