Thursday, March 28, 2013

What's Old is New Again

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill

With Bianca at 13 months. Before she regressed.
When Bianca was 12-13 months old (before her regression) she was ahead of the curve on a lot of things. One of those things was labeling.

One of my favorite things to do with Bianca when she was a baby was to grab one of her favorite picture books and flip the pages as she pointed to and told me the names of ALL of the animals. It also became one of the things that made me angriest about the regression… that it took that from us. Bianca became more content chewing on a book than she was labeling once her regression started to kick in.

I would grab her favorite book and sit down with her and witness the gradual decay in her ability and/or interest in labeling. She lost the words altogether eventually. Asking her to participate in an activity became futile. She was much more content to be on her own and to become engrossed in trying to find any microscopic crumb on the floor to mouth. It would depress the hell out of me.

Still, you move on.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Build-A-Bear? Build a Foundation.

“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children” – Mohandes Ghandi

It has to start somewhere right? Traditionally that has been with the children.

When studies show that nearly half of all autistic teens reporting that they have been the victims of bullying, we have to get the message to kids sooner. Acceptance and tolerance are vital to ending bullying. Those lessons MUST be taught and reinforced at home as well as in the classroom. We must be teaching our kids about the power of love and leading by example EVERY day.

In order to do that, there has to be a dialogue. There has to be an open line of communication. Sometimes that can be a challenge. We don’t always know how to talk to kids on their level and the fear of saying the wrong thing can paralyze us into inaction. What we need is a little confidence and some tools, something to break the ice and open up the give and take required in an important conversation.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Breakdown

Monday starts Spring Break for the kids. I can’t really relate because I never felt this way in my life about school… but both of my school aged children are bummed about it. So are the wife and I.

Sofie just LOVES school. A few weeks back she was complaining that her tummy hurt. She was all bundled up and ready to go catch the bus when she stopped dead in her tracks and held her stomach. “Can you kiss my tummy daddy? It doesn’t feel so good.” I leaned over gave her a kiss on the stomach and not two seconds later she vomited all over the place. When we had to call her off of school she cried and cried. “I don’t want to miss school! I will miss out on all the fun!” she bawled as gigantic tears streaked down her face. She is in kindergarten though, so I will revisit this feeling she has towards school in a few years.

Bianca on the other hand… she gets bummed in a different way. Her sleep pattern gets disturbed, she becomes irritable and starts to act out. Head banging increases, meltdowns increase and then it takes several weeks to get settled back into her routine once school is back in session. So one week off, sets her back about a month.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lighting It Up Blue

April is Autism Awareness Month and April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day as declared by the UN General Assembly. It is also the day that Autism Speaks asks for residences, businesses and buildings to change their exterior light bulbs from white to blue in an effort to kick off Autism Awareness Month and raise awareness via a promotion called Light It Up Blue.

Before we are even there I have already read my fair share of posts and comments criticizing the event. I have seen attacks on everything from the event actually doing nothing to help autistic people, to wondering just who it was that chose blue to represent the autism community in the first place.

If you are relatively new to the autism community… get used to it. It seems that no organization or individual can do much of anything without somebody thinking they are going about it all wrong. Stay positive though. Just go with what you feel like is the best way to honor your autistic loved one or if you are autistic, whatever makes you feel proud. For my family, we enjoy participating in Light It Up Blue.