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Adaptive Mom



Mom to 2 teens on the Autism Spectrum. Learning and living with kids who need to teach Mom that the world isn't what she thought it was....and so I must 'adapt'! Insights and often comical situations we get ourselves into....living life to it fullest.



Updated: 2016-09-07T22:28:55.088-06:00

 



1 Comments

2010-10-25T18:54:25.206-06:00

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No..we haven't completely fallen off the planet...just been busy. Another fall in full swing here in the wilds and soon we'll be hiding like chipmunks till Spring.
Final high school year for Mr M...and so far its uneventful *thank goodness*. Last year was not good 'socially' for him. The concept of 'vulnerable' person was made evident as he fell victim to some teenagers playing mind games. His heart was broken when he was 'cut off' and did not understand the 'game'. He's very guarded this year with sharing anything about his life. Can't blame him...I would do the same if I were in his shoes. Girls are a hot topic again and is having a hard time with meeting girls that can accept him. Grades are not so good this first term...difficultly in his majors due to the reading comprehension issues I suppose. He decided to take American Sign Language as an elective. He's worried they are going too fast but so far I've not had any reports from the teacher of him falling behind. I reminded him that he knew quite a few signs when he was about 4 years old. We used sign in conjunction with speech thinking it would increase his ability to verbalize...we slowly dropped the signing due to his learning to speak quickly after starting ABA and speech therapy. Now we can't get him to quiet down...so much for worries on that end (and the Dr's saying he would never speak)!
Mr R is still working at the job he got in 2008. He's making new friends at a local gaming site and learning to interact with folks at work. I'm SO proud of this kiddo for continuing to stay focus on work. I know at his age many guys just can't deal with the pressures of working and socializing. Still working on that drivers license...but he's ok with that. His 21st birthday is the day before Mr M turns 18.....two big birthdays in two days. Two amazing young men in my book.
The King and I are doing well...both working and loving life together. Both hoping that this year continues without any major 'crisis' on the homefront. *chuckles a bit* The normal is probably NOT so normal to most people but around here life moves in fast forward...you have to take time to catch up or you are missing a few bits. Lots of notes to each other and our nightly phone calls *we work different shifts*....we look forward to spending weekends together with each other and family.
Hoping to check in now and then...should life permit me to . Work is about to spring into 'seasonal' high gear (work for a major greeting card company) for me along with the birthday/holiday rush. Will check in and catch up on readings some more blogs soon.
always,
DES



September Thoughts

2009-09-22T07:05:10.234-06:00

(image) Well...we're back to school for Mr M. He's a junior this year and hoping this year goes smoothly is always on our minds come September. He's got a few 'major' classes this year and we have to wait and see how it goes with his reading comprehension issues. He's already come home stressed about the 'dissection' part of biology (which doesn't actually come till mid year). I told him we'll wait and deal with that when the time comes. Email arrived the other morning from his sp ed case manager...' needs to understand he MIGHT have homework to bring home' type message. Mr M has always done his homework in Study skills due to the fact he mentally shuts down at 3pm. For the last 3 years I've told the school that should he ever get a pile of homework it would be difficult for him to 'accept' the idea of taking it home. DUH. Anything outside his 'norm' is going to cause problems. All I can do is tell him and hope he brings it home. Mr M has a unique way of saying things...always has....but what the school doesn't get is he's not trying to be 'smart' or 'sassy'...he's just being truthful and blunt. His reply to them telling him that he may have homework to bring home is..."I don't bring homework home". Just a fact (in Mr M's mind)....not defiant...just fact. Oh well...don't think they will ever 'get' his way of communicating.

Mr R is still working...and doing well. Still working on the 'driving' and hoping to take his driving test soon. Things we didn't count on (but should have) is his executive function skills issue playing into driving. The whole...planning and thinking part of driving is causing a bit of concern. Naturally as we come to a stop sign we THINK...gee....coming up on the stop sign....should apply the brake....ok....start braking...etc etc. This is a bit...sticky with him. He kinda comes up on it fast and then tries to brake. Geeeez...somedays I need a stiff one just to be in the car with him (JOKE!) LOL! Oh well...we'll keep practicing and prompting.

Summer flew by...and now the leaves are beginning to turn and the mornings are filled with dew and fog. The pic above is one I took a while back in the early morning. Love the smell of the morning....pretty soon it will be too cold to take those walks. *sighs* Oh well....enjoy while we can right?

DES and the crew



Choices...our change for the better

2009-08-16T08:42:48.743-06:00

One thing I worked on this year was examination of my kids services and how I could better improve the quality, time and management of those services. Over the years I've noticed that PCA (personal care attendants) and respite providers come and go at times. Having kids with Autism has taught me that when staffing says they are 'moving on'....its time to prepare for another HUGE transition. The unfortunate part is...we have no choice in when that transition happens. Sometimes we got less than one days notice...and poof...they were gone. Agencies would scramble to 'find' another staff that would fit and often months went by with no staffing support. Working in the nursing field myself I completely understood burnout and the high turnover. Nonetheless, when it comes to living with the consequences 24/7...it puts a whole new light on the matter.My son's have been on the CADI waiver since early 2001. Services are based upon the assessments done by the county and decisions are made by the county as to how much, when, and where. Many, many cookie cutter programs out there....I've tasted most of them. Also, to get any sort of 'equipment' for sensory or home based use was an act of God. Even after 'recommendations' from said people my kids got very little. Too many hands in the till, IMHO. So...this year I seriously considered their needs and where they were in life as far as what services they depend on to get through their day. Looking at the program options available...I stumbled upon the CDCS option. CDCS (Consumer Directed Community Supports service) is a waivered program which allows consumer choices to how those supports are delivered and by whom. In Minnesota, they are available to people on Medical Assistance waivered programs and Alternative care programs (maybe not in all counties...I'm not sure). But it WAS available for us.Advantages of CDCS? First starts....you choose and design the services and supports that BEST fits your assessed needs (yes...you still need the assessments done by the county). The consumer (wow..novel idea) decides when you should receive those supports and services and WHO you hire to provide them. This can include spouses and parents. You do the hiring and firing! YOU decide how much to pay them. The county and state still monitor to ensure the health, safety and well being and to ensure that everyone is in compliance with state and federal regulations. Worth mentioning too....you can stop using the CDCS at any time and return to other waivered services. So in a nut shell...this was a new and better option for my guys. I knew that alot of what my staffing issues were..lack of pay and flexibility in their schedules (beings they had several clients through and agency that they had to service). Before I chose this new road....I DID check with the staff that I wanted to see if they would be willing to make the change with us. The ones that stayed....are invaluable and agreed wholeheartedly. Downsides..there is alot of paperwork and direct supervision on my part. But hey...at what point having a special needs child do we NOT have paperwork? And don't we WANT to have that ability to supervise what staffing is doing with our kids? Of course! I just penciled in a certain day each week for paperwork and budget review (can be done on a monthly basis). For me, the option of being able to personally train, supervise and change a care plan at ANY point is beyond words. My kids are constantly changing in their needs...from day to day...to transitioning back to school....to sudden lapses in skills (regressions) etc. The flexibility benefits my children and its easier on me then having to make phone calls and try and schedule in several meetings to make a simple change in service plan. So far...things have gone quite well and we're all adapting to having the FREEDOM that this plan has to offer. My kids staff...just plan HAPPY now to come to work. Go figure! :)This past summer a lot [...]



Another summer's ending...

2009-08-16T08:02:46.479-06:00

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As another summer comes to an end I have to think at least we had a bit of fun this year. Mr M discovered ATV's (thanks to his eldest brother coming over with his vehicles). My daredevil...speed demon scared at least a year off my life. He's a rule kid...so he did listen to all our rules and even counseled Mr R with a few *hehe*. I know the dangers of these things, but also realize I'd rather them learn how to ride something like this with parental supervision then later without. Luckily we have 40 acres for them to roam around on....including a back 20 of pure field. I did get the hang of it too...although I never realized what a workout the old muscle get. Ouch!
Mr M has spend alot of his time with his staffing this summer. Working on eating breakfast, transitioning and re-learning the concept of adult respect (lost recently due to idea of turning into a full blown teenager). Although Mr M is a 'rule' kid, he found it difficult to deal with the a-typical behavior in senior high without testing some of the mannerisms and language (not profanity specifically...just rude and short answers). He spent time roller blading, swimming, visits to the library etc. A break through with staff was his willingness to dry himself, lotion and dress in the men's bathroom.....ALL by himself! *three cheers* Now to take that and get it to work at home for showering...ahhhhh...would be grand! :)
Mr M will be a junior this year....and with it all that comes with that lovely social scene. All we can do is work with what comes home, and hope he gets through the year without serious incident. School starts up again September 8th.
Until then, he definitely still has his summer 'mode' on!



He-man and the school ring

2009-05-14T07:38:00.635-06:00

(image) Well...Mr M finally has his school ring. All year he has looked forward to the time when rings would be ordered. I looked at it as "gee...I hope he brings the paperwork home this time". A year ago he took it upon himself to fill out his yearbook order to the tune of over $75. He got all the 'extras' and informed me the bill would be sent to the house. *how lovely* I went online the next day and downsized his order to a simple version with his name on it...cost $42. Much easier to digest, I think.

The whole school ring in sophomore year is new to me anyway. We used to get them in our Junior year (but alas, I'm showing my age again). :) We met with the 'ring guy' and he selected his style (with Mom's guidance codes on pricing) and then chose his 'extras'. His name (he loves his name), a Peace sign (another flashback) and his graduation year on the other side. He chose the Red garnet due to it being his signature color and felt happy with his choices. He does not like his birthstone (Nov)...so my advice was ignored *again*. Within 8 weeks final payment was due and he had the ring come early morning one day.

Then the evil sensory issue popped. He's never had issues wearing 'rings'...I have a picture of him when he went through his "wear one on every finger" stage. But...these are measured to have some play and tight enough to just go over the knuckle. He came home that day with the ring squished on his index finger instead of his ring finger. He looked as if he was going to raise it in the air and yell, "By the power of Grey Skull...." like He-man would. I explained it might swell...and then have a problem...to no avail. As I thought about the problem I realized it was probably a new sensation...that looseness on the finger. Being a sensory seeker...it was probably tickling him. Thoughts of resizing went through my head. Nope...we'll have to get used to it, somehow!

The next morning he woke up with the index finger swollen and the ring cramped firmly on it. We managed to get it off....but I think it 'clicked' about the issue with wearing it there. He agreed to wear it on his ring finger and give it a week (to get used to it). IT WORKED! *yay*

As you can see by the picture....Mr M is QUITE the bling-boy to start with. He LOVES 'decorating' himself. He always has at least two watches, an autism band and sometimes his wizards necklace. So proudly he wears his school ring...just a bit more FLASH for my guy! :)

just hope he doesn't want piercings!




Drama King lives again

2009-05-14T07:44:46.086-06:00

I don't see my post made a week or so ago...but had to at least update this one (been awhile eh?)Mr M is again in the community theatre play this year. Last year was his first year...I had my doubts, but was pleasantly surprised how well he coped with all the issues.My only regret was at the end of the year cast party (which I volunteered to help with) I was pulled into a conversation by a 'person' who works with this theatre company...she also works at his school in the drama department. The other mother and I were cleaning up after the cast party and was asked, "Did you guys see that crazy kid...***** (insert my kids name) and all his stupid antics? He was falling all over the place and in the last set I saw his @$$ crack all the way from the tech booth!" *I look at M (the other mother) and didn't say anything* She was looking at me as if to say..."say something!". My biggest fear was that if I announced I was Mr M's Mom that she would, in her supreme foulmouthing...say something to him. What I wanted to say was..."Lady? *used loosely* Do you have ANY idea of how difficult it was for my son to interact with all these kids, to take and follow directions from the directors....to perform "6" shows in front of live audiences?"But I held back...and shrugged and walked away. If she's going to DISS off children in that manner I have nothing to say to such ppl. She might want to find out who's who before doing it to another parent though. I cried all the way home (my reaction instead of anger...always). Mr M asked what was up....I told him I was just so happy for him and proud of him. He was fine with that answer.The only problem last year was the director telling the kids it was ok to 'ad-lib' a bit during the shows. Mr M took this and ran with it. Instead of 'stumbling' once (as he was suppose to do)...he turned it into several by the end of the play. And NO his butt crack was NOT showing...ever. I went to EVER performance. He had on a belt so tight that the beige knickers he was wearing was cutting off his circulation at the waist! He also had issues with getting to OCD over things....wanted the directors time alot to ask questions. Many many questions. Typical for the autistic kids....and I did make the directors aware of his disability towards the middle of the play practices so that they could better understand his need for clarity. They were surprised and delighted to have him in their show.This year is a new show....and he has a few parts as well as the ones with the other kids (dance and song numbers). So far, he's having some difficulty again with the 'clarity' issues. I've noticed he's not really WITH all the kids when they are practicing but keeps himself isolated pretty much. His 'acting'....very much improved and he's speaking very clearly and with good tone and volume this year. *yippee!* Practices are slow right now but by early May they will pick up to 3-4 times a week plus Saturdays. Mr M is excited to be in the production this year.... and is looking forward to the actual show (versus sitting in practices waiting your turn). Oh yea...him do the Charleston is a real gut buster to watch too!School is over the end of May here...Sophomore year goodbye...get ready to be a Junior *gulp* Not sure if I'm ready for this one....it puts it closer to the final homestretch![...]



Thankful Thursday 11/6

2008-11-06T06:55:05.144-06:00

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Just as on another blog I thought it would be a good thing to mention on Thursdays....what I am thankful for...hard to choose just a few though some days.

1. CHOICE - Thankful that we live in a country where we CAN choose!

2. Health - Thankful for everyday my family and friends enjoy good health

3. Job - In such times as these...I'm thankful we have jobs. *though we may tend to complain* LOL!

4. Seasons - Such splendor...how can you not be thankful!

5. Ben and Jerry's Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice cream....Oh...sorry...very thankful though (image)

Have a great Thursday!




Frugal Friday..how frugal is TOO frugal?

2008-10-10T08:19:12.755-06:00

Ok...I'm being 'frugal' with my time and importing blogs....I have too many too keep up! So in all fairness...if you missed one here (or don't see a ref. post) it's probably somewhere else. I apologize. Last Friday I posted about the site A Full cup a favorite coupon site of mine. I've learned alot and continue to learn something new everyday. Keep in mind when considering sites like these...use it for what 'works for you'. Pick and choose how you use the site, its recommendations and how much time you have to invest in couponing. (I'm a bear of very lil brain....so I keep is simple!) On Oct 8th, Oprah had an entire show dedicated to 'frugal living'. I normally don't watch her show *for many reasons* but tuned in specifically to see what she came up with. The Coupon Mom segment was of particular interest to me (being the beginner I am). The 'Frugalist family in America' thing kinda freaked me out a bit.....as well as the two ladies who traded furniture *yikes*. I did find it interesting about the lady from Baltimore (my old stomping grounds) who unplugged all unused appliances etc to save...OMIGOSH..she got her electric bill way down! Years ago I bought a book via the employee book sale at Doubleday Book Club called 'The Complete Tightwad Gazette" by Amy Dacyczyn aka the Frugal Zealot. Some of the 'tips' were actually pretty good......others I would have to be on my last leg to consider *ie...saving by only flushing the toilet at certain times* OIY! Or....one suggestion on how to save wax paper from cereal boxes and reusing it (ok...when was the last time YOU used wax paper?) My point...I'm not an extremist...I'm just interested in saving what I can...where I can. It's my SMALL contribution to my family. So...I signed up and joined at Coupons.com and printed off my first LOAD of coupons. The tips and hints they break down over on the Coupon Mom's site are not only useful but also give you an idea of what the average savings can be on a normal weekly grocery bill. The whole Oprah show reminded us to re-think how we spend, what is MUST HAVE, what is WANT and living within our own means. I AM proud to say that we don't use credit cards. Period. With Debit cards so widely accepted as credit cards we haven't had the need. We don't have car payments....we drive UGLY cars (yep...the shame gets me every once in a while) but hey....I just refocus my thinking on the money we save. I'm lucky too in the fact my DH is the greatest mechanic. We have a wonderful 'working' relationship.....I break it...he fixes it! :P *its a love thing* I know there are things we can still do....but this whole mindset takes time. I guess that's my point...we are a society of 'needy' ppl...it will take time to rethink our buying and spending habits. One small step...one giant penny at a time. Tip of the day: I throw a dry towel in with every load of laundry when drying...it helps speed up the drying time. *no...I don't make items from the left over dry lint...its way too close to navel lint in my book!* :)Have a great Friday!DES[...]



News for Kids

2008-10-08T07:23:09.778-06:00

(image) Mr M this year has to have a 'current events' item every day....which has been a constant struggle considering his understanding of 'todays' events. He doesn't think on a 15 going on 16 year old level....he's more like 8-9 years old in most ways. Finding an 'appropriate' article in the paper has become a challenge. Some of the ones I found were ok...like the polar bear from China who swam in a pond filled with algae...making him turn green. MN largest pumpkin winner. Simple article on kids voting for the next president at the Mall of America this weekend. You get the idea...simply written articles that do NOT predict the 'end of the world' as we know it. Most of the ones I DID find had pictures. His 'visual learning' style demands something to connect the text to....again....another issue when it comes to finding an appropriate news article.

I went online in search of current events for kids. Most online articles are older...and I'm not sure his teacher would consider them 'current events'. In a way this whole homework assignment has me thinking what a gloom and doom kinda world we live in. Sorry, I thought that for many years trying to watch the news before bed *something I don't do anymore*. Who can sleep after watching the first 10 minutes of the news headlines at night? Have you ever counted how many 'nice' articles there are in the daily paper? *not many...trust me* NO...I don't expect the important issues to be ignored....but can no one find something GOOD in people to write about? ~ok..rant over...kicks the soap box away~ LOL!

Anyway....anyone have an idea where I can find CURRENT events articles that my son could print out? Something on the elementary/middle school age reading level. He has reading comprehension issues as well as Autism. His understanding of the world is not always age appropriate....and his exposure is limited due to his social skills.

btw..HIS favorite article so far this year...the one where they surveyed kids and it said 97% of boys played video games LOL! *of course he loved the idea...then kids are MORE like him!* :)

If he doesn't bring something every day his grade decreases...*sighs*

Des... the desperate newsworthy Mom




Projects, Plungers and Pocket Gophers

2008-10-06T16:01:25.769-06:00

(image) Not much going on here lately....other than continued work on 'summer' projects not yet completed. I still have things that have to be done before the cold sets in. Amazing how quickly Fall flies by!

What does the title have to do with anything? NOT much! Other than the projects, we were treated to a reminder of another project on the 'to do' list. Our upstairs bathroom has carpet (NOT that we put it in)...but it needs to be taken up and tiled. We proved this theory...one more time, this past week. Mr M *aka TP KING* clogged the toilet while I was at work (he had half a day that day). He took it upon himself (which TOTALLY surprised me) to plunge it. Course....he waited till AFTER the 3 'flush' to try. Water and *mess* all over the bathroom....soaked into the carpet and came through the ceiling downstairs. OH my what a smell..what a mess. My advice to him was to tell an adult as soon as it 'doesn't flush'. He said, "what about if I can't find one of you?" I said, "put a note on it...'do not use!' " I also tried to talk to him about the amt of TP he uses....which is kinda useless with his OCD issues. But hey...a girls gotta try! Then, I had this bizarre thought about that Seinfeld episode..."can you spare a square"..... and I dropped the thought due to my own humor running rampant.

Pocket Gophers...anyone seen one before? UGGGGGGGGGLY...and kinda creepy scary! The King found one on our doorstep this past weekend. He got the hose and tried to 'convince' it to leave....it sassed him (teeth baring). I stayed inside...and watch the antics from the safety of inside, thank you. Anything that 'give you sass with teeth' is NOT going to be photographed by moi! *I'm silly..not stupid!* Just hoping it stays away....guess he's trying to find a cozy spot for winter? ~puts up No vacancy sign~

Work is going well...although I'm duly convinced you cannot please all people all the time! Many complaints when our company puts out new holiday cards....had complaints THIS week cause we don't have Thanksgiving out yet. *sighs* Oh well...Thanksgiving change-over comes with a Christmas preview...that ought to piss off a few dozen per day. :)

Got my new drivers license with my 'new' name....OIY...the photo is the worst I've ever taken (they took it again...for a simple name change?) Mr R says it looks like my hairline is receding...*gasp* Oh well...I like my married name...the picture is just something I'll have to live with (for at least a year...it expires next year).

Project this week...more paperwork. *hows that ever get done?*



A day off....a summary view!

2008-09-24T19:25:25.736-06:00




Marioland?

2008-09-21T08:54:35.926-06:00

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Obviously we got very excited by the idea that the Mushroom Kingdom had finally arrived at our house....Mr M being the 'Mario KING' he is! I posted this over on my 360 blog yesterday but was actually looking today on the net for what the real name of this thing was *we have a habit of naming ODD things round these parts* LOL!
Also found some 'shaggy mane' mushrooms on a walk yesterday....Mr M didn't think those were as cool though. Guess I shouldn't tell them the 'inky' truth about those? http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Mushrooms.Folder/Shaggy%20Mane.html
Considering the fact that 1 out of 100 mushrooms can poison you....I think we'll pass on cooking the buggers up. I'll stick with market bought *I can hear the boos and hissing from Naturalist and Man vs Wild now*
Mr M held his stick in the ready....in case of fungal attacks! *insert Mario theme song*
Guess its the 'shroooom' season?
Have a good one...enjoy the weather! *its 70 here during the day and 50's at night*
DES



Not before coffee, thank you!

2008-09-19T07:57:28.366-06:00

(image) *actual pic of a serving for Mr M*
It IS a lovely shade of GREEN isn't it??? Mr M has requested that Friday's be 'Spinach for lunch' days. *gulp* And so the prep begins at 6am by filling the small thermos with hot water to pre-heat. Opening the can of spinach (yep..he only likes the canned kind) and warming it up to pack for his lunch. Other items in his lunch....cinnamon poptarts, some kinda crackers and apple juice. (ewwwwwww!)
Hey..its nutrition. Just have to get past the smell! His spinach 'liking' started about 3 years ago when he was playing a game and saw Popeye eat spinach. As we wandered through the supermarket that week, I showed him Popeye's canned spinach on the shelf. He agreed to TRY it....and so it stuck! (strange how he decides to eat very specific foods)
I AM having an 'issue' with the Poptart ppl right now. Their 16 family packs are featuring NFL teams plastered on WHITE icing. Anyone who eats the frosted cinnamon poptarts knows the normal color is tan....and so I cannot buy the 'better bargain' until they get off this 'kick'. Mr M refuses to eat them for fear they will taste different (long standing visual issue with CHANGE to foods).
Anyway...as I prepare for my day off today, I still have the obnoxious odor of spinach in my nose. I'm thinking of Fridays with dread....maybe a change from PJ's and sweats to another, more protective outfit...

(image)

DES

Have a great weekend!


photo courtesy...www.survivalcenter.com



Second Verse, Same as the First

2008-09-13T07:56:05.736-06:00

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Not much changed this week in school for Mr M...he still has the same 'complaints'. I know he CAN advocate to some teachers on what going on...but others have a past history of 'poo poo-ing' off what he says. Yes...we would all love to have the coping skills to deal with continual verbal crap from someone else....but lets be real here....I sometimes have trouble with that one! *insert trout slaps for when I didn't hold my tongue*
Given the problem he is having....my solution (or current option) is to email the case manager and hope he passes on what I am saying. The fact that the Special Ed teacher is not even staying to make sure 2 special ed kids are doing ok is not right to begin with...secondly..this kiddo has cause problems in the past with Mr M. Yes, its all verbal (at the moment), but I feel a storm brewing....and Mr M may get frustrated enough to take it to the next level. Doesn't happen often...but when it does...look out!
I also am feeling the need to either meet a few reg ed teachers...or make some phone calls. I know Mr M has study skills class last period and does a majority of his work then....but I don't want him to fall behind or mismanage a larger project that they may be working on. No organizational skills often means missed or incomplete projects. For Mr R...we had the reg ed teachers forward any upcoming projects to his study hall teachers. She helped him to break the assignment down into 'workable' parts.....and set goals for completion. This was very effective....and I'm thinking of suggesting it to Mr M's team.
Anyway...I'm feeling a distinct 'here we go again' about school this year for Mr M. With the social pieces as well as the work level of 10thgrade.
Hope everyone has a great weekend and all are safe from the current hurricane and its affects. We're in for cool temps and showers....just normal stuff for this time of year here in the north.
DES



Anxiety of turning 18...Selective Service

2008-09-08T06:02:54.395-06:00

This past June we had the most JOYOUS occasion to celebrate the graduation of my middle son, Mr R. After struggling for years to get a decent education...he managed to pull off what even I had doubts about. Sure, there are things I KNOW he did not accomplish (and the schools passed him anyway)...but basically he knows what he needs to know to move on with his life. Mr R actually turned 18 in the beginning of his Senior year....and thankfully he had the brains to stay in school and finish (unlike some who turn 18). I'm VERY proud of this kiddo! Selective Service was one of THOSE issues for us. We knew by Law he had to register...but I'll be slapped if I would allow him to register BEFORE finishing school. So we waited....and he just register this past month. TONS of anxiety with this lil process. He's functional enough that he HAS to....and functional enough that he realizes what it means. I did a bit of checking to see if someone with a dx of mental health disorders has to...guess what...YEPPERS! found this article on Autism.com: Question: Must Autistic Teens Register for Selective Service?Parents may feel that their son with an autism spectrum diagnosis should be exempt from the American military, and from selective service registration. But it's not that easy.Answer: Unless a young man is institutionalized, homebound, or "in such a physical or mental condition that he would not comprehend the nature of his registration with the Selective Service System," he is required to register with Selective Service. Here is how the military discusses the issue:Virtually all men must register with Selective Service. The exceptions to this rule are very few and include: nonimmigrant aliens on student, visitor, tourist, or diplomatic visas, men on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, and cadets and midshipmen in the Service Academies and certain other U.S. military colleges. All other men must register upon reaching age 18 (or before age 26, if entering and taking up residence in the U.S. when already older than 18).Disabled men, clergymen, and men who believe themselves to be conscientiously opposed to war must register because there is no draft in effect, nor is there a program to classify men at this time. Should the Congress and the President reinstate a draft, a classification program would begin. Registrants would be examined to determine suitability for military service, and they would also have ample time to claim exemptions, deferments, or postponements. To be inducted, men would have to meet the physical, mental, and administrative standards established by the military services. Local Boards would meet in every American community to determine exemptions and deferments for clergymen, ministerial students, and men who file claims for reclassification as conscientious objectors.The only process now in effect is that men between the ages of 18 and 26 register with Selective Service and keep their registration record current during that period. Neither the Military Selective Service Act nor the Presidential proclamation provide an exemption from registration because of a man's mental or physical condition unless Selective Service is provided with documented evidence that the man is hospitalized or institutionalized, home-bound and unable to function outside the home, with or without physical assistance, or is in such a physical or mental condition that he would not comprehend the nature of his registration with the Selective Service System. A determination is then made by Selective Service as to whether or not the man qualifies for exemption from registration. Explaining this to Mr R was a long process...but I think he understands the[...]



First week is over!

2008-09-06T06:07:19.527-06:00

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Well...first week of school for Mr M is over...without too many 'issues'. I suppose the new wake up time is probably his biggest transition (as well for me!) Again this year he's 50% mainstreamed in Reg education classes. His biggest 'peeve'...he says the first day of school:

Mr M: "I have that 'news' thing to do again for History class this year, every day!"
Mom: "Current events?"
Mr M: "Whatever you want to call it, yea...that stuff"

*shrugs* Mr M has no interest in what's going on in the real world...so this is not easy for him. Every night we scan the newspaper looking for something for him to relate to. So far we've covered the closing of the State Fair (he loves reading the stats), a picture with a caption of the National convention (Rep and Dem mascots riding Segways *sp?*), and a gardening article about White Oaks (he loved the fall picture). Finding that he can take more interest in reading the article if it has some kind of picture with it (visual skills are his strongest asset, of course). Anyway..hopefully as with other things he will get used to the idea of the assignment.

Other stuff...PCA will return next week at least 2 days a week after school. I think this will bring back some 'norm' for him as he had her 3 days a week during the summer. She too return to school (she's a para at another school) for Autistic students.

Ahhh Sophomore year....one wonders what other things that will bring to the mix this year Picture day is Tuesday...boy, they really don't wait long do they?

Been busy with work and kinda been 'nesting' lately. Maybe its the change in temp....but feel like getting some house stuff done before winter hits. Also, lots of paperwork and phone calls to make up for the last few weeks of not doing much but 'relaxing'. Pre-wedding and post wedding 'whew's*.....time to get back into the swing of it, I suppose.

Some Frugal Friday stuff (from my other blog) that got away from me yesterday:
*** certain KMart stores are offering double coupon deals from 9/4 to 9/8. *gee..double coupons USED to be everywhere* Call your local Kmart to see if they are participating.
*** Great deal at Target this past week (good thru 9/6). Buy 4 products (I stocked up on poptarts and cheezits) and get an INSTANT $5 gift card at the register. YES, coupons are also accepted. GREAT deal for someone like me who buys these things every other day (Mr M's foods of the month issues)
*** Also heard 'thru the grapevine' some of the Dollar stores are having 90% off certain items (toys, stuffed animals bookmarks, DVD's etc) This started the last week in August so there might not be much left at this point. Perfect for those who are looking for early stocking stuffers or 'care packages' type things.

Have a great weekend. (I'm working again today). Will try to make some BLOGGY rounds tomorrow *day off!*
((((HUGS))))

DES <>



Life in Rewind...but catching up!

2008-08-31T10:05:07.037-06:00

Hey all! Haven't completely fallen off the earth....just needed some time to get through some difficult things in life. It's been awhile since I've been here, but hope to get back to normal soon. (yea...normal is a stranger to me, anyway!) Lots of things have happened since January (last post)....my eldest son moved in with us so that he could get HIS life straightened out. Oh boy...that didn't go so well. But a parent is a parent...no matter what age they are, you try to give them all the help you can and still let them steer their own course. *shrugs* As of June, he only pops in and out now...which has left us with great sighs of relief. Tough love is not easy....but closure is necessary. In June, Mr R graduated (hears a chorus of something singing!) YAY! He's still working at the grocery store and doing well. He's looking to move on from there, but we still don't have his license (which kind keeps where he can work, limited). Our problem is we don't have a car he can drive to get the license (we all drive sticks...he can't manage it!). Hoping this fall will bring some solutions to that problem. In the interm....he's doing well and happy NOT to be going to school this September. His plan is to work a bit in different fields to see what he really wants to do before checking out Tech schools etc. Wise plan in my book....too many jump into college with no knowledge of what they actually want to study. Hmmm...he's a planner like moi? LOL! June through August...life kicked into home repair mode. Homeowner insurance decided we needed to get things 'fixed up' at the ole farm. Ehm! So we did what other with old farms do....we did it ourselves. At our age....this was a real task. Roofing, painting, and new deck railings....oh ouch (my aching bones). NOT recommended for us middle age folks...but its done! Looks great! Back in March....my dearest love (been together for about 8 years now) asked me to marry him! We decided it was time.....and wanted to make sure the kiddos wouldn't lose any of their services (waivers, pca etc)....and got the go ahead. Only insurance will change is mine. Soooooo....wedding plans went underway. DIY style! (huge task) We always wanted to get married at the Renaissance Festival (which is kinda how we met) but didn't want the kids to have to endure the issues of the 'rules' of the one here. We decided to do a Medieval/Renaissance wedding here at the house. From costumes, food , decor and officiant....plans were furiously being made. August 16, 2008, the King and I married. What a beautiful day....what precious memories we will have forever. And so...with September around the corner. ONE child returning to school (my sophomore, Mr M). My job will begin picking up pace (all hail the influx of Halloween cards and crap)...and preparing for the pre-Christmas set ups. Alot of staffing changes coming for Mr M.....some of which may be very difficult for him. We've been extremely lucky with all our Autism services....but we all know at some point staff may decide to leave for bigger/better pastures. We are grateful for the time they give our family and wish them all the best. Our challenge is coming....adjusting him to new ppl and rebuilding the 'trust' he had with his old staff. School is starting as well....new teachers, old 'nasty' bullies, new friends.....and new topics of study. *takes a deep breath* BUT....I will only have ONE IEP to deal with from now on (ohhhhhh doing the happy dance on that account)!!!!! Anyway...will try to keep up with blogging. I miss reading everyone's news...and hope [...]



Not quite back yet...

2008-12-10T19:11:54.614-06:00

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Nope...haven't completely left the blogging world...just juggling a few new things in life. After the back issues in August, I've been busy seeking new employment that doesn't involve lifting 100-200 lb ppl every day (nursing field). I found a new job at the beginning of December for a major Card/gift wrap retailer....very major company. I'm the retail merchandiser for a local store for this company...and am LOVING the change. Not only do the hours work for me (and the boys schedule) but I'm covered in 'glitter' versus other things *grin*.

Life is moving in fast fwd....not sure where the entire month of December went. Guess that's good...one less month of winter to get through *thinking positive aren't we* What did happen in December?

New job, new grandchild (girl...4 lbs 11oz) to go along with the other 2 grandaughters! (how many princess's does that make, btw ; ) Eldest is deep into issues....helping him stay focused so that he can get this mess straightened out (soon hopefully). My two Princes at home....Mr R is still learning to drive....and working his job at the local market. He also made A honor roll first quarter (whether or not the school allows kids with IEP's to be on it..PPPFTT). A 3.58 grade average is NOTHING to ignore *trout slaps for some schools*. Mr M is busy with his latest obsessions...Insaniquarium for PC, his new DS lite and driving Mom insane with his 'need to have a plan' ways. His IEP came up before Christmas....I sent it back 'denied'....I am done playing! *steam*

Learning to time manage here with the job, kids appts and social schedules. I'm loving it all...and am not complaining about much lately. I don't have time to post alot....but that will all fall into place (as the holiday rush slows). Valentine's stuff is my latest product...OH boy the GLITTER! LOL!

Anyway....am hoping to find a bit more time for keeping up with everyone. Thank you for your kind comments and emails.

As always...

DES




Anxiety by Proxy?

2007-10-24T07:58:37.799-06:00

Just a quickie today....it's beautiful outside and I need to get out and enjoy it (before the weather changes, again)! Yesterday we took another small step forward with Mr R....I pulled him out of school early to go and take his Written test to get his Learners permit. This whole thing has been a long, slow but very calculated process for us. I have GREAT concerns about him driving.....but as with all things with our kids...we have to let them try. My greatest concerns for him are:His attention/delayed response levelHis low-resting muscle tone/ motor skillsAnger/anxiety issuesSome of these I headed off at the pass by getting some professional assessments done through http://www.courage.org/. They have a wonderful Driver Assessment and Training program available. They did an initial test of his motor speeds, attention level, and memory skills. He PASSED these with no problem. This summer I signed him up for the Drivers Ed class....through a local company. He took the classroom part...and finished just as school started. Since then....I've been trying to fit in the trip to the DMV to get the written test done so he can get his Provisional license (Learners). Guess what....HE PASSED it yesterday. I was a wreck. He seemed quiet before the test...but not as nervous as I. Crazy how we get, isn't it? I left him in the room and waited in the hallway (huge glass windows so I could see when he finished). Thoughts racing through my mind went from...I wonder how many you can get wrong and still pass... to how am I going to convince him to TRY again when he fails? All my anxious thoughts came to a head as I saw him approach the testing desk with the completed paper in hand. I swear I heard SWEAT coming out my pores. Mr R was pale...and watched the CRABBY test administrator start circling in red wrong answers. I felt woozy...Mr R's eyes were beginning to close....as if to brace himself for the WORD. So the tester began shuffling papers...looking at his proof of identity, getting out a three carbon slip....blah blah blah. I broke! Me: 'Excuse me?????? DID HE PASS *almost shouted*?'Tester: *looks over the top of his glasses and shoves the test towards us* "yea."Don't know whether I wanted to scream, faint or strangle the bugger for his attitude. I just looked at Rob (who now had SOME color coming back) and nudged him with my arm. *whispered to him...AWESOME!*Course all this...then the guy tells us we have to go to another building clear across town to get the rest of the process done (pay and picture). What a system! Mr R and I zip across town just as schools are letting out. We get there and fill out more paperwork. The lady there was sweet and polite. He stood for the mugshot...he looked like he wanted to eat someone....we took another picture...he grinned. Now we wait....picture permit comes in the mail (when?). *shrugs* But we have a piece of paper says he's an official LEARNER!All in all....I have worries...I have fears. But without a Drivers permit here where we live his job options will be minimal. I think he can do it....only time will tell. Mr R is very proud....so am I!!!!! Off to the next step...call the drivers ed company and get him signed up for some ROAD time. YIKES! *should I start getting anxious....again?*~DES~[...]



The Evil OCD monster moved in...

2008-12-10T19:11:54.908-06:00

We've always had a bit of it going on here...but as my youngest moved into Puberty this summer....it has reared it's ugly head tenfold. I personally distinguish the OCD behaviors vs the 'quirks' of his Autism by the thought that these are even more difficult to shake off (or redirect). Take the above picture...for some reason...these had to be lined up by color, balls matching and in order of the color on the pole (wicket?) Now, how functional this made choosing your color...but do MOST ppl need this? No...and it became a 'sore spot' when it came to the activity itself. His 'peers' like to play the game 'off the record'....NOT him...by the book only. Since September we've started some meds with him to help with the OCD, anxiety and some of the ADD problems. This past year is the first time he's ever been on meds......I just felt it was time. Parts of his life were out of control...ie....staying up till after 2am 'thinking thoughts'. Mr M admitted to his Dr that 'there isn't ONE minute my mind is quiet'. How sad....how maddening that must be for someone. Mr R has started a job. Bagging groceries at a local market. Well....I thought this was going ok......but just recently learned there are problems. He's now on a 2 week 'trial' to see if he can pick up the pace...and keep his job. I had RISE (a company helping disabled individuals in the job field) go with him to discuss this with his boss (this is how I found out there is a problem). Mr R doesn't discuss it...he tells me everything is just 'fine'. Today he admitted that his OCD is causing issues. The way they want them to bag....and the way things come down the belt are 2 different stories. He keeps going over in his mind the 'training video' they watch about the PERFECT BAG.....he gets stuck and starts unpacking and repacking the bags (much to the delay and dismay of the customers). *sighs* He's got 2 weeks to improve his technique. Still haven't gotten to the DMV to get his permit. Time is flying by with no slow downs. Am hoping next week to get him in there so he can take some over the road lessons with the company that provided the course. Well...I'm done with Physical therapy....I've resigned my position at the Nursing home. I'm officially unemployed. *nother big sigh* I have to find a job that doesn't require such repetitive lifting...and within the hours I can manage (with the boys needs involved). Right now, that would be like 8:30am to about 2:30pm. No luck so far....called 3 different places that had ads.....all wanted evening hours. NO can do! I've also 'given in' and went for PCA services for Mr M....he needs alot of cares (due to severe sensory issues) and my back is just not up for it by evening most days. We'll see how it goes....I hate having staff in my home. I've been doing this crap for over 19 years now (my eldest had staff at age 3). On a positive note...Mr R is doing very well with his classes this year. Beings he's a Senior....I'm real proud of his keeping up with his studies. Mr M is struggling a bit....but much better than last year (he's half reg ed, half spec ed this year). Math seems to be his...tough subject this year. Its a matter of pace...not the math itself. But I'm hopeful! Autumn has arrived....quite soggy too! The mentioned on the weather that we broke a Century old record for August, Sept, Oct rainfall. The record was back in 1900...and we surpassed it last night. Oh well...if the pond fills up...we'll try ice skating this year! Again...I'm still catching up wi[...]



Ok...shame shame!

2008-12-10T19:11:55.072-06:00

(image) **photo is of Mr M learning to skip rocks in our pond just before leaving in June for vacation...the pond is almost gone due to the severe drought here***


I looked on the last post made here and said, "OH tsk tsk!" Summer has a way of getting lost....and so does my brain. I've had lots to do this summer....and like others am feeling summer has slipped away.





Things we DID do...





Took the Princes in a car (rental) and drove back East (home!) to see Grandma! (been over 7 years since we left the east) They were amazing on this lil 'jaunt'! With all the changes, new faces and diversity....they held up famously. I was concerned for a bit over Mr M's eating (which changed drastically)...but he began eating again regularly when we arrived home in July. HOME.....has a whole new meaning when you are away from it, doesn't it?

Mr R has started Drivers ED....*gulp*





Since that time...we've had some 'guests' staying at our homestead. This is suppose to be temporary until they get back on their feet.....which I suppose has no timeline? *sighs* It's difficult....I miss my privacy even though they are not 'staying' in the house but on the property. Kids have been tested with a visit from our guests 'children'.....social skills were out the window! Those extra kiddos just left a week ago *TG* Mr M and Mr R are now enjoying some peace.





Health issues....Not been feeling well lately due to back problems that started just after I got home from vacation. To me, this makes NO sense. To drive over 3200 miles, sleep on different mattresses and not have back issues until you return? GO FIGURE! Its nagging, painful but most annoying (cause I can't do what I NEED to do). Going for an MRI today....open one (cause I'm a big chicken!). LOL!





Hoping to be able to sit for more than 10 minutes without pain soon.......then I can spend more time updating (and wasting time on the internet!) :P





ttfn,





DES



Taking time out...Mom style

2008-12-10T19:11:55.251-06:00

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Taking a bit of time this weekend to catch a few deep breaths. Both of the boys are away for the weekend at Respite. You know, I never used respite services until about 2 years ago.....and I've found such a better balance since we've started. Part of it was...I didn't think 'anyone' could take care of my boys the way I do (super mom theory). You throw in there 2 guys who adore their 'home' space...and you know it won't be easy at first. Mr M was more accepting than Mr R at first.....just the opposite of what I thought it was going to be. I interviewed many many places before deciding on seperate homes. Mr R's provider is a lady who does daycare during the week.......but she has a similar personality to mine (kinda goofy and light hearted). She also has 2 teens of her own....which made me feel it was a good fit for Mr R (17). Mr M is staying with another lady who has a few younger kids of her own AND drives a Special Ed Bus for a local district. Another fantastic light hearted lady. These ppl don't find what my kids do 'shocking'...and they are always telling me how much they enjoy my guys coming to visit. Both of the boys will come refreshed and ready to get back to basics on Sunday. Am hoping my energy will renew....and my head will be clear of clutter (iep's, meetings, dr appts, work...and future stuff).
So as I sit here in blissful silence.....I think this weekend will do me some good. Not feeling all that strong lately. Energy levels are down and I'm running that short order on 'patience' with ppl (other than my own, of course). Not taking any shifts this weekend either...don't think the Nursing home would appreciate my brassy attitude! :)
Will spend some time enjoying the splendor of Spring we have now....the picture is of one of our wild plum trees back in the woods. One loan flowered tree amongst the pines and oaks. Somehow it fits my mood today.
~DES~



Water is our Friend!

2008-12-10T19:11:55.425-06:00

A recent discussion with a school Psychologist has reminded me that summer is fast approaching...which means time for swimming. The topic came up at Mr M's (14) IEP meeting. He asked about Mr M's recent announcement to teachers and friends...."I NEVER wash my hands!". Of course he does....it's just not a 'desired' activity. I told him he needs to read Mr M's sensory profile to understand the scale of his sensory difficulties. The man said, 'well...he can't have a sensory issue with water if he can go to "insert friends name" pool and swim!' I found year after year we go through a 'transition' of sorts every summer. His respite provider has a pool and so do some of his special friends. Every year Mr M is difficult about the water issues. It's not as much about getting in any more....but more about getting out! He goes into sensory overload when his skin feels 'dry or wrinkly' after being in water. Lotion must be readily available and he needs to be wrapped tightly in a blanket or towel until his system adjusts. Bathing is pretty much the same....he still takes tub baths due to the fact that he thinks the showers 'sting'. As soon as he gets out...I towel dry quickly avoiding his hands at all costs. Handfuls of lotion gently massaged into his hands and he usually heads to his room to wrap up in his micro-suede quilt. Neither of the boys do well with the hygiene issues....still working on these! My thoughts come back to the pool and how he loves the pool (after a few sessions in the beginning of summer). I'm assuming this is because its a preferred activity? Even though we have complaints after it...he still enjoys it. Handwashing is done...but is not voluntary. Again...lotion must be ready to follow. School was wondering if they can work on goals for handwashing....my advice...not without an OT input and careful planning. These kids have alot of issues at school to deal with (social navigation, bullies, food, academics etc). I'm not against this idea, but just cautious on how it is approached. btw...when he did ceramics in art...he put plastic bags over his hands to mold his 'vase'. It's a real interesting peice! LOL! He said, "I wasn't going to touch that stuff!" anyone share some insight on how to deal with sensory issues and water? ~DES~ [...]



Glad we're into April!

2008-12-10T19:11:55.583-06:00

(image) Just thought I'd post a quicky of Mr R (age 17)...this is my middle son but the oldest still at home. This was taken about a month and a half ago? Blizzard on March 1st. He and Mr M had *according to Mr M* the GREATEST SNOW FIGHT IN HISTORY! On this photo, Mr R was 'explaining' the rules of snow engagement....Mr M's response...a snowball to the face. LOL! ahhh...brothers!

Off to appts today....thanks for the welcome to Blogger!

~DES~



ps...my guys in size are more like Laurel and Hardy. One weighs in at 230 and the other...90lbs. One loves food...other has food issues. Go figure!



'Fight or Flight' response

2008-12-10T19:11:55.702-06:00

Mr R (age 17) is a junior in high school. We are at the point of working in conjunction with several Work Service programs as part of his Transitional Services. Overall, Mr R is doing fairly well in school in the last 2 years....before that...many, many issues. The one we can't seem to 'punch through'....his Fight or Flight response to stressors.His dx includes Aspergers, Tourette Syndrome and Severe Anxiety. His typical response to anxiety or pressure now days....total disrespect and foul language. On the positive side....its rare he bolts! Many, many days I spent chasing this kiddo....glad I had some track and field background to help with this. It's been about 5 months since he last took off on me.......and that was thankfully out back in the fields. Living on a 40 acre farm has its advantages...lots of room to get rid of stress. Recently at school when he becomes 'overloaded' or stressed...he mouths off at teachers and his para. Horribly. Cussing is something that is rare in our house....I cannot say it never happens...but we DO have rules! In our home quiet and calm is the norm....for Mr M (younger bro) seems to need this atmosphere. Mr R has anger issues. His anger response is off the wall comments, cussing, threatening remarks....and sometimes throwing things. At school...his recent behaviors are more verbal...and we have not found a way for him to come up with other solutions to deal with his stress. My concern is....we are about to enter the workforce phase....how is this going to fly with ANY employer. Yes, he will have a job coach and any job he gets will most likely be through disability employment services. He cannot take redirection...he gets extremely angry when asked to do 'more' or anything that he feels is done. Part of his 'coping' skill at the moment is not only verbally lashing out....but also to put his head down and fall asleep. We cannot 'process' anything for at least 2 days to let things die down......or it will immediately explode...again. Mr R also has a fairly significant 'delay' in his response time....meaning he takes a few extra seconds to respond be it verbally or physically. At school, we've told them over and over again to give him that 'time lapse'....and NOT to push. Not being there at school I cannot say if this is part of what is going wrong recently....or if its just a overall 'school work' thing where he is feeling that the work is stressing him. He DOES say that his para and the teacher (sp.ed coordinator) PUSH. But I too have 'waited'....and some of it seems that he's defying a direction even here at home. He has consequences to face today for another incident on Friday at school. Am hoping he does well with this (detention). Last time he admitted he was wrong, apologized and took noon detention. Not feeling confident today....I'm not sure why.I guess I'm trying to figure out if there are direct methods of teaching other coping skills to deal with redirection, stress....even critical opinions. We've given 'tools' for him to use....but in the heat of the moment...he still is not able to grasp the concept.In contrast to Mr R's response.....Mr M (14 HFA) cries....and often curls up in a ball. Just recently....he has begun to throw things and get mouthy. Ahhh...in a way....isn't some of this typical teen garbage??? LOL! *thrilled with that thought* Long week coming...I've got my boxing gloves on too!~DES~[...]