Saturday, April 30, 2011

If Audrey Was In The Royal Wedding

Cheer up...I'm sure that there will
be lots of cake to smell at the reception!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Guest Blogger: Special Needs Supermom Aimee!

Today guest post is brought to you by super-commenter and mother to not one but two special needs children, Aimee.

Aimee is mother to Audrey's BFF, Grace Anne, and was our travel companion for our recent trip to Disney.  Grace Anne is on the spectrum, and her older sister Charlotte has got the Downtism...that would be a dual Down syndrome and autism diagnosis.  Like the way I Brangelina'd that up?  Sounds much more glamorous that way, doesn't it?

Anyhow, Aimee was inspired to write this post after listening to our latest BlogTalkRadio show about parties.  Take it away Aimee!

“Parties” is a great topic for your show!  Our kids all react so differently to the idea of them.  Even my two girls who are biological sisters, both on the autism spectrum, could not be more different in their feelings about celebrating in groups.

Grace Anne pretty much sets her internal calendar by when the next party will be.  Each day is a countdown to that party, and each day there needs to be a clarification that there WILL BE cake at this particular party. (Ever since the Baskin Robins party incident of 09 – “But ice-cream is not cake! THIS IS NOT CAKE!!”)

To fully understand how much Grace Anne likes parties, if I were Big Daddy or a caveman, and I could only draw an explanation of how much she loves to par-taay, I would draw her strutting into each gathering carrying a boom box on her shoulder that is blasting that 90’s dance mix song that begins  “YA’LL READY FOR DIS?!”  I think it’s the same song that the little old man is dancing to in the Six Flags commercials. Freaky as that guy is, Grace Anne’s levels of excitement about parties is comparable.

My oldest, on the other hand, is far less enthusiastic about parties. Charlotte usually has to be carried in, and not the good Lady Gaga kind of “carried in”.  She then immediately puts the pointer fingers firmly into both ears and they DO NOT come out the entire time. If flies flew into her nose AND eyes, someone tickled her chin with a feather, AND simultaneously her hair caught on fire, you could not get those fingers out of her ears. It’s really quite impressive.  I think her vocation coach needs to enquire about Buckingham Palace Guard training.  All they have to know how to do is ignore people right?

Charlotte also folds herself into this amazingly flat and compact human notebook. This almost always prompts some little busy body to ask the closest adult, "What is wrong with her? Is she sick?”  To which I say, “No, she is just nervous and shy. Can you think of anything that might help her feel better?”  This weeds out the ones who really care about her well-being (they usually toss some toys in front of her) and the ones who are just nosey (they move on to their next inquisition).  However, if the party has been serving me alcoholic beverages, I have been known to say something like, “Sick? What do you mean sick? If you were sick could you do that? Have you ever seen such a skilled contortionist with that kind of concentration? Go ahead, try it. I SAID TRY!!”

Since she usually gets so stressed out that she becomes constipated for the entire week after the party, we have pretty much stopped forcing Charlotte to go to parties and we will get a sitter whenever we can for these occasions.  There are plenty of up-sides to this.  I NEVER have to throw her a kiddy party (sweet!),  I can go to the party and NOT have to patrol the virtual private biosphere she needs around her folded body.  And I can stick to fielding the questions from the normies about why Grace Anne keeps sniffing the cake.  The best part of leaving Charlotte at home is coming home to happy Charlotte…unstressed, unfolded and unplugged.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pop Quiz

Tuesday was another stellar edition of the Autism WTF radio show!  Big Daddy and I had a festive and lively discussion about the children's birthday party circuit.  You will not want to miss it!

We've shortened up the program a bit, because we know how busy you all are and how difficult it is to carve out an uninterrupted hour to listen, but mostly because Big Daddy can't make it through a whole hour without having to broadcast part of the show from the crapper.

You can either listen here or by clicking on the big blue BlogTalkRadio player in my sidebar over there ==> and underneath my big fat Amazon widget that is hawking Big Daddy's newly released book (you should buy it!).

Here's a teaser/pop quiz on all of the bullshit useful information crammed into this episode:

  • What is the combined total of typical kids' birthday parties that Audrey and Griffin have been invited to?  *sniff* *sob*
  • How many different types of things can be stuffed and/or clubbed at a children's birthday party?
  • Which of us managed to work the words "cacophony" and "peccadillo" into the conversation?  [Hint:  What the hell is wrong with me?]
  • What is the origin of kids adding "Cha cha cha!" at the end of every line of "Happy Birthday"?  [Actually after researching on Google, I'm not so sure that BD's theory on this is correct.]
  • How many times did Big Daddy have to shove his kid's face into birthday cake before he learned to stop smelling them?

We'll be back at you in a couple of week's time with another scintillating cacophony of peccadilloes!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Please Complete These Forms and Return ASAP

Just how old does my kid have to be before I stop being asked how old she was when she crawled?  Or said her first words?  Or what her Apgar score was?

That last one, I have been asked a million times and I have no idea what it is.  Apparently, I was given Audrey's score when I was in the hospital shortly after delivering her.  I don't remember anything that happened to me in the maternity ward except that my friend Christine brought me six huge chocolate chip cookies that I ate in one go.

Every time that we start with a new doctor, school, or therapy clinic, I have to fill out a raft of paperwork that asks variations of the same questions that I've been asked a million times before.  Does it really still matter?  And if it does, I'm gonna need more than just that little 1/4 centimeter long space to answer.

When did she crawl?  Well, she started scooting on her butt when she was about 11-12 months, then she gradually lurched more and more forward until she was leapfrogging with her legs behind her, until she finally crawled "right"/reciprocally at 19 months.  So I guess the short answer is 19 months, but I'd like her to get credit for some mobility before that.

First words?  How do you answer that when your kid starts saying words, but then loses them, and then doesn't say much of anything except "word approximations", which is a diplomatic way of saying that she made the sound "gah" for every word ending in the letter G, for years afterwards.  Do I say the age she was with the first round of words or the second?  Cuz there's like 3 years in between.
Not a good sign

Then there is the patient history checklist which I always love because it clues you into the symptoms that the doctor/clinic/provider thinks are somehow insightful.  I've seen everything from "floating stools" and "long eyelashes" to "inability to tan" and "red ring around your anus".  Hee.  They said Uranus.

I'm never sure how honest to be in the family history section.  Anxiety? Depression?  Mental Illness?  Dementia?  Do they really need to know?  Hmmm... I could go the blame-your-mother route.  That's always seemed to work for me in the past.

And as long as I'm lying, I might as well keep to myself her daily ration of chocolate and red dye #40 when I fill out that food diary.

I'm quite sure that I've spent dozens of hours that I will never get back filling out forms on behalf of Audrey.  And invariably, when we get to our appointment, it is almost always the case that no one has bothered to look at them.  Which really chaps my anus.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Guest Posting at Special Happens: Fun With Echolalia

I'm guest posting today at Special Happens, where I'm talking about the pros and cons of echolalia.  Click here to check it out!

And don't forget to tune in to Autism WTF today on BlogTalkRadio at 12:00pm ET.  Just click here, turn up your computer speakers, and get ready to laugh at with us!

Monday, April 25, 2011

7th Heaven: The Party Post

It's been almost a week since Audrey's 7th birthday party, and I'm just getting around to posting about it.  Mostly because posting pictures on Blogger is so un-user-friendly that I dread it and am usually twitching by the time I'm done.

Audrey had an awesome party.  Her major gift was a Nintento DSi from her grandparents, and she also got a ton of games for it from others.  But these were not her favorite gifts.  When I ask her what her favorite gifts were, she says:

  1. Swim goggles
  2. A bottle of Vitamin Water - from Raven who always brings a bottle with her to her sessions, so much so that Audrey has become obsessed.
  3. A York peppermint patty - also from Raven who clearly knows the way to Audrey's heart.

Here is the rapturous response that welcomed the swim goggles, and more pics from her special day...

Giving me attitude because she didn't
want to wear that outfit. I'm behind the
camera not caring cuz she looks awesome.
Totally missed out on an opportunity
to beat the snot out of Sweetie Belle
by getting a pull-string pinata.

The cake dance
Oh cake, how I love thee.

Nailed it!
Just because he's 2 does not mean
that I'm not going to mock his effort

I suppose I should teach
her how to swim now.

Audrey futilely attempts to keep up
with Grace Anne's posing abilities.

We'll be keeping the festive spirit alive tomorrow on Autism WTF at 12:00pm ET when our topic will be all things party-related.  Join us!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Autism WTF is Back - Tuesday, April 26 at 12:00pm ET

Autism WTF returns on BlogTalkRadio!  Join us this Tuesday, April 26 at 9:00am PT / 11:00am CT / 12:00pm ET.

Big Daddy and I will be talking about all things party-related:  jumpy houses, Chuck E. Cheese, sensory overload, gift giving/receiving, cake smelling, pinata clubbing, etc.  Having just survived Audrey's 7th birthday, I guess I've got it on the brain.

Is it wrong that my house still looks exactly as it did when the last guest left Tuesday night?  The pinata is still hanging in effigy in a doorway, her gifts are still in a pile on the floor in the family room, cake crumbs still underfoot.  I might as well leave it like this until Tuesday so I have the proper ambiance for the show...yeah, that's what I'm going with.

Put on your party hats and join us at the appointed hour by clicking here and turning up your computer on!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Typical Kids, All Is Forgiven

As a special needs parent who does not have any NT kids, I tend to be a little too in awe of the skills of typical children.  I tend to idealize them and assume that Audrey lags hopelessly behind and sticks out like a sore thumb in the shadow of their fabulousness.

And then I went to observe some general education classrooms.

Holy crap are those kids the loopiest bunch of ninnies I have ever seen.  And I mean that in the nicest way possible, because I was totally in love with each and every one of them.  

Most of the children were about as unfocused as Audrey would be.  When they were supposed to be pulling out a worksheet and completing it independently, a majority of them were staring off into space, shifting around in their seats, picking their noses (literally, as if I have to clarify), or all of the above.

One kid seemed to be falling ill.  He kept vampire-coughing into his arm and then looking up to see if the teacher noticed.

The same 4 kids kept raising their hands, while the others were clearly working for the weekend.

A boy wandered into the bathroom.

A kid in a Bears jersey was craned around in his chair making eyes at my cutie-pie ABA consultant.  Who also happens to be 54 weeks pregnant.

Count Cough-ula eventually went face down into his workbook.

A different kid started hacking up a lung.

The girl seated in front of where I was standing never even bothered to take out her workbook and just sat there.

When it came time to turn in their worksheets, I'm pretty sure that at least 1/4 of them didn't turn one in or turned it in blank.

Yeah, somehow I think Audrey could keep up.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

One Birthday and A Funeral

Audrey's 7th birthday started out with a funeral.  My husband's Uncle Wally was just 49 years old, and had only found out in February that he had stage 4 esophageal cancer.

I don't want to say that this is all that you need to know about Wally, but let's just say it's telling that his eulogy included a reference to MeTV, which is Chicago's local access channel for classic television shows.  Wally especially like the back-to-back Hogan's Heroes hour.

Also telling?  His wake was attended by both Sri, the owner of a Subway that he frequented, and a waiter from his favorite Italian restaurant which closed years ago.  How awesome is that?  It made me ponder which employees of local businesses see me frequently enough to attend my wake...the receptionists at Audrey's therapy clinics?  Walgreens pharmacists?  That judging little bitch of a counter girl at Dunkin' Donuts?

Well here's to you, big guy.  "A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants".  And if you don't know where that line is from, you would not have been able to hang with Uncle Wally.

It was a profoundly confusing day -- the very definition of an emotional roller coaster.  It's doubtful whether this confluence of events will ever be seen again, although I guess you could argue that there are some pro's and con's to it...

Good things about having a funeral and a children's birthday party on the same day

  • Either way you're going to end up with a throbbing headache, so you might as well get it all over with in one day.
  • You can nick some of the passed-around desserts at the funeral luncheon and "re-purpose" them for the party.  Kids love dried-up poppy seed roll and apricot kolacky right?
  • If you start sobbing and screaming that everyone has to leave RIGHT NOW during the birthday party, you can pretend that it's because you are still mourning the death of your dearly departed.

Bad things about having a funeral and a children's birthday party on the same day

  • The view out your rear view mirror, of a fluorescent orange FUNERAL sticker on your back window and a back seat stuffed with My Little Pony balloons, can be disconcerting enough to throw you into bipolar episode.
  • Random, inappropriate thoughts during the funeral mass, e.g.: wondering where you are going to hang the pinata as the priest swings that incense-burner-on-a-chain thingy over the casket.
  • The crushed pink sprinkles and butter cream frosting that is smeared down the front of you tends to show up even more on a black pantsuit.

Who knows what next year will bring, but I'm putting my vote in for more parties and less funerals.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More Schizophrenia

First of all, thanks so much for all of the wonderful birthday wishes for Audrey...she had a positively pink, perhaps even a Pinkalicious, day!

I mentioned the schizophrenia of having both a funeral and Audrey's birthday party on the same day.  Another slightly strange confluence of events was having this post about the lack of autism coverage in Parents magazine's April issue spotlighted on BlogHer on the same day that my essay, The Real Holy Grail, was posted on Parents magazine's blog, which has been featuring daily essays from parents of children with autism every day in April in response to outcry over their lack of autism coverage which I discussed in my post.  Got that?

It's getting to be a little bit late in the month to be highlighting the original post, in which I shared the details of how to submit an essay to Parents for their nod to Autism Awareness Month.  Today being April 20, there's only 10 more days to go before we don't have to care about autism anymore.  But if you care to, check out my contribution to Parents GoodyBlog where I talk about the importance of keeping your sense of humor.  HA!  Right.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's Her Birthday and I'll Pine If I Want To

7 Candles, y'all!

It's my baby's birthday today!  Happy Birthday, Audrey!!  You can check me out at the Patch today, where I've decided that it's not too early to wax nostalgic about 2004.

For me, today will start out with a funeral and end with Audrey's birthday party.  It will be quite the potpourri of emotion, and I'm guessing that I'll get at least one strange and schizophrenic post out of it.

While you are looking forward to that, click here and head over the Patch where I'm wishing my sweetie Happy Birthday!

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Sorta Savant: She'll Put a Spell On You

I've been seeing a lot of blog posts lately about what people should and shouldn't say to parents of children with autism.  One of the "don'ts" was asking which savant-like talent your autistic child has.  I considered how I would react if I was asked that question, and I think that I would be less offended than worried that they were casing out kids to stuff into a sack and take to Vegas.

I think that the closest Audrey comes to having a savant-caliber ability is her spelling.  She is a crazy kick-ass speller.  I'm not entirely ready to chalk this up to autism, however.  You see, I was the 2nd grade spelling champ for my archdiocese back in the day.  It ain't bragging if it's true yo.

Audrey's special talent will, unfortunately, not make us rich anytime soon.  But it has over the years become a bit of a party game.  I can remember going as far back as when she was just 2...she could barely even say a few words, but she could spell like nobody's business.

Recently, my in-laws were visiting from out of town and started asking her to spell words.  They started with words like "grandpa" and "wine". (Editor's note: These are two completely random words, and this is not to insinuate that they go together in any way.  In summary:  Random words.  Not insinuating.  Not at all.)  

What I got when I searched on
"spelling trophies" in Google images
Pfft.  Those words were like batting practice for her.  They escalated to words with silent letters and whatever you call those letter combinations that make some unphonetic sound like "laugh", "spaghetti", and "telephone".  I mean, it's not like she can spell onomatopoeia or anything.  (Editor's note:  I had to look that up.)  But she can spell a lot of words that you wouldn't think she could.

She'll bring spelling worksheets home from school and they are most always 100%.  One time she had one marked wrong and I honestly could not figure out why.  I thought that there'd been a mistake and they were just trying to make the other kids feel better about themselves.  The word was artic.  As in cold.  It's apparently supposed to have another "c" in there somewhere.  Whatevs.  It's not like she'll be writing the word articc very often.

Sometimes she walks around the house spelling and I'm not really paying attention and, even if I am, I'm way too brain dead to figure it out.  One day I actually started writing down the letters and she was spelling "tobacco executive".  Really.

The only thing that I could figure was that she is some sort of hired assassin for an anti-corporate extremist group which at some point abducted her, embedded a microchip in her brain, and sent her signals for who was to be her next target.  Either that or she saw it on TV in a political ad.  One of those.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Guest Post from Big Daddy Autism: Lab Time

I'm still recovering from my SITS Day yesterday.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by and wished me well during my "Queen for a Day" Day!  While I go through cyber-lovefest withdrawals, Big Daddy Autism has kindly agreed to step in and guest post for me today.

Big Daddy doesn't get a SITS Day.  Sometimes he gets a sitz bath, but that's another thing entirely. The men folk in the blogosphere just don't have the outlets that the ladies do.  So show him some love by SITS-ing all over him.

Big Daddy AutismBig Daddy spends a lot of time visiting doctors.  Sometimes, I even have an appointment.

Through an unfortunate confluence of events, Griffin (my adorable 13 year old autistic son) had to accompany me when I went for lab work needed for an upcoming endocrinologist appointment.

My insurance requires that I have my fluids extracted at a lovely place known as Morhdorh, Land of Shadows, Old People, and Uncomfortable Chairs.  Anyone who has had the misfortune of having blood drawn in the US in the last 10 or 15 years should be familiar with the purgatory that is the modern specimen collection site.

Griffin was surprisingly well behaved in the waiting room.  Luckily there were just 46,254 people ahead of us with the same appointment time as me.  So we only had to wait eight years and few months to get called to the back. 

The stench was a notch below noxious but three steps above putrid.  Screaming babies and moaning octogenarians were a nice touch.  I was reminded of Calcutta in the summer time. But with a little more e-coli and fruit flies.

Once in the promised land, as the tech drew four hundred gallons of my sticky, syrupy blood, Griffin continued his awesome behavior and even asked some appropriate questions.   Even though I was bravely fighting off the overwhelming need to faint and the rapid onset of the vapors, I remember these beauties:

“Does that hurt your tattoos?”

“Can I see the blood?”

“Are they testing for diabetes?”

“Can I have Burger King for breakfast?”

Then came time for me to excuse myself to the restroom and fill the royal chalice.  This step in the process was beyond thrilling for Griffin. 

When I came back, he thought it was hilarious that I was carrying my urine in a small paper cup.  He was still peppering me with questions as we wandered back through the mass of humanity and out to our car. 

His fixation on the subject continued in full force as we pulled up to the drive thru window at BK.  Precisely, as the girl handed me Griffin’s French Toast Stix, he blurted:

“Do you like it when you pee in the cup, Daddy?”

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's My SITS Day!

For WomenI've been waiting for this day to arrive for a long time, and it's finally here.  The day that I am featured by the SITS Girls!  SITS is a wonderful group of bloggers, over 8,000 strong, who support each other by reading and commenting on each others' blogs.  So...

Welcome to all of my SITStahs who are visiting here for the first time.  Sit back, take a load off, and let me show you around!

My SITS day comes just a couple of weeks after my one-year blogoversary.  I still feel new to it, and am endlessly fascinated by the community, the secret handshakes and the jargon.  So much so that I sometimes have blogged about making my away through this alternate universe that is called the blogosphere.

Like how I missed the memo that we should keep our families anonymous, the creative dry spells that led to these bad ideas for posts, the strange and hilarious (and profane...major obscenity red alert!!) key word searches that brought people to my blog, and the fact that my mother can't be bothered to read it.  Of course, one of the best things about blogging is the people you meet, and I was lucky enough to meet up with one of my BBF's (best bloggy friends) recently at Disney World.

But most of all, I blog about my beautiful and amazing daughter Audrey, who is the funniest person that I know, and also happens to have autism.

To commemorate a landmark anniversary last fall, I posted the story of the day that I realized that Audrey had autism, which happened to coincide with a long-awaited World Series championship for my beloved Chicago White Sox.

But autism does not define my daughter.  Chocolate, cookies, ice cream, and donuts define my daughter.  I was going to do a turn-on's/turn-off's device here to direct you to some of my fave posts about her, but that seemed way too playmate-y.

Instead, her daily feelings diary will give you an idea of the things that rule her young life.  And based on these current obsessions, I mused about what I imagine she will spend her imaginary trust fund on when she reaches adulthood.

Audrey's turn-off's (somehow doesn't sound as bad as turn-on's) include spending her Spring break in hospitals and nursing homes.  Pfft.  Go figure.  She also does not enjoy visiting the dentist or
athletic pursuits of any kind, and in this sense the apple most definitely does not fall far from the tree.

Thanks to Angie, Tiffany, Francesca, and Mama Kat for hosting this fabulous community and for making this day possible.  And thanks to all of you for stopping by and making this day so special!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Little Pony Is Ruining My Life

Me:  "How are you?"

Audrey:  "I'm having a positively pink day!"

Me:  "Awesome.  How was school today?"

Audrey:  "Why would Sweetie Belle invite us over if she isn't even home?  Look!  A note!"

Me:  "What?  We have to leave for Miss Irine's in a couple of minutes.  Are you ready for your piano lesson?"

Audrey:  "Nopey dopey!"

Me:  "Do you want to go to Target afterwards?"

Audrey:  "Cool beans!  Would you like to plan a party with me?"

Me:  "Yeah, we should start planning your birthday party."

Audrey:  "Holy guacamole!  Beep beep beep.  Oops, I have another call.  Talk again later.  Hi!  It's me Sweetie Belle!  Do you want to hear a joke?  Knock knock.  Orange.  Orange you glad I called?"

Me:  "Is that from that stupid pony phone?"

Audrey:  "You're super funny.  I simply adore all the colors of the rainbow."

Me:  "Again with the ponies.  Which pony are you today?"

Audrey:  "Rainbow Dash speaking!"

As if this dialog isn't disturbing enough, most all of the lines are punctuated by a maniacal pony laugh....

Still think the title of this post is hyperbole?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Retain, Sh*t, or Go Blind

Thanks to everyone for wishing me well for the IEP meeting.  It went well.  The big discussion was around Audrey's fall placement, and if she would stay where she is or move on.  Now we have some classroom visits to schedule, and then we will regroup for another meeting and come to a decision.

One of the options is to do full-inclusion with an aid, and this is where I'm insistent that the inclusion be in a 1st grade rather than a 2nd grade classroom.  This is also where the previously discussed anal bladder PMS retention comes into play.

In doing my research, I've found that the classic arguments against "holding back" are that it leads to...

Increased drop-out rates
Do I really have to worry about this now?  Are kids even allowed to drop out of 2nd grade?

Increased rates of dangerous behaviors such as drinking, drug-use, crime, and teenage pregnancy.
Well, it's clearly been a long time since I've been in 2nd grade.  Again, I'm hoping that this is more applicable to children or teens that are held back during middle or high school years.  

Lower self esteem, as the student feels as if they are mentally inferior.  Also may make them the subject of ridicule and bullying by other students.

She's gonna need that extra year to
formulate some better comebacks.
I can't even joke about this one.  You could substitute "autism" itself for "retention" as a potential reason behind these negative outcomes.  Would "holding back" on top of having special needs further exacerbate the situation?  If we are talking more about holding out rather than holding back, e.g.: delaying the start of 1st grade rather than holding a child back later on in 3rd grade or beyond, couldn't you argue the opposite?  It could help their self-esteem if they felt more on par socially or maturity-wise.  Plus they'd have that extra year of size and bulk to fend off those bullies.

One final thing that caught my eye when reading studies about retention...

The possibility of grade retention has been shown to be a significant source of stress for students.  One study found that grade retention was the single greatest fear, higher than loss of a parent or going blind.
Going blind?  What the?  I'm really hoping the study gave the participants a list of potential tragedies to choose from...and that maybe the list hasn't been updated in a decade or five since the days when adults tried to make kids think that certain activities would make them go blind.

Seriously, there was no more anxiety-ridden, hypochondriacal kid on the face of the earth than me, and even I never worried about going blind.  That an archangel would swoop down upon me in the middle of the night and give me a "calling" that compelled me to become a nun - yes.  That I would go blind - no.  Kids today.  They can't even do neurotic right.

So now I'm off to formulate my argument in favor of retention for Audrey.  So far I've come up with the following:  *sobbing*  "But the kids are so bi-i-i-i-i-g.  I don't wa-a-a-a-a-a-na"  *sniff* *sob* *snot spew* *snort* *gnash* *wail*

I've got a few more weeks to refine my case.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Night Videos

Yeah, we're bored.  And just how are you entertaining yourself on this fine Friday evening?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Euphemism Is Just a Euphemism For I Don't Know What the Hell You Are Talking About

The main topic of Audrey's IEP meeting today will be transition planning.  As in her transition from the private, self-contained autism school that she currently attends to her "home" public school in a general education classroom.

Audrey is currently in a sort of "grade-less" situation.  The classrooms at her school are not set up according to age, but skill-set, level of functioning, etc.  Assuming that she begins this transition in the fall, she would age-wise be going into 2nd grade, but I would like to hold her back and have her start 1st grade instead.

The first thing that I learned about this particular topic is that there is, as per usual, some euphemistic nomenclature that goes along with it.  It's not called "holding back", but retention.  I first heard the word retention used in this context just a couple of weeks ago, and it took me a minute to figure out what it meant.

Here's what I think of when I hear the word "retention":
  • Those ponds that old and/or drunk people drive into by accident.  I don't know about where you live, but this happens at least once a week in my neck of the woods.
  • What my brain is incapable of since I had Audrey.
  • My perennial excuse, no matter what time of the month it is, for why I can't get into my jeans and have to stay in my flannel pajama pants all day.
  • Accounting profits earned by a company but not distributed as dividends.  Because I majored in Finance and some of those brain cells are apparently dying a slower death than others.
And with that I am off to the Individualized Education Program meeting for my differently-abled child to discuss the determinant factors to her functional performance.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sorry, Wrong Number

Check out my latest, Patch article in which we get a phone number that had been previously held by a gun shop.  

And then lots of people call us thinking that we sell guns.  Get it?

See, people keep calling us thinking that we're a gun shop, and then I tell them that we're not, and hilarity ensues.

Oh, just click HERE already.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Autism's Lost Generation

For those of you who don't get the Sunday paper, or for those of you who get it only for the coupons and the Target flyer, the cover story of Parade magazine featured a story about young autistic adults who are about to transition out of the school system.

The headline "Autism's Lost Generation" refers to children currently coming of age before there are adult services, group homes, vocational training, etc., enough to handle their numbers.  The article notes that "in the next 15 years, an estimated 500,000 autistic children will graduate out of school systems in the U.S. and into the unknown."  

Audrey will be included in that half a million.  If today's generation is the Lost Generation, then she will be a part of the Boomer Generation who will come of age in exactly 15 years.  Is anyone out there gearing up for this juggernaut?  It sure doesn't sound like it from the article.  They talked about the advocacy going on right now for this current generation, and what parents are doing in the face of this dearth of services.
"...parents are calling local businesses to craft makeshift job programs—or even pooling their resources to buy property and hire support staff to create assisted-living situations for groups of autistic adults."
This reminded me of my proposal to form an Alpha Sigma Delta fraternity/sorority house for our kids.  AS-Delts y'all!  OK, maybe not the best nickname.  But the idea is a good one, and hopefully by the time I'm den mother to our chapter, the trailblazing parents ahead of me will have worked out all the kinks.

The other thing that struck me about the article was when they spoke of the girl in the article having an older NT sister:
"The Eismans’ older daughter, who is 22 and in graduate school, has said that she’ll always be there for her sister, but (her parents) do not want to force that responsibility on her."
You guys with the NT siblings always effing say that.  But, be honest, you know that the NT sibling will always be there as a safety net when you are dead and gone and you totally sleep easier at night knowing that.  Right?  Right.  I understand not wanting to tell your 5 year-old how they are going to have to take care of big/little brother/sister for the rest of their lives, but at 22...guess what?  You're on the hook, sister. 

Audrey doesn't have any siblings and I was 82 when I had her, so this is something I think about every. single. day.  I'm petrified at the thought of what will become of her when I am gone.  Really really really petrified.  But just a teeny weeny smidge short of being petrified enough to actually give her a sibling.  I mean, let's not go crazy.

I'm going to be writing more on this cheery subject this week because, as it happens, Thursday is Audrey's annual IEP meeting.  And I will be making some decisions presently that will impact her life when she comes to the end of her years within the school system.

But more on that later.  As the reader of gozillions of special needs blogs, I know that for me IEP posts are my absolute favorites. *erp*  So you have that to look forward to...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

This Is Me, Painted Blue

Merry World Autism Awareness Day, everybody!  In honor of WAAD (really bad acronym, BTW IMHO ROTFL TGIF), we are all supposed to deck the halls BLUE.

Blue light bulbs in our light fixtures, blue t-shirts, even some major monuments and buildings across the world will be lit blue.  My porch lights are a total bitch to pry off and change the light bulbs on, so that was out of the question.  My advocacy stops at the point where I have to reach for a toolbox.  Then I realized that neither Audrey nor I have much in the way of blue clothing, other than jeans.

Blue sucks.  What the hell.  Couldn't they have picked a better color?  I got lots of pink.  What, was pink already taken?

::blink::  ::blink::

Never mind.

So I asked Audrey to provide me with some blue-themed artwork for occasion.  Then I remembered that I'd been tagged in a meme a week or so ago by the fabulous Laura from Life in the House That Asperger Built wherein you are supposed to have your kid draw a picture of you.  So I asked Audrey to draw a picture of me wearing something blue.

Then I also remembered that yesterday was my blogoversary, and I need to commemorate that as well.  So I'm wishing myself a Happy 1-Year Blogoversary...which reminds me that I started my blog last year on World Autism Awareness Day!  Does anyone else think this post is turning into one of those "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" books?

Anyhootch, here I am...killing 3 birds with one stone:

There's an old Tom Petty song with the lyric "My whole world is a fountain of flame" that for years I'd misheard and sung at the top of my lungs as "My whole world is a five foot frame".

I like mine better.  Cuz my whole world is a (almost) four foot frame.

Even though she thinks I look like Slash.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Little Peep-Out on "The Talk"

Photo courtesy of the lovely JennieB from Anybody Want a Peanut? with whom I was so proud to share my moment in the sun....

It's pretty sad when a picture of someone else's TV screen is a 100 times clearer than watching it live on your own.  From now on, I'm going to have Jen take handheld video of all my favorite shows instead of TiVo-ing them.


Yes, I am the only person in the world who still has a rear-projection
TV with some sort of mosquito net covering the front of it.


I hesitate to post this, lest I look like a total loser if it doesn't happen, but I'm supposed to maybe be getting a very teensy-weensy, blink-and-you'll-miss-it, shout-out-is-way-too-strong-of-a-word mention on The Talk today.

Every Friday, they do a little follow ditty for mommy bloggers.  And this month being Autism Awareness Month, my understanding is that they are featuring autism mommy bloggers.  For those of you who don't know, Holly Robinson Peete is one of the co-hosts, so I think she's had more than a little to do with the autism focus this month.  Apparently, every Friday during the month of April they will be doing special autism-related features on the show.

HRP and I are pretty tight tweeps...and by "tweeps" I mean that I follow her on Twitter but she doesn't follow me.  That's what it means, right?  One day out in Twitterland, I saw her asking to be pointed to autism blogs, so I shouted myself out.  Yeah, I'm self-serving like that.  I also copied in as many of my bloggy friends url's as I could before she moved on.  I swear.  Really.  Go check the tapes.  I have reason to believe that other of my buddies will be featured as well, so stay tuned.

If past Friday Follows are any indication, the mention will be about 3 nanoseconds long and come as they throw to commercial.  So don't get up and start heading for the kitchen to refill your wineglass (hey, the show's on after noon) when you think an interview is winding down because you'll miss it.

Tune in to CBS at 1:00pm PT/CT and 2:00pm ET along with me and see what shakes.  If by chance I am mentioned and I get some Talk-watchers visiting here for the first time, here are some popular and representative posts to check out.

We like to laugh around here.  Hope you do too.

The Top 10 benefits of having a child with autism

The story of the day I realized that Audrey had autism

What Audrey might spend her money on when she reaches adulthood

A little video of my sweetie if you want to see her in action

Thanks for stopping by!