The Beach

jakelake

As I sit here at the beach today I feel peace. I also love to watch my son in the water.  There is something about it that transforms him to a different place, a peaceful tranquil place, a place with no judgement or worries.

I love to watch and observe him when I get the change.  I try to figure out what moves him, what makes him happy, how he perceives the world.

As I watch him in the waves all I see is total contentment, smiling and laughing as the waves roll by. It’s so amazing to me that this totally relaxes and calms him.  He is in the zone when he is At the beach or in any type of water.  He could literally stay here for hours.

I wonder how I can transfer this feeling and contentment to his every day life?  I don’t know but wouldn’t it be amazing if I could?

The summer even though it’s different this year is just a time to take it easy, to bond to take advantage of the weather and the connections that we share.

I love the summer. It is my favourite season. I look forward to more happy times this year!

 

 

 

Autism 2.0

women s purple and yellow lips with yellow liquid

So, it has been challenging, to say the least, trying to deal with another autism diagnosis in our home. It’s like, where do you begin? Our daughter is 17 years old so it’s not like we can go back to childhood and have a “do over.” We have to start from where we are today.

Also, her autism is completely different than our son’s so it’s been crazy trying to scramble to help, find information and deal with it, almost like time is running out. But is it? I don’t know really.

As a parent, I try to understand how I missed all the signs. How did we not see? Did we have blinders on?

The part for me that is really hard to accept, is not the diagnosis, but what to do to help. Also, it’s a lot harder because there is a lot of resistance, resentment, contempt. I would like to say that I don’t know why, but I do.

It’s almost, like she’s saying, “You guys forgot about me.” “You guys ignored me and look now what happened.” Also, she does not want interference because of her age. She wants other people to help her figure things out, not her parents and this is hurtful and frustrating.

I feel that she doesn’t trust us anymore. That’s just a feeling because she’s not so great at expressing how she feels about things.

I almost feel like we let her down in a way. We missed all of the signs that we should have seen. Can we even help now?

Can we make a difference in her life? I would like to think that we can, but she is very resistant to our help, so I really don’t know.

All I do know now is that we will try to do whatever we can to make her life easier, to help her, and to be there for her with whatever supports she requires.

We will see what happens. Right now, I am just trying to take it moment by moment to figure out what comes next.

Any suggestions?

On-line classes

person writing on notebook

So we have done school at home and now we are into summer on-line classes. To be honest, I didn’t know how much we would get out of these classes, even the ones that were supposed to be fun and engaging.

It’s hard to think about connecting with people you have never met to do an activity.

Our son is involved in some pretty cool classes. This week, he is doing a minecraft coding class for beginners. It is really interesting and we have both learned a great deal since I didn’t know anything about this either.

He also does a science class once a week, where they get to do different types of experiments together. This is really cool as well. He also does an art class, where each class they learn about a different technique and they get to practice it together.

It’s a lot of fun some of these classes, especially learning new skills and getting to connect with others in this new crazy way.

I am grateful for the places that provide these classes to try to keep kids engaged in some learning and making it fun in the process. The only thing is when you are doing a messy experiment and trying not to get the stuff all over your laptop!

Our son is also doing an on-line peers program that is provided through the school board where they work on certain skills and are able to practice them as well. This is a good class for the most part but I also find in situations like this when you have to connect with peers and you have never met them before that this is more difficult to manage because you don’t have a relationship with them.

I am grateful to keep some learning going during these times we are facing but also doing fun things as well.

Are your kids doing any on-line classes and if so, how is that working for you?

Diet

variety of vegetables

So we are at the beginning of the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet). We have been doing the GF/CF soy free, sugar free, corn free diet for awhile now to help alleviate some of the gut issues that our son has had for a very long time. This diet has healed some symptoms; however he keeps getting candida flare ups on and off.

It’s frustrating because for those of you who use diet in your daily life, understand how difficult it can be just to be able to make all of these foods on a daily basis. Our son, although eating a pretty clean diet, was eating a lot of carbs. He liked bread and pizza and things like that so he would eat this stuff every day.

I couldn’t understand why his gut was still such a mess. We took him to the doctor recently and even though he does a protocol of herbs and anti-fungals, the gut was still not healing as much as it should.

Our doctor suggested the SCD diet to see if reducing the carbs would possibly be able to heal his gut more fully. You see when you eat carbs, they turn into sugar which feeds yeast and creates the gut issues. So it did make sense to me.

As an autism parent, sometimes life is just overwhelming and I had to think really hard if I wanted to take on yet another challenge. It was summer and I just wanted to relax. But as you know, autism, does not get a break, there is no “day off” from it. So, I thought that knowing this information, how could I not do this?

I had to buy a book first and read up on the diet to ensure that I would be implementing it correctly. There is a website with all of the information, including stages that you need to follow as well as recipes. So I got ready, did all the reading, printed off all the material and even joined a couple of facebook groups that I could ask my questions if I got stumped.

And so about a week ago we began this diet. The hard part for me is that I have to plan the day before what I am going to make for the next day. There is a ton of cooking involved. Yesterday I got up early to make 2 loaves of a type of bread that he could eat on the diet. It took about 90 minutes to bake so I had to ensure that I had enough time before he got out of bed.

I have been to Whole Foods and Healthy Planet many times in the past couple of weeks, buying products and preparing for the diet.

Surprisingly, the planning and the cooking is the hard part, but he is actually eating stuff that I didn’t think he ever would in the first week alone. I made this bread called Chicken and Egg bread, sounds weird right? Well it kind of is strange. It has a strange texture and smell and is just not like other bread, but he loves it!

I also had to make my own ketchup. Yes, you heard that right. No more store bought stuff because it either contains sugar or a sweetener that is not allowed and you know what, this is the best ketchup I have ever tasted!

So, this will be a very long journey I imagine, but my hope is that I will be able to heal our son’s gut. That’s the big picture. I am cautiously optimistic that this will be one of the pieces in the puzzle that will make a sincere difference for him. So even though I will be complaining about how much I have to shop and how many recipes I have to make, I would do anything to help my child.

If you have ever done this diet, I would love to hear from you!

Biking Safety

person in black jacket and black pants riding red bicycle

So your child knows how to ride a bike, hooray! It may have happened quickly for you and it may have taken a longer time.

We were lucky enough when our son was younger to have a girl working with our son who taught him all of the basics in a very methodical way. I remember watching them every day as he progressed along. For him, this took awhile, it didn’t happen quickly but once our son knew how to ride a bike, he just got better and better.

When he was younger, of course, you have to teach bike safely, wearing a helmet, what side of the street to ride on (we don’t have sidewalks on our particular street) and to watch for oncoming traffic.

If you really think about it, there’s a lot to absorb. You have to think about riding and braking as well as looking around and being aware of traffic.

I want to say that it takes longer to teach a child with autism to do this, but honestly, I really don’t know.

Since there hasn’t been a lot to do with the state of our world today, we have taken to a daily bike ride route. We do this together every day of the week, except when it’s raining.

I prefer to do outdoor activities myself to stay in shape, especially when the weather is nice out and we’ve had some really amazing weather lately!

So, I probably mentioned before, that I am a Type A personality, so I like to be in control of everything, I mean everything, down to the tiniest detail. This includes biking.

So we’ve been riding every day and with our son’s increased independence, I still find myself thinking about how I can control the situation. For example, as part of our route, we have to go uphill on this sidewalk. We have to take the sidewalk because it is a main street. Sometimes there are people walking on the sidewalk.  I always go up first and then look back to see if he’s looking, does he go around the people, it’s almost like I’m waiting for a crash.  Sounds silly right?

I keep my mouth shut though and wait for him to get to the top to join me.

The other day I also noticed some of the other things he was doing, which I found kind of strange. I watched him when we were riding on the road in our neighborhood, when he got to each driveway, he would actually go from the road and ride on the driveway and then back down. He did this for each and every driveway. No wonder it was taking him much longer than me!

I told him he didn’t have to do that. But then I realized that he was being extra safety cautious. He would even ride around a parked car so close and then go right back to the very right hand side of the road. In fact, many times he hit his wheel on the curb because he was so close. My husband is Mr. Safety and I thought about how proud he would be to see this.

So not only was he able to navigate, he was also super-aware of his surroundings and in fact when cars went by, he would just automatically stop and get off his bike. I know that I didn’t teach him this, but I was pleasantly surprised to see him doing this.

This is another huge accomplishment and it makes me so very happy when I see him becoming such a independent person.