Monday, December 22, 2014

Autism Awareness hand painting craft

Someone emailed me a picture of this little boys hands painted the colors that represent Autism, and I had wanted to try it on Brock for sometime. He had turned down the idea before, and the same picture showed up on my news feed on Facebook over the weekend, and Brock said all on his own that he wanted to try it only if I would with this is what we did after school. It was super messy, but a lot of fun. I like trying new things with him, and this turned out to be a success, minus the blurry pictures, and the hand prints on my walls..but so worth all the new colors in my house:)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Updates on a few things

I'm trying to post enough things for the next few weeks, as we have quite a bit going on over the Holidays, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to blog much, if at all. Some of you may be aware, but I haven't posted much personal updates concerning Brock. Brock was approved for special education back in November, and started after Thanksgiving break. He really seems to enjoy it, and really likes all of his teachers in there. Not to embarrass Brock, but he's quite the ladies man. He has his very first crushes, yes crushes as in more than one, and they all happen to be teachers. It's probably the cutest thing to watch when I ask him each day what teachers he's worked with, and when I mention a few specific names his face turns bright red. I ran into one last week when I dropped Brock off, and his face resembled a tomato, and he ran off. The males in my family tend to be flirts, so it looks like Brock was blessed with that gene. Brock and I also started seeing a behavioral therapist together, he specializes in working with children on the autism spectrum. He works close with the parent(s) too because most of it involves giving them the ideas to incorporate into their daily lives. We just started that a few weeks ago too, so I'm excited to see where it leads. After the first of the year Brock will be seeing a physical therapist too. His walk or gait is delayed significantly, so we'll be getting him help with that. With all of these added things into our schedules, Brock has been having a hard time behaviorally by the time he gets home, and his sleep schedule has been affected. We do a lot of yoga, and relaxation exercises to release the stress. I'm sure it will all calm down once he gets use to it. Until than I'm getting woke up by him every 2-3 hours at night. It sucks, but such is life. It's worse for Brock. But he's surrounded by love and patience. And this too shall pass. I'm really looking forward to Christmas break, because he really needs one. I have a book recommendation for those who haven't read it, I finally got around to it as my reading list has been quite large lately. I downloaded it on to my kindle, and I'm so glad I did. It's called 'The Reason I jump" by Naoki Higashida. He's a 13 year old boy on the Autism Spectrum who writes about what living with Autism is really like. The cool thing is he cant talk verbally, or write I think? Or couldn't at one point, correct me if I'm wrong. And his mom invented an alphabet grid for him just so he would be able to. Amazing. It's a short read at 150 some pages, and $8.99 on the amazon kindle app.

Christmas Concert

Brock had his first ever Christmas Concert last week. I was nervous how it would go for him, and he did awesome! It was simply amazing to see a few of his classmates help him when he'd stumble during some of the dancing they'd do during the songs. They didn't care that it would take away from their own little performances, they saw a friend in need and stepped up to help. I had tears in my eyes, watching the care his friends have for him shine through. His classmates parents are doing it right. I love how everyone in kindergarten are friends, and hope these bonds they have stick throughout their school careers. I couldn't get close enough to get great pictures, so I only have a few, but thought I'd share anyways. There on my Facebook page to as well. Most of my postings I leave public, because I'm not sharing anything secretive or extreme. I wouldn't add that my page is open for anyone to view.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Addressing the negative. It's not about you or I, it's about those without a voice.

       Anytime you make public posts, like a blog, or even on Facebook you run the risk of people not agreeing with you. I try to avoid posting any controversy subjects because I'm pretty firm in my beliefs, and I believe everyone is entitled to their own. It's frustrating for everyone I'd assume to go online, and see someone slamming their beliefs. Everyone is more vocal with their thoughts, because chances are you'll never or rarely be face to face with those people. Everyone who knows me personally knows I believe in God, I struggle and fall with my Christianity like everyone else. I'm a sinner who asks for forgiveness regularly. I try my best to be a good, fair person, and to see the positive in everything, but I'm not naive enough to believe there aren't people with cruel intentions. I've been on the receiving end of many unfair, cruel situations from the time I was a little girl, through adulthood. I've experienced, and made it through things that are only in peoples worst nightmares. I've had a poor me attitude, and thought God was punishing me many times. But then I grew up, and realized that I can either be angry with the cards I was dealt, or embrace the life I was given. I chose to embrace life, and that includes everything on my plate. I've heard through third parties not so kind thoughts, and opinions others have on me being so vocal about Brock having Autism, and my decision to blog about it. I can promise you the decision wasn't one I made overnight. I've only been vocal over the last few months, but knew since Brock was two that he had Autism, official diagnosis or not. He was officially diagnosed last April, and that diagnosis has opened many doors, and my heart to every single child who isn't given a voice. I've worked in group homes with women, and older teens who've been in the system their whole lives with all sorts of mental health issues ranging from schizophrenia, multiple personalities, and yes sadly even Autism that have never been given a chance. There's such a stigma around these ''disorders'' and people are literally clueless on how to treat them medically, or personally. Its my mission as Brocks mother to never let that happen to MY child. I'm his voice, I have the tools and the knowledge to get him every therapy he needs to live independently by the time he's an adult. It's also my mission as I said in my first post to have the people that know him on any level at all, to not skirt around him having Autism. It's there, and it's not going anywhere. Pretending it doesn't exist will not benefit him in anyway. I have an open door policy with my son that he can talk about everything, and anything on his mind..even with the communication barriers we face day to day. What may not make sense to me coming from Brock, is a real concern to him. Its not my place to say what feelings are right or wrong, its my job to guide him in any worry he has, even if he thinks there's a bug in his room that doesn't exist. I will pretend 'exterminate' the heck out of that bug to ease his mind. Because usually that bug he's talking about, is an issue going on that he can't voice like you or I could. Not an imaginary problem he's making up. By him seeing me doing these things, its building his trust that I will always take his concerns seriously no matter how big or small. I've had people tell me that so, and so think I'm blogging about Autism for attention, and I always reply that I am. It's true, but not the kind that they think. I'm not blogging for personal attention, I'm blogging to bring attention to what it's like raising a child with Autism. What daily struggles my child goes through to live in this crazy world. His fears are real, his worries are real, his anxieties are real. I will say this a million times if I have to. I'm not blogging for you, or I, I'm blogging for these people who don't have a voice. It's really small. I don't care if someone doesn't agree with it, I'm not going to stop. I would never give up so easily on my child over a differing opinion, or anything at all. That's the joy of being an individual, we all don't think the same. I don't force anyone to read, I post a link to my Facebook page once a week, twice if I'm feeling extra chatty. I've had numerous people email me and thank me, people ask for suggestions, and people who have had a relative with Autism who they had adverse thoughts of before, but are now going to read up more and see how they can help. I've had people thank me in person that I know, and some I don't know. In a month exactly of starting my blog I've had 4500 page views. That's a lot of clicks from all over the world in a short time. Even if only one person was reading I'd still write. That's my point. I don't talk about my personal life, or what vacations I plan on taking, or what restraunt I'm eating at. My relationships. Or lack thereof, because my life is 100% dedicated to helping and taking care of Brock.  Not that there is anything wrong with those things, I enjoy reading updates on the happenings of my friends, and families lives as much as the next person. It's just not for me. Just like every thing I've overcome prior to becoming a mother six years ago, I'm going in head first to this with Brock and he will make it to the top, I'm sure of it. As his therapist said on Friday, he has a type of personality that people will want to cling to and be around. It's true, my buddy is full of life, and he has a lot to bring to this world. I usually try to avoid addressing the negative, so this will be my only post like this, if anyone ever doubts my intentions. I'll let it lie here. Thank you to everyone who takes the time to learn, and read my weekly postings, I appreciate all feedback, and really do take others opinions into consideration. It makes it feel like we are less alone in this. I see Brock wanting to break free from his worries and interact in our world, are you willing and open to interact in his? And others like him?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas Countdown

Brock loves countdowns.. We do them for pretty much everything. His birthday is our biggest countdown we do each year. Last year we started one 75 days in advance...a little crazy? Yes. Fun? Definitely. Imagine making 75 construction paper presents, bows and all. It's a wonder I don't have carpel tunnel. So it was inevitable we'd do one for Christmas. I'm not an artist by any stretch, but I love doing projects with Brock. Today we spent a good chunk of our day making this in between getting everything ready for school tomorrow. Each night he'll pull off a picture and it will reveal the days left until Christmasd. Granted I did most of it, since Brock isn't able too yet, but art projects relax him so much and we have some of the best talks during this time. What do you do to prepare for Christmas? Any fun Holiday traditions? One of our traditions is driving around looking at Christmas lights. Friday night I drove Brock through town and listened to Christmas music enjoying all the lights. Saturday we went to our towns lighting festival, we missed Santa but Brock wanted to eat mini tacos at the bowling alley so we watched from there. It's the little things. I dread Mondays because I miss him so much when he's at school. Maybe that will change when he's older, but I don't see that  happening. We also have some fun Christmas Eve and Day traditions, but I'll make a blog after those days full of pictures.

Mommy diapers

I hate Walmart. Not because it's Walmart and I think I'm too good for it, I hate it because everything that could ever go wrong on a shopping trip always happens to me at Walmart. I love living in a small town, but let's be serious the store options suck. Especially when you are in need of something unexpected and last minute, and the only store open is Walmart. I could always travel 30 minutes to a different town and shop elsewhere, but when it 's a school night it's not gonna happen, especially in my household. Like I've said before Brock gets agitated real fast when we deviate from his schedule, I try to avoid it as much as possible, but sometimes things can't wait. If we don't go on a planned outing, I know a huge meltdown is on the horizon..But if we go somewhere not planned its more manageable. He'll usually repeat phrases that have to do with the outing, real loud so he can get used to the change in his mind. I do weekly behavior charts for Brock at home, and if he gets so many points at the end of the week he gets a reward. This week his reward was a small toy, and I figured since we were going to Walmart, we might as well kill two birds with one stone. My mistake. I didn't get Brock properly prepared for this outing, and he was in a mood. I give Brock two choices in whatever price range he's earned, because multiple options will bring on obsessive behavior. He could either choose (2) Pokemon card packs or (1) Pokemon stuffed animal. All the way to Walmart he was going over the pro's and cons of each choice, out loud..he was so loud he was practically yelling. I have to talk him through these, because if he becomes to agitated I'll have to take him back home, and try again another time so he doesn't become to over stimulated, hence the minimal choices. But I couldn't turn around because I really needed to get to the store. So like I said above, I hate Walmart. It causes me anxiety. I've fainted and thrown up in Walmart before. Not even kidding, I was standing in the beauty aisle looking at hair products and threw up and fainted simultaneously. I have crohn's disease so if I don't eat  something small every few hours I get light headed. I didn't eat enough that day...but nobody wants to be the reason behind clean up in aisle 5. Last June I was going through some post op complications, I had a pretty big surgery in April and had some nerve damage, and vision loss. Which is why I have to wear glasses now forever. I had perfect vision up until my surgery. I was on my way to Walmart, and lost vision completely in my left eye. The scariest thing that's ever happened to me, and I had to be rushed to the hospital. Everything is OK now, besides poor vision. I've had Brock tell complete strangers that I am starving him because I wouldn't buy him a treat at 8 p.m. at Walmart, and I've had Brock also tell strangers that I won't let him use the bathroom because he really had to pee, while he was still in diapers. Brocks jumped out of the cart and hid under clothes racks at Walmart when he was completely anxious. So yeah, I have shopping anxiety when it comes to that store. So the other day when we finally got to Walmart, Brock started repeating his choices out loud again. I told him we would pick out his toy after I got my stuff since Pokemon stuff is right next to the registers. I put my stuff in the cart, and Brock decides to add my stuff to his list of things to repeat. One of my items (sorry TMI)  were pads, and curious George wanted to know everything about them. Obviously I didn't go into to much detail, maybe I should have, because Brock came to his own conclusion. Mommy diapers. So instead of chanting about Pokemon, he is chanting loudly that his mommy wears diapers. And I had to let him because I am not explaining periods to a six year old boy. Sure I told him that wasn't appropriate to say, but since everyone was laughing there was no stopping my little comedian. When we finally reached the registers, and Brock decided on a Pokemon stuffed animal...I thought we were in the clear.  No such luck. As the cashier is scanning the pads, Mr. Big Mouth himself decides to reappear and inform her that his ''mommy wears diapers, because she pees her pants..even though she's too old for diapers she just can't stop peeing.'' I lost it. Laughing. It was too much, and I couldn't hold it in anymore. Too much of our lives are serious that when things like this happen, which are more often than not with Brock cause he's a jokester, I let it go. Brock says all the time he just wants to make people laugh. So yes, half the world now knows when aunt flo visits me, but that's OK. We got a moment where Autism was just out of our minds for a minute..and we need those reprieves once in awhile or we'd go crazy. Not alot embarasses me but my six year old boy can sure bring on 50 shades of red faster than anyone else I know. What are some of the most embarrassing things your kids have said or done to you in public?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I took the plunge...

And...enrolled back into college. If all goes well I'll be starting January 5th. I've been praying for some sort of direction in my life and this has been in my head for over a year. I'm going back for Early Childhood Education with a special needs specialization. Half will be online, half will be on campus. Plus I'll eventually doing an externship for 25-30 hours a week. Hoping I can get one close to home. I'm trying to get everything worked around the times Brock's in school so we don't have a major routine change. He's been having some tough times behaviorally so I'm trying to make this as painless as possible for him. I asked his behavior therapist why he sems to do as good as he does at school and erupts once he gets home, and he thinks Brock is focusing so hard on calming his anxieties at school that at home with me is his safe, comfort place that he just let's it all out. It's been difficult, I hate seeing him struggle. We've been doing nightly yoga to help release all the tension. Last night he just laid on me and cried for a half hour, and when I asked what was bothering him he said a bug. That's the most difficult part is the communication barriers. This whole journey is why Early Childhood Ed. With a specialization in special needs is so right for me because I'm going to be the best I can for Brock, while being able to help others in similar situations will be the most amazing accomplishment I can give not only Brock and myself but others.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Autism AFFECTS you too

Yes, you read that right. If you associate with my child in any way, shape, or form Autism affects you too. Maybe everytime you talk to my child you think he's being rude , or doesn't like you. He isn't and he does. Brock doesn't know how to communicate like you, and I do. He tries his damnest to escape his world for a minute so he can fit into yours each time he has a conversation. Autism has affected you that way. Maybe you try to avoid him at times because all he talks about is space and pokemon endlessly, or you brush off conversations. Don't. Try bringing up topics you enjoy so he can learn about you. Open a door so he knows that YOU like him. Brock doesn't understand social cues, so he won't know when you're bored. Who knows, you might bring on a new interest for him, and than you'll have something in common. Autism has affected you that way. Even though he's only six his mind holds so many fascinating facts. Maybe your child goes to school with Brock, and he's made them cry. Just know that Brock would never intentionally hurt someone, he has a heart of gold. It's ok to be upset with my child for hurting yours. I'm doing my best by bringing him to therapy to learn proper social skills so he can interact better with your child. Autism has affected you that way. Maybe you've seen us out in public and you think my child is being a brat, and I'm letting him get away with things. I'm not. We do things differently than you. While it wouldn't work for your child it works for mine. You may try to step in, please don't unless I ask for your help. You may think it's your right as a fellow parent to step in, but it isn't. I'm not being rude, I just don't want the situation to escalate, because I know my childs triggers. If you see me at a store sitting beside a clothes rack trying to coax my child out, instead of shooting dirty looks, come sit by me and talk about inconsiquential things if you feel compelled to do anything. Autism has affected you that way. If you're a close family member or friend and wonder why Brock seems to love you one minute, and wanta nothing to do with you the next, he doesn't. Brock loves with his whole heart even if he can't express it the same. I also feel like Brock doesn't like me at times. I just know how to read his body language. Brock hardly shows me affection and I'm his mother, I get the hurt. This past week Brock told me he likes me because I'm safe and warm. That's huge for him because his perception of relationships is all wrong. He doesn't understand how permanent they are. For him to recognize I'm safe and warm is much biger than any I love you's. The whole reason I started this blog was to raise awareness for autism, and that starts with the people closest to him. I don't expect people to change their lives around for Brock, but I expect understanding. I know the world doesn't revolve around us, but my world revolves around Brock. I've lost a lot of people along this journey. I get it, it's a lot of work to be in our lives. I can't put my 50/50 into relationships because Brock has 100% of me. I get the frustrations of cancelled plans, or always having to leave early, it frustrates me too. Autism has affected you that way. I hold no ill will. Autism is not a blessing, although I'm blessed we received a proper diagnosis. I've had to grieve the loss of what I thought my life as a parent would be like, because it's never going to be that way. I'm overcome with joy for all the new oppurtunties out there to help my child succeed. Autism isn't a blessing because i see my child struggle everyday. He can't dress himself, bathe himself, brush his own teeth or hair. He can't walk like you, talk like you, or eat like you. Even though mentally Brock is a six year old, developmentally he's three. That may not seem like a big age gap, but it is. I see Brocks real fears that lead to meltdowns over everyday things. Autism isn't a blessing because it's heartbreaking. Brock will probably need a lifetime of therapy to lead a normal life like you, and I. I will go to every 5k, charity event, and listen to every Autism speaker that comes my way to raise awareness. 1 in 66 kids have Autism, that number is huge. There are very limited resources to help this kids. We have been very lucky to live in an area with more resources than most, and a school system that knows how to work with autism because most don't. Each person who reads my blog becomes a little more informed each time, who may previously not have known. Maybe you'll see that bratty kid at the store next time, and stop and think before shooting daggers. I like spreading awareness that way. Or maybe you'll meet another kid like Brock along the way, and hear someone talking about how bratty he is, and how the parent(s) have no control and you can correct them. Because by knowing a child who has Autism you are affected, and by becoming informed you can help too by the smallest (but no less important) gestures.

Friday, November 21, 2014

You drink Camels Milk

So here's the deal, I love receiving advice and suggestions, but I don't like people telling me how to cure Brock's Autism. As of this day, there is no cure for Autism. When Brock was developing in utero it was decided that Autism would be a part of Brock. It's a package deal. My package deal, and I will do anything SAFE to help him succeed in life. I strongly believe Brock does not need to be medicated at this time, his behaviors can be controlled without a pill. There is no changing my mind on this. If at some point Brock feels he needs something, that decision is solely up to him. If you suggest a cure all, or a product that is 'proven' to reduce behaviors, please send me a reliable study of said product, and I will read through it, and bring it to Brocks Doctors, and Therapists to review. I will never make my child ingest anything that I myself wouldn't feel comfortable ingesting. I've heard of a lot of crazy treatments, the craziest being a bleach enema. I would never insert bleach in my body let alone my childs. It's called Miracle Mineral Solutions and it contains industrial strength bleach. Unfortunately many people have been hospitalized from this ''treatment.'' Raw Camels Milk was brought to my attention last week. The thought makes me personally want to throw up. While I read there is many health (puke) benefits to drinking camels milk, there is no valid proof it does anything for Autism. Chelation therapy, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy are the last two that have been emailed to me. While I appreciate the thought, Chelation sounds dangerous, Brock has no issues where I would consider it. And Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy would never happen. That would scare Brock shitless, and I'm afraid he'd regress by being exposed to that. Also I don't want to hear the name of a certain female celeb followed by vaccinations. I think she abused her celebrity by spouting off false facts. I don't care about anything she said. Other than that honestly I'm quite open to new ideas, as long as it's not followed by a cure all, or any harmful product. Read the fine print. I'm not looking to cure Brock. I'm interested in therapies that can help lessen behaviors so he can succeed in whatever he wants to do in life. I'm big into meditation, yoga, music therapy, and art as well. Things to help relax his mind. So if you have ideas that are similar to those, please feel free to email me.

Monday, November 17, 2014

I'm so excited I could....

For the last seven months I've been searching high and low for a local therapist who specializes in Autism for young kids...but no dice. Brock's been on a year long wait list to get into the U of M Autism Clinic since June, so he still has a ways to go. It's extremely important for him to start therapy as close to diagnosis as possible. The younger the better. So I've mostly been looking into big organizations, and skipped right over a private practice in my town. He specializes in Autism and Aspergers in children, and the practice is faith based..they work through a local Church. Saturday I'm meeting with them to see if they will be a good fit for Brock. Fingers crossed this works out!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Honesty is the BEST policy....or is it?

We teach our children (or in my case child) never to lie, and always be honest and truthful..yet everybody lies. Whether it's a little white saying you only had one donut for breakfast when you really ate two (guilty). Or a bigger lie saying you spent the whole day cleaning, when in fact you waited until the last minute while the rest of the day you spent watching prank videos on youtube (guilty again) ..Maybe you aren't truthful when someone asks if the shirt they are wearing makes them look bigger. So you're lying to spare someones feelings. Or your friend got a new haircut and they resemble Justin Bieber, but you tell them they can totally pull off a bob like Rihanna and look like her too. But when our child(ren) are bluntly honest, like they've been taught, we reprimand them. Children who are on the Autism Spectrum communicate differently. If I ask Brock how my hair looks in the morning, I'm not surprised or offended anymore when he tells me it looks like the poodles on Animal Planet we watched the night before. It really does too, and so does his. This morning I drove Brock to school, and he was bluntly honest to two other students, and I never wanted to spontaneously combust as much as I did in that moment. First he saw a student wearing some sort of pajamas and Brock asked if said student was sick, they said no, so he continued to tell them it then wasn't acceptable school attire. Which is one of my rules, no pajamas outside of the house unless you're sick. The other students clothes were horribly mismatched, and Brock had to point it out to them. Again, I'm a stickler on matching clothes, everyone always comes to me for clothes matching advice, Brock knows this and proceded to tell the student that. I pulled Brock aside and told him what he said wasn't ok, because it was very hurtful. He got upset because he was telling the truth, and there was no getting through to him. He wouldn't appologize because I always tell him not to lie, be honest, and always be truthful. Having ASD he can't process proper social etiquette. I don't know if I can fault him. Another time where I hoped the ground would swallow me up my dad had come to stay with us for a few days. He had put on some weight, and the first thing Brock said was 'wow you've gotten bigger.'' I told Brock that was not a kind thing to say, and he replied ''well it's true.'' To the outside world it may sound like Brock is being rude, and disrespectful, but I know my child. He is one of the sweetest, most kind people I know. I've always instilled the importance of manners, and being respectful. I have to look at things from Brock's perspective, and figure out a way to teach him how to control the verbal diarrhea. Because while I think honesty is best, I don't think it always is at the expense of hurting someones feelings. Communication development happens differently and more slowly in children with ASD. Like Brock, who is high functioning, he has an extensive vocabulary but lacks social skills. He only has a few facial expressions, he can't hold eye contact (it's physically painful) and his voice is monotoned. Although his voice increases, and decreases in volume the tone is always the same. So to end this here, I truly hope Brock's social skills and empathy improve by the time he meets his future wife. Because I can only imagine all the tears he would cause her. Like when he's 30, because at this point he insists he's going to live at home forever. Yikes!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

You can't feed your kid butt burgers for breakfast (how literal Brock can take things)

I always try my hardest to be as open and honest as possible with Brock. He's to smart for his own good, and nothing gets past him. With all the testing he's had lately, and all the times I've had to go to his school he's had questions. So I decided this weekend we'd have a more in depth discussion. Brock knows he has a form of autism, and he thinks its cool he has something none of his friends have. I forget how literal at times Brock can take things, so when I got to the part where I told him the form of autism he has is called ASPERGERS, andhe started cracking up laughing.I asked him what's so's what Brock said: Mom you are disgusting. You can't feed your kid ASS BURGERS. That's so gross. And you can't swear around kids, its a butt. And I don't want butt burgers its breakfast time. So I got all hyped up for nothing, and my kid thinks I want to feed him butt burgers for breakfast. So I'm leaving technical terms to the professionals and hoping Brock doesn't tell his kindergarten class his mom tried to feed him ass burgers for breakfast.

He's not throwing a tantrum over a toy, he sounds like he's hyperventilating

The meltdown. I'm not talking about a little crying jag over a toy, with some flailing arms and leg kicks thrown in for good measure, I'm talking about a true meltdown that people who have ASD get when they are on complete sensory overload. I was looking through one of my many journals I had written (pre diagnosis) on Brock and different behaviors he was experiencing and came upon the one for the first meltdown he ever had at 2.5 years old. ASD wasn't even on my radar than, I pretty much felt like my parenting was damaging my child mentally, and emotionally. Now it seems completley insane I'd ever feel that way, but back then it seemed like the only reasonable solution. I truly felt like a crappy mom. Realistically I knew I wasn't, but here's an excerpt from one of my journals: '' I don't know where to begin, there's something wrong with Brock. He was having another temper tantrum , so I put him in a 2 minute timeout and he started panicking. I mean I've had panic attacks and it sounded just like that but a thousand times worse. They are happening more frequently..and he has such a spaced out look on his face when it happens. I don't know who to talk to because because everyone says all toddlers throw tantrums, but my instinct is telling me its more..It's the most heartwrenching thing to witness, I guess time will tell.'' After Brock kept having these (what i thought were temper tantrums at time) I wrote about what it looks like, and how they play out for him. '' I noticed when certain things bother Brock, or a plan is changed, even being surrounded by too many people these tantrums begin. Although, I hate calling them a tantrum, it seems like something much deeper for him. He'll start by sucking his fingers and pacing back and forth from room to room. Then he'll start self soothing by rocking back and forth and his breathing will pick up. If he's completley inconsolable he'll rub his fingers against his palms, and the most heart wrenching, soul piercing cry & scream begins. His breathing will sound like he's hyperventilating, and usually will repeat the words '' I can't, don't make me, or it hurts''. You can't ask direct questions as they tend to anger him. You have to be calm and positive, and talk him down from a distance. He's so overstimulated it seems, any touch could have him turn's not intentional, as Brock is the least violent person.'' As Brock got older these meltdowns became worse. I think he was 4 when I wrote that. Brock isn't himself for days after one, it sucks the energy right out. . Now I know the signs , so I can help him calm down in five minutes, usually. They used to last 30 minutes. Brock's biggest triggers are routine changes, fingernails and haircut, teeth brushed, having tags on clothes, any fuzzy-wooly winter clothes. Over-crowded places, and different textured food or toys. And people who surprise him, like touching his hands or shoulders without him knowing. All of his triggers are painful to him. One time after clipping his nails, I asked him what it felt like, and he described it as a burning sharp pain. Almost stabbing. It takes two people to cut his fingernails and hair. I remember the first time I called my mom during a meltdown (before we knew) and said listen to this, he's not throwing a tantrum over a toy he sounds like he's hyperventilating. And to have someone else say yeah that really doesn't sound right..I've never felt as much relief as I did in that moment. It no longer mattered what anyone else thought or said..I finally had someone on my side.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Why I refuse to keep quiet

I get asked once in awhile, shouldn't you let your child decide who knows he has Autism? More often than not people whisper the word too, like it's something secretive and should only be spoken of in private. My answer is, and always will be a big resounding NO. I feel like if Brock having Autism is kept quiet around him and others he will feel that it is something to be ashamed of. Upon receiving a clinical diagnosis seven months ago, we were handed a huge stack of packets with a " Good luck. We used to work with Autism here but no longer do. Most specialists that do have a minimum of a year wait list." So if trained professionals didn't know a starting point for us, and couldn't offer sound advice, it's solely on my shoulders." Our experience and many others I've come to know who have children with ASD, proves that while the number of children who have Autism is on the rise ( 1 in 68) the knowledge and awarenes is not. If there's one thing I can do for Brock, I think being his voice is most important. I hope one day people won't skirt around Autism like it's shameful or embarrassing. But know that these children if given the chance like Brock has, can, do and will continue being just as important, productive members of our society like everyone else.

New Blog

So I want to use this blog to update family, and friends on Brock since most of my family lives out of state. It's hard to always get on the phone when our days are always so busy. Obviously anything private won't be on here. I want to use this as a way to spread awareness on Autism, since Brock is high functioning ASD. I know there is thousands of blogs out there on Autism, and I read a lot of different ones, but this is our story, and every story is different. Sometimes reading the day to day happenings can give people a better understanding on what having a child with autism is really like. Although, I'd like to add you'll never get a full picture unless you yourself, or child have Autism themselves. I'll try to write a new blog once a week. I'll post my first one today. Lindsay