Tag Archives: Autism

Upping the Game

So I have finished reading Transforming the Difficult Child: the Nurtured Heart approach by Howard Glasser and Jennifer Easley.

I am implementing the point system laid out in the book in the hopes that my children learn some more motivation and also a better sense of worth and accomplishment. It has been a week since we started and I feel I might have made it too easy.. but they are excited, so that is good.

Tomorrow my middle child is cashing in his points to take the others to the indoor amusement park! I am going to be sore for days.. climbing through hamster tubes and tunnels and rope bridges might be too much for me. Last time we went I came home, gave them lunch, and fell asleep for hours.

Today I had the neighbor (who is also a dear friend) babysit the children in the morning while I did some Christmas shopping. I fell asleep in the afternoon and I woke up grateful that I was now able to do this, without the children getting into any mischief. Their growing maturity has made my life so much easier, I was thinking.

I sat down for a snack and a peek at a book and my youngest told me to come look at the living room. I asked her what for, did she clean it? And she nodded in assent. I stood at the doorway and saw there was something on the floor that wasn´t there before my nap. She had taken apart a draft sock (the things you use to block drafts in windows and doors) and thrown the innards (rice) all over the living room. She made sure to get handfuls in corners and behind furniture and had strewn the rest everywhere she could.

I sent her up to her room and got out the vacuum and quickly discovered that I could not get it all up. I sent her brother up to fetch her to pick it up grain by grain in the corners and along the wall but she had fallen asleep. I woke her up, set her on her feet gently and told her she had some work to do before she had any rest.

She did pick it up the best she could. I have no idea what she made that mess for in the first place. I will ask her tomorrow. I hope she sleeps in. This is probably the first time in her life that I have interrupted her nap when we were home and had no where to go.

Today my oldest child figured out how to link the babysitter´s laptop with our home computer and play games online together. I assume all he did was add a server address, but the sitter was still impressed. I hope he always has this ease with computers. He got on when he was thirteen months old and has wanted to do nothing but since then. I have him block coding (which he loves) in Minecraft and have asked him to please use straight Java instead, but he likes the ease of blocks. Maybe I can get him into another language with another project that will force him to learn it directly.

I think they are doing well. Far better than they used to be. Going dairy free has helped Middle Child immensely. The sitter we had today was concerned about Middle Child´s sleep, as he has never slept well in his life until the past six months. She brought over some essential oils that are supposed to calm and help with sleep, and he loves them. I had to argue with him patiently and logically until he would release the little jar and put it on a table next to his bed. He wanted to sleep with it in his hand so he could smell it. He said thank you immediately, too. He usually does not say thank you when he gets a gift, he often says he does not want it or acts disappointed. We have been practicing how to receive gifts, but this was spontaneous. He was really pleased. Such a lovely girl to have as my closest neighbor. I am so lucky.

Leave a comment

Filed under ADHD, ASD, Asperger's, Autism, Child Abuse, Child Psychology, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, ODD, PTSD, SIngle Parenting

Too Much Excitement Before Halloween

My oldest child and I both had an appointment with the eye doctor today. Oldest Son has to wear an eye patch at home for his astigmatism. It won´t be all day for a year like I had to do when I was a kid, rather just a few hours a few days a week. I am going to think of some sort of pirate nickname for him. My issue with my contacts? They got switched. Sleepy mornings can make you put your right lens into your left eye, and it just goes downhill from there.

But it gets worse.

I picked the baby up from daycare yesterday and the staff informed me she has nits. Not adult lice, but the eggs. So I raced to the store and bought the treatment and then I did six loads of laundry from her beds. Yes, she has two beds in her room and she sleeps in either. I bagged up all her stuffed animals and in the hope of freezing weather we will keep them in the back of the car for a week or two.

When I picked her up today from daycare the staff informed me that they are implementing a no-nit policy. Even if the nits are dead, she will be sent home from daycare if one is found on her head. They are doing this because she was infested by another little girl whose mother did not take the lice issue seriously and therefore did not eradicate the lice in the first place. So the staff wants to avoid reinfestations. I cannot blame them, but now it is about my paycheck, because most sitters will not sit for lice! So far we have combed through her hair three times, for a total of two and a half hours, in less than twenty four hours. Plus the treatment. I also blow dried her scalp as hot as she could stand. I have a shampoo treatment and the Cetaphil treatment all ready to go before I Nix her again next week. Hopefully the good comb I ordered off Amazon (The Terminator!) comes UPS by then, because I could not find one here in town. I have repeatedly asked her to let me shave her head. She does not want to. I even offered to do it with her, and no dice.

So our life just got super complicated.

I have been having six or seven appointments a week for the boys, and they have all been eating a pie a day. I cannot keep up with the cooking or the appointments.

I don´t want to cut back on either.

My Youngest Son lost both his upper front teeth this week. The first one was kicked out by a kid on the swings, and the second he lost on the bus somehow. We knew they were loose, weeks ago. Both teeth are AWOL. The Tooth Fairy paid him anyway, but he knows it´s me. A kid with bad PTSD shouldn´t have to think that strangers are entering his room at night and messing about under his pillow.

So I was thinking I had better call his speech therapist and see if he needs a hiatus from therapy, as it is really hard to hold your tongue behind your teeth to form your letters when your teeth are not there..

Perhaps it would cut down on the appointments.


Filed under Uncategorized

The Social Worker is Trying to Recruit Me

My son’s social worker has been asking me to join the Local Advisory Council for NAMI (which naturally focuses on child advocacy) for about a year.

Now she has started sending me the minutes.

Just yesterday she sent me the itinerary for the state conference.

The people attending the local meetings are people I would want to work with.

The state conference is mostly about advocating for children and what to do for children in the case of x, y, z. It looks nearly dreamy. Like I could fill up a notebook and gain some confidence.

She is tempting me.

I don’t want to spend even one day away from my kids at a state conference. I don’t want to take two hours off of my work for local advocacy. I want to do it, but I need to work and raise my kids.

I have been doing community advocacy since I was sixteen. I think she is moving in for the kill.

I have great excuses. I just don’t know if I have the strength to resist.


Filed under Uncategorized

The Updated Plan – going into 2016

Today I met with the social worker, who I requested monitor my oldest child (read: advocate for) as he navigates through the school system and various therapies. It could be that one day I need her for Middle Child, too. I hope not.

I have new plans. I am always planning. So I gave her the new plans while I cooked dinner for the littles.

We are working on ACT therapy (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) this winter, and perhaps for the next year, and I wish someone had told me about this a year or two ago.

We are working on identifying emotion in ourselves and in others. Also walking away from negativity, or taking a moment away to calm ourselves if need be. I am working on this with them, too, but I remind the psychologist, therapist, and psychiatrist of this goal whenever we meet. I probably mentioned this in the last post.

I have enrolled my own therapist to teach me what the children are learning so I can be consistent with their therapist and teach them to apply ACT in their daily lives.

For parenting we are are going to order a book on the Nurtured Heart technique, which I have somehow never heard of until this week. I hope it is something new, rather than an adaption of something I am already doing. Because I want a cure.

The dog. We are eleven months away from losing our spot on the pre-wait wait list. Yes, there is such a thing. I meant to write wait two times. That is the sort of list it is. I am going to negotiate closer to the Day, because I don’t need an Autistic Service Dog to tether my child. I would rather a service dog track him than try to keep him rooted. Because he is almost as tall as me, and that could very well break a dog. So if he were evaluated now he could lose the spot for his size, anyway. Maybe if I explain that I don’t need such a consideration we can stay on longer and get a dog through a reputable organization. Of which there is exactly one in my state. I cannot afford the training if it is out of state.

If I cannot get a service dog I am going to make one. Because if there is one thing I have been very successful at in life it has been training puppies to be very good adult canine citizens. I don’t know how throwing children into dog training will help or harm, but I think for the children it will only help. Maybe we can get involved in the dog world, too, and meet more nice people. I have always used a modified Barbara Woodhouse basic training with great success, and of course I would supplant that at the appropriate age with a professional who can certify in service. I know of two agencies here who do this, and one is highly recommended by a friend. The issue is time commitment. I would have to pay a neighbor to let the dog out during the day until it became old enough to handle a long wait. I could also get a failed service dog and skip the puppy stage, or adopt a well trained adult and hope it catches on. But those last two would result in a therapy dog, rather than a service dog, and that would limit us in where we can take the dog, as it would be a pet. I know I can pay some two bit huckster online and get paperwork and a vest but I am honest and I refuse to do so. If the dog is not qualified for service, I won’t use it for service.

I am beyond frustrated that there are not service dogs available for children with PTSD, as such a dog would be of service to both boys.

For education we are going to work on fostering independence and executive functioning. I think the independence part will come easily, if I can stop myself from buttering everyone’s toast. The executive functioning bit is going to be super tricky. I don’t know how to teach someone to see what they don’t notice. I have one book that has proved useless on this and so I am ordering another in the hope that it has some practical advice.


Filed under Uncategorized

Zoloft And Conferences

So the boys had their conferences this past week.

Middle Child was first. Despite the violence of the prior five days (thank you, Zoloft), his conference went well. We had it in private, even, and there were no negatives. He is active in self-regulation in the classroom, segregating himself from the group during most floor times and wearing the noise muffling headset quite often.

What surprised me was that he was well liked, and despite his distaste for homework he scored above average on all of it.

She said he is always smiling, always happy.

Much better than the last school, which was destroying his self esteem.

Oldest son had his conference the next day. He is lucky enough to be in a class that contains a half dozen other kids who are super bright and also very strong readers. The teacher said that he has his moments of not wanting to do his classwork, but that he is capable and comes around. I was a bit surprised, and asked her about his math homework from the night before, because he had me walk him through it. She told me that he knows it. She said he has no issues with retaining what he learns. Which was nice to hear and not what I expected. Compare this to last year, when he would lay on a chair and moan and kick during math class. No behaviours like that at this school. He has begun attending a social skills group daily, with five other students, and that makes me immensely happy. Because it is in his IEP and his teacher is trying to comply with it. So many schools do not even try, do not even read it, so you can see why this makes me seriously warm and fuzzy inside.

This is the honeymoon conference, though. The one after Christmas will be the real deal in my book.

Zoloft has been a magic pill for Oldest Child and a curse for Middle Child. I was seriously triggered by Middle Child’s temper and his violence, and it was a rough week especially considering that I was ill, Oldest Child was ill, and there was little sleep to be had. I tried waiting for his psychiatric nurse to return from vacation before making any move, but after I got a teacher’s note about hitting and kicking students for the third day in a row I yanked him off of it and side effects be damned. Luckily there were not any.  I got a note in response to my update to the psychiatric nurse telling me to take him off of the meds the next day. It is so nice to have no report from the teacher every day since, I cannot tell you how it relaxes me to find nothing written in his folder at the end of the day.

Today we went to gymnastics for middle child and after that no one wanted to do much of anything, the children did not even want to go to the store, so we stayed in and I promptly fell asleep and missed an entire afternoon of cleaning. So nothing is done save the morning’s baking and laundry, and tomorrow I have to do it all. I needed the sleep though, have needed it for over a week since we got sick.

There was no fighting in my house today. Everyone behaved well, even with emotionally charged disagreements. This is a huge deal, that most days are now like this. It used to be quite the opposite and I could not leave them for a minute. I am so lucky to be in a space big enough for them to get away from each other and manage their emotions. I am so lucky to have a good medical team for them and a school that is accommodating. Cutting down on the stress for PTSD kids is a very helpful thing.

Middle Child is still not drinking milk or eating milk products, and as best as I can tell it is helping him. I caught him yesterday at snack at daycare about to take a drink from a glass full of a white liquid and asked him to tell me what it was first. MILK! Oops for the daycare! Hopefully they improve on this..

We are working on identifying emotions and emotional needs (perpetually we work on this), walking away from angry people, and listening to our gut. I especially want my Oldest Son to quit situations where people are angry, since he doesn’t pick up on escalating emotions. I want him to remove himself as soon as he observes anger in another. Remaining present and oblivious makes him a target.

The current obsessions in our house are Minecraft coding, monsters, autumn leaves, and bagels.


Filed under Uncategorized


Today the boys got off the bus at daycare and decided to walk home. The staff inside realized that they had not come in and chased them down the street, they got about a block before they were caught, about a fourth of their journey accomplished.

I think the new director had better appoint someone to meet the bus, like they used to do.

I asked the boys what they would do once they got home, how would they get in? The lightbulb went off and all they said was “Oh..”.

So they are in a bit of trouble tonight, lost a privilege or two. Because, as I explained to them, if they cannot leave the house without asking an adult, how could they think they were allowed to leave the daycare?

The director replaced nearly all the staff recently. The children do not know their new teachers. The teachers do not know that Oldest Child is fitted with a tracking device that pings straight to the county sheriff. Because he is considered an at-risk wanderer. And, a week after I began mulling over having the device removed, I’ve decided to keep it on him. Because today.


Filed under Uncategorized

Diagnosis For My Son

The doctor I saw today told me I was not autistic. He said I have Asperger’s instead, that I was definitely on the spectrum but fit into the category of Asperger’s far better than into the current DSM definition.

Just like my son.


Filed under Uncategorized

Not Lost at the Fair

Tonight we went back to the same fair where Autistic Child impulsively ran off toward an attraction and promptly became lost for ten minutes last year. The police brought him back to me, in tears, and he has been stuck to me like glue ever since. He did not run off this year, we had talked about it on and off and he had plenty of practice at other venues this summer. Perhaps he did learn. I just never know what is going to stick with him and what he will forget.

The neighborhood children missed us. RAD neighbor child came running at me and gave me a big hug, and then asked me for treats. But I had not been home baking as I usually do. I hadn’t any for him. Perhaps he missed my dessert, and not my person.

I get the best exercise at events or family outings like the zoo. I wake up feeling sore, but good, the next day. I can feel it creeping up from the arthritis in my feet already. I think arthritis is my oldest friend. No one else has stayed in constant touch with me since my early twenties.

I want to walk for hours on a regular basis. I wish the children were up for that every day. They squabbled over whose turn it was in the stroller on the way home, so I folded it up and we all walked the rest of the way, the baby drying some tears as she went. I am still glad I had it, though. It kept me mobile even when someone needed a rest.

I want to cook all day tomorrow, but Oldest Child has a birthday. We have to take in a movie and do birthday things. Luckily he does not want a party. All I have to do is get him to dinner out with a friend and his family. I am grateful they accepted. When your child wants to see only one person on their birthday you really want to make it happen.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Mice and Medication

My car was out of commission for a week because a mouse had got into the engine and chewed on some wires. Maybe if I allowed the children to eat in the car it could have found something better to chew on and left my wires alone. The mechanic undercharged me intentionally, which was helpful and I have already tried to make up for some of that with a dozen cookies. There are a lot of people around here who refuse to make money off of hardship. Which is why I still work in the same office, as the local family who owns it is of the same mind.

Autistic Child has been on Zoloft for nearly two weeks, a small dose, and his fear has abated enough that he can be in the house by himself for twenty minutes or so while I work in the yard. If the windows are wide open. And the patio door, too.

Middle Child had an upset tummy this past weekend, so on Monday and Tuesday I gave him probiotics before he went to school. Those are the only two days he has done poorly in school, with very poor impulse control. I got suspicious enough about it on Tuesday evening that I gave him no probiotics the rest of the week, and the other days he did much better. Today after I picked him up I had a short talk with him about it and we agreed to try him on a diet without dairy for a few weeks. I read somewhere that a sensitivity to dairy creates issues with the neurotransmitters, due to malfunctioning enzymes mimicking something or misfiring? I really cannot remember it all, but it seemed to make sense to give it a go. Not an allergy, mind you. Nor lactose intolerance, just a hunch. Because the box the probiotics came in listed an awful lot of bacilli that are derived from milk.. so we will see. I suppose we will start on Monday.

Today Autistic Child talked with his skills therapist about fear for a while. He denied that he did not feel unsafe at home, insisting he has always felt safe. The therapist asked him “Did you feel safe when your father lived with you?” and said my son looked up from his trains, as if startled. He replied “No, no I didn’t” and the therapist told him that he has to teach his fear that he is safe at home now, that his brain has to catch up with his changed circumstances. Which is a great way to explain PTSD to a child.

There is only one favorite teacher remaining at our daycare, due to a new director. So far the kids are taking it okay, but the new teachers don’t seem so swift. They have not been paying much attention to the children, nor greeting the parents. I hope they don’t think what they are doing is akin to babysitting. Because the previous teachers were teaching. They got paid spit, but they were teaching, anyway. Which is why I stayed there, and is what I still expect from the staff, and now that I live close by I don’t want to switch to another care facility.

I live close enough to walk. Which helps when you have mice in your parking lot.


Filed under Uncategorized

Grateful For Patient Children

Today the car was left at the mechanic’s. It has been stalling, while driving, and I want it fixed before I get into an accident with it.

The children and I walked everywhere today. My autistic child walked to the clinic and back to the daycare, and then immediately we went walking home. After dinner we walked all the way back to pick up the car, as the mechanic is near the daycare. None of them complained. My autistic boy did tell me he was tired and was obviously having trouble walking precisely. I am really happy his muscles were worked so well, I hope he gets some strength from it, but I was sorry for him.

Such lovely children. It was about ninety and humid as all hell. My heroes!

The car did not get fixed. Apparently it only stalls for it’s own family, and presents a perfect face to the rest of the world.


Filed under Uncategorized