Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons


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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Awake at 4:00 a.m.




Griffin and I got up at 4:00 a.m. which means that I must be giving him his sleep meds too early and putting him to bed too early so that is going to change tonight! But we did get in some quality time together before the bus came which was nice. Griffin and I spent time reading books together and he spent time on the computer of course. He has been complaining about having a frog in his throat and kind of clearing it and according to his description it hurts but I took him to the doctor and she said that it's not strep and that as long as he doesn't have a fever that he is okay. So I tried to explain to him that he would be okay and help him to not worry about it and by the time he left he was okay about it.

I found a website Nancy's Bird Photo Journal  and it has all kinds of birds and photos of every one. Since Griffin is a great bird lover it is a wonderful source of information for him especially since we are birdwatchers when we go out. He loves the ducks and since there are different kinds there, it is nice to have a place to look up what types they are. I think that Griffin's love for wildlife is going to take him places as he grows older.

I just included these photos that I had leftover from the lake because I wanted to use them before I take some more this weekend. I really like these and am kind of proud of how they turned out, especially since the camera is as old as it is. I am experimenting with it and trying to see how I can get some better pictures out of it.

I am always open to feedback on my photos.......feel free to comment on anything!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Genius May Be an Abnormality by Temple Grandin

http://www.autismtoday.com/articles/Genius_May_Be_Abnormality.htmhttp://www.autismtoday.com/articles/Genius_May_Be_Abnormality.htm

Temple Grandin has written this wonderful article about genius, Aspergers, and autism. Here is a sample of the first paragraph of a very detailed article that I highly recommend:

I am becoming increasingly concerned that intellectually gifted children are being denied opportunities because they are being labeled either Asperger's or high functioning autism. Within the last year I have talked to several parents, and I was disturbed by what they said. One mother called me and was very upset that her six-year-old son had Asperger's. She then went on to tell me that his IQ was 150. I replied that before people knew about Asperger's Syndrome, their child would have received a very positive label of intellectually gifted.

Then she goes on with continuum of traits, genius is an abnormality?, types of thinking, and teachers and mentors.


Below is something that I discovered on Facebook that I am fond of that I hope that you can find something valuable in to take with you.



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pre-teen and Growing Up

Griffin is being reminded by people that the hair on his legs is growing longer and that he is getting a mustache and I don't know if they are talking to him about it in school but he has been obsessing over this pre-teen growing up and getting older issue so we have been talking a lot about it. He told me that he is afraid of growing up, getting old, and dying. He told me that he knows that I am going to be an old lady "soon"; I am 48 but to him that is ancient, and the poor guy has reason to worry because I am not Spring chicken but I did not let him think that I was going to kick the bucket anytime soon. I did my best to get him excited about growing older and told him that great things happen when you grow up like learning to ride a bike, like going to college, getting a job, learning to drive a car.....he may or may not do all of these things but I certainly want him to dream big. I want him to aspire to do these things to strive to achieve all that he could possibly conquer in spite of his autism. In fact, I think that he could use his autism to his advantage especially through his art and with the computers. But I digress......

I want Griffin to feel comfortable growing up especially since I think that he is about to hit puberty, he is exhibiting signs of hormonal changes now with his moods and other behaviors. We are going to see a psychologist now who I really like and I trust that he will lead us in the right direction.

I have been staying busy, busier than I realized I would since Griffin started school. I think that I am going to start doing my photography again. I went to the lake and took some photos yesterday and I must say that they came out pretty good. They camera is old and is limited but that's okay I can work with it for now.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Seeing Beyond My Autism Diagnosis

Seeing Beyond My Autism Diagnosis

This is an excellent article by Judy Endow who so intelligently inquired, "are you a low functioning NT or a high functioning NT?". Think about how we label one another especially those who are "disabled".

I highly recommend this article.....read on.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How to Prevent Common Childhood Injuries

Here are some great tips that you may already know as the fantastic parent that you are but it never hurts to have reminders. Take a look just for a quick brush up....and you can always pass it on. This was shared by Nancy Parker. The website is Nanny Source, I have to say that I do not have experience with them personally but I do like their articles.

http://www.enannysource.com/blog/index.php/2012/08/13/steps-nannies-can-take-to-prevent-common-childhood-injuries/

Griffin loves his "scribble pad" or as you may know it as a Doodle Pro. He doesn't go anywhere without it and is constantly drawing on it. He goes to "meet the teacher" tomorrow and I think that he is excited, I know that he is excited to start school Thursday. I will miss having him around to hang out with although it will be nice to know that he will not be so bored and looking for things to do all day long, even though he has plenty to do. Not looking forward to homework but maybe the new system that I have in mind will work....fingers crossed. Griffin has a hard time sitting still for anything ADHD, and it creates a challenge especially for reading and homework. So there will be more to be written on the subject in the future.

My Aunt Patty still needs prayers as we are hoping for her recovery, she is still in the hospital. My time is up on the computer, Griffin has reminded me....time to go.



Monday, August 13, 2012

Ten Commandments for Interacting With Kids On The Autism Spectrum

Ten Commandments for Interacting With Kids On The Autism Spectrum...

1. Thou shall not yell when speaking to me.
My disability does not impair my hearing and I am extremely bright. Perhaps even brighter than you are.

2. Thou shall not ignore me, talk negatively about me, speak unnaturally slow, or ask questions to others in the room that pertain to me. I can comprehend what you are saying just f
ine.

3. Thou shall believe in me and help me believe in my skills and self worth. Note the good in me and do not merely point out my negative behaviors. Believe in me and I will believe in myself.

4. Thou shall not perceive me as dumb.
I am extremely intelligent. I do not learn in the same way as you, and maybe not as quickly as you expect me to. Have patience with me. Once I recall information, I never forget.

5. Thou shall not judge my behavior.
I can get overstimulated in certain environments. I may be hypersensitive to sound and loud noises may hurt my ears. Fluorescent lights are distracting for me. They have a humming noise, and can pulsate. All the noises in a room can blur together. Please make accommodations to help me.

6. Thou shall not be so quick to scold me.
Do not tell me that “I know what I did”. I do not. Tell me what my infraction was in a simple, concise manner. I want to please you, but I have difficulties inferring meaning within a vague statement. For instance, do not say please clean up your bedroom. Tell me exactly what you want, such as ‘Please make your bed and pick up your toys”.

7. Thou shall not compare me to others.
Please remind me, and note the talents that I possess. This increases my confidence and positive self worth. Learning disabled or not, we ALL have talents to contribute within society. I need you to help me realize what mine is. Believe in me and I will believe in myself.

8. Thou shall not exclude me from activities.
Please do not mimic me, ignore me, or bully me. Please invite me to play with you. It hurts my feelings when I am excluded. I like to run and jump in the playground, and be invited to birthday parties too. Grownups can help me make friends by encouraging other children to play with me. I can be a loyal friend if you get to
know me.

9. Thou shall give me choices.
I do not like being ordered about any more than the other children. Give me choices so I know you value my capabilities and opinions. Make them simple and concise. Present two options or so. I get confused when too many questions or directions are given at one time due to my processing speed. For instance, ask me if I would like to wear my blue sweater or green one, rather than asking which sweater I would like to wear.

10. Thou shall not judge me by my diagnosis, but by my character.
I am an individual, just like other children. As my son used to say, “Mom my name is John (name changed for his anonymity) not Asperger’s”. A profound statement I would say. :-0)

~ Mari Nosal


I do not claim to obey all these commandments each day as I am not perfect nor do I try to judge anyone who does not follow them either. All I do is to wish for each of us to have kindness and compassion and to give our efforts to do what is best for our children.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

Griffin and I are just hanging out today but I am staying busy cleaning and doing important paperwork that is long overdue. I am waiting for a phone call from my cousin about my aunt who just got out of ICU thank God! I am hoping that soon I will be able to talk to her, that she will feel well enough to say hello. Griffin and I are going to make a card for her and some other crafts while we are at it since we will be staying home today and it is raining outside.

The Facebook page above links to Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons which I am the administrator of and would love it if you visit me there and share your stories and do some social networking. I go to Facebook every day and check out what my friends are doing and if there are any new people there with something to share.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Self-Care

This is one of Griffin's most imaginative sock puppets that he made yesterday just from some paper and with a glue stick but I cannot for the life of me remember his name and Griffin is still asleep. Me and my poor memory, I just turned 48 years old and my memory is more like that of a 98 year old in poor health. I must not be reading enough.

Griffin and I went to a Family Support Network meeting last night and it is sad to say or good, depending on how one views it, that it was the first one that we had been to. I think that I had been apprehensive to go in the past because of Griffin and the childcare there that I had anticipated and sure enough he ended up coming downstairs with the adults and interrupting the meeting to a certain extent towards the end because for whatever reason they could not hold his attention in the kids class. I did at least talk him out of going home early and got to stay the entire time so I did give him big kudos for his patience for waiting for mom and using his "scribble pad" (doodle pro). He got extra computer time when he got home before bedtime.

I am not at liberty to discuss in detail what we discussed what happened at our group due to an agreement that I signed but I can say that our topic was self-care and personally for me my self-care is very limited. Due to my Fibromyalgia, Bipolar Disorder, and the problems that I have with pain in my, feet from surgery in my right foot and the need for surgery in my left foot, I have limited mobility and get depressed and feel guilty about not doing much with Griffin. And when I do push myself to do things I end up paying for them and by being on the couch for the rest of the day or the next day totally useless. Good thing I have a darn good psychologist who I include as part of my self-care.

To me self-care is reading a book or watching my science shows on TV, reading my friend's blogs and getting on Facebook. I gave up on lingering in the shower a long time ago since Griffin finds ways to interrupt them....what the heck, they are over rated! One day I will take baths again when we move to a place that has a nice bathtub. With Fibro self-care means getting enough sleep and rest or else I am totally useless to myself and especially to Griffin so I faithfully take my sleep medication and I rest on the couch during the day if necessary. My body hurts all over and I have overwhelming fatigue. I try to swim when I can which helps too and when Griffin goes back to school I plan to do it more often. It is hard to get motivated when it hurts all over and all one wants to do is sleep but once over the hump it feels good.

Now, I told my friend Jennifer, all I need to do is to socialize! How the heck do I do that? I feel so awkward, I have no self-confidence, it's been over 10 years since I have in a social setting with a man and I just don't feel good about the way I look! She asked me now that Griffin is going back to school what am I going to do with all my time? And I had no answer. I don't know! There will be swimming at the YMCA and cleaning the apartment and doctor's appointments and errands WOOPEE! Maybe I will get back into yoga and meditation, back into reading Joseph Campbell and into my spirituality more. Start going back to the Unity Center more on Sundays and meet some people there and hang out with them but will Griffin hang out with their kids? Worth a try I guess. I am so timid, when I used to be such the polar opposite. I used to take risks like none other especially when I was in the FBI, before Griffin was born but now it is like I just don't know the middle ground. I need to set an example for him and show him how to socialize. How can an autistic child be expected to learn those skills when his own parent is not even experiencing them herself?

Any suggestions as to how I can socialize during the day in a safe way to meet decent respectable men who would be safe for Griffin to be around.....eventually? I don't believe in letting him around men anytime soon after I begin to see them if there is anyway around it unless it was at church or something it would be different.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Organizing Your Child's Special Education File: Do It Right! - Wrightslaw

Organizing Your Child's Special Education File: Do It Right! - Wrightslaw

This is something that is very important to me and I am going to do it as soon as I can.....that sounds lame....I am going to do it starting TODAY! I have got to get his documents in order, I have never done it and they are all over the place and when it comes time to try to find certain ones I can never seem to find them. That is so sad.

I get Wrightslaw newsletter and it is highly recommended. Go to this link and you can find where to do the same, it contains valuable information everyday or is it every week? Anyhow, it is often and it lets you know your rights as a parent and an advocate for your child of special needs in any setting. I actually should put up links to it more often and vow to do so in the future.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Patience

Yesterday, we started out with Griffin getting up late since he stayed up late the night before. I have to say that we both do better in the summer staying up late and for him to get up late so mom can have some "me" time in the morning that is crucial to my well being. He has his play time during the evening running around in order to diffuse and calm down while mom relaxes. (Although, this morning Griffin woke me at 5:00 a.m., stayed up for 2 hours without being sleepy and it was all I could do to stay awake.  I drank my coffee and woke myself up and can't get back to sleep and he went back to sleep. Guess I will really be tired by the evening.....darn good thing I love coffee so much!)

Then we went to visit my Aunt Gail about 30 minutes away, she lives in a rest home because she had a major stroke years ago and she really likes to see Griffin so we ventured out with Abby on a small road trip. When we got there she wanted Pepsi, I am sure that she is addicted but what's the harm when one is in such a situation there's got to be some pleasure in life right? Then she wanted some candy so we went to the store to get some Snickers and all the time Griffin was so patient. I sat and talked to her for about 30 minutes and all the while Griffin laid in the bed next to hers and drew on his Doodle Pro quietly.

I feel so bad for my aunt and all that she has been through but she has come a long way. She went from not having any control of her speech and the entire right side of her body to learning to talk again, now one can understand her much easier than just a few months ago. I think that she is feeling better about herself because she is wearing her false teeth again, wearing earrings, and she seems to want to be more social. For having had a stroke as major as she had, she is quite lucid and seems to know what she is saying most the time.

We later went to the lake because Griffin had so patiently waited for his reward even though he wanted to see his Aunt Gail his ultimate goal was the lake. He just cannot get enough of seeing the wildlife and the serene water there. I think that he enjoys the people there too because every time we go he mentions them. I follow him as he carefully walks around the gaggles of geese and all the ducks that are around, some eating the bread thrown out by the children hanging out there. We stopped bringing bread because Griffin simply enjoys the company of the wildlife and the scenery.

The schedule that I am using for Griffin, the pocket-sized one that I keep in my purse, that is really simple is working like a charm I am still happy to report. Griffin and I are having a blast together and he is having far fewer meltdowns and when he does have one it is less intense. I am keeping a journal of the ones he has and the circumstances for TEACCH, we go back tomorrow, so that we can maybe make some sense of what is going on with them.

I made some signs for Griffin to use for when either of us get upset and need to use our words: "Mom, you are angry please take a break" and "Mom, I need a break" and "Mom, my feelings are hurt". I am hoping that those will help him and me too. Maybe I should make some for me to use too!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

It's SO Simple

Griffin and I were so privileged to go to TEACCH on Monday and I say that because people get on waiting lists for months even a year or more at a time to get in so I am pleased to work with them. We have worked with them before my foot surgery but the results have never been so great as they are now. Griffin worked with Ann and he later told me that they talked about feelings happy and sad but he did not want to elaborate any further. She did not tell me what they did while working together but Jon is going to send me a summary of what we talked about. Jon is the individual with whom I spoke to about what was going on with Griffin lately and what was most important, that I really wanted to target right now. Those areas included: aggression and meltdowns which kind of go hand in hand but for someone dealing with autism knows that they can be separate all together and have nothing to do with one another.

So, Jon helped me simplify the schedule that I had been using by telling me that all I had to do is to use a small notebook to carry in my purse and to merely use a checklist and put only one to two activities ahead of time just so that he would know what was coming, that I didn't have to be so detailed as I thought I had to be all this time. I had been lagging behind in keeping up with Griffin's schedule because as a bipolar person or as myself I find it personally very hard for me to be organized, and detail oriented so now that the schedule is limited to a simple notebook with just a few items it works better for both of us and there have been no meltdowns so far since then I am happy to report!

We go back next week to continue to do more work and I am so excited. Griffin seems to enjoy going there too. I am also going to keep a journal on his meltdowns: when he has them, where, what the apparent trigger was or alleged trigger was, what the environment factors were, who was around, maybe not even that detailed but just for me to put some headings on my note pad and jot down some data for future reference and data collection for the experts would help to figure out what might be going on in his mind and to decode his behavior.

I am so proud of him and the patience that Griffin has most the time, he can really hold it together....it truly amazes me! He sits in the doctors office while I have my appointments and uses my phone to play games, sometimes getting frustrated but when I tell him that it is time to take a break he does not argue and moves on to something else. Right now, he is taking a break from the computer so that I can use it and he is being creative with his time being patient, I shouldn't be surprised because he is an intelligent guy with a great imagination.

We are still praying for my Aunt Patty and her family and that they will get to move here soon, if you could offer your prayers too that would be appreciated. She has stage 4 cancer and she lives with her daughter and three granddaughters. They mean the world to me and I would love nothing else than to have them to move here to be near family because where they live they are all alone and have no support. My former husband had cancer years ago, he had it for a long time before going through remission going through chemo and radiation so I understand the hell and pain of it all.

I understand how important it is to have support because neither my husband or I had support when he was going through it and that makes it 10 times the hell that it is in the first place. I love you Aunt Patty and Mindy you are so dear to me!