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

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Hairdresser Added to My Resume!

Well, I can officially add "Hairdresser" to my Autism Mommy Resume.

Josie's hair has been an issue since she was 6 months old.  That's when she had to have her first haircut.  Her bangs were so long she couldn't see anymore!

Her bangs continued needing to be cut every 3 or 4 months after that.  Sounds like no big deal right?  Honestly, it wasn't a big deal.  Until she was nearly 2.

At two she developed a very heightened sensitivity to all things hair related.  I find this quite curious because she has an extremely high pain tolerance.  Another autism mystery :-)

It was a fight to wash her hair (especially since she hates the feeling of water), brush her hair, put her hair up.... and worst of all, cut it.  She would even freak out watching somebody else have their hair cut!  Desensitizing has been unsuccessful thus far.

So I finally took the plunge.  I chopped off a solid 6-8 inches.  She either hasn't noticed, or she's okay with it.

Hopefully it will be easier to brush now that there is so much less of it!

Monday, 24 June 2013


There are days where every fibre of my being hurts.  My body aches, my mind spirals downward into an unstoppable depression.  The feelings of helplessness and hopelessness are harsh realities at these times.  I experience a complete drain of my superwoman abilities.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Hardest Thing About Being an Autism Mom

Life with autism isn't always peachy; if you read my blog regularly you're already aware of that.  There are good times and bad times, laughter and crying.  (Mostly laughter in this family!)  There is one thing that tends to get me down in the dumps - what I consider to be the hardest thing about being an autism mom.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Guest Post - A Parent’s Guide to Caring for an Autistic Child

Today we have our first guest poster! Please enjoy.
Shutterstock Image
provided by author

Autism is a lifelong disability that affects how your child communicates with other people and sees the world around them. The condition manifests itself in different ways in different children; some will be able to live a normal life, while others may need specialist support for life.
Despite being called a ‘hidden disability’, there are over 700,000 people in the UK with autism  meaning the condition touches the lives of 2.5 million people every day. If you’re a parent of an autistic child, you’ll want to provide the best possible care for your child.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Motorcycle Ride for Autism, Ottawa

I would like to take a moment to shamelessly plug my father-in-law, Dave Kuhnle, and his new cause The Motorcycle Ride for Autism, Ottawa.

Dave is the most generous, caring and involved Grandpa that he could possibly be.  Somehow, despite owning and operating his own business, he is always available to babysit his granddaughters,  play with the kids, and now, has made the time to start a ride to support autism.

Autism awareness has become a cause near and dear to our entire families hearts.  I'm so proud of Dave for taking this awareness a step further, and founding The Motorcycle Ride for Autism, Ottawa.  There is a lot of work involved to found a cause like this, but he is taking it in stride.

If you have the time, money or resources to volunteer, donate or ride, please do.  You can get more information by visiting our website, Facebook page, Twitter account, Google + account, or blog.  (Another shameless plug, all the social media and the blog is run by me!)  Of course, you can also contact me directly.

We are nearly set up for registration and donations, give us a little more time!  

Thank you readers for taking the time to consider our cause!  Thank you once again to my father-in-law and mother-in-law!  Dave and Noella, we appreciate all you have done and all that you do!

Friday, 31 May 2013

Sickie Chickie Update

Yesterday I posted about Sickie Chickie.  Not two minutes after I wrote the post, published it and shared it to my Facebook page, he passed away.  It was very peaceful, cradled in my hands.

I thought I would be sad, upset, hurt and devastated.  Instead, I felt at ease, comfortable and acceptance.  I had a feeling that is very rare for me - that everything happens for a reason.  This is a philosophy I never hold much stock in... but perhaps this experience changed that.

Maybe this chickie was hatched and presented to me for a reason.  To remind me of our family's values and philosophies.  To teach me that we can truly only do the best that we can.  To reinforce my belief that EVERYBODY deserves help.

It seems to me that it is absurd that I felt serene after the passing of an animal that I was taking such careful care of.  But that is how I felt.  I think it is because I followed through with my heart,  tried to help him, and kept him calm and peaceful for his short time with us.

Sickie Chickie reminded me of a lot, and taught me a lot.  Pretty amazing for a 3" little critter with a disability who only lived for a mere 72 hours.

I am proud of him.

I hope that my two children, who are less than 3', who have autism and will live a much longer life than that little guy can teach and remind the world of what is important.

I am proud of them too.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Autism and the Sickie Chickie

I sit here writing this post with a little sick chick wrapped in a dishcloth tucked into my bra.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Ode To My Daughters Eating Habits

Goldfish, Pringles, Arrowroots
What I want her to eat is moot.
Pop tarts, Cheerios, toast
Forget about potatoes and roast!
Broccoli, carrots, olives
All she needs to live.

Nevermind I love to bake and cook,
One look is all it took,
To evoke the dreaded snarl and look
That cannot be mistook
For anything less than pure disgust
I made an item she doesn't trust!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

A Quick Update

We've been super busy the last couple weeks!  A quick update is in order, as I have not had time to post!

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

5 Fundamental, Yet Accidental Ways This Parental Unit Became Less Judgmental!

I had different thoughts back then...

Kevin and I laugh.  A lot.  It's either laugh or cry, right?  So I present to you five things I've learnt to laugh about thanks to autism.  You'll see, I used to be a judgmental, irrational and critical specimen   I aim to change the worlds judgmentalness (is that even a word?) one person at a time!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

An Update on Josie's Speech - Echolalia

Josie's speech has improved dramatically!  Her speech has improved more than her communication, but that has come a long way as well.  Her vocabulary is the same or maybe even better than your average 2.5 year old.  However, she doesn't use that vocabulary to make meaningful phrases, or communicating sentences.  Her sentences and phrases come from TV or the tablet and are just repetition, not communicating anything expressive.  We have entered the phase of echolalia.  

Monday, 22 April 2013

How I Solved The Lunchtime Dilemma

What time is it?  It's time for lunch!  Maybe.
I was sick and tired of throwing out perfectly good food.  I only ever served foods that I knew she liked, but that didn't matter.  When Josie decides she isn't going to eat something, she isn't going to eat it.  She will starve herself rather than eat something she doesn't want to, even if it is a food she likes.  


I was tied to her whims each day.  Serving up lunch, then 90% of the time throwing out at least half of it.  Wasting perfectly good food (and money!) every single day...  Don't forget she can't tell me what she wants!

Until I got an idea.  A simple idea that took way too long to occur to me.  Enter....  the lunch platter!

Every two or three days (or as needed) I make up a big old platter.  At least two kinds of veggies, two kinds of fruit, two kinds of meat and two kinds of cheese.  I chop it all up, fill up a serving platter, wrap it up and put it in the fridge.  I put a few kinds of crackers into a bowl, wrap it up and leave it on the counter.  Come lunch time I unwrap it all, plop it on the table and let her eat what she wants.  Then I wrap it back up and return it to the fridge.

She eats what she wants each day, and I'm not throwing things out.  Every few days what's left goes in Kev's lunch, and I start all over.  Josie gets to eat according to her whims of the day without frustrating me!

Examples of what I put on the platter:
Carrot sticks
Cucumber slices
Broccoli florets
Pepper slices
Apple slices
Pear slices
Orange segments

The possibilities are endless...  This makes my life easier!  

Suggestions?  Drop me a comment!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Vitamins, Supplements and Probiotics - Oh My!

We started taking a bit of a biomedical approach with Josie in late January.  For our family, this has involved a number of vitamins, supplements and digestive aids, as well as diet changes and lifestyle changes.  We are very impressed with the results of this approach, and so proud of Josie's improvements since we started!  I will remind you that:  1)  I am not a medical professional and 2)  What works for one child may not work for another.

Monday, 15 April 2013

An Easter With Autism...

Easter - what kid doesn't love Easter!  Josie loved it last year, and it made sense.  She loves collecting things and arranging them "just so".  We were super excited for Easter, especially since Christmas wasn't too big of a hit with her.  

Saturday, 13 April 2013

When Your Child With Autism Is Sick...

Having a sick child sucks.  Watching your little one suffer, act completely different than usual, and not being able to help is heartbreaking.  Couple all of that with Autism and a whole new level of stress and worry is reached.

Friday, 12 April 2013

For Comparison - A Crummy Morning at the Kuhnle Home

Previously I posted a little bit of our normal morning routine, complete with timeline. (Read it if you haven't already!)  Well, last Sunday morning was a crummy morning in our home, and I thought I should show you a bad start to the day, which generally leads to a bad day in general.

Welcome to a crummy morning in our household, a morning I wish hadn't happened!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

A Morning at the Kuhnle Home

Life with autism equals life structured.  (At least for us!)  Every morning is exactly the same.  There can be no changes, and Josie lets you know if you do something wrong.

So, I welcome you to a morning at the Kuhnle home!  Here is what the first couple hours of every single day look like:

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Sofia's Story - Part Three, The Assessment

Yesterday morning we bundled up Sofia and went out for her assessment.  I was so nervous I felt like I could puke at any moment.  That was when I realized that I knew something was wrong, even through the veil of hope and denial I had created.

Sofia's Story - Part Two, 12-14 Months

In a relatively short amount of time things changed.  We went from our mild worrying about Sofia (because of what happened with Josie,) to actually being concerned.  As I sit here and look back, the signs were quite obvious...  but of course, I mistakenly convinced myself we were just being paranoid.  I tend to think that all parents who have a child with autism worry about the others...

Sofia's Story - Part One, Birth to 1 Year

My little Miss Sofia was born on February 15, 2012.  She was kind enough to wait until after Valentine's Day!  She wasn't due until the end of the month, but I can't say I was surprised when she came!  Labour was intense but very short, and she was a perfect little girl!  She took to nursing immediately, which was a nice change from Josie.  We had an uneventful hospital stay, and were happy to be back home.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Josie's EEG at CHEO - Exactly What Happens During an EEG?

On April 3rd we took Josie to CHEO for an EEG.  I posted about the experience last week.  (If you haven't read it, check it out here!)  It has been brought to my attention that there was interest in knowing more about the trip, specifically about what the EEG involved.  It wasn't too long of a process, the steps were easy enough to remember!  So here is what happens when you take your child to CHEO for an EEG.  (Or at least what happened for us!)

Are Electronics Bad For Kids? Maybe, But Don't Judge Other Parents!

Today, courtesy of a Facebook friend, I read an article called "Julia Steiny: The Jury’s In, Screen Time Hurts Little Kids."  You can read it here.  This article talks about what we all probably know already; that kids spend entirely too much time in front of the TV and using electronics.  I believe this, trust me I do.  This article struck me however as being a little too judgmental.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Our Visit to CHEO for an EEG

On Wednesday we had to take Josie to CHEO for a scheduled EEG.  Nothing serious - the doctors just want to make sure she isn't having absent seizures when she does her "staring off into space" thing.  I spent the week before this appointment worrying and worrying and worrying...  I was so concerned about how we were going to manage to get this test done.  I mean, I'm sure it's hard enough with an neurotypical two year old...  throw autism into the mix and I just didn't see how it could be done!

I've written a companion post outling exactly what happens during an EEG.  You can find that here.

Friday, 5 April 2013

The Signs and Symptoms of Autism

In the theme of continuing awareness, today I want to talk about the signs of autism.  I want everybody to know what to look for and what the warning signs are.  Here are some of the key signs to look for, and a list of some of the more subtle signs.  There are way more factors than what I list, but it's a start!  There are resources listed at the bottom for more in-depth details.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Being An Autism Mom

This image was posted to my Facebook yesterday, along with the message  "I saw this and thought of you! XO RK."  You can find the creators blog here, and her post about the image here.  I liked this picture so much that I wanted to talk about it, but first I wanted to talk about the man who posted it to me...  my brother-in-law.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Since When Is Awareness A Bad Thing?

Yesterday I did my best to spread awareness about autism.  If I'm your friend on Facebook you probably noticed this. (Or had no choice but to notice because I spammed your newsfeed with posts and pictures.  I apologize for not being in the least bit sorry! )  Autism is now very near and dear to our family, and I want everybody to be aware.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Autism Awareness Day 2013

Today Autism Awareness Day, and I've never been so aware of autism as I am on this beautiful spring day.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

A Very Ducky Christmas

It's March, and I'm finally just getting around to this post...  I've been super busy and barely get a chance to sit down!  So, even though this is a bit behind, I still wanted to share a bit about our Christmas experience.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Activity - Sensory Bags

I kept seeing sensory bags on Pinterest and Facebook.  They looked fantastic!  I thought Josie would really love them, she likes to look and point at things in books. (Yay for pointing!)  So I decided to make some.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Do I Still Want 5 Kids?

I have always wanted 5 children.  I love kids, and I love being surrounded by them and all of the imagination, innocence, craziness and fun that comes with them.  When I was young I loved babysitting, even now I still love babysitting!  Kids are wonderful!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

I'm back!

I'm sorry for the lack of posts since having the assessment and receiving the diagnoses.  We have been super busy with appointment after appointment, trying to set up services, working with Josie, and just being a family.

Life has been up and down over the last few months.  (Plus my laptop is broken so I have to type on my tablet - PITA!)

Things are starting to get under control again in my little world, so I look forward to blogging again!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Finally, Our Assessment

Today was the day we had been waiting for.  Josie was finally going to have her assessment.  Kevin and I were looking forward to it, with fear, anxiety and a sense of relief. 

The assessment process itself was easy, but for me it was emotionally draining.  The questions, the comments, watching her interacting with Josie....  Having her point out things I had never noticed, and hearing her comment on things that I had thought were so improved...  it was tough.  Having her ask us if we were concerned about autism and why we were concerned...  At that moment, I somehow convinced myself that she was going to tell us that Josie was okay, and I was projecting my fears on her.

So, it came as a shock when she said "Your daughter has what we call Autism Spectrum Disorder."

It shouldn't have been a shock, but it was.  We hadn't even told her everything!  Was it that obvious?  I had gotten so used to people trying to tell me that Josie was fine, and to have somebody actually, finally come out and say otherwise made me feel surreal.  And we had not expected to leave with a diagnosis in hand.

I hardly remember the rest of the appointment.  There was talk of our treatment options, and a huge list of people for me to call.  A textbook about intervention was given to us.  None of it felt real, I felt like I was in a dream.

I am still processing the information. 

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