Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

city map


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Michelle L. in Alaska please get in touch with me because I have missed you and I can't send you a message on Facebook.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

As I sit here Griffin is playing with his "characters" and looking for more food. That is his favorite pastime lately probably because he is going through a growth spurt. He is  57" high and weighs 96.2 lbs. When he is in line with his peers he is considerably taller and appears to be less frail or slender than they are. I know that he is going to be a big guy because his dad being Samoan and a very hearty, tall, and big boned. Samoans are not to be bothered as even the women are large but they are so kind and gentle but unfortunately Griffin's father decided that he was not going to acknowledge his child and be a part of his life. Fortunately, Griffin has not asked about having a dad and when he asks I will just have to tell him the facts...that I do not know where he is.

We had a pleasant holiday because my parents came over for the better part of the day and so did my sister and here family. I cooked a turkey for the first time and the dark meat didn't get done all the way through and it was grizzly but the breast meat came out fine and was plenty to have leftovers. Mom and Griffin made gingerbread cookies that came out great and was a big treat for us because there is no sugar allowed in home since we are both prone to gain weight. When Griffin earns points for good behavior then he gets to buy whatever he wants and sometimes it is chips or something sweet.

I went to the foot and ankle doctor and he prescribed braces for both feet and ankles which I wear all the time except for sleeping and showering. No physical therapy because it just makes the pain worse and he told me that I should not expect to begin to feel better until at least the Springtime. He also prescribed Celebrex which helps the inflammation but not the pain. I do not take pain meds because even though I can take two of them and one is not enough I do not want to go down that slippery slope, it is too easy to become reliant on them thus leading to possible addiction and/or needing more and more to get the same effect. I stopped drinking and smoking over a year ago (which does not make me think that I am an angel) and have a history of self-medicating with alcohol when I was manic.

I hope that all of my blogging friends had a wonderful holiday and I say "holiday" because I don't want to offend anyone who is of other religions or beliefs other than Christians such as myself who does not  celebrate religious holidays because I am Agnostic (not an atheist, mind you) I do respect those who are of religious beliefs.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Happy Holidays

Griffin is growing and changing in so many ways it is so wonderful. He has learned to be more respectful of me and to be a better listener. The talk that he had from Papa made a big difference on Thanksgiving too. We are both more loving and affectionate with each other sharing lots more hugs.

 My feet and ankles are worse than ever and it hurts just to sit in this chair, if my feet are not propped up then I have increased swelling and sharp stabbing pain coming from my bones. My PT said that it appears to be arthritis to him. I will know more after I see the foot and ankle specialist on Wednesday.

I hate that I have not been keeping this blog updated I must try to sit here earlier in the day when I have less pain.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Recovering from Surgery

Griffin is doing very well with the new schedule at home and at school. At home he has been behaving much better with less physical aggressiveness however Saturday he did punch me in the gut right where I had incisions from my surgery. I called one of the Intensive Home girls and she helped set some boundaries for Griffin. To Griffin's credit, he does have no problem with saying that he is sorry and giving out sweet loving hugs. I must add that I am grateful that the three women from Family Preservation are coming over and helping because I really do need the support from experts.

I had surgery last Friday to remove my gall bladder because I kept having attacks that were so severe that they felt like the labor pains I had with Griffin. Thankfully my parents came up from SC to help me because I wouldn't have been able to do it otherwise. I go to see the surgeon today to check my incisions and I think that I have ruptured one/some of my stitches around my belly button because it is pretty hard and it looks like it has fresh blood has leaked under the skin not to mention it hurts like hell, even when I take a pain killer.

I would like to share some books that I have read over the years that I have found helpful: I am going to read them again because I remember that they were a great read and informative.

"Parenting Toward Solutions" by Linda Metcalf, Ph.d

"Teaching Children with Autism an Related Spectrum Disorders" by Christy
 L. Magnusen

"TalkAbility, People Skills for Verbal Children on the Autism Spectrum--A Guide for Parents" by Fern Sussman

"Rewards for Kids!" Ready to use Charts & Activities for Positive Parenting" by Virginia M. Shiller,

"Raising Self-Reliant Children In A Self-Indulgent World, Seven Building Blocks For Developing Capable Young People" by H. Stephen Glenn Jane Nelsen, Ed.D

"Raising Sexually Healthy Children, A Loving Guide For Parents, Teachers, and Care-Givers" by:
Lynn Leight, R.N.

"Parenting Your Complex Child" Become A Powerful Advocate for the Autistic, Down Syndrome,
PDD, Bipolar, or Other Special-Needs Child. By: Peggy Lou Morgan (I highly recommend this book)

"Why do I have to?" A Book for Children Who Find Themselves Frustrated by Everyday Rules.
By: Laurie Leventhal-Belfer

"The Autism Sourcebook; Everything You Need to Know About Diagnosis, Treatment, Coping, and Healing" By: Karen Siff Exkorn

I even bought a couple of  books that are for Griffin's future that might help me understand the transition that he will be going through in a few years....

"Life and Love: Positive Strategies for Autistic Adults" By: Zosia Zaks with foreword by Temple Grandin

"Autistics Guide to Dating" A Book by Autistics, for Autistics and Those Who Love Them or Who Are In Love with Them. By: Emilia Murry Ramey and Jody John Ramey

Despite reading all these books I just can't seem to find the perfection that I have worked so hard to find. It is said that there is no such thing as a perfect parent but if I were better at looking after Griffin and teaching/guiding him then there wouldn't be other people examining what's going on here, this is my perspective.

It's not that I mind the Intensive Home people coming over and going to Griffin's school to observe him, in fact I am glad they help us but, I don't feel that I am the pro-active mother that I used to be. After some thought about it and a realization soon after speaking to one of the girls who come over to help us, since taking Geodon my life has been very different. I have even blogged about it in the past since moving here to NC but I couldn't quite put my finger on it, I just knew that I wasn't myself and that I hated the way that I was feeling and behaving. I spoke to one of the three women who are in Intensive Home Care and she helped me to realize that things started changing in our lives since I was hospitalized about 3 years ago subsequently be prescribed Geodon.

I am still on (3 fewer) Geodon but I hope to get off of it because I think that it would make a great difference. Of course when my moods/behaviors are out of balance it effects Griffin and life is really tough for us. Sometimes I am not aware of my mood change because there is nobody around to let me know so it can go on too long. Fortunately my doctors help me recognize the signs of moods changing and change my medications accordingly.

Griffin is such a trooper who is so patient with me most the time but I do see him having more behaviors when I am not really stable. For those who have no idea what it is like to be Bipolar with PTSD please do not judge me, I am here to tell you that it can be extremely frustrating and pure hell while feeling totally helpless/vulnerable.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Anxiety in Autistic Children by Ryan Rivera

Ryan Rivera found my blog and the post I had written about Griffin's anxiety so he asked me if I could publish this article and I gladly agreed to do so. As far as my knowledge and experience goes with Griffin this article rings true but I cannot claim to guarantee all his methods. Do read on because I feel that it is very informative.

5 Modern Techniques to Relieve Anxiety and Improve Comfort in Autistic Children
Persistent anxiety is a common problem with autistic children. Stress and anger often manifest themselves into serious anxiety issues, and without the right treatment, this anxiety can take its toll on the quality of life of you and your child.
Traditionally, anxiety disorders are treated by therapy. While cognitive behavioral therapy has shown benefits for children living with anxiety disorders, the communication and interpersonal issues associated with autism may make it less effective as a long term strategy. That is why researchers are developing new techniques to try to combat anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorders.
Causes of Anxiety in Those with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Children with autism tend to experience greater levels of anxiety than typically developing children. There are many potential causes of anxiety, and the more anxiety a child experiences, the more they are at risk for persistent anxiety issues in the future. Some potential causes of anxiety include:
  • Lack of Routine – Children with autism are much more comfortable when they have a regular routine. If something breaks that routine – either because of a move or a change in the household or because no routine has been successfully established – it can cause the child to experience considerable stress that may become persistent anxiety.
  • Frustration – Autistic children are often trying to communicate and can be frustrated when they are not understood or their needs are not being met. Frustration is a powerful emotion, and the energy they experience may manifest as anxiety.
  • Fear – Like frustration, fear and confusion can also be powerful emotions that may increase feelings of anxiety. Any type of strong negative emotion has the potential to become excess and misplaced energy that can cause your child to experience anxiety. Fear may also be caused by too much sensory information.
  • Socialization Difficulties – Children with autism often struggle with forming friendships. The act of socializing may cause its own frustrations and anxiety, but exacerbating the problem is the lack of perceived social support that some autistic children experience. Psychological studies emphasize the importance of social support with anxiety and other disorders.
  • Family Stress – If you are experiencing stress of frustration, your child may easily pick up on it. Autistic children may be easily affected by the family dynamic, and the more they are sensing stress for you or your partner, the more it may affect them.
Most children experience minor levels of anxiety in these situations, and it does not develop into an anxiety disorder. But if the anxiety becomes more common and consistent, your child may have developed a serious anxiety disorder, and treating that anxiety is an important part of creating a better quality of life for your child, and for you.
Developments in Anxiety Treatments for Children with Autism
Several organizations and researchers have been looking into effective ways to treat anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorders. Like most activities, their success depends largely on your child’s ability to work with the program. The most important thing is to find a program that your child will adjust to, because with autism there is no such thing as a guaranteed solution. However, many of the following activities and therapies may be useful for improving recovery.
  • Surf Camp
Surf camps are one of the most interesting new developments in anxiety reduction for autistic children. During the year, children attend a camp with trained surfers to learn to surf, both with others and one on one. The camps have shown success in improving self-esteem and providing children with an outlet that may decrease their anxiety.
Parents are often allowed to attend, which may improve bonding and give parents a potential activity to complete with their children. Surf camps are meant to provide a stress-free outlet that could have potential long lasting benefits.
  • Compression
Most parents of children with autism are familiar with compression. Children with autism often have an interesting sensory processing system that differs from non-autistic children. It’s been found that compression (sometimes referred to as “deep touch” or “deep touch pressure”) has calming effects on many autistic children.
Placing pressure on the shoulders, elbows, feet, fingers, and other joints is able to improve the flow of sensory information to the central nervous system, which helps children focus and decreases their need to provide their own type of stimulation.
Parents are easily able to perform compression techniques using their hands, but research is also being conducted on machines that may be able to provide more beneficial and balanced compression around the child’s body. A hug machine developed by Dr. Temple Grandin in 1965 has been used in some treatment programs, and modifications are still in development for similar devices that may help reduce anxiety in the future.
  • Body Brushing
Body brushing is similar to compression. It was developed as a therapy technique for ADHD but has shown benefits for children with autism. Using a special soft brush, you or a trained therapist will rub the brush firmly against the child’s skin. Research has shown that body brushing for 5 minutes a day can have a lasting calming effect for as long as two or three hours depending on the child. Body brushing needs to be done several times a day to have the maximum effect. Also, it’s important that you only brush the correct areas. The arms, legs, back, shoulders and feet are the best areas for the body brush. Brushing other areas (the face, stomach, or the neck) may only cause discomfort.
  • Modified Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Traditional cognitive behavioral therapy has been effective for non-autistic children, so researchers have been developing similar techniques for children with autism spectrum disorders. Most strongly resemble their traditional counterparts, but are more likely to integrate relaxation techniques and focus on social issues. It’s also been shown that effective cognitive behavioral therapies may improve overall social functioning and initiation, and it especially useful for children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders. Families are also included in most childhood CBT techniques.
  • Play Therapy
Play therapy has also had success as a treatment option for childhood anxiety. Play therapy involves simple interaction with a child, where the therapist plays with toys or blocks along with the child. The child then shares their problems (frustrations, stress, etc.) through the toys, interacting with the therapist in a way that reveals some of the issues that are bothering them. Once those problems are shared, the therapist then discusses those issues with the child while the two continue playing.
There are several variations of play therapy. Studies have shown that block therapy, most commonly referred to as LEGO Therapy, works very well with autistic children. While generally designed to improve communication and social competence, LEGO therapy also appears to also reduce anxiety.
Addressing Anxiety in the Home
One of the main causes of anxiety in autistic youth is persistent anxiety in the home – especially anxiety with parents and other children. That is why family therapy and addressing your own stress and anxiety issues is one of the best things you can do for your child.
It’s also important that your child be surrounding by a supportive and educated environment so that their needs are understood, both at the home and at school. Before you can hope to handle your child’s anxiety issues you must be able to address your own, and those of the people that surround your child on a regular basis.
The Importance of Addressing Childhood Anxiety in Autistic Children
Childhood anxiety is a serious problem – both in autistic and non-autistic children alike. In the past, anxiety has been treated like a temporary problem, especially in traditionally developing children. Children with anxiety are expected to grow out of their anxious issues as they get older, and little is done to address their needs with the expectation that these children will learn how to cope with general fear and anxiety and live a healthy life as an adult.
But studies have shown that even in traditionally developing children, the long term outlook for kids with anxiety disorders is somewhat discouraging. While some do recover, many also go on to developing more serious problems as adults, including depression. As a parent of someone with autism, it’s important to make sure that your son or daughter is treated as a child, because you do not want to introduce another potential difficulty in your child’s development.
Finding a Treatment That Works For Your Child
Childhood anxiety is already a serious problem. When it affects a child with autism, it is important to seek out effective treatment options. Surf camp, compression, and other methods of keeping your child calm are effective, and therapy has an excellent long term outlook, but the key is finding something that works for your child, and paying attention to any new solutions for general and social anxiety. Every day there is research designed to locate new ways to help autistic child adjust and cope, and any one of these methods may be an effective way to reduce your child’s anxiety.
About the Author: Ryan Rivera has spent his life dedicating himself to research and treatment into anxiety disorders and recovery. To learn more, visit’>

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Working Towards Progress

We are expecting some new changes next week when the Family Preservation team come to our home in order to help us learn how to co-operate to get Griffin on the bus without so much friction between us. Some days it is just impossible to get him out of bed, dressed, and out the door to the bus. It is time that I get some help other than just the Intuvin because he still has some aggressive outbursts and everything that I have tried just doesn't work.

I think that riding the bus is important for him because he can learn social skills with his peers, granted that it is not a mainstream bus it is still instrumental  in helping him learn how to be more independent and to cope with situations that might arise while away from mommy. He is quite fond of the bus driver and assistant so he does look to them for support.

I had a meeting with Griffin's teacher and he explained to me how Griffin has been doing in class. He is on the borderline of being "at risk" but we are taking steps to make some changes to help him turn that around. Mr. Kirk has given Griffin a lot of support and I feel that he has gone that extra mile that none of his teachers has done since moving to the lower 48 from Alaska. Griffin had the ideal situation in Anchorage so I am grateful to finally be getting our heads above water now.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

RIP Michael

My precious and most beloved brother of only 41 years passed away in his sleep Sunday night, he left behind a very devoted wife and two kids. Michael has had a series of seizures of unknown cause and left him with considerable brain damage and it is my understanding that he had one in his sleep causing a fatal stroke.

Michael and I were best buddies growing up and would often gang up on my sister Lisa who was left to watch over us while both parents worked to make ends meet. We had a lot of fun together, there were many fond memories that I will never forget. Michael was the most kind and considerate man that I have ever known and was a great role model for his kids. he showed nothing but respect to his wife. I have always been proud to be his sister.

When I became a teenager and had interest in boys we kind of drifted apart subsequently I moved to Washington state on the other side of the country.Many years have passed and for the past 4 years I have lived back from whence I came to be closer to my family.

I don't think that so far Griffin has any concept of death and that he will never see his uncle Michael again or why so many people are sad and crying. I have attempted to find a way of helping him but he just doesn't seem interested. So I just let it go and will wait to see if he has any questions.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Waiting for Changes

I have been in such a brain fog and in such pain and barely able to function so I have not been online at all, not even to check my e-mail. I don't know what has been going on but today I feel better after a month or so. I think that all that has been going on has been either my fibromyalgia or the meds that I have been taking and stopped, or something else but I believe that I will be here more now because I have missed the blogsphere and all my facebook friends too.

Griffin has been going through some changes and some of that he expresses by lashing out and I hate it for him because I think that a great deal of it has to do with the fact that he can't find the right words to use when dealing with emotions. I have started him on Intuniv again and he is now on the 2mg once a day so we haven't seen any difference yet. In the meantime I patiently await a transformation because using rewards doesn't work anymore and taking away privileges doesn't either.

Griffin has all male teachers this year and I think that he really likes that and responds well since he has no other male influences in his life now. My precious little guy has told me that he was bullied at school so I had a meeting with his teachers and the autism specialist for the district to get down to the root of the problem. Griffin let us know that the bully was from last year but he saw him in the hallway this year. It wasn't until later that day while at the psychologist that I found out that the bully's name is Clinton and he is in Griffin classroom but he could not articulate exactly what the other boy said to him.

Maybe what the boy said was not abusive to an NT (us) but is hurtful to Griffin because he doesn't understand or maybe the boy said something and laughed and embarrassed Griffin...funny that I find myself using that as an example because Griffin has told me quite firmly that he doesn't get embarrassed and I wonder if we are on the same page.

I try to not get too angry about the bully situation yet until I find out more from Griffin and  how it is affecting him. He has been lashing out all summer so the hostility that he has is not directly related to the bullying exclusively if at all.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Home from Camp

I was so happy to see my handsome little guy come through the door of the assembly hall of the camp. Last year he was reserved but gave me lots of big hugs asking the counselor if he could stay another day. But this year he was not only reserved by didn't really give me big hugs and seemed rather upset and wanted to leave right away. He didn't want to stay and wait for his turn in the talent show, but the counselors had reassured me that he was doing fine after the initial transition time  Sunday - Tuesday then he warmed up and seemed to get over his homesickness. I think that social stories are the key to getting him through these situations so much more smoothly and it so simple.
Here is Griffin dancing to Party in the USA , it so awesome because he would not have done that this time last year. He has grown so much in such a short period of time.

I haven't read all the notes that the counselors wrote but will share some of them after I do. As soon as we left the entrance of the camp Griffin was like a vulture searching out for a little tidbit of meat but where could it be? KFC? No, Wendy's that's it! He ate and became so quiet I had to keep checking to see if he was still back there. I am just so grateful to have him home again and to be able to give him hugs.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Autism Camp 2nd year

Griffin started his autism camp yesterday and it hasn't been easy for either one of us. He has had anxiety and a nervous stomach since before we even left home and the counselors are calling and talking to me about Griffin and his day telling me that he is participating in the activities but still has a stomach that hurts. They let Griffin talk to me for awhile and I have no idea if what I have said has helped him or not but I do try to remain positive. It is so hard for me to let go and to allow him to grow up it is true what they say that letting go takes much more strength than holding on.

I am trying to stay busy by cleaning the apartment and I plan to get back to reading my friends blogs again and maybe read all of those Discover magazines that I subscribed to and haven't had the time to read. I won't be exercising because I fractured my heel and strained several muscles in my left foot and I have no idea how I did it! I don't drink alcohol anymore so I wasn't drunk and if I had done it while sleepwalking it would seem that the pain would have awakened me. I have been wearing a walking cast for almost 3 weeks and have not noticed any improvement so I am going for a checkup on Wednesday.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Transition from School to Summer

Maybe you have been wondering where I have been and I can kind of answer that question, time has just gotten away from me. I have been struggling with a bout of apathy where it doesn't matter to me if anything gets done....including this blog. I have taken care of the household duties and taken care of Griffin very well but outside of that everything that I used to enjoy is gone. I am working on it with my doctor.

Griffin is doing very well now that he is over that hump of a transition of school being out. Besides, it was only about 2 days worth of meltdowns and I think that today will be okay (crosses fingers & toes). I decided to not put him in the YMCA day camp because the ratio was so high, it was 20 children to 1 adult and that is way too high for Griffin. So for the summer he will have gymnastics on Tuesdays, OT on Wednesdays, pottery class on Thursdays, Speech on Fridays, Swimming on just about every day at the YMCA and Sundays the Unity Center.

It is time to go make breakfast for my handsome little prince. Hope that you all are having a smooth transition from school to summer. I plan to check out your blogs soon.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Mother's Day Weekend

Here is the beautiful card that Griffin made for me that I will always cherish. It has three "special coupons" that are for hugs and kisses, for making mommy breakfast (watch out!) and for finding flowers. The card itself says: I love you very much. I love lots of things about you. Love, you son Griffin. Isn't that just adorable? It sure did melt my heart and make me cry because I was so touched by something so precious that my child made just for me, my first Mother's Day card.

Griffin and I went to South Carolina to see my mom and dad for the weekend and it would have gone smoothly had I not forgotten the bag that held everything in it and I didn't find out until we had arrived and mom asked me where our bag was. I said "Oh Shit" I placed my hands on either side of my mom's face and looked her straight in the eyes and said, "I forgot our bag, I left it in front of the apartment." I felt like such an idiot because it contained all of our medications and clothing that we needed. But it would be the medications that would be the real problem.

I had to call the on-call doctor to get him to call in to the 24 hour pharmacy for my meds because by this time it is past 10 p.m. and we get to the pharmacy around midnight. Once there I find out that my meds for 2 days and 2 nights is going to cost me about $143.00 just for 4 different meds and about 10 pills!!!! Is that not insane? I am glad that I have insurance and I don't have to pay for those meds on an everyday basis. It was all worth it for the time that Griffin got to spend with his Nana and Papa. I also enjoyed spending time with mom on Mother's Day and watching how happy Griffin is when he is around her/them and seeing my dad too. I can't say that I would do it over again but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

While we were there Griffin, Nana, and I ventured off towards the lake to go fishing because they live right on the lake but I am sad to say that it was unsuccessful. Griffin lost his patience after going through the woods and then waiting for the hook to be baited with corn (that's all we had) so by the time he got the rod in his hands he slung it through the air and slammed it down on the dock and lost the corn. We tried once more he got angry so we called it a day and left the scene. I guess that I know now that Griffin does not have the patience for fishing and there is no reason to invest in fishing equipment of any kind if he is going to get upset because he has to do some waiting while the fish hook is being baited or anything of that sort. Not only that but he is going to have to wait for the fish to bite and I don't know if that is going to upset him too. I think that maybe the novelty of fishing has worn off but we shall see.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Growing Up

Griffin came home the other day with a photo of a little girl that he had taken out of his back pack. I asked him who that was and he said it was Amanda a little girl who rides his bus, a friend of his and I thought that it was so darn cute! Griffin has a little girlfriend and I am not even sure that he even knows that he does but that's okay anyhow. My little guy is getting so big I can't believe it.

I have been going to the gym regularly and started free weights last week, I am so excited to become lean and ripped! Stopped being severely manic because of 1000 mg. of Depakene and now am just hypomanic but I am just getting 4 hours of sleep a night but when one is hypomanic one is able to function with such little amounts of sleep because of having so much extra energy. Don't know if my doc will prescribe more sleep meds since yet another has failed me or if he will let me function on 4 hours which I doubt.

Griffin wants to go fishing so badly but I don't know what to do, how to go about setting up everything. Our neighbor knows how to I think but I want it to be something that Griffin and I do alone. Maybe I will invite our neighbor to go the first trip to teach me how and then tell her that I want to do it alone with Griffin after that but then I will feel bad because Nikki wants to go fishing all the time and talks about how she wishes that she could go. I guess that she could come along sometimes and Griffin and I could do it alone sometimes that seems like the happy medium.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Rest & Relaxation

Griffin and I have been just taking it easy the past couple of days, since there's no school for me things have been so much better. Griffin had only a half day on Friday and yesterday we went to feed the ducks and to the park to play on the playground. He actually wanted to stay and socialize with the kids at the lake when feeding the ducks, talking to them about the kinds of ducks and geese, he observed a little boy and his father fishing asking them questions, and talked to a family about their dog. Oh yea and he meandered up to a picnic table peeking at their food, I guess that he was hungry and curious, and they offered him some cookies asking me first if it was okay. Once we were at the playground Griffin played mostly by himself as I had Abby with me, it was too hot to leave her in the car so we walked her and brought her along.

Today we went to Unity Center, we were late but we made it and Griffin was patient for the most part sitting through the service with me. He got thirsty and needed a cookie which they happened to have nearby. We don't really have any other plans but it is gorgeous outside so we will be spending some time out there today on the playground playing with the neighborhood kids and walking Abby.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Time for Change

I am officially quitting school and it is a big relief for me because all the stress of it was causing me to become overwhelmed and made my Fibtomyalgia flare up really bad, which is a sure sign that something is wrong. I know that I made the right decision because I feel 95% better today after having just made the decision yesterday. That's how the mind and body work. That is how stress works and I am not letting it effect me like that any longer!

It was just too much for me to try to manage a household, to give Griffin the attention he needs and deserves, to keep this place clean, to get to all the doctors appointments and therapy sessions, and to get my school work done and I know that people do it all the time even as single parents but that's okay but I just have a harder time than most people.

Now I will have more time to write in the blog again and to read all my friend's blogs YIPEE!

Friday, April 08, 2011

He Couldn't Hurt a Flea!

How can anyone think that my child would ever hurt me? I mean like really hurt me as in harm me. That is what my neighbor thinks and says that she worries about me as Griffin gets older. She says that Griffin bullies me sometimes which maybe is what she is seeing is when he is having a meltdown and I know that IF he lashes out then I need to get it under control but he hasn't done that in a long time and she has never seen him do it either.

What she witnessed the other day was at the craft store when he had a meltdown and all he was doing was crying at first and then he hugged her kind of hard but he was attempting calm himself and apparently she was seeing him as being aggressive. He was upset initially because he said that I pushed him and I told him that I was sorry that I didn't remember pushing him that I didn't mean to but he kept saying that I pushed him but before the chaos started he had wanted some candy by the register and I told him no that it wasn't okay and that was when he lost it and told me that I had pushed him. So was he upset over the candy or the pushing? Was he having the meltdown because of how I handled the situation and because I said no or was it because he had felt that his space had been violated by me and he just couldn't handle that (not typical but possible)?

I would like to take this time to thank my dear friend Amy who has taken the time to help me and I just got off the phone with her and didn't even tell her how wonderful she is and how much she means to me...what a friend I am! I LOVE YOU Girl!!!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Griffin Wasn't Feeling Well

This is kind of old news now but I was so busy tending to him and letting him use the computer while he was at home that I didn't get around to posting about it on the blog. But Griffin had to have an ultrasound two days ago and lab work done yesterday to see what was going on with this pain that he has been having in his abdomen.

It started out about a month ago as heartburn and I let it go about a week because I thought that he may have been just making it up trying to get out of school and homework but when I realized that he was not kidding then I took him to the doctor who prescribed Prevacid to be taken twice a day which helped his stomach pain but not the pain that he had in the lower part of his abdomen.

I took him again to the same clinic and a different doctor saw him and said that the pain seemed to be over his gall bladder and appendix so he ordered the ultrasound which turned out to be normal and lab work which we will know about tomorrow.

I have kept him out of school because he has been so very lethargic not wanting to do even his favorite activities and seemed to be in a lot of pain but tonight he was quite energetic, running around feeling great and since I am writing this at midnight I think that it is safe to say that I will be sending him to school tomorrow. I might wait until I get the lab results just to be sure and to give him some fun time out of school to go fly his kite but he will be going back tomorrow!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

An Important Letter to the Teacher

I need you, Anonymous, to help me out on this one! I do wish that I knew who you are because you are so wonderful, so kind, and so caring to us, but for now I will just settle for some helpful advice. You were right that I should have gone to observe Griffin in the classroom before signing the IEP because I just found out from Griffin that he does sometimes have meltdowns at school which means that they lied to me. The told me that he doesn't have them at school at all and I, being so trusting and wanting to believe them I suppose, believed them and signed the IEP.

Now I haven't sent the e-mail to the teacher being pissed off that I am but trying to maintain some semblance of professionalism even though I would love to let loose on her and give her a piece of my mind! Here is the e-mail that I have composed after she wrote to me and told me that I could observe Griffin for ONLY 30 minutes in the classroom during reading time:
Hi Mrs.   W.

This date will work for me but 30 minutes will not suffice. I would like to observe him for at least an hour in the classroom setting and it doesn't matter what he is doing. 
I need to observe his behavior in the classroom because Griffin has informed me that he does in fact have meltdowns in school sometimes which means that you have lied to me which means that I am very unhappy right now that I signed that IEP! I feel that I was tricked into signing it, that I was rushed through the meeting since I didn't have an advocate and now I will get a lawyer and have someone on my side to advocate for Griffin.

So, (Anon.) and everyone else I need to know how to change this letter because I haven't sent it yet and what should I add to it? I sure hope that you are reading this post soon so that I can send this letter to her soon. I want to get the point across but be cool about it at the same time especially since these letters may be used by lawyers later on if it ever gets to that point heaven forbid!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hanging Out with Friends

Here's a couple of pics of Griffin hanging out with his friend and neighbor Isiah who is showing him how to bat and catch the to play baseball basically without running the bases. He was so patient with him.

Here is a picture of Griffin flying his kite for the first time on Thursday when we went to his school. It was fun until it got caught up in a tree.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Griffin had a HELLacious meltdown last night and I didn't handle things very well because I slipped and had a cigarette. Yes I had one! It was only one and I was so stressed because his meltdown was horrid he was screaming and crying and no matter what I did I couldn't get him to stop and it was making me crazy! For those of you who don't know, I quit smoking about 8 months ago after smoking for about 25 years so it's a big deal that I slipped and had a cigarette. Griffin was upset because when we were sitting at the computer together and something popped up for an Adobe update so since we use Adobe I clicked on it not knowing what was about to ensue. So we sit there as it is downloading and I click on it again as it asks for permission again and if I agree to the rights and responsibilities so as I am clicking on that Griffin gets upset all of a sudden and burst out in tears to not download anything to the computer. By now it is too late because it is already downloading and I can't stop it and I explain that to him, that there was no way that I could have undone what I have done and that computers need things downloaded to them sometimes because it helps them to work better. But that did not help him at all.

I just didn't know what to do in this situation to help him because the download was already going on and by this time it had already disappeared from the computer completely so I go to the computer to show him that it is gone but it didn't help at all! He is screaming at the top of his lungs and crying and I am helpless. I use what his teacher tells him that if he has a meltdown that I am going to have a meltdown and that didn't help he didn't care by then. I tried giving him lots of hugs but to no avail he wouldn't have it. So if someone has the answer I would love to know what you would have done to make things better because I just don't know.

The meltdown ended eventually, I just waited it out and let him have his space and he calmed down on his own, sometimes that is what I have to do. We did some sensory stuff like rolling him out like a pancake with a big ball he really likes that and big hugs and snuggling. So the ending was good!

I am now taking Doxepin for sleep and it is working better than any of the others have YEAH!!!!! I slept so well last night and zonked out right after Griffin did as I never take my medicine while he is awake. I like this medicine because it works with my natural rhythm of sleep because it causes me to sleep when I am closest to being tired (as I don't generally get tired due to being more manic most the time than depressed) not just when I take the medicine and it doesn't make me sleep too hard so that I am able to sleep lightly enough to wake up if I need to for Griffin. I have the greatest doctor in the world and I am so grateful that he is so tuned in to what I need. My insomnia is really a major obstacle in my life and interferes with any kind of "normal" functioning so it is nice to be able to sleep every night and to wake in the morning feeling refreshed!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Just a Quick Note

I have a million other things that I need to be doing so I don't have much time to write but I did want to write a little bit for now and catch up later hopefully because I have school. The latest is that Griffin hasn't been back to gymnastics because he hurt his knee at school last week but the doctor said that it was just bruised and okay. I had the IEP (Individual Education Program) and it went well even though I didn't have an advocate there because she couldn't make it. I asked lots of questions and made sure to schedule an observation of Griffin in the classroom. I truly feel that his teachers this year have his best interest at heart and it has shown in Griffin's performance and interest in school. He is concerned about getting his homework completed and looks forward to getting on the bus in the morning and speaks nicely about his teachers when asked. So I don't think that they were trying to pull the wool over my eyes in the IEP and were very sincere. One of his teachers commented that she has really seen Griffin's personality this year and how she loved it because last year was so bad for him and it was because his teacher was miserably horrid! There were several things that I learned about Griffin that I didn't know but I can't write about it right now as Griffin just informed me that he is sleepy so I have to go. Oh and I am now taking Chloral Hydrate for sleep which if a regular person took, one without severe insomnia, well it's what they used to refer to when they said that they slipped someone a mickey.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I love him so much and today was a good day as a mom, not every day is though, not every day I am proud of myself. But today was one of those bonding days where we took time together and talked and walked Abby and he wasn't on the computer all the time or watching TV because I restricted it and it was so worthwhile. That is definitely going to be the norm around here from now on and it's back to bed at 8:00 - 8:30 so we can talk and read so that we can have that quality time together like we need. I asked him if he liked many hugs or few hugs and he said few so I won't be giving him too many. He has been having stomach problems so I got him some ginger capsules per Dr. D's request and they seem to help and Griffin told me that he didn't tell Mrs. White, his teacher, that his stomach hurt today at lunch. I think that I am going to take the Prevacid capsules that Dr. P prescribed to the school nurse just for lunchtime so that he won't have a tummy ache during school because they won't give out herbs.

I am up all night literally because the prescription of Lunesta that the doctor gave me yesterday didn't work so I haven't been able to sleep all night and it is now 3:00 a.m. and I need to get Griffin up at 6:00.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Griffin had his first lesson at gymnastics yesterday and it went so well! His instructor/coach, Miss Vicky, was simply awesome! She gave Griffin all the necessary attention to give him the help that he needed in order for him to enjoy himself thoroughly and to participate in all the different areas. They worked out on the floor doing tumbling, the balance beam, the bars, the spring board, and the trampoline. Griffin was grinning from ear to ear the whole time and laughing throughout and needless-to-say mommy was thrilled. Griffin was a great listener paying attention to all of Miss Vicky's instruction and following the other kids. I decided when I signed him up that he would do best in a class that was younger than him and it ended up working out beautifully. The rest of the class was girls about 5-6 years old who didn't seem to mind that Griffin was older and the only boy, they were just interested in doing gymnastics.

Griffin tried gymnastics when he was about 5-6 years old but he was all over the place and it didn't work out so I am super thrilled that it is working out this time, it is a great outlet for him and good exercise in commitment and the discipline of following instruction in an activity.

Griffin has been in and out of meltdown mode since he got home from school so I am going to have to finish up and publish this post as is, otherwise heaven knows when I will get around to finishing it up. I haven't been very consistent lately as far as finding the time to write in the blog.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Sometimes the Autism Disappears: watch video

I made a video of Griffin playing and interacting with his neighbor Sharon, you can't even tell that he has autism in this video. Please take a moment and watch it.

This is a great post about getting a break from autism: as I am sure that we all can relate to needing to have just one day to get away from it all.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Griffin's EEG

Griffin had his EEG last week (Friday) and it went fairly well he sat still for the better part of 6 hours watching only one DVD and as seen here playing on the cell phone on the Internet most the time. Beth Ann was the technician and she was a doll who made things so much easier for both of us. She had brought snacks and games for Griffin and she had the best personality ever! Griffin only got upset once about halfway through and made all the electrodes come off and Beth Ann had to put all them back on all over again which was a pain in the butt because Griffin said that it hurt when she had to scrub his skin to clean off the past with a Q-tip. We got out of there after 7 hours and had to go straight to speech where his therapist said that he was especially calm that day more so than usual. I guess that not having to hold it all together for school all day helped him to not be so stressed out afterwards like he usually is for speech.

I haven't been reading the blogs that I usually follow (and I apologize because I miss reading about my friends) because I just get so distracted and don't seem to have enough time in the day. I just started Strattera for my ADHD and I sure hope that it helps because I have a hell of a time getting organized and getting things done because I can't seem to finish anything. I start several tasks and go back and forth but completing them is so difficult. Maybe it is hard to imagine if you don't have it but believe me, it is a struggle! Just sitting still long enough to compose a post is a task in and of itself. I do well cleaning because I get to move around constantly even though I get distracted when I move into another room to drop something off and proceed to start something else and end up not getting back to the original task until much later. I better finish up this post before I get up to get something to drink otherwise I will forget it and it will end up being another week before I get back to it.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Friends Over For the First Time

Griffin and I were outside yesterday and Griffin was following around the neighborhood kids and talking to them appropriately and listening when they were talking to him. One of the girls, Sharon, was telling us about how another of the girls, Shalom's, scooter was hidden away from her by her mom because Shalom would leave the scooter out in the yard at the apartment complex and Shalom didn't know about it. Shalom was very angry that she couldn't find her scooter but Sharon told Griffin that it was a big secret that Shalom couldn't find out that her mom had hidden the scooter and for Griffin not to tell her and Griffin continued to play with the kids and didn't tell Shalom about the big secret. I have mixed feelings about the secret one way I was proud of him for understanding that it was a big deal for Shalom to not know that her mom had hidden her scooter from her but in another way I don't want Griffin to keep secrets from me and I wonder if someone told him to keep a secret from me would he? We have had that discussion on numerous occasions and I stress how important it is that he tells me everything no matter what so here's hoping but for now we will be happy. I digress....

In the midst of playing Griffin pops up and asks Sharon if she wants to come over for hot chocolate, actually if I remember correctly he asked me first if it was okay. Then he asked Isiah, Mekelle., Tyler, and Shalom. They didn't want to answer him and tried to just pass off what he was saying but I insisted that they give him a definite answer. So they all basically said "no" except for Isiah who said he would be over later. So we left and went inside. Much later I heard a knock on the door and lo and behold it was all the kids plus Sharon's little 3 year old brother,Chris. I fumbled around in the kitchen trying to find 6 cups for hot chocolate and they were hungry so I popped all the popcorn that I had left which was 4 bags.

Griffin was happy and laughing out loud so that made me very happy and I was so proud of him for inviting the kids over! It goes to show that Griffin has it in him to socialize and enjoy it and what more could I ask for then that? It was a great day indeed!!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Let Me Tell You a Little About Celebrating Autism by Stuart Duncan

When I tell the average person that my son has Autism, they feel really bad for me. The fact is that there is a lot to celebrate.
Milestones are an achievement, not just an item on a list
When you have a child with Autism, you learn to appreciate the milestones, both big and small. Some would say that we celebrate a little too much for such little accomplishments but I’d argue that we celebrate accordingly, it’s other parents who take them for granted.
First words, learning to walk, swimming, riding a bike, reading, writing… all these things that make parents proud are far more than just steps along the way when your child has Autism… they’re cause for celebration.
Take nothing for granted
Along the same lines, but very different from milestones, is taking nothing for granted. Unless you have a child with Autism (or another disability like it), you’ll probably never know what it’s like to be lucky enough to be hugged one time a year.
Does your child look you in the eye? If your child has Autism, maybe not. Does your child give you a hug or kiss sometimes? If your child has Autism, maybe not.
You will never ever realize just how much the tiniest little things can be so extremely important until they’re not there.
Patience, more than you ever thought possible
The biggest problem with milestones is that everyone knows what they are and when they should happen so when your child is missing them, everyone says something. It’s hard, it’s oh so very hard.
After a while though, you develop a thicker skin… not just the patience required to take their “advice” a little better but also to have the patience and self confidence in knowing that if you never give up on your children, the milestones will come.
The beauty that is around us
The world around us moves pretty fast and can be so filled with sights and sounds that it turns into a bit of a blurry mess. Our mind makes it that way to keep us from becoming overwhelmed, crazy and tired. We filter through a lot of everything that goes on in our daily lives without really realizing it.
Many people, especially the children, with Autism don’t have the same filtering capabilities and often times do get overwhelmed by it all. This often results in meltdowns or even violence.
You, as the parent, become increasingly aware of the world around you because you have to, because you need to know what you are getting your child into. Loud restaurants, carnivals, movie theaters… many many places can be far too difficult for your child to be able to process and you need to be aware of that before the fact.
As you develop this ability over time, it forces you to slow down and truly appreciate the sights and smells and sounds that surround us every single day.
You go outside and there isn’t a car in the neighborhood… it’s so very peaceful. Before you likely never would have noticed, much less enjoyed that feeling of peace, because your mind builds that filter in place before you ever go out and so you don’t notice if there are cars or not.
Your child is perfect because of who they are
It isn’t until others see your child as flawed, and worse, until you start to see your own child as flawed, that you can learn what is truly important… not a disability, not a disorder, not even a gift… a child is who they are inside and who they are inside is exactly who they are supposed to be… your child.
It’s ok if no one will ever look at your child the same way you do, they’re not supposed to. Our children are amazing human beings with unlimited potential.
The difference
Celebrate the differences, not just in your child, but in yourself. For better or worse, you’ve become a better person for it, you’ve become a better parent. Your child isn’t like other children… and that seems hard to take but honestly, before your child was born, and you saw how “other children” are on the news or in movies… is that really what you wished for when you imagined having a child? For them to be like all the others?
No, none of us want our children to have it harder than anyone else, and no we don’t want our children to suffer… but many of us recognize that we can have these thoughts and these feelings while still being able to recognize and celebrate the differences.
Your child is amazing. You are amazing. Celebrate it… you’ve earned it.
Courtesy of Stuart Duncan

Read more:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Got Some Answers

I posted on my status about Griffin having meltdowns at home but not at school on Facebook and got some great answers and I would like to thank everyone who supported me and helped me through this difficult time: Sarah Jane: They are all like that -think Roisin has had 1 single meltdown in nearly 4 years (at montessori and school) yet has lots at home; it doesn't mean you are doing anything wrong.
April Fox: When Jeremy was in school, he'd hold it together all day and melt when he got home. I think it's simple: home is the safest place he knows. He can melt and be ok there.
I wrote: I thought that I was alone in this and that it was all least I now know that it's not just me.
April Fox: No sweetie, we're ALL lucky enough to be our kids' safe place :) hang in there, it will get easier.
Margaret: same here Lora only at home.
Kathy Ryan: I tend to think (rightly or wrongly, I don't know) that Gia tries very hard to keep herself under control and to "behave" in school and it pure exhaustion when she gets out of school and she's had enough of trying to let's loose out of school even on the walk from school gates to car. Don't worry Lora you are never alone.
Paula O'Connor: No, it's not you I kind of think I'm the dog he kicks when he returns home.
I got over 20 comments that all said that their child comes home and has meltdowns but doesn't have them at school because that is a safe place for them. I would publish more of them but as you can tell my font is screwed up. So now I don't feel so bad and know that I am not alone and can rest assured that Griffin is just like any other autistic child who loves his mommy and feels secure enough to have meltdowns at

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Well I had the meeting with the teachers and have a new issue at hand because Griffin is a little angel at school and doesn't have meltdowns, so now I need to figure out why he is only having them at home and at therapy. They said that Griffin doesn't have any gestural stereotypy at school and that when he does start to have a meltdown then he is easily redirected and seems to calm down just fine. And that thing that he does in reverse when he is successful, like when he wins at a game and then gets upset as he does in therapy, they said that he loves winning at school and that he loves it when the other kids praise him.

The speech pathologist was not present at the meeting this morning so I don't know about his stuttering so I guess that I will have to wait until the middle of March for the IEP to talk to her and if he is stuttering then I will request a FBA by a BCBA so that we can get down to the root of the matter.

I don't know where to begin except that I know that if I don't do something soon then it is going to get out of hand. I don't know if he is just trying to manipulate me and his therapists or if there is truly something going on beneath that I am just not seeing. I do know that I am going to start redirecting him and saying what his teacher says to him, "Griffin if you have a meltdown then I just might have a meltdown too!" and apparently that makes his eyes big and he doesn't know what to think but it stops him in his tracks. Maybe I am not giving him enough positive reinforcement but he gets plenty of that in therapy and still acts out. We have an appointment with his doctor on the 2nd but I just don't think that it is a medication issue if he is fine at school so we are not going to change his meds.

I am going to discuss this with his psychologist on the 1st because he knows Griffin and can help me out with this I believe. In the meantime if any of you have suggestions on what you would do then I welcome your comments.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Meltdowns a Plenty

Griffin's meltdowns are on the rise and the reason is not always clear but for sure he is out of sorts. I do know that part of the reason for some of them was the fact that I was so full of anxiety (but that has been nipped in the bud) and couldn't handle life myself but that leaves plenty unaccounted for and I am concerned. I have been giving him deep pressure hugs and doing the hand press with him when he gets upset but at times he just runs away and I cannot help him. I guess that I am not good with talking him through the meltdowns because I never seem to get far that way. So if anyone has any suggestions on what to say in those kind of situations then I am all ears!

He came home today off of the school bus crying because he said that he had a sore throat so I am going to call to make an appointment in the morning with the doctor, hopefully it is not too bad. At 7:15 I have the meeting with the teachers about Griffin's behavior, stuttering, anxiety, and the gestural stereotypy. Now that I am off of the Topomax then I think that I will be able to have a clearer mind and be able to focus better. I will report back tomorrow on how things went.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I finally got a meeting scheduled with Griffin's teacher for Tuesday and I have my list of things that I want to cover: anxiety, gestural stereotypy, stuttering, communication, and observing Griffin in his classroom. I am going to also make sure that we schedule the next IEP meeting for March, the last one was on March 25th so it may be too soon.

I have been having a lot of anxiety lately and feeling overwhelmed by this Literature class and just by life in general which is not anything unusual for a bipolar person, it doesn't take much to overwhelm me and confuse me. Sometimes I feel like I have a lower IQ due to the medications that I take because life is such a struggle for me intellectually and with common sense. You would not believe how long it takes me to simply post in this blog and to feel comfortable with its content, and how many times I go back and edit it before I finally publish it.

Yesterday I lost my keys because apparently I left them in the door of the car and drove off. Now how freakin idiotic is that? I swear I have lost my memory and am on the way to Alzheimers or dementia or at least that is how I feel! Like this post, and many others, I will write it and then as soon as I am done I will remember what else I wanted to put in it or hours later I will remember. That is just ridiculous to me! Does anybody else do that or am I alone on this one? If I don't write things down right away then I will forget it for days and not remember things when I need to.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Anxiety, Stuttering, and IEP

Griffin has school today because it is a make up snow day for the day he missed this week and he was surprisingly okay with it and didn't offer any resistance. It is only a half day anyhow so it's not a big deal.

I spoke with Griffin's speech pathologist yesterday while in Griffin's session, he was having a hard time focusing because he was sick so she let him play while we talked about his stuttering, his ritual behaviors, and his IEP. Griffin's teacher had written a note that she was concerned about his stuttering and its frequency and that we would address it at the IEP meeting. Griffin's speech pathologist told me that she thought that his stuttering was in direct correlation with his anxiety levels and that if they were seeing it more in school then she felt that something was going on there to stress him out. And I don't know what's going on because I don't get regular communication from his teacher, that makes me very upset and I have tried to let her know how important it is to me that she communicates to no avail. So I am going to bring it up again when we have the IEP meeting in March but I doubt that it is going to do much good because she is just going to tell me that she doesn't have the time or the opportunity to write to me during the day. I understand that she is busy and has a classroom full of kids to contend with but Griffin has special needs and they have got to be addressed!

The speech path. also said that his ritual behaviors were directly related to his anxiety levels as well which makes sense. He does this thing with his hands where he lays them out flat and touches the palms to the table then turns them over and touches the backside and keeps turning them over touching each side several times and then he is ready to proceed with whatever it is that he is supposed to be doing. I notice it no matter whether he is doing something that he enjoys or whether he is in a hurry to get something done. I need to know if he is doing this sort of thing at school or anything else because we need to figure out what his anxiety levels are. If he is having anxiety at school, and the speech path. is right about it, then I need to know so that we can figure out what to do about decreasing it if they are not doing anything about it already. It seemed to me that his team was And I asked for a parent teacher conference at least a month ago and they still haven't honored my request and that really pisses me off! I had greater confidence in his teacher this year than that because she had been so nice and co-operative in the past. I just called and left a message for her to call me about it.

I am going to talk to his psychologist about this too and see what he thinks about these ritual behaviors because I think that the speech path is right because it makes perfect sense to me that he is stemming or is it stimming? I have forgotten how to spell it because spell check is telling me that stimming is not a word. What a goof ball!!! I thought that it was "stimming" from the word stimulation. So which is it?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

American Literature Since the Civil War

Well, I started my class yesterday and it was a pretty easy start but....doesn't mean that it is going to remain so. I have read the syllabus and it is not going to be smooth sailing but on the advice of a few of my friends I am going to take it one day at a time and one week at a time because that is how the work is set up and do my best to not lose any sleep over the work. I know that I am going to enjoy doing the reading, as long as I can keep up, and writing essays will be a challenge but as long as my memory can sustain me then I won't be at a loss for words and will be able to recall all my vocabulary words. Thank goodness for the good ole Thesaurus! I am willing to put in the work necessary to get the highest grade possible instead of just passing because it is important to me to make an A. This is why I get so stressed out because I set the bar so high, maybe I should just focus on passing so that I don't worry so much...? It's like a wise man once told me that once he graduated from college his father asked him what they were going to call him when he did so regardless of his grades and the man!

Griffin was out of school today because somewhere in the county there was icy roads. We went to my therapist and to cruddy McDonald's...I swear I don't know why I agree to let him eat there because it is just plain nasty but he loves it. It is rare that we go so I guess that it isn't such a big deal I guess that I just really wish that he ate a healthier diet. If only he would magically start eating veggies and automatically hate sugar we would be in business but try as I might he ain't eatin' vegetables anytime soon. I swear that I am trying new foods with him if it's the last thing that I do one way or another I am getting new foods into that boy. I've got a Rachel Ray family cookbook that has some good stuff in it that he might try and I have a Weight Watchers cookbook that he was thumbing through looking at the pictures showing some interest in so I might try some of those because if he sees a picture first and is interested then he is more likely to try it once it is on the plate.

We went to Target with our neighbor Nikki who bought him two late birthday presents, a Cookie Monster who talks and a small Elmo. He giggled so hard when the Cookie Monster would talk, it's always fun to hear him laugh so much in fact, it's the most euphonious sound in the world!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Just a Little Behind

I have had so much to do in the past few days and I just haven't had time to sit down and write in the blog. I took Griffin to see Dr. Sankey, the behavior specialist, and got his eval and there is nothing on it that is really big news, his verbal IQ is a 76 (well below average) and his non-verbal IQ is a 98 which is average. So that just goes to show that he has a great degree of difficulty with his communication. I have sent an e-mail to my friend at the Autism Society about my communication with Griffin...or the lack thereof...and asked how I can improve upon it, if there was a book out there that might help. I have "Talk Ability" which helps because it teaches one how to talk to the autistic individual but doesn't give me actual conversations/sentences that I could use for him. I am having a hard time keeping the conversations going with the words that he comes up with, which are few.  Anyhow, she is going to forward the e-mail to the speech and language folks that she knows to see how they can help.

I am due to begin my English literature (online) class on Monday and am feeling kind of stressed about it because I don't know how I am going to handle the workload and juggle everything else but it's not as though I haven't done it before with other classes so I don't know what I am so worried about! It's just that I have a high propensity for anxiety due to my PTSD and so I get charged up more easily, and I guess just because it is something new and new things bother me. I almost didn't get my class on time and I am going to get my book one day late but I guess that shouldn't be too big of a problem.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Self-Regulation Techniques

Here are some techniques that Griffin's occupational therapist gave to us for Griffin to use in order to calm down and to avoid meltdowns and I find them to be very helpful and quite effective. One of my fellow bloggers had posted about an emergency meltdown kit and I thought that this might be useful to include in one because it has helped us so much. The best part is that there is only one thing necessary, the techniques only require the use of your child's own body in order to relax and calm down with the exception of the vest and social stories so they are free and can be performed anywhere.

1. Isometric exercises: Any kind of isometrics offer a lot of proprioceptive (muscle) input. Some examples are:
*pushing hands together (use cues "hands together, elbows up, push push push, relax)
*hooking fingers together (one arm palm down, the other palm up) and have child pull fingers apart while                                hooked together.
*giving child a bear hug while he/she tries to pull your arms away
*chair push-ups
*deep breathing

2. Here are two suggestions
*A good weighted vest from somewhere like Southpaw Enterprises or pressure vest
*also, social stories or cartoon strips on preferred behavior in public places has worked well with Griffin

3. Blow out five candles to teach deep breathing. To teach this, hold up your hand with five fingers spread. Blow on each finger, one at a time, as if blowing out birthday candles, drop each finger as the child "blows it out" one at a time until they are all five blown out. When the child learns this concept, you can simply say, "Blow out candles" and hold up your hand.

4. This one is especially effective for Griffin: have the child interlace fingers and lay hands on top of head and press down on top of head while sitting or standing and all the while taking deep breaths in and out. The pressure on the neck and spine is very relaxing. I do it with him and find it to be effective for me too!


 RELAXATION: A Comprehensive Manual for Adults, Children, and Children with Special Needs by Joseph R. Cautela and June Groden. It was recommended by a behavior special ist who works with children with autism.

The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook by Martha Davis, Matthew McKay, PhD, and Elizabeth Robbins. It's available through

Sensory Comfort is having a "going out of business" sale so check them out, they do have books and assorted other sensory items.

I hope that you find these techniques useful in your own life. If you have any questions feel free to ask me.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy 9th Birthday Griffin!

Well after getting presents for a week now and celebrating at Fun Depot yesterday with my sister and her family it is finally the day!
Unfortunately Griffin vomited last night so he is home today and we are going to make the best of it. He is in good spirits and probably could go to school I didn't put him on the bus because he had no eaten yet and didn't know if he would be okay but what the heck it is his birthday. He has not wanted to eat yet so I don't know if he is going to hold food down or not and he wants to go to Burger King to see what kind of toys they have...I don't really think that that is a sound choice in trying to keep food down but maybe we will try something at home first and then Burger King.

Happy birthday my buddy, you mean the world to me and I am so proud of you and all the progress that you have made. You want to use the computer right now so I am going to have to make this short. I am so grateful for you my precious child and when you laugh and smile you make life shine and I am so glad that I am alive, you are the reason for living my son! I try to do what is right by you and to make you comfortable to the best of my ability to minimize your meltdowns so that you have a good quality of life and I hope that you are truly happy Griffin because that means everything to me!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

In Reverse

Why is it when Griffin has success and things work out for him to his advantage he gets upset to the point of having a meltdown? Does anyone else have that going on with their child? It is so damn frustrating because just when I think that I am going to be able to praise Griffin and celebrate with him he turns things around and gets upset sometimes screaming and crying. Just now he had gotten upset because the printer wouldn't work so we had to restart the computer then once it worked he ran through the apartment screaming and ranting that he had to restart the computer again, even though it spit out the paper that he wanted printed.

We had a problem in Speech yesterday, he won the game that he was playing with his Speech Pathologist and he got very upset so I talked to her about it and she said that she had seen it before in kids with autism. She said that it just seemed that their wires were crossed, that they did several different things in reverse like Griffin did. Griffin also gets upset when he finds that there is a connection between the two of them which is easier to understand than the other one.

I just don't get it and would love it if somebody would help me to understand what is going on with my child because I don't know how to react. All I do now is to calm him down and try to get him to focus on the task at hand and to understand that it is good not bad and to keep myself calm too having patience with him. I plan to ask the psychologist about it but that's not until the 9th but I would like to know if anyone has had any experience with that before then.

Britax Car Seat

I want to sell this car seat, it has only been used a few times and it has just been sitting around the apartment so it is like brand new.I got it as a spare car seat when we lived with my parents.  It was made by Britax which is a high quality car seat manufacturer (look them up) and it fits a child 40-100 lbs. so it is ideal for a special needs child since it has a five point harness. I bought it for $600.00 so if anyone is interested I am selling it for $350.00 . Of course there would be shipping costs but it is a great deal because Britax stopped making this style so you can't buy it any longer and the one that Griffin has been using that is exactly the same but a different color he has had since he was 5 years old and he is now 9 years old. So that just goes to show how much use you can get out of a car seat like this.

I got it for Griffin for two reasons: 1.Because research has shown that children are safer with the five point harness 2. As he got older and could use a booster seat he would undo the seat belt so the five point harness prevented him from easily undoing the seat belt. Now he is finally ready for a booster seat because he no longer will get out of the seat belt and even though I wish that he could remain in a five point harness I have to put him in a seat belt.

If you have any questions just e-mail me, go to my profile and there you can e-mail me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jumbo Elmo

Griffin's other birthday present arrived today, his jumbo Elmo that I won on e-bay for $2.99.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Memetastic Award

DeeAnn at thoughtfully passed this ostentatious award on to me. Giving credit where credit is due, it originated from Jill at Both ladies are also mothers of incredible children that happen to have autism.

Here are Jill's rules for the award. Due to language that may be offensive to my younger followers and my mom who reads this blog, things have been edited things just a tad...

1. You must proudly display the absolutely disgusting graphic that I have created for these purposes. It's so bad that not only did I use COMIC SANS, but there's even a little jumping, celebrating kitten down there at the bottom. It's horrifying! But its presence in your award celebration is crucial to the memetastic process we're creating here.

2. You must list 5 things about yourself, and 4 of them must be bold-faced lies. Just make stuff up, we'll never know; one of them has to be true, though. Of course, nobody will ever know the difference, so we're just on the honor system here. I trust you.

3. You must pass this award on to 5 bloggers that you either like or don't like or don't really have much of an opinion about. I don't care who you pick, and nobody needs to know why. I mean, you can give a reason if you want, but I don't really care.

4. If you fail to follow any of the above rules, I will harass you incessantly until you either block me on Twitter or ban my IP address from visiting your blog. I don't know if you can actually do that last thing, but I will become so annoying to you that you will actually go out and hire an IT professional to train you on how to ban IP addresses just so that I'll leave you alone. I'm serious. I'm going to do these things. 

1. I  sky dived nude on my last birthday
2. I love Guns N' Roses
3. I don't wear underwear
4. I own a Harley soft tail
5. Sleeping comes easily to me and I am lucky that way

Now that is out of the way I've got to pass along this little award to 5 bloggers and here we go: 
Erin at I Should Be Studying
Arline at The Autism Princess
Jennifer C at Fingerprints of Autism
Casdok at Mother of Shrek
Jazzygal at Jazzygal

Check out their blogs!