Monthly Archives: July 2012

Hang On a Minute Longer

Today’s Quote-

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, ’till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” -Harriet Beecher Stowe

Categories: Courage quotes | 1 Comment

waitin’ for mornin’

Now it’s 3 o’clock, on a Sunday morn
My soul is tired, and my head feels worn.
Wishing my sleep had not been shorn
to leave me sitting here in the gloamin’
,

But it’s o.k.  When I’m feeling forlorn-
I think of Christ, what for me, he has born,
And my family’s love, soon strength feels reborn.
So I can make it thru to the mornin’

—by Shard Halliday
Categories: Midnight musings, Poetry | Leave a comment

STRESS BUSTERS!


(Ideas for Moms) by Shareen Halliday

Stress!  It is a word that all adults know very well. You can find whole shelves dedicated to it in the bookstores.  But less known is that it is not just an adult affliction.   Yes, kids can have stress!  Our world pushes kids hard.  It pushes them to learn fast, to conform to the standard, to stand up for themselves and fight for what is right.  By the time they get home from school, they have been working as long and as hard as many adults.  Then they have homework.   Meltdowns of all sorts are just some of the outward signs of overload.   Even for kids who don’t have the added stress factor of Autism issues.  And Mom’s start looking for ways to help cope.  I have 4 of my 5 kids somewhere on the spectrum– I started looking early, and hard.
Here’s a few that I have found.

Different kinds of kids, and different kinds of stress = different busters!

One of the first things Mom’s figure out, is that no two kids are alike.  What works for one child, will not necessarily work for the next one. (And probably won’t!)  People watching skills become part of Mom’s job description- as learning her child makes it easier to find answers.  Books help sometimes, My current favorites are “The Personality Tree”, and “The Five Love Languages”  these two, together, went a long way in helping us personally and as parents. I also have found a great help from “Aspergers” by Tony Atwood. But I never let any of the books I study overrule the scriptures; there is a lot of parenting advice for those who look!
That said, I think I’ll start in no particular order…

TINY KIDS– (preschool) can’t tell you very well what’s wrong.  They usually don’t know themselves.  When they are clinging, irritable, or weepy or lethargic- Mom’s generally have to just run thru the list:  Hungry, Tired , Ill , Now what?  At this age, it could even be just bored.  But some things are just too much,  things I have seen are;

Ill:  Even while treating an illness, it helps the child (and us) to also address the stress.

Moving to a new home:      When my littlest was 2, this happened to us- she wouldn’t leave my side- even for my bathroom needs-The symptoms often looked like overload, but responded best to the distraction style of methods, and just letting it go till it worked out on it’s own.  This one may not seem to go away (it took a full year for us) but eventually it does.

Sensory overload:
I have one child that cannot filter white noise subconsciously.  All noise comes at her at the same volume at all times.  When she was little, she would cry in all public places, and at home too when there was a lot of extended family visiting.  Before she could learn to talk, she had to learn to filter thru all the noise with the conscious part of her brain (the on-purpose part of thinking)  Meltdowns were frequent, and she could not tell me why.  She finally was talking at nearly 4, and could handle primary singing-time by 7 (years old.) She does well now, and can even sing- but it is still on the conscious level.   She is very tired by the time school is over, every single day.  Stress coping strategies are our lifeline.

And then, there is school:
Not even counting learning new things, school is hard; with it’s separation anxiety, lots of kids with their interactions and noise, and everything else that is expected of them.  Even when these things are fun, they get Very tiring, and when the kids get home, they relax, and then wilt.

OLDER KIDS:  The fascinating thing I have learned is that it doesn’t seem to change much as they grow- stress knocks years off their otherwise maturity level, though sometimes they do better at telling you what’s wrong.  Some coping distractions no longer appeal to my 17 year old, but I am trying to also teach things that they can carry with them.
————————————————————

So- feel free to mix and match as you find out what works….

DISTRACTION:
-Videos:  Veggie Tales, Pooh and Tigger Movies, the Liken series (from Deseret Book), old Gilligan’s Island movies, and some Disney’s have been the best videos for calming stress that I have found so far; pay attention to the kids reactions at your house and make your own list of first-line videos.
-Hand Puppets
-Helping someone else (really!)

OVERLOAD HELPS:
(no coping mechanism is allowed if it bothers others = causing a fight does not sooth anyone…)
Quiet Time

-IPod and Earphones  (and the movies listed above)
-Sitting by the Dryer and reading or playing
-Puzzles and Tangrams
-hot bath or shower
-drawing and paper work (like origami and quilling)
-felt shapes on a flannel board (mosaic pictures)
-home-made falling sand in a shadow box frame
-running away to room is only allowed if it doesn’t fester into a sulk- so I require the door to be left open, and I’ll go in and help talk it out after a very short time, and leave only after the first smile reappears- then  they can play on their own all they want provided it doesn’t interfere with regular things like dinner and homework.  I also tell them that putting off dealing with the problem only makes it worse… this useful mantra works very well with homework, saying sorry, and all sorts of other matters.
-hugs… at all times and places.  My being willing to stop what I’m doing and hug as enveloping or as hard as they need seems to be an anchor in the storm for my kids.

tactile toys:

-pin-art toys and kaleidoscopes and slinkies
-buttons or beads jar
-waxed string (this one is great at church!)
-beans   –my sister never liked the mess of a sand box, and thought up a really clever alternative that worked even on her tiny budget.   She got a large, shallow plastic box (the kind that fits under a bed) and filled it with several bags of various colored dried beans.  It soothed little souls, and plastic dump trucks and shovels provided hours of little tike fun that she could sweep up easily and put back in the box.
-washing dishes by hand (for some kids)
-bread dough (pretzels) that they can shape  into creatures, then bake and eat.

Bio-feedback:

-Prayer  (even for little ones)
-Gratitude (3 things every night that was good that day)
-Visualization.  At night we practice imagining that we are laying on a beach, and sending a wave of an ocean called relax from our toes, slowly moving thru every inch of our body till it gets to the head.  It should take at least several minutes to think your way to the neck, and then kiss them goodnight.

-They are old enough now, that during the day we are moving on to imagining all the stress brought to the lungs, and blown out in a slow, deep, breath- and captured in a big bubble that makes it float away.  This one is hard for the kids to imagine and do- and the results are not as instant as providing distractions- but as we keep it up, I am noticing that the results are deeper and more long-lasting, because it is giving them a feeling of being in control of themselves.

Well hope this helps- I’ll be the first to admit it’s a short list.  And I am still finding more, and more  stress factors for my kids as they grow up and have to handle the world at the higher social skills levels… but I keep adding more helps to my list as I hear of them, and I welcome ideas.

Categories: LDS Mom of Autism, resourses | Leave a comment

The Monument

  • God,
  • Before He sent his children to earth
  • Gave each of them
  • A very carefully selected package
  • Of problems,
  • These,
  • He promised, smiling,
  • Are yours alone, No one
  • Else may have the blessings
  • These problems will bring you.
  • And only you
  • Have the special talents and abilities
  • That will be needed
  • To make these problems
  • Your servants.
  • Now go down to your birth
  • And to your forgetfulness, Know that
  • I love you beyond measure.
  • These problems that I give you
  • Are a symbol of that love.
  • These monuments you make of your life
  • With the help of your problems
  • Will be s symbol of your
  • Love for me.

Your Father.

Quoted from  Charlie’s Monument  by Blaine M. Yorgason

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what-are-social-thinking-challenges

so exactly a part of my house!!!

http://www.autismsupportnetwork.com/news/what-are-social-thinking-challenges-autism-22736273.

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midnight musings

Sensory integration issues sometimes create struggles that you don”t expect…

My second boy and my oldest girl both went on a boating  trip this weekend with the young women and young men of our ward– all the kids came back looking like lobsters  🙂   I actually felt that my daughter was burnt worse… but… tho they both have a comorbid sensory integration issue- only my son has this struggle hit in the area of hyper-sensitive skin (hers is hearing)  so being sunburned is so much more miserable for him, poor guy.  Did not see that one coming.

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About Roller Coasters

Roller Coasters and life have a lot in common.   I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems like life with Autistic kids is filled with more, and bigger ups and downs, and wondering if the safety bar is still attached.  😛  And this week has been a long one.

On the good side, My two teens got home from Trek.  They had an awesome time!  I had a lot of comments from the leaders about how well they handled it, but especially for my daughter, who is High Functioning, but definitely on the spectrum. They admitted to me that they didn’t think she would make it past the first day, and that they would be calling for me… but were totally blown away, both by her willingness to keep going without complaints, and the sheer strength hidden in her skinny frame.  I was not really surprised.  Not even when they said she did a lot of maturing on the trail.  Because it was  always there– HFA is not an indicator of no growth, or intelligence (in fact, she is very very smart)  it is just a measurement of social-skills ability… and pulling a handcart to understand your ancestors  better is very concrete and tangible, and the hard work makes everyone more focused on each others needs; all this enabled my beautiful girl to trust them, and open up- and allowed the leaders to see what I get to see.    A way, high, moment on the roller-coaster.  🙂    (I wish I could post a picture at this point– but my computer is in the shop, and tho I can post with my hubby’s computer, all my photos are on mine… I’ll post the pics when I can)

Another good point has been the fun I have been having with my kids, exploring recipes from other countries.  We are calling it “Summer Pirate School”; and we are moving from country to country via all the fun stuff you can learn on the internet.  I’m not doing it as well as I’d like- health gets in the way- but so far we have enjoyed Morocco and Egypt and Israel- and we’re rounding the corner of the Mediterranean.  I’ll post some of the kid-friendliest recipe successes.

On the other hand, most of my kids are starting to struggle with sleep… even my NT kiddos… tho’ I’m finding some success with Meletonin (otc brand “MidNite”) I sort of wish, half-heartedly, that it didn’t cost so much; but it’s a small thing.

Have to say, my deepest issue right now is knowing what to do to help my oldest.   His migraines are so hard to handle, ’cause they grind down on his thinking skills- he has told me that he has lost so much that he learned before this started, and that trying to move thru math in his head is literally painful right “here” (points to a specific spot)– and getting him to understand the need for following my advice to alleviate or at least mitigate the pain is near impossible sometimes when he is the most down physically and mentally- a real catch 22.  These are my lowest roller-coaster spots… especially when I’m tired myself.   It’s these moments that most remind me that I have only known about Autism, in all it’s spectrum wonder, since March of 2009– and that there is a great deal left to learn.   But I’m doing better emotionally- leaning hard on the Lord-  and remembering that faith is an action word. That evens out the roller coaster a bit– or at least secures the safety bar.  🙂

Categories: LDS Mom of Autism | 1 Comment

What Sleep?

WHEW!

Still on the trail to my own health this summer– I finally went in for a “sleep study”… Talk about a misnomer.    But since I had avoided making the appointment once, canceled once, and rescheduled once- I decided I had better grapple with my fears and get it done, at least so I could check it off the list and move forward.

On one hand, the tape on my cheeks kept me from clenching my teeth, so the headache was less- on the other hand, the tiny electrode nubs they stuck all over in my hair hurt to lay on, so I never got very deeply asleep and kept waking up (can’t sleep in earrings either, Mark calls me the princess in the pea)– but on the other hand that kept me from getting so deeply asleep that my throat would collapse on me and shut off the air, good for my rest but bad for finding out what’s wrong….not to mention that it has no way to measure how much having autistic kids awake at all hours of the night and day affects the mix. (or the stress of worrying about them left home with their dad-took a long time to get to sleep)

So now that I’ve gotten home, and had a nap, I feel almost recovered from the “sleep” test.   Talk about the word “IRONY”.    I don’t think my sister or my oldest son would have been able to do it– they are both way more claustrophobic than I am.    But at least it’s done.  And it sure was nice to come out of the building this morning to see clouds!  Oh! it was like walking into a gift from heaven- even if it only dropped the temps 10 degrees, there is a big difference between 82 and 92!

So all in all , tho I know what is in store, I still think I am ready for today 🙂  🙂

Categories: LDS Mom of Autism | 2 Comments

Swimming thru Jello

an Arizona sunset from my house.

This has been a very hard week- I think the heat must be getting to me, only 115 outside.  🙂

tho there have been some fun moments… I signed my youngest up for a few violin lessons- she is mondo excited!

And I have had some true successes–

-I got the youngest registered into the local public school; I prefer the size and accessability of charters, but not only do they not know how to handle my HFA kids, they also just don’t have any provisions for the seriously advanced classes that this little one needs, and she wants the orchestra class with a passion… so I finally made the move.  bleah.  but I’m glad it’s done.

–Then, I sent my youngest son off to scout camp.  They don’t have any real training for kids like him, but the scout leader has been through my other boys and is pretty steady and calm, so I felt ok about it.  I had a long talk with my son about the fact that he would have to handle teasing and such for a whole week if he wanted to go, and he still was determined, so off he went.  It turned out pretty good– they called from camp only once–  🙂 and he was very proud of himself for sticking it out to the end.

–And I had some inspiration regarding my 2nd son’s schooling, looking into following that trail this week.

–Then I turned to getting my 2 teens ready for TREK  (a camp-out and adventure based on re-enacting the pioneers who came west pulling a handcart put on by our church)   I am not very worried for them either (maybe jealous,)  my 16 yr old son will do fine; he is so borderline, not a doctor in the world would diagnos him, but he only shuts down quietly so no-one notices but me- and my 14 yr old daughter, tho fairly obviously HFA, is so sweet and adored by all the leaders, that they have come to me several times already to let me know they will watch over her.  🙂  I also was able to help another lady with her pioneer clothes, and that helped a lot– I have been in some serious need of the heart strengthening and lifting that personal service projects bring me.

–I’m very grateful for these successes, ’cause I have been near panic in worry over my oldest… sometimes he seems to be doing better, and sometimes he nose-dives.  I have felt for a very long time, that at least for my kids particular presentation of Autism,  they do go thru the maturity stages– just later than normal– and that much of the stress that shuts an Autistic kid down comes from feeling forced to perform at a peer level that they are not ready for.  I still feel this way– my 14 yr old is actually playing pretend  by herself in her room. a stage she didn’t hit till last year, and reading books thru to the end (the cat “warrior” series that her little sister fell in love with a couple years ago)  And tho the issues my oldest is showing -is all the signs of going thru the teen-age years — it’s like watching it on a movie made of jello… it stretches and distorts in unpredictable ways, the growth processes is longer and the waves up and down are bigger than a regular kid- made much worse by his migraines.  It makes the processes of watching your child grow up very, VERY hard to watch.  He has even noticed it, and told me that he feels like he has forgotten so much since his migraines started, and he can’t remember the next 2 days after an episode at all.  Has anyone heard of any research on Migraines and Autism?  I don’t even know what kind of doctor to get hold of…I’ve tried Neurologists, but they don’t really have a clue, ’cause they don’t know anything about autism…. I need one who does both.   For the most part, I know someday we’ll get thru, it is just plain hard to keep going  meanwhile sometimes… like trying to swim thru jello and not drown.  House cleaning has ground down to near zero, I just can’t seem to forse myself to keep going.  Time to go back to thinking about the successes.   Better yet, I think I’ll find another service project.   Maybe it will be easier when the temps drop back down below 110.

Categories: LDS Mom of Autism | 4 Comments

Ability


“God does not begin by asking our ability, only our availability, and if we prove our dependability, He will increase our capability.”
Neal A Maxwell
“Whether we are at the beginning or the end, whether we are young or old, the Lord can use us for His purposes if we simply set aside whatever thoughts limit our ability to serve and allow His will to shape our lives” – President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

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