Laugh with us, cry with us, and learn about AUTISM!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Changed And Rearranged

We had Josie, and everything was all good. She was developing normally for a regular little girl. Except for a little speech delay all seemed well. I got to wonder and ponder what my daughter's future would be. I got to know this outstanding personality, everyone said she was going be smart like her mom, and that is quite gifted. And I know that she will be fine, though I know that life will be an uphill battle for her as she contends with social awkwardness and difficulty communicating.

But now my new fear is that my younger daughter will have the same, or greater, deficit as her older sister. I know that it is too early to know and that my fear is unfounded but it's something that is on your mind when you have a daughter who is special like Josie. All you want is the best for your kids.

Sofia is a sensitive, fun loving bundle of joy. She is changing every day to try and keep up with her older sister. But somewhere in my paranoid little mind I'm afraid to get to know her. For I fear I will get attached and all will change.... again!

I guess it's pointless to worry about, but I know that my perspective will never be the same.

I love my kids and I 'am' going to always know and accept my children no matter what.
In times like these I try to remember that love comes back to you in different ways when you have kids who are autistic. We are lucky that Josie loves cuddling from time to time.

No matter what Sofia becomes all I want is a cuddle here or there and I will be just fine.

Leading Up To Christmas

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, we've all been sick with some sort of weird virus.  Exhaustion, headaches and a topsy turvy stomach seem to be the main symptoms, and it lasts forever!  Just when you think your feeling better, it strikes again!

Our Christmas preparations are still underway, but the most important stuff is done.  This year I really had to prioritize what was important to me, and our family, in order to get things done.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Holidays and Letting Things Go

I've found that the only way to keep my stress levels to a reasonable level is to accept and let go of certain things.  It's very hard sometimes though.  Especially around Christmas!  I love Christmas, and everything that comes along with it.  The lights, decorations, cookies, baking, crafts, music, parties...

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Hats, Boots and Mitts

Oh, what is a Mommy to do?  Apparently hats, boots and mitts do not mix well with sensory issues.  This was not a problem last winter, as Josie hadn't yet developed a lot of her problems...

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Interacting With Other Kids

Josie - age 16 months
When Josie was about 10 months, until she was about 17 months, we attended play group regularly.  Josie really seemed to enjoy it, she didn't really "play" with other kids, but that was normal for her age.  She enjoyed being around them, watching them, and occasionally joining in.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Never Being Able to Let Your Guard Down

The hardest thing for me is not being able to let my guard down.  Just when things seem to be improving and I start to feel more confident - BOOM!  Something happens to lower your hopes.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Book Review - Emergence Labeled Autistic


Another book I found at my local library is "Emergence Labeled Autistic" by Temple Grandin and Margaret M. Scariano.

This book is a true story written by a woman who has Autism.  It provides a real insiders look into the mind and body of an autistic person.  Temple Grandin's candid accounts gave me so much insight into life from my daughter's perspective.  I feel able to better deal with certain aspects of our lives having an idea of what is going through Josie's head.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Out Of The Fog...

I suspect the hardest part of this situation is over.  Josie has mostly been lifted from her "fog".  She still has periods of time where she just wants to be alone, which I am assured is okay.  Knock on wood, it has been a couple weeks since that has been an all day thing.  She almost always recognizes and acknowledges the presence of other people (especially her sister).  She runs to Daddy when he gets home!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Mindfulness

A wonderful lady introduced me to the concept of "Mindfulness".  I was somewhat sceptical  but once I started practising it, it was a real turning point for me.  Mindfulness is a great asset and a wonderful tool to help with the stress of life.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Making A Visual Timeline



One of the suggestions I've had given to me is to make Josie a visual timeline.  Josie has some difficulty with changes in routine, but it's not too bad.  However, Josie has a very hard time understanding things without having a visual representation of them.  So this suggestion really made sense to me.  

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

My Daughter's Hair


"She's going to need glasses!" 
"No wonder she's crying, she can't see!"
"Her bangs need to be trimmed..."





The first two comments, I can assure you, are not true.  The last one, well it is true.  But there is literally nothing I can do, short of holding Josie down and traumatizing her... and even then, I don't think I could get them trimmed.

Monday, 19 November 2012

YOU are the ONLY expert on YOUR child!

Something I feel very strongly about is that mothers (and fathers!) are the only expert on their own child.  In our case, I am the one that stays home with our kids, so I am going to use mothers non-judgementally for the rest of this post, and I assure you that fathers are experts too!

Mothers are the only ones who see their children in their own environment on a daily basis.  We are the only ones who see how a child behaves and reacts in a "normal" environment.  We know instinctively when our child is sick, when they are in a bad or good mood, and when something is just plain wrong.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Pumpkins and Gourds

A cute little side story for you.  One of Josie's obsessions is pumpkins and gourds.  She just loves them.  Why?  I do not know.  This particular interest is not as strong as some of her others currently.  






Thursday, 15 November 2012

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Book Review - Could It Be Autism?

To date, the best resource book I have found is called "Could It Be Autism?  A Parent's Guide To The First Signs And Next Steps" by Nancy D. Wiseman, Founder and President of First Signs, Inc.



Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Deep Pressure Therapy

Josie had a period of about two months that were temper tantrum after temper tantrum, and meltdown after meltdown.  It was living hell for me, Kevin, Sofia and her.  As her communication has increased, the tantrums and meltdowns have decreased, but not stopped.  I researched and researched, as I constantly am doing, and decided to try deep pressure therapy.  The results have been...

Monday, 12 November 2012

Tips For Speech/Communication Delays - Increasing Vocabulary

"I'm simply speechless!"

Increasing a child's vocabulary is often easy.  If there is a speech delay, this is not the case.  It is not as simple as just talking to the child and repeating words over and over (although we do this anyways!)  Simply saying "Josie, can you say ____" is mostly useless.  Saying "Josie, what's that?" often draws just a blank look, or some jibber-jabber.  So, what did I do to help increase her vocabulary?  Here are my tips:

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Sensory Processing Disorder - The 7 Senses

I was so happy to see Josie playing in the
mud that day...  Another parent might
have thought "Oh what a mess!"
I thought "What a great thing!"
Everybody has some sort of sensory issue.  For me, I detest anything rubbing my feet.  Kevin, in contrast, loves rubbing his feet on everything!  Nearly everybody cannot stand the sound of fingernails scratching chalkboards.  Some people hate the smell of eggs cooking.  A person might be exceptionally clumsy.  Another person may crave the feeling of going really fast.  An itchy shirt tag might drive you crazy!  The difference between having a sensory issue and having sensory processing disorder (in my opinion) is your ability to cope with the issue.  An average person can easily avoid what bothers them, or if it's unavoidable, simply sucks it up and continues their day.  An average person can curb behaviours they shouldn't engage in, like speeding in their car, or walking around rubbing their feet on everything.  A child with SPD...  well, they may react with tantrums, meltdowns, repetitive odd behaviours, outright refusal to do things, or the inability to stop "inappropriate" actions.  Their brains process sensory information in different ways than most people.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Meltdowns Versus Tantrums



Something that most people do not understand is Josie's meltdowns.  When I talk about it, the general consensus is that she's two, she's going to have tantrums.  Josie does have plenty of tantrums.  But what concerns me is her meltdowns.  What is the difference?  I'm going to clarify that for you!


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Postpartum Depression From A Husband's Perspective


    So I thought part two of my blog could be about postpartum depression from the dad's view.

    First I would like to say that Kim had made vast improvements and large steps toward recovery.

   That doesn't mean that it's over, not by a mile. But it's safe to say that it is as real as clinical depression. Like depression it is much more than feeling down, or a bad few days. It's not the blues or feeling bummed. It's a smouldering fire that sucks all of the enjoyment out of life. The only thing that one wants to do is stay in bed all day or be somewhere else. The only problem is that the wanting to be somewhere else is perpetual.

Sounds Sensory Activity - Shaking Easter Eggs!


Josie has a number of sensory issues.  Depending on the day, it could be issues with sound, touch, taste,  smell or visual.  I try to do activities with her to practice with her senses, try to get her used to different sensory "overloads", and help her develop ways to cope with them.

One activity that I did, which she absolutely loved (and still loves!) was to make her "shakers."

Tips for Speech/Communication Delays - Pointing

The two speech and communication issues we focused on first were pointing and vocabulary.  I figured that we could decrease tantrums if we could get her to, in some way, using words or gestures, show us what she wanted.  These are still a work in progress, but we have had some great successes!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Speech Delays

Speech delays are something that can easily be overlooked.  A lot of people, including some doctors, don't realize what the new standards are for a child's speech development.  Often, the rule of "talking by two" is still used.  This is outdated information.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Could It Really Be Autism? May to July of 2012

What finally led me to believe Kevin could be right?  Well, I denied it for so long because Josie made eye contact, was affectionate at times, and had developed rapidly as an infant, meeting all of her milestones easily.  This did not fit with the image of Autism that I had formed.  After doing a lot of research, I realized that no two autistic people are ever the same.  She had a number of red flags and markers of Autism.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Autism... When Did It Start Pt 3

Miss Sofia was born on February 15th, 2 weeks early but perfect as could be.  Josie stayed with my parents for a few days while I was in the hospital and we got settled in at home.  Josie didn't have much interest in the baby, barely even glancing at her.  The only time there was any concern was while I was nursing, Josie hated that, and would start kicking Sofia and I.  But time outs ended that quickly enough, no big deal.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Two Under Two

I was one of those "crazy" people who had two kids under two.  Some people told me when I was pregnant that I was crazy, others were supportive and thought it was fantastic.  Yes, it was on purpose.  Yes, we thought it through.  Yes, we decided it was a good idea.  No, we were not crazy.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Autism… When Did It Start? Pt. 2 - AKA - Josie, Age 1 to 1.5


Josie’s first birthday party was a big affair.  We had dozens of people over, set up a big tent outside, and enjoyed the sunshine.  Our daughter was at her finest, toddling along, smiling at everybody, and enjoying herself.  While she didn’t have much interest in her unwrapping her presents, or eating her cake, everybody had a wonderful time.  I was pregnant again by that point, although we had told very few people, as we didn’t want to take the attention away from Josie on her big day.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

My beginning

My story
Well this is my first time blogging, and it's not what i thought it would be about. I thought it would be about cool cars or tools or something. But this feels more important.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Autistic Days Versus Normal Days


I’d like to preface this post by saying that my child, like any other child with Autism, has Autism everyday.  Autism is not a disease that can be treated until it is gone.  Autism is a disorder, it will always be there, but we strive to treat the symptoms.  However, Josie has what I refer to as “Autistic Days” and “Normal Days”.  She also has days that are somewhere in between.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Autism… When Did It Start? Pt. 1 - AKA - Josie, Birth to 1 Year


When did it all start?  This is a question I have spent a lot of time torturing myself with.  When did it get bad, that I know for sure.  Sometime between March and May of 2012 the severity of the situation escalated.  But, when did it start?  How did I not notice?  Looking back, there had been some warning signs for a while.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Rubber Duckies and Spoons... The Beginning.


My life has been in turmoil for the last 8 months.  I have been dealing with a lot of things.  The birth of our new baby Sofia, the aftermath of it with some postpartum depression.  The new responsibility of caring for two children, rather than just one.  But,  the most difficult thing, something I scoffed at when my husband first mentioned it, something I didn't want to believe…  Something that nobody outside of family, close friends, and doctors have been told of…  Still, we have no definitive diagnosis, but, I think it’s time to start sharing our story.  So here it is:

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