Tuesday, 30 August 2011

... And Somehow, I've Become UNREASONABLE

Kids...  they definitely need to come with a warning label:  "I am exactly like my father."  Sorry dads, but in my case it really is true.

After our visit with Charlie-Anne (my step daughter), I've come to see just how much Glen's kids are just like him.  I honestly thought it was just Dayton, and seeing as how he is my only child, I now see just how naive I've really been...

I love Charlie to death, I really do.  There's little I wouldn't do for that girl.  I gave her my sweet sixteen family daughter ring, did all her laundry, brought her meals to the table, did all the dishes, and when I wasn't doing that, I spent every available waking moment with her, making sure she didn't get bored.  When she left us, I felt like she took a chunk of my heart right along with her.  I miss her like crazy and can't stop thinking about her since she's gone back to Regina last Thursday. 

I wish I could say our entire two week visit was flawless, but she is fifteen, a teenager.  You know there will be some disputes, especially since we just met her last September for the first time since she was two years old.

Dayton loves her to pieces too, and when she showed a wee bit more attention to his little buddy, he got a wee bit jealous.  Of course, since he doesn't understand his feelings, he's not able to say what the problem is, and decides to push his little buddy in the pool in a fit of jealously, rather than try to talk out something he doesn't understand.

Some of the similarities I noticed the kids have with their dad is that none of them want to "talk" about their feelings or what they're thinking.  When upset, they prefer to hide out and have a fit.  They all pout in the same way.  They prefer to learn things the hard way rather than seeing a simpler solution, they value money more than anything else, and they don't feel comfortable with affection or intimacy.  How am I to survive this when I'm a touchy, lovey kind of gal?  I love hugging both of the kids and kissing them good night.  I refuse to go to bed angry or upset and don't want to be responsible for someone going to bed in this state of mind either, so talking things out is important to me.  The learning things in a more difficult way I can deal with, providing they're learning.  But when it comes to love and the emotional side of things, and preferring "things" over "love"...  how do I deal with that and still be me?

As a teenager, Charlie-Anne things of me as...  wait for it...  OVERPROTECTIVE.  Oh my gosh!  Furthermore, her friend who happens to be my best friend's daughter AGREES with her and so does my best friend!  Oh my goodness, I feel another brain aneurysm coming on.  And to think, all I did was ask where they were off to and what time they'd be home and showing a little apprehensiveness about Charlie-Anne meeting up with a boy and ending up in the wrong part of the city, and asking for her not to go alone anywhere in the dark...  I joked around a lot about it, but it seems no one thought I was funny...  Ugh.  Well hell's bells...  If anyone needs to know anything, call a teenage girl.  It seems they know everything. Should save us a lot on college and university.  It appears my life experience and yours amounts to nothing of importance.  

Seems another mistake I've made during our visit was trying too hard to please her by hugging her and embarrassing her so that she would know she was a part of our family and had a place in our home.  Jeez!  All I did was hug her in public and when she showed interest in a boy, I asked him if he thought she was pretty and asked him for his phone number.  Well, at least she was pleased with me getting the phone number...  I did something right!!!  Wooooo-hoooooooo!!!  Little does she know I did it as a joke.  I do it to my best friend all the time.  Back fired on me now, didn't it.  I bet the little schmuck is calling or texting her as we speak. 

To answer your question, after years of observation, multiple hypothesis, well-structured analysis and deeply reviewed interpretations,  my friends and apparently Charlie have finally came to the conclusion that I'M NOT NORMAL.  I like my children safe and sound.  I like to make sure they're not bored and are having a good time.  I like to make sure that when they venture out at night when it's dark that they don't do it alone, and I enjoy 'family time,' playing games like bocci ball, croquet and swimming.  I want them to know how much I love them, and give them all the attention I humanly can.  I also think that a boy must pass a breathalyzer, drug test, lie detector, back-ground check and psych evaluation in order to qualify for a first date with my girl.  It seems that this is not what a responsible, loving, caring step parent or parent is supposed to do.  We're supposed to give our children freedom to do as they choose and go wherever they please at any time they want.  I'm not suppose to worry about them getting hurt or kidnapped.  Oooops.  My mistake.

I've learned some things about me during our visit with Charlie-Anne though.  Even with our opposing views on how I should 'behave,' I love her no matter what.  When she was unhappy, I cried in private.  I love her a tiny, smidgen, half a millimeter less then I love my own son, something Dayton's not crazy about, but I can't help myself.  I think she's the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet.  I think she deserves more than I can give her, and whether she likes it or not, I don't think there's a male on this planet that is good enough for her.  I suppose I love her as though she was my own daughter.  She somehow completes my family, and without her, I feel truly sad.  I just wish she had a little more patience for me and how I think.  Speaking about the way they think...

I've been trying to teach Dayton how to tie his shoes for the past three years.  I figured the easiest way was to teach him the two bunny ears way, you know, the two loops, cross them and flip one 'bunny ear' into the whole and voila!  You have a tied shoe.  He just couldn't get the hang of it.

After coming home from shopping for school supplies for both Dayton and Charlie, I asked Charlie if she wouldn't mind showing Dayton how to tie his shoes, as Dayton desperately wanted to wear his new shoes outside and show his buddies.  I told him if he learned how to tie them, he could wear them...  Charlie showed him once and taught him for a whole five minutes...  and Dayton tied his shoes!!!  Wow!!!  He really did it!!!  I was thrilled!!!  I watched him tie his shoes and thought the way he did it was tricky, but Charlie-Anne said that she thought the bunny ears way was too tricky...  Obviously, so did Dayton, and so does their dad...  Way too many similarities.  The only difference between Charlie-Anne and Dayton is Dayton's pervasiveness over words, toys and activities.  Also, Dayton's communication skills are obviously weaker and his understanding of feelings.

Now if I can just get the girl to understand my feelings...  Walking away from this vacation, I learned that raising children is like raising monkeys on acid.  You just don't know what they're thinking and have no idea what they're going to say or do next.  All you know is that you should brace yourself, cause it's gonna be a roller coaster ride.  Autism or no autism, children are wild!

Consider yourselves hugged,


Thursday, 25 August 2011

Are You Ready For The New School Year?

Holly cow...  Two more weeks, and the new school year begins...  I'm soooooo not ready!!!  I'm starting to have panic attacks already.  They started off when I went to Walmart and saw the school supply list for grade four at Dayton's school...  There are two teachers teaching grade four, and one of them is Dayton's grade three teacher...  I didn't know which was going to be Dayton's teacher, and so I could not get school supplies as each teacher had her own school supply list!!!  Oh nnnnnoooooooooooo!!!  And so came panic attack number one.  Number two took place when I got an email from the school requesting me to set up an appointment with Dayton's teacher, but which one is his teacher?  Ugh!  Where's my bubble?!  I demand my bubble!  Or at least a paper bag to breath into or puke in. 

Anyways...  I'm not ready.  I'm losing sleep over it, and it's really rather silly.  I mean I've still got two weeks to go, and yes, there will be problems, and I've dealt with them before...  but I don't want to deal with them anymore.  Is that selfish on my part?  I mean, Dayton's my life, the air I breathe, my fruit to my loop and the peanut to my butter.  But I'm tired of dealing with issues at his school.  I really am.

Part of the issue is the school staff not understanding autism and Dayton's needs, and the other part is Dayton  exhibits typical nine year old behavior, but because Dayton has the label of autism (PDD-NOS), ADHD and global delays, I get a phone call every time he's "naughty."  It makes me wonder how often a parent with a neurotypical child gets calls to let them know every time their child gets into a dispute with a peer, or every time they got into an argument, or every time they used an inappropriate word.  I say this because one of Dayton's buddies who attends this same school has no label, but is just as hyper, just as inappropriate and just as loud as Dayton, yet his parents have received one phone call in the last two years.  I've lost track after twenty-five phone calls.  Oh boy...  here comes another panic attack...

But there is a silver lining to my worries.  This year, the school has a new principal, who comes from one of the "cluster" schools in our division that has experience with children on the autism spectrum.  Perhaps he can teach the guidance counselor how to guide?  Maybe he can set a new tone for the school?  Or maybe his predecessor has come to her senses and will come back as Dayton's aid?  I suppose time will tell...

I've called the school, and Dayton has a new teacher this year.  While I have mixed feelings on this "change," I suppose it's better for Dayton to have a new teacher than it is to force last year's teacher to actually care about him or his education.  And now I know what to buy for his school supplies.  Woooo hooooo!!!

I've also seen Dayton mature this summer.  He's made a lot of progress due to my being ill in social skills and using his words rather than his little fists.  He hasn't had any melt downs this past month.  We've had a great time together this summer.  

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to run and hug the porcelain God...  The anti-anxiety medications have not kicked in yet...

Consider yourselves hugged,


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

What Happens At The Camp Fire, Stays At The Camp Fire, Unless You Read Autism Diva

I've missed most of the summer do to Glenda (the blasted kidney stone), but I'm finally free of it!  Of course it took a second procedure where good 'ole Doogie Howser put a stint in me the day before our camping trip which kind of put a damper on the first day of camping as I could barely walk, but what a fantastic time camping!!! 

The best part of this camping trip was that it was a family affair.  Grandma and Grandpa Paul and Kathleen came all the way from Wisconsin, cousin Evan and his seven month pregnant wife Kim came with my step daughter (I can't stand that term, so I call her my girl) Charlie-Anne from Regina, and finally cousin Niel and his pregnant wife Kim (yup, we had two Kims!) and their two adorable daughters.  My friend Shelley and her son Evan (Dayton's buddy) came and joined us and lodged in our camper too.  The boys had a fantastic time!

I, on the other hand, was tormented by my shunt.  Having to endure it for a week, I gave up three days into the trip, not caring about the consequences.  Thank goodness I did, INSTANT RELIEF!  Wooooo-hooooooooooooo!!!  Time for FUN!!!  And fun we had...

We exercised...  Especially Evan and Evan...  (Yup, had two Evans there too)

We fed the deer...

We pet the deer...  Seems the deer thought Charlie-Anne was safe...  Little did they know she's going to apply for her FAC as she wants to hunt them...

We stalked the deer...

Dayton, Evan and Charlie-Anne rode their Harley Choppers...

Dayton, Evan and Grandpa Paul went out with the metal detector to find our pot of gold...

We played board games...

We laughed so loud we had complaints every night...  I'm surprised we didn't get banned from the camp ground.  It really wasn't our fault...  There was a fire ban in effect, which meant that everyone BUT us went to bed at 11pm.  I mean seriously...  It's camping!  Who goes to bed that early CAMPING?  No music, no fire, no hiking (not that I'm into hiking, just would have been nice to have had the option in case I decided to go on a diet and exercise regime...  you know?)...  Anyhow, our neighbors hated us.  It seemed we were too red necked for 'em all.  Oh well... We did manage to make a couple of friends that were even louder than us.  The girls came to visit two nights during our trip.  Turns our one of them works at my bank...

We goofed off...

And even got a little scary...

And made time for cuddling!

We had a lot of fun, and I wish we could have stayed longer...  But, unfortunately, life's responsibilities continue, and so we're back home.
Time to get ready for the new school year...  Ugh!!!

Consider yourselves hugged,


Monday, 22 August 2011

Environment At Play In Autism

Environment at play in autism 

Julie Steenhuysen, REUTERS
First posted:

CHICAGO - Environmental factors may play a greater role in autism than previously thought, tipping the scale away from a strict focus on genetics, two studies suggest.

In one, a team at Stanford University compared cases of autism in identical and fraternal twins and found that fraternal twins — who share only half of the same genes — have unusually high rates of autism, suggesting that factors other than genetics may be triggering the disease.

In another, researchers at health insurer Kaiser Permanente found mothers of children with autism were twice as likely to have been prescribed a common antidepressant during the year before their pregnancy than mothers of healthy children.

And the risk was even greater — a threefold increase — when the drug was taken in the first trimester of pregnancy.

The findings, released in the Archives of General Psychiatry, suggest that something in the birth environment — drugs, chemicals or infections — may be triggering autism in children who are already genetically predisposed to develop the disease.

“It has been well-established that genetic factors contribute to risk for autism,” Clara Lajonchere, a study co-author and vice president of clinical programs for Autism Speaks, said in a statement.
“We now have strong evidence that, on top of genetic heritability, a shared prenatal environment may have a greater than previously realized role in the development of autism.”

Autism is a spectrum of disorders ranging from a profound inability to communicate and mental retardation to relatively mild symptoms such as with Asperger’s syndrome.

It affects one in every 150 children born today in the United States, or about 1% of the population.

The Stanford study involved 54 pairs of identical twins, who share 100% of the same genes, and 138 pairs of fraternal twins, who share half of the same genes.
In each pair, at least one of the twins had been diagnosed with autism.
The researchers found the chances of both children having autism spectrum disorder was higher among identical twins than among fraternal twins. But fraternal twins were much more likely to develop autism than studies of children in families where a sibling has autism.

According to the study, environmental factors common to twins explain about 55% of the cases of autism, and while genetic factors still play a role, it is much lower than seen in other studies of twins and autism.

“Environmental factors play a bigger role than previously thought,” said Dr. Joachim Hallmayer of Stanford University School of Medicine in California, who led the study.
Recent studies have suggested genetics played the biggest role in autism, but his findings suggest something different, he said in a telephone interview.
“We have to study both the genetics and the environment,” Hallmayer said. “If we look only at one side, I don’t think that will lead us to the right answer.”

In a separate study in the same journal, a team led by Lisa Croen, director of the Autism Research Program at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California, looked to see whether antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, contributed to autism risk.

The team studied nearly 300 children with autism and 1,500 randomly selected children and then checked their mothers’ medical records.
They found mothers of the children with autism were twice as likely to have taken an antidepressant in the year before delivery than children in the control group.
And the effect was strongest — three times higher — when the drugs were taken in the first trimester of pregnancy.

“Our results suggest a possible, albeit small, risk to the unborn child associated with in utero exposure to SSRIs,” Croen said in a statement.
But she said this risk must be balanced with the risk to the mother of having untreated depression.
The team cautioned that the SSRI study was preliminary and said much more work was needed to understand the link between antidepressants and autism.

“There are real risks to not being treated for a serious illness like depression. You have to weigh the options,” said Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health.
“A threefold increase in risk is not insignificant. It is worth taking that into account with other factors,” Insel said in a telephone interview.

Insel, whose agency funded the twins study, said it is not yet clear what environmental factors may be triggering autism.
“It could be a range of things from infection to chemical exposures. We simply don’t know.”
What is becoming clear, he said, is that the exposure is likely occurring before childbirth.
“From all the studies that so far have concluded, that is where the evidence seems to be going,” he said.
(Editing by Doina Chiacu)

While understanding through some of my research pointing in the direction of environmental factors, I decided to do what I could about my home environmentally speaking.  I chose detergents and cleaners that were naturally based, and I noticed an improvement in Dayton's allergies, namely his nose bleeds and his chronic eczemaMy medical back ground told me to put Dayton on a good set of vitamins, but they all made him go super hyper and he showed an interest in extreme sports - literally pulling off some dangerous stunts, so I stopped giving him vitamins until I tried a naturally based one, with no dyes or sugars...  and saw an improvement in his behavior!  He actually started talking!  This was a huge deal as Dayton only had five words at age five:  momma, dadda, oopsy, no and oh-oh.  If he was hungry, he would just grunt and point at food.  If he wanted outside, he just went outside, prompting me to get a security system, not to keep strangers outside, but to alert me if Dayton opened a door in the middle of the night.

So yes, I have experienced some benefits from switching to naturally based products.  If you need some help with this, let me know and I'll email you back.  There's ways of getting cheap product that works better than the stuff you buy at the grocery store.

Consider yourselves hugged,


Tuesday, 9 August 2011


After visiting the urologist and reviewing my newest x-ray, it is official.  Glenda the kidney stone has not budged.  The little bugger refuses to leave me, so Doogie Howser MD is going to go in after him tomorrow...  which means I'll be enduring yet another painful procedure.  And then on Thursday (that's right, the very next day), I'm going camping!  I know, you think I'm nuts, but we've been planning this camping trip for a long time, and I will not stay at home missing out on seeing my dear family.  In my crazy defense, after finding out from dear young Doogie that I most likely will be sore and uncomfortable for five to fourteen days after the procedure, I did ask to postpone the procedure until I come back from my camping trip on the 15th...  He just looked at me and shook his head...  "You want the pain to go away, right?"
"Thank you Captain Obvious."
"Your welcome Lieutenant Sarcasm, I guess you're just not going to be a happy camper."  I took that as a "no."  Cheeky little bugger.  I suppose I had it coming with all the digs I dished out at him.  At least the kid has a sense of humor.

I may need to take a week off from blogging, but I promise to be back soon, with pictures of our camping trip and most likely a fun story to go with them.

Must go and pack for my procedure tomorrow, as well as the camping trip and clean my home.  This time I'm packing one bag for Dayton and one bag for me, this way there is no way for me to forget my underwear.

Consider yourselves hugged,


~I'm back~

Well I'm sorry to all my readers. Lou is away for a bit taking care of some medical stuff n CAMPING(so jealous). So I thought to keep everyone on their toes, and update on what's been going on. I'M BACK. I'm sure some will be happy that I'm writing again as you guys get a grin n giggle out of it, for those that are shaking their head DON'T READ further, you never like what I have to say, and you won't like it this time.

Every June the fear of "summer" creeps into my house. Days are longer, no routines, daycare goes crazy, everyone is holidays. I'm sure others have gone through this dreadful time too. This year has been a little harder. With Nik starting a new school May, finishing off the year was exhausting. Adjustments at daycare, new house, ect. Since starting daycare he's now on his second 1-1 worker. School ended on a irritating note. Summer has been insane with all the activities. On that note though, he's had a blast. He's gone to fun mountain, the zoo, met the goldeyes, weekly trips to splash pads and library, slurpee days, built a lemonade stand. Very good summer. So with the brief on our summer, there has also been problems. Nik's had trouble adjusting to the long days, everyday. No therapies, no supports, no routine. We've backtracked to the point where he's hitting again, name calling, lashing out at random. Err does it ever stop?

Summer is quickly ending which I'm personally happy about.Get back to routine, back to support? back to school, bring on September!!!! I really want to clarify and put my input on some issues that I am continuing to see, face, and read about. We are approaching grade 1, NO PLAN is set up for the school year. Although the Dr's have made request, 18 months NO SERVICES! I understand there is standards and policies ect. I've said in the past, for inclusion to work it needs to include everyone. The government announced a new program called "Thrive". YA!!!!! Oh wait, your gonna help preschool? Adults? Shorter ABA wait lists? :O AMAZING. Oh crap, my son doesn't fit into any of that? He's not severe?he's too old/too young? hmm so now what? Now calm down, I'm not totally knocking the program. Although I think it's a little too early to throw a party for it just yet, my concern is this, There are CHILDREN who are SCHOOL AGE, who are not severe but mild or moderate. What is for them? I can't count how many times I've been at a meeting, info session where they look at me and say " Sorry he's not Autistic enough".. Now this announcement will help A LOT of people which is great if it gets off the ground. Now what's the plan for the people it doesn't help? I'm not the only person who's falling in this "not autistic enough" class. It's like we're on the Titanic and we're the lower class that's gonna go down with the ship. What are we doing wrong?

Parents, teachers, school boards, doctors laugh when I tell them what's happening. For those that new, here's a quick 101: Nik first went to CDC at 2. After 2.5 years of back n forth we transferred to MATC. Finally summer 2010 got the CONFIRMED PDDNOS. Now from 2008-2010 we had 1-1, speech, ot, CDC, everything. The early intervention was AMAZING. Starting prep for school(what a nightmare) and that's where the world gets fuzzy. Since Feb.2010 I have learnt that NOT every school is the same. NOT every child gets help. Having a DX doesn't mean CRAP when it comes to the school. In my experience and from what I've been told unless there is behaviour problems or severe medical, funding is NOT THERE. There are different classes, "severe", "mild/moderate", "normal". Really there's only two in my experience. Either your severe and get some assistance(although it's not always great), or your normal n get NOTHING.

I don't expect the world to bend over back for my child, however I do expect him to be given the tools and opportunity to succeed. Does he need help? Yes. Point blank. He can't sit in a class all day alone and understand what's happening. He doesn't understand changing from subject to subject. He has NO clue when it comes to the subject of Language Arts. Give him numbers and he's got it under control. He will not raise his hand to answer a group question cause the spots on the ceiling are more interesting. throwing a paper at him and giving him 15 instructions he's lost. had you said get your purple crayon, now make a circle, now make 2 eyes, would understand. he can't process visual and auditory at the same. However here that's how teachers teach. I guess my anger comes from the fact that, schools and the government are helping others. Have you seen the budget to TEACH ENGLISH? to new comers? Yes it's a very important tool, totally worth the money. Ever notice how much money Canada/Manitoba sends to other countries to help people there have clean water, get a education ect? Just saying, something is little off when we can help everyone but the people that are right here in our backyard.

So I'm sure I've irritated some of you and I don't apologize for that. I apologize to the many children who are being left on the side. I apologize to the MANY parents that are sitting in the same sinking ship as me. I'm sorry that I am one person and I can't find that damn machine to make a cure all pill. I'm sorry that your trying to find a band aid big enough for Autism but shoppers is all sold out. I'm sorry to the parents who have a "normal" and "different" child. I fully understand how hard it is to spend equal time with each. I'm sorry for all the children with speech delays that can't have a voice for someone to hear. I am not, nor will I ever be sorry though for someone not agreeing with me, or thinking that my child DOESN'T need the help. I am NOT sorry to the people who see the world as black n white because if you open the window there's a lot of pink, blue, green, and purple all around us. I will never stop fighting for my child, and all the other children who doesn't fit.

Love all of your supporters and one day our little ones will rise above.

Guest Blogger,


Monday, 8 August 2011

20 Reasons Why Mom's With Special Needs Kids ROCK!!!!

1) Because we never thought that "doing it all" would mean doing this much. But we do do it all -- and then some.

2) Because we've discovered patience we never knew we had.

3) Because we are willing to do something 10 times, 100 times or 1,000 times if that's what it takes for our kids to learn something new.

4) Because we have heard doctors tell us the worst, and we've refused to believe them. Take THAT, naysaying doctors of the world!

5) Because we have bad days and breakdowns and bawl-fests, and then we pick ourselves up and keep right on going.

6) Because we gracefully handle the stares, the comments, the rude remarks. (Well, mostly gracefully.)

7) Because we manage to get ourselves together and get out the door looking pretty damn good. Heck, we even make sweatpants look good!

8) Because we are strong. Man, are we strong. Who knew we could be this strong?

9) Because we aren't just moms, wives, cooks, cleaners, chauffeurs and women who work. We are moms, wives, cooks, cleaners, chauffeurs, women who work, physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, teachers, researchers, nurses, coaches and cheerleaders. Whew!

10) Because we work overtime every single day.

11) Because we also worry overtime, but we work it through. Or we eat chocolate or Pirate's Booty or gourmet cheese (which aren't reimbursable by insurance as mental-health necessities, but should be).

12) Because we are more selfless than other moms. Our kids need us more.

13) Because we give our kids with special needs endless love, and then we still have so much love left for our other kids, our husbands, our families. And our hairstylists, of course.

14) Because we inspire one another in this crazy blogosphere every single day.

15) Because we understand our kids better than anyone else -- even if they can't talk; even if they can't gesture; even if they can't look us in the eye. We know. We just know.

16) Because we never stop pushing for our kids.

17) Because we never stop hoping for them, either.

18) Because just when it seems like things are going OK, they're suddenly not OK, but we deal. Somehow, we always deal -- even when it seems like our heads or hearts might explode.

19) Because when we look at our kids, we just see great kids -- not kids with cerebral palsy/autism/Down syndrome/developmental delays/whatever.

20) Because ... well, you tell me.

  A fellow autism mom found this on the internet one day, and posted it on facebook.  I just had to share it with y'all.

Consider yourselves hugged,


Sunday, 7 August 2011

When, Heaven Forbid, Chocolate Fails, Try A Margarita.

Yup.  I'm having one of them days.  I love my friends, I really, really do, but the friends that are not autism parents tend to drive me nuts sometimes.  It's not their fault, really.  They're not faced with autism the way I am every day.  They don't understand, nor do they need to.  But there are times where I really wish they'd keep their freaking opinions to themselves, know what I mean?

"What Dayton really needs a good swift kick in the butt."
Yeah...  I felt like shoving my foot up this victim's butt, but unfortunately I got whiplash from whipping my head to face her.
"He's not autistic, he looks fine."
"He's a little hyper, you medicate him for that, right?"  While in the same sentence she asks me if I forgot to give him his meds this morning.
"Oh well...  I've heard of kids not really speaking until they hit five, cause they have nothing to say.  Wasn't it Einstein that didn't talk till he was five?  He made out well, didn't he?"
"Dayton's a lot smarter than you give him credit for.  He's a bright kid, you just need to stop using the "autism card."
"You baby Dayton way too much.  You should let him play outside without you sitting there watching him like a hawk.  How is he suppose to become self sufficient when you won't let him fight his own battles?"  (This coming from the same mom that told me that Dayton's not allowed to play with her son because Dayton always ends up hurting him).
After Dayton gets into a fight with another child:  "What that boy needs is a good spank."  Then I turn around and tell the parent:  "If you could teach your kid some manners and have him stop calling my child a retard, Dayton wouldn't have had to defend himself."
"Dayton's not autistic Lou, he's just like any other kid."  Really?  Is that why he rings your door bell and laughs when you answer it?  Most children would say "hey, can I play with little Joey?"  Not Dayton...  He rings the door bell and laughs when the person answers it, not knowing what to say, or what his purpose is. 
My all time favorite comes from Dayton's school...  "what Dayton needs is some DISCIPLINE."  Hmmmm, yes, I can see how his autism would go away, he just needs some discipline. 

Let's take a look at an example, shall we?  It's summer!!!  On our way to the beach, just a short distance away, how many of us have walked on gravel because we're just to lazy to lace up our shoes...  It's only a few steps, no biggy, right?  All the way, you're thinking "ouch, ouch, ouch, should have put my damn shoes on.  In what moment of insanity did I think walking bare foot on hot coals from hell was a brilliant idea?"  Well, autism is kind of like that, in that it keeps a parent on their toes, but for children like Dayton who are undersensative and need more stimulation that others, he can run through that same hot gravel.  His pain threshold is super high, and sometimes scary.  For instance, last year's May long weekend's camping trip ended up with Dayton breaking his foot in three different places by jumping from the top of the play structure to the ground.  In tears (which rarely happens), he tells me his foot hurts.  I brush the tears away, examine his foot which looks just fine, comfort as much as he will allow me, and ask him "babe, would you feel better and stop crying if I get you some ice cream?"  He nodded a brave yes, and wiped the rest of his tears away.  He stopped crying immediately!  I sat beside him and watch him lick his ice cream, smiling away.  He seemed happy and carefree, confirming my suspicion that he was 'just fine.'

He limped all the way back to our campsite, but by evening, he was running around in circles!  Holly cow!  We went home the next day, and at bed time I saw his foot was swollen a tiny bit, but Dayton didn't complain.  He went to school the next day, limping a little, and I felt guilty going to work, but figured he was OK.  After work, I decided it wouldn't hurt to have his foot examined by a doctor.  Sure enough, it was broken in three places...  Had it been me, I'd have been crying, screaming, raging in pain, writhing on the floor and refusing to get up, in essence, having a melt down.  There's no way I'd be able to put my shoe on, never mind run around with a busted foot.

Today, I left Dayton with a babysitter and went out with a girlfriend for a little me time.  About an hour into me time, I get a call from the babysitter...  Dayton got sick and vomit all over her sofa...  He then walked across to the love seat, and tried wiping the vomit onto the love seat, trying to hide the fact that he got sick because he wanted to go swimming.  Just thinking that a neurotypical kid of nine years old would probably get a cloth to wipe up the vomit...   He then told his babysitter that the "cat puked."  I asked to speak to Dayton, who told me he was feeling fantastic:  "Momma, please tell Amy to take me swimming!!!  I wanna swim!!!  I'm feeling good momma.  I don't know what happened."

He was fine all day, running around like the mad little monkey only my son can imitate.  After talking to Amy, she said my man was typical Dayton, running around, stopped long enough to get sick (less than a minute), then started running again!  Hmmmmm...  Really shouldn't be surprising to me.  I can't even count how many times I was called by Dayton's school to come and pick him up early because he wasn't feeling well, sometimes as early as half an hour into his first class!  By the time I got him home, he was back to normal.  How many neurotypical kids can do that?

So, today, when my friend tried to convince me that Dayton doesn't have autism, that I need to stop treating him differently and stop using the "autism card" for everything he does, I had some chocolate.  It didn't work, I wanted a cigarette so badly, but I've been trying to quit smoking, so I turned to the next best thing.  As soon as my friends hear the blender going, they know I'm having a margarita, which means whatever they've just told me has not been appreciated.  I made two, brought it out to the patio, but my friend ran off.  Maybe she thought I'd dump a margarita over her head?  She knows me so well!  Oh well, more for me!!!

Consider yourselves hugged,


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Province Launches Autism Support Plan

Here's the news paper article from the Winnipeg Free Press:

Province launches autism support plan

The provincial government has launched a five-year plan to support Manitobans of all ages that are affected by autism spectrum disorders.

The plan, called "Thrive!", will begin with $1 million that will go mainly toward providing preschoolers with a treatment called applied behaviour analysis and toward outreach services in rural and northern Manitoba. A smaller amount of funding will hire experts for behaviroual consultation for children who complete the applied behaviour analysis and create a meeting program between parents of autistic children to share knowledge.

Currently there are long wait lists for the applied behaviour analysis program, which the new funding hopes to eliminate.

The $1 million is only the tip of the iceberg, funding four out of the 40 programs in which the Thrive! plan hopes to invest.

One of its main aims is to provide support to adults with autism, since the bulk of funding goes currently to children.

Family Services and Consumer Affairs Minister Gord Mackintosh, who made the announcement along with Education Minister Nancy Allan, could not say how much Thrive will cost in the long run.

Here's another excpert from a similar article from Winnipeg Press:

Province launches new five-year autism strategy

Applied behaviour analysis gets $600,000 in funding

The provincial government has launched a five-year plan to support Manitobans of all ages that are affected by autism spectrum disorders.

The new strategy, called Thrive, will eventually include 40 initiatives, everything from a technology centre to make the latest tools accessible to parents, to a post-secondary scholarship for high school graduates with autism.

Family Services and Consumer Affairs Minister Gord Mackintosh and Education Minister Nancy Allan announced funding for the first four initiatives Tuesday: about $1 million annually.

Just under $600,000 will go to applied behaviour analysis (ABA) for young children, a treatment that teaches them social, motor, and reasoning skills; $250,000 will go to outreach services in rural and northern Manitoba; $160,000 will finance consultations with experts for children who graduate from ABA treatment; and $8,000 will create a program where parents of children with autism can meet and share knowledge.

Difficulty accessing ABA is a big issue for parents at the moment because there is a long wait-list.
Letisha Recksiedler, whose five-year-old son has autism, waited six months to get him into ABA. During those six months, her son had several "temper tantrums" every day, she said. After he started ABA, the tantrums decreased to one per day, she said.

"Our lives have become less stressful now that we're in the program," Recksiedler said.
The province hopes the Thrive program will eliminate wait-lists for ABA by September.

But some of those who work with people with autism said this announcement neglects what they call the biggest hole in funding -- support services for adults with autism.

Bev Larmour, a past president of Asperger Manitoba Inc. (Asperger syndrome is on the autism spectrum), said the announcement focuses on kids.

"What about the adults who, when they graduate from high school, it's like they fall off the cliff in terms of services?" she said.

Damon Schuler, an Asperger Manitoba Inc. board member and an adult with autism who is attending college, said he doesn't get much support for his studies. "All it is is a different area to write my exam," he said.

Anne Kresta, current president of Asperger Manitoba, said as long as Thrive follows through with its long-term plan, she will be happy.

"The announcement today was very centred upon the ABA portion but we're looking more across the lifespan and we're really pleased to see that the lifespan issues are going to be addressed," she said.

Mackintosh said future Thrive initiatives will help people with autism of all ages.
"Until now, we started and ended with children," he said.

In a press release following the province's announcement, the Progressive Conservative party shrugged off Thrive and the funding for ABA as a pre-election tactic.

"The NDP government has underfunded this critical and proven form of therapy for children with autism until the eve of an election, when they finally decide to offer families an opportunity to continue therapy," said family services critic Bonnie Mitchelson.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 29, 2011 B3

First, I'd like to congratulate the government for doing at least this much for our younger children on the spectrum.

Second, I'd like to know where this leaves school age children!!!  My boy is nine years old, so Thrive won't be of any use in our EDUCATION SYSTEM!!!  Until the age of five, most families will receive or at least be offered Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA therapy) already, until that is, the child becomes of school age in which case ABA is dropped!!!  While I understand that there is a waiting list for ABA, the sad reality is that our provincial government only allows ABA up to age five.  When I finally got Dayton's diagnosis of PDD-NOS at age seven, I was told he was too old to receive ABA therapy.  A kind of slap in the face when Alberta's government allows this same therapy to continue through age twenty-one!!!

What I'd really like to see is ABA extended to these children throughout their school years!  Or hey, let's start offering the ABA therapy to those school age children who didn't get their diagnosis until AFTER age five.  It seems like services seem to disappear after this age, so makes sense to me that the government should be looking at school age children.  But what the hell do I know...  I'm just an autism mom, right?  Grrrrr...

And as for Anne Kresta...  Oh jeez...  The woman hates me so much she refuses to help other parents of children with autism if they have a relationship with me.  I really should have listened to my friend when she told me the woman was useless and to stay away from her.  But no.  I just had to meet her, hoping she would be of some help to our children...  Oh well, lesson learned.  A topic for another day.


Consider yourselves hugged,


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

I Am A Teacher Help Me God???

No joke.  These are the words someone used in the google search engine and was ushered to Autism Diva Help.  "I am a teacher help me God."  Seriously?!

Who ever this teacher is, I pray you read this post...  While I do not wish to short staff any school division, YOU ARE CLEARLY IN THE WRONG PROFESSION.  Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.00...  

Reading this sentence brought to mind Michael Zwaagstra book titled What's wrong with Our Schools:  and How We Can Fix Them, where Mr. Zwaagstra talks about edu babble and how tomorrow's teachers are being taught how to teach, or dare I say how not to teach, but babble. 

Until reading this book, I always looked at my own and Dayton's perspective of how unfair and discriminatory our education system has become, a game of politics so to speak.  I never really appreciated a teacher's point of view, and how helpless they must feel in their careers.  Their hands seem to be tied behind their back, even if they want to help my babe, they can't.  It really seems just as unfair to the teacher as it is to our children.  Perhaps the teacher that searched for I am a teacher help me God is a newly graduated teacher, who has been taught today's edu babble.

I really feel horrible for today's teacher.  I say this with utmost respect, not in my usual nasal, sarcastic way.  As an educator myself, teaching the Pharmacy Technician Program at a local college for the past three years, I've struggled teaching students with English as a second language.   Reading their test answers sometimes took three times longer than than it did for me to read an English student's paper.  It was frustrating for me as well as the student.  To make things easier for all of us, I would allow students sometimes to answer their questions verbally, or allow them to draw their answer out.  I wanted my students to feel successful, and know for themselves that they knew their material.  I had one curriculum to follow, and one lesson plan for all students equally.  If students needed extra help, my door was open for an hour after class.  Yes, while I worked for an hour a day for free, it was more important that I produced students of sound knowledge than get paid for five hours a week.  Make no mistake, this was not making me a martyr...  After all, I am a selfish woman.  I wanted to ensure when the time came that I looked for work at a pharmacy, I would not be laughed out of a job due to poor production of my former students...

This is not what's happening in our school system for our children.  If your child falls behind, whether or not they have a label, once 3:15pm comes around, your child is no longer the teacher's responsibility.  The teacher can not fail your child, and they continue to move on to the next grade level.  The elementary teacher no longer teaches a curriculum, they teach each child individually.  So, instead of having one curriculum and lesson plan, they have numerous lesson plans.  You have got to be one seriously organized individual who's feathers don't ruffle easily to teach in schools today.  I'm not one to admit my own weaknesses, but I don't think I have what it takes to teach in an elementary school.

Consider yourselves hugged,


Monday, 1 August 2011

On The Mend

It's been an uphill battle with my kidney stone issue.  The little bugger got blasted two weeks ago today, and let me tell you, I don't wish this pain on my worst enemy, not even on the people who have discriminated against my boy.  I've passed some of the broken stone since my lithotripsy procedure (a whole new world of pain there), but there is still a chunk left in my left ureter.  The little bugger won't go away even after being pulverized.  A true pain in the side like this deserves a name of its own...  I think I'll call it Glenda.

Anyways...  thank God for grandparents.  I had been hospitalized for nearly a week, so Dayton had to go spend some time with grandma Karen and grandpa Hans.  Glen, Dayton's daddy, forgot to give Dayton his medication for two nights in a row, then calls me at the hospital to ask me what he should do.  After giving him advice, he decided to do the complete opposite of what I told him to do.  Wonderful.  Mental note:  mothers are not allowed to get sick.

When I tried to explain my home situation to Doogie Howser MD, and how Dayton needs his momma to get home ASAP, and that Dayton doesn't really care if I'm in pain or feeling sick, or am taking a naked jog through a busy mall on Boxing Day slapping people in the head screaming "you are healed,"...  His needs don't stop, so neither can I.  "Give me some pain meds and send me home, fix me already!!!" The young pup of a urologist looked at me as though I had a third eye growing out of my forehead.

I am home now, and I thank you all who have been kind enough to email me with your concern about the inactive state of Autism Diva Help.  I apologize for neglecting my readers.  I'm feeling a bit better and feel my mind is a wee bit clearer without the fog of pain medications.

Consider yourselves hugged,