Monday, March 22, 2010

What the...?

I went to our monthly high school get-together on Saturday night. Pictures were taken, food was eaten, drinks were imbibed. Fun was had by all. I look at the pictures people have posted from get-togethers past and I compare them to this get-together. My first thought, "What the...?"

A year ago I was 20lbs lighter and looked 10yrs younger. I was exercising six days a week, eating healthy food. Now I've reverted into a lazy, tired blob who barely has the energy to take a shower in the morning. My excuses? "My ankle is hurt; I had a medical incident that threw me off; I don't feel like it." Damn, I just gave myself away, the truth is I just haven't felt like it.

I need to get over it. I have a 4yr old and a 6yr old with special needs. I not only want, but I need to be there for them. I want to be there for the ups, the downs, the all arounds. My mother lost her father when she was 8yrs old and it is one of the defining incidents of her life. My grandfather was only 45 and he died from a massive coronary. I don't want Spencer or Xander to grow-up without me. I don't want Andy to have to be a father AND a mother.

This is my promise to my boys and myself, I will take better care of myself. I will not leave you without a mother or wife because of something within my power. Alright, it's time to stop bitching about the way I feel and look. It's time to get off my ass and get to work.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I'll do it my way, thank you very much.

As I previously mentioned, my oldest has autism. Just a few things I'd like to say on the subject. NOT ALL CHILDREN ON THE SPECTRUM ARE THE SAME. Look, I know I'm yelling, but hell, I'm getting so tired of people on all sides. As a parent you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. I very rarily go to autism sites on the web because people are SO nasty or militant. Everyone thinks they have the answer and their answer is the only one. People for or against biomedical treatments, people who think you're abusing your child if you vaccinate, people who think you're abusing your child if you don't vaccinate. Do this, do that, don't do this, don't do that. BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH.

Woe-is-me-ers - If you make your life only about autism and how horrible it's been for you, you will alienate yourself and make living joyless. I understand the fear and grief you go through when your child is going through evaluations and is ultimately diagnosed with ASD. One day you have certain dreams and expectations and the next they are altered significantly. Grieve for those dreams, you deserve it; however, at some point you've got to wipe the tears away and get to work. We don't do our amazing children any good by wallowing in self-pity. Remember, we can and should still have dreams and expectations.

"I am so sorry." Don't be, I'm not. This is a common response when I tell someone Xander has autism. I understand that it can be very uncomfortable for people and they have no idea what to say. Don't say "I'm sorry." My child is not a tragedy. Ask me questions. I have no problem discussing ASD. I want people to be informed. Xander has autism; however that's not what he is. He is a phenomenal reader, hates math, is a great cuddler, can tell you the make and model of any car. He is beautiful, he has a sense of humor, he loves to be tickled. He is sweet and wonderful. He teases his brother, ON PURPOSE.

"Why aren't/are you doing Gluten Free/Casein Free?" Tried it, didn't work. Xander doesn't have gut issues. There are many it works for, but NOT EVERYBODY.

"Must've been the vaccines that did it." Nope, try again. Xander is not vaccine injured; he has infantile autism, not regressive. Looking back at videos of him as an infant, I can see signs as early as 5-6 months. I do believe there are children that maybe vaccine injured but not ALL of them.

"Make sure you give him supplements." Tried it, worked a little, he stopped eating and drinking certain things because he suspected the supplements were in it so what's the point? Plus, they're very expensive, upwards of hundred bucks a month.

"You need to chelate." We did it. Had some results, nothing life changing.

"What has worked for you?" I understand that many people out there are all about biomedical treatments, but they really didn't do much for us. I gotta say, the most effective treatment we've done is Berard AIT. We saw changes within 24 hrs and are still seeing improvements. The increase in his language skills and eye contact is amazing. Facial expression recognition therapy was another treatment that helped a lot. He is much better at recognizing peoples emotions. The treatments that seem to work best for him are those that involve interaction with other people, for example, OT, speech therapy, being in an inclusion classroom.

I'm not looking for a cure for my boy. I really like him the way he is. I love the way he flaps and jumps when he's excited. This means he's happy. I just want to give him, to the best of my and his ability, the skills that will carry him through a happy and productive life. Isn't that what any of us want?

People can tell me what I should  or shouldn't do, but in the end, I'll do it my way, thank you very much.