Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Jennifer Lingle M.Ed. / Griffin's Current Hallucinations & Health

How to Improve Social Interactions with Your Child in Three Simple Steps. 

I recently spoke to Jennifer and told her of how I have difficulty playing with Griffin, how we are in our own little worlds when are in at home, and it is as though she put together this article for me in particular because it really helped me . I am implementing the approach now and so far Griffin is really responding to it...thank you Jennifer, Griffin is slowly letting me play with him and allowing me in his room.

I have got to let all my readers know that Jennifer Lingle M. Ed. Director of and also of  has been STELLAR in her field of autism training and and consulting as far as helping with the issues that I have had with Griffin. Jennifer can be reached at 828-505-0248. She also has a free e-book  Visual Tools for Homes and School. Some time ago I ordered her DVD and social skills workbook set, after hearing her speak at an Autism Society meeting and have been using it ever since. I started watching the DVDs right away and took notes but found myself needing to go back to watch them again for refreshers as I have learned something new each time I have watched them.

 The social skills book has been helpful over and over because Griffin completes it in a new way each time he does it and admittedly, with his patience he and understanding there are parts that he is yet to complete still. So I think that it will do us good for a year or two longer until he is a teenager and perhaps he is not playing with Big Bird, Calliou, Teletubbies, Spongebob, and Disney figurines anymore. I only pray that by middle school the kids are as kind to him as they are now, at least he has one more year at the school where he is now before he moves on. On a really positive note, we got a great report from his teachers in the IEP meeting, he is really showing a lot of desire to be around his peers and to have conversations with them. His speech teacher is teaching him how to take turns speaking and to share interests too, not just talk about what he is interested in. His peers are very interested in him and treat him like a little brother in fact, the teachers have to tell them to stop doing things for Griffin that he has to do things for himself. Even with this encouraging news, Griffin does spend time alone during P.E. and recess according to Griffin because the other kids don't play with him....or maybe it is just because they both don't know how to play together. It's too bad that there wasn't a coach there who could interact with them and help them.

The team from RHA is still doing a tremendous job with him at home, he is learning to trust them and go places with them and talk to them about his feelings. I believe this is a big step for him and for me too, for both of us to trust other people in our lives and to talk to them about what we do with each other but I do think that it will be awhile longer before we make headway into getting to the root of the problem other than just my lack of good parenting skills. Still waiting for the eval on Aspergers. 6 more weeks. She is sick and then I have to get on the wait list. For now I am getting the Tony Attwood book, "Aspergers, A Guide For Parents and Professionals".

Griffin has been having hallucinations, he let me know that he is seeing people after taking his medications (Abilify, Clonidine, Melatonin) at night and that his eyes "look funny".  I took this very seriously and called all the doctors I could and the prescribing nurse practitioner told me that as long as he is not scared then he had to wait for the appointment with the psychiatrist on April 1st, the first appointment that we could get with a psychiatrist on a waiting list no less! So Griffin is seeing things that he doesn't understand, I did explain to him that they weren't real and that they couldn't hurt him, but still....I would imagine that to a certain degree that some of it might be scary especially if he has blurry eyes or he might have vertigo. He is having a hard time describing what he is seeing to me. He was having sleep problems but I think that I might have that straightened out for now but his mood certainly isn't. The NP decreased his Abilify from 10 mg. daily for mood swings down to 7 1/2 daily at dinner in order to decrease his appetite.

It did decrease his appetite somewhat, somewhat mind you, he still eats plenty but his moods are more aggressive again. He had stopped hitting me and now he is doing it again. I also found out from his physical that because of his limited choice in foods ie...his restricted eating or some call it picky eater but it is more than that because I have tried everything under the sun to get this child to eat veggies! HE GAGS! He sees it, he gags! Sometimes he will touch it to his tongue barely one time but never again except he tried broccoli 3 times but still hates it. He will eat baby carrots, strawberries, apples, and bananas. We even tried with his occupational therapist but no luck, all she could get him to eat was snack foods. Now we are going to get him to go to a registered dietician for children. He has to go to a cardiologist too because his lipids and cholesterol was high not because he eats fried or junk foods but cheese and pasta. And because it runs on both sides of the family...probably his dad's side too because they were so large.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Aspergers and Me....Help Us Feel Part of The Real World

I sure hate that we don't have photos like we used to, I miss my camera so much one never realizes what a passion something is until it is totally gone. It should mean that I am writing more and more which is also my passion but there seems to be this void in my life that is a black hole absent of fulfillment and it has seemed that over the years no matter what I have done only the fact that I have a beautiful child has filled my days with contentment. I try to live as an example to enjoy doing things but there is this term that I discovered "anhedonia" which means one's inability to experience pleasure from activities once found enjoyable such as hobbies and personal interactions. This is usually due to depression which I do not currently have but I do feel numb and as if in a sensory/emotional vacuum. I think that I mostly feel lonely.

I do believe that when I thought that I was on the spectrum about a year or more ago and nobody believed me, so I just stopped pursuing it, I found myself becoming more introspective and that is when I began to have such a difficult time coping with Griffin's autism diagnosis all of a sudden. I became angry and confused and had no one to talk to about it who understood me, everyone was qualified to talk to Griffin but not to an far as I knew.

Now that someone has told me recently that he believes that I have Aspergers, and he is someone who has a daughter with Aspergers (a high functioning form of autism, more so than Griffin) he is also someone who is an autism therapist specialist. But he still wants me to go a woman named Laurie who is an expert psychologist who can do an evaluation and give me counseling especially since this has been such a struggle for me. Believe is no piece of cake being on the spectrum as a single parent and raising a child on the spectrum with behavior issues.....not only that I am also Bipolar with PTSD and have Fibromyalgia/CFS, and severe arthritis in my feet. I hate to let any of that stop me but some days are so hard and the worst part is when people don't call me. I am hardly on the computer anymore because my Fibromyalgia has been so bad and I am so weak that it is hard to take care of my chores, errands, doctor's appointments, so then by the time I am home all I can do is rest as much as I can until I have to take care of Griffin and I fall asleep on the couch before bedtime.

Even if I do have Aspergers and like to be alone just like many autistic individuals it doesn't mean that I don't get lonely and wish that my friends would call me or write a letter or e-mail. I reach out to them but I guess that their busy lives just keep them from making frequent calls...I guess. It still hurts my feelings and I can't talk to Laurie until the 28th. Now I have an idea of what Griffin feels like when he wants to socialize but doesn't know how, when the other kids won't play with him. When he wants to say something but can't get the words out and the ideas and frustrations are trapped in his head/heart. That is why I am trying to talk more to Griffin and if he doesn't want to talk I just ask him if I can be in the room with him because I know what it is like to feel empty and to feel as if nobody is thinking of you. He relies on me to help him feel loved and wanted for his self-esteem and self worth, it is a huge responsibility and even when I feel weak and exhausted from my CFS I have still got to be there for him.

That is part of what we are working on with RHA. We are working on communication to make life easier for both of us but especially for Griffin so that he can let me know what he is thinking and feeling before he breaks something or hits me. I am so impressed with RHA, they have really brought us together, we are spending more quality time together drawing each other out of our isolation because we know how. That is something that my friends and Griffin's peers don't know how to do. They don't know that with autism we are in our own little world, in our comfort zone as much as possible but if you have the inclination and the love and the can draw us out of it and bring us joy beyond contentment and help us feel like we are part of the real world.