Category Archives: Autism

One word photo challenge: Blue


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Tardis blue – I found a table of Doctor Who stuff at my local Barnes & Noble

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Autism Awareness puzzle piece candy dish

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Stormy blue skies

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Blue butterfly wings – sorry for the blurred image, it’s hard to catch a hyper child sitting still. I guess you can say this was taken in flight lol!

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See finds pushing the barrels at the stables comforting

Fire Alarms Can Cause Nightmares For Some Kids


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There’s a long list of things that my autistic daughter can’t handle – the washer, blender, vacuum, mixer, doorbell, fireworks, parades, crowds, fire truck sirens, and now the fire alarm at her school. A few weeks ago her school had a fire drill. In a typical fire drill, the fire alarm sounds and the teachers gather the students together to take them outdoors to safety. It’s something all school’s are required to do to teach the kids fire drill safety. But how do you have a fire drill for someone who is extremely sensitive to loud noises? Her therapist tell me to continue to expose her to this noise, so that she can get use to hearing it, to the point where it doesn’t bother her anymore.

I was told when they had their fire drill and what her reaction was – I already knew what her reaction would be before they told me, it’s the same reaction she has to a majority of  things she can’t tolerate. Since the fire drill she started having nightmares – getting up in the middle of the night, screaming and crying, then begging to sleep with me where she felt safer. Upon the fifth night I had finally discovered what had been giving her nightmares, it was the fire alarm. She had woke up crying in the middle of the night, telling me to get out, go, fire. When I told her therapist this they immediately began working with her and trying to help her see that she shouldn’t be afraid of the alarm. They even showed her videos and had another fire drill.

The second fire drill caused her to not want to go to her own bed at all and the nightmares continued. How would you try to expose a child to something that has them react in this manner? It’s the same as you or I being exposed to our own fears. Some fears there isn’t a choice but to be exposed to them. Like elevators for instance, I can’t stand elevators, though I have to use them. I was stuck in a crowded elevator when I was younger – I’m also claustrophobic, so this didn’t help me any. There were too many people (too much weight) in the elevator, that it decided to stop moving and we were stuck in between floors. It felt like we were in there a lot longer than it took them to get us out of there, but still I will till this day avoid going in an elevator if there is more than two people in it. If I’m already in the elevator and it starts to fill up, I’ll get out and wait on another.

I feel bad for my daughter and her sensitivity to loud noises. I wish there was a better way to being exposed to the things she’s terrified off. I have tried certain methods in having her get over some of the things she’s terrified of. Each time the doorbell rings I would have her go and ring the doorbell herself, to the point where she isn’t terrified from hearing it anymore. It startles her now and then, but not as bad as it had before. My grandmother and I do a lot of baking. We both decided to let my daughter stand in a chair next to us as we put stuff in the mixer, then turn the mixer on. This had eased my daughter’s reactions to the mixer so that she isn’t afraid of it when she hears it running. She’s now more anxious to scoot a chair next to us and watch as we mix ingredients.

Today I tried having her help me start the washer. She got as far as putting the soap in there, but wouldn’t get close enough to turn the knob that actually starts the washer. I’m not going to force her, instead I’ll take small steps.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure


I have been saving my pocket change long before my daughter was born; she’s now four years old. Before I took her to Disney World last summer, I decided to sort through that pocket change to see how much I had saved. It was somewhere around a few hundred dollars. My grandma insisted I save some of the coins for my daughter instead of spending it. I had quite a few of those new quarters, nickels, and pennies that almost everyone likes to collect. She handed me a small stack of empty coin books and preceded to fill them up.

I had plans to sort through the change, wrap them in coin rolls, then put them into my bank account for a little extra vacation money. My grandmother had other plans and before I could say no, my had daughter joined us and started sorting the coins into piles. I showed her how to sort the nickels into the nickel pile, quarters in the quarter pile, and so on. Then my grandmother showed her how to press a coin into a coin book. Though it took us a few hours, we had fun, and my daughter got the opportunity to learn what coin was what. I ended up putting all the change back into the the coin container and placed it back into my closet, having not spent a cent of it yet.

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The day I brought home a giraffe


One day I went to pick my daughter up from daycare. I walked into the room, searching for my little girl, but I didn’t see her smiling face anywhere. One of her teachers pointed towards one of the tables and said, “She’s right there.” But I didn’t see her, nor her recognizable blonde hair. Instead I saw a fuzzy creature with its back towards me, playing with toy animals.

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I walked up to where her teacher pointed, to get a better view. When I came face to face with the fuzzy thing, I smiled and began to laugh. There stood my daughter, wearing a giraffe costume, smiling so big and bright at me. “Mommy!” she cries out with excitement.

“Aren’t you just the cutest giraffe I’ve ever seen, ” I say back. “May I take you home with me?”

“Yes,” she says. Though she wasn’t going to take the costume off, she wanted to wear it home. I was told it okay that I let her continue to wear it, and I promised that I would wash it and return it on Monday.

When we walked into the door at home, I called for Grams to come look at what I brought home. Grams comes into the living room and smiles at my little girl, then says, “You’re so cute, what are you supposed to be?”

“I’m a giraffe,” my little girl says proudly.

The day continued to go on as normal, but the giraffe costume had no chances in coming off. I continued to watch a giraffe eat dinner at the kitchen table, then walk around the house, then watch cartoons with me in the living room. Then it was time to go to bed. With a little sweet talk and a promise she could where the costume tomorrow, she finally took the costume off before she crawled into bed.

The next day, after her bath and breakfast, I turned to see the giraffe standing in the kitchen. I smiled and laughed. She’s just too cute, I thought to myself. She then asked for some milk. “Do giraffe’s drink milk?” I asked her curiously.

“Yes,” she says smiling. Why wouldn’t they?

“Ok, if you’re sure.” I gave her one of her small cups, poured milk in it, and put one of her bendy straws in it and watched the little giraffe drink every drop. “I guess giraffe’s do drink milk.”

She hands me her empty cup, then takes off to her room to play. I watch her run in a galloping way that makes me think of how a giraffe runs. She takes being a giraffe seriously.

She continued to wear the giraffe costume all weekend, but took it off each night, before bedtime. Sunday night I had it washed and ready to return, as promised, to the daycare the following day. It was a fun an interesting weekend, when I brought home a giraffe.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Window


Around here, windows are our favorite thing. It’s a looking glass to the world outside. It seems that my daughter and one of her furry friends spends a lot of time looking out the window. This weeks photo challenge is about windows.

Here are two of my favorites that has to do with windows. The first picture is of my daughter and my parents cat, Eight Ball, both sitting next to one another, looking at the window. When I first snapped the picture it was a time my daughter was making a break through with her autism. She was terrified of most animals, still is, but not as bad as she was before.

After several sessions with hippotherapy, she has shed this fear of animals and starts to move in closer and closer, sometimes close enough to touch, but only for a few seconds or more. This picture was the first time she sat so close to a cat. Eight loves to come up to her to be petted and will sit next to her until she gets up and leaves.

The second picture is of Eight Ball. I just love the double image. He is such a wonderful, loving cat.

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Since becoming a parent, I never thought I would have to say…


Since my daughter’s Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder diagnoses, I have been spending a lot of time researching information on the two. I spend some time reading up about each one on Facebook groups specified for both disorders. Each child with Autism are different from one another, though they do have a few similarities. Spinning, meltdowns, self-hitting, rocking, hand flapping, to name a few that many Autistic children share with one another. That is why there’s a spectrum. One child can have a few autistic behaviors, but is still diagnosed as Autism, he/she is then put on one end of the autism spectrum. While another child has every one of the autistic behaviors, he/she is then put on the opposite spectrum as the other child.

I have learned that there are two sides to Sensory Processing Disorder, the either/or. Either they don’t like to be touched, or they can’t get enough of it. Either they can’t work puzzles or ride a bike, or they excel at it. Either they will only eat certain foods and very little of them (picky eaters), or they will eat everything in sight. Though both sides of SPD has similarities, doesn’t like loud noises, crowded places, won’t take naps or have a hard time going to sleep at night. They’re also excessive risk takers, such as jumping off of something and at times landing on the knees.

One thing that I have noticed from reading the support groups on FB, is that children with SPD has an odd behavior where they lick everything. At first I thought my daughter was the only one with this behavior. But after a post that was written stating ‘the one thing they never thought they would have to say to their child as a parent’. Many parents answered mostly the same thing, having to tell their child to stop licking this or that. We all found something our children have in common. Some parents commented that they thought their child was the only one that licked everything in sight. But after reading each comment, it was easy to see our child wasn’t alone in this behavior.

It’s at least fifty times a day I would have to tell my daughter to stop licking something, especially if we’re out and about. She will lick chairs, the grocery buggy, her TV, the table, her toys, the couch, just to name a few. She’ll even walk up and lick me. She also has to lap up the bathwater. I know what you’re thinking, “Ew gross!” I have the same reaction, especially when it comes to the grocery buggy and bathwater. I carry wipes to clean the buggy, though that sometimes doesn’t help as she’s gotten sick a few times from them. I do keep an eye on her and catch her in time. I carry suckers or candy with me for her to pop in her mouth, rather than the alternative.

Even though my daughter has a disorder, she is still a child. There’s quite a list of things I tell her to stop doing or not do that parents tell their children without disabilities or disorders, such as,  ‘stop jumping on your bed’, ‘stop jumping on the couch’, ‘stop running in the house’, ‘no throwing things in the house, you’ll break something’. Children with ASD and/or SPD are like any other child, just with a few extra things us parents have to tend to or look out for.

Weekly photo challenge: Beginning


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The beginning of a new friendship

Since my daughter started doing hippotherapy (therapeutic riding) this past summer, she has a new found friendship with each horse she rides. Though in the picture she is seen leaning in to kiss a horse named Peaches, she usually rides another horse named Gilly.

Hippotherapy has helped her open up more with her confidence in horses and most other animals, as well as helped her open up with her speech. Up until the age of three she had barely an eight word vocabulary, whereas most kids that age has three times that many words in their vocabulary.

Hippotherapy helps keep her calm and relaxed to the point where she can use that energy to focus on other things, such as seeing the world around her and telling us about what she sees. When she isn’t riding, she is mostly focused on one thing and has to have help in redirecting her attention to something else.

Now that she is four years old, she has started talking more and is using actual sentences. She still babbles a lot, but it is the effort in trying to say what she has to say that counts.

Wacky Wednesday


This week my daughter’s daycare is having ‘Spirit Week’. Monday was Red and Green day, Tuesday was Ugly Sweaters, and today is Wacky Wednesday. The wearer’s outfit is not suppose to match, so two different socks, polka dot shirt with stripped pants, that sort of thing.

I opened my daughter’s drawers to look for something ‘interesting’ or ‘wacky’. I looked at her and told her she needed to wear something silly today for school. She then helped me pick something out for her to wear – her Supergirl costume with a red tutu. Looks wacky, yet awesome!

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Growing up with Autism


I’ve started to notice my daughter’s Autism progressing more. She’s more sound sensitive, even more scared of the washer, blender, and vacuum cleaner than she was before. The sounds of fireworks terrify her to the point she’s screaming with fright. She’s even more attractive to things with bright, flashing lights, like glow sticks or the light up wands you would find at Halloween or at concession stands at parades or carnivals.

Last night we had our Christmas parade here in Bryant, my hometown. I didn’t take her due to her reaction to the Christmas parade we went to in Benton the night before;  Benton is the town next to us. She showed interest in the floats, decorated with bright Christmas lights, with cheerful people waving and shouting ‘Merry Christmas’. My daughter cheered and waved back at each one as they passed by us. Then she started to push away when the band started coming near us. I calmly walked behind the crowd of people that was around us, but started to dance along with the band’s music, showing her that it was okay.

As soon as the band passed by I put her up on top of my shoulders, where she would sit for majority of the parade. She resumed her clapping, waving, and cheering at the brightly lit floats driving past us, until the motorcycles started to approach us. She started to scream and try to climb down from my shoulders. I cuddled her as best I could, trying to comfort her as she hid her head in my chest, covering her ears and whimpering. I placed my hand over her head, bringing her into my chest and covering her ears as best as I could, telling her all will be okay. The more the motorcycles revved up their engines, the more she stirred and cried.

I continued to stay at the back of the crowd, far from the parade procession. Though as each loud group that passed by us, I would put her back up on my shoulders so she could enjoy the rest of the parade. It was soon coming to an end and it was time for the firetrucks to make their appearance, followed by the fat jolly man on top of the last firetruck. It wasn’t hard to tell they were nearing as each one would blast their sirens, causing it to echo off of the buildings, making it sound louder and louder as the approached. It was our Que to leave.

I didn’t need to stay any longer to see Santa and I knew she could care less if he was approaching or not. It was the loud sirens that had her terrified and her wanting to leave. So leave we did. She loves firetrucks, has several firetruck toys at home. She just doesn’t like the loud sirens that they have.

Children don’t come with handbooks or manuals, nor does Autism. It’s all a learning process. A few years ago I had to learn from these similar reactions that fireworks aren’t something that we’ll be into viewing each fourth of July. Every fourth we’ll go to the carnival, but we return home way before the crowd shows for the fireworks display. I try to distract her with cartoons, puzzles, and games on her kindle as each whistle, pop, and crackle noise is made from the neighbors setting off their own little fireworks.

Parades and fireworks won’t stop us from enjoying ourselves. We might not go off to watch it in person, but that won’t stop us from finding something else to entertain ourselves, such as a Disney movie in the comfort of our own home.

Bulky winter coats are not safe when it comes to car seats


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Today the temp outside was a chilling 27F. My daughter didn’t want to wear her coat, instead she wanted to wear her jacket. Who wouldn’t want to wear it, it has mermaids on it. She calls it her Bubble Guppies jacket. I happily agreed to put her jacket on her just to refrain from her having a meltdown.  I then chased her down and put her coat on her as well. She then wanted her mittens and knitted owl hat to go along with her coat.

Though it’s cold out and I want her to dress warmly, I do have an issue in her wearing the bulky winter coat when I have to buckle her into her car seat. I loosen the straps just so I can get her arms through them, then I buckle her in. I try to re-tighten the straps so that they’re snug, but not cutting off circulation. To me, it just seems unsafe. I just need to get her a mile down the road. It’s already hectic getting her into the coat, just to get her out the door. It isn’t even near thinkable taking her coat off of her before I strap her into the car seat. I need to rethink this one over, I thought to myself.

While surfing FB I noticed a particular blog link someone had posted. Interesting I thought, as I clicked on it. It was discussing the same issues I was having earlier today. Car seat ponchos or taking the child’s coat off, buckle them into their car seat properly, then have them wear their coat backwards. Hmmm, not a bad idea, but curious how an autistic child with sensory needs would react to this. I’m going to give it a try.

Here’s the link to that blog site. She’s made some really good points, so I encourage all to give it a read. http://thecarseatlady.blogspot.com/2011/01/coats-n-car-seats-are-not-safe-combo.html?m=1