Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons


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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Griffin Just Wants to Snuggle with the Ducks



This is our friend Mary who is the local bird expert. We love it when we get to see her at the lake and we get to talk about each duck and goose, she has named all of them, and each one's distinct character, their families, etc...She is just so much fun to be around.

In a few days we will no longer have Internet at home therefore I will not be able to post pictures of Griffin or anything but I may be able to write from the computer at the library...not sure though. Don't know when we will be able to get Internet again as it may be quite some time. That's okay though because we need all that money that I owe for more important things like moving to a better place out in the country. Got to pay off debts and save money too. If you want to contact me just go to the e-mail link and send me a message and when we go to the library I will check it and write back. Big hugs to you all!

Monday, June 15, 2015

What a Fabulous Weekend We Had so Much Fun!


Griffin had such a wonderful time at the library watching and listening to Ronald McDonald speak to the children about how much fun reading is and doing all kinds of funny things to entertain them and Ronald kept Griffin and all the kids laughing the entire time.



This picture captures how thrilled Griffin was that he was actually seeing and hearing Ronald Mc Donald in real life.





                                           Griffin enjoys being on the floor out in public which is a result of feeling overwhelmed so being on the floor helps him to feel, pardon the pun, grounded if you will. Here he and Daniel are playing pretend with the Muppets in Barnes & Noble in the mall. Griffin can do this for hours so Daniel and I sat and talked part of the time. It is always nice to have adult conversation.

Griffin is snuggling with a duckling despite the fact that we discouraged him from doing so. It is so hard to deny him that pleasure since he loves them so much.






 Griffin and Daniel looking at his cell phone watching something that Griffin wanted to watch without me around in fact, when I took the picture he highly protested to me being in the room....such a teenager! They really got so great bonding time in over the weekend spending quiet time talking about guy things, feelings, and probably lots of discussion about cartoons and advertising icons.  Daniel is helping Griffin to be interested in healthy video and TV viewing as opposed to shows that are violent and inappropriate. Try as I might, he doesn't listen to me about it even though he listens about everything else. I guess it is just part of being a teenager.



This has got to be one of my all time favorite pictures of Griffin because even though only a small portion of his face appears one can almost feel the emotion that he exudes when looking into the sweet face of this baby duckling. I think that I captured his love for it.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

I Was So Inspired by These Thoughts from Louise Hay About Our Children



Children are blessings from the Universe. They are not their parents’ possessions. They’re individual bright spirits—old spiritual souls coming to have another human experience. They’ve chosen their parents for the lessons and challenges that they’ll be given. They’re here to teach us many things if we’re open to learning from them.
Children are challenging, for they have different ways of looking at Life. Yet parents frequently insist on teaching them old, outdated ideas that their children instinctively know aren’t right for them.
It’s the parents’ duty to provide a safe, nurturing space for this soul to develop its current personality to the fullest. If we could only realize that each child who comes to this planet is a healer and could do wondrous things to advance humanity when they’re encouraged. When we try to force a child into a mold that was passed down from our grandparents, then we do him or her a disservice, and we do society a disservice.
Applaud your children’s uniqueness. Allow them to express themselves in their own style, even if you think it’s just a fad. Don’t make them wrong or tear them down. Goodness knows, I’ve gone through many, many fads in my lifetime, and so will you and your children!
We don’t have to be perfect parents. If we’re loving, our children will have an excellent chance of growing up to be the kind of people we would like to have as friends. They’ll be individuals who are self-fulfilled and successful. Self-fulfillment brings inner peace. The best thing we can do for our children is to learn to love ourselves, for children always learn by example. We’ll have a better life, and they’ll have a better life, too.
Here are affirmations for both parents and children that you can practice together:
I love new things.
I am teachable. Life is an education. I am a student. I am doing the best I can and Every day it gets easier.
The child in me knows how to love and sing and dance and heal. I honor and cherish myself.
I see the best in everyone.
I now contribute to a united, loving and peaceful family life.
To get more love, I merely need to love myself more.
I allow myself to think big dreams.
I am a unique individual with my own path to follow.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Reading to Salonge the Therapy Dog


A couple of times a month or more if we can, Griffin goes to the library to read to one of the therapy dogs, this one is Salonge one of his favorites. Today he read to Molly who is a Bernese Mountain Dog absolutely gorgeous and as sweet as can be. When he is reading to them he does so with such inflection he really gets into it. They are truly therapeutic for him and I love watching him interact with them and get so much enjoyment out of it.



One of my favorite photos because I love bees and I am thrilled that I got such a great macrozoom picture with such a gorgeous tree and the bee. It wasn't easy to get because the bee kept flying around. Great camera.

We started working on spending pretend money at home to learn how to purchase items in the store and not be taken advantage of. Griffin is doing a great job and his therapist has shared a website with me that will help me teach him in a more simplistic manner that probably will not frustrate him so much. It is a slow process but he is catching on and I am very proud of his enthusiasm.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

A Beautiful Time of Year

 Griffin is doing really well and he seems to actually enjoy doing his homeschooling work each day. I don't push him though I do encourage him to do a bit more each time we work. I divide his work into several sessions throughout the day so that he doesn't get frustrated, lose patience, and so that he can move around as he needs to. He is accomplishing so much especially in vocabulary because I am using the flash cards that I used in my college preparatory class in my senior English class. The words are not easy, the spelling and definitions though he has no problem with them at all. I am so very proud of him. He eagerly works on his multiplication, and cursive every day of the week.


This photo turned out to be really good,  This is our state tree, the dogwood.

 Here is my buddy and his respite provider , Lisa. She is so awesome and we both adore her. They have a lot of fun together. She is super cool!
I really like this photo of Griffin as he appears to be deep in thought or just being observant and appreciating his surroundings.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Griffin is Now 13 Years Old, 5 ft. 10 inches , 186 lbs. Size 13 Shoes. His Dad is Samoan.






I look up to Griffin as I am only 5'4" or less by now but he is slimming up a lot as he is growing taller more than he is out now. My waist is bigger than his and I weigh more. He is a gentle giant though and has learned to be more gentle with the cats and with the water fowl that he picks up to snuggle when we go to the lake. He is just so affectionate and can't help himself. I am so blessed and give thanks every single day for having the opportunity to share my life with him and do not take one minute for granted that I spend with him.

We finally got our car back and we are enjoying our freedom. Freedom and independence is certainly not anything that I take for granted, I am very very grateful for them. His psychiatrist noticed today that he is so much more mellow and well mannered than a month ago when we were stranded.

I am feeling so good that I am writing again but this time I am not waiting to use the computer to do it, I am doing it the old fashioned way with pen and paper. Writing is so cathartic for me and it surprises me how much of my past that I can recall when I sit in the silence in reverie soaking up the delight of most the memories while having the ability to distance myself from emotional attachment to the more tragic and traumatic recollections of specific events that changed my life. Watching foreign films again and loving it. I watched them when I was much younger and now I once again appreciate the intellectual stimulation that I get from watching them. I love being able to be more active again though my sleep is still pretty messed up as I can't sleep until the wee hours of the morning about 4:00, 5:00, even 6:00 a.m. then I can't wake up until at least 11:00 when Griffin wakes me to  make him breakfast usually I fall back to sleep for a couple more hours. Frustrating! But I have faith that I will get back in sync one day in the meantime I enjoy having time to myself in the peace and quiet while Griffin is asleep.

He has shown me more interest in learning as of the past few days especially since I have discovered a way to speak to him in order to get him to respond immediately rather than saying that I am bossing him around. I merely say to him that " I would like for you to...." and then he does that task right away with no complaints. I am so proud of him as he has shown a great deal of maturity in the past couple of months. He even responds when I tell him that it is time to read and do some learning. We even discussed starting vocabulary and spelling tomorrow. I am so excited.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Some Pics of the Years Gone By and Griffin's Latest Growth Spurt

 My mom and a past photo of her beloved "Jade" whom we miss a great deal, she was so special.
Griffin adored Jade as well, she got lots of lovin'

Griffin used to be so small and thin, one would never know that he was going to grow up so big and tall

This is our dear sweet friend Sheila and her grandsons in Alaska. We used to visit them often, they were a big part of our lives. Sheila was one of Griffin's first educators in his early intervention,
I don't have a recent photo of Griffin but suffice it to say that he has grown exponentially just in the past year. And now that he is 13 years old the signs of puberty are quite apparent but not in a bad way. He is candid with me as we have a exceptionally close relationship and talk about everything.

He was weighed and measured the other day at the doctor's and he now weighs 186 lbs and is 5'10"!!!! It is apparent that he is half Samoan because both the men and women are very tall and large people much like many of the different races of the South Pacific. He is a gentle giant who loves animals and is exceptionally artistic.

We have been without a; car for almost 3 months and after having it for only two days find out that it is still not fixed and have to take it back to the garage. But still we are blessed regardless of our challenges there is always plenty to be grateful for no matter what is happening to you. If all you do is complain about your life then for sure that is all you will have....misery. A self-fulfilling prophecy.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Guest Post by Dawn Marotte: Stepping Up and Stepping Back


Stepping Up and Stepping Back

My 6 year old daughter huddled in a corner at a local store screaming at the top of her lungs because we didn't get the right cart.

This wasn't the first time she had a meltdown in public. My husband had to physically pick her up and carry her, kicking and screaming the whole way, to his car - where she refused to sit in the seat and sat wailing on the floor in the back of the car for 30 minutes.

All I could think about were the years stretching ahead of me, struggling to just get through each day.

But we stepped up to help her because that is what parents do.

Thus began our journey of therapies, doctors, diets and research.

We tried everything we could to help our daughter. For years it felt like we spent all of our time, money and energy helping her learn the skills she would need to be able to communicate and interact effectively with her peers and the world. We went from one therapy to another, tried diets and chiropractic care, read every book we could and joined online support groups.

Then we blinked and suddenly she wasn't a little girl anymore.

She was a tween and attending middle school. Hormones and attitude arrived with a bang. She didn't need all of the therapies anymore and by 7th grade her autism specialist actually wrote in her annual report, "A. has the social skills she needs, she just chooses not to use them."

This was a turning point for us as parents.

We realized that all of the hard work she had put in to learn about body language, conversational skills and the social rules that guide our world was successful. More importantly she was happy with herself. She has the skills the rest of the world says she needs, but she also has the discretion to choose when she wants to use them. We had spent years stepping up to manage everything in her life for her.

It was time to step back.

She still needs support of course but we needed to change focus and learn to let go a little bit at a time. It's not about talking to peers or handling the environment without melting down. Now it is about learning life skills and advocating for herself.

  • She has to learn how to ask for help when she needs it.
  • She has to learn about personal hygiene
  • She had to learn how to take control of her environment when she can and make adjustments when she can't.
  • She has to learn how to do laundry.

Parenting a teen on the spectrum is different than parenting a young child.

Our kids don't mature on the same schedule as others but they do grow up.

Now we have to teach them how to take care of themselves. They will need to know how wake up on their own, get to work, make dinner, brush their teeth, buy clothes, shower regularly, wash dishes, wear deodorant, schedule doctor's appointments and all of the other chores we adults do on a regular basis.

We have to take the time to teach them the skills that will allow them to live as independent adults. They aren't going to pick up these skills by observation. We need to show them, step by step, how to perform each skill they need to master. Then they need to practice them until they have mastered them.

Our focus has to change from advocating for them to teaching them to advocate for themselves.

We need to help them learn how to ask for help when they need it. And ask again if they still aren't getting what they need. This means practicing how to approach teachers or staff at school to ask a question. This may be something to add to your child's IEP (Individualized Education Program.)

When you take them places, whether it is getting their hair cut, going to a movie or out to eat make them speak with the staff. Have them ask a relevant question. This isn't about social interaction, but about learning to ask for information and processing the response. They may want to prepare a question in advance and practice asking it. This process of thinking ahead will work for the as adults too.

When they leave high school and go to college or into the workforce they will need to be able to ask for help. No one is going to be there to advocate for them and silence will not serve them.

We need to be there to support them when they fail, as everyone does from time to time.

Not every day is going to go well and the teen years can be particularly difficult. Often the level of communication with the school will be less. More teachers per student and more students for each teacher mean they have less time often to share daily events. It is important to set up a communication schedule and method that works for everyone.

Sometimes our kids focus too much on the negative and we may need to help them see the positive. Teens seem too often to generalize, "Everyone thinks, No one does, etc" We need to help them focus more on the specifics. That could mean writing down 1 or 2 positives for each day and then reviewing them regularly. It can also be helpful to review all of the progress they have made so far in their life.

We need to be there to celebrate with them when they triumph, as they will.

There will be many more opportunities for teens to participate in groups with similar interests. They may find their tribe in art, sports, music, anime, fashion, cars or any of the other clubs available to them. Get a list of clubs and activities and try them out. Don't place any limits - if they find something interesting try it. Finding peers with similar interests can help our kids practice their social skills with others who are already excited about the same subject.

Another place that they may excel is in online groups. Forums such as wrongplanet.net can provide a safe place to interact with others on the spectrum.

We need to step back and let them mature into the adults they want to be. Give them the room to find what they want to do, without preconceived expectations about what they can and can't do. Help them along, but give them the respect they deserve as young adults who are capable.

We need to be parents our kids can be proud of.

How has your parenting changed as your children have gotten older?


Disclaimer: Although I approved this article for submission it does not necessarily reflect my views however if I did not think it appropriate then I would not have published it. This is Dawn's experience and therefore it should be read and understood as such. Lora






Saturday, January 17, 2015

I am so Blessed and Give Thanks Every Day

These are the ducks at the lake and as you can see they adore Griffin and know that he is always generous with the cracked corn ( their favorite)
This is the awesome puppet (muppet) that Griffin made almost all by himself, I just helped a little bit. I am so proud of him. He worked so hard on it. It is the Wilkin's coffee mascot from the 50's
Griffin and Link, he is still learning how to pick them up but once he is holding them they calm down and do not try to scratch or bite him.
This is Dot or Kitty Dot Com as Griffin had named her. She looks young because she is so petite but we have had her for many years. She sleeps with Griffin.











Griffin is sleeping much better though I am not and maybe it is because we haven't been out of the apartment for 10 days only now and then to check the mail. We sure have bonded during this time and I am so proud of Griffin for not complaining and getting upset or impatient because we don't have the car. I believe that it is a sign of maturity on his part. He is about to turn 13 and he is acting more patient and understanding than "like a typical teenager" like so many people complain about. I know that I am blessed and believe me I write down and count my blessings every single day. I don't say prayers to ask for that which I do not have but instead give thanks for that in which I do have.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year! Life is Good!



We had a wonderfully peaceful holiday together just the two of us. Griffin ate with chopsticks for the very first time and I was so proud of him. He wanted to eat at the local Japanese restaurant for Christmas so he got some Lo Mein noodles with soy sauce. They are excellent! Then we just went for a drive and back home to hang out with the kitties.

The other photos are from the lake and I don't know if that bird perched is an egret or a whooping crane but it was beautiful and large nonetheless.

For New Year's Eve we stayed home nice and cozy. My sleep is still messed up due to my Fibromyalgia I believe because on New Year's day I felt horrible even though I had gotten over 8 hours of sleep. It was as though I just couldn't wake up all day long. Now that it is late evening I am wide awake of course. We did go out and about today because no matter how bad I feel I push myself so that Griffin can have a life and not stay home all the time.

Griffin is growing and developing so rapidly and making progress all on his own. In just a few months of working with him on taking a shower on his own without me reminding him, he has done so and now will get in and I only have to ask him once if he is going to and he offers no resistance. His OT and PT are lately bragging on how wonderfully he has been using his words to communicate his needs and identifying and labeling his feelings. This is a big deal for someone on the spectrum and I believe that he has done so well because it has been a team effort between his therapists and myself. I treat all his needs and wishes as a big deal . Some may seem small to me but they are a big deal to him and need to be validated. If I listen to everything he has to share now then later on when I really need to know how things are going with him he will be more willing to share with me then...as he gets into his teens he requires his privacy but at the same time I hope that he will feel safe and trusting enough to share those things that bother him and are important to him. To me, this is far more important than anything else in the whole scheme of things because it is the essence of his communication and will serve him well as an adult. To be so aware of his feelings and how to cope with them and how to cope with and understand the feelings of others.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's a Wonderful Life...Albeit a Sleepless One



The top photo is of Dot, the next is our newest cat, Link, then there is the awesome photo of Griffin holding a goose that he picked up and as you can see it is perfectly calm and at peace in Griffin's arms. Griffin held it for about ten minutes not because it struggled but because it was time to go.

For the past two weeks I have had the worst bout of insomnia and it just will not go away. It is so damn frustrating to stay awake for 24 to 48 hours trying to stay busy feeling horrible most the time but sometimes I feel okay. But it is so boring because after being productive and trying everything to keep occupied it gets boring. I do meditate a lot to rest my body and mind that helps. After reading some comments from the Fibromyalgia page on Facebook many of the Fibro sufferers said that it is common to have insomnia with Fibro and after all these years of having it I had no idea, my doctor never told me that. My rheumatologist hardly talks to me anyhow so how could he educate me?

I have been up for over 24 hours and Griffin just got up as I finally start getting sleepy so how could I go to sleep now because he needs me to cook for him? Maybe I can doze a bit and tell him to wake me if he needs me. This is just terrible! My entire body hurts so bad.

If you are one of my Facebook friends don't be surprised if I unfriend you for non-participation as in...if you ignore me then there's no need to be in my life especially not as a voyeur, never cared for peeping Toms. My life is no longer an open book to those who don't bother to show me that they care once in awhile. I have no patience with bench warmers...stay in the game or get off the field! But big hugs out to those of you who care enough to chat with me and exchange personal messages with me as "friends" are supposed to do. To support one another. Isn't that what loved ones do?