Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Thursday, January 31, 2008


I took Griffin to school this morning and on the way there he kept asking me to stay home and wrap presents, I felt kind of bad for him although I believe that being at school is the best outlet for him because he has been so bored at home. By the time we actually got into the school and walked to his classroom he was fine and had a great big smile on his face.

I will write again later and add some new pics for his birthday to let you know how it went and if he goes to swimming or not. For the record and for future reference I want Griffin to know that this is and has been for 6 years the most wonderful day of my entire life, the day he was born. Thank you Griffin for being in my life and making it rich and so full of joy. Thank you for teaching me something new each day and for bringing laughter into my life like nothing else has ever done for me. You are and always will be my most favorite guy in the whole universe! I love you, my little "Pumpkin Pie".

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Griffin Is Still Sick But Doing Much Better Today

Here is a picture of my little happy camper before he got really really sick. I took Griffin to the doctor last Friday and found out that he had a double ear infection along with a terrible cough and a runny nose. The doctor prescribed antibiotics (Omnicef) which I have had to open up the capsule and try to hide it in some food (ice cream & chocolate syrup) once a day and today he is finally starting to feel better. The reason that I didn't take him to the doctor sooner is because he didn't complain until the pain got so severe that he apparently couldn't stand it anymore. Griffin has such a high tolerance to pain he won't let me know until he is just miserable. For several days he didn't even want to leave the house which is highly unusual for him but he did get some much needed rest to help him heal faster. Finally yesterday he asked to go to McDonalds for a Happy Meal and with lots of encouragement he did finish most of his food. I was just glad that he was feeling well enough to leave the house.

I picked up some homework from his teacher yesterday and when I showed Griffin he was happy about it, he loves to do homework. This morning his nose isn't running and he is not coughing nearly as much as yesterday and his eye is doing better, I had thought that he had pink eye yesterday morning and got some drops for it but today he didn't wake up with a crusty eye so maybe it wasn't pink eye or the one application of drops made a difference. The doctor told me that after the first application of drops (24 hours later) he will be able to be exposed to others and not be contagious anymore.

Tomorrow is Griffin's big 6th birthday! I had wanted to arrange a party for him but since he and my mom are both sick I guess that his birthday celebration will be postponed until a later date. I will be so happy if he is even better tomorrow so that he can go to school and go swimming tomorrow afternoon. Griffin seems to grasp the concept of what his birthday means and that he will get presents and that he will be 6 years old so that is cool. I bought cake mix, sprinkles, and candy letters so that he can decorate his own cake either this afternoon or tomorrow, I will take some pictures of his masterpiece (baking and decorating project).

I just remembered that Griffin was supposed to have his evaluation at school to determine where he really is academically and otherwise behaviorally and socially but he has missed it since he cannot attend school right now. I guess that I will call and re-schedule it. even though he has missed school, he has maintained a mellow and affectionate disposition and has done well not to over exert himself which is great because to me that means that he is aware that his body needs rest and mellow/low key activities.

I will update the blog tomorrow and let you know how well Griffin is doing and whether or not he gets to go to school and to swimming. Hope that everyone has a wonderful day!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Let Me Know What You Think About This Article

Hopkins Team Identifies Autism Susceptibility Gene

WEBWIRE – Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have identified a common genetic alteration that appears to be associated with autism only when inherited by sons from their mother. The CNTNAP2 gene, also identified by two other groups publishing jointly in the January issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics, is one of the strongest common genetic links to autism susceptibility found to date.

“While there probably are other, yet unidentified gene variants that also contribute to autism susceptibility, our data clearly show that CNTNAP2 is associated with an increased risk and an excellent entry into further study for understanding autism,” says Aravinda Chakravarti, Ph.D., professor of medicine, pediatrics and molecular biology and genetics and member of the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Hopkins.

Using samples collected by the National Institute of Mental Health Autism Genetics Initiative, the Hopkins team analyzed genetic material from 72 families, each having two or three affected children who were diagnosed before 36 months of age by the most stringent clinical classification of autism disorder.

“We initially limited ourselves to the samples with the strictest definition of autism to minimize any heterogeneity, hoping that if the effects were subtle, they would still stand out,” says Dan Arking, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the McKusick-Nathans Institute. “Using a broader definition of autism, we were then able to replicate the initial finding in one of the largest-ever group of autism samples.”

Autism spectrum disorder includes a set of poorly understood developmental disorders that vary in severity and symptoms, but all include impaired social interaction and language development and restricted and repetitive behavior and interests.

The Hopkins team focused on one region on chromosome 7 that previously had been flagged as a possible link to faulty language acquisition in autism families.

Using genome-wide analysis, the team first analyzed DNA from 292 individuals, including 148 affected offspring. They compared single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, the differences in single chemical’s building blocks of the DNA at the same point across many people. They found that autistic individuals tend to inherit the DNA letter T from their parents much more often than expected by chance at one particular place on the chromosome.

To validate their finding, the team then repeated their approach with a separate group of samples consisting of 1,295 parent-child trios. They again found an overrepresentation of T, confirming that inheritance of the T genetic variant is associated with increased risk of developing autism.

The T genetic variant is found in the middle of the CNTNAP2 gene, short for contactin-associated protein-like 2, which codes for a protein that’s thought to mediate cell communication in the nervous system.

The researchers then looked at the same data to see if there were differences in which parent the T allele is inherited from and the gender of the child. They found that autistic individuals are more likely to get the T allele from mothers than fathers, and more likely to be boys than girls.

“We know that boys are four times as likely as girls to be autistic,” says Chakravarti. “And now we have some intriguing evidence suggesting that the gene may show a parent-of-origin effect.”

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Authors on the paper are Dan Arking, David Cutler, Tanya Teslovich, Kristen West, Morna Ikeda, Alexis Rea, Moltu Guy, Shin Lin and Chakravarti of Hopkins, and Camille Brune and Edwin Cook Jr. of the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

On the Web:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Griffin's Artwork and How I am Doing Today

Here is a picture of Griffin's artwork and it's of his current most favorite character Spongebob. I think that it is a pretty good likeness of him, goodness knows that he should know all the details since he sees it all the time and owns practically everything Spongebob. Anyhow, he seems to be quite proud of himself and his picture. The other pic is Griffin on the playground schmoozing up to the camera........again.

I had to go to Urgent Care yesterday due to the pain that had spread all over my lower back and down into my hips. I waited 3 hours but it was okay I guess because everyone was so very nice to me. I was very impressed by the staff and especially the doctor himself......he was a very laid back and casual sort of guy. He prescribed me some new meds to try and apparently by the way I feel today, they are working wonderfully. I guess that part of it is that I probably passed the stones because it seems like the most logical scenario. We do know for sure that there was blood and bacteria present so he gave me meds for that and valium to help me and my muscles relax and try to help the pain.

Regardless of the time I had to wait I was impressed with the level of care and kindness that I had the opportunity to experience there. Anyhow, I am moving freely today and I hope to take Griffin to the playground and to the arcade later this evening.

Hugs to all of you, thanks for your comments and showing me that you care

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

He Is Such A Cutie Pie, Can't Help But To Love Him

I love this gorgeous little guy so much I can hardly stand it! No matter what kind of mood I am in he always makes me smile, even when I feel grumpy like I have for the past few days. I just went to the doctor with pain in my lower right side of my back and it was so severe that it felt just like my labor pains. The doctor thinks that it is kidney stones so I am going to have some images made on Friday morning at the hospital and I sure hope that they can tell what is going on because no matter what position I am in I am in excruciating pain and nothing brings relief. The kicker is that I cannot take any kind of pain killers or Ibuprofen because they make me horribly manic so I have to tough it out until they find out what's going on. Wish me luck and that I have a speedy recovery, I could use all the luck in the world right now. If I do not post again soon you will know what is going on with me. Lots of love to all my friends and hugs too.

Monday, January 14, 2008

PLEASE READ: This is so disturbing but we must be aware of this stark reality

Mom Confesses She Killed Autistic Child

PEKIN, Ill. (AP) — A woman accused of killing her autistic daughter testified Friday that she attempted to suffocate the 3-year-old with a pillow three days before she succeeded with a plastic garbage bag.

Karen McCarron said she couldn't go through with it using the pillow. When prosecutor Kevin Johnson asked her how long she held the bag over the toddler's head soon after, she replied about two minutes — until little Katie stopped struggling.

In a videotaped confession played in court Thursday, McCarron said she began having thoughts of hurting her daughter a year before the May 2006 slaying but put them out of her mind. On the day of the killing, though, the thoughts were stronger than ever.

"They were so intense," McCarron said.

McCarron, 39, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to murder, obstructing justice and concealment of a homicidal death. She was found mentally fit to stand trial, but a medical expert hired by her attorneys has said she was insane at the time of the killing.

The trial resumes Monday.

McCarron, a former pathologist, testified she felt responsible for Katie's autism because she allowed the child to get vaccinated.

It "brought me a great deal of guilt," she said.

McCarron told investigators in the confession taped two days after Katie was killed that she wrapped the white plastic bag around the child's head as Katie played with toys on the floor at the home of McCarron's mother in Peoria.

The child had scratch marks on her head and bite marks were found inside her mouth and on the bag as she apparently tried to free herself, according to other testimony.

The confession was taped while McCarron was hospitalized after attempting suicide, investigators said. Wearing a hospital gown, she appears sitting on a bed next to her husband, Paul McCarron.

Karen McCarron said she killed her child hoping to "fix her" and give her peace in heaven.

"Maybe I could fix her this way, and in heaven she would be complete," she said on the tape.

Karen McCarron said on the videotape that she took her daughter's body back to her own house and put her in bed. She then went to the store, bought ice cream and returned to her mother's home to get the garbage bag because, "if things get bad, their house would be searched."

Interviewers asked McCarron if she knew what she did was criminally wrong.

"I have enough education to know that," she answered.

McCarron told police she felt like a failure because of the child's autism and was sad and hurt because the child couldn't interact with her very well.

"I loved Katie very much, but I hated the autism so, so much," McCarron said. "I hated what it was doing to her. ... I just wanted autism out of my life."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Griffin's Re-eval Meeting

As you can see here, Griffin is quite the ham when it comes to taking pictures, he lights up and shows his inner beauty and his happy little self beaming with glee.

Yesterday I attended a meeting about Griffin's progress and his re-evaluation which is held every three years and my oh my how he has changed. His teacher and speech path. had nothing but positive things to report and they are excited about his progress just in the past year. With the help of the SC Autism Society's advocate we all decided to increase the time that he spends with the kindergarten class (regular ed.) while they are working on math skills. I believe that because he is so high functioning that it is best to increase his inclusion time so that he will have the opportunity to polish up his socialization skills and his communication skills as well. The math part is going to be the easiest task since he has surpassed their grade level. His teacher believes that he is ready to sit in a classroom with a lot of structure and that he is capable of keeping still and organized during this period. I am so excited for him because I feel that he is just going to take off and make progress by leaps and bounds. It was a relatively short meeting because there were no issues to address, his behavior has improved markedly and he is compliant, following the rules, and being a good listener. Griffin simply loves to learn and he is still more than willing to do his homework each evening...........sometimes even asking to do it before he is even reminded.

At home Griffin's behavior has changed as well and his happy and mellow attitude is so refreshing because a year ago around this time he was still struggling with meltdowns because he was just getting used to his new environment and all new people in his life. Now Griffin is so settled and comfortable with everything around him and believe me I am so very grateful for all that he is and what he has become. Fortunately, Griffin still likes to snuggle and show affection and I sure do hope that he never loses that because it brings so much joy to my life. Griffin is showing a stronger desire to do things independently and he seems quite proud of his accomplishments too.

I got a new computer and I am so happy! Griffin is using my old computer and he loves it, his old computer was just that.........OLD! Now he can use a nicer one and play his games and visit his favorite show's web sites such as Nickelodeon, Sprout and so on. Well, I am going to play with my new computer and see what it can do and then maybe send out some e-mail. Hope that everyone is having a wonderful day and that you all find some joy in living for today.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

No Resolutions Here

I simply do not make resolutions each year because I believe that one is only fooling oneself to think that they are going to stick, in a word..........resolutions only set us up for disappointment. Don't get me wrong, I believe that it is healthy and helpful to have aspirations and hopes of becoming or doing something that is healthy and beneficial to one's own self but within reason and no so lofty. An example is that each year I aspire to be a better mommy than I was the previous year, to learn more by listening to Griffin, and to live a healthier lifestyle than ever before and for the most part I have been able to do all these things in moderation of course, I am certainly not going to win any awards for these changes that I have made and by no means will I be proclaimed to be mommy of the year, that's for sure. Each day (not year) I wish to become more productive and creative and to always be grateful for everything in my life because all of it serves a purpose whether it is minute or tremendous, it all has a significant place in the whole scheme of things.

With that said, I shall move on and get Griffin out of the house for awhile and let him play on the playground for a bit while the weather is nice. I hope for all of you to continue with your hopes and aspirations not just for the year but day by day, moment by moment in moderation and with love for thyself. I wish for you to be surrounded by love and that you receive plenty of affection from those you care for the most. May you see yourself in the eyes of a stranger and not judge them by their appearances but instead find love within your heart to understand their point of view. I know that I am certainly going to work on these things myself day by day I wish to be a loving human being for all of humankind.