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Please not the feet! August 25, 2010

Posted by caizooka in autism, autism parenting.
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Okay, what happened? Did someone change the rules and not tell me? I feel like I’ve been left out of the loop. I’m losing things that I need. I lost my parking ticket today so I got to pay the lost ticket fee at the parking garage. Fortunately the dude cut me some slack and I only had to pay half.  But still…. Oliver was doing beautifully and then all of a sudden…POW! He’s freaking out. Jumping on my feet ALL THE TIME. I have issues with people jumping, stomping, amd stepping on my feet. Come to find out that it’s all part of the sensory integration stuff that he’s dealing with.  (yep, apparently Oliver is a ‘sensory seeker’) He has seem a bit off sensory-wise this past week. Purposefully running into things. Ramming his head into the sofa. Jumping too hard. Pushing too much. Stomping too much. Unfortunately, my feet must have been in the way of all of that. I should invest in some steel toe shoes. Do you think that Prada makes any? I’ll have to check my sources on that.

When you don’t sugar coat everything for Oliver when he is in one of these states, the world really comes undone. Well, excuse ME for losing my patience and telling him ‘No!’ Boy, did I pay the price for that. Yep, he told me that I’m stupid and that he hates me. On a normal day, I could shrug it off, but when I’m warn down, that hurt. Fortunately I knew better than to react to his words. That would have taken things to a whole nuther level indeed. Needn’t go there today.

I see all of the benefits for Emil having a brother with special needs. He is going to have such empathy for others and such a very unique perspective in the world. But, in the meantime, he yells, ‘shut up!’ when he hears something that he doesn’t want to hear. Then he glares at me as if egging me on. He squints as if saying, ‘I just dare you to get mad at me’. I guess that because I’ve blocked out when Oliver starts yelling slanderous, hurtful words and try and see what the bigger picture is, not what the behavior is. Emil soaks all of that in and realized that Oliver doesn’t get in trouble for saying such things, therefore he shouldn’t either. Yikes! What kind of machine do we have in motion here? I’m finding myself running out of ideas and seemingly allowing my children to run this roost.

We have had a glorious summer, but I can’t wait til school starts back up and we are all on schedules. Although it is terrifying at the same time, it will certainly be nice to get into a groovy groove.

game on August 12, 2010

Posted by caizooka in autism, autism parenting.
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I guess that I’ve known that all of this hard work and fighting for my kid and his deserved education was going to start. I’ve been living a bit in a fantasy world with rose colored glasses. It’s been great!

I was asking one of the moms at Oliver’s school about View Ridge as her older child attends there and she also has a child entering Kindergarten as well. She said that it’s such a fantastic school then asked me if we’ve attended any of the Kindergarten summer get togethers. Hmmm…what get togethers?!!! I haven’t heard about them. I’m sure that it’s just a total oversight to not include the special ed Kindergarteners. But, still…I would have hoped.

When I got to my car I started to cry. Yep, time to dust off those fighting gloves that I wore as a single mom advocating for my older son. Time to rally the troops. It’s game time! I don’t want to be pushy and self-righteous. I just want the opportunities that are afforded regular kids to extend to mine. I can tell that this not going to be a coasting parenting ride. That’s okay, I’m ready. I enjoyed the honeymoon phase. I didn’t know that there was such a phase in raising a child with autism. I think that I just declared it over. Game on!

Autism Day at Jubilee Farms August 11, 2010

Posted by caizooka in autism, autism parenting.
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What a glorious day it was! As a family we went to Jubilee Farms in Carnation, WA to attend Autism Day!  The way that scheduling works in our house is that Peter and I stick them onto our family calendar and depending upon how that day is going, we’ll attend an event, or we won’t. If an autism meltdown is eminent, the  chances of us leaving our abode are minimal. If any of our children wake up on the ‘wrong side of the bed’ we revaluate where we are and what we are capable of.

All of the stars and planets, and universes, and everything else must have been align, because we went to Autism Day on Sunday. We are so glad that we did. What an amazing and very inspired event. It was such a feeling of acceptance, warmness, and friendliness. I entered this event with open eyes and ears, a little bit curious, but we all left with a wonderful sense of peace and thankfulness. The person who created this event was the wife of a former colleague of my husband and I. Can I just say, ‘thank you!’ I’m so impressed by her commitment to our autism community. I’m in awe of what you had to endure to make our world more bearable. Thank you, Lynne! It was a very wonderful day and each one of us walked away with a different and more understanding vision of what autism is to us.

a new name to my blog August 11, 2010

Posted by caizooka in autism parenting.
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I have changed the name of my blog from that of ‘My Journey of as a Parent’, to that of ‘Raising JOE, My Journey as a Parent’. Raising JOE comes from my brilliant friend, BW, who pointed out to me just after giving birth to my 3rd, and last son, Emil, that the cumulative first initials of my 3 sons spells ‘JOE’. Leave it to BW to point this out to me. Yes, Julian, Oliver, Emil do spell J.O.E. I am always hoping that when I call ‘come on, JOE, lets go!’ I would hope that all 3 of these adorable beings would obey thy words of the mother and pay attention. Oh, well, we can certainly try and hold out hope, can’t we???!!

0h, Wednesday, how I love thee August 11, 2010

Posted by caizooka in autism, autism parenting.
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Time to exhale. Peter takes all of the kids to their schools on Wednesday morning. I walk back into the house after frantically waving ‘good-bye’ to everyone and it is quiet. Soooooooooooo quiet. It takes me a few minutes for that to sink in. I walk into the house, sit down, stare at a blank wall for a few minutes, then, ready, set, go! Oh, how I love to multi-task! I put the smut tv on hulu (housewives of new jersey, or of anywhere, bachelorette, bachelor…) and I watch basically anything that requires zero focus or concentration from my brain because I’m busy doing other stuff..cleaning, making websites, laundry, updating my blog, writing stuff, researching, trying to schedule stuff. I love it!!! Basically, I have an ‘external hard drive’ aka, my binder, in which I write everything down from Thursday until the next Wednesday. Then Wednesday I tackle the to do list. I am a total list whore. I make lists all the time. I’m beginning to realize that I’m the only list person in my home and everyone else gives me the big eye roll everytime I bring up a ‘list’. Especially the teenager, as I’m sure that you can imagine that scenerio. I will not give in. I am a slave to the list!

Costco, Target, Safeway…these are the three big hits on Wednesdays.

At 5pm on Wednesdays, I’m missing my boys! I go to their Children’s Center and pick them up. They are happy to see me, and I am happy to see them. Love it!!!

laughing so hard my side hurts August 7, 2010

Posted by caizooka in autism, autism parenting.
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Anyone who knows Oliver can’t help but chuckle in his presence. He is funny. Absolutely downright hysterical at times. I think that what is so funny is that he isn’t trying to be funny. He is so sincere but playful at the same time. It’s an interesting combination that can create the perfect storm of laughter that communicates beautifully to all ages and senses of humor.

Today, his teacher at adventure camp asked him what was on his leg. It looked like blood, but in fact it was a drawn on lightening bolt with a red marker. He said, ‘Oh, that is just my lightening bolt of power!’ But, it’s not just the words, it’s the sincerity in which he speaks, and the body language that he uses. He started to talk about his ‘super bark’ in which he goes into great detail about how everyone needs to stand back because the blast is powerful, but he turns his head to the side and shouts, ‘SQUIRREL!’. Then he resumed without pause to his conversation about the ‘super bark’. Man, oh, man. If you are up on your modern kids movies, you’ll recognize that the whole lightening bolt of power and super bark are from the movie, ‘Bolt’, and the ‘squirrel!’ line is from the movie, ‘Up’. The lightening bolt on his leg was drawn to mimic that of Bolt, the dog from the movie with the super bark. Clever, Oliver, very clever.

A lot of what he says is borrowed directly from movies. It is called scripting or delayed echolalia. Oliver uses scripts from movies, shows, or from conversations that he hear. He borrows the tone, inflection, words, and emphasis directly. Oliver does a very clever job of melding together a variety of shows, movies, my words, Peter’s words, Grandma’s words, or Julian’s words. It’s been good for him to be able to utilize others’ words and voices to express his own ideas. We’ve gotten to know a lot about him and it is easier to see his personality emerging from this. The words are still borrowed, his sense of humor and brilliance is shining thru more and more. He manages to stitch together lines from movies to make them his own voice if you listen well.

The way in which he sees the world is clever, and funny, and fun. I love how in this modern world of an unbearable fast past and multiple complexities where we have so little time to stop and listen, that Oliver not only forces you to stop in your very tracks and hear him, but allows you to laugh. I am beginning understand why he doesn’t get lost in our world and creates his own. I am beginning to totally get that. I love laughing with him. He is one hysterical guy.

basking in the glory of summer August 4, 2010

Posted by caizooka in autism, autism parenting.
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After a very busy June that entailed much fun…a vacation, a couple of birthdays, and lots of other activities, it is now life back to normal. Oliver had an amazing time with our babysitter when we were gone. I think that it was good for him to get used to something/someone different for a short time. The first whole week since getting back from vacation was blissful for all of us. Oliver got so much attention from my family in town, too. He laughed, he smiled, he talked and talked and talked. He was a beacon of light and wonder. Everyone marveled at him and he basked in the glory of the attention.

Oliver has been getting along really well with his brothers. It is so sweet how he embodies a certain character when he is ‘big brother’. He takes on a certain tone and demeanor when he is trying to teach Emil something. This past week they got new squirt bottles to play with. Yes, their horribly mean mom refuses to buy them anything that resembles a gun… Oliver very happily taught Emil how to successfully utilize a spray bottle. How to fill it. How to point it at someone. How to shoot at Julian and his friends. He talks with the sincerity of someone who has been empowered to pass on the very delicate secret of ‘how to use a squirt bottle’ to the next generation. Very, very serious. Emil listens with conviction and responds accordingly. “okay, Oliver”. It is music to this mom’s ears.

Oliver has also been attending an adventure camp of which has been organized by some very gifted ABA teachers. Wow, they have really made Olivers’ summer soar. They meet at local parks and have a very organized schedule and curriculum. Oliver has made some really nice friends through this camp. Some of whom appear to be cut from a similar cloth as he. It is fascinating to see how different, yet how similar autism affects children. Each child in this camp is autistic, but each so different and so entirely unique. It was a great experience to see my son speak in his own language fluently amongst his peers. He flourished in the company of friends who belong to and communicate in his own world. He seemed to be empowered by this group. I will definitely continue some of these relationships with the other families.