Saturday, April 30, 2011
I have no sewing machine, so I'm piecing by hand as well as quilting
This is my first, so it's very simple pattern-wise, just sewing 2.5"
by 42" jelly roll strips together.
It's really relaxing, and I love that it's something we (or someone
else) can use!
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
...to treat autism, would you give it to your child/take it? What about a cure?
It's a question that comes up on every autism forum at some point.
When I started this journey, it made me angry (Embarrassingly, I dropped a friend online over the basis of my anger). I felt like autism WAS JT. All of him. My answer was "Of course not!! Why would you EVER do that?"
As time has passed, and (more honestly) I have met people who have challenged my way of thinking, my view has changed.
Let's compare autism to any other disorder - depression maybe? Bipolar? Or multiple sclerosis? Does treating the cause of the disorder change the person?
Someone who is bipolar or depressed takes medication to stabilize their moods. Does that make them less of 'themselves'? They treat the negative aspects of their disorder, and yes, sometimes they give up some of the 'gifts' (most amazing poetry is written during depression!) - but the scale of 'worth it vs not' on the med scale is overwhelmingly 'worth it'. Autism is not a mental health disorder, but in terms of just treatment, I feel it would be the same - the payoff of taking something to treat the negatives, even if it dulled some of the positives, would be worth it.
Autism is NOT all of JT. Just as depression, bipolar, or something like MS, is NOT the whole person. It is a piece of you, but that doesn't mean that treating it will change all of you. You are still inherently you (like it or not in some cases, haha!). JT would still be JT, with or without the autism.
Imagine my son not having speech issues, his irritability that he can't convey why that lead to meltdowns, his sensory issues...
He would still be JT.
So the 'autism cure'... would you cure autism? People get so offended, saying that we would just get rid of them... I *was* one of them! But I see it differently, now. Would I cure autism? Yes. I would not get rid of autistics - and of course, no one would force them into anything.
But if I could make life easier for my son... in any way, I would do it. In a heartbeat.
Not because I don't accept his autism (hello, I'm the genetic culprit - I'd join in on the autism-pill-taking :) ). It's not that I want to erase differences in neurology/personality. It's that I want to treat the *extreme* to put them back in the normal range. Not make him class president - make him able to sit in a typical, mainstream classroom without struggling with everything BUT the material.
It comes down to just a general parenting question: What parent wouldn't move heaven and earth to make their kid's life easier?
(oh... and to everyone who challenged my view... thank you :) You can find all my intelligent and awesome friends in The Autism Experience book - along with our family).
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
For a long time, I have heard fellow autism mommies speak of perseveration. I had experienced this in the ways of rigid adherence to routines and repetitive stimming and actions.
As JT has gotten older, a new type has popped up...
Their kids were (are) obsessed with specific things: Mario games, Star Wars, tv shows, characters, etc., to the point that it was driving them nuts.
I've renamed JT's blog to reflect this interest.
SpongeBob is all we do. It's on the television several times a day (thank you God that there are a huge number of Spongebob episodes that Nickelodeon plays several times a day, and our DVR rotates them, if I had to watch the same episodes again and again I'd be more crazy than I am). He plays Spongebob games on my computer (I'm impressed he can now play 'big kid' games - using different keys to jump and move right and left simultaneously!). He is constantly scripting Spongebob (this is an entirely new post altogether, that perhaps I will put together later today). We hear Spongebob episodes even when Spongebob isn't on. He does use them appropriately most of the time (go JT, moving up in the speech department).
It even goes past 'obsession'.
And with perseverations, there's no way to cut it off... you have to manage it, but it's impossible to get rid of.
Plus, it's helped his speech. It's increased his hand-eye coordination. He's playing games at a higher level. He has something in common with his peers, it's age-appropriate.
Welcome to the higher-functioning levels of perseveration, I guess?
And now I truly understand what people are talking about. Is it odd that I never thought we'd get far enough that this would be an issue? This is a kid that didn't care about anything, and didn't talk. It's a blessing that this is an issue, in a strange way.
Please, Nickelodeon, do not stop playing Spongebob. And thank you for your online games.
I have a feeling this is going to come in handy as a reward in the future ;)
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I have discovered the secret to JT pottying.
Don't go in with him.
I say, "JT, go potty please!" And he runs (stripping on the way, haha) to the bathroom, sitting down and going! If I were to go in, he would yell at me and would not, under any circumstances, go.
See... when it's not a battle of the wills, JT doesn't fight so hard. He wants to do it for JT, not for anyone else.
Man, having a kid just like you is really eye opening sometimes. My poor parents ;)
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
In order to make potty training fun, I came up with this awesome idea Saturday. I put the lid of the toilet down, then moved it up and down as if it was talking.
JT being JT, he found this HILARIOUS.
Since then, almost every time he goes into the bathroom, he makes the toilet talk.
"I'm so hooooongry. I need peepee to eat!"
"I wanna eat some peepee!"
And other such comments.
It's really, really funny...
JT, for a long time, has been holding his urine all day at school.
He was almost pt'ed in December, but we ran into sensory issues with underwear.
He was wearing underwear fine for about 3 weeks.
Friday, I asked The Hubs when we should potty train. We were thinking the end of April. Then we decided: it's not going to be easier in a few weeks... or more fun. We might as well get it over with.
For more details, see JT's blog. Don't want to bore anyone with potty talk who doesn't want to hear it!
Weight off our shoulders, and some extra money in our pockets.
GREAT JOB, JT!!!! We are SUPER proud!
Monday, April 4, 2011
When we woke him up at 7:45am, he wouldn't pee. He didn't pee all day at school.
Finally, 10 minutes after he got home - at 2:25pm - he peed.
Almost 19 hours of no pee. That is one heck of a bladder.
My grandmother often calls me 'determined'. It's a southern woman's way of saying 'stubborn'. Well, he got his mama's 'determined' personality FOR SURE!
Sunday, April 3, 2011
He has peed SO MANY times on the potty... BUT - we have yet to see poop. He is trying - but I think he's scared and simultaneously holding it. His underwear have marks... he needs to go. He will... hopefully he won't hold it much longer.
He went out and rode his bike today - wearing the helmet without any protest, then keeping it on to run in circles in the alley behind our house. When The Hubs was joking around and climbing on his bike (trying to entice him to ride it again), JT took off the helmet and made daddy put it on. (We ALL got a huge kick out of watching daddy ride JT's bike down the road in the cool Cars helmet... If only I would have had the camera!!!)
Praying tomorrow goes well at school, sending in lots of undies (and some Hershey kisses that we've been using to entice him to potty ;) ).
GO JT!!! He's awesome!
In all of our PT drama today, we went to Chick Fil A. They have a little indoor playground, and the kids love it.
About 30 min into our lunch, I see a daddy and little girl walk up. I notice she's walking different - I think she had mild CP or something similar. Motor issues.
Anyway, the little playground door is behind us, we can see in because our table is up against the window looking in.
The daddy and little girl walk in, and he's helping her around...
Audrey sees her. She watches her, tries to hold her hand, realizes there's something different.
You can see her talking to the little girl, of course we can't hear anything through the glass.
The girl walked up to the play structure - it's those big chunky steps they climb on to go up to the tubes. Her dad was still helping her, she was having trouble getting up there.
Audrey reached her hand out and the little girl grabbed it (the dad let go of her, I guess he was wondering what was going to happen, too). She couldn't pull her up. She tried a few more times, then Audrey stepped down, picked the little girl up under her arms, and the little girl could step up and got to the next step. They did this a few more times.
I started crying. My husband was just watching.
I left to go next door to Walgreens to grab some stuff (plus I looked like a dope crying in Chick Fil A) and when I came back, they were playing Hide and Seek in the tiny room. The Hubs said Audrey pretended she couldn't find the little girl forever when it was her turn (because she couldn't climb up the structure).
Of all the things I could be proud of with Audrey, her heart is the one I love the most. I try to follow her example, because she is one of the best people I have ever known.
When we got into the car, we told her how proud we were of her for helping the little girl.
She said she was her friend, and we always help our friends.
She has no idea how much of a difference she makes in people's lives, and I think she'd think we were all crazy for thinking it was anything but normal. And that's what's so beautiful about the whole thing. She loves to compliment, help, do anything... and it never occurs to her that anyone wouldn't do it.
He woke up at 5:15 this morning fussing. We were sure he was wet, so we run up with his undies/shirt, he's upset because he has to pee and he won't go in the potty. We read for about 20 min, he won't go and wants to go back to bed.
A little while later, same thing. STILL DRY! We try the potty reading again, no deal.
He comes downstairs, after a bit, fussing again. Z takes him to read, he pees a tiny bit.
At 8 he comes fussing, and I take him in. HE PEED SO MUCH.
He was happy and giggly and reading with me...
He's not protesting the potty as much, walks in and just sits down now. He LOVES reading, we have a stack of 20 or more books in there, LOL.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
So it started out rough.
About 10:30, he brought me a baby doll of Audrey's (luckily, not a favorite). He had peed on its head. Seriously.
Dry until about 3pm, leaked some in his undies.
Bathroom every 15 minutes, with protest.
Still asking for diapers.
9pm, he finally went pee.
Then at 9:15, we sat in there for about 15 minutes, him sitting on the potty the whole time. No protesting, I read book after book after book. He peed at least twice.
That said, he did not pee enough that I think his bladder was empty. And I know he needs to poop.
Tomorrow is a new day. And surely it gets easier.
We told JT last night several times that the diapers are all gone, no diapers tomorrow.
This morning, he woke up to see for real: no more diapers.
He was NOT happy.
He ransacked every cabinet, nook and cranny. He made a big production about throwing his underwear away, then bringing me the trash can to show me.
He cried. He told me to go to the store. He isn't wearing underwear.
We're about to bribe... ahem, positively reinforce... him to go to the bathroom by taking him to Chick Fil A (playground!) if he pees in the potty.
This is going to be a long weekend, me thinks.
Friday, April 1, 2011
All children with ASD demonstrate deficits in 1) social interaction, 2) verbal and nonverbal communication, and 3) repetitive behaviors or interests. In addition, they will often have unusual responses to sensory experiences, such as certain sounds or the way objects look. Each of these symptoms runs the gamut from mild to severe. They will present in each individual child differently. For instance, a child may have little trouble learning to read but exhibit extremely poor social interaction. Each child will display communication, social, and behavioral patterns that are individual but fit into the overall diagnosis of ASD.
Some Signs, From The Mayo Clinic:
Fails to respond to his or her name
Has poor eye contact
Appears not to hear you at times
Resists cuddling and holding
Appears unaware of others' feelings
Seems to prefer playing alone — retreats into his or her "own world"
Starts talking later than age 2, and has other developmental delays by 30 months
Loses previously acquired ability to say words or sentences
Doesn't make eye contact when making requests
Speaks with an abnormal tone or rhythm — may use a singsong voice or robot-like speech
Can't start a conversation or keep one going
May repeat words or phrases verbatim, but doesn't understand how to use them
Performs repetitive movements, such as rocking, spinning or hand-flapping
Develops specific routines or rituals
Becomes disturbed at the slightest change in routines or rituals
May be fascinated by parts of an object, such as the spinning wheels of a toy car
May be unusually sensitive to light, sound and touch and yet oblivious to pain
What many don't understand is that just because a child doesn't fit every descriptor, does not rule out autism. Yesterday on a public forum, I saw a mother say 'I think my son's diagnosis of autism is wrong, he makes great eye contact.' Another time, a parent lamented, 'But my son is so smart, there's no way it's autism.' Or, 'He loves other kids, the doctors are wrong about the diagnosis.'
These are only a snippet of the signs, and no child will meet every one. Autism is a COMPLEX disorder, the presence or absence of one (or even several) of the signs and symptoms doesn't rule out autism.
My son makes wonderful eye contact sometimes, he loves other kids most of the time, and he is super smart and VERY happy. But he's also autistic.
This video shows a lot of the signs as they present in one (adorable!) little boy:
If you want to read some more about the signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorders, these are excellent resources:
Autism Web: Autism Symptoms and Warning Signs
CDC: Signs and Symptoms of ASD's