Monday, December 17, 2012

STOP SPREADING AWARENESS????

12/17/2012 1 Comments
On Friday, December 14, 2012, a horrific thing happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown,CT.  A shooter forced himself into the school and opened fire killing 20 students between the ages of 6-7 along with 6 adults. He also killed his mother before going to the school. It is very heart breaking, many young lives that just began were ended way to soon. Out of all my fears as a parent, never would I have imagined this. 

My son is 6 years old and he has Autism. When I send him to school I expect that he comes home safe and sound. Some days, I haven't wanted him to come home because of the struggles and overwhelming stress. Today, I feel guilty for that; so I hugged him a little tighter and a little longer knowing that some parents will never get to see their child come home. For some parents, the only thing left is the shoe that they couldn't find a match for before rushing for the bus, unfinished Christmas preparations, the Legos on the stairs, and stains in the carpet. I can't even imagine the pain they must feel. 

In the past year we have come so far in gaining respect and acceptance for children on the ASD spectrum.  In light of these events there are new fears that are now coming up and existing. Our children have always had to deal with ignorance and misunderstanding. Media has brought this to a new level. Whenever events like this occur everyone grabbles trying to come up with reasons why. Sometimes, it is bullying, abuse as a child or mental instability. This time, the media chose Aspergers, a developmental disability characterized by difficulties in social exchanges and repetitive patterns or behaviors. This is a form of autism. It has always been my goal to spread awareness and understanding. 

On a personal level, with two boys on the spectrum, I have always wanted to gain more acceptance for my children.  This is because of the lack of acknowledgement and understanding people have towards children like mine. Many do not understand but make assumptions that the behaviors the children display are simply due to a lack of discipline. 

The reason why this is affecting me is because of a situation that that arose on Saturday. My daughter sings in a youth group and we were at her concert. I allow my son to use my camera during the performance to help keep him calm. I over heard a woman complaining about my son, so I took him out of the room. During the intermission I approached the woman, apologizing for my son disrupting the performance and explained he was autistic.   She immediately understood. The part that bothered me was the comment made to me regarding my explanation. Someone approached me saying that I should be careful what information I share with people. I have not censored his diagnosis since I came to terms with it and that is exactly what I replied back to her. It wasn't until I got home that evening that I understood why she said that. She was looking out for my son's safety because of the recent media frenzy. Today many parents fear sending their children to school and out in the community as others may perceive them as dangerous people. They may notice behaviors and lash on him angrily just because he has a neurological disorder. Yes, neurological, not mental illness!! 

I am angry that Aspergers has been brought into such a gruesome situation.  It hasn't been confirmed by doctor's which makes it all speculation. Speculation by a group of peers that may or may not have kept in touch with him since school. Speculation about when he was "an awkward teenager". I don't know what teenager doesn't go through those "awkward" moments, but this is how society works.  Society needs to be able to make sense of a senseless act of horror.

The stigma that everyone on the spectrum has to live with, is now larger and the fear is greater.  9-11 was yet another disastrous situation that occurred and the same domino affect happened. Anyone who wore a turban or looked middle eastern was targeted; not because they were bad people but because they fit the description.  I have the same fear regarding children on the spectrum. Do I still spread awareness in public or is it dangerous? Is this going to cause unnecessary fear toward my child? Will there be more bullying? Are hate crimes going to occur? Maybe I should stay inside to avoid the stares and comments, but what would that solve? Nothing!!

 We as parents need to be sure not to allow our fears to take control. If we allow this to affect how we spread awareness it will set us back 20 years. Now is the time to say NO, I will not hide away! These are wonderful children and we will not hide their diagnosis or abilities away for fear of others having the wrong information. These are our children and we MUST stand up and fight even harder for them.  We must be understanding of other's lack of knowledge and continue to provide accurate information. We must be willing to keep moving forward in our battle towards research, understanding and acceptance. We are the voice for these children. We are their advocate and no one can change that. 

I want to remember all of the precious gifts that were lost. My thoughts go to their families, friends, and community. I also want to send my thoughts and love to the children, teachers and staff at the Sandy Hook Elementary school who survived this tragedy. My thoughts go to the families of the wonderful staff that lost their lives protecting our young children. There is never any way of knowing what tomorrow will bring so, hug them a little longer, tighter and always tell them you love them. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Yesterday...

10/21/2012 4 Comments

Yesterday, I probably made myself
look like a complete fool!
Yesterday I had an amazing day with my kids.
Yesterday I laughed when my daughter fell in mud
instead of thinking about the huge mess.
Yesterday, I tried so hard to ignore
all the struggles they endure.
Yesterday, I focused on all
the wonderful moments with my kids.
Yesterday, I struggled not to cry
as I bought a pack of Pull ups for my son.
and yet I still feel as if I may have failed....


I got Pull-Ups for Charlie. I didn't tell him what they were and I didn't go to the store, walk down the baby aisle,  and spend 15 dollars on a pack to try it out, but I was at a yard sale and they had a pack sitting there and I made a HUGE deal about it as if it were the first time I had ever seen them. 

Then I said, "These are the ones I was looking for, aren't these the things they made JUST for BIG boys?" The mom gave me the knowing smile and said, "Yup mom those are only for special big boys!!!" So, we tried it last night. He wore one over his underwear, because he hates how they feel on his skin. I stressed to him that we were only trying to protect his bedding and stuffies. It worked and he didn't have an accident. I am certain he will understand better when he wets as he will realize that his bed does not have to be stripped, which upsets him every time. 

However small of an issue this may seem, for me it was very hard. In the last year I have been introduced to a whole new level of special needs. We now have an adaptable chair, a sensory swing in the house, AFOs for his legs, an adolescent stroller, a special car seat, special dinnerware, and Pull ups. It has been very emotional. But, what is the difference in the pull ups when he already has all of the other equipment in place? NONE, it is just another aid to help him cope and handle life with the struggles he faces. It is a tool that will help me as well, the laundry is piling up and never seems to end. My heart and mind are open and I will do whatever it takes to give him some dignity. He definitely deserves that!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ready for a Flashback?

9/21/2012 4 Comments

I like to sometimes link up to a meme as it prompts me to write and post. Something has to motivate me right? So Flashback Friday... hmm..... Going back through the years has been tough lately, but sometimes it can be wonderful.

My babies have grown soo much!!!












Chucky Cheese

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Buddy
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Chipmunk
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Princess
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Just a Little Update

9/21/2012 0 Comments


Good Morning!! I wanted to give a brief update as to how things are going. I know I keep saying I am going to be more consistent on my blog but honestly, it isn't a commitment that I can keep. I cant seem to get enough time to sit down and write. I do however try to keep everyone up to date.

Charles has a clinical diagnosis of Mitochondrial Myopathy. This means he fits all of the symptoms and his bloodwork has also come back with abnormalities. More testing and trying to narrow things down. His behaviors are getting worse and I am unsure whether this is because of him being so tired or due to other issues. I guess time will tell. He is still on the waiting list for Intensive therapy. It seems to be taking forever. 

Yesterday his service coordinator called to tell me how it was all going and stated that he is a high priority case. Great news for us because that means they will be looking at his file soon. (Hopefully befor mommy loses her mind.) I met his new therapists and teachers and they all seem great! I am excited to see what he accomplishes this year. 

Early next week he goes to be casted for his braces. He will have articulated AFO's. We recieved his stroller which will really come in handy. Just happy that some things seem to be falling into place. It has been another really long and trying year. I sure hope it calms down really soon. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Special Needs Moms Are Bitches

9/14/2012 1 Comments
*Disclaimer:*
This post is not in any way 
to offend anyone. Please read it
fully before getting upset!


This post came to exist as I was chatting with another special needs mom. We were talking about my "new" approaches to the doctors and I said, I sound like a Bitch. Somehow that has lead to this post.


As a special needs mom, I encounter many battles. Battles with my children, doctors, teachers, and even family members. We fight for every service our children need and every right they deserve. We fight for respect and acceptance. All this fighting has made me a Bitch. I have capitalize it cause it is my title. Don't call me Ms. Long, call me Ms. Bitch. I take no offense and I pride myself with that title. I know I am not the only mom who has become a bitch by default. It isn't even just because of the struggles, I now bitch about everything.

For years I bitched that my son wouldn't speak but now I bitch that he won't shut up. Seriously, it really does get annoying when a child continually repeats them selves over and over and over again. It isn't just the repeating because my son, when he talks, takes FOREVER to finish a sentence. It takes so long I describe it as constipation of the mouth! I know many parents would do anything to hear their child talk and most of the time I love hearing it, but sometimes it just gets on my nerves. I am a bitch!! My boys do NOT have volume control either so if they are standing right next to you they still feel the need to shout. Buddy talks loud and non-stop, sometimes so fast you can't understand him. It must sound as if I am being ungrateful but I am not. I am just living up to my title!

Many people say that we are our children's advocate... This is true, but we have to be a bitch to get it done. We can't sit in a room full of highly paid professionals who dont want to give our children what they need and be sweet and kind. We have to fight for what we know is right. When papers get lost or insurance claims denied, we have to fight for justice. All of this fighting becomes a second nature. It isnt just for medical and school stuff, but for ignorance too. I have learned to know when I can be a bitch because a grown adult never learned acceptance.

Having to be a Bitch so often has caused me some issues though. I find myself bitching about everything now. I actually have to monitor myself and calm myself down now. I have bitched because the milk was put in the wrong fridge. The funny thing is there isn't a pre-determined fridge for anything as long as its in the fridge. LOL... Well, I hope I haven't offended anyone and if you ever run into a woman with the front of her hair graying, a 6 yr old screaming and kicking walking with three other children, who looks really bitchy, you have probably met me, or another special needs mom. So please, think about what may have made her so bitchy. She probably has a good reason, I know I do.



Sometimes Looking Closer Is Hard To Do

9/14/2012 0 Comments
I take a lot of pictures. I just love doing it. I love being able to look back and see where my children were and where they are now. It is difficult to gauge it when you are constantly in their presence. Ever notice how your closest friends who see you on an every day basis may not notice any weight loss or gain but when you see someone you don't see often they will notice it? That is how it is with our children as well. We keep a wall in our home where we measure the children's height. It is amazing to see how much they really have grown over the years!

I have been watching Chucky Cheese very closely lately. I watch the way he walks, the way his nose wiggles when he sleeps, the look on his face when he is excited. I am just completely awed at how strong and adorable he is. But, what I don't see so well, unless it is pointed out, is the losses he is obtaining. I think I try to overlook all of that. Not that it isn't being addressed, because we regularly go to the doctors and many specialists, but, I can't focus on it. I need to keep moving forward and enjoy him for who he is. This whole thing can be pretty depressing.

I got a phone call the other day when C.C. was at his dad's house. It was a friend who was a little concerned. She had seen my son walking with his dad but he was walking much slower. You know the picture, the dad has the child's hand and the child appears to be being pulled along behind them. C.C. is NOT supposed to be walking long distances. She was aware of that but it wasn't the main concern. She asked me if I had noticed his legs seem to be very skinny now. I know he looks thinner but she was saying his legs seem much thinner than the rest of him. I know in my heart she is right. I know that when I look back at the pictures I will see the same thing. I know that his legs are almost always multi-colored (bruised) anymore because of him falling so often. But thinner, I am having a hard time browsing through photos to even compare.

Which is why I decided to write this post. If I do it this way I don't feel so alone. Maybe it wont hurt so bad. Maybe, I will hear some supportive words and encouragement. Just maybe.....











Friday, August 10, 2012

Flasback Friday

8/10/2012 0 Comments

I am linking up with Crazy Mama! for Flashback Friday. 
How is this for a flashback friday? My dad was in Vietnam and after he passed away 
we found many albums of pictures from this era. Enjoy!!
This is my dad wrestling with a Vietnamese child

Posing in a tree

Medics with a child

This is my dad asleep with a baby. I don't think I ever met this child but I now know
that he had other children aside from us.







Left in the Dust

8/10/2012 4 Comments
Ever have someone ask you what you enjoy to do and have a hard time answering? How about the infamous conversation that ultimately ends up about your children? This is my life. I am so overwhelmed with my children that I do not have a life outside of them. I am not complaining, I just feel lost. I feel consumed. Anyone else feel consumed by your child(ren)'s needs? Honestly, everything keeps piling up, It is one thing after another. Nothing ever seems to slow down. Life seems to be racing past and it is moving so fast everything is a blur. Please tell me someone can relate cause I have been left in the dust.

It seems to be a thick dust that covers me in a massive coat of dirt. It wraps around me with particles of doubt, concern, and fear. The dust is embracing every aspect of my life and blinds me to my own needs. Every now and then a huge boulder will spit at me through the dust knocking me to my knees. It seems to fill my lungs with soot leaving it hard for me to breathe. The dust engulfs my surroundings leaving everything gray. I am  empty, alone, and silenced; until I struggle to lift myself back up off the ground and shake off.

The air around me starts to clear and I can breathe again. It still seems heavy and short but there is life in my lungs. I am still here, I still exist. I am changed forever though. That is just the way life works. This storm that just hit me has passed until the next one comes along but I survived it. It wasn't easy and I am not done. I still have to wash up, change my clothes, and do my hair so I can move forward as if nothing knocked me down.

As I clean myself up I notice how much change occurred,kids seem 3 inches taller, season is changing, and school year over. I wonder where the time went, as it seems like only yesterday. Seems as if things are slowing down for a moment and I am able to enjoy small simple pleasures. I notice the tiny insects crawling, the smile on my children's faces, and I rejoice in small accomplishments most take for granted. I have seen how fast my life is passing and I treasure the moments I can slow down. But I still can't find me. I guess all the storms of dust have swept me far away. Where have I gone? When is there time to savor me as a person instead of as a mom.

Someday, I will find myself, someday, I will give myself the time and attention I need. For now, it has to be about them. At this moment the winds are unpredictable and storms come frequently. Time seems to whiz by and moments are lost. I choose to treasure the people I can find. Love to the greatest level of loving and create the memories to remember. I choose to live and teach the greatest gifts I have and eventually the winds will slow down, the dust will fall to the ground, and I can start digging to find me again.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sweet Shot Tuesdays

8/07/2012 2 Comments
Sweet Shot Tuesday with Kent Weakley

Enjoy these interesting shots I took. 
I don't typically like bugs and critters but, 
with the camera in my hand, nothing is exempt!!







Wake Me Up!!!- Throat Punch Thursday

8/07/2012 3 Comments

I enjoy participating in this blog hop because it helps me get things off my mind. This week, I want to give myself a Throat Punch Thursday!! Weird right?? Let me explain.. When I joined a support group for special needs parents they read an essay that was very touching. It is called Welcome To Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley. It was a great read and it truly describes how I as a mom feel.

Welcome To Holland
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland.
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Emily Perl Kingsley

The only thing is I haven't come to see the beautiful flowers and windmills. I am not enjoying Holland and it is really hard to talk to the other parents that also live in Holland. Many of them have been living this life for a much longer time and seem so adapted. I feel as if I need to bite my tongue so I don't offend anyone. But.. Haven't they at some point felt similar feelings? Am I being ridiculous? I love my son and I will accept him for who he is but I can't seem to accept that he is deteriorating so quick. I can't accept the equipment that is now in place.
When Chucky Cheese was diagnosed with Autism, I had already accepted him for who he was and it didn't seem to affect me in a huge way. I think it is because I struggled for so long to get the doctors to listen that when they finally did I was relieved. At least there was an answer, it wasn't my parenting skills. I was able to cope and move forward. This time it isn't easy, not even a little bit.

C.C.'s motor skills have regressed drastically. It is heartbreaking to watch all the skills that he tried so much harder to accomplish disappear. He is needing adaptive furniture and strollers, and now he needs AFO's. So you can imagine how stressed an hurt I was when I read this letter. I changed his name to his nickname for privacy issues.

Dear Sirs,
Chucky Cheese is received physical therapy services at Rosendale Elementary School twice per week for 30 minute sessions. Since starting school in September of 2011 he has become noticeably more unsteady with his gait, falling several times and becoming progressively weaker with his routines in the therapy room.  This has been communicated several times to his mother.  I have spoken with his doctor about the lack of progress and the need to add more equipment in his room to accommodate safety concerns. He no longer can sit on the school benches in the lunchroom due to falling backwards; he now is in an adaptive seat with a footrest and a seatbelt.  He has fallen when trying reach for a dropped item from the chair.  He is unable to sit on the carpet in the classroom without support and now needs a Rifton adaptive seat for the carpet and in the classroom.  He is losing range of motion in his legs, his movements are clumsy and he is unable to do most of his exercises without moderate assist.

His mother is presently taking him for testing and he was seen by a Physiatrist in Albany who will be prescribing bilateral ankle foot orthotics for him to ambulate with. He does not tolerate ambulating long distances and often complains of joint pain, weakness and shortness of breath. It is highly recommended that a stroller be used to prevent overuse and damage of the joints when needing to go for extended outings.   He is unable to keep up with his peers at this time and will be having therapy increased to three times per week for the upcoming year.   If you need any more information please do not hesitate to call me at the school.

Thank you for time and effort,
Teresa M. RPT 


The reason this is a Throat Punch Thursday towards myself is because I cannot seem to get past the fact that my son is really physically disabled. There is nothing wrong with that but people are going to look at him now even more than before. Maybe I am willing to take the looks of disgust toward my parenting over the look of pity for my son. I think I can handle the ignorance of others above the pity and questioning looks of bystanders. I just don't want him to look "different" along with acting different.

I was talking to another parent when I was looking into an adaptive chair for C.C. I had told her that,"I didn't want to get him something that looked to "special needsy"." I look back on these words and while they may sound offensive it definitely wasn't intended to offend. What is my problem? I should be able to get my son whatever he needs without thinking about what others will think. I need a good kick to knock me out of this difficult time so I can get back up to fighting for my son and working to make his life as comfortable and enjoyable as it can be.

I guess it doesn't matter if he has an adaptive bike, braces, strollers, special chairs or whatever. If it helps him then it makes it easier for him. It comes down to trying to protect and shield him from ignorance and the world. It can be a cruel place out there but I need to accept the things I cannot change and work to make it as positive of an experience as I can for him. He is always going to have to deal with the issues of the world and I guess my job is to give him the confidence to be able to deal with it. I need to instill strength, courage and acceptance. I have to help him be comfortable in his own skin and whatever equipment he needs. The more comfortable and confident he is, the less he will care about what others think. I can do this and I will.
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Monday, August 6, 2012

Magic Marker Monday- Self Portrait

8/06/2012 2 Comments
Teaming up with Magic Marker Monday!! I must confess that at times when it is hard to see the wonderful accomplishments, this hop always makes me smile and think of something so thank you!!!

Charles brought this home on the last day of school. I thought it was really neat and decided to share it. There was a lot of hand over hand with this creation but he decorated it!!! Great job Chucky Cheese!!!




5 Minutes for Special Needs