Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Flash Blog - Autistic People should be Adored and Respected

Today’s post is part of a flashblog – “Autistic People Should” – which began as a way to combat the disgusting and vile search engine results that pop up when someone Googles the phrase “Autistic people should.”  I am disgusted that people would even put this in Google enough that they register.  Another testimonial to the fact that there is a huge lack of awareness and disrespect to the special needs community.
See photo below:
This is wrong on so many levels

It has been amazingly challenging for me to bite my tongue for the last 4 years a lot of the time when I see people staring at my child for some of the behavior that IS Autism.  Be it flapping, hopping, jumping, shrieking, running, hysterical laughter, and incessant chattering or scripting.  

Our children are living in this world where acceptance is a huge challenge.  It is a challenge because it is easier to live unaware than it is to make yourself aware.  As I am navigating my way through the school districts and schools, I am learning this more and more.  Our children are pushed back into the portable buildings and for the most part forgotten.  We find out about things at school last, if the flyers even bother to make it to our backpacks on time for an event, or special dress day, or something like that.  I've been slapped with the epic reality that the schools and principals and teacher "HAVE TO" take our kids, few necessarily "WANT TO" have them there.

I've heard and had mothers tell me (before they knew I was a Special Ed Mom)  "I have to move my child's classroom, the SDC kids are just too disruptive and loud" with a large eye roll from her.    One of the best moments in life was the next day when she saw me in the Special Ed office, yeah, she avoids eye contact with me at all costs now.

Our children are just as awesomesauce and amazing as the rest of the kids at school.  No, my kids are probably never going to be home run hitters and play on a sports team.  But last month after months of working on it we got Franklin to shake his head for "NO", and nod his head for "YES".  This was the equivalent of the Heisman Trophy in my life.  I believe that people just do not realize the work and struggle it took to make that happen the neurological labyrinth that is his brain was defeated by a team of people that work tirelessly to help my kid become Awesome.  Isn't it more awesome that someone can effectively communicate their wants and needs than scoring touchdowns?

The amount of work it takes to control his body, the flapping, the jumping the yammering is intense and challenging more than any Tough Mudder, Mud Run or marathon I could run.  He flaps when he is happy and excited, and yet people stare and make faces and fun of him.  We don't stare at your children when they are excited to see Lightning McQueen or a garbage truck.  

Jackson happy as a lark flapping away

Excited anticipation

Mid Flight and Flap

Happy but the world is loud

Shaking his head NO

Nodding for yes -

The world doesn't understand me sometimes.
The amount of work and therapy and challenges that these children have to go through on a daily basis, should give them only enormous amounts of respect, adoration, and awe.  They deserve that, because there is nothing more than amazing and incredible.    The acceptance has to come from everywhere.  These children live amongst you, and just as you would be in awe of an athlete or scholar, inventor, or business person for an amazing accomplishment - please be just as in awe and acknowledge and respect a kid because he can nod his head - it is that awesome, it is that amazing, and it is something that should be adored and respected.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Can't Believe I Actually Have to Say This

This is a little bit of a rant, so please bear with me.  My kids 4 and 6 have been sick with colds, strep throat, ear infections, and stomach bugs on and off since Thanksgiving.  It actually got so bad for my 4 year old, he is getting daily breathing treatments to keep his asthma at bay, and 3 weeks ago we finished his 4th round of strep throat.  Now I'm not trying to walk on a high horse or take the intellectually superior road - but I kind of am.

It has gotten to the point where I have to have my 4 year old sons tonsils out because he is continually exposed to infections and gets them repeatedly.

My kids are special needs, and do not have the cognitive ability to tell me that their throat hurts or they have an ear ache.  I can tell by their behavior that something is about to come down the pike with them in the way of a cold, flu, stomach bug.  It is clear, they are tired, crabby, lethargic, or just have a bad look to them.  And it is hard with my 4 year old to tell because he just goes and plays hard if he has 103 degree fever or is well.  The rosy cheeks on him are my indicator.  I have taken him to the doctor because he just wasn't acting right, and he has had horrible double ear infections, and I feel like the shittiest mother of the year award is about to be delivered to my doorstep.

Now I digress, I see kids on the bus, and at school drop off on a daily basis that are CLEARLY too sick to be there.  What I don't actually SAY to the parents out loud is "Hey idiot, the kid is too sick to be here, and I don't want my child to get this plague again, do you mind driving your dumb ass back to your house until green and brown snot is not rolling down his face?"  When school calls me to pick up a child because they have gotten sick at school I keep him home for a day or two - OR UNTIL HE IS BETTER!  I don't take him back to school the next morning and say "Well he got home and played all day and acted fine", while I see the glassy eyes, and SNOT (my least favorite substance on the planet) rolling down his lip and the glistening snot on his sleeve, and then he wants to hold my child's hand!!!  STOP THE MADNESS.

I'm not waging a war between stay at home moms and working moms, it really has nothing to do with it.  School is not the place to care for sick kids, it just isn't.  If you don't know your kid is sick and he gets called home that his one thing, but if you are insistent on bringing a child to school that is sick, and loudly saying "They call me to pick him up a couple times a week because he as a fever.....",  don't be surprised one day if I am no longer my charming self to you at drop off.  

Here is a lesson in some common sense.

If you child has a fever, keep him home until he is at a normal temperature for 24 hours WITHOUT Tylenol or some other fever reducer.

Green, Brown or any colored snot - besides being completely disgusting - IS AN INFECTION - Keep them home!

Not eating, drool, or spitting my indicate a horrible sore throat - KEEP THEM HOME.

Diarrhea - KEEP THEM HOME.

My kids have missed nearly 6 weeks of school - 19 days for one and 16 school days for the other.  It is our jobs as parents to care for the kids.  If we ALL (yes even you) kept our kids home for 2-4 days when they are sick, the sickness may stop spreading over and over and over again.  You know who would really appreciate it, I'm sure is the teachers!  You think they want to wipe that disgusting slime off any ones face?  I don't even like to wipe my own kids noses.

So please, before I have to unleash the bitch within that wants to come out and slap some common sense into some parents.  Stay home and cuddle your kids on the sofa,  you may have to cut a vacation short a couple of day because of personal time at work - but guess what?!  WE DIDN'T GET A VACATION THIS CHRISTMAS BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE INFECTED US WITH THE BUBONIC PLAGUE.  So I'm not sympathetic to that excuse in the least bit.  My job is to care for and make my kids as happy and healthy as possible, please do not make it your job to send sick kids to school.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Special Event - "Wild at Heart" at the OC Zoo

To celebrate Valentine’s Day the OC Zoo is inviting couples to be “Wild at Heart” and enjoy two-for-one zoo admission February 14-17. Couples, pairs and any party of two can take advantage of this special Valentine’s Day offer.

Spend a day at the OC Zoo with just the two of you or the whole family and learn more about the romantic and friendly animal couples of the zoo. Animal keepers will be presenting special Valentine’s Day-themed talks about the animals throughout the days.

Admission to the OC Zoo is generally $2 per person ages 3 years and over with free admittance for ages 2 years and under. This special two-for-one admission offering is available February 14 and 15 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and February 16 and 17 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The OC Zoo is located inside Irvine Regional Park in Orange. Parking is $3 per vehicle on weekdays and $5 per vehicle on weekends.

Be Wild at Heart with OC Parks and your loved ones at the OC Zoo this Valentine’s Day.

Orange County Zoo
1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869

Monday, February 11, 2013

Big Air is a Big Hit

As a family with two boys with autism, finding motivational and fun things to do can be somewhat of a challenge.  Their abilities are limited, their social skills need work, and the amount of sensory stimulation they can handle could be the straw the breaks the camels back on their best day.  Well I know in our house, our swing set, play structure and mini trampoline are always go to fun things.  So last week when I read there was a trampoline park opening just a few miles from our house, I did a cartwheel of joy down my hallway (not really, more of a happy dance).

Franklin found his groove and got big air!
Big Air OC opened this weekend and the space is amazing.  Not quite complete but for my kids needs the place was a hit and absolutely perfect.  Plenty of room to jump, areas for big kids, little kids, Big Air basketball - I even managed to get a slam dunk in, dodge ball court(S), yes PLURAL, and there are a few more features to come.  There is also a great lounge area for waiting parents with beautiful leather furniture and a big screen TV.  There are video games, private party areas, and super nice bathrooms.

The staff was professional and accommodating to my kids special needs, and all the kids there were having a magnificent time.  When all you see is smiles and all you hear is laughter and shrieks of joy, you know the place is a complete hit.

The location in Laguna Hills will be open
Monday  - Thursday from 2pm - 9pm
Friday 2pm - 11pm.
Sat. 10am - 11pm
Sun. 10am - 9pm

They have plans for fitness classes, special needs afternoons, and of course they will be hosting birthday parties. 

I couldn't rave more about the place.  Check it out.  You will have to give the lawyers all kinds of pleasure by filling out waivers for all that come to jump, but save yourself some time, and do it online through the website http://www.bigairoc.com.

A comfy area to wait for your kiddos

Big Air for Dunking! Even I did it.
Fun for all ages :)

Plenty of video games to keep you busy between dodge ball games


Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Rant of a Mom with 2 Boys with Autism

Today I got this article from a friend posted on my Facebook page.  I know she had every good intention when she sent it.  I am not in the least upset at her.  However, the article did make my blood boil, as do most that come out about Autism.   Because I am seriously now just calling BULLSHIT on most of the medical community and the media on their ridiculous claims about Autism.

Are they afraid to say, “We really and truly don’t have any idea what causes this”?  Because for the love of Pete, that is the honest to God’s truth.  NO ONE KNOWS 100% WHAT IS CAUSING AUTISM.  There are a lot of theories, claims and minutia thrown out and the media spins it in a new way every 2 – 3 months.  Let me tell you what these little 200 word articles do to the parents of children with autism, it is the equivalent of ripping their hope and hearts out of their bodies and throwing it in a huge bucket of shame and pouring acid on it.

Let’s look at all the “articles” that I have had well meaning people send me in the last 4 years.  What causes autism? 
  • Refrigerator mothers, cold, unfeeling women that do not bond with their child that causes the social ineptitude in the kids.   I’m Italian – that is INVALID immediately
  • Age of the mother,
  • Age of the father,
  • Living too close to a freeway,
  • Living near a farm that used pesticides. 
  • Lifestyle choices of the parents,
  • Mitochondrial abnormalities (GENETIC)
  • Vaccinations, (ENVIRONMENTAL)

Shall I go on, or do you get my point?   I have also gone to Doctors, well respected Doctors in the autism community who told me that because I had breast cancer that could have lead to higher causes in autism, and after that little gem that made me feel like I had been punched in the stomach- he also decided to tell me after looking at my kid for 5 minutes in a tent at a picnic that my child was having seizures while we were sitting there. You must know, I wanted to punch him in the throat (after I spent 5 days in Children’s Hospital getting an EEG on my 5 year old too make sure he wasn’t having seizures, which he was not).  I also had this other hippie patchouli oil smelling Doctor tell me because I had drank even one Diet Coke in my life could have been the environmental cause to my kids autism. 

This particular article has a variety of things that are pretty much put in perspective as to what autism families are forced to wake up to frequently.

Melillo does believe that autism is often a result of environmental factors combined with genetic predisposition.  The most potent lifestyle factors are diet and exercise and inflammation in the body.
Wow!!  That’s ground breaking Doctor.  Autism is a result of environment and genetics influences.  Almost as original as designing a floral dress in the Spring.  GAWD.

Melillo identified numerous preventative measures parents can take to better ensure their child will not be born with autism. All of these measures are included in his book, Autism: The Scientific Truth About Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Autism Spectrum Disorder -- and What Parents Can Do Now.
“One of the things that we looked at are things like… pre-natal vitamins,” Melillo said.  “Taking pre-natal vitamins three months before and for the first month of pregnancy lowers the risk of having a child with autism by 60 percent.”

Did you pick that statistic up?  If you take your prenatal vitamins in your first month of pregnancy – Do the majority of women even know they’re pregnant the first 3 weeks? And the last 3 months of pregnancy you decrease your risk of autism by 60%.  So you have a 40% chance of autism if you DO take those prenatal vitamins?  Honest to God????? That’s the best you can come up with?  You have got to be kidding me.  All to publish a book, this is what you are offering people?  Why don’t you say it like this okay 40% of you women religiously taking your pre-natal vitamins you still have a chance of having a kid with autism? My God, isn’t that some sort of malpractice?  Doctors have to name some kind of cause of autism that blames the mother.  It’s INSANE.  It couldn’t possibly be the mercury filled, preservative laced vaccinations that are given at a ridiculously fast pace to a tiny little body under 20 lbs., could it?????
And for what I agree with on this article is this:

As for where the future of autism reearch is going, he said it will delve more into the mechanisms behind the disorder.
“I think it's going to go towards understanding what is really happening,” Melillo said, “and understanding how the brain regulates the body. You know, people don't realize that the brain regulates the immune system, your digestive system.  Most food sensitivities and allergies and immune problems really start in the brain, and I think all of this is going to go towards understanding the brain, how the brain affects the body, how this can affect somebody you know before they are having a child, and how this is actually affecting the child”.
So, all of you Doctors and your over weaning egos need to address this, and work together, I have been to and watched and heard way too many doctors dismiss treatment, therapies, and parental observations of their autistic children because frankly it didn’t fit into an agenda they want to promote.  You all need to work together and come up with a variety of treatments and things that will help autistic children.  You have to have heard the phrase “If you have met one kid with autism, then  you have met ONE kid with autism”.

I have 2 kids with autism and they couldn’t be on a more different places on the autism spectrum. 1 vaccinated and 1 not.  One is severe, and one is mild/moderate on the spectrum. One verbal, one non-verbal.  One is social (mostly inappropriately) and the other has no idea there are any other people on the planet than just a few of us.   So I feel like Autism x 2 24/7 has given me a voice, a rather newly intolerant voice for the CRAP that is thrown out at families with autism.  The way our world is rocked and changed forever the minute we get the diagnosis is enough.  To be forced every 6 – 8 weeks to look at a RIDICULOUS article stating and placing blame on everything that may or may not cause autism because some Doc or Researcher paid a Public Relations firm to get their name in the paper or their book some sales (I’m not trying to speak for any other autism families, just mine – but I think a lot of families share these same sentiments). 
So to the medical autism community, can you do all us autism families a favor and GET ON THE SAME PAGE, or at least don’t poo poo every possible idea that doesn’t agree with your beliefs.  Some stuff is working even if you roll your eyes about it.  Moms and dads of children with autism have done more to bring awareness and action to this horrible epidemic and to have your smugness thrown at us is infuriating.  We all need to work together – NO MATTER WHAT IS WORKING FOR THEIR KIDS.  Parents know what it working for their kids, be it diet, TMS, therapy, biomed, Son-Rise…. Ad infinitum.  Get on Board for the kids and their families, we are with them 24/7 not just the 20 minutes you see them every 6 months.

Thanks for the rant.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Special Valentine Offer Lotus Salon & Spa

Are braids the next wave of blowouts? Allure Magazine beauty editors think so! Experience braids that are all the rage at the Lotus Salon & Spa Braid Bar. Whether you’re obsessed with the Frenchy, Upside Down Frenchy, Twisted Frenchy, Chic Fishtail or Classic Rope Braids, your Lotus Salon stylist has the hottest braids styles just for you.

Lotus Salon & Spa provides clients with the utmost standard of service in an eclectic and eco-chic environment that fosters creativity. The Lotus Salon stylists simply create beautiful hair at affordable prices with a smile. The salon and spa offers a one-stop shop of beautifying services including cuts, color, blowouts, styling, straightening treatments, bridal services, nails, facials, waxing and eyelash extensions. 

Make your Valentine's Day shine with a little TLC from Lotus Salon and Spa! Now until February 14, 2013 visit our salon for any color treatment and receive 20% off your service. If you want to look even more glamorous for your big night out schedule a blowout with one of our stylists. Each service includes a complimentary glass of champagne, conditioning treatment and style for $35, normally $65. Get ready to turn heads this holiday with Lotus Salon and Spa.

Lotus Salon & Spa is located in East Costa Mesa at 474 E. 17th Street. To make an appointment call 949-646-2400 or email info@lotussalonandspaoc.com