Tuesday, 28 February 2012

You Want A Crash Course In Autism Lingo You Say... Here's What You Need To Memorize

It's almost funny listening to your friends ask you questions about autism.  Almost...  It's even funnier when we start telling them all about our appointments, diagnoses, therapies, and nutritional supplements and they look at your as though you're speaking in a foreign language.

So, for those of you that want to know what the hell your next door neighbour is talking about when they tell you about their autistic life and their schedule as they pop pills with names that end with a "pam," here's a list of terms to memorize by the end of the end of the weekend.  I'll give you a test on Monday morning, 8am sharp!  Test is to be written by ink only, no re-takes allowed!

Ready, set...  GO!!!  Try not to let your eyes glaze over now...  Pay attention!!!


ABA The abbreviation for Applied Behavior Analysis. See Applied Behavior Analysis.
ADA The abbreviation for Americans with Disabilities Act. See Americans with Disabilities Act.
Adaptive Behavior The ability to adjust to new situations and to apply familiar or new skills to those situations. For example, a two-year-old is displaying his ability to adapt when he says, “Mine!” to the child who is attempting to take his toy. A five-year-old shows adaptive behavior when he is able to use the same table manners he uses at home at a friend’s house.
Advocate An individual who represents or speaks out on behalf of another person’s interests (as in a parent on behalf of his or her child).
Age-appropriate intervention Materials and activities designed to teach the child with special needs are appropriate for the child’s typically developing same-age peers. For instance, a toy designed for use with typically developing one-year-old children should not be used with a child who is eight years old, but who has the developmental abilities of a one-year-old.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Federal civil rights law protecting individuals with disabilities. Enacted in 1990.
Annual Goal A statement of the desired outcome of early intervention services or education for a specific child. Annual goals for early intervention are selected by the child’s parents and the child’s early intervention multidisciplinary team and are stated on the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). Annual goals for education also are developed by a team that includes the child’s parents and are stated in the Individualized Education Program (IEP). Objectives may also be stated to provide developmentally appropriate activities and measurement of progress toward attainment of the goal.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is not a particular treatment or therapy. ABA is the name of a professional field that uses principles of learning to increase performance of socially desirable behaviors. It always relies upon the collection of objective data to measure performance and the effectiveness of an intervention. ABA is used in industry, business and education as well as in the field of disabilities. The term “ABA” is sometimes used to refer to a one-on-one therapy that is named discrete trial training; however, it can also be applied using an incidental teaching approach. Some educational professionals as well as parents will use the term ABA when referring to discrete trial training. See Discrete Trial Training.
Approach The philosophy or paradigm that governs treatment selection and implementation.
Asperger’s Syndrome Condition found in the DSM-IV-TR manual under Pervasive Developmental Disorder. The essential features are severe and sustained impairment in social interaction and the development of restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests and activities. Additional criteria are listed in the DSM-IV-TR.
Assistive Technology Special items or equipment used to increase, maintain or improve one’s functioning abilities. The term covers items such as computers, pencil holders, specialized switches and calculators.
Audiologist A specialist who determines the presence and type of hearing impairment. An audiologist conducts hearing tests and makes recommendations for hearing aids.
Augmentative Communication Any method of communicating without speech, such as by signs, gestures, picture boards, or electronic or non-electronic devices. These methods can help individuals who are unable to use speech or who need to supplement their speech to communicate effectively.
Autism A developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. The result of a neurological disorder that affects functioning of the brain, Autism and its associated behaviors occur in approximately 1 of every 150 individuals. It is important to note that some children with intellectual disability, fragile X syndrome, psychiatric disorders, sensory deficits such as vision or hearing impairments, and certain rare neurological diseases have autistic-like characteristics, but do not have Autism. In older literature, Autism may be called infantile Autism or Kanner’s syndrome. See Pervasive Developmental Disorder.
Autism Spectrum Disorder A term encompassing the condition(s) known as pervasive developmental disorder(s). See Pervasive Developmental Disorder.


Behavior Intervention Plan A written document that becomes part of the IEP and which identifies problem behaviors; sets goals for decreasing unwanted behaviors and increasing desired behaviors; and outlines interventions to use when specific behaviors occur. Sometimes called a behavior management plan.
Behavioral Assessment Gathering (through direct observation and by parent report) and analyzing information about a child’s behaviors. The information may be used to help the child change unwanted behaviors. Variables that are noted include when a behavior occurs as well as its frequency and duration. See Functional Assessment of Behavior.


Central Nervous System (CNS) The structure that consists of the brain, the spinal cord and related systems that controls all aspects of learning, thinking and movement.
Cognitive Referring to the developmental area that involves thinking skills, including the ability to receive, process, analyze and understand information. Matching red circles and pushing the button on a mechanical toy to activate it are examples of cognitive skills.
Communication The developmental area that involves skills which enable people to understand (receptive language) and share (expressive language) thoughts and feelings. Waving goodbye, using spontaneous single-word utterances, and repeating five-word sentences are examples of communication skills.
Communication Aid A nonverbal form of communication such as gesture, sign language, communication boards and electronic devices (for example, computers and
voice synthesizers).
Communication Board/Book A board or book with pictures or symbols that a child or adult can point to for expression of his or her needs.
Communication Disorder Difficulty with understanding and/or expressing messages. Communication disorders include problems with articulation, voice disorders, stuttering, language disorders and some learning disabilities.


Developmental Delay The term used to describe the condition of an infant or young child who is not achieving new skills in the typical time frame and/or is exhibiting behaviors that are not appropriate for his or her age. Some children who are developmentally delayed eventually have a specific diagnosis of a particular developmental disability. Other children with delays catch up with their typically developing peers.
Developmental Disability (DD) A severe chronic disability that is attributed to a physical or mental impairment, other than the sole diagnosis of mental illness, or to a combination of mental and physical impairments, is manifested before the individual attains the age of 22, is likely to continue indefinitely, results in the inability to live independently without external support or continuing and regular assistance, reflects the need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic care, treatment, or other services that are planned and coordinated for that individual.
Developmentally appropriate intervention Teaching of skills acquisition is targeted at the child’s current developmental level, looking at the child’s current abilities across developmental domains (communication, social, cognitive, adaptive behavior, fine motor, gross motor). This practice relies upon principles of child development, with the expectation that skills acquisition typically occurs in a predictable sequence, even though the rate at which individual children learn may vary. For instance, it is generally expected that children will learn to use one or two word sentences before they will progress to three or four word sentences.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) The fourth edition of the reference manual published by the American Psychiatric Association, for which the text was revised in 2000. The DSM-IV-TR appears to be the most widely used manual of diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder in the United States. Under the heading of Pervasive Developmental Disorder, the manual lists and describes Autistic Disorder, Rett’s Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (including Atypical Autism).
Discrete Trial A method for teaching desired behaviors, skills or tasks. The skill being taught is “broken” down or sequenced into small “discrete steps” that are taught in a highly structured and hierarchical manner. Discrete trials consist of four parts: (a) the instructor’s presentation (the instruction) (prompt if needed), (b) the child’s response, (c) the consequence, (e.g., reinforcement or correction) and (d) a short pause between the consequence and the next instruction (between-trials interval). The instruction should be clear, concise, phrased as a statement, and given only once.


Early Intervention Individualized services for infants and toddlers who are at risk for or are showing signs of developmental delay.
Echolalia The repetition of speech that is produced by others (a relatively common symptom of Autism). Echoed words or phrases can include the same words and inflections as were originally heard or they may be somewhat modified. Immediate echolalia refers to words immediately repeated or repeated a brief time after they were heard. Delayed echolalia refers to the repetition of speech much later—even after days or years.
Environmental modifications Environmental modifications are not direct instruction, but are therapeutic adaptations that are intended to reduce barriers to instruction.
Expressive Language The ability to communicate thoughts and feelings by gesture, sign language, verbalization, or written word. Compare to Receptive Language.
Extended School Year Special education and related services provided beyond the normal school year, in accordance with the child’s IEP and at no cost to the parents.
Extinction Eliminating or decreasing a behavior by removing reinforcement from it.


Functional Behavior Analysis The process of systematically determining the function of behaviors, usually inappropriate, that are displayed by people. Behaviors are defined, measured and analyzed in terms of what happened before and after their occurrence. Over time the events before and after the behavior occurs are systematically changed in order to determine the function of the behavior for the person displaying it. Sometimes an inappropriate behavior can have a communicative function. A temper tantrum can sometimes be communicating “I am upset” or “I am bored.”
Functional Assessment of Behavior It is similar to the functional analysis of behavior, but it differs in that those events before and after the behavior are not systematically changed in order to prove the function of the behavior. Based on the information gathered a judgment is made about the possible communicative function of the behavior(s). Functional Assessments are usually performed in order to develop behavior interventions and supports that address challenging or inappropriate behaviors. See Behavioral Assessment and Functional Behavior Analysis.


Generalization The ability to take a skill learned in one setting, such as the classroom, and use it in another setting like the home or community.


Hand-Over-Hand Prompting Physically guiding an individual through the movements involved in a fine motor task. Helping someone to grasp a spoon and bring it to his or her mouth is an example of hand-over-hand guidance.
Hyperactivity Abnormally increased motor activity, resulting in difficulty with concentrating on one task or sitting still. Due to their overactivity and impulsivity, children who are hyperactive often have difficulty with learning.


Incidental teaching Incidental teaching typically involves child-directed activities. The instructor observes and interacts with the child and uses any naturally occurring opportunities to provide relevant instruction (e.g., the child indicates that he wants a drink by pointing to the refrigerator, and the instructor models the correct language).
IFSP The abbreviation for Individualized Family Service Plan for children under three years of age. See Individualized Family Service Plan.
Inclusion The general concept of including people with disabilities in all aspects of life, such as (but not limited to) education, community living, employment and recreation. See Least Restrictive Environment.
Individualized Education Program (IEP) A written statement of a child’s current level of development (abilities and impairments) and an individualized plan of instruction, including the goals, the specific services to be received, the people who will carry out the services, the standards and time lines for evaluating progress, and the amount and degree to which the child will participate with non-handicapped peers at school. The IEP is developed by the child’s parents and the professionals who evaluated the child. It is required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for all children in special education, ages three years and up.
Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) A written plan describing the infant’s or toddler’s current level of development, the family’s strengths and needs related to enhancement of the infant’s or toddler’s development, goals for the child and the other family members (as applicable), including the criteria, procedures and time lines used to evaluate progress (the IFSP should be evaluated and adjusted at least once a year and reviewed at least every six months), and the specific early intervention services needed to meet the goals (including the frequency and intensity and method of delivering services, the projected date of initiating services and the anticipated duration of services). The IFSP is developed and implemented by the child’s parents and a multidisciplinary early intervention team (IFSP Team). The name of the person responsible for implementation of the IFSP, the case manager, should be listed on the IFSP. If it is likely at age three that the child will require special education services, a transition plan should also be stated in the IFSP. The Individualized Family Service Plan is required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for all infants and toddlers receiving early intervention services. Refer to Early Intervention.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) The federal law reauthorized in 2004 that amends the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142). Part C of the law focuses on services to infants and toddlers who are at-risk or have developmental disabilities.
Intellectual Disability It is characterized by significantly subaverage intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with related limitations in two or more of the following applicable adaptive skill areas: communication, self-care, home living, social skills, community use, self-direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure and work.”


Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) The educational setting that permits a child with disabilities to derive the most educational benefit while participating in a regular educational environment to the maximum extent appropriate. It is presumed that a child with a disability will be educated in the general education classroom, with appropriate supports, unless the IEP Team deems another setting as more appropriate. LRE is a requirement under the IDEA.
Local Education Agency (LEA) The agency responsible for providing special educational services on the local (county) level. Also called Local School System (LSS).


Motor Skill The learned ability to perform movements, such as holding the body in an upright position to sit, using the hands to manipulate small items, scooping food onto a spoon and bringing the spoon to the mouth, and moving the lips and tongue to articulate different sounds.


Nonverbal Communication Any form of or attempt at unspoken or “physical” communication. Examples are temper tantrums, gestures, pointing and leading another person to a desired object.


Occupational Therapy (OT) Therapeutic treatment aimed at helping the injured, ill or disabled individual to develop and improve self-help skills and adaptive behavior and play. The occupational therapist also addresses the young child’s motor, sensory and postural development with the overall goals of preventing or minimizing the impact of impairment and developmental delay. The therapist also promotes the acquisition of new skills to increase the child or adult’s ability to function independently.


Parent-Professional Partnership The teaming of parents and teachers, doctors, nurses, therapists and other professionals to work together to facilitate the development of children and adults with special needs.
Peer-mediated Using trained single and multiple peers to promote social interaction and academic skills in children with disabilities.
Perseveration Redundant repetition of thought(s), word(s), or action(s) without stopping or moving on.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) A diagnostic category in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) that includes Autistic Disorder. The DSM uses the term Pervasive Developmental Disorder to refer to a “severe and pervasive impairment in several areas of development: reciprocal social interaction skills, communication skills, or the presence of stereotyped behavior, interests, and activities.” Sometimes doctors use the abbreviation PDD alone when diagnosing a child who has some, but not all, of the symptoms of Autism.
Physical Therapy (PT) Therapeutic treatment designed to prevent or alleviate movement dysfunction through a program tailored to the individual child. The goal of the program may be to develop muscle strength, range of motion, coordination or endurance, to alleviate pain, or to attain new motor skills.
Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) Is a communication training program for helping children with Autism acquire functional communication skills. Children using PECS are taught to give a picture of a desired item to a communicative partner in exchange for the item, thus initiating a communicative act for a concrete outcome within a social context.
Pivotal response training A set of procedures designed to increase motivation and promote generalization. It was developed to overcome problems of stimulus overselectivity and motivation. The intervention focuses on a set of specific procedures that increase responsivity to simultaneous multiple cues. The logic of teaching pivotal target behaviors is that educators might indirectly affect a large number of individual behaviors.
Prompt Input that encourages an individual to perform a movement or activity. A prompt may be verbal, gestural, or physical. An example of a prompt is tapping beneath one’s chin as a visual reminder to the child to close her mouth to prevent drooling. Also known as a cue.


Qualitative Developmental Assessment An evaluation of the quality, rather than the quantity, of a child’s cognitive skills.


Receptive Language The ability to understand what is being expressed, including verbal and nonverbal communication, such as sign language. Compare to Expressive Language.
Regression Reverting to an immature form of behavior or decreased skill level. Regression is usually felt to be an unconscious protective mechanism.
Reinforcement A behavior modification technique used to increase the likelihood of a desired response or behavior. Positive reinforcement is accomplished by immediately strengthening or rewarding a desirable behavior. The reward can be a social reinforcer, such as praise or a hug, or it can be material, such as a sticker or cookie. One form of negative reinforcement is to withdraw a privilege.


Screening Test or Tool An evaluation tool designed to identify children who are at-risk for having or developing a developmental disability. This is different from a diagnostic tool that is used to determine if a person has, or does not have, Autism.
Self-Injurious Behavior (SIB) Abnormal behaviors that are harmful to oneself, such as head-banging, scratching or biting oneself.
Self-Stimulation Defined as abnormal behaviors that interfere with the individual’s ability to pay attention or participate in meaningful activity, such as
head-banging, watching the fingers wiggle, or rocking side to side. It is often referred to as “self-stimming” or “stimming.” Unpurposeful play with a toy can be self-stimulating, such as repetitively spinning the wheels of a toy truck instead of exploring the different ways it can be used. In children, self-stimulation is most common when there is a diagnosis of intellectual disability, Autism or psychosis.
Sensory Impairment A problem with receiving information through one or more of the senses (sight, hearing, touch, etc.).
Sensory Integration The ability of the central nervous system to receive, process, and learn from sensations in order to develop skills. The sensations include touch, movement, sight, sound, smell and the pull of gravity.
Sensory Stimulation Any arousal of one or more of the senses. For example, a play activity that includes touching strips of shiny cellophane, listening to them crinkle, and watching while a bright light is shining on them against a contrasting background might be fun and stimulating for a child with visual impairment.
Spectrum Disorder A disorder, such as Autism, that appears with a wide range of characteristics and functioning. At one end of the spectrum of Autism,
individuals tend to have many challenging behaviors. At the other end individuals generally have greater cognitive abilities and can communicate relatively well with spoken language.
Speech Therapy Therapy to improve the individual’s speech and language skills, as well as oral motor abilities.
Stereotypic behavior Repetitive motor movements that occur frequently; examples include body rocking, hand flapping, and object manipulation.
Stimulus preference assessment Any systematic method used to predict which stimuli will function as positive reinforcers for a child’s behavior.
Strategies A group of interventions (techniques) that share a common approach.


Task Analysis Process of breaking a skill down into smaller steps.


Verbal Behavior (VB) A behavioral approach to teaching communication skills to children with Autism and other developmental disabilities, based on B.F. Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior.

Published with permission from Baltimore’s Child magazine and the Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

Date posted: March 29, 2011. Content created by The Autism NOW Center. Last updated: January 27, 2012.

Now do you see why we're so stressed out and frazzled most of the time and popping Prozac like there's no tomorrow?!


Consider yourselves hugged,


Monday, 27 February 2012

Happy Anniversary Autism Diva Help

It's been a year now since I started Autism Diva Help.  Looking back, I remember a scared mom, wondering if she can make a difference of any kind in this corner of the world.  I honestly didn't think I could do this.  My friend Dani on the other hand, never doubted me.  She kept telling me to do this, and I tried (well, kind of) and just kept giving up.

See, I kept thinking that it was so easy for Dani to tell me to "just do it," as she is an amazing writer, and she's not only a blogger, but a published writer.  She can do things on a computer that would "google" your mind.  When I watch her work, I literally see smoke come off her laptop.  I miss my friend dearly.  She lives a seven hour drive away from me, yet she helped me start Autism Diva Help through that distance.  She encouraged me every time I felt like giving up, and kept telling me to just keep going, going, going...  She is my Nemo, and I am...  what's my name again?

Anyways, without Dani, there would be no Autism Diva Help.  I would have quit a long time ago, or never had started it in the first place, so for that, I must thank my good friend Dani, as well as you guys...  Autism Diva Help has had over 22, 800 hits in one single year. Holly cow!

As for my goals...  I will let you look back at one of my earlier posts and let you score my goal list...  Here it is:


Goal 1:  Finding a better school, one that can handle Dayton's disability...  I haven't switched to another school, but the school that Dayton has been attending got a new principal and Dayton has a new teacher and aid...  what a difference!  We're having a much more successful year thanks to their efforts, without one single suspension!!!  I would have to say that I have met this goal, what do you say?

Goal 2:  Finding daycare...  Yeah, that's a literal impossibility in this area of Winnipeg.  Instead of finding a daycare, I'm using my respite hours to work...  Now the challenge is finding a good respite worker that is available for me to be able to work like regular people out there instead of the split shifts that I have been working...  I would say I've met this goal 50% - at least I'm using my respite, something I haven't really used  before.  Will I find a daycare for Dayton before he turns 12?  Hmmmm, probably not likely.  I'm going to have to re-evaluate this goal and fine tune it to finding a respite worker who is able to watch Dayton after school.  Sounds good to me, what do you think?

Goal 3:  Finding a play group for Dayton...  I've created PACE with the help of SuperDad, and we've had two successful play dates so far:  one at a McDonald's and the second one at our new home that we got a week and a half ago.  We're doing our third gymboree tomorrow night!  I say mission accomplished with this goal!

Goal 4:  Checking out the YMCA for programs for the two of us.  A family membership is $75.00 a month...  Ouch.  Met the goal as I DID check it out, but not joined as it's too expensive.  Goal met.

Goal 5:  Not bringing work home to take time away from Dayton.  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!  I've found a better job, one that requires me to leave home, but once I do get home, I don't bring work with me.  I'm all Dayton's!!!  And the best part, I LOVE MY NEW JOB.  I actually get to interact with my colleagues, my employer is fantastic, and I get to do what I've been teaching for the last three years.  I'M NEVER LEAVING PHARMACY AGAIN!!!

The road has been bumpy, with lots of twists and turns.  Thank goodness I wore my seat belt for this drive, as it's been full of missions!

I just have to remember the pictures of success:

Consider yourselves hugged,


Friday, 24 February 2012

Wanted: An Exorcism For My Butt

My butt needs an exorcism.  This is not a joke.  I'm in pain.  It hurts to sit, and it hurts to lie down.  Why you may ask.  Because Big Momma had a wee bit too much fun.  No, really.  PACE's first Kid Gymboree happened this past Tuesday.  And it's gonna happen again.

It appears my body is made of muscle that just so happens to be covered in this sheet of bumpy 'adipose tissue' to protect the delicate structure of my gorgeous muscles, especially my six pack stomach.  Oh yes, and around the hips...  Who am I kidding, my arms, legs, heck... even my fingers and toes.

SuperDad literally flew ever so gracefully around the gym, while your's truly kept tripping over her own feet.  At one point I thought taking my shoes off would be a good idea...  Remember Bambi on ice?  Yup, now picture a hippo...  that was me on the gym floor, playing badminton with the girls. They kicked my butt.  Literally.

The most important thing to me was that the kids had FUN!  We had the whole autism spectrum there, all age groups, from four years old to 13.  We even had a really cute respite worker there, compliments of a fellow autism mom who brought her cutie pie son and daughter with her.

We played hockey, basketball, badminton, put puzzles together and just ran around the gym.  There was lots of laughter, lots of action, and SMILES!!!  There's nothing more gratifying than a child's genuine smile.  It just makes me melt.  Their smiles tell me that the pain I'm going through now is worth it, and I can hardly wait to get into the gym again.

It's all worth it.  Look at them!!!

I wanted to go next...

At one point, little Johnny snatched a puzzle piece from me because I was taking too long...

SuperDad plays ball with his girl

Jonathan Toews???  Why, yes...  he's my daddy!  LOL

Looks like I'm not getting a turn...  LOL

I've killed Lou's butt, your turn SuperDad!

Putting together a 3D puzzle...  The girls were super at this!!!

Holla hoops!

Can we combine hockey with medicine ball?!

Hoola hooped out!
If you know of a butt exorcist, please send them my way.

PACE Kid's gymboree meets every Tuesday from 6:30pm till 8pm.  For more information, check out www.pacewithasd.com.

Consider yourselves hugged,


Sunday, 19 February 2012

We Got It!!! Time To Celebrate!!!

We finally did it.  Well, SuperDad did it.  We got a gym for the kids!  I'm so excited, I can hardly contain it all from erupting in the form of projectile vomit.  I mean this in a good way.  Whenever I get super happy excited, I end up sick to my stomach...

So you're thinking "Big deal...  the girl's got a gym.  I don't get it...

Let me explain:  All kids in Winnipeg on the autism spectrum get to enjoy this gym every Tuesday night, from 6:30pm to 8pm.  It's a home for PACE!!!  This is huge!!!  We finally have a home away from home, and our kiddos will reap the benefits of interacting with THEIR true peers, without the fear of being bullied, harassed or teased for their disabilities.  They will be celebrated for being a truly unique individual, because let's face it.  If you've met a child on the autism spectrum, you've only met ONE child on the autism spectrum.  It's a broad spectrum, full of beautiful colors and cool puzzles pieces.

Parents benefit by interacting with other parents of children on the autism spectrum, supporting one another without judgement!  How many of us have felt judged by people that just 'don't get it?'  Oh, I don't know...  how about your child's school?

Yeah...  That's what I thought.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a good cup of coffee, hang out with other parents who get you and your kid?  That's what we're offering, so make sure to visit us and check out our website for up to date information!

Anyhow, thought I'd share the fantastic news with y'all.  Hope you're as excited as I am!  For those wanting more information and a schedule of events, please visit www.pacewithasd.com.  Save it as a favorite on your web browser, and make sure to keep updated at this website people!  Let me help you bring some sanity back to your life.

Consider yourselves hugged,


Friday, 17 February 2012

Smell My Finger

Oy vey...  The boy has struck again.  Not sure what's happening with him, but it's been a rough week.  It doesn't help that I've got this horrible ear and sinus infection, I'm working more hours now (which I need now that I have a car payment), and the excitement around his birthday wreaked a wee bit of havoc too.

Monday:  Missed the school bus because I had overslept.  My ear weeping, head about to explode from the sinus pressure, I dizzily drag my butt into Dayton's room to wake him up.  He said 'no,' rolled over and tried to go back to sleep.  Of course as much as I would have loved to do the same, it just wasn't an option.  I rip the covers off the boy, put my hands over my ears and start singing.  At this point I should let you know that even if I could hear myself properly, I am completely tone deaf and can't sing.  The sound is somewhere between a screeching cat and a cheetah's growl.  It's just not pretty.  The boy finally gets up, and I drive him to school.

While getting ready for work, I get a phone call from Dayton's teacher.  She hears my voice and apologizes for calling, telling me she'll call another time, but I insist to hear what prompted her to call me in the first place.  I don't want to lose sleep over something that may not be a big deal...  Boy, was I wrong...

My darling babe refused to do his math work with his educational assistant, telling her he didn't have to listen to her, and that he wasn't doing his work.  He swore at her.  When that didn't make her stop asking him to work, he found a broken chair leg and started poking at her. And when that failed...  He stuck his fingers up his rectum...  Yes.  He did.  And then tried to touch her.  And then he tried touching everything in the room.  And then he proceeded to go do his milk monitoring job refusing to wash his hands until the principal got involved.

Pardon my French, but WHAT THE HELL?!  My first impulse was to spank the boy and ground him for life.  Really?  Seriously?

Of course, I decided that I wasn't going to talk to Dayton until I 'chilled out,' literally.  I was so hot from my fever, I opened the freezer door and stuck my head in it, not kidding.  I sat Dayton down and told him I knew what happened at school and that I was not impressed.  He had no explanation for me, just looked at me like I had that third eye growing out of my forehead again.  Finally he says to me "I was too tired to do math."

"You didn't think you should tell your aid this?!"
"She knew I was tired."
"How did she know this Dayton?"
"Because I was tired."
"But you didn't tell her that, did you?"
"Then how was she supposed to know you were tired?"
"Because I was tired (rolling his eyes at me now, making my blood pressure rise)!"
"Dayton, no one knows what's happening for you unless you TELL them, you really need to use your words.  There's no projector in your head announcing to everyone what you're thinking.  Not only that, but sticking your fingers up your butt, really?!  What made you think that was appropriate in any way?!"
"I dunno."
I hate I dunno.
"Dayton, from now on, you need to earn twelve magnets per week before you can play your playstation on the the weekends.  Your teacher will let me know if you've done your work during the morning and afternoon.  Each time you do your work for that period, you get a magnet."
"But momma!!!  I have a hard time getting ten magnets!  Twelve is impossible!!!"
"No, it's not impossible.  There are five days in a school week, and you can earn two magnets each day.  Count my fingers..."

Tuesday:  Dayton drags his butt around the house in the morning, not listening to me to get ready for school.  We miss the bus.  He's rude to his educational assistant, telling her someone 'taddled' on him to his momma, and now he's 'gonna have to pay.'  The teacher asks me if I know what Dayton means by this statement, and I explain to her about having to earn two extra magnets a week (completely attainable) to be able to play his playstation on the weekend.
"Dayton, you have no right telling off your aid.  You are not to speak like that to her again!"
"Yes momma."
"And why would you say that you 'have to pay?!  Do you have any idea what that sounds like?  Why not just tell her that you have to earn two extra magnets a week?"
"She knows I pay with magnets."
"Dayton, again buddy, you need to use your words.  People can't read your mind and have no idea what you're thinking!!!"
"She knows I pay for everything with magnets!!!"
"No she doesn't Dayton.  You need to explain your thoughts.  People don't know what you're thinking buddy!!!"

Wednesday:  Dayton again won't get ready for school and we AGAIN miss the school bus.

Thursday:  We miss the school bus again because Dayton refuses to get ready when I ask him to, even when I threaten to make him walk to school if he misses the bus again.  We miss the bus.  This time I won't let him in the car and tell him to start walking.  He refuses to walk and starts hitting my new Sexy Rexy

Today:  We miss the bus, but not due to Dayton's trouble getting ready...  the bus came early.  I'm still sick and tired.  I'm still bothered about the butt thing.

Anyways, consider yourselves hugged y'all,


Sunday, 12 February 2012

IEP Hero... And Yes, I Have Pictures To Prove It!!!

IEP meetings, actually, come to think of it, any meeting with your child's school can be a traumatic, emotionally draining experience for a parent with a child on the autism spectrum. I've managed to survive so far, with the help of CFS, CSS, Dayton's behavioural specialist and Valium.  The most traumatic meeting, and I do mean traumatic, was the meeting I had for Dayton's level III funding for a full time aid so he could be autistic all day as opposed to half the day.  It left me feeling raw, humiliated and in need of extra Valium downed with lots of wine.  I remember last year's IEP meeting where I ended up getting sick (I mean literally SICK) and went home to vomit and remain sick for a few days after the fact.  What I would have given for a hero!

Anyone's spouse talk like this?  LOL!  Don't you wish they did!!!
For more pictures like these (my stomach still hurts from laughing), check out www.extremeparenthood.com

I am more than grateful for the support I have received in the last two years, and even more grateful that I no longer need the support of CFS, CSS and Dayton's behavioural specialist this year.  With the new principal and new teacher who understand that I am a good parent, and that I have not neglected my child, that I have not contributed to Dayton's autism in any way, I have a sense of trust in Dayton's school this year.  In saying this, there are many parents out there not as fortunate as I am today.  For those of you still struggling out there, take a look at this article.  I wish I had read it three years ago.


For anyone out there still struggling with anything regarding their child on the autism spectrum and in need of a shoulder to cry on, a good cup of coffee and a sense of community of people that UNDERSTAND what you're going through, check out www.pacewithasd.com.  We're in the process of getting a place for the kids to hang out and feel accepted among their peers.  Information to follow once we've successfully secured a meeting place.  Also, check this website for our parent Coffee Addicts Anonymous get togethers where we encourage and support one another on a weekly basis.

Consider yourselves hugged,


Friday, 10 February 2012

I Got Me Some Super Powers, How About You?

An awesome autism mom, and a woman I'm so happy to be able to call my friend posted this on facebook, and I loved it so much, I just had to share it with y'all:

So maybe you're not Spiderman (though wouldn't those webs come in handy sometimes?) You still have senses and abilities far more developed than those of the average parent. Your senses tingle when something is wrong with your child, long before anybody else notices a difference. With your X-ray vision, you see through inaccurate diagnoses and inadequate treatments; with your superior strength, you blast through red tape and past ineffectual bureaucrats to get your child what he or she needs; with your lightning speed, you swoop in to keep your child out of trouble. Like many a superhero, you can't always explain to mere mortals how you know what you know. But as Peter Parker himself learned, with great power comes great responsibility.

This rings especially true for me tonight.

I witness a security guard catch two eleven year old boys shoplifting.  ELEVEN YEARS OLD!!!  And what, you may ask, were these two little boys trying to steal?  I sure hope you're sitting down for this...


As a parent of a ten year old boy, I'm a little freaked out.  There's no way I'm allowing my child to have sex at this age, and there's no way I'd let my babe out of my site long enough for him to run to a store and shoplift, never mind be alone with a girl.  My question to these little boys' parents is:  "Where are you?  Why are you allowing your eleven year old to run around the city alone?"

Now keep in mind, the boys are only eleven years old.  I'm hoping that sex was not on their minds, and perhaps they figured blowing them up or filling them with water to see what happens may be a fun pass time.

I know, I know, I know...  I'm judging, something I really have no business doing.  I need to let God do His job as I'm busy enough with the responsibilities He's given me.  But I can't help but feel horrible for these little boys.  They don't stand a chance in this world.  The sickest part to me was the first little boy's parents, who had no respect for the security guard, swore at him, grabbed their boy roughly and shoved him out of the store.

My heart aches for these two little boys.  What I would give to be able to have more children, and to see others have no respect for the children they've been blessed with and others around them breaks my heart.

I can not imagine letting my babe loose out in the city.  I'd be worried sick about him.  While I understand that Dayton is not neurotypical, and perhaps if he was I may see things differently, as a parent, I can't let my beloved babe out of my sight.  I just can't do it.  Maybe I baby Dayton too much, maybe I shouldn't hover over him all the time, perhaps I'm over protective and should cut the umbilical cord so to speak.  I'm not ready, and I don't think he is either.  I don't think any child at eleven years old is responsible enough to handle this crazy city on their own.

Not only do I worry about Dayton not being responsible, but I worry about predators out there that would take advantage of a young boy his age.  Am I crazy?  Overprotective?  I know my step daughter thinks I'm nuts, and says she could never live with me because I'm overprotective...  She's 15 going on 30, and no, I don't think it wise that she walk around a big city by herself.  Sue me.  There's some real sickos out there.

It was a cold day today, but during my split shift, I sat outside and froze my face off while Dayton played hockey with his friend.  I watched the boys, made sure they were safe and even though I would have preferred to stay indoors where it was nice and warm, I enjoyed the boys' laughter and relished in their fun.  Their smiles made enduring the cold all worth it.  And they boys didn't mind having me around either.  I think they actually liked having me there.

Consider yourselves hugged,


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

11 Step Program For Those Considering Having Children:

11 Step Program For Those Considering Having Children:

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the paper.
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.
Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out...
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.
Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8

1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

This is all very tongue in cheek; anyone who is parent will say 'it's all worth it!' Share it with your friends, both those who do and don't have kids. I guarantee they'll get a chuckle out of it. Remember, a sense of humor is one of the most important things you'll need when you become a parent!

Consider yourselves hugged,