Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Nancy Lake

Yesterday we went to Nancy Lake with Kathleen and her husband Carl and had a blast especially Griffin. The above picture is of them on the raft behind the boat Griffin loved that of course.

Here Griffin is in a kayak and it looks as though he knows what he is doing and I don't know where he learned to do it 'cause it wasn't from me. I am thinking that he remembered seeing it on his Zoboomafoo video where Martin and Chris are in kayaks. It was a beautiful day and we are grateful to Kathleen and Carl for taking us and to Ed and Lori for having us. It made an otherwise boring weekend into a really nice time away from the apartment. That's about it folks, hope that you had a great weekend and that you are having a good day today.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

This is a wizard that I sculpted from clay years ago when I was pregnant with Griffin, he is about 6 inches tall. I wish that you could see the detail in his face and hands. Anyhow, I have posted this picture of him because I have started sculpting again and wanted my friends to see what I have done and for them to give me their opinions on what they think of him. I would like your opinion too. Tell me what you think of the wizard and maybe give me a suggestion of what I should make next. I am thinking along the lines of a mermaid or an old crone. I like creating pieces with lots of detail so keep that in mind when you give me your suggestions. Thanks for your input, I appreciate it.

In other news, the weather in Anchorage is absolutely gorgeous! It has been in the 70's with a nice breeze blowing and everything is so green and plush. So, for those of you who think that it is only cold up here all the time remember that we have far more sunlight than the lower 48 states which means that it gets quite warm. Anchoraage is in southcentral Alaska and the weather stays relatively mild compared to the more northern parts of the state, like Fairbanks that can reach temperatures in the high 90's and above and the sun will stay out for 24 hours on summer solstice. Enough of the useless facts about Alaska that you may have not even have been interested in in the first place.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

My Baby Is Growing Up

Doesn't he look so mature here? Griffin is growing up so fast it is just unbelievable. It makes me cry just to think of it. As I have said before, he becomes less autistic every day it seems or should I say that he shows more signs of being NT as time goes on? It just amazes me the things that he comes up with. Kathleen told me that he saw a Coke sign behind where he was sitting at Mc Donald's and it said in big letters "Ice Cold". Griffin turned around and read it and looked at Kathleen and said, "I'm not ice cold". Now is that incredible or what? I had no idea that he could come up with such a statement, that he would understand what the sign meant and state that he wasn't ice cold. Don't get me wrong, there are still plenty of things that he does that are autistic but such things as meltdowns and sensory issues are becoming less and less common as time goes on. If it sounds like I am bragging then you would be right! I am so perfectly proud of my litlle guy all I want to do is boast about him. OH yea, and another biggie is that today I heard the toilet seat slam, I ran in there and he had taken off his pants and diaper and put his potty seat on the toilet seat and got up on there to go potty all by himself. I had stepped out of the bathroom momentarily to get a diaper and Griffin came to get me to show me what he had done in the potty and he was just beaming. He was so darn proud of himself. Way to go Griffin, you big boy you!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

School Is Almost Out

The end of school is near and I am trying to think about what the heck I am going to do with Griffin to fill our days. Since he doesn't necessarily like the playground and doesn't play on the equipment even if I play with him, then I am left wondering what we will be doing. We take Abby for a walk twice a day now and try to do as much outdoors when the weather is nice but there is only so much one can do with a 4 year old who likes to run off. I have one of those harnesses with a leash that I strap on him if I want to go for a walk with him because if I don't he will take off and be out in the road in no time and I am not fast enough to catch up with him. When we go to take Abby for a walk I put him in the stroller because I can't handle a dog and a 4 year old all at once. There are things that we can work on inside but each activity only takes a few minutes to complete, we have music to sing and dance to but I was wondering if anyone else has any suggestions on what to do. In the meantime I will be in search of new things for us to do.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Two Great Pictures

This is Griffin using Pisgah as a pillow. Poor ol' Pisgah is so tolerant and patient with Griffin he has got to be the best cat that I have ever had because he is such a trooper.Oh, and by the way, Griffin doesn't hurt Pisgah I watch them carefully when they are together so that both of them are safe. Then there is the other picture where Griffin was putting the telephone up to Elmo and pretending that Elmo was talking on the phone. Just thought that I would share a couple of pictures that I got the other day that I thought were exceptionally good. Hope that you enjoy them too. What's the latest with us? Well, Griffin is still getting up at 5:00 in the morning even though he went to bed last night at 9:00 and had taken his melatonin too 5 mg. It seems to knock him out but he isn't sleeping as long maybe because that is about the time that the sun comes out and he is sensitive to the little bit of light that comes through the window. I have a couple of blankets over the window in order to make it as dark as possible in there but it isn't perfect, I guess that I need to staple the blankets to the wall in order to keep ALL of the sunlight out. In other news, I am sculpting again and am actually quite surprised at how well it is coming along. The last time I had my hands in clay was when I was pregnant 4 years ago, almost 5 . As soon as I have completed my project I will post a picture of it. Griffin has been quite mellow lately and has not had a meltdown since our flight to Anchorage from Minneapolis back in the middle of April and heaven knows that he certainly did have the right to have one then. The poor lil' guy had a fever, felt horrible I'm sure, had already been flying for a few hours and had frankly had enough of all the outside stimultation. Anyhow, it has been a month and no meltdowns! What a great lil' guy he is and such a happy camper. He is doing well in school, at speech, and at O.T. which I will post about soon. Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

At The Playground

This is Griffin at the playground that's in the park where we go to walk Abby each day. He usually doesn't go down the slide but he does enjoy the vestibular activity where he goes around in circles at a relatively high rate of speed. I turn him around and around and he never gets dizzy nor does he ever want to stop. When he gets off of it he doesn't stumble or act like he has lost his balance, it is truly amazing. Griffin often asks to go to the playground but doesn't play for very long which is a good thing for me in the summer heat since I am allergic to the sun and have to stay out of it as much as possible. Right now, it is perfect weather for me because it is in the 50's and I just love it. It is so nice and cool with a nice breeze going some days and after walking for a bit I warm up and feel just fine. I was wondering if anyone else's child(ren) goes to the playground but doesn't seem to want to play? Some days he will just kind of wanders around aimlessly and I feel as though our trip has been wasted. Maybe you could share some of your experiences of the playground with me so that I might understand why Griffin doesn't really want to play.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Thanks To My Mother

As Mother's Day approaches I think of all that I am grateful for having such a wonderful mother that I do. I begin to remember the tough times as well as the most beautiful ones and it gives me pause to think how fortunate I really am. My earliest memories are of times of comfort and affection, receiving hugs at night and a sweet kiss on the forehead and I just knew that I was truly loved. I recall a time when I was really sick as a child and had to be hospitalized because the doctors didn't know why I had been vomiting and although I don't remember many details I do recall that it wasn't a bad time for me because my mother was always right there by my side. There was the times that us kids were probably quite annoying to my mom, after all there was three of us and at times we didn't want to leave her alone. Once when my mom wanted to go to the grocery store and us kids were hounding her to go with her and I remember her saying something to the effect of, "Can't I go anywhere without you kids?" at the time I didn't understand and it hurt my feelings but I do understand now because my mom must have felt overwhelmed and needed some space especially since she was with us 24/7 every day of the year without a break. I know what it's like to need space and time alone and how essential it is to good mental health. My mom must have desperately needed some time alone and we weren't about to give it to her so easily. Now I can laugh about times like these and relish the memories of the more pleasant times because being a mom myself I can relate to what my mother must have been going through. During the day of honor to our mother's I would like to say that I could never had a better mother than the one that I was so blessed with and even though I may not have understood why things were the way they were at the time, I do understand now that my mother was the most caring, affectionate, loving, and generous mom that I could have ever imagined having. I realize that it's not Mother's Day yet but I ask, why must it be just one day out of the entire year? My mother deserves praise and adoration throughout the year so here's three cheers for my mom and all that she has done for me from the discipline to the sweet kisses on the forehead she is my #1 and I just want to say "Thank You" and that I hope that I can be as good a mother as she has been to me.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Griffin's Haircut

Not much to report but I did want to at least post a picture of Griffin's haircut. Isn't he a cutie? Griffin has been sucking on the neckline of his shirts constantly and I don't know what to do to get him to stop. Gayle, the O.T. and I tried the NUK oral thingy(don't know what it's called) but he chewed it up into bits. We have tried chewing gum and he has lost interest in it and only licks it now. She has mentioned chewy tubes which might work at least temporarily. I hope so. Here in the photo you can tell that his shirt is wet and that's why. Nothing else going on, no news is good news. We are doing great and life is good.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Griffin's First Train Ride

Today we went to ride the train and Kathleen, Griffin's teacher, came along. It was a free trip because the railroad was having an open house today and even though it was rather short it was still pretty neat. Griffin seemed to like it as he was looking out the window but what he liked the most was the free balloon and popcorn. Before the trip on the train Kathleen and I took Griffin to get his hair cut at the barber's shop. The barber was really good as he worked as quickly as he could in getting it done. Griffin screamed a little and squirmed here and there a bit but for the most part I think that he did a good job sitting still. It took about half an hour and cost $15.00. I don't know if that is the going rate for little boys' haircuts but it seemed pretty fair considering what the man had to tolerate while cutting Griffin's hair. I am sure that it takes a tremendous amount of patience to not only to cut his hair but to deal with two women trying to hold him all at the same time. He looks so cute/adorable with his new short hair, I will post a picture of him in the next post. Meanwhile, I am going to go and read my favorite blogs.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Update on the Ears

Well, I figured out why Griffin was holding his ears and it wasn't a sensory issue or a medical issue. He was doing it to manipulate mommy. I learned that he was doing it to manipulate me when Stephanie (the respite provider) and I put him to the test. I turned on my TV and left his TV on and Stephanie distracted him by playing with him while I sat at the computer. He held his ears briefly but as soon as he was having fun he stopped. When he stopped I gave him lots of attention and praise and it hasn't happened since. Now he goes on his merry way while I have my TV on in the kitchen and there's no more covering of the ears. Everything remains the same as before so I can't see how it could have been a sensory issue. Also, I spoke with my friend Amy who said that her son, Noah, used to do the same thing. If Griffin had continued to hold his ears I would have taken him in to see the doctor but now I don't think that it is necessary. Besides, I think that if he was in a lot of pain that his behavior would have changed and that wasn't the case. Anyhow, I think that he is fine and I make sure that he gets plenty of attention while I am watching my TV and /or I am on the computer and it seems to be the right remedy for the situation. In other news, I am reading "Parenting Your Complex Child" and it is one of the most informative and insightful books I have ever read. So far one of my favorite parts is chapter 14 , Creating A Community For Your Child. It is about how it can be made easier for you and your child to be out in public and how to deal with those individuals that seem to stare and the ones who make comments. It also shows you how to deal with restaurants, grocery stores and even how to deal with haircuts plus so much more than that. I felt so connected to the author, Peggy Lou Morgan, that I began to shed some tears and get a lump in my throat. By the way that she writes it is as if you are in those shoes, she knows exactly what we go through with our 'extraordinary needs' (as she puts it) children. The way that it is all explained is easy to understand and quite clear to the reader with the solution being an easy one for each and every situation. Please check out the link above and then go out and get a copy for yourself or you can order it online though

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Petting Zoo, Swimming, and Ears

This is Griffin petting a sheep at the petting zoo the other day. As you can tell he loves to have contact with all kinds of animals. I am going to check into the program that they have here for children with special needs and horseback riding. I don't know at what age he can start but I am sure excited for him to be able to ride a horse. I used to ride horses when I was quite young and they were all that I cared about and loved. Griffin went to O.T. today to the swimming pool as he always does on Tuesdays. He is making lots of progress by communicating with Gayle much better. There is a ledge in the pool where Griffin can stand wiith his head well above the water but if he jumps then he goes into the deep part. He is supposed to let Gayle know that he is jumping off and wait for her to say, "I'm ready" so that he knows that it is safe to jump. Well, he did not and plunged into the water and Gayle caught him but not before his head went under. Boy, what a look of shock on his face and oh what a lesson he learned in that brief moment. But of course, he ended up smiling and laughing after the shock wore off. Now, I am wondering about his ears because he has been holding his hands over his ears lately and I don't know if it means that they are hurting or if it is a sensory issue. I wonder because he is mostly doing it whenever I turn on my TV but he isn't bothered by the sound of his TV or DVD player even when they are going on at the same time. One might even guess that it is a control issue that he is just trying to jerk mommy around but I don't think so. I think that he genuinely is bothered by my TV being on somehow. He will cover his ears and say "No no no no!!!!!" and even begin crying if I refuse to turn it off. Please tell me what you think it might be. Do you think that it is A. His ears are hurting or the sound is hurting his ears. B. It is a control issue or a power struggle/ manipulation on his part C. It is totally a sensory issue and the sound is causing some confusion or genuine irritation. I am taking him into the doctor tomorrow for his ears to be checked just in case it has something to do with the tubes in his ears. I am probably taking him to the pediatrician but will also make an appointment for the ear, nose, and throat doctor too. Please let me know what you think about this issue and maybe any experience that you have had that is similar to this one.