Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Brian Moments

Sometimes so many little things happen I don't know where to start with this blog. So here is a list of "Brian Moments" from the past few days.

* Weather got warm- means we need to change our wardrobes a bit. Change? Oh no. Not a good idea. The first day we tried to change into shorts was a big tantrum- I ended up letting him wear the pants. Didn't think to hide his heavyweight coat, boots, and winter hats- so he wore them too. Man was he sweaty. I hid them all. Now he's fine- out of sight, out of mind lol.

* Found Brian standing in his window. Had opened the window, climbed up on the sill, and pushing on his screen- in his room, which is on the second floor. You can imagine what a heart attack I had. I actually had chest pains all night- for about 5 hours- I thought I was going to have to go the ER.

* Took him out on the breakwater. Had some major anxiety issues there. Me, not him. He decided to run the entire way (7/8 mile long), he did not want to hold hands, and he really felt the need to be on the edge the entire time. I do have to say I was impressed that he didn't fall in the cracks until the very end- much better than he did last year.

* Got into a very OCD routine at Corbin's t-ball clinic this past weekend. Our friends Kristin & Greg were behind us in the bleachers and he got into a routine of saying something to me, then the same thing to Kristin, then the same thing to Greg. Was cute until he kissed me on the lips, went to Kristin to do the same- she gave in, but when it was Greg's turn, he wasn't gonna give in- which I don't blame him- we don't know him quite as well as we know Kristin. Well Brian got a bit upset- because his routine was thrown off.

* Made him a social story regarding keeping the door open. Now that it's getting warmer out I enjoy leaving our front door open and letting some fresh air come in through the screen door. Brian does not enjoy this. Doors are suppose to be closed. I'll let you know as we continue using the social story if we have any success with this.

* Brian is singing "You are my Sunshine"- he knows every word and it is the sweetest thing in the world.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I'm a Winner :)



My first one! Woohoo :) Thanks to Wendy from Rambling Unsettled Vagabond for giving me this award. So I need to pass it on to five other fellow bloggers- I chose blogs that I look forward to reading everyday. Blogs that are all made by women I consider very good friends, even though only one out of the five I have met in person. Make sure to check out their blogs!

This is the Life of a GF/CF Soccermom
Aurora & Alex
Tales of the Domestic Superhero
Oh Crap! Life Lessons of Raising 6 Children
Mainely Musings

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Autism Photo Shoot Attempt

Tried to do an impromptu photo shoot- still haven't decided what I want to put on our shirts this year so was trying to get a good shot! As usual, I'm procastinating and will be up the night before finishing up the t-shirts, I'm sure.





Walk for Autism

It's next weekend! Wow! How did it get here so fast?

Have you printed out your sponsor sheet on www.asmonline.org yet? If not make sure you do- only a week left to get sponsors! Do know you can walk no matter what? Just having your presence there will be mean so much to us!

We're trying to find out who has room for who and who is bringing a vehicle. So please write back and let me know if you are driving, if you have any extra room, or if you are looking for a ride!

Also I did not go with professional shirts this year so I'll be making them this week- I'm asking everyone just to chip in a dollar, or two or five- whatever you can afford- they aren't incredibly costly so don't worry too much about it!

Lunch afterwards this year will be at Uno's, as they have GF pizza!! Trying to get somewhat of a number so I can hopefully reserve some tables beforehand- as we all know, Brian doesn't like to wait for a table :) (Not that Corbin does that well with that either lol)

I'm getting really excited about this! I hope you all are too!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

My new tattoo :)

I got this about two months ago- I thought it over for a long time and realized this was one tattoo I would never ever regret getting- it will always, forever, mean so much to me.

My foot looks kind of nasty lol- I took this picture directly after it was done so there was extra ink on my foot and stuff- I need to take a new pic of it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The "Fourteen Studies"...

Remember when Amanda Peet decided to do some media appearances to urge parents to vaccinate their children because they are so safe. In fact, I'm sure we all remember her quote, "There are a lot of misconceptions about the dangers of vaccinations ... (but) frankly, I feel that parents who don't vaccinate their children are parasites." She also loved to rave about the "fourteen studies" done and how their results are concrete that vaccinations don't cause autism.

Well leave it to Generation Rescue to answer her and all the experts that make the same claim. Fourteen Studies shows you the actual studies and proves to you that they aren't airtight. Only the MMR has been studied in relation to autism. Not one single study compares vaccinated children to unvaccinated children. The studies are continually ran by persons who are funded by vaccine companies. Many of the studies reach false conclusions or don't even really answer the question at hand. Make sure to visit the site to read them yourselves.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Lil Leprechaun

I hadn't visited Corbin's school's website in a while but I decided to check it out today and found this picture of him in their photo album-

Jim Carrey Speaks Up at the Huffington Post

Jim Carrey: The Judgment on Vaccines Is In????

CNN announced on air that the link between autism and MMR was disproved.... simply because there was a ruling against causation on 3 cases- 3 out of 5000. Jim Carrey wrote this amazing letter discussing the tragedy of autism & vaccines. Make sure to support him by leaving a comment!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Aquarium

So we had a long day yesterday! We were up at 4:30, out of the house at 5:30 and on the train about 7:45. The train ride was about two and a half hours- it was fun though! The kids did extremely well- well, for most of the time. Corbin had a meltdown after I won two games of Uno and then a game of Go Fish in a row- he had a meltdown and said he only wanted him and Josh to play and I wasn't allowed anymore. So obviously that meant games were gone until he could remember what good sportsmanship was all about. He tried to do a little bit of pushing buttons (turning off Brian's video game since he couldn't play it- trying to throw the cards) but luckily it only took about five minutes of ignoring for him to stop.

We became quite friendly with a family in front of us on the train and it happened they were going to the aquarium as well so we walked with them to Quincy Market- they stopped there to eat first but we decided to keep on going to the Aquarium. The boys were so happy to be out in the fresh air and Corbin was dancing along, repeatedly yelling at the top of his lungs, "I LOVE THE CITY!!"

We arrived at the aquarium to discover a half hour long line to get in! We now know next year to buy your tickets ahead of time and you can skip that whole long line- oops. But again, the boys did amazingly well with this process!

The aquarium was so much fun. Brian was mesmerized by the seals, the turtle healing in the medical area, the penguins. The Boston Aquarium has a four story tall tank with sharks, sea turtles, moray eels, and so much more in it- the building and all the rest of the displays gradually go up and around the tank so you can always see the big tank and when you reach the top you can look down into the big center tank. Brian did pretty well until we reached the touch tank area. That was our first meltdown.

He decided he wanted to peel all the starfishes off of the rocks and throw them off a little waterfall they had in the tank- being autistic, I couldn't just get him to stop- because he had already started and you can't start something and not finish it. I had to carry him out screaming.

At that exact moment Josh's neice called us and said she was outside. She was in Boston for the week visiting her father and we had told her we were going and she could meet up with us if she wanted. So we walked back down- another big ordeal as we were backtracking before we reached the end. Brian would only be carried now, he didn't want to walk.

When we got downstairs I found a room with strollers. Perfect!! I could rent a stroller. I went over to the window and I said, "I'd like a stroller please!" The guy gave me a weird look and then said, "This is for people dropping off strollers." I felt like such an idiot and apologized. Then the guy said, "You know what? We have a couple of strollers over here that we are just going to throw away- nobody has claimed them in a while- do you want one?" He even went out of his way to find one with cars on it for Brian. I thanked him profusely and told him we'd return it before we left but insisted not to even worry about it and just keep it. Thank goodness for little angels on earth like him because we would not have survived the rest of the day without the stroller.

We finished out the aquarium with no more meltdowns- Brian was so content to be in the stroller- I have found time over time that it really helps him to have his own space like that. I never learn though and always think, let's try it this time without a stroller.

Corbin did quite well in the aquarium. He became obsessed about our turtle passbook we were given. There were six different stations in the aquarium with different turtles and they had stamps set up- you had to try to get all six stamps. I really feel this hindered him from enjoying a lot of the exhibits because he was all about finding the six stamps and not stopping until he did lol.

After the aquarium we went and saw an IMAX movie, Under The Sea. I was very worried about this for Brian. We found some great aisle seats and sat down with our 3D glasses- Brian was soooo cute! He was trying to grab all the stuff coming out of the movie at him and he would continue to peer under his glasses every now and then to try to figure out how these sea creatures looked like they were coming out at him. It only held his attention for fifteen minutes and then he sat on the floor next to me and ate popcorn- he was able to stay in the theater for the entire 45 minutes though- which is a big deal!

He fell asleep almost immediately after. Emily's Dad met up with us after the movie and we decided to walk around a bit and take in the sights. We ate lunch at a sports pub on the North End by the Fleet Center (where our train left from)- Brian slept through lunch- we took up two booths as I layed him down in the one across from us.

The train ride home was loooooong- we were all exhausted but Brian woke up right before the train of course, so we couldn't all nap. Then our train had communication troubles so we had to stop twice and wait to make sure the tracks were clear. We ended up being a half hour late. Thankfully Josh was driving once we got back to Portland- no way I could stay awake any later- we returned home about midnight.

All in all it was a great day, a couple bumps in the road- but no more than I expected. We learn from our mistakes and hopefully we'll be brave enough to try it again next year- next time to go to the Childrens Museum in Boston. That is if we don't move there before then, as we all have decided unanimously we love it there! ;)











Train Ride

So the train ride was definitely a hit! I think we've decided to use it everytime we go to Boston! The boys enjoyed it and they were so excited about getting on it in the morning. It was nice for Brian to have the freedom of movement when he needed it!




Saturday, April 18, 2009

Life Through Corbin's Eyes









Corbin has his own digital camera that my mom bought him a couple Christmases ago- I just emptied it out on to the computer so he could use it tomorrow at the aquarium. I love looking at his pictures and thought I'd share some random shots :)

..::overwhelmed::..

Do you ever get the feeling that you have no control over your children? Just feel utterly overwhelmed and you need to take a step back and just breathe before you carry on. That's me. Right now.

Corbin is participating in a play- he had to do it, he wanted to do it soooo bad- I warned him how much work it would be but no, he had to do it. So today was their first REALLY long rehearsal- an hour, of just the schoolchildren practicing their big scene and then an hour and a half afterward of the entire ACT 1. I, personally, thinkt he director is nutty for setting it up this way as there are a number of 4-6 year olds in there that are not able to attend for nearly that long, my son included.

So, we went to the rehearsal today. First thing Corbin is running all around the room- I call him over and tell him he needs to stop running and he needs to take this seriously- he calms down rather easily and sits in his chair. Oh by the way, I have Brian during this as well. Of course I can't keep Brian in the rehearsal room- just no way- he wants to run and yell and do his thing. So I take him out in the hallway, we walk down the hallway, hand in hand. I turn us around to walk back- but I made the mistake of turning around BEFORE we actually reached the end of the hallway. This makes Brian extremely angry and he starts running down the hall SCREAMING. His sounds are echoing everywhere- I'm running after him, full speed, and still not catching up- I caught ahold of his shirt twice, both times him escaping my grip. I finally get him, just in time, for two parents, the director, and a handful of kids looking out the door at us and being "reprimanded" for being loud in the hallway. Great. I tell Corbin I'm going to go do some errands while he's in rehearsal.

Brian and I go to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things we need for our trip to Boston tomorrow (yeah I'm really double thinking this trip by the way). Brian does an alright job in Wal-Mart, though he has become really spacey and determined about where he wants to go in there- just walking right away from me because he sees a display with cartoons on it. After we leave he tries to book it out into the parking lot, another thing he hasn't done in forever. I catch him, we get to the car safely.

So we return to rehearsal- and I find Corbin pretty much wrestling on the floor with another two boys, giggling, laughing- would be cute except it's right in the middle of their big number. Corbin has no idea, I believe, that every other kid in the school is singing and dancing at this moment. I give him a glare and he becomes all melancholy and slumps over to me, while the song is still going on and asks why I'm mad. I tell him that I told him this was going to be a lot of work and I don't understand why he's not paying attention and trying harder. He says that the other boys do stuff and he can't get his brain to listen to what he's suppose to do (and why have people told me he might have ADD? lol). The real kicker is these two boys are the directors' sons and it bugs me that she isn't getting after them as well.

So this time Brian and I are trying to sit and watch- I asked him if he could be quiet and he says "yes". He holds true to this, he stays quiet. He wants some water so I give him my water bottle, two seconds later- the entire, full bottle ends up on the floor. So now we have to make numerous trips back & forth to the bathroom to get towels to wipe it up. Brian is crying through it all and I'm getting stares from everyone. So fun.

A break is called and I take the boys outside to get some drinks and talk to Corbin. Corbin says he is really going to try harder, I tell him I'm proud of him and know he can do a fantastic job but it is hard work. We walk back in after the break and Brian is just screaming, too many transitions by this point. I tell Corbin I just can't do it, I need to bring Brian home for a little bit and I'll be back to get him. He's cool with it, thankfully. He has become accustomed to being a brother to a boy with autism.

So that's where I am. I came home, Brian immediately started pulling stuff out of the cupboards here at home and I just said, "Brian please go upstairs to play." I went into the laundry room, did some deep breathing, and then came to the computer. Brian came down, came over to me and gave me a big hug. I love my boys no matter what but man, sometimes, I could just use a little break.

A Special Love Story


My stepmom sent me this in an email, quite a while ago, I thought it was so sweet as I think any mother with a special-needs child would think- a happy love story :)




KURTIS THE STOCK BOY
AND
BRENDA THE CHECKOUT GIRL

In a supermarket, Kurtis the stock boy, was busily working when a new voice came over the loud speaker asking for a carry out at register 4. Kurtis was almost finished, and wanted to get some fresh air, and decided to answer the call. As he approached the check-out stand a distant smile caught his eye, the new check-out girl was beautiful. She was an older woman (maybe 26, and he was only 22) and he fell in love.

Later that day, after his shift was over, he waited by the punch clock to find out her name. She came into the break room, smiled softly at him, took her card and punched out, then left. He looked at her card, BRENDA. He walked out only to see her start walking up the road. Next day, he waited outside as she left the supermarket, and offered her a ride home. He looked harmless enough, and she accepted. When he dropped her off, he asked if maybe he could see her again, outside of work. She simply said it wasn't possible.

He pressed and she explained she had two children and she couldn't afford a baby-sitter, so he offered to pay for the baby-sitter. Reluctantly she accepted his offer for a date for the following Saturday. That Saturday night he arrived at her door only to have her tell him that she was unable to go with him. The baby-sitter had called and canceled. To which Kurtis simply said, "Well, let's take the kids with us."

She tried to explain that taking the children was not an option, but again not taking no for an answer, he pressed. Finally Brenda, brought him inside to meet her children. She had an older daughter who was just as cute as a bug, Kurtis thought, then Brenda brought out her son, in a wheelchair. He was born a paraplegic with Down Syndrome.

Kurtis asked Brenda, "I still don't understand why the kids can't come with us?" Brenda was amazed. Most men would run away from a woman with two kids, especially if one had disabilities - just like her first husband
and father of her children had done. Kurtis was not ordinary - - he had a
different mind set.

That evening Kurtis and Brenda loaded up the kids, went to dinner and the movies. When her son needed anything Kurtis would take care of him. When he needed to use the restroom, he picked him up out of his wheelchair, took him and brought him back. The kids loved Kurtis. At the end of the evening, Brenda knew this was the man she was going to marry and spend the rest of her life with.

A year later, they were married and Kurtis adopted both of her children.
Since then they have added two more kids.

So what happened to Kurtis the stock boy and Brenda the check-out girl? Well, Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Warner now live in Arizona , where he is currently employed as the quarterback of the National Football League Arizona Cardinals.

It should be noted that he also quarterbacked the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. He has also been the NLF's Most Valuable Player twice and the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Transition Meeting

Today was Brian's transition meeting for kindergarten next year. A table for twelve and an hour and a half of my time to do so. I can not believe how big his team is- it always seems to be growing!

It was a nice meeting, I always enjoy listening to everyone's opinions on my son and I enjoy being listened to and really being the final say. I've been lucky in most of our existence dealing w/special needs to work with some really great people (not to say, I haven't complained here & there). I have to admit, that as a person, I am very easygoing, try to avoid confrontation, and have a hard time standing up for things I believe in. In all honesty, I am a person that could be walked all over very easily. BUT when it comes to my kids I have found I have a strength- and you better be prepared if you are going to try to challenge me on what I think is best for them.

I was able to get our ESY (Extended School Year) services to stay the same- which is great as usually they try to cut back on your child's hours. The goal of summer service isn't for them to learn more but only for them to "maintain". I just turned to our service coordinator and said, "Yup and you know how I feel about that. My son's autism doesn't just stop in the summer- I wish it did- but his needs aren't any lower in the summer than they are in the winter".

We talked about the transition next year and feel they are very open to my ideas and realize that I am t he best source of information on how to handle this transition. I am still nervous about the school system we are in- they don't know for sure how their autism program is going to look next year. Hence, I didn't sign any IEPs or any forms today as I told them I was uncomfortable doing so until I had a clearer idea of what they will be offering him. Which I hope is sooner rather than later!

We're going to do several visits throughout the summer to the school and with the various teachers to try to give him a headstart as well as starting school off with me accompanying him a couple days as well as only 1/2 days for a little while- they start kindergarten full day here.

All in all, I feel pretty confident about the meeting and how it went.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Numbers

Brian loves numbers. Always has. He's actually been able to name these numbers and put them in order for over a year now but I never thought to video it until recently. The past few weeks, for some odd reason, he has decided seven is his favorite number and he loves to just stop at that number. I always have to push him to continue to count, as you'll see in this video.
video

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter {{Pictures}}

Easter described through pictures- pictures of dying eggs, easter fun at home, and egg hunt at "Grammie & Grandpa On The Hill's" :)








Saturday, April 11, 2009

Give Autism A Hand: Maine Autism Plate


Maine is trying to get an Autism Plate- to do so, as with any specialty plate, the supporters are required to get 2,000 signatures along with a $25.00 deposit from those who are interested. The money from the plates will be used to fund autism programs. To preorder your plate please visit this page.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Weighted Products Reasonably Priced

On my quest for not only looking for reasonably priced equipment but also, perhaps, a local vendor, I found this site- New England Embroidery. The products are made by an OTA here in Maine. She makes a lot of products- weighted blankets, weighted vests, compression suits, body socks, weighted animals, and resistance tunnels. Her items seem fairly priced as well. I can't testify on the quality of the products as I haven't actually ordered anything yet but I wanted to pass it along!

On top of her selling reasonably priced products the proceeds from her website go towards the Etna Pond Accessible Recreation Site (EPARS) that she has built on her private property on Etna Pond. She has created this recreation area for persons with any type of disability. Everything is wheelchair accessible- you can have a picnic, sit on a swing and enjoy the view, go fishing, or travel through a few different trails.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes

videoThis is my big boy singing his FAVORITE song, "Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes". I do not know how long it's been one of his goals to fill in just a word in a song but it felt like forever- and then just out of nowhere he started singing this whole song. Corbin is taping it so don't mind the wiggly camera and the fingers in the picture :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easter Tips

TACA has a great page up on their website with all kinds of helpful tips to surviving Easter, family gatherings, and those long school vacations!

Here's a copy of their GFCF candy!

Willy Wonka Candy

Gobstoppers
Bottle Caps
Pixy Stix
Nerds
Runts

Just Born Candy
Just Born Company states that the products below are gluten free but encourages you to check labels for possible casein ingredients.

Peeps
Mike & Ikes
Hot Tamales
Teene Beene Jelly Beans


Jelly Belly Jelly Beans

The company states that all of their Jelly Belly products are dairy free and gluten free.

Mason Dots and Dubble Bubble

Dum Dum Pops

Skittles

Starburst

Pez

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Brian's Birthday Wish List

Very often I have a very hard time telling people what to buy Brian for birthdays. He has very limited interests. If he could talk he would ask for:

* a fishing pole (I think G& G St. Clair have called this one!)
* anything Thomas
* anything to do with Cars (the movie)
* anything to do with numbers
* movies
* helicopters & propeller planes

So he'd be completely happy with any of those things but I decided this year to also put together a list of a bunch of items I want for Brian. Mostly learning toys. Some sensory items that we need to return to CDS when he graduates from Early Intervention this fall (weighted blanket, deep pressure vest, etc.) So here it goes:

From Super Duper Publications

* "Can Do" Oral-Motor cards - these cards help him practice different movements of his lips, tongue, and teeth with fun activities- 14.95
* Pressure Brushes- Brian really loves the tactile pressure given by these brushes- set of 3 for 14.95
* Z-Vibe Oral Motor Tool- a mouth massager used to wake up his mouth- 35.00
* Speechercise Music CD- a fun CD with activites to practice mouth movements- 14.95
* Sensory Diet Cards- cards with different activities to address his sensory needs- 19.95

From Different Roads to Learning:

* Soundtracks- Bingo type games to work on auditory processing- he'd love either version- 14.95
* Emotions Language Cards- cards to help him learn about emotions- 9.95
* Small, Medium, Large- puzzles to help him sort and learn about the differences in sizes- 14.95
* People In My Neighborhood- cards to learn about people he meets in the community- 9.95
* Learning to Sequence- exactly as it says :)- 12.95
* Social Sequences at School- 24.95
* Photo Opposites- 15.95
* Jumbo Triangular Colored Pencils- large pencils like these make it easier to use the tripod grasp- 6.95
* What Do I Say? (Appropriate Social Responses)- an interactive book to help him in social situations- 21.95
* What Do I Do? (Appropriate School Behaviors)- an interactive book to help him with situations at school- 21.95


Stuff we need to replace with our own as we have to return ours to CDS:

*A Southpaw Deep Pressure Vest- Bear Hug- Size Small: Brian LOVES his deep pressure vest- it helps him gather himself when we are in new or "scary" situations- he often asks for this on his own
* A weighted blanket- Brian sleeps with his everynight! Preferably one with a soft texture to it as he is sensitive to different textures.


And last category- fun stuff I've been wanting to get for him but just haven't yet:

* An indoor swing for his proprioceptive needs
* A Body Sox- a very fun toy that he enjoys playing with at therapy- it gives him the deep pressure that he just loves! Doesn't need to be the "Body Sox" brand- other body socks made are much cheaper!
* A preschool portable CD player- I know Little Tykes or Fisher Price makes these- he's gone through a few regular ones with his auditory therapy and I think one of these ones made for preschoolers may be a bit more tough
* A resistance tunnel- a tunnel made out of lycra type material that helps with motor planning and body awareness as well as giving him some of that input to the joints when he's pushing against the lycra

So that's it- I didn't mean for it to be so long & overwhelming! Obviously Brian would be completely happy with anything I've mentioned- especially the short list at the top- so anything you decide to get he'll love!

Autism on Larry King: Transcript

In case you missed the show this weekend, which I missed the end, they have put up a transcript of the entire evening. Was very good reading!

Larry King: Autism & Vaccinations

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Brian's Journey with Autism

As part of Autism Awareness Month I want to share Brian's journey. From his diagnosis to where he is today.

Brian developed very normally. Actually quite ahead of the curve. He was crawling at 4 1/2 months and walking at nine! He was a MAJOR ham. Loved the camera! He always had this great twinkle in his eyes when he smiled for it. He babbled NONSTOP- I was so happy to hear that babble because my older son had a speech delay and he hadn't babbled very much. Brian would do this funny back & forth babble with everyone and it was so animated- I especially remember my Dad getting a kick out of it and he would sit with him on the couch at six months old and just have this whole "conversation" for half an hour. He loved the Itsy Bitsy Spider and Peek-A-Boo. He loved to follow Corbin around and try to do whatever he was doing. My Dad would always say, "This is the one. He's going to make a difference somehow, I just know it!"

I can't paint all of his babyhood as completely perfect. There were definite little sensory issues- which I noticed as my older son had those too (Corbin was actually just finally diagnosed with sensory integration disorder). He didn't like being outside- running like a maniac inside but outside kind of scared him and he would stay in one spot the whole time. The sun bothered him more than it should as did the texture of the grass. I have this great picture of him eating a sandwich on a picnic balancing on his bottom making sure to hold his bare toes off the ground. Around six months he went through this horrible stage of banging his head on the ground- all the time- so much so he would have a bruise all the time on his forehead. I asked our pediatrician about it and he said all kids do it at some point and he's probably just trying to get attention- I forgot about it as the phase only lasted about four weeks.

Brian was 18 months when his Dad & I split. It was at that time I started to get worried. I realized that words he had, he didn't have anymore. Headbanging started again- this time, much worse. He started pulling out his hair so much so that he had a bald spot on the back of his head. He didn't make eye contact. He lost interest in any toys- only trains now. I noticed he didn't point anymore. He didn't even wave bye-bye anymore. He didn't do the Itsy Bitsy Spider anymore. He wasn't the life of the party anymore- in fact I was too scared to bring him to any parties. At first I wanted to blame all these changes on the very rocky split his father & I had. But deep down I knew it wasn't.

As I mentioned before my older son had already been recieving services- so I didn't even attempt to ask my pediatrician. Instead I just went right to our Early Intervention program and asked for an evaluation. First we did a speech evaluation- basically the evaluation was completely based on my observations as the clinician couldn't get him to do anything- she witnessed a LOT of headbanging that day. The report came back suggesting we do further testing.

Next came Annie, who was our rock during this whole transition (and I still call every now & then even though she's not one of his therapists anymore). She was the one who diagnosed him with autism. I remember her saying, "He doesn't give a lot back, does he?" I know, that from the minute I asked for that speech evaluation that autism was in the back of my head- but it was then that I just knew she was going to tell me that was what he had. After she had done several assessments on him she asked me if I had any ideas on what I thought. I said, I remember it clear as day, "I don't want to say it. I think it's autism- but I don't want to say it and make it real." She kindly gave the label PDD-NOS, mostly to try to ease myself into the world- as she even admitted a year later when I asked her why she gave him that label when he clearly had classic autism. Brian was two and three months old when he recieved the diagnosis. About a year later he recieved the actual title of "autism" when we went for a second opinion.

What followed was a whirlwind of therapies, tons of reading on my part, and a lot of time grieving. I know I still had my beautiful boy- but he had disapeared into himself. I KNEW something had happened to him. How in the world does he go from the social advanced little boy he was to the boy who now didn't even notice if I came into the room. I had a really hard time explaining it to family and friends because unfortunately the only autism they knew was the "Rain Man" or they had an image of a total shut-off child. Brian did cuddle- of course it was mostly for the deep pressure and the skin-to-skin contact he craved. He did sometimes look at you and give you a smile that was just for you. He was a happy boy. Those things didn't seem to them like traits of autism. Of course, we all learned and grew together, and they are all now his best advocates.

Five months later I started Brian on the gluten-free diet. I had read a lot of books, had called other parents I knew who were doing the diet, and had scheduled an appointment with a DAN! doctor. Within weeks of being on the diet Brian's self-injurous behaviors just stopped. He went from banging his head 10-20 times a day, hitting his face 5 times a day, a bite to his arm here and there, and pulling his own hair & eyelashes throughout the day to nothing. He started imitating movements. He would do Simon Says type of games- it was amazing!

Getting ready for our DAN! appointment I asked his pediatrician for a copy of his immunization records. Before doing so, I had filled out a twenty page information pack on Brian and had sent it in. I brought the immunization records with me and sat down with the DAN! doctor and put together the record with what I had filled out and it basically brought me to tears. I realized that that first incident of headbanging at six months was when he recieved the DTP shot (three live viruses in one) and the Prevnar shot. Then right before his regression at 18 months he recieved the DTP again, the MMR (another triple), and the chicken pox vaccine. SEVEN vaccinations at once.

Brian had NEVER reacted to immunizations well. I remember after the shots at two months we were on the ferry going home (we lived on the island at the time) and he was screaming his head off. He was so upset that I was crying- I had terrible thoughts running through my head of all the things that could be wrong with him to make him cry like that. I had never heard anything like it. I took him right to the medical center on the island when we got off the boat and I was told he was having a normal reaction to immunizations. After that, every immunization was followed with a couple days of crying, tons of sleep, crankiness, and fevers. I didn't think anything of them since my trusted doctors had told me not to worry. Looking back, I can't believe I didn't see what was happening.

We've continued to do ABA, speech, auditory, and occupational therapy with Brian. He has been on the GFCF diet for quite a while and takes a couple different supplements. Brian is slowly coming back to us but he still has a LONG ways to go. I know that his immunizations had something to do with his autism. I strongly believe that perhaps his autism does have a genetic connection but environmental factors & immunizations were the straw that broke the camel's back. I WATCHED him change, right in front of my eyes. I will continue to fight for him to reach his full potential and for other's to realize there is hope with this diagnosis.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Very Moving Video

Autism Yesterday- a 26-minute documentary on five families with recovered children. The original post is over at www.ageofautism.com .


"AUTISM YESTERDAY" Autism is Reversible from JB Handley on Vimeo.

Check out Larry King tonight! Must see TV!

Jenny McCarthy will be on Larry King on CNN again tonight! Joining her will be Jim Carrey, Dr. Kartzinel, JB Handley & Stan Kurtz. They will be discussing autism, debating against a mainstream doctor, and we'll get to meet a family with a recovered child.

Check out JB's blog on Larry King here-

http://larrykinglive.blogs.cnn.com/2009/04/03/lkl-blog-exclusive-autism-is-preventable-and-reversible/

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Awareness Isn't Enough Anymore

Today is World Autism Day and the month of April is Autism Awareness Month. I love this time of year when so much attention is given to autism yet at this point of time in our lives I am starting to feel that awareness is already here. Nowadays, everyone does know what autism is, most everybody knows of someone with autism. In my line of work we are seeing more and more kids being diagnosed with autism. Local public schools in this area are finally making programs specifically geared for children with autism.

Autism awareness was good when in the 70s it was 1 in 10,000. And even good in the early 90s when it was 1 in 250. Maybe good enough for the 1 in 150 number that everyone hears now, which was actually the number they came up with a couple years ago. The Department of Defense is claiming a 1 in 88 children among their dependents. The UK just released their newest census- 1 in 60 children. 1 in 34 boys.


Just take a minute to let that soak in. 1 in 60 children. I know in this "small town" I live in there are an estimated TEN kids going into the kindergarten class next year with autism. 10 out of about 60-75 children altogether. In the past professionals have tried to say that the rise in numbers were due to better diagnostics. Well the diagnostics aren't changing now, yet the numbers keep climbing. You do the math.

With numbers like these we need more than awareness, we need big time activism and a lot of action. We have an epidemic on our hands. How long do we have to wait? Until it's 1 in 50? 1 in 25? 1 in 10?

Autism can be reversible. We have heard amazing stories of children making their way out of the world of autism. I have watched my own son, not recover, but make amazing strides. Parents are NOT lying about the gains their children make, they are not lying about the regression they saw after vaccinations, they are not lying about the biomedical approaches they use. Why would they lie?

As the month of April carries on you will be seeing a lot of links here on my blog for you to check out yourselves. Please make sure to visit often!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Glue Incident

Climbing out from under my rock with a slightly humorous story that might give everyone a little giggle as they form the mental imagery.

This past weekend it was just Brian and I at home, all weekend, all by ourselves. That has never happened before. It was amazing having all that time to devote just to him. We worked on some toiletry issues and made some big gains, I feel, in that area.

Saturday night he went to bed at his normal time and I rented a "chick flick" taking full advantage of Josh not being home. After the movie ended I dragged my tired self off the couch and headed up the stairs, I heard Brian talking, but usually when he wakes up at night he just stays in bed and talks to himself.

Brian walked out of his bedroom, completely naked, with a big smile on his face as soon as I stepped off that last step. I sighed, "Brian did you pee your bed?" He's been doing SO well since we got his new big boy bed- not even wearing pull-ups at night anymore! I walked past him and did my typical rub of the head to tell him I still love him when I felt that all of his hair on his head was hard as a rock. I went into his room and felt the bed in the darkness only to be met with some kind of goo all over my hand. I ran over to his lamp, turned it on and simultaneously cried, "Brian, what did you get into??"

I turned around to find that he had somehow managed to get a bottle of glue off of his therapy shelves and had it EVERYWHERE. All over his Dynavox, his table, his chairs, on every single layer of bedding, his pajamas, his body- EVERYWHERE. I wasn't even aware a bottle of glue held that much in it! I was just in shock, while Brian hid around the corner of his doorway with his hands covering his ears.

I stripped his bed, took the Dynavox out of his room and told him to get in bed- he started running towards my bedroom and I said, "Oh no buddy!! In your bed now!" He started crying, ran on to his bed, and pulled the clean blankets over his head. I started to march out of his room but his sad cries pulled me back in. They weren't the angry cries that we use to get for everything- these were different. Crying, not because he's mad I spoiled the fun, but crying because he's upset I was mad at him. I sat on his bed and rubbed his back. He sat up with tears still running down his face and he pulled me down to lie next to him. A few seconds later as I was wiping away his tears, I asked, "Do you want to sleep with Mama?"

So that's how the story goes. The story of Brian pulling off probably one of his biggest, or at least messiest, escapades and still getting what he wanted all along- to sleep with his Mommy. Oh and Mommy did regret it in the morning after spending a full night with a snoring, rolling around, cuddly boy.