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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Autism Acceptance Month - Autism is his Super-power

When Nathan was small, he couldn't say Autistic very well. He kept telling people he needed to wear earplugs because he's Artistic. Good enough--we knew what he meant. 

We've spent his whole life trying to heap on therapies that might help him out, working with him to get through anxiety and sensory issues, while at the same time trying to pretend that he can do everything we do and 'force' him to learn to cope in difficult situations. 

We're big museum goers. I love museums--and I REALLY love obscure museums. And it doesn't have to be obscure to qualify--just obscure to me. Take the Pro-Rodeo Hall of Fame. That's an internationally known and loved museum. But I'm not a rodeo I qualified it as obscure to us. So his whole life, he's been forced to learn to cope with the sensory issues at museums. Some are very loud. Some smell funny. Some have weird lighting. Museums can really bombard a kid living on the edge of sensory overload. 

Imagine life where everything is magnified 10 times. So a whisper is as loud as a shout to you. The rotten garbage smell can keep you awake (and nauseous) at night. And then add people. People can be loud, they can smell, there's a lot of hidden social rules that don't make sense. 

Museums are not always fun for Nathan. But neither are restaurants, amusement parks, the regular park, school, home or anything you can think of--depending on the day. Yet, since we've always made this a part of every trip, every vacation and every school break, it's something he has learned to enjoy. We take it slower (or faster if it's rough going). We take earplugs and sometimes use them. We take long bathroom breaks (which is a little sensory time out for Nathan) and we give him snacks every so often. 

Now, he even suggests museums to go to. And when I watch him work through sensory situations that in the past would have driven him over the edge, I realize it's true...

Autism is Nathan's Super-Power!

Cowboy Fit Zone Fitness - Lose 12 Inches in 12 workouts

Do you ever watch Shark Tank on TV? It's venture capitalists who hear pitches for new inventions. The inventors/business owners want the sharks to give them some money for their business/company and partner with them on expansion. I am behind in viewing Shark Tank, so I just recently saw Cowboy Ryan Ehmann and his Cowboy Fit Zone workout. I've been wanting a new exercise program to try and his had some excellent points that intrigued me. 

Now, I'm excited to say I will be reviewing this workout and give it a trial. Then I'll let you know what I think. If you would like to join me, check out the information below. I'm excited to give this one a try!


My client "Daymond John, Founder of FUBU and Reality TV Star of ABC Shark Tank is doing the Cowboy Fit Zone training so why not join him.  You will learn the scientific reason why you are not losing fat with any other workout. Come on, let's get started today.  
Wooo Hoooo ... That's What I'm Talking About!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep Review

For everyone out there who suffered from sleep deprivation after your bundles of joy arrived, I have found a book for you (and me if only it was out when my kids were babies). Even when my kids were little, Dr. Harvey Karp had published his book The Happiest Baby on the Block and moms everywhere--myself included--rushed out to purchase and work on the section for helping babies sleep.

Good news, Dr. Karp has expanded that section into a book filled with not just suggestions and tactics that work, but there's a lot more. You will find some funny anecdotes, tips to help you and some stories to help you understand.

You can read all about The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep at the Harper Collins Website. I'll tell you just the section entited: Stretching Baby's Sleep - Birth to three months would have made a world of difference in my life. I had kids who didn't sleep long. They slept a lot, but in shorter bursts than other kids. This meant I was up more times in the night than many of my friends and it was putting me into a sort of sleep deprivation fog.

There's napping tips and the chapters are broken into various ages and stages. I think this should be a book every new mother receives.

I hope other moms can apply these tricks and tips and get a little more sleep at night.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Autism Conference

Another installment in Autism Acceptance Month:

I've been offline for a few days attending an Autism Conference. I learned a lot of great information, but had to share a funny quip regarding diagnosis. We saw a local doctor who was well known for working with and diagnosing those with autism. What we did not know is that she is notoriously known for giving a British diagnosis for autism that will not qualify you for services in the US. I believe she does this, in part, because if your child has the label of autism in their medical file, your insurance can deny services (such as speech and occupational therapy) based on your diagnosis. 

As an aside, laws are slowly changing to stop the insurance discrimination against those with autism. There are now 32 states with mandatory coverage for people with autism. 

The downside is that you can't get any special education supports with that diagnosis in the school setting. We had to lobby our school and jump through extra hoops to get him educationally verified as autistic. So his medical diagnosis is PDD-NOS. This generally stands for Pervasive Developmental Delays--Not Otherwise Specified. 

One of our speakers renamed it:
Physician Didn't Diagnose--Neurologically Odd Son

That about sums it all up. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Life is not measured
by the number of breaths we take
But by the moments
that take our breath away.

Like our lopsided face? Rebekah had to have a cavity filled. It was her first filling and first time with Novocaine  The dentist said she handled it like a champ. Her brothers thought her Novocaine induced lopsided smile was the funniest thing ever. We had to document and she wanted to know when I could post on Facebook--and my blog. 

So, Rebekah, here you go. 

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Autism April Fools

Autism Acceptance Month:

Imagine what it's like to wake up and know an entire day is going to be devoted to doing all the things you find most confusing, most bewildering and most hurtful. Welcome to Autism and April Fools Day. 

On Monday morning, Nathan got up and was already in tears and distraught. I thought he had a bad dream. He kept telling me he didn't know what was wrong. So we got dressed and ready for school. Five minutes before he has to leave, he says to me, "Today should be a holiday!"
Me: "Since it's Easter Monday?"
N: "No. Because how are you supposed to know if homework is really assigned or if it's a big joke."
Enlightenment comes to me swiftly here. Now I know why we are running at top anxiety this morning. 
Me: "Nathan, I don't think your teachers would really do that. And if they did, they will make a BIG DEAL out of telling you it's a joke...but I really don't think they will."

From there we discussed that friends are most likely to pull jokes. And not big, scary, messy ones like we see on TV. Just average "your shoe is untied--April Fools" jokes. I calmed him down as best as I could and sent him on his way...then ran to the computer and emailed every teacher to give them a heads up. One very lovely teacher emailed and said she would personally walk him to his last class of the day because it is downstairs and he would be most likely to find pranksters on the stairwell. She swore to keep him safe to his class. And she did. 

He told me 4-5 friends tried to tell him his shoes were untied. One tried to tell him he spilled some of his lunch on his shirt. That was it. All that anxiety for almost nothing. But think about it--if you can't read facial expressions or body language, you have trouble telling the difference between sarcasm and sincerity, and pragmatic language and idioms (such as raining cats and dogs, laughed my head off) seems literal to you, how anxious would a day of practical jokes be to you?

We are thankful he made it through the day (and teachers backed off in his class and didn't play jokes). Hopefully next year will be less anxious. But all in all, it's just another autistic day in my house.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Life is not measured
by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments
that take our breath away. 

At his birthday party this year. 

Prior to planning the party, Nathan asked if he could have a sleepover. I asked if he wanted to ask 1 or 2 friends. He told me he needed to invite his BEST friends so there would be 5 plus him. I told him no. Not doing a sleepover for 6 middle school boys. We settled on a game room/laser tag/golf place and he was then also able to invite the girls from school who are also his friends.

After he gave me the list of friends to invite and went to school, I cried. For years and years we've worked, done therapies, facilitated opportunities to socialize, given tasks to initiate contact with other kids...and in middle school (a horrible place as I recall), he's managed to connect with kids who are his friends. 

Nathan has friends. 

I cry. I shed tears of joy that at least 9 kids at his school see beyond any awkwardness, forgive less eye contact than normal, and look deeper to the heart of the matter and the heart of Nathan. Nathan is kind and caring. He wants so much to find a way to connect and they have taken the time to become his friends...and his defenders. His friends to laugh with, share secrets with, call for help on  homework. They are real. They are wonderful. And they don't even seem to realize that there's anything 'different' about Nathan. 

Oh to have the eyes of these wonderful children who see just Nathan. They see who he is on the inside and aren't hung up on the delivery. Everyone should be so lucky as to have 9 friends like these in their lives. 

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

World Autism Awareness Day

Today was World Autism Awareness day and it kicks off Autism Awareness Month. And this year...I let it go (or I thought I did). I didn't 'do' all the Autism events nor did I post about it. But I've been inspired by several other autism moms to take time to share this month about autism in my everyday life. I think we are all 'aware' of autism, but I'd like to see us rename the month Autism Acceptance Month. I'd like people to understand the ups and downs the joys and sorrows faced when you love someone with autism. 

I find it ironic that World Autism Day follows what I refer to as "Autism Hazing Day" (aka April Fools). I'll share that story tomorrow--so stay tuned. I will attempt to share a little something almost every day this month about life with autism. The world needs to hear the message and find acceptance. 1 in 88 (and dropping) means that very, very soon, every family will have at least one person with Autism in their family. 

If you have questions you've wanted to ask but weren't sure if it would be ok, I encourage you to ask during Autism Acceptance month. I won't judge you and I'll do my best to answer them.

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