Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thanks Jazzygal for Passing on the Gratitude Award

I was tagged by my dear friend, Jazzygal who has been supportive and helpful in times of need especially on Facebook. Thank you for passing on this Gratitude Award to me, I like to think that I am a positive person who is eternally grateful for what I have in life.

Here are the things that I am grateful for/my Gratitude List for this week:

1. Griffin and I have our medications finally straightened out!
2. I am grateful for the knowledge that I have about autism and that I know enough to protect Griffin from those who seem to not have his success and best interest at heart, therefor I am looking into a new school.
3. The weather is gorgeous and this is my second favorite time of year...autumn being my most favorite.
4. I was able to buy food for us today and coupled with the food from the food bank we should be set for the month. I am grateful that somehow we always end up with food in our bellies!
5. I am grateful that even though it is a fixed income, at least we have income as many people in the USA do not.
6. I am grateful for my dear friends on Facebook who are so supportive of me in times of need whom I have never even met in person but look out if we ever do because the world wouldn't be able to handle us! Especially after a few bottles of wine!!!
7. I am grateful that I get to talk to my parents each day....or several times a day.

I am tagging Melissa H., Erin , and  Jen with this positive meme.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Life is Good! Please Leave a Comment

 Griffin is doing great now, he is on 5 mg. of Abilify and it makes such a huge difference! The moment I give it to him he straightens right up and his behaviors go right out the door. It is because I crush them ( the Melatonin and the Abilify) and put them in milk because he refuses to take pills for me. I just hope that as he grows older this won't be a problem at home just in case he needs to take more pills that might taste bad if taken that way. He will take pills for everyone else just not me ......of course!

I am doing great still and losing weight!!! I don't have a scale but I can tell because of the way I feel and because my pregnant-looking belly is going down, it actually looks less pregnant now.

The weather is great and I am trying to find ways to get Griffin to spend more time outside like taking Abby for more walks during the day over the weekend and going to my aunt's house so that Griffin can spend more time with his uncle Charlie. In fact, we went there yesterday and Griffin got to ride with Charlie on his scooter and he loved it! Griffin actually ate a tangerine while he was having boy time with Charlie. He wouldn't do that for me.

My friend Melissa wrote in her blog about kind of losing touch with her circle of friends/support of other moms of autistic kids and I feel the same. I wish that I had more comments on my blog so that I wouldn't feel like nobody is interested in reading about us and keeping in touch. I have lots of Facebook friends that I keep in touch with but it's just not the same. I have followers but I do wonder if they are actually reading the blog.....if you are reading this then I am hoping that you will stop for a moment and leave a comment....Please!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Decrease in Abilify is Causing Increased Meltdowns

Here's Griffin with his favorite kitty in the whole world, "Dot". As Dot gets older she is more tolerant of Griffin and she allows him to handle her like this. He is such a ham in front of the camera, hence the funny face.

Since decreasing Griffin's Abilify, which was used for symptoms of bipolar disorder, he has been out of control with an elevated mood that causes him to have increased meltdowns. We are going to have to get to the doctor so that something changes. I was told that 5 mg. was used for children 10 and over but damn.....he functions better on it and I just can't take this!! I am sure that he is not enjoying it either!!! He is only on 2 mg. and it is just not enough so I think we are going to have to go against the recommended dosage or try a different approach medically.

I have found that giving him 5 mg. of Melatonin helps him to calm down when he comes home all wound up after school. It helps him to be able to focus better on his homework even though he still gives me a hard time about it. Yesterday he came in off the bus and I was on the phone, and screamed at the top of his lungs in my face! Then we had to go to Speech and it didn't stop, unfortunately I didn't give him the Melatonin right away and I sure wish that I had. He had some behavior problems with the Speech Therapist and she handled it quite well but he started again as soon as he saw me afterwards, because I didn't go into the session with them.

This is Griffin with Mr. Pumpkin, the Halflinger horse that he and I ride when going to Hippotherapy. Just a FYI.....hippo is the Greek word for horse so that's why it is called hippotherapy. Did you know that the Greeks have used horses for therapy since 460 BC? Yep, it has been around awhile and if you want to know more about it go to the American Hippotherapy Association website. Mr. Pumpkin is an excellent horse and is lots of fun to ride, Griffin really digs it when he trots and laughs every time.

I quit taking Seroquel a few days ago and I AM A HAPPY CAMPER!!!! My life is sooooo much better because of it and I am so in awe of how I feel like a regular person and can't even tell that I have bipolar disorder and have NO sleep problems now. Because I take 2 melatonin with no side effects like I had when on the Seroquel. AND........I am finally losing weight because I don't have a ravenous appetite and a gnawing hunger all the time anymore!!! In fact, I am so happy that I have tears in my eyes when I think about how awesome my doctor is for caring for me enough to figure out how I can have a better quality of life! He is my hero and I am going to tell him that when I see him next week. I had been on Seroquel since 2004 when I was diagnosed and it has been nothing but bad news, no doctor has ever cared enough to get me off of it and recognized that it was the bane of my life!!!

Nothing but good news from me but now we've got to get Griffin straightened out and our home will be all  good. Today I go to hippotherapy and look forward to it. I am going to have to go to the outside ring because the covered one is going to be used for a seminar. So, I will have to see if I can be out in the sun without breaking out in sun poison which means that I am allergic to the sun. If it doesn't work then I will have to stop going for 5 weeks until we can use the covered one again.

Hope that all my dear friends on Facebook are doing well and that you for stopping by to check out what's going on with us!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Check Out This Non-Toxic Girls Nail Polish

Piggy Paint is a natural, eco-friendly nail polish designed for fancy girls. Its non-toxic, hypoallergenic formula makes it safe to use on all the little piggies (toes and fingernails).

Piggy Paint dries to a hard, durable finish that can easily be removed with our eco-friendly, low odor Piggy Paint nail polish remover. Both are made in the USA!

Available in an assortment of gift sets that are perfect for Holidays and other special occasions. Say good-bye to harsh, smelly chemicals and hello to Piggy's as Natural as Mud.

Just click on the blue highlighted words and the link will take you straight to where you can purchase this excellent product. I will get a small percentage of the sale if you order it from here and I would greatly appreciate if you did so. Thanks a bunch for stopping by!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Carbon Neutral Blog. This is What You Need to Do

Just write a short blog post about our programme “My blog is carbon neutral” and include one of the buttons below on your site (ideally in the sidebar). Send the link to your blog to and we plant a tree for you, neutralising the carbon dioxide emissions of your blog. The trees will be planted in the spring of 2010 by the Arbor Day Foundation. For more information about how and where the trees are planted, see the NEWS section.
Just a few easy steps to make it green:
  1. Write a blog post about the initiative + insert your favourite button
  2. E-mail the link to your post to
  3. We plant a tree for your blog in Plumas’!
Note: We plant a tree for each domain. Please copy the html-code and paste it in your blog. Make sure the carbon-neutral button works, the html-code must not be changed. Use the carbon-neutral-white button for a white background or the carbon-neutral-transparent button for different colored backgrounds. If you need help, please contact We are looking forward to planting your tree!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Doodle Pro is Griffin's Favorite and You Can Buy It Right Here!

This Doodle Pro is Griffin's absolute favorite toy and has been for several years now. He has had one and worn them out over and over and generally takes it almost everywhere he goes. It is so useful because it is so sturdy and really the only way that they are worn out is if the pencil is damaged or it is stepped on too many times. Otherwise it lasts for a very long time, it is the best money that I have ever spent on him because the other toys come and go and his interest wanes but not with the Doodle Pro.

The "Best Price" is only $11.99 which is an excellent deal and brand new is a mere $17.95 well worth the money. All you have to do is to click on the blue highlighted words to order it from Besides if you order it from my blog then I get a small percentage of the sale......which I can really use!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

You're Tagged! Jen, Jazzygal, Melissa H., Jean, Tara, & Fiona 15 Things About Me

1.Things that scare me
-Griffin being hurt/taken by someone
-Falling into water while in a car
-Griffin getting loose from me and running into traffic

2.People who make me laugh

3.Things I hate the most
-People chewing with their mouths open
-Exhaust fumes
-Being depressed

4.Things I don't understand
-Lack of compassion
-How someone could harm a child
-How anyone can harm an animal

5.Things I am doing right now
-Watching the dog and cat play together
-Listening to the news
-Missing Griffin, he just got on the bus, but enjoying the peacefulness.

6.Things I want to do before I die
-To own at least one horse
-Make sure that Griffin is set for life
-Grow very old

7.Things I can do
-Write an excellent research paper

8.Ways to describe my personality

9.Things I can't do
-Listen to someone talk to me while the t.v. is on
-Eat pork, I'm allergic to it

10.Things I think that you should listen to
-The crickets on a summer's night
-Elderly people
-Your children

11.Things you should never listen to
-Negative self-talk

12.Things I'd like to learn
-How to write a book
-More foreign languages
-More and more about Griffin and autism

13.Favorite foods
-Anything/everything Greek
-My mom's potato salad
-Godiva ice cream

14.Beverages I drink regularly
-Iced tea
-Red wine

15.Shows I watched as a kid
-The Flintstones
-The Brady Bunch
-Starsky and Hutch

16.Persons I am tagging to do this meme
-Melissa H.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Joseph Campbell's The Heroes Journey. Buy it right from this blog post

This is what I am now reading and it is compelling to say the least! Joseph Campbell was an amazing man who was so wise to the world and all its matrix. He shows how the world is all connected spiritually on so many different levels regardless of their religions and beliefs.

I highly recommend this to anyone and everyone because it is going to have something in it that you can take with you and learn about different cultures around the globe, their rituals and how those rituals are so similar to us all. It blends East and West and there he is right there in the midst of it all with all his wisdom.

Joseph Campbell was truly remarkable and I really think that you will become fascinated and be a great fan of his by the end of the book. This is a great price as low as $5.00 used.

All you have to do to purchase this book is to click on the highlighted "Best Price" or where is shows the title of the book "The Heroes Journey" and it will take you to so you can order it at any price you choose, used or brand new.

Monday, April 12, 2010

National Autism Resources

Rebecca at National Autism Resources was kind enough to send me a sample of a pencil topper and this is the photo of it. Griffin loves chewing on it when he is doing his homework especially when he gets a bit impatient and frustrated. It is great because it is so resilient that no matter how long it is chewed on it maintains its shape so there is no need to worry about it breaking apart. I highly recommend it for any child who has an oral fixation and likes to chew on things or any child who gets frustrated when trying to accomplish something such as homework or even drawing.

Just follow the link above to get to the website or you can call 877-249-2393 for orders or questions about products. There is also a blog:   where you can find excellent posts about autism. I have read several of their posts and I can tell you that I have learned quite a bit that I didn't already know. The posts are written in a very professional manner yet super easy to understand. 

Take a look at what they have to offer, I highly recommend both the website and the blog because I am going to use them from now on. If you have any questions for me about the pencil topper feel free to leave me a comment or call the toll free number, they are very nice and helpful!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Is Griffin an Aspie?

According to the teachers and ones who tested Griffin he is a child with Asperger's Syndrome. It is on his IEP (Individual Education Plan) several times but it is not official (as if from a doctor) so they cannot take services away from him. He tested quite high in all areas in limited testing, there was no logic questions in the math and no reading comprehension so he scored rather high. But when it comes down to doing everyday math he has a very difficult time and he struggles with reading comp. because he is hyperlexic.

My legs, ankles, and feet are so swollen with fluid that I cannot get on any of my shoes except for one pair of clogs and my hands swell pretty bad at night. The doctor didn't seem to be concerned and prescribed a water pill after I asked for one. This is the second doctor I have seen in two days about it and they have no answers. I can't wear those tight hosiery because it is too damn hot here. It has been in the high 80's to 90 degrees the past few days!

I had to go out and spend money I don't have on shorts, short sleeved shirts, and sandals for Griffin or else he would melt because nothing fits him from last summer of course. I had to get a few blouses for me because nothing fit me either.

I missed Griffin's horseback riding on Monday because he didn't go to school (Spring break) and I just spaced it out. And I totally forgot last Thursday that he had Speech. Some great mother I am!!!

UPDATE: Since I wrote this post I got my lab results back and my glucose is abnormally high, it is 121 and normal range is 69 - 100. I am worried that it means that I have Type 2 Diabetes. I have an appointment tomorrow (Friday) to see my doctor. Also my cholesterol is quite high even though I am taking mega dose of salmon oil and garlic which are supposed to help. It runs in the family both diabetes and high cholesterol. So I sure hope that meds can make a big difference. I went to the gym (YMCA) and walked on the treadmill hope if I can go often enough I can get my weight down.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Laura Shumaker published OUR story in the San Francisco Chronicle!!!

Autism: Service Dog to the Rescue

During Autism Awareness Month, readers are sharing their perspectives on raising a child with autism. Today, Lora and Griffin's story.
Griffin began showing signs of autism somewhere between 12 - 15 months as I noticed more and more that he was not responding to his name. I had his hearing checked and it was fine so I knew that it had to be autism. We began early intervention at age 15 months with lots of therapy and I spent hours on the floor playing with him. He had a spoon obsession, had to have a spoon everywhere he went, it was adorable but yet another sign of autism.
He also had SIBs and would bang his head all the time and bite himself. I was a single parent from the get-go and had no support other than the women working with him each week. We lived in Anchorage, Alaska where there was no family and really the only friends I had were the women working with Griffin as I was isolated from the outside world. Autism is so isolating and then we were in Alaska so it was a double whammy!

Griffin was officially diagnosed by a developmental pediatrician at 18 months and began to receive more services. He made great progress but was still basically non-verbal at age 2 with only a few word sounds. When my friend Nina came to visit with
her dog we had noticed how much Griffin enjoyed him and that he had NO SIBs when the dog was around. I was so excited! I talked to the O.T who wrote a letter to the regular pediatrician and he okayed it to have a service dog. So, I knew that I couldn't afford a trained service dog and didn't want to wait years to get one so having had a background in working with dogs.
I decided that I could train one myself. I went to the local animal shelter and the first dog that we took into the pen was Valentine, a young German Shepherd who gave Griffin his space and did not lick him in the face. I knew that was the right dog so I named her Abby, easily trained her, and now we have had her 6 years.

Griffin is now high-functioning which I attribute to early intervention. He is in a mainstream classroom in 2nd grade and still has speech in school and privately and O.T privately. He loves the computer and is a whiz on it! I am still a single parent, Griffin is my universe but we get through our challenges with patience and compassion each day. We now live in NC near family and friends.

Griffin and I both take hippotherapy separately of course. I am bipolar and have PTSD so I am on disability as well. Griffin took swimming OT classes since he was 3 until he was 7 years but they do not have it here in North Carolina so we do the horseback riding instead. He adores them....and his cat "Dot" too!
Lora lives in North Carolina with her son Griffin. A jack-of-all-trades, she has been everything from a dog groomer and landscape artist to an on air DJ and ballroom dance instructor and many other careers in between!  She is currently taking classes online and plans to get her master's in autism research.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Good Days and Days That are Not so Good

I went to see my doctor deity two days ago and he told me that my extreme fatigue was caused by the Topomax that I was taking but I had my doubts because I was sure that it was my Fibromyalgia (flare up). Well, yesterday was great, after over a month of feeling horribly debilitated and useless, and I was full of energy....this is indicative of Fibromyalgia (the ebb and flow off good and bad days). But this morning I am feeling terrible again and I didn't take the Topomax which means that it is not the medicine....very discouraging!

Having Fibromyalgia is so frustrating in so many ways because 1. nobody can understand what it is really like unless they are going through it. 2. The doctors don't know what to do about it really because they don't even know what causes it. 3. It can be so debilitating and so painful that one does not even have the ability to function normally and take care of regular every day chores and activities. It is such a struggle just to make oneself get out of a horizontal position and do anything.

I am so happy and fortunate that my moods are stable in spite of feeling so bad physically. My doctor deity has gotten my bipolar meds straightened out so that there are no fluctuations in my moods. So very grateful of that because that is a major ordeal when it is out of whack. I am so blessed in so many ways and I am always aware of that. Just because I may feel bad physically doesn't mean that there is a reason to forget that there are so many blessing that we have in our lives. There is never a reason to not have a positive attitude and to not be thankful!

The weather here is gorgeous, it was 82 degrees here yesterday and it looks like it is going to be another beautiful day today. We are supposed to go to my aunt's house for a cookout where my cousin Charlie lives as well and boy, does Griffin love him! Griffin adores men and boys probably because there are none in his life as far as having a father or siblings. So I appreciate the fact that Griffin loves Charlie and follows him around like a little puppy. I try to go over there as much as possible so that Griffin can have some male bonding time. In fact, he is asking me right now if we are going there right at this very moment but we're not supposed to go until 1:00. He is so eager to get there.