Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Friday, December 31, 2010


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Happy New Year to you and yours from Griffin, Abby, Dot, and me!

Since I don't have a social life and nobody to do respite for me I will let Griffin stay up with me and we will watch Sesame St. New Year's Eve together like we always do. What the heck it is only one night a year and we get to sleep in in the morning....YEAH!

One of the most significant events that happened in 2010 was the week that Griffin left me for the first time to go to camp in June. I was a wreck! I never thought that my heart could ache so badly but I made it through and I am glad that he went because he loved it. He was homesick in the beginning but he made it through too. I learned a lesson from that, to pay more attention to what I want and need and not rely on Griffin to fill up the spaces in my life. Even though a friend visited me while he was a camp I didn't fully enjoy the time like I should have and the days that my friend wasn't here I was lost! If he goes again next summer then believe me, I am going to enjoy myself completely!

I hope that all of you have a wonderful new year, that it is filled with joy and that you are always surrounded by those you love. May you find peace and happiness not to mention winning the lottery too! Thank you for visiting my blog and for sharing your comments with me, it means a lot to me that we have stuff in common and that you care enough to take the time to share. I have enjoyed getting to know you, my fellow bloggers, some of you I have known awhile and some of you I just met but that friendship is meaningful nonetheless.

Big hugs to all of you from the two of us!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Finally Free

I haven't blogged for a few days because I have been reading this fascinating book by Desmond Morris called "Watching". He is a zoologist who has made great strides in the observation and documentation of animal and human behavior. By watching them he has made some major contributions to the study of mammals and other species. But his greatest contribution is that of humans through film and other mediums such as visual art. Desmond Morris a renowned artist and author of many books and he was the curator of the London Zoo for several years. He made an impression on the world of art with his chimpanzee "Congo" who painted some very sophisticated works of art. It is a 642 page book and I am on page 235 so I've a ways to go yet but making great headway.

Griffin and I have been out and about for a few days now and it has been such a huge relief to be able to leave the house. We have been playing cards and Legos now and then and lots of tickle time too! We will probably go swimming later on.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cabin Fever

After being snowed in since Christmas Griffin surely has a case of cabin fever as he has had several meltdowns today. He wanted to go to the store, probably just to get out of here for awhile, to get cookie dough even though we have homemade cookies here that the neighbor gave us. When I tried to explain to him that the roads are too icy for the car to go on he didn't understand and just kept telling me to go warm up the car.

I had been limiting his time on the computer which of course forced him to do other more constructive things like playing with his Legos or drawing, but I decided to let him spend more time on it since he was so out-of-sorts. We went outside to walk Abby but he didn't want to play in the snow of make a snowman so we weren't out that long. And it wasn't because we were cold  because we know how to bundle up since having lived in Alaska for so long in fact, we were on the verge of being hot out there in 20 degree temps. which is a heat wave in the winter in Alaska.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Griffin likes his new toys but got upset when he opened his Buzz Lightyear saying that I was supposed to get it at the store and not as a gift at Christmas. But he soon started playing with it and forgot about being upset. He was none too thrilled with the clothes that his secret Santa gave to him but he sure needs them.

We have snow today which is great for Griffin but not for me because I wanted to go to IHOP to eat a Christmas dinner (can't drive in the snow because of the hill at our complex, they don't treat the road or scrape it) since I am not cooking. I don't cook because it would only be for me since Griffin wouldn't eat any of it...what's the use? I am trying to lose more weight so it is just as well I suppose. I am not complaining since there are hungry and cold people without a home that is safe and warm. They don't have anything to eat or loved ones to share smiles with today. So I am grateful for all that I have, my home, the heat to warm my home, an abundance of food, and last but not least of all...Griffin my dear sweet child!
Isn't it true that young kids like the boxes as much as they do the gifts? At least it is for Griffin because he likes to use his imagination and hold "Dot" whenever he can, she is so tolerant of him because she doesn't like to be held.

Griffin wanted to make a YouTube video about his new toys that he got for Christmas so here it is: Big Woody & Buzz and little Woody & Buzz. I hope that you watch and enjoy his fine presentation!

Friday, December 24, 2010

He's Not Excited About Christmas

Buzz Lightyear's ClipartWhen I asked Griffin if he was excited about Christmas he replied, "I am boring for Christmas." which means that he is bored with Christmas and that he is not excited about it. He seems to think that he is not going to get the toys that he wants and therefore he doesn't care if it comes or not. He wants a Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, and Rex but he is only going to get Buzz because that's all that I could afford so he might be a bit disappointed in what he finds. I don't expect him to be overjoyed because that is not how he reacts to things and he might just be pissed off that he didn't get all that he wanted, I know that he is going to be pissed that he is getting some clothes but that's okay. If I don't have expectations of him then I won't be disappointed in how he behaves. I don't know how other autistic children react to presents but my little guy is not one to get excited about gifts or anything for that matter. He will like his Buzz in the end and ultimately play with him plenty and that's all that matters.

Griffin and I were treated to a visit from his Nana (my mom) and his cousin Hayley! It didn't even occur to me to take a photo of them...damnit! It would have been nice to get a photo of them with Griffin for posterity but I guess that I was too eager to see them and to sit and talk to them. Griffin visited and goofed off with my mom and she got in some good tickle time in which he loved. I hadn't seen Hayley in quite some time so it was nice to talk with her, she is really getting to be quite the young lady (14 yrs. old).

Monday, December 20, 2010

Meltdown in the Church

At one of the local churches they have a night once a month where children who are disabled can come and have dinner and a special service. It was our first visit and it turned out to be an interesting experience. It didn't start out too well because as we were waiting for the minister to say the blessing Griffin wanted something to eat so he grabbed a piece of chicken and then wanted some chocolate milk. Well the women kept telling him that he had to wait for the prayer which he didn't understand. I had the idea that it would be okay for him to wait because he has to wait at school for his meal but it wasn't okay and he proceeded to have a meltdown. So then I got him the milk after I got him calmed down and explained to him about how we sometimes have to wait for things when we don't want to. He seemed to understand but I think that next time I will just go ahead and get him the milk because it really wasn't a big deal for him to have it and not worth a meltdown and certainly they will understand next time and not insist that he has to wait. It was after all a special dinner for the disabled and they've got to get used to the idea that sometimes autistic children have difficulty with the concept of waiting for a blessing. It is abstract not concrete so I can understand why he didn't get it.

I think that sometimes it is good to teach Griffin under certain circumstances to wait because as he gets older he will have to have an understanding of patience and a tolerance for sitting and waiting or doing something else in the meantime. I think that maybe he was just hungry too which fueled the fire.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


This is small things Saturday blog hop and I would like to write about something that seems small but is actually a big deal, hugs. Griffin started about 3 months ago hitting at me sometimes for no apparent reason but almost always when he got angry with me. I spoke to his OT who said to do hand presses and that he would learn to do that instead but then he would just press my hands (straight out in front of my body) so hard that it nearly knocked me over, he is a strong 8 year old! But just in the past couple of weeks he has been hugging me instead of hitting me and the hitting seized completely, imagine how thrilled I have been! Now we hug literally ALL the time and it helps keep us from getting so angry with one another especially since mommy is such a grouch/disciplinarian.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What I Want for Christmas

What I want for Christmas is for Griffin to enjoy himself and understand the concept of the holiday more than ever before and I want for us to be healthy, safe, and happy year round. And for me personally? There's nothing that I want for myself except for maybe some respite and a social life, guess Santa can't really bring that to me can he? I would just like to have some time to myself to be around other people and to have a life outside of being a mom all the time.

I miss the days when we lived in South Carolina near my parents and had the luxury of them watching Griffin for me while I did things for myself. But the schools down there were horrible and I had to get Griffin to North Carolina where he could have the attention and services that he so deserved. I guess that most everything comes at a cost and I had to sacrifice to get him what he needed and I am glad that I did.

I am just thankful that we are able to celebrate Christmas and that I am able to give Griffin gifts at all because there are others who don't even have food and shelter this winter. We have all we need really but it is going to be so nice to see Griffin's face when he gets his Toy Story figures for Christmas! I hope that my fellow blogging friends have a very happy holiday and that you get all that your heart desires.

This is my first time doing the Blog Hop so I hope that I did it right, I know that I enjoy reading Jean's blog, The Scenic Route, and look forward to reading the other blogs too!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gingerbread House

I helped Griffin make this lovely gingerbread house, he did most of it by himself though, isn't it great?

Finding words has been very difficult for me since taking a drug, Topomax, for weight loss. It worked like a charm in helping me lose weight but not without a price. The drug is really an anti-seizure medication with the side effect of weight loss but my doctor said that it was safe to take to lose weight. So I had been taking it for 5 months losing nearly 50 lbs. but my memory has suffered and I struggle to find the words to write when commenting on other blogs and to write in this blog. The real problem is when trying to do my school work especially when writing papers or having to do a lot of description. I used to have an extensive vocabulary but it is gone! Now that I have stopped taking the drug I hope that there will be an improvement so far there hasn't been but I haven't been off of it for that long.

Monday, December 13, 2010

First Snow

We got our first snow and it was about 5 inches but it wasn't that cold fortunately so we got to play outside for an extended period of time. I say that it wasn't that cold but for most it was, but since we used to live in Alaska it really wasn't that cold at all comparatively. The key is to wear layers, good snow boots, the right kind of hat and gloves then there's no problem staying warm. Of course I got snow pants for Griffin so that he could really roll around and play in the snow.

When we went to Wal-Mart to get gloves for Griffin he refused to wear the good kind of gloves, you know the waterproof vinyl kind because his fingers couldn't move freely. So now he wears two pair of knitted gloves and it works out pretty good.

Since we've been stuck inside most the time and not going anywhere there is that element of the urge to eat for both of us so I made sure to have lots of healthy foods on hand. I must confess though that I did buy ice cream and chips for Griffin so that the little guy would have something "fun" to eat other than what was just good for him. As for me, I have lost nearly 50 lbs. over the past 5 months and I am not about to sabotage my progress because I still have 20 lbs. to go. So it is healthy foods for me only!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Family Fun Day

Today we went to the Family Fun Day and Griffin was only moderately interested. In the beginning he just kind of wandered around aimlessly, or at least it seemed so maybe there was a method to what he was doing. After we ate he sat down and had his face painted and hair spray painted, then he went to see Santa.

Update on "Look of Surprise"

Griffin told me last night that the video of Santa scared him and that he doesn't want to see it again. I am totally confused now!

Also here is a link to an Autism Society page that has 12 helpful hints for the holidays for the families with autism individuals:

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Look of Surprise

Heather from the Scenic Route posted about the Portable North Pole where you can fill in all the information and a video is generated from Santa himself that is custom made for your child. This is the look on Griffin's face while watching it. Santa told Griffin that he needed to stop throwing those silly temper tantrums and he stated that Griffin had asked for a certain figurine (Toy Story toys).

Griffin said afterwards that Santa didn't show Rudolph (but he did show a different reindeer). When I asked him if he believes in Santa now he said "Yes". He is watching a special on TV about Santa Claus which is unusual I think that he has a new interest in him.

Griffin went to Speech today and I sat in on the session as usual and this time he didn't want to go but I had talked him into it which I regret now. He ended up hitting and kicking the Speech Path. not in a tantrum but just lashing out at her when he was frustrated. She talked to me about it afterwards and said that from her experience with kids like that they usually do this in cycles and that if you try to stop it then it comes out in other ways. She told me that he didn't want to be this way, that he was obviously uncomfortable with himself so I needed to find ways to get him to calm himself. I told her that he is pretty calm at home although he has been hitting and kicking me when he gets angry or frustrated. I've got to discuss it with his psychologist and see what we can come up with for a good solution to this problem.

Have any of you had this problem? If so, what did you do?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Santa Claus

My dear friend Melissa sent me an e-mail with a phone number of this place where a group of high school students were doing a project answering the phone as Mrs. Claus and Santa for the kids. Before we called I told Griffin that I had Santa's phone number and asked if he would like to call and he replied that he didn't know if Santa was real. I told him that it was up to him to decide that but that I think that we should call.

Griffin first spoke with Mrs. Claus and he asked her if Santa was real and she said, "Yes, of course he is real he is my husband Mr. Claus. I am going to pass you on to him right now." So Santa got on the phone and Griffin still wasn't sure and asked him if he was real and he said, "Why yes I am real I am talking to you now aren't I?" Griffin smiled. "What would you like for Christmas?" Santa asked. Griffin said something that I couldn't understand which is not unusual (since he had his tonsils out a few years ago) and Santa couldn't understand him either. I think that he was talking about how Santa was going to come to his house on Christmas because I did understand him saying that he would decide if Santa was real when he came to his house on Christmas. Hee Hee Hee! My friend Beverly said what a great scientist he was going to be (since he needed proof to believe something).

If I can afford it he will be getting a gift from Santa and I will not tell him that Santa is not real. If he wants to believe in Santa then that is up to him he is old enough to decide on his own. But there is still room in his precious heart for a little bit of magic if he is willing to let it in.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Out of School

Griffin is out of school today and was out yesterday as well due to black ice and snow in certain areas of the county and there is little to do. Maybe I am not creative enough or something but I have few ideas of what we can do in this cold weather that doesn't cost money. There's no snow to play in but Griffin and I did bundle up for awhile so that he could go out and ride his scooter. I tried to play cards with him but he got frustrated and threw the cards everywhere and I couldn't get him interested in playing much for that!

It has warmed up to 23 degrees at 1:40 p.m. and I think that I am going to take him outside to the swings just to break up the monotony of being indoors. Griffin actually does well being inside, he plays Legos, draws, plays on the computer, and watches his DVDs or Zoboomafoo on TV. Right now he is sifting through his "printers" which are characters that he has printed out on the computer, cut out, and saved.

I think that I am the one who gets bored even though there is housework that could be done but instead I find myself on Facebook or reading about rewards for Griffin in a book that is set up for charts and activities for positive parenting. At least part of what I am doing is productive, I will eventually get around to doing my chores.

Just got a call from the church and she told me that I could pick up Griffin's gifts on the 21st or 22nd. I am so glad that someone took his name and that they did a good deed because he needs those clothes so badly. I think that there is going to be a winter coat, shirts, pants, socks, and a gift card for a toy. I am so grateful for their generosity!

My friend Jen over at The King and Eye has a post of Blog Gems Air Your Archives #4 where you post one of your old posts, that makes you happy, and then add your url and link. Then you read and comment on the two blogs before you. It really a lot of fun! You should try it!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

A Visit With Nana and Papa

Griffin and I got to visit with my mom and dad for a little while Thursday because they came up here to go to a meeting where we also visited my aunt who is in a rest home because she had a major stroke. Griffin loves seeing his Nana and Papa especially because he doesn't get to see them very often since they live in South Carolina which is about an hour and a half from here. I am always happy to see them too and can't wait to see them around Christmas time when they come back up to visit again. I am hoping that we will be able to afford to go visit them while Griffin is out of school for the holidays.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


I went to see Griffin's psychologist yesterday and I brought up something that my sister and I had discussed on Thanksgiving...Griffin's self esteem. I had mentioned to her that Griffin generally doesn't like to be praised and she said that she thinks that it is because he has low self-esteem. I hadn't thought of it that way, I just thought that maybe it was the autism but I still praised him anyhow. He tells me to stop when I tell him "good job" or "way to go" so I just don't make a big deal out of it. So at the psychologist's office I tell him that I think that he may have low self-esteem and the doctor told me that if he does then all I can do is to make sure that I brag on him when he is around those he cares about so that it will sink in and that self-esteem had to come from inside Griffin. He said that if I wanted to get a second opinion from another doctor about it that I was welcome because there are so many different points of view on the subject.

What do you think? Do you think that it could be the autism or does he really have low self-esteem in your opinion? I worry that I am doing something wrong with him that is causing this and I don't know what to do.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Eating Issues

Griffin and I went over to my sister's house for Thanksgiving and had a great time. It was good to see her, my two nieces, Marty and Marvin too. Pictured here are Griffin and myself of course and my sister with my youngest niece Emma who is 5 years old. She and Griffin played the Wii game, Griffin had never played before. The ones that he was able to play were fishing and bowling but he got frustrated with the bowling and had to be encouraged to continue on or else he would have just given up before really trying it. I don't think that it would be worthwhile to get him one even if I could afford it because he is just not that interested in playing.

We had a lovely meal that my sister prepared but Griffin did not try anything except the turkey and declared that he liked the skin but that was all. So he ate the pizza that I had brought for him and I know that he has got me trained because he is so picky but as my friend Amy put it, that food is the one thing in his life that is comfort for him that he can count on being the same all the time. And if he has other challenges in his life then it is best that he keep his diet as it is and not be expected to try new foods all the time. I am not completely convinced of this but for now it works for me and since I don't cook big meals for me, because I eat so little, it works out that he eats what he does. Griffin just refuses to try new foods each time that I buy something new for him to try it ends up as just another obstacle that we have yet to overcome.

I have a menu for him and he chooses from it what he wants to eat for each meal and I prepare it for him. I told the doctor about how he eats and she said that as long as he has a good multi-vitamin then he should be all right. Mostly Griffin eats carbs with some protein with fruits and hardly any veggies. I have talked to his OT about working on getting him to try new foods and it is part of his goals but is in the future as she is focusing on fine motor skills. Perhaps one day we will get to the point of eating more veggies and getting more nutrition into his body but for now he is healthy and I am so grateful for that alone.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I Am Thankful

I am thankful for having the most precious child that I could have ever imagined having who gives me unconditional love each and everyday. I am grateful for the time that we have had and the time that we have now and I cherish each moment. Everyday that I awaken I appreciate the fact that I have one more day on this earth and I get to spend it with Griffin. The joy that he brings me is beyond comparison and I am in awe of how much love I feel in my heart for this gentle and loving little guy. Oftentimes I can't believe that we have made it this far, over 8 years and still going strong all on our own!

I have my parents to thank and who I am grateful for because they have given me so much support through the years. I talk to them on the phone everyday but wish that we still lived close together. We miss seeing them everyday and sharing good times together. I am grateful for my Facebook friends and for my friends who I have here on the blog because without your support I would be in a bad way because you are all I have as my social network and that is what gets me through the day. I do get lonely because I don't really have any friends here and don't go out and do things socially but all in all I am grateful for what I have and count my blessings everyday. I don't complain because there's nothing to complain about only blessings that have been bestowed upon me.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

OT and Sensory Issues

I was rubbing Griffin's back tonight and gave him a quick massage and asked him if he liked it and he quickly said "no" and then he told me to stop rubbing and patting him. I found this hard to do since it is second nature for me to do this as he is going to sleep when we snuggle but I stopped of course. He soon went to sleep but it made me wonder if he has ever tolerated me rubbing or patting his back because it is mommy's way of showing affection. I guess that I will just have to ask him tomorrow if he has always disliked it or if he just disliked it last night. Does an autistic child tolerate sensory difficulties just to get through the day or do they automatically have behavior issues if they are having sensory issues? I guess it depends on the individual and that is why it is a spectrum disorder but I hate the thought of Griffin tolerating things that have bothered him and he hasn't spoken up, I just hope that's not the case.

He has been hitting quite often lately but not hard just enough to get the point across and one of the Occupational Therapists showed me this trick called the hand press where you press both hands together with the child's hands when they are hitting and it gives them that sensory input that they need. Griffin has been bored at OT lately, I say this because I observe him and he has been having behaviors which he doesn't have during Speech and Speech is very challenging for him.  I am hoping that she changes things a bit in order to challenge him in OT in order to curb these behaviors like screaming, kicking, and throwing things.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

6 Hour EEG/Constipation Issues

Griffin saw the neurologist today and after talking to me and conducting his physical exam he decided to go ahead and order the 6 hour EEG for absence seizures. He said that the spells of him staring out into space could be behavioral or from the medication but after talking to me about how he responds after the spells he said that it makes him more suspicious of the seizures. I told him that after the spells he is disoriented and forgets where he was when he had stopped talking to me in mid sentence. The doctor said that if we didn't do the EEG and he is having the seizures that he is at risk for grand mal seizures. We don't know if Griffin will in fact tolerate the 6 hour EEG being connected to all those wires and not able to move around the room, having to sit in one spot for so very long but we've got to try.

As far as Griffin's constipation goes I told him today that he does not get computer time until he goes and does not hold it in. If I catch him holding it from now on and not going then he automatically gets his computer time taken away so he is to sit on the toilet each afternoon after school and try to go and if he does then he will be rewarded with computer time. Just like Jazzygal said I have to take this seriously and I have got to teach him now that holding it in is not healthy and it is totally unacceptable. And if he comes home and tells me that he went at school then I will believe him because Griffin is not a liar, he does not understand the concept, and he will justly be rewarded for going at school since that would be a very big deal. I sit here and chuckle to myself because he is in the bathroom right now trying to go because he wants to get on this computer so badly. I may have struck gold on this one and found the magic pill to make it all work out nicely.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Can't Make Up My Mind

It seems that all the time I am switching back and forth between,"He is autistic and he can't do that by himself" and,"He should be able to do that by himself he is 8 years old for Pete's sake!" Does anyone else have that dilemma? I just can't seem to make up my mind whether or not my child can do things for himself or not, maybe it is the autism and my lack of ability to determine whether or not Griffin is capable of executing a task on his own without my assistance. For the most part I let him try to do things on his own but I have to be careful because I don't want him to become frustrated if it doesn't work out right and then have a meltdown.
I have trouble with communication with Griffin and it creates a problem when it comes to diffusing a potential meltdown so I am careful to avoid them as much as possible.

Sometimes I wonder about myself and worry that I am not as good of a parent than I would like to be and I know that I am hard on myself because people have told me that but I aspire to be the best that I can be because it is my child who I am shaping here not a dog or a cat. I have an above average IQ so it's not that I am not intelligent enough to do what I set out to do and I just can't help but to think that having autism has a lot to do with how I go about making the choices that I do when it comes to raising Griffin and oftentimes it is an obstacle  challenge for me. Frequently I feel overwhelmed and I start to shut down and sometimes I make rash decisions because I am so confused at the moment. Then I wonder if I made the right decision and doubt myself sometimes changing my mind again. It is a quandary and I don't suppose that things will ever change because it is all part of my DNA.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Making Alphabet Cookies

I didn't take a picture but now I wish that I had because it was such hard work making those alphabet cookies. The dough got warm by the time I got all the letters onto the cookie sheet and they began to melt, as it were, and it was impossible to get them out in one piece. Anyhow, we got to the letter M and I told Griffin that was it...he was having fun rolling out the dough and pressing out the letters but mommy was doing the hard part and the time consuming part but it was well worth it and I am glad that we did it. I had to go to the craft store to get the cookie cutters which I felt was a bargain because there was 101 cutters of different shapes plus the alphabet and  all the numbers for only $14.99. He can use them with his play doh and make more cookies after the dough gets cold and mommy has built up some more patience.

Griffin has been constipated because he holds it in when he has to go and he won't go at school so he goes days before having a BM. This time it was 5 days before he finally went (yesterday) and the only reason that he did finally go is because I kept giving him Mirilax. In fact he went 4 times today because of the Mirilax but better that then being all stopped up. I just don't know how to get him to stop holding it in when he needs to go. The Mirilax helps him have the urge to go but if he holds it in then he creates the problem. If anyone has any ideas I am open to them. Any suggestions?

Monday, November 08, 2010

My Little Artist

Griffin does not watch Family Guy but he likes the main character Peter Griffin and he wanted to learn how to draw him properly so he looked up the YouTube video of the actual cartoonist drawing the character. And this is the final copy of Griffin's artwork where he did exactly what the artist drew.  I am so proud of him because he did such an amazing job with this and not only that but I think that he was a little genius to look up the video in the first place. I never would have even thought of doing that but I shouldn't be surprised because if Griffin wants something he finds it on the Internet no matter what it is.

Monday, November 01, 2010


The weather has been so perfect for going out and feeding the ducks and geese, I couldn't ask for weather more beautiful. We spent nearly 2 hours at the lake because we were having such a good time and it was so relaxing.

Griffin has been playing the same program over and over again for weeks now and it wouldn't be so bad except that it is just obnoxious! I guess that anything over and over again is obnoxious but this guy's voice in the show is so irritating but alas......he loves it and it brings him joy so what else should I do but to let him watch it. Besides, if I didn't let him watch it I would risk a meltdown and it isn't worth that, I couldn't explain to him that it is getting on mommy's last nerve and she just can't take it anymore. To his credit, he does watch other shows now and then thank goodness and I am grateful for it!

Speaking of meltdowns, Griffin doesn't have that many so much anymore, I really think that he is outgrowing them. He has learned to adjust to his environment and to change so well that he just doesn't breakdown and lose it anymore for the most part. Granted there are some now and then but they are short lived and minor compared to what they used to be. I am so proud of him because he is really growing up and learning more and more about the world around him and adjusting to it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Great Way to Spend the Day

We went to Griffin's school to play on the playground because it was the perfect day to do so. Griffin has been fighting off a cold the past few days so I think that being outside does him good, getting fresh air and not being in the house all the time on the computer is always good. Right now he has two TVs going one in his room and one in the living room and if he had his way then he would be complete by being on the computer all at the same time. I don't allow him to have the TV on and be at the computer at the same time because for one thing it drives me crazy! To listen to two things going at the same time and heaven forbid that he tries to talk to me too! So if he wants the TV on while he is at the computer then he has to mute it.  At least he has two educational shows going as he always does, I never have to worry about the content of what he watches on the TV, DVD, or on the computer because it is always educational or innocuous cartoons (usually preschool level shows).There is a lot of comfort in that and I do continue to listen and check on what he looks at on the Internet just in case one day his taste changes and he catches me by surprise.........the day may come.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Autumn is My Favorite Season

Griffin had to go a couple of days without the computer because it had to go to the repair shop and he faired quite well, much better than I thought that he would. He kept himself busy with Legos, drawing, books, and TV. I had to go out and get a 50 ft. ethernet cord in order to get Internet access because I had forgotten what my wireless username was at least according to the provider I didn't have the right one. So I had to spend $30.00 on the cord but it was well worth it because there was no way I was going to have a computer sitting here and have to try to find a way to explain to Griffin why we couldn't use it and expect him to understand.

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous here, it is why autumn is my favorite season and of course the beautiful fall colors too. The scent that is in the air is like no other and it arouses the senses to a state that is simply euphoric.

Griffin and I went to feed the ducks and geese today and I could tell that he was having a sensory feast! He was rolling on the ground and feeling the leaves on him and watching the ducks as he was feeding them. I could see that he was enjoying himself because usually when the ducks stop eating he wants to go right away but that was not the case today. I have never seen him get on the ground like that and roll around so I was thrilled to see him having so much fun. When he got up he told me that he was sleeping with the ducks (because he was lying beside them). And I asked him if he had a good time and he answered, "Yes!". We also went to PetSmart and he got the chance to pet two of the kitty cats there that were up for adoption. When I let the woman know that Griffin has autism and that petting cats was very therapeutic for him she was happy to let him have the opportunity to spend time petting them. Usually they are not available for petting unless you are going to adopt them so it was nice that Griffin got to pet them because he really enjoyed it!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

A Day With Nature

We spent the morning at the nature center and the weather couldn't have been more perfect.We got there at just the right time, 30 minutes after it opened because there was no traffic and we got a parking space right by the front door and by the time we left the traffic was backed up for miles in both directions.While there we got to see black bear, gray wolves and red ones which are indigenous to our area, otters, the petting zoo and this cute tiny owl (which I forget what kind it is) but Griffin really liked it because he has an afffinity for owls.

Here he is giving one of the goats a hug in the petting zoo. He seemed not too bothered as far as his sensory needs go with the odors of the animals and the feeling of their fur although he wasn't excited about it either. All in all it was a successful venture to the nature center.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Bad Dreams Solved

I took Griffin to the psychologist Monday and we figured out why he was having his bad dreams and what they were all about. His dreams were about people being made into food like chickens he said. It's no wonder he was wetting the bed because that is a scary dream! Reminds me of Soyient about you? Frankly if that movie was a dream it would be a nightmare so I can see why Griffin was scared. So the doctor talked to Griffin about it and told him that it isn't true, that people are not made out of food like chickens. And he asked him if it bothered him that animals were made into food and he didn't seem to mind, not saying anything. So he hasn't had any bad dreams or wet the bed since then.......YEAH!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

I Can't Make Him Have Fun

Just as the doctor told me, "You can take Griffin to interesting places but you can't make him have fun." And his hippotherapy is a great example of that because this week he told me that he didn't have a good time. I saw him smiling while he was trotting but maybe that was just a reaction. I just don't can I tell? The only way that I can tell is to ask him. Sometimes he doesn't even smile and it makes me wonder if he is even having fun but the doctor (psychologist) tells me that it is the autism and that I shouldn't blame myself . He said that Griffin doesn't understand the social aspect of what is going on when people are having fun in social situations. He needs me to explain to him that he needs to smile during certain activities and eventually he will learn to do so but in an intellectual way, it will never come naturally.

In the photo he is petting the horse that he rides "Danny" and he seemed to enjoy petting the horses before he got to ride because they were mouthing his hands and he thought that was funny.

At Occupational Therapy, Griffin brought his pillow with him from the sensory room because he was still seeking that deep pressure that he got when his therapist made a sandwich out of him with a whole bunch of bean bags and a weighed blanket. Eventually she talked him out of the pillow and they made a picture with rice and glitter glue.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Blessed with Perfect Days

Saturday we started out our day at the Unity Center where Griffin and I went to play games but ended up not playing them because he didn't want to so we just played on the playground with Cameron the director of the Montessori school there. Griffin was a real trooper when it came to trying the hula hoop, he kept trying it over and over again until about 5 minutes later he gave up. That's a good long while I think.

We went to the neighboring town to see the festival there but it ended up just being all arts and crafts which was boring for Griffin so thankfully there was the toy store where he found this great penguin that was almost as big as he was. That put a big smile on his face!

Then we went to the Hands On place where we played with puppets and painted. There was much more to do but Griffin was most interested in the puppets so that is where we stayed most of the time. He got a big kick out of playing with them and when I talked funny while pretending to be a parrot and a horse he really liked that. He seemed to loosen up a lot while we were playing and laugh a little bit which is always nice to see. Just as the doctor said, it is important that Griffin see me as someone to have fun with so it was good that we got to laugh together and truly have fun. Sometimes it is hard to be the one who has to be the disciplinarian all the time and then to try to switch back and forth to one who is fun and laughing. But I have to find that balance and make sure that my son sees me as a fun mom too.

Sunday we went in the morning to feed the ducks with our neighbor Nikki. There weren't many ducks out there and all the geese were gone, they had already flown south for the winter. So we didn't stay very long. The weather was nice though, it was nippy but beautiful/

Later we went to Unity Center and I stayed in the childcare with Griffin instead of going to the service because he cannot go to the childcare alone, we already tried that route. So they are going to give me a copy of the service on a cd since I need to stay with  Griffin. Anyhow, I don't mind because we had a good time together in there. We had circle time, made a craft, and then Griffin didn't want to go to the playground so we went for a hike instead.

Then we went swimming at the YMCA for awhile to top the day off. Griffin just kinda plays around because he still cannot swim due to his low muscle tone in his body, but he still has a great time. We both get bored after about 30 minutes so it doesn't last that long but it is still worth the trip.

So I was blessed with a perfect weekend and I am grateful for every day that I have with Griffin not just the weekends.  Even if we have tough days they are all the way that they are meant to be and as long as he is in my life that is what I call a perfect day!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Bad Dreams

Griffin wet the bed the other night and told me it was because he had a bad dream and I felt helpless as to what to tell him. I wanted to give him some helpful advice about what to do about his bad dreams or to console him somehow but the best that I could do was to hug him and tell him that it was all going to be okay that they weren't real. I just didn't know what else to tell him. I would love to know what other parents tell their kids that you have found to be helpful and that have given your child some comfort. All I know is to ask the doctor (psychologist) on Monday when we go and see if maybe he can help Griffin understand about bad dreams.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Griffin had a performance at school Thursday where he played the bongos and sang but most of all he danced and entertained the parents unexpectedly. And he played his air guitar too when all the other kids were standing oh so still and proper. The parent who had been sitting next to me had come up to Griffin later in the cafeteria as we sat and ate pizza and told Griffin that he was a great guitar player. She didn't know that he was autistic but I appreciated the playful tone in her voice as she complimented Griffin. We had also gone to the book fair and got a great book : National Geographic Animal Atlas. Just down his alley.

Today we went to the recreational station that is huge and we had a blast especially on the bumper cars. I am especially proud of Griffin because he rode the bumper car all on his own and I rode my own. He laughed so hard that he could hardly control the thing. I sure wish that I could have caught it on camera but I was having too much fun bumping into him making him laugh some more. I wouldn't have been on the sidelines for anything, so glad that I didn't miss this activity with him. He did go on the soft play as pictured here but as you can tell he wasn't thrilled with it and didn't stay on it long. So it was a fantastic day and it isn't even over yet!

Griffin has an EEG scheduled for tomorrow (I think, and his teachers think that he has been having absence seizures) so we have to stay up late and get up early, only 6 hours of sleep allowed, so we are trying to stay busy. It isn't even midnight yet and surprisingly he wants to go to sleep! I better get up from here and go occupy him and help him stay up for another hour.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Child Is Blessed By Autism

We started out the day early in the afternoon by going to the creek to take a dip while the gettin' was good and the temperatures are still hot before summer is over. Griffin is venturing farther out each time we go in the water and I am on shore. It is a good thing that the water is shallow because I get paranoid since there is no way of getting to him in a hurry with all the stones that are in the floor of the creek bed. All the same I do tell him to stay close by even though he was not a good listener so I had to roll up my pants and go in myself to monitor him and to get him to come in closer. The water was just deep enough that if he had fallen and couldn't get up that he could potentially drown so I wasn't taking any chances. I have to admit that the water felt really good and I am glad that I got in because it was so refreshing.

I didn't know that my niece's birthday party that we were supposed to go to later in the day was going to be a pool party but it was a pleasant surprise and Griffin loved it! It was hot out and a perfect afternoon for being in the pool, I wish that I had had my swimsuit because I was under an umbrella and was still quite hot. Griffin was in the pool alone most of the time but he didn't care and that is one of the nice things about autism is that our children can entertain themselves without needing other children around. Yes, there were other kids, girls, but Griffin wasn't interested and even if he were a typical child he wouldn't have been interested because they were all girls and then he would have felt lonely but he didn't because he is blessed! Yes, I do tend to see it that way. I do tend to see it as being blessed because he is not cursed.......there are far more ways that he is blessed by autism than he is not.

I choose to see the positive side of autism and that my child is blessed by it! Controversial? Perhaps.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

He Is Special After All

After going to the psychologist office Griffin told us what it is that he meant when he said that he wasn't special. He said that when he was treated special that he went "crazy" and made some gestures with his head and hands as if to go coo coo. So the doctor said to Griffin that he thinks that the days of going crazy are gone and that he doesn't have to worry about that anymore. That he can do special things with mommy like playing together and that he can feel special without feeling crazy.That is all that it took for Griffin to agree to play with mommy and to feel okay with feeling special. I just wish that Griffin has disclosed that information to me when he had told me that he didn't feel special and saved me a lot of grief. But at least it came out with a third party and we now know what it is all about finally.

We had an I.E.P. meeting for Griffin on Monday to help him in his mainstream classroom because he has been struggling. Griffin is in third grade and has no problem doing third grade work but has been having a problem with keeping up with the faster pace of the classroom. Between the autism specialists, the speech pathologist, the resource teacher, and the teacher, we decided that the resource teacher would visit Griffin in the classroom for 30 minutes three times a week to help him out. This was the alternative to sending Griffin into the resource room for an extended period of time, which none of the experts seemed to think was a good idea.

We also discussed: Griffin reading in monotone and possibly helping him with that by reading aloud to him and demonstrating inflection, his lack of confidence in giving answers because he is so afraid of getting the wrong answer and his lack of confidence in making transitions, he has peer buddies in resource who help him out some who are older, and his entire classroom has lunch buddies everyday for Griffin's benefit but they don't know that and apparently it is working out great for him because there is a new lunch buddy each day. And it gives him the chance to get to know each child and for that child to get to know him on a more personal level, and a great chance for socialization. Also the speech pathologist is playing games with Griffin and the classroom for better socialization for him on Wednesdays at recess (that is above and beyond her call of duty I think). I think that everyone is working as a great team this time around and I am very happy about it!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'm Not Special

Just imagine how you would feel if you heard your child say those words, "I'm not special". That's exactly what Griffin told me last night when I was talking to him and told him that I wanted to start playing play-doh with him. He told me that he did not think that I should play with him because he was not special. Tears began to well up in my eyes and my heart started breaking because I knew that I had failed. I had failed my child because I had not taught him that he was special even though I had told him so, it wasn't enough. I had not made him feel special.

Where had I gone wrong? What had I not done right to make him not feel like he was special? Not knowing the answer to this is perplexing and definitely a good question for the psychologist who we are seeing today. I think that I know the answer but I want to present it to the doctor first before I put it up on the blog. It would be incriminating but I feel that I am guilty of this and that it is all my fault that he feels this way. I just don't know what else it could be if not for me. We will see what the good ol' doctor has to say because I trust him and his opinion.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Horseback Riding Therapy (Hippotherapy)

Griffin started his horseback riding therapy at local organization that works with children with disabilities and they have the greatest group of volunteers that are so well trained. They all have such a heart of gold and really do it all for the love of the children and for the love of the horses, it is really apparent.

Griffin rode the horse, Danny, and he was a handsome and spirited horse but not too much so that he couldn't ride him. But you could just tell that Danny was full of life and that he wasn't just some old farm horse that was about to be put out to pasture. Griffin did the exercises that he was supposed to do, as he was instructed to do, but he kept getting upset a bit about the flies and the gnats in his face and kept shooing them away with his hands in the air. I really wish that I could put a longer video on here so that the video of Griffin on the horse trotting could be viewed. He laughed so hard when the horse trotted, it was so adorable that one could not help but to laugh as well. He had everyone else there laughing right along with him.

I had spoken to the psychologist about how to better help Griffin with his communication/vocabulary and he told me to describe things that I saw him do and attach an emotion to it for example: I saw the horse talking to you and when he did you looked surprised. And I was to give three examples of things I saw him do in order to give him enough information to give me an answer when I asked him the question: What did you like the most today about your horseback riding? I gave two more examples: I saw you trotting on the horse and you were laughing and looked very happy. I saw you shooing the flies away and you looked angry.

So, when it came time to ask Griffin what he liked best about his horseback riding he had more information to work with since I had just given him some examples of what he session had been like. A bit of a reminder of what he had done so he had more to work with in his vocabulary. He answered me with, " I like trotting the best, I had fun trotting on the horse." What a success that was just for him to answer me was huge! For Griffin to reach inside and find the words to work with like that and for me to have helped him find the words is fantastic.........what a gigantic success that was I just can't stress that enough!

Griffin just has significant delays in communication and to know him is to know that Griffin struggles on a daily basis with being understood when he speaks and he gets frustrated because he has to repeat what he says so many times because even his own mother often finds it hard to understand him. But with the speech therapy coming along nicely I really think that it is helping him to annunciate his words much better little by little. I am so glad that we found this new group at P.T.S. because if not for them then Griffin would be still sitting in speech coloring pictures and just repeating sentences over and over not getting anywhere as he was at his old therapy group. I think that with the new speech pathologist's help and the help of the psychologist, not to mention a lot of help from mommy....Griffin will come a long way in his communication but we will just have to take it little by little and not have great expectations in the beginning, we must do it slowly and gently.

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Sunday, September 05, 2010


We went to Jubilee this morning with my sister, her daughter, and her partner for the first time and I think that we had a good time together. Jubilee is a non-denominational spiritual meeting of sorts not quite church but something a bit more unique. Anyhow, there is reading from different scriptures and singing and even some dancing for those who care to do so. I even saw a man with his dog so it is just really relaxed and special. Griffin didn't want to stay in the childcare area so my sister explained to him that he needed to be on his best behavior if he was going to stay with us in the service so he agreed and he certainly did! Griffin was a perfect little gentleman the entire time and even danced around a little bit and clapped his hands. Griffin adores my sister so it was good to spend time with her.

Griffin and I have been playing Legos and it has worked out nicely. There are distractions of course and sometimes our playtime doesn't last that long but at least we are playing. Oftentimes, he wants to watch TV and play so it is kind of like not playing together but I will take what I can get..........autism and all!

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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Learning How to Play With My Child

It had been gnawing away at me the fact that I couldn't play with my own child and I just didn't know why. I didn't know if it was the way that I had raised him or if it was the autism. So I called the psychologist's office to see if I could get an appointment right away and they had an appointment that day, Wednesday. I was so anxious to talk to him because this was something that really bothered me and I felt guilty about it, a bad mom because I couldn't play with him.

The doctor was so understanding and helped me feel so much more at ease because first of all he re-assured me that mostly the issue was that Griffin didn't play with me because of the autism not because of how I had raised him. But he did show me how to play beside him with Legos, narrating what Griffin was doing as he was playing. He made sure to let me know that it was crucial that I did not tell him what to do or instruct him in any way or else it would cease all play......nip it in the bud. Tears welled up in my eyes and as I fought back the tears I thought to myself, how wonderful it was that I had found someone who understood me and was helping us after all these years. After all these years, sure Griffin had people working with him who showed him how to play but nobody ever showed me how to play with him and I felt really stupid. It may seem really simple to you but it hasn't been for me, maybe it is just my nature but I didn't know to sit and narrate and not tell him what to do.....did you?  It is easily done now and it is what I am going to do, the only obstacle is going to be the computer and the fact that it is a distraction. We'll just have to be creative and figure out how to make Legos more fun than the computer.

From now on we are playing together.....well at least we are playing side by side.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

What to Do About a Tantrum

I spoke with Griffin's psychologist yesterday and he told me that maybe it would get worse before it gets better....the tantrums that is. Griffin has learned that tantrums work because mommy gets embarrassed in the store and gives into them and yes I know that that is the absolute worse thing that I can do but hey people.....I am alone here without any support and it is hard! I know that that is no excuse for not being a hard nose and for not being consistent with him but when he has a tantrum and puts his whole body into it there is little that I can do other than make a huge scene and try to physically restrain his 80 lb body on the floor where he ends up flailing! By the time that I am restraining him I am sure that someone is calling the cops or social services for child abuse.....this is what I imagine happening because he would be screaming that I was hurting him as he always does and there's just no way that it would end up on a good note.

So instead this is what we are going to do: I am going to set the two of us up for success by giving Griffin the rules in the car before we go in. For example: No walking away from mommy, no picking up items and putting them in the cart, and no tantrums. Then if he follows the rules after a practice run of about 7 minutes he will get a reward of an ice cream cone at Dairy Queen or Mc Donald's or something special and cheap. We will do about 3 practice runs this week to see how it goes and report back to the doctor next week. The practice runs are only 7 minutes long to make sure that there is success and I imagine that we will increase the amount of time as we go along. So maybe they won't get worse before they get better after all.....maybe this is the recipe for success and things are going to run smoothly. I will let you know soon because we are going to go on our first practice run today. I have got my fingers crossed!

Have a New Kid by Friday  is an excellent book if you are looking for some way to get your child to listen to you and to pay attention to you. I just started it but so far it has had a profound effect on me as far as my perspective on how I approach Griffin and how I talk to him. It is a book on how to change your child's attitude, behavior, and character in 5 days and having read what I have I believe that it is possible! Just click on the highlighted blue links to purchase the book either new or used.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

30 Most Famous Thinkers Believed to Be Autistic

The Online Graduate Programs Blog has posted the 30 most famous thinkers believed to be autistic and the list is fantastic! Among my favorites are Charles Darwin, James Joyce, Temple Grandin ( I adore her) and Socrates. Oh and I must not forget Albert Einstein ! It is a list that you must see with descriptions of the individuals and their autistic tendencies. It is really quite fascinating to read and I believe that these individuals were probably autistic by these descriptions and by what I know of their history, of course I am not familiar with all of them but the ones I do know I firmly believe were autistic.

Griffin has been wetting his pants lately and it is something that is not unfamiliar to us. He did it quite a bit last year and I think that it is because he doesn't go to the bathroom during the scheduled bathroom breaks. And he won't ask his teacher to go to the bathroom when he needs to go so there in lies the problem. I don't know how to get it across to him to understand that he must ask the teacher to go to the bathroom when he needs to go. When I tell him he just gives me no response, he simply ignores me and I can't get him to answer. When he goes to his psychologist next I am going to get him to bring it up and explain it to Griffin and maybe he can get it across to him in some different fashion that he will understand. Otherwise, I just don't have an answer to what to do unless someone else might have a suggestion I would greatly appreciate any input you might have. I don't want Griffin embarrassed by what is happening or teased or worse yet.....bullied by some of the kids because after all he is 8 years old and it is a bit old for him to wet his pants. So far his teacher has not reported any of this happening or that the kids are laughing at him so maybe it's okay for now but something has got to be done to help stop it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

He's Come a Long Way

Here's Griffin around 16-18 months right after he had begun his early intervention and if he is 18 months then it is after he has been officially diagnosed with autism. But anyhow he has his pressure vest on, which helped keep him calm, and has lined up his little chess pieces over at his early interventionist's house, Sheila, who is still to this day a very dear friend. Griffin didn't line up things much after this photo, he was never really into that much like lots of other autistic kiddos are. He did however like his spoons and went everywhere with them usually one in each hand but always at least one.

Now he is in third grade and is in a mainstream classroom and is doing an excellent job I might add! I spoke with his resource teacher and she bragged on him saying that he is participating in class very well and asking questions raising his hand appropriately which is wonderful! She said that she is working on finding the balance between helping him and figuring out when to pull back and letting him do his own work but that so far he has shown her that he can keep up with the class quite well with little prompting.

He has come a long way since lining up those chess pieces and I am so very proud of him, he does still have his share of meltdowns but they are short lived and not as intense as they used to be....thank goodness. Griffin has really grown up and matured and become quite an independent young man and it is so bittersweet for me that he is growing up so fast. I love that he is becoming his own person and doing things on his own but at the same time it breaks my heart that my little boy is growing before my eyes and I know that one day those kisses and hugs might not be so plentiful but for now they are and I am so very grateful!

We tried the Intuniv yesterday and it had the opposite effect on him. It was supposed to make him sleepy by the end of the day and by the end of the day he was revved up and couldn't sleep despite the medication (Phenegran and Melatonin) that I tried. I finally had to call the doctor on call and ended up giving him an entire dose of Attivan to get him to sleep after trying a half dose which didn't work! That is, the same dose that I would take....that is how revved up he was! So out with the Intuniv no hope there.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I am Glad to Introduce a Guest Blogger Edward D. Iannielli III. This Will Touch Your Soul

A dream, A hope, A wish, A prayer, A life and Autism

It is very important in our lives to dream as young children and to always be encouraged by our parents to reach for the stars in all that we do. When we are kids we are constantly evolving and growing and we are always learning and developing throughout our youth. The time in the life of a young child is very special and it should be filled with hope, optimism, encouragement, enthusiasm, wishful thinking and prayers to God for our child's good health, happiness and a life filled with promise, hope, dreams, vision and self confidence.

It is every parent's hope that their child is healthy and able to develop naturally and adapt to the typical changes that children encounter as they grow. We all are grateful for being blessed with a child in our life and we always want the best for them. If a child is born with autism or some form of disability it means that child will have some challenges ahead in their life but they should have the same dreams and hopes that every child needs to have in their life. My son is autistic and he has challenges that we are trying to help him deal with. At times it seems he will have his share of difficulties and periods of isolation. I only wish that he could realize when he struggles that he has the love and support of his mom and dad and he has many in his corner working to help him.

For many people Autism is not really understood and from outward appearance for the typical person raised in a typical community very difficult to assess. There are many autistic children who from first impression seem normal in ways so when they seem to react out in an inappropriate way to the dismay of others it seems they are defiant and unruly. This for most autistic kids is the furthest from the truth and  it seems the parents are thought of as not being able to discipline their children. The reality is that the parents will do anything to help their autistic child and they put so much time, effort and compassion into raising their special child so they can hopefully fit in and have lesser outbursts and meltdowns. It is not easy raising an autistic child and for most families it tests their very limits of patience and endurance and adds a great deal of stress and financial pressure on the family. It is very important to accept the situation and work together with family and all in the support network to help that autistic child find their way in the world.

To an autistic child the world can be a very scary and intimidating place and they would rather live in their little place that is safe and free from confrontation. Autistic children tend to have social difficulties and feel that they can not fit in unfortunately. It takes very committed family and professionals to help address these children with their thoughts and insecurities and help them through these social obstacles. 

It is our dreams, hopes, wishes and prayers that help us through these challenging times and give us the insight and knowledge that will help us find the dedication we need to get our autistic child on the right path in their life so they can have the same chances and opportunities that all children deserve in their life.

The one thing I have learned about raising an autistic child is that my sense of life and purpose evolves around my son and everything I do or plan to do is for helping him become better and more self confident. Autistic children do tend to suffer from anxiety and have many challenges and it sometimes can be emotionally very trying in their life and the parent's as well. As a parent I strongly urge you to never give up on your child and to always show compassion and hold on to hope and provide love, support and encouragement. There is nothing like seeing an autistic child blossom and come into their own after realizing the struggles they encounter. 

To see an autistic child smile and hear them acknowledge that they feel loved and accepted and to truly help them find something that challenges them and gives them self confidence is the best gift we can ever experience in our life as parents.

The many ups and downs we will encounter as parents raising our children is all worth it if we can set the standard for them so they will benefit and grow and become happy, well balanced, confident and caring young adults ready to take on life's challenges and have dreams, hopes, wishes and vision. I pray everyday for my son to have a wonderful life with Autism.

Dedicated to my son who inspires me everyday.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

First Day of School

It was smooth sailing this morning as Griffin woke up on time and popped out of bed like he was truly interested in going to school. He got up early enough to have some computer time and a little bit of time to watch TV while eating his apple. I told him to go ahead and eat breakfast at school as he is used to doing so that he won't be starving before lunch. Besides he prefers eating breakfast at school than at home and since he takes the bus he has time to do that.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Positive Student Profile

My new friend April gave me this Positive Student Profile for Griffin and I am so grateful for it because it is going to help Griffin's new teacher understand him so much better from the get go. Here it is:

Who is Griffin:

loves animals/wildlife
favorite color is red
loves his cat named Dot and his service dog named Abby
loves to draw
favorite TV show is Sesame St.

Griffin's strengths:

loves to laugh
cleans up and is helpful
has good manners
understands what is being said
has a great sense of humor

Griffin's challenges:

inability to effectively communicate which leads to high level of frustration.
dislikes unexpected change
difficulty completing an assignment with re-direction
difficulty with math
reluctant to do things on demand

What supports are needed for Griffin?

to observe and learn from “typical” children
to have a circle of friends for support
to have a routine that is structured yet flexible to allow for increased tolerance to change
a curriculum which can be modified where and when needed
communication between parent and teacher for support as a team

Other helpful information:

When Griffin gets upset and begins to have a meltdown it is best to talk to him and try to figure out what he is upset about to try and diffuse the situation first. Usually you can figure out what is wrong and help him to make the necessary changes in order to help him to calm down. Sometimes the reason that he is getting upset is that something changed out of the set routine. If the redirection doesn't work then it is worthwhile to get him to take deep breaths and calm down by talking to him and explaining the situation to him because he does understand logic and reason, this is how his mind operates. Griffin is a gentle child and does not lash out so he does not need to be restrained.

Update on Scheduling

7:46 a.m. Griffin got up on time this morning after going to bed at 7:00 p.m. last night and even after getting up in the middle of the night! So I told him to get up out of bed to practice getting ready to catch the bus and he popped out of bed like a champ! It is looking good so far and I think that we are ready for tomorrow morning. We even walked Abby before it was time for the "bus" to come which would be 6:50. We're doing great folks!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Having Some Difficulty Getting on Schedule

Here's Griffin swimming in the river in Pisgah National Forest and the water is oh so cold but he didn't mind a bit. The water was just shallow enough for him to swim and play without any worries. It is the same place that we went when we went with Uncle Charlie. Nikki went with us but she wasn't brave enough to sit in the water saying that it was way too cold. It is true that it is cold but it doesn't compare to the glacier fed waters of Alaska folks! Now that's ICY COLD water, so cold that you can't even stand in it because I have tried on a dare and even though I did it for one second that was all I could stand!

I am having some difficulty getting Griffin on schedule as far as sleep goes. I can't seem to get him to get up on time. I am getting him to sleep on time for the most part but still can't get him up on time so I guess that I am going to have to get him to bed even earlier gosh darnit! He is going to bed at 8:00 now and sleeping 10 hours  that is when taking Melatonin and Clonidine. Maybe it is because I added the L-Theanine the past three nights and it is making him sleep too long. I think that I am going to stop that and try an earlier bedtime too and see if I can't get him up on time. I had added the L-Theanine because he had been getting up in the middle of the night around 3:00 a.m. using the computer, watching TV, and eating. So I thought that maybe it would help with that but did not so I am going to stop it and maybe just use it to help keep him calm during the day (1/2 dose) until we are ready for the Intuniv.

Griffin graduated to taking the capsule at his pill taking therapy! So now he can take his Intuniv! First I am going to take him to a new psychiatrist on Tuesday to see if there is something else that we can use for sleep with the Intuniv because he can't use the Clonidine with it. There are some who think that Griffin shouldn't be on medication for his ADHD symptoms but I say that they are not the ones who are living with the meltdowns on a daily basis who are the ones who are single parents without any support! I know what I am doing and having a disability myself I have to take care of not only Griffin but myself as well so I believe that it is a sound decision. It is easy for others to judge me and to tell me their opinion but they are not in my shoes and they don't know what it is like to be me and to struggle from day to day and sometimes even moment to moment!

I am looking forward to school but I will miss Griffin at the same time.....the ME time is going to be Sweet though! I plan to get lots of school work done and get more exercise in. The weather is cooling off a bit and it is so nice. It is only 74 right now and overcast and I am loving it!

Friday, August 13, 2010

I Loved the Book "Cowboy & Wills"

First of all, I wasn't able to read it cover to cover in a timely manner, it took me quite awhile to get around to finishing it, like I wanted to due to distractions and having to care for Griffin daily just like having to do right now as I write this post. Griffin keeps interrupting me and it is difficult to concentrate so this post might not be as stellar as I had hoped it might be. Please keep this in mind as you read this review.

This was an amazing book and as I sit here and think about it, it brings tears to my really moved me! If you enjoy reading about autism this is a great book for you because it Wills is a little boy who has high functioning autism and the story portrays him as he grows and progresses. He grows up with his precious companion Cowboy the golden retriever who loves him unconditionally and they both capture your heart. Wills is a charming little guy who loves animals and has quite a menagerie of his own but Cowboy is his favorite and they do everything together. Monica Holloway is the mother who writes the story and does an incredible job doing so as she chronicles the days of school and family life in a most interesting and eloquent manner. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone because it will touch your heart and because it is an unforgettable story of a boy and his dog that is beyond comparison.

This book was sent to me so that I could write this review and I am so glad that I had the chance to read it and to write this review. It is not often that I get a chance to read such wonderful books that move me and that I find so emotional. The fact that this was a true story made it all that much more heart wrenching and I look forward to the next book.

To order the book just click on the blue highlighted links or the Buy from link and it will take you to where you need to go to get the best price for the book. You can buy it new or used.