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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

One more time

I had such good intentions when I started this blog long ago. I had planned to keep it up to date, keep it interesting, and just build something great. Then life went on and things began to change. I found myself busier and busier. This blog fell behind and was rarely ever a thought in my mind. I'm sorry for that.

A lot has happened in the last couple of years. The boys have grown leaps and bounds. Their communication and social skills have both improved greatly. I created a new PTCO (parent teacher community group) for all children with developmental differences within our county. We made it through an entire school year of events and are getting to ready to start a new year. Then the biggest change of all is that Gatlin will be starting kindergarten this year!

With all of these exciting changes in life I would like to try this whole blogging thing one more time. I think it will be good for me to write again and who knows maybe I will be able to help one of you along the way. In any case I want to try this again and hopefully this time I will do a better job at this. I have a lot I would like to share and there is no better time to start than now. :)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pom pom pick up

It is important to me that we work on skills at home. Even though both of my boys have been in different therapies they only get so many visits. Now especially that it is summer time and Gatlin is out of school I really want to make sure we do some good activities at home.

This simple activity is fun for them and works on OT fine motor skills. I picked up the pom poms and plastic tongs at the Dollar Tree store. The container I'm storing them in is just a reused Ovaltine container.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Autism Awareness Day 23

Autism Awareness Day 23 - Weighted blankets. Weighted blankets, lap pads, and even toys can be great for children with Autism. It gives them that extra sensory input they need and can even be calming for them. The only problem is that they can also be fairly expensive.

So if you know someone with Autism and you happen to have some sewing skills I would like to share with you this tutorial I found on making weighted blankets. If you're feeling ambitious I'm sure this would make for a much appreciated gift.

Autism Awareness Day 22

Autism Awareness Day 22 - The spectrum. One thing people need to understand is that Autism or Autism Spectrum disorder is not the same for everyone. People diagnosed with Autism can be at any range of the spectrum, meaning that may fall in the range of being very close to neurotypical, or maybe they are severely autistic, or they could be any where in between. Though Autism has certain characteristics this does not mean that everyone with Autism has all of the same characteristics.

Autism is individual, and though two people on the spectrum may have some similarities they are by no means exactly alike. Both of my boys are on the spectrum and yes there are a lot of similarities but there are also a ton of differences. It's not the same for everyone and it's not something that you can see just by looking at a person. The spectrum is so varied that you may know or have met people that are on the spectrum but you wouldn't have known and they may not even know because they were never diagnosed.

So please don't assume that if you know one person with Autism you know them all. That is just not true.

Autism Awareness Day 21

Autism Awareness Day 21 - Early Intervention. One of the key signs of Autism is a lack of verbal communication. If your child is not meeting their milestones where verbal communication is concerned you should probably check in to it. If you child meets their milestones and then later suddenly stops talking then again this may be cause for alarm. Now I'm not saying this automatically means your child has Autism but I am saying that you should find out why they are not meeting their milestones.

One great place to find out more about this is through Help Me Grow. They can help you find out if you child is on track developmentally and then provide further assistance if they are not. We have been working with Help Me Grow for a little over a year now and they've been wonderful with Draiman. They came out to our home to assess his development and then from there scheduled more visits and therapy to help us work on goals with him.

They are a great resource so please check them out. For more information visit there website at

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Autism Awareness Day 20

Autism Awareness Day 20 - Do not fear an Autism diagnosis. I have heard of family with children that are most likely on the spectrum but the family refuses to have their child tested. Believe me when I say that I understand it can be hard to admit that your child may not be typical but you don't have to be afraid of the diagnosis. When Gatlin was diagnosed I went through a whole range of emotions, I wasn't sure what to do. I wasn't sure how I was going to cope let alone be able to help with all of the daunting therapies that he was going to need.

It was beyond overwhelming and then at some point I just realized that it didn't have to be traumatic. Gatlin was still my child, still my baby that loved so much for who he was and the diagnosis didn't change that. He was who he was regardless of what you labeled it, he was still Gatlin. What the diagnosis did do was point us in the right direction of learning to understand him better and to get the help and support we needed. His diagnosis wasn't a tragedy, it was a way of getting us on to the path we needed to travel for better understanding, learning, and growing.

By the time we got Draiman's diagnosis it was no big deal, we understood our boys so much better now. We had been able to learn about Autism and better understand why our boys did some of the things they did. We had learned how to better communicate with them which led to less and less tantrums. We were learning new ways to teach our children things that we weren't able to before. We were also learning how to meet their sensory needs and life was just changing, but for the better.

So if you have a child that you or your family thinks may be on the spectrum then I urge you to follow through on getting them tested. I know it can be scary but it's a necessary step. The worst case scenario is that your child will in fact be diagnosed with Autism, but if you ask me that's not really a worst case scenario. I think it would be much worse to not have them tested because of your own fears and deny them and your family the opportunity to finally understand your child better. To also deny your child any helpful resources that may be available to them with a diagnosis of Autism. So please put your fears aside and do what needs to be done for your child's sake.

Autism Awareness Day 19

Autism Awareness Day 19 - Putting aside our adult agendas. Yes I'm still behind on these posts but it's important to me so I will continue on. Hopefully you all aren't sick of them and hopefully some of you are actually benefiting from my posts. So now lets get back to the topic of putting aside our adult agendas.

As an adult you have a lot of responsibilities, expectations, plans, etc but when you have a child with special needs you will find that sometimes it all goes out the window. Some days run smoothly and I get things accomplished that I had planned to but other days just don't work that way. Before the diagnosis of Autism I thought I must be some kind of awful parent who just couldn't get her children to do what they should. A parent who was incapable of getting things done that should be done. I was so frustrated, I was trying so hard to get my boys to do the things they "should" and to manage my household and my photography business the way I "should" but nothing was working right. Why were other Moms and other photographer Mom's able to get things done and I wasn't? Why was I failing so miserably??

Then I finally started realizing that Gatlin just wasn't a typical child, then came his diagnosis and soon after the realization that Draiman wasn't a typical child either. My boys have Autism, therefore they have special needs which means that the things that work for other parents don't always work for us. I finally started to see that things were just going to be different for us and that different is ok. It's perfectly ok that my children haven't met their milestones in the same timeline as someone else's child. It's perfectly ok that our household, our lives, are not the same as some other families. It is perfectly ok that I that I focus more on what my children need and less on what I thought I "should" be doing.

One of my favorite movies that we've watched dealing with Autism is called The Horse Boy. There were so many ways in which I could relate to this family, so many things they learned that we also learned along the way. The journey was crazy and amazing at the same time. My favorite parts of the movie are when Rowan's Dad talks about needing to put our adult agendas aside and do what's best for our children and when he says his prayer for his son and everyone affected by Autism. It was a powerful movie and he makes some powerful points. Sometimes we really do need to put our adult agendas aside, and I believe this goes for special needs parents as well as typical parents.