Complete (Revisited)

Having M showed me a whole different kind of love that I have never known. It is a beautiful blessing in my complete understanding of love. Parenthood has so many aspect to it that I am constantly learning to see things from M unique perspective. This morning as we were leaving the house, M did something out of the ordinary. He yelled “HELP!” He said the word so clear that it certainly got my attention. M was was trying to reopen the front door after it was already closed and locked. I was puzzled. This morning we did our usually routine before leaving the house, I made sure M had his favorite sensory strings and fully charged Leapfrog tablet. However, M was persistent at saying “HELP” and trying to open the door. At this point in my parenting of M, I am learning to stop whatever I am doing or trying to do. I take a deep breath while silently praying for help to figure out what is going on in M beautiful mind. Yes, we unlocked the door to let M back into the house. M rushed into the living room. He was looking for something. I found it odd because he was holding two of his sensory strings plus tablet. Surprisingly, M picked up one of his drum sticks. He turned to me and smiled. So I asked ” You ready to go now?” M responded “Go bye bye!” So out the door again we went. M was complete now. This experience had me pondering over the need to feel complete. Often times in life there can be frustration when we don’t feel complete. These few days M has needed a little more time in deciding what he need to fill complete upon leaving the house in the morning. Yesterday, M needed two plastic drinking straws in addition to sensory strings and Leapfrog. Today, it was his toy car keys and a sock plus the usual items. Perhaps this is M way of adjusting to changes in his routine of not going to his usual school since it’s summer break. Maybe the extra items fill a void, thus helping him feel a sense of completeness. Upon reflection I think all of us want to feel complete in our everyday life. The feeling of being complete is base on each individual unique perspective or thinking.  I discovered having a relationship with my Creator helps me feel complete. However, for some it could be having children, career, family, close friends or even doing meaningful community/social work to better our world. Sometimes, it can be simple as finding the perfect pair of shoes/earrings to complete our look for the day. Overall, the feeling of being complete give us a sense of accomplishment or beauty. I am happy M is learning what will help him feel complete. M is teaching me feeling complete is a process worth discovering! 

Simply an autism mom learning

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Eureka

People think of those eureka moments & my feelings is that they tend to be little things, a little realization & then a little realization built on that…Roger Penrose. This week I had to change one of M therapy day to a Monday due to time conflict with his other medical appointment. By switching days, I was able to meet a new autism parent. Honestly, this mom was so sweet and beautifully taking care of three handsome boys. We talked and laughed together. Truthfully, I have met some awesome parents while M is at therapy or at the hospital.  I even had to privilege to meet a fellow awesome autism mom with a little girl while subbing  at our local school. I can’t forget about my other awesome moms from various congregations whom are my Facebook friends sharing their autism truths raising their child. It’s these connections that create eureka moments for M & I. I noticed when M is around a fellow peer on the autism spectrum he seem at ease. On Monday when our children finished therapy around the same time, both of our kids were hand flapping & smiling. Maybe they sense each other as being kindred souls. Eureka for me is the world feel not so big after all & illuminating I am not alone. I don’t know how to fully explain that comfort/encouraging feeling except to compare it to a cold sweet tea on a hot summer afternoon. Yes, our human interaction can be meaningful and refreshing. It can take our low moments in our day & turn it into a beautiful high. M is teaching me that eureka moments reveal we’re beautifully interconnected to other families on the autism journey & that is worth celebrating!

Simply an autism mom learning

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Overcoming

You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing & overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages…Michelle Obama. We all have obstacles we need/want to overcome in order to become our best self. I think the first step is accepting or acknowledging what is hindering us from becoming amazing. True, it even means being honest about our fears. Honestly once we take this first step, we can focus our energy on  overcoming. Once M was officially diagnosis with autism, I needed to work in helping him overcome various challenges. I started by getting early intervention (Hand & Hand) involved with M. They taught M basic sign language to communicate simple needs. Next, I connected M with our state disability rehabilitation services. Of course, our local school board special education department become a part of helping M overcome barriers once he turned three. There have been countless IEP meetings of constant fine tuning M services to obtain progress. Additionally, I needed to find an amazing medical team that not only understand autism but importantly how it demonstrate within M. Often, It means traveling out town and countless hours of therapy in order to help M overcome obstacles. I am so grateful too for M lawyers that help us overcome legal issues. I noted all this because M needed help in overcoming insecurity, anxiety and fears. As a mom with a special need child, I too needed help in overcoming being overwhelm. M and I become more hopeful after overcoming a challenge. However, it is our faith that keep us courageous to face our challenges. Today was a major milestone, M overcoming obstacles to graduate kindergarten. He even made the all A honor roll.  M is teaching me these truths…M is not lost & there is always hope thanks to our Creator…M can overcome anything!

Simply an autism mom being proud

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Meltdown(s)

Normal people have good emotional empathy, but they don’t have much empathy for the autistic kid who is screaming at the baseball game because he can’t stand the sensory overload. Or the autistic kid having a meltdown in the school cafeteria because there’s too much stimulation…Temple Grandin. This is a very emotional subject for me to write about. Honestly from my own personal experience with M, meltdowns can be emotionally and physically draining for a parent raising an autistic child. Often times meltdowns get confused with bad parenting. In reality this is untrue. As parents we work hard to raised our child to be caring, respectful and loving. Autism manifest differently in every individual. However sensory or communication or social issues tend to be a common variable. Meltdowns seem to occur with M during emotional/sensory frustration. I think not having the words yet in his head to fully say what is bothering him, something/someone not connecting with his senses and full comprehension of situations contribute to M frustrations.  Often this lead to disruptive behavior in the form of screaming, hysterical crying, falling into the floor, throwing/tearing things, kicking and hitting. Sometimes as a parent you struggle trying to keep your child from hurting themselves, other people property, and keeping yourself from getting hurt. Truthfully, it’s a nightmare when a meltdown occur in public. There is so many dangers you have to anticipate especially if you’re by yourself with your autistic child. I am not going to lie everyday we work with M to find more productive ways to express his meltdowns. It can be using his sensory strings, pressure hugs, singing, retreat to quite place or weighted blanket. True, these methods work a lot better with M at home.  Yesterday M had an appointment with the Alabama Disability Services for their feeding clinic. M generally goes twice a year. They’re very wonderful with M. However since M does not see these awesome ladies on a daily basis, every time we go M initially has a meltdown going into the lobby. So before we went to the appointment I explained in simple terms everything to M even right before we got out the car. M responded “OK”.  Yes, it stilled happened. An epic meltdown occurred. M started throwing crayons and tried reaching for other things but I intervene. It was hard trying to stay calm and at the same time trying to calm M down using reassuring words. Thankfully, everyone there knew M and came to help me. In the mist of me trying to keep M from hurting himself falling into the floor and a chair about to fall on him, I took a nasty fall. When all was settled I was happy M finally calmed down and enjoyed the rest of time with the feeding clinic team. M is teaching me being a parent can be very changeling especially dealing with meltdowns effectively but with prayer, love, time, lots of patience, constant redirecting, & understanding I am able to take one day at a time!

Simply an autism parent learning

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Routine

Nobody ever becomes an expert parent. But I think good parenting is about consistency. It’s about being there at big moments, but it’s also just consistency of decision making & it’s routine…Sebastian Cole. Many people may find it daunting to have a daily routine. They want something different everyday or to live on spontaneous impulses. True, that sounds like an amazing way to live life. However, I found there is a measure of comfort and peace in having a daily routine. As a parent of a child rocking the autism spectrum, I am learning that routine is an absolute must in having a less stressful day!  Yes, everyday M function better when things are predictable or set to a simple routine. If for some reason something changes in his routine frustration/anxiety builds creating different levels of meltdown. Like M running out of his favorite bed time snack applesauce, he eats every night.  At first M did not understand mommy forgot to pickup more applesauce at the store, so after about fifteen minutes of M repeating the word “sauce…sauce” and I kept saying “yogurt”. M finally repeated after me “yogurt”, he then proceeded to accept the yogurt as an substitute to the routine applesauce.  OK, I utilize reverse sociology but it worked and peace was restored. In general, most children can be amazingly adaptable to change. Of course, my M is an exception to the norm. Of course, I do my best to keep a simple routine for M but sometimes life throws a monkey wrench in my plans. On Thursday, M therapist whom he has connected with tried something new. She wanted M to adjust to seeing other wonderful therapist in the same office in the event she goes on vacation or ever out for some reason. Well with M changing a routine doesn’t happen overnight, it takes a little bit of time, patience, love, and understanding just easing into the change to make it work for M in becoming a part of his routine. Honestly, I was not surprised when M had a major meltdown. He could not process/understand why she was not seeing him so that meant exhibiting disruptive behavior. In the end, I left with M feeling the therapy session was an eye opener to the importance routine and how it impact his behavior. I know M need down time along with spiritual time to be part of his daily routine. M is teaching me that having a routine psychologically help our mind and body be at peace.

Simply an autism mom learning

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