Thursday, January 31, 2013

February Spotlight Sibling

 I am proud to introduce this month's Spotlight Sibling.....

Meet Noah.
Noah is 8 and enjoys ball hockey, Lego Star Wars, swimming, camping and video games. Noah is very creative and has a vivid imagination, he loves to play Wizards, Karate guys and Star Wars, He makes his own games and often makes his own costumes! Noah has two brothers with Autism, Owen is 7 and David is 4.

I sent Noah's mom the same set of questions that I had B answer last month, and here are his responses.

Q: I read an article that stated that siblings of autistic kiddos feel like “victims.” Do you feel like a victim of a brother/sister with Autism?

A:Only when Owen and Dave get angry and hit me.

Q: In your eyes, what is the HARDEST part of being a sibling to an autistic brother/sister?

A: They don't understand waiting and turn taking and they always take things from me.

It's hard to play with them sometimes especially video games.

Q: What is the BEST part?

A:They are really good at figuring out my video games_and when we went to Disney we got a special pass and we didn't have to wait in lines

Q: Do you resent Autism? If so, Why?

A:No but if they didn't get so angry and hit me we could get along better.

Q: How has having a brother/sister with Autism changed your life?

A:I have to help Mom and Dad more and watch the boys. They don't listen good so I usually get asked to help.

Q: Has Autism taught you anything?

A:Owen and Dave get sick more than I do and take more of Mom and Dad's time. Autistic kids are really smart and funny. Owen likes his routine and Dave is bossy!

Q: Do you think educating other kids about Autism is important? If so, Why?

A:Other kids don't understand that Owen and |Dave say what they think and they should try not to be upset at some of the things they say. They sometimes find it hard to go to sleep and are grumpy in the morning. They sometimes like to play alone. If they are making noises or jumping around it's because they need to to calm down.

Q: If you were given the opportunity to speak to your school as a whole about Autism, what would you tell them?

A:_Be a friend to kids with Autism, they find it hard to sit still and sometimes make noises so they can calm down. If they hug you or hit you they may not want to but they can't always tell us what's wrong and it makes them upset.

Q: Kids with Autism are 4x more likely to be victims of bullying. If you saw someone bullying a child with Autism, what would you do?

A:Tell the bully that he has a disability and can't play like we do and I would tell the teacher.

Q: If you had to write an essay about Autism, tell me, in a few words what it might say?

A:Autism kids like routines, they have great memories and are very smart. They want to play with us but sometimes they like to play alone because things bother them.

Q: Here is your chance. If I left anything out, and there is something you want to add about Autism (it can be positive or negative) feel free to write it here. 

A.It's hard not having more time with Mom and Dad but I love my brothers!

There you have it. Another wonderful interview with another AMAZING sibling. The honesty of children is like no other, and it's so refreshing to see Autism through their eyes. If all children felt the same, our world would be in great hands!!!

Please take a moment and leave Noah a comment to make his day.....Stay tuned next month for another Spotlight Sibling
                                               <3 <3 <3 <3

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Autism~The Miracle "CURE"

  This has been quite the topic of conversation among fellow Autism parents as of late. I for one can't stop thinking about it. 4 am this morning, was I sleeping? NOOOOO. I was writing this post in my head because I can't get it off my mind.
  Most of us know who Jenny McCarthy is and how she CLAIMS she "cured" her son. I refuse to give her any more attention so this post will NOT revolve around her and her sensationalist claims. (My thought, she is a drama queen, Evan may very well have been misdiagnosed, (it is claimed he instead has Landau-Kleffner syndrome)). So that's all I am going to say about her.....
  I digress. My real issue is the false hope that media is blowing up desperate parent's arses. My son has mild autism. I do hope that someday he can over come some of his challenges, so he doesn't feel so isolated from his peers, but a CURE??? Autism is a NEUROLOGICAL DISORDER, there is NO KNOWN CURE. I am a straight shooter. I tell it like it is. I don't sugar coat. I won't tell you something just to make you feel better. I expect the truth from everyone in my life, and you can expect the same from me....again, there I go on a tangent. Back to the issue....
  Yet, articles keep coming out about kids being "cured" or "outgrowing" their autism. Click here and here for more on that. Now, I read every one of these articles. I want to be informed. I want to be able to help my readers and followers to the best of my ability. I do however think the media needs to think more before putting this kind of info out there. There are parents of severely autistic children that hope and pray for a cure. Hope and pray for a better life for their child. I don't feel it's fair to prey on these parents.
  "Can my child 'outgrow' Autism?" you ask.....according to these studies, yes. It should be noted however that your child isn't OUTGROWING autism, but merely ADAPTING. These children that are claimed to be outgrowing autism, were either misdiagnosed, OR, they are growing UP. They are learning to adapt to their world. They are learning what sets them off, and learning ways around that. They are learning social skills to better interact with their peers. So you see, they aren't outgrowing their Autism. They aren't leaving their neurological disorder behind. They are merely growing up. With the help of their families, and therapists, and hard work themselves, they are learning to better navigate the world around them. They STILL have Autism. They weren't miraculously cured. If you spoke to these families that were used in these studies, I bet you will hear about all the hard work and therapy that was involved. You may even hear about homeopathic therapies. (Yes, I do believe they work. NOT all of them, but some. NOT for everyone, but for some. I myself had Liam on the GFCF diet for a year. I DID notice a difference. However, we can't afford that diet, so all I can do is limit his gluten and casein.) 
   So you see, there is NO "cure." PLEASE don't let media trick you into believing something that can't be true. Talk to your child's doctor. Talk to his/her therapists. Work with your child. They may not "outgrow" their autism, but they can learn to adapt to the challenges it brings. Is that enough? For some yes, but for others, maybe not. 

                                                                     <3 <3 <3 <3

this graphic by Our Autism Family sums it up perfectly to me. Click here and check out her AUSOME page <3

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

To Vax or NOT to Vax....

  Okay all, a little disclaimer here.....Before you all jump ship, or take sides, or start getting upset, this is in NO WAY my way of stirring up controversy. I despise controversy. I know how the whole Pro Vax/Anti Vax mud slinging goes, and this post is NOT geared towards that....
   That being said, here is my dilemma. If you follow my ALFL page you know Liam has and is recovering from the flu. When he gets the flu or any sickness, he also regresses some. He often has issues with the potty. He is very stimmy, and often very aggressive. All that on top of being sick!!!  He had the flu one other time when he was 2. I swear on my life I truly thought my son was going to die. He was so sick. For 3 days I sat vigil and watched him sleep. Woke him up for motrin/tylenol, for sips of gatorade and to carry him to the bathroom to go pee.
   In his almost 7 years of life, there have only been 3 years he hasn't gotten the shot. When he was 2, last year and this year. Out of those 3 years, 2 times he has gotten the flu. When we called the ER over his 104.2 temperature, his doctor was out of the country. (Figures! Kids get sick a) on weekend b) middle of the night and c) when their doctor is out of the freakin' country!) So, instead we talked to his previous pediatrician. At which time we got the whole, "Why didn't he get his flu shot?" spiel. Now, I know he is only looking out for my son. Liam has asthma, and after the flu scare in 2008, we always got him the flu shot.  Once he was diagnosed with autism, I stopped. I know the flu vaccine is the one that still contains the preservative Thimerosal (mercury.) Now here is where the pro/anti vax people get worked let me state my place in this topic...
   I do NOT think vaccines CAUSED my son's Autism. I do however think they may have played a role in it. I believe my son was born with the genes for autism. I believe he had it at birth. He didn't seem to display any signs of autism until he was about 15 months old, but then again, who's to say that isn't "normal." I will never KNOW for sure what caused his autism, and I am okay with that. With that being said, I don't and haven't gotten him vaccinated for the flu since his diagnosis because the flu vax DOES contain thimerosal. For more info on that, click HERE. (scroll down through all the medical mumbo jumbo and you will see an easy to follow chart telling which vaccines contain thimerosal. ) I know how the argument goes, some believe heavy metals (such as mercury) cause or worsen Autism, and some don't. However, I see that many law suits are now being awarded to parents of autistic kiddos  for heavy metal poisoning.( For more on that, click HERE.) I am not really comfortable with my son having heavy metals injected into him. I now see they make two without it (yes mom, you did tell me that too.)
   So my problem is this: If I can get his insurance to cover the thimerosal free vax or mist, then there is no dilemma. However, our insurance sucks, so I am not counting on that. Therefore here is my issue. Do I 1) get him the vaccine, and risk him regressing more from the mercury. OR do I skip the vaccine, and hope he doesn't get the flu again, and pray if he does, he doesn't get it worse?!?! As his mother, it is my job to protect him, to make sure he doesn't get sick. Doesn't that mean I should get him vaccinated? I tried to get him to wear a mask in public to keep germs out, and he looked at me so seriously and said, "Momma! People stare at me now, I am NOT wearing that dorky mask!" (I know, 6 going on 16!) So I am at a loss for what to do.....So I ask your opinion.....but PLEASE do NOT turn this into a Pro/Anti vaccine war. I just want honest opinions. Do you get your autistic kiddo the flu vax. Why or why not? If you do, do you get the thimerosal free version or the regular one? Do you notice a regression in your child after the flu vax?

(picture credit goes to Alliance of Natural Health)


Friday, January 11, 2013

Time for a GIVE AWAY!!!!

  It's that time again! This time we are giving away TWO hand made Lanyard of Love Bracelets.... The yellow/blue/red one is small (child size) and the rainbow one is larger.....
  I put the giveaway on Rafflecopter and it opens tonite at share away, and enter to win..... CONTEST OPEN ONLY TO UNITED STATES RESIDENTS (due to shipping costs)

                                                    ENTER HERE TO WIN:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

He's flappy because he is HAPPY!!!

Just yesterday I posted about how happy I was that Liam had a buddy. It means so much to me and even more to him.
Today "n" came over again and invited Liam to play. I was hesitant because there were other kids in the mix (that is usually a bono no for my boy) but Liam really wanted to so I said yes.
A few videos games were played and before long the boys took to rough housing outside. I wasn't too worried as I can see them from the living room window and they weren't being too rough.
However it wasn't long before that changed and Liam was told to come in. He came in with "n"'s sister and all red faced started to stutter and tell me, "(name omitted) was picking on me and doing this!" At which time he started flapping like he does when he is excited.
Now dammit to Liam his flapping is nothing. He doesn't realize he is doing it, he just does. How dare that brat tease him for being excited!!!! (Sorry to say brat but I am so tired of intolerance especially after these damn kids have been told what it is!) why in God's name are kids so cruel!!!!
So now Liam is upset because he was singled out in front of ALL the neighborhood kids. He is finally trying to fit in and be accepted and yet is being called out and made an example of. Worse yet for something he has NO control over. Something that is so much a part of our life we don't even notice it.
Paddy and I are at odds about
what is to be done. I said call mother tell her what's up and then talk to child. He just wants to talk to the child. What good will that do???? We have talked to said child many times about these things and I am tired of being ignored and Liam still being teased.
I guess I will be handling it. I am tired of it . So what if he flaps!!!!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

From Bully to Buddy.....

  Those that know me, know I love kids. ALL kids. I should have had a passel of them, but that was not in my cards. (no worries, my heart is full with the one God gave me.) Those people also know that we live in a trailer park. (go ahead, here is where you can leave your trailer trash jokes.....I have one for ya though....You can take the girl out of the trailer park, but you CAN'T take the trailer park out of the girl!) Yeah we joke about it too. We are poor. So what. What we lack in money, we make up for in love and laughs. That's what truly matters anyway..... Moving on. We are surrounded by kids. In the summer my yard is usually full of them. Liam is in his glory. Oddly though he isn't always playing with them. They are usually playing something, while Liam is off to the side, playing his own thing, his own way, and he is good with that.
  Being a crafty momma, I try to think of low cost things he can do with the kids, and be a part of the play. Usually that lasts about 5 mins for him, and all day with the others. He doesn't care, and as long as he is happy, why should I???
   The older he gets the more he craves that one on one friend. That so called "bestie." A Bud. His buddy from when he was a baby has a hard time playing with Liam because well, Liam is bossy, and pushy and grabby and "A" has a hard time with that. I can't blame him. The kid he has clicked with is older by 5 years. He used to bully Liam. Now they are buddies.
  What happened you ask? Well, I'm not 100 percent sure. A few years ago this boy was mean to Liam. In front of us, he wasn't. But when they would walk out of ear shot to play, the other side of him came out. He would tell his little sister to call Liam horrible names. He once took Liam into his room to play, and then beat the crap out of him. He then told his mother Liam beat him up, and we abruptly left. The whole time Liam was crying saying, "Momma, I didn't touch him I promise!" I know when my child lies, and I know this other child well enough that I know when he is lying. My son wasn't.
  We tried to tell this child's mother what was going on. Not much was done. I think she didn't want to admit that something was going on with her child. I can get mad about that, or I can realize that when it comes to our kids, it's not always easy for us to admit their faults. Hey, I have been there.
  The straw that broke the camels back was a few months ago. This boy told my son he was stupid and a baby. I went off. After all the education about Autism we have preached to these neighbor kids, and he dared speak to my baby like that. Well when I was out of earshot he called me a b!t@h. Another kid came and told me. Now Dad is involved and he is steaming.
  He calmly asked him why he was being this way. We have always been so nice to him. We don't yell at him, but we also don't let him get away with being a bad boy. Paddy asked him why he was so mean to Liam when all Liam wants to do is love him. The truth came out. This young little boy was in fact a target of bullying at school. He cried and cried and confided in Paddy that he is mean to Liam because he is always so angry that kids are mean to him. My heart broke. As mad as I was that he was treating my child badly, I was even more mad that it was because someone else was treating him so badly. I hugged him. I told him it's not right. We talked to him at length that night. My friend was there, he is a counselor and works with children. He went over and talked at length to the mother. She got in contact with the school.
  Fast forward a few months. This child has now been to stay at our home 4 times now. He has been a wonderful little boy. He asks if I need help with dishes. When Liam gets too "handsy" he calmly tells him, "if you want me to be your friend, you have to stop hitting me!" He actively asks us about Autism, and what it is and how it affects Liam. He is learning, he is caring.
  There are still days when he doesn't play with Liam. He plays with another boy that is the same age and it upsets Liam. We are working on getting Liam to understand that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. That if you spent every waking hour with a friend, you will ultimately get sick of one another. We're working on it. Until then, my heart swells when "N" comes to play with Liam. They play together so well. Liam looks up to him, calls him his brother, and I love it.
   Bottom line, there is always room for hope. Even a bully can become a buddy!
                                                       <3 <3 <3 <3

Friday, January 4, 2013

Spotlight Sibling for January

  So I decided to start something new. I read an article claiming that "siblings of autistic children feel like victims," and this angered me so!!!! To read more of that article, CLICK HERE.
  I thought about this a lot, and then it came to me. Why not spotlight a sibling each month, and ask them the same questions, and see how they feel. Good or bad. I wanted to know if this is true. I wanted to hear it from the mouths of siblings.
  I came up with some questions, and reached out to my step son. Now, he doesn't live here full time, so his answers may vary from a sibling who lives full time with their autistic sibling. His answers matter just the same, and I was so proud of what he had to say.
            So, without further ado, I present to you, Branden, age 16 and January's Spotlight Sibling.

Q: I read an article that stated that sibling of autistic kiddos feel like “victims.” Do you feel like a victim of a brother with Autism?
A: "At times I do. Sometimes it's hard because I don't know what to say or do with him."

Q: In your eyes, what is the HARDEST part of being a sibling to an autistic brother?
A: "I'd have to say the hardest part is watching what and how I say things. He is very sensitive."

Q: What is the BEST part?
A: "He is special, one of a kind and I love him."

Q: Do you resent Autism? If so, Why?
A: "No, because I feel it makes people more special and gives them more personality."

Q: How has having a brother with Autism changed your life?
A:" It makes it so I can't play certain video games or watch certain movies or shows because it either scared him or makes him think bad." (Liam ruminates a lot when something upsets him.)

Q: Has Autism taught you anything?
A: "Autism has taught me to stand up for others when they are being teased for being different."

Q: Do you think educating other kids about Autism is important? If so, Why?
A: "Yes. Some people just think someone with Autism is "stupid" or "bad" and they aren't."

Q: If you were given the opportunity to speak to your school as a whole about Autism, what would you tell them?
A: "That kid's with Autism are cool. Most of them are smarter than us. Lots of them are also very good at video games."

Q: Kids with Autism are 4x more likely to be victims of bullying. If you saw someone bullying a child with Autism, what would you do?
A: "I would tell the bully that it's not right to tease someone because they are different. My brother has Autism too and it's NOT right."

Q: If you had to write an essay about Autism, tell me, in a few words what it might say?
A: "Autism is a neurological disorder, and 1 in 88 people have Autism. Autistic people are special."

Q: Here is your chance. If I left anything out, and there is something you want to add about Autism (it can be positive or negative) feel free to write it here.
A: "When you're in a store and a kid is acting "bad," you shouldn't judge them. That kid may have Autism like my brother."

There you have it. From the mouth of an Autistic sibling. I have to say I am very proud of his answers, and I think I am doing a pretty good job of teaching him about Autism. (yep, tooting my own horn a bit, beep beep beep!) :)

Meet "B" 
This is his "Breakthrough the Stigma" pic I took of him. This is the one thing he chose to say to others :)

Stay tuned, next Spotlight Sibling will be in February.