Sunday, December 28, 2014

3 Date Weekend

Sometimes with autism, our family doesn't always get to spend our time away from the house together as a family unit, so occasionally we divide and conquer activities accordingly.  

So this weekend, there was much football on to be watched, college and professional, and the husband wanted to partake in that.

Recently on Saturdays my little Jackson and I go to church with another family and usually dinner after church.  Jackson is enjoying spending time with his buddy from school, and it is a great opportunity for social interaction with other peers, but especially that he is learning about God and stories from the bible.  During the week he'll throw out little passages to me, for example "Jesus is God in human form".   So yes, he is getting something out of it, and I have been loving the messages especially what we got this week.  All about forgiveness, and starting over, and how to succeed in your faith by having a mentor, a pal, and a newcomer, to grow roots in your faith.  I always enjoy my "date" with my little guy even if he wants to be with his buddy and ride with him in his car!  My baby is growing up, and I couldn't be more happy for him

This morning the husband and I had a babysitter, and had planned to take the Harley out for a ride, but for us Orange County folk temperatures in the 40s and 50s are too cold for me to be out on a motorcycle early in the morning.  Call me wimpy or not Harley worthy, I don't care, I'm almost 50 and I know what makes me comfortable.  The husband and I arrange date days every week.  Need it or not, we need a respite from autism.  Even when we don't want to go out, or be with each other, we still go out for a few hours to recharge the batteries, it's extremely precious time for us.

We headed up the coast to an old established restaurant in Newport Beach for brunch.  We went to Newport Landing and it was a great choice.  I know you're thinking, buffet food, well it was a brunch and the selections were fantastic, and a wide variety of food, and everything from the soup, salads, sushi, eggs, prime rib, were delicious.  I was pleasantly surprised and am looking forward to going again.  They have a $3, $4 and $5 happy hour during the week, that makes the price right for us so we will hit that up for sure.  If you haven't been in decades, I suggest you go back, if you have never tried, you MUST.  The view and the food, and the company with the husband in the restaurant were all so pleasant it was a totally enjoyable morning.

I couldn't miss an opportunity with my oldest son Franklin who hadn't been out of the house in a few days, I took him to Knotts Berry Farm.  Our season passes expire this week so I was squeezing a little fun in this afternoon.  Knott's is normally pretty mellow and it has a lot of thrill rides, that he just loves.  Today was extremely crowded, but we were still able to get on 3 of his favorite rides, and a snack before heading home for dinner.  Knott's is also having a New Years Eve party until 1am this Wednesday if you're looking for something fun to do.

We have one more week left of Christmas vacation, and I'll keep the week full for the boys with therapy and play dates.  I am prepping for a 21 Day Sugar Detox that I'm starting with a friend on January 5th.  I'm going to have to use the blog for accountability, since sugar has become a nightmare of a problem for me, and I worked too hard to get fit and lose weight to give it all up, so I'm going to try this route, and hope I make it.

Friday, December 26, 2014

We found SOMETHING he loves!

I am always looking for activities for my boys to do, to keep them active, and things that typical non-autistic kids do, for social reasons and because it's good for them.  It sometimes is challenging because there are not a lot of coaches/teachers that "get" autism, and some of the quirks that go with it.  So you can understand my excitement when I find something that is a good fit.

I was at a birthday party for one of our friends this summer, and met a family that had their son with autism in a Kickboxing Class, and that he loved it!  So I felt intrigued, because I had had Jackson in JiuJitsu for about a year, and he didn't love it, he went, but whined and had a hard time following the class, and while he had improvement, he was never really going to be included in the rest of the classes that they had to offer or be included with the typical children, so there was no advancement happening.

I asked questions about this Special Needs Kickboxing Class at OC Kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts gym in Irvine.  The class is from 4:00 to 4:45 on Friday afternoons.  It was a hit from the first class, first reason being is because he got to wear shorts and a t-shirt and not a heavy hot Gui.  Which was always half of the battle before.  Since he had obtained some skills from JiuJitsu, he was really ready for this class.

Coach Felipe, Coach Janice and Coach Catrina run a tight ship and give amazing instruction and are incredibly patient with our kiddos. There are also neuro typical peers that assist and help the special needs kids learn the combinations, and they all do the class together.  I can not say enough how wonderful the staff and volunteers and families that participate in this class, we feel welcome, comfortable, and happy to be there.  Jackson looks forward to it, and since we've been going a few months now, he has gotten stripes on his belt, so he is moving up, which was a HUGE boost to his confidence.  We practice the combinations at home so he stays fresh.

What is happening is that he is disciplined, and pays attention.  The way Coach Felipe runs the class is very quick, and he has a unique appropriate way of keeping the kids attention, and everyone loves it.

OC Kickboxing is in Irvine at 18241 W. McDurmott, Irvine, CA (949) 838-8338.  There are scholarships available for special needs due to a grant they recieved from Fullerton Cares and Autism Speaks.  If you are in need of an activity, or need something to build your childs confidence, or discipline, this is the place.  I love the kids who are helping out in the special needs class, they are friendly, respectful, disciplined and a pleasure to be around.  This is the activity where I feel that Jackson is gaining discipline, attention, and confidence in addition to learning to defend himself.

I can not recommend OC Kickboxing enough.  If you have a child with autism, check it out.  If you have a typical child absolutely give them a call, it will change you and your kids life.


My boys and their HUGE year.

We have one more holiday to go and we can kiss 2014 goodbye, and to tell you the truth since our autism diagnosis 6 years ago, this has by far been the best year and the biggest learning experience and the most growth for the whole family.

The year started out extremely rocky we had horrible tantrums and episodes at school with Franklin and it was so hard because we had him coming off medication and moving toward a more biomedical approach to treat his autism, and it was awful and hard and I wanted to give up almost everyday.  However, we plowed through together and he made amazing strides, and it was a victory.

This was also the year that we were able to give him a voice via an iPad and ProLoQuo2 Go.  We are a work in progress, and everyone at school is not properly trained in it, but we have given the boy a way to communicate with us and it has eliminated a large percentage of his behavior, and it was the biggest dose of gratitude that I could have asked for.  I am moving forward with my education on the device and plan to become a "mommy expert" on the device, via other mommies and classes that I'm finding in our area.

Jackson has started Kindergarten this year and my baby is becoming a big boy and it was hard for mommy to deal with.  I love babies, and part of me has struggled to not "baby" him, and let him grow up and catch up developmentally.  Jackson has made friends, and he has some buddies, and friend that he initiates play with and engages with and I absolutely love all the kids in our lives that we work on our social skills and are building relationships with.

This year after 3 years of therapy and desensitizing them, and working and blood sweat and tears, we conquered THE BEACH.  OMG.  I can't say it enough we can go to the beach, and stay, and no one cries - except me - Happy Tears.

All our work, and all the therapy, and all the sacrifice and the boys are changing, learning, maturing and my believing in them and myself as a parent is making things happen.

My boys have grown and changed and launched so far forward this year, and they work so hard, and mommy found a louder advocate voice, and I feel like we have put them on a path where 2015 is going to KICK ASS.  Our team is fabulous, and I am so happy and anxious to move forward and let this be year the of recovery and improvement.

We were sitting at families house yesterday with all our cousins and friends and I was also forced to look at how different and challenged my kids are.  While everyone was playing on the swings and doing games and things that 5,6, and 7 year olds do.  My 6 year old was locked on some paper cut outs of letters and numbers, and was completely in his own world and wanted nothing to do with the other kiddos.  I saw the difference, I saw his cousins looking at him like he was a little different.  But yet he was HAPPY, and while it hurt me as a mom to see my kids isolating themselves, no matter what I did to try to get them to engage, they were not having it.  Those are my struggles, and my hurts and lack of acceptance of autism.  But even while it hurt me a little, my kids rocked this holiday season and  I couldn't be more grateful.

I got to also see a lot of our autism families kids rocking it,  we saw some amazing things this year in our little OC community, and I'm thankful, and happy and hopeful, and taking all that into 2015 and looking forward to giving autism a run for it's money.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year