Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Back in School and Our Trip to N.C.

I found out that if I didn't put Griffin back in school that he would have to take 1st grade all over again, it is only for a few days anyhow. He seems to be doing much better on the Abilify increase to 7.5 mg. I got a great report about his behavior in class the past few days especially during Field Day, he apparently participated in all the events which is amazing for him since he doesn't like gross motor activities. So in spite of the schedule being completely different, he is doing very well. We had an IEP on Thursday but I was secretly told not to expect the principal to carry through with all that she had promised for next year. But, I have it all on tape so she will not have any choice but to follow through.

I found out some really good news while in the IEP; Griffin scored 70% on the DIBELS (reading fluency test) when he started in January, the average score for the typical 1st grader is 40%, and he ended with a whopping 96%!!!! His teacher said that he can read faster than that but since he read aloud they had to understand him so that slowed him down a bit. I am so proud of him! We are still working on comprehension of the abstract as it is difficult for probably all autistic kiddos.

Griffin and I went to N.C. Sunday and Monday last week and it was a blast. Griffin had two TVs both with Direct TV/VCR/DVD so he was in heaven. I got to visit with my dear friends all day and night, the picture above shows not only the beautiful flowers that were freshly picked from the yard but also the gorgeous mountains in the background. We sat outside under the umbrella as it rained and when the sun shined so it was a wonderful experience.

Griffin played in the rain for the first time in his life, he had never wanted to do it before. He danced around and laughed so hard. My friend got some great pictures of him but when I tried to post them they came out really small......bummer. Maybe I can figure out how to make them larger. I had just as much fun watching him as I think that he had playing.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Out of School and Taking Medications

I have made the decision to keep Griffin out of school and do my best to get to North Carolina this summer so that he can attend school there in the fall. There is a reason why Griffin is not doing well in school but does fine when out of school. I spoke to the doctor yesterday and we decided to increase the Abilify by 2.5mg and so far it seems to be helping a lot. He had one meltdown when we were out buying at TV because he broke his so, I think that he didn't want a new TV; he just wanted his old one to work. But it didn't last long and he pretty much calmed himself down. Since being home he has done nothing other than use the computer and make crafts all day, being completely calm and focused.

His teacher, his shadow, his speech therapist and I are going to have an IEP meeting next week and I am going to request that he have a shadow when beginning the second grade. I just don't think that he is ready to go it alone in what might just be an overcrowded classroom with one teacher. I hope that by then we will have his meds all straightened out and that behaviors will be under control and actually I am hoping that he is either in a private school here or in North Carolina public school system by the beginning of school. There are 8 autism classrooms in the area where I wish for him to go in NC which translates to the fact that they are better trained and also have a great resource in the autism teacher if there were to be any issues in the mainstream classrooms.

I spoke to my dear friend in Alaska who was Griffin's very first therapist to work with him at age 15 months until the age of three and she has faithfully kept up with what goes on with him; she thinks that it is best for him to not be in the classroom because there are probably a lot of changes going on that is bothering him. She was a teacher for many years and told me that this time of year things are more lax, there are things be changed all around. This is true because Griffin was scheduled to not see his speech therapist and math teacher anymore. Even when the changes are small it still effects him.

That is one very legitimate reason why he could be misbehaving so badly. His doctor told me that the Focalin XR would show a difference immediately and that it is not like other meds that need to reach a therapeutic level. So since that didn't work then maybe the Abilify will. I like what Melissa H. said about the thoughts of taking a child off of a drug that helps them cope with their behaviors; she likened it to taking insulin away from a diabetic child. And it reminds me of when people tell me that there is nothing going on with me when I in fact have Bipolar Disorder and could not live without my drugs, yet they dispute that I need anything at all. Griffin is no different, he needs those meds to help him get through the day without hurting himself or somebody else. Without his meds he is angry, totally disorganized mentally/emotionally, and has absolutely no control of himself.

It is a shame when people do not realize how mental illness and instability completely wrecks any quality of life that one might otherwise have. I fought for years to not give Griffin meds for insomnia and it was pure hell for both of us for a long time. We were both a big mess, I had no patience, I was unstable and neither of us had much fun at all during those long months. That was just plain ole stupid! Neither of us need to go without sleep for very good reasons and we both need to be stable so that we can thrive and make progress in our everyday life.

I have to have faith in the medications because the alternative is absurd and I trust his doctors, the ones that he had in Anchorage and the ones here. The way I see it is that if a child of a young age can have chemo and live through it then taking low doses of medication is not going to harm them in the long run. The body is an amazing machine that can take a lot more than some people think that it can. I am a good mother and I feel that I am doing the best for my child concerning meds and the school situation.

We will get through it no matter what, one way or the other.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Griffin is Still Having a Hard Time at School

Melissa H. maybe you might have some ideas of what might be the issue here. Griffin is just flat out being obstinate at school and totally refuses to do anything that is required of him. They have tried all kinds of different approaches and nothing has worked. He has even started to ignore his PE coach whom he claims to like and his teacher he ignores even though he likes her too.

He is fine at home except when he has to take a shower/bath and most times he loses it but will ultimately end up giving in and going through with it. I guess that perhaps he is okay at home because it is his down time and there is not that much required of him except for homework. As far as that goes he does it willingly but usually has to be reminded constantly to stay on task.

My dear friend of mine thinks that maybe because he doesn't like his shadow that it could be stemming from that and just branching out to others. I am just so glad that there are only a few days left of school but what about next year? How do I get things straightened out before then? How can I prepare him for second grade where he will have no shadow to help him cope?

Today was the first day of the increase in the Focalin XR up from 10mg to 15mg so I guess that we shall see as it gets to be at a therapeutic level. I feel so bad for him because I just think that he is feeling weird/miserable and that is part of the problem, he just loses control of his emotions. Goodness knows that I have been through that with my Bipolar ups and downs with meds that weren't right for me and needed to be adjusted.

Melissa, do you think that these symptoms could be from the Bipolar and that maybe we need to adjust his Abilify? Tina, what do you think about it? Do you think that any of this could be something other than a medicine issue?

I need some advice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Figured it Out and it was So Simple!

I fixed the Blogroll, it was so simple and easy, all I had to do is to start a new one and go in there and put in 200 for the amount that could be displayed all at once. Silly me!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How do I Fix Blogrolling List????

The new site counter that I got wouldn't start at the amount that the old was at: 29,349. It only let me start at 50. so now I no longer have a clue as to how many hits I have had on my blog......unless I do the math each time of course. Oh well, it doesn't really matter that much, it was just kinda cool to know. Oh, and I am working on getting my blogroll back to the very long list that it used to be as a wealth of information on autism and my favorite blogs of all of my friends. When I updated my blog it totally got rid of a bunch of stuff, so I am starting from scratch. What I need to know is how to make the Blogrolling List work, it is not showing all the blogs and web sites that I have listed on the Blogrolling Web Site. Does anyone know how to do that????

School will be over in about 2 weeks and I will be so glad, I love to have Griffin home with me just like we used to have when we home schooled, he is so delightful........well, most of the time. Tonight he totally lost it when I told him that it was time for bath or shower so after an exhausting 20 minutes I told him that it was time to go to bed early and he was actually happy with that. Tomorrow, I told him, he is taking a shower/bath as soon as he comes home from school, no more nonsense!

If any of you have a comment to make on whether I should medicate Griffin over the summer, I would like to know. In one way it helps him to have a better quality of life with few to no meltdowns but on the other hand they are drugs and what are they doing to his liver and kidneys? I take several meds which I never ever miss and I can only imagine what my body thinks about it, in the long run. I have to have them and not having them is not an option. But for Griffin, I just don't know what to do. Please help me out!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Redhead....What do ya Think?

On a whim I colored my hair red because I used to be a redhead and had a lot of fun with it. I like how it makes my blue eyes stand out and all the great colors that I can wear to compliment it. Besides, I couldn't afford to go to the hairdresser and get my blonde hair highlighted so this was a very cheap alternative.

Griffin has been out of school for a couple of days due to the fact that he couldn't hold food down in the evenings when he came home. The problem was that the Focalin XR quelled his appetite and he hardly ate a thing for breakfast and lunch so by the time he got his appetite back in the evening, his stomach wasn't used to having food and subsequently rejected it.....all of it. So I took him off the medicine and slowly got him used to food again, although he vomited several times in the interim he finally has held down some yogurt and is back on track. I gave him half his usual dose of the Focalin XR this afternoon because we went to pick up his homework from the school and I wanted him to be able to focus in order to finish it all.

He spent a good part of the day at his NaNa's and PaPa's yesterday and at one point he laid down and asked her to lie down with him and he rested for awhile. The poor guy must have been exhausted from vomiting and diahrrea and not getting any nutrition for almost three days. Now he is in a great mood doing his homework and later I will try him on a bit of bland food to see if he can hold it down. I think that tomorrow I will try him on half a dose and see if he has an appetite or not. When they have lunch I will make his favorite food and take it to him to be sure that he eats something.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Oh No.....Meltdowns Again?

On Tuesday Griffin had a really hard time at school, so much so that his shadow called me and when he got home it wasn't any better and it has gotten worse with each passing day. He just loses control of his emotions and lashes out at whatever inanimate object is near. Yesterday afternoon he hit his TV and he flew to the floor, thank goodness it didn't break it. I just don't know what to do to help him especially while he is in the midst of a meltdown. Mostly because I don't usually know what triggers them.

I went to see his doctor today and we decided to take him off the Focalin XR for the weekend and see what kind of results that yields, I don't know for sure but I think it's going to be a rough couple of days. The thing about it is that no matter what we are doing or where we are he still has them even if it's something going on that he likes.

Several hours after writing the first two paragraphs, when I went to pick up Griffin his shadow and teacher told me that he did great today and that they think that maybe the meltdowns were caused by him having congestion that he no longer has today. So far, since he has been home for about an hour now, everything is okay and I haven't given him a second dose of the Focalin XR.

We'll play it by ear and see what happens over the weekend, maybe it was from him feeling a bit under the weather........who knows?