Sunday, August 26, 2012

Temple Grandin

This post is going to be super short.  I just wanted to say that last night I watched the movie Temple Grandin with Claire Danes.  (She did a great job, btw)   If you have a child with Aspergers or Autism and you don't have it yourself I would urge you to watch the movie.  They did a wonderful job putting you into the perspective of Temple and seeing the world through her eyes.  You can read books, but this gives you the complete visual.  Also it's an amazing and true story of what someone with Autism is capable of doing if they are supported and encouraged! 
I am still debating showing my daughter, I will for sure when she is older but some scenes are kind of intense. 
If you saw the movie I am curious what you thought of it.  What do you think of the squeeze machine?  Would you ever get or make one for your child?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


You know those times when you are blissfully running across a lush meadow, looking ahead at the place heading and then you realize that the meadow is full of soggy water and you end up with your foot sinking down into muck and before you realize it the next one has gone down too.  Bewildered and not sure what to do next.  You know you have to get yourself out of there, but how to do it without losing a shoe or falling on your face.  Plus, once you get out you of the muck you still have to trudge forward through the rest of the soggy mess to reach your intended destination.  So, here I am, standing in the muck and refusing to go forward, too tired to assess the situation, but also too hopeful to just lay down and give up.

For over a year I have been learning everything I could and reading every book I could get my hands on about aspergers to help my daughter.  Meanwhile, for the past six months I was also learning much about Sensory Processing Disorder to help my son.  I felt pretty good about it, like we had a path and a plan for my son.  He was doing Occupational Therapy once a week and making progress.  I am thankful for that progress, and thankful for the tools and skills that he gained from OT.  Our therapist was truly amazing!  Then, we were told that there wasn't much more OT could do and we should go get yet another evaluation.

After an evaluation with a team of people, plus tons of questionnaires, and a follow up I was told my son has ADHD.   Now, somehow this is hard to take, much harder than when I learned my daughter had aspergers. You hear about wonderful people with autism, geniuses.  I am pretty sure you never hear anything great about ADHD people.  (If you do please leave me a comment!)  I know ADHD is the most common misdiagnosed thing in children.  I also know my son can pay attention.  I also don't know anything about ADHD.  I have started trying to learn a little bit.  I got the book that the Dr.recommended and read 7 pages, then I stopped.

  I just feel like it was surprise muck.  Surprise muck that I am not even sure is real.  Although, the little I have read is making sense.  It just seems so big.  I made the mistake of reading what ADHD looks like as a teenager and it scared the hell out of me!  So I stopped reading and here I stand, knee deep in muck trying to figure out my next move and sort of feeling like maybe I will just stand here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Our Best

This past weekend my husband went out of town on a camping trip and left me to hold down the fort.  This included a shameful first night when, after hearing a story at the park about "Honey Boo Boo" the tiara wearing toddler,  Out of curiousity and half dis-belief, I made my way to YouTube.
I ended up watching an entire episode of Toddlers In Tiaras.  I don't have cable and normally wouldn't watch something like that but... well...I will blame the lack of adults at home and call temporary insanity.

I thought that I would just watch a short clip and move on with my life.  I couldn't though, I kept watching.  Not so much like watching a train wreck, but rather watching someone wreck a train on purpose. I was trying to figure out what is going on inside the train wreckers head that makes them think this is a good idea to wreck the train.  Plus, not just one train, a whole room of trains, and everyone is in agreement that the trains need to smash for the good of the train.

It would be easy for me to think that the mothers of the tiara girls are horrible parents.  I have to say that my gut reaction was just that.  I had that little thought in the back of my head though telling me to find the good.  Because really, the mothers are going out of there way, changing the entire famililes lifestyle, sacrificing money and time because they are trying to do there best.  Trying to give their child the best life they can.  It just happens that the idea they have for "best possible life" is MUCH different then the idea I have.
They wouldn't understand why I won't allow my children the thrill of drinking soda and downing pixie sticks (yes, they give there children oodles of pixie sticks to show "personality.")  These women would think perhaps that I am being cruel by not allowing my children unlimited screen time, but not allowing them to sign up for tons of activities.  I am sure I do things very different and they might see that as bad.  Maybe though, they would act better than I did and they wouldn't judge me at all.

I sat on my sofa, and a squirmed, and I dropped my jaw, and I judged, and then I remembered that I am not supposed to judge.  So then I looked for the good.  I found it too, deep under the insanity of a pageant.  I found the hope for happiness, for a better life, for a shared dream, for a smile. It is easy to see the worst in people.  I have friends who parent very differently than me, they give their children soda and spank them when they misbehave.  Because I am around them in person it's easier to see the good, to see their heart.  The television show is not made to help us be compassionate.  The producers pick people who will shock and cause judgement, so that we will all gossip about it.  It's very hard to see someones heart through edits that accentuate the worst moments.  There was a small clip though, where one of the mother's doubted for a brief second what she was doing, but then she said she sees her daughter smile and knows she is doing the right thing.  She wants her daughter to be happy, but that glimpse of doubt showed me her heart.  Beneath the layers of our good and failed attempts at parenting lays our heart, and we all have good hearts. 

These women are doing their best.  We are all doing our best to love our children and give them a good life and everyone has a different picture of what that looks like.  We must not judge each other though, it doesn't help anyone or change anything. I won't be watching the show again.  It's too hard not to judge and really what can I gain from seeing it?  Instead I will patiently await the return of Downton Abby and maybe practice my neglected banjo the next time I am bored. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Unknowing Teacher

We are all here to teach each other something.  Each one of us has a lesson (many lessons probably) that we will teach others, unknowingly just by being ourselves.  Watching my children this morning reminded me of that.  My children are opposites, a girl and a boy, a sensory sensitive, and a sensory seeker, introvert, extrovert. This is not by accident.  They have been placed with each other, in our family for a very clear purpose (if you ask me, and since it's my blog ...)  They are preparing each other for the world, so that when they step away from the safety of our family they will be ready for those who are different than them, and be able to show them love, even if they don't understand them. 

I tell my children, that they must love each other.  They do not have to like each other at times, but they must always LOVE one another, no matter what.  Also, they have to love everyone else, but it all starts at home, loving each other despite the fact that they are each others biggest challenges most of the time.  

So today, the lesson was being close to people.  My daughter craves personal space and becomes overwhelmed and exhausted and sometimes even in pain when people are too close to her.  A tiny bump feels like a great assult.  In life, we sometimes must be in a crowd, and people are clumsy and bump into you.  So, in her home is the younger brother who's body doesn't feel as much (hyposensitive) so he craves bumping into people, and squishing into them, and being as close and in your face as possible.  According to her he was bumping more than usual and really getting in her face.  She gave me this complaint as "Mom, he is doing that thing AGAIN, a lot more than normal."  I reminded her that he has a reason for doing "that thing" and that I would remind him to tone it down.  "Just as you need space, he needs closeness, you both need to work on a balance."  The speech I have given one thousand times, but they are both starting to be more gentle with each other when it is a problem.

 From each other they are learning tolerance and awareness.  My daughter is learning to tolerate some of her brother's need for contact, and my son is learning to be aware and respectful of her need for space.    He is helping her be able to stand in a crowded room and she is helping him no how to hold back so he doesn't overwhelm everyone he meets.  They both struggle to give each other the things they need and also protect what they need.  It's a dance, a delicate dance that I am so happy they are learning as children.
I had to learn this as a married adult living with a introvert much like my daughter, it took me years and sometimes I fall backwards and overload my husband.  Sometimes I forget to push him just a little and feel depleted of the closeness that I crave.  My husband and I learn from each other, just as our children learn from each other.  The way we are as individuals and the fact that we are a family this is not at all by mistake, and we shouldn't give up on people just because they make us uncomfortable. We need to see those different then us as teachers here to help us grow into the people we were meant to be.  Some of their lessons will be easy and some of them might shake us, but the more we show up and try the better we will become.