Monday, April 11, 2016

Everyday Autistic: Meet Adian

Adian is a 10 year old being raised by his mother Tammy. He is the middle child of 3 boys. Adian is very close with his family especially his younger brother Caleb. He says Caleb has had the biggest influence in his life, watching him deal with brain damage and other impairments and still being happy, friendly, and successful, has made Adian want to be the same. Adian is in 5th grade. He does well in school. although he doesn't like it very much. Adian is a happy, independent, shy, and caring child, although he does have a bit of a temper. Some of his favorite things to do are stacking cups, playing video games, jumping on his trampoline, drawing, and swimming. When he grows up Adian wants to be a game designer and/or tester. Adian wants people to know he is weird and proud of his weirdness. Adian is a happy, crazy 10 year old, and he is autistic.

Adian's mom first noticed symptoms when he was around 2 years old, although he didn't get diagnosed until 6. Adian currently uses medication and multiple therapies to help with his symptoms. His main difficulties with autism are social and sensory issues. Adian's biggest achievements are getting to the point where he can put on, and keep on, clothing on a regular bassis with no meltdowns. Adian says he would like to see more sensory friendly activites and places in his community. Adian want's everyone to know that being autistic can suck but doesn't always.

Adian is a happy, crazy, independent, and caring 10 year old, who just happens to have autism.

If you or your child would like to be featured as an everyday autistic you can learn more here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Everyday Autistic: Meet Ethan

Ethan is a 3 year old only child being raised by his mom Suzette. He currently attends early intervention preschool that he loves. Some of his favorite things to do are playing on his iPad, dancing, riding his bike, playing with his trains, and going to the zoo. Ethan's favorite food is yummy pizza. He is a silly child who like to pretend he is a tiger running around and roaring all the time. Ethan is a typical 3 year old except he is autistic.

Ethan's mom first noticed symptoms when he was only a year old shortly after he was officially diagnosed.He currently uses therapy to help with his symptoms. Ethan's main difficulties with autism include speech, sensory and social issues. Ethan's mom says "It's a process, but you get through it."

Ethan is a cute, silly, active 3 year old, who just happens to have autism.

If you or your child would like to be featured as an everyday autistic you can learn more here.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Everyday Autistic: Meet Tammy

Tammy is a 39 year old single mom. She is the youngest of three girls and mother to three boys. She has a close relationship with her dad and all three of her boys. Tammy has few but good friends that she has known most of her life. Some of her favorite things to do are taking her kids to the park, cuddling with her kids on the couch for movie night, reading, and writing. Tammy recently opened a small business and is currently writing a fiction novel. She is a strong, independent, compassionate, peaceful woman, although sometime a bit gullible. Tammy's goal are to raise her boys to be successful and good men, have her business succeed, and to finish her novel.Tammy is an average woman, but she is autistic.

Tammy's parents first notices something was different about her when she was only 2 years old. Unfortunately they did not know anything about autism so explained her symptoms as she's just an odd child, and she will speak when she's ready. Tammy did not receive any therapies as a child but taught herself to cope. She did finally start to speak at the age of 4 although she still struggles with speech at times. She was not officially diagnosed until she was 30 years old. Tammy's biggest difficulties with autism are social problems, and sensory issues such as sensitivity to sounds and smells.Tammy says her greatest achievements are overcoming agoraphobia, and being able to give her children a stable and loving home. She want's everyone to know she is a real person who can be anything she chooses just like everyone else. Yes, sometimes life is hard for her and she has challenges to overcome, but anyone's life can be hard and everyone has challenges not just people with autism. Tammy would like to see sensory products more readily available to families in need in her community.

Meet Tammy an independent, compassionate, strong, peaceful woman who just happens to have autism.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Everyday Autistic: Meet Jayden

Jayden is 4 years old. He is an only child being raised by his lovely mom Chelsea. He is close with his mom and grandparents. Jayden is currently in Pre-k, and enjoys school where he was named March student of the month. He collects hot wheels and match box cars. Some of his favorite things to do are drawing, painting, singing, and lining up his cars. Jayden is a creative child, although he does have a bit of a temper. He is kind, loving, playful, and silly. He does sometimes struggle with empathy. He wants to control as much of his world as he can, and doesn't like it when people touch and move his things. When Jayden grows up he wants to drive a monster truck and a train. Jayden is a typical 4 year old, except he is autistic.

Jayden's mom first noticed signs of autism when he was only a year old, by the time he was 3 he was officially diagnosed. Jayden has used medication, as well as multiple therapies to help with his symptoms. His biggest difficulty with autism is controlling meltdowns. Jayden wants everyone to know that it's ok to be different, and he just wants to be accepted. He and his mother would like to see more behavioral therapy services available in their community.

Meet Jayden an adorable, kind, happy, and silly 4 year old, who just happens to have autism.

You can learn more about Jayden and his mom here.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Picky Eaters

Okay today I am going to talk about picky eaters and sensory issues with food. So in our family of 4 we have two great eaters my oldest son and my youngest son they both will eat anything you put in front of them. Then we have two picky eaters myself and my middle son Adian. Now for me I have gotten a lot better since I've gotten older, as a child I was extremely picky and my parents not knowing that I had autism or sensory processing disorder did the whole either eat what we give you or you don't eat. After a few times of me choosing to not eat it got to the point where my mom finally started adjusting meals for me. I would eat the same main thing that the rest of the family ate but it would be adjusted a little bit. lasagna for instance I had a big problem with the lasagna noodles the texture of them I just could not handle so instead of giving me it like everybody else she would take everything that you put in the lasagna and put some of it separate and give that to me without the noodles so it was basically lasagna with no noodles and it worked. that's the kind of things we ended up doing of course  she also had to adjust for my food allergies because I do have a lot of food allergies. Now we're working on getting Adian to eat more things and he does not have food allergies like I do at least none that we found so far so that makes it a little easier but he very much has the sensory issues.  Right now he eats a lot of meats and chips and he really won't eat any fruits or vegetables. He needs those in his diet and I have been trying for a long time to get those in his diet. I was at a loss.  So we finally went to a dietitian and the dietitian shared some tips and tricks with me that we have started using.  I'm going to share those with you today. 

The first tip I'm going to share with you is before you have them try a new food brush their teeth brush their cheeks and their tongue with just water. By doing this it helps desensitize it a little bit.  

The next thing is the reward. Basically you have them try a new food and every time they do they get some kind of reward. now I know there's a plate that they make somewhere out there now that’s like a game board and they have to take so many bites to get to the finish line which is like a box you can lift up and there is a  surprise under it. Now I don't have one of these plates because they're expensive, but what we have done is because they have to try a food several times take several bites in order to really know if they like it. In order to get him to take more than just one really really small bite and not even taste it. What I've done is for every bite he takes up to 4 bites he gets 25 cents so he has the potential to earn $1 for every new food he tries. In doing this we've already discovered a couple of new foods that he will eat. Some that he will tolerate and he'll eat sometimes but doesn't really like so it's not an all the time and then we discovered some that he won't eat at all but he did give them all a fair chance and tried at least four bites of every one. Since he wants that money he's trying to earn enough to get himself a video game so that was a very good motivator for him. 

Another tip that our dietician shared with us was too allow them to touch their food get their hands on it because sometimes by exploring a new food with the tactile senses makes it a little easier for them to be able to handle it with the oral.  

The final tip the dietician shared with us was to use freezer pops before they try new food have them eat a half of freezer proper even a whole one because the cold will numb their mouth so it makes it easier to tolerate. We’ve had some success with this one as well.  

Another thing that has helped us is since I have issues with food as well I started a competition with my son that whoever tries the most new foods, and really tries them, each month will get a prize. This has motivated him to try even more since people naturally have a competitive nature and a desire to win. Also sine he sees me struggling to try new things just like him it has helped him to know that I truly understand how hard it is for him. so that's just a few tips on how to get yours sensory child and picky eaters to eat a little better now. I did find a website that has all these tips and more that you can find here.

Monday, April 20, 2015

What is Autism to me.

So far I’ve done interviews with friends and family and I’ve explained the technical answer to what is autism today I’m going to explain what autism means to me and my family. So what is autism well short answer as I said in my first video. Autism is a neurological disorder that affects the way the brain processes information causing developmental delays and possible social, sensory, and communication issues as well as many more and it affects everyone differently. Now that is an in the box answer for a very out of the box disorder.
Now what is autism to me? Well autism is why I didn’t speak until I was over 3 years old and still to this day have time where speaking is a challenge. Autism is why I have a hard time with social situations and usually don’t know what to say or how to act making it hard for me to make friends. Autism is why I was agoraphobic for a time period. Autism is why some of my senses seem to be in constant overdrive which can be good and bad. For instance with heightened hearing being in a crowded noisy place can throw me into overload because I can’t filter the different sounds but hear them all at the same level it can be a bit much. On the other hand my heightened since of hearing saved a friends dinner from burning they had set a timer to let them know when it was done I was in another room watching TV. when the timer went off I heard it and it annoyed me so I tracked it so I could make it stop my friend had forgotten they were cooking and didn’t hear the timer so because of my hearing it didn’t burn. Another way my heightened senses helped was my sense of smell I caught a whiff of something I couldn’t identify and I couldn’t focus on anything else until I knew what it was so again I tracked it and good thing I did since no one else could smell it when I found the source it was a small fire in the electrical box which we quickly got put out before it caused any real damage if I hadn’t smelled it it could have gotten real bad and we could have lost our house. Another way autism has helped me is with problem solving since autism makes me see things different it also helps me come up with new and unique ways to solve problems. Being autistic has helped me be more accepting of others having felt like an outsider most of my life I do what I can to help others not feel like that. Autism has also helped me have a stronger bond with my children since they are all also autistic we can understand each other and relate to each other in a way others can’t creating a great bond between all of us. Down side is that because we all get along and understand each other so well we can get lost in our own world and not want to go out of the safety of our home that often. Autism is also why when our routines get thrown off we don’t always handle it well. The kids tend to melt down and I tend to get confused and as to what to do next but we do always manage to get through it. To sum up autism is good and bad it’s what makes us unique and different and although it has it’s challenges that we have to face every day that we walk out our door it does have its good side too that help us have the will and courage to get up and leave our house every day and face those challenges and overcome and that is what makes us Autism Strong.

Next time I will be talking about picky eating and sensory problems with food I hope you will join me for that.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Autism Strong: What is Autism the technical side

According to the National Institute of Neurological
Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of
complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments,
communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped
patterns of behavior.  Autistic disorder,
sometimes called autism or classical ASD, is the most severe form of ASD, while
other conditions along the spectrum include a milder form known as Asperger
syndrome, and childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental
disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS).  Although ASD varies significantly in
character and severity, it occurs in all ethnic and socioeconomic groups and
affects every age group.  Males are four
times more likely to have an ASD than females.
First I am going to talk about autistic disorder or classic
According to the dictionary Autism is a mental condition,
present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and
forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract
So what does all this mean? Well let’s break it down shall
we. Autism is a mental condition so it affects the brain ok. It’s characterized
by difficulty in communicating. This can be anything from complete lack of
spoken language commonly called non-verbal to having problems starting and
maintaining a conversation with someone and many things in between. Difficulty
in forming relationships with others this can be when someone with autism does
not acknowledge the existence of anyone else but acts as if they are the only
person in the world or just not being able to approach and communicate with
others to build a relationship. Difficulty in using language and abstract
concept. This covers everything from not being able to read body language and
facial expressions to not understanding sarcasm and metaphors.

Now let’s get into Asperger’s syndrome.
According to the dictionary Asperger’s syndrome is a
developmental disorder related to autism and characterized by higher than
average intellectual ability coupled with impaired social skills and
restrictive, repetitive patterns of interest and activities.
So let’s break this one down. A developmental disorder well
that means it affects how someone develops again this is the brain.
Characterized by higher than average intellectual ability now this does not
mean they are all geniuses it simply means they have an above average IQ.
Impaired social skills this can be they simply have a hard time talking to
people to they can’t understand body language or other social ques. Restrictive,
repetitive patterns of interest now this means they have few interests this can
be a child focused on dinosaurs and only them doesn’t want to do or learn
anything other about dinosaurs or this could be someone focused on Japan and
it’s culture who really only wants to do read and watch things related to
Japanese culture they may do other things but they always end up back on their
topic. Repetitive activities now this can be hand flapping, spinning, jumping,
chewing really anything that they do repeatedly.
Next I will talk about childhood disintegrative disorder.
According to Wikipedia childhood disintegrative disorder
(CDD), also known as Heller's syndrome and disintegrative psychosis, is a rare
condition characterized by late onset of developmental delays in language,
social function, and motor skills.
Ok so what does that mean? Well it’s rare condition which
means it is not found often, late onset this means that they appear to develop
normally then when they get older usually around three (3) they lose abilities
they once had. Delays in language, social function, and motor skills since we
have covered language and social delays I’m not going to go over that again.
Motor skills is you movement broken down into two categories fine motor and
gross motor. Fine motor is your pencil grip, stringing beads, all those small
tasks whereas gross motor is your walking, jumping and all your big movements.
Finally let’s look at pervasive developmental disorder not
otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS).
This is a diagnosis where someone has autistic signs and
symptoms enough to be on the autism spectrum but do not fully meet the criteria
for any of the other specific disorders listed above.

So there you have it. That is the technical break down of
what autism is. Next time I will get a little more personal and talk about what
autism is to me and my family.