LivinLife123

Livin Life, one day at a time, and filling you in on the randomness of it all!

Autism Cares – Free iPad’s for Autism March 2, 2012

Filed under: Autism,Uncategorized — Sara @ 7:58 pm
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Autism Cares – Free iPad’s for Autism

**FREE iPad 2’s for autism kiddos** —-Nope this isn’t spam I PROMISE…Just passing on a deal I found out about….from one parent to another 🙂

Fill out the form, that you’ll find at the attached link, by MARCH 7, 2012 for your chance to receive an iPad 2 for your child. I know how much my sons have learned using *theirs and I’m sharing this link in hopes it will help some of you get an iPad as well.

My sons school sent this link to me. I am in no way affiliated with the company nor do they even know I exist. I’m just passing on the info that was shared with me…hopefully some of you can get some good from it!! 🙂

*I want to clarify when I say *their iPad’s above, we did not receive them through this company. We raised the funds through Give Forward, another great Autism Funding Resource 

 

 

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Mom Meltdowns February 29, 2012

Filed under: Autism,Link Ups,Parenting,thoughts — Sara @ 7:00 pm
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I was at Target today, minding my own business, roaming the store and enjoying the first day the little man’s been back to school after being out sick for almost 2 weeks. Browsing the sales, riding down the aisles on the bar below the cart….just being a jackass…or rather partaking in my own jackassary….then it happened, it hasn’t happened in a while, and while I try to be worry free for the most part sometimes those things you push to the back of your head because the logical part of you knows you can’t stress over what you can’t control finds a way to creep out.

 

What happened you ask?? One of my biggest fear came true…a giant green monster came through the front doors of the store, ran down the aisles screaming and growling…yanking everything off the shelves…pushing everyone who was in his path out of the way…searching frantically for ½ priced orange juice…once he found the oj….destroying everything in his path…he made his way….still screaming and trashing everything in his way…to the checkout. He then handed the cashier his expired oj coupon, and when the cashier politely, and slightly terrified, tried to politely explain the stores coupon policy the angry monster bit her head off, said “There’s your coupon bitch” and walked off…oj and expired coupon in hand….

 

 

Wait—that didn’t happen—but I have your attention now don’t I?? And I made you laugh a little too…didn’t I?? So now on to my real semi-emotionally related-meltdown….I’m roaming the aisle, goofing off, admiring my own genius for the long johns I found on clearance for super cheap, and I saw an older lady with 2 teenage boys…they weren’t related, it wasn’t a family outing…it was 2 special needs boys…who if I had to guess lived in some sort of group home and were out running errands….The boys were happy, the lady seemed caring…as I was searching for the right type of sausage I overheard them discussing the items they needed and who they were shopping for. One of the boys was walking down the aisle with his hands over his ears. And as I continued to search for the red meat free Italian flavored sausage for my calzones tonight they vanished down another aisle and that was it….That’s where most people would continue to shop and go about their business not giving it much more thought…not me…that moment, when I saw the group of three walk down a aisle in the store, minding their own business, that’s when I almost lost it…right in the middle of the store.

 

I accept the fact that stressing over what you can’t control is pointless, I understand that it doesn’t get you anywhere and I still believe that 100%, BUT that doesn’t mean feelings don’t creep up occasionally.  I accept Autism and all it Is & Isn’t. I accept I can’t control the future. I accept the fact that I must live forever to care for my children, as many special needs parents do…..But I still cannot see a special needs adult without almost losing it. It breaks my heart, not for the person, but for my own family….yes I know that makes me sound like a selfish ass…but I want it all for my kids….and while there are great long term care options available out there I hate thought of any of it! My babies need to stay babies forever…or better yet…insurance companies could realize that 1:91 children will be 1:91 adults before we know it,  and start covering more intensive therapies….Even better that that I need to find the magic trigger that makes each of cuties tick in order to help them grow to be the best they can be….

 

So you’re waiting to hear what happens next right??? Did I cry my eyes out in the middle of the store like a nutcase? Did I say too hell with it and take out my frustrations on the green expired coupon using monster, kicking him straight in his monster rear? Nope, nothing that exciting. Actually, I sucked up my feelings, shoved them deep down where they, along with all the other worries you can’t control, belong, and I went about my shopping. Feeling a little bummed at thoughts of what the future holds, but more than anything feeling excited to see my cuties after school, hug them, and tell them they are PERFECT!!!

 
REMEMBER [When those darn emotions and worries, about whatever it is you may be stressing about, start sneaking in] :::::Van Wilder said it best:::::Worryings like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere
 

 

Vanishing Words!? February 24, 2012

Filed under: Autism,Link Ups,Parenting,thoughts — Sara @ 7:56 pm
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Remember when your baby was first born, you’d watch him or her sleep? On nights they slept more than 2 hours you’d find yourself checking them in their crib to make sure they were still breathing…not in a morbid way, in a mom way….As they grow you learn to enjoy the silence, let sleeping babies sleep so to speak…right?

Then your kiddo gets sick for the first time, you’re up all night, even when they finally crash out. You’re checking fevers, checking breathing, etc.  I’m not alone so far…right? We’ve all done this….

Then came autism, and first words….when my son first started using words, I’d wake him every morning and ask him to talk to me. Make him repeat that one word he knew at the time. I just needed to make sure his words didn’t magically vanish while we slept. Why would words just disappear, with no rhyme or reason?…No logical reason, but nothing about autism at the time seemed logical to me.  I’m not a mom who knows her kids were born autistic and I’m not a mom who knows something else [whether environmentally related, vaccine related, whatever] caused the autism…Actually I believe autism is a combo of genetic and environmental triggers, and is at times misdiagnosed because it shares symptoms with other, possibly yet to be identified disorders. One day I think they’ll be able to break down what they today call ‘autism’ into 5, 10, 20 different conditions. There are too many variants in every case of autism for it all to be lumped into 1 category…but that’s neither here nor there..that’s actually just my ADD kicking in….getting back on track….

Hmm….where were we? Words!!! Once I realized the words wouldn’t magically vanish in my cuties sleep, next came the new speech/illness fear….Every time a cutie gets sick there’s the fear the sickness will take the words with it. Not in a weird mystic word sucking virus type of way, just in an I don’t really get it but it scares the beejeebus out of me kind of way.  I’m sure in time this fear too will pass and be replaced with some other odd parent fear, in the mean time I guess I’ll just drive the monsters crazy making them say words so I know they’re still there…

What are your irrational, semi crazy, odd, or just amusing mom fears?

Mama’s Losin’ It

As you know I’m a rule breaker bender, and this week’s topic was “Capture what it’s like to spend a day or a moment talking with your kiddo”….Instead I’m telling you what it’s like to worry that moment may never come again….In my rule bending defense, when you’re monsters are nonverbal sometimes you have to bend the rules to fit the topic…right? Either way, hope you enjoyed my ramblings, and I look forward to hearing your mom fears too…Come on now, I know I’m not alone!! 😉

 

Autism Is & Isn’t February 22, 2012

Filed under: Autism,kids,Parenting,thoughts,Uncategorized — Sara @ 5:27 pm
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Autism is:

  • Finding new creative ways to teach our cuties, it’s not that they aren’t smart it’s that they learn differently, you have to find what works for each child individually
  • Knowing when to stop pushing to avoid meltdowns / but knowing how much to push to encourage learning.
  • Positive Reinforcers (aka bribery)…and lots of them….hey I don’t work for free either…just saying
  • Different for every child …just as every child is different, autism or not
  • As a parent, trying to give your child all the fun experiences any child should get the opportunity to enjoy, all while sheltering them from the stares, the possible sensory overloads, and the general assheadness of many out there who mistake things like stimming for misbehaving
  • Celebrating the small victories
  • Remembering that autism is not our kids, our kids may have autism, but our kids are still just kids
  • Realizing that no matter how frustrating it may feel at times from the parent side of it, remembering it’s a million times more frustrating for our cuties…not being able to express what they are trying to, it’s heartbreaking
  • Being a translator…to the world my sons speaks a foreign language, to me he speaks pretty clearly
  • A constant fear of regression
  • You, as a parent, fighting for all the services your kids need and finding ways to make sure they get them

Autism isn’t:

  • Caused by lazy parents..while experts cannot agree on what causes autism, and I have my own 2 cents on the issue….it is 100% NOT caused by lazy parenting
  • All savants and rainmen, yes there are some true geniuses out there…some with autism, some without, but autism doesn’t always = geniusness
  • Excuses….as parents it’s our job to make sure our kids learn; learn right from wrong, learn appropriate behaviors, learn anything and everything they can learn, anything and everything we can teach them, no excuses are acceptable
  • Therapy 24/7, or at least it shouldn’t be….yes consistency is important, but remembering that everyone needs a break and needs down time is equally important. I don’ t get parents that push therapy all the time…My job is to be mom, to tackle the mom duties, the therapists job is to do therapy….my job is to carry over what I can into the home, not to do hours of nightly drills after my kiddos already put in a full day at school and after school therapy
  • Bad…I hate all the whinning…in fact I have 2 posts ranting all about it, just waiting for my Bloggy Blankitis to go away so I can finish up the posts….Venting is 100% okay, but realizing autism isn’t bad/terrible/tragic/the end of the world is so important.

So…to sum up my mini rant….Autism is learning new creative ways to make sure our cuties learn, everything else is just parenting….remembering our kids are still kids and are perfect just the way they are, and LOVING them like CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And a final thought on being nonverbal, “Just because I have no words doesn’t mean I have nothing to say”.

 

Autism Funding Resources – Nation Wide January 12, 2012

Filed under: Autism,family,kids,Parenting — Sara @ 7:05 pm
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Therapy is EXPENSIVE! Hell, kids are EXPENSIVE, but throw in therapy, durable medical equipment, respite (if you choose to use it), afterschool care….the list could go on and on…..and as many of you know a lot of insurance companies don’t cover things like therapy for autism. I guess they don’t realize, or maybe just don’t care, that 1:91 kids will be 1:91 adults sooner than any of us are ready for, but that’s a rant for another day….In an effort to help cover the costs some great organizations have set up grants to help out special needs families. This is a list of national programs available, but don’t forget to check out local charities and foundations too, they can offer a lot of help.

 

I’m sure there are more organizations out there, these are a few I’ve either had a good experience with or heard good things about from other families. I am in no way affiliated with / or being compensated by any of the organizations listed below, in fact most of them don’t even know me, or that this blog exist. Also, I encourage you to do your research before working with any organization, sadly there are companies out there who will take advantage of those in need…whatever the need may be.

 

 

The Brett Woodhall Foundation – they mainly provide funds for ABA, there is a spot on the site that talks about Grants and Resources available to families http://www.woodallkids.org/contact.html

Variety – offers a lot of assistance to special needs families, they helped us receive funding for ABA therapy for our sons.  http://www.usvariety.org/programs.html In our area they also do *FREE*special needs showings for every kids movie that comes out the Saturday after the movie is released. Check out your local Variety to see if they offer special needs movie showings too!

United Health Care provides grants to families with private insurance (you do not have to be with UHC insurance) http://www.uhccf.org/apply_applicant.html

There are a long waiting lists, but if you have Medicaid there are Medicaid waiver programs, such as CLASS and HBCS, that provide funding. They vary by state but here is a link to a national list that will let you search for state and the waivers available to you http://www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Waivers/Waivers.html

The Shriners / Masonic Lodge is also a great resource for funding, however grants are handled by state, not nationally. After a simple application I found online, and a letter from the my sons doctor they covered almost 6 months of 1:1 ABA therapy for my sons (I cannot guarantee you would get the same results we did, but they are definitely an organization worth looking into)

And finally a list of random grant available to families of children with autism—Some of these I am unfamiliar with but it can’t hurt to look into

http://autism.about.com/od/financialresources/tp/grantsforautism.htm

Still need funding? Not finding what you need to help meet your child’s needs?

Try http://www.giveforward.com/ Give Forward is an amazing website where you create a charity for whatever you need to raise money for. This is how we raised the funds for our childrens’ iPads, thanks to the generosity of friends, family, loved ones, and the kindness of strangers. (note – they do take a small percentage of your total so be sure to factor that in when setting your total fundraising goal)

 

Have any grant programs or charities I missed? Leave your favorite, and a link or contact info, in the comments sections – If it is a group that is only to the area/state you are in please not that in the comment.

 

#YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf November 24, 2011

I was blog stalking reading through some friends’ blogs the other day and I ran across a great post at BloggingObsession (http://www.bloggingobsession.com/2011/11/you-might-be-autism-parent-if.html).

I really the #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf hashtag, it reminds of the old Jeff Foxworthy ‘You Might Be A Redneck If…’ cassettes I’d listen to as a kid. I honestly don’t think living with autism is a bad thing, I have to admit I get so sick of all the whining and griping about how much autism parents hate their lives and how much it all just sucks….it doesn’t…I promise…but that’s another post in itself….Sorry I tend to get off track ridiculously easy…anyways, I think this hashtag is a great way to vent, laugh, and realize it’s not that bad..

  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you have truly learned the beauty of the small victories #CelebreateTheSmallVictories
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you know that public schools only guarantee our kids FAPE..& that ‘appropriate’ is to be determined by the district :\
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you constantly find yourself trying to protect your kids from all the arses in the real world who’ll stare/pick on/etc
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you buy multiple copies of DVDS because your kids go through them so quickly, and you still have VHS because they are tougher
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you realize despite every challenge your child faces they are 100% perfect just the way they are!!
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you barely even notice the loud constant stimmy noises & sounds of pounding on the walls that echo through your house all day
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you watch PBS funding credits 24/7 & though your cutie can’t have a convo w/you he knows every company’s sales pitch
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you are constantly doing headcounts to make sure every child is accounted for
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you’ve given up hope of a full night’s sleep
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you’ve stopped buying things for your house because you know whatever it is will be wrecked within an hour
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf every wall in your house is colored on with sharpies, pens, mud…whatever is on their fingers
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you can understand most of what your child says as if they are speaking perfectly clear, yet the rest of the world hears a foreign language
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you have learned the importance of picking your battles and of consistency
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you are a huge believer in the power of bribery positive reinforcement
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf many days potty training seems like a losing battle…that we choose to must fight anyways
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you have come to the realization that you must live forever for the sake of your children
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf your dinner options consist only of PB&J, chicken nuggets, grilled cheese, and bacon
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you have learned to zone out everyone but your children when in public in an effort to not snap at starers
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf your kids can work iPads, iPods, and computers better than you can
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you watch the same 30 second clip of a movie, over and over for hours at time, with your kids
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you only serve finger foods, and you cut everything into bite size pieces
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf sometimes you wonder how parents of non autism kiddos do it #HatTip
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you can tell what every child is up to by the sounds coming from the room they are in
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you don’t understand it, but have to come to accept that everything will get dumped out (food, toys, drinks)
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you dread check-ups at the dentist because you know it means you +3 of the staff will have to wrestle your child to tackle the cleaning
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you can tell the happy yells from the angry yells
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you have installed extra deadbolts on every door to help prevent escaping
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you honestly can’t imagine life any other way :):):)
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you will drive 5 miles out of your way to avoid driving by a place your child would want to go to avoid a meltdown
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you know there are not nearly enough special needs friendly activities out there
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf don’t know if your child will ever understand the meaning of ‘shh’ or ‘quiet voices’
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf while you know candy isn’t the best thing for kids, words are words, and if you use words to ask for candy, YOU GET CANDY!
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you check and double check locks on doors at any house you and the kids go visit
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you don’t see autism, you just see a kid
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf every report of a new finding on autism is something you’ve known for at least 3 months
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you ask yourself why you didn’t become a therapist every time you get an EOB for therapy from the insurance #InTheWrongProfession?!?
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you’ve found all sorts of unidentified objects stuffed into the DVD player
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you desperately understand the need for someone to invent disposable furniture
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you clean unidentified objects out of clogged drains daily…well an autism parent or a plumber ;p
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you know that while meltdowns happen we must teach our children to function in the real world and therefor meltdowns are met with a, ‘I know you’re mad, it’s okay to be mad, but go be mad in your room and come out when you’re done’…followed by 30 minutes of shenanagins…(taking kiddos back to room, grumpy children, slamming doors)…It honestly amazes me…if when I was a kid I got sent to my room for acting an ass…a room with a TV, DVD, toys…I would have been happy to go to my room lol
  • #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you know that our kids are so smart, it’s just finding ways new and different ways to teach them and explain things to them

There are so many great #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf tweets and quotes floating around out there…these were just a few a mine….the list could go on forever, and I’m sure some things non autism parents can relate to as well, and some of the things on my list no one can relate to but us…that’s the thing with autism, no two cases are the same. Hope you enjoyed my ramblings

 

Sanity Savers August 3, 2011

Sanity Savers…

We all have them, what are yours?? Some of mine you may laugh at, or think is this woman mad, but enjoy…and comment below your sanity savers…I’d love to hear them all!

  • Chocolate – A good piece of chocolate can, maybe not fix, but mask a lot of frustrations

    Sanity Saving Munchies

  • Music – I’m famous for my one eared parenting. One ear on the kids, one ear with an ear bud blasting something awesome. This one’s great for the car too, when all you can think is, ‘If I have to listen to this Barney DVD one more time I’ll pull my own ears off’.
  • The boys iPods – You’d be amazed at how peaceful my house can become when the iPods have been distributed and everyone’s You-Tubing away. Plus, they have actually learned a ton from their YouTube addiction (for those interested in this sanity saving method check out KidsTv123 on YouTube).
  • My iPod – Escaping into a game, the news, or a social media site can be just the break my brain needs.
  • A Drive – On a day filled with whining and fighting sometimes loading everyone up and saying lets go is just what we need. Whether it’s a trip to Happy Hour at Sonic, or Fries and Pies at Mc’D’s, a $5.00 Hot & Ready at Little Caesars, or just a drive thru the old part of town to see something we have never noticed all these years. Staying home gets boring for us and for them, we never get out of the car just drive slow and soak in the scenery.
  • A quick phone call- Step into your room, even if the kids are screaming in the background, those that love you and know your stresses will tolerate your crazy screaming kids to give you a 5 min sanity check, I promise. Call your spouse just to say ‘Hi’, call your mom, sibling, or grandparent, a friend. You don’t have to whine about your problems, just say Hey. Talk about something/anything that’s kid free…clear your mind…distract yourself.
  • Lose yourself in a project – You’d be amazed at how much more motivating cleaning a bathroom can be if you know that if you’re not cleaning you’re refereeing.
  • The TV – I don’t care what the ‘experts’ say…the ‘experts’ don’t have 3 kids with special needs, hell most probably don’t even have 1 kid. No, TV shouldn’t raise you child, but I belive it’s 100% okay to throw a movie on so you can do dishes, take a shower, play with one of your other kids, or just prop your feet up for a few minutes
  • Fresh Air- I know it’s hot, especially in this part of summer, but send the kids out early in the morning or late at night. Let them run in the back yard, splash in the sprinkler, drink from the hose, fill a kiddie pool…you know all that stuff we did as kids that now they say is bad for them 😉
  • A craft – As much as dread the thought of cleaning up after painting or baking with the kids, once we get started, even though it never goes as I planned, we all have a blast. Cover the table or floor with a big piece of butcher paper, or an old sheet, and let them go wild. Then hose them off in the backyard for easy clean-up, and I’m pretty sure, while it’s still summer, being hosed off counts as a ghetto bath (Lazy Mom Win!!!)
  • My Mom Hide Out

    Hide – Yes, I said it; Yes, I do it. No, I don’t lock myself in a room and ignore my kids. But from time to time, on a particularly stressful day I’ve been known to put a movie on and sneak off into my room (door open) and hide out for a few minutes of quiet to unwind before I get busted by the monsters.

  • Laugh – If I didn’t laugh every time I came around the corner to find a child covered head to toe in pancake syrup, peanut butter, dish soap, butter, the list goes on…, I’d lose my mine. I used to stress about the messes, but they don’t matter. Just laugh at the memory your making, have the monster attempt to help with clean up, and hide whatever helped to cause the disaster.

    I'm Glad He Enjoyed The Cake

  • Mommy Juice – there’s nothing wrong with a little spiked OJ or a pina colada every now and then…just remember, “A man’s gotta know his limitations” [Good advice, not only when it comes to drinking, but to life in general…that Clint Eastwood is one wise old man 😉 ]
  • Remember ‘They’re only young once” – Make memories, take pictures, focus on the postitives…and on a crap day pull out the pictures and flashback to all the wonderful memories, then go out and make more. They grow up way to fast. I don’t care how overused that saying is, it couldn’t be more true.
  • Take a break to remember all you have- I posted this the other day, but it’s worth repeating, a quote from an old Yaga tee, ‘Too Blessed To Be Stressed”. Even when we feel we are at our wits end we all have something to be grateful for, even if it’s as simple as the air we breathe.
  • Pray

Van Wilder said it best “Worrying’s like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere”

And a final thought on those days where you feel you want to snap and you can’t get a ‘me time’ break, remember my motto, “No matter how much shit the throws at you, it will keep going…so I will keep going…knee deep in dookie and kicking ass the whole way”

–>A quick disclaimer – All the fast food establishments listed above, as well as You Tube, iPod, and KidsTV123 have no idea I’m even writing about them, and everything here is just my two cents. It may or may not work for your family 😉