Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How?

How did my son get autism? I've been doing a ton of research the past couple of days. I'm attempting to gather information for a fundraiser I want to put together in 2011. Right now I'm piled onto the couch with paper work, books, my laptop, my autistic son and his iPad. He is playing a puzzle game that he loves and every few seconds he giggles uproariously and looks to me for approval. I love it!

I've been reading the book "Mother Warriors" By Jenny McCarthy. Wow, what an amazing read. Its been eye opening to so many aspects to this journey that I never realized. Things that I feel silly for never realizing. Such as I've always wondered why Grady has good moments during the year and then such bad moments, where he seems to loose all of the progress he's made and go back to square one. When an autistic child gets sick, their immune systems can take a huge hit. Everything goes to fighting the cold or flu and this means they can end up back on square one because their bodies are now tired from the battle they just fought.

This book is massively against vaccines. I plan on talking about this in the future but as I read about the con's of placing your children on massive doses of mercury, I stopped. I dropped. I rolled. Ha ha! My brain rolled rather. I felt very strongly about vaccinations from the very beginning. I knew that boys were more likely to have autism then girls. I knew that vaccines were highly linked to autism.

So from day one, Grady did not receive one vaccination. I'm so grateful for this choice now. If perhaps he had had the vaccines, I wonder how much worse his autism would be. But this is where my brain did not compute. How then, where, why? If vaccines were the reason behind autism...my thoughts traveled. The book continued. Many stories linked to vaccines, yes. But then there were stories linked to illnesses. I thought hard. Grady was very sick at his first Christmas. He was five months old. Double ear infection, severe roto virus, severe dehydration, hospitalized over New Years. I remember so distinctly because I got lectured by the ER doctor for not having my son vaccinated.

However, I don't believe this lent itself to my son's autism. Grady was autistic from the beginning. He would lay in his bouncer and stare at the fan. He was fascinated with wheels on cars and rarely played with toys. Lights were amazing to him. No, my son was born autistic. I distinctly remember starring at my preemie son in his incubator, going over the things in my head that I said I could never do. "I could never have a tiny baby. I could never take home a baby on a heart monitor. And I could never have a child with autism." As my first two fears starred me in the face, I gulped. It was as if I knew even back then, as my three pound baby lay there, it was happening. I had heard that preemie's stood an even higher chance of having autism. Grady was 9.5 weeks early, weighing in at 3 pounds 14 ounces and measuring 15 inches long. He dropped 14 ounces during his 28 NICU stay and then beefed up so we could bring a 4 pound baby home. Ha Ha!

So while my son didn't have vaccinations, his stressful start into this world had already chosen his path. I take that back. God had chosen his path. He is an amazing boy and even though most days are a struggle, Grady is so strong. Determined. Stubborn. Creative. Inspirational. So no matter HOW this foe made its way into our midst, I'm ready to fight it, tooth and nail.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/103100.php

http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/news/20080402/study-suggests-preemie-autism-link

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

First School Christmas Party

Today was Grady's first preschool Christmas Party. I accidentally overslept and Grady who normally is up right at the same time every day, slept in too! So I flew out of bed and woke my little guy up. We both got dressed and flew downstairs to get a breakfast/lunch meal started. Fortunately the bus driver called and said they were going to be 40 minutes behind schedule. So we slowed our pace and after MUCH consulting, lol, we decided to make Christmas cookies for his classmates.

I whipped up some sugar cookie dough (Grady poured the sugar and the flour) and found our ONE Christmas themed cookie cutter, a tree. I rolled out the dough for Grady and he immediately picked up the cookie cutter and smashed it down! Perfect! After he cranked out a couple of trees, Grady did something that is a perfect example of Apraxia. Apraxia is a communication disorder in which a person has trouble saying what he or she wants to say correctly and consistently. Many times you will see a person be able to say something suddenly and out of the blue and then never say it again. This happens with Grady every now and again and it can be so exciting. Then, such a let down. If he says something perfectly I tend to know its more of a "fluke" then anything because he has such a hard time talking. Anyhow, he whipped that cookie cutter down on the dough, looked up at me, smiled and said "Grady Did It!" I was shocked! My heart melted down to my toes. The rest of the cookie making time was spent with me repeating it over and over, desperately trying to get him to repeat it. He didn't but its okay! :o) One day... :o) At least I know he has a good self talk going on up there even if I don't get to hear it all of the time!

The party went well. The parents were invited to show up a tad later so Grady was very surprised to see me when I arrived. He didn't seem quite as overwhelmed by this party as he did at the Halloween Party but there were a ton more people at that party. He was extremely attached to me which was nice. :o) Sometimes I wonder if he even notices me but today he was thrilled to see me, grabbed my hand to bring me to the circle, sat on my lap, wanted hugs, "Squishes", and kisses! The other kids are SO good to him. So sweet! They all love giving him hugs which he loves because of the pressure, otherwise I think he could care less! LOL!

Going to try to work on the blog a bit tonight and work on a view tour videos on the iPad! :o) I'll leave you with a video of Grady getting a present from his Aunt Joyce! Love you all! :o)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

iTuesday

What an amazing couple of days. Its so amazing to have the iPad as apart of our daily life! It had taken some adjusting this is for certain. We went our day to day attempting to just give Grady what we thought he needed and force him into routines that he didn't know what was happening. Now we have the opportunity to give Grady choices, show him whats ahead and let him have a little more control. Its AMAZING. I absolutely love it. I think the routine that has gone the smoothest since the iPad's arrival is bed. We set up a storyboard on iCommunicate that shows a series of pictures: Daddy and Grady reading a book, the kiss picture, picture of PJ's, bed and then of Mickey Mouse. What used to be a nightly routine of tears and sometimes screams of 30 minutes or longer has settled down to a few moans a few lone tears of less then 5 minutes. I think he knows now what is coming instead of it just being a sudden "Its Time for Bed."

Yesterday I was so blessed to be able to email Grady's speech therapist to let her know that unfortunately we didn't qualify for the free iPad but miraculously by the kindness and love of family and friends we were able to buy one. We had been talking about the possibility of an iPad being the best thing for Grady for a couple of weeks and I let her know about the free program. It was something I would have needed her help applying for. The special ed teachers all recently went to an autistic computer convention that they feel strongly would help Grady if he could use the computer program. The hangup was that Grady couldn't use the mouse. Now that we have an iPad we are hoping the creators of this new autistic program will make it accessible on the iPad. It was so amazing to be able to email his therapist this message. Sigh! So awesome!

Also on a side note: I went to revisit the link to the website that had offered the free iPads to underprivileged families. I was thinking I would post the link on this blog incase anyone else would benefit from applying. I couldn't believe upon entering the site that there was a message up that state "Unfortunately due to the high volume of applicants, we will not be providing any more iPad's and the deadline of December 31st was moved to the beginning of December." So even if I had been able to apply, I wouldn't have made it because of how many people applied. This really increases my drive and desire to attempt to do this for autistic kids in the future. Especially non-verbal kids. I would love to throw another fundraiser next year, maybe an actual bake sale or spaghetti dinner to be able to buy another child an iPad. Its just too amazing of an opportunity to NOT be able to get one for your child.

One thing I love about the iCommunicate is that even though its supposed to be talking FOR Grady, he constantly mimics the words that he uses. Last night for dinner we let him pick out of several options. He picked Fish Sticks and quickly mimicked "Ick icks." lol! Doesn't sound very appetizing but hey! He asked for them and even asked for them again tonight!!! So wonderful! One of my absolute favorite things is know how much he loves to be hugged and kissed. Whenever he is given those options, he will sit there and want to click them over and over. I created the "I Love You" picture tonight and he lit up. Whenever he is unsure of something he is saying he whispers. We whisper all the time to one another. I like to show him that whatever he thinks he is saying isn't wrong or bad! He can say it however he wants! We will figure it out! :o) A couple of times I made out the sound "lub you" which made my heart melt.



Sorry its so dark! :o) Love it! :o) Finally how about a little puzzle talent? Ha ha! I downloaded a few Disney stories and he loves them. Again, sorry its so dark, but we were all snuggled in for the night! :o)



Goodnight everyone!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

First Post! W00T!

Well! I decided to go for it! I'm going to blog about Grady's progress, which will hopefully be massive, in the next few months! Right now the blog is pretty basic as I try to figure my way around this website but I want to add info about the different programs/applications Grady is using and the vitamins Grady is taking. Its as much for me to keep track of Grady as it is for me to be a help to anyone else who might happen across this blog!

Walking into Wal-mart Friday night was completely unreal, let me start with that. It was like I was walking in slow motion. I met my husband in that same department 6.5 years ago and I know everyone who works back there. Judy, the lady who sold the iPad to me was all smiles and so excited for us. She even gave me a $5 dollar Wal-mart gift card towards it. Ha ha! :o) Once it was mine, walking out with it was even MORE unreal. I couldn't believe that just a week prior I had sat on my couch in tears reading that I wouldn't be able to get an iPad from that organization. Sigh...so many people to thank...all I can do is pray that God bless them in a MAJOR MAJOR way!

I downloaded iCommunicate right away. It is amazing. I'm going to do a tour video through it soon. I created a bunch of little folders right away to help Grady with schedules and meals. Saturday morning Grady asked for Grape Juice and Granola for breakfast. Ha ha! And he got it! Right now his favorite things to ask for are Mario and Kisses. Its so hilarious!

video
Please excuse my stylish good looks...lol! Anyways, we downloaded a few games as well. He really loves those as well. Grady is quite good at puzzles and loves anything that involves popping things on screen! Ha ha!

Well I suppose that is it for tonight! I'll work on this blog more tomorrow, I'm really looking forward to tracking this whole amazing journey. So far, almost every word he taps he tries to repeat in his own little way. And my heart melts all over the floor.... <3