Monday, December 29, 2008

A Merry Christmas and a Childless End to the Year

Photobucket

Well, Christmas is over and we had a great time. Casey did great throughout, and despite sorta diving into computer action for comfort and familiarity, he really enjoyed Christmas with my family in Indianapolis. My sister Sue held the festivities at her beautifully decorated home (even the fish bowl had ornaments in it) and we had tons of people, food, gifts and fun. Bill and I won the Wii bowling tournament (we were good, I mean, really good!) Casey got some gifts I don't think he expected due to the fact that all he asked for was Barney and Veggietale dvds. I advised against it and my family got creative and he got some stuff I think he'll really get into.

We hung out a few more days after Christmas and then after much discussion and planning, decided spur of the moment that Casey was gonna stay with his two Aunties (who my mom said loved him more than I did, isn't she a peach?). And so, we are childless at this point.

Today is Bill's Dad Ernie's 85th birthday today, so we went over to his parents pad last night for a little birthday bash with family and friends. It was a lot of fun celebrating the 85th year of a very sharp and funny man! I can only hope Bill can follow in his footsteps! We got to see my sis in law and her hubby, and mom and dad in law of course, and Bill's brother who was worn out from babysitting our 3 cats and 11 Bettas while we were gone. Again, more food and fun was enjoyed along with some lovely champagne!

Being childless, we decided after the party to go hang out at a local bar with Don, Bill's brother, and have a few beers and some good conversation. It felt like quite a luxury not having to worry about a babysitter waiting for us.

And so, we are now going to go out and choose a new paint color for our bedroom. Bill is on vacation and has committed to painting it. I can't decide if we should do something swarthy and sexy, or something bright and optimistic. I'm leaning toward swarthy and sexy, maybe an aubergine? Anything will be better than the ugly light blue I painted it some odd 11 years ago!

We are picking Casey up on Wednesday so he can be with us on New Years Eve, and he is by the way, having a fantastic time and not sounding homesick at all! Little ingrate!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Casey Performs!

Hey 8 readers, remember how I was all nervous and anxiety ridden over Casey's performance at the 5th grade winter concert? Well, it was all for not!

He did wonderfully! I was a little nervous at first for him because when we arrived, his teacher was there and told me that apparantly the kids who had volunteered to be his peer buddies that night (aka people to make him stay in his spot and not look like a total nerd) didn't show! Thanks guys. But, she had come only to see him perform but said she would be happy to step in. I was relieved of course and offered to do so myself. She prodded me on to go and sit down and enjoy the show, but to stay close to the area Case would be standing in the bleachers, "just in case".

Luckily, at the last minute some kid did show up to help so it worked out well. Case walked in with the other 10,000 kids in the fifth grade classes and stood where he was supposed to (they put an orange dot on the floor where he stood just to remind him where to stay).

He sang his heart out, and despite a few funky stims due to his excitement, and an attempt to stand on the bleacher in front of him, we felt like he did really well.

He sang 4 songs with the group and then sat out the rest, since some of them were done by just the chicks, and some were sung in round, and some were done with hand movements that were deemed too difficult for Casey to follow. They did this queer "concert etiquette rap" which had some not so tricky arm movements that he wasn't included in. I looked over and watched him where he sat off to the side with his "helper" and teacher, and he was singing and doing some of the same movements. I looked at the kids doing the "rap" and some of them sucked. HHhhhhhmmmmm......let it go Bon.

Anyway, we were very proud of our boy's performance, we were happy that he was up there, joining in and behaving appropriately, for the most part. His teacher beamed with pride as well. Casey was the only kid who participated from her class. That's a bit sad to me, but, that's their parents choice.

The old saying "All that worry over nothing" certainly rang true that night!

Monday, December 15, 2008

And Now, as for Casey......

Geeze, too much, too much animal nonsense here on my blog about my son with Autism! I apologizefor verging from the original intention of this blog. I almost wonder if I should start a blog about all this additional crapola subject matter I seem to like to spout off about on here! I think though that oneor the other blog would get neglected. My New Years resolution, blog about Casey here 95% of the time, cats, kittens, and bettas 5%. I am sure certain individuals will see to it that I stick to that and remind profusely when I don't....DON.....REBECCA.....

Any hoot, I guess I didn't really post much about Casey last week because there wasn't much to post other than the note I recieved that first day concerning his ok day in his new classroom. Not much after that was reported, and as my sweet (and often dilusionary) hubby would say, "No news is good news!". Casey hasn't fought me on going to school, nor has he sounded off about any negativity he is feeling, so I am not sure how the whole thing is rollin' right now. Today will be another weird day because they have their big Christmas concert and each class performs today and tonight. Which brings me to a whole other subject all together.

Right now, Case has music with regular ed one day, and just the "Center" program another day. Apparantly, this is the first year the music teacher has experienced having the "special needs" (yuk) group in his room, so it really threw off his concert plans. Ahhh, poor guy....I guess he didn't realized that throwing choreography in with singing brand new songs might be a little tough for some kids who can't even talk, focus, or maintain a proper stillness for more that 5 seconds without being held in place! Hee hee...where's the prep work I say? He knew these kids were going to be in there! I don't know why I went there, irresponsible and funny at the same time. So, in short, it's been a challenge and I am really anxious to see how the whole things turns out.

Casey has really latched on to the songs they are singing and we hear them being sung all the time, which is a delight! He actually has a good little voice and a natural rhythm (neither one he gets from me). The school gave everyone a copy of the songs to practice at home and I couldn't believe the first time we listened to it together how he sang along of course and did some pretty cute little hand movements and gestures too. I think he will do fine tonight, if he can just stay in his spot. He gets really excited at being on stage, and in the past, for example at his dance recitals, he tends to steal the show with some sort of improvisational number. That's ok when he's on stage with a bunch of kids who aren't really doing the number to begin with. It's sort of a comic relief actually. But tonight would not be cool for him to hop out in front of the choir and begin his boogying down and perhaps singing to himself. I pray they have a parapro to assist. I of course will give a full report and perhaps a peek at the actual performance tomorrow. Say a little prayer Bill and I won't be crining in our seats!

Ok, so 5% of this can be about animals. Ricky, our new kitten, is doing swimmingly so far! He used the litter box, which was the main thing, and seems to be getting along ok with the old cats. I feel sorta bad for them, it's like bringing a little kid in a nursing home letting him run amuck! A few smacks and hisses have been thrown but no one is the worse for wear, so far! Ok, I'm done!

Casey and Abe

I downloaded this photo thinking I was going to put it in my latest entry and it didn't work that way. Seeing as how I'm at the library, I have no idea how to fix it....so enjoy....


Casey and Abe

Friday, December 12, 2008

Taken a Sick Day, for a Sick Cat!

Hi 8 readers. Indulge me if you will. I promise I will do a weekly wrap up of Casey's first few days in the new classroom, but as you can tell lately, my writing seems to have strayed from Autism and children to animals. I shouldn't say writing, more my photo offerings have verged over to the beasty side. And today is no exception when it comes to all things animals.

As featured in my Wordless Wednesday, this is Simba.

I know, he's adorable. We have had him since we've been married. So, we know for sure that he's at least 15 years old. Not too shabby for a cat!

He is an extremely sweet and loveable cat, wanting to be where his people are, and if company is over, being with them too. Simba is dog-like in many ways because he comes when you call him, he begs for food and is a voracious eater. I simply adore him.

In the morning, he usually comes in the bathroom with me, and follows me to the kitche to insure that his wet food gets distributed properly. But, when I got up this particular morning, he was no where to be found. I went through our house to all this favorite sleeping spots, but never found him. He finally limped downstairs, and he clearly was not himself. I could just tell by his expression if you can believe it. You know how you can just look at your kid and know he's sick? Same thing.

Being about 90 in people years, I decided I best take him to the cat clinic. And in doing so, found out he's lost about 3lbs over the last 3 years, and has a heart murmur, and a oddly shaped kidney. The doc ran some diagnostics on him, he had to have his paw shaved to get his blood pressure checked, and he pee'd on his blankie. He also go intravenious fluids. He seems to be feeling much better now and begged for my sushi. We will find out what the tests show tomorrow. If you are a cat or animal in general lover, please say a little prayer that he has a few more years in him, we love him soooooo much!

While he was having his tests done on him, I started connecting to a little kitten guy in the waiting room who was waiting to be adopted. Only 6 months old or so, he was found in a taped up box by the side of the road! Yes, the side of the road. My cat obsession got the best of me and I took him out of the little cage they had him in and he purred and licked my face and loved on me and never tried to get away and I fell in love! I felt a little like I was cheating on Simba, but we've thrown around getting a new kitty, and his situation, utter cutie pieness, and social skills won me over. I filled out the adoption papers and called Bill on the way home to tell him. Unphased, he said he'd think about it. Perhaps when they send that picture of him they promised, he'll make up his mind!

Cats, gotta love 'em.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thoroughly Thoughtless Thursday

I just can't muster up the time to blog about Casey's first day right now, I need some sit down time....So, here's something cute to tide ya over....



This is Fletch, my sister Sue's baby...I mean dog. He's "sittin' pretty"!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Plan is officially In Action


So, this news is a little late in coming because I just haven't found much time to sit and really put any work into retelling this scenario. But, since I just came home to get a warmer coat while working, and all is quiet, I will take a few moments to share with my now 8 readers.
Friday I finally got to meet up with all involved in the potential transitioning of Casey over to a new class room as was recounted in an earlier post.
There was his potential new teacher, who all in all seemed optimistic and open to his being in her class. There was his old teacher who claims she adores him but seems too optimistic to get him out of her class. There was a lady who is in charge of the "Team" room where kids go for discipline and rewards (confusing I think) and who seems like, well, I'll say it, a bitch. Rounding out the group was the woman who didn't even want me to see this very program last year and gave me about 2 minutes in each classroom. She's an administrator of some kind, some muckity muck.
Oddly the meeting went smoothly. I was able to explain my concerns and worries, and they all seemed very open to working with me on these. We discussed his transition over, which everyone seemed happy about. At first, a hour or so a day was thrown out, but after light debate, it was finally agreed that it would be half a day for the next week. He would meet up with the new class in the morning and go to their room straight away and then come back to the old classroom in the afternoon. I had to giggle as the new teacher wanted the opposite, but the muckity muck changed it completely, as if to say, "I'm in charge!". Politics, I swear!

The biggest issue I had was with the discipline program they have too and how they kids track a point system all day for what they do and don't. If they keep their points, they get rewards, if they don't,well, I think they have to go to the "Team" room and hang out with the afore mentioned bitch. I won't go into why I think of her as a bitch, other than her overall demeanor, but I made it clear that I didn't want Casey in the "Team" room all the time because he isn't being set up for success. They all seemed to agree, and in all fairness, the bitch was even giving some good suggestions on things they could do in class to help him.
I felt at times that parts of this meeting had been rehearsed prior to my arrival, as if to appease me in some way. I am still in doubt as to whether they really think he can handle this or whether they just feel it's a better inclusive enviorment for him and, that way, they don't have to fiddle fart with taking him to general ed. I am a bit of a conspiracy theorist so I hopefully I'm wrong.

He was supposed to start yesterday, but his current class had a field trip scheduled for then and today and so he starts tomorrow. I have been talking it up a bit, and he has said he would like to be in the new classroom. I fear however, that when he sees what it entails, the curriculum, the lack of silly field trips, and the structure, his happy little world may be knocked upside down. Then again, he may step up to the challenge and embrace the structure, maybe more of that is what he needs. Hopefully the influence of higher functioning more verbal classmates will help too. I'm trying to be "glass-half full" person, but it's very unnatural for me, ask my husband!

I laid awake the other night thinking about the change with a pit in my tummy. This is what I wanted for him last year, and now that it might be happening, I am doubting why I wanted it in the first place. I have always been happy with him being "comfortable" and maybe a little challenged at school, but mostly, comfortable. I fear too that because he has been so comfortable for so long, a very realistic classroom setting is going to be really too hard for him to handle. I hate for him to be miserable, to be stressed, to have anxiety, as does any mom. I guess if you have a typical kid though, you can reason things out if they have a bad experience, get information from them on it. With my boy, I can't. If he's sad, he really has trouble telling us why, and if he is upset about this class it could backfire in nasty behaviour and shutting down before any sort of conversation could ensue.

BUT, back to being "glass-half full" person, this might just be the thing he needs. He may really blossom in this room, I hope so. I just want him to be happy!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Bouncin' is Fun!

Anybody who has a kid with Autism and has had Occupational Therapy has probably been shown the wonders of sitting on an exercise ball for their child. We've had one for years down in our basement, although it's probably about 3 feet wide, pretty large. We've had fun over the years letting him lie on his belly over it, and while holding his feet, let him push off the floor, sorta like doing "push ups" or sitting him on top while we held him and bounced him.

But, now that he's about 5'2 and 116lbs, it's a little more difficult to do such activities! My sisters in Indiana being the work out mavens that they are both have exercise balls that are a bit smaller, and somehow he always finds them when we visit, and loves to bounce himself. It's great proprioceptive activity, and very calming, yet an energy burner at the same time.


I finally bought one for our house and it's a hit. I totally suggest one for any kid, especially when they're watching TV. He sits on one at school as well while working. Even better, it cost 10 bucks at Walmart!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Let Us Remember......



GILBERT
? TO 11-05-08
MY FIRST BETTA, HE HAD CHARACTER AND SPUNK AND TRIED TO HANG IN THERE TILL THE END. BECAUSE THERE ARE NO BETTA DOCTORS, I COULDN'T DO MUCH BUT MAKE HIS LAST DAYS COMFORTABLE.


"HE WILL BE MISSED, NOW WHERE WILL YOU BE DISPOSING OF HIM?" -SIMBA, THE FAMILY CAT

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Jenny McCarthy Revisited...Now I'm Annoyed!

I just posted (so go read the one before this if you will please) but I was just thinking about the fact that last night I grabbed Jenny McCarthy's first book off the library shelf and sorta grazed over it. Casey was playing at the library computer, and since I already went through the various encyclopedias and reference books that I cared to on other occasions that are within reach, I got up and got a book off the wall that holds books on homeschooling, and disabilities. Jenny's book was there.

I had never really thorougly read it before, and it's the first one I'm talking about, not the new mommy warrior one (that just makes me puke for some reason). It was certainly an easy read, each chapter being about 2 or 3 pages long, some one page (I am seriously not exaggerating). I strummed through, seeing anecdotes on her son's behaviors, his seizures, her separation from her hubby (he truly didn't get it). From all accounts, the kid was a mess. I could relate to a lot of the stories, and her feelings, although I sorta hate to admit it.

After finishing and getting the general gist of the thing, I started to see why so many people found her inspiring, and helpful. She definitely gives some good information about the biomed aspect of things. A lot of it made sense. I think she's a good mom. There, I said it! I am not as anti-Jenny, as I thought I was.

I think the thing that makes me a little anti-Jenny is that the way she tells her tale is very, uhm, convincing. I mean, if I were a mom of a newly diagnosed kid with Autism, her book could possibly become a bible for me. I would run out and find a DAN doctor right away! I would try all the things she did, even though, she never really makes a point too much of saying how different kids with Autism are. I think this could be dangerous and disappointing.

Years ago, my friend and I went to several presentations on the biomend aspect of Autism given by a local dentist who had a child with Autism. This was my first experience with terms such as yeast, supplementation, gf/cf diet, mercury poisining. We of course were fascinated and drawn towards trying anything and everything for our kids. I had so much hope, much like Jenny's book dishes out. I thought I had found those magic bullets. Guess what, I never did.

In all fairness, I never followed a full fledge regimen. I started too, but got bored with giving my kid 9 vitamins everytime he ate. I tried the diet, it never worked for us. I never attempted getting rid of yeast if there was any in the first place. Chelation was out of the question. My friend, on the other hand, has followed her DAN doctor's suggestions, gone organic and dairy free, supplemented per results of testing. She's done everything right, and she is seeing results with her child, which is awesome. We've actually seen great improvements with b-12 shots in Casey. I doubt though, that either one of us will ever tell ya that our children have lost their Autism label, as Jenny's son apparantly did.

And there in lies another issue I have with her. Why is this so important to lose that label, and let everyone know about it? I don't see people scrambling to get rid of a Downs label. Heck, some people fight for an ADHD label for their kid, just so they know why they are doing so bad in school! It almost makes me suspect that in Jenny's mind, Autism is something to be ashamed of, to fight. Be that "Mommy Warrior" against.

It makes me wonder, am I in the wrong for not doing all I apparantly could? Am I wrong for not being that "Mommy Warrior" when it comes to things like chelation and ridding your child of yeast? Am I wrong for not persuing such things?

Dammit, why did I even read that book. Such simplicity making me doubt myself! Ick!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'm Still Here!

Gosh I've been so bad about blogging! LIfe has been really busy for us beginning last Wednesday and on! We had a great Thanksgiving, so nice to hang out with the family. Casey pretty much summed up our weekend when Dad asked him what we did in Indy and he answered:
"Well Daddy, on Wednesday, we had Donatos pizza! On Thursday, we had our Thanksgiving Feast! On Friday we had Mexican! On Saturday we had Italian!".....
Yes, it's true, the eating was hot and heavy all holiday long. He forgot to mention to his dad that we took him to a Christmas display at a Historical Museum, (this is that leg lamp from the movie "A Christmas Story") .And to see "The Polar Express" at the IMAX in 3-D, which I highly suggest, way cool.
He even go to celebrate his Mammaw's (family name for grandma) 72nd birthday! I tried adding a photo but Blogger won't allow it! I hate Blogger sometimes!
That's about it. I have more stuff to share but thought I would just jot down a few thoughts so as to let my 8 readers know I'm alive!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Hi to all my 7 or so readers! Sorry I have been very lax at blogging this week. I have a boss breathing down my neck so I really have been putting in some extra work time, which takes away from home time, and that really takes away from blogging time! I'll be blogging again, perhaps from Indy, where Casey and I are going today to celebrate the holiday with my side of the family. Bill is taking a trip to Oregon to visit his sister. We were all going to go, but the thought of dealing with Casey and his "stuff" on an airplane the day before Thanksgiving was enough to tell Bill to have fun and go on his own!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, and if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, well, you'll be just that less fatter than me by tomorrow evening!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A New Classroom = New Worries

Well, we finally got to "view" the classroom that they are considering moving Casey into. Bill and I arrived at the school about 9:30 to find a class of 10 guys and gals with 2 parapros and one teacher.

All the kids were sitting at different "stations" headed up by either a para or the teacher. They were quietly working and well-behaved. The room was very spacious since there were only 10 desks and a few station tables. Lots of informative stuff was posted on the walls (how much a coin was worth, actions that appropriate, actions that are not, calendar, schedule, etc.). After about 5 minutes of us quietly watching, and me taking notes, they all took a break. They were allowed a snack and some music was turned on, which caused a little impromptu dancing which was supported and encouraged by the staff. Others chose to go down to the "team" room to spend their break.

Then they came back and, and, and, they were just so GOOD. So well behaved. I was curious to know if the teacher might have slipped the children some sort of valium like drug before we came. There was not one meltdown, not one tantrum. Their classroom is connected to the library which was their next thing to do.

They all quietly disappeared with the paras and the teacher sat and talked with us for sometime. She asked what we thought so far, and told us somethings about how they work. It was all very pleasant and promising.

Being the conspiracy theorist I am though, I couldn't help but wonder if it was always this way, had their been some prep work? She did tell them at one point "You guys made me look so good today, you get a marble for the party jar!" whatever the hell that means.

So, you would think that I would be completely gun ho to have Casey go straight into that class if I could. But, me being the glass is half empty type that I am, really started to have my doubts about Case being in there. He has breakdowns, he is very, oh crap, I can't think, oh, impulsive. He does a lot of self talking, he doesn't listen well. I just wondered how well this could work for him.

However, I liked seeing the kids, after they returned from the library, sit next to each other and discuss the books they had gotten, sharing. I liked just in general that they talked and interacted at all. They all have different "disabilities" or issues, but somehow they all seemed to get along. I wanted to picture Casey in that setting, being successful, but I was having trouble doing so. Probably due to some scars from our first experience all those many 4 or 5 years ago when we tried to get him in a similar class and the whole thing was a disaster. But that was years ago.

There's also the issue of a discipline plan they are all on that I can't even begin to imagine Casey being able to follow and keep track of like the others do. Bill was really trying to be positive, saying he thought it was doable for him if modified a bit. I couldn't see it.

But I guess I won't know anything until he does it! We requested that he be transitioned dow to the room slowly if possible, maybe spend an hour a day, just to see how he does. The teacher there and his current teacher felt this might be workable and are going to look into it. I am praying they can make it happen, I don't want to just dump him in there after Xmas break.

So, we'll see. Something is telling me I need to have more confidence in my boy...............

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Have a Confession to Make

Bless me Father for I have sinned. It's been about oh, thirty years since my last confession....


No lie there! My Catholic upbringing has engrained in me a sense of guilt at all times. In this case however, I think my guilt is quite jusitified!

About a month ago a little brown bag came home from school with a note attached explaining that this was a science project given to the students and they would have a month to complete it. It entailed making a "car" out of the supplied items and then writing a report on it. At the time they were studying Newton's Laws of Motion.

Now, such subject matter is so above Casey right now. I always tend to think that we have Case in regular ed classes such as this particular science class, just to be around typical kids, and to learn how to be a student. And if he comes away with some knowledge, then all the better. His memorization skills are so excellent he actually does well on the written tests, because he memorizes the study guides, which don't veer too far off from the test material. But when it comes to putting the subject matter into practical use, he totally can't grasp it.

So when this project came home, and I read the instructions, I giggled a little sadly to myself, thinking, "There is no way he can do this.". Weeks went by with that stupid little bag laying on his dresser. He of course never touched it because he could read the note attached. He knew it was from school so it wasn't fun. I kept putting off even looking at the stuff.

I considered contacting his science teacher and asking her if there was a modified way to do this for him, but I didn't. I don't have an excuse, I just didn't. Towards the last couple of weeks, I considered pulling out all the stuff and encouraging him to work on it with me and see if little by little something could be accomplished (knowing full well it wouldn't happen that way either). More days passed, with the little brown bag just laying there, taunting me, reminding me of what he's not capable of doing, at least not now.

Maybe that's why I was avoiding it all together. Subconcioulsy I know he is not at a level of intelligence to figure out how to build a car. He's never even had an interest in cars, not even toy cars. He did have an interest in car dealerships and car insurance, but unfortunately, that wouldn't help him in this situation.

So, last night, the night before the project was due, I whined to Bill about it, I whined to Casey about it, I dredded even looking at the stuff inside. I finally poured the contents on the floor, which included film canisters, straws, bamboo sticks, clothes pins, rubber bands, pipe cleaners, and other asundry crap. The instructions said to use whatever you could but didn't have to use all of the items. I sat for around 45 minutes with Casey by my side, chewing on the film cansiter and straws, trying to configure a way to put stuff together to make a car that rolled. Finally I came up with this monstrosity


It rolled! I mean, it rolled. And Casey chewed on one of the film canisters. So, he was involved right?

Then came the report, rather indepth I would say. I won't go into detail but I let Casey type out the cover page with my assistance and then I typed the rest in a Casey like fashion. Bill hovered around trying to encourage me to do things more legit, saying he would explain the Laws of Motion to Case and maybe then help him write the report. "Yeah, good idea" I answered as I printed out my....Casey's report and shoved it in a plastic baggie along with my....his car. Bill is a much better person than I.

So, that's my confession. I did Casey's report basically and I made the damn car. I admit it.

Casey could not and would not have built a car. He would not have been able to! That's a fact. And the report was so detailed, I gotta tell ya, he couldn't have put much into that even with my help. But, now he had a car to take. I think they were going to have a race with their cars, and he would be able to participate. He had a report, and if he had to read it aloud, he had something to read aloud, and he might even understand it a little. Because of these facts, I feel justified in my deception.

I learned a lesson or two from this experience. Number one, don't wait till the night before a project is due to do it-duh. And number two, next time something comes up like this, I really need to touch base with his teacher and ask her to bring it down a notch or twenty, because my ulitmate goal in just about anything he does is to set him up for success and not asking for modifications did not do this.

Now, rehearsing with him to answer if asked "Yes, mom and I worked on it together!" is a whole other confession!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Week in Review, if Anyone Cares......

I was really trying to come up with something clever for my latest post, something informative or inspiring. But since my last post, nothing truly interesting or exciting has happened Autistically speaking for us. It was an extremely long and irritating week.

Let me preface things by saying that I don't like being inconvenienced, and this week seemed to be full of inconveniences.

Monday began with Casey's visit with his doc, which I blogged about. The visit itself wasn't so much an inconvenience as was the timing, and the drive. I made the appointment for 6:45 pm. What the hell was I thinking. I tried of course to change it when I realized my error but it's hard to change an appointment time on the day of.

Tuesday was really irritating because I had a gyno appointment and we all know how fun those are ladies! On top of that, I scheduled it midday, it ended up taking over 2 hours and my whole work schedule was a screwy mess!

Wednesday of course couldn't be free. Teacher conference at 6 pm. I also watched my friends 2 boys because the schools had half days. I really don't mind babysitting her kids, they are sweet and I think Case enjoys having them over, but it reminds me why I only had one child. The teacher conference was OK, and oddly seemed to circulate around the whole subject matter of Casey moving over to another classroom as I explained in another post. Weird. I am going to go and view the class next week and make my decision. I am leaning towards the change. That could be a whole other blog entry so I'll stop there. After the conference, we had a bit of fun while dining with my sister Sue and her hubby who were in town for his work. It was nice to sit and have a beer and some fattening grub and catch up.

Thursday by far was the most dreaded day of the week for me. I had to work with my boss and her boss, and I could go on and on about the stress and anxiety I felt all week prior, but I won't. I slept little the night before and when I did, I had dreams about not making it to meet them on time, junk like that, and then my alarm went off at 5 am. Luckily, my sister who was visiting was able to take Case while I worked which took a bit of the load off. I just so hate working with my boss and being watched over. One of the benefits of my job is that I never have anyone watching over me and I loooove that. So when it happens, it's extremely stressful and I just always feel inadequate. Add on my bosses boss into the equation, and well, my head just about explodes! Thankfully, my boss arrived alone, explaining hers left early! Yay, so now the day will only be half as bad!.....and it was, and it's over, and that's all I'll say about it.

So, Friday came and went with nothing big and that was awesome. I worked, my friend whose kids I watched picked up Casey so I could do so, I bought another Betta (shut up friends and family who make fun of me! I thought Gil was dying...he's not), and we went swimming last night and relaxed and it was like, aaaahhhhhhh.

I hope I don't have another week like that for a long time. I won't say "again" because I know that's just too much to wish for!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Awesomeness!

Please watch this. I'm not moved to tears much anymore when it comes to Autism, but I was watching this because it's not sad, it gives hope.

If they can have schools for the blind, and the deaf, then this kind of school in the piece should be the norm!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Uneventful, but Satisfying Doctor Visit

Last night we had an appointment with our doctor, who is sorta kinda a DAN doc. We started seeing him because we knew our insurance would cover it, and we have seen some changes in Case with his guidance on supplementation. We had gone to another awesome DAN doctor, but just that one appointment was over $700 out of pocket. Needless to say, we went with this current doc, since we could forsee each and every visit and consultation costing that much and more, with no insurance assistance in sight.

He's ok, sort of overwhelmed it seems, a little scary sometimes. But, I maintain that what he has suggested for us has helped Casey with his speech, eye contact, and focus (here and there). He's still Autistic, always will be dammit. But it's just like anything else, people take vitamins to stay healthy. They take Vit. C to prevent colds, St. John's Wart to improve their mood, calcium to strengthen their bones. Thusly, I see nothing wrong with giving Casey things that have come from nature, and not labs, to help him be the best he can be.

So, I think I've justified why we take him to this guy. I'm not about "curing". I am not Jenny M., although I wish I had her figure!

I told Casey about the appointment yesterday afternoon so as not to cause too much worry. He hates doctor visits (who doesn't?). He quickly told me then and throughout the time preceeding our appointment, that "this is not a check-up, no shots, no blood pressure check, no heart thing!". Yeah ok....

Anyhoot, during our appointment, Casey was very high strung, having a lot of anxiety. At our first appointment in June, blood had been drawn, a rather terrifying experience for him. On our second, the doc administered a b-12 shot on him, to see if we saw changes. We did. On the 3rd visit, he showed me, yes me, how to administer a b-12 shot and had me do it right then and there. All these experiences have added up to trauma for Case, and thus his anxiety.

The doc seemed tired, it was their late business hours day. We discussed a few things (one of which thrills me to no end, and that is stopping the b-12 shots to see if it's something else helping him that we have been giving at the same time). He said Casey had gained 7lbs since July (I didn't tell him I probably did too) but said his BMI was good. He grew an inch or so too, in 4 months. Scary!

Casey was spinning around on the doctors chair, one of those stool things with wheels. Suddenly out of the blue, he goes "I'm in the Olympics, and this is my sport!". The doc looked at me, and I him and we cracked up. Something in the doctor's face suddenly took on a happier feel, as if he felt something he was doing for this kid was working.

There were no shots tonight, no blood pressure taking, no heart thing.

And with that, he prescribed some new item to try, and our appointment was done, much to the joy and happiness of one little boy who was on his way to the elevator before I was finished paying my co-pay....

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Regression, or New Reflections?



I was recently discussing with my friend Rebecca how Casey is totally into The Wiggles again. Her own kids are 9 and 6. They like High school Musical, Hanna Montana, and Pikachu or whatever it's called. In other words they enjoy age appropriate entertainment. Ironically, she and her hubby had just been reminisicng about how much their family enjoyed The Wiggles oh so long ago. We had even gone together to see them live about 5 years ago. But when she brought it up to the kids, they looked mesmerized, with no memory of them. It made her sad. I jokingly said something to the affect that "See, ya need a kid with Autism so you can relive this stuff over and over again."

I have noted in reading blogs of other Autism parents that many of their older kids still watch videos that technically are way too young for them. For instance I know one mom who mentioned her over 10 year old child was really into looking up "Barney" clips on YouTube. Lately, along with The Wiggles, Barney has made a reappearance in Casey's viewing repertoire as well.

At first it bothered me a little. Barney seemed okay in the day, but wow, now when I watch, it hits me how, well for a lack of a better word, queer it is. The kids over act, the songs are irritatingly catchy and everything is just so" goody two shoes". The Wigglesare pretty goofy too, but the songs are way better, and it's a bit more watchable for me. It's almost that his sudden re interest in something that he liked when he was 3 or 4 comes off as a bit of a regression.

Watch ability aside, the more I am forced to watch with him so he won't rewind certain bits and watch the accompanying previews 30 times, I am struck by how really beneficial these videos could be in some ways to him. Barney particularly offers some very basic but steady lessons in social skills. The kids are always greeting each other appropriately, friendship is a focal point, politeness is always displayed. Heck, diversity is also huge in the Barney videos, which feature African American, Hispanic, and Asian children playing together in harmony. So, really at this point in Casey's young life, how can watching this be be worse for him than watching some silly episode of Hanna Montana where the kids are overly cynical, they're usually getting in trouble for humor's sake, and everything is as basically as unrealistic as the Barney videos anyway? "Age appropriate" doesn't always mean "appropriate", that's for sure!

Casey even asks me questions about the episodes, which leads me to think he is analyzing things more, getting more out of it.
He's noticing things, like that Gregg Wiggle left at some point, or that Barney isn't around when big people are in the scene. Wow, I didn't even notice these things really. I say anything that prompts a conversation has to be good. So, I say bring on The Wiggles, bring on Barney!

My kid, as do many kids with Autism, seeks out comfort and sameness, and I think in a way he finds both in these videos. But, I think he's also discovering more, and therefore, watching these again in my opinion cannot be considered regressive, but just, reflective!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Another Soccer Season Ends

Casey has been involved in Topps Soccer for about the last year now. They have 2 sessions, Spring and Fall, and the Fall one ended yesterday. This is a pretty leisurely, purposefully unstructured team, which is a great thing for Case.

They simply bring the kids out on the field, do the warm up, and then divide them into teams and let 'em at it. Parents of course are encouraged to go on the field to help their kids or whoever might need assistance. Bill and Casey have gone this past session almost exclusively while I chose to stay home for a little "me" time. I figure it's good for them to bond over sports and Bill being a former Special Olympics coach (ironically way before Casey was ever in the picture) loves being involved.


We've seen Casey's skills improve over the last couple of months. He even got a little angry and talked some trash when someone kicked his ball out of the goal!
He actually tries to get in there and kick the ball. Often he gets lost on which goal is his or where he even needs to kick the ball, but he does have fun at least trying and the fresh air and excercise are always good things! He's number 10 there in the photo, doing his best! The cool thing is no one seems to care. It's all about fun!

At the end of each season the parents line up and form a tunnel the kids run through, and love.
Then they go and have a pizza feast. While they eat the coaches present trophies, which they get every time.







Case doesn't usually get too excited about this part, but this time, when his name was called, he seemed a little more interested, shouting something that I'm pretty sure he got from a tv show about "You deserve a trophy!".









And of course to top things off, the team posed for a group photo. By the looks of things everyone was pretty happy about their trophies! I'm really glad Case gets a chance to be part of a team, and I'm especially glad that with each passing season, being part of a team seems to mean more to him!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Recap

I got repremanded last night by a dear friend who has me on his RSS feed, because the other blogs he follows have 10 entries a day, whereas he's lucky to see one from me, every other day! Well Mr. DJ, I don't get paid to do this stuff like some of those fancy bloggers out there! So, I felt I better blog a little something about Halloween, since it indeed has been a couple of days since my last entry!

Honestly, it wasn't too exciting! Bill and I attended Casey's Halloween party at school which was cute, but thought provoking in an uncomfortable way (this will probably be fodor for my next entry). They made cookies and played games, ate cookies, and danced. Casey really seemed to enjoy it until he started saying he could hear voices of "Toy Story 2" in French in his head. I did a calming pressure maneuver on him and beat it out of there. I think our prescence was throwing him off a bit.

Later, we went trick or treating with some friends who live nearby. Case didn't really want go at first, letting us know he'd much prefer to stay on the computer. But once he got going, he had fun. His costume was perfect for the weather we had, and it was nice not to have to put a coat over it. He did a great job walking up and saying "Trick or Treat" and holding his bag open. His only downfall was trying to watch people's tvs if he could see them, but with a little prompting, he would move on. Due to some costume malfunctions (not my son's) we kinda cut things short and went back home. His dad, who had stayed behind to hand out candy, was ready to take him out too so they hit a couple of street blocks, bringing home even more fat inducing fun. Once that was over with, Casey was done. He didn't even look at the candy he gathered, just not that important to him! In fact, he didn't even eat any of it. Dad and I did, but he didn't...... Go figure.

And so, the evening ended with us and my bro-in-law sipping adult beverages and watching "Night of the Living Dead" and Casey happily ensconced in his room watching "The Wiggles". It was a quiet but satisfying Halloween.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Cool Natural Health Stuff I Want to Share

Last night I went with my dear friend Paulette to a little talk on healthy remedies and lifestyle. The woman, Judy, who presented it is just a mom (silly thing to say-just a mom) who has done tons of research and used everything she talked about. I met her recently when I went with another dear friend to a "workshop" she also gave on keeping a healthy home with natural stuff. The natural line of products is called Melaleuca, and I am just in love with it. I sorta promised myself that I wasn't going to blog about it because I didn't want people to think I'm selling it, because I'm not. But it's just one of those things where when you try something that you really like, you want everyone you know to try it too. If you're interested in hearing about it or want to know more, email me, I'll hook ya up!

Anyway, back to last night. Most of her talk was on healthy remedies for common illnesses we all get throughout the winter months, colds, flus, viruses. I thought I would share a few things she mentioned so if you want to do your own research you can.

One thing I have to mention first and foremost because I actually did it this past weekend was her suggestions for sinus infection and inflammation. Crap, ok, now that I think of it, this goes back to Melaleuca, sorry. Sorta the premise for many of their products is that they contain Melaleuca Oil, or tea tree oil. Seriously, this will tell you what it does here So, I have this crappy sinus infection all weekend, and I'm ready to call the doc on Monday. I was using my netti pot and if you're not familiar, look up Sinucleanse (not a Melaleuca item so see, I'm not trying to make money) and decided since Melaleuca oil is a natural germ killer, maybe a few drop sin the water of my netti pot would help kill the infection. I did this Saturday and Sunday, multiple times. It was weird, and I wasn't sure if it would work, but the infection was gone by Monday morning, so no doc, no antibiotics, and as a result of antibiotics usually, no yeast infection (sorry to any males reading this). I asked Judy about this last night and she highly agreed with my course of action and said I should do it daily to fight off more infections.

She also told us about how if you are feeling a cold or some sickness coming on to use grapefruit seed extract oil to fight it off. It's a natural antibiotic and is extremely strong. She suggests up to 15 drops in orange juice several times a day when you are starting to feel bad. You can use it on the kids too, just use as much as you can get away with before they say it tastes bad. You have to stir it a lot too or it will sink down to the bottom of your cup. This is the one she uses and several gals there had used it too and said it was good and lasted a long time. Also, she made a point of saying if you are on any heart or blood pressure medication, not to use this as it makes your medication not work.

Now here's a weird one, and one I don't know that I'll try, but so basic, it's almost worth trying once. She actually said that when she is getting sick she does a combination of stuff including, cutting up a garlic clove in small chunks and swallowing it down with milk. It sounds so gross to me, but garlic is supposed to be really excellent for you, and a natural antibiotic. Judy said swallowing (not chewing) it with milk helps you not to get stomach upset from it. If I ever try this, I'll be sure to give all my friends and family fair warning to stay away, and let you know if it helps!

Another item she shared, and we got to try was ginger water. She simply got fresh ginger, peeled it, and cut off a few chunks and threw it in boiling water. She said to take the ginger out after about 15 minutes or it would be too strong to drink. After doing this, you can sip it all day, hot or cold, and you can add lemon and honey for taste. We all tried it, and agreed it was not offensive at all, and kinda reminded me of weak herbal tea. It apparantly is yet another way to stave off sickness, naturally, easily, and in this case, a little more pleasantly.

She offered some more suggestions such as the use of oil of oregano and colloidal silver. You can research these on your own because she really didn't discuss them enough for me to give you valuable info, but I know they seem to be good things to use to fight off sickness as well.

Also, if you take vitamins, she suggested doubling up on them when you feel like you're getting sick. Judy actually mentioned doing many of these things together to really fight off whatever is trying to attack. And do it all for more than just a day, even if you start feeling better.

I hope I haven't bored any of you too much, because if you are already reading to this point, then you must have been interested. I don't want to get sick, but it's sorta nice to know some alternatives before I have to run myself, Bill, or Casey to the doctor. And aren't things almost always better if they're natural?

Here are some books that she recommended as well....

Herbal Antibiotics by Steven Buhner
and
Prescription for Nutritional Healing

If you have used any of these natural remedies or have others please share.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Doctor Comes out Against Vaccines and Autism Connection

For those of us in the Autism blogging world, Autismvox is a website well known. Kristina Chew, the writer of this blog was interviewed in this piece that they showed onThe Today Show . If you missed you it, here it is. I wish they would have talked to her more. It was cool to see her and her family. The whole segment is on a book by a doctor who sticks to the idea that vaccines do not cause Autism. If you haven't seen it, take a look.....and then if you feel the need read my two cents after......




Interesting no? I have never been one to think too much about vaccinations in terms of them causing Casey's Autism. He always showed signs, always. Now, could the hep b vaccine that he got the first day of his life have caused something? We will never know. I have always bordered on being quite bored with this whole topic in general, and when people have asked me if I thought shots caused Casey to be Autistic, I say no. Now, my sort of laissez faire attitude towards this shouldn't be misconstrued as not careing about the whole issue. I do have friends who swear vaccines caused their child's Autism. I'm more or less dismissive of the whole thing because I think Casey was born this way, much like Kristina said of her son Charlie.

I did take a stand and stop getting Casey immunized all together at around four years old. That is about the time all this came at me, along with biomed stuff and so on. I chose to stop his immunizations because if there had been damage from prior ones, then why would I continue to put something in him that could possibly be a danger? I agreed with the woman who says that there might be a subset of children who react differently to vaccines. I was never sure, and didn't want to take any chances. To this day, he still hasn't had his full set of immunizations. Oddly, neither did I as a child.

I really try to avoid controversial topics such as this in my blog. I'm more about fun, and sharing stuff about our lives, but I just thought it was an interesting thing that someone would actually threaten a doctor for writing about what he knows a lot about and believes in so strongly. Sometimes, I think people need to get beyond causes, and just get on with life when it comes to their child with Autism!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I So Need to Get a Life!

Ok, I've done an entry on a Halloween Party we attended. I can't do an entry on decorations, and how fabulously I decorated my house because, I haven't. Casey's party at school is Friday, so I can't really speak to that yet, it's only Tuesday. But in the excitement of Halloween and all it's creepiness, I would like to introduce you to VLAD! Scary huh?



"Scary?" you ask? Well, yeah! He should look like this.....


See the lovely, long, flowy, finny things hanging off my first Betta Gilbert, Gil for short? That's how a Betta should look!



As reported here, I have what some would call an obsession with Betta fish. At the point that I wrote this entry, I believe I only had 7 Betta's. I now have 11 Betta's. I was seriously going to stop at 7, really. But I suddenly became, in my head a Betta fish rescuer.

I found Vladimir, Vlad for short while working in a large grocery chain. I won't mention names, because, I like to think that I am that important that someone from this chain might happen upon my entry.

So anyway, as I am so wont to do, I was working, at this unnamed chain (Meijers) and I always happen by the fish department. No seriously, it's sorta where I need to be for my job, so there I am. They usually have a lovely assortment of Betta's, and I like to look, not buy, all the time, just look. (I have only purchased one Betta prior to this at Meijer-oops, Duncan). As I scanned the stupid little cups they put them in, I happened upon this poor fish whose fins looked at though they had been ripped off. Also, his one eye was bugged out and gross. All the while, I was chatting on the phone with my dear friend,the lovely Rebecca, and suddenly described the situation to her. I had to wonder what happened to this poor fish, and why they thought they could sell him in this condition. Being the Betta lover, and sudden rescuer that I thought myself to be, I told Rebecca that I was going to ask the fish dept. attendant if they would discount this poor thing for me so I could take it home and SAVE IT'S LIFE!

Rebecca, who has no love or respect for the betta or my love of the betta, found this tremendously humorous, and requested that she be put on speaker so she could secretly hear my conversation about marking this fish down. That's how ridiculous she thinks I am! So, I did.

I approached the young fish attendant, phone on speaker in one hand, the ripped up fish in the other, and the conversation went something like this:

"Hi, yeah, this fish looks like it came in really messed up, do you guys discount fish?" me asks.

"Uh, let me ask my boss?" he says, grabbing his walkie talkie. "Uh, yeah, this lady wants to buy a damaged fish, can we discount it?"....

Silence from all parties.

"Uh, ok." he says putting his walkie talkie back on his belt "No ma'am, my boss says we get credit for it either way (whatever that means) so we can't discount it!"

"Seriously?!" I ask, my face turning red at the mere thought that they think they could sell this "Elephant Man" of the fish world "Because no one is going to buy him, and he'll just die in here...".

"Yeah, she said no, sorry".

"Well, what happened to him?" I implored. At this point, I thought I saw the young man go sneakily to the walkie talkie, perhaps to call security.

"Sometimes at night when no one is here teens come in and put fish in the same cup to see if they fight or not, and they do, and they rip up each other. Sometimes we find them dead! " I sucked in my breath at this point, and he continued "I think that's what happened to this one!".

I clicked my phone shut, too angry to let Rebecca overhear now, and I started in on him about how they should lock them up and blah blah blah. He said no one could buy them if they are locked up at night. Who, I asked is buying a Betta fish in the middle of the night (well, perhaps me if I had insomnia).

"So, do you want the fish ma'am?".

"Bag 'em." I replied, at a loss for what to do, and not being able to leave him. "Because no one is going to buy him, and he'll just die in here...". My own words haunted me, and made me feel stupid as I carried this thing up to the cashier. I'm pretty sure the attendant snickered behind my back.

Well, long story long, I named him Vladimir, because he was sorta of a horror, and Vladimir is Dracula's first name, and he is the star of many a horror film and you get the picture. Plus, I always wanted to name something Vlad, so what better creature than this monstrosity.

I went online to see what I could do for him. He was really sad and pathetic, and didn't eat for 2 weeks. But, after I gave him some Betta medicine daily and changed his stinky water, and kept him away from the others so as not to frighten them, or make them sick, he started eating, just this week! And his bulbulous eye thingy has disappeared, and his fins look as though they are growing back! And I am just happy as a clam!

I have to ask myself why I would put this much thought and work (and a little dough) into a gross, sick Betta, and I really don't know. It's not like saving a cat or a dog. Honestly, I am not even going to try to justify it. I just thought it was a stupid funny story to share. I understand if you feel that I am mentally unstable and won't be visiting anymore. But I did save him dammit!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Annual Halloween Party

Every Halloween our local VFW hall holds a party for kids with disabilities and their family on the Friday before Halloween. We've gone for the past 4 or 5 years now, so this past Friday night was no exception.

It's always the same, you get there, you get in line and a row of friendly old folks give out a name tag, a goody bag, and several treats that you can tell they got from local organizations. After that excitement, you go into the hall and find a table. There is almost always someone we know there, so we sat down with a mom who brought her son with Down's and his "normal" twin. Casey immediately started dancing, as he is always wont to do.

He continued dancing for most of the 2 hours, stopping in between for bites of hot dogs, lots of drinks of pop, and a trip or two to the little Halloween Village (aka painted giant boxes that looked like buildings) where people handed out tons of candy, and my fat butt is so grateful for that! He loved it though, and had a great time. He even asked the dj to play "THe Monster Mash" again, his favorite Halloween tune. He even at one point walked up to a mom there and asked her if she was Sara Palin, because she looked like her, but I don't think she was in costume!

I guess what I love about this party so much is that our kids can look as goofy as they want, they can run around and just be themselves because really no one is judging them, they aren't out of their element. If we had been at a party on the same level but that wasn't for kids with disablitlies, I probably would have corraled Casey more, made him not run across the dance floor, not allowed him to flap around so much, but I didn't have to. There were kids in wheel chairs, with Downs, CP, adults with issues having a great time. And that same feeling I was feeling was almost palpable amongst the friends and family there. Everyone just had a wonderful time. THere were no pitiful or judgemental glances, just happy people being themselves. I don't mean to get corny, but I am sure some of you can definitely relate to that!

By the way, due to my lack of organization and planning, we went to WalMart 30 minutes prior to the party to find a costume. My boy actually chose a pirate costume, perhaps as an hommage to Captain Feathersword from the Wiggles? He looked way cute and kept most of the costume on all night! I of course forgot my camera. I'll have to get some shots on Halloween!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Casey's Dream Came True

I was going to do a Wordless Wednesday entry but I couldn't find a funny, interesting or controversial photo that I felt would warrant any comments, so I decided to finally post about a fabulous thing we did over the weekend.

Casey has been wanting to tour our local NBC affiliate WDIV channel 4 for a really looooong time now. At one point this summer I tried to satiate his pleas by just taking him down to the studio just to hang out in the front of it. That helped, a little. I was really having trouble trying to set up a tour, as I really had no "connections" and my emails were going unanswered.

Finally, just by chance, I found a "connection". I was at a party over the summer at a friend's house and we were discussing this whole Casey/studio tour issue. Suddenly, my friend Barb revealed that she knew a weekend producer from that station and that this woman had set up a tour for her scout troop! I was flummoxed! Who'd a thought my ol' friend Barb would be my connection? She was more than happy to give me the woman's number and I was more than happy to take it.

Well, long story long, I called, tried to set up a tour for his bday, didn't work. So, I took whatever I could get and so this weekend we had our tour scheduled. Casey, was flying high all week, talking about, the anticipation almost palpible.

We were scheduled to arrive at 9am, after the initial newscast was over and when they would be doing "break-ins" during the "Today Show". Casey was more than happy to get up that morning. The drive down to Detroit was smooth sailing and parking a breezed since it was the weekend. Casey was the first one out of the car of course, heading for the door of the studio.

We were welcomed by Lisa the producer who took us into the control room. It was really interesting to see how everything happens behind the scenes of a newscast and how many people are involved. Casey was a little bored with this part but was really good despite it.

Next, we got to go out to the studio. It was if the heavens had opened for Casey, he was excstatic! He couldn't stop talking about the "new" studio (which it was, being recently remodeled). We ran into mutual friends there, who were also touring! We met Andrew Humphrey, the weekend meteorologist, who was extremely kind. He showed us where he reports the weather, let us stand in front of the green screen, and even let Casey use his 'clicker' that changes the picture behind him. We got to see ourselves on camera in front of the maps, it was awesome. He was super nice and gave us a lot of time.

Unfortunately, Casey quickly lost interest in the weather when he spotted the news desk where the anchors sit. "There's the desk" he shouted. The producer allowed the kids to take turns sitting in the chair. Casey got to read from the teleprompter, which he is very good at.




We got to see the remote control cameras (no more cameramen anymore!), how they do the traffic report and much more. Best of all we got to stand in the actual studio while the did a breakin during the Today show. It was a little stressful as we were warned that we had to be really quiet and as you know, kids with Autism, well, can't sometimes. But he didn't utter a sound during the 5 or 10 minute span, we were really proud of him.

After that, we got to see the newsroom and where all the news vans were parked. It was just so cool to see the behind the scenes stuff. Casey was beside himself.

After we were done, we got in the car and he almost seemed to be in a trance. I asked him what he was thinking about, assuming his answer would have to be about our experience.

"Now, " answered, "we need to go tour WXYZ!"........geez............


Free Answers in Honor of SPD Awareness Month

I have perusing everyone's blogs lately and noting that many have recognized that it is indeed Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness Month. I was trying to come up with some way that I could properly recognize it here in my little neck of the blogging world, and had a "lightbulb" moment last night in the hot tub! No, not my own hot tub unfortunately. I am going to throw this out here and if I get any feedback, great. If not, it will just remind me of how few people read my blog, which won't be surprising.

So, my idea is to offer the services of my personal Occupational Therapist and sister to all of you. No, she can't come to your house, but, I can give people a chance to send me questions about your kid that you would like to ask an Occupational Therapist and I will relay them on to her and let her answer them for you! They can be about Sensory Processing, stimming, handwriting, behaviors, etc. She isn't a doctor of course, but she has been doing this for over 20 years, and most of those in a grade school setting. She deals with kids with Autism, PDD, ADHD, ADD, LODOFD (I made that one up, but you get the picture!). She has spoken at conferences on Sensory Issues among others. She is downright awesome.

I thought this might be a cool thing to do for people who don't have an OT at their disposal, or perhaps are not pleased with the OT they get at school, and want to know how to fix that. Just anything. I hope to get lots of questions for her, and I will keep your name anonymous if you wish.

If you have a question or two, just send them to my email address, let me know if you want your name connected to it, and I will pass it along to her and get an answer. Once I get this all together, I will make a huge post of these questions which will hopefully help not only the asker but others! My email is bbdavis6469@yahoo.com. so ask away.

I wanted to ask too if you are somewhat familiar with my blog if you would make some of your readers aware of this little service I am offering. I think this could be really cool, and if I get enough responses, maybe my sis could become a weekly guest!

Looking forward to your questions and thanks!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Miracle Belt...Does it Work?

I recently learned about a new sensory item on the news that worked like a weighted vest but wasn't quite as cumbersome. The report went on to mention how it helped many kids with Autism and ADHD, and how it affected their proprioception and balance and really helped them to focus more and be in tune with their bodies. It's a weighted belt called a Miracle Belt.

Casey's biggest issue at school is focus, and if you ever saw him walk, you know that he has trouble with knowing where his body is in space. In the past, I've had him carry a backpack with something heavy in it and you can tell a difference. So this Miracle Belt was appealing and I read up on it. www.miraclebelt.com

I finally broke down and got one, they aren't cheap but we felt like it could be helpful. So, after I got it and showed Casey, his first response was "Send that back!". Great! He went on to say that it was for babies, and it "hurt" after I bribed him to wear it for 2 minutes.

The same week I bought this cheapie little magazine that I like and came across an article about a boy with ADHD and how that very belt worked for him. It's in Woman's World magazine if you're interested in reading it. The mom in the story used a great idea of telling her son the belt would give him magic powers to think better. She's brilliant, I yelled at Casey to put it on, not making him like it at all. I actually read the article to him, and believe it or not, I think I sold him on it. Thank God for second chances!

So, presently, we are at the point where he will wear it when he does his homework. Now granted, this has only been in the last 3 days, but I can tell a difference when he's doing his work. Oddly, his writing, which is, let's face it, horrific, has been smaller, more precise, more legible. When I told him last night to do 4 worksheets his teacher had sent home (and requested I not help him with, that's another blog), he sat for a good 10 to 15 minutes straight, completing each one with just a little bit of encouragement from me to get things done. I was really bowled over! I looked over the work when he had finished, and although not perfect, or even correct at some points, he still sat, for a looong time, and finished. And he never tried to escape or complain! Stunning! A miracle in and of itself!

I am in no way selling these Miracle belts or am I affiliated with the company, but I just thought I would share my experience thus far. I know as a parent with a kid like Case, it's always nice to hear first hand what works and what doesn't, and this thing really seems to help him! Fortunately, they do have a trade in program because as the kid grows, so does the need for more weight in the belt. Right now the one he wears is about 4lbs.

I'll continue to report on any more improvements or miracles we see come from it, and I will be equally as eager to report how crappy it turned out to be. But I'm hoping for the best!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Now I'm Really Slackin'

Ok, day two and no thoughtful post, but I think that I wouldn't be very thoughtful in general if I didn't pass on this link to a great story. I can only hope someday this will be available for my kid! Enjoy....

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/19/magazine/19Autism-t.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=autism&st=cse&oref=slogin

Monday, October 20, 2008

Being a Bit Lazy Today

I have about 3 different things I want to blog about but need to find the time to do so properly. Having said that, today I am not blogging about any of those but leaving you with a link that will take you to some interesting stuff on what sounds like Autism Acceptance to me sent by a friend. Thanks Jack and Merrit!

http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/2008/beingautistic/

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Casey's Dream Came True

I was going to do a Wordless Wednesday entry but I couldn't find a funny, interesting or controversial photo that I felt would warrant any comments, so I decided to finally post about a fabulous thing we did over the weekend.

Casey has been wanting to tour our local NBC affiliate WDIV channel 4 for a really looooong time now. At one point this summer I tried to satiate his pleas by just taking him down to the studio just to hang out in the front of it. That helped, a little. I was really having trouble trying to set up a tour, as I really had no "connections" and my emails were going unanswered.

Finally, just by chance, I found a "connection". I was at a party over the summer at a friend's house and we were discussing this whole Casey/studio tour issue. Suddenly, my friend Barb revealed that she knew a weekend producer from that station and that this woman had set up a tour for her scout troop! I was flummoxed! Who'd a thought my ol' friend Barb would be my connection? She was more than happy to give me the woman's number and I was more than happy to take it.

Well, long story long, I called, tried to set up a tour for his bday, didn't work. So, I took whatever I could get and so this weekend we had our tour scheduled. Casey, was flying high all week, talking about, the anticipation almost palpible.

We were scheduled to arrive at 9am, after the initial newscast was over and when they would be doing "break-ins" during the "Today Show". Casey was more than happy to get up that morning. The drive down to Detroit was smooth sailing and parking a breezed since it was the weekend. Casey was the first one out of the car of course, heading for the door of the studio.

We were welcomed by Lisa the producer who took us into the control room. It was really interesting to see how everything happens behind the scenes of a newscast and how many people are involved. Casey was a little bored with this part but was really good despite it.

Next, we got to go out to the studio. It was if the heavens had opened for Casey, he was excstatic! He couldn't stop talking about the "new" studio (which it was, being recently remodeled). We ran into mutual friends there, who were also touring! We met Andrew Humphrey, the weekend meteorologist, who was extremely kind. He showed us where he reports the weather, let us stand in front of the green screen, and even let Casey use his 'clicker' that changes the picture behind him. We got to see ourselves on camera in front of the maps, it was awesome. He was super nice and gave us a lot of time.

Unfortunately, Casey quickly lost interest in the weather when he spotted the news desk where the anchors sit. "There's the desk" he shouted. The producer allowed the kids to take turns sitting in the chair. Casey got to read from the teleprompter, which he is very good at.




We got to see the remote control cameras (no more cameramen anymore!), how they do the traffic report and much more. Best of all we got to stand in the actual studio while the did a breakin during the Today show. It was a little stressful as we were warned that we had to be really quiet and as you know, kids with Autism, well, can't sometimes. But he didn't utter a sound during the 5 or 10 minute span, we were really proud of him.

After that, we got to see the newsroom and where all the news vans were parked. It was just so cool to see the behind the scenes stuff. Casey was beside himself.

After we were done, we got in the car and he almost seemed to be in a trance. I asked him what he was thinking about, assuming his answer would have to be about our experience.

"Now, " answered, "we need to go tour WXYZ!"........geez............


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Are You Kidding Me?

I'm at the library right now, killing time while Casey plays games on the library computers. He really shouldn't be playing the computer. At least I told his teacher that I wouldn't allow him to play on the computer today. Bet your wondering why, and why he's playing if I said that!?

Well, his teacher calls today, and after some polite small talk, tells me that there was a "situation" at school today. Her voice sounded grave, grave enough to cause me to have sudden images of Casey pooping on the floor (not something he does normally, on purpose) or Casey knocking someone over, or Casey screaming F*&^ so loud, the whole school heard it.

She explained that they were bringing that new para in that I talked about here, and she was going down with him and the regular para to science. As explained to me, he was following them (hhhhmmm, thought they were supposed to be shadowing him, hhhhhmmmm)when suddenly, and hold on to your hats...I hope you can handle this one....take a deep breath...

HE WENT INTO THE GIRLS BATHROOM!!!!!

That's right, he went into the girl's bathroom! Can you believe this? Stifling my laughter (and all you Autism moms know what I'm talking about, and if you don't, don't read my blog, you're uptight), I continued to listen. Apparantly, his sudden appearance in the girl's room caused quite a stir! All the girls started shouting "Casey (apparantly, everyone knows Casey), you can't be in here, get out!". HORRORS! His regular para rushed in and found him jumping and stimming and laughing (call juvenile detention!). He apparantly would not leave when asked, causing his para to report to the teacher that he was being obstinate. I personally think, know, that he was reacting to the rise he got out of the chicks in the bathroom.

Well, after they finally got to science, he didn't do so well, probably anticipating the punishment he was going to get when he got back to class. And indeed, he did, the teacher reported, lose computer time, and Coke! Needless to say he was upset.

When asked why he went into the girl's room, he said simply "I wasn't paying attention.". It's as easy as that. His teacher tended to want to believe him which was cool, and I did believe him. I was then interrogated by the teacher concerning whether I let him use the Ladies Room on a regular basis.

I don't like being questioned about things like this by someone who doesn't have a kid with a disability. In fact, I'm pretty sure anyone with a kid with a disability would never question such a thing. Of course I take him in the Ladies room when we're dadless (when Bill is with us, it's all boys room and urinals and whatever boys do in there). Would I let a 4 year old go into the men's room by himself? NO, and that's about Casey's bathroom mentality at this point in time. I think I covered all his habits here awhile back. There's no way I would let him go alone into a men's restroom with no way of helping him or wrangling him in, short of covering my eyes and making a mad dash past guys at the urinals. On top of those issues, how do I know some freak wouldn't follow him into the stall. I don't, and that's that.

So, to wrap this too long story up, I finally concurred with the teacher that this was indeed an inappropriate act, and that we would carry through with the punishment at home, and do a social story about it, blah blah blah....

But the more I thought about it, as much as it is his fault, and he shouldn't have done it, it's also their fault for not walking with him. And so I decided he will be punished by not playing the computer at home....the library is another story....hee hee

Please don't think I'm taking this all too lightly, I really don't like that he did what he did, but my God, there could be much worse things. It was cute by the way when I asked him what he saw when he went in there. "Girls washing their hands!". Of course.

On the flipside, we went for a well needed haircut and he did awesome. Five years ago, I had to strangle hold him while tears, saliva, and hair covered his face and mine, and I always felt like we both needed strong medication when we were done. This time, as in the past few recently, he sat straight, scrunched his shoulders only a little, and was just really good. See, for all you mamas of the little ones with Autism, there is hope!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Love Saturday, I Hate Saturday

We have a strange thing that happens in our house every weekend just about (like most people I'm sure on some level). Our thing of course involves Casey.

Every weekend, he is happy as a clam throughout Saturday morning. This time of the day usually includes breakfast, watching Qubo on NBC (a little group of kids shows all together they show from 10am to 1pm, but there is also a Qubo cable channel that shows the same shows all the time and this is important to this tale later), and dilly dallying on the computer.

When he first discovered Qubo, we couldn't leave the house until 1pm, when it was over. This rule sorta went down the tubes later on thank goodness. But now, after the day is over and night begins to fall, Case begins to get very emotional about Saturday in general, saying that it's not Saturday, kids shows are not over, etc.. He gets to the point of crying and really upsetting himself.

We switched cable companies recently and found out we now had this Qubo channel, and thought the whole issue he had each week would be done, because he could watch "kid shows" anytime he wanted. This however, has not helped for whatever reason.

Last night Dad took him for a bike ride. I was in the kitchen awaiting their arrival back. Through the open window, I could hear very loud talking verging on yelling and knew it was not neighborhood kids, but my child back from his ride. Bill was clearly upset with him and he was in tears. Bill explained that the first half of the ride was good, but then for whatever reason, Case began his beligured monologue again on how kids shows are over and it's not Saturday and all that same stuff, and all the while, yelling it very loudly while riding. He also goes so far as constantly telling us that it's not 2008, it's 2006! Ok, whatever.

Later on, I was helping him get ready for bed when I was trying to reason with him about this whole silly Saturday routine and how he had to let it go. I finally got out of him that it made him sad that Saturdays and Sundays go by so quick and then it's Monday. Ok, a breakthrough, so I guess when night starts to fall, perhaps he's reminded that the kids shows he used to only enjoy in the morn are over, it's almost Sunday, and Sunday is very close to Monday. I thought I had it all figured out.

But it just broke my heart that it tortured him so to anticipate the weekends being over with. I don't believe it's because he dislikes school or anything like that, I think it's just that he gets his ultimate down time on the weekends and he loves it so much. I tried to explain to him that weekends were like cookies, or pizza, sort of a treat, and that you always get one, it never changes, they always come.

I laid down with him to watch the Wiggles Magical Adventure for the 800th time and he seemed calmer. Then, Dad came in to say good night and he starts yelling "It's 2006, it's not 2008!".

Bill quickly kissed him on the head and scurried out of the room.....I laid there and endured some more bitchin' until he fell asleep. Guess this problem wasn't solved after all......

Any suggestions would be truly appreciated!