Sunday, July 23, 2017

Be Safe The Movie: Tool for Teaching Our Kids How To Interact With Police Officers

I've been searching for almost a year for some sort of safety training for children and young adults on the spectrum. For a while there seemed to be nothing of the kind until recently when I put the feelers out on twitter and a mom responded to my question. She tweeted the link Be Safe The Movie is an excellent teaching tool for families, schools, community programs and organizations to use for teaching children/teens/adults who are on the autism spectrum or have and intellectual disability how to interact with police officers. The movie is a several part series that goes over specific areas of interaction, awareness, ability to identify police officers and the tools they use on the job to keep us safe as well as themselves.

I encourage you as individuals, family members, caretakers and I/DD professionals to see if there is a local CIT affiliate and how often they conduct CIT trainings. Take a moment to speak with the CIT Coordinator and find out how you can share your experiences or concerns. My son and I were invited to share our experience during the Consumer Panel portion of the CIT training. The Consumer Panel is small forum of people who have a mental health and/or intellectual disability diagnosis. The panel may also include family members and caretakers. This is our chance as a community to interact with our officers and first responders in order to share and learn.

In my personal experience, I've found that sharing personal experiences about my son's interactions with first responders to be welcomed and extremely helpful for officers and first responders receiving the trainings. I thought it was going to be a one time thing, but the officer's and first responder's desire to learn and their appreciation for the opportunity to interact with my son was overwhelming. My son and I are now regular presenters at the quarterly CIT trainings.

Utilizing Be Safe The Movie is a great way to open and explore opportunities on how to work with you local police to set up safety trainings for persons on the autism spectrum and/or having other intellectual disabilities.

The video below shows how Be Safe the Movie is being used as tool for interactive trainings with Police Officers.

I hope this video sparks a fire in you as it has done for me to find even more ways to reach and teach our children about safety in the home and community.

For more information about Be Safe The Movie visit these links:

Be Safe The Movie (Official Trailer)

Web Page: Be Safe The Movie



Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Studies Show Injury to Cerebellum Having Possible Connection to Autism

I usually don't pay much attention to most of the research on autism because it seems to be more propaganda than tangible. That's just my opinion. Earlier today I was doing a little research on TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) when I came across a couple articles about early injury to cerebellum being the root to autism. I don't know about it being the "root" to autism, but I do believe there is a direct connection.

My son started having seizures 3 years ago. Year before last, when the seizures started coming more frequently his neurologist scheduled an MRI. The results from the MRI showed a beautiful brain that appeared to be of normal functioning, that is with exception to the abnormality of my son's cerebellum. One side appears to be fine, but the other side is almost nonexistent. The neurologist said she did not see any correlation between my son's malformed cerebellum and autism. I did a little research the functioning of the cerebellum. According to what I read the cerebellum contributes quite a bit to the brains functionality Overview: Functions of The Cerebellum. So if my son's cerebellum is malformed, how could it not in some way contribute to his autism or perhaps some of the traits of autism like speech (being non-verbal)?

As I stated, it was a few years ago when we first discovered my son's brain abnormality. I found this information earlier today. The article was originally written September 7th 2014. I still can't quite figure out why the neurologist had no clue.

"New research from Princeton shows that cerebellum damage, especially in the second and third trimesters, could be the root of autism."

Here's the link Early Brain Injury Might Be the Root of Autism

Friday, June 16, 2017

Teaching Your Child How to Tie Their Shoes

Teaching my son how to tie his shoes has been a long term project. I thought I'd tried just about every method when I came across a brilliant blog post showing an easier method for teaching how to tie shoes.

For many of you this may be old news, so please accept my apologies for being late :-) Here's the post from, Easiest Way to Teach Your Kid How to Ties Their Shoes. I found this method to be ingenious and it works. I hope it works for you too.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Love When You Talk to Me

You don't really know how amazing it can be to have a verbal conversation with your kid until you have that first one and then you pray that it happens again.
I can't remember the last time my son uttered a sentence, wait, yes I can. He was 7 years old and he didn't want to eat his peas. I listened as he sat at the table complaining about the peas on his plate. I chose to pretend to ignore him. He got so made. He couldn't see me grinning. It was one of those precious rare moments when my son uttered something...anything. His voice barely audible and his words unintelligible, but I found his conversation about the peas to be completely and utterly delightful. It's the little things.

It's no secret that I talk to my son all the time. My friends do too. We ask questions and always pause to give H time to answer. He typically doesn't, but ever so often he does. Tonight I was blessed to have a conversation with him. It by no means was a typical conversation, but very much a conversation nonetheless. He's 16 now and still only utters a word or two every so often. Facial expressions and gestures are his primary mode of communication. Tonight while giving H his last round of medicines. I struck up a conversation about a behavior that he developed around the time he started having gut issues and seizures. It started off as excessive drooling and developed into excessive spitting. Funny, spitting (toothpaste) was one of the long standing goals on is ISP that I though he'd never ever achieve and now I can't get him to stop at all. I even catch him practicing his technique in bathroom sometimes.

I hope this subject is not gross you out, but this is how our story goes.

Here's the conversation:

H: Indicates that he wants to go spit.

Mom: Try to swallow if you can. Here's your medicine, that will help. I believe you will learn how to swallow your spit again. You used to before your seizures.

H: Do not...

Mom: You do not want to or you do not know how?

H: Silence

Mom: Repeats the question.

H: Silence

Mom: Repeats the question again.

H: How

Mom: That's okay, if you want to try we will figure it out. Okay?

H: Okay (smile)

My eyes are tearing even now. This is only the second verbal conversation we've had. What can I say, my heart is skipping around my chest. I feel like our connection is becoming so much stronger. There was a understanding that was indescribable. I'm thankful for this moment.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Public Restroom Etiquette: Is My Child Too Old to Be Escorted to the Restroom?

I rarely gave much thought to taking my son into the ladies room or his safety in public bathrooms when he got older, that is until he became potty trained. He was 10 when we finally broke free from the never ending trail of pull-ups. As much as it was a trial having to change the pull-up of a child in double digits it was even more so a challenge navigating public bathrooms with a preteen son who is autistic and non-verbal.

I speak specifically about moms/women taking their sons and male clients into the women's restroom because I've not known or seen dads take their daughters into the men's restroom. I don't think they do. Do they? Correct me if I'm wrong. Dads, what do you do when your little girl has to use the restroom and mommy's not around? If you do have to take her into the men's room, does it feel awkward or is it as natural as it is for mom to take either child into the ladies room?

Of course these issues are not as prevalent as they were before the light bulb came on illuminating the much needed unisex and family restrooms. As a matter of fact, in our local grocery store they now have both men's and women's restrooms accommodated with infant/child changing tables. It's about time.

At what age should moms stop taking their sons into the women's restroom? And does the general rule apply to special needs children and adults? My son is 16 now. He's accustomed to going into both women's and men's restrooms. That being said, it is rare for him to go into the ladies room these days, but he doesn't see anything wrong with using either one. Is that wrong? What are the safety issues? Personally, I would be uncomfortable seeing a teenage male walk into the ladies room unescorted and not knowing his circumstances. I think about those things when I'm out with my son. I make it a point to escort him to public restrooms. If there are several males in the men's room I usually take my son to the ladies room. No one seems to mind as long as I'm with him. However, If my son walks into the men's room before I get a chance to check it out, I usually follow him to the door and with the door wide open I loudly proclaim that I am right outside the door and will come in if deemed necessary. Let the record show, I will walk by any number of male genitalia to insure the safety of my son. Hmph.

Thank goodness for the all inclusive single bathrooms. No fuss, no muss just use and flush.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Awesomeness of Honesty when it Hits a Homerun

I’d like to take a moment to give a shout-out to one of my favorite bloggers. Her name is Kathy Hooven and her blog, The Awenesty of Autism, Kate reveals a warm, compassionate, empathetic insight on life as a mom of a child on the spectrum. Her words will usher you through your own experiences, as if flipping the pages of your life while you laugh with her, cry with her, rejoice with her and problem solve with her. Kate’s unique and passionately descriptive way of detailing the finite while admitting she doesn’t always get it right is priceless.  

I look forward to sitting with a cup of tea and reading Kate’s take on the good, the bad and the questionable aspects of life for her son. Various issues come full circle as she takes on her perspectives, hopes, and dreams coupled with the knowledge she gains about her son’s perspectives, hopes, and dreams. Kate seemingly does this with the greatest of ease even though I know for a fact it is not easy. Meanwhile, she lives each day, tackles each event and takes every moment in stride while remembering to breathe and indulge in an occasional glass of wine.  

Thank you, Kate, for sharing your world with us and helping so many of us better understand our world as well.