Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007


January 31st Griffin will be 5 years old!!! Happy Happy Birthday to my big boy, I love you so very much!!!! As I reflect I think of how he has grown and developed over these years and it seems like such a long long time ago that he was being diagnosed at age 15 months with autism but at the same time it seems like just yesterday that he was being such a goofy little baby and making me laugh just as he still does. I have read about how parents mourn for the child who once was NT before being diagnosed but I don't feel that way and never have. I just see that little guy as being the same one that I have right now. It's just that he has progressed and digressed in certain areas just as a NT child would but in different ways. There are ups and downs in our lives/his life just as in any family. I don't believe that I am looking at the world through rose colored glasses either, I think that I am just loving life and living in the moment, and accepting Griffin for who he is and throwing all the expectations out the window. Griffin brings so much joy to my life and to those who are near him, he truly touches their hearts with his infectious laugh and brilliant smile. Every day I am grateful for all that he is, I have the whole package.....autism and all so why not be grateful for him because it's not gonna change (or is it?) and if it does then I will love and accept that Griffin also. Sure there are times when I just want to throw my hands up in the air and curse his autism but often times it isn't the autism that is to blame, it's just Griffin being a child. There are times when it is the autism and I can blame it but at the same time it's never an excuse for trying to separate "IT" from him....they are one and the same and I must accept that. My beautiful child has autism and I celebrate who he is and love him unconditionally autism and all. For some of you it may be a different story but isn't that what life is all about anyhow? Even for parents, children, families who are considered NT? We all have our own challenges/struggles to deal with from day to day and isn't it our PERSPECTIVE that makes all the difference in the world? Some of you may HATE autism but how can you hate what is part of your child? Because the two cannot be separated. Perhaps I need to be enlightened by you in order to understand how you feel. I want to understand because I know that you love your children too, just as much as I love my child. My point is that we are all living different life experiences no matter what type of child we have, it is all a great big puzzle and at the same time it is a lovely mess. Life is a mystery to me and I'm not sure that I want all the answers especially if there's no solution (That statement no doubt has ruffled some feathers). I am an optimist but sometimes to a fault but I have have been inspired by my child's joyful disposition and I believe that if I follow his lead then he will take me places that I had only dreamed of finding. For in the end, it is he who is the teacher. He has been put upon this earth to show me the meaning of life and what love is all about. I gave birth to a brilliant and loving soul who has heart is bigger than anyone I have ever known and I cannot wait to see which way he leads me and all the precious moments that I am so privileged to share with him. We have one more blessed year and many an obstacle that we have overcome and for a child with autism who isn't supposed to like change.........he certainly has shown me that change is good and at times it is destined to be. With all my love and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you Griffin for all that you have shown me and taught me along the way!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Visit Tina's Blog

ELMOS SING ALONG GUESING GAME is what it reads, this is Griffin's fantastic spelling with only one minor mistake so I think that he is doing a wonderful job. There's not much to report so this is going to be a really brief post. Please visit my friend Tina's blog AutismSchmatism
and read about her son who is sick and in the hospital, say a prayer for them and that he heals/recovers from his illness quickly. He is only 6 years old and they don't even know what is going on with him. Tina is a very dear friend of ours and so are her son's Chance and Jayce. Tina has her hands full with taking care of Chance and Jayce being in the hospital so sick. It breaks my heart that he is so ill and so very unhappy. Let's give Tina some support by leaving her a comment and letting her know that you are thinking of her.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Griffin Had His O.T. Eval Today

Today we met Lauren, Griffin's new O.T. and it was an upside down session. He did not want to listen and do what she asked of him at all. As I quietly observed I wondered if the presence of myself and my Mom was making a difference so I asked her if she preferred for us to leave the room and she said that it was up to me and that I knew Griffin best. So, instead she left the room with him and I could hear him playing and laughing in the distance. He wouldn't put his shoes on for her nor for me or for my Mom. I began to think that perhaps it was because everything was so new and he may have felt overwhelmed or maybe he was just pushing buttons and seeing how much he could get by with......who knows? He was restless and acting very silly and I know for sure that he can do all the things that she asked of him but he flatly refused to do anything she asked especially when she asked. Lauren did recommend that Griffin have O.T. once a week for about 30-45 minutes. We would do it more often but there is a waiting list apparently and I guess that we are lucky to even get that much. Now I've got to get a referral from his new pediatrician for Speech and Language therapy. I do have some new pics of Griffin but I just haven't uploaded them to my computer yet........LOL What a lazy arse I am!!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Change Is Inevitible and ABA Welcome

Griffin just got over some kind of stomach flu that has been going around the area and boy was it vicious. He was sick with vomiting for several days and it was all we could do to keep him hydrated but he is better now and back to his happy camper self again. He has been hanging out with Nana (my Mom) and having a ball and still talking up a storm. I have decided that I should just trust Griffin's new teacher and her methods even though they are new and strange to me. I have spoken with a key person who thinks that the new classroom and the ABA will be good for him, this person knows Griffin very well and I trust her opinion. So maybe I just need to open up my mind and see how it works, I really don't think that Griffin is being abused in this new classroom so why not give it a try? I truly think that it could actually be beneficial for him. If necessary I will request another I.E.P. meeting and have things changed around. I think that part of my concern was that Griffin was being over disciplined for his behavior and now since speaking to this individual I believe that it's not the case at all. After speaking in detail again to Griffin's new teacher I feel more at ease with what she is planning to do with him and with the ABA method. I guess that I also need to do some research on ABA and become more familiar with it and that way I will be much less afraid of it. For all these years Griffin has been taught through the TEACCH method and it has worked so wonderfully for him and I was afraid that changing would not be good for him but now I have opened up my mind and realized that he is growing and with that growth comes progress which is in turn a product of change. Griffin is unusual in that he doesn't seem to mind change at all unlike so many individuals with autism who prefer sameness. He does well with the lack of structure and routine but I guess that the structure of ABA will still do him some good. It is good that he can adapt to the change of the new environment, people, and classroom but as it was pointed out to me, he is going to try and push some buttons to see how far he can go with his new teachers so it only makes sense that there are methods in place that help him and them to deal with his behaviors and to keep them in check so they don't get out of hand. I don't want my child to be out of control at this age and most certainly not at any age especially as he grows older and larger. Here's hoping that it all goes well and that this strange and new situation grows on me and helps Griffin to grow up.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Griffin is Talking Much More

I knew that we would miss Kathleen and sure enough we miss her really bad. I miss her in more ways than just one. Not only was she an excellent teacher but a great friend and advocate for Griffin. Pictured here is Kathleen reading a book "Oh The Places You Will Go" by Dr. Suess (My all time favorite Dr. Suess book) while I am crying and trying to take a photo. I haven't given the new teacher a chance yet but I am trying to do my best to get to know her and her teaching methods. I plan to go in there and observe her and Griffin to see how things are going. I put a note in Griffin's backpack this morning to her asking how he is doing and some concerns of mine but she did not respond. I am hoping to keep the lines of communication open with her and discuss what is going on with Griffin if not on a daily basis at least on a weekly basis. It is imparitive that I keep up with how he is doing, how he is progressing, and how his behavior is. I got upset the other day because I had discovered that the bus driver was talking on her cell phone while driving the bus. This greatly concerned me so I called transportation and talked to the supervisor of the bus drivers who pretty much made excuses for the driver and didn't even care that it was going on. She said that it was her personal cell phone and that the aide couldn't answer it because of that fact. I was becoming really quite frustrated at this point and decided to go over her head on the matter so I called the district office and spoke with a man there. This guy basically laughed in my face when I asked him if he agreed with me that it was a safety issue, he told me that he wasn't going to comment on that at this time. He did, however state that it was their policy for the drivers to NOT use the cell phone while driving the buses. So, now I guess that the morning bus driver is not too thrilled with me since she is the one that I reported even though I doubt that anything has changed except for her attitude towards me (and hopefully not towards Griffin). One day soon I am going to call the bus driver again and see if she is on the cell phone while driving the bus and if she is then I guess that I will have to go over the head of the guy at the district office and see what happens from there. Otherwise, Griffin is doing great and I am too. Griffin's speech has really taken off and he has been talking up a storm and everything that he is saying meaningful and has a purpose. I am so proud of him and he seems to be proud of himself too. He gleams with pride whenever he accomplishes a sentence or two and gets his point across. Griffin's communication has become easier to hear and understand and I attribute that to being around my parents and hearing more people talk all the time as opposed to the time he spent at home alone with me and I didn't talk that much. Things are definitely looking up for us in many ways. Life here is not without its drawbacks that's for sure but I am doing my best to remain positive and hopeful that everything will turn out for the best.

Friday, January 05, 2007

All is Well

Here my Mom and Griffin are eating pumpkin pie, Mom called it a "pie party", in case you notice, Griffin has a pair of goggles on top of his head. I have spoken with the assistant principal and the teacher of the school Griffin is to attend to resolve some of the issues that I had with the program. I feel better now that I have talked to them and have been assured that they would follow my guidelines and respect my wishes as I had described in the IEP meeting. There will be no use of the Rifton chair for any other purpose than to help my child have a place to sit still and be organized. I am going to go in and observe early on and see exactly how Griffin reacts to the use of this chair. I am going to see how well Griffin does in a thirty minute circle time too because I think that it is just too long for him. I have decided to give it a try and see how it goes because Griffin does need to socialize even if it is only for 2.5 hours a day. There is no other classroom available to him at this age, the school system here does not accomidate 4 yr. olds in an all day setting. Griffin must wait until next school year in order to be able to go to an all day program which really really stinks! He deserves so much more and I am sure that he would do a lot better in a longer program but I knew that there would be a price to pay for moving and sure enough I am not surprised at all. What I can do is to check into other private programs/schools that might support what it is that Griffin needs. I called to get private Speech Therapy but there is a long waiting list and I don't think that there will be an opening anytime soon (he will be getting speech at the school). At least he will get O.T. and soon so that is something to get excited about. It is raining here and is in the mid 60's so it is a warm rain which I absolutely love and it is around -3 in Anchorage right now so I am not missing it too much right now even though there is tons of snow and I know that it is absolutely gorgeous which I do miss.