Monday, March 31, 2008

Keeping with the autism awareness month. Here is something else that I just learned about Autism. Thanks to Momologue for answering this question for me. I was unaware that the autism ribbon that looks like puzzle pieces is actually offensive to some in the autism community. I personally really liked the way it looked. Then I became educated on the offensiveness of the puzzle look. Much like Cancer or Aids, the puzzle emblem represents a "find the cure" mentality. I am not necessarily trying to find a cure as much as trying to find a supportive community in which my child will be accepted. I don't want to "cure" my Deklan. My goodness, I can't even imagine him being any other way. Yes, it is frustrating at times; yes, it is completely overwhelming at times; and, yes, I sometimes feel like no one in the world could possibly imagine what we're going through at the time. BUT, and this is a big but (kind of like mine! ha-ha), God gave me Deklan and I love him for who he is and not for what he could have been or could be. I'm sorry if this mentality offends anyone out there but that's what I feel. I'm not looking for a cure -- just patience to help Deklan deal with situations that are too overwhelming for him (and sometimes me).

April is Autism Awareness Month

I'm joining the cause -- everyone should be educated on Autism. I sure wasn't when my son was diagnosed. My vision of Autism was "Rain Man" and boy was I totally off.

So, here is some information. Thanks to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes ( their definition of autism.

"What is autism?
Autism (sometimes called “classical autism”) is the most common condition in a group of developmental disorders known as the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual, repetitive, or severely limited activities and interests. Other ASDs include Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS). Experts estimate that three to six children out of every 1,000 will have autism. Males are four times more likely to have autism than females.

What are some common signs of autism?
There are three distinctive behaviors that characterize autism. Autistic children have difficulties with social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors or narrow, obsessive interests. These behaviors can range in impact from mild to disabling.

The hallmark feature of autism is impaired social interaction. Parents are usually the first to notice symptoms of autism in their child. As early as infancy, a baby with autism may be unresponsive to people or focus intently on one item to the exclusion of others for long periods of time. A child with autism may appear to develop normally and then withdraw and become indifferent to social engagement.

Children with autism may fail to respond to their name and often avoid eye contact with other people. They have difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling because they can’t understand social cues, such as tone of voice or facial expressions, and don’t watch other people’s faces for clues about appropriate behavior. They lack empathy.

Many children with autism engage in repetitive movements such as rocking and twirling, or in self-abusive behavior such as biting or head-banging. They also tend to start speaking later than other children and may refer to themselves by name instead of “I” or “me.” Children with autism don’t know how to play interactively with other children. Some speak in a sing-song voice about a narrow range of favorite topics, with little regard for the interests of the person to whom they are speaking.

Many children with autism have a reduced sensitivity to pain, but are abnormally sensitive to sound, touch, or other sensory stimulation. These unusual reactions may contribute to behavioral symptoms such as a resistance to being cuddled or hugged."

Sunday, March 30, 2008

My husband and I took the kids to McDonald's today for lunch. My son had ketchup on his face and the theme of the happy meal was pirates. So my husband asked Deklan if he was Captain Ketchup Beard.
Deklan said, "No, I'm Captain Blind Beard."
If you noticed the picture of my children, all my kids wear glasses. The two youngest were born with cataracts and had to have their lenses removed as babies.

On the way home, I thought I heard a ding-dong and checked to see if I had voice mail on my cell. I didn't. I asked if anyone else heard that ding-dong sound. My husband said, "Oh that's just Hayleigh's head rattling." Hayleigh said, "Uh! NO!" Deklan said, "No, it was mommy's head."

Saturday, March 29, 2008

My son still has potty training issues - probably due to his ASD. When he goes poop he usually asks me to wipe him because he "takes a long time to wipe up." Tonight as I was cleaning his bottom (nice conversation topic isn't this?) he told me that when I'm home he likes me to wipe his bottom because I can do it quick and get him clean the first time. But when his daddy is home and not me then he doesn't ask daddy to help (because he won't) and it takes Deklan a long time to wipe up. I told him that when he goes to Uncle's house he'll have to wipe himself there too because Uncle and Aunt have potty training issues as well. :) (Actually Aunt and Uncle haven't let Deklan sleep over because of the potty training issues. Sometimes Deklan has accidents - not usually, but sometimes - and Deklan has to wear pull-ups at night because he wets the bed. My brother, aka Uncle, doesn't know if he and Aunt can handle the "diaper thing". Of course what they don't understand is that Deklan handles his own "diaper thing" and throws the wet pull-up away and puts on big boy pants in the mornings - all by himself.) Anyway, Deklan said that cleaning himself up at Uncle's would be ok because "I use a lot of toilet paper and I know that Uncle has more money than us and can afford toilet paper more than we can."

Of course I'm not sure that Uncle and Aunt can handle the tantrum thing either. When Deklan has a melt down it can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 1 1/2 hours or longer - depends on the reason for the melt down and who is dealing with it at the time. The melt down usually doesn't last as long if mommy is dealing with Deklan. Could last forever if it were up to daddy. That may not be completely fair, but not completely inaccurate either. I don't always want to give in or baby Deklan but I do want to understand what the reason for the melt down may be. My husband, on the other hand, would love to shut any child - including the sisters - in their room until the fit is over. He doesn't understand that with Deklan, shutting him in his room is just shutting him out. The sisters can be sent to their room if they seem to be throwing a fit and 5-10 minutes later they'll come and apologize and it's over (unless they end up grounded - but that's another story). When Deklan throws a fit then, I believe, that he feels he can't quit until the issue is resolved. It doesn't matter if it's putting on a shirt (the right shirt of course) or if it's going to bed when he doesn't think he's ready (getting a drink, going potty, every other excuse he can think of that lasts FOREVER!). The other day, for example, Deklan did have an accident. It was about 6:30 p.m. After helping to get Deklan cleaned up, I gave him the choice to either put on a pull-up (since bedtime is at 8:30 anyway) or big boy underwear because he wanted to go back outside to play. Since he couldn't decide, and he wouldn't let me help him, he laid in the floor and screamed for nearly 35 minutes. I couldn't take it anymore so I went in to try to help again. This time he let me help with the clothes but had a problem with the shoes I gave him to wear. Another 10 minute fit. I think he finally got to go outside for about 5, maybe 10, minutes before coming back inside. Daddy's opinion was we should completely ignore the whole thing and put Deklan to bed. Maybe he's right and Deklan's just throwing a temper tantrum but I don't think ignoring it is the solution. And, if it's just a fit, then why can't he be consoled or punished to stop the screaming. The girls can be consoled or sent to their room as punishment and the tantrum stops; the girls get distracted - not Deklan. Maybe I'm just babbling. It's so frustrating and very hard to explain.

Bedtime is normally the worst time of the day for us. We can start letting Deklan know an hour before bed that it's "almost time for bed." And then every 15 minutes there after - including letting him know when to put on his pull-up so he's ready. The only way we can get him to go to sleep is to go to mommy's bed. [Sidebar here: My husband and I have separate beds due to our sleep habits - I rarely sleep at night (toss and turn maybe, but not sleep) and when I do fall asleep I'm awake 5 times a night to go to the bathroom! (And I'm only 33!) Anyway, since my husband has to get up and go to work I prefer different mattresses so that I don't disturb him. Sounds weird but it works for us. This way we have "visits" when desired but we don't have to feel the bed move every time the other of us tosses and turns.] Then he wants mommy to tuck him in, which usually is fine. Then he wants me to fold his blankies, or not fold them if they are already folded; next is praying with him; then he may decide that his tummy hurts or he needs a drink; he may decide he needs his beans heated up (you know the bags of beans or corn that you heat and they stay warm for hours); or... Sometimes it just doesn't stop. My limit is going back in the bedroom 1 time. After that, either he gets ignored until I can no longer stand it or daddy handles it. Bedtime is at 8:30 during the week because of school. We're lucky if Deklan is asleep by 10:00. It's just so frustrating. I started out complaining because I can't get my husband to understand the whole of Deklan and I think I ended up complaining about Deklan's tantrums instead. Oh well, if anyone (besides Mommy Dearest - whom I love to hear from and read her blog as well) actually reads this, then Thank you for listening.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

We were on spring break last week. We went to Oklahoma to visit Nana (my mom). There were a lot of funny moments but, of course, I don't remember enough to write them down right now.

I can remember one about Hayleigh though. Hayleigh is 9. My mom has these GIANT spoon and fork set that hangs on the wall. Some sort of decoration that my dad brought home years ago. Deklan - he's 5 - got them down and was playing with them. Nana, thinking she'd get Deklan, told him that Grandpa used to eat with those utensils. From behind Nana Hayleigh says, "Really!" Right reaction, wrong kid.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I was teasing my son... He's in kindergarten and catches the bus at 12:20 for the afternoon session. I told him that as soon as he got on the bus I was going to run in the house and take a nap. He said, "You can't run, you're not skinny enough. In fact, you're not skinny at all." OUCH! The truth really does hurt. :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I woke up Saturday with no voice. Today - two days later - I'm slowly regaining my voice back. I squeak here and there and if I talk too much at once I start losing it again. My son and I were talking and I told him I needed to stop because I was losing my voice again. He said, "You know when you're losing your voice it's because you have a thing like a radio in you. When you lose your voice it's because the little man in your tummy turns your voice off. Just like a radio." Interesting... I asked him, "Where did you hear this?" His response, "Nowhere, I'm just smart. I really am smart you know." Believe me, Son, I know you're smart. Sometimes I just wonder what's going through your head that you come up with these things. Now, if I can just find that little man - maybe, since he's in my tummy, he's the reason I just can't lose any weight.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Last night I wasn't feeling well so I went to bed early. My son decided he wanted to cuddle with me so he climbed into bed. After a minute of hugging me he turned over. He said, "Don't worry if I turn over... it's just that you have bad breath. Your breath just really stinks." Well thank you very much.