Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Remembering When - Camp Lakey Gap July 2011

Griffin is dancing and singing having a great time in this video as he did at camp that year but he did not want to go to camp this past summer telling me that he was afraid. His inhibitions have been stifled since then for some reason and he has separation anxiety to the point of not even wanting to sleep in his own bed so he still creeps into my room at night and I don't wake up. We talk about his fears but he doesn't seem to know how to express what it is that is bothering him exactly. He has blamed it on the TV in his room but I have removed it and it didn't help he just doesn't seem to have the ability to express himself. We are going to find out what it is so that we can have this old Griffin back that is in the video, the one that dances around and goes to camp without being afraid.

I had my knee surgery and an adverse reaction to the anesthesia, nausea, vomiting, and severe fatigue but it only lasted about 2 days and now I am better especially now that I can take a shower. Thank goodness for the help of my mom because Griffin had a day off of school, I could hardly stay awake and I was so sick and he was in such an ill mood too. It was a blessing that she was able to get him out of the apartment for a little while too.

I hope that you watched the awesome video of Griffin dancing, you will fall in love with him if you haven't already.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Yesterday I had knee surgery because I had a torn meniscus on my left knee, a rather old injury that has progressively gotten worse with time, it started when I had my foot surgery back in March when I was in a wheelchair and I would pull myself along with my left leg. I have been swimming to try to lose weight and it just made it so that it wouldn't heal but instead it started popping and hurt worse so I had to get it taken care of so thankfully I am blessed with insurance that allows me to do that since I am on disability.

Today I feel pain because I have had surgery and kind of over exerted myself in the evening because my mom was helping me and I hate for her to do so much but I am moving around with a walker. She is so very helpful and kind but she does everything without saying a word about it and I feel so bad that she not only helps me but my dad too. I only get to see them every so often because they live an hour and a half away from here so that is about every 2 to 3 months so I like for her to be able to relax when she is here but that is rare because she is always helping me bless her heart! Thanks mom I love you!

Griffin has had behavior problems today all day long, it started from the minute he got out of bed and we found out that it was a teacher's work day but then it was too late for him to go back to sleep, too late for any of us to turn back. I just drank copious amounts of coffee and I think that now at 12:26 p.m. it is finally beginning to work and I woke up at 5:00 a.m. Griffin is with mom at the store right now thank goodness he is out of the apartment for awhile maybe it will help with his boredom but that was no excuse for him hitting me all morning....that has got to stop! I have got to talk to this LCSW that he is going to see on the 8th of Oct. he is hitting me more and more and hitting the remote control and the computer monitor all the time. He has consequences but they do not work anymore even when I increase the amount of time or the degree of, the loss of computer time which means the most to him. Any suggestions?????

I am tired and my knee is hurting from sitting here, I hope that Griffin is in a better mood when he gets back from the store.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Birthday Party

I was so busy socializing with my friends that I had not seen for over 2 years that I forgot to get pics of Griffin playing with the other kids. Here is my dear friend Lisa who I grew up with and used to be nanny to her daughter Devon (pictured below), I can't believe that she has a 6 year old and 4 year old...I should be feeling old by now but I am just really proud of them, not feeling old yet.

Griffin played with the younger kids, thank goodness they were younger otherwise he would have had a hard time getting along with them. He did spend a lot of time wandering around and eating but I left him alone because he was minding his own business and not complaining. He enjoyed the hot dogs that he had a lot of patience waiting for, I am proud of how well he did the whole time. We stayed about 3 hours so he really did a great job hanging out longer than I thought he would.

After we left we went to see Aunt Gail and Charlie at the rest home where Charlie is healing and Aunt Gail lives now since her stroke years ago. They are enjoying each others company because Charlie is her son, they were hanging out in the same room when we got there. It was nice to see them I think that Griffin was happy to see them both too but he was antsy and ready to go home.

Today we went to the lake as usual and found these little ducklings.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How to Protect Kids From Bullying

If you think that any of these things have happened to your child then you should read this article about bullying:
  • Comes home with torn clothes.
  • Is missing sweaters, jackets, school supplies, or other things repeatedly.
  • Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches.
  • Is afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, or riding the school bus.
  • Suddenly begins to do poorly in school.
  • Is sad, upset, angry, or depressed when she comes home.
  • Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, being tired, or other physical ailments that would prevent her from going to school.
  • Has few friends.
These are but a few of the things that could be going on with a child who is being bullied. Talk to your child often keeping the lines of communication open and helping him to feel comfortable coming to you with problems that may be going on at school/with peers. Some signs of bullying are not so obvious and can go on for an extended period of time. It is important to be persistent with the school staff when it is going on to take care of the matter, sometimes you have to make them take it seriously:

Griffin had a problem with bullies, I later found out that the kids were laughing at him in class when he had a meltdown and it really hurt Griffin's feelings. The teacher didn't tell me and Griffin kept telling me that he was being bullied and I told the staff and nobody would do anything until finally that one teacher told me that. By then it was too late for Griffin the emotional scars were there and he will never forget it. In the IEP meeting the teachers told me that it was because of Griffin's perception but that doesn't matter because it is real to him and it hurts just as much when someone pushes him and doesn't mean it, to him they are being a bully.

We have tried to explain it to him but he still doesn't understand how someone can push you or step on your foot and not mean it without being a bully. We always say we are sorry at home so he expects others to say it too but I told him that not everyone will say that to him but it can still be an accident. He just doesn't understand so I expect that his teachers to understand that he doesn't  because he has autism and they don't!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Special Olympics Bowling

I spoke with my friend Amy on the phone before we left in the morning and she told me to give it a couple of tries because he may not like it the first time because her son didn't and she kept encouraging him and he eventually loved it so we set of for Special Olympics bowling not knowing how he would like it.

We got there and Griffin seemed open to the idea putting his shoes on and trying out the ball, size 9 the smallest I could find, he automatically took to the board where you punch in your name and did so after we had decided that he was going to play singles because it would mean less wait time. For the first first frame he hit the pins and was satisfied then he began to get gutter balls and became frustrated especially since they were getting stuck in the gutter and we had to wait for the attendant to get them out. I tried to show him how to throw it faster and harder and for a few times he did and hit the pins, I cheered him on giving him a high five but it seemed like it was just not enough. The bad seemed to outweigh the good. I was just not a good enough coach for him and I should have asked for help but didn't see anyone other than parents really and frankly I was feeling overwhelmed myself just as I think he was. I think that the noise was bothering him too and all the visual goings on, too many people around us I think too. I thought that maybe he was hungry so I got him some fries but it didn't seem to help. He just kept getting more and more upset and I couldn't think of what to do to get him to focus. He ran outside into the parking lot having a meltdown with me chasing him so I talked to him and we left.

The Special Olympics woman told me that there would be a coach next Saturday but some good that would do, I think that there should have been one on the first day to help the kids get used to being there and to help the parents with the kids.

We went to see Uncle Charlie and Griffin liked that a lot, he had one of his legs operated on and his second one will be done on Tuesday then he will be moved to a rehabilitation facility to heal.

Griffin had an accident on Friday and is still having GI issues going between constipation needing Miralax and then having diarrhea like Friday in his pants. He eats the same foods at home but I think I need to get a list of what he eats at school if they will do that. He goes to the GI doc on Oct. 11th I hope he helps this time because he went a year ago and all they did was try anti acid meds for him that didn't help, then they just blamed anxiety now it is apparent that it is not anxiety.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Griffin's Cousin Sammy

On Facebook I had "friend-ed" my son's father's nephew Sammy who I had found through a search when trying to find Griffin's dad. When I sent a message to Sammy a year ago after finding him and asking him if he knew Griffin's dad he answered me and said yes, that it was his uncle and that he would get in touch with him and give him the message that I had given him.

We have exchanged a few messages but he apparently doesn't see Griffin's dad, Sam, very much but he is cooperative and wants to help me out when he can. Yesterday, I noticed that he had updated his profile picture so it showed up on the main page on Facebook and it reminded me that it was about time to get in touch with him again. I sent him a message, this time a more personal and lengthy one including a new photo of Griffin showing that Griffin looks more and more like his dad every year.

Today he responded! "I cant promise anything but i will let him know and i will let you know he looks like him like really you have a good 1 and I'll let you know what he says haven't seen him in a while" He wrote that he will let him know because I asked him to send the message I wrote to Same and to show him the photo of Griffin and to ask him to call me, that I only wished for Griffin to have a father in his life especially since Griffin has been asking about him. It made me feel good that he said that I have a good "1" and agreed that he looks like his dad. It was good that he was honest about not being able to promise me anything and that he hasn't seen him in awhile. Sammy is quite young, I think in his 20's, and I appreciate his innocence and honesty the fact that he is not jaded and that he is compassionate. He really seems to care about Griffin and hope that Sam comes around.

I told him that I only wish the best for his family and to please tell them so and to please show them the photo of Griffin. I told him that I wish that he could know Griffin that he would be so proud of him. Maybe Sammy will make a connection with us, after all he has remained friends with me on Facebook and he has not minded being a bridge between me and Sam so it gives me hope that maybe something could happen in the future.

Some moms take for granted that their sons have fathers even though there is a battle over child support but I am telling you that that child is better off knowing his father or even daughters knowing her father because there is no substitute for that male role model. Griffin has been without one for nearly 11 years and there has been a void in his life and he feels me! It is obvious. He gravitates to men like a magnet and it scares me because it makes him easy prey to child predators. I have tried to get him a male mentor but there is not one to be found and since I do not date.....and even if I did it doesn't mean that I would trust some new guy to be around my son unsupervised to go do things. There are just too many perverts out there who are looking for women who have children so they can win over the trust of the women then target the children, I am no dummy. I had rather stay single than to sacrifice the safety of my child, he is better off without a mentor for now.

We are supposed to start Special Olympics bowling tomorrow and I am hoping that Griffin likes it because he needs to have something active to do even if it is indoors. I have been taking him outdoors more now that the weather has cooled and it is far more pleasant, no more sweating!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

When Will I Learn?

Why does it always have to be a struggle in the morning? Griffin is so moody when he wakes up unless of course I put him to bed so early the night before that he wakes up hours earlier before the bus gets here and then he is raring to go and I am exhausted the rest of the day. I just can't win it seems when it comes to the morning quandary. If I put him to bed "on time" and get him up with time to get dressed before the bus comes but not enough time to get antsy and restless and especially hungry then I lose that way too because he gets angry and hits me.....that doesn't go over well.

I had these "I Need a Break" cards from TEACCH that I should have used this morning but he was so upset that I didn't think of them. When in the line of fire one doesn't necessarily think of things like that only things like staying away from the other one's fists. Right before he got on the bus we talked about it so that he didn't have to go through the day thinking about it and being upset about it nor did I for that matter. So when he gets home we are going to practice going through a meltdown and for him needing a break and using one of those cards. Probably I will use them too when I need a break.

It is a beautiful day outside and I need to go out there and do something, I don't know what but I can't let this weather pass by and not take advantage of it. Maybe I will take Griffin to the lake after school but then I wonder if I should do something like go to the lake alone instead because this is my time after all. I just can't seem to find that balance between how much I should do for me and how much for him. I do end up sitting at home a lot.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Visit to the Dentist

Griffin did such a great job at his visit to the dentist yesterday, for the first time he let them clean his teeth and put the fluoride paint on them without a fight. I was so proud of him. He was so patient with the hygienist even though, as pictured here, a second one had to come in to help hold his hands down for the cleaning briefly he wasn't really fighting but was just uncomfortable. He said that it tickled and he didn't like the fact that the saliva was accumulating in the back of his throat so the second hygienist helped aspirate the saliva out of his throat and that helped him. The whole process only took about fifteen minutes especially since they didn't need to take x-rays, then the doctor came in for the exam and fluoride treatment which took about ten minutes. He said that Griffin has 10 baby teeth left but I forgot to ask which molars have come through, he does have two loose teeth right now with one coming through.

After that we went to visit my cousin Charlie who is still in the hospital, he was in good spirits and happy to see us. He told me that he had been outside for the past two days and that meant a lot to him even though it caused him a lot of pain. I imagine that it would after lying in the bed all day. His mom who had a major stroke does the same ironically and I am sure that going outside means the world to her to her too because she lies in the bed all day as well and has for years now. He is having surgery Thursday and Tuesday on his legs and then he will get out in a week to rehab to heal for months to come because he has no one to help him at home.

Griffin was so talkative with him about everything voluntarily and answering questions too. The nurse and Charlie were telling him jokes but Griffin didn't get them but it didn't phase him that he didn't either, he just went on about his business and they kinda just left it alone. While Charlie and I talked Griffin just drew pictures and Charlie praised him and asked him about who was in the picture. Griffin sometimes likes it when he is praised for his work sometimes not, depends on his mood and how it is done. I don't usually do it right or he just doesn't like it when I do it because he has a bad reaction nearly every time I do it and I have tried doing it in different ways. He is so silly that I have got to keep trying to get through to him, he is so worth it! But then I do recall someone saying that the mom is not the only influence in the child's life and should not feel solely responsible for him and I agree. There are so many influences that make Griffin who he is and others who give him praise and help him with his self-esteem.

 My Aunt Patty is still doing better, at least that is what she tells me. I am still praying for her and for her continued healing, for her family and that they get the support that they need. Please offer your prayers for them it is greatly appreciated.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

The State Fair 2012

We went to the state fair Saturday and Griffin had a great time seeing all the animals, he said that his favorite part was the petting zoo. I couldn't really afford for us to ride any of the rides so we spent our time with the animals but I think that he was okay with that, he didn't mention going on the rides.

I had a meeting today with Griffin's teachers and he is apparently having some difficulty at school with separation anxiety and doing some screaming in class but I guess the teacher asks Griffin what rule number one is and he says no screaming in class so kudos to them both. We had a problem Friday when Griffin had a doctor's appointment in the morning and had to go to school late and it caused a problem because it made him think that he could stay out of school even though I put it on his schedule that he was going to school late. It wouldn't have been a big deal except that I had to take him home to eat since it was too late for lunch at school and I couldn't take him out to eat so I had to call the school to get help for backup assistance since he was having a major meltdown.

Eventually, once I got him to school we found out that he was upset about the bus and someone on it so we talked to the man in charge of the buses and I came back to take him home that day. This morning he had no problem getting on the bus.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

How to Prevent Crying When Taking Away the Pacifier

How to Prevent Crying When Taking Away the Pacifier

 I have a friend who has a 3 year old who is still using a pacifier and she cannot for the life of her get that child off of that pacifier and she feels lost because all the advice that she has been given has not helped. I feel so bad for her because she has tried everything and nothing has worked for them and she has been firm with him and persistent, it has not been for the lack of trying but I certainly haven't been able to help her because Griffin wasn't one to really take to the pacifier like most kids. He used a pacifier for maybe a year, if that, and lost interest so I was happy because he was a happy baby who didn't complain much and didn't need one. So I am hoping that this article will help my friend. It is a good article about how to gradually take away the pacifier from your child without tears including altering the pacifier itself as an example. Soothing and comforting the child is always a great idea and especially at bedtime. Take a look and find more great ideas........

Monday, September 03, 2012

Uncle Charlie is Alive Thank God!!!!! Tae Kwan Do

Griffin and his Uncle Charlie in the hospital yesterday, Charlie is lucky to be alive and we are so grateful that he is because he had a horrible motorcycle accident. Actually it was a small scooter and he had a helmet on thank God and his neck and head were not harmed but both his legs were broken and both his wrists were too so he can't use his hands but maybe his fingertips. He also has broken ribs so altogether he is in a lot of pain. They put those rods in his legs, those kinds that are on the outside of the body that are sticking up and go circle around the leg then go into the leg and boy do they look painful.

He said that the doctor said that he would get out in two weeks but then he couldn't use a wheelchair because he couldn't push himself due to his broken wrists so I guess he would use an electric one or have someone push him. The nurse said that he would go into rehab since he has no one at home to care for him. Griffin is really close to Charlie and used to spend a lot of time with him, he acted out at the hospital because of the environment and possibly because it bothered him to see Charlie like that even though when I later talked to Griffin he didn't say so. It could be that Griffin just doesn't know how to verbalize his emotions about it or maybe it could be that he just became impatient at the hospital and got antsy because I made him wait too long and I am making too much of this.

I think that I will take him back one more time for a short visit to see if it bothers him because initially he did seem happy to see Uncle Charlie and he did talk to him as he gave his Get Well Soon card to him that he had made that is pictured here in the photo. It has Perry the platypus from Phineaus and Ferb, Mordicai, the Blue Jay is from the "The Regular Show", and Cookie Monster on it. If after a few minutes he is impatient and showing signs of being uncomfortable then I will know that it is not okay to bring him back, then we will have to wait until Charlie is in rehab healing in a wheelchair looking more like a regular human and not so scary for a youngster who doesn't understand exactly what is going on.

It was so good to see Charlie after not seeing him for over a year's time and I was so glad that he was okay and in one piece even though he was really beaten up. So grateful that he is alive!

I give thanks to Spirit that is great and generous to us all giving us life and sparing us when we think that we might not make it. You may call this Spirit "God" and it doesn't really matter but either way I give thanks that my Aunt Patty is doing well and my Aunt Gail is talking, and that my cousin Charlie is alive. I give thanks that Griffin and I have our health and are safe each and every day and that my family is safe and has access to the health care that they need for their continued progress. I am surrounded by love and I sometimes take it for granted but at night I say my prayers and give thanks. I try to not beat myself up for not being perfect but at the same time I strive to be the best that I can be for Griffin for his future but I must remember that I have to be in his present. And the only way that I can do that is to make mistakes and to be human and to let him know that it is okay, to move on, and to apologize. We make up and snuggle, he is such a loving and forgiving more thing to be grateful for!

This is at Tae Kwan Do class (Karate) Saturday, the first one for Griffin ever, it really was a test run to see if he liked it. He kind of participated but mostly just stood there and watched, I stood behind him for awhile to help him but the instructor helped him out most of the time. The class was ahead of him since they had been there months ahead of him, Griffin tried 2 moves and got them without getting upset.....YEAH! But when it came to time to wait on the side of the mat sitting while the other kids did their thing, he sat so patiently I was so proud of him. He had a great first class even the instructor said so, he explained that Griffin was exactly where he expected him to be at this point and that most kids don't participate until sometimes 6 weeks into classes.

Special Olympics is supposed to start on the 15th so I don't know if we are going to continue with Tae Kwan Do, it will be bowling and I am so excited for Griffin. I think that he is going to love it!