Saturday, January 31, 2009

School, Weather, Friends and All that that Entails


I have been really bad about not keeping up on my blog. I have to confess sometimes, I get so tired of thinking about "AUTISM". I told my sister just yesterday that I am beginning to think it would be much easier to just consider Casey excessively quirky and go from there.

This whole past week was sort of a debacle at school, shouting, yelling that he farted, yelling in the bathroom, fighting me to go, and then, ultimately, getting sick Friday morning. Gee, could there have been some connection? Perhaps he didn't feel good all week?

On top of school issues, the weather has been sucky at best, cold and snowy, hard to drive in in my stupid Chevy Cobalt. But, since I have to drive for my job, I don't have much choice. Constantly telling myself "You're lucky to have a job! You're lucky to have a job!", I wallowed in self pity a little less but still did despite my attempts at "glass half full"ness.

It's always hard when your kid is sick too. I had to take a sick day (this early in the year) and worse than that, he was vomiting throughout the morning. Oddly by 11am, he was asking for computer and Jalapeno Cheddar Cheetos! A quick recovery I would say, and for a moment I had to wonder if the vomiting and the sick stuff was an act, but knowing Casey doesn't quite get the fine art of "faking" yet, I suppose all the vitamins I pump into him might have put him on the mend. Oh well, it was a good excuse to hang out with him for the day, give him a break from the torture that is school, and get my laundry caught up, and I didn't have to drive!

We've had a bit of a "friend" issue as of late. I might have mentioned it in a past post but don't have the mental energy to try to reference it here, a little boy at our pool has taken a liking to Casey and wants to constantly come over to our house or have Casey come to his, which ain't happenin'! I have had to cancel out on him twice now, and I had good reasons, but I think subconsciously, I know Case has no interest in him, not because Case is Autistic, he just has no interest in this particular boy. In the past, he has had other kids that he gets interested in, and somewhat connects and I know he has it in him. But to force a friendship doesn't seem productive to me, especially considering this kid who is very controlling, argumentative, and well, I'll say it, a little bratty.

So, I envision him coming over, Casey running off to do something he WANTS to do, and this kid following me around asking questions and wanting me to play with him. NO, I'm not doing it. Why then, do I struggle with all this when I know it will be a bad situation to have him over? I guess I just want Casey to have a friend so bad, I sometimes feel like I settle for things and it never becomes anything, and this might be that very kind of situation.

Coincidentally, I watched my good friends boys the other night, one of them being Autistic and being on the same level as Case but of course having completely different, awesome attributes, and her younger being just one of the sweetest little guys I know and they all hung out. They just played around each other, and although Case didn't make a huge effort to play with either one or they him, there was parallel play, and sort of an unspoken kinship. It was fun, and I probably should have them over again, real soon.

Isn't it funny how sometimes something that you're seeking is right there in your lap but your too busy looking for it to notice!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ugh.....

As reported here, point sheets and intense smelling of others has been cause for much ado in Casey's new classroom. Yesterday, this was no less of an issue. Ugh... I looked at his point sheet promptly after he got home to find 2 forms stapled to them. Long story long, it was reported that he "kissed" a boy that he considers a good friend out on the playground. This boy is a friend he knows from regular ed and I have always been happy that the kid gives him the time of day.

I honestly can't imagine the whole scenario as it was explained but I think at recess Case leaned over, and did his overtly close sniff thing to this boy, the boy freaked thinking Casey was kissing him, others saw, a parapro saw and hell ensued! Egads.....So I guess they took him to the office and had a time out. There it is.

It was a bit sad when I questioned him about the whole incident, unphased by his actions but oh so phased by the schools reaction! I think he was told he was in trouble for trying to kiss his friend so much, that he couldn't even relay to me that he was sniffing him. He doesn't just kiss people, HE SMELLS THEM!

He didn't seem overly upset about the whole thing. I am hoping he got something out of the whole broo ha ha, clearly he didn't from his last incident.

I don't mean to sound so easy going about the whole thing, but I have found if I freak over everything that happens at school, I would be freakin' a lot, and I do that enough at home, work, etc. I figure as long as he isn't being physcially tortured, mentally bruised, and no tears have fallen, let them handle it! Yeah, I suck.....

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wiis, Miis, and Creativity!

We got a Wii over the weekend, finally. We had promised Casey one for Christmas and then, stupidly, tried to find one a week before Christmas, and of course, no one had one. He's been bugging us ever since. I finally tracked one down at Toys R' Us Friday night and literally raced to get it.

Case was excited, but Bill and I ended up playing with it more that night than him. He really wanted his game Big Brain Academy that his Aunt Sue had got him to play in Indy. She promised she would send it, but it hasn't arrived yet.

Saturday, he seemed to have very little interest in the Wii despite our repeated attempts at getting him to play, and ultimately, playing eachother while Casey sought out other activity (not activities, activity, computer). Since we got it the night before, all he showed interest in doing was creating Miis, your little namesake person that you use to play the games.

So in the interest of getting him off the computer, and getting him interested in his new gift sans the game he wants to play most, I told him to create some more Miis for the little area where the Mii gather. It looked a bit lonely with just Bill, Casey and Me. He actually thought this was a cool idea and proceeded to do so.

Today, he hopped on and started in his Mii creations again. I looked at the ones he had made, aimlessly wondering around the Mii mall or whatever they call it. Most of them looked acutely similar to his orginal one, except with longer hair, or shorter or taller. Suddenly, I saw an African American female Mii strolling by. I asked Case who that Mii was, so he grabbed her with his virtual Mii grabber and the name "Reba" popped up over her head. "Reba?" I asked? "Reba the mail lady on Pee Wee's Playhouse!" he replied matter of factly. I couldn't help but crack up, not only does he like creating Miis, but he had to create ones from shows he likes! What a clever little boy. We shared a laugh together as he put Reba back down with her Mii friends.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Silly Thought that Lead to My Evilness....

I sat in awe yesterday as I watched the news coverage of the plane that landed in the Hudson River yesterday! To tell the truth, I think I was more in awe of the fact that something like this ended so well more than the pilot's skill, how it landed, etc.. It's seems in this day and age, the news is always, well, bad. Just bad, bad news. The war in the Gaza Strip, the finding of the remains of that poor little girl in Florida whose weird mother might have killed her, the horrible cold snap that is really debilitating large parts of the country. The list goes on. But there I was, watching a "Special Report" the even interrupted the great Oprah, reporting the fabulous news that 155 people had lived through landing in a freezing cold body of water and lived to tell the story! Awesomeness!

So, at this point, the silly thought I mentioned in the title suddenly invaded my mind. I had just been to a presentation on Brain Gym the night before, which is based on a lot on good energy, and how if you present good energy to a child or those around you, it will come back to you. Well, (and let me preface my statements right now by saying, if you hate Obama, or you're gonna hate me for being positive about him, or just hearing about him in a positive light in general, x out now), perhaps the excited energy coming from the population due to Obama's upcoming inauguration sorta flowed to that plane, to that situation, and thus, the safe landing.

Yes, I know that's silly, that's why I said a" silly thought", Silly! But it would be nice to think that if we could all produce that much positive energy, horrible things, like plane crashes, could be diverted. Murderers would feel the wave of what I picture as rainbows emulating from our bodies and think "Bad idea!", our enegry waves would combine and push the cold out, our energy waves would make companies let go of one over paid white collar nerd to allow 3 blue collar hard working folk to hang on to their jobs. Ah, one has to wonder what the power of positive energy could do if millions had it.

I brought up the whole Obama thing because that's something I can personally say is causing me to emit a lot of positive energy, it's very exciting. It makes me feel like I feel when I put a fresh coat of paint on the wall and everything is fresh and new and the old is covered and forgotten. And thus, this Obama Energy is what lead to my evilness alluded to in my title!

A great friend of mine who happens to be a staunch Republican and I were discussing the crash on the phone this morning, and I started in on my whole Obama Energy theory. I knew it wouldn't go over well as I said it, but I said it anyway just to, just to well, first express my thoughts, but also, to piss her off! Is that mean? It was just fun mean, just to get a rise out her. It did. We're still friends though! I guess that positive energy doesn't get soaked up as easy as I hoped!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What a morning! After a nearly flawless morning with little to no yelling due to a pretty cooperative boy, I was off to work. My first call was at a store that is probably a good 5 miles away from home and school. I arrived, did my work, and got back in my car, ready to jaunt off to my next call. The weather this morning was pretty crappy, windy with blowing snow, and already cold temps dropping by the hour.

Suddenly my cell phone rang and the name of Casey's school popped up on the caller ID. "Shit" I thought immediately "either he's puked or hurt himself." His new teacher greeted me warmly, the conversation going something like this:

"Hello"
"Hi, is this Mrs. D@#*( ?"
"Yes"
"Hi, this is Mrs. C*&^%"
"What's wrong?"
"Oh, well, this has not been good morning!"
"No?"
"No, first off Casey complained of needing glasses. Does he wear glasses?"
"No, he doesn't."
"OK, well, he said he needed them and at one point said he needed his F*&^ing glasses!"
"Oh Jesus!" (gee, why didn't I just tell her then that I have a profuse potty mouth and she can thank me for that word usage?)
"Yeah, so he lost his morning break which he of course wasn't happy about but you know, that can't be tolerated."
"No, I understand."
"Also, we had a transformer blow out and we have no electricity or heat at this time. My classroom as you know is in the middle of the school and we have no windows so we've moved to the reading lounge." (did you have reading lounges when you were in school? I think they were called libraries?!).
"Oh wow, that's not good!"
"No, so can you come and get him?"
"Oh, are they letting the whole school out?"
"Not at this point, but,....I mean I can take him down to his other room but the teacher is sick and there's a sub."
"Well, is he sick?"
"No, but he's upset and ...."
"Okay, I'll come and get him."
In a rather much happier and perky voice "Okay, we'll be waitin' in the office!".

So there I go hauling my cookies all the way back up to school, having a thousand different emotions at that point, hating his teacher for not knowing how to deal apparently, pissed off at our choosing to make this whole class change for more reasons than I care to go into at this point, pissed that my job is such that now I have to take a valuable sick day this early in the year. I think I was most upset that it just seemed point blank that it was decided he had to be taken out. There was no dealing with him apparently. Why didn't I say more? Why didn't I say what I was thinking right then?

I pulled up to the main street the school is on to a line of cars waiting to go through an intersection with traffic lights that didn't work, and noted after make my cautious turn through it that most of the buildings were dark. Pulling up to the school, I could see children sitting in the lobby having class on the floor. I went into the office where I was met by his teacher. She apologized profusely about calling me and said she was frustrated that they weren't making an effort to dismiss the children. As we were walking, a tall shadowy figure with sound canceling earphones was coming towards us along with his parapro. His voice carried down the hallway, "Oh boy, the lights are out! This is not right! OK everybody, see you tomorrow, I'll be back tomorrow!". This line was said twice before he finally reached us. His teacher looked at me and said "Yeah, he's not dealing well with this." Clearly.

She thanked me and said she had to go as she was considering calling the rest of the parents of her class. At that point it was 63 degrees and getting colder in there, on top of the darkness. Casey continued his self regulating diatribe on seeing everyone tomorrow and how this wasn't right as we proceeded to the car. I felt a little better about the fact that he was distraught, and that she wasn't trying to just get rid of him, but probably felt that this was the best thing for him.

So, we're going to a movie later! Oh, and a friend just called, the power is back on at the school.....sigh........

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Scent of Things

As mentioned in prior posts concerning Casey's new classroom situation, they now send home daily a point sheet which details his day in terms of how many points he gets or points he gets taken away (for bad behavior). It's sorta ridiculous really, not only because the points are in groups of 500's and Casey needs a calculator at this point to add 5+9, but because points are not a big motivator for Casey. Sure, if he gets so many points, he gets computer time or he gets to go to some party they plan at the end of the week etc. So, it's not so much the points, but the reminder of what he gets if he maintains all his points that really, well, makes the point, to Casey.

While I call the system "ridiculous", for some reason, the point sheet is the first thing I pull out of his backpack each afternoon after he gets off the bus. I can't wait to see how he did and how many points he got, and also to see if they wrote any comments. Monday, he got a pretty good report, it actually said he had a really good day!

Immediately following that however, it said that there had been 2 episodes of him grabbing a para's head and his new teacher's head so he could "smell" them. This is a pretty common practice in our household. Prefaced with a "Let me love you Mommy." said in a rather sultry voice (weird I know, but it is sultry) he grabs me round the neck and pulls the side of my head to his nose and sniffs me deeply. Being the olfactory sensitive child that he is, I suppose he's soaking me in this way. He also tends to do this to other women (no, I'm not too jealous), and usually ones who he likes. I'm used to it but his unsuspecting subjects aren't. I can only imagine how well these little episodes went over at school....well enough for him to lose some of those all important points. Reportedly, they told him "No thank you" and gently pushed him away.

That sorta made me sad. I mean, I know it's inappropriate at school, and I usually try to banish this behavior out in public, especially since he his about my height and when he does it I'm pretty sure it looks really weird to any onlookers nearby. But at the same time, it's sorta sad that his senses cause him to seek out scents as a comfort, and he's told it's wrong.

People use their sense everyday for pleasure, listening to music, smelling flowers, watching a sunset, touching something silky. But, as usual Autism throws a wrench into things for Casey using his senses for his own pleasure. It kinda goes along with say, oh dancing vs. stimming. Sure, it's okay for folks to wiggle around rhythmically to music on a dance floor together. It feels good and it's fun. But a kid stimming in a mall because it feels good is suddenly cause for paparazzi like cell phone photography. I guess that's why when Casey starts stimming out in public I occasionally do it with him, there's power in numbers.

Needless to say, his loss of points at school for this "behavior" was all the punishment he got for these incidents. I explained to him why he could only do it at home to me, and he said "Let me love you Mommy.", and with his nose pressed firmly to my temple, I did.....

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Not Much to Report.....

Wow, back to the routine and nothing to much really to report.

Case made it to school the last couple of days with no problem other than a disorganized mother floundering around in the morning trying to get him ready after she has allowed him to sleep in much too late. I really need to get the child to bed earlier, perhaps using the old Melatonin again, although if I recall last time, he said he heard voices even worse than he usually does when he took it! I really am a loser when it comes to organizing time in the morning for him and me! Really, what makes me think that I can get up by 6:45am and get him and me out the door bathed, tooth brushed, fed and fully equipped by 8:20? I truly need to get up at 5am to get my shit together. Gee, maybe I'll try that tomorrow. I'll let ya know how that goes!

I am not sure how school in the new classroom is going for him yet, 'course he's only been back 2 days. I need to give him at least a week to get back into the swing of things I think. I did cancel our IEP scheduled for Wednesday because I still don't think he's had enough time to transition over. The director I emailed concerning my cancellation fully agreed, a total shocker, so I hope another month or so might get him into the swing of things. This I will update you on as well 10 Readers!

As for me, I really thought I would try to take off the 30 lbs I gained over Christmas with healthy eating and a strict exercise regime, but after imbibing in 3 not so "Fresco" style items at Taco Bell and what remained of a hefty box of Gobstoppers for lunch, you could say my intentions flew to the wayside for the day! Oh well, in the immortal words of Scarlett O'Hara (my hero) "Tomorrow is another day!".


My as I be so bold as to implore all of you to go and read and COMMENT on my poor hubby's newly established blog. I believe after 2 entries and 4 comments left, he's ready to give up! Quitter!

Oh, if you are familiar with Temple Grandin, the famous adult Autistic who has written many books and has a new one out, not really so much about Autism this time, then you might enjoy this interview with her from NPR. If you don't know of her, you might give it a listen. I always learn a little something whenever I hear her speak!

One more little self indulgence if you will. I thought I would post my families Christmas photo from this year! We really are handsome bunch!


Sorry it's so small, can't fix it for some reason! Ta ta for now!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Heart Goes Out to the Travolta Family

I know they will probably never read this and I'm not writing this thinking they will, but I just want to say how very sorry I am for John Travolta and his family over the loss of their son Jett. It really hit me yesterday when it was the first thing I saw on Yahoo news.

John Travolta has been in some of my favorite movies, Grease, Saturday Night Fever (and I even like Saturday Night Fever 2 for all it's cornieness). I watched "Welcome Back Kotter" as a kid and like most young ladies in the 70's, had a tremendous crush on him. From all reports he seems like a super nice guy, and given how long he and his wife have been married, you got give him credit for that too.

It wasn't until recently that while surveying various blogs that it came to my attention that rumor had it his son was Autistic. I was fascinated since it seems like most celebrities with children with Autism make it their cause celeb. I had never heard that rumor before so I started investigating. I personally never found a for sure sort of source saying it was true. There were stories on some Kawasakis Disease Jett was said to have. But no concrete evidence.

I got sorta irritated by this. Was he hiding his Autistic son? I started finding a lot of photos of the family, and perhaps I was looking for "somehthing", a "sign", but there were shots that he had the"look" in. I don't know if one just gets this ability from being around their own kid and their friends Autistic kids to pick up on this, but there is a "look" to kids with Autism that seem common among many, sort of a disconnectedness when everyone else is looking at the camera and smiling in a photo, eyes elsewhere, mouth slightly open, both expressionless. The way the hands and the body are held. I can't explain it but somehow, you can just tell. It's not a bad thing, it just is, and I know not all kids with Autism look this way in every photo or everyday, but it happens. I picked up on this in some of the photos I saw of Jett Travolta, but again, was I looking for it?

Anyway, I sorta lost my interest in the subject after that. Clearly, the family didn't want to make it public if it were true. I read today that Scientologists don't even recognize Autism as it's own condition, but as a mental illness like any other. Maybe that's why they didn't address it as such.

But when I heard the news of Jett's horrible death, my mind went right back to this thought that he could have been Autistic, and it made the news of a young mans death even that much worse. I have never ever connected Autism to any sort of threat of death due to it being a condition. Not like Leukemia or something similar. But, I know a lot of kids who have seizures due to their Autism, and apparantly, this could have been the case. Our boy has never been tested for seizures, but just the other day, my sister noted how he can gaze for long periods without blinking, something I never noticed. Could that be seizure activity?

This story is so sad and tragic no matter what was going on with Jett. I sort of hope though, that if and when they do find what caused it, they might address it to the general public and let people know if this is something that could happen to them, maybe raise public awareness. I know, a lot to ask of a family who just lost a child. I think though, that is why this particular story, despite Travolta's celebrity, has affected me. It might be hitting home in a way I never thought about or wanted to!

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Shout Out!

My dear hubby has decided to start a blog! Please feel free to visit and give him an encouraging comment, please!! He keeps asking me if someone has commented on it yet! Egads.....

I'm excited about this because he writes corportate "pap" as he calls it, so it would be nice to see something a little more creative come out


Check it out here

Thanks!

By the way, don't miss my most current entry before this!

Different Place, Different Child....

Case returned the other day from his big visit down in Indy with his Aunties. He had a lot of fun bowling, visiting the Children's Museum, going to movies, etc. I got great reports from both sisters on his behaviors.

I was told how sweet he was, how much affection he gave them, the laughs they had! I was glad, and I'm glad he can be away from me and "keep it together" as it were. I know a lot of kids with Autism have a really hard time with change and change in routine, but for the most part, this has never been one of Casey's issues (although he does have many). I suppose this could be attributed to the fact that we have traveled back and forth to Indiana since he was a baby, making his first trip the December after he was born.

Since then, we probably go there at least 5 to 6 times a year. He's great in the car, except for the years he was potty training, and that was more about my own anxiety that there would be an accident in the ol' car seat. Nothing really phases him, with the help of radio and a dvd player.

The one thing that bums me out a bit when he visits them, and at the same time I find so cool, is how well he does with schedules there. My sisters both make him a schedule for the day, mainly to keep him off the computer for prolonged periods of time. And, he follows them, thus the coolness. I heard several times how he was told to check his schedule and he would pick up from there and do whatever was next, making things go smoothly, and keeping him off the tv and computer for the better part of the day.

The thing that bums me out about this is that it is almost impossible for me to implement a schedule here. I really try, I will write out everything he has to do to deserve some time on the computer. For example:

1. read 3 books with Dad
2. jump 100 times on the trampoline
3. play a board game with mom
4. go swimming
5. eat lunch
6. computer time

But all I get is a fight and a grousing boy running into his bedroom to turn on his second thing in the whole world, one of his favorite videos, so he can "dub" and rewind certain parts 500 times before I have to yell at him. Don't get me wrong, I occasionally get some cooperation, but for the most part, my little creature of habit isn't having it! After he returned home and I tried a schedule, he actually told me "I don't do schedules here!". Groowwwwllll!

And I think that is the biggest obstacle I face as far as getting him to follow a schedule, being home. When he's home, it's comfort time. When he's at his Aunt's, he's out of sorts a bit, maybe looking for more guidance perhaps, and that's why a schedule works for him so well. I think it gives my sisters a certain sense of accomplishment as well, especially when he is cooperative, pleasant and fun.

So, I will bask in the satisfaction that our little guy was a joy to be around for his Aunts, and maybe even take some credit for his being so good, maybe we've done a few things right. And, I will make it a New Years Resolution to make schedules work at our house too!