Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Catching up since I have been extremely slack...

I am alive and so is the rest of the family...just in case you were wondering. We spent the weekend doing some fun stuff. Friday night we went out to eat at Dilworth Neighborhood Grill to support Greyson's school and the PE Equipment Fundraiser. Michele's brother, wife, nephews, and niece went with us to eat and hang out. Afterward we headed home to sleep the night away. Saturday we had some fun and then grandma came up to stay with Greyson while Michele, I, and her family headed off to the haunted houses. This is not something we would do with Greyson obviously since he is scared to death of most all things related to Halloween or anything even remotely scary. therefore...minus the trip to Morris costume satellite store in Mooresville, we avoid this at all costs. Reason being is that he will be panicked and scared for days if not weeks. He can;t go in any room alone and will almost plow you over if you walk away from him. If I stopped quick at times he would be back in the womb. It's quite frustrating. So....we left him with grandma and we went to the haunted house. Did I mention I hate them too. I took one for the team Saturday. I tried in vain to get Michele to go with her brother and nephews. Turns out her niece and sister in law aren't so found of having the crap scared out of them either. Hahahaaaaaa So...after the one house they opted for laser tag and Erin and I drank margaritas! Yay! Greyson had fun with grandma and we got home by around 11 or so. Sunday...we hung out here and had planned to go pick out our pumpkins for Halloween. it was around 3 before we actually got motivated to leave to get them. I had cooked some homemade veggie soup and we were enjoying the fall weather. Greyson was in the yard with momom playing with the rake and blower...she raked and threw leaves up in the air and let Greyson, with the blower on his back, blow them out of the air like it was a Star Wars cannon! He had a blast and so did she. At 3pm we headed off to the pumpkin patch. We went to Rural Hill Farm in Huntersville where the great corn maze is located to pick some out. Once we got there Michele thought maybe we should try the maze. I, on the other, hand had no warm fuzzies about it seeing as how I had visions of Greyson freaking out once we got buried right in the middle of the thing. well...it turned out OK. We rambled around in there for about an hour and Michele found our way to several clues to try and find are way out. Needless to say after a little over an hour he was done. he said his feet were sleeping like at night so he wanted to sit down. I think we were done too though. So....we took the high road and got the heck out of there....thru the entrance when we found it again. Hey...we had to do what we had to do. It's all good. The week started pretty good. he hasn't had too many appt's. thank goodness...well...minus the one I wrote down wrong on the dry erase board. DUH! Sorry Mr Mike! Today he had his teeth cleaned which totally traumatizes him but he does well. He wanted to cry a couple of times but hung in there. He goes to a dentist that is very sweet and she handles him very well. all the sugar bugs...as they call them....are cleaned and washed away! No cavities! Yay! I kept him home with me because once he was done he was spitting constantly due to the fluoride wash. They paint his teeth with flavored fluoride which I am sure tastes like crap if it's anything like what I remember. he spits and spits and spits.... I didn't think his teacher would want to deal with his drama concerning this issue so I opted for me and him to do homework and hang out. I loved it! Fed him Mickey D's and watched Star Wars. How much fun can one mommy have? Well....that catches us up to some extent. Until our next adventure... hugs all

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Another week gone by...

Well we have conquered yet another week of school. Greyson is still running out of sorts but has been able to spend some time with Ms Kathy in his room. She is there to help him as well as the other kids and the teacher. She will be an asset in that she gets him and his behaviors and can help reel him in if need be. I feel there may be some triggers there that we have yet to pick up on that are causing his walking and avoidance of his work. I spoke with his therapist who will be coordinating a visit to his school to observe and see if we can pick out what might be triggering his avoidance to do the things he should be doing. In the mean time I just monitor things and try to help Greyson keep from having a full meltdown as best I can. Dealing with him has always been a delicate balance of pushing him and knowing when to back off or let it go per say. You can never push too much or it will result in complete shut down. I was having huge heart burn about this for the last few weeks but now it seems not such a big deal. I have no idea how to explain that something that seemed all consuming of me just lifted. It's like somehow I just know it is all going to be fine. It is what it is. Some will get it and him, some won't. He is still a great guy and a great kid. Just an 8 year old struggling to make sense or things. His friendships and relationships in general run very deep once he bonds and he can be totally devastated by the least little thing. We all get that to a degree, he just has to work harder for those relationships so it makes things much more intense for him. That creates some problematic issues at times but he will learn to work through it. It still can be heartbreaking for me to see his struggles unfold in front of me at times. Plight of a mother huh? Not one on this planet doesn't understand that. His birthday is coming up too. November 20th he will be 9 years old. Time sure flies. All I can say is I could have NEVER been given a greater blessing than him. Helping him sometimes consumes me, other times it just happens as we go along. Right now...we roll along day to day. My job as far as I am concerned is to see he is learning and challenged while not being riddled with anxiety. Not just academically, but overall. My biggest concerns don't lie there in his academics anyway, but in his dealing with the world at hand and learning how to navigate it successfully. He is soooo funny and so attached to Michele and me. That scares me sometimes but we are his navigators and he is well aware of that. Detachment from us seems slow if at all but it is going to be crucial to his survival. It will come, as all other things have, in his time. My good friend gave me the book, 'All Cats have Aspergers'. I have to laugh because Aspies are soooo cat like. I totally get that. I even told his therapist about it and he laughed. He totally gets it too. He deals with other kids like Greyson and he said he soooo sees it over the group. I guess they are his little group of kittens. :) I assume the people that may find cats annoying may view Greyson, and children like him, that way too. Well...maybe he can help those folks find a place for cats in their hearts as well. If anybody can he can. As Dr. Tony Attwood said, "Cats are just dogs with Aspergers". Tony Attwood is a world renowned expert on Aspergers out of Australia. He travels the world speaking at conferences and seminars on the subject. i had the pleasure to see him in Columbia this summer and he is phenomenal. I have several of his books that I use as references when things crop up. I am always looking for the best and most effective ways to handle our challenges and he seems to have the best suggestions/answers to almost anything Greyson throws our way. Thank goodness for the doctors and scientists like Dr. Attwood who have spent countless years seeking to understand Aspergers and who help us make sense of the world Aspies live in each and every day. Without these things we would truly be lost.
Well, today is Saturday and we hope to have some family fun before Michele and I head out to a party later tonight. Outside to play and expend energy if the weather holds up. Have a great weekend everyone. Thanks for stopping by our world.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

OT today and then a day of "nothingness" :)

Greyson had a crazy day yesterday. Things got a little out of sorts outside after lunch. Greyson's friend told him as they were walking back into the school that there was a bee on him, (on Greyson). Needless to say to some of you, this went over poorly as Greyson is terrified of most insects...especially spiders and bees. He started flailing about wildly with lunch box in hand and hit the boy, his friend, right in the nose. The boys nose started bleeding which freaked Greyson even more. After all that he was ready to come home. Greyson was very sad and worried about his friend. He felt like he had done something horribly wrong & he couldn't take any more. He internalizes so much and is very hard on himself. No one was angry with him but he still could not shake feeling down & defeated. At that point there is never any convincing him otherwise so I felt it best to bring him home. He has been very out of sync lately so I am calling in all the resources I possibly can to help him become more in sync with his class and his teacher. I spoke with the EC teacher as well as the speech therapist yesterday and hopefully with their help we can make things better for him and for his teacher. I have spoken to his teacher as well and she is happy to do whatever we need to do to help him get back in sync and bond with her. Poor guy...I am giving him a rest from everything today. We are at the house hanging out together. Tomorrow is grandparents day at school so we will be back for that. Grandmas coming down to hang out with him at school. It's also early dismissal so he will be going home at 1pm. Today we will do alot of nothing and then go again tomorrow. He will be fine but we just have to work out a few snags. For now...a day of mommy time and some mac & cheese will be the remedy for his sadness. He had a great day at OT and did lots of physical activities to build up his core, upper body and motor coordination. He even got excited about his short bike ride and asked me to watch him. I believe with the team of people he has working for one goal he will come out fine. I have solicited the help of his whole team to bring him back on track so hopefully before too long he will be seeing things in a new light. Each year will be a challenge especially changing classes and teachers. School is the one place that creates the most anxiety due to the many transitions, the chaos, the social aspects, etc. It will always be hard and we will always have to stay on top of what is happening with him. It's just the way it is and will be and we will only be able to make predictions as to where the best fit will be. It may or may not always work out as planned and that's when you have to take another path to reach the same goal. We keep going forward and making adjustments along the way. Academically I do not worry about him, I just want him to feel a bond with his mentor/teacher and have positive experiences socially with his friends. That's what will help him grow the most. The academics will fall into place. Thanks for stopping by...we love you for caring about Greyson and our family. Until my next entry...have a great day!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Great Fall Weekend

This painting is so very dramatic but it will make sense later as to why I have posted it. And yes....I think the story is hysterical. (leftover first grade story...)
It's been a great fall weekend, cool weather, playing outside, playing inside, eating out and celebrating our anniversary. (12 years together) I also spent time looking through my notes from the Aspergers seminar I went to featuring Tony Attwood. He said many great things and I was looking for things that may help me help Greyson be a little calmer and focused at school. He has just not seemed to be able to find his comfort yet this year and I am concerned he will fall behind if he keeps avoiding work when he is in class. Looking back at the notes was quite enlightening for me. It always helps to see what you have been witness to already reinforced by an expert. Tony spoke about children with Aspergers and their different characteristics. They have a compulsion for completion and have a very hard time switching tracks. They have a pathological fear of making mistakes and/or appearing stupid. Any advice given is usually perceived as criticism. In these situations the best motivators are "What would be a wise decision here?" or "What would be the intelligent thing to do?" Typical kids look for other ways to do things while Aspies are more rigid and it does not naturally occur to them to do this. You have to prompt them by saying, "What would be another way we could do this?" Aspies are acutely aware of errors and tend to withdraw, escape or try to control. They will do extreme things to avoid situations where ridicule may or does occur. (Really...first grade comes to mind here but....why relive that fun?) Their capacity for socialization is a cup compared neuro typicals who's capacity is a bucket. Their anxiety and/or sadness normally comes out as anger. So being a good detective as a parent is crucial. They cannot handle shouting or yelling because they are overly sensitive to emotional atmospheres. To change an unwanted behavior you have to appeal to their sense of logic. They need to understand and know why certain things are as they are. Confrontation makes them more emotional & tends to escalate things. The best way to handle a situation or unwanted behavior, according to Tony Attwood, is not to get emotional, don't tell them about it, give them a compliment, and then something to look forward to. They need to know clearly and visibly what you are feeling. Logic, not discipline is the key to changing their behavior. Self Reflection is a major problem for an Aspie. Ex: Parent-"Why did you do that?" Answer from them-"I don't know!" They are not being obtuse, they really don't get it. They can only cope for so long socially before they become exhausted. We have seen this in Greyson on many occasions. He can go for a while but once he has reached that point, he totally breaks down like a toddler. It's sad to see his total lack of control in that respect. An Aspie's stress is proportionate to the amount of people in the room. That is why most of them seek solitude. The best way for Greyson to calm down, is usually by being alone. Most Aspies respond to this. He seems to find peace and/or peace of mind by doing this. He can get himself centered again. (Hiding in his room, the coat closet at school, etc...)
They need for us to model behavior to learn it. Modeling things like making mistakes is crucial so they see it is OK to not be perfect. It shows them that if they stay calm and try another way, or ask for help they can still succeed. Being calm is being smart. "It's the smart thing to do".

As far as them interacting socially, it is extremely important to praise them when they "get it right". Praising friendly behaviors, compliments, and helpfulness that they exhibit tends to help them continue to succeed. Social stories help here too. They are like comic strips for everyday life occurrences. Aspies think in pictures and are very visual so these are helpful. Visualization not verbalization is their way of learning. They tend to take a logical more scientific approach to things. They tend to appear like they are not listening when in reality they are. Greyson is a master at this and it has driven me mad since he was a toddler. He seems totally checked out at times only later to reveal he has gotten everything you were trying to teach him. He still gets me with that. He, as most all Aspies, has a limited ability to tolerate frustration. They can't think of what else to do...other ways to solve the problem. They can really get down on themselves and depression can set in rapidly and deeply if you are not careful. It has to be monitored closely, especially as they reach adolescents. The suicide threat due to depression and self loathing among these kids is horrifying to me. All of these things I re-read this weekend in search of help. I am reminded now and again that I am the one who will have to stay on top of this. No one else but me and Michele. We are his saviors in a world that can seem foreign at times. We are his advocates as any parent is to his or her child. I wish I had all the answers but I do not. He is struggling some right now and I will find answers to what works for him. I will because I am his mom and I know him well. I will figure it out somehow. Until then I am sure I will be feeling frustrated and somewhat defeated. At times lonely and very sad. It's these moments that make me long for some normalcy for him and for us. But hell...does anyone have that?

Today I cleaned house with Michele and found tons of school work from kindergarten through now. It was amazing yet sad. It told such a story of what had happened once he hit first grade. He had done fairly well in kindergarten with a few snags but nothing huge. Then once he hit first grade things went so wrong on so many different levels. No need rehashing it but today I did. Just by having to sort through and decide what to keep and what to toss I had to rehash it to a degree. Part of me wanted to toss all of his first grade year being as it was a nightmare. But I saw his work...kept some of the great things he did...one of which seemed so apropos. He had picked the art masterpiece, "The Scream" by Edvard Munch to recreate in first grade. hahahahaaaaa Was he trying to tell me something?!!! Yes... I did...I saved that one. What a better summary of his year and mine back then huh? May I just say his second grade year was amazing due to an amazing teacher. She soooo made up for his year before to some degree.
Funny how I feel like I know him so well yet at times I feel so inadequate at helping him and helping people understand him. I sometimes feel they are going...whatever! Just make him do what all kids have to do. And yes...I get that too. He does need to be able to function in the world on his own. But I still have to make sense of it all to him and to those who may think he is being obstinate. I feel it is my duty to him and to the world to help spread some understanding and compassion. Sometimes you let your Autistic kid hone in on the ceiling fan blade in the middle of karate class and then watch it go round and round, head moving with it....without bothering to explain it to anyone. Those moments are priceless and you leave with a smile on your face! It's nothing but LOVE pure love and I could not love him more! Well...we are on a new journey and in a new place for sure. Stay tuned for the next Chapter in Loveforbeatle...we'll be back! Hugs to all.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Struggling some again...

Greyson is struggling some in school again I believe. The stakes are higher this year and he needs to be more focused but so far it isn't happening. He has a good teacher who will help him in any way she can but she can only reel him in so much when isn't engaged. The class sizes are much larger this year and I think that definitely has an effect on the class and the teacher. Our school is wonderful and very special in that it doesn't shun the kids who have challenges, diagnosed or not. therefore, in my personal opinion, we have quite a few children that do fall into that category. Thank goodness for the places that will help and embrace these kids but it still is a handful. And yes...Greyson falls right into this group. I worry about him. I know his class and teacher are new to him but he continues to flounder, walk around the room, lay on the couch, and not participate in what is happening. I am very worried. I want him to succeed in school and in life. What parent doesn't? Anyway...at this point I am realizing he should be showing more signs of being involved than he is and now I am getting that bad feeling. I lay awake wondering what will help him and what might help his new teacher better understand him and his ways. I lay awake wondering with all the kids in his class whether she even has time to help him or redirect him. It's just a large class. This came on suddenly for me as I have been helping there in other classes and I have felt quite scattered. But suddenly I have to figure out what works best for him. Something isn't working right now but I am not sure what. He is so worried about his friends. He has come a long long way socially but some things still elude him. He told me yesterday that some of his very good friends, the ones he feels he is close to, told on him for throwing his shoe. He was heart broken that they had done it. I told him he should use his words to talk to them and tell them that it hurt his feelings. that's when he said, "They'll just say, "Who cares?" I was sad for him....sad that the people he had considered his good friends had shown him that friends aren't always who you think they are. Now maybe there is more to the story, but usually, once things come out, he is painfully honest about what happened. From what I gather...he was being silly playing with his crocs and threw one which hit someone. I do not think he meant to hit anyone from what I am understanding of it. More than likely he was just clowning around as usual. He headed off to the coat closet and cried. His teacher came in to talk with him and that was that. For him...his day was shot....ruined....all over one silly incident with a shoe. I didn't even hear about it from the teacher so to them it could not have been that big a deal. To him.....it was really sad that his friends betrayed him by telling on him. These moments kill me...he has to learn how things work in the real world but in his world he has no good understanding of it all. He wants lots of friends but doesn't quite understand how it all works fully. That being said....who the hell does. I remember some pretty crappy friend lessons I learned the hard way myself and it never feels very good. I just hope that I can always somehow find ways to make sense of his world to others without seeming like everything I say is relating to his challenges. Also without seeming like I think his whole identity is Aspergers related and still finding ways to make our world make sense to him in those moments where it seems so foreign. OK....so things, I have decided, will always be challenging for us as he reaches each milestone and we will have to forever be his advocates. At least during his school years. I will leave you for now. Until next time...I will drink a big ol' glass of red wine as I am having to re-group for Greyson's sake. Things will be fine...just need a new plan of attack.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Little Worried about G man...just a little...

Two peas in a pod!
It's time for me to start keeping up with this better. I am gonna need the humor as well as the moments of looking back and saying..."See, everything turned out fine." I have spent lots of time volunteering at Greyson's school but not so much in his class. I did go help one day when his teacher was out, but I wasn't there long being as it was only a half day anyway. When I do go to his class he seems even more out of sorts than usual. I worry he spends his day walking in circles and/or sitting or laying on the sofa in there. He holds things so deeply inside and is sooo emotional anyway. The least little thing throws him for a huge loop. His teacher this year is wonderful but I worry about him due to him being older and his grade level brings on higher expectations. I sometimes wonder if he is up to it, even though I know he is perfectly capable. It drives me mad to see him just avoid whatever the task at hand is in class. I went in today and he was doing just that. Total avoidance of the work they had been given. I tried all my tricks to get him to do what he had been told to do and finally he did it. Not without protest though of course. I mean seriously...why make anything easy on mommy right? Lord....anyway. My mind is racing wondering if I need to try to find different ways to get through to him. I even thought maybe I would solicit the help of his therapist, Mr Mike. Maybe have him come in and observe him in class to offer some insight to Greyson's behavior. Hell I don't know. I just don't want Alex to be driven mad by Greyson. the class has some interesting enough dynamics and I think he spends his time worrying who is his friend and who is not. He talked with me about it today and it seems to consume him. I worry about that too since with Aspergers having friends is harder anyway. Now that he has them he is still somewhat taken back by how friends treat each other at times. We all know it is not always as it should be. But even little things devastate him. When I tell him to use his words he says he doesn't want them to tell him, "Who cares!" He is totally worried that his friends won't care whether his feelings are hurt or not. Ahhhhhhhh. Is this an age thing maybe? I need to do more research. Finding balance between what may be Aspergers related as opposed to just a boy or age thing can be quite interesting. it actually makes me crazy and most of you know that is a short trip for me. (On a short bus no doubt....helmets optional!) Am I worrying too much right now? Not enough? Do I need to meet with his teacher again to hash out how he is coming along? As he gets older he is doing so good but in some ways it becomes more obvious that he has some serious challenges to deal with. That just means I need to be a better detective when it comes to him. Oh well...enough of my rave...I am having an I am completely overwhelmed kinda day today. Tomorrow is a new day. Until then....Shaaaaaaafin'zen! hahahahaaaaaaaaaa

Prop 8 declared Unconstitutional! ...Hooray! It's about time!!!!

Keith Olbermann on Proposition 8 Issue