Category Archives: My daughter

Chop Chop


kindle

A few years ago I bought myself a Kindle HD Fire, hoping that it will help me with my studies. I was thinking of ways to save myself money by downloading my college books or other reading materials for my classes, though ebooks for college courses are not as cheap as I had imagined.

I also purchased the kindle during the time my daughter began her therapy sessions. My intentions were for me to use the kindle for school, but I didn’t have luck in way of obtaining WiFi coverage at the college I was going to, unless I could find one of the very, very few hotspots where I could use my kindle; so it was generally used at home.

During the summer months, I kept my daughter home, rather than put her in daycare. It saved me money, plus, I was home majority of the time and would rather spend that time I had with her. Since she wasn’t going to daycare now, her therapists began visiting her at home. Upon their many trips to my house, I noticed that they were using an iPad as a tool for part of her therapy. They showed me a few apps I could download for her that would be beneficial for her in OT.

Since I had a tablet, of the sort, I began downloading all kinds of free apps for her, to help teach her the ABC’s, counting, colors, shapes, all kinds of helpful learning apps for children her age. At that moment, my kindle became her kindle and has been ever since. It’s encased in a pink hard leather case, decorated with many stickers from our trips to the ER or doctor visits, though some of those stickers have since been ripped off. The kindle has been a treasured item for my daughter, who is easily bored when there isn’t any form of entertainment for her.

Flash forward a few years and to the present…it’s endured water, juice, and milk submerges; many drops to the floor (carpet and concrete covered); a near attempted meeting with the toilet; an almost attempted dunk into the Arkansas River, landing in the muddy river banks; a trip to Disney World, followed by a trip to the beach; a couple of family reunions during the hot summer days; and many roads trips thereafter and is still working. Only once had I taken it back to Best Buy, where I had purchased it, for a reboot, but it has been one tough piece of wonderful electronic device I had ever purchased and to have survived my five year old for the past three years plus.

Though, yesterday, the wonderful case which holds the kindle from meeting its dreadful doom, finally met its match…a pair of scissors. Those scissors are usually kept up high, so that tiny little hands can’t reach them. Those scissors have chopped bangs a tad bit too short, chopped up a tail of a stuffed dinosaur, chopped hair off a stuffed Pegasus to mimic a horrible mullet. Yes, those scissors have many reasons to be kept put away…in a safe place…until yesterday, when someone left them lying on the kitchen table, where they were being used to cut quilting fabric.

Mini me came running into the office, holding her kindle, still encased, though now in two pieces. My first reaction ‘Man, it finally ripped right in two’. Then, the careful learned forensic archaeologist that I am studying to be, looked carefully at the hard leather case and saw cut marks…this pattern looks strangely familiar. I didn’t get mad. The sad eyes I was given, followed by, “I’m sorry, Mommy” would only soften anything I would think to say, other than, ‘Where are the scissors?’

I followed her into the kitchen, took the scissors left lying on the kitchen table and put them back in a safe place. Then went to find my roll of duct tape, which coincidentally is the same color as my daughter’s kindle case. Duct tape, pink or any other color, can fix anything, including her kindle case. She just happened to have cut the case along the fold, allowing me the chance to save it, whereas, the many other things that she’s broken had not been savable.  But on this occasion, it was. And once again, I’m the Superhero Mom, whose daughter is now toting a kindle, whose case is held together by pink duct tape.

National Autism Awareness Day 2015


liub1

Today is National Autism Awareness Day and my daughter and I are wearing blue to show our support. Mostly, I’m wearing blue in honor of my daughter who has autism.

OWPC: Mauve


This week’s, One Word Photo Challenge is mauve; a beautiful shade of purple.

Her gentleness with animals is admirable. She's wearing her riding helmet, waiting on her horse as it's being saddled.

Her gentleness with animals is admirable. She’s wearing her riding helmet, waiting on her horse as it’s being saddled.

Bored, waiting on our pizza.

Bored, waiting on our pizza.

She loves the playground.

She loves the playground.

Happy Birthday Einstein


Today, in 1879, genius and physicist, Albert Einstein was born. It is also Pi Day, but Einstein is more of a memorable icon. Pi, not so much, as I’m not a fan of math. 😉 I used to be able to spat out the first 9 digits that represent Pi on the calculator, but those were the days of studying Algebra to receive my Associate’s Degree.

It's a bobble head that I have sitting on the dash of my car. The headband, around his head, is a Superman bracelet that belongs to my daughter.

It’s a bobble head that I have sitting on the dash of my car. The headband, around his head, is a Superman bracelet that belongs to my daughter.

Though the word ‘autism’ wasn’t known until the early 1900, famous names, such as Einstein and Newton had autism.

According to, WebMD, “Autism is a neurological disorder, that was once discovered around 1911 by, Eugen Bleuler, a psychiatrist from Switzerland. Though, he had associated autism as a form of schizophrenia. Researchers didn’t start using the term to describe children with autistic behaviors, until the 1940’s. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, researchers started to use electroshock therapy and prescribed LSD as a medication. In the 1980’s and 1990’s the began behavioral therapy and other treatments.”

Today, 1 in 42 boys will be diagnosed with autism, 1 in 189 girls will be diagnosed with autism. Though there are many “theories” as to what causes autism, there are no actual Scientific facts. There have been some cases where it was identified that a child’s autism was caused from genetics or from the environment during early brain development, but not every child on the spectrum can be identified with this being the definite answer as to why they have autism.

Reblog: ‘Calming a Meltdown…’


Meltdowns are something Autism Parents are quite used to. They’re much different than a normal tantrum, though we autism parents would prefer a tantrum versus having to handle a meltdown, especially in the store. Honestly, I don’t mind a meltdown at home, as I can readily handle them. But I cannot handle one as easily in the store. What’s worse is all the stares and rude comments from all the those lurking around when my daughter has a meltdown.

Anything can start one and it’s mostly from her not being able to handle a situation.

firealarm

For instance, when her school first started practicing fire drills, any time my daughter would see a red fire alarm, anywhere, she would panic. It would lead to screaming and crying, fire, fire, get out, get out. I try to calm her by telling her that the fire alarms aren’t working, rarely does that help, but it’s worth trying. I try to hold her, hug her, use soothing words to try and calm her, all the while moving to another aisle so that the fire alarm is out of sight. Then, point out all the cool things around us, like a neat toy she may like. Distraction works best, most of the time.

Meanwhile, people begin to swarm in, pointing, talking amongst themselves, staring at us. The best way for strangers to handle this situation is to move on. It doesn’t help that parent at all to point and stare. It adds stress to the already embarrassing situation that parent is having to endure at that moment.

I was in the check out lane one day, when my daughter started to heave a meltdown. The checker didn’t hand her a toy fast enough, plus it was in a sack. The checker looked at me awkwardly as I said, “it’s okay, she’s just having a moment, it’s just something children with autism do.” Her reply made me frown, “I thought all kids do that.” Yes, and no. What’s worse, an older gentleman behind me began to giggle at my daughter’s outburst. I did my best to ignore him and held my tongue. When we got outside my daughter’s meltdown grew worse as she started to toss things out of the buggy. I can only pray that we get to the car without being hit by someone speeding through the parking lot….it does happen, even right outside the doors of the store.

At home, her kicking and screaming turns into her jumping up and landing on her knees, to banging her head on the floor or anything that she can hit her head on. Usually I let her kick and scream, but when she starts banging her head, I’ll scoop her up and rock her in the rocking chair. Her meltdown may last from a few minutes, to hours, but I’ve noticed that the rocking does help.

Here’s a blog post from ‘The Autism Site (dot) com’ on ‘Calming A Meltdown Can Be Frustratingly Difficult’

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reward


This week’s photo challenge is, reward.

What does ‘reward’ mean to you?

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In the autism world, there are many challenges that are faced every single day. Yet some of those challenges can be very rewarding, for both child and parent. I can think of many challenges we’ve both faced, that in the end, we were equally rewarded – her reward was achieving something out of the ordinary, achieving a goal, breaking out of a habit. For me it was seeing her do something and knowing that she knew she did it without having a complete meltdown, or after the meltdown was over, she saw that what she did, was actually okay.

The first rewarding moment that I can remember, was the first time she sat in a barber chair without assistance or without me holding her down while she got her hair cut. Yes, you read that right. For most children with autism, getting a haircut is a HUGE challenge. I had to sit in the chair with her in my lap, hold her legs and arms as still as possible, all the while listening to her scream and cry as the stylist cut her hair. It’s just a part of that sensory/autism area…someone different combing my hair, that isn’t my hairbrush, etc. The stylist having to spray their hair with water isn’t a big hit either. Plus, the scissors aren’t a favorite thing – something sharp and pointed, coming towards me…

I take her to a place where the hair stylist is familiar with children with special needs; she has a special needs child of her own. Not only that, but the place is very welcoming to all children, especially those with special needs. They can play with all kinds of neat and cool toys. Plus, the stylist doesn’t even have to cut their hair while they’re sitting in a chair. I walked in one day and saw her sweeping up hair from around the train table – the child was preoccupied with the train set, that that was all they were going to do. My daughter was the same way, I couldn’t get her away from the train set, or coax her to sit in the chair to get her hair cut, so the stylist proceeded to cut her hair from where my daughter played. No problems, whatsoever!

Maybe there’s a fear of sitting in a barber chair, who knows!

The last time I took my daughter to get her hair cut, she sat in the chair without a fuss. Cartoons was playing on the TV The stylist was able to find a cartoon my daughter liked on the TV, which kept her preoccupied long enough for the stylist to go to work. It was only when the cartoon ended did she realize what was going on and started to squirm, though the stylist quickly finished, yet did an amazing job. The stylist then rewarded my daughter with a toy of her choosing, for her being so brave and not making a fuss.

This little barber shop also has an awesome store where I can buy sensory toys for my daughter. I even purchased a few puzzles and a few dry erase alphabet mats for my daughter to learn tracing her ABC’s on.

My daughter now calls the barber shop, the train place, because of the train set kids can play with while waiting to get their hair cut. There’s also a dollhouse and a few sensory toys around the store where kids can freely play.

A happy report of being accident free


Due to my daughter’s autism, potty training has been a major challenge for her and I. I had the difficult time getting her to transition from diaper to pull-up, then an even harder time getting her to transition from pull-up to panties. It’s a sensory thing, plus it’s an autism thing. Change is something a child with autism can’t handle. Then the sensory part, well, the pull-up feels way different than the diaper. The panties feel even funnier than the pull-up. it’s just uncomfortable, which can also lead to meltdowns and stress, mostly for her. I have a lot of patience with her.

It took a lot of bribing and coaxing to get her to switch over, but she did. It cost quite a bit of stickers and some M&Ms, but whatever helped.

Imagine, if you will, the feeling of a scouring pad being pulled ever so lightly against your skin. I know it sounds a bit awkward describing it this way, but this is how some things feel to someone with autism, especially someone with a sensory disorder. It is definitely an unnatural feeling, yet that’s what they experience. I had gotten her a cute little Red Sox jersey. She loves it, except she can’t wear it without having a regular t-shirt underneath the jersey. The jersey on her skin feels uncomfortable. Like wearing a wool sweater without having a t-shirt underneath it. So, not only is the change in going from diaper, to pull-up, to panties hard for her, it takes some time for her to get accustomed to the new feelings of each item.

Next came the success of actually going in the potty, which took a few years. When she was one, I had purchased a little pink princess potty, to which she loved, though she would rather look at it, than she would sit on it. It chimed each time you would push it’s little jeweled lever, which was supposed to resemble flushing the potty, but it was more of a cute little accessory that was only for looks. She found it rather amusing and giggled each time it chimed, that she would sit in the floor and continuously push the lever down.

She still wouldn’t sit on it. I continued to try though.

Perseverance.

For the past several months, her teachers at daycare and I have been working with her on using the potty, the real one, as well as wearing panties. I would take her to school wearing panties, but had to make sure she had a few pairs of pants, panties, socks, and another pair of shoes, sometimes I would slip an extra shirt in there, as there’s been times where it was needed too. Oh, yeah, she peed all the way down her legs, soiling everything, including her shoes.

No matter how many times we took her and placed her on the potty, she would still have an accident. It was just a continued work in progress. Yesterday, however, something changed. She actually went the entire day without wearing a pull-up and without having an accident. I couldn’t be more happier for my baby girl! Although, she still has to be taken to the bathroom, I’m sure it won’t be long now before she begins to start taking herself when she feels nature calling, before nature does call.

Next on the list is for her to successful do number two in the potty, instead of holding it. Since she started wearing panties, she’s been holding number two until she can’t hold it any more and has an accident.

Small steps, still lead to great successes!