*Encouragement is the best medicine to give someone. If I were to pick any gift to have in helping others, that would be the one*

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chaz's New Evaluation

Finally!  We had a very long sit down meeting at the school with Chaz's new evaluation and we got to work out a new IEP for him. 

Yes, they very much believe he show classic Asperger Symptoms.  They went through a long list of struggles Chaz has in school and how he still has a hard time making friends.  They talked about his straight F's.  They told me that he does need speech therapy.  We discussed his stuttering. All the negative was discussed for at least a half hour.  I just wanted to bend over from sight and cry.  I wanted to yell "Everyone out of the room!" so I could cry.

I still haven't talked to Chaz about this.  I don't know how to say it to where it doesn't sound bad.  Or hopeless. He is high functioning Aspergers after all. Many things you can grow out of and learn how to deal with. 

Was it because he was in birth canal way too long?  More than 4 hours and because the top of his head came out black and in pain?  Because the nurse made a bad judgement call and he possibly lacked oxygen for too long?

Was it because I let the doctor go crazy and prick him with a million needles at every visit and I believed him that it didn't matter whether he was sick or not? 

Did it just happen by chance?  Was I a bad mom and not feed him properly? Didn't hug him enough when he was a baby? 

I don't know.  It hurts. It really, really, really, really, really, really does.

I fought back my tears in the meeting with every power in me I could find. "Don't cry.  Act like you have everything under control."

Then the breath of fresh air came.  They called Chaz's teacher in.  Chaz loves his teacher.  He tells me how much he loves her. See, Chaz doesn't trust his teachers because of what he's been through. His last teacher left him in an empty white hallway and told him he just had to listen to her but not see since he disrupts the class.  He kept telling me kids were calling him a freak but I didn't know why. Chaz told me after the whole school year was over that he spent most of the time in that white hallway. Did the teachers bother to tell me?  Of course not. Because the nice government funding that follows Chaz to whatever school we choose would be removed. Kids with IEP plans have more money that comes with them because, HELLO, they need special help.  Like an assistant sometimes.  Chaz was kicked out of the kindergarten by the second day. He was frightened and bit his teacher. Chaz never, ever, ever bites.  Unless he's scared. 

When the teacher told me that she set up a very strict schedule for her class and also to help Chaz, he melted right into it.  Not easily at first because he tested her. She is loving but firm.  She encourages but doesn't get suckered. She is exactly what he needed.  Now she said he is getting straight A's and is very bright.  She said he gets in trouble on the bus because he can't handle the loud noise and most of the time he goes wild or even screams. I am thinking about buying him ear muffs to block out the noise because MP3's tend to get stolen.

He said he would like ear muffs. 

Have you told your child he/she has Aspergers/autism?  If you did, how did you tell them? 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trouble In The Lines

Chaz in blue Fantastic Four Costume with his siblings
I am really excited that Chaz has a new updated IEP at school AND another evaluation.  I get to meet with the school this week.  I will definitely post update on here and would love to talk about it with other Asperger Moms.  Thank you so much for supporting each other and finding the time to answer each other's questions.


Check out my review on my other blog about a Christmas book that is out and beautifully illustrated!

I get many, many facebook emails about a fellow Asperger Mom having questions.  Now that I can get back on, I am able to finally answer them.  Thank you for writing me and I enjoy sharing thoughts and ideas!

Moving onward.  Saturday we went to a farm for a costume event and to do lots of fun stuff.  It was a great day but our biggest challenge came when Chaz had to wait in a really long long at the roller coaster.  He started hanging on his siblings, touching and hitting them, rolling on the ground, hanging off the ropes, getting super close to strangers behind or in front of us. To a point that the people would move because his body would be practically touching them.  Sometimes when his siblings couldn't take it anymore, I would try to softly contain Chaz by hugging him in front of me.  So then he would throw himself down.  You have to understand.  Chaz is a really good kid and does not throw tantrums.  Only on rare occassion.  But he goes nuts when you try to restrain him in any way.  It got so bad after waiting in line for a half hour that I had to do a bear hug on him.  He fought me so hard that I could hardly restrain him and it was tiring.  It was quite embarrassing and I'm sure there were people around me that thought he just needed some discipline. Unfortunately, people don't know the situation so it's easy for them to judge harshly in their  minds.  I got plenty of looks but I just didn't give them much mind.  In order to restrain Chaz in a soft but firm way, I had to act more like I was just hugging him and talk nicely to him.  After about an hour of waiting I got him to calm down and just stand nicely in line. By the time he calmed down, it was time to get on the ride. We didn't go back on that ride because I didn't think I had the strength to try to control him again for that long. 

That was the only incident we had other than a few other times of knocking into his brothers and sisters.  We had a GREAT time.  I just learned to stay away from the long lines and go more for the other activities and rides that move quickly. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chaz's Award

Chaz is going to a charter school right now because he needed a new IEP plan.  He is doing pretty good now but in the beginning it was really rough. 

The first 2 weeks are alway a "honeymoon" period where Chaz is pretty calm and tries his absolute best. Or maybe it's because he's shy.  The teachers raves to me about how I was wrong, he is doing really well.  I just smile and nod.  I know it's coming.  Yup.  It was about two weeks later he got his first suspension.  He was crying a lot and causing disruptions in the class.  The day he got suspended was the day he was going to each student, smiling right in their face, and then freezing there.  So they had enough and called me to come get him. I reminded them that they only have 10 days alloted a year to suspended him.  So they have 9 left.  I asked the principal if he is sure he wants to suspend him over something so trivial.  He did so we went home. 

They did a rush job on the new IEP plan and pretty soon I will get to see the results.  He is getting a new evaluation so I'm gonna call on Monday to see what they say. 

The good news is since that suspension, he has been trying hard. I know this because he came home with an award from school.  He got the Principals Award for his behavior!  I was so proud of him and we took him out to celebrate. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

School Next Year

I have been homeschooling Chaz and my other kids but Charles and I came to a decision that it might be better to give Chaz another chance to be in a regular classroom.  However, he'll still be pulled out in a special class during Math and Language Arts.  I'm just crossing my fingers that all goes well and I won't be called in everyday to school for behavior issues.  He is struggling with homeschooling and tends to throw his hands up a lot in giving up.  I have to really push him the whole time.  We'll see what happens! 

P.S. The picture is of Chaz doing a demonstration with other kids during children's church.  Chaz is in the black shirt. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chaz's Last Disappointing Game

Chaz played his last game.  It was definitely a disappointing season.  First off, it was really, really unorganized.  We were told from the beginning that the Y couldn't find a coach.  I kept calling to find out when Chaz's first practice was.  I was told to wait and they would call me.  Finally, after 2 weeks had passed since they should have started, I was told they had already had practices and even had a game!  What?  You have to understand (and some of you do) that every day, my Asperger son was pacing with his ball under his arm and wearing his uniform around the house.  Serious obsession.  It is not fun telling a boy who has an easily obsessed mind that once again you have not heard anything.  Then I was told that we only have a coach for practices but no coach for the games.  Finally he gets to a practice and gets to play.  I was never called.  I had to keep calling and if I hadn't of, we would have missed the whole (short) season.  In fact, almost every week there was some sort of mixup with where they were playing and what time. Only once was the schedule correct.  I even had someone call me to change the information, only to give me wrong info again.  All in all, Chaz played 3 games and had to be so late to one that he only played 5 minutes because of the mixups.  So this leads to my next part of the story....

Since we had no coach for the games, a mom took over since she knew a lot about basketball.  I was made to be assistant for when they can't get there.  I signed up Chaz for a recreational version being that he knew NOTHING about basketball whatsoever and I wanted it to be low pressure so he wouldn't panic.  The mom turned out to be very competitive and only cared about winning.  She had her two sons on the team.  They were very experienced so I'm not sure why they were on the beginners.  She played the game as if it was for the championship.  She wouldn't give equal time to the kids and would only keep the most experienced kids in.  Or at least the ones that were very good.  Since Chaz was forced to start late and could hardly have any learning time, he was put on the bench a lot.  In fact, some games, he literally played a total of 7 minutes.  If he was lucky 10 minutes.  Her sons however, would play the entire game and were rarely ever sat down.  It was about winning and that's what mattered.  Never mind that this team was designed to be only recreational in order to learn the game.  All kids were meant to get equal playing time in order understand the game.  They have another team meant to be competitive for that age.  Just not this particular one. 

Whenever we would try to call to get current info, we'd either get voicemails or mixed up information.  I cannot afford another season right now.  To top it off, my membership just expired so if I want to put him back him, I'd have to pay double the price.  That is not possible for us being that my husband can only find part time work.

Being that we had to drive very far for practices and for games, this season was very frustrating and very disappointing all in all.  Especially for Chaz because he's looked forward to doing this for years.  It took awhile for me to see that he was ready.  

The last game he had he was only allowed to play 5 minutes.  Since Chaz has very obsessive behavior, he couldn't put his drink down.  He was obsessed with the bottle and I know what was going on in his mind.  Charles and I were watching him to see what he was doing.  When he is upset, or embarrassed, he will lose himself into something.  He couldn't put the drink down and just kept staring into the bottle, taking drinks and then looking at it again.  He was obsessed with his hands also.  I knew he was upset and was feeling rejected.  Kids in general struggle with that but especially with Asperger kids. 

Here is the topper.

The info on the site said this was the very last game.  I even called to confirm it.  Yes, it's the last game.  Okay.  So the next week I check my messages and come to find out, there WAS another game. Someone actually called to leave a message (that never happened before) to let me know at the very, very last minute.  Which is why I didn't get it.  So he misses the actual last game.  Again.  He missed so many games because of poor information. 

How do parents put their kids in sports?  Especially if they have more than 2 kids?  I can't imagine.  This put so much pressure on our family because of all the mixups that I can't imagine what it would have been like to of had the rest of my kids in sports the same season. 

Has anyone else ever had this experience?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Guest Post By Kathleen Deyer Bolduc

Author of:
Autism & Alleluias
Kathleen Deyer Bolduc


Why am I continually broadsided by the wideness of God’s grace? You’d think that I’d be used to it by now.

But no. God’s grace bowls me over, again and again. A perfect strike, it hits me in the solar plexus and down I go, unable to get up until my jellified legs allow me to walk normally again.

It happened yesterday, in the middle of Joel’s transition meeting. Our son Joel, age 25, who has autism and a moderate intellectual disability, is moving in May from our house to Safe Haven Farms, a “community of choice for adults with autism” (www.safehavenfarms.org ). Ten of us sat around a table in the newly renovated farm house, which serves as office space. My husband Wally, son Joel, and I were joined by Ashley, the farm’s director; Andrea, Joel’s current service facilitator; Jennifer, his new service facilitator (this move involves a change of counties, which involves, as you can imagine, a ton of paperwork); Abbey, the farm’s director of day services; Susan, home manager; Lisa, Joel’s case worker from his current job placement; and Rhonda, the job coach Joel has been with for the past three years.

Rhonda was the person at that table who, besides Wally and I, knows Joel best. Instrumental in Joel’s successful transition (four years ago) from school to work, she is funny, firm, unflappable, creative, energetic, and extremely capable. Of all the professionals that have worked with Joel over the years, Rhonda is one of the shining stars. Joel’s school/work transition started out as a complete disaster, with the initial agency we had chosen to go with turning out to be incapable of handling Joel’s behaviors—behaviors that were exacerbated by his anxiety over the transition. You’d think an agency who deals with autism would know that transition is difficult, and that you have to be creative in smoothing out the rough places. For six weeks we received daily phone calls about hairpulling, wandering, cussing, and a myriad of other complaints. They were not open to our suggestions. We pulled Joel out of the program.

Enter Beckman Adult Center , a workshop run by our county board of developmental disabilities. It was our “last choice” among several options, mainly because the client/staff ratio was not high enough. At that time, Joel required 1:1 support. Joel was assigned to Rhonda and Julius, a dynamic duo. After reading Joel’s files and meeting with us, it was quickly determined that Joel needed a slow and easy transition. An hour the first day, two hours the next, half days for a couple of weeks, etc. He was also allowed to begin his work in a room with only one other client. Rhonda set the room up with a treadmill for times of anxiety, a computer for break times, huge maps on the wall to provide conversation, photo albums for Joel to peruse during breaks. But Rhonda’s greatest offering was her upbeat attitude, her intuitive grasp of what Joel needed to succeed, her openness to Joel’s gifts, and her unstoppable optimism and energy. Within weeks Joel was working, independently at times. Within months several other clients moved into his room, changing the client/staff ratio from 1:1 to 4:1. Joel handled the changes magnificently.

As we sat around the table at Safe Haven Farms yesterday, Joel sat a little apart in a lazy-boy rocker, where he could be a part of what was going on without being overwhelmed by nine warm bodies, several of them strangers to him. We listened to Rhonda’s input as to what it would take to make this a successful transition for Joel. “Expect to walk a lot,” she said. “Keep him busy. He’s a busy guy. He needs to move. Talk to him. He has a lot to offer to a conversation. He’s interesting! He loves to sing and dance. He loves J.T. (James Taylor). Just make sure he has his JT.”
I looked over at Joel, who was uncharacteristically kicked back and relaxed, his Cincinnati Red’s cap pulled down over his brow, his face wreathed in smiles. This was his good friend, Rhonda, talking about him. Telling everyone what a great guy he was. They’ve been through it all together—good days, bad days. Days with lots of work, days with no work. Days that they walked until their feet hurt. Days that he was to work semi-independently.
That’s when it happened. A geyser of joy, totally unexpected, shot up from the center of my chest, nearly knocking me out of my chair.
How wide is God’s mercy! How grace-filled my life. How blessed Joel’s life.

Yes, this transition is going to be difficult. All transitions are tricky when you’re dealing with autism. But just as God gifted us with Rhonda, God will bring another person alongside Joel. Someone to discover his gifts and pull them out. Someone smart enough to listen to and learn from those who know Joel well, and intuitive enough to “know” what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to anxiety and the behaviors that accompany it.

Rhonda, I want more than anything to take you with us to Safe Haven Farms! To steal you away from the city and plant you in the middle of that beautiful farm land. I know you’re needed where you are, though, and cloning is still the stuff of science fiction. But I do know this, and I hope you know it as well:

You are the personification of God’s grace in our lives.

We will never forget you.

Chaz's First Basketball Game!

Last Saturday, Chaz and I got up at 6:50am to play in his very first basketball game.  His team won 28-14.  Totally creamed the other team.  I coached it!  I had so much fun.  I was a little nervous about coaching because, although I played for a few years in school growing up, it has been quite awhile.  Not only that but I can't yell that loud so when I would have to call out to a kid, my voice wasn't loud enough.  All in all I had fun with each and every kid.  They were all beginners so I had to help them with all the aspects of basketball. Thankfully the ref had compassion and didn't call them on everything since there is just so much to learn.

The reason why I held off till now to have Chaz play was because I was unsure how he'd do in a team.  I've had him in groups before where he just wasn't mature enough to handle being around kids his age.  In the past, he had some rage issues but he's really gotten a handle on it.  It's not nearly as often anymore.  I was seriously worried, not kidding, that he might take the ball and throw it at someone in anger or do something else.  I finally decided to step out and see if he could handle it this year.  I'm telling you, he knew NOTHING about basketball and Chaz took his first game like a natural. He's only been to one practice (pic below).  Chaz scored for the team, even stole the ball a few times.  He ran in the right direction.  LOL.  You know how it is with little kids, sometimes they take the ball the wrong waydown the court. 

Chaz was so pumped up about his first game.  He JUST learned the game right then and there.  I'm telling you, he didn't even learn the game in his first and only practice.  I'm impressed how quickly he picked up on it. I was yelling and cheering along with coaching!  I was just so happy to see Chaz on a team with other kids and working with them so well. 


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Autism & Alleluias by Kathleen Deyer Bolduc

I had an opportunity to read this book, Autism and Alleluias by Kathleen Deyer Bolduc, and I loved every minute of reading it. 

Bolduc does not beat around the bush but gets you right into the story.  This is one of my favorite parts and this is how she starts her book.

From "For Me!" from Autism & Alleluias:
During the boring parts of the service (any part without music is boring as far as Joel is concerned), he twists and turns in the pew, stares at the people behind us, waves at the pastor, swings his feet, claps his hands or stomps his feet (he usually saves these last two for times of silent prayer), and at least once during every service says in a loud voice, "I have to go to the bathroom!"  Worshipping with Joel is an interesting experience.  It's not unlike sitting on the edge of your seat during an action movie, when you're not quite sure what's going to happen next- you only know something is going to happen.

There are so many more stories in this book like this that gave me a chuckle.  I laughed when she laughed.  I cried when she cried.  I rejoiced in their victories!

Something that surprised me about this book was how I was able to have some breif glimpses of life through Joels eyes.  Things I never would of thought of or even taken the time to consider. 

She points out in her book:
What role does faith play in helping familes cope with the challenges of autism?  In this series of slice-of-life vignettes, God's grace glimmers through as Joes, an intellectually challenged young adult with autism, teaches those who love him that life requires:

*Childlike faith
*openness to all of God's gifts.

Read her blog HERE!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Jenny McCarthy's Journey

After reading a comment by someone in my group in facebook, Asperger Moms, I realized that this would be a good book to post on here.  It is one of the most emotional books I've ever read.

Imagine a mom who's son was born having all the functions of a normal child.  Then, after 18mths, the child totally regress.  Stops talking.  Stops doing all the normal things he did before.  What would cause a regression like this? 

Jenny is able, through much hard work and study, find what helped bring her son back out of his "autistic" shell.  If you get this book, you won't be able to put it down. 

She says in her book that she does NOT claim to have a cure. That it only helped her son and he will always be Autistic. I think the critics just were trying to hit her really hard and pinned that on her. She makes sure when you read her book that there is no known cure for Autism.

Finding a Safe Hobby For Chaz

Marvel Hero Clix Game - Booster 8pkWe have been looking for a hobby for Chaz.  Something he would really be into that has nothing to do with video games.  Well, my husband plays a sort of "board game" with his friends once a week.  It's called Hero Clix.  You collect these little guys (I'm telling this in a girlie sort of view) and they each have points.  You use a map on the table and place your guys.  It's basically like the Marvel Comic characters.  It's really fun. 

One day my husband was out buying some new ones (seriously cheap for just one or two) and my sons asked if they could use their chore money to buy a couple of them for themselves.  We said, "sure!"  Chaz loves, loves sitting down and playing with his brother or even just by himself.   He's so much more motivated to do his chores now knowing that he's earning money for more of these guys. 

I love hobbies but the only one my son was into was video games, and as you can see by previous posts. it has a bad effect on him.  Getting into a hobby like this helps him to have something to look forward to, occupy, learn, and socialize with his brother or friends that also love to play.  I'm excited about this one.  Well, so is Chaz!

Friday, April 2, 2010

No, We Can't Keep The Bird

A bird flew in our house and Chaz was so excited!  He said, "Mom!  Dad!  A bird flew in our house.  We loved watching the bird fly around and around the living room.  So pretty! 

Chaz was upset because we opened the front door and let the bird go.  I tried to explain to Chaz that the bird is used to freedom and it wouldn't be nice to keep him. 

Chaz has always loved animals so much.  He has such a gentleness about him when he is around them.  The doctor said it is good for Chaz to have animals.  Being an animal lover, I agree.  :)  We have a great dane and chickens. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Video Game Obsession

We can't have video games because Chaz can't handle them.  Awhile back we had a Wii system and a Gamecube.  We even had an Xbox at one point.  Chaz would get so obsessed by it that he could hardly function.  He had no interest in eating, couldn't sleep because all he could think about was how his game day when and how it might go tomorrow, and he would pace the floor if we took away games for a few hours.  He didn't want to go anywhere, do anything.  It was so sad.  Finally, after talking to my pastor, we decided that it was best to take the games out of the house completely and make it for special occasions.  So now, we go to places that have games maybe twice a month.  Well, they make it a guy night and they have a blast. 

So yesterday I decided to give it another chance and let him play a cute little game online.  All the anxiety, all the pacing, all the behaviors came back in an instant.  When it was his brother's turn to play, Chaz would start crying.  Chaz is 9 1/2 years old but his age seems to regress around situations like this.  He was in tears and crying hard when he had to stop playing the game or wasn't getting a turn like he thought he should.  So, once again, we had to take the games away.  Not even on the computer.  If we play games at home it's board games together as a family like you see in the picture.  :)  Here we were playing Pictionary.  It's way more satisfying playing together and the kids love it!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chaz Finds A Friend

I said before that it's hard for Chaz to really find a friend.  Well, he met one.  On my other blog, Meet Virginia, I posted about a skating party we went to.  Melanie, Dexter's mom, called me to tell me about the party.  We were talking about schooling and she just happens to tell me that Dexter is Aspergers.  "He's what?"  She said it again.  "You're kidding me!"  So Dexter and Chaz (Chaz is in the black shirt, blonde hair in pic) found each other.  I couldn't believe it.  I'm still amazed.  They go to a school once a week for homeschool.  We both homeschool them for the same reasons.  Too much trouble in school.  It's hard to find teachers who will work with them.  Not against them and always punishing them.  We met at the skating rink and I got to talk to Melanie some more. Awesome!  What are the chances our two boys became good friends at school and are both Aspergers?  Now they can annoy each other to death and they'll both love it.  LOL!  Chaz's brothers don't put up with it but Dexter does and vice versa.  I'm sure they'd both have fun poking at each other and thinking it's hilariously funny.  :D

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Blog Award

Thank you to my friend @Faithfulma for this blog award.  It is so nice to meet you!  I know I am supposed to post 15 new blogs I have discovered but you are actually the first I've discovered in a really long time!  So I hope my friends hop over to meet you.  Hugs!!

Lately it's been pretty emotional around here with Chaz.  One minute he is doing something to mess with someone but he can't take his own medicine.  When he comes running to me about one of his brothers hurting him, I am careful to hear the whole story.  Turns out that when Chaz came to me tonight crying that his brother hurt him, it was not so surprising to hear that there is another side to it.  Chaz went to go knee Ryan in the butt really hard and Ryan put his leg up to defend himself.  It ended up hurting Chaz and he was really upset about it.  Sometimes, when it gets bad enough and he has all the kids worked up and crying, I have to have Chaz come sit with me or walk along side me while I'm doing chores.  That way everyone can settle back down.  Chaz really is a great kid.  He's just one of those kids that you CAN'T let get bored. 

Friday, February 19, 2010

White Hallways

I wrote a post in my family blog concerning Chaz's previous school he attended.  They had put him in empty hallway all year long without my knowledge.  Your thoughts?  Has this ever happened to your child with Aspergers or Autism?  Click HERE to read post.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Copying Behavior

My friends in the Asperger group on Facebook were talking about problems in school.  It really is hard in dealing with that but I think the key is the teacher.  My son has been through so many schools, it would make my head spin.  I even put him in a classroom where it was contained.  They were trained to hold the kids down and such.  The problem was that some were just really naughty kids and guess what?  Chaz copied the behavior for the whole year.  When I moved schools, I couldn't believe how I found a teacher that was trained to work with Asperger kids for 3 years!  She understood Chaz like the back of her hand.  It was amazing.  He was so calm that year that I never got called to the school the whole year. When I told the teacher was kind of classroom he was in the year prior, she said that was a big mistake.  Asperger kids tend to copy behavior and he was just copying hte other kids!  No wonder! 

Personal Body Space

This is something you'll see regularly of Chaz (on right).  He's touching all the time.  As soon as he wakes up in the morning actually.  He can get the other kids upset in two seconds flat because he'll follow them around and be touching them all the time.  His siblings are used to it but when he does it to his church friends, they don't have the patience for it.  They don't understand him and they just tend to stay away.  Chaz has perfect speech and doesn't talk different from other kids.  He is higher on the spectrum.  This is what really comes out is the touching stuff.  Also, Chaz acts much younger for his age at times.  Sometimes he's my 9 year old boy and other times he's more like a 4 year old.  When he gets upset especially.  I try so much to have grace.  You know what I mean?  You want to realize they are different but then you want to treat them the same as the other kids.  Hold them to the same standard to one sense but then I have to have more grace on him than I would my other kids.  It seems like such a fine balance at times.  When is he being "Aspergers" and when is he being "defiant?"  That's something I struggle with daily.  Even this morning, within one minute of waking up, Chaz was going around harrassing his siblings and the kids were already crying and upset.  I had to make him lay back down for awhile and since he got back up, he's acting more calm.  Not that he slept when he was in timeout but just helping him to relax a little. 

I included two books I thought might help that I want to order myself.  One is for older kids especially. The second is called "Me, Myself, and My Brother With Aspergers."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Making and Keeping a Friend

It's not easy for Chaz to make friends (on left) when he does.  Usually, the other kid doesn't have much patience. Then, there are some kids that just have a calming effect on Chaz.  The twins (one shown in picture) has that affect.  It's surprising because there has only been one other kid that could do that.  His name is Seth and Chaz met him in Kindergarten.  We moved away and Chaz was very sad because they got along so well together.  I remember reading about exactly this topic in Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's.  In that book John talked about only a couple of friends he did really well with but then they would move away and he wouldn't have any friends again.  We didn't want to move away but a house was being built for us and where we were staying was only temporary.  Chaz never got over Seth and still talks about him 5 years later.  Recently, in my other blog, I mentioned our science center trip and guess who we picked up?  We went and found Seth and took him with us.  Chaz was beside himself.  He was just so happy.  Seth STILL has a calming effecting on Chaz.  I'm starting to get what it is.  Seth has always acted very mature for his age.  He is just not hyper in any way.  Chaz does well around older kids.  Not ones that are kind o spastic.  Well, like my other kids.  In general, I have really active kids.  No joke.  So, Chaz being my oldest, gets a lot of influence from the younger kids.  So he tends to act younger for his age most of the time.  Whenever Chaz has spent some time with older kids, he'll come home really mellowed out.  Unless of course he had video games and, well..... that's another blog for another day!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Asperger syndrome called a factor in his theft of credit data

I was reading this article about a man who they believe has Asperger Syndrome involved in some thefts.  It's an interesting article and the whole version can be read HERE

“It’s not that people with Asperger syndrome do not know right for wrong,’’ Jekel said. “They don’t understand the potential consequence of what they are doing.’’

But Jason Evan Mihalko, a Cambridge psychologist who has worked with such patients, said it’s hard to imagine the disorder would spur someone to break into retail computer networks to steal millions of credit card numbers and then sell the data. Prosecutors allegedly seized more than $1.6 million from Gonzalez, including more than $1 million buried in his parents’ backyard.

Mihalko said the vast majority of people with Asperger syndrome never commit a crime. And when people do get in trouble, it’s typically because they take one of their obsessions too far - someone with trains, for instance, might break into a train to find out how it works. Or someone interested in electronics might steal a device to take it apart. But he said that does not mean people with Asperger syndrome can’t understand that stealing credit card data is wrong.

“Most everyone learns in school - or from parents - that stealing is wrong,’’ Mihalko said. “It’s no different for kids with Asperger’s.’’

What are your thoughts about this article?

Not a Freak

After reading Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's, I realize how wrong I've been in so many ways expecting Chaz to be just like his brothers.  Why do I continually forget???  I ask questions like "Don't you care?  Why are you being so mean?"  Instead I need to bring him to me and show him the proper way to have handled something.  It's a social disorder yet I forget and forget and forget.  The book is opening my eyes to the fact that I am making situations impossible for Chaz.  No, he's not a cold person.  Yes, he has a hard time understanding empathy.  He's not "a jerk" as other kids call him.  He just came and bumped into them because he wanted to be their friend.  They reject him all the time.  They call him a freak.  He's not a freak.  He's my son and he only wants to make a friend.  Any friend.

Friday, January 22, 2010

In Chaz's School Days

Chaz is the boy in the middle row on the left.

In speaking with another father on the Asperger group page, I was able to give him some ideas. I started to remember some things that had really helped my son in the past that I had forgotten about.  Boy, I need to apply some of these things again!

My son has been to 9 schools and none would work for him. However, a few years back, my son just happened to get a teacher who had trained to work with Asperger kids for 3 years. Boy did I get lucky! She helped Chaz so much that his symptoms went way down. She said Asperger kids are VERY visual and need a visual schedule. He needed to have a schedule, with pictures added, of his day. He also needed to be able to cross the activity off that they finished.  She put a cover over the paper so the marker could be wiped off to make clean for the next day.  Also, his desk was not right next to other students and closer to the teacher. She also put a cushion on his chair since some Asperger kids are more sensitive around their legs. These three things were key for my son. She wore a necklace with cards on them for Chaz. Instead of saying outloud, "Shhh, be quite". She would hold up a small card with a picture on it to show him. It showed a smiley face making the "shh" symbol. They listen much quicker when they see visual vs hearing it.  However, she was a first grade teacher so he no longer could have her. Unfortunately, he went back downhill again once that happened. I now homeschool him because other teachers would not do the same stuff for him. Either that or they were already too overwhelmed.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Look Me In The Eye-Updated

I just checked out this book and I'm looking forward to reading it.  When I read more I will post about it here.  I need to spend more time trying to understand Aspergers.  I know a lot about Aspergers but I really need to find out how to help my son directly.  Taking action and finding what will work for him.  I know I can't expect him to be like his siblings.  The balance for me is how not to treat him TOO differently.  I hated hearing him call himself a freak because of other kids at school.  Now that he is home with me I can control the environment more.  I feel like I am rebuilding his self esteem again.

UPDATE:  The more I read into this book I have began to understand my son.  There is a broad spectrum with Aspergers and even though everything doesn't apply to my son, I recognize a lot of things.  I included the link because this book will captivate you as you read it.  What John went through as a child and his parents not understanding his behavior. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Just Homeschool Chaz?

Today has been a really, really tough day with Chaz. Actually, that's an understatement. It's been a bad month. The whole reason why I homeschooled Chaz is because he doesn't do well at all in a classroom setting.  The only thing is Chaz is so much work just by himself that it's very challenging to have the time to homeschool the others. Unless of course I want to homeschool day and night.  I'm getting closer to the idea of letting my other kids be in a regular classroom and just homeschooling Chaz.  The other idea is homeschool the rest of the kids and put Chaz in a regular classroom. Argh.  Decisions.  I will have to think about it.  I'm just overwhelmed right now with all the emotional stuff and just trying to figure out how to help Chaz.  If anyone has any ideas, I would love them!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wound Up

These last couple of days with Chaz I have been noticing that he doesn't act at all like other kids his age.  Sooo different.  He acts more like a 4 year old in many ways.  I guess I didn't really know how 9 year olds should act till I started seeing other kids his age and payed attention.  Chaz still will curl up in a ball and scream.  He throws lots of tantrums.  He says a lot of crap.  You can say to Chaz "okay, well now you are going in time out".  He'll freak out.  So then when he starts freaking out I'll say, "well now you are gonna have to lay down for awhile in your bed."  He'll freak out more.  "Okay, now I want you to take a nap."  Then he's hysterical by this point.  It's like winding up something tighter and tighter.  Threatening Chaz about anything will not make him want to stop.  It only freaks him out because he gets really worked up.  Before I used to punish him for this but now I have to keep reminding myself that Chaz is someone that you have to calm down or "unwind".  Sometimes he gets a look on his face and I KNOW he's gonna walk around the house and see who he can bother.  Like "oh no, here it comes.  He's gonna cause mayhem."  Sure enough he'll get all the kids in the house squealing and upset.  Then I have to separate him which only makes him very angry.
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