Sunday, June 24, 2012

I am writing this post with a mere two hours of sleep for my weary bones in the past three days/nights.  So if I do not make much sense or have grammatical and spelling errors please forgive me.  Life has been a traveling circus gone awry inside a big top tent filled to the maximum seating occupancy.  Oh, and throw in a tornado crashing through the chaos for good measure. 

Tonight a friend inquired about Asperger's Syndrome.  I have to admit it is gratifying knowing that someone that doesn't have to deal with Aspergers on a regular basis actually seeks knowledge on the subject.  Compare this response to that of my kid's past school teachers and administrators and you will know why I am delighted with my friend's curiosity.  If only the rest of the world were as curious as well. *sigh*

Crap, I was really hoping to post a decent article on Aspergers tonight but I just cannot keep the words on the screen from blurring and swirling.  My eye lids weigh 10 lbs. each.  I shall attempt another post in the next day or so with actual Aspie info.  Goodnight. :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Life Changes

First, a big thank you to fellow blogger, Lauren (aka Crazy Herb Lady), for inspiring me to add to this blog.  I have neglected it for a while due to major life changes.  However, it is nice to come back to this site as it is like seeing an old friend that was always there for me during my times of distress just lending an ear.

We have moved to a different state.  The past year has us three plus two cats and one dog living out of a small travel trailer while trying to renovate a house located in another town.  Doesn't sound too bad except that we are on very limited financial means now and no longer have our material possessions from last year.  Last I heard they were in military storage but I have a strong feeling they have been auctioned off.  I honestly don't care about the furniture, but I am sad about the photographs, my college diplomas, and my son's drawings/paintings/school work.  Those are the things that I can never replace.  Don't ask me what happened b/c I am not in the right mentality at the moment to explain it all.  Perhaps in the future I will be able to talk about it all in a rational, reflective, mature manner. 

The cool thing is I enjoy living life out of a camper.  It's kind of like being forced into gypsyhood.  I have enjoyed having no television for the past year.  I do not miss it at all.  I feel left out of conversations when people are discussing certain shows, but that is not a big deal.  I have turned my spare time into improving myself.  For example, I have lost 50 lbs. and completed my first 5k.  I try to get in at least 2 miles of running a day.  This has helped not only my body but my mind improve drastically.  I am not where I want to be physically yet, but it is a long hard process that I will succeed at.  As for my mind, I will always be striving to learn more.  Also, I am now a volunteer fire fighter.  I love it!  I never thought in a million years that I would become a fire fighter at the age of 37, but here I am.  Last but not least, I plan on going back to college for a nursing degree.  The profession I am currently qualified for is hard to find regular work in.  Although I love it tremendously, I need to be in a profession that allows me to travel, make decent money, make a positive difference in the lives of others, and know that I can always find a job. 

As for my child, he had trouble adjusting to our life changes at first, but has improved greatly.  At first he cried, missing his friends from school and his toys and the familiarity of his old home.  He still misses those things but has learned to enjoy the freedom of living in the country where he can run around without worry, getting to experience nature first hand on a daily basis, and spend quality time with his grandparents.  I have found a couple of kids for him to play with several times a month.  We homeschooled him again this past year, but I am thinking he may be forced to attend a public school this coming year as I will be occupied with my own schooling.  I want to get him into a local private school but we just cannot afford the tuition, even with the financial aid they are willing to contribute.  It is such a fantastic school too.  My hope is that once I complete my nursing degree I will make enough money to put him into a private school. 

That is my 'let's catch up' blog for the time being.   I hope to add more in the near future, but focused more on my aspie child instead of the family situation.  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Play time and dream time

I don't know about other moms with aspie kids,  but my Aspie gets upset if games aren't played the way he wants.  For example, when building with blocks, I am only allowed to place the blocks in designated spots and at designated angles.  If I deviate from this, he becomes quite anxious, upset, and moves the blocks the way he wants them.  If I insist that he allow me to play my way as well, he becomes upset, pouts, and doesn't want to play anymore.  Playing board games or card games is even trickier as my child becomes distraught if he doesn't win.  I've allowed him to win more times than I can count just to see joy exuding from his face and through his actions, rather than counseling him for 15 minutes concerning losing.  I have to admit that lately he has improved.  There have been a few times recently that instead of crying he said, "It doesn't matter if you win or lose.  It's about having fun playing the game."  You can imagine my joy at hearing these words. 

I've read about other moms whose autistic children lash out physically at them.  Reading their stories makes my heart ache, a lump clogs my throat, and my eyes blur with tears.  I imagine the pain and heartache they must feel.  To love a child so deeply, to want only the best and put forth more effort than most parents ever dreamed of to have a healthy and happy child, to give up so much of yourself for your child only to have that child lash out physically.....the heartache.  The emotional pain would be overwhelming.  I wish I could wrap my arms around those mothers, hold them while they release their tears, and tell them it's going to be okay. 

I have been very lucky to have a child that recognizes emotional pain and responds to it.  Thank goodness for this as I don't know if I could handle an emotionally absent child.  The interesting thing about my aspie compared to other aspie kids is that my aspie is actually overly sensitive.  I am no way complaining, as I see this as a blessing.  I just find it interesting considering most autistic kids seem to be lacking in expression of emotions.  My aspie will cry at the drop of a hat.  My aspie remembers things from years ago that will trigger sobbing and shaking.  For instance, tonight he recalled a bad dream he had several years ago.  As he was telling me about the dream, he began crying and shaking.  It took several minutes for him to calm down enough to even speak.  I tried reasoning with him, but that seemed to just make it worse.  So finally I said, "Write down your bad dreams on a piece of paper.  Then wad it up in a ball and throw it in the trash."  He loved the idea.  That is what he did. 

Of course, this is not practical when he wakes up during the middle of the night crying from a nightmare.  During these times, I escort him to the bathroom and tell him to pee the bad dream into the toilet.  Then he flushes it away.  This has seemed to work well too.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that these will continue to be effective strategies.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Don't pee on my couch

I have been reading other mom's blogs about their daily lives of learning to raise a healthy and happy aspie child(ren).  One mom said she wanted to figure out how to get her aspie son to use the toilet.  That comment brought back memories of me trying everything in the book to get my aspie son toilet trained.  Mind you this was before I even knew he had aspergers.

I was at wits end.  I'd tried every trick in the book and then some.  I had spent late nights searching the internet for that one secret to reveal itself.  But alas, it never did.  My child was going to be entering preschool soon, but the preschools won't take a child unless he is potty trained.  Plus, my child is unusually large for his age--not fat, just a big kid.  He was at the point that if he didn't learn to use the toilet I was going to have to buy him adult diapers!  So you can imagine the urgency and distress I felt.

So what did I do?  I had one last option.  It was a do or die option.  An option that would either cause an unimaginable mess or save the day--go without diapers or underwear or pants of any type.  Just run around the house naked!!!  I took off his pull-ups and said, "Go free, young man.  Go free!"  He looked at me like I had lost my mind.  Perhaps I had.  But he turned and went on his merry little way with his cute little bum for all the house to see.  30 minutes later he cried out, "Mommy!!!!  I need to pee pee!!!"  He's holding himself and pointing to his pull-ups.  "Nope," I say, feeling anxious and wondering if I should run for the carpet cleaner and towels.  He says, "But mommy!!!!  I have to pee!!!!  Please!!!!".  I replied, "Your only choice is to either hold it or go sit on the toilet."  "Hold it", he said.  Uh-oh, I thought.  A few minutes later I heard him peeing in the toilet.  You can imagine my relief and surprise.  I praised him and showered him with hugs and kisses.  After that he always used the toilet.  Of course, I made him run around the house naked for at least a week to be on the safe side.

The only downside seems to be that to this day he still feels the need to run around the house naked.  So we are constantly telling him this isn't a nudist zone, and please put on your underwear.  Could be worse though. He could be peeing on our couch.  ;)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Been a while...

It has been a while since I posted.  Sorry for the delay.  I believe there is a saying that goes something like this, "Life is what happens while you are making plans", which strongly applies to me.  Not sure where to start so let first throw out something random.  My aspie had surgery (unrelated to Aspergers) and had a difficult time dealing with the pain of the surgery and the recovery.  People do not realize that many aspie kids have heightened senses--hearing, smelling, tasting, touch.  So naturally pain is amplified as well.  What may seem like a minor scrape to you and me is a pulsating terrifying pain to an Aspie.  Now imagine trying to recover from the pain of a fairly major surgery with the pain amplified 10x.  I am happy to report that after 2 long weeks of tears, anguish, and suffering my Aspie has recovered and is doing better than before the surgery.

As for schooling, I still deal with the nuances of the administration on my back.  However, I finally accomplished getting my Aspie officially recognized as a special education student.  Along with this came a wonderful surprise.  After completing numerous tests for intelligence, my Aspie scored off the charts and is now being considered for the gifted program. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Most of them just don't get it

I'm coming to the annoying and in my face realization that most people just don't get Asperger children, especially mine.  Even health care professionals, including the doctors that specialize in autism don't truly understand an Aspie.  As a parent, I go out of my way to inform every doctor that my son has Aspergers and then attempt to translate how this affects my child and ask them to try to tailor their care to meet his needs.  However, only two doctors so far has understood, or at least attempted to treat my child with an open mind and creative techniques to make his visits traumatic free as possible.  To these two doctors, I have expressed extreme gratitude and made sure they knew just how grateful I was for their efforts, understanding, and exceptional skills.

You may be wondering, where am I going with this?  I ask myself that with just about everything.  LOL  I think I'm not really going anywhere with it.  I just need to vent.  Especially after a day like today, which is becoming a norm.  I took my son to see the ophthalmologist this morning.  They wanted to dilate his eyes which had been done a few months earlier by an optometrist.  I understand the difference between the two specialties.  But quite frankly, I felt it was unnecessary to subject my child to the stinging dilation eye drops once again because he always has a complete mental and physical breakdown when it comes to those drops.  I told the doctor my concerns but they just disregarded my words as though I either didn't know what I was talking about or that I am babying my child (which I've been accused of by his school psychologist). 

So, they put the eye drops in his eyes as he was screaming and begging them not too and clutching his eyes in fear and crying uncontrollably.  They forced the eye drops in and then the emotional breakdown turned to a physical breakdown just as I had warned them.  He vomited all over himself and the chair and the hallway.  And, as usual, I was given a few paper towels to clean up the mess myself instead of them helping out.  I was pissed beyond belief.  I wanted to shove my foot up their asses, but of course, I controlled myself and my reaction because if I don't remain calm then my child falls apart.  We barely made it through the rest of the doctor visit, but we did make it and that is what counts.

I immediately drove us home and have been doing my best to try and calm my nerves.  I found some emesis bags for sale online, which I purchased without hesitation.  I think that having an emesis bag on the ready will help us tremendously when we are outside the home.  My Aspie vomits in the car, at the grocery store, at the doctor's office....everywhere.  The littlest things make him vomit--smells, sights, emotional distress, even needing to defecate.  I'm sick and tired of pulling daily janitorial duties.  I am hoping these bags will help.  My comments may sound harsh but you try cleaning up spewed vomit several times a day for months on end.  Perhaps then you will understand my frustration and distress, or maybe you won't. 

As for his school psychologist, she annoys me.  She is convinced I baby my child because he's an only child.  I just smile and nod when she spouts off her judgmental ignorance.  She doesn't take care of my son 24/7.  She doesn't even understand his needs.  If addressing his emotional outbursts with therapy and at home intervention is babying my child then so be it.  It's better than ignoring his emotional distress which is her solution to all of his problems.  During the meetings I've had with her she's clearly displayed her ignorance of Aspergers.  I've given her and the school extensive information on Aspergers and even highlighted areas (along with side notes) of the aspects of Aspergers that strongly apply to my child.  However, I am starting to doubt they have taken the time to read any of the information.  The irony!  Education specialists that refuse to educate themselves on one of their student's special needs. 

I'm also sick and tired of people that know nothing about Aspergers assuming that it only means my child is lacking in social skills.  It means a million and one things more.  It's multi-faceted.  I try so hard to educate others that interact with us but so few people get, and so few more really want to take the time to understand since it is something they don't deal with on a daily basis.  I'd rather someone not ask if they really do not care.

As you can tell, I'm in a foul mood.  This morning pushed me over the edge.  I'm still angry.  I hope tomorrow is a better day.  We shall see as it's another visit to a different medical specialist.  *sigh*

Monday, October 11, 2010

how to smile

Most people take smiling for granted.  When your picture is being taken the photographer says, "Say cheese!".  Most of automatically repeat this silly word, eyes open, mouth upturned and belly sucked in.  However, for an Aspie, smiling for a photograph is not natural. 

Tomorrow my son has his first school photo.  I can only imagine the facial expression that will be permanently captured on film.  He will most likely look like a Caucasian kid pretending to be Asian, but not on purpose of course. 

At the age of 3, I was proudly snapping photo after photo of my darling boy.  However, he wasn't smiling so I said, "Say cheese!".  In a serious tone he responded, "What?!  Do you have cheese for me to eat?".  After an explanation that it meant smile for the photo, he wanted to know why should he smile for a photo when he wasn't really smiling in the first place?  My only explanation to try to stop the onslaught of questions that I knew were to follow was to reply that I thought he looked handsome when smiling.  However, this led to him wondering if he wasn't handsome when not smiling.  "No, no!," I quickly retorted, "You look handsome always.  But I really enjoy looking at pictures that show those beautiful teeth of yours."  "Okay", he accepted with no further questioning.  Whew!  The rest of the photos from that point on was my beautiful Aspie with an over-exaggerated smile and completely squinted eyes.  LOL

Tonight I thought it might be worth a try to practice smiling with him.  I asked him to smile for me.  The big mouth with full display of teeth and gums combined with eyes squinted so tight they appeared to be trying to dodge the equatorial sun appeared once again.  I couldn't help but giggle.

"Try like this," I said, showing him a smile only wide enough to show some teeth with eyes still open.  Next thing I know his lips are turned inward and his eyes are so wide you'd think he just spotted Bigfoot.   I giggled again.   "No, no.  Try keeping your eyes the same size as normal and open your lips just enough to show a few teeth."  He proceeded to mimic my expression but ended up with the look of a drunk hallucinating homeless man pushing a grocery cart full of trash down the street.  I laughed so hard I almost fell off the edge of his bed. 

"How about," I said in between tickling his armpits, "you just be you in the photo?  Smile how you normally smile, okay?"  He agreed this was best. 

Guess what?  I am looking forward to seeing his special smile radiating off that year book page.  I know it's going to be the brightest smile of all.