Friday, April 27, 2012

Cannibals at Dollar Tree

Scooter's cannibalized child's rhyme:

This little piggie went to Dollar Tree
This little piggie stayed home
This little piggie ate some ham
This little piggie got none
and this little piggie
played wii wii wii all day long!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Expressive #&?#@%+! Language

I heard a loud "whoosh" of cereal from the kitchen. Then, "Shit!"  Scooter!  At least he's using the word in proper context.
I found Scooter trying to get rid of the evidence as I came in.  Yuck - eating off the floor.
15 minutes later he was lapping at his leftover cereal milk like a kitty.
Yup, these are the proud moments I live for. 


Heading out the door to baseball practice...
"Scooter, can you carry all that gear?"

Floor Cake 1962
it's a
of a cake!"

I've found no 
clearcut explanation 
for this idiom which 
Scooter made his own.  

Here are some 
educated guesses:
Pastry Case I, 1961-2

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Accent-uate the Positive

Thirteen year old Nickerdoodle and I made a retail return recently. The customer service clerk was blatantly effeminate. As we walked away N asked me,
"What kind of "accent" was that?"

It took me a second to process, then I replied, 

N professed,
"Oh, I wondered because I've heard it before."

It was difficult to stifle my giggle, but I'm so glad I did.  He was earnest in his question and I'm glad he asked me so that I could use it as a learning moment to accept everyone as they are.  I offered him examples that he's aware of: friends and family we love who happen to be gay.  

Kids just never cease to amaze me. 

I'm a supporter of gay rights.  And not a closet supporter either.  From the time I was a kid, I have never been able to understand attacks upon the gay community.  There are so many qualities that make up a human being... by the time I get through with all the things that I really admire about people, what they do with their private parts is probably so low on the list that it is irrelevant.  
~Paul Newman

Oh Mr. Blue Eyes Newman. So wise, so beautiful.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Slider

After his 1st baseball practice of the season, we headed to the school playground so Scooter could play a bit.  As he climbed one of the playground structures I asked,
"What's in your pocket?"

He casually responded,
"That's my cup.  
It slid around there."

That explains the frustrated boy grumbling and shifting around in the backseat on the way to practice.

Note to self:
Remind G to keep it securely in the provided pocket.  :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Waste Wonders

"What is poop made out of?" I hear wafting out of the bathroom, echo-ey and distant.  

Hmmm.  "All of your food that you eat comes out of your body so that you..."

"Oh, I know!  Vegetables!"  Scooter interrupts.  "Lots and lots of vegetables."

Ok, that works.

Musee' D'Quirkay

At this point in my decor, I shudder.  Sometime with laughter, mostly with resignation.  This is what we are, take it or go somewhere else.  With all due respect of course.
Our house is decorated in Early Autism style.  Prominent feautes include: visual cues, signs and charts, mini tramps, overstuffed pillows to jump in/smash into, therapy balls, crafts/sensory buffet activities. Television and video games take front and center stage for family/stim time.  Early Century Obstacle Course creates a playful, versatile mood.  Peeled wallpaper and random holes in the wall accentuate the active energetic feel throughout the home.
My children have paired my eclectic style with Pop Locker.  I'm considering lockers in our foyer so that we can make it a living style.  No sense covering it up, highlight it, I say!  Our bedrooms are each topped off with the original american favorite, late Laundryism.  This style flourishes in most households, and is always a work-in-progress.

We also have evolving installation art.   You may see lego structures, train configurations, unique games, forts built.  Many collections are seen lined up in precisely engineered formations.  We also have a large showing of early and mid arts and crafts, mostly in expressionism style.

What's your Decor???

Check out another mom's look at home decor d'Autism:

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sensory Buffet for Spring Break

While other families head for sunny, thrilling advetures on spring break, we found our little corner of paradise 2 hours from home.  Extenuating circumstances threatened to extinguish our hopeful retreat, but we finally made it.  We enjoyed our goofy private time in an impressive sleek new hotel, free courtesy of hotel points from business trips.  Will update with photos, details and review when I get a chance.

Simon Sez: I love my 1 in 54!,521158944
For those of you in a non-autism world: this has been a landmark couple of weeks for Autism.  Stunning new study results, new medical coverage voting hot button - all surrounding the convenient World Autism Awareness Day April 2nd.  April itself it Autism Awareness month.  The CDC reported new findings on the prevalence of autism:
1 in 88 
1 in 54 boys

I was thrilled to get the chance to pass through the tail end of  Catherine Lord's extraordinary works at University of Michigan's Autism Center.  I hope that our strange/sci-fi exams and technology they indulged us in and day long adventure helps to shed some light on a trend or rule something out.  It's all about the #'s of course.,521386340We took part in the Simons Simplex study, with samples taken at a few prominent universities studying our favorite subject, our "A" word.  Near and dear to someone reading this, likely.  Autism genetic+ study, behavioral, all-possible records they can get, psyche/IQ fresh assessments /reports, parental forms in the dozens of pages for each booklet (about 10-15 on average).  Added to it were impressive 3D facial mapping for Scooter, measured our feet via gazillion different angles, etc.  We ate gigantic breakfast lunches at Angelo's across from UM hospital, home of the famed cinnamon french toast.  Got it, of course!  Nickerdoodle was in heaven.  They really put us through the workout at the last part: we traversed the entire hospital (it seemed) partly outside on a pouring gloom-rainy day to give numerous vials of blood each. We passed physiology labs and smelled formaldehyde and all. Passed bright creative young minds with their futures full on forward. College town home town energy.  What's not to love?  

I'm so thrilled to try anything to advance this soaring epidemic.  It gives me a shiver, terrifies me to think of our children being affected by something under our eyes.  We can't give into this madness!  I implore all to forge ahead to learn as much as we can.  Spread the word and share the awareness signs.  1 in 54 boys is just not a good direction to take this in.  1 in 88 population.  Available on every news source last week, when my magnificent Michigan got Autism Medical Coverage bills passed. Woot!  If this works well is yet to be seen.  Immediate to be felt as all touched as a boon, a tiny feather in our colorful morphing spectral cap.  Forward, just keep swimming as Dory says.  Superb, sublimely simple quote I love to use often.

Balance the bad news with the good news.  I'm really hoping that less families must question and seek help for ASD Autism Spectrum family support.  To often, families like mine and so many others are shoved aside; not claimed or paid by any means.  Left to stumble through the confusion, shame; stress on marriage, finance, health.  Without a doubt a mammoth strain on family infrastructure.  
is a complex 
(ie: nervous system)
This is not psychology, 
but mind/body processing 
and re-routing synapses.  
We can help our kiddos to function. 

Early Intervention is 
Don't wait.  

Frankly, I'm fascinated, 
saddened, angered 
at Autism's upward 

Danger Will Robinson!  
(Spoken in my mind in G's adorable 
speech impediment.)

I'd like to think someday soon we'll look back on this scare with the sense of "chagrin" that we could have been entirely ignorant of some seemingly innocuous additive or gene play that was causing our colossal calamity.

IAN Community has become a processing referral center for autism research.  I participated in he wandering/elopement study because I was surprised to find it a common issue.  I'd never heard about wandering and bolting into traffic like Scooter did.  I was relieved that it wasn't intellectual, but sensory-induced.  Terrifying stats on their results: half of autism spectrum children wander in public spaces.  

Best of luck and prayers to the global geniuses/researchers.
Parents and caregivers. 
Power to you, to us all.

Send any interesting studies my way.  I'm in, we're in.

Always seeking.
Autism pique-ing.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tick-Tock Tics

Microwave countdown.  Always a HUGE hit for Scooter Boy.  Not with his big bro, who's been sick with feverish flu  on his spring break, BOO! Nickerdoodle has been grumpy and Scooter's counting has gotten on his last nerve these days of cooped-up-ness.  Scooter has taken it to heart and stifled his counting.  He sat watching the microwave silently, even though his brother wasn't in the kitchen.


Whimper, whimper.  

"I just can't get the numbers out of my head."

No explanation needed.  I grabbed his Kindle Fire that I haven't yet mastered, and searched out Countdown and Stop Watch apps.  This will help our lives immensely.  My Scooter asks about time incessantly: how long until, how long will it take.  How many seconds is the standard in the car.  Long trips test my decades-old triple+ place value math-in-my-head skills.  I'll need to show him a calculator app to track his own seconds.

He said in an incredulous voice later, "I can't believe it.  My own countdown app.  I love it."  
He could not have been happier if I'd given him a winning MegaMillions $640 mil ticket.  Ok, exaggeration...but you get it if you have an OCD kiddo.

Melt. My. Heart.  I love it too, my sweetiepie.  I've been planning to search it out for awhile, but always get sucked into finding games for him instead.  Go figure.

I'm incredibly impressed that Scooter's beginning to verbalize his anxiety and know what he needs.  My teen doesn't know that skill; hey I don't some days (other days I say it a wee bit too loudly).  ;O  We've come soooooo far.  So glad to find something to put your order on our busy world, in your language.  In fact, everyone who jumps in our car will be happier.  ;D

I'll update later with the winner that works best for the counting OCD behavior.  

Awareness Inspiration

Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh ~A.A. Milne

I needed a bit of a soul soother tonight. In searching through my cache of personal inspiration files, I found this poem.  So perfect for tonight.  We speak a common language of mothering our special needs kiddos.  I hope this gem finds and warms another's heart as it has mine.  
Thank you you April Vernon, I look forward to exploring your blog further.

Link to April Vernon's Blog

  April Vernon wrote an inspiring article about her experience as new mom of sweet down syndrome son, Levi.  She didn't wait for answers, she forged ahead and got early intervention.  

Get inspired, do the best you can, special needs parents.  
Remember to:

Put on your own 
oxygen mask

Our kids are counting on us.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fool's!

Originally published April 1, 2012. 
I'm waaaaay past sarcasm. Proactive activity rules my world, kids still rock my world.

Guess what?  April Fool's to us!  Scooter isn't autistic after all!  ;~/   I'd like to share the fantastic news with some of those who helped us along our terrifying journey of discovery and knowledge.

Dear award-winning pediatrican group in a prominent college town, 
Thank you for holding my hand with warmth and concern when my son was young and I questioned his development appointment after appointment.  It turns out all 6 of you were right!  He really is just an active boy who will settle down in time. Boys do develop slower than girls, especially in speech and behavior.  His motor skills would strengthen by doing the 2 basic activities you mentioned. And yes, he did look at you briefly when you said his name! I understand your refusal to do further testing to promote early intervention.  Waiting until his rapid developmental toddler years flushed out his worrisome behaviors was a  much better approach.  I tried not to read all that scary information on the internet that angers you so.  I know that if it was you you'd just sit around and wait for the experts to inform you of your child's troubles.  Boys don't communicate as well and often take risks.  
I guess I was just paranoid because from day one of my pregnancy your local sister ob/gyn group warned me nonstop about the high risks associated with older 40+ pregnant woman.  All those statistics, articles, lectures were wrong about the dramatic increase of birth defects with older mothers.  I'm so glad that I didn't let them perform all those intrusive, risky tests.  The precautions I took coming in twice weekly to monitor his development must have worked, so really - why bother checking his performance after birth?
I also appreciate how you ignored the way Scooter always ran up and down your hallway, opening doors to see other patients.  He's really just a caring soul who wanted to see why the babies were crying.  All those babies in the waiting room must have been hungry or crabby when he poked their eyes or took off their little caps before I could reach him.  He is a bright curious boy.  I tried to console the children that he took toys and trucks from, and unthinkingly pushed out of the way from his play routine - it must have been their nap time. Anyway, I just wanted to offer my sincerest gratitude for placating me and offering the finiest in quality pediatric healthcare during my difficult time as a new parent.

Dear numerous pediatric psychiatrists, psychologists that I contacted via phone,
Like our pediatrician group, your shared the belief that children really don't need evaluating until they are kindergarten age.  I appreciate you discouraging me from my worry by giving me prices and breakdowns of the many appointments we'd need.  It helped me to realize that despite the professional directives advocating for early intervention, most children don't get evaluated until they pass the stages of development that could be subject to varied degrees of normal.  Each of his behaviors could be attributed to growth stages.  All kids go through stages that appear unusual, but of course I'd forgotten in the 5 years since my other 2 children were babies.  I considered listening to your advice, but finally had to set my worries to rest and get him evaluated after he lost his speech and started punching and kicking me, then his big sister.  And of course there was the running into the street or parking lot the hundreds of times, and getting lost in public.  But of course you knew, because I'd told you all of these concerns.
What you didn't tell me was that each of these behaviors was listed in the standardized ADOS Autism Screening test.  In fact, in the huge hours-long, 100+ question booklet interview, Scooter had 3 ASD behaviors that didn't apply and that he didn't do.  So he must not be ASD, simply developing differently or perhaps had some sensory and communication issues.  

Dear strangers, well-meaning friends and relatives,
Thanks for your patience with a paranoid mom and her active son.  It turns out he is just like his dad's side of the family who are hyperactive, never-sit-still kind of go-getters.  And like I heard so often, Einstein didn't talk until he was 4, or was it 6?  In fact, I have read statistics on how many autistics are brilliant, savant-like geniuses like RainMan.  Gosh I hope we're in that 10%.  Yup, that's all.
Thanks to all who pulled together at group activities and took care of my other kids while I frantically chased Scooter.  You have no idea what a comfort it was to me to know my other kids were safe and having fun when you stepped in.  Thanks for making it a joke to him by asking, "Are you hiding from your mom again?" with a grin.  I loved chasing him and needed the exercise of course.  Oh how I laughed and laughed when so many suggested an invisible fence with a handheld zapper for him, I don't know WHY they haven't invented it yet.  Or wait, isn't that a Tazer?
I felt wonderful knowing I had your support when discussing his issues brought stories of your  children's similar mischievous escapades, or rolled eyes when I got too worked up/choked up, smiling knowingly at each other as I blew things out of proportion.  Labelled an over-sensitive Drama Mama.  I didn't need a friendly hug, I needed to see that "all families have their issues".  It helped to give me a reality check!  My older two children totally spoiled me because they were easy babies, toddlers, preschoolers.  I finally got a child who wasn't a perfectly behaved angel!  Oh, so this is how parenting is supposed to be.  Besides, as many of you told me: as my first, my only biological child, I was more prone to worry and search for problems, to care more about his development.  He was my only "real" child, even though we adopted our others at birth, it simply wasn't the same.  I couldn't possibly adore them as my own.*
*Nickerdoodle and Chickie: Oh, how very, very much I do adore every moment of your lives, my beautiful gifts from God! You are all my sunshine and reasons for my joy!  G is our "bonus round". after a perfectly complete family.  <3  
I especially want to thank the close friend who helped me one day after my teary, breathless, frantic frightened outpouring about Scooter's frustrating behaviors, screeching cries, roughness and non-stop destruction.  It helped me so much when you matter-of-factly told me, "Well, he's not a monster!"  It was a great wake up call because I could have gone down the path of mistakenly thinking he was. Duh. Like I really give out those vibes in my weary desperation. I love friends who understand. To her benefit, I don't complain to NT parents much. She probably got smacked with too much reality.

Dear Christian Preschool Teachers,  
Thanks so much for your kind, patient ways with my beloved son.  I realize he had potty issues and he would pee or poop daily while in your class.  I thank you for not wanting to take part in positive supports because he needed to learn like everyone else and was supposed to before entering your school.  We really don't know why he took a backslide under your tender Christian care.  I loved hanging around to wait for your call so that I could change him, with you tsk-tsking and reminding me to take his soiled diapers with me (like I ever would leave them?), in front of other parents.  Your frank approach was just what I needed, and what my special needs son needed.  
I particularly appreciated the way you finally called in an exasperated tone and asked me to meet formally.  I was certain that this time when I asked if he was kicked out you'd say YES! instead of the usual, "not yet" with a smug look.  Your no-holds-barred approach was helpful.  It was great to know that you'd all gotten together to discuss his problems at length without me.  The itemized list you recited without pause for me to question, to understand, to digest - just perfect and very helpful that it was scrawled on a scrap of paper so that I couldn't review it later when I wasn't under duress.  I knew that you had a strict timeline of 10 minutes to educate me on my son.  I was grateful when my tears flowed that you yelled out from your seat through the open door for someone to bring Mrs. Perky some tissues, disturbing the quiet classroom.  I really didn't want comfort or kind words, it would only make me weep and you instinctively knew this somehow.  It was a bit embarrassing to emerge teary and blotchy at pick up time, with questioning stares.  But, it did get Scooter to recognize my tears and sadness, a social skill that he usually doesn't have.  He even offered me tissues as I sobbed in the parking lot.   

April Fool's!  We wear our Autism Awareness with pride and love.  My goal is to spread awareness so that others don't have these hurtful, terrifying experiences.  Parenting is difficult enough.  Autism is over the top.  Trust yourself, facts/statistics/warning signs, know your children, and 

Don't ignore your instincts!

I have so many other helpful individuals/professionals to sarcastially "thank", but I must go.  I need to purchase my blue light to proudly display in my porch lights on April 2.  I need to get back to my positive works promoting awareness, acceptance and support for families affected by autism.   I need to nurture our relationships with caring friends, relatives and professionals who have helped prop us up in this journey.  I need to pull my family close and proclaim a GH, where we all huddle together in a GROUP HUG!