Saturday, September 28, 2013

Autism, Sex, Love, and Marriage

It's no secret I'm on my second marriage. My first lasted all of a year. The reasons it failed are not important. I'm in a better place now. I have currently been married for three years this time though I have known husband or 16 plus years. That is a whole other post in itself.

Let's face it being married is not easy. Having kids is not easy. Though special needs into the mix and well who knows. People like to throw around some stat that 80% of all marriages fail because of autism. Let me be clear there is no evidence that this is true. The studies I have seen say the divorce rate is equal within the autism community as the non autistic community.

Honestly we have been on the brink of divorce. The reason was not the kids, not special needs, it really was not about any outside force. It had to do with us. How we were responding to stressfull situations. We started ignoring the other person. For all intensive purposes we gave up. We got lazy.

I remember being told many years ago that the biggest predictor of divorce is ones sex life. I'm not saying you have to be all up in it everyday hell you can go months without and still have a good marriage. It has more to do with compatibility when it happens. Sex absolutely can make or break a marriage. It's not always the physical act either.

Think about it. When people first get married they are excited to see each other. They can't wait to pay full attention to the other as soon as they can. Over time you get busy. Life just happens and next thing you know you haven't showered in a week. Who knows where the hairbrush is and what time did husband get home again. Oh I didn't even notice you were there. It happens. It doesn't have too though but it will take some effort from both of you.

Don't tell me I'm to busy with the kids, I don't have time. Really you don't have time to send your spouse a simple text. To put the iPad down after the kids have gone to bed and talk to each other.  It's really not that hard. I promise you it's not.

Simple statements can change the mood. Recently my husbands statement to me was. Normally I am this put together on top of everything person that adds everything under control. But sometimes he gets to see the freak. The girl he remembers from long ago.

Simple texts during the day. I love you, I miss you, I want you. They go a long way. They only take a few seconds to send. A lot of times the text between my husband and I are inside jokes we have between each other. We know what they mean but no one else does, it gives that this is just ours. Phones with picture and text capability can be fun. Use them.

Sometimes we just refuse invitations. Not because we have something else or don't want to drag the kids out. Sometimes it's just because it's us. We want to hang out just us. We don't want the distraction of other people. you don't have to say yes to everything. Seriously I told a neighbor once sorry can't hang out with you tonight I'm planning on getting laid and you would just be in the way. She just laughed and walked away.

Take a shower get dressed. That goes for both sides. Trust me as much as you boys don't want to see the girls in yoga pants (btw I don't own a pair) we don't want to see you in your raggedy sweats from 1989. I don't care if you were wearing them when the niners won some football game. They may be Lucky for your football team but they are not lucky for getting laid. Even better take a shower together. Score save water and no yoga pants/sweats allowed.

Sex that happens when it happens. Some time periods more than others but that's ok. We still have that thing. I once had someone tell me oh no if I couldn't have sex at least once a week I'd be gone. There is always better out there. Well if you think there's better than who your with you are with the wrong person.

How you make it happen well that's up to you. I would never suggest putting it on a calendar for us that would never work. It would be too much of a job and not fun. So it's whenever we can make it happen. If scheduling works for you go for it.

Have fun. Seriously don't be so serious and make sex a job. Whatever happens is going to happen. While it is give your full attention to your spouse. The bills, kids, laundry, whatever will all be there when your done. Besides its more fun when your not so damn serious.

I could go into more detail but yeah I will save that for part two.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Emergency Drills and Autism

Depending on where you live will depend on they type of drills your schools will run. fire drills, hurricane drills, tornado drills, and lock down drills. The thing about drills is they can be loud, chaotic and raise ones anxiety.

Time and time again I see parents doing what they think is right. They think they are protecting their child. Really they mean no harm but they are doing a great disservice to their children. Here's what they do they fight and fight to have their child excused from drills. They have them warned of them, they show up themselves during drills, and I have even seen parents go as far as to take the child out of school during a drill.

OK I get it. The anxiety and your day may be shot after a drill. they are stressful. Removing the child from a drill before it happens is just bad. I am a former Sped aide and I was also a medic. I know how important these drills are. Staff needs to be prepared for everything, every situation, and every bad possibility. If the person is removed from every drill the staff cannot be adequately prepared.

The drills are not just to practice and get everyone out. During a drill we can see how each person is going to react. Is someone going to shut down? Will someone run and hide? Is someone going to go into full meltdown mode? During a drill we get to see these things without there being any real threat to safety. There is more to a drill than just getting everyone out or to a certain location. For some we need to plan how we will get them there.  The time to learn that Johnny is going to flip out and run and hide is not during a active fire. If everyone around knows hey Johnny is probably going to run he is the first you look for and get with the the group.

Yes drills are stressful! Yes they are chaotic! Yes anxiety raises! Even with all that drills are a necessary evil. All parents want to protect their kids. At all costs we want them to have the easy way. It's easy to think well if I can make this easier its a good thing. Sometimes what you think is protecting your child may someday put them in harms way. Easy is not always good. We all have to do hard things in life. Emergency drills should be one of them.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Alphasmart Can Go to You Know Where!!!

Ahhh the Alphasmart, Neo, or whatever the school wants to call it. Hailed as the answer to your writing prayers. Is handwriting is stressful for you? Do people including yourself have a hard time reading your writing? Organization problems in writing? Here you get this outdated piece of equipment it will fix everything. Yeah sure if your goal is to increase frustration. Have you ever tried to write a entire English paper when you can only see five lines at a time. Try it? It is not easy at all.

Ask your school to not only see one but let you use it.

How about if the teacher is using a worksheet. She has it uploaded on Google docs. You know technology is awesome and teachers can do things like this. OK now get out the Alphasmart and get to the worksheet. Wait what? It's not possible. You can't pull up a worksheet on the Aphasmart? So what do you do? option one use the Alphasmart and type print and attach too worksheet. Sure that is doable. Wait you have technology that you can pull up the worksheet and type right on it and print it out as a whole. Awesome lets use that. Oh wait sorry school says no do it the hard way.

While this technology was great when it came out and probably is still a great tool in elementary school. Alphasmart and high school. Yeah not a good mix. There have been so many new advances and yet the schools stick with archaic devices. Think about it. What if I came into your house and took away your high speed internet and gave you dial up? Or if I took your laptop and gave you one of the first computers. That's what the schools are doing. They are trying to help but they are stuck in the dark ages.

Now in our case I have a solution. It's called a iPad. You can do so much more with the iPad than the Alphasmart. Here let me put them side by side for you.

Access Google Docs
See Whole Document
Writing Organization Help
Use at Home and School



We got a iPad to use as a tool. It is not a toy. We have Inspiration (link here) on our devices. It really helps with visually mapping out a writing project. The Alphasmart not so much. How about seeing the whole paper without having to print it. Ipad yes, Alphasmart nope you have to print and then go back five lines at a time to make corrections. How about getting into Google docs. iPad full access Alphasmart limited. You can save documents but you cannot pull down worksheets etc.  iPad has a calendar on it, even has school planner apps. I do believe the Alphasmart has something on it that can be used as a planner but its a bit more complicated. Bonus when kid walks in the door the iPad automatically syncs with mine. I know what homework needs to be done, what long term assignments are due. No wait I would know but I don't.
Why do I not know because as of yet the school will not allow the iPad in. I have a meeting later this week to get it in the school. Most of the honors teachers have already allowed all students to bring in iPads or laptops to be used in the classroom. They know you cannot write a honors paper on a Alphasmart. Well you could but it will take much longer and cause more frustration than just letting the student use a laptop or iPad. 

I only touched on iPad uses in the classroom for classwork. Lets add into it a child who also needs a communicative device. Yep Ipad does it. So instead of the district buying two devices one for communication and one for writing it can be all in one. I don't know the specs on the communicative devices the schools use because we don't use them. The only time our iPad was used as communicative was in band camp. There were a group of kids from Japan who did not speak English and my kid wanted to talk to them so he downloaded a app that translated. 

Here are the reasons in the past I have been told no:
  1. The school is not set up for newer technology. Ok this was valid but wait during the summer the schools updated all their systems with the purpose of allowing students to bring their own technology if they choose.
  2. The ipad wont be used to access the curriculum so it cannot be used. Yeah see everything above and tell me it does not help access the curriculum.
  3. The iPad costs to much. I'm not asking you to buy one. We already have it.
  4. They have the Alphasmart there. See above again and most schools will not allow the Alphasmart to go between school and home. So great you electronically made a schedule on the Alphasmart yet you can't access it at home.
Those are just a few excuses I have heard. I am pretty sure the meeting this week will go well. I already have the majority of the teachers on board. They already know that yes what I am bringing to the table is better than what they are. Hopefully the team will see it the same way and we get the use of the iPad in place of the Alphasmart added to our current IEP. Maybe if we can slowly get the educators to see the endless possibilities of current technology we can get them to start implementing more and more of them.

(I have not been asked or given any device, apps, or compensation for review purposes. These are my opinions and things I personally own and use)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Marine Corps Museum as Seen by Lucy and Porkchop

Last weekend we visited the Marine Corps Museum. I gave the two little my phone and let them go. This is what they saw.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Blogger Idol 2013

Alright I told you I was going to do it and I am. Seriously I will probably do this until I am rich and can bribe the judges to get me in the top 12. Anyways heres the deal you guys need to go see Blogger Idols Facebook page and tell them you want me No Guile to be in the top 12. Trust me I really need the help. Have you seen the completion it's tough. Really go check them out too.     I should be up there soon asmI just auditioned.

So go now please.

It Happened Again

Yep that's right it happened again. Someone took their child's life. This time it was two children. Now the are two stories floating around. One pretty much blames a custody battle the other makes no mention of the battle just autism.

What is the response from the community. Pretty much crickets. No one is saying anything. There are no walk in her shoes posts, no sympathy, really not even outrage. It's more of a let's just ignore this one.

Why? Is it because the headline Mom Loses Custody Than Kills Kids makes mom out to be a monster. Which anyone who hurts a child is a monster. It's not as nice as Mom Kills Autistic Kid Than Attempts Suicide. Really those are two headlines form the same story. Same players same situation just the media presenting it differently.

The difference one blames mom and one blames autism. You know what at the end of the day there are two children gone. No matter what the story two children were killed. Yet no one wants to talk about it. They seem to just want to sweep it under the rug.

There are no cries for understanding, no prayers being sent to the families that are broken, no legal funds being set up for moms defense, no calls for more services, just silence.

Just as I hope Alex and Issy's perpetrators are sentenced to the full extent of the law. I hope Jaden and his sister Faith's murderer is sentenced to the full extent of the law. I said it then and I will keep saying it. If you kill your kids you are a bad parent! No sympathy here.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Honors and a IEP

Well as many know my oldest had a dx list a mile long. He is also in the honors high school. Last year when it came time to redo his IEP it was all new to everyone. He has always been mainstreamed the difference this time was he had tested and qualified for honors. You see most people tnk of a IEP only for kids that are falling behind. In our case it keeps him from falling behind.

Years ago when we got the first IEP I had to fight. We had to dance a round a bit because on one hand we had a very frustrated child and on the other we had a C student. C student is good enough for the school. At first they said look he passes tests, he has decent grades that's good enough. We fought back that no it is not. That he is not reaching his potential. That there is a academic affect. Also that waiting for him to fail was not a option.

We had a great teacher that was on our side. When asked in the meeting to forget the tests and look at him vrs other students was he up to par. This is where she said no. She admitted that she had been grading him differently than others because she knew that he knew the information but just couldn't do what was asked. So she found different ways to get it done. With that the IEP was written.

Now fast forward to going into HS. While this is a new backfield for all of us. We are doing our best. We have two high schools involved, which means two sets of caseworkers, 2 different admins of schools. So far three weeks in all is well.

When we had the initial meeting the caseworker was hmm well this is a new one for me. She also said she relized from reading the records that taking away the supports would not be good for him. No one wanted him held back just because it was new territory, so this year will be a bit of trial and error.

Today I would love to go back to that first principal and say hey remember when you said there was no educational impact that C student was fine. Well look at him now. When the schools stepped in stopped fighting everything and helped we now have a A student in honors everything and headed to MIT. (that's where he wants to go right now). Would we be here without the supports. Probably not. We would more than likely have a C student who was not being educationally challanged that was bored.

To all the educators out there I would ask one thing of you. Stop looking at the tests, stop looking at the grades, look at the person. Sure they may be a average student but are they reaching their potentional. Is there something that could be done to help them reach higher. It may be a bit more red tape to get through. More than likely it will be more work for you, but they payoff is worth it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How Do You Explain the Unthinkable

Today is Sep. 11. A day most will never forget but I can't seem to remember. I remember waking up and being in a panic. A panic to find my father who was supposed to be in the pentagon for a meeting that morning. He is one of the stories of meetings canceled, woke up late, took a different way to work that were not where they were supposed to be. If he was this would be a whole different story. After that it was just a blur. Still twelve years later I have not been able to make myself go to the pentagon memorial.

Back then I only had one child. Roger was two years old. The others were not born yet. Yet they hear about it at school. The school has their moment of silence every year. They hear about it from teachers. I heard on our news today the anchors saying schools should not talk about this. That kids should be shielded from all the bad in the world.

I don't agree. No matter what they are going to know. They know something happened. Maybe they do not need to know all the details but knowing about it is not a bad thing. I heard something a few years ago that has stuck with me. A member of the Army said "We need to remember today, but we don't need to remember the hurt and anger. It is better to remember the heroes of the day and all the good surrounding the day. Neighbor helped neighbor and this great country stood as one. That is what we should remember not the anger. If we only look back in anger than the terrorists have won."

So we do talk to our kids. We tell them some bad men did a bad thing. More so we focus on the heros. We focus on the lives lost. We look at them not the bad guy. The terrorist don't deserve a moment in this day. They are nothing. The heros. The normal everyday americans who lost their lives that day. This is their day.

There is no right way to explain the unthinkable. You do what you feel is best.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Med Students Came

       As some of you know I got involved with a program through Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Basically that is a fancy word for med students. In this program they send first year medical students to the homes of special needs families. The point is to get them a real world feel for what it is really like beyond the textbooks.
       I got involved when my friend MA. Posted about the program on Facebook. They were asking for military families but I asked hey do you think they would accept a civilian family. MA was like yes you have to do this. Your family would be great.

       She then gave me R's contact info and I sent her a email. I briefly told her in the email that while we are civilian my husband is prior marine and I grew up Navy so we know how the military works. I also briefly outlined the needs in our house. Everything from ASD to a hemophilia. She replied back that we would be greatly needed. (ok I'm starting to get a complex about my family. lol).  R had me call her. I kid you not I spent over a hour on the phone with her. Mostly just BS talk. There was some explanation of the program but hey you know how it goes you get two special needs moms on the phone well we are going to talk. She really is one of the coolest people I have talked to. She might even be MA's long lost twin.

       We got everything settled and figured out we were a good match. I mean really even the dogs in the house are special needs. Before I got off the phone I had two visits set up.

      The first visit was on a Saturday. Two med students came one was Army one was Air Force. First off it was a pretty calm day. The kids just watched TV. They stayed for about an hour and asked questions. Pretty much wanting to know about what makes a good doctor. What am I looking for in a doctor. I told them you have to slow down and listen. That it is not always about you the doctor. Sometimes those conversations out of left field can give you clues about what happened. Someone may not think their fishing trip affected them a week later.

       We also talked about how if a patient had a comfort item no matter how silly it is to them. Unless it affects their care don't remove it. I remember when Roger had his tonsils out he brought his blanket. It was just a little crib blanket and he didn't want to give it up. The doctor said ok fine shove it under him. I can cover it it won't be in my way. Had he taken it it would have been a huge meltdown and just to much on everyone.

      Overall they asked great questions and I think they will do well. The only thing I would point out was they did not address the kids. That gets annoying to have someone talk to about while you are right there but never ask any questions.

       The second visit was the following Wed. Again two students one Army I don't know bout the other. Pretty much the same drill they stayed about 45 min and asked a lot of questions. These poor guys had to walk up to a house with kids and bikes everywhere. The neighbor kids were over this time.

       The second two were interested in the Dx. What they were, what age they were, how we found out? They also asked the kids questions. Which was nice. Since they were there they could get their input as well.
        When they asked about what makes a good doctor I told them pretty much the same thing but also added interacting with the kids. Before Lucy was verbal our family doctor talked to her all the time. She may not have answered him but he knew she understood him. That even if you have a non-verbal or semi-verbal patient they can still understand you. Talk to them.

         Overall it was a great experience and I do think all of them will do well. The idea of having med students to go into real life himes is great. They can see another side of medicine. The actual patients. If I was asked to do this again I would. I wish the four medical students I met the best of luck.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Not One of Us!

I'm warning you this is not going to be pretty. I'm pretty sure it is going to piss people off but maybe that is good. Right now I am angry. Angry at the person , angry at the autism community, angry at pretty much anyone.

It happened again. Last night it came out that a blogger attempted to murder her child and take her own life. Now i you remember a few months ago wen Alex was killed everyone was angry with his mother. Angry that she didn't do something anything else. Well not this time. The blogging community is rallying around his mom. Saying she was the strongest of us, she was a great mother' a fallen warrior. Basically she is not getting outrage and let her rot in jail she is getting poor her. It was so hard. Well you know what that is not a excuse. Nothing can be said to make me accept what what she did as OK. What about Issy?

The cry is we need services, we need this and we can stop this. Yeah sure we need services but to stop the murders we need to stop making it OK. We need to stop making the murders martyr. What about Issy?

Luckily last night she was not successful though her daughter has been left with permanent bran damage from this. Everyone keeps saying she snapped. But the method she used is not one of someone who snapped. It took planning. It took intent. She didn't just go I can't do this and drive off a cliff. She drove to a secluded area where they wouldn't be found easily and lit two grills in her van. Now how did the grills get there? How did they get lit? CO2 poisoning is not quick it takes time. What is it about this one that mom is being raised to martyr status. Still there is very little outrage . The facts are only coming out now more info will come out in her trial.

Is the lack of outrage because she is a known blogger? People feel like they know her. Guess what it's online. We only share online what we want people to know and see. You don't know what was going on in real life. Only what she chose to share. What about Issy?

The whole lack of services line. Really give me a break. In her own blog she stated they were approved and had found a provider for one on one in home care. Sure the school was being a jerk but hey that happens to all of us. There was another that welcomed her daughter in. Sure it wasn't ideal and meant that mom was gong to have to move away from other kids for a bit. It wasn't permanent just while they got things sorted with the other school. Or that was my take on it. So once again we have a case where it was not lack of services it was the parent did not want what was offered. Sometimes we need to take what we can get while we make our case for more. What about Issy?

I am really tired of every time a special needs person is killed everyone feels bad for the murderer. Well not me. In my opinion blogger or not she is right up there with Alex's mother and should see the full punishment of the law. She is not one of us. The majority of us would never kill our child and if you think it could be you, you need to talk to someone because that is not right. 

Here's the thing no one is talking about Issy they are talking about mom. I wont print her name because just as with Alex it is Issy that deserves the talk.

 If you purposely kill your child you are wrong and you are a bad parent the end!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

This Years Goals

The kids are back in school. That means mom has some extra time during he day. I do have some goals for this school year in list form.

  • Take some classes. It's no secret I'm kind of a nerd. I have signed up for some classes through They are free classes taught by real schools and real teachers. I am taking a class on vaccines right now. I also have a writing and poetry class coming up. hey have a whole list and wide variety so whatever gets my interest I can sign up for and if I don't like it oh well no money lost.
  • Revamping the blog. I usually don't talk about myself much but there are things I struggle with. Things that people would think should be easy. Stuff like cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. I have found ways to get through these things.
  • Running. I want to do The Autism Societies 5k in October so I want to try. 
  • Write more. I have always played with the idea of writing a book. So maybe I will. See how that goes.
  • I was just recently appointed to my school boards special education advisory board. So I have that once a month. It may even help me get my foot back into the job force.
  • Find a job. We really need the money, I have been unemployed for five years. I have been looking but no luck. I am switching careers due to injury so I run into a lot of no experience. Why are you switching? You are Over qualified.
  • I have a few projects around the house. Dining table and Lucy's desk both need to be redone. 
  • Work on Lucy's dollhouse. She has a old school wooden one that needs updated. We need to go get some wallpaper and pant samples so we can fix it up. She can also use some new doll house furniture. 

That is a few to start with. So lets see what I get done. Do you have any goals for yourself this school year?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Where Do We Go From Here?

Things are going to be changing up around here. Roger has expressed feelings of not wanting to be written about here. That's fine, I will respect his feelings. As long as I have written this blog Roger has always had the final say on anything that is written about him. I show it to him first and he can say yes or hey mom I really don't want that out there. So now the question is what do I do now?

At first I was just going to quit. Just delete everything. Then a couple of blogger friends talked me out of it. There are not many blogs about autism and teenagers. You have plenty of parent blogs with young kids and then there are autistic adults who run their own, but very few approach teenage years. There will be some changes around here. I'm not sure what or how yet. I just know things will be changing up and it could be bumpy for a while. I just need to figure out the direction I am going and how to get there while respecting my child's wishes. Above all his wishes come first.