Thursday, August 9, 2012

It's summer time!!!

It's summer time and all the trials and triumphs that come with it. I'm sorry its been such a long time since I have had time to post, I don't have an excellent excuse except for exhaustion. I've missed you all!!!

Here are some truths from our summer thus far....

* Yes, that was my child sitting in the hallway crying and yelling today at Lego Star Wars camp. He's almost 11 now and as you can imagine, we gathered quite a few lookie-loos. What was he upset about? One of the groups in the class wasn't finishing their project in a timely manner. This caused a huge anxiety response in Cameron and resulted in his aide taking him out to the hall with his book to calm down which is where I found him at pick up time. [A brief side-note to thank the Autism Waiver in Maryland for covering the cost of his in-home therapist (IISS) to go to camp with Cameron AND a reminder to all parents that your child can go to any camp as long as the camp will allow an aide to go with them (I have never had one say no).]

Helpful mommy words today: You don't know what their goal was for the day, maybe their goal was just to finish half the project. Their goals are not your goals so you don't have to worry for them.

* The hormones have arrived! At almost 11? I'm not ready!!!!! Personal Space and Inappropriate Touching have been BIG issues this summer. Impulsivity in both these areas lead to Embarrassment  which then leads to Anxiety/Anger.

Helpful mommy words used just yesterday: It's okay to be mad, but it's NOT okay to be mean!

*Technology has run amok in my house. I'm tired, it's hot, our schedule is tighter than I would have liked and now I am faced with the task of weaning two boys off of "screens" before school starts. It always seems like a good idea at the time... the boys are bored, I don't have any better ideas so yeah, go ahead and play on the computer (playstation, wii, DS, ipod, ipad... whatever). I get something accomplished, they are not fighting, having fun and occupied, that is until the fun becomes TOO MUCH! Then we are mad at the computer, playstation....etc....etc.... and throwing a huge tantrum. Which makes me wonder, is there any amount of "screen" time that is just enough? I'm starting to think NO but its: 1) One of the few typical things they enjoy 2) Easy and enjoyable (for the most part) 3) they can maneuver all the electronics without assistance so I can cook dinner (fold laundry, clean something) for a chunk of time.

Helpful mommy words: I got nothing. You name it, we've tried it... clocks, schedules, visual cues, restriction..... this is a big ticket item in our household. He who rules the electronics, rules the world!

* I learned this summer that shirts with a collar cannot be worn without a tee shirt underneath. Who knew? Apparently the polo shirt alone rule switched about week 1 of summer, while we were on a 3 week trip to Nana's house where I had packed only polo shirts (they can be worn anywhere!).

Helpful mommy words: Oops! I make mistakes too!

* The Olympics Opening Ceremony CANNOT be watched by my youngest child! Adam screamed for hours and hours and slept with the lights on for 2 nights after the "nightmare" scene in the opening ceremony. I sooooooo did not see that coming! I have no idea what happened after that scene, not only could I not watch any more but he demanded that we stop recording as well. I'm not one to take demands but he was so upset I think I would have done just about anything to calm him down. I'm just guessing that I won't be watching the Closing Ceremonies either.

Helpful mommy words: I asked him to TRY and watch until the "Nightmares" left the screen because I didn't want him to turn it off and only remember the bad when I KNEW the good was coming (Mary Poppins). He had gone to plaid by that point and there was no getting to Mary Poppins. 

Magical mommy words that saved the day: "Adam, tell me all about your nightmare, every detail. Then I will keep it for you so you don't have to have it anymore." Then he *finally* slept.  

It's almost back to school time, we've got teacher assignments, supplies, and shoes. Adam tells me he want's to quit school and just go to camp every day *sigh*, and Cameron tells me that he doesn't like his new teacher (who he has never had before) *double sigh*. I'm hugely optimistic though, we have a new principal who I've heard good things about, I DO know the boys teachers and they are awesome, we start transition meetings for middle school in October....time is flying, lets just do our best to keep up.

Friday, April 27, 2012

PLEASE is not a **magic** word

We are halfway to Baltimore to see a specialist at Kennedy Krieger and I realize that I've forgotten my old laptop, the one I've loaded Lego Digital Designer onto (seriously cool and FREE program for all you Lego lovers out there...I'm gonna put the link at the bottom because you need this). Around the same time my sweet Adam realizes the same thing. Cue meltdown. He is disappointed, I totally get that. I've got the mom fail issues kicking into high gear and he is in the backseat sobbing,

"Please, Please, Please PLEEEEEAAAAAASSSSSEEEE go home and get it!!! I said please! I used the magic word, PLEASE!!!!" 

There was just no explaining to him that I appreciated his manners but there was just no way we could turn around and get the computer, we would miss the appointment. I could not interest him in a DS, an iPad or even my phone! His little heart was set on the computer and his design software. And no, as much as we want it to be PLEASE is not, in fact, a magical word that means you get whatever you ask for when you use it.

So now it is time to uninstall the mommy program, <whats the magic word?>

I've said it a thousand times, I've said it recently and now I need to stop saying it because:

  1. my kids are literal, they actually believe this word could contain magical properties that makes the impossible happen.
  2. if you've got an child with Autism you know, these kids are SMART! Verbal/Non-Verbal/Sign Language/PECS/Black Marker on Loose Leaf Paper you have taught them to say please and it is a glorious thing when they use it! (Seriously, write it in the baby book, its that huge!) From the first instance when you gave them an extra M&M or a few more minutes on the computer because they said please, they totally owned you. 
  3. please is not a magical word, it is a PROPER word. We use it for manners, not to get what we want.
  4. re-read 3 again.

Yesterday I attended a Brown Bag Series lunch with the topic: Managing Difficult Behaviors in Autism. I love these things, they are free and no matter how many years you've got in the school of Autism (seriously, can I get a degree in this?) chances are you will learn something new or you will remember something that you've learned before but forgot. This blog post is courtesy of a question asked by a fellow ASD mom who's child would tantrum when told no and would then yell, "but I said please!" Just like my Adam did in the car last month. The reminder I got from this lunch was to break things down and look at the pieces.... A-B-C Activity. So using sweet Adam as an example:

A (Antededent- before): I forgot the laptop, he wanted the lap top.

B (Behavior): Meltdown, yelling PLEASE!!!!!

C (Consequences): He got offered any other electronic device he wanted, he got my undivided attention and my apologies and promise to never do it again.

Is C realistic? HECK NO! I am totally going to forget that computer again, probably soon.

Sounds like its reality check time in this Lunatic Autism Mom's home..... just because you want something (no matter how badly) you cannot always have it. (examples: climbing on the roof, driving the car, eating only chocolate cake for a week (but YUM!), giving away mommy's cat because she scratched you, I could seriously go on for days here).

Do you LOVE Pinterest? Yeah, I'm totally obsessed. If you want, check out &/or follow my AUTISM board! I pin things like Autism sayings, Autism products that I love, other sites that I want to read some day (in my copious amounts of spare time) and other stuff! Here's the link:

My Lunatic Autism Pinterest Board

And here's one of my favorite sayings from that board that is sooooooo applicable to this post!

LEGO DIGITAL DESIGN SOFTWARE-- free!!!  <--click this

Monday, April 2, 2012

Admin due!

It has come to my attention that some people online are removing tags and effectively stealing artwork from Autism Creations. I love AutismCreations and you have seen their art on this page as well as my Facebook page. Just in case I ever inadvertently implied that their work was my own, I want to make it 100% clear that I have never created any autism art outside of cutting puzzle pieces with my cricut and gluing them to frames, wreaths, cards etc. I, in no way have the kind of graphic talent it takes to create work like Autism Creations. It is incredibly frustrating to create something only to have it stolen so I wanted to take some time to share this info with you. I would be deeply saddened if Autism Creations stopped sharing their work with us all! Check them out on Facebook, you will be amazed at how much they have shared with us all and don't forget your manners and drop a Thank You and a share when you use their stuff but most importantly always give credit where credit is due!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

There&apos;s an app for that...

Not an exceptional one but apparently
I can use the blogger iPhone app on my iPad to send more Rantings and Ravings! Pretty cool, but seriously blogger.... How about an iPad app because I seriously hate this keyboard! Stayed tuned once I have my phone charged, we will see if there is an android app too! Ain't technology grand?

Friday, March 16, 2012

OOPS!!!! Long time, no post....

It's not that I didn't WANT to make a blog post, it's not that I didn't have IDEAS for a blog post (I had tons!), it's that I never found TIME to make a new blog post!!!  I've missed you all and I've missed this page.... so..... no matter what this is getting posted today even if there is bad grammer, horrible punctuation and disjointed thoughts! And here are some disjointed thoughts now.....

I know I've posted before about "I Hate Autism" days and now I am revising that because I think there needs to be multiple parts to dislike about Autism:

1) I hate the work that comes with a child that has Autism, the scheduling, the paperwork, the calls from the school, the IEP meetings, and all the piles and piles of paper that goes with every meeting, doctor, educator, therapist, non-profit group, resource, grant, ans insurance company. It is just piling up, falling over and overwhelming my desk at this point and this isn't even the BUSY time of the year for this stuff! (That comes at the end of the year, prepping for summer schedules and the next school year)

2) Everybody always wants something from a parent with a special needs child. The doctors want bubble forms and copies of every evaluation. The school wants input forms, copies of every evaluation and multiple fundraisers. The non-profits want $$$money$$$, when are they going to realize that it is ME applying for those grants and rolling access funds? We are the people who are requesting the MONEY! It would be foolish to send in a $100 donation and then request a $200 grant for music therapy doncha think???

3)  Of course there is just the plain, old, Autism Sucks days where you receive 2 calls from the school, you pick up a wild child from his classroom when you remember quite clearly dropping off a pleasant boy, the assessment sheet says, "hit a teacher, put hands on a student, sent to support", you make a break for the peace and quiet of home only to find that the internet is messed up and all calming strategies are shot to hell because 99% of them rely on internet availability. Less effective calming strategies are put immediately into place but will take at least twice as long as "screens" but is far far better than nothing.

Now... you all know I try my best to maintain a positive attitude about life always. Some days are great, some days are 1/2 great and some days suck royal. Sometimes its more important to know WHY something sucks, understand that there just isn't a thing you can do about it and work to get past it the only way you can. For me today that means, the stack of paper on my desk can fall over if it wants, it will still be there tomorrow. Funding requests from Autism Speaks, DAN!, NAA, ASA and the like will more than likely be passed into the trash bin unopened. I will revel in the silence of my house while the boys are at school and prepare myself for their arrival in the car at 3:15 with lots of noises, complaints, requests and kisses. I will remember that not all days are all bad and that sometimes you just have to focus on the good and let the bad float away in the nighttime.