Friday, October 8, 2010

Time Flys When Things are Up in the Air!

Wowzer! I cannot believe we are 5 weeks into school and I have yet to post a single entry on my beloved BLOG.

The summer flew by pretty much without a hitch. Camp was great, Casey loved it and really had a wonderful time. We struggled with the last couple of weeks of no camp/no school to keep him tended to and busy. But other than that, a really, really lovely summer was had by all!

Having said that, I spent much time this summer, despite all the pleasantness, being a bit anxiety ridden over the approaching school year and what it had in store for our boy. Going back through my previous posts, I noticed a huge lack of info regarding his 7th grade year. I'm wondering if I was just avoiding the issue, or was being lazy, or both.

If it was because I was avoiding the issue, that would be due to our big decision to put him in a new setting for his 7th grade year at a whole new school. For years now, he's been in what is referred to in our district as an "AI' program, or for all of you who have trouble with acronyms as I do, an "Autistically Impaired" program. In short, usually a small group, 4 to 5 students with 2 paraprofessionals and a teacher. This has been his life at school since he was about 1 and 1/2 years old. It's very controlled, good in some ways, not good in others. We have been lucky to have great teachers and paras. The concept of the AI class for Casey was probably a bit of a mistake after about 4th grade.

But, and that's a big "but", he was safe, and worse yet, he was always the star of the show! He was always the highest functioning in his group. If I had had a "Casey" in his room with him, I would have been thrilled as a parent.

A dear friend of mine who is also my advocate, and in a way, a mentor in all things educationally related with our kids, was constantly pushing for her son to be in regular ed. based on all her vast knowledge on Inclusion she had gained from numerous conferences she's attended and books she has read. I kept Casey in the AI, because I didn't go to a lot of conferences, I didn't read a lot of books. He was safe in the AI rooms. Was she nuts to send her guy out into the real world?

I think in hindsight, my friends belief that inclusion was the best thing for many of our kids was rubbing off on me, but not to the point that she was at. So, 5th and 6th grade came and went. I got a bee in my bonnet, and forced some issues with him being in what is called the Cross Categorical classrooms part of the day then. This Cross Cat., for short, is a program for children who have varying "disablitiies" and not necessarily Autism. They run the program pretty much like a regular ed. program, but with many modifications to help the kids get through the day on their terms. I felt safe still, knowing that there were paras in that program as well. And those kids weren't "typical" either.

But, it never really worked for him, especially in 5th grade, when there were just too many transitions, and a special ed. teacher, who believe it or not, admitted she had little knowledge on teaching children with Autism! Going back and forth between AI and Cross Cat. with different rules and paces and kids was a lot for him to handle. Not until they actually scheduled time with the Cross Cat. for all the AI kids did it ever really work for him. Structure. That's all it takes usually.

And so, once I saw how well he was doing with being in Cross Cat. part of the day in the 6th grade, it hit me that perhaps it would work all the time, and that he needed the chance to experience this full time. This decision became cemented in my brain after going to the Open House for the school he would be attending in 7th grade.

Long story sorta short, I went, saw the same almost preschool like setting there, for 7th graders, that he had always been exposed to. The kindly speech therapist showed me the reading curriculum they used, which was something he had done years and years ago. He would go from one room, to another room all day with the same, mostly non verbal kids he was in class with now, while the other 7th graders traversed the faciltiy, going room to room, new experiences, new classes, new kids. There were televisions in the corners of each of the rooms I saw, reminding me of all the notes that would come home during the years saying "They got to watch a video today!" way too much. Was that going to happen there too? One of the teachers from that program pointed out her "time out" area proudly. Most classrooms don't have a "time out" area. And when another family whose child was clearly typical, accidentally made their way into this classroom, they seemed almost mortified to find out from this teacher that it was "a classroom for children with Autism, but you might get to volunteer to come down and be with them and read to them when school starts!". The family quickly made their way out. My heart sank, and promises to myself were quickly made.

With tears in my eyes, I told myself, and later that night, my dear and supportive hubby, that Casey was not going into another AI program. He needed more. Casey would be in the Cross Categorical program at this new school, and he would start from the beginning of the year, and he would not transition from AI to Cross Cat. for part of the day, it would be all day! I told Bill he was not to let me change my mind on this sudden and hard and scary decision. He was all for it, and felt it was right too.

I quickly got in touch with my friend/advocate and told her of my plan. She was in full support and guaranteed me that we were going to make it happen, and that better yet, it would work, and that we would see that it did!

I was exhilerated with my new found courage and wherewithall, and scared out of my mind at the same time! What was I doing to this boy who was about to go to a giant, new middle school?! Second guessing myself became the norm........

to be continued......

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I'm Sorry, Do You Ever Use Your Brain?"

That's probably what a nurse or someone with considerable medical knowledge would ask me if they had to chance to see how I've handled Casey's being sick this weekend! I'm such a loser sometimes when it comes to this stuff.

The weekend started off with his acting tired when we went to a festival with our dear friends and their dear children Friday night. As we met and greeted them, we sat a at a table under a tent, discussing the eating and drinking situation, when I noticed Casey looking more than tired. Being accused of over analyzing, I made a slight mention of this, but everyone agreed, and this was the first sign of impending sickness coming our way. But (and this all goes back to the title of this post) we pushed on, and I got him a drink and a corn dog and we sat and socialized while he sat, slumped, sipping his drink and not eating his corn dog (don't worry, Mom ate it, couldn't let it go to waste!).

Then we strolled looking at the crap, I mean craft booths (sorry RK), and he followed along, slowly but surely. I've learned from past experience that the power of suggestion is very strong for Casey, so I kept quietly asking Bill if he looked okay to him. If I made mention to the boy himself if he was feeling well, he would try in this strongest voice to say something to the effect of "I'm not sick! I like the festival!". When we'd seen all we could he said he wanted to sit down. I asked him if he wanted to sit down in our car and go home. He quickly said "Yes!".

The night, all night, he had a fever. I laid with him most of the night, thinking puke might be in the future, trash can close at hand. He tossed and turned and moaned and was just completely uncomfortable. In the morning I had to run to Weight Watchers but promised him a bagel from Panera, 'cause that's what I would want after being sick with a fever all night. Somewhere around that time, I thought that maybe I should be giving him some Motrin, but then, I've heard people temper children's fevers too quick and they don't have time to work and kill whatever infection might be causing the fever. I heard that. So, I shunned the Motrin. You stay hot and miserable Casey, I'll be home with your delicious bagel later!

I went to WW with another dear friend who is a wealth of information a) because she has 3 boys of varying ages and b)she actually reads. Plus, she tends to errors on the side of caution. She began quizzing me on his symptoms, asking if I had looked at his throat. "What was his temp?" she asked. "I don't have a thermometer." I answered, embarrassed that a thermometer hadn't been in our house since we had one of those nifty ear ones when he was a baby, and which had broken several years ago. "I'll let you borrow mine." she offered sweetly, probably thinking "She has no thermometer? Geeze."

As the day progressed, and after giving Casey Motrin finally, he seemed much better. He had been looking forward to a Ronald McDonald Magic Show going on at a local McDonald's (of all places). I debated on whether I should take him. The smarter half of my brain said "don't" while the "oh, he's fine, and he needs to get out" side of my head said "do". My sister called in the midst of my decision making and she encouraged me to take him, because, he's spoiled and she didn't know the extent of his sickness. And so, we did..... I know, idiot. Oh, but it gets better.

He was actually fine at McDonald's, and he thoroughly enjoyed the show, and even participated with ol' Ronald. I then noticed that his hair was sweaty and his back clammy through his shirt. Wow, shouldn't that have been a sign that he shouldn't be out? The Motrin was stopping it's magic. We ate and ran after all was said and done. We got home, and he still seemed okay.

It was a lovely day out and he wanted to go swimming. Should I, I wondered again? Maybe the pool would help with his fever..... out in the 90 degree sun you big idiot! Well, so, my dumber side won again and off we went to the pool. Stopping at 7-11 for a Slurpee was the clincher.

As I was paying, the cashier looked behind me and said "Gosh buddy, I didn't know it was so cold in here!" to which I turned to see an uncontrollably shivering Casey. Was it the air conditioner in the store, or the Slurpee? Or the fact that he was sick????????

We got in the car, and he's still shivering despite the rise in temperature coming out the door. Get this one folks! I continued to drive on to the pool! Yes I did! So we got there, and by then, his hand is shaking with the Slurpee in it,he's shivering so hard. But he's still imploring me to go swimming!

Finally, yes, finally, that common sense that seemed to be eluding me ALL day, popped in (especially after I called my smart friend and told her how stupid I had been and she sort of agreed kindly) and we went home.

Well, he fell asleep under two comforters after I gave him more Motrin. Guess he wasn't feeling well! Duh......

He had a great rest of the evening, and we did too, even though we canceled plans to go out to a concert. We were good parents that way!

This morning, he woke feverish again, and threw up. And now, he seems fine again. But guess what, I'm not taking him anywhere. Not one place! He's staying in the house the rest of the day, even if he's doing somersaults and reciting Shakespeare! Pretty smart huh? Good parenting huh? 'Bout time!

But in all fairness to me, although the boy is very verbal, he still has problems telling me how he feels, and that is further perpetuated by the fact that he is in denial when he is sick. He will fight till the end, he hates being sick. He could have his finger cut off (God forbid ) and he wouldn't let me take him to the hospital. I was trying to follow his cues instead of his symptoms, which was dumb, but, it's not the first time. Hopefully, it will be the last

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Shameless Self Promotion, and the Only Time it Will Happen!

Okay, I know this blog is centered all around my darling boy, I know this. But, since it is my blog, I feel that I can use this forum to shamelessly inform my multitudes of readers who don't experience my obnoxious self promotion on Facebook, that, I now own my own business. Drumroll please... I am a Independent Team Beachbody coach!

So what does this mean?

I represent Beachbody, a company that makes health and fitness products! Perhaps you've seen infomercials for P90X, or read here about the joy of Turbo Jam. That's where my real interest in the products started! I love Turbo Jam, and it has really changed my body.



Then, they came out with a new product, Shakeology and that one sent me over the edge. It's a fabulous product. It's a nutrition shake that you can replace a meal with or just drink after a workout or before. It's amazing and it's given me so much energy. I fell for the stuff, and wanted to get others to try it, and thus, my new business began. Here's me talking about it in case you wanna know why I love it. You can also go to www.myshakeology.com/esuite/home/boncasey and learn all about the product from the experts!



Sorry that's so huge.

So anyway, that's it in a nutshell. I would love for you to come to my site and check out all the great products. SIgn up for the free membership, and I'll become your coach and you can peruse the site and get free recipes and health info. It's a great site. You can even have your own own calendar where you can track your workouts! Just go towww.turbobonbon.com and check it out!!!! If you have any questions about the products or workouts feel free to leave it here in the comments section or hit the contact button on www.turbobonbon.com. So far, I've done Turbo Jam and Chalene Extreme and am planning on starting Turbo Fire, the latest and greatest at www.turbobonbon.com

Oh, and by the way, I've lost 40 lbs with these work outs, which you can find at www.turbobonbon.com

Okay, that's it, I'm done! Back to Casey......

Monday, July 12, 2010

White Castles. . . What Memories are Made Of



As we passed a White Castle the other day, an interesting conversation ensued:

Casey: We haven't had White Castles for awhile!
Me: No we haven't.
Casey: Not since 2008.
Me: Oh, we've had them since then, I think we've had them in the last 6 months or so!
Casey: Yeah, but remember when we had them in March 2008?

I started brainstorming, trying to figure out why he mentioned this date. Then I recalled a night when we were bowling with the family in Indiana, and afterwards, Casey, Uncle Tom, Aunt Sue, Cousin Logan and I got a "Crave Case" from White Castle. It contains what seemed like 50 of the little devils, and we went back to their house and ate way too much. Casey, as I recalled thought it was a hoot! Wanting to test his memory further the conversation went on.....

Me: Yeah, we had them after we went.. oh, what did we do that night?
Casey: We went bowling in Indiana!
Me: Oh that's right, and it was in March huh?
Casey: Yes, March 22nd, 2008!

I grabbed my cell phone and delved into the calendar, going back to 2008, March 22nd to be exact. And it was a Saturday. And I'm pretty sure it was the day we went. I'd bet a White Castle on it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summertime and the Livin' is Easy...


well, for Casey anyway. He's begun his third year at Camp Able, a camp for kids with "disabilities" (hate that term). So far, the three weeks have been quite good, with just a small setback the first week that I attribute to not quite being acclimated yet.

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, they go on field trips, based on the theme of the week (this upcoming week's being "Party Palooza"). On Tuesdays and Thursdays, they stay at the camp home base, go to a local park for activiites, and the local indoor pool. The home base for camp is a charming old school house, nestled in the center of a small town area. The counselors are all college students, mostly girls (which Casey loves), and most are majoring in Special ed, or something along those lines. It's a great set-up.

Case has been really "into it" this year, checking the schedule the camp provided, and discussing the next days events. He particularly likes to talk about who is going to be with each counselor at the various activities, information that is provided on the chalk board each morning, so the kids know who they will stay with on the field trips or at the pool. It changes from day to day, and Casey runs up to the board right away when we get there and announces the line up. I have to appreciate that on days they might be going to a busier than usual venue, he usually has a one on one. I love that they are so aware of his propencity for walking away if something catches his eye, and how one on one attention is quite necessary sometimes.

I love camp because I can drop him off each day and know that a) he will be away from the computer for hours b)he's around a lot other kids, whose names he mentions at home, a good sign of a little bonding and c) he's having fun being part of a group. Plus, he's going to so many places that I would probably either not take him to, or have the chance to do so!

I have to draw the line at the Trout Farm field trip though, didn't sign him up for that one. Although he went last year, and he brought home a trout that I apparantly was supposed to cook, I can't see him doing it again. But who knows, the summer is going so well, he might force me to sign him up... then I guess it wouldn't be so bad!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Gotta BLOG!

The span of time that has passed since my last post makes me think maybe I'm just not a blogger! Geeze Louise!

I was speaking to my dear friend's hubby yesterday, when, rather sarcastically I think, he asked how "Let it be Autism" was going. I just laughed it off, as I usually am laughing the whole time I talk to this guy anyway and said I just didn't have anything significant to write about. That's a great attitude to have when one has a blog!

Now, that's not to say Casey's day to day life as an individual with Autism doesn't contain significant happenings to blog about. I could write just about everyday something he said that was cute, the issues at school, something cool he hasn't done before, etc. But, my sink over flows with dishes, I need to work out, I need to get him off the computer, I need to have a half hour with my husband here and there, and then we all go to sleep. And all the thoughts and reflections I have for the door go down the proverbial toilet, another blog entry and day swept away.

I read so many good blogs, and they are so up to date and recent, and well written, with little blue highlighted references to other up to date blog entries and other places of interest. How do people do it? I know some people who are at a desk anyway working have the distinct advantage of being in front of a computer most of their work day, and blogging I'm certain is a nice break for them. Heck, some people make their living blogging! I can't imagine the dynamics of doing this. It seems like a luxury in some ways, and a giant headache in others.

Blogging for me has been theraputic, and an outlet for my inner writer (at least in my head, I'm a writer). But, it can also be a bit of a challenge for me as well. I wanna write about Casey, but I don't want to be of only interest to my family and friends. I don't want to be preachy, but then, I'm pretty well known for getting on my soap box about 5 times a day. I don't want to be opinionated, here, at least, because honestly, I don't have the energy or attention span to pay enough attention to the issues to feel comfortable enough to pontificate on how I feel about them here. So, what's my hook?

Which leads me back to my conversation with my friend's husband, let's call him "Don". When I remarked that I didn't have much to blog about, he brought up the whole controversy on Aspergers now being put into the Autism Spectrum, and what I thought about it. At the time, we were talking, I was doing the dishes so there's two things I was doing, talking and dishwashing, and no big thoughts came to my head on the subject, so I acted like a rebel and said "I don't know, I don't really care!". He laughed me off as he is so wont to do, not because I'm funny I'm sure, but just silly. But how stupid that I didn't have an opinion! It all goes back to the fact that I thoroughly haven't researched the story, haven't taken the time. Maybe if I had, I could have blogged about it.

So, having said all this, I have to wonder, what is the point of this particular blog entry, but to bitch about how I don't blog, to confirm I have a self induced lack of knowledge, and to pretty much have decided "Don" probably thinks I'm dumb.

What the hell can I do to get 80,000 readers, sponsors, money? I guess blogging more than once a month might be a start.

And oh, you professional writers out there, any suggestions would be appreciated, or you could just tell me to throw in the hat! But then, where would you come to fulfill your need to find errors and bad grammar?

Friday, January 22, 2010

The First Official Post of 2010

I awoke at 5am, the sound of a locked out cat scratching furiously at the door and had that satisfying and yet, not feeling that I was done sleeping, at 5 am.

Casey didn't wake me up in the middle of the night last night and sleeping in my and Bill's bed all night without a sharp 11 year old elbow pushing into my head must have given me the rest I needed. I actually blocked his door as well so that afore mentioned feline couldn't get in his room either.

I suspected this was the case, and maybe why he was waking up every night and coming to get me, half feigning fear of some unknown goolies in his room. I think it was actually a small, furry goolie named Ricky coming in licking Casey's head, perhaps nibbling on any bare flesh he could sink his sharp little teeth into, and knocking over various stacks of VHS tapes available to knock over, that was the actual fear.

So, what else is there to do at 5am than to hop on the computer? I of course checked email, only to find way too many emails from a nice enough lady that got me involved in the health and household cleaners company I buy from, touting the products themselves and trying to lure me into the pyramid like selling system they have. I keep telling her I am one of her best customers but will never "sell" the products for them, I do enough of that crap with my real job. And anyway, anytime anyone wants one of their products, I just order it for them under my "Preferred Customer" status and get the money later.

Then I check Facebook of course, and lo and behold, there is nothing on there different from last night at 10:30 pm when I had last checked it. I fed my virtual fish in Fishville and got some more, cleaned some friends tanks, visited some pages of other people, looked at their photos, realized I was completely bored, and then noted one of my FB friends had a new blog entry.

This of course reminded me how long it's been since I've added to this body of work. I think my last entry was about Casey getting "suspended" for using lewd language. That seems an eternity ago, December 18th.

The holidays came and went, Casey spending a week of his break with the Aunties in Indy, having a break from us, we from him. He even was there over New Years. I believe that might have been the first New Years Eve we didn't celebrate with him since he was born. It was weird, but it was fun to have that little bit of freedom to party like adults to some extent. We really didn't take advantage of the situation as much as we could have but had a nice evening non the less, all the while, I missed having Case here.

And so, the new year has indeed started, and so has school with no big suspensions or arrests to report. It's such a strange time of year. Although it's all fresh so to speak, and I guess "new", life feels a bit stale.

I suppose it's the weather that mostly makes me feel this way. We try to get Casey active just about everyday, whether it's working out with Dad, or swimming with me. But even that gets stale. Yes, I'm using that word again.

The routine of having to bundle up, walking through the cold, overcrowded parking lot and walking into a gym filled with "fair weather" fitness enthusiasts who crowd our beloved Rec Center simply because they made a New Year's resolution to get in shape troubles me to no end. Sometimes taking the easy road and staying in the warm house watching TV sounds much better, but then, Case, and we, need our excercise.

Just bundling up all together everytime you go out here in Michigan gets me down. I could literally stay in from mid November to around April, and even then, not so much. I find that the older I get the worse the cold weather brings me down, and not even the beauty of a newly fallen snow gives that little twinge of excitement any more, unless it means a snow day and an excuse for me to take personal time to stay home with Case.


Thankfully, Casey has awoken and so I must end this uneventful and dare I say whiney first entry of 2010. I swear my entries will bet better. I'd call that a resolution, but then I'd jinx myself and not write till June. Probably not even then, because I would be outside, in the warmth and beauty of summer, not caring about being on the computer.....

Geeze, I gotta go make my morning coffee.......