Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Saturday, September 02, 2017

Visiting NaNa and PaPa in South Carolina

I can honestly say that for the first time in my life at age 53, I finally truly enjoy the company of my parents without thinking, "Oh please let this story be over with I have heard it a million times." Now we have great conversations, laugh, tell old and new stories, I cook great meals for them. My mom has tremors in her hands so she cannot prepare homemade meals anymore so I do my best to help her out.

 My dad had a heart attack last week and she needs help, he is fine now though. She needs neck surgery but I won't be able to come down and help her for the two weeks of recovery time she will need. She has fallen so much that she needs to stay in the wheelchair for safety until after her surgery. I am helping her clean, shop, run errands, and just hang out.

We are all having fun especially Griffin because he loves his grandparents. And now that we can come to the library and use their computers he is super happy! Mom is so good with him, she always has been. He is in his element at their house drawing and watching videos, and eating whatever he likes pretty much. I don't mind to let him have a vacation at the tail end of summer before he begins to get stressed out at school.

I made broccoli cheddar soup last night and they really liked it. Mom said that if I cooked like that for them all the time then they would both gain weight for sure. I told her to enjoy herself and splurge a little because they don't get to eat out since my dad is bed ridden. Tonight I am making cheese stuffed soft pretzels and tomorrow spinach artichoke dip and maybe spinach mushroom feta quiche.

The three of us went to Walmart shopping the other day and it was kind of funny in a way because she was in the motorized cart and Griffin and I were tagging along with me in a big boot on my leg and him wandering all over the place. I broke my foot over a month ago and am healing from it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Guest Post by Kelly Tatera : 7 of the Greatest Accomplishments of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

7 of the Greatest Accomplishments of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

When people think of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), many people tend to focus on the developmental deficits rather than the gifts and talents that can come with the condition. 

ASD certainly doesn’t prevent people from accomplishing great things, so we’d like to highlight some of the most impressive accomplishments of individuals with autism.

1. Stephen Wiltshere – Artist 

Stephen Wiltshere, an artist from London, was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. However, his autism left him with the impressive ability of a photographic-like memory. He channeled this gift into his art, becoming known for his ability to paint intricate city skylines from memory. He now has a permanent gallery on the Royal Opera Arcade in London – his work can be seen here. 

2. Devin Ross – Swimmer 
When Devin Ross was three years old, doctors diagnosed him with autism and told his mom he would never make it to college, live on his own, and would likely have to be institutionalized. Ross had other plans in mind. At age 23, he went on to prove doctors wrong by making it to the 2012 Olympic swimming trials in London. Ross tributes his success to his autism.

3. Daniel Tammet – Bestselling Author 
Daniel Tammet, an English writer, wasn’t diagnosed with high-functioning autism until he was 25-years-old. That same year, Tammet set a European record for reciting the mathematical constant Pi from memory to 22,5013 decimal places. The recitation took 5 hours and 9 minutes. The year after, he began writing, and his first book, A Memoir of Asperger’s and an Extraordinary Mind, became a Sunday Times bestseller. 

4. Temple Grandin – Professor and Activist  Arguably the most well-known individual in the autism community, Temple Grandin was nonverbal until she was three and a half years old. Doctors said she would need to be institutionalized, but Grandin went on to be one of the most outspoken autism advocates in the world. She is known for developing corrals to improve the quality of life for cattle, and now teaches as a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State
5.  James Hobley – Dancer 
When James Hobley was just 11 years old, he won the hearts of Britain’s Got Talent judges with a stunning ballet performance. Hobley also has autism. Autism runs in his family, with his twin brother and elder brother also being on the spectrum. His ASD hasn’t held him back from making great accomplishments. At age 17, Hobley is now training at London’s prestigious English National Ballet School.

6. Jake Barnett – Math and Science Prodigy 
Like seen in many cases of severe ASD, Jake Barnett regressed and lost his ability to speak and make eye contact at age 2. He was put in special education classes at school, but by 8 years old, he was getting straight A’s in college-level math and science classes. Barnett reportedly has an IQ of 170, which is higher than Einstein. Barnett is now a PhD candidate researching Loop Quantum Gravity and Quantum Foundations at Perimeter Institute for Advanced Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada. 

7. Micah Miner – Gymnast 
Nine-year-old Micah Miner’s diagnosis of ASD didn’t hold him back from shining in his gymnastics endeavors. In fact, this past June, he competed in the 2017 U.S. Tumbling and Trampoline Association National Championship in Madison, Wisconsin – his third time making it to nationals. According to Micah’s parents, his autism helped him improve at gymnastics in some ways. 


Through ABA (applied behavior analysis) therapy, Action Behavior Centers helps children with autism spectrum disorder reach their highest potential. With centers around Texas, the ABC staff strives to provide top-notch care and educate both online and local communities on autism. 

I always enjoy having guest posts and offer my thanks to Kelly for submitting an excellent one.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Swimming Lessons

How I wish that I could post pictures or videos of Griffin when he is swimming and during his lessons because he is such a fish having absolutely NO fear whatsoever of the water. But, it is for that very reason that he is getting lessons because the statistics for drowning of Autistic children is very high as they are attracted to bodies of water. He has the best instructor that he has ever had even after several attempts over the years, and her name is Elly. She is so sweet and treats him with such respect and understanding. Elly knows exactly how to talk to him and approach teaching him she is so special to us and I am so grateful to have her in our lives. She will eventually be going to backpack across Europe and I told her that we have got to keep in touch. She agreed.

We will have the ABA assessment next Friday with Hannah and Matt to get things started and I am so excited. It will be intensive at 2 hours a day 5 days a week but we need it so much. Matt asked me if I was going to put him in school but I asked him if he thinks that teachers who have their minds made up that he is manipulative and always wants his way and that he belongs in the place where wayward boys go, if they are trainable . I was going to homeschool him again because of their attitudes but he wants to give it a chance because he said that school is such a great place for progress and social opportunities. I am still not sure.

Griffin had developed some stemming where he hits his head with his fist and makes some vocal sounds, they were coming and going but when he had them they were constant so bad that I took him to the doctor for a neurology referral. The missionaries had given him a blessing and it worked in just a matter of a few days they were completely gone. Faith is miraculous!

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Great Summer and Surrounded by Love

At our Mormon/LDS church we have met so many wonderful, loving, compassionate, understanding, accepting people/church members. They are the most caring people who are also the least judgmental people I have ever met in my life. They have helped me and Griffin so very much more than I ever could have imagined and the greatest part is that they are altruistic and expect nothing in return.

Elder Creasey and Elder Swindler have been so kind and helpful ever since we first met them which is the very beginning of the process of conversion. They have moved on to different areas and one has even moved on out of being a missionary but we are all still very close. Griffin loves them too.

Griffin said opening and closing prayers for the very first time yesterday, Sunday and what an amazing job he did! I am so very proud of him for so many reasons because he has matured so much just since beginning church less than 6 months ago. He is devout in his beliefs and is so righteous because he is one of God's chosen ones who is special and forever innocent due to his special needs. He would never intentionally harm anyone or anything because he has no idea of how to be malicious or spiteful or hateful. My dad denies that he has anything different about him and blames him for everything that he does and yells at him all the time getting angry at him all the time so I just tell Griffin to stay away from him because my dad is the one with the problem not my son! He is missing out on what could have been a wonderful relationship it is so sad.

But we are having an awesome summer and I will hate to see it end. We always get along now because we love and understand each other more than ever before since having the Gospel in our lives and growing close to Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ!

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Piano, and Singing

Our lives have changed exponentially since joining the church after being baptized. The missionaries visit us a few times a week, we attend church on Sunday, and on Wednesday Griffin goes to Boy Scouts at the church. We are so joyful now, our lives now have so much meaning and purpose since having faith in Heavenly Father. I don't like to spend too much time talking about it because I am still just learning so much mostly by reading Scripture every day several times a day and having discussions, going to classes at church, and meetings. I love learning so much every day. Griffin is so excited too and enjoys when we read Scripture together and pray together.

One day at church Griffin was sitting next to one of the sisters who was teaching him America the Beautiful and she said that he learned it from just showing him once and then I found out that he taught himself to play It's a Small World just by ear. He is amazing more and more each day. One of the brothers is giving Griffin a piano which is such a huge blessing because I want him to start piano lessons as soon as possible. One of the sisters teaches piano but she doesn't have an opening yet for lessons but he is next on the list.

Griffin loves to sing and everyone at church knows it because he sings from the heart and is not shy about it. Once he walked up behind the youth choir director (who is also a youth) and started singing while looking at his book. Later Bartell asked if Griffin would like to be in the youth choir and Griffin said "Yes!" with great enthusiasm. So Bartell is going to give us a call .

School is going great, Griffin is making excellent progress. We just had a meeting and decided that things should stay the same for awhile until he is completely successful for at least two weeks and then we will meet again and decide what the next move is as far as increasing his time in school and challenging him. The intensive in home team is stepping down and I am frankly glad because it is less complicated that way and besides the school has a new assistant to Griffin named Mike who seems to be a great fit for him. I think that that kind of consistency is going to be essential to his success rather than with intensive in home where they were never on a regular schedule it was always someone different.

Now I just have to work on a few things with him at home and out in public as far as behavior goes. I spoke to Brother Thorton who used to be a special ed teacher to find strategies to use that I  can stick to and be consistent with in order to improve his behavior at home and in public and in church. Last Sunday was a conference and he was up walking around during the service asking people loudly if they had a pencil he could borrow. I don't usually get embarrassed but that was ridiculous and the he walked right out of the building without listening to me at the end and wouldn't come back. I was so upset but of course I couldn't lose my cool in front of everyone at least I didn't feel that it was appropriate at the time.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Great Vistit In SC With My Parents/Back To School

I was terribly sick during the Christmas holiday as I had some kind of wicked virus that wasn't the flu so we didn't get to go to SC to visit as we had planned for a long time and Griffin was terribly disappointed. But we did get to go for New Year's Eve and we stayed about 3 days. It was nice to see them as it had been about 6 months since we had been down there. I had to rent a car because there was no way that our car would have made it. We didn't do much really but I did get to sit and look at recipes with my mom and talk with her, that is one thing that we do love to do together because we both love to cook. Griffin mostly watched dvds as I had taken his player and small TV down so that he would have something to do. He wanted so badly to stay up and watch New Year's Rockin' Eve and watch the ball drop so we did but it was a bit disappointing because it only came on 30 minutes before midnight and they only had one performer...not like it used to be.

Griffin's return to school on Jan. 3rd and ever since has been a huge success! He is so thrilled to be back in school even if he is not allowed to use the computer. His teacher and Intensive In Home team say that he is getting his work done quickly, completing it all, getting it all correct with time left over to look at Garfield books until I get there. His behavior has been excellent and Mrs. Keith said that the work, especially the math, is really hard work and that she is very proud of him. I had thought that I was going to need to give him incentives or rewards but just going to school is reward enough for him.