On the floor

On the floor

Eating can be a challenging time for many parents of autism. Why? Because little ones are VERY picky eaters and may or may not necessarily eat what is being presented to them at the time.

I have heard, from a feeding specialist, how a child on the autism spectrum would only eat lays classic potato chips for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Can you imagine how terrifying and frustrating that may be as a parent? The child is not receiving the proper nutrients to be healthy.

I only bring about this story because Hayden was seeing a feeding specialist for his strict eating habits. Concerning meals, Hayden would only eat pepperoni pizza (thin crust) or buffalo chicken snackers made specifically by Michelina in the white box. Would you like to know how picky he is? The same exact snackers came in a green box once and he would not eat them because the packaging was different. Same food, different box.

The audacity.

-Story Time-

Like any other autism household, lunch and dinner time is a different time. Hayden would sit down and eat his food. Normally, that food would consist of, like I stated earlier, either pepperoni pizza or buffalo chicken snackers. For the most part, he eats his food in one bite. If you blink, all of it is gone. Then there are days when he eats slowly. Now, on those slow days you have to be careful.

Out of no where, Hayden will wipe the entire table clean by knocking everything on the floor. Once he does this, he gets up crying and starts running through the house hysterical. Why he does this, I have no clue but I will say that it is quite irritating.

It’s not like he doesn’t like what is being served to him, because he is getting the only items that he will eat. Plus, he is eating it first, then swiping it to the ground. This has caused some confusion on my end.

Maybe it’s just a phase…..

We shall see in a couple weeks or so if this behavior continues.

Cuttin’ up

Cuttin’ up

There are quite a few things I am not able to experience in the world like other parents with “normal” kids.

Getting Hayden’s hair cut is an obstacle that I wish on no person. It’s cardio and a part time job all in one and to top it off, I get charged more because of it. When I say more I mean instead of being charged $10, like every other child was charged for a hair cut, you get a surprise total of $30-$40 because of his special needs.

I am not tripping am I??

*Whew*

He has to be held down while he is getting his hair cut or it will be bad. How do I hold him down you ask? I have him sit on my lap and have my arms wrapped around his torso (including his arms) and my legs wrapped around his. Did I mention he was four years old when all of this happened?

Like I said earlier, a cardio workout, but that should still be no reason to charge almost $50 for a haircut for a child when I am doing the hard part!

So I ask again, am I tripping?

I will say, one of the places we went to was considerate of Hayden’s needs. The owner made sure that there was limited people in the shop. He also made sure to have the lights dim and all music low, just in case there was a sensory overload. That, I appreciated.

However, after being referred to this particular location we experienced very unprofessional-like behavior from one of the other employees there. Not only did this person get a kick out of Hayden fighting because of the sound and vibration of the clippers, but they were laughing pretty loudly. Although the owner apologized for their actions, it was still unacceptable.

Needless to say, we never went there again and I have spread the word to other autism parents in the area about how unprofessional and inconsiderate some of the workers were at this particular location. The owner was nice, but he should have done a better job educating his staff on what autism was. It completely destroyed the image I had for him and that place.

To avoid the unnecessary price spikes and snickering from ignorant bystanders, I decided to start cutting his hair on my own. It saved me a lot of money for months and Hayden was more comfortable around me. Yes, he did try and fight me off or run a away (because of his sensory processing disorder), but I was still able to get the job done.

Ask me if I am able to cut his hair still….

Hayden is the strongest little person I have ever met in my life and the crazy thing about it is he doesn’t realize he has that type of strength. I have had teachers and other professionals tell me he is extremely strong, so when he unleashes his “super power” because the sound of the clippers hurts him, I stopped.

He is only seven years old and he is only going to get stronger. We will have to figure something out about his type 4C hair because cutting, unfortunately, is no longer an option for both of our safety. Maybe when he gets older he will be more accepting of the clippers, but right now it is a no-go.

So for now, we are embarking on a new journey and it is called, ‘Mastering the Crown.’ His little afro will be fun to explore.

Say, what?

Say, what?

I have decided that there is no better way to feel like I am not going crazy than to talk to myself aloud. Sounds crazy, right? Haha.

We all do it, but being a parent with TWO special needs children, it has become a part time hobby for me. So, instead of looking crazy, I decided to take my “special talents” to another level.

I’ve started the Autistic Talks Podcast. It’s a place where I will be able to speak on concerns and other relatable challenges that I face as a parent of autism. It’s a safe space and I know I am not the only parent, with or without autism, that experiences challenges with following the standards of what and how our children are supposed to be in today’s society.

It’s a place to vent and gain a sense of support knowing that there are other parents, friends, or family members that experience the fantastic challenges of raising or being linked to an individual with autism.

So, if you need someone to talk to that understands what it’s like to raise a child with autism or you know someone that can be a positive voice for the listeners that tune in, I want to hear from you!

All you have to do is fill out this form and I will get back to within 24 hours!

It’s always good to have someone to talk to. 🙂

Don’t forget about the gear!

Good Bye 2020

Good Bye 2020

As I sit back and reflect on the chaotic year that 2020 has been, I can not help but be grateful for being able to see it to the end.

I will keep it short today.

Be thankful and be greatful that you have made it this far. Whatever you were putting off to do later, stop it! If you are capable of doing it now, then DO IT!

Tomorrow is not promised.

Although 2020 has been chaotic, it has allowed for me to focus on a lot of things that I kept putting off. Businesses were started. My autism podcast was created, so check it out!

2020 was a lesson. 2021 will be the implementation.

Have a Happy New Year and STAY SAFE!

Stay tuned for more content and stay strong!

Get the gear!

Tackling the Toilet

Tackling the Toilet

Okay, toilet training has always been an obstacle for toddlers but trying to toilet train a child with special needs is on a whole different level!!

With Hayden about to be seven years old, his bowel movements are more so on the adult level and lets just say they are not pleasant to smell or change.

Working with him on his potty training has been a challenge for many reasons.

One, there are videos on YouTube with children (an their parents) flushing random items down the toilet. He saw this and has taken a huge interest in not just flushing anything down the toilet, but flushing the toilet in general. It’s the before and after effect that stimulates him and I can’t stand. Let’s just say there is no more YouTube on any mobile device that he can access.

Secondly, he is very stubborn. He knows when he has to go, yet he will sit there and hold it in until his adult pull-up is back on him. He’s very smart as you can see.

Lastly, he is comfortable wearing the pull-up. It’s what he knows. It is his comfort zone and when people are comfortable it is difficult for them to accept change.

-STORY TIME-

For the last week or so, Hayden has been sitting on the toilet around the same time every night. He needs to be familiar with relieving himself there and not in his pull-up. He has also been very constipated for the last week and when has to go number two, he does like this crazy dance so I know when it is time for him to go.

We were successful one time this week. He went both number one and two in the toilet after sitting for about 30 minutes. That is PROGRESS! Even though it was just a drop, I know he is still very much so constipated. So, I decided to give him a little Miralax to help it flow better. To be honest, it seems as if the Miralax was lacking because it did absolutely nothing for him or was it his stubbornness and he was just holding it in? You would think the Miralax would have done the job, but nope!

Ugh….

On a positive note, Hayden did stand in front of the toilet to let me know that he did indeed have to use the restroom. However, after having him sit for almost an hour with my phone he held it in. This just lets me know that he does know when he has to go and he does feel comfortable sitting on the toilet.

Now, all I need for him to do now is use it. . . . . . .

Pss…..

Don’t forget to check out the gear!

Home Schooling

Home Schooling

I am not sure where most of you are located, but I am in Virginia. The Governor has decided it would be best to close all of the schools, in the state, to ensure everyone’s safety and to further follow the guidelines of practicing ‘social distancing’.

Not going to lie, but when I heard the announcement my heart dropped. Not to say that I was not expecting for the Governor’s decisions to be that, but I wasn’t really mentally prepared for it.

Think about it, it’s March and school was to let out in June. Then, there is summer break, which lasts until September. Let’s add all of this up, shall we? That is six months with them out of school! My mind is all over the place, but at the same time I understand why the decision was made.

Little kids are dirty little creatures (and I say this with a smile on my face.) They cough and sneeze without putting their hands over their mouths and washing their hands is occasional to them. When you think about, adults do this too which is sad, but kids are young and they are still learning how to practice safe and healthy habits. Adults, what is your excuse???

So in the mean time, I had to go from “mommy mode” to “teacher mode” and determine which sites and applications would provide enriching material for both kiddos. Considering I have a pre-schooler and a kindergartner, I had my work cut out for me, but I was able to compile a list of sites and apps that provided both on-line and printable activities for the kids and parents.

Apps: (Please know that some of these apps do cost)

  • Verbal Me
  • Autism DDT Letters
  • See.Touch.Learn
  • Autism iHelp
  • Sight Words
  • Words on Wheels
  • ABC Mouse

Sites:

PARENTS: please use this time to continue where the teachers left off. Even if it is for a 30 minutes a day. You don’t want your child starting school the next school year and they are behind. That not only sets the teacher back, but also the other students. Now is the time for everyone to work together.

I understand that time may be limited for some parents, so do what you can.

Until next time, keep your head up and stay safe!

Kindergarten

Kindergarten

I haven’t blessed you all with a story in a few weeks. The holidays, kids, and school caught up to me but something exciting did happen….

Hayden started kindergarten . . . .enough said.

As a parent, a special needs parent at that, so many emotions will start going through your head. How will the other kids react to him? Will he be okay? Does his teacher really understand him? DOES THE TEACHER KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING?

It’s only been three days, so Hayden is still adjusting.

How did his second day go you asked?

-Story Time-

I assumed it went great because I did not receive a text or phone call from his teacher. Needless to say, I was mistaken. There was a nice size note about what all took place that day, in his book bag that I was not ready for.

I mentioned before that Hayden was still adjusting. Well, when he doesn’t want to leave a preferred activity, he may throw a little tantrum, have a meltdown, or if there is enough space between him and the adult- elope.

He was at recess, and Hayden loves being outside. He is a nature boy. It was time to come inside, but he wasn’t having it at all. Guess what he did….

This little running back ran out of the playground and to the football field (I mean through the football field), which by the way he ran 95% of it at FULL SPEED! *insert emoji*

One meme comes to mind when I read that part about Hayden, “aight, im’a head out!”

LOL

This little guy is super fast and this was only day two. I can’t wait to read more exciting stories from his teacher!

Family vs Autism

Family vs Autism

I know I am not the only one that has experienced a shift in support from family members once a diagnosis was given to your child. I know I am not the only parent to experience the same stares that strangers give from family- blood relatives when out in public settings?

How do you accept that? Do you accept it?

Autism is just a label. A label that was created to allow individuals with a unique set of gifts to stand out from us “regular” folks. But, it is still just a label. A label that should not allow for others to be treated differently. Just because these individuals are unique, does not make them contagious. It does not mean that they do not have feelings and it also doesn’t mean that they want be left alone.

I have family members that used to be willingly open to watching both Hayden and Maya. These same family members knew that there was the possibility that they could have been different, but they were still treated the same as other family members.

Once the diagnosis was done and that label was placed on both of my children, these same family members’ behaviors took a shift. They weren’t so willingly open to watching them and their reasoning for doing so was because they didn’t know what to do with them. (-_-)

How pathetic is that?

You treat them the same as you were before the label was placed on them. It’s not that difficult. It’s hard enough to deal with the small-minded people out in the community, but to have family members who are old enough to educate themselves on autism act like their own blood is contagious is sickening and disheartening.

So, this goes back to my question, do you accept the behaviors from family that treat your children differently?

NO

As an adult, if you come across something that is new to you, you make yourself aware of what it is and how to work with individuals that have it or you can stay in your bubble and look crazy.

I’ve chosen to not associate myself with people, blood included, that feel it’s okay to stare, make sly remarks, and overall mistreat their family because they didn’t turn out to be “normal.” If you really think about it, what is really normal? That is another conversation for another day.

In the end, my kids are still happy and they are doing just fine. Their loss……

Are you okay?

Are you okay?

…….that’s a good question. (haha) I only laugh because it’s not something that is asked too often.

As a parent, a good parent, your top priority is to make sure that your kid(s) are taken care of. This often means that their needs are put before yours, which is fine and how it should be.

So, where does that leave time for you to take care of you?

Attending speech, occupational and soon to be feeding therapy sessions on a weekly basis, mixed with working a full time job, sprinkled with graduate school home work, and finally a dab of being a single parent. . . . I am sure there is more to add to this list, I just don’t want to overwhelm you.

I’ve learned from many experiences that if I do not make time for myself, my body and health will feel it later and all of this could eventually affect both Hayden and Maya.

Having this conversation with other parents made me feel at ease that I was not alone, but at the same time I did not feel okay that we were all experiencing these feelings.

We all know time can be limited in some households, so you make the best of the little time you have and do something for you so that you can be okay the next time someone asks.

Self Care

Here are some self-care suggestions to help you stay on your toes!

  • Go for a walk-if you are unable to leave the home, walk up your stairs if you have them
  • Be completely still for a few minutes
  • Read a book
  • Take a nap
  • Have a sip of your favorite drink – drink responsibly
  • Take a hot shower or bath (whichever your prefer)
  • Say NO – this may be hard for some, but not adding extra work to yourself can help
  • Get a massage
  • Start an exercise regimen
  • Drink tea/coffee

All it takes is a baby step. The more you make time for yourself, the better you will feel about tackling your every day tasks and protecting your mental health.

That way, the next time some asks if you are okay, you can gladly say yes without lying.

Funny moment

Funny moment

Not everything will be serious on this blog. You have to laugh a little, right?

Story Time

Hayden is very inquisitive. From the moment you open a bag of chips, to the moment you twist the cap off a bottle of water. You may not think he heard you, but he did.

For some reason, he enjoys watching me hand mix things in the kitchen. For sensory purposes, the hand held mixer does not get used around him.

Anyway, pancake batter……..

He loves watching me mix and pour it on the skillet, yet he wont eat it! (After eating it a year for breakfast lunch and dinner, I wouldn’t eat it either.)

So during this particular time, he was watching as I poured the batter on the skillet. I turned my back to it for just a second to put something in the sink. When I turned back around, there was a hole in one of the pancakes on the skillet and a trail of pancake batter leading outside of the kitchen.

I follow the soggy trail through the dining room, living room and lastly to the staircase (which by the way is carpet). Now, my living room furniture is black leather. There were two battered up finger prints on my sofa. *sighs*

I continue the trail up the stairs until I get to the top where I see two smeared hand prints. I am going to take a wild guess and say that is where he wiped his hands.

I go to his room and he is hiding under his bed. I can’t be mad because I know he probably burned his little nubs from being nosy, so that was his punishment.

Moral of this story, don’t turn your back on inquisitive kids!