Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Friday, November 30, 2012

5 Books That Explain Cancer To Kids and I Am Feeling Better

I have to say that I am not familiar with Become A Nanny and do no endorse their services since I have no experience with them but since Martina Keyhell sent me this link I had to share it with you.

This is a wonderful resource for books about cancer and cancer happens to be all too familiar to me because my Aunt Patty has stage 4 lung cancer right now and I am praying for her but she is doing much better since several chemo treatments. We are optimistic. Please pray for her through her journey as it is still a long one.

Anyhow, I think that after reading this page about the books you will find at least one, if not two, books that will be helpful in your journey through cancer and all its struggles. Sometimes there is even joy to be found in all the pain behind all the clouds.

My anti-depressant is working well and I am feeling much better but still dealing with the 7 steps of coping with my child's autism and I know it sounds weird to everyone because Griffin is almost 11 years old and why didn't I do this when he was diagnosed? But I think that I didn't because I didn't feel safe enough, I didn't have a support system I just went straight to being his advocate and skipped all the other steps and didn't deal with all the other emotional stuff......I didn't know how to. I was afraid to and frankly I still am but I know that I have to. It is really hard going through this as a single parent and if only I would make myself go to Autism Society meetings and Family Support Network meetings I would probably feel better but I tend to isolate myself and make excuses. But maybe now that I am feeling better I will go and participate. I have got to start putting the oxygen mask on myself before I put it on Griffin, so to speak, by taking care of myself and doing things for myself so that I can take care of him. Everything has been all about Griffin for 11 years and nothing has ever been about Lora, and it is nobody's fault but my own. I was just noticing that I need a pedicure and I have the time to do it but I am not used to caring for myself like that. I need to pamper myself and when Griffin goes with his respite provider I need to do something special for myself and it doesn't even have to cost money.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

10 Storage Ideas For Saving Some of Your Child's Homework and Our Thanksgiving Day 2012

 I received this link to the article 10 Storage Ideas For Saving Some of Your Child's Homework from Maria Wells from her blog which seems to me to be an excellent blog indeed. I checked it out and is a great resource of useful information for all your housekeeping needs. I highly recommend that you read this article with the 10 ideas for storing the homework because now I am excited about getting the clutter taken care of that has haunted me for all these years. Step number one is to get rid of the clutter and to let go of some of it that is the hard part especially the artwork. But she does have other great ideas like putting it under the bed in a container and in a three ring binder but I will let you read the rest.......

Griffin has been sick with a bad cough over this Thanksgiving break, I have been giving him Musinex faithfully every 3 1/2 hours because if I give it every 4 like it says then his cough comes back with a vengeance. He won't stay still, he just keeps running around as if nothing is the matter so one might guess that he is not that sick but by the way that he is sleeping so much he seems sick.

We went to the church for Thanksgiving dinner and it went well, my friend Nina called me to wish me Happy Thanksgiving while I was standing in line and Griffin was walking around checking out the food table to see if there was anything that he could eat and he didn't find anything. As we were going to sit down he discovered the dessert table and I allowed him to have some since he had already eaten before we got there, I figured there would be no food there he would eat. He calmly sat there while I ate my food getting up from the table only once to get something to drink. I did have to go get him but he was socializing really well I was proud of him I think he did really well the entire time. We had to go home and he had to eat a real meal again always


I guess that I could have taken the time to get him to try new foods while at the church, it would have been a great opportunity but I thought that since he was sick and in an atmosphere that made him restless already I didn't think that he would have the patience to sit down long enough, even with coercion, and partly because he was sick too. I think that because there are always so many people there it is a sensory overload for him and that is why he always goes into the corner with his Doodle Pro and hides during the service. But I digress...... He made it through and I didn't make him try any new foods which made for a more pleasant experience.

Wednesday, his OT, Sarah, did however get him to try some foods but most of them he had already had before and I knew that he liked but she didn't know that when she got them. But he did try raw broccoli and liked it so that was good so now we have a new veggie that he will eat other than carrots....Bravo!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

10 Things I Wish You Knew (A note from a special kid to special Parents) by Sally Brown

10 Things I Wish You Knew
(A note from a special kid to special Parents)  by Sally Brown

1.     You are the perfect parents for me. I know that you did not sign up for a kid like me- I also know that you sometimes think you cannot face what it takes to raise me.  I want you to know that this is not true.  I believe that I chose you.  Whatever you need to learn, you will learn.  The strength you think you need will come from somewhere.  The people you need to meet will show up when you need them.

2.  This is the perfect life for me. My life is a very special one.  I believe that I will impact the world in a unique and wonderful way.  Remember this when your heart is breaking because you want a path for me that is so much easier than this one.

3.     I need you to find your own spiritual path. The road we are on is not an easy one- to make it successfully, you will need all the spiritual strength you can muster for the tough days- You will need to help me when my spiritual strength is out the window- Often, you will see signs of my determination and be amazed by it.  That is not enough- You will have to find your own answers- I am depending on you for it.

4.     However you feel about me is OK. Sometimes you will feel tired and helpless and like you cannot care for me one more day.  Sometimes you will be mad because there seems to be no escaping me.  That is OK- There is no way you could take care of me without having those days.
Sometimes you may watch people look at me and be a bit embarrassed that I am not doing better- that does not make you a bad parent… it just means you are human.
Know that when you have lots of these days in a row, it is time for you to get somebody else to take care of me, just long enough for you to regenerate yourself.  It is always important that you let people help you.  I am depending on you to do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself.

5.     However I feel about my disability is OK. Some days you will be amazed at what a happy contented person I am and you will wonder how in the world I do it.  Treasure those days.  Some days I will be discouraged, some days I will be mad, some days I will even feel really sorry for myself.  Don’t panic, I will come back around again.  If you let me express these unattractive feelings, they have much less power.  Even typical folks feel sorry for themselves sometimes.

6.     Let me try things I want to try, even if you are sure I will fail. I know that you want to protect me- that is your job, I am your child.  But I need you to understand that my survival is always going to depend on my determination.  Part of my own process is to figure out what my limitations really are.  Sometimes I may want to try to do things that seem impossible to you. Please encourage me anyway.  It is the willingness to try that is important- success is a bonus.  Know that if I fail, I will get over it.  If you make me scared to try, I am really doomed.

7.     Don’t worry about my whole life today. Sometimes you will drive yourself crazy worrying about how my life will turn out.  You will lose hours of sleep trying to figure out how I will survive in the world after you are gone.  This is not helpful to me.  Just help me stay in today.  The more you can focus on whatever we have to face today, the more you will be helping me develop the skills I will need when it is time for me to get along without you.

8.     Sometimes people will be mean to me or scared of me.  I expect you to stick up for me, but, I do not expect you to change the world.There are lots of really wonderful people in the world.  You and I will meet many of them.  There are also some real jerks who will be afraid of me or not treat me fairly.  They will assume things about me that are not true.  They may even assume things about you that are not true.  You may want to blow their brains out.  I may want to do the same.  I expect you to speak up for me when you can.  But I also need for you to be able to let it go.  It will not help me if you are mad and defensive all the time.  If you are, there are people who may not want to help me just because it is too hard for them to deal with you.

9.     Finding good doctors and professionals is important but, you know me better than they do- I expect you to trust your own instincts about what is good for me. The doctors and therapists that work with me are going to be very important in the quality of my life.  Some of them will be amazing and some of them will be pretty crazy.  Often, it will be up to you to decide which is which.  Listen to them, and know that what they say is important but, also remember that you know me best.  If something they suggest does not feel right to you, listen to that small voice and speak up.

10.   I really hope we can laugh. I believe that laughing was probably God’s best idea- It will be the one thing that can bring joy to our lives the quickest-  If I get stuck in a mud puddle, it is probably funny.  If you are lifting me and we both fall on the floor in a heap, that is probably funny too.  A good joke is worth taking the time to laugh at- Help me not get so caught up in the serious problems we face every day to forget about laughing.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Depression Again

I am having a hard time right depressed that all I do is basically lie on the couch and either read or watch TV. I do get the house work done, barely, but it does happen. I do feed Griffin but oftentimes he bugs me to feed him more often than I want to because it seems that all he wants to do is eat sometimes I think it is out of boredom. I know that I should take him out of the apartment more but my depression has such a grip on me that I just can't motivate myself to get out and take him to the park. Sometimes on the weekend we go to the lake or on Fridays after I pick him up from school I take him to the lake or to the park and we walk Abby. My camera is ruined now, it got wet so I can no longer go out and take great photos which was something that I truly enjoyed, so I am no longer motivated to go out and do that because I have no idea how long it will be before I can afford to go out and buy a new good camera again since I won't settle for a lousy one...if I did I might as well use the cell phone.

 This in not the kind of depression that I can just shake off, I am Bipolar and this is clinical depression the kind that is inside and out, I have been on medication for years for my mental illness. I am a rapid cycler which means that I can have mood swings more often than by most even by Bipolar standards so my doctor has his work cut out for him to keep me stable but he does very well. I have had this one for several years and he has kept me stable and treated me in the hospital with great compassion more than any other doctor I have ever had. I am so happy that I moved here and found him, what a blessing it has been to be here because Griffin has great teachers too.

I am trying to not sleep too much because I know that it contributes to depression so even though I am on the couch mostly I stay alert, I try to move back and forth to the computer too and write in the blog, on Facebook, and in the book. Then I have my daily journal and I also read my Discover magazine and I have a book from the library that I am reading called, "Beyond Religion Ethics for a Whole World" by His Holiness The Dalai Lama. I am excited about it because I think that it will take my mind off of what is going on yet help me focus on my spirituality which in turn could help me find an additional path to better get through this angst and abhorrence which it seems there is no end in sight. I have faith in my doctor, completely and implicitly but the way it feels is different because the anxiety is overwhelming and I am so hard on myself.

I need a lot of love from my friends and family but mostly from myself that matters the most. I need understanding and support in order to pull up out of this depression because just medication is not going to help me the doctor said as I wish it would...guess I have a lot of work ahead of me. It is going to take a lot of time to get through this.I am seeing my psychologist on a regular basis and also my psychiatrist.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Griffin's Progress Report 11/15/12

I had a meeting with Griffin's teachers this morning and it went very well, I really like them and think that they are doing a fantastic job with him. He has made a lot of progress since school began back in August in fact, they said that he was doing no work then and now he is doing his work without having meltdowns. Of course they have a system in place that is organized which used to drive him crazy to the brink of overload but now he is handling it and working with it just fine. Griffin is showing much more initiative than the beginning of the year in completing his tasks.

They said that I am doing my part by having a system at home of PECS for the morning that he uses to organize himself and take responsibility of getting himself ready independently and then in the afternoon we have a written schedule checklist that organizes activities not by time per se but by a list that shows that there's only so much time in the day for each activity and that he has to move on and transition to get through the day. They even mentioned how flexible Griffin is and how impressed they were by that because most autistic individuals aren't, he merely asks why something has changed and lets you know that there will or will not be enough time for an activity during the day.

I had been concerned that Griffin's activity level was too high because at home he is bouncing off the walls and cannot sit still no matter what he is doing, in fact, I had made an appointment with his doctor to look into starting his ADHD meds again but according to his teachers his is the exact opposite at school. He is so unresponsive, low energy, low activity, and unaware that it concerns them as far as Occupational Therapy goes. He is completely unresponsive at home such as when I call out to him he does not respond several times, he is unaware of his surroundings most the time I have noticed such as being zoned out and in his own world but to me that would be a typical autistic tendency.

 Griffin's speech teacher was present and we discussed his speech, which is really difficult to understand because he is lazy with his mouth/lips. He does not move them when he talks nor does he speak very loudly. He needs to be prompted all the time and she said that we must say that we do not understand him and that he needs to speak up, and to move his lips. Also she added that I need not let it go to keep at it with him because he will give up and become complacent and get into the habit of not using good speech. I need to let Paul, his LCSW, know and his OT, Sarah, know and everyone else who works with him to keep at it so that he will learn. Part of the problem that he has with his peers is that they don't understand him when he speaks so it alienates him. Heck, I don't even understand him myself....I have to get him to repeat himself several times and even then I give up sometimes because I just don't understand what he is saying and then I wonder if I miss out on important information that he has tried to share with me.

I asked how he was doing with his peers and they told me that he is blending well especially on field trips, they just had two, one to the symphony and one to The Health Adventure. Griffin was even pretending to be the weather man and being quite extroverted one teacher told me which thrilled me to no end. She told me that there is one girl in particular who is really gifted who has taken to Griffin and on the field trip she had sort of taken him under her wing and watched out for him. Apparently the symphony was really a lot of fun for them and it was just for the kids so they had a lot of fun activities.

Another problem that Griffin has been having is with math at home. His teacher has been giving him more because she said that she thought that he could handle more as the year has gone on but this has not been true, it has been too overwhelming for him. Last night he had a meltdown over it, I tried to get him to take a break and come back to it but I was unsuccessful. He kept telling me that he had done the problems before and he was already finished so I tried several times and finally gave up. I thought that maybe she had maybe made a mistake and copied the same problems on another sheet, he does have an incredible memory after all. So they told me that the point is for him to complete the task and if he needs to take a break in between then to try that first and give him a chance to work through his frustration, to calm down and then finish. If he can't finish it by then to write a note to his teacher and then he will have consequences at school for not finishing his work. They did add that if he is having a hard day or if I have errands to run or a doctor's appointment and it is going to be a short afternoon then to only highlight a few problems so as to not overwhelm him and expect too much from him. This is the recipe for success.

I was happy with the meeting and impressed with the teachers as I had mentioned and feel that Griffin is in good hands, more so than he has been in many years as a matter of fact I haven't felt this comfortable since he was in Anchorage in Kathleen's autism classroom way back in 2005. Thanks to the many teachers out there who take great care of our kids and make a great difference in their lives.
This is a photo of Griffin and his Godmother Vicky taken at the Shriner's circus last month which Griffin sat in for an hour and then he had enough.....that was a long time for him especially considering it was a boring circus.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Letter To Griffin

 Griffin was born January 31st 2002 so I wrote this a few months after he was born but before I knew he was autistic. I still believe in him that he can have virtues, in fact he has virtues in a deeper natural way than most people, he doesn't have to work at it. He is kind and loving and considerate of others. I still have high hopes for him as the day I wrote this letter.

My Dearest Griffin,  (Written Wednesday May 15th, 2002)

You are, beyond compare,, the most beautiful, fantastic, joyful, quintessential essence  of life....worth living. Each moment of every day I cherish, each breath you take fills my heart with joy. Your smile is more beautiful than the sun and far brighter.

My life thus far, full of experience for which I am glad; it has enriched my perspective, opened my heart and mind taught me patience, awareness, & understanding....all of which has made me the person that I am. With this wealth of knowledge & experience I have learned that time is sacred and not to be taken for granted. I look forward to all that you will teach me by helping me to see through your eyes and understand that being young is not easy, to remember that growing up is a daunting challenge full of obstacles and tough decisions for both of us. I wish for us to enjoy our time together on this earth and to fare adversity holding hands facing the wind with the sun behind us standing strong. To laugh through the hard time and remain strong holding tightly to your convictions and being and individual despite what others may press upon you.

Remember always to be kind to yourself so that you may be kind to others, be generous and give to yourself patience, forgiveness, and understanding. In order to share these virtues you must feel them first. Be virtuous Griffin and you will have dignity and strength that will get you through anything and set you apart from others.

As I nurish you and you reach out to me to embrace with your tiny arms, tears fill my eyes, and neither words nor feelings can come near what I am experiencing . It is a joy beyond description, beyond any other sensation. Thank you my sweet Griffin for coming into my existence and making it "LIFE"!
I love you my Precious "Sonshine"

Your Loving Mother

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Griffin's First Time On a Bike

Jim, Griffin's respite provider, helped him learn how to ride a bike yesterday however Griffin didn't like it very much the first time around. He tried it on the grass first just in case he fell off as I had asked him to but the darn seat was too small and hard for him and it hurt his bottom so then they moved to the sidewalk where he didn't complain and went much further. Jim is not going to be here for the next two Saturdays so in the meantime I will have the old bicycle seat from my bike put on Griffin's bike, which I should have done already anyhow but of course hindsight is 20/20 I didn't know that it would have hurt him so much, but then again I don't know if the weather will be nice enough by the time he returns to ride the bike nor do I know if Griffin will want to do it. But I will have the seat put on just in case, it will be worth the cost, I think that I am still a member at REI so maybe it won't even cost me to have it done.

I had Griffin fingerprinted on Friday at the police station by a police officer who was so very nice and Griffin really liked him. I have a Kidz ID sheet that has fingerprinting, photo, and dental records to have on hand just in case he goes missing.....God forbid!!!! But he does run off in the store and scare the hell out of me all the time, he goes out of sight and I have to call out to him loudly and sometimes he doesn't answer me. I am so afraid that he is going to be lured in by someone because he is so trusting of strangers. But I have already written about that I don't need to go there again. You get the picture.

Griffin is supposed to go on a field trip to the symphony on the 14th, I hope that it goes well and that he enjoys it, I hope that he sits still for it or that if he feels like dancing he does so quietly in the aisles without disturbing anyone else. I don't know if this is going to be just for the kids or if the symphony is playing for a full audience but the teachers have their work cut out for them with Griffin I think......hopefully I am wrong.

My friend Vicky, who is also Griffin's Godmother, talked to me about what I am going through emotionally and she was so supportive of me and so understanding like nobody else other than my friend Nina who was there for me too when I reached out to her. Vicky used the analogy that I walk in high heels no matter where I go, no matter what, snow, mud, rocks, and nobody has walked in those high heels like I have nobody has felt the pain of walking in those high heels every day. She said that even though I feel shame for the feelings I have that I should not because I am a good mother and even though I do not hear it enough that it doesn't mean that I am not. Nina told me that even though she doesn't have children now that when she does she wants to be a mother just like me.....that made me feel so good inside! I have known her since Griffin was born and we have been through a lot together so she knows me well.

I don't have but a few friends  and I don't talk to them often because I prefer to be alone but my friends are good people and I believe that they would do anything for me even though they don't call me very often. They don't read my blog but I guess they are just busy and it is not of interest to them but I understand and I do not judge them for it I love them all the same. Sometimes I feel lonely when they do not return my calls and do not seem to have time for me but I try to not take it personally.  I KNOW I AM WEIRD!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

OBAMA WON !!!!!!!!! and What About That "Regular" Kid?

Just as Griffin predicted and I had prayed for. Now I can feel more comforted that we will keep our Social Security checks and our Medicare and Medicaid especially since we live on such low income. I have to be concerned about Griffin's services, his present and his future as a disabled individual and I feel that Obama is the one who is going to look out for his needs....he is the man who cares about human rights. He cares about my rights as a woman too and I appreciate that.

It is funny though because the reason I say that Griffin predicted Obama is that one night we were snuggling and we were talking about election night and he said that Obama was going to win and I was so surprised because I had not directly discussed it with  him but he must have picked it up from me as I was watching TV and cheering him on or said something in passing I don't know. But it made me laugh because he said it with such conviction.

I saw Paul, Griffin's LCSW, yesterday and we discussed my feelings of  lamenting the loss of the child that I never had and the fact that it is 10 years late. Usually people do it when they get the diagnosis but for some reason I am doing it now and I don't know what the trigger is. I have been slack with Griffin because I have been having feelings of guilt because even though consciously I know I didn't cause his autism I still feel it and I blame myself so I have been trying to be extra nice to him and as Paul said that it will only do damage to Griffin because he needs structure and consistency and rules. I know that and I have known that but my feelings have gotten in the way. I love Griffin for who he is, I believe that he is perfect the way that he is but for those of you who don't know me he is my universe and I would never change him and I have accepted his diagnosis from the get go and that is the problem.....I never mourned for the "regular" kid that could have been like most families do, it is normal to do that, it is natural to go through that process. I never cried for that child now I cry at everything for the first time in my life.

It is so tough being a single mom more than anybody knows especially to an autistic son now I have this to cope with................guess I will keep my psychologist busy for awhile. Good thing that I have this computer to write with so that I can write in my book and blog that helps a lot too. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Griffin's Field Trip and Teaching Your Child About Peer Pressure

Griffin went on a field trip yesterday with his class, the first one this year, and his teacher sent home a not that he did a great job! That he was even the newscaster.....I am so thrilled with that because to me that sounds like a social event. I must e-mail her and ask her for details! Griffin and I were snuggling last night and talking about his trip and he told me about Bill the Science Guy Show and how they talked about solids, liquids, and gases. Then I asked him, "What was water?", he told me, "liquid", then I asked him,"What was the wall?", he told me, " solid", then I asked him," What was the air?" and he told me, "gas". I applauded for hm I told him how proud I was of him that he was a smart cookie and he said that I meant that he was a tough cookie. I said that he was that too! LOL!

We went trick or treating to two churches, it was pretty chilly outside so they held them inside thank goodness. Griffin didn't seem comfortable, he just wanted to get the candy and go I think there were too many people around for him.

Disclaimer: I do not endorse this company because I am not familiar with them. I have only been sent the article and have decided that I like it and agree that it is good material so I am publishing it. I hope that you find it helpful and worthwhile.

This is a really good article especially for parents of pre-teens and teenagers I believe because it is about how the parents support the kids and the kids learn self-esteem. Also it outlines how parents can help kids handle their friends when faced with issues such as watching R rated films and curfew problems.

It is an interesting article with food for thought.