Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Executive Decision Making

Divorce...  It's horrible.  He said, she said.  He hurt, she hurt.  He's right, she's right.  Friends who really are not friends (there's a message for you folks at the end of this post).  Money...   I've heard so much crap, my ears are constipated.  And who's left in the middle?  The child.

Divorce is hard enough as it is.  And for the child stuck in the middle, it's even harder.  Parents playing tug of war and using the poor kid as a pawn in the game of thrones happens because both parents figure they know their child best.  Each parent thinks they can do better than the other, and I'll be the first to admit that I feel I can do better than Dayton's dad.  And Dayton's dad thinks he can do better than I can.  Our so called 'mutual friends' are making things worse for Dayton's dad, 'spying' on me on Autism Diva Help and on facebook...  So here we are, with Dayton stuck in the middle.


Seeing my son go through pain is the hardest thing I think I've ever gone through. Especially when everything is out of my hands and I can't help control it (no, I'm not a control freak...  will explain in a bit).


Dentist appointments and child psychologist appointments done separately just doesn't work.  One of the parents needs to stay in charge of these medical issues, it should not be another thing to argue about.  The parent who primarily was in charge in the past should continue to remain in charge, because that is what's best for the child.  The parent who wasn't involved in past has every right to be involved, but should never just take the rains and go their own way because they feel they have "the right" to do this.

But that's a pipe dream.  In reality...  Well...  Oy vey...

Dayton's dad made a decision to take Dayton to the dentist, which I agreed should happen, as long as Dayton went to Children's Dental World which is known to have had good results with children on the autism spectrum.  Instead, Glen made an appointment for Dayton at a location of his choice, then cancelled the appointment because I was coming as I promised Dayton that both daddy and I would be there to support him.  Then when I was done arguing with Glen and text him that he should keep the dental appointment for Dayton as Dayton needed the appointment more than he needed mommy there, Glen re-schedules and then says I'm welcome to come?!  Oy vey...

Long story short, Glen tries to hush me as I explain to the receptionist that Dayton has high functioning autism and oral sensory issues...  No surprise to me, the dentist is not able to do much due to Dayton's sensory issues, including gag reflex.  His back molars may have cavities in them as Dayton's not able to brush the very back of his mouth.  Sooooo...  the dentist refers Dayton to Children's Dental World...  I know...

While this experience infuriated me, as Dayton had to go through discomfort for no reason other than his father's "right" to take him to a dentist, some good did come out of this.  I think his dad sees that I'm not trying to be a control freak.  I think he's starting to see that I am not looking at our son as a pawn in our life, and that while yes, I am a protective mother (my motto:  A mother would kill for her child, die for her child and forgive for her child...  I would do all three at the same time for my son's safety, health and happiness), I'm really not the pathetic, clingy ex-wife he's made me out to be.  I think he finally understands that I don't want him back in my life, and that what I really want is what's best for my baby.  While he may hate me, I think he finally sees that I do know what Dayton's limitations are and what he really needs...  At least that's what I'm choosing to walk away with this weekend.

Oh, and I've learned facebook is the devil.  It appears our mutual friends are adding fuel to the fire by sharing what I have to say on facebook with Dayton's dad.  For example:

My Divorce Party Cake
I'm sorry there are 'friends' out there that are offended by my sense of humour, but I thought this was hilarious!  At this time in my life, I need a good laugh.  I'm certainly not the first, nor will I be the last woman on earth going through a divorce.  To my 'concerned friends,' this too shall pass...  And, keep in mind, sometimes, when you try to help, you're actually making things worse.  Gossiping about me to Dayton's dad and telling them what my thoughts of the day are is really not helping him, it's just making him bitter.  While yes, it causes an argument between us, it is Dayton that pays the price for your stupidity.  Focus your energies on helping the guy, not making him feel worse.  So...  You don't like what I have to say, don't look at my work.  It's really that simple.  In the mean time...
Consider yourselves hugged,


Lou

Thursday, 22 November 2012

True Co-Parenting, Fun Times On The Spectrum

I feel like I've regressed back to being a teenager.  Never thought in a million years I'd ever live with a room mate again, and here I am...  Not only am I living with a room mate, but I'm living with four children.  Three boys (Dayton included), one awesome girl.  Two of the four are on the spectrum.  Dayton and an older, teenage version of Dayton.

I thought about living on my own, but knew that if I did, I would:  a) spend more money on rent than I want to as I still want to do things with Dayton, living on our own would not give us much money to do that and with no child support coming in, every penny counts; and b) Dayton would seclude himself further and miss out on making social gains.

Living with a room mate that has a child on the autism spectrum has had its ups and downs. The up side is that I've had a taste of what co-parenting is all about, and wish Dayton's dad and I could tag team the way my room mate and I do.  It's nice having two parents under one roof, even if we're both moms.  And yes, while there are more children for me to co-parent than having Dayton alone, the children work together as a team in EVERYTHING.  When the boys misbehave, they all misbehave.  When they're good, they're all good together.  So, disciplining one means I'm disciplining all as one.  Same with my room mate.  Raising little boys is not just a job. It's an adventure...  with sound effects.  And my room mate's oldest daughter...  I LOVE HER!!!  She's seventeen and more responsible then most adults I know.  She's a blessing to share a home with, and helps with the other three kiddos, cleaning the home and she likes the same kinds of things I do.  Now if I could just be her small, slender size...

On the down side, I don't have the privacy to walk around naked from the shower to my bedroom.  Sometimes when I cry no one sees my tears.  Sometimes when I'm happy no one sees me smile.  But FART!!  Just ONE time...  And everybody in the house knows!

That's it for the down side.

For the first time in my life, I now know what it feels like to co-parent and I LIKE IT!  I like taking the kids to school, picking them up after school and hearing about their day.  I love sitting around the dinner table and having them tell me what they've learned.  I like the serenity (I know, how do you achieve serenity with children, but you haven't lived my life the last few years) of everyone knowing that today we may have had a rough day, but tomorrow's another day.  I love hearing laughter again.  And when the meltdowns come, they don't take nearly as long to diffuse.

At the end of the day, I know everything's going to be all right.  When things get rough, I just remember God's promise to take care of us, always.  God loves the birds, and they don't starve, so he'll take care of Dayton and I too.  As long as we have each other and God in our lives, we'll be fine.


Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou



Monday, 20 August 2012

Dude, Where's My Bed?

A lot has happened since I last posted...  and I apologize for not continue blogging for this past month, but I've been a little busy packing moving and keeping my sanity.  Here's what's happening now...

To say that I'm exhausted is putting it mildly.  Chaos doesn't even begin to describe what my life has become this past month and a half, my summer is gone and the new school year is about to begin.  Where has time gone???  To the basement, literally...

Along with the titles of mother, housekeeper, cook, chauffeur, play mate, peace keeper, entertainer and nurse, you may now give me a well deserved title of carpenter AND painter.  Yeah, that's right.  I helped mud and paint the walls and I didn't even cry until the very last night when I stayed up until 2 am to paint, and until 3 am because I had to drive my girl home after she helped me finish painting.

The walls are up and painted, the bunk beds for the boys are set up, and our life with room mates begins...

We live in a large house, thank goodness as there are now two mothers, a 17 year old daughter, fifteen year old son with autism and ADHD, Dayton (ten years old with PDD-NOS, ADHD, global delays, OCD and ODD) and a 9 year old son, who's sharing the basement and bunking Dayton.

To say Dayton is struggling with the changes happening in our lives is putting it mildly.  Glen has left for work to another province for six weeks, and the boy is going through daddy withdrawals.  While I make sure Dayton gets to talk to his dad every day, it's just not the same as being able to see him and hang out with him.  Dayton's extremely hyper, unable to focus, angry, stubborn, and becoming more and more self focused every day.  Life is all about him now days, and it's driving everyone around us crazy.

Rules, rules and more rules.  Dayton has many rules including what game to play and when with our new room mates and then to top it all off, in the midst of a game, he has a routine to follow and the rest of the kids best follow suit or lose their heads.  Even my dear Lisa who's worked with Dayton for nearly 3 months now has tried her best to explain to the kids that Dayton is not used to sharing and that even at home he would play his playstation game in his bedroom while his dad played in the living room on line with him (dad's idea, not Dayton's, one of the many reasons I've had enough of our lives and decided to move).

Even through all the chaos, there is some good news in my health.  My blood pressure, without any blood pressure medication has stabilized.  Wow.  If I had any self doubts as to whether I've made the right decision of moving, they're all gone now.  I physically feel so much better, a wee bit tired from all the work behind us, and the work looming ahead of us, but I look forward to my new life.

Another change for my new life:  I start my new job today.  And yes, I'm working at another Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacy...  I'm a Shoppers girl, till death do us part.  I love my job and the company I work for.  Selling drugs legally has it's benefits :)


Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Friday, 20 July 2012

New Beginnings

Change is rough on anyone, but add autism to the mix and you've got a world of physical and mental anguish to deal with that sometimes make you want to succumb to their wishes.  Sometimes, but now always.

Dayton and I are moving out, something that's been a work in progress for a while now, but is just now coming to fruition.  Naturally, neither one of us is looking forward to packing it up, but it must be done.  And I'm sooooo tired...

My personal life has been very busy, and trying to please three households is a major task.  I'm really looking forward to sleeping uninterrupted until 8am tomorrow...  Work until 10pm, tuck Dayton into bed, go to my new place and crash until 8am...  That's the plan.  I can hardly wait, as just typing this simple post is making my eye lids so very, very heavy...  No amount of coffee is helping, so I'm now past tired and entering to zone of exhausted.

The big move is next Friday, so I really must start packing.  Pray the boxes don't disrupt Dayton too much.


Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Monday, 9 July 2012

Why Do Good Things Have To Come To An End???

Chaos has consumed my life in the past two months.  As you've noticed, blogging has not been a priority in the months leading to summer.  Preparing a child with autism for change is hard work, and believe me, I'm working HARD.

My babe is currently putting me through an emotional roller coaster ride as I've decided that the two of us are moving.  Moving is a huge deal to these kids, and I'm scared out of my mind myself.

To make matters worse, my support system is crumbling away...  My favorite facebook page Autism Winnipeg is dispersing, and it feels like the end of an era.  Many people I've made connections with I've made because of being involved in Autism Winnipeg.  The friends I have today are all members of Autism Winnipeg, and it saddens me that our time with Autism Winnipeg has come to an end.  I am so grateful for the friends I've made through this group, and feel sad for the people I could have met.

Saddest yet is the group being split three different ways...

Autism Manitoba - for parents and caregivers:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/244966218954875/

Autism Winnipeg floor time and RDI:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/floortimerdi/

and finally our very own PACE branched out to make it on our own as Autism Winnipeg PACE:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/462687207094107/

I really hate the idea of Autism Winnipeg splitting up into three different groups, but at least there are options for people to choose from to follow what they want or need.  Autism Winnipeg floor time and RDI is quite specific, and while the group embraces everyone, its main focus is the floor time and RDI therapy.

Autism Manitoba - for parents and caregivers is a fantastic new group designed to group all of us together into one big family, and I thank Crystal for starting this group.  I'm hoping it becomes what Autism Winnipeg started to be.

Autism Winnipeg PACE is Mike's (Superdad) and my own baby.  It's all about the kids and parents getting together to support one another in person.

So, whatever you like, it's there for the grabbing.  Any questions, feel free to contact me.


Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Monday, 18 June 2012

The Dreaded IEP Meetings

It's that time of the year again, the time when parents are called to the school to review their child's progress and talk about expectations for the new school year in September.

This year is different for me.  Regardless of what the staff thinks of me, my boy's done good this year, thanks to a wonderful teacher who actually cares about him and his education.  It wasn't always this way.

At one time (until last year, from grade one until grade three), education had become an "us" (parents) versus "them" (teachers, guidance cousnellors and principals).  How did this happen?  Why did this happen?  Did we not have the same goal here, that is to teach my son how to become a productive member of society?  And how is a parent supposed to feel comfortable during meetings when it feels like the school staff are the probation officers and you and your child are petty criminals?  How do both parties come up with an amicable resolution to your child's education when there's this underlying perception that it is you, the parent, that are the cause of your child's behaviour?

Having had a break from feeling like a criminal this past year, as well as having the chance to meet some really wonderful EA's this past year, I now wonder how teachers feel...  Teachers and educational assistants who are percieved by the parents to be the cause of the child's behavioral issues?  Our pride rears its ugly head and denies, denies and denies that our child could possibly be what they describe.  My most famous comment to teachers is "wow, are you sure you're describing my babe?  I mean, he sure doesn't behave like that at home..."

It seems in the chaos we all forget that the child is a person of his own.  Yes, the child learns things by observing parental behavior, but he/she also learns from teacher behavior as well as their classmates from school.  I think that at this point in Dayton's life, he is more likely to learn most of his behviours from he classmates then us adults.  It's no longer cool to look up to us old folk.

So, to recap the year for Dayton:  He's made some great progress, especially when it comes to controlling his impulses to strike out at people who 'annoy' him.  Dayton's been using his words much more affectively rather than his fists.  Thank heavens!!!

The meeting was friendly, with no digs towards my parenting, which was awesome!  All of us were smiling and focused on Dayton's strengths.  While Dayton didn't meet all of his goals on his Individual Education Plan (IEP), we didn't get all gloomy about it.

The only part that made me sad and apprehensive is Dayton's grade level...  While he will be heading into grade five next September, my babe is intellectually sitting at a grade one level...  Make that beginning grade one level.  While I've always worried about my son, I'm terrified now.  What does this mean for his future?  Was I wrong?  Was I in denial believing my son will be a contributing member of society?  I'm scared.


As my dad Paul always says, consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Life's Just Too Short

This post has nothing to do about autism.



I've had a rough week, both professionally and personally.  One of my favourite patients passed away, after just recently re-marrying.  He was 43 years old, and talking to his wife, something she said really hit home for me...

"After 14 years of being married to an asshole, I finally found the right man.  And now he's gone."

Later, I found out my co-worker's 21 year old sister in law was killed in a car crash.  The wedding took place last summer.  I feel horrible for the family...  No one should lose someone so young...

21 years old.  Seems like a life time ago for me.  43...  

And so I think of my life.

I've had two major surgeries:  a hysterectomy and a bilateral mastectomy to ensure I live past the age of 35.  I'm a wee bit older than that, no need to worry about my age, but it's always been in the back of my mind to be grateful for the extension of my life.

Today, I'm thinking about how to spend the extra years...  have I truly been happy with my life?  Is there anything I can do to make it better?  Healthier for both Dayton and I?  Happier?

The answer is a resounding YES!!!  But change is scary, and there are no guarantees starting something new.  The unknown is a scary place to be.  Not knowing expectations and boundaries, afraid of 'messing up.'  I've never been one to take a chance or a risk.  I am a creature of habit, comfortable in knowing how my day looks like ahead, even though I know I won't be happy with it.

That is coming to an end.  I will no longer walk on eggshells.  I will do as I please and laugh when I want to laugh.  That is not to say that I'm going to become a complete jerk.  I'm not about to go out and blurt whatever's on my mind and tell people they need a hair cut or a change in stylists.  I am not a cruel person.

I'm done pretending for other's happiness.  I'm moving on with my life, and taking risks and chances along the way.  I'm going to be happy, and share my happiness with people I care about.  And for those that have hurt me, I'm no longer willing to bend over backwards for their happiness.

Marilyn Monroe said it best:  "I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure.  I make mistakes, I'm out of control and at times hard to handle.  But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best!"  Totally sounds like me and where I am at this point in my life.

Anyways, if you're worried you're on my black list, here's a simple way to know where I've placed you on my priority list:  The only people who matter to me are those who treat me like I matter to them.  I think that's fair, wouldn't you agree?



Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Monday, 4 June 2012

Like An Autism Mom's Plate Ain't Full Enough

It doesn't seem to matter what your age is, some people just never grow up.  Sure, they grow taller, as Dayton's dad seems to remind me when I tell him to grow up (he always points to his height and tells me he's more grown up then I am, yes, I'm height challenged).  But I'm here to tell you that just isn't the same.

Someone messaged me on facebook, telling me how an educational assistant at Dayton's school has told people that my son is a "Curse" on his school.  While I have mentioned Dayton's name more than once on Autism Diva Help, I have never mentioned the school name or anyone who works there by name.  This person was able to name the school and one of the educational assistant's name, in fact the same educational assistant who hurt Dayton last year by bending his thumb back harshly in order to get an item out of his hand...  So, naturally, I paid attention to this message and even put up a message on Autism Diva Help to have this person contact me again.

Here are his/her messages to me:

Message number 1:  Hi Mrs. Lovrin. I think you would like to know this, and as a parent myself I would want to know. There are teachers and EA's at ****** School that talk about you and your son outside of school, and in inappropriate manner. I called the school as a concerned parent to complain, but also thought you should know this.   Ms.******** and other teachers that work and have worked with your son do this. It should stop! It disturbs me that this goes on, the maturity level of these people that are suppose to show and teach our young. Never mind how much of a confident breach it is. Sorry to tell you this, but you probably already thought it went on. I am confirming it does.

Message number 2:  I emailed you in shock about what I was hearing said about your son at ******** school. And as far as I can tell you have not done anything about it. I heard some more terrible things today from an EA Ms. ********** about your son and how much of "A Curse" he is to have in the school. And there were people around. How can we have EAs and teacher think, and speak about kids so wrongfully. I have called the school about this and they have not done anything. I am hoping you do!

Did you know that facebook has two different places to check messages?  Yup, I now check both places for messages every day.  The first message was sent to me in Feb, the next in March.  I didn't read the messages until MAY!!!  So I message this informant back, explaining that I'm just not as facebook savy as I once thought I was and to please contact me...  Her/His response, message number 3:

Hi again, 
My apologies on the delay this time. I have been away from Facebook. I just seen your blog today. I do not have any more information to tell you, other than what I have already said. The rest is up to you to follow up on. It must be tough in your shoes. I feel for you, and these kind of people who feel they have to belittle the mentally challenged and socially weak. To me this is a kind of bullying in the worst form, something the schools are against. This is why I feel as though I had to inform you about what I know. I am sure you can pick out the handful plus a few who have spoken badly about you and your son behind your backs and in very inappropriate manners. I do not feel I am close enough to the situation to be directly involved, I have enough on my plate as I'm sure you would appreciate. I wish I could help you more. If I hear of anything else, you would be the first to know.


Please keep me and your other blog fans informed on how things turn out. You seem like a very nice woman with a lot on your plate. Keep in touch.

My response:  I would like to know who the other teachers are, and WHERE they were discussing my son. I have called the school, and the principal says that he has already dealt with the situation, telling me that you and Ms. ********  have a 'private' issue and that this is why you called the school, to get even with her. So... without further information, they are not going to do anything.

Message number 4:  Ms. ***** ****is the only one whose name I know. The others I do not. I do not have any issues with anyone, I do have issues with teachers slandering students. Especially students who are mentally ill. Can I ask you this Mrs. Lovrin? Whatever my situation is with Ms. ************* or anyone, why do I even know THESE things at all? That is inappropriate in itself. I should not have had to say anything other than what I said in the original email to you, and the phone call I made to the school. They should be doing something about this, it is a shameful response from the principal to chalk this serious situation up to a "personal issue". I personally would not want my families issues flaunted around a public school. By the STAFF! Maybe you have to take this up with your Superintendent? Local MP?. I would try the school division first. This is a sad situation. Like I said good luck!

Soooo...

If this is someone trying to get back at Ms. ***********, then who am I to falsely accuse anyone of something as horrendous as bullying a child with autism?  I will agree with the writer of these messages on one point...  Confidentiality HAS been breached, in a BIG way. There's no way for this person to know where my son attends school or any private family issues that are circulating around the school as well as outside of the school.  I can not ignore that.  Even if this person has an issue with Ms ****** and is somehow trying to get even with this EA, it is obvious that this EA has been talking about Dayton and I.

I do have a message for this EA:  UNDERSTAND THIS:  Say what you want about me, I'm an adult and can certainly handle your level of immaturity...  But, say the wrong thing TO or ABOUT my child (this goes for ANYONE that disrespects my babe) and you'd better sleep with your eyes open.  You think my son is a curse in your school...  Lady, you don't know what a curse is!  Try having what are supposed to be mature, caring adults trying to make you go crazy, pushing your buttons until you go postal...  That's a curse, and you've imposed it on me.  Maybe I should have done more last year when you hurt my babe, but I let it go as people make mistakes and get frustrated.  Dayton wasn't very hurt, so no harm done, but do not mistake my kindness for weakness.  That is your curse my dear.  The old Lou, the one who bent over backwards for y'all is gone.  She's been replaced with a new me.  One that doesn't cry when you hurt her feelings, but fights back.  There's a curse for ya!


So.  If you have any information on what's happening or have any ideas as to how to come to the truth of the matter, please email me or facebook message me.  Your thought, prayers, weapons and advice is very much appreciated.


Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Friday, 1 June 2012

Back Away From The Board Of Education

Have you had one of those as a kid growing up?  You know the paddle called the board of education your parents wielded at you when you misbehaved?  I sure did, and I'm wondering if my dad still has it...

My little man's been quite the little grand master bully at school, and not bullying kids either, but his principal and educational assistant...  And it gets better...  It's all my fault.

I've noticed how I've trained the kids at our patio homes to get Dayton in trouble.  Trying to avoid conflict between Dayton and the kids and raise some 'understanding,' I've asked the kids to come to me if there are 'issues' with Dayton and their 'play.'  You know, be the referee before things get out of hand.  Thinking I could prevent meltdowns, embarrassing moments for Dayton, awkward times with kids...  Yeah, how about no.  That didn't really work out well.

Instead I hear kids screaming at Dayton "no, stop, don't hit me!!!" when I'm sitting on the patio, look up and see Dayton playing by himself, clear across the field.  Seriously?  What the hell is that all about?  Obviously these little punks are trying to get him in trouble.  Not cool!  And it makes me feel like walking around with one of my croquet hammers to supervise the play ground.

So I had a talk with my son.  I told Dayton that if anyone hit him, he had full permission to go ahead and smack the little freak shows into next day.  If kids are using their words to fight, he is NOT allowed to get physical, but he could use his own words to fight back.  Never, ever strike at someone unless they strike first.  That's the rule.  I'm tired of kids picking on him and than Dayton getting in trouble for it.  They want to play this game, then game on.  I know my babe can take them on.   He may have heard me tell my friend that I didn't raise no 'sissy,' and how Dayton was far from being weak, and maybe it's time these brats got what they deserve.

Anyhow...

Dayton goes to school and gets himself in trouble.  The principal comes to get him.  Dayton's talking back at him and reaches out to smack him saying:  "you're weak, why don't you defend yourself?"

What the...  How did he confuse "defend yourself Dayton" for bullying the principal???

I got a call from the school to come and get Dayton early on Monday...  Long story short, Dayton had to be physically removed from the computer room as he was threatening to stab his poor educational assistant and his principal with scissors...  because he wanted more time on the computer...

It gets better...  Yesterday, Dayton snuck a Call of Duty game cover to school...  My mother always taught me to kill`em with kindness, but I think in this case I am justified to beat Dayton`s father with a baseball bat.  It`s me that gets the notes from school, not him!!!  My parenting is questioned, never his!!!  He`s making my life a miserable hell by playing these video games with Dayton, and now he`s bringing them to school!!!

So, as you can see, I`ve got my hands full.  Just when you think you`ve figured out your child, he throws a curve ball at ya and expects ya to `fetch it.`


Hope all is well with y├áll.  Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

 

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Urgently Needing To Contact Informant!!!!

Someone Facebook messaged me about staff talking inappropriately about my son and I at Dayton's school, and I just read the message this morning. I'm fuming and need to find you for more information. I definitely need to deal with this, not just for my son, but for the sake of all children attending this school, so please contact me!!!!  If what you've mentioned is true in your messages to me, the school is gonna get the full wrath of Lou.

The messages in question were dated on Feb 13 and Mar 5th.  I didn't receive them until yesterday as I didn't realize there are TWO places for messages on facebook.


As always, consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Thursday, 17 May 2012

A New Member For Team Dayton!

So, my respite worker quit.  She was great, but needed more hours, and I can appreciate that.

So, I went to the Autism Winnipeg Facebook page to see if anyone knew of anyone that would be interested in helping me out for some extra cash.  And lo and behold... an angel heard my prayer.

Lisa responded to my post within minutes.  I saw her green hair and thought 'wow, spunky little thing isn't she?'  This is exactly the kind of person I need for Dayton, someone with spunk and not shy.  Dayton eats shy for breakfast, and is never quite full, kind of like chinese food.  Within an hour, he's hungry again, and I pity the shy one working with him.

The day before our interview, Lisa text messages me explaining that her hair is now blue, and that she is willing to change her hair color if I think Dayton would freak out.  Awwww...  what a sweetie!  My immediate response was NO WAY!  Dayton's wanted to die his hair blue, but because he's still in elementary school, I won't do it.  The kid's got enough problems with his teachers, let's not add more fuel to the fire.  But summer is coming, and I'll let him so what he wants with his hair.  Maybe Lisa can help me with that.  I have no idea how to get the bright shade of blue her hair is now, and to be honest, while I may be conservative, it kind of looks cool!

The best part about this new respite worker is...  wait for it...  drum roll please...  Lisa has Asperger's.  How blessed am I?  My babe is going to have someone looking after him that understands the way he thinks, that could affectively help him with some coping strategies,  someone who truly 'gets him.'

I've been thinking about PACE, and how to make it encompass more for our kids.  One of my thoughts on the morning of meeting Lisa for the first time was to find successful young adults on the autism spectrum to mentor our young ones.  Lisa totally fits this criteria.  She works at Canadian Tire, and writes THREE blogs:  http://vibrant-oxymoron.blogspot.ca/http://yeht.blogspot.ca/ and http://bitterambiguity.blogspot.ca/.  Just writing one blog can be tiring, I can't imagine having three!!!

Take a look at her reference letter:

"Notes:


I have not officially been "employed" to care for a person with autism, however my sister was diagnosed at a young age.  I have lived my life assisting with her upbringing and continue to care for her when it comes to the self injurious behaviour and melt downs that she has exhibited from a very young age.  She also processes feelings differently, such as temperature or pain.  I am quite familiar with several people on the autism spectrum, and have great insight when it comes to the way that the autistic mind works.  Needless to say, no two people with autism perceive the world in an identical way - for the most part, however, I have found that the key is simple logic, and explanations which are delivered in such a way that the connotation of the words cannot be mistaken.  It is often I who am called upon to deal with a particular customer at the place in which I work, who has no conception of monetary value, and whom people believe acts "strangely."  When I noticed him initially, I could tell that he was distressed when attempting to communicate with the cashier.  After the cashier too became distressed - after attempting to explain to him that he could not afford his item, and him not quite understanding what she was trying to convey - I approached him and explained the situation to him, in a way that he promptly understood.  I later explained to her and the other cashiers the reason for his atypical movements and speech patterns, as well how to deal with him in a more effective manner if he were to come through their till.  I have since served him many times, and we get along notoriously.  


Although I am uncertain as to the relevance of this fact, it may also interest you to know that I have been diagnosed with Aspergers.  Throughout the past six or seven years, however, I have developed a familiarity, if not understanding, of social conventions and behaviours.  I have been told that it is very difficult at times to tell that I have Aspergers at all, which is wonderful to hear as I have worked very hard to appear - as society generally views it - "normal."  But I digress - I believe that this gives me a unique awareness when it comes to working with those with autism - that, as well as my intensive research into autism spectrum disorders and the implications.


I have also read through the entirety of your blog twice in an attempt to familiarise myself with Dayton and yourself before our meeting.  He seems like a wonderful child!  I would like to add that I am quite familiar with echolalia (and stubborness) as well, and it has never bothered me in the slightest.  I have an abundance of patience.  It may also interest you to know that I am a devoted Christian as well.


I derive great joy from working with children in general, and sincerely hope that you will find me sufficient when it comes to caring for Dayton."


I didn't bother calling her reference.  I think she's more than qualified.

Lisa, if you're reading this, I am thrilled to have you be a part of our lives.  I pray you remain in our lives for a very, very long time.

I'm really feeling good about this.


Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Friday, 11 May 2012

A Day And A Bit In His Shoes

Five children, three of which are on the autism spectrum.  I only had to watch the two little ones, they're four years old, and they're the ones NOT on the spectrum.  And of course Dayton.  I had the help of the eldest daughter, 17, with Asperger's, a high functioning type of autism.

I survived.  I done good, the house didn't burn down and the kids were safe.  I lost my keys a few times, Dayton found my cell phone for me every time it rang as I continually "misplaced" it, I downed a lot of cough syrup, tried to help out with chores around the house and somehow managed to get the little ones to take their naps without passing out myself.  I changed a dirty diaper without vomiting even a little bit (dry heaving doesn't count, right?), and managed to feed the kids all at the same time.  By the time SuperDad came home, I wondered how on earth he could manage five kids on his own...  I only had three and his oldest, OK, so really, I had four, but still!  I only had them for the afternoon...  and I was calling Mayday!

How does he keep the laundry straight?  How does he know which piece of clothing belongs to whom?  I had a hard time figuring that one out, so when he got home, he had some sorting to do.  So much for trying to help.  Pants I figured were the boy's were actually his middle daughters.  As a woman, you'd think I'd know the difference between girl's and boy's clothing, right?  Ummm, how about no...  Never mind the boy is four and the daughter in question is eleven...

There's one bathroom in the house and he's potty training two toddlers.  They both had to go at the same time.  How does he determine which one is the urgent one?  They both looked real uncomfortable to me.

Both need to be bathed at the same time too, and neither one wants to go first.  How does he handle that?  And God forbid one goes to bed before the other.  How is he able to be in both bedrooms at the same time?

I don't think I've ever been as happy to see a man walk through the door as I was to see SuperDad come home to the rescue with a bag of KFC in his arms.  He was like a knight in shining armor.  I don't care much for KFC, especially now that I'm trying to keep my girlish figure, but I wasn't gonna complain, nope, not I.

But at the end of the day, even when off duty due to my rescue, I couldn't stop.  I hand fed the little girl, even though I really shouldn't have.  She's old enough to eat on her own, and I know she totally took advantage of me and had me wrapped around her little finger.  I tidied up her bed before tucking her in for the night.  She wrapped her little arms around me and bid me good night.  The little guy may not have shown me much affection at bed time, but made sure to strut his stuff for me after his bath.

Worn out and tired, wondering how I was going to drive myself home, I didn't want to leave.  Those kids are awesome.  Thank goodness I was taking one of them home with me.  My babe.  Dayton.  He took his job of helping me watch the kids very seriously, and had my back the whole time.  And SuperDad...  He's pretty awesome too.  I mean, he's SuperDad!

So, I've cracked SuperDad's super human power.  I figured out how he handles five kids all on his own.  I no longer have to wonder how he's able to manage.  It's called unconditional love.  I've heard of this strange phenomenon, and have that with my son, and now I've seen it between a father and his kids.  And I got a little of that magical stuff myself from these awesome kids.  But I must warn you.  Don't try this at home alone.  It is highly addicting, and very confusing.  One minute they love you, love you, love you, and the next, well, let's just say I thought I was growing horns and could have sworn I had a tail.  Even so, I know they care about me.  They may say no, but their little arms wrapped around me and the screams for 'Lou' tell me another thing all together.

SuperDad's life is super busy with the five kids and exhausting by the end of the day, but what I'd give to have all that love...  I no longer feel 'sorry' for him.  I envy him.  He is wealthy beyond our wildest dreams.  And once a week, I get to be selfish and share a few moments of this wonderful phenomenon.  God is good.


Wishing I could do a better job of verbally expressing these hugs to all of you,

Lou

Friday, 4 May 2012

In My Dreams

I remember a time, before Dayton's birth when I dreamt of what "family" for me would look like.  I envisioned a football team of children in my home, a doting husband and father, proud of his clan, a big dog who would teach my little ones how to walk and there was the white picket fence too... and a garden, and, and, and I didn't lose my figure after pumping out that football team...  Silly, naive girl...

I honestly thought marriage would make a lady out of me, my husband, well...  He would be a true gentleman, opening doors for me and showering me with his undying love and attention.  He would be my knight in shining armour and protect me from any nightmare.  I thought having children would complete us, and we would be ever so happy.

Turns out the knight in shining armour is just a man wrapped in tin foil, and children, while lovely, can cause arguments in a marriage.  Some arguments can not be patched up.  Especially when one parent is continually (all right, obsessively) learning about autism, trying to help their child in whatever means they can, coming to his defence even when not necessary, while the other one sits in denial.  Perhaps not in denial, but definitely not on board of education about autism.

I never once thought about the possibility of autism entering my life.  Rain Man's main character Raymond Babbitt, played by Dustin Hoffman, represented autism, and all autistic people.  A spectrum?  I figured people were talking about the colours of the rainbow, or Centrum Vitamins.

So here I am, wondering how on earth I got here.  How did my life fall so far away from the dream I had envisioned?

I blame television.  That and Walt Disney.  Snow White.  Cinderella.  The person who T-boned me less then a month ago.  Anyone but myself.  Because let's face it.  I bear no responsibility, do I?

In today's world, we all blame others for things gone wrong in our lives, yet not once do we look at where the fault may lie within ourselves.  I was young, foolish, and naive.  I believed life was a fairy tale.  I thought the world was beautiful.

Then I grew up.

Believe it or not, we have a choice in how we live our lives.  It's our responsibility.  We can sit there and blame autism for our unhappiness or we can use autism as our strength.  I've chosen to look at it as a strength a long time ago, but there are still others out there who feel sorry for themselves...  What a pity.

I look at my son, and think how different my life is.  How full it is of love, compassion and did I mention love?

I love my babe.  He's everything to me.

And I love my friends.  They are my family.  But there's one friend in particular I couldn't live without, and that is my...

Maybe I'll just keep you guessing.  I know, how frustrating.


Consider yourselves hugged, and loved,

Lou

Sunday, 15 April 2012

I AM DAYTON!!!

I am Dayton. 

You may not understand me, or the way I feel today. 
You may not understand my reasoning for things I do or say. 
The reasons why I'm so loud and say things over & over again, 
Why I run so differently or lose my homework every now & then. 


I write my letters backwards and sometimes numbers too, 
and when in a conversation, I'll say "Guess what" 100 times to you. 
Too much noise, light, or excitement can set me in a spin. 
I don't like the way these pants feel rubbing against my skin. 


I try to be good, but sometimes it's hard to control, 
I have to do it, it's an impulse, I don't always do what I'm told. 
Ketchup, Ranch and BBQ sauce on everything I eat, 
sometimes I have days that I just can't sit still in my seat. 


I like to talk a lot even when it's out of turn, 
my mind plays tricks on me and interrupts what I'm trying to learn. 
Sit up straight, wipe my face, and play ever so soft, 
some of these things I have trouble with and I usually lose my train of thought. 


I didn't mean to spill the milk mom, or slam the door so hard, 
everyone else is done with their homework, I don't know where to start? 
My heart's as big as gold, my feelings get hurt too, 
I get sad, cry and have bad days just like you. 


My brain works differently than other girls and boys, 
but one thing always holds true, I can give your life so much joy. 
I get frustrated so easily and my hand won't work that way, 
I don't understand why those other kids won't let me come over and play. 


Please don't think of me any differently or love of me any less, 
I'm just like other kids and trying to do my best. 
I am very special in my own unique way, and every moment with me 
you'll never have a dull day.




I am Dayton, tell your friends about me! 



Consider yourselves hugged, 

Lou

Saturday, 14 April 2012

By The Grace Of God, I Survived!!! I'm Alive!!!

I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive...  The pain screaming on the left side of my body and the ringing in my left ear, the pins and needles on the left side of my face and the occasional drool out of the corner of the left side of my mouth tell me that I'm alive.

I survived a potentially deadly car crash this past Tuesday morning.  Everything happened in slow motion, I saw it coming, felt the impact and there was nothing I could do other than pray to God to take care of my son.  I thought to myself:  "This is it."  I honestly didn't think I would survive.  

But God has different plans for me.  Either that or He's just not ready for me to sit at His table in His house.  I'll admit, I'm a handful...  Or my prayer was heard and He thought I was the best person to take care of Dayton.  Whatever His reason is, I am a grateful servant.  

Glen seeing the car damage for the first time

Back driver's side door...  where Dayton would have sat...


The passenger side door...  I must have blacked out here, because I don't remember how this happened; not that takes TALENT!

As faithful as I am to bringing awareness to autism (by the way, did you know the whole month of April is AUTISM AWARENESS month?  That's why you'll be seeing more autism related poems this month on Autism Diva Help.), my mind was NOT on autism...  

A parent with a child on the autism spectrum pretty much lives, breathes, eats, digests, drinks and sleeps autism.  We read books on the subject, go to coffee with other parents of children on the autism spectrum for support, check out facebook autism pages, research autism on the internet, look for autism news, head to doctor and specialist appointments, school meetings and behavioural or psychologist appointments, wait in pharmacies for our kid's prescriptions, etc...  We learn a whole new vocabulary relating to autism behaviour, therapy and diets, etc...  We really are in a different world from the average parent.  

This last Tuesday morning, just before 9:30am, the very last thing on my mind was autism. I know, right?  Hard to believe the Diva strayed from her obsession!  

My mind was on Dayton.  Not Dayton with autism, not Dayton with OCD, not Dayton with ADHD, not Dayton's global delays and his IEP or ODD, his wait watch and wonder therapy, his child psychologist appointment this coming week, or his latest report card showing black on white just how far behind he is from the rest of his grade 4 class...  My mind was simply on Dayton, my beloved son.  Dayton, the air I breathe, the beautiful sunshine in my life, Dayton who saved my life a few times already in his short life.  Dayton, the reason I get up every morning, Dayton, the reason I'm alive.  His smile, his eyes, his sense of humour, his dimpled cheek...  I love him so much!!!

Autism or no autism, I cherish my son.  I can not imagine my life without him.  

The car accident literally knocked me out.  When I came to, all I thought was Dayton.  And panic ceased my body and mind, and I screamed out his name, thinking he should have been sitting in the car with me.  I screamed at the paramedics to find my son, shoved at the fire men trying to rescue me from my car (they had to cut my driver's side door open to get me out), until someone asked me if Dayton could possibly be in school???  

Yes, yes, I remember him taking the school bus and waving an embarrassed good bye to me...  You know the one where he's trying to please me, but not wanting his friends to see him love his mom, because that's just NOT cool.  

OK, fine.  The Diva lost her mind temporarily, that's not the first time and it certainly won't be the last.  Knowing my babe was safe, I allowed the firemen to ease my body out of the vehicle, put the stupid neck brace on after lying my body on their uncomfortable board to ensure my spine was aligned and then off to the hospital.  

I kept asking the fireman who calmed me down at the accident to call Glen or call Dayton's school to make sure Dayton was there and safe, and to get Glen to call someone to pick Dayton up from school in case I wasn't home on time.  Finally, my rescuer called Glen, and I could relax...  Dayton would be taken care of and I could just relax my body.  What a huge mistake that was...  That's when the pain really hit me...  But it was all right, as long as I got to see my babe again, I would take all the pain in the world.  

I haven't stopped cuddling with my son.  I don't care how much he doesn't like to be touched or hugged, I'm not letting go.  I'm loving my son, and no one can stop me, not even Autism.  


Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Before I Go To Sleep

Before I Go To Sleep… 



Mommy, don't you cry now and Daddy don't you weep. 
I want to whisper something before I go to sleep. 

I know that when I cam here I looked perfect in every way. 
And you were so proud, Daddy; when you held me on that day. 
And Mommy, when you kissed me and wrapped me up so tight, 
I knew that I belonged here and everything was right. 
But then I stopped talking and began to slip away, 
I saw your worried faces as you knelt by me to pray. 
And Daddy, I always notice how you wipe away a tear, 
When you watch the other children as they run and laugh and cheer. 
I may not be able to tell you how much I love you so, 
Or even show you how I feel and what I really know. 
But when you hold me, Mommy, at night when all is still, 
I feel the love you have for me and I know that all is well. 
And Daddy, when you take me to the park to run and play 
I know that you still love me thought the words I cannot say. 
I want to tell you something before I go to sleep. 
I may be sort of dirrect and you may not understand, 
I know that I am not that little hild that you and Daddy planned. 
But I love you both so very much and I know you love me too, 
And if I could only speak my heart, you would feel my love for you. 
I know the future is unknown and you will always have to be, 
The ones who love and listen and take good care of me. 
I know that you are frightened and you shed so many tears, 

And if I could I'd wipe them dry and take away your fears. 
So Mommy, don't you cry now and Daddy please don't weep. 
I want to say…I love you both, before I go to sleep. 




Found this on the internet and had to share...  It is after all, Autism Awareness Month.  

I'm Dayton, I'm cool, tell your friends about me!


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Hmmmm... Why Not Just Castrate Them?

All right, I'll admit it.  Perhaps the title is a wee bit drama queen'ish, but I am after all a DIVA.  That's why our blog is called Autism DIVA Help.  A little help for you, a little help for me, and everyone gets a hug at the end of the post.  Yes, even the men.  You may now uncross your legs.  I'm not on a man hating mission, I'm on a man SAVING mission.

That's right, the Diva is wanting to save men, you read it right.  I know...  shocking as you probably think I hate men with a passion.  This is not true, I love men.  This is why I have so much trouble with them.  My son is a male, so to hate men would mean I hate my son, and y'all know that could be farther from the truth.  Also, my "dad" Paul Humphreys has been a blessing in my life, and is one of the most amazing people I have had the pleasure of knowing.  And he's a man.

Let's get to the point.

Schools and society are emasculating our sons and I'm sick of it.

A little harsh?  I don't think so.

Remember when we were kids?  I do.  I was a tom boy, and my mom and dad were far from rich.  They owned their own home.  That's where the money ended.  They both worked their butts off, day and night.  As a result, I had to learn how to cook (burn food would describe it far better) at an early age.

Did I ever play house?  Yup, sure did.  Did I play with barbies?  Yup, my neighbour had two and she shared hers with me.  I had a bike, thanks to my grandma Barcic, and a deflated soccer ball.  We lived across a large field, and that's where I played soccer with the neighbourhood kids.  Soccer and...  wait for it...

Cowboys and Indians.  Cops and Robbers.  Partisans and Nazi's.  Growing up in communist Slovenija, World War II was talked about often.  Especially Tito.  Anyways...  my point is that we pretended to shoot each other.  If we didn't have toy guns (which was my case), we (I) picked up a stick and pretended it was a rifle or gun.  "Ratatatapow."

Have I shot a real rifle?  Yes, my dad taught me when I was 8 years old. Have I killed anyone when I grew up?  NOPE.  I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought about it.  I once held a pillow over Glen's face when he slept, but the gurgling made me feel guilty and I quit (KIDDING!!!...  or am I???).  Have I threatened to kill anyone?  NOPE.  Do I own a gun?  NOPE.  Have I brought a gun to school or my work place?  (I can almost hear my past employers holding their breath...  wonder if I should answer this one...)?  Relax, NOPE.  Have I thought of shooting an employer, co-worker, ex boyfriends, ex friends, etc?  NOPE.  Sure haven't.  (Is that a sigh of relief I hear?)  Am I a violent person?  NOPE.  Just keep your distance from my son and I'll behave like a perfect lady.  Even when a daycare and school physically abused my son, I didn't lay a finger on anyone responsible for hurting my babe.  This is where you need to go back to the beginning of this paragraph where I say I've thought about killing someone, or at the very least, maiming someone.

Nowadays, boys are not allowed to play or pretend to play with guns anymore.  Video games depicting guns are frowned upon.  I don't know how many times Dayton's school insinuated that I was an unfit parent because Dayton's father "exposed" him to violent video games.  Isn't it funny how that works?  Glen does it, I get blamed for it.  I even have a copy of Dayton's level III funding application where the guidance counsellor states that I EXPOSED DAYTON TO VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES...  made Dayton's home a "hostile environment" during a difficult time in my marriage...  among other things... Ugh...

Nowadays, our boys are expected to sit pretty at their desks at school the whole day, unless of course it's time to hit the gym.  And if your child fits on the autism spectrum...  or has ADHD...  prepare to receive the worst parent's award of the month, every month.

I remember sitting through a service in which the pastor stopped his sermon and addressed his congregation.  He said:  "gentlemen, let's face it.  We all married 'up.'  Ladies, please, bear with your husbands.  There is scientific proof that the human fetus, up until about six to seven weeks after conception is technically FEMALE.  After the said six to seven weeks, the embryo that has inherited the 'Y' chromosome endures a hormonal bath which actually damages their brain and alters its structure.  You could say we're brain damaged ladies!!!"

The hormone the pastor talked about is called testosterone.  Testosterone is the hormone responsible for social dominance.  All throughout history, even the caveman days, it was the male that was the dominant force in society, not the female.  The men went out and hunted, fought for territory,  were builders, made weapons, fought wars and physically protected what was theirs.  The women were the maintainers and caretakers of their home and family.

Hormones dictate how we relate to each other.  Numerous experts believe boys are more assertive, take risks, fight, argue, and their determination to live on the edge of disaster is linked to testosterone AND to the way their brain has been altered during their hormonal bath in utero.  It is also responsible for boys' desire from a very, very early age (toddler hood) to be the toughest, bravest, rootin-shootin hombre in the west.  Or the strongest soldier fighting for our freedom.  This is the way GOD made them!!!

I am NOT a fan of guns, at least not now as an adult.  Would I prefer my son be passive and sit all day to make my life easier?  Absolutely.  There are days where I'd just like to RELAX...  But let's face it.  Boys are not born to sit around.  They're meant to run, jump, play recklessly, wrestle, and be loud.  Now let's add PDD-NOS, ADHD, OCD and ODD to the mix.  Booyah!  There is NO rest, PERIOD.  Autism is pretty much family traits intensified by 100.  So, Dayton's a boy (which means he's naturally not able to sit around as it is) with autism (holly crap, hang on tight and fasten your seat belts, because we gotta multiply the squirminess by 100).  Let's not forget Dayton's OCD...  meaning he perseverates over things like guns...  and being a boy...  and SpongeBob...  and missing the toilet...  grrr...

What is the alternative here?  Shave his legs, put him in a dress and call him Daytona?  NOT!!!  Have my boy 'snipped?'  NOT!!!

Whether I like it or not, whether the school system likes it or not, my boy is ALL BOY.  So are the other boys out there.  Short of castrating them so they stop producing testosterone, there is nothing else for us to do but to ACCEPT the fact that they are BOYS.  And we need our boys!!!

Have you ever googled emasculation of men?  I dare you.  It's all about castration.  In a sense, this is what society is doing to our kids, but expecting boys to behave like GIRLS!!!


Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Schools Threatening Parents With CFS? Yup, They Do That...

Don't worry School Divsion 2...  This is not about you.

I get reader emails once in a while.  Not tons of it, but enough to want to start a newspaper column called Dear Lola the Crazy Diva.  I do my best NOT to blog about emails I receive, but this one is laying heavy on my heart.  I just can't stop thinking about it.  It's really upsetting to me that schools do this all the time, and yet when we as parents call CFS to complain about how schools treat or manhandle our children, nothing is done.

People wonder why our kids are a generation away from barbarianism...  This is why people!!!  We're not allowed to discipline our kids anymore.  Don't even think of raising your voice at them, or the school WILL call CFS.  You will be investigated for abuse, and God help you...  Teacher stuffs a special needs child in a duffel bag, and that's OK, but raise your voice or shove your child out away from danger...  All hell breaks loose, and you've just become the WORST PARENT EVER!!!

Settle down...  I'm not promoting child abuse here folks.  My dad took a belt to me, and I remember it well.  I'm 37 years old and still afraid of my dad.  As a result, we don't have a relationship, leaving me without a family to turn to...  But ch'a know what?  I'm OK.  I'm not breaking and entering, I'm not using drugs, I'm not a drunk, and I pay my taxes...  Have I thought of smacking Dayton with a belt?  Absolutely NOT.  NEVER, EVER would I take a belt to my babe.  Have I smacked his butt?  Yup.  With my hand.  Believe me when I tell you, the boy must have a callused butt or something, because my hand hurt more than his bony, little butt.  Now, before you start dialling CFS, I gave him one swat on a fully clothed butt.  No bruises on his body, but I believe I may have bruised his ego.  Have I raised my voice at my son?  I plead the 5th.  Does Canada have the 5th?  Hmmmm...  I'm sure we do...  Either way, I'm not discussing my parenting style, as I plan on writing a book titled How To Raise The Perfect Child and I'm a gonna make a kill'n on it.

For some reason, kids with special needs are an enormous headache on our schools.  I don't know what the problem is with our educators, but they view our kids' disabilities as a "parenting problem."  Say the word ADHD, and you can literally see their eyes glaze over.  They're not listening to a single word you're telling them after you've said ADHD.  Behavioural issue.  That's all they see.  Tell them you're going through a separation with your spouse, and they're dialling the number to CFS.  I'm not kidding here, that's what's happened to this poor guy who emailed me.  There were other things that went on for this dad of two, but I can't share more because I don't know how many incidences schools have with the same behaviour's and I don't want to jeopardize this dad's chances at an amicable resolution...  if this school is capable of it that is...

I can't be too hard on the schools though.  Dayton's school has been a blessing this year, and his teacher just absolutely amazing.  I've missed triage conferences this week, and the teacher actually emailed me wanting me us to meet up at a more convenient time for her to show me Dayton's work!  I've never had a teacher do that before!!!  She actually cares!!!  Last weekend (yes, you read that right, Saturday evening actually), Dayton's teacher called me at home to discuss his magnet board for earning rewards and was concerned for Dayton, wanting him to feel successful and wanting to WORK WITH ME to tweak the reward system!!!  Again, this is the first time EVER that I've had a teacher do this.  But, not all of us are so lucky.  I know I wasn't last year, or the year before, or the year before that...  Ugh.  I wish I could name Dayton's teacher, so that everyone would know who this amazing woman is.  It's killing me not being able to share with you all, and let you know that she is real and not a figment of my imagination...  Now, back to this poor dad's problem, a problem most of us face.

Schools will always call CFS on a kid with a label.  This is not coming from me, but from a CFS worker I used to work with.  Yes, I worked with a CFS worker, and no, no one made me.  I loved her.  She was a fire cracker.  Dayton's school's biggest threat was to call CFS (which they did three times), so I brought CFS to them.  The school didn't like that AT ALL.  Their power over me was gone.  Nothing left to threaten me with.  As you know, I always carry a little crazy with me, you just never know when it will come in handy, and it sure did last year when I'd finally had enough of their BS.  It was the best thing I ever did.

So yes, schools do use CFS to threaten parents.  It sucks, but it's very, very true.  The way to get around it?  Even though uncomfortable, invite them in your home, it's not like you have anything to hide, unless of course you DO have a gun hiding under your bed.  Invite CFS to ALL school meetings.  You would be surprised how helpful CFS can be TO THE PARENT!  Take whatever CFS offers you, for example:  counselling.  Counselling never hurt anyone, and let's face it, raising a child with disabilities is NOT an easy task.  Some of us have no families to turn to, and it's nice to have someone to vent to.  Not only that, but maybe, just maybe, they might have suggestions in parenting.  You just never know until you keep an open mind and give it a shot.

By the way...  The CFS worker/fire cracker told me to get used to it...  That's right, schools will call CFS on you many, many times, especially those of us who have kids with ADHD and kids on the autism spectrum.  Awesome.  And those of us with kids diagnosed with PDD-NOS...  well, it appears that we are haunted by threats of CFS the most.  FANTASTIC!!!  So, buckle up folks, we're in for a loooooong ride.  Personally, I've got eight years left to go.  I think I can make it.  If not, there's always Valium.  And wine, mommy's little helper.


Consider yourselves hugged,


Lou

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Me? A Celebrity? No Way!

Well, your's truly has made it in the news...

Psych!

Not the big time news, but news never the less.  I have a wonderful friend Dani, who wrote about SuperDad and I and our work with PACE, and a fellow autism mom who wrote about PACE as well.  I have been blessed with wonderful friends who support my efforts in raising awareness about our kids and what we want for them.

Here's Dani's article:

http://www.examiner.com/social-media-in-calgary/winnipeg-mom-of-child-with-autism-finds-support-on-social-media

And here's Angeline's article:

http://christianweek.org/stories.php?id=1893

Both are short articles, well written and worth the time to read.  These ladies know how to write, and write super well; both of them write professionally.


Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord

I keep hearing this song over and over and over in my mind lately:  "Blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be Your name: JESUS, blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be Your glorious name..."

A very dear friend to my heart had messaged me via facebook and apologized for not meeting me for coffee when he had the chance.  In his message to me, well...  I should just share a part of it...

"I read your blog, I read your (facebook) status updates...  it is amazing to me what you have in your past and in your present been through, and do you give up...  hell no, you raise to the challenge..."

I had taken a few days to mull over what he was saying to me, but naturally, the man was impatient and wanted a response.  I wasn't quite ready to respond, but felt I had to and hurt my my dear friend's feelings...

I had to keep reading the above paragraph over and over and the more I read it, the more intimidated I got by the woman my friend was talking about.  I mean, wow, she seems really amazing!  But this woman is not me.  I'm not strong, not at all.  I'm just as whiny and irritated by life as the next woman.  Just ask Dayton's dad.  Well, maybe don't.  He'll tell you horror stories and y'all gonna think I'm nuts...  Isn't it funny how two people can look at the exact same person and see someone totally different?   Glen wonders out loud when "they're" going to name a hurricane after me, and then there's my dear friend Dan who thinks I'm this amazing, wonderful human being...  Then there's me who knows the truth:  I always carry a little crazy with me.  You just never know when it's going to come in handy, ya'know?

Anyways...  My point.  Menopause brain at it's finest here...  My point is that I'm not alone, EVER.  I'm always praying.  And say what you will about God having been taken out of schools, at the end of the day, as long as students are being tested, people will be praying.  Not just the students taking the test, but the moms and dads out there and teachers too!  Many people out there who have professed to not believe in God, sure call His name out often.  Me thinks they be called hypocrites.

No matter what I do during the course of the day, I silently pray for guidance.  There are days where I want to hurt people's feelings with a chainsaw, but I remind myself that that's just not appropriate and I must obey the Lord.  Remember those bracelets kids used to wear, reminding them "what would Jesus do?"  I think we need to bring those back.  I've fallen off the wagon, especially with Glen, and snapping that bracelet would put me back in check.

I think that sometimes, you need to step outside of the person you've been, and think about the person God has meant for you to be.  You know, the person you WANT to be - the person you truly are once stripped down to your naked self.  Remind yourself of what is truly important in your life.  Reach way, way down, and you will know it.  It may take some time, but you'll get there.

It turns out that for me, my relationship with God is far more important than my relationships with people.  I have made a real mess of things when I worry about others liking me, but when I focus on pleasing God, and doing what I can to be likeable to Him, others tend to like me more than they had when I worked really hard at getting them to like me.  My relationship with God is unconditional, He never leaves my side.  I talk to him all the time.  This relationship is what gives me what I need to keep going.  I don't have a choice.  I can't just give up and walk away, it's not something God would want me to do.

My struggles with accepting autism as a way of life for my family could not have been overcome without the guidance of the Lord.  He gives me strength and helps me accept what I can not change.  I trust that He gives me what I need, and provides me only with what I need.  So, I guess that makes me low maintenance?  Hahaha!  The more I pray, the more at peace I am.

So, my response back to Dan, well part of it:

"Dayton is the air I breath, and I would die for him.  Whatever he needs, I will always provide, no matter what.  He always comes first.  And let's not forget about God.  With Him, all things are possible.  I truly believe God has a purpose for my son, something incredible.  I know that this autism thing has a higher purpose, and that my struggle is not in vain.  You know what I mean?  I think God gives us "opportunities," and some of them are pretty tough, but it's up to us to take these "opportunities" and either make something out of them or crash and burn.  I choose to make something out of this for Dayton and I, make a life that we can reflect back to God.  I prayed for a son, and He gave me one, and I swore that I would give my son right back to him.  God's given me a beautiful son, and it's my job to raise him in His image...


Thank you for thinking of me and encouraging me.  I especially thank you for your prayers...  God is hearing them, as my life with Dayton is good!!"


As my dad Paul Humphreys taught me to say:  Consider yourselves hugged!

Lou

Monday, 12 March 2012

The Joy Of Being Me

I know most of you out there strive to be "just like me" when you grow up.  Because let's face it, I'm the "bomb."  I have a gorgeous body covered in lots and lots of adipose tissue to protect and cushion my skeletal system and vital organs and keep me warm at night, making it easier to live without a man...  I'm a diva, I get to make my own rules because I'm all grown up as well as around, and I smell good.  Oh, and my friends tell me I have great hair.  But let's not kid ourselves.  Not everything in my life is rosy...

Due to all that adipose tissue and my age, I'm now on blood pressure medication.  Yup, it's official, I'm an old maid.  I thought I had a few more years in me, but it seems middle age has snuck up on me, along with these pesky, wiry, shiny, silver hair I used to be able to get away calling blond...  I now officially get my youth from a L'Oreal box I lovingly call "grey away," like my momma taught me, and pluck away at the two darn silver hair growing out of my left eye brow.

The silver lining in all of this (you know I'm all a about the silver lining, right) is that the roman numeral for 40 is XL!  Isn't that nice?  As I've matured, I've noticed these skin discolourations on my face and hands...  what the heck is that about?  Gravity, by the way, does exist.  I won't scare you with the things I've found hanging that used to be lifted much, much higher.  Things I used to enjoy eating are now giving me heartburn, and Metamucil's become my closest friend.

Cat naps are my favourite time of the day, and not getting one is a bad thing for anyone around me.  As my boss has pointed out, I'm a nice Lou, but all of a sudden mean Lou (my evil twin Lola) comes out of nowhere.  Not to mention I'm getting louder since I'm losing the hearing in my left ear.

As nice as the cat naps are, I miss sleeping in the evening.  What is it about the dark that my body won't relax and do what comes naturally?  The hot sweats in the middle of the night aren't helping things in this department.



What's happening to me?  I'm scared?  Someone, give me a hug and tell me this too shall pass...


Lou

Sunday, 4 March 2012

What's The Worst That Can Happen?

Oh SpongeBob, you've done it again.  You've taught Dayton another phrase he's been stuck on the whole weekend.  And when Dayton starts repeating a phrase over and over, trying to explain the phrase is futile, as well as frustrating.

Echolalia, for those of you not familiar with it, is similar to a skipping record.  For those of you too young to remember what a record is, that's similar to a scratched CD.  For those of you that don't know what a CD is, I suggest you see your doctor, because if you can read this and don't know what a CD is, I'm fairly certain you have alzheimer's.

Dayton's spurts of echolalia typically come about when he's super upset with me, and it seems to be he's been upset with me a lot this weekend.  Now why, you may ask yourselves, is my babe upset with me, I mean, I'm so wonderful and all...

I grounded his butt.  And if he doesn't smarten up, I'm gonna be grounding him for life.

My babe's decided not to do work at school.  Furthermore, he refuses to go to the gym for assemblies, and figures he can swear at his gym teacher and get away with it.  It certainly doesn't help my mood that his teacher put me in my place while speaking to her by phone and telling her that I'm not sure if Dayton and his new aid are a good fit, as he often comes home complaining about her; I said it in front of Dayton and she chastised me for it, rightfully so.  I know it wasn't the smartest move on my part, but I don't get the privilege of privacy in a 900 sq. foot home, especially when I'm grounding his sorry, bony, little butt.

I refuse to believe Dayton's acting out because I've gone back to the work force.  It's just not an option - I must work, not only for the cash, but my sanity.  I need some adult interaction in my life, and I need to feel I have a purpose in my life.  Yes, I would definitely be busy enough with PACE and blogging, but I need more in my life than autism. I need some normalcy in my life too.  There needs to be some balance.

Either way, my boy's decided to question authority, and not in a polite way.  So, I decided to take away his playstation for the weekend and ground him for a week.  No playstation, and no friends for the rest of the week...  Puts me in a delicate situation this Tuesday night for PACE's kid gymboree, but I'll figure something out.  Maybe he won't be allowed to bring his hockey stick or something...  I'll sleep on it.

So, the boy's been repeating the phrase 'What's the worst that can happen,' which he heard on SpongeBob, and he's been doing it all weekend long.

"Dayton, eat your supper please."
"What's the worst that can happen?"

"Dayton, please clean your room."
"What's the worst that can happen?"

"Dayton, clean up your mess please."
"What's the worst that can happen?"

"Dayton, time for bed."
"What's the worst that can happen?"

He doesn't just say it once, he says it over and over and over and over and over and over and over again!  It's enough to make me want to pull my hair out.  I haven't bothered to take my blood pressure, I know it's been high.  No sense in beating a dead dog there.  (I don't dare say that out loud).

Yeah...  started Thursday after school and I'm praying to God it ends tonight, because I'm really not sure how much more I can take before I resort to self medicating myself.  And Dayton's SpongeBob pillow...  well, let's just say that there was a little, tiny accident...


Here's praying for a good week ahead.  Consider yourselves hugged,


Lou