Thursday, December 17, 2015

Be Real PDD/NOS: Last Holiday Show

Be Real PDD/NOS: Last Holiday Show: Today was my son's last holiday show of elementary school.  It was a bittersweet moment.  I thought about how far he has come, and how much our lives have changed. Also, I thought about the challenges he is going to face next year attending intermediate school. His holiday programs will no longer be covered with cute planned hand gestures and mistakes. His idiosyncrasies, that I love, will stand out. It may cause others to judge him unfairly. How will I protect him? After all that I told myself to knock it off, and live in the moment. I ended up enjoying a great program.
After coming home, and having time to reflect on these thoughts, I decided to watch some old videos of his holiday shows. With tears streaming down my face I watched his early childhood 4K video, the reasoning behind living in the moment was clear. I was amazed by how absolutely adorable he was, and how much he has achieved. I promptly posted the video to social media and declared, "He's come along way!"
I remembered the thing all caretakers of a child diagnosed with ASD have to remember sometimes, live day by day. If you are putting in the time and therapy, you will accomplish good things. No one wants a parent who is dreading the future. Live in the moment, work toward goals, and you will see results.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Do You Understand or Not?

I sometimes wonder if the educators on my child's team really understand what is going on.  They say his stimming is disrupting the class this year.  I have received a few emails and phone calls.  The team decided to mainstream without a special education helper after K.  They decided to remove OT and PT from his schedule at the beginning of this school year.   Even though they though he had progressed beyond these needs someone seems annoyed at least once a week about disruptions to the class.  All the disruptions are do to with his stimming by flapping his arms, and being told to control his body during or afterward.  As a parent I care very much about the education of all the children in the class, including my son.  I don't want the other children to be disturbed, the teacher to have trouble managing, or his behavior to socially ostracize him.  So I marched down to the school and asked for some observation time during the last 45min of his school day.  This of course was met with resistance.  I was told I should have scheduled ahead of time. I was also told why don't you just volunteer in the classroom.  Which I explained I try to stay away from to give my son independence and myself a break.  I am helping him 24/7 at home, and I am always at field trips and PTO events..  That was not met with a lot of understanding. I do understand where the staff is coming from, but how am I supposed to know what is really going on in class if I can't just drop by?  The classroom teacher and staff finally agreed so I went to the classroom to observe.  The classroom teacher proceeded to demonstrate the relaxation techniques she uses right when I stepped in.  I appreciated the demonstration, but again I want to quietly observe the class not have a show put on for me.  Once the class finished with the demonstration they began quiet reading time. While I was observing I noticed my son stimming a bit, but not bothering anyone around him.  Including the child sitting directly next to him.  I noticed many of the other children not remaining in their seats and continuing to talk, even after they were instructed to do so.  My son was being less disruptive!  Now I know I may have not seen the worst of it, but this unchecked behavior continued and seemed like it was an everyday occurrence.  So, I wondered did all these other parents get emails and phone calls about their children? Is my son just being singled out because of his disability? Should my son be asked to stop a behavior that no one knows whether he can control all the time?  Will he ever have a job with this behavior?  So on and so forth into that worrying ASD mom mode.  In then end I realize there is nothing I can do to completely "fix" the situation for the school, myself, or my son.  I just have to accept it, work with his team, and give him other tools to help.  I have ordered a new gel seat and some chewelry to help him take out his excitement and anxiety.  Hopefully it will help and everyone can be happy and content.  If not it will be time for more observation and many a change in the way he is educated.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Times Are Changing

When my son enters a new grade and class I have the same joys and nervousness as other parents.  What people don't realize is how much extra fear you also have when your child is on the ASD spectrum. 
I worry every year. Will the class work be too hard?  Will he make friends?  Will he stim too much and be disruptive?  Will this be the year he begins to be bullied?  Is this the year mainstreaming won't work?  There are so many more it would be impossible to list them all. 
I know there are other parents out there feeling like I do.  I can't see them and make eye contact.  Feel the bond parents with typical kids take for granted in the halls and drop off lanes.  As I walk away from the doors every year, I take a deep breath and let it go.  Because I never can predict what is going to happen in life with my son.  I love him, so I will just take it as it comes.  If I am stressed he is stressed, so the best thing for both of us is too live in each and every moment.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Latest "Chicago Tribune" Articles on Autism

Interesting article on the use of antidepressants and autism links.

https://www.google.com/url?q=http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-12-18/lifestyle/sns-rt-us-antidepressants-pregnancy-20131218_1_autism-spectrum-disorder-ssris-social-and-communication-skills&sa=U&ei=4QvQUv7SPKSwyQGQj4HoBg&ved=0CA4QFjAE&client=internal-uds-cse&usg=AFQjCNFlUzTFGBthrcG9-gwWqqhZ4Gg6Lw


Article on employers moving to cover expensive autism therapies.

https://www.google.com/url?q=http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-12-16/news/sns-rt-usa-healthautism-personal-finance-20131216_1_autism-coverage-applied-behavioral-analysis-autism-speaks&sa=U&ei=4QvQUv7SPKSwyQGQj4HoBg&ved=0CAoQFjAC&client=internal-uds-cse&usg=AFQjCNE9rJHiyadZx6FzzxQZT9COMKjlhQ

Article on expansion of an autism school.

https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/schaumburg_hoffman_estates/community/chi-ugc-article-marklund-announces-plan-to-expand-autism-scho-12-2013-12-30,0,3269566.story&sa=U&ei=4QvQUv7SPKSwyQGQj4HoBg&ved=0CAwQFjAD&client=internal-uds-cse&usg=AFQjCNGZnFD8gHc_iz3tqmu7XLDifymOtQ

Questioning About Schools

I am always questioning our decision to go with a very good public school for our son.  As he gets older, and intensity of the early intervention treatments seems to be changing for the worse, I question even more.  Is it best for him to be mainstreamed around typical children?  That is most likely what his adult world will be like.  Or, is it better for him to receive the more intense daily treatment at a school for children on the spectrum?  I think this will be a battle in my mind for his whole education.  If anyone out there has opinions, experience, or advice feel free to let me know.  Thanks in advance for any input.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Holiday Schedule Changes

Every family struggles with changes in schedule around the holidays, especially families affected by ASD.  My son fell asleep during free time on his first day back this week.  For him the stress of schedule changes added to school wears him out.  I can't imaging how he felt going back after two weeks, the day after New Years Day.  He probably felt like he was on a roller coaster.  I received the expected looks from the team and a mention from the teacher.  Maybe Aiden needs to go to bed a little bit earlier.  He really seems tired sometimes.  While I appreciated her input, I think by 2nd grade everyone should have figured out that Aiden has high and low points in everyday.  Which we are working on at home and in therapy.  They should be prepared for drastic changes in his schedule throwing Aiden off.  The results of which cause him to tune out, or be very tired. It is very stressful for him, and he doesn't only have learning to work on at school.  He has to control his body, speech, and social skills just to mention a few other things.  After a break, of course school wears him out!  But instead of letting my Momma bear come out, I just let her know that Aiden goes to bed @ 7:00 every night for reading, lights out a 7:30, vacation or not.  He often has extremely high or low points in his day. These can be exacerbated by stress from changes in schedule.  She was very receptive, commented that she hadn't thought of that.  After we were both more comfortable.  Hopefully Aiden will be more understood, starting next Monday.  I love my guy and constantly struggle between pointing out how it is harder for him, not freaking out, and just trying to let him be him.  I guess the point is I may have gotten better results for Aiden by staying calm.  I will still keep that momma bear on hold for when I need her.