Monday, December 20, 2010

Aspergers On The Move

My second daughter, the one with Aspergers, tells me she is moving to Arizona or Minnesota with the boyfriend and his family. The boyfriend she just moved in with by the way. I'm not sure how to feel about that.

It's not the moving to a different place part. My second son already lives in Baton Rouge. Although this is another state. It's more about the fact she has Aspergers. She, not unlike others her age, believes everything anybody else tells her.

She just misses the social cues that could tell her different. There have been so many things that were supposed to happen with this family that have fallen through. I'm not sure if this is real.

The other thing is that we just got her Social Security started. I know she could get it in another state but those in between times can ge rough. I guess I also feel an argument coming because she will want me to give her the entire check at the beginning of the month to go. And I'm not. Am I wrong?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I've been doing some reading about autism and ran across some intesting information. Medicaid spending for autism treatment services has increased by 33% of a three year period, 2000 to 2003. This is the interesting part though, the number of children identified with autism only increased by 32%. When all the numbers blanced out that meant that an individual child only had an increase of 3%. You can see the report here.

So it would seem like a good idea to find the causes of Autism. If we can put a lid on the number of children having ASD then we can control the funding. I'm was just under the impression that it was costing so much more for each child as we went on. What do you think about this information?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

So I'm still thinking out the problems with the daughter with Aspergers. In thinking about all I know and have learned with children with Autism, Asperbers, and my work I have come up with 3 rules now that she is an adult. Part of the problem is she is 18 years old and still has problems with social skills. That's why these rules will have to be black and white.

1. Don't come to my house after 10:00PM unless it's an emergency. I'm still raising a 16 year old that has to go to school. If she wants to be up all night I can't do much about it. He doesn't need to be worried and stressed at midnight.

2. If she threatens to kill herself again, we call the police. She obviously needs to go to the hospital.

3. If she hits me we call the police. She obviously needs to go to the hospital.

That's all I have for now. What do you think?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Social Skills and Self Control

It was a bad night last night. Started out with the boyfriend coming over because Rose told him she was going to kill herself. I think she even had a couple ways to do it. The boyfriend was going to spend some time playing monopoly with his younger sister and Rose wanted him to spend time with her.

Long story short she starts screaming at me at some point. Threatens to hit me in a real backward way. My youngest son jumps in and the boyfriend goes into a seizure.

She believes the seizures have nothing to do with her. This is the second time this week he had had a seizure around her temper.

I keep trying to make sure in my mind what is the difference between her Aspergers and her being a teenager. I really think this is about the Aspergers.

The inability to understand the boyfriend needs a little space. The inability to control her temper. To me these are all social problems that are part of Aspergers.

Arguing with your mother, now that is probably being a teenager. What do ya'll think?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

First SSI Check

The first is the first SSI check my daughter is getting. She is also 18 on the first. At least right now the check comes in my name. My daughter is not happy about this. This is the second daughter, the one who has Aspergers. I'm trying to get her to understand she has to pay bills like rent. First. It's gonna be rough. Help. How has anyone else handled this?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving and Autism

Yes, I'm slow. I know Thanksgiving is past. I've just been thinking about how well it went. The daughter who moved out first, the oldest one, came home without staff for TWO DAYS! I did keep my expectations low. A friend invited us to lunch. My daughter in law cooked for supper.

We didn't have any large crowds to deal with. I didn't have to deal with cooking. It really went well. We got up when we felt like it and did what we wanted.

She washed my dishes and put out my trash. She says she does that at her house. I was very happy. No melt downs what so ever...

I'm still thinking but I am so excited. No melt downs for two days.

Granted she was the only one home but...

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Article On Autism and Speech Therapy

Sorry if you have seen this but some of my readers let me know the link was down.

Here is an article I wrote on Autism and how critical Speech Therapy is to our children. I think I'm supposed to tell you that I might get a penny if you click on it and read it. I just like the article.
Thanks!

Chores at My House and Theirs

So my teenage daughter with Aspergers calls herself living with the boyfriend, his mother, momma’s husband, the 13 year old sister, and the grandmother. Hmm, well and 11 cats and 3 dogs too, that’s another story. She still has clothes and shoes at my house and still sleeps at my house. She has clothes and shoes and sleeps there sometimes too. She’s only 17 though…

Anyway she gets in the car and says she has chores at their house. I started laughing. I told her she didn’t do those chores at my house. She looks at me with those blue eyes and blond hair and says, ‘But they will throw me out.”

I hit the ceiling. Yes, I fussed. Not the best strategy. She may want to come home at some point. I still don’t think she understands the problem with understanding she has to do chores at other people’s houses and not doing them at my house. Err.


I will have to suck it up and go back and explain.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Child and Her Cat

All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome
All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome

One of my daughters, the one with Aspergers, is obsessed with cats. (Reminded me of this book.) She would have hundreds if I let her. She moved in with her boyfriend and his parent's. (Which is a whole other story.) They have 3 underagers, mine included, 3 adults, 9 cats, and a dog in a 3 bedroom duplex. Interesting. Anyway.

She came running into my house two nights ago. Did I forget to mention that they live next door. She came running in at midnight, screaming. Someone ran over her cat. I understand, but screaming at midnight? I almost had a heart attack.

Now she thinks someone hurt it on purpose....

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Relationships Between Parents Dealing with Autism

I was watching the sitcom ‘Parenting’ last night. I have to confess I was watching it so I could pick at my typical 16 year old son. He argued with his girlfriend (who’s not his girlfriend, he tell me it’s complicated). Anyway he said the small dog was a rat. She was mad. I told him he might be right about the dog but he was wrong. I also told him to say his three “I’m sorry’s.” Hence watching ‘Parenting’.

In the course of the show two of the women were talking about the statistics of failed marriages in a family with a child with Autism. I suppose the theory is that one or both of the parents become so focused on the Autism they forget why they are a couple. I already knew the statistics. I guess I was annoyed at it.

I wonder how many other factors contribute to the failure of the marriage, like money problems associated with any family member requiring more medical care. I supposed hindsight is 20/20 in this respect too. I’m ‘single again’, more than once. Autism was not the only reason but it was part of the situation. It definitely isn’t the first reason.

What do you think? Is Autism the first reason that your relationship dissolved? Or are you still in a committed relationship? How did you do that! Go ahead and post so we can share the little insights we all have.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Daughter-in-law and Autism

I met my husband about 13 years ago. After meeting his family, I found out that his sister, Dominoe, had Autism. Meeting Dominoe was awkward at first having never been introduced to Autism.

I did not understand her behavior and how to react to it. I also did not know that my behavior sometimes set the tone. At first Dominoe did not like me. She was very tense around me.

I was new, and involved with her brother, and she did not like it at all. Dominoe’s mother, Mylinda, has as long as I have known her been involved in an organization that is devoted to helping people with disabilities.

I asked her a lot of questions about Dominoe, even sometimes offending her because of ignorance. I learned to slow down with Dominoe and talk to her. We got to know each other and our relationship turned.

Mylinda and my husband helped educate me on Autism. No one really knows why it is caused although people have therapies there is no real proof. I learned that getting involved with individuals with disabilities is very rewarding.

Be it autism or anything else, they have a wonderful impact on your life. Dominoe has been a wonderful sister to me and aunt to my daughters. She has a great full life. She has taught me to slow down and pay attention to my own temperament.

She has taught me that my mood can set the tone for those around me. Those lessons have taught me to be a better mother. I have watched her grown from a child into a beautiful woman. She owns her place in life with no explanation why.

I enjoy listening about her boyfriend and how her nieces aggravate her and how her day has been. She has given us so much. I just hope I have done the same for her.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Autism: The Importance of Diagnosis

Many times parents of a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder are overwhelmed with the diagnosis. Coming from the parent of a child with Autism, this is the most critical period to explore and start to deal with the diagnosis.

Gaining information about the diagnosis and the options open to our children is the first and the quickest way to get help for our children. Even though every child with Autism is different knowing the choices is comforting and gives us focus.

Parents of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder are sometimes confused and scared by the various descriptions they read about children with ASD. It is very important to remember that even though some descriptions will be exactly on target that does not mean every description will come true.

Part of the journey is to also learn what, if any, co-occurring diagnoses our children have. These diagnoses will have characteristics which may complicate the Autism diagnosis. Parents want to be able to figure out what is considered normal for a child their child’s age.

This gives up the experience of the typical joys and frustrations of typical parents. By the same token knowing the other characteristics will help parents find the help they need. Although in the beginning it seems so confusing that we will never figure it out, this is not true.

As time goes on and as parents learn that there is no one right answer, we find what helps our children. Knowing the choices is the first step. Autism Spectrum Disorders not only affect how a child experiences their life, it also affects how they learn from their life.

Our child with Autism does not seem crave our contact and attention the way another child does. This does not mean they do not need us and want us. Our jobs almost become detectives in learning as much as we can handle as fast as we can handle it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Autism Inclusion: What Can It Look Like

Many people with disabilities are leading our society to see Inclusion as the correct direction ethically, in the law, and as a way for society to responsibly use scarce resources. This is no different for children with Autism.

This is not to say that the system to assist children with Autism will disappear. There still needs to be well considered planning and support given to children with and without disabilities. We have become better at it. We will become better still at it.

To make real Inclusion happen parents will be critical to the process. Parents have the insight to be able to consider who their partners will be. There will be partners in day cares, schools, and the community. Children with Autism can and will become functioning members of society.

This will happen when people put their creative talents to work figure out the issues and solutions. The responsibility initially will fall on a parent to look for and build upon common beliefs and values. This is not unusual as parents are their child’s first teachers and their last teachers.

Sometimes parents feel unequal to the task. They must remember that whether or not their child has a disability, they were teaching them before anyone else had even met them. They taught them to suck to eat, to cry to get attention, and many other things.

Parents are the last teachers. When school is over, parents are still there. When supports do not work, parents are still there. Till the day parents pass on they are talking and teaching. This has gone on for centuries. We as parents have forgotten and need to remember our strength and wisdom.

Parents of children with Autism are also helping the people in their community see their own talents. Sometimes talents people do not know they have. The process of exploring boundaries and policies makes people smarter and flexible. This not only helps the child with Autism but helps the community as a whole.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

MHRS Services part 2

I guess it seems like I am always complaining. I really don't mean to be. I just want help for my daughter. MHRS is a miserable way to get help. I can see why children, especially teens with Aspergers, end back up in the hosptial.

For the first 30 days you see the psychiatrist once and the nurse practicioner once. That's it. No counseling or anything else.

There is no continuity of care between the hospital and MHRS. The company tells you they are gathering paperwork. PLEASE.

I am a trained advocate. I am in the process of calling the regional director of mental health services to ask her some questions. I can not believe this is really the way it is. What happened to wrap around services?

Related Post

MHRS

Monday, August 23, 2010

Autism: Long Term Supports In the Year 2000+

Many parents of children with Autism start to wonder at some point what will happen to their children when they are gone. Some families wonder what they can do if they do not have the resources to plan for a trust fund for their child.

Unfortunately state institutions are many times seen as an unsafe choice. There are reports which come out on a regular basis about the poor treatment children with Autism receive in institutions and nursing homes.

Even when families have resources such as trust funds people with disabilities may not be happy. In the long term that is what we as parents want for all of our children. We want them to be happy.

Luckily there are different ways we as parents can plan for our child. Some of those plans may include financial instruments, some may include paid supports, and hopefully some will include non-paid supports.

Although financial resources may seem to be the most important that is not necessarily true. Rules and regulations about financial resources can change. The economy can change as we have seen in recent years. These changes can easily eat up what parents see as an adequate amount of money.

Because of changes in the economy and stresses of an aging population, legislators are more and more being pressured to control costs. This of course means that some of the paid supports that parents are depending on at some point may not be available in years to come. It is tricky to plan in any great way for these changes.

One of the resources families with a child with Autism are looking more and more towards are those unpaid, natural supports. Whether Circles of Support, friends, neighbors, or fellow church and club members the big questions are where do we find them and how do we get them.

This is a critical point in time. Finding those long term supports, learning how to use them, and watching them flourish are more important to family members than ever.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Social Security

I'm up in the night a bit nervous. I am going to start the process tomorrow to apply for the daughter with Aspergers social security (SSI). I suppose I am a bit sad too. Didn't want to need to do this. It will be a good safety net for her. Did I mention I hate forms? Really.

MHRS

In our state one of the mental health services which is paid for by medicaid is Mental Health Rehabilitation Services or MHRS for short. We had our first appointment with one of the providers today. Sometimes people amuse me.

I have a teenage son. He is 16 just this past month. If you hit him or push him, he will hit you. Of course the daughter with Aspergers and ADHD wants to scream at him, hit him, and/or push him. The intake person told me my house was violent because he would hit her. I responded he would not hit her if she did not scream in his face, hit him, or push him. Although he is always in trouble when he hits, he is being provoked. She even went so far as to suggest he needed MHRS. I refused.

I guess what I am flabbergasted at is that attitude that he must need help. He listens to what I say. He does what I tell him to do. He has never touched me. He does what he is supposed to do. She does none of these things and has made me black and blue.

We obviously need help. She does not have any place to go. The Aspergers is making it difficult. She can always be with me, but we need to learn some new skills. She needs social skills so she doesn't have to scream, hit, or shove. I'm on board with whatever needs to be done.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Autism: Parent/Professional Partnerships for Progress

Many times explanations and techniques to deal with Autism are just as valid now as they were years ago. We are talking about techniques such as facilitated touch mainstreaming, talking typewriters, computers, etc. Many of these Autism Techniques are designed to do one thing, get children with Autism out of there shell.

Typical people believe with some clues from older people with autism that being part of what is going on around them in a larger ways is desired. Unfortunately there are also people who believe that children with autism are only mimicking what they see.

Parents know that their children think and feel. Parents understand this human condition in their children in a more fundamental way than other people might. It is interesting to observe that parents seem to understand that their children steer toward sensory feelings and emotions on some level that is not readily observed by others.

Children with Autism seek out structure in whatever small way they can. The ability to seek structure, take chances, and explore their surroundings are important characteristics to recognize and nurture in our children.

Those characteristics are also important for professionals to recognize. When recognized by everyone it is no leap to recognize that these characteristics are not in line with someone who just stores facts and regurgitates them.

Hopefully we are coming to a time when parents, professionals, and educators are working together to understand that there are many different ways to meet the needs of children with Autism. They all have useful information to bring to the table. There is no one way, but luckily a lot of information to be used.

One of the interesting developments is the use of Vasopressin. Vasopressin is typically used to control water content in people. Although the animal studies are very small when the bodies level of vasopressin is manipulated the animal can show autistic characteristics.

This chemical, not drug, may be the key or open to door to understanding bonding emotions. If a child with autism spontaneously shows affection or emotion it may be because they are producing Vasopressin. This chemical may also be a bridge to reintegrate people with mental illness into their social peer groups.

Another Rough Afternoon

We have had another rough afternoon, screaming and tantruming. I wonder how much the Cymbalta is working. This is the second evening she says she feels like hurting herself. I'm worried and watching her closely.

We have an appointment to do intake for MHRS services Wednesday. I just don't know how much help they will be able to do since we are just starting intake.

Does anyone have any experience with Cymbalta and Aspergers/Autism? I would appreciated hearing about it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Her behavior is deteriorating dramatically this afternoon. Then again maybe she was just 'honey mooning' after the hospital.
It's been difficult to get my daughter's new medication. The hospital and doctor's after care plan sucked. We got the medication today. Good thing.

More Houskeeping

I think I have finally gotten all the posts fixed. I appreciate your patience. I have been a little out of it with the daughter going to the hospital. Hopefully posts will be a little more consistent now.
Well my child got out of the hospital. I am not so sure about the whole hospital experience. Part of the reason I brought her there was because I didn't know what else to do. At first it did not seem anything was being done but wait until she calmed down to go home. Then at some point I was accused of being the problem. Finally they released her on a Saturday and I am having problems getting the new medication... We did get a referral for MHRS services.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I finally have gotten to the point with the 17 year old that I had to put her in the hospital. I have resisted it since a doctor suggested it at five. I have always had another idea to try. I am out of ideas. She has run down the highway crying twice in 2 months, in her bare feet. Have any of you had to do this? If you feel confortable tell me about it. Please.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Apology

I apologize for any weird posts you may have gotten in the past few days. I am attempting to post from my phone. Obviously not successfully. Thank you for your patience.
I haven't decided exactly what the hospital is supposed to do. It certainly does not seem to be to talk about important things. Yes I know they can keep her safe and adjust medication. I just hoped for more than baby sitting. I am going to ask about what is going to be different. Right now she has told me she is doing what ever she has to do to get out. The staff are not getting a good idea of the problems.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Housekeeping

If you get several posts at once, I apologize. I noticed when you post differently it does not always go through correctly. I was also cleaning up spelling. Thanks for your patience.
oy vey. Daughter *aspie* told me I was too old to have friends. Especially younger ones!. The bigger question than whether I can have friends or not is whether this is typical teenage daughter behavior. It could be she is seeing the world in black and white.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sometimes it does not matter how hard you try with a teen, everything is still going to be the parents fault. Then multiply that by 100 for the teen with Aspergers. Mine believes she is never wrong. Social immaturity is already difficult to see in oneself. When you add in the social skills deficts it is overwhelming. Then hormones...Oy vey.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

You wish for a special person for a teen with Aspergers. But it becomes all consuming for them and by extension the entire family. I imagined it would be easier with a supportive family. It is hard to tell though.

Monday, May 10, 2010

So has anyone noticed my new blogging tatic? I am sending short posts about the girls. What do you think? I still plan to write longer posts. Do you prefer one?
'Tha wole point ov leven iz leven nt stayn' Text from the daughter w Aspergers. Do you think she is ready?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. You are without a doubt the best mom in the world! I love you.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

We're in the car. The daughter w Aspergers is screaming. The daughter with Autism is crying. Life with both in one family must follow the Theory of chaos.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dominoe got her apartment last week. Her electricity yesterday. Some of her furniture today. Scarey. Way too fast for me. I'm only the Momma. What do u think?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dominoe's Apartment

Ok, we are taking the plunge. Dominoe got the key for her apartment. She is supposed to get 24/7 services once she moves. Did I mention I was a nervous wreck?

Our local Office of Citizens with Developmental Disabilities is helping with some deposits and furnishings. That is major. The apartment complex has security.

I know she has to move out sometime. I know it is better if she does it before I die. Not that I am planning or dying anytime soon. But still she needs to learn how to do what she needs to do now.

And she can always move back home if she needs too!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wrinkles in Our Lives

I was having a discussion the other day with my oldest son. He remarked something about Autism being so traumatic for our family. It surprised me and made me think if it was worse for him as the oldest child. I mean worse than it was for me as the parent.

Well later I called him to talk about it. Of course his first remark was that I didn't remember. You know how it is if you have childre above say pre-teen. You're don't know anything or you forgot. It gets better when your children hit their twenties but... Anyway I digress.

My oldest is a son and he is 29 years old and I forgot. It took awhile to get to it but I finally got it through to him that every child is traumatic in some way and at some time. I see all of those things as wrinkles that change our lives. Sometimes change our lives dramatically but all children have wrinkles.

Once he understood that we agreed on what the diagnosis of Autism was like in our lives. I got the impression he thought it was the turning point in our life. He had the idea I didn't think it was important.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Autism Services: What Parents Need to Know About the History

It is only in recent history that there has been such a thing as Autism Services or any services for people with disabilities. Understanding the history is important for parents to know how far services have come. It also keeps them from getting discouraged when Autism Services seem to go so slow.

In the distant past a baby or a young child with a disability was left by the side of the road. Many children died. The lucky ones were picked up by couples who could not have children Other children were picked up to be slaves or workers.

Some families kept their loved ones in cellars or attics. They also used cages. As bad as this sounds many times these families loved the person. It was necessary to use these measures so people could work.

Some where in the early 1900’s people started to realize people with disabilities could learn and do things. At that point schools still did not accept children with disabilities. You might find people with disabilities working with parents in the kitchens or fields. Sometimes they were still kept locked up.

In roughly the 1960’s parents started to organize schools in the attics or cellars. Because it was considered a statement on the family’s genetics many families still kept their children at home.

Some parents had organized advocacy organizations like the ARC’s. They went door to door and literally begged people to tell them about the family members that were essentially hidden.

Armed with some hard numbers these early parent advocates went to the federal legislature for our children. They convinced legislators that our children could learn and deserved to learn. This led to the early laws that insisted children with disabilities be included in schools.

At about the same time those same parents were advocating for other services for our children. This was the period we saw large institutions built for our children. Many parents were told that their entire family would be damaged by keeping a child with a disability at home.

Institutions were state of the art services at that time though. We owe a serious debt of gratitude for these parents. As with everything the culture and the beliefs of parents changed.

Many parents wondered why their child could not receive some if not most of these same services at home. Parents in general believed they could pay rent, utilities, and raise their children. They just needed a little help. This has led to the services many families receive for their child with Autism or other disabilities in their home.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Uncomfortable Autism

Many times therapies and education for a child with Autism seem to be aimed at making them more “normal”-what ever normal is. I guess it had never occurred to me before. After talking to other families with a member with Autism I became aware of this.

The current topic at our house is my 21 year old daughter’s desire to get her own apartment. I suspect, no wait I know, the reason is to have ‘alone’ time with her boyfriend.

This seems on the surface to be more than typical for anyone who is 21. What is strange is my part in thins. I am essentially having to advocate for them. I’m her mother. Although myself and all five of my children are pretty open and plain in our discussions, I have never had to be this involved.

It feels strange. I asked the provider we work with about the people they serve. They mentioned that the only once which are intimate is a married couple. So that brings up another thought. Does that mean most people with disabilities are not intimate???? WHY???

Hmmmmm. Uncomfortable again.

Related Posts:

Autism Social Skills: Finding a Spouse

Monday, April 19, 2010

Parenting a Child with Autism

I am greatly amused and delighted to read other parents blogs about their child with Autism. One of the blogs I found is so great. The parent of a boy with and a boy without Autism writes it. Not all of his posts are about his children. He writes of other topics too. Thank goodness. At times people think all we parents think about it Autism. It’s not.

The latest article (or at least the latest one I have gotten to read) was about being the parent of a child with Autism. It was wonderful. Like this parent I am a parent first. Two of my children just happen to be on the Autism Spectrum, but I am a parent. I am posting the link:
http://blog.gbrettmiller.com/parenting-is-parenting/

I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Autism Parent

I was called an Autism Parent the other day. I had never heard that term before. I mean I have heard Autistic Child but never Autism Parent. The first thing that went through my mind was ‘What about people first language?’

In case you don’t know People First Language is the concept that you talk about the person first and then the disability. Like you should say ‘…child with Autism.’ It is considered polite. After all you would not say the eye glasses lady would you?

Anyway that brought to mind a whole conversation I had about our Autistic Cat. One of my friends said ‘You mean your cat with Autism?’ Of course my smart response was ‘Do animals have the right to expect animal first language? I don’t think so.’

After the Autism Parent description I might have to rethink the whole Autistic Cat business though.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Aspergers, Engineers, Cheating, and Lying

I read an article the other day about cheating. It proposed that engineers cheat less because that profession is more likely to have a person with Aspergers. The article also proposed that engineers cheat less because people with Aspergers lie less. Supposedly this is because people with Aspergers have a harder time lying.

I have a couple thoughts about this. Well questions really. Does that mean people in other careers that have more people with Aspergers are also less likely to cheat and lie? Does engineering really have anything to do with this?

And do you agree that people with Aspergers are less likely to lie at all? I tend to think they may not be as good at it. I am not so sure that means they are less likely to lie but are more likely to get caught. As a matter of fact I am pretty sure about that since I live with a teenager with Aspergers.

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Differences in Dealing with High Functioning Autism

There are several important differences to dealing with high functioning Autism in children. The differences are because children with this type of Autism are very intelligent and fast.

They know about the differences in the world and are not happy about it. They many times know if a situation is fair or not. Unfortunately they also will deal with their frustration on another level.

This is what leads to what some parents call difficult behaviors. It is important to remember that difficult behaviors are a form of communication.

As quickly as a parent can develop effective techniques and consequences for this child, they figure out a different way to get what they want. This means the average parent must constantly be on the look out for new strategies.

This is done by lots of reading, experimenting with your child, and networking with other parents. The alert parent will always be on the look out for the next obsession to use as a reward. They will know which item is their child’s favorite to calm them down.

A child with high functioning Autism will bring out every creative streak or dribble in a parent. Although this might not seem attractive now, this child will make you stronger as time goes on.

Many people do not realize or believe what a joy a child with Autism can be to raise. The child can be loving and a delight to have a discussion with. The child can bring a whole different climate to a family. Siblings are more kind and sensitive human beings. Everyday people do not realize the talent necessary to raise a child with autism either.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

We went to the school for the 17 year old to drop out. Going to try adult education and social security. I'm not happy but not sure what else to do.... Aspergers is so difficult in such a different way than Autism. Yes I know they are part of a spectrum and all that. The problems are just so different. And the decisions that need to be made so much more difficult. It's not black and white the way it was with my older daughter...
Just venting today....

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Social Skills

My 17 year old with Aspergers is a wonderful child. When I feel bad she shelps me. She is kind and caring.

She melted down at the movies. She had spend one night at the friend's house by herself. They wanted to go to a movie. Well the friend had a friend come over.

I knew it was trouble. Whenever there are three of them she seems to have trouble. It doesn't matter whether it is her friend or her friend's friend. What was I going to do though?

If I insisted she stay home, it would be another fight. And of course I am the meany. Not that I care about having to be the one to put on the breaks, but she has to see herself sometimes.

So there I was at midnight, going to get her.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Staying Together

I noticed a news piece about Ari Ne'eman's nomination being held up. President Obama had sent his name for the National Council on Disability. People are upset that Mr. Ne'eman seems to be more interested in services.

On the flip side he is not as interested in a cure. As far as I understand he thinks the genetic research in some way is working towards something like the amniocentesis for people with Down Syndrome.

Although I tend to agree more with him on the view that we need more services, I do agree with him over his other views as well. What I am concerned about is the hold on his nomination.

This seems more of the divide and conquer tactics that have been used against people with disabilities for year. If we fight among ourselves then we do not work on all of our issues. That disturbs me more than anything....

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Autism Communication: Why Do Parents Need Non-Verbal Communication

Parents of children with Autism learn to read their non-verbal child’s communication early on. As a matter of fact all parents learn to read their child’s non-verbal communication. I would even go so far as to say people in general learn how to do it.

So learning to read non-verbal communication is not hard or unusual. What is unusual is when that is the primary form of communication and it goes on for a long period of time.

It is essential at some point that we remember to keep pairing verbal and non-verbal communication. This will help stimulate speech in our child if it is ever going to happen on any level.

Non-verbal communication is needed because we use it all the time. It also lets us know when something is wrong. This is particularly true when a typical person does not want us to know.

It gives our children the opportunity to make choices. After all making choices is critical to proving to other people that our child does understand even if they do no speak with their voice.

Many people believe our non-verbal child is not communicating with people, but they really are communicating. It is just different. Some parents of children with Autism have taught their child to sign or to use an alternative communication device.

In the past parents were worried that a child who signed or used a communication device would depend on it and not speak. Over time it has been recognized that if our children are going to speak with their voice it will happen anyway. Speaking even seems to be stimulated by the signing or the device.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Autism Inclusion: Why Do Parents Need Community People?

I have a friend that thought that Autism Inclusion was only about school. This was surprising since our children actually spend such little time in school compared to the length of their days and lives. Inclusion should be about friends, neighbors, co-workers, church members, and even employers.

Since human life is finite, our lives as parents are also finite. Meaning that we in all probability we will be gone before our children. I have told people for years that I have been preparing for my death for many years now. Do not get me wrong I do not plan to die for many more years. But I have been planning.

All of the people in my community are parts of that plan. Even my grandchildren are part of those plans. The people in my community will be the ones who know when our children with disabilities need help. They will be the ones to notice is something is wrong.

That is why it is important for our children to be included in the community. They need to go shopping at the stores you go to and pay the bills with you. Our children need to go to church with us and help clean the yard. This is inclusion in the real sense of the word.

Parents of children with Autism need people in the community for the same reason everyone else does. The people in the community need our children so they can remember things like tolerance and acceptance of difference. It is really a win/win situation for everyone.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Autism Medication: Why Do Parents Need Medication for Safety?

Medication is just a tool. It is neither good nor bad. It can help in a variety of ways. But it is just a tool. Many people have an aversion to medication and I understand. On the other hand there is a time and place for medication.

When a child with Autism tries to run at every opportunity it might be time to look at a variety of tools. When a child tries to physically damage themselves or other people it might be time to look at a variety of tools.

To me the critical point is safety. Safety is paramount. Some parents could not make it through the night if they did not have medication for their child to sleep. Who am I to judge?

If a parent seeks medical help to keep their child safe, they are being a good parent. It might be critical at their home for them to be able to sleep so they can be fresh to deal with the next day.

Of course as with any tool a parent wants to use medication with the proper medical care. They would also want to alert all the people who are involved with their child to possible side effects. Parents can keep track of the side effects for themselves and their doctor to continue care.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Quitting School

So my child with Aspergers wants to only go to school when she wants to. And she thinks that should be ok. I just can not get her to understand that school doesn’t work that way.

I went ahead and made an appointment with Adult Learning. The might be able to get her a tutor. If we could just get her to the point she could get a GED. She likes animals. Maybe at some point she could get some training in that area. Some independent living skills along the way.

I just think she will do better around adults. She could mimic them a little! She seems to naturally gravitate toward younger people but if there aren’t any…

Friday, March 5, 2010

Autism Communication: Echolalia

This is probably one of the most interesting areas with a child with Autism. People who have children who do not have any speech might be envious of echolalia. On the other hand I know many parents who have children that drive them wild with the constant repetition. There are some techniques that reduce it.

My child did have echolalia about certain subjects. I thought the repetitive speech helped stimulate more speech. I have run into several parents who report the same experience. So echolalia might be good for some children with Autism.

One family I know found triggers. They then made sure not to talk about the things that triggered the repetitive speech. Unfortunately the family’s friends might trigger the child with Autism. This was helped some by warning friends ahead but never completely.

Of course parents who have a child with Autism know that sometimes echolalia starts without any seeming provocation what so ever. In this case sometimes different sensory techniques have helped reduce tension and stress. Even when it appears there was no reason for stress.

Finally other parents have found it beneficial to remove themselves from the situation. The repetitive speech did not bother their child. It was easier to just go another room or another part of the house at least temporarily.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Why Do you Need Strategies to Deal With Autism Behaviors

Many children with Autism have behaviors that there parents would like to change. The good news is that this is possible. It will take work but parents are not stuck with Autistic behaviors.

The first thing to do is to realize the purpose of behavior. Children with disabilities have behaviors to communicate. It is up to us to remember and help other people remember this first and foremost.

The behaviors may be communication about good things. They could be excited and happy and still have behaviors we would like to change. The behaviors could be communication about about things your child is unhappy about or upset about.

The second thing to do is to remember that as a parent you know so much already. Without even knowing it you have developed strategies that other people in your child’s life may not know.

One of the things I did when my child with Autism was very young was cover her eyes with my hand. Whenever she got upset and started to tantrum I would just cover her eyes. I know that sound a little strange but it would work.

I did not need to hold her down or grab her. As soon as she calmed down I could remove my hand. I am not even sure how I thought that might work. I guess not taking in so much visual stimulation for a few seconds let her adjust to what was going on.

The third thing to do is to keep a list. Since you have been and will be with your child longer than anyone else capturing your techniques is a must. It will be helpful to other people at different times.

The list will also be helpful to you. When you run into a tough problem you can look over the list of things that have worked in the past and reuse them. If that does not work parents may be able to recycle an idea in some way.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Budget Cuts

Well we are starting to feel the effects of the economy on our waiver services. This is part of what I call our Autism Services. Our state is doing something they call Resource Allocation. It is something having to do with level of services being tied to the complexity of their disability.

Anyway we lost 18 hours a week. I chose to lose half on Saturday and half on Sunday. This is the second weekend. Luckily I have not felt really bad with my fibromyalgia. I am not sure what I will do then. Dominoe really has to be watched.

Our Department of Health and Hospitals(DHH) also approved Dominoe's CPOC (Certified Plan of Care) for 90 days. They are usually approved for a year. DHH told the case manager we had to get a psychological within that time. That ought to be interesting. Her last psychological is easily 10 years old. As a matter of fact it is so old I can't remember.

Next Steps To Getting SSI

Well I guess if I am going to get SSI for Rose I need to do some things first. It has been awhile since she had an evaluation at school. I called last week for the second time. I got to speak to someone this time. They said they would send me the paperwork to sign.

I wanted to try to get what is called Mental Health Rehabilitation Services (MHRS). I tried to call and they told me no because one of her diagnoses is Aspergers. I need to investigate that.

I am still upset. I did not want to do this with this child. I am just putting one foot in front of another right now.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Daughter With Aspergers...

I don’t very often write about this daughter. She is so different than the daughter with Autism She seems to understand and does understand a lot. She also doesn’t understand a lot.

We recently went to a doctor’s appointment. Rose turned 17 years old a couple of months ago. One of the questions I had for the doctor was about how we would be able to get and afford the medication she was on when we lost Medicaid.

I should say we have a really good doctor for my children. He has seen the last three more than the first two children and I trust him. We have gone to him for twelve or thirteen years now.

Anyway the answers to affording the medication were pretty good. Some of the medication could be gotten as generic for $4.00. (Has anyone not heard about this?)
Some were already inexpensive. Only one would be the problem and since the doctor had some kind of welcome at the local charity hospital we figured we might be able to use the drug program there. All good answers.

The I wanted to talk to the doctor with out Rose and he wanted to talk to me. Well the crux of the conversation was the same for both of us. Essentially—“And now what?”

What he said really hit me in the gut. He suggested we go apply for SSI. Oh my goodness. One of the therapists we saw when she was ten or eleven had said the same thing. I guess I never did it because I kept hoping I would not have to.

With my older daughter is was plain early I would need help. I just kept hoping with this one. I will post another time about what I have put in motion. I have just lost my breath over this.

Does anyone have a similar story? Please comment and let me know.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Autism Employment: Why Do People with Autism Need Rehbailitation Services?

Each state has an Office of Rehabilitation Services. In many states it starts with the name of the state and Rehabilitation Services. For example: YOUR STATE Rehabilitation Services or even Y.S.R.S. When parents are able to find this office and help their teenager get connected with it, they are able to start the process of qualifying for services.

Unlike with the school system, the teenager or young adult with Autism has to qualify and advocate with this office for services. There are typically a variety of possible services. Some of these may be testing for interest and skill areas, a variety of types of assistance to go to college or trade school, job developing, job coaching, job aides, following along, etc.

These services are a good place to start when looking at employment. Sometimes people with Autism who are more involved will need more services than the Rehabilitative Office can supply over the long haul but it is still a good start. Typically the Rehabilitative Office is also able to send you in the direction of longer employment supports.

At 18 year of age a person with Autism is considered a Competent Major and is responsible for making decisions for them selves. Unless you have used the legal system to continue to make decisions when your child is an adult, this agency will deal primarily with your child. Of course your child can choose to have you along for most of the process as support.

Employment on some level is possible for people with disabilities including Autism. Using the office of Rehabilitation Services gives your child access to a variety of tools designed to meet their needs. Testing can show the areas you child already has skills in. Various job related tools can help finding that first job.

Supports in college can include help advocating for a reduced course load while keeping financial assistance. It could be help scheduling classes in such a way to reduce the stress of classes requiring more effort. The Rehabilitation counselor can help your child find the Office of Disability on the campus and negotiate for accommodations in class as well.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Autism Behavior: Why Do You Need To Look For Hidden Meanings?

One of the interesting things about Autism is looking for the hidden meanings in our children’s behaviors. It is almost like being a detective. You have to look for clues in everything they do.

This is one of the activities that a parent will do that will help the most. Looking for the hidden meanings in behavior will calm our children and meet their needs. It really does not seem to matter whether your child is verbal or non-verbal.

Even with a child who is verbal you seem to have to figure it out. It is almost like having a teenager. For people who do not have a teenager, the parent can not ask them a direct question. Of course for teenagers it is for other reasons a direct question does not work.

For children with Autism they may not be able to answer you even if they have speech. On the other hand children with Autism are trying to communicate. They are trying to tell us things about their wants or needs. It is up to us to figure it out.

Parents also did this with their toddler’s. Parents did it naturally. Toddlers can not explain so we have to figure it out. Children with disabilities might use gestures or noises.

They may use behaviors, particularly behaviors that have gotten them what they wanted before. Sometimes children with Autism repeat behaviors they see others do. Again to get something they want or need.

Not all of the behaviors we are looking at are even problem behaviors. Next time your child with Autism has a puzzling behavior think back to when you have seen it before. Was it your child or someone else?

Think about the context of what was going on at the time. Also thing about what the result was in the past. Can you use that? You might recreate that or do some quick thinking to change the result.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Autism Inclusion: Why Do Children with Autism Need Supports to Succeed?

The easy answer to why children with Autism need supports to succeed is quite simple and also quite complex. In the beginning, it is really the parents who need the supports for the child. Towards the middle and the end the child, who is now an person with autism who needs them for a long term plan.

In the beginning for a variety of reasons we need supports to keep our children safe. They are so fearless and innocent that it can be exhausting keeping up with them. After around the toddler age they are usually big enough to hurt themselves or other. A little help is huge at this point.

Then of course it gets more complicated in the pre-teen and teen years. They are even bigger and could do more damage. More importantly they can get into trouble. They are curious and may be more likely to wander. What is scary is they can figure out how to get away in the blink of and eye.

In teenage years it is also nice for some adolescents with Autism to be able to go someplace without mom and dad. Supports allow that to happen while still providing an adult companion whether paid or not paid. It also allows us time to rest.

All of this is in preparation for later in life. Whether in our child’s twenties, thirties, or later we will want to make plans. Those plans depending on how independent our child turns out to be may include long term supports to be successful.

Sometimes adults with Autism need some support during the day and sometimes they need twenty-four hour supports. Of course figuring out how to pay for all of it will have to be saved for a later article.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Autism Medication: For Co-occuring Disorders

Funny thing happened along the way to getting my child help for her Autism. Hang on to that thought.

My daughter was six years old and basically non-verbal. She did make sounds that sounded like gibberish, with an occasional word. She was also a very busy little person. The business was not a problem as I had two children before her. They were also a little on the busy side.

I knew as a parent of three children that my child with Autism was on the slow side. Even though she was six, I figured that the busyness of toddlerhood was lasting longer with her.

Sometime around six we found a really good doctor for both of the children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The relationship was a good fit for our family. I did not have to spend a whole lot of time convincing him that there was some type of problem or another. He seemed to understand Autism. The doctor really paid attention to what I was saying.

One day while in for a regular visit he watched the daughter with Autism and suggested medication for ADHD. Although I was aware ADHD ran in our family, I had resisted medication in the past. Since this doctor had really worked to understand what was going on in our family, I was willing to try.

Low and behold I started noticing more words. Within about a month I noticed a lot of words. She still at twenty one has an odd turn to the way she uses language, but you do understand what words she it using.

At some point I asked the doctor about it. The explanation I got was the ADHD medication sped up certain parts of her brain so that executive functions could come out. One of those was clear speech. She probably had words for quite awhile. I don’t know. It sounds good to me. It works wonderful for her.

That is the funny thing that happened to me along the way of getting help for the Autism. I got help for the ADHD and the speech.

Related Post
Autism Communication: Why Do Parents Need to Stimulate Speech?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Autism Social Skills: Finding a Spouse

Did I mention my daughter has a boyfriend? She will tell you she ‘luvs’ him. I wonder about people with Autism and their ability to find a spouse. I know two couples that have a member with Autism.

In one of the couples the wife has Autism but both of them have disabilities. In the other couple the wife has Autism, but I only know them remotely.

The couple I have known for longer has been together for roughly 20 years. They seem to make it work. She could drive and would stay with her mother during the day while he went to work.

After her mother died she would go to older friend’s houses while he worked. At some point they moved in with her father. They never had children and somehow seemed to make it work. The husband must have had a learning disability but he seemed very understanding.

I know from watching my daughter that people with Autism have the need to connect. She is so much happier, even when she just gets to talk to the boyfriend.

I seem to be the one with the issues. I have been thinking about it on and off for several days now. I have older children so I have something to compare my feelings to, I suppose. Maybe parents always will have issues with their children’s choices for a companion. Her happiness is really all that matters to me at the end of the day.

Related link:
Uncomfortable Autism

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Autism Communication: Why Do Parents Need to Stimulate Speech?

Autism is considered a communication disability by many professionals. It is also characterized by a variety of other characteristics. Professionals who focus on communication specifically are focused on speech. It is thought that children with Autism would not have as many different behaviors if they were more skilled at using speech.

So how can parents help? One of the ways they can help is to do their best to make their child use what speech they have. If they only can make a sound when they want a specific item then they need to make that sound. If they can say some words they need to say those words at the right time.

Speech therapists have sometimes found that it is easier to teach children with Autism how to sign. One of the fears of parents have been if their child learns to sign they will not speak. Thankfully this does not seem to happen. Children who are going to speak seem to do it anyway.

Just the same as speaking though, if your child knows some signs for words they need to use them. If they say the word so much the better but if they do not insist on the sign.

This is more difficult than it seems because many times parents already know what their child wants. It is easier and faster to just give it to them. We have to resist that urge and remember the long term goals for our child.

Related Post
Autism Medication: For Co-occurring Disorders

Monday, February 8, 2010

MY Child with Autism

Raising a child with Autism has at the same time been easy and so difficult. When you are in the process of raising your children you do not realize the creativity and energy that goes into it. Then multiply that times ten to raise the child with Autism.

I was dealing with a child slamming her head on the floor to the point I thought she would break her head. I did not even know what head banging was at that time!

Even though I had two children older than her I had to re-examine everything I thought about children. Then to have a child after that one with Aspergers… Supposedly part of the Autism Spectrum Disorders but so very different. The second daughter required a completely different set of skills.

Would I change it? No. All of my children had made me the woman I am today, including those with Autism.

Everything I have learned though I have learned about Autism I have learned the hard way. A situation has come up, I have had to ask people, go to professionals, or read books. Sometimes I have just had to literally ‘bump’ into someone that knew what to call whatever we were experiencing.

I was offered to send my child with full blown Autism to an institution. I knew in my gut that that was not the answer. I stormed out of that doctor’s office. Now I realize, God Bless him. He was the doctor that Social Security had sent us to for my child’s qualification. The doctor obviously was not offended by my anger.

We got her SSI in less than three month. In our state I had been warned many times we would have to appeal many times. Like I said God Bless the doctor who was not offended by my anger.

Ok, I am rambling for some reason in this post so I will close. I just felt moved to say this today.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Intrinisc Rewards with Children with Autism

Children with Autism may respond to the same intrinsic rewards a typical child. My children all responded to rewards. At one time one single, solitary skittle was a reward every five minutes to behave in the car. A whole bag lasted for an entire car ride with three children.

Intrinsic rewards are typically rewards that do not have to be paid for. Physical rewards are rewards that are bought or have to be gotten in some way. Both rewards should be paired in preparation for the phasing out. You also need think about how expensive the physical rewards might become over time.

Because some children respond differently than others, sometimes parents also pair two or more intrinsic rewards with success for children with Autism. It really was not my imagination when I noticed that one or another of my children needed bigger rewards. Many professionals have come to agree with this observation as well.

The bigger rewards were in some way true for my daughter with Autism. This might have been because she responded differently, but that is what it took to work.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Autism and Inclusion

Children with Autism and inclusion at school it sometimes a difficult topic for parents and educational professionals. Especially when looking at a child that is so vulnerable. It is a little scary.

If we want our children to be able to survive in the real world it is important to start early. Starting as early as preschool and elementary school is not unheard of for parents like me. It is never too late to start though.

Long term inclusion was and is a goal for our family. It is also a concept that many families with a member with Autism or another disability have.

If you want to start early there are a few things to keep in mind. First our children need to go to the neighborhood school with all of the neighborhood children. Second our children will learn to dress and speak like other children by being in the same places. Finally children, teenagers, and adults with Autism have the opportunity to develop the relationships and skills they will need later in life by experiencing it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Autism and A Job

Well Dominoe brought home a job application last night. I stopped what I was doing and filled it out right away.

I also gave her state ID and her social security card. After explaining that even though her name was on those I needed them back, she fussed. I told her next week she could go get her own. I had kind of figured she would fuss when she saw her name.

She also wanted to know why those people’s name was on there (the application). The PCA told her that was people for recommendations. We told her who they were. I let you know what happens again!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Autism and Growing Up

A couple days ago Dominoe informed me that she hated her horrible life. She needed a job and a place of her own. She has said similar things to this before.

When I asked her why her life was horrible she said because she could not take a bath by herself! Of course I asked her why. To my knowledge the PCA only helped her with her hair. Dominoe agreed that the PCA only helped with the hair.

Maybe she just caught me on the wrong day but I told her to get a job. And get the PCA’s to bring her to get job applications and I would fill it out.

I also told her to go to our provider company and get them to help her find an apartment. She is 21 year old now. She is old enough.

I guess it is a little cold hearted to tell her like this. I just do not want her to feel like I am the one holding her back. I get the feeling that is what she thinks. So… I will let you know how it goes.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Why Do People with Autism Need Job Coaches?

People with Autism need job coaches for many reasons. It is harder for many people with this disability to find and keep a job. Job coaches can provide some of the soft skills for them to get and keep jobs. This can be done while also doing job shadowing or job sampling if needed.

Because communication is harder for people with Autism it is important to look for a job coach early in the process of employment. A job coach can help find a job or carve out a job for someone with a disability. They can also help negotiate shortened hours or fewer days if needed. Some job coaches can negotiate job sharing so an employer can get full time coverage by two or more trained employees.

When carving out a job a job coach can look at the job duties of several positions at one employer location. Then he or she can then select duties that other employees find repetitive. Combining those duties can make the perfect job for some people with Autism.

A job coach may be able to explain odd behaviors of their client to co-workers and employers. If employers know that repeating the steps to a particular job duty over and over is typical of some people with Autism they may not be as concerned when it happens. Particularly if the employer knows that they could remind the employee not to do that or to use a quieter voice.

Job coaches can also teach the specific job duties. They will also be on the look out for ways for the person to be able to do the job better or easier. Accommodations on the job are some things that the everyday person might overlook.

Job coaches do not stay with an employee with Autism throughout their career. Usually a job coach assists for a certain length of time and then provides periodic follow up. A job coach can be called back in if the employer wishes the employee to learn new skills or if a problem comes up.

Job coaches have success finding jobs for people with Autism for many reasons. The success may be because the job is boring and/or repetitive for the typical person. The success may be related to the fact the job is connected in some way to a subject that a person with Autism has an interest in or knows a lot about.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Autism Circles Of Support: Professional vs. Non Paid

Circles of Support for people with Autism are a useful tool. Unfortunately if you look at the Circle of Support for a typical person compared to a circle for a person with a disability you will discover a huge difference.

Typical people have Circles full of friends and acquaintances. Those friends may be close friends. It may be friends they see once a year. It could even be friends who only share certain interests.

Then you look at a person with Autism’s circle. You will see a large group of professionals. They might be doctors, nurses, therapists, teachers, or aides.

It is a parent’s challenge to figure out how to get more non paid people in their child’s circle. This is no easy talk but is critical to the long term happiness and success of our children.

Sometimes it is hard for parents like me to see how to find the non paid people who might be able to be part of a Circle of Support. Whenever possible, children with Autism should shop with you. If you child can tolerate the smells go to the gas station.

They should go and see the differences in the world. I would take my child to church. Not all the time but often enough that they could meet people. Sometimes we would have to leave early if she was uncomfortable but we would try.

Going into the community and going to family activities also helped expand my child’s Circle of Support. More specifically expanded the non paid portions. When one of the families I know started to need someone to stay with their child they already had people lined up.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Autism Sensory Integration: Why Do You Need Hippotherapy?

Hyppotherapy provides a unique opportunity for children with Autism. They get the opportunity to practice a variety of skills. They also have the opportunity to develop character skills at the same time.

Hippotherapy can be provided by physical therapists or occupational therapists. Usually this type of therapy is provided to work on a variety of goals. These goals can include activities of daily living, safety skills, and strengthening. The gait of a horse is considered similar to human gait. Because of this similarity is provides strengthening and flexibility to the rider.

All of these and more goals are provided in relation to the skills used during horse riding and competition. That competition can include vaulting, barrel competition, showing, etc. All with the therapist, aides, and volunteers involved for safety and support.

Children with Autism also experience an increased sense of independence and mastery. Enhancing their self esteem at being able to control an animal as large as a horse is amazing. The change in children with disabilities changes obviously during the course of the therapy. The change is obvious on their face and in the way they handle their body.

Hippotherapy also gives a child and therapist a change in what they are doing from session to session. A change of scenery and a change of activities help provide renewed interest for both. Engaged interest in therapy is important to progressing.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Saying It Over and Over

Dominoe's favorite phrase right now is "Be Strong. Be Strong." Over the years she has been very attached to phrases she likes. She would repeat them over and over.

The first one I noticed years ago was "I'm gonna poke you in your eye!" She would say it over many times in a day. You had to be careful because she might try to poke you in your eye too.

We happened to be in the doctor's office one day and he actually brought it to my attention. He called it a Repetitive Behavior. He explained that some people with Autism have it and some don't.

Over the years the phrase has changed. There for almost a year it was "Co ca Co la". She loved the word and the soda.

All of this to say I have finally figured out where "Be Strong. Be Strong." came from. She got it from a song I heard her singing with the song. Singing seems to be so much easier for her.

Monday, January 11, 2010

What is Replacement Behaviors?

Replacement behavior is a tool that parents deliberately teach their children. This tool is called a replacement because you are trying to exchange it for an unwanted behavior.

One of the many things that parents of children with Autism have learned is how to extinguish or get rid of a behavior. Unfortunately, during this process all children tend to substitute another behavior. As parents of children with autism know sometimes the behavior their child substitutes is worse than the original behavior.

Many parents have learned to substitute what is called a relaxation behavior for the unwanted behavior. Counting to ten if you child can or will count or even deep breathing are two relaxation behaviors. We have successfully used this with Dominoe in years past. It is also easy to teach and for everyone else to model.

Other parents use physical activity as a replacement behavior. This can be ideal for some children as it expends excess energy and makes them sleep better. That is true whether your child has a disability or not.

Substituting physical activity for an unwanted behavior also gives parents other perks. One of these is reducing the child with Autism’s frustration. Physical activity also gives the parent the opportunity to be up and moving around too. Dominoe and the aide used to move books from one room to another. She even liked it.

Another perk is moving around seem to give the child a chance to think of words to use instead of behaviors. A parent may have to prompt their child to do this but it does happen.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Signs of Autism

When parents finally hear that their child has Autism it brings out a variety of emotions. For some parents hearing your child has autism can be a heart wrenching ordeal.

There are signs and symptoms a parent can look for if they think their child might have Autism. It is usually apparent that there might be a problem before a child turns three years old.

If your child is showing problems with speech, there might be a reason for concern. You need to think and observe whether your child is taking longer than most children their age to talk.

Think about whether your child is meeting the development stages on time.

Children with Autism do not seem to show much if any emotion. Normally children start crying if they see another kid crying. A young child with autism will not.

When your child is a couple of years older they seem to keep forgetting anything taught to him. Some children with Autism do not seem to retain whatever you teach them.

It is also important for parents to remember that all children with Autism will not show all the signs and symptoms at the same time.

Some children will become obsessed with a certain object or subject.

If you find these signs and symptoms in your child you may want to consult with your child’s doctor. A simple evaluation and check up can help alleviate your fears or put you on the path to getting help

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Holiday Break

I needed to take a little break after the holidays. I will start posting on a regular basis again after this. I miss being able to put my thoughts down.

Hopefully everyone had a nice quiet holiday. That is what we did. I enjoyed it thoroughly and we didn't have any major melt down.
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