Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Dental work

This is a couple of weeks ago. Monkey is ready to go to the dentist to get 2 of his upper teeth extracted. He was very excited to be a brave boy! We talked a lot about what would happen and even practiced with the dental hygienist at the previous appointment. She helped Monkey understand everything and I was so happy to have her work with him. She has an adult son with Asperger's! I love people who "get it!"

Feeling a tad loopy from the laughing gas, he shows off his loot from the dentist. He's biting down on gauze to help with the bleeding. The whole procedure took less than 10 minutes. Monkey was awesome! By the way, the sticker says, "Careful! Tooth, Lips, Tongue Asleep!" He really hated the numb feeling and wanted me to take it out of his mouth.

Still feeling a bit weird because of his face being numb, he cuddles with dad for a few minutes to feel better.

The numb feeling is gone and it's time to head to school! He shows off his new grin, minus 2 teeth. Way to go, kiddo!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Spring Regression, Summer Transition

Did any of you experience a regression with your child during the spring? I can’t tell you how many people I know had chaos bloom in their children when spring hit. It’s like all of our kids drank the same water and spontaneously started freaking out. It happened in my house, times two! It’s a miracle I survived. Seriously.
The boys fought like rabid animals when they were at home. I got phone calls home from teachers several times a week. One of the most interesting calls home was when I found out that Prince Charming told another classmate to “kiss my boobs.” Yep. My little boy. I was mortified. Luckily, the teacher found the humor in the situation and knew that there was no way he would have learned it from home.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Latest post on SPD Blogger Network

Back in April I wrote “Yet another fat lip.” And no, we're not talking about collagen injections or a silly novelty! 
Over the weekend SPD Blogger Network ran my post on their site! The post was about how I tried to get a hug from Prince Charming and I ended up getting kicked in the face. I ended up with a split and bleeding lip from the experience.
Injuries can be quite common for parents of kids who have sensory issues. That experience was not my first fat lip and it probably won’t be my last.
I’d love to hear your experiences with your children. Have you ever received any injuries as part of being a parent to a special kiddo? Share your story below in the comments.
And, please don’t forget to visit SPD Blogger Network to view my post. I hope you have an injury-free day!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Autism families earn less

Here’s another one from the “No, duh!” category… I read an article that discussed how parents of children with autism tend to earn about 1/3 less than typical parents.

“Autism is associated with an average drop in household income of 27 percent, or $17,640 per year.”
The article goes on to say that the reason that families with autism earn less is because the “mothers of children with autism are less likely to work and when they are employed these moms tend to earn less than others.”
Does this come as a surprise to anyone? Not me. Not at all! I’m living proof. Most autism moms I know sacrifice quite a lot to parent their children. If they work, they have to find a boss who is willing to be flexible with them and all of their various requests for time off. You know, for times when you are being summoned by the school principal when your kid does something socially unacceptable and gets in big trouble, or you need to take your child in for an evaluation that you’ve been waiting almost a year to get and there was a last minute cancellation on the waiting list. The list goes on and on.
Then, for those of us who stay home, we are full-time moms (with all of the parts of the job that entails) as well as the fact that we have to chauffeur our kids to all of their appointments and then try to also be their therapists. We have to become magicians with our budgets in order to not go broke with all of the added costs, and we have to somehow carve out a few moments every so often to connect with our spouse.  
You know, a lot of people just don’t get it. They have no idea. Have you ever heard an off-hand remark about being “just” a stay-at-home mom? People have no clue about the additional complications and complexities of dealing with an autism diagnosis and all of the special things you have to do just to get your child through the day. Sometimes you can’t even aim high, you just hope to survive.
I guess the good part about articles like this is that when people seem to make light of your situation and basically dismiss you, there is some small feeling of satisfaction knowing that you are indeed correct. To all of my autism mommy friends, I know what you go through and I applaud what you do for your child. You are amazing. And, you do it all with less money. You rock, mama!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Keurig-style machine for baby formula?

I think you can easily gather from my name that I LOVE coffee. I consider myself to be a coffee aficionado and connoisseur. Some of you might call me an addict. Whatever… I may or may not resemble that remark!
Have you heard of Keurig? It’s the latest thing in making your morning routine simpler. A lot of my friends love their Keurig machine and think it makes a great cup of coffee. Personally, I am not a huge fan of the Keurig machine. I admit it. Don’t boo me if you own one. To each their own! Right? I like being able to buy my organic beans, grind them, use filtered water and make the absolute perfect cup of coffee my way.
I was flabbergasted when I happened upon an article about a Keurig-style machine that Nestle created for the sole purpose of making baby formula. At first glance the concept seems sort of scandalous, while at the same time strangely interesting and novel. Nestle calls their machine “BabyNes,” and it’s being marketed as a “new lifestyle consumer machine.”
The machine costs almost $300 and the capsules of baby formula cost almost 4 times as much as their coffee equivalent. One feature is a built-in water filtration system to eliminate concerns over bad water being consumed by infants. The BabyNes is being trialed in Switzerland before Nestle determines if they will expand into other markets, including those in developing nations.
Critics of the BabyNes say, “The current trend is manipulating young mothers into believing infant feeding is a lifestyle event like drinking Nespresso.”
Nestle has had problems over the years when it comes to their baby formula products, including some quality control issues related to bacterial contamination. Some people believe that the machine would feed into “rampant commercialism that could come at the expense of infant health.”
I breastfed both of my boys and I can tell you with some confidence that I would probably never own a machine like this, had they been around when my boys were babies. That’s not to say that for some women it would be a wonderful thing, particularly those who are unable to breastfeed their babies. But, you would probably need to have a fairly large wallet to afford it!
Is this a product you would like to buy? I’d love to hear what you think about this machine! Please leave your comments below.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Guest Post & Product Review at Modern Alternative Mama

Guess what? I’m guest posting over at Modern Alternative Mama today!

Kate from Modern Alternative Mama kindly agreed to let me write a guest post for her, specifically to test and give my review of Trilight Health products. It was fun to try some herbal products for both me and my boys, but the best part was getting the opportunity to write a guest post at a blog I’ve been reading since before I started blogging.

I was excited to try Trilight’s products, because they had several items that could possibly address my boys’ “excessive energy.”

Translation: They have products that might take some of the hyper out of my always on the go children who resemble zoo animals on speed!  

If you are a regular reader here at Caffeinated Autism Mom, you are aware that my boys have multiple food allergies and finding products that are safe for them to consume is a big concern for me. I like that Trilight Health has products that are free of many things, like: alcohol, sugar, yeast, gluten, soy, milk, and egg. I had the chance to try out 3 products for my boys, as well as 3 products for me. You’ll have to click on the link to find out how things went.

If you don’t already read Modern Alternative Mama, I highly recommend you go and check out the blog and stick around to read a few posts while you’re there. Kate is writing a lot about pregnancy these days since she’s now in her third trimester. If you want to read more from her about pregnancy, you can also visit her on Babble.

Now, head over to Modern Alternative Mama and read my guest post and review of Trilight Health products. I hope you enjoy! 

Monday, June 20, 2011

President of the Fan Club

My favorite movie for Father's Day is Finding Nemo!

One thing I’ve noticed a lot over the years is that there is never a shortage of women who complain about their husbands. Since it was Father’s Day on Sunday, there were some interesting reads out there. SPD Blogger Network featured a blog entry entitled, “Fathering is not Mothering.” CNN featured a great opinion piece from the perspective of a father on this very topic, essentially telling dads to “wake the hell up!” I liked this one so much that I also posted it on my Facebook page over the weekend.
I married an awesome guy and he turned out to be an amazing dad, too. I know I have a strong bias, but people tell me all the time what a great guy I’ve got. In fact, I was on a conference call and we got sidetracked for a moment, like women do. What do you think we ended up talking about in those moments? Men, of course! Things started to turn a bit negative when the other gals recounted some of the trouble they’d had with the men in their lives.
They all know my husband and spoke about how I found myself a great catch. I chimed in with, “Yes, I certainly did! I’m the President of his Fan Club!” They all chuckled a bit and seemed to indicate that they are members of his club, too. There were mumbled comments about whether or not he had a brother, or if we could clone him, etc. J
I know this is not the norm, especially in the case of families with children who have special needs of any kind. In many cases the added stress can easily fracture a marriage. I see it happen all the time.  
I am fortunate that my husband chips in whenever I need help. He recognizes the research and time I put in on behalf of our boys and will often defer to me. He quickly got on board when I proposed a radical diet change in our household – eliminating gluten, dairy, egg, and soy. He has worked with me on strategies to deal with behavior and sensory issues, listening to my ideas and helping me come up with new ones that are often better than my own. He stands with me in decisions and never undermines my authority. In turn, I never emasculate him and I always let him have the final say.
We know that if we are not on the same page, the kids might try to take over! So, we make it a point to communicate with each other every single day, even if it’s only for a couple of minutes. Our favorite time of the day is when the boys are in bed and we have a moment to sit next to each other and talk, or just watch a movie until we’re both groggy (or my husband falls asleep in his chair). Our favorite time of all is when we get to go out on a date! Time together without the boys allows us to recharge and connect again as a couple.
I’m thankful beyond words that God brought my husband into my life. I know I would probably be in a rubber room somewhere if he was not helping me raise our boys. It’s nice to have a day to celebrate all of his contributions to our family and to reinforce why I am the President of his Fan Club.
I hope you had a wonderful Father’s Day!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Telling the truth is hard (revisited)

A few months ago I wrote a post entitled, “Telling the truth is hard.” The next day I followed it up with, “Telling the truth is hard (continued).” Well, another issue cropped up shortly after those posts, so I thought it would be good to share an update with you now that some of the dust has settled.
In case you haven’t had a chance to read the old posts yet, I’ll bring you up to speed:
Monkey was having lots of trouble with honesty. It came to a head when he (1) stole money from me and lied about it, and (2) stole food and lied about it (you can read about how we dealt specifically with this issue HERE).
About a week after these incidents, I learned that he had stolen a toy from a child at school. It took us almost 2 more weeks to figure out the details of what happened and who the toy belonged to, much less return it to its rightful owner with an apology letter and sacrificial gift. (He did not like having to give up something of his to this other child! Can you say mean mom lesson?) 
Monkey said something before that I thought would be good to repeat now before we move along with the latest chapter.
When asked the question, “Why do you think it’s okay to lie,” he answered, “I don’t have the right equipment.” I was fairly astonished by his comment at the time and thought it was very profound.
The stolen toy incident spurred yet another in-depth conversation about honesty with both me and his dad. Monkey hates having these kinds of conversations. It’s hard for him to focus and stay engaged (much less stay somewhat still), and he gets very uncomfortable with having to talk about anything for more than a couple of minutes. It causes him stress, which makes it exceedingly difficult to have a meaningful conversation that could yield any sort of positive result.   
Some of the things he said were truly interesting and I thought I would share the highlights of what he told us as we pressed him for information about the incident.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Good for giggles

What is an easy way to get the giggles around our house? Playing balloon catch, of course! It’s actually more like full-contact-football-meets-beach-volleyball. Both the boys enjoy it, but Prince Charming gets a fit of giggles whenever we play it. Last night was no exception.
Prince Charming was jumping all over, launching his body around to catch the balloon like he was diving for a fumble recovery in the Super Bowl. He was getting lots of good sensory input and hand-eye coordination practice. It’s like we were having our own sensory integration therapy at home. Our OT would be so proud.
Then, there’s the matter of the balloon going in places you don’t expect because of its uneven weight and ability to float. Let me tell you, when I got bipped in the face by the wayward balloon, he got to laughing so hard that he could barely stand. He was literally doubled over. Add in my ridiculous sound effects and he could hardly focus enough to track where the balloon was. It was hilarious! There is nothing cuter than him getting into a fit of laughter! I was laughing like crazy, too. How could I not with that much cuteness in the room?
In fact, I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard since he cured me of my headache when we played soccer a few months ago. You can read how laughter is indeed the best medicine here.
If you are in need of some good fun with your kids that is certain to cause laughter, you should try playing balloon catch. I do believe that you’ll thank me. And, you’re welcome. J

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Cake!

Prince Charming's birthday celebration last month at home with chocolate cake - his favorite! He's a chocoholic like his mama!

He loves to eat his cake like it's a popsicle. It's either that or to eat the frosting first and then eat the cake. Either way, he loves his cake and he's too cute!

In case you want to know how I made the cake (free of gluten, casein, soy, egg, and nuts!), I have found the absolute best GFCF cake mix anywhere. Seriously. The Authentic Foods Chocolate Cake Mix is divine! It can easily be made without eggs, too. I used Pamela's Dark Chocolate Frosting Mix (rich and yummy) and Carnival Sprinkelz (because every kid loves sprinkles!).

I've linked all of these products below if you want to learn more about them. Delicious, allergy-free and so easy! 

Let's Do Sprinkelz Carnival, Gluten-Free, 1-ounce (12 pack)Authentic Foods Chocolate Cake Mix   Pamela's Products Frosting Mix, Dark Chocolate 13 oz (680 g)     

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's cool to be a winner!

Monkey came home from school and said, “Mommy! Guess what? I have something exciting to tell you!” He had a huge smile on his face and I can’t remember the last time that he seemed so happy when he got home from school. I replied, “Come into the house and tell me all about it!”

It wasn't all that long ago that I could barely get Monkey to tell me anything spontaneously. Sometimes it would take a very long time, with me methodically and systematically prying information out of him, just to learn a few minor details about his day. He has been making great strides, but we still have our struggles. So for him to burst through the door like he did with a beaming grin and words happily spilling out of his mouth was truly wonderful.
“We had the second grade spelling bee today!”
Last week they had individual classroom spelling competitions and Monkey came in second place in his class. This week they brought all of the top 2 spellers from each class in the second grade together for a spelling bee.
“I won!”
“You won? Tell me everything!”
“Well, we had our spelling bee today and I won!”
“What? Really? You won? That’s fantastic! I’m so proud of you! Are you proud of yourself?”
“Yes! It’s cool to be a winner!”
He proceeded to tell me more about the contest, the competitors, what order they placed, and even some of the words they misspelled. As I listened to him talking I was impressed by his confidence. It brought me back to how happy he was when he was performing in the second grade play.
During the play he rocked out to the music with no fear. This was a huge surprise because neither my husband nor I ever see him dance or express himself musically when he’s at home with us. It was so awesome to watch him in the play just having lots of fun with no concern whatsoever for the audience.
I imagined him spelling in front of his classmates with ease. I asked him if he liked to talk in front of other people and he agreed exuberantly. We talked about his play and how much he liked to say his lines into the microphone and dance in front of the audience. He told me that he doesn’t get nervous and wanted to get in front of people and do more spelling and performing.
I’m so happy for his victory today. It gives me much hope for him in the future.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bad Mommy at SPD Blogger Network

Over the weekend I had another post run over at SPD Blogger Network! I originally wrote “Bad Mommy” back in January. In the post I talked about how Monkey has some tactile sensory issues and how a potential sensory disaster was averted despite my forgetfulness.  
I encourage you to go visit the post over at SPD Blogger Network and don’t forget to browse some of the other posts, too. There’s a lot of great bloggers on the site!
I’d love to hear about your Bad Mommy experiences in the comments below. When did you mess up and how did your kids handle it? Did they make you laugh or did they have a major meltdown? Do tell!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I feel bad. Can I have some food?

Monkey has always had a penchant for numbers. He loves them! He has been very interested in pedometers since he learned about them in his PE class. I happened to have one sitting in a drawer and I gave it to him when I saw his excitement at having such a treasure in my possession. He loved to wear the pedometer and I would see him checking it periodically throughout the day so he could announce updates on his number of steps.
Well, the pedometer went missing. We think it may have come off of his waistband when he was either in his classroom or on the playground. Monkey started to immediately cry when he realized he wasn’t going to find it right away. He wasn’t faking or forcing tears for attention or manipulation like we are used to seeing as of late. No, this was true mourning over a loved trinket.
I felt bad for him. I also thought it was a good moment to help drive a point home. Want to know how mean I am? I used his moment of pain to remind him about the time he stole a toy from another student. Yes, I did. I went there. I talked with him about how sad he felt knowing that his pedometer was lost, and then asked him to imagine how this other boy might have felt the same way when his toy was stolen. Monkey kept crying and nodded his head in sorrowful agreement. There may have actually been some recognition clicking away in his brain. At least I hope...
Did I stop there? No! “Mean” mom kept it up. I’m all about the teachable moments.
I shared a story with him about how I had lost some important papers and I couldn’t find them anywhere. I told him how even after looking for a couple of days all over the house I still couldn’t find them and felt very sad. (The real reason I was sad was because it was almost tax day, I had been procrastinating, and I had lost some of our tax paperwork! I practically tore apart the house as I rabidly searched for the paperwork.) I told Monkey how I had tried really hard to find my lost papers but realized that they were probably going to stay lost, and I gave up my search. (As a result, I was forced to file my very first tax extension so I could gather up all of the paperwork again from scratch. That was a *very* proud moment.) Then, something amazing happened and I found the missing papers! (They were within 2 feet of where I keep my laptop, so I wouldn't lose them. Yup. Just put the white dunce cap on me and stick me in the corner with a big “L” on my forehead. I was so happy I cried.)    

I talked with him about how sometimes we just have to think carefully about where we could have misplaced something, like when we last saw it or used it and where we were, so it can help us when we are searching. I also worked in a brief lesson about how it’s always easier to find something that is lost when you keep your surroundings (like your room) clean. (No snickering about my lost tax paperwork, people!)
He sat on my lap, quietly crying as we talked about all of these things. Well, I mostly did the talking as he sat in forlorn silence. We sat and cuddled and his tears began to dry up. As he got up out of the chair he said something I never thought I would hear.
“I feel bad. Can I have some more food?”
I turned my head suddenly to look at my husband with bugged out eyes that screamed, “Did I just hear what I think I heard?” I replied to Monkey, “Honey, you don’t need food to feel better. There are lots of other things that can make you feel good, like a hug from dad or me.”  
I have food issues. I’m overweight and have been for a very long time. My weight problem has gotten worse as my stress has increased in the past several years. I have worked hard to not have my kids associate food with emotions because I don’t want them to have the same struggle. They have enough to deal with as it is! So, we structured our token economy system at home to include many reward options that are not food-related. I’ve even worked with the boys’ teachers to make sure that they are not regularly rewarding with food.  
While I’m talking with Monkey about what you can do to feel better (I think we're now on lesson number 3!), Titan suddenly became inspired and hopped onto the internet to look up a Public Service Announcement video from the 1980’s. It was a cartoon about a kid who decided that he didn’t need a cookie to feel better. Titan and I began to tag-team the search for the vintage video and we found it!
(YouTube is not cooperating for some reason, so I can't embed the video into the post... Just click on the link below instead.)

The search for the pedometer continues. And truthfully, I hope that the trauma of Monkey losing something important to him for the first time will help those little lessons stick. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Vodka Valium Latte

My gal pal, Miss C, and her mom (my "other" mom) got me this t-shirt.
It's like they think they know me or something! :-) 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fun and Function Featured Parent

I don’t have any big topics to discuss or funny stories to share today, but I do have something I’d like to at least mention. The great folks over at Fun and Function had me on their blog yesterday as a “Featured Parent.”
Their site has a lot of really cool toys and occupational therapy tools for both parents and professionals. It’s really worth taking a few minutes to check out their site. If nothing else, read the post about your favorite Caffeinated Autism Mom! ;-)
Well, this may go down in blog history as the shortest post I’ve ever written! I guess I should end it with...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Living without a microwave

In January I wrote a post about resolutions and how our family was instituting some permanent changes to the way we cook for 2011. As part of that, we made the decision to get rid of our microwave and replace it with a large convection toaster oven. I was a bit hesitant to take the plunge because I knew it would make things less convenient for us, but my husband and I agreed that it was a good decision for our family.
In case you aren’t aware, microwave ovens actually destroy the nutrients in your food and can have other harmful effects. Dr. Mercola wrote a great piece on the various hazards of using a microwave. Here are a few quotes I pulled from the article:
Microwaves heat food by causing water molecules in it to resonate at very high frequencies and eventually turn to steam which heats your food. While this can rapidly heat your food, what most people fail to realize is that it also causes a change in your food’s chemical structure.
According to Powerwatch, a non-profit independent organization with a central role in the microwave radiation debate:
“Even when the microwave oven is working correctly, the microwave levels within the kitchen are likely to be significantly higher than those from any nearby cellular phone base-stations. Remember also that microwaves will travel through walls if the microwave oven is against an inside wall.”
The handful of studies that have been done generally agree, for the most part, that microwaving food damages its nutritional value. Your microwave turns your beautiful, organic veggies, for which you’ve paid such a premium in money or labor, into “dead” food that can cause disease!
When I began my search, I was looking for a toaster oven with convection that was large enough to fit a 9 x 13 pan or my large skillet. I also wanted a model with lots of positive consumer reviews because I had never used a toaster oven before and I needed as much information as possible. We ended up buying an extra large Oster like the one pictured here.
At first it took a little while to get used to how much time things would take to make. It was no longer a simple matter of throwing something in to be reheated or cooked really fast. It took more effort and planning but the results were better than I expected. Now I don’t even think twice about the time.  
We’ve had the toaster oven for more than 4 months now and we’ve fully adjusted to our new way of life. I hardly ever use my regular oven now. It uses less energy than my standard oven and the convection feature helps cook things faster and more evenly.
To solidify our commitment to the microwave-free lifestyle, we gave away our old microwave! Some of my friends think I am absolutely, positively nuts. My friends who are much more fluent in natural health than I am wonder why it took me so long to get rid of my microwave.
Do you think you could live without your microwave?       

Friday, June 3, 2011

When I grow up...

I had a conversation with Monkey that I thought was so great I had to share it with you!
We were eating dinner and all of a sudden Monkey asked Titan, “When you are 64, how old will I be?” Monkey is practically a human calculator so it didn’t surprise me that he asked a math question. Titan took a moment to think about the answer and told him, “You’ll be 36 when I am 64, which means that when I’m 64 you will be as old as I am right now.”
Monkey got a grin on his face and I could see the wheels turning in his brain and he thought about what his dad had just told him. He looked like he thought it was the coolest thing ever. When I saw his face light up I started to ask him questions to see if I could get him to continue the train of thought.
Me: “Do you think it will be fun to be a big man someday like Dad is right now?”
Monkey: “Yes! That will be great!”
Me: “What do you think you will be doing?”
Monkey: “I will be a graduate.”
Me: “A graduate? That’s great! Do you think you will be married just like Dad?”
Monkey: “Yes!”
Me: “Do you think you will have kids that are just like you?”
Monkey: “Oh, yes!”
Me: “Do you have any idea how many kids you will have?”
Monkey: “Ten!”
Me: “Really? Wow! Are you sure you want that many?”
Monkey: “Yes, ten!”
Me: “Well, you’ll want to talk with your wife about that! What kind of job do you think you will have?”
Monkey: “In a restaurant.”
Me: “What kind of work do you want to do in the restaurant?”
Monkey paused for a moment to try to think of what work people do in a restaurant.
Titan: “You know, working in a restaurant is a LOT harder than when you eat there! Do you think you would like to wash dishes, be a cook, or maybe a waiter?”
Monkey: “A waiter.” He paused again while he thought. “At Red Robin.”
Me: “Wow!”
He had a big smile on his face and he was obviously very happy about the talk we were having about his future as a man when he would be his daddy’s age. I love the fact that we had a conversation that was relevant (not scripted or memorized), spontaneous, and also allowed him to use his imagination to think about something abstract. He kept his focus the whole time and was fully engaged, staying on topic and coming up with realistic answers to all of the questions.
At some point I think I’ll have to help him understand that taking care of a wife and ten kids might not be very easy if he is working as a waiter. But, that talk can definitely wait for another day, or perhaps another year! I am so proud of him and the progress he’s making with his communication skills. It was a wonderful moment that was too cute to keep to myself.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

You've got a friend in me

I saw something yesterday that made me stop what I was doing. What in the world did I see? I saw the following words: “mom of child with autism – no friends.”
Where did I see these words? They were from a Google search that someone had done in order to find my blog. You see, Blogger (Google’s blogging platform) keeps certain statistics and I like to check to see how people find me here at Caffeinated Autism Mom.
I have no idea if the person who did that search and clicked on my blog stayed here to check things out (and if they did, whether or not they found anything helpful), or if they immediately left the blog, or even if they are back here reading this today.
If this person happens by some chance to be back here again today reading this very entry, Dear Reader, this is for you. You have friends. You may not have found them yet, but you have me.
Being a parent to a child with autism can be very isolating. I know this from personal experience. You feel like you can’t go out in public without stress. You worry about every possible trigger for a meltdown and how you can get through the whole day without your kid freaking out over something. You no longer feel like you have anything in common with anyone from your life before diagnosis. Your family doesn’t understand. Your friends don’t understand. You feel all of these things and much, much more. Believe me, I get it.
It doesn’t have to stay this way. Things can be better. The key is finding those moms who are just like you in your own town. You need to connect. The best ways I know how are local support groups and Facebook.
I was in such need of support a few years ago that I started my own group. But, I imagine there is probably already a great support group in your area that you just haven't found yet.
There are many ways to find these groups! Try the following: Google searches, Yahoo Groups, Meetup, etc. Also, call any number of local resources like: therapists, clinics, special education personnel at your school/school district, departments/agencies related to developmental disabilities in your town/county/state, etc. You can even look up national organizations like TACANational Autism Association or the Autism Society to see if there are any local chapters near you. And, don’t forget to look on Facebook for groups related to autism.
Dear Reader, there’s more support available with each passing day. We are out there. We live near you. We are just like you. You have friends. You just have to meet them.     

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Vacuuming!

Prince Charming has found a new favorite activity - vacuuming! If you know anything about Kirby vacuums, they weigh A LOT.  Because of this, they have a transmission that you can switch to "drive" or leave it in "neutral." When it's in neutral, you have to use a lot more force to move the vacuum around. This is GREAT heavy work for my little dude. Now that he is no longer afraid of the noise and doesn't have to wear earmuffs or ear plugs to be around it, he loves it. He helps his body out with good sensory input by vacuuming a little bit almost every day.

This is a great chore for kids who can handle the noise and need proprioceptive input. They also feel really good helping out by doing a job around the house. One day Prince Charming asked if he could help when I had the vacuum out. Once he learned how to turn it on and maneuver it without crashing into the furniture, he's been happily vacuuming ever since. I love that he figured out that lugging around the vacuum made his body feel good.  
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