Eye Opener

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I didn’t realize just how hard I’ve worked to get the boys where they are today… the obstacles we’ve face, the countless hours of OT, PT and Speech therapy we’ve done on our own and with therapists to get to where we are today… until I had to start from scratch with Jaxson.

I actually had to REALLY think… what on earth did I start doing with the boys? Because “normal” play for this age is over his head for right now. I had to go back to basics, remember where I started with Justin and Tyler… what games did I make up or toys did I create or do that helped them learn and explore safely?

This whole experience with Jaxson has been a huge eye opener of just how much Justin and Tyler have grown. It’s a little overwhelming… because I know just how much work I’ve got in store with me and Jax.

I’ve still been in kind of denial about Jax… Especially without a formal diagnosis, I didn’t want to be on either side of the fence about him being Autistic. But everyday, I’m being pushed more to one side than the other.

So, instead of trying to get him interested in things that he “should” be interested in at his age, I’m going to start from the beginning… like I did with Justin and Tyler after they regressed and work our way up. I still wanted to hold out hope that he was just a “slow learner”. That him being sick a lot or going through growth spurts (so he needs more sleep) have been slowing him down… but the doctors apt was the real eye opener I needed. The questions she asked about what he COULD do and then the pamphlet of the things to do with your baby at this age… I’ve decided to stop driving myself crazy.

Jax has a form of Autism and that’s okay. We are going to do everything we need to to help him, just like we would if he wasn’t Autistic. We’re just going to do it differently. 🙂
First game “In and Out”. I put all the toys in, and he dumps them out… until he gets to the point where he starts putting them in. Second game will be “Up Up Up Up DOWN”… where I stack the blocks up up up up and he knocks them down. These will help with Small and Gross motor skills, taking turns, action-reaction, sequencing; it teaches him what he should do with the toys, and it also teaches him a few words. 🙂 Those were the boys favorites when they first regressed. 🙂

As of right now, he just wants to chew on them. 😀 lol

We’ll be setting up all his apts to get evaluated this coming week… so this summer should be a busy one! 🙂

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Good Question #2

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“I’m still working on how to avoid potential meltdowns with my 5 year old. He’s non verbal so I don’t always get it right away. Any tips from the parents???”


I personally think it REALLY depends on what he’s melting down over… “Each behavior has a reason”. And each kid is different… in order to prevent or quell a meltdown, you have to first figure out why they’re melting down and how to help them through it or how to avoid it… but for the most part, you have to figure out what it is first.

Maybe it would help to write down when, where, what time of day, etc the meltdown happened since right now, it’s not as obvious what’s causing the meltdown.

Like with the boys, we figured out that we were ONLY able to go to one specific grocery store. That’s the one they felt most comfortable at. They couldn’t tell us that, but after a while, we figured out we had a much easier time going to that grocery store than any others. A friend of mine had said that you have to make a mistake a few times to realize it’s a mistake. Which I think is genius.

Or we also figured out that those situations are just WAY too hard for them to manage… so if they had something to help cope or take their minds off of everything else going on around them, our experience would be much better.

So we brought drinks, snacks, toys, favorite blankets and tablets with movies downloaded to them. Years later, we can now go to the prefferd store, and make it through a quick trip without food, drinks or tablets. However, we know we still have our limits. If we know we’re going to be there for a long time, or we had to run errands before, or if they’re not having a particularly good day, we ALWAYS make sure to have everything on hand just in case.

That’s another thing…. we ALWAYS have a “survival kit”… or… diaper bag on hand. Even at almost 6 and 7 years old, we bring a diaper bag (and not because they’re still in diapers)… we bring toys, snacks, drinks, devices… now that things are better, we always try to start the trip out using nothing and work our way up… at first sight of an issue we start with drinks, then snacks, then a toy and lastly the device. Then worse case, we leave.

That brings me to my last point.

At least with us, our kids just can’t tell us what’s wrong… and we just aren’t be able to figure it out…. sometimes the BEST thing you can do for yourself and for your kid is just to plain leave. Leave your cart in the middle of the store, throw your kid over your shoulder and high tail it to the car. Justin is 99lbs and I will throw him over my shoulder in a heart beat and book it to the car if I think it’s necessary for either of us.

So ALWAYS have an exit strategy. If I’m going with their Dad, before we even unbuckle our seatbelts, we have a plan. If it’s splitting up or staying together, we go through what we’re doing so we’re on the same page.

“Okay, we’re going to do this this and this… if something happens, meet here or call me or this is what we’re going to do.” That way there’s no confusion, less screaming and yelling and everyone knows what they need to do in a “crisis”.

We always TRY to avoid a meltdown, be prepared and hope for the best. But sometimes that’s just not going to happen. It takes a while for kids/people on the spectrum to learn, understand and be able to cope. It doesn’t make them bad or misbehaving… it’s just too overwhelming. It makes it even harder for us as parents when they’re non-verbal because we have to guess how to help them.

Sometimes meltdowns are just going to be unavoidable. So be understanding, and don’t be hard on yourself either. If you don’t have to, do push the situation, but keep trying. Never give up… eventually it WILL get easier. 🙂

You might be an Autism Parent if…

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It’s the end of Autism Awareness Month, and if you’re a regular on my page My Crazy Little People, you’ve seen the little cartoon characters I’ve been making with the hashtag #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf… If you haven’t click here to check them out. 🙂

However, they can be incredibly time consuming, and difficult to create with the limited things I can do on the websites I use. Instead I decided to make a list of all your amazing quotes and post them in my blog!

I hope these will give you comfort in knowing you’re not the only one going through the same thing or a laugh knowing there are others similar to you! 🙂 (Which IS the reason I started my page! 😀 )

Here are the responses from my page to finish the sentence You might be an Autism Parent if…

your child lives off 5 foods or less!
Just Another Day With Autism

you stock up on a food that your child likes,
only to have them suddenly refuse to eat it.
Aspiemom: AdventuresinAutismland

you stock up and buy the next few sizes
up when you find clothing or shoes your
kids will actually wear.
Aspiemom: AdventuresinAutismland

your child loves to splash in puddles but hates when
his shoes are wet so you make sure you have a
paper towel anytime you think the ground looks wet.
Stacy Lengyel-Sclesky

the YouTube celebrities that
do tours are their “friends”.
Jackie Linder Olson

if you and your husband have MULTIPLE conversations
on the well being and origins of cartoon characters!
Autism, The not “normal” normal

you have own 300 kids dvds
and only 5 work.
Autism, The not “normal” normal

you take pictures of the lines your kid creates.
Zsanece Brown


your child refuses to eat arby’s because
it the day he usually gets Popeye’s!
Patrice Goss

when strangers know your address because
your child blurts it out to everyone he meets.
Kate Boykin

Your son CANT drink the tea you just made
him Because “its in the wrong cup””!
Kathy Michele Garrett

your house looks like Fort Knox
and your kid still manages to get out.
Sandra Wells

You dread taking your child in a public restroom
because the hand dryers freak him out.
Ashtin Schissler

you have had to limit the food
on the plate due to “stuffing”.
Brandie Valentine

You have purchased a few extra sets of rechargeable
batteries and always have them charged and ready.
Brandie Valentine 

When you have seen the same episode
of blues clues 100 times…. In a single day.
Brandie Valentine

You wait outside of the grocery store for a few minutes
to “test the waters” before attempting grocery shopping.
Brandie Valentine

You have realized that his rituals
have become your rituals.
Brandie Valentine

 You have mastered the buzz cut
because getting his hair professionally
cut causes you both extreme anxiety.
Brandie Valentine

When you have a strong lock on everything,
even and especially the refrigerator.
Melissa DiMauro

You have a panic attack when
the cable goes out.
Melanie Ash

your child’s bed now has 10 blankets and your willing
to cover up with a washcloth cause its been
18 hours since either of you slept.
Jeanna Payne

you start counting how many wipes you
have when your child spots the mud puddle.
Jeanna Payne

you’ve been singing and watching the same nursery
rhymes for the past six years, at home AND in the car!
Sana Arsalan

a TV schedule change fills you with dread.
Felicity Goodhall

You rely a hell of alot on an
iPad to keep things calm.
Roy Carter

You want to cry when a food company
changes it’s packaging.
Jacob’s Journey with Autism, Mood Disorder, and NF1

It doesn’t matter how
high you put something,
he/she will still get it.
Alex Falkner

 You have to figure out if it’s because of puberty
or he needs another med adjustment.
Randomness of Our Lives

You’re terrified when you hear the
toilet paper roll and then a flush.
Letters From A Spectrum Mom

your house is like the motel 6 cause
our lights are always on.
Diane Bagby Jenkins

 Weighted gear is a part of
everyday normal life.
Ashley Matheney

 You are in a secret panic because of the
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese recipe change.
Tina Howard

 Your kid can tell you everything there is to
know about Abraham Lincoln, but can’t
remember to put on underwear.
Tina Howard

you have your own weighted
blanket just because.
Kate Boykin

 Your child could sing every word from
frozen, on key, after the first viewing.
Laura Hernandez

Your child’s IQ is high, but he can’t
put his own clothes on most mornings.
Laura Hernandez

The low battery sign on any
technology device fills you with horror.
Kali Power

Your child has more appointments
per week than you do.
Kali Power

Your child’s closet is full of clothing
but they only wear one outfit.
Kali Power

 When you grocery shop, everything
in your cart is the same color!
Support Howie, say no to bullies

 You have to angle every picture so you
can’t tell my child refuses to wear cloths!
Jennifer Brandon

 If Monday morning makes you
cringe more than a IRS audit.
Jeanna Payne

 If u wear sneakers are your only shoes
with every outfit even a dress or skirt
because u are ready to run.
SundayIn Berkshire

you can handle your ASD kid’s meltdown but say
“what’s your problem” to your typical kids.
Alexia Herbowy Conrad

you click almost instantly with
other ASD parents.
Alexia Herbowy Conrad 

you know that actions speak
so much louder than words.
Alexia Herbowy Conrad

 

your ASD kiddo is better than a Doppler
radar when there’s change in the air.
Alexia Herbowy Conrad

“I need coffee” really means just give
me the whole pot and walk away!
Finely Davis

the words “Watch this YouTube video” make
you want to run away screaming.
Dawn Barnsdale

christmas movies and music
aren’t just for christmas.
Kim Marie

you no longer judge the distance between
locations by miles, but by the number of times
your child’s favorite song repeats! 5.5 plays
until we get to Grandma’s!
Virginia Dorrell

you have watched their favorite movies
and shows 1,647 times, but keep doing so
because it makes them happy and calm.
Ashley Tilden-Allen

Your child has ninja skills, which makes you feel both
proud and petrified!
Ashley Tilden-Allen

your childs disappearing acts that would rival
Houdini are both impressive and heart stopping.
Ashley Tilden-Allen

you wake up to legos all
over and in your bed.
Autistic Angels

if your child can explain in detail why it’s possible
for a human to hold an alligator’s mouth shut with
his or her bare hands, then as a followup asks for a
detailed explanation of what the
expressions ‘blew it’ and ‘nailed it’ mean.”
Where’s Mommy’s Coffee?

 your child Streaks.
Melissa Dunn

when he tries something new and IF he likes it…
it’s like winning the lotto and posted on FB.
Kimberly Penaloza

your child refuses to wear a winter coat even
when it’s -30 below and a foot of snow!
Stacy Lengyel-Sclesky

 my child can’t stand the smell up cupcakes
but can sit on the toilet for 45 minutes pooping
and not be bothered the smell.
Kimberly Morales

random shrieking is not a cause for alarm.
Alex Pankratz

you can’t buy their pants in a
normal store anymore,
cause elastic waists aren’t
made that big at K-mart.
Alex Pankratz

melatonin is a normal
item on the grocery list
Alex Pankratz

markers are a bribe
for toenail trimming.
Alex Pankratz

If you have to hide the
crocs throughout the winter.
Sarah Jane Allen

You’ve been surviving on caffeine
and paperwork since 2011.
A is for Awesome – and Autism 

Half priced melatonin is more exciting
than Christmas morning.
A is for Awesome – and Autism 

You bolt to the grocery store in the middle of the
night because you’ve run out of one of the
four foods your child will actually eat.
A is for Awesome – and Autism 

 if your child can’t spell words,
but can spell YouTube, Facebook,
Google, Twitter, Nick Jr., Hulu, etc.. etc…
Lorena Sanchez Jauregui

you avoid making too much noise while
opening up a snack for yourself, only to
realize your child’s already there.
Lorena Sanchez Jauregui

you have to tip toe to go to the restroom very early
in the morning to avoid waking up your child….
you have to replace headphones frequently.
Lorena Sanchez Jauregui

 If the sound of grinding teeth suddenly became
so normal to you (because That’s all he does)
after years of it bothering you.
Prinsesa Martinez

loves a bath but lord forbid
the shower gets turned on.
Felicia Goade

 you find your shoes in the freezer
and put them away without thinking twice.
Sara Byk

your child has you trained to script with him
in barks, and you know all your lines exactly.
Sara Byk

you have to wrestle a bite of cookie into your
child’s mouth before he realizes it’s a
cookie and then you have to hide the bag
bc he now knows it holds cookies
Emma Alspaugh

you have to cover your child’s ears during
their own birthday songs at restaurants but
they’re still clapping along!
Emma Alspaugh

you celebrate the first time your child lets
you trim their nails without a meltdown.
Danielle Alonzo

you set a special ringtone for
your childs school and/or daycare.
Kate Wright

after your child’s diagnosis, and learning
about all the different sides of the spectrum…
that you start realizing you may be on it too.
My Crazy Little People

If I missed anyone, I’m sorry! I tried to go back through all the comments on all of the pictures too to try to find any! If you have one of your own that isn’t on the list, leave them in the comments! 😀

**If you see your quote and do not want it on the list, please either leave a message or contact me directly and I will edit it off the blog. **

Good Question #1

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What are the odds that my daughter is the only one in both my family sides with asd?

Honestly… in MY PERSONAL oppinion. lol *Not a doctor*
I personally think it’s highly unlikely.

When we first got the boys diagnosed, we thought they were the ONLY ones in our entire family who were on the spectrum.

We knew VERY VERY little about Autism at the time, let alone how to look for it in adults or those who were on the other side of the spectrum from our kids.

Over the last 3 1/2 years since their diagnosis, I’ve started realizing there’s a lot more in our family… specifically me and my husband. Possibly one of my brothers, more than likely my father, my Grandfather on my Mom’s side, my Grandmother on my Dad’s side…. and probably a few on my husbands side too. And that’s not counting things like OCD, SPD, ADHD or other “disorders”.

See…. I don’t think that Autism is really getting “more popular”… I personally think that we’re just learning how to diagnos and recognize it better. If people from even the last 100 years were looked at and diagnosed the way we are doing it now, there would be a lot more Autistic people in the world. Not that there isn’t now… they just don’t know it.

If you would have asked me 4 years ago if I was Autistic I would have said no… if you asked me even 2 years ago, I would have said no.

So, for me, as a person who thinks Autism is genetic, I’d say it’s HIGHLY unlikely that someone else in your family isn’t on the spectrum or maybe has something else… like OCD or ADHD or SPD.Or something like that.

I’ve hear a lot of people say that it doesn’t matter… that Autism is just a label. There’s nothing they could do about it now, so what’s the point?

I’m self diagnosed, and personally, it’s a big deal for me. It’s helped me understand why I do the things I do and has helped me not be so hard on myself. It also has helped me better understand the relationships I have with people and family. Not only that, but it also helps me be a better parent, because I can relate to my Autistic kids better than I thought I could before.

Soap Box

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Here is a response to a meme I made that says “You might be an Autism Parent if…” and what I wrote back.

“Yeah I don’t like anything that uses the phrase “autism parent”. Tends to be anti autism rhetoric in the form of worshiping those who have autistic kids.

Which is dangerous because it doesn’t make a parent more dedicated or understanding or patient or whatever else. We (young autistic people) are at increased risk for abuse and even being killed by our parents who are put on pedi stools just because they have kids who aren’t NT.

So yeah.

I’m Autistic and have two Autistic kids and a baby…

I’m not putting myself on a pedestal … I’m helping others in similar situations be able to relate.
I’m also allowing others who don’t have kids on the spectrum to see and possibly understand what it’s like to have kids on the spectrum or what it’s like for the kids on the spectrum.
I also don’t like to wear pants. lol
But if we don’t speak up and show people what it’s like, even just the silly things like not wearing pants… people don’t get it and don’t understand. They shame us. They look at us in disgust because we can’t “control our kids”. The way I see it, every post, every picture, every meme I make that gets passed around, that has anything to do with Autism… helps make our lives better.
Because somewhere out there, there are people who are learning. People who are slowing starting to understand. People who are curious and reach out to learn more.
And also… people who might help others in situations where they are beyond stressed out and need help. People who might be more at risk to do something like hurt their children or worse. In NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM am I saying it’s okay to hurt our kids… BUT… I know personally what it’s like to have no help… to have no one when days get rough… to be depressed… and the days that I go to the store and my kids are upset and people look at me like I’m the worst person alive… having that ONE PERSON who sees me, smiles or asks if there is anything they can do BECAUSE they understand… those days aren’t as bad. And I’d like to think that in a very small way, I’m contributing to that.
Besides. I don’t want ignorant people looking down on me or my kids. So whether my memes/pictures/posts either help those who feel completely alone and need that little extra support, or make light of a possibly frustrating situation… or help others understand a little bit… I’m going to do it. And as a HFA with Autistic kids… I get to call myself whatever I want. And Autism Parent… or Autism Mom is my choice.
So…. yeah.
#Soapbox lol

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyway…. hope you’re having a good day. 😛 🙂

Self Diagnosing

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I’m Autistic, probably have ADD/ADHD, Sensory Issues and Food Aversions.
I plan on getting my “real diagnosis” once I have insurance again.

I’ve thought I’ve had these for a while now (some longer than others), but I’ve always been afraid to come out and say it. People can be incredibly mean and judgmental… I also keep second guessing myself (maybe you’re just crazy?), and there’s a bit of denial too.

For as long as I can remember, I had food aversions. Like sitting at the dinner table for HOURS because I couldn’t make myself eat the spaghetti my Mom made because it had onions in it (I still can’t eat onions). I can’t eat chicken off a bone (after it’s been cut off and I’ve dissected it, I can eat it, but like chicken wings – nope, isn’t going to happen…). I LOVE the taste of fruit/fruit juice, but most of their textures, I can’t stand. Like Bananas, oranges, soft grapes, pears, plums…. pretty much anything but watermelon and apples… and even then, I’m picky about those too. Eventually I did figure out that it was the texture of foods that I didn’t like… but there were some foods I just don’t like the taste of either.

Then when I met my husband, he gave me a name/phrase for the things I didn’t like that weren’t over texture… I also have “little kid taste buds”. 😉 I don’t like wine, beer or coffee… you know, adult things. lol

But I also have just texture issues that have nothing to do with food. Like if I get something sticky gets on my hands I need to wash them immediately. I can’t use lotion, going to the beach sucks for me. It’s not so bad while I’m there, but if I can’t rinse off and change before I leave, the feeling of the gritty sand and the sticky salt water on me drives me crazy. I don’t like wearing pants in general unless they’re lightweight PJ pants. lol Or socks with the stitching in the toe, but I don’t mind wearing toe socks!! lol

I’m Autistic. I just always thought I was weird… “quirky”. I never really fit in with any particular group of kids. I’d find one or two people I liked and hung out with them. I used to think the reason I didn’t have many friends was due to moving around so much. I went to a different school every year starting in 8th grade (I moved in with my Aunt and Uncle and they are in the Air Force). I have a hard time keeping relationships. It’s not that I don’t want them! If anything, I get depressed over not having friends, but when I go looking for them… I have a hard time finding others like me.  I try to make friends anyway, and try to find common ground, but eventually it gets too hard for me to keep up the friendship and I end up sabotaging it. Then once I do, it’s exhausting and mentally and physically hard to keep up with. I stop talking to them, then I feel bad for not talking to them for so long, so I continue to NOT talk to them. Even when I find people who ARE like me, I’m so drained from personal issues (like migraines, TMJ, Lower back pain, fibromyalgia…) and taking care of my three kids who are also Autistic, that by the end of the day when I CAN talk to them, I don’t want to. Well… I “want” to, but end up zoning out watching a movie.

Movies/TV/Books are really the only way I can zone out and just not think for a while. Because I probably have ADD/ADHD, I have a really hard time NOT thinking about something. I’m usually thinking about quite a few things at a time, and when it’s really bad I can’t focus on anything, let alone the MANY things going through my brain. Which is also why it’s really hard for me to write. I actually write better than I talk… I have a hard time staying on subject when I’m speaking… I go off on tangents then forget what I’m talking about. But when I’m writing, I’m able to go back and reread what I wrote, so I can continue talking about what I need to. Or go back and delete a bunch of text that I thought was important, but really wasn’t (can’t do that in person). I often get SO distracted by everything else going on around me, I can’t focus long enough to write something. Which is also the reason I have a hard time finishing anything. My Aunt called it her “but first syndrome”.

I should do the dishes, but first, let me pick up these toys… but first I should pick up the food the boys dropped, but first, I need to get a trash bag… goes to the kitchen, but first I should make the kids their drinks, but first I need to go to the bathroom, I didn’t realize how bad I had to go, but first, look at all these dishes, I need to do these first. lol So, I DO end up getting things done, but probably not as much as I would if I could focus on just one thing at a time.

Having all of these has been hard. Especially because I didn’t understand why I was the way I was or why I did the things I did, until recently. I would look back at my life and not understand. Why did I have such a hard time making and keeping friends? Why did I make such bad decisions sooo often? Why did I have such bad relationships with my family, friends, significant others? Why am I so emotional or really easy to anger? Why can’t I get good grades in school? Why am I SUCH a picky eater?!?!

There are so many aspects to my life that took me a lot longer to realize and work on… even before I realized I probably have ADD/ADHD and Autistic. That if I had known why I did the things I did when I was younger, I might have had a completely different life. Better relationships… Finished college…

Maybe my depression wouldn’t have gotten so bad and wouldn’t have tried hurting myself so often. 

Although it does make me sad sometimes, there’s nothing I can do about it now.

Now I’m focusing on learning as much as I can so I can continue to better understand myself and really my kids. Although they don’t have the SAME problems/restrictions/“quirks” I do, I’m understanding why THEY are the way they are… or why they do the things they do, because I better understand myself.

These are just a FEW of the problems I have and have faced… to give you an idea of how important it is to talk about family history and to learn and understand. Even IF my family had figured out I was different than other girls my age and had me tested, I probably wouldn’t have gotten a diagnosis. Even today women are still not getting the diagnosis they need. All because we don’t show the same “signs and symptoms” as our male counterparts exhibit or because we are better at learning to mimic “normal” behaviors.

That and on my mom’s side, “you need to go to therapy” was an insult they used often, not a helpful idea. We didn’t talk about mental health or genetic “problems” or differences. So, even if someone in my family knew someone might have had a genetic difference, no one would talk about it and we would deny it until the day we died.

  • I’m trying to break generational curses and trying to better my family. 🙂 And although officially I don’t have a diagnosis… I’m not going to be afraid or ashamed to say it. I’m Autistic, ADD/ADHD, Sensory Issues and Food Aversions… depression , anxiety, and a slew of others… but just because my Autism doesn’t look like yours, doesn’t mean I’m not. Just because I can make eye contact, have a conversation, go (back) to college, get married and have kids… doesn’t mean I’m not.


Just because I’m a woman… doesn’t mean I can’t be Autistic.

My reaction to finding out my kids are Autistic?

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I’ve heard horror stories about Parents getting their Autism diagnosis for their kids, but for us it was a different story.

Looking back, I can’t tell you exactly when my kids regressed. I wasn’t looking for it. I had Tyler two days before Justin turned one, so to say I was distracted was an understatement. I tried my hardest to juggle between the two, making sure to read with them a few times a day, floor time, taking walks and talking about everything (now we’re putting on your shoes). Trying to split my time between both of them. They both progressed with the “normal” time frames for milestones.

It wasn’t until later that I could look back and see that they both regressed somewhere between a year and a year and a half. They slowly started losing language, becoming more rigid in routine and preferences in movies, food, toys and places we went… If we went to the “wrong” grocery store they would have a full blown meltdown. I had NO CLUE what was going on! They had never done things like that before. I just assumed all of this was them going through a phase. I got reassurances and advice from EVERYONE.

“Don’t worry, he’ll talk when he has something to say.”
“Some kids are just like that.”
“You need to make him eat what you eat or he’s always going to be a picky eater.”
“He just needs more discipline.”

We couldn’t do anything. We couldn’t go anywhere. Justin became solitary… played and did things by himself. He was less affectionate. Lost eye contact. I’d have to make him give me kisses. It was the same with Tyler for the most part.

Tyler became more aggressive. He would (and still does) physically hurt himself, throw himself to the floor, throw his head back on whatever – concrete, tile… Honestly, I was scared he would REALLY hurt himself. I would try to calm him down. People told me to hug him really tight and he would wear himself out and stop. Nope. That just made him even angrier. Eventually I figured out to just get under him to keep him from hurting himself until he could calm down himself. I ended up getting hurt, but it was better than him getting a concussion or a broken arm. Or I would move everything that was around him so he couldn’t hit anything.

We had to “baby proof” the house again. They started destroying everything, screaming over everything… the only time they were ever really happy for an extended period of time, was when we were outside or in water. We took half an hour to an hour long walks 1-3 times a day, depending on how bad the day was.

Every night I cried myself to sleep. I just wanted to be a good Mom and a good Wife. Sure, I wanted to go to college and become a lawyer… or travel the world. But I also loved working at the Pregnancy Support Center or the Daycare,  I loved hanging out with kids, working in the nursery at church… And I realized I was being prepared to be a mother! Yet, here I was. Bawling my eyes out into my pillow because I couldn’t teach my kids to talk. I couldn’t get them to color. I couldn’t get them to do anything they were supposed to. Other kids were learning letters, numbers and colors… and here I was trying to figure out ways to keep their diapers on so they wouldn’t smear their poo all over the walls.

“What’s wrong with me? Three years of working at a daycare with other people’s kids…  and I can’t even teach my own. I’m a horrible mother. My kids would be better off without me. What’s the point in me even being here… being alive?” Depressed doesn’t begin to explain how I felt.

I grew resentful towards my husband. He got to leave the house. He got to get away from the stress and frustrations I had to deal with all day, every day. I would scream and yell at him, sometimes over absolutely nothing. Sometimes over everything. We got married very young, and I’ll admit, we really didn’t understand how to have a healthy relationship, let alone a healthy marriage. How to really communicate with each other. (We’re still working on it!). We almost got a divorce a few times. I despised him for working and leaving me to deal with the kids by myself. But I hated myself more. The one thing I’m supposed to do in life, is to take care of my kids… and I can’t do it.

That was a really dark year and a half to two years for our family. I struggled every single day.

Then, when I was still trying to make my kids do normal things, we were at a friends house for dinner. The kids were playing when my friend said to me, the boys acted and had similar mannerisms as a little boy she watched during the day. He had Autism. At the time, I couldn’t remember ever hearing about the word.

That night, after I FINALLY got the boys in bed around 11, I googled Red Flags for Autism. Clicked on the first link and started reading. One after another after another….. my heart started beating faster the more I read.

My kids are Autistic. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind. I started pulling up everything and anything I could find about Autism. I’ll be honest. A lot of it confused me. There were so many acronyms and long words. Aspergers is Autism? But this Autism is like that, and that Autism is like this and… My head was spinning.

But I did know one thing for sure by the time I was done reading many hours later… it wasn’t my fault my kids weren’t like other kids. I cried for a whole other reason that night. Not because my kids weren’t ever going to be “normal” or that they may never talk… but because I WASN’T a horrible Mother. I wasn’t doing everything wrong.

A few months later we got their diagnosis of Severe/Regressive Non-verbal Autism. Dr. Richard Dowel at the Children’s Development Center has an amazing and reassuring way of explaining the complexity that goes on in their brain. I felt like I truly understood why my kids were the way they were. Dr. Dowell actually told me that I was one of the few parents he had met that had done such a great job figuring out our kids without even knowing what was wrong with them… that he was impressed with me and how well I handled our situation and how I responded to the kids while we were in his office.

I had a huge smile on my face as we were leaving, as I was being drug around by two crazy kids.
I made it into the truck before I started bawling…
Not only wasn’t it my fault, I was actually doing exactly what my kids needed at that time. I was being a good Mother.


I was relieved.