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Autism and the School Play February 18, 2010

Posted by hopeauthority in Autism, Children, Parenting, school, special education, special needs, specific carbohydrate diet, Uncategorized.
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“He’s going to be a horse.”

The note came home from his second grade teacher. The play he’s been working so hard for since October in his mainstream Music class was rapidly approaching.

A HORSE??

What the heck kind of play is this? Is it all horses? Is the horse a central character? And most importantly…can the show go on if the horse runs away?!

The note continues. “Must wear solid black, brown, or tan. A headpiece will be provided.”

HEADPIECE?!

You’re freakin kidding, right? Ok. Now, I’m starting to sweat. What kind of headpiece are we talkin about here? Doesn’t matter. I don’t see him even trying it on, much less wearing it for a 30 minute production.

Thirty minutes?

What are the odds of Fabio and his one other autistic classmate making it through this mainstream version of “The Tortoise and the Hare”…with about 35 other “typical” second graders?

Thirty minutes of standing in place on risers, many musical numbers with hand and arm gestures, taking turns, NOT running away, even in the face of all those parents and grandparents and their camcorders…and all the noise.

To date, Fabio has had bad experiences with stages. Graduation from his special needs program right before kindergarten didn’t go well. He was miserable, wouldn’t wear the cap, and was melting in the gown. And he refused to go up for his diploma. One of only 3 kids who wouldn’t. Ditto in two award ceremonies for reading since then.

But time has passed since those events. And Fabio has also had a chance to see his sister perform in several concerts and live theater productions in the community. He goes to the shows, sits nicely, and gives her flowers at the end. And he loves music. Maybe this would be different.

I figured I’d better prepare him in advance for the idea that we’d be coming to see this play. So a few days beforehand, while he and I were laying in my bed relaxing before bedtime,  I said in my happy but not too excited voice, “Mommy and Daddy can’t wait to come and see you be a horse in the show.”

“No.”

“Well, um, yes, honey. We are going to come see you just like the other mommies and daddies of your friends. Ok?”

“No.”

Time for a new approach. “Honey, Mommy and Daddy want to come see you just like we come see Nic (Sister) in her shows. We are so happy and proud of you and want to come see your play. And we’ll bring you a present.”

I see the wheels turning as he considers this. I brace myself for the request. Surely he’ll ask for some costly toy…

“Bring flowers.”

Did I hear that right? Flowers? For a school production? For a boy? Well, why the hell not! You got it, bud. And I secretly applauded his connection between his play and his sister’s plays and the ritual of giving flowers.

So we grabbed the camcorder, special treats for the after-party that he could eat on his diet, and of course, the freakin flowers, and we hurried off into the snowy morning traffic to get good seats for whatever was in store for us. And we waited. All the “typical” kids came in and took their places. All the kids in the classes of those kids came in and took their places.  All those kids’ parents and grandparents came in and took their places.

Where is he?

Then, bringing up the rear… like a cowboy hearding cattle… marched my “horse” with the horse headband on! He went right to his spot on the riser. The music began.

He was perfect. PERFECT. He was typical. In fact, he was better than typical. No one there would ever have guessed that he or his classmate beside him had autism.

I started to cry. My husband started to cry. His teachers and aides started to cry. His former teachers who came out in the snow from other schools and from maternity leave just to see him…started to cry. And for about 30 minutes we all watched in awe as he did every single thing just right. And he radiated happiness. The little black horse with the headpiece on his head.

And when it was over and the tears were dried, that little horse rode off into the hallway… carrying flowers like a champion.

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Autism: To Medicate or Not to Medicate? January 30, 2009

Posted by hopeauthority in Autism, Health, Parenting, Uncategorized.
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How’s that for a loaded question?

Anybody have “the” answer? Well, then, does anybody have the answer for you? I’d love to hear from you all.

I used to bring Fabio to a DAN allergist/immunologist from his 3rd birthday in March 2005 til December, 2006. He started Fabio on the diet, but also wanted us to follow a pharmacological approach, which I was resistant to. Everytime we went there, we came out with vials of injectible MB-12 and a stack of prescriptions. Prescriptions I just wasn’t comfortable filling.  It was worse right after a big conference. What was the new flavor of the month he’d prescribe? It was getting awkward to go back without having taken his advice. So… I stopped going back. (It also didn’t help that Dr. B…who must have been about 85 years old… looked like the crypt-keeper and had no rapport with my son.)

So, we started Fabio with a DAN chiropractor in September, 2006. We love the chiropractor and his holistic approach. He is a healer. Plain and simple. Fabio absolutely adores this man. There is a calm that comes over him whenever he sees him. A trust. 

I was never a believer in chiropractors before Dr. S came into our lives. In fact, I was a skeptic. But I believe now, because I’ve witnessed great things over the past 2+ years.

Enter the dilemma.

As part of the program at the HBOT center we’ve been going to since November, the center director strongly suggests that you see the DAN pediatrician they have on site on Thursday mornings. Our appointment was today…

Nice to meet you, Dr. E…partner of the crypt-keeper. Um, is anyone else here just a wee bit uncomfortable?

No, it wasn’t a surprise. I was tipped off when their office tried to get me to pay 75 cents per page to copy Fabio’s chart from Dr. B so that his freakin partner Dr. E would have the records to review at the HBOT office visit! I already had my own copy to provide Dr. E today. Thankfully, Dr. E. had the good sense to pull Fabio’s chart and read it before our visit…thereby redeeming himself in my eyes, as I had wrongly prejudged him a loser based on his staff and partner.

So the visit goes well. I like this Dr. E.

I like that …unlike his partner..he is a pediatrician, has a good way with special kids, knows and respects our chiropractor, is very knowledgable in a less pushy way. And he doesn’t look like he’s been embalmed.

Fabio definately has the mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammatory bowel to go along with his autism. This we know from testing. Dr. E. believes we should do some lab work and see if there’s more we can do to help Fabio be all that he can be…

I am on the fence. I am leaning toward doing the blood and urine tests since Fabio hasn’t had a battery of them run in quite awhile. But, after that, I am not sure. I certainly would never leave the chiropractor. Can they both work together though? I keep thinking about the old theme song to the “Odd Couple” TV show: “Can 2 divorced men share an apartment without driving the other man crazy?”

While I never say never, and I’d never judge anyone else’s choices, I really am so leery of medication, with its unknown side-  and long term-effects.  I am stuck at the uncomfortable intersection of  Traditional Medicine Blvd. and Holistic Way. Also known as “this medication may be all he needs to live a typical life (but he may not live a long one) ” vs. ” knowing I’m not doing anything that can harm him (but am I doing enough)”.

I am open to all opinions on the traditional medicine vs. holistic approach.  Why did you take the path you’ve taken? Are you happy? Do you have regrets? Have you “recovered” or mainstreamed your child? Have you found a compromise of the two approaches?

How do you sleep at night without worrying that you chose the wrong approach? Okay. That was a trick question. We all know that we don’t sleep at night any way…

“A” Day Anniversary January 27, 2009

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Five years ago today, Fabio was diagnosed with autism.

Can’t really say “Happy” before this anniversary, now can we?

I can’t believe it was five years ago that time stood still, that my ears actually stopped hearing momentarily, and that my whole world fell apart. And… whether right or wrong… my dreams died.

When I replay that home visit from the county’s experts in my mind, I am pretty unforgiving towards the naive mother that I was back then. I totally missed the knowing exchange of glances between the experts after they ran their tests. I felt confused by the slow delivery of the news from faces that looked like they were imposing a death sentence.

I don’t know if it was better or worse that they first called it PDD. What the hell was Pervasive Developmental Disorder? I’d never heard of it. But by the time they’d left the driveway, the internet had taken my breath away. How thankful I am now for those few extra moments of ignorance.  If they’d said “Autism” from the outset, my visions of Rainman would have induced an immediate breakdown. That came 4 months later with the MD diagnosis.

I was one of those moms who spotted something wrong relatively early. He was diagnosed at 22 months (and in therapy even before the second opinion arrived).  I acted on my suspicions quickly. But I was still not prepared for anything other than someone saying Fabio had a speech delay. And I was burying my beloved sister-in-law the next day. Surely, this was the lowest moment of a life filled with many awful, low moments.

I am amazed at how this epidemic has raged and that now….only five years later…everyone not only knows what autism is, but they probably know someone who has it.

He didn’t look when you called his name. He didn’t point. He didn’t even flinch when a loud bell was rung behind him. The handful of words he’d previously spoken disappeared in the night. After his MMR.

And so we began the longest journey ever undertaken. The one where there is no rest for any of us at any time. The days are full of therapy sessions and opportunities to teach which must not be squandered. The nights are merely a series of snippets of sleep, interrupted by our children’s night terrors or our own nightmares.

There is a sense of urgency everywhere…the idea that the window of opportunity for recovery or mainstreaming is closing with every chime of the clock.

There is the never-ending frustration of watching the passing of deadlines we never should have set for Fabio’s recovery. I remember thinking when he was still three and in intense therapy, that we had 2 more years…2 whole years…before kindergarten. Surely this whole “autism thing” will be behind us by then. But had we not set those deadlines, we would surely have gone insane. Our minds were just trying to protect us.  We were not ready to consider back then that this wasn’t going to go away. And we still aren’t.

Fabio has made the most incredible progress and I am so proud of how hard he has worked every moment of every day of the last five years. I am thankful for all the therapists and teachers and doctors who brought him back to us. And he is back. There is no sound sweeter than the little voice you’ve waited so long to hear and the infectious belly laugh of a happy boy.

When you look at it that way, maybe it is a happy anniversary after all.

Who is Your “Sue”? January 24, 2009

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Today is the 5th anniversary of the untimely death of my beloved sister-in-law, Sue. On the one hand, I can’t believe it’s been 5 years already. On the other, it feels like 20.

Autism would not be that hard to handle if Sue was here. Maybe there’s a friend or family member in your life that is your “Sue”?

She was the glue that held my husband’s family together. She was married to the oldest of 3 brothers (I’m married to the baby). With nine years between Mike and my hubby, and Mike and Sue being high school sweethearts, my hubby can’t remember a time when Sue wasn’t around.

She was one of those fun-loving people, who simply loved children. Not just her own two, but anybody’s children. She had a magical way with kids. I’ve never met anyone like her. And she was like a big sister to me, which was especially important when I (an only child) lost my mom, then dad, before I had my children. Sadly, the middle sister-in-law has never been interested in or close to our side of the family.

When my daughter finally arrived, no one was more excited than Sue. No one did more for me than Sue. I had to pry my baby away from her half the time! I was so easy for me to eventually go back to work a few days/week, knowing my daughter was in the best hands.

Sue battled cancer for 4 years. She died on January 24, 2004…just missing both of her children’s weddings that March. Her first grandchild was born that June. Fabio was diagnosed with Autism the day before we buried her. She was only 49.

I am thankful that she lived long enough to know and love both of my children, though only my daughter will have memories of her. I cherish the memories I have of her holding Fabio when she was strong enough to do so. Actually, I cherish every single memory of Sue.

Our family is not the same without her. If she was alive, she would be here for my family and autism would not be so difficult. So I miss Sue every day…especially today.

If you have someone like Sue in your life…someone who you’d be absolutely lost without…I hope you’ll call them today and tell them how important they are to you and your child. And tell us your story so we can feel good about them.

People like Sue…the unsung heroes…are a priceless gift. Be sure to thank them.

Is it 2010 Yet? January 2, 2009

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Ahhh… 2009.

A whole new year to endure enjoy.

Did I say that out loud? Oops.

Bet that didn’t sound like the typical perky New Year’s Day stuff you’re used to hearing. The upbeat talk of resolutions from the self-absorbed who swear (again!) that this will finally be the year they stop smoking, or get a better job, or lose the ever-increasing extra weight they’ve amassed because they can’t push themselves away from the table.

Well, I’m not perky. Or particularly upbeat. And I am certainly not typical. And neither is my son, for that matter. And while I’ve been guilty of making the same kinds of resolutions in the past ( and have asked a fellow blogger to let me know if she finds my inner size 6 while she’s searching for her own), I don’t really have the time to be self-absorbed. (Or the money to drop on the annual gym membership that I actually use just once!) And I am tired of the guilt from failed and unreasonable resolutions.

So while I was pondering what deep, profound resolutions I would make for this year, I  decided that the best thing to do is just reolve to do my best each day. Some days, that will be really good. Other days, it will have to be good enough.

This year started out pretty rough for my family. It was as if all that “Christmas Miracle” business I was basking in over the past couple weeks came crashing down along with the Times Square Ball on New Year’s Eve.  Poof…it was gone.

We had a  tough outing at the inlaws’ house yesterday. It was a new condo that they just moved into a few days ago. And it is so small when you try to cram the whole family of 19 into it. Add to that a cousin of 4 and his desirable toys which were ever, so ever, so perfect for lining up…and you get a recipe for disaster. Each time he removed one from the line, it set ‘C’ off in a tantrum of epic proportions that lasted just long enough for the boy to tire of that toy and come back to remove yet another. Sigh…  

And there was no escaping. We were celebrating my daughter’s birthday with the family that night so we had to stay through cake for her sake…and try to pretend that things were under control, when it was obvious that they weren’t. Its been over a year since we’ve had such a bad scene with the family.

I refer to moments like this as putting me in a “black funk”. It usually lasts for days. It’s a particularly low level of sadness that can’t be shaken or consoled…it just runs its course in its own time. 

My mood is always linked to how my son’s life is going. If he is doing well, I can be almost giddy with joy…even if my house is burning down.  Yet, if he is having a rough time, then I am blue…and nothing…not even winning the lottery…will cheer me up. 

I know it’s just another day, but it is particularly hard to go into a new year with such a bad start. It feels like one of those bad karma things.

I sure hope I’m wrong. Time will tell.

Right now, I’m ready for 2010. I want a do-over of New Year’s Eve… And while I’m asking, I’d like to request that the camera guy refrain from airing the offensive, extended, and awkward lip-lock of Mr. and Mrs. Dick Clark. Ewwwww. In the name of decency, just a peck, please.

Mom Overboard! December 28, 2008

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The sea was angry last night, me hardies. Argh.

The down side to all these holiday miracles we’ve been enjoying with ‘C’ over the past few weeks, is the inevitable resurfacing of the familiar side of autism. And when you let your guard down, it’s harder to handle it.

That innocent-looking “Pirates in the Tub” toy that made its debut in ‘C’s bath last night was really a nightmare waiting to happen. It consists of  3-three dimensional pieces (2 pirates and a cannon), plus a ton of 2-dimensional foam pieces that either stick to the wall when wet, or piece together to make floating boats or islands. 

First, he didn’t want the 2 pirates to be removed from their places at his ever-growing “concert” of little figures. Fine. Let’s just play with the other stuff. After all, there’s 6 other 2-D pirates.

When I tossed those into the overly full tub, ‘C’ practically dove in after them … as if they were drowning and he was the lifeguard. In a nanosecond, all 6 were safely cradled against his chest.  Out flew the floating palm tree island with treasure chest. 

Out came huge waves of water.  I’m talkin’ a white squall here. He was tossing and turning and flailing in the tub like a whale fish on a hook. I was soaked and at a total loss as to how to regain control.

We had to towel dry the poor little pirates. Sadly, they will never see the high seas again for their captain has decided they will be landlubbers. No pirate treasure adventures for anyone.

He cried and/or sobbed on and off for about 12 hours a  half hour, while trying to go to sleep. It was so frustrating to try to understand what it was that set him off and how to comfort him. And then the guilt of figuring that …whatever it was… I either caused it, or exacerbated it.

I was enough to make me want to walk the plank. Argh.

Christmas Recap December 26, 2008

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It’s all a blur. A good one. But a blur all the same.

Lots to do. Little sleep to be had. Got to bed 3am, then 5am, then 2am–7 hours of sleep over 3 nights is pushing it even for me. But so worth it in the end.

Our Christmas Eve tradition is to have good friends…the ones who understand autism best and have a real relationship with our son… over for an open house luncheon from  noon til 4:00, but they never leave by 4:00 … and we’re glad to have them for as long as they’ll stay.  They’d be welcome to stay til morning! About 10 minutes after the last guests leave, the inlaws arrive for the evening festivities. So its one big celebration. The only thing that stinks is the fish..literally. ‘C’ was great with all of it…very relaxed with all these people.

Christmas Day began with the usual tradition of gift trashing unwrapping. But this year, ‘C’ was pretty focused. The Batcave was right there front and center without wrapping. ‘C’ made a bee-line for it and said some appropriate verbals for the camcorder. Sister was loving her Wii Fit and all the other stuff. 

One of the nice things about Christmas …and its traditions…is that it’s a good gauge of ‘C’s progress over the year. Some noteable gains include that ‘C’ made a list this year (with some assistance from me and the toy catalog) and wanted to go see Santa (where he spontaneously asked for the Batcave). He also unwrapped his presents himself and was able to continue with the unwrapping instead of just stopping to play with the first thing he opened. And he spoke into the camera a bit…a big plus.

And let’s not forget the true test of being “typical” which ‘C’ (though far from typical) managed to pass for the first time ever… After all the gifts were opened, he said “I want the fire house.” Note that the freakin firehouse in question has not been available in the entire state of New York for two months, he hasn’t mentioned it since first putting it on his list in October, and it costs 4x the list price if you buy it online from Amazon (and that’s before shipping costs!). So, can someone just pull the knife out of my heart, please?

At Christmas Dinner at Uncle Mike’s, he didn’t stim continuously on the doorbell/front door (just two second’s worth upon arrival), didn’t spend the whole night down in the basement with only me or hubby for company (he went down for some old toys and brought them up to play in the den). He was relaxed enough to actually eat a bit of food (though he still prefers the kitchen to the crowded dining room). All big things!

And the cutest thing of all…he went up to everyone (16 people) without prompting or arm-twisting and said “Merry Christmas (name)” and either hugged or kissed them (or bent his head forward for them to kiss him). Once on arrival and then again for good-byes!

Now, he wasn’t perfect, of course.  But what kid is, right?  There’s the sharing of toys problem (he’s awful) and he won’t yet play with the other little kids (just beside them).  And of course, he still tries t get to the many candy dishes full of treats he can never have.  Yes, the family continues to put them out anyway.  

About the worst “scene” we had this year was when ‘C’ emerged from the basement with me just about 3 steps too far behind him.  In a split second, he got a bit too close to the glass fireplace doors and the wall of heat practically singed  his eyebrows. A quick scare. A bag of ice just to be sure. No damage.

The evening continued and…for the first time ever…we left a holiday celebration at the very end of the night. Not our usual scoop ‘C’ up in a huff, quick departure after some kind of major scene. Not the usual feeling like outcasts among family who don’t understand or care or offer to help.

Was it really only one year ago that we left the same home abruptly after ‘C’ had gotten an M&M in the two freakin seconds I turned away to help unmold someone’s hideous jello mold? Why was I helping out when no one offered to  help us watch ‘C’ all night so we could eat while the food was hot or join in a conversation? I was so frustrated.

And they heard me exclaim as we drove out of sight, “Can’t they push their fat asses away from the candy, just for ONE night?”

What a difference a year makes. One of us is really making great progress…

Have you noticed the progress in your little one between last year and now? Go on, brag about it…

The Autism Christmas Miracle in the Church December 18, 2008

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For the record, we’re Catholic. Typical daughter goes to Catholic school. Autistic son to public. Both are in the perfect place for them. (I won’t get into how ridiculous their different vacation schedules are…)

Do we go to Mass every week? No. Every month? No. On holidays? Does running the Girl Scout cookie booth sale in the church lobby on Palm Sunday count?

Hey, my daughter gets her religious education during the school day and she goes to Mass once a week with her class. That’s something, right? It’s not really that I’m lazy. I just think that burning in hell for eternity would be less painful than suffering through an hour in church with my little angel boy.

And God gave our family autism, right? So He presumably understands. And hopefully forgives. But I digress…

So, last night was our daughter’s Christmas concert and she is in the choir. We have never taken ‘C’ to any of her concerts, so as not to overstimulate him or embarrass/upset her with the inevitable disruption. Never, that is, until last night…

Picture this scene. Long aisle in the church. Choir on the altar. Hundreds of people. Hubby took daughter ahead of time. Inlaws arrive first among the masses so we have seats in the very first pew. The plan was for me to arrive just before the concert started so ‘C’ would not have to wait any longer than necessary.

Did I mention I am always freakin late for everything?

So, I swing open the church doors … like someone about to object to a marriage or something… and the whole place looks at us as the first song is in progress already. I looked up at the big 25 foot tall crucifix over the altar and silently said “Dear Jesus, please let ‘C’ walk quietly down this freakin football field  aisle without being noisy, digging in his heels, running away, or throwing a tantrum.”

And, like a miracle, he did.

Then, he sat right down in the front pew and quietly, peacefully…dare I say typically…watched this concert for over an hour! No food, drink or toys (other than one hot wheel in each hand which he just held onto). Not a peep. Not. one. peep. He sat there taking it all in, loving the music. And for some unexplainable reason, I didn’t feel that ever-present fear I usually feel as I wait for the bubble’s inevitable bursting at a time like that. I didn’t feel that stress that ruins every outing, even when the outing does go well.

As time went by and he got tired, he’d rest his head against my arm. As his bedtime came and went, he began to yawn. I began to worry. But he just looked up at me at one point and said quietly “Time to go home now. Thanks. See ya next time.” Too adorable.

Against my better judgement, and knowing from past experiences that it was the wrong thing to do, I pushed my luck and didn’t leave. I told him gently that it was almost over and we’d be leaving real soon and I was so proud of how good he was sitting. And you know what happened next? NOTHING. He just kept being perfect.

At the end, he patiently got up and walked slowly behind the throngs of people ahead of us (front pew remember?). He patiently tolerated the happy stares and small talk from my daughter’s classmates’ parents… who gawked at my son and his remarkable behavior. Surely they imagined him shackled in the basement for the past 5 years since they last saw him… in a stroller!…at a school function. He got in the car and asked for his sister’s goody bag (a little gift we’d bought her). Instead he got the toy we’d bought just for him when we dared to dream that the night would go half as well as it actually did.

I got the rarest and most precious of gifts that night… a glimpse of the awesomeness of being a typical family. If only for an hour or so. An hour that felt like forever.

May you all experience such a Christmas miracle this season.

Autism’s 12 Days of Christmas Song December 15, 2008

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Ok, I’m in a punchy mood today. And sometimes, if you don’t laugh, you’re gonna cry.

So, for the over-stressed, exhausted parents of the cute, but challenging ASD kids… who need a laugh…this song’s for you (you know the tune).

The 12 Things at Christmas that Suck with ASD

The first thing at Christmas that sucks with ASD: He’s pulling down the Christmas tree.

The second thing at Christmas that sucks with ASD: He’s taking all his clothes off …and he’s pulling down the Christmas tree.

The third thing at Christmas that sucks with ASD: The photo card disaster…he’s taking all his clothes off; and he’s pulling down the Christmas tree.

The fourth thing at Christmas that sucks with ASD: The Santa visit meltdown…the photo card disaster, he’s taking all his clothes off, and he’s pulling down the Christmas tree.

The fifth thing at Christmas that sucks with ASD: 5 HOURS OF SLEEP…the Santa visit meltdown, the photo card disaster, he’s taking all his clothes off, and he’s pulling down the Christmas tree.

The sixth thing at Christmas that sucks with ASD: GF/CF Baking…5 HOURS OF SLEEP. The Santa visit meltdown, the photo card disaster, he’s taking all his clothes off, and he’s pulling down the Christmas tree.

The seventh thing at Christmas that sucks with ASD: Can’t go on vacation… GF/CF baking, 5 HOURS OF SLEEP. The Santa visit meltdown, the photo card disaster, he’s taking all his clothes off, and he’s pulling down the Christmas tree.

The eighth thing at Christmas that sucks with ASD: Age-appropriate presents…can’t go on vacation, GF/CF baking,  5 HOURS OF SLEEP. The Santa visit meltdown, the photo card disaster, he’s taking all his clothes off, and he’s pulling down the Christmas tree.

The ninth thing at Christmas that sucks with ASD: No one comes to visit…age-appropriate presents, can’t go on vacation, GF/CF baking 5 HOURS OF SLEEP. The Santa visit meltdown, the photo card disaster, he’s taking all his clothes off, and he’s pulling down the Christmas tree. 

The tenth thing at Christmas that sucks with ASD: Two weeks without services…No one comes to visit, age-appropriate presents, can’t go on vacation, GF/CF baking, 5 HOURS OF SLEEP. The Santa visit meltdown, the photo card disaster, he’s taking all his clothes off, and he’s pulling down the Christmas tree.

The eleventh thing at Christmas that sucks with ASD: The Barney Christmas tape, repeatedly…Two weeks without services, no one comes to visit, age-appropriate presents,  can’t go on vacation, GF/CF baking, 5 HOURS OF SLEEP. The Santa visit meltdown, the photo card disaster, he’s taking all his clothes off, and he’s pulling down the Christmas tree.

The twelfth thing at Christmas that sucks with ASD: He’s lining up the damn nativity…the Barney Christmas tape, repeatedly, two weeks without services, no one comes to visit, age-appropriate presents, can’t go on vacation, GF/CF baking, 5 HOURS OF SLEEP. The Santa visit meltdown, the photo card disaster, he’s taking all his clothes off, and he’s pulling down the freakin Christmas tree!

Happy Holidays to all!

Doctor Visit vs. Martial Arts…how to choose? December 7, 2008

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Oh, what an annoying morning I had yesterday.

‘C’ had been “off” lately due to a yeast overgrowth in his gut (a common side effect, I’m told, from the HBOT therapy he’d been on), so he’s been taking charcoal at night (Yes its gross…) and after a week or so of doing that …like a magic switch… he went back to a better version of his regular self last Tuesday.  I say “better version” because the bad behaviors from the yeast condition left… and the gains we saw from the HBOT in language and attention stayed.

Anyway, we postponed the HBOT for 2 weeks to resolve the yeast. We went to the DAN/chiropractor Saturday morning for a follow-up to get the blessing to resume HBOT this Monday. Its a 40 minute drive west. We called from the parking lot to have them sign us in and continued to wait about 15 minutes in the car watching a DVD, to cut down on the time we’d have to deal with in the waiting room…where ‘C’ is never good.

Then we go in.  We waited for almost an hour once we got there because the place was packed. Amazingly, ‘C’ was pretty good in the waiting room, playing with the few toys there in his crisp, white karate outfit. When I say we waited, I mean we waited to get assigned to one of the 8 exam rooms…where we’d wait again. I inquired and was told we’d be next to get a room. Five minutes later, the next room was assigned…to someone else. 

At about 11:00, the fear I’d been pushing to the back of my mind emerged and I freaked out.  I suddenly realized that I was going to have to choose between seeing the doctor and ‘C’s martial arts class.

I know moms of typical kids (and some special needs moms too, I guess) would think I was crazy, but it was a no-brainer to me. ‘C’ had been asking for “Sensei Jessie’s class” for days since it was cancelled for the holiday last weekend and here he was in his outfit and ready to go. 

So, I gathered ‘C’ up and, I’m embarrassed to say I was not 100% polite about it, told the girl at the desk I could not keep waiting and we were leaving. I really do love this doctor and this is the first time I had to do this.

The problem was that I suspected I had delayed too long.  Now the challenge was whether I could get to the karate class on time. It was 11:00. The lesson starts at 11:30. The place is 15 minutes East of my house. I am at the doctor who is 40 minutes West of my house. See the problem?

So, I’m fuming now because I am imagining ‘C’ missing both appointments!

I learned something that morning:  When you  take the back roads out of the picture and make a bee-line for the expressway (empty at this time of day), and when you’re lucky enough that the sherriffs are all apparently busy ticketing the other moms speeding their kids somewhere, you can make it from Point A to Point B  in half  the time.

Being late wasn’t an option. The scene that would have ensued if ‘C’ had missed the opening song would have set him off til Christmas. You see, its a part martial arts, part dance and fun gross motor skills type of class. It starts and ends with 2 fun songs they dance and sing to. In fact, I think I would have moped til Christmas if he missed it since he does it so cute!

The opening song is a sequencing song all about getting up and moving your parts “…wiggle my hips, movin my back, shakin my hands…doesn’t it feel good?…”.  The closing song is the cutest thing. Its a slow, calming song where they sit and make hand movements and sing: “See you later. In a while. I look forward. To your smile. See you later. I know that it won’t be long. That’s why I sing the see-you-later song. SO LONG!

So, I chose martial arts over the chirpractor. Was there really any other choice?

See you later…