Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Balking against therapy

He had been doing this new treatment every morning and every evening. It had been producing mild improvements, or at least we think. It seems that he is a constant improvement in motion. Words he can not say today will be uttered tomorrow and things he can not do today will be done with ease in the near future.

Giving that I was unimpressed with the treatment, the therapist suggest to mix it up a little bit, intensify it a tad. So with all the instructions in hand this is exactly what I do. The rule is; It should last at least 20 minutes no matter what.

After his evening bath I thought would be a good time. Hopefully this will relax him and he will have a better sleep, and in turn so will I. The start was easy enough, six whole minutes he participated and then excitedly announced to all, waving his hands as a sign "All done! All done!"

I try to persuade extra minutes from him "Just a little bit more?" with terrible results. The situation was escalating and my commitment of 20 minutes was losing ground. His nervous struggling to get away was going to quickly become dangerous to me. The visions of a very short person climbing up my body, grabbing each ear and headbutting me into unconsciousness did not seem so far fetched.

I relent, I let it go. 10 minutes in and I cave. I let him run and hide in his bed and meet him in there with his choice of sour candy or a fruit leather, and a drink because these treatments always get his jaws working. It makes no sense to me that this should make his mouth react in this way, but there is so much I don't understand about my little guy just yet.

He chews through the fruit leather quickly, drinks his juice, and is out like a light in a matter of moments. I gather up my CD player and Godly awful expensive headphones, knowing that for now he is not quite ready for Mozart.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Family Bed and Infirmary

"Momma, I don't feel good." the middle child moans. I feel her head, normal, and ask her whats wrong. "Stomach." I send her to lay down in hopes that a little rest will help whatever ails her. When checking on her I see that the barrel bolt installed to deter her brother is not teen proof as she is laying in our bed.

Our room is not large. Aside from the king sized bed and bedside tables there is an armour that contains a television. There is no room for anything else. We have made our little section of the house cozy and warm, a retreat for ourselves. I think our children appreciate the effort being that is the spot they prefer to "hang out".

I am bathing Connor a short while later when I hear "Mom, can you come here?"
"What's wrong sweetie?" I yell from the bathroom.
"Mom, I need you now!"
I am now panicky and turn this way and that. I can't leave him in the tub by himself! My daughter needs me! "Melody can you come sit with your brother for a minute?"

Melody comes to my rescue and I run to my room to see what is so urgent. She is on her side in a fetal position on her Daddy's side of the bed. Her face is white and sweaty, a bowl of sick by her side. I take the bowl away and return with another receptacle, washcloths, and a glass of water. I place a cool washcloth on the back of her neck and try to persuade her to try some alka-seltzer. She is willing to try anything with her stomach hurting so bad, but she can't do it. The taste makes her gag although I only put in one tablet.

I return to the bathroom and get Connor dried off and dressed for bed. Finding my bedroom door is wide open he climbs in bed next to his sister and the oldest climbs in next to him. All three of them snuggle up in the bed and watch a movie together and I take the chance to dash off to the corner store to get some Pepto.

I am dressed in my nightshirt which I have tucked into a pair a sweats with a heavy jacket over top. My main objective is to get the medicine as quickly as possible and get back with out drawing any attention to myself. I place the bottle on the counter and am greeted by a cashier that has now decided to use me a exhibit A for her case "See I told you some stomach bug was going around!" she tells the other cashiers. Five minutes later of them recounting their symptoms and who else has been eating pepto tablets like candy with me holding my cash out to them to try and pay for the stuff I was finally able to get back home.

The fresh receptacle is quickly filled with the same bubblegum pink of the Pepto, so I decide to not medicate anymore and try to let it run it's course. A short while later she informs me she is going to her own bed and is looking like she has a bit more color to her face. The oldest then leaves the bedroom to take a shower and go to bed, leaving the boy in the room by himself.

I go in to see what as been left behind and see that Connor has taken his diaper off and has laid it on Daddy's side of the bed. It is wet and not suitable to touch his skin, which is a new development. I take the old one and come in to put a new one on. I give him a few minutes warning that we will soon be going to bed in our own room which causes him snuggle in even further. When the minutes are over I come back in to find him asleep, with yet another diaper wet and discarded. I grab another, put it on him and carry him to bed. Zipping up his sleeping bag that he has to have on his mattress, I am rewarded with a sleepy smile and a kiss before he folds his hands under his cheek.

I recount the events to their father as we turn in for the night.
"Why do they always want to be in our bed?"
"Because they find comfort in it." I explain.
He looks at me like I had just answered him in Greek. It comes to mind that I would never want to be in my mother's or any of my stepfathers' room and he probably felt the same about his dad and stepmother's room. Feeling that the subject may get too serious and I might never get any sleep I take an escape route. "Obviously we don't call them names or beat them enough."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

It's the great bumpkin Charlie Brown!

My husband got a call to check on a house today near the place he grew up. He had not seen the old neighborhood for a few years his parents had divorced and sold the place eight years ago. He was disappointed coming across the railroad tracks to see the little shops were dilapidated or gone as he started up the winding road to the top of the hill.

The years gone by have made him a less careless person and the winds and turns seem even more dangerous, the road more narrow. The new owners of the house where he had spent his adolescent years have kept the place up nicely to his relief. He decides to drive back a little further to see how else the neighborhood had changed when he see what at first looked like a farmer mooning him from the side of the road.



Slowing down and taking a closer look he realizes it is a scarecrow someone had cleverly constructed, both "cheeks" being pumpkins. Pulling over to the side of the road he starts to take a picture when an older woman tries to pull into the drive.

"I'm sorry, was just getting a picture. I'll move." he says
"Oh, did you get a picture?"
"Was just about to." he holds his camera up.
"No, honey there is a box right there with pictures in it. Go ahead and take ya one." she points out a white wooden box with a sign saying "Please take only one"

He steps up to it and opens it to have a giant spider pop out at him and scare him out of his skin. The older woman is cackling and then he hears a full hearty laugh coming from the farmer that had stopped in the middle of the field. Still sitting on his tractor, he had stopped to watch the joke played out on this unsuspecting stranger.

My husband being a good natured man couldn't help but laugh as well. That older couple had made his day, and he could tell that he made theirs.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

We are experiencing technical difficulties

Really we are. The broadband connection is giving me trouble due to needing what they call a booster. That should be remedied tomorrow, but until then I am on (of all things) dial up. Sorry if I haven't been round to read up on your site, but things on dial up take time and lots of it.

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Connor and I have continued the practice of using his toys to transition. With his hands full, I don't have to hold his hand going down the hall, and without the feel of a hand restraining him he does not crumple to the ground. Things go great getting out of the car, putting on the pack back, loading the boy down with toys (some were hidden before we left) and he walks straight to his classroom. Reminders to walk and not run have to be given, but not too often.

When we arrive there is another boy already in the room. I observe how Connor leaves his own toys behind and takes off with the barn and farm animals. The other little boy noticing the toys comes over to inspect, but Connor has noticed his movement towards them and comes running.

Even if he isn't playing with them it doesn't mean someone else can touch them. Nor can you play with the farm animals or the barn. Oh and even though you found that horse first, he will be confiscating it. The toddler's credo goes through my head.

If it's mine it's mine,

If it's yours it's mine,

If I want it it's mine...

Sharing has not become his strong point. I try to produce harmony and sharing or at least turn taking but it isn't happening. The teacher and the aide aren't much help as they seem to not notice. I draw Connor's attention to a giant book on an easel and he names the animals on the cover for me. Instead of retrieving what Connor has taken from him, little boy decides he wants to come over and name animals too. He plants himself in between Connor and I.

I watch to see Connor's reaction to this boy joining in. Connor steps in front of him moving in closer to me and glares at the boy out of the corner of his eyes. I pull Connor close to me and squeeze him and he takes off to play with farm animals. He leaves me and the boy to the book.


A few hours later I stand in front of the school watching him come down the hall, he spots me and we smile at each other until the aide bring him through the front doors. We hug and then I spot the aide, wide eyed looking at me. My stomach is momentarily in knots as I wonder which kid he stole a toy from or knocked down. "He um did REALLY well today!"
"He did?"
"Uh..yeah ...um...we were counting today." her eyes still wide.
"Oh yeah?"
"He counted pretty high. I mean he really got up there!"
"Yes, he counts alot." I explain as I sign the sign out sheet.
"I couldn't believe it, he just counted and counted."
"That's so good. He likes to do that. He knows all his letters too." I explain as I keep a hand on his shoulder to stop him from going to the car without me.
"I am so impressed!"
"You all didn't know he could count?" I ask as he tugs for me to follow.
"Well no. It's not in his IEP."

I found it curious that this is his second week and they have just got to counting, but there again there are only so many hours in half a day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

99 Questions

Saw this over at Whitterer on Autism and thought it was some good fun.
99 questions if you are reading this you can consider yourself tagged if you like.

1. How old will you be in five years? 29 for the eleventh time
2. Who did you spend at least two hours with today? Kids
3. How tall are you? 5’5
4. What do you look forward to most in the next six weeks? My Daughters’ concerts
5. What's the last movie you saw? Memoirs of a Geisha
6. Who was the last person you called? Husband
7. Who was the last person to call you? Sister
8. What was the last text message you received? A “Happy Birthday” from my husband
9. Who was the last person to leave you a voicemail? My Mother
10. Do you prefer to call or text? Call
11. What were you doing at 12am last night? Sleeping
12. Are your parents married/separated/divorced? Divorced 30 years.
13. When is the last time you saw your mom? Sunday
14. What color are your eyes? Brown .
15. What time did you wake up today? 6:14 a.m.
16. What are you wearing right now? Tee Shirt and Jeans
17. What is your favorite Christmas song? it’s Christmas Time Pretty Baby by Elvis, because strippers need Christmas music too :D
18. Where is your favorite place to be? Coco Cay
19. Where is your least favourite place to be? Toy departments
20. Where would you go if you could go anywhere? Somewhere with sand, sun, palm trees, and a frozen Bahama Mama
21. Where do you think you'll be in 10 years? Somewhere cheering on my kids or husband.
22. Do you tan or burn? Freckle and blister
23. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child? Axe murderer, or my stepfather
24. What was the last thing that REALLY made you laugh? An email from a friend.
25. How many TVs do you have in your house? 2
26. How big is your bed? King
27. Do you have a laptop or desktop computer? Desktop
28. Do you sleep with or without clothes on? Semi clad
29. What color are your sheets? white
30. How many pillows do you sleep with? 2
31. What is your favorite season? Fall
32. What do you like about fall? The color of the leaves changing and the mild temps
33. What do you like about winter? The holidays, and snow
34. What do you like about the summer? Having cookouts
35. What do you like about spring? The new flowers, and Easter
36. How many states/provinces have you lived in? 1 Kentucky
37. What cities/towns have you lived in? Maryville, Okalona, Fairdale, Ferncreek
38. Do you prefer shoes, socks, or bare feet? bare feet
39. Are you a social person? Sometimes, depends on the people available to socialize with.
40. What was the last thing you ate? Buttered popcorn flavored rice cake
41. What is your favorite restaurant? Ruth’s Chris Steak House
42. What is your favorite ice cream? Death by Chocolate
43. What is your favorite dessert? Plain Cheesecake
44. What is your favorite kind of soup? Chicken tortilla
45. What kind of jelly do you like on your PB & J sandwich? grape
46. Do you like Chinese food? Yes
47. Do you like coffee? It is my life substance
48. How many glasses of water a day? 1 or 2
49. What do you drink in the morning? Coffee, duh, see answer to question 49.
51. Do you sleep on a certain side of the bed? Left side
52. Do you know how to play poker? yes
53. Do you like to cuddle? Depends on my mood
54. Have you ever been to Canada? No
55. Do you have an addictive personality? Yeah I think so
56. Do you eat out or at home more often? Home
58. Do you know anyone with the same birthday as you? No
59. Do you want kids? Only the ones I have thanks
60. Do you speak any other languages? Only bits of Spanish and sign language, and a word or two of Japanese and Russian. Oh wait does hillbilly or redneck count?
61. Have you ever gotten stitches? Yes Both big toes, right ankle, forehead, right side of neck, and lower abdomen.
62. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance? yes
63. Do you prefer an ocean or a pool? Ocean
64. Do you prefer a window seat or an aisle seats? Either is fine with me
65. Do you know how to drive stick? Yes
66. What is your favorite thing to spend money on? I don’t like to spend money, but I guess on my kids.
67. Do you wear any jewelry 24/7? Wedding band.
68. What is your favorite TV show? Heroes
69. Can you roll your tongue? no
71. Do you sleep with stuffed animals? No
72. What is the main ring tone on your phone? 10 seconds
73. Do you still have clothes from when you were little? No
74. What red object is closest to you right now? Juice box
75. Do you turn off the water while you brush your teeth? Yes
76. Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed? Closed
77. Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees? Been attacked by a swarm of hornets and made it threw OK ….I think I’ll stick with them.
79. What do you dip a chicken nugget in? Mustard and ketchup together or BBQ sauce80. What is your favorite food? Anything made by my Grandmother
81. Can you change the oil on a car? No
82. Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket? No, but have gotten other traffic tickets
83. Have you ever run out of gas? Yes
84. What is your usual bedtime? 11 pm
85. What was the last book you read? Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
86. Do you read the newspaper? No, but the comic section makes good wrapping paper
87. Do you have any magazine subscriptions? No
89. Do you watch soap operas? Never.
90. Do you dance in the car? Every chance I get, if nothing else I manage to embarrass my children
91. What radio station did you last listen to? The one that says, “Songs from yesterday, today, whatever”
92. Who is in the picture frame closest to you? Connor I think…whoever it is has a hat pulled down over their entire head, so it must be him.
93. What was the last note you scribbled on a piece of paper? Phone number for ABA
94. What is your favorite candle scent? I don’t care much for scented candles, I would rather make my sister smell them.
95. What is your favorite board game? I don’t care for board games, but I am pretty good at Candy land
98. Who was your favorite teacher in high school? Mr. Rump because he would flatter me by letting me go on and on about Greek Mythology and Einstein
99. What is the longest you have ever camped out in a tent? 3 days and I don’t ever plan to do it again. Camping = work.

I noticed while doing this that 50 and 57 is missing so if you have 2 questions let me know.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Family Table

All of our morning and evening meals are ate as a family at the kitchen table. It has long been this way except for the current disappearances of Connor, who may or may not be interested in the food prepared for the occasion. Interest would depend on sugar, bread, and cheese content.

Sunday morning, not feeling like cooking, I went to the local doughnut shop. I came back home laden with a dozen glazed, a dozen assorted, and a dozen doughnut holes. Just enough to help each of us slip into diabetic comas. I have two of his favorite food groups covered and could have had the third with a cheese danish but alas there were none to be had.
We sit around the table and talk about the week before, school, work, friends, etc. when a discussion about ancient times one of us had seen on the history channel causes us to go off in a tangent induced by sugar. Giggling and laughing, we try to imagine school in ancient times and the problems of using caves with huge stones that had to be rolled aside to open and close, in lieu of modern day lockers. This prompts the oldest teen to exclaim, "Look someone put a man in mine!" which brings about more laughing.

The younger teen informs us that we are all most likely going hell as a burst of gas erupts from her and lifts her an inch from her seat. Laughter stops as her face turns a blotchy red from embarrassment and squeaks "Excuse me." We try not to embarrass her further but are forced into laughing again as her little brother looks at her and asks "Bubbles?"

Monday, October 22, 2007

The theif and his transition

After wowing me with an "I wuv you." unsolicited I was on cloud nine. I was sure I was on to what was to be a great day, maybe even week. Nothing was impossible. So I returned to the school to pick him up.

I get out of my car and wait with the other three regulars, parents who drop off and pick up instead of putting their tots on the bus. I am already beaming from ear to ear before I see fifteen little heads bobbing through the hall in a single line. A little head peeps in and out of the line looking towards the window, the face attached to that head is also beaming.

He looks just like my guy, but it can't be, no one is holding his hand. My guy wonders off, he can not go through the hallways expecting to follow the crowd. They may not notice all the wonders there are to discover. I look at each aide and teacher in turn to see where Connor is. They are not holding his hand.

Oh wow, it is him walking all by himself, look how big he is! He looks so proud of himself. Wow oh wow!

I am beside myself as he comes bursting through the front door towards me and then I see and hear about the cause of this miraculous event. His arms and hands are filled overflowing with farm animals, that it turns out, he nicked from another class room.

Hey, so what! A smooth transition and he still walked down the hall following the class as expected. Even if it was because if he found anything else, he had no room to carry it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What is autism, revisited

I had finally come across a website that explained autism without controversy (I think). That really just explained the Triad of Impairments.

1. Impairment of social interaction
2. Impairment of social communication
3. Impairment of imagination

In addition, the following observations are often made in individuals with autism:

  • Delays in development of language
  • Inconsistent patterns of sensory responses (egs: apparent insensitivity to pain; an apparent deafness at times, yet distress at certain everyday sounds like a dog barking; over-reaction to being touched)
  • Uneven patterns of intellectual functioning/ special (savant) abilities in certain areas, yet poor development in other areas
  • Marked restriction of interests and activities/ tendency towards repetitive stereotyped activities.
Pretty short explanation I think. Not the run of the mill "Autism is blah blah blah enter what ever degree handy here to further understand droning explanation." nor the BS of "Robot, lack of empathy, only literal, no emotions, no personality..."

The best part of the site was the FAQ. These were the questions I needed answers to when we first found out, and questions I needed polite answers to for others. Questions like;

  • Is autism caused by bad parenting?
  • Is it a mental illness?
  • Is it the same as mental retardation?
  • Do they look different? (I know my sister loves this one!)

Short quick answer for me to give in order to keep it polite...NO!

I still stand by what I said in the previous post that autism is personal. What is said about one person with autism can not necessarily be said about another. What one family goes through in their daily lives are not always what another family goes through. What helps my son may not help your child and vice versa.

Yet I have another explaination as well. Autism is what makes it so emotional when my 3 yr old son, with out being prompted or had it said to him first tells me "I wuv you" when I dropped him off at school this morning.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

That Boy!

from Saturday...

After returning from the zoo, Hubby took the girls to a classical guitar concert. Connor and I being totally exhausted from our trip lounged lazily around the house. I was tired and irritable and was thinking of calling my sister to lean on her a moment when the phone rings. It's her.

"Whatcha doing?" she asks
"Nothing, thinking about calling you." I answer, and we continue our chatting about the day's events with our children and how things went. I can feel myself getting in a more uplifted mood and the tension in my shoulders dissolve the more we chit-chat and swap stories.

Then I hear a knock on the door. I can see through the drape that it is that boy. That boy, that calls my oldest teen all the time. That boy, that keeps her on the phone forever. That boy, that comes over and sits on my couch and tries to kiss her. That boy, that I had nearly pulled his ear off because rough housing appeared a little too rough. That boy that is not to be trusted because that boy is...well...that boy! With deep breath and still on the phone I open the door.

"Yes?" and as he peers over my shoulder, he moves toward to enter the house. I move forward to block this rudeness because I have not invited him in.
"Is Melody home?"
"No, she went to a concert with her Dad."
"What time is the concert over?"
"I have no idea."
"Well, do you know what time they will be home?"
"No." As I endure the questioning I hear my sister in my ear.
"What the hell? You just said she wasn't home! He's isn't her parent he doesn't need to be questioning you about where your daughter is!" she is furious.
"Well, Melody said they would probably be back by now." he continues as if I have my daughter hidden away and am lying to him.
"I tell ya what, call her Dad and ask him." and as I think about the conversation that would provoke I am sure I am smiling like a Cheshire cat.
"OH! Dortha, you messed up! Daddy is gonna kill him!" my sister says.

I assure her I know what I am doing and invite the boy in so I can write the number down for him.
"So what do I say when I call?" he asks
"Just say what you said when I answered the door." I advise.
"Wouldn't that be kind of rude?"
"But, you just said it to me!"
"Oh ... err....sputter....sputter." and I usher him back out the door.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blubbering, Crying, OMG, My Babies First Day of School Monday.

With a spray bottle of water and hair brush, Daddy and I tackled Connor's head. I wanted so much that he didn't resemble a wolverine, but closer to a proper young man instead, least the kids try to pet him.

With backpack on, he holds my hand calmly and only has to be lifted off the floor twice once inside. After he realizes we are going to his new classroom there are no problems and two doors away his energy propels him down the hall and into his room. A little girl puts a arm out to hug him as he flies by and I hold my breath to see how badly this poor child will be flattened. Surprisingly she is stock still, arm still in the air wondering what happened, and my child is the one laying on the floor. He jumps right back up and continues his running through the room.

The proper picture of smiling child in uniform with backpack on and holding lunch box in hand, looking at the camera eludes us. Such is my condition of being a deer in headlights and his condition of being 1000 volts of electricity.


Look at that grip on the chalk!

The resource teacher said there were a couple of issues today when I asked how things went, but didn't elaborate. They had obviously went outside today as he and the afore mentioned little girl both came out looking like they had rolled around in dirt. Which is probably what they did.

I missed him while he was in school and even found myself going to the passenger side of the car to bring him in the house after I had just dropped him off. I did however enjoy my couple of hours of solitude. I relaxed in a hot tub of bath salts, with the phones by the bathroom sink of course.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

MEME'd

Suzy of Identity Crisis has tagged me to write a meme. I love her and her blog dearly. I have no idea what I'm doing, but (deep breath) here I go.

1. I rarely write anything out on paper, ever. So I have several files of notes, numbers, and messages saved on my computer. My daughters (especially the toungest) call me a geek.

2. This is one of several writing projects. The others include a fictional book and top secret memoirs. I love this one the most as it is the most inspired.

3. I don't listen to music when I write. I love music, but find it distracting. Distraction is not something I need as I have already been led from my seat three times while attempting this post..four...five.

4. The best compliment I ever got was from my husband when he said he liked my writing style. He reads things like Raphael Sabatini, Robert Jordan, and C.S. Lewis. Am I comparing myself to them? Hell no, but he found my writing worthy which was very nice. I myself like to read books where the words seem to be of candy floss. Yes I am a Harry Potter fan.

5. I was inspired to keep this blog soon after Connor's diagnosis. I was feeling awful and was searching "autism" on Google. One link stood out amongst the others, one that was surprising full of humour, despite the title, The Misery of Autism.

I now tag Self Employed Mum that has just embarked on a brave journey.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Zoo


One boy in a wagon and another in a stroller, both are sitting calmly with big smiles on their faces. They are meticously clean and every hair in place. One echoes everything that is said to him or sings Barney songs, the other never says a word but does a cute little flapping of his hands when he gets excited. My Connor is shoulders and head bigger and beefier than them. He has outgrown his stroller and makes it apparent as he has trouble with every transition and uses his foot to stop the stroller from moving on to the next thing.

The Moms and Dads are nice and patient. They understand what it's like, and one Mother suffocates me with offers of help and suggestions. This has the result of making me tense and Connor picks up on this making the transition harder. Yes he was the king of meltdowns today.
Even though I felt like an outcast among them it was of my own doing. Most of the time spent at the zoo was enjoyable for all. I will never understand what possesed them to put a Thomas and friends train set in an exhibit, that caused us so much trouble, but again most of the time was nice.



The best part of the trip however was coming home!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Three days until

With visitors arriving any moment I check the house over again to make sure it is spotless. I then turn my attention to my son, he is dressed and in a good mood. No his hair isn't brushed as that is something he can't stand. You can't have everything.

The Special Ed lady arrives first. She is a nice older woman and she gets right down to business about what things we use to transition. I give her information on PECS, timers, and reminders of "X amount of time until" because of all the words he picks out, until is the word with most meaning. Special Ed lady informs me that the classroom teacher will arrive shortly, that she is a very sweet lady and was excited to find out that she would be having an autistic child in the class. She had taken a course on autism over the summer.

Oh really? This is why I had been waiting months for proper placement? They couldn't have found someone that had taken a course in autism before now? I took a course in VBA, maybe I should be her Verbal Behavior Analysis Assistant. Actually, I wasn't mad, I was amused.

Ms. One Course in Autism showed up and I have to say that she measured up quite nicely. She is very sweet and caring, she has been in the classroom for nine years and has just recently got into special education. She has picture maker, timers, picture schedules, and she knows how to use them. She knows about meltdowns, sensitivities, transitioning, and a multitude of other important things. SHE ASKS IF SHE DOESN'T KNOW!!! That is huge in my mind!

When asked by Special Ed Lady what I had done to give Connor a chance to know the school, Ms. One Course defends me and explains I had only known about the placement for a week. She also offers me a chance to bring Connor over to the school because she plans to be there till 4:30.

As we walk into the school everything is fine Connor is excited to see the library but consents to come along to his new classroom. WOW!! What a classroom! It's big and beautiful and filled with lots of nice toys and areas. Connor found so many things to play with, and I sway a bit as he picks up two baby dolls and carries them around. They don't have wheels, not dinosaurs, nor zoo or farm animals. They are of human likeness, it is one for the record books. Upon seeing a pair of stuffed dragons however these poor dolls are dropped on their heads.

Ms. One Course is very personable and answers any possible problem with "It is/will be OK." I call hubby to tell him how things went, which is answered with "That must have been one hell of a course! Where do I sign up?" Indeed.

I have a good feeling about this.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Expectations

He has learned his landmarks.
"Elephant!" he squeals as we get closer to the putt-putt.
"Feesh!" as we get toward the area of the Moby Dick.
"Super per per man!" as we near the Wal Mart. It is now a routine every time we stop here to ride the Superman train before getting in a cart.

After we are properly in the store "Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle!" and we make our way to the back of the store to visit the bicycles and try to avoid the toys all together. Many more trips in that department and I will be very broke and my house will be an even closer equivalent of Toy R Us.

We are there for two things, the oldest needs a flash drive for a business and marketing class, and I need to see what earphones they have available after breaking the very expensive pair the OT loaned me. As we try to wind our way through to electronics, Connor is beginning to look frantic. He reaches over and his hand makes enough contact with a display to knock part of it over. His sisters are kind enough to pick it up while I continue to the desired destination.

Now over the threshold that places us officially in the electronics department Connor can't take anymore. He is standing up in his seat and trying to climb over my head. The back of the cart seat is folding forward me, trapping his legs. Finally removing him from my head with hair covering my eyes he sits back down. His bottom lip is pooching out threatening to take over his face. We refer to this phenomena as cup holder lip. Big tears are welling up in his little eyes and he looks up at me whining "Mater, Lightning McQueen, Tractor?"
"You have all of those at home Honey."
"I wanna bicycle!" he cries.

This what I had been hoping to hear voluntarily. The one thing we had been working on is saying "Want" when labeling something that he wanted. He surpassed that goal and added "I"!

Well of course he got to see the bicycles! We grabbed a flash drive and went back to see them. Even though by now we are being tailed by a female security person for our weird antics. My oldest teens becomes therapist to help him through his transition and we go through taking our time and saying "Bye-bye" to each bicycle. Yup, my girls surpass expectations too.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

New Friends

With the littlest one in the bed I was ready to post on my blog. I had something of importance to say, big news to report! I get comfortable in front of the screen and attempt to log on only to find I can't produce an @ symbol. I try again, nope, nadda. Assuming that it is just one of those things that only takes a restart of the computer to fix, that's what I do.

Computer starts back up and now I can't produce a, s, d, j, k, l, or anything that requires the shift key. OK, I try and restart again. Same thing. Crap! I am starting to get nervous about computer hijackers and key loggers. I run my anti-virus, Spybot search and destroy, and windows defender, because woe be the world if the vital information on my computer should land in the wrong hands. Nothing.


I walk downstairs in the dungeon my husband calls the library and ask his advice.
"Try another keyboard." He doesn't bother to look away from his screen.
"You have another one?"
"Yeah, just outside the door near the...."
"Near the what?"
"um..err.....just....there...by the refrigerator." Not being able to multitask it is hard for him to give me directions while banded together with nine other people to save the world of Azeroth from evil. (He is playing on multi player online game.)
"What, stuck in the Mountain Dew box that you've have used as a trash can?"
"Yeah."


Since it was only paper trash I pull out the keyboard, wipe it down and use a can of compressed air on the keys. As you can tell, that did the trick and I am saved from disappointing my devoted readers (at least 2 people anyway).


I had asked the question in my last post of how would you explain autism to someone who asked. I had started on a post but got a little lost in the things it is and is not, as it pertains to Connor. I have poured over it repeatedly and it just doesn't portray what I would like just yet. So for now the answer to "What is autism?" is "It's personal."


Oh and the big news? Well, Connor and I have been invited to join a playgroup. All of them 30 something moms and dads with 3 yr old autistic sons or daughters. We are going to the zoo this Saturday and I can't wait for Connor to get to finally see the baby elephant. I talked to one of the ladies in the group today and it helps that she has a great sense of humour and explained that if any kids have a meltdown during these outings no one is there staring at you wondering what is wrong with your kid, or wondering why you didn't have them under control.


I feel like a kid who has just met a new friend. I haven't made many since high school and had not managed to keep many of the ones from those days. One of the ones I had made since then had got divorced and I guess gave custody of our friendship to the husband. The one thing that I find a little concerning is when I was young I would be really hoping that they liked me. Now what I really hope is that I will like them.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What is Autism?

How do you answer this? Of course I know what Autism is, I just have a hard time explaining to anyone that asks.

Last December we went to my Aunt's house for the family Christmas party. We did not have a diagnosis yet, even though we knew what diagnosis we were going to receive. Most of the family members at the party did not know anything was wrong with Connor other than a speech delay. So as Connor was more disregulated, we got those looks that said, You need to control your kid. and He sure is high spirited isn't he? We didn't stay too long as it was just too much to handle for all of us. We went through and said our Good byes and my uncle chimes in, "Dortha, he reminds me why I don't have anymore kids at my age."
"Oh yeah?"
"Yeah, I wouldn't have the energy, even when they weren't being bad."


Fast forward to now. My uncle lives in another state but has come home for a funeral. It was just my Grandmother, Aunt, Uncle and Mother in the car and evidently he had been clued in to what was going on.
"So what is wrong with Connor?" he asks.
"He has autism." my Mom explains. Thinking that that says it all.
"Yeah, but what exactly is Autism?"
She was lost for words on how to explain, just as I find I am at times.

My uncle isn't a mean person and didn't mean to hurt any ones feelings with what he had said at the party. He honestly did not understand and I didn't take time to explain. My Grandmother found an article in People magazine about a celebrity that has an autistic son and has some idea now. However, I can't throw an article at everyone who asks.

I wonder how to explain so as not to use words like, receptive, proprioceptive, vestibular and modulation. Also how do I explain without it sounding like I'm singing that old Hee Haw song;
Gloom, despair and agony on me,
Deep, dark depression, Excessive misery,
If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all,
Gloom, despair and agony on me”

So long explanation made into a short question. How do tell people what Autism is?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Occupational Monday

Within a small space of time things change. It is human nature to change and it is human nature, I believe, to find this a tad annoying. As being one of those little people that hates transitioning, Connor loathes much change. With that being the case I fully expect next week to be a pain in the rear.

Late last Friday afternoon the county school system called to say they had finally found proper placement for Connor. The rise in specials needs students was such that is took several months to place everyone. I find the whole thing rather interesting that all of the sudden the county has so many special needs students, mainly 3 yr olds. Surely it hasn't always been that way.

Anyways, new schedule is 9:30am - 12:40pm, Monday through Thursday, meaning all therapies now have to be rescheduled. I spoke to the scheduler thinking this was going to hard to accomplish. Restricted times were 9 - 12, Mon - Thurs, and 2 - 3 Mon - Fri. Doesn't leave alot open does it? The scheduler was a pro and had it sorted in no time. Speech on Thursday right after school and OT on Friday.

I am excited and scared all at the same time. I have fantasies of the 3 hours I will have all to myself. Time to put my feet up and relax, or catch up on a few of the many things that get neglected on a regular basis. I also have fears that I will barely return home before I am called back to retrieve my son. I fear all the different scenarios that could arise; meltdowns, hitting, kicking, biting, non-cooperation, hiding under tables, running.

My mantra for the week, He will adjust and will be making huge progress. He will be playing with other children his age. He will do great!

Occupational Monday will be no more, instead it will be Occupational Friday. Monday, or least this coming Monday will be Blubbering, Crying, OMG, My Babies First Day of School Monday.
I will be sure to take pictures.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Let me get this straight

We had a lazy day yesterday. Well that is to say Connor did as I only insisted he do very few activities as I went through a box of four Mr. Clean magic erasers. I know it sounds like a horrible thing to do to yourself when you are recovering from a frustrated overwhelmed mood. However coming home in that mood and seeing your house looking as if it is occupied by a pack of bachelors rather than a family of five has an unpleasant effect to say the least.

Sparkling surfaces and fingerprint free walls were mine! Most toys and therapy devices were in their proper place. I wasn't able to find my regular CD I would listen to while cleaning but was instead treated to a concert of Connor making up his own tunes. I couldn't understand but very few words but the melody was nice.

I suspect that my frenzy of deep cleaning must have popped up on my mother's radar, as that afternoon she arrived with laundry in tow. Connor is glad to see her and demonstrates for her how to run through the house like a mad person. He comes to a stop and points at me "Mommy"
he states, then points a finger at his Grandma "Mmm..mmm".
"Mamaw." I help identify. He has said it before but it seems he wants to make sure he has it right.
"Mommy." He points at me.
"Mamaw." He points at her.
"Yea!! Good job Connor!!" She claps and squeaks.

Happy with himself he continues to fly through the house with a huge smile on his face. When she is done with her laundry and ready to leave, Connor comes over to watch her go. She steps out the door and turns around to tell me to lock the door back because it wouldn't occur to me otherwise. She bends low and asks "Connor can you tell Mamaw bye-bye?" He runs forward at full speed and slams the door almost on her nose. She pushes the door back open.
"Bye-bye Connor."
"Bye-bye."
"Can Mamaw have a kiss." He leans forward and with his lips loosely puckered to oblige.
She thanks him and says her good bye's again then turns away. He takes off full speed again.
SLAM! and the door just misses her back side.

As I lock the chain back in place Connor is locking the doorknob and deadbolt singing "turn, turn , turn." We are now less concerned with working on fine motor and more worried about modulation. I consider a digital lock with keypad but he is good with numbers. I take solace in the fact he isn't near tall enough to reach the lock at the top of the door. Soon enough though I fear we will rival Fort Knox in security.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Weight of the world


Most normal people, whoever or wherever they may be, would boggle at my want for half of a well planned out thought in my head. I am finding more and more that forgetfulness is evading my brain and I find myself doing silly things. Like calling the grocery right after I leave to ask them if they would please hold the smoked sausages for me, that I just forgot in the self check out.

I am also getting very tired and stressed. Meltdowns have been getting far less often and in less intensity, except for the last two weeks. Wednesday seems to be the day for the long drawn out screaming, kicking and flailing sessions. Last week he had no speech therapy, his therapist had gone on vacation. Going back this week we sat in the waiting room and Connor couldn't keep his eyes off of another little boy in the room. The little boy walked over to Connor and as soon as he reached out to touch Connor, the boys mother gets a little panicky. "Don't now, be easy. Leave him alone he is sitting there being good!" She squawks as her son does joint compressions on Connor's head and by accident sticks a finger in his eye.

I wait calmly to see if this is what will send him in to flight mode. He sits there rubbing his eye and making small attempts to get free of the stroller. The speech therapist shows up right on time, I set him free and he walks with her hand in hand. When he sees we are going to her room it is too much. Aggravation followed so quickly by disappointment sends him over the edge and he collapses onto the floor.

Half the session is over before he calms down and participates. I sit in front of the door to bar escape and brush my arms and hands. My face, arms and hands are scratched, my hair pulled, and my shoulders popping. My feelings are hurt and my heart in pieces about what he must be going through to do such things.

When we leave he is perfectly fine as if nothing has happened, so I head to the store to pick up forgotten sausages and get pull-ups. He was a perfect gentleman in the store until we head to the exit and he sees "APPLES!"

"Honey we have already checked out and we have apples at home." Have to be told no sometimes, right?

I wrestle through the parking lot trying to keep my toddler from diving head first out of the cart, hold on to the groceries he is trying to throw out, and stop the contents of my purse spilling out. Once he is in his car seat and everything is calm enough to pull out, I can't find my keys. I check the bag, I check my purse 15 times, I check my pockets over and over. I stand behind the car looking at the ground to see if I dropped them. I can't find them. I sit in the drivers seat and let my shoulders slump. pop! pop! pop! They attempt to place themselves correctly.

I want to scream or hit something. I want to cry, but I wont. I am the adult here I have to figure this out. I have to buck up, get him back out of the car and go find these keys.

"OK, now that you have calmed down. Would you like to go get an apple?"

I found my keys in the cart he tried to escape from, and he was happy as can be with a 3/4 pound Fuji apple. I do fear I forgot to get some Aleve. Maybe I can order by mail?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

An award!

Walksfarwoman from Kissing the Dogwood has bestowed upon me the Schmooze Award. Thank you Walksfarwoman, I am quite honored.

“Good schmoozers effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship.”

I pass this award to;

The Mixed Up Thoughts Of A Jadedsoul

Oh, The Joys

Whitterer on Autism

Full-Soul-Ahead

Identity Crisis

Monday, October 1, 2007

Occupational Monday

The same ammo as every Monday.
Pressure vest? Check
Stroller? Check
Toys, books, wax candy? Check, check and check
Get there by the 11 o'clock appointment time? Why the hell bother but, check.
OT 15 minutes late for the appointment and send someone up to say she had a kid in a meltdown? Uh huh, what is she doing to this kid?
My kid in meltdown mode because his therapist has exhausted his patience? Yep, and he has hit his foot and is escalating to flight mode.

I have my suspicions about OT's being of the late persuasion. His last OT was always late and now this one is. I should just expect it by now but it still irritates me. When he sees her he has already started to recover and grabs her hand. He was delighted that she didn't take him to the same old room but instead to the gym. On the way she apologizes and tells me all the things I should not be hearing about the patient before us.

I get right down to business, I am to report how he did the past week after the listening therapy. "Monday he did a couple of good things and then Wednesday and Thursday were pure hell. I was at a point that he was never going to listen to music again if I had any say over it."
"What happened Wednesday and Thursday?"
"Any type of redirection or reprimand was met with whatever was handy thrown at my head, or things within reach knocked off of cabinets. He would stand there looking straight at me and doing whatever came in to his mind that might make me upset!" I am almost in tears thinking about it.
"So what happened the rest of the week?"
"The rest of the week was filled with REALLY good stuff. More words, more sentences, and he was able to hum to tunes better, where as before he was so offbeat. He told his sister Turn light on. He asked me What are you doing? He has been having some small steps toward potty training. Most importantly at bedtime when he is patting my face and nose, he isn't pinching them off. It's like he is realizing his strength." Once again I am close to tears.

"So do you want to try the therapy again this week? I'll try a different CD this time and maybe that won't cause the problems he had last time." She waits looking at me for an answer while nightmares of Wednesday and Thursday come flashing back in my mind. Then I think of all the good things he accomplished and a wise statement from Mcewen at Whitterer on Autism, there is no such thing as a free lunch.