Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons


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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Success with Social Stories

It had occurred to me that if I had written a social story for the library that it would be the perfect solution for our difficulties with behavior and sure enough it did work like a charm. I kicked myself for not having done it in the first place in order to avoid situations. I am at the library or I would post a picture of what it looks like. Basically I just drew stick figures because it is not important that they have detail or look realistic as long as it gets the point across that it is a person, then I drew conversation bubbles over their heads with the words inside. The most important part is that the words are not too many in number but that they are very specific painting a picture of exactly what needs to be done...not what doesn't need to be done. Being positive is very important (to me at least). I drew the other persons involved with only the bare basics of furniture and such. The librarians were impressed not only with the social story but with the tremendous difference in Griffin after he read and understood the story following through with its instructions.


 The library staff, especially the supervisor, all have been absolute angels as far as how they have wanted to help Griffin and me as much as they possibly could. In fact, a night and day difference between this library and the other one where they said that they would call the police on him. They are different counties and it is so obvious! Tears welled up in my eyes when we were talking on the phone and Sarah the supervisor was being so kind and understanding because it touched me so deeply. It is rare that people have such hearts and acceptance of a child's differences. Usually people expect him to conform to their expectations and are totally unwilling to bend a little to help him out. Even family members are that way who do not want to understand that he has autism and that sometimes what he says and does has to be accepted and not judged. Frustrating!


Now I need to make social stories for every event and situation especially those in public such as the wandering at stores, not looking for cars in parking lots, how to conduct oneself appropriately in doctor's offices and waiting rooms etc... If only I had remembered to do this a long time ago life would be so much simpler and easier but I hate clich├ęs but, "Better late than never." I am the first to admit that I learn more everyday, more than Griffin does just by making so many mistakes which I prefer to refer to as life's lessons since I believe that we make mistakes to learn in order to progress in life. It is inevitable therefore why not accept it and not give them a negative connotation?


Another thing that I have recognized in myself is that I usually do not validate Griffin's feelings and I hate that about myself. Today I have decided that that is my new lesson to make sure that when he shows his feelings, no matter what they are, that I stop and ask how he is feeling and then validate those feelings. I have never ever had my feelings validated so I know how painful it is and I refuse to repeat that with Griffin. I want him to hear and feel that all his emotions are appropriate and perfectly normal (although I hate that word) to feel because I know myself how good it feels and how much freedom there is when one has the confidence in one's own feelings without retribution or condemnation of oneself. Griffin needs to understand that all the "bad" emotions are okay too and that the "dark" side is acceptable no need to feel like a bad person for having them because everyone does. The beauty of acceptance of one's whole self is that it gives us absolute freedom from the worry or fear of other people's judgment and criticism.


I watched Eckart Tolle last night he is a man of such wisdom,  the epitome of peace and mindfulness. His books and tapes have left such an impression on me however for me they are to be reviewed again and again in order to truly learn from them. To attempt to get his message across myself I would do him no justice therefore I shall just leave you with one of his quotes:


"By accepting what is you become bigger than what is."    I live in the NOW and accept all that is.


Tomorrow is my 52nd birthday and my dad's birthday and a couple of other people whom I have heard about. I do not make plans because the future is merely in my mind since it has not happened therefore what happens will happen. If I project happiness in the NOW then I imagine that tomorrow will be no different...but all we have is NOW.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What a Great Summer!

We have been going to a different library in which there has absolutely no problems whatsoever and Griffin is exactly the same person that he was at the other one but the difference is that the staff here are understanding and accepting of Griffin in fact there is a sign on the door that reads: We welcome all abilities, if you have any questions please inquire within. Now that is a true welcome sign indeed.
If a patron says anything to him about him dancing in his chair or anything else I merely inform him that he is autistic and so far everyone is understanding after that. Griffin's counselor recommended that we only go back to the other library where Elizabeth the bully is, on the days that she doesn't work because no one else has a problem with him. However I am still a bit too emotional about it to speak to anyone there, I have got to distance myself from it more so that I can speak nicely and properly.


So far we have been having a great summer although we have been having a bit of car trouble. First it was the radiator then four thread bared tires and one blow out. So the universe was so kind as for my Aunt Becky to call a garage that a couple own Tammy and Glenn and they donated four brand new tires to me and my heart skipped a beat I was almost in tears. Then we went to S.C. to see my mom who had fallen and broken her hip but it was so darn hot 102 degrees, that the car overheated and we were stuck. I had called the mechanic that put in the radiator and thermostat and he scared me to death saying that it was a blown head gasket so we had to have the car towed to NC after sitting in the heat for two hours. It was over an hour's ride home. But the tow truck driver was such a sweetheart and we had a great conversation. He was young and handsome but unattached because he worked on call twenty-four seven just to support his elderly mom. You sure don't find men like that anymore.


I got brave and started driving the car little by little because I had to and I found that as long as I keep anti-freeze in the car it is perfectly fine so I don't think that the head gasket is blown and I don't think that the radiator or thermostat was bad after all or else something was not fixed at the time. Anyhow I am going to a different garage because the other one was wrong and I can't afford to have things replaced that are not helping the problem while the problem still exists. I am going back to see Tammy and Glenn because they help out single moms and are understanding. I waited until I had some money this time so that I can pay them.


Griffin is doing so well with homeschooling. We are on American history right now and he is really enjoying it. Last night he read the entire Declaration of Independence all by himself. I have found that he loves books but has difficulty focusing when reading on his own so I read to him at bedtime every night and we are about to finish Old Yeller. It is challenging to understand for him heck, for me even, but he is getting the gist of it and learning new vocabulary words and slang. We are also reading a chapter book for his age group and I think it is called ....well I forgot but it is pretty good. It takes place in the 1800s in England and is supposed to be a bit spooky.


Before the car problems we were going to SC to see his sister. She is a beautiful person. I will write more later my time is running out.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Incident at Our Favorite Library and Some Really Good News

Griffin and I were going to one specific library where we knew everyone who worked there and got along famously in fact I even volunteered there two days a week. Well, apparently they didn't understand Griffin's autism as much as I thought they had and apparently they didn't think of him as fondly as I had presumed.

There was one librarian, Elizabeth, who unfairly targeted Griffin when it came to asking him to quiet down whereas she nor anyone else asked the people breaking the rules who were talking on their cell phones, having loud conversations, and especially no one spoke to the parents of the kids who were running around and screaming and were old enough to know better that is if anyone had taught them. Well, one day Elizabeth got in Griffin's face when he was, as usual, using headphones and watching a video. Of course he felt that his space had been invaded and she had overwhelmed him by talking to him while he was listening and watching. So he had a knee jerk reaction and barely pushed her out of his face and yelled "I need space". They told me that he had to leave without even listening to me defend him and his behavior and even though there was only 15 minutes left until closing. Griffin knows full well exactly what time the library closes and of course he is used to leaving at that time. He started to have a meltdown screaming that it was not five o'clock yet and it wasn't time to go. I couldn't get him to leave until after a major battle because they had said that they were calling the police. So I panicked . By the way, in over a year's time NO ONE has ever ever complained about Griffin's behavior while on the computer he whispers when he sings and dances in the chair but most everyone who comes there already knows him and just goes about their own business.

Needless to say that I stopped volunteering there and haven't gone back since except to leave a letter that Griffin's therapist wrote to them about him being unfairly targeted and how if the police were called that it would be horribly traumatic for him and that he has never hurt anyone nor ever would. So far I haven't heard from the librarian, Lisa, but Griffin still wants to go there so something has got to be worked out and I am afraid that my mama bear is going to come out and ruin it.

For now we are going to the other county's library where no one complains or gives Griffin a hard time about his singing and dancing in the chair. The worst that has happened is that people look at him funny and I just give them a long stare as if to ask if they have a problem with my son.

In other news, good news is that Griffin was accepted to autism camp and that my mom gave me the cash I needed for the deposit. The camp gave him a $1200.00 scholarship so now I am waiting for one more scholarship for $400.00 to pay for the rest. Fingers crossed! This is the same camp where he went for two consecutive years in 2010 and 2011 and absolutely loved it. I am so excited for him. It will be so good for him to make friends and to socialize but especially to spend some quality time out of doors.

Griffin and I have been having so much fun homeschooling and playing each and every day. He is such a quick learner and so eager to learn that if I am lagging behind on doing studies or if I am not feeling well then he has done studies on his own I noticed one day when going through his papers. He had actually gone through and read his science books making a life cycle chart of animals, the hierarchy of the food chain and facts about presidents and civil war history. I am so very proud of him he has matured and grown so much in just the past year.

Also super good news is that Griffin and I are getting to know his only sister who lives only an hour from us in SC , Rochelle. She is so sweet and kind and so excited to one day get to meet us in person but she works six days a week and is waiting for two days off so that we can spend some time together. I found out about her because their dad, Sam, had gotten in touch with me through a third party and wants to finally be a part of Griffin's life and to really be a dad to him. He has even written some letters to him. Griffin was excited to hear from his dad but he is still just a stranger to him so it will take awhile before he is able to begin to grow close to him in fact Sam has a lot of proving to do to show Griffin that he truly does have the integrity to deserve the title of "Dad". Griffin has so much love in his heart that he is always eager to share his love with anyone which is wonderful but at the same time I hope that it doesn't mean a great deal of heartache in his future. He is so kind and compassionate and I just don't ever want my sweet young man to ever be damaged. He is my universe!

The other night when we were snuggling he said, and I quietly cried, that if I died that he would die and that if he died that I would die and that is what love is. I knew what he meant because we have such an intense bond between us that even if it were not literal then figuratively  we would perish if either one of did leave the other, in spirit. I sit here in the library with tears welling up in my eyes at just the thought of it.

But as we live in the present moment all is wonderful and beautiful, we are as happy as we possibly could ever be. I have been reading some books that have facilitated me in being in the present moment at almost all the time which has enabled me to discontinue a few of my medicines one of which was an anxiety medicine because I no longer have any anxiety in my life no matter what happens I am able to breathe through it and be mindful. No longer do I need to distract myself from stress and issues I merely breathe and find that there is no such thing as stress it is merely our thoughts that put us in that situation they are not real. If we think of the past or future then that is the problem because what is happening in the moment is all that is real.

Love and peace to all. Have a blessed day!


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Life Is Good!



Just a quick update...Things are going absolutely AWESOME! A slight glitch with my car the radiator cap was the wrong one and it was overheating. I had to have it towed and was without it a few days but I am very grateful that it wasn't anything major.

GRATITUDE
for everything in my life. I have come this far and am living in the present moment each moment at a time and loving life and appreciating every breath so much more. Since I have learned to live mindfully and meditate while doing everyday activities I have been thriving so much more productive, joyful, grateful, and sleeping like a log which I had never done in my entire life thus far.

Griffin is thriving as well as we are still homeschooling preparing for next year when he wants to go to high school. He has matured so much it is amazing. His manners are impeccable and he just conducts himself like a wonderfully kind and sociable young man.

Hope all is well with everyone!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

BE Present



We are doing absolutely incredible....couldn't ask for anything other than what we are already grateful to have within and outside of ourselves. We are truly blessed. Every moment is precious and an opportunity for a new beginning as nothing is permanent it is ever changing in every single moment. This is my new lesson from Thich Naht Hahn's book, "No Fear No Death". He and Eckhart Tolle are my absolute favorite spiritual teachers authors.

I am grateful for the air that I breathe and the ability to breathe life into my body.
I am grateful for the opportunity and privilege to share this life with my precious child.
I am grateful for the abundance in my life of all that I need as I am always provided for no matter how little money I have.
There is so much more that I am grateful for and from time to time I will post them as I go along but my time right now on the computer at the library has almost run out therefore I must go.

I am grateful that my book is coming along nicely and that I write with ease .

Life Is!!! 








Monday, November 02, 2015

The Autumn Leaves Here Are Absolutely Breathtaking!!!!

Wish that I could post a picture of the myriad of colors on the trees here in NC. They sprinkle the mountains so vibrantly with vivid yellows/gold tones, radiant reds, oranges so bright that one might believe that the powers that be had painted those colors personally with magic watercolors, acrylics, and oils. While driving to SC today for an appointment, and regardless of the rain and fog I could take in the colors surrounding me for miles appreciating where I live and being grateful for every day that we are alive and living life not just going through the motions. I talked to a silent young man who was being so patient on our one hour road trip. He was not too thrilled when  I  brought up the beauty around us so I asked of him what he would think if everything was black and white...then he agreed that the colors were to be appreciated.


His glucose numbers have been totally normal for at least a month now however the challenge is to keep his eating habits in the "healthy" range instead of trying to reason that if he has normal numbers then why can't he cheat once in awhile but I have to remind him that to goal is to be healthy not to eat unhealthy foods which can still cause harm to his body regardless of his numbers not to mention he could lose a little more weight. I am proud of him because  he has lost 15lbs and has been far more active.


We had a scary episode at Wal-Mart the other night where this grungy scary creep was stalking us the followed us out to our car inadvertently by going to his car and watching us. My experience as an confidential reliable undercover informant for the FBI kicked in and I turned the tables on him and showed him that I was on  to him driving around to his car where he put his head down into his steering wheel hoping that I wouldn't realize that it was him but I just sat there waiting. Finally he raised his head and drove off. I followed him closely to the main  road where there was a huge police roadblock that he immediately avoided turning around. A police officer on that side road followed him and stopped him. I had called 911 and she said to go tell the officer what had happened which I did. The officer listened and took the situation very seriously so we waited while another officer gave him a sobriety test. Meanwhile officer #1 revealed a loaded pistol that the creep had in his car!!! He passed the sobriety test however the officer said that the guy had a few screws loose and that he was supposed to be on medication but was not. At that point he told me that we could go as they continued questioning him. Who knows what could have happened if I had not though of confronting the guy and then he followed us home!!! I am so grateful for my mommy/female/informant intuition instincts they really kick in when I need them the most.












 head

Friday, October 02, 2015

GRATITUDE Turns What You Have Into Enough!!!! That, My Dear, Is The Magic In Life

Griffin's counselor and I were talking today and she has been amazed at how far he has come and how much he has matured since he has been out of school but more so even since I stopped the Internet at home and cable TV. She commented on how he just takes everything in stride and is so well-mannered and such a free spirit. He has been so much more open in communicating his emotions and stating how he feels about specific situations, he is much more social both with his peers (something new) and as usual with adults.

We go to the library every day and just by being exposed to the myriad of books, cds, and DVDs he has started checking out books that are at least at his grade level which is a big improvement from when he was in school because he was reading 2 grade levels behind then. It seems that the more free rein I give him the more he develops and has an acute interest in learning and trying new things not to mention being far more creative. Needless to say I am extremely proud of him and could not ask more of him at the point in time.

Mostly we are still "unschooling" learning more about how to function in daily life than focusing on useless academics that he will not use when he becomes an adult. We work on money, cooking, cleaning, taking care of the cats, how to shop for groceries etc... The beauty is that I have stopped harping on him to do things and he just does them on his own now for example brushing his teeth and taking a shower. Now his favorite thing to do is to go to the library and print out images of his favorite cartoon characters and take them home cut them out and simply display them....it brings him so much joy. Life is so simple and beautiful now without technology I love being the one who connects to the people around me living in the real world in real time instead of always looking at a smart phone (I have a flip phone on purpose) or a computer. It is my pleasure to be a non-conformist as I have always been. I have found that I appreciate life and the people in it giving Griffin undivided attention when he speaks to me or needs attention from me. We live in the moment....mindfully. In fact, I can't even recall the last time he had a meltdown or screamed about something. He has been so happy & laughing all the time or contemplative and quiet as we respect each other's space and privacy/alone time. I have been reading and listening to NPR classical music or CDs that I get from the library.

The newest development is that we have recently found out that he has Type 2 diabetes and he takes Metformin, a short acting insulin Novolog, and a long acting insulin Lantus. At first he was so bad that he had high ketones (ketoacidosis) which is dangerous because it is like poison in the body doing damage to the organs, his blood glucose was over 450 the day we were in the doctor's office so they had to give him insulin right away. Now that he has been on meds for 3 weeks and we have both been very careful about our carb and fat intake eating lots more high fiber foods/complex carbs, veggies, and lean protein his BG has been within normal range about twice a day. It hasn't been better than that because we haven't met with the registered dietitian yet. I am interested in what she has to say about his restrictive eating and sensory issues with food.

Griffin has been eager to do his absolute best to be as healthy as possible and takes all his injections without any complaints even though one of them is quite painful. He is such a trooper! At first I was super stressed out and overwhelmed but we have both adjusted especially since I had already been working towards better health because I have Type 2 also. We have been going to the larger stores every day and walking for up to an hour and it has really brought our BG down not to mention that we also need to bring down our triglycerides and cholesterol which is directly related to having diabetes.

I am stressed now for other reasons financial, family, and my wicked neighbor who won't leave us alone but with the help of my dear friends Ali and Rebecca I am coming through it feeling like they are all just a blip on the radar and nothing is going to get in my way of being a positive, productive, loving, happy individual who is so very grateful for all in my life.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

My Knee is Injured but I Need to Move

I can't get on Facebook because the phone that is used to verify I can't see the screen so I can't use it on the library computer however I do have limited access on my old flip phone if anyone wants to send a message I do check it now and then I can't see your statuses though. I do get some notifications. If anyone wants to contact me my e-mail is : msterriousgirl@Hotmail.com


A few months ago I injured my right knee and it has only gotten worse since. I have seen two different doctors who each one has not treated it seriously just sending me on my way. I do need to move by the end of the month and I haven't even packed anything yet trying to rest my knee. I don't even know if I have more than one person to help me move. It will all work out. Got to go my time is running out on the library computer. Will write more later.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Life Is Good, So Full of Blessings!

Since getting rid of the Internet at home and having no TV to watch only having a few new DVDs to watch each week from the library, things have been absolutely STELLAR!!!! Griffin and I are so much more active, productive, and far more creative than ever before. We talk much more than before and he has really come out of his shell being more social and talking more openly about his emotions voicing his opinions and making his wishes known as well as what he does not like and that is such a huge leap from how he used to be especially before homeschooling. It has been so easy to teach him new things as he has become more open to learning, reading, and volunteering for new tasks that was nearly impossible to get him to do in the past such as brushing his teeth, going to bed when prompted, getting ready and leaving on time, and just being more responsive all together than he has ever been.


We got a new car which means that we have been far more mobile than in the past few years as our old Volvo had seen her better days and was not very reliable. Now we have a mint condition Acura Legend 1994, top of the line Honda and it has been in a garage all of its existence and had only one owner who was an elderly woman who hardly even used it. So now we can go on field trips exploring our beautiful state and visit SC to see my parents without having to be concerned about our safety. Also we are moving really soon, at the end of the month and our new apartment is spectacular! It is brand new and huge. It is for us like moving to Park Avenue. This is all  happening because I have changed my life around to where I only think positive thoughts and have positive feelings about all the blessings in our lives. I have chosen to surround myself with positive people and ignore/avoid all the negative people not allowing them to have any influence over me.


Instead of asking things of the powers that BE I give thanks for everything in my life for everything serves a higher purpose allowing me to live in the moment...just BEING. Life is so much more vivid so incredible, so rich that way. I appreciate every sight, sound, taste, scent, touch, and feeling that I am experiencing. I also do daily affirmations that not only help me feel better but helps me heal all that is bothering me physically. I wish that all my friends and family could feel this way.


We are at the library now and Griffin is about to read to Salonge the German Shepherd, she is a therapy dog who comes every week along with 5 other dogs as well. So I need to go.

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.