Tuesday, March 31, 2009

An Email Says it all

Mr. L---,
Our son, Casey Davis, is in your fifth grade vocal class. You may recall meeting me (Bonnie) prior to the Spring Fling last Friday.

Today, I attended the daytime performance of the Lewis and Clark presentation. After watching the performance, I have to ask why Ms. M.'s and Mrs. S’s students with ASD were not included in the onstage performances along with all the other fifth graders from general education and cross categorical classes.

With my video camera at the ready, I waited for the students with ASD (including my son) to have their chance to shine on stage with the other kids, but it never happened. I did however, film them sitting in their places next to the other kids, standing when they were supposed to, holding their song sheets appropriately and following along, singing their hearts out. Even one of the more severe students in the group was standing and singing, thoroughly enjoying herself.

This really angered and saddened me at the same time. As I watched the students on stage, I noted a lot of different kind of kids. Some did the choreography great, some stumbled a little, some sang with expression and some hardly opened their mouths. None of them seemed like they were on the road to stardom, but you could tell that all of them were having a great time, and probably experienced pride in the fact that they were on stage for their parents and friends to see. I just wish my son and his classmates had had this opportunity as well.

I tell you this in the hope that this scenario will not happen again and that Casey and his classmates will be included in any and all performances the school puts on. Personally speaking, Casey had the lines memorized from the CD that was provided and he had been doing some of the moves that were in the show for the last month. We just hadn’t realized where the moves had originated from until I witnessed other students performing the same moves on stage. Again, I just have to wonder why he didn't have the same chance to perform on stage as his fellow students.

Music is one of the greatest forms of self expression and shouldn't be limited by one’s disabilities.

Thank you,
Bonnie and Bill D.

We didn't got to the second performance this evening. We went swimming....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

3-D Makes for a Successful Movie Outing

Last night we went on one of our traditional "go see the latest kid crap movie" with our dear friends who have two kids themselves. We find that kids flicks are more bearable with other adults along for the usually boring ride, who are always happy and never embarressed to share a beer during the viewing! Yes, the theater that we pick out on purpose has a bar, if it doesn't, we have flasks. Call social services, whatever.

So, lately when Casey goes to see a movie, he's been known to hum and literally jibber jabber through most of it, unless of course he's trying to get us to take him to the bathroom at least 3 to 4 times during the film. Despite the fun concessions and gigantoid soft drink I allow him to have, he still can't get into some of the movies we've gone to see lately.

When my friend mentioned that the one we were going to see was in 3-D I was kinda curious and a little excited by the prospect. Earlier this week, Casey had found some 3-D glasses in a magazine (or more like a little board shaped like glasses that you had to hold on your face to look at 3-D pictures in the magazine). He actually asked me in his own way to make them stay on his face, so I punched holes and attached a string.

As you can see, it worked out pretty well, and he was happy. He wore them on and off the rest of the night and insisted on wearing them to school. I took him a little later so people wouldn't see him coming in with them on. I mean, I admit it, he looks a little goofy, but something about them and the way they make things look really appeals to him.

Back to the movie! Well, we got glasses going in, which were much better than the ones pictured. I tell ya, 3-D has come a long way since I was a kid. Things actually look like they are coming at you! At one point, I actually thought a person had stood up and was standing in the way of the screen, but it was a character in the movie! Whacky!

It kept Casey's attention too! I noticed he would watch, hold his hand out, as if to touch what was coming at him. Occasionally, he would look over the glasses to see what it looked like without. He even leaned over to me several times and asked a question concerning the plot. Comments were also made that were right on! I was thrilled!

Lesson learned? I guess in order for Casey to enjoy a movie, it has to be 3-D!

It's all how ya look at it right?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Is There a Therapist, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, etc. in the House?

If you are a regular reader to my blog, you know that for the most part I try to stay pretty upbeat. I really don't want this to be a whining forum, because personally I find it boring. Most of my time spent with Casey and Bill is great, with it's normal family ups and downs, but nothing horrible, so I don't have much too complain or whine about.

Now having said this, I think I should use my blog more to get input from other Autie parents. A lot people seem to get a lot of good advice as I read through comments on other blogs! Free, great advice from people with world's of experience. So I think I will take advantage of the possibliity of getting a bit of free and useful advice today and share something about Casey that's been happening as of late.

First, I can't pinpoint an exact reason, or subject or time, that has to do with this, it's very random. "This" being these very strange times for Casey of total breakdowns with tears and true fear showing in this face and his not being able to quite get out what it causing the episode at hand. Case in point, last night.

He was laying in bed when he suddenly started crying and saying that he had pictures in this head and he couldn't get them out of his head. We began to gently interrigate him, but to no end, hearing everything about the "picture" as being the one his wall that I quickly took down, to pictures from the computer ("Did you see something scary on the computer?" we'd ask? "No" he'd reply, fearful of losing computer). He laid there and just cried, screeching out occasionally but we could never quite get out of him what he was upset about.

He made his way into our bedroom where we have a tv hooked to cable and decided that watching a DVR'd show about a local news channels 60th anniversary would get the pictures out of head! I laid with him and watched, and he did calm down, almost as if the diversion of the tv show helped, as he thought it would. He eventually feel asleep, and slept fitfuuly all night.

Sunday at Special Olympics swimming he cried and was flustered all during practice, siting that it wasn't 2009, but 2007. This old debate has been going on for quite sometime now and I may have even blogged about it at some point. He has a thing about 2007, and I don't remember it as a great year, but he must. Yet another mysterious thing that causes a breakdown.

I could go on and on with little examples of these sort of episodes. He's 10 now, and about as tall as me (I'm guessing 5'5, 5'6) and 125 lbs. I am guessing that hormones maybe setting in although I have seen no evidence of puberty other than b.o.. I often fear that perhaps he might have some psychosis involved along with his Autism and it's starting to manifest itself. Could he be schizophrenic? He's afraid of mirrors and he is always afraid some toy that he hates is outside his bedroom window. Or, has he had bad dreams that sort of manifest themselves in his memory so strongly that they even affect him when he's awake? Or, is he acting out because of some other issue or emotion he is having that he's not sure how to deal with? COME ON PEOPLE! HELP ME! YOU'RE ALL PSYCHOLOGISTS AREN'T YOU?!!!!!

Speaking of, we do have an appointment with a doctor in May who is an MD and a psychologist who works a lot with kids with disabilities. I am really anxious to see her and share this stuff with her. Although I'm not really big on the idea of meds, I have to wonder if perhaps this is all anxiety driven and there might be something to help qualm all this craziness.

But still, tell me what you think, tell me your experiences, and if you haven't had any, send my blog to someone who has and ask them to comment. I need all the help I can get!.....

Friday, March 20, 2009

On my Soapbox Again......

I wasn't going to do it, I wasn't going to get on my soapbox about this, nope, wasn't gonna. BUT! But, I feel I have to to some extent, and I'll explain why.

First of, what am I getting on my soapbox over? Well, this. Click on the orange "this" for all you non computer relatives and friends and you will see President Obama making an appearance on the "Tonight Show". While chatting with Jay Leno, they discuss his bowling prowess, and President Obama jokingly likens it to Special Olympics!.......


UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When I saw this this morning over my bowl of Apple Jacks, well, my tummy sorta dropped and Bill and I were taken aback! Bill, who is hardly ever surprised nor stunned, was a bit! I felt like I suddenly didn't like the President for a few minutes, and wondered if he makes off-handed jokes like this in private too?

How can a man who I have practically idolized since he's come into the public sector say something like this? I luv him, I luv his wife, I love that he's African American and is the president. I love that his name makes people feel unstable, I love that he has a beer at basketball game and doesn't care if anyone sees him drinking it.

I guess his joke hits home because Casey goes to Special Olympics Swimming each Sunday. He loves it, and so do all the other kiddos with varying degrees of some disability or another. Non are a like, but they are a team, a group. When he's done, the older swimmers come in, happy to be there, happy to be with their friends, happy to be part of a team. If you have experienced any sort of Special Olympic event or practice, you know from where I speak. It is truly "special", and not in a goofy nice use of the word for disabled people!

So when you hear someone make such a comparison as the President did, it hurts a little. It all goes back to the fact, I believe, that the vast majority of people feel superior to those with disabilities, so it's easy to make such a joke about them, and unfortunately, it's funny to many.

I don't know if President Obama feels this way. I doubt he does, because I know he is a good person. And I know it's easy to do. I know kids with disabilities have funny gaits, funny ways of speaking, funny characteristics, all which they can't help. I know it's easy to use them as fodder in self deprecation. I have done it myself over and over. I can be the queen of insensitivity!

Which brings me back to why I feel like I have to get on my soapbox about this whole thing. It seems to be happening more and more.

Bill told me of a co-worker, during a discussion on Oscar winners, commenting that Dustin Hoffman should never have won for "Rainman". He didn't understand why someone would get an Oscar for acting like a "retard". I asked Bill if he said anything, considering his office mates know his son has Autism. He didn't.

I was working with my bosses boss this week when he was helping me do a little extra something that I usually do myself. I joked that they need to hire assistants for us and he said "Yeah, maybe we could hire some disabled kids!". Did I say anything? Nope, I did not.

So, is this passivity that Bill and I exhibited the norm? Should we start speaking up when people make such comments, even if it might embarrass a boss, friend or co-worker, or President? I know I've been taken to task for a comment I've made here and there. It did embarrass me, put me on the defense even, but it made me think. It made me be more conscious (especially since Casey was born) of what I say.

Do I stumble occasionally? Yes, I admitted to being the queen of insensitivity!

And so, I am getting on my soapbox to say, with my bullhorn in hand pointing to you my audience, and symbolically to myself, "PEOPLE, THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK! CONSIDER OTHER'S FAMILIES, CONSIDER OTHERS PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES, CONSIDER OTHERS FEELINGS BEFORE YOU REFERENCE A CERTAIN GROUP OF PEOPLE TO GET A LAUGH! THINK!

That includes you President Obama, but I still luv ya!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Casey's First Review

Casey's been watching homemade movie reviews on You Tube and wanted to do a "review" of his own. He wrote and produced, and I was the camera woman!

Monday, March 16, 2009

What Makes You Giddy?

As I drove up my driveway today, I noted a box by the side door. As I got closer, I could read the name on the outside of it, the company that I order monthly from to get Eco friendly cleaning stuff and body stuff and vitamins. I believe I mentioned the company in one of my prior postings, but I'm not even going to link you to it. When I do mention the name, or talk about how much I like this or that, people always think I'm trying to sell them something, but I'm not, and thusly, I don't want you to think that either... again, I'm not trying to sell anything.

Whenever I get these shipments, I get this little flutter in my chest, like you do when you get a present from someone who you know buys really good presents. I know what's going to be in there, I ordered the stuff. It often eludes me at that point what it is I ordered, it's usually been a little short of a week since I made my order, so it's sorta like a surprise to open. Often, I order things I've never tried, and since it's mail order only, I've only seen pictures, and never had the chance to smell or hold the item. Yet another exciting aspect, for me, to get my box from #$(!$(@#$%. It's sorta goofy that something like this can make me this giddy, but it does, and maybe that's a small part of the reason I order this stuff, other than I think it's awesome and know it works great.

My point of sharing this sorta of pathetic little tale is the idea that isn't it great in life that such little things can make us giddy, give us a little happiness and/or excitement in such a bursty fun way that it can really give you something to look forward to. For me it's little things, like getting this box once a month. It can also be something so small as getting my favorite Fage Greek yogurt with honey on the side at Trader Joe's and knowing it's in the frig, waiting for me later that night. It's buying a new thing of eyeshadow and trying it out. It can be knowing I need to go to PetSmart to load up on cat and fish supplies and having an excuse to go over and visit the homeless kitties. Just silly little things that perk up my spirit.

And really, in this day and age of watching one's budget, not taking trips very often, not really going out on big shopping sprees, or eating out as much as we used to, it's nice to have little things to bring out that feeling of giddiness.

Now, you're probably thinking, "Uh, what about Casey's awesome time at school? Doesn't that make you giddy?". Of course, something like that makes me ecstatic! Anything with Casey doing well or progessing is a blessing from above! But the little things I speak of are strictly for me, my little joys in life and no one elses, my special little treats!

So, what makes you giddy?

PS: although the woman in the picture above is looking excited and GIDDY, it's not me!~

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just a Bunch of Stuff

Wow, I got a whole hour to myself! So what do I do?

Do I change the sheets on all the beds (all 2) which really should be changed?

Do I workout my big fat butt that really needs to be worked out?

Do I map out my work for tomorrow as I navigate the mean streets of Detroit, checking out new stores to call on for my boss, who chose to stay off the mean streets of Detroit herself?

Do I make some spaghetti and fake meatballs and blog?

YES! That's what I am going to do, and still maybe have time change the sheets. The rest can go to hell!

Where should I start? I suppose the latest on Casey and his school situation would be my best bet, considering this blog is about him primarily.

So, he's doing great. We have the whole day back to a routine that is working for him. We get continuous great reports from his loving teacher, and he is just a joy to be around (for the most part). You can tell his anxiety level has dropped profusely since getting back to his original classroom and out of a room that expected him to be just like all the kids.

His teacher and we have both noticed a lot more speech, conversational speech, coming out of him. He initiates a lot of conversations, which is always awesome.

The mornings are a breeze. No more mystery sicknesses, no more not getting out of bed, no more arguments. He actually bounces around in the morning, eats great breakfasts, and is extremely cooperative. It's amazing what a few changes at school can do for a boy.

I recently went to Chicago for a 3 day meeting. My mommy came and stayed to help Bill out with being there when Casey got home from school and what not. Bill actually loves for her to come because she is a cleaning addict and feels she needs to be doing so at all times, in between watching various reality shows and Dr. Phil. I joked to Bill that really the only difference of having her here instead of me is the clean factor (oh, and the whole sex thing can creep it's sick joking little head in there, but we'll let that go!!!)

I got to hang out with her a bit more when I got back and then Case and I took her back to Indy over the weekend. It was fun visiting with the chicks in the family, including my lovely neices, who are usually pretty busy! And we dyed my hair, on the recommendation of my neice and sister who are way hipper than I, and got it back to it's actual brunette tone. It's still taking some getting used to coming from a drab washed out light brown/dark blond, but it's growing on me. No, I will not include a photo.

Disturbingly, our basement is flooding right now. No standing water (yet) but just water flowing into whatever drain it can reach, drenching part of our carpet, forcing us to wear rubbery shoes each time we go do laundry. We had to use various workout equipment pieces to build a 'bridge' for the kitties to reach the litter boxes so they don't have to slosh through the wet carpet. It sucks, but I am trying to tell myself much worse things could be occurring.

Billy's 45th b-day is this weekend so a lovely dinner with our family has been planned. Should be fun! I still hate that he's 5 years older than I and looks younger. Oh well.

And that's about it! I kinda feel like I just produced one of those nerdy Christmas letters people send out with their cards each year. Around here, we enjoy having Bill do dramatic readings of such letters, much to my amusement. Everything is always wrapped up in a pretty little package in them, and those who wrote them always seems to have it just a little better than we do! I hope you don't come away with that same feeling after reading this...I mean we can't all have a flooding basements and old husbands!

I gotta go strain my sgetti....

Thursday, March 5, 2009

What is Wrong with Me?

Gosh it seems like forever since I last blogged, and gosh, it seems like I start out most of my blogs in this very fashion! What is my deal? Okay, I have been in Chicago for the last 3 days for a stupid meeting all about the stupid field I'm in. I really didn't seek out computer access while there, and not having it readily available (unless I paid out 6.95 on my credit card for who knows how long on in the hotels media center), became somewhat of a respite for me.

I really find myself to be a self made slave to the computer. My job has me out in the field for most of the day, so I don't have one where I am at the computer all day. So, before I even feed my hungry critters (Casey not included in this group, he's usually still snoozing), I hop on and check email, check Facebook, check my work email, check PerezHilton.com.
Then, while Casey and I are having breakfast, I go through them again. I'll shoot off a funny "wall" comment on Facebook, reply to something my boss sent a general email about, check to see if someone commented my blog.

I'm off to school and work, and then I get home about 15 minutes before Casey's bus, and what do I do? I get on and check all the aforementioned again. Wow, it's been 7 hours, and nothing new! Imagine!

Casey gets home, hops on the computer. It's his down time okay! Sue me. Suddenly he runs into the toilet, and I quietly rush over and start to check Facebook, someone has to have commented on my status by now, 'cause it's funny right?....."Mommy's on the computer!" shouts Casey as he's furiously pulling up his pants running from the bathroom, not flushing. Nobody commented on my status, and I got an email from Kmart.com about their latest sales....yawn.

I finally kick Casey off to persue other interests (ie Pee Wee videos, and Pee Wee videos, and oh, Pee Wee videos). I hop on once again to see all the activity that has occured in the 45 minutes since I last checked. Ha ha oh look, Rebecca commented on my status...oh look, someone sent me a green beer for St. Pats Day. Send one back? Ignore....Casey's teacher just emailed to say he had a good day. Well, that was worth stopping and checking for at least. No one has commented on my blog. Maybe because I haven't been on it for about a week. Go figure.

Yes, I am pathetic. I will say that I actually canceled my Facebook account for almost a whole week! Yes, I know, what a sacrifice. I know. I have to confess though that I did get on Bill's account, just to see if anyone commented on my sudden disappearance. There was a mild wave of curiosity, but I don't think anyone particularly cared. But, just as my dear friend predicted, I was back in less than a week! I couldn't stand it. But I have to ask, what was it that I was missing?

Is it a feeling of being connected to others? Is it being part of something that everyone else is? What is it that makes one feel that they have to constantly be checking for recognition? What I ask you, makes me give a rat's ass if someone reads my blog? I swore I was writing it for myself! It's crazy!

And so, I sit here now, writing this entry, which is pretty self deprecating and a little embarrassing. I'm guessing though very relatable? Right?.....perhaps you'd like to comment?.....I'll be checking later.....