Monday, April 30, 2012
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Yesterday was just a typical day in the life of our family and it was a good one. Strike that. It was a very good one.
Friday, April 27, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Annabel Lee, Edgar Allen Poe
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Follow your heart, but be quiet for a while first. Ask questions, then feel the answer. Learn to trust your heart. - Unknown
V is for VACCINES!
What is an Autism blog without a post on vaccines?
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
For now you know one of the greatest principles of success; if you persist long enough you will win.
-- Og Mandino
At risk of alienating some of my less than tens of readers, I feel I have to make an admission:
I like to watch professional soccer. Yes, its true.
About 3 years ago, I watched the Philadelphia Union play their first ever game at the newly constructed PPL Park on the Delaware River in Chester, PA. I was not a huge soccer fan prior to that point, but there was something about being there live that was infectious. I think it was, in soccer parlance, the Supporters Section. At PPL Park there is a section, called the "River End" that is restricted to the Union "supporters," called the Sons of Ben. You can't sit in that section unless you are a member of the Sons of Ben - and you really can't sit in that section unless you are prepared to stand, sing, and listen to the beat of a drum for the entire game. Even for a casual observer, the atmosphere is truly amazing. Here is a video and the lyrics to one of my favorite, pretty standard Sons of Ben chants.
We love ya
We love ya
We love ya
And where you go we'll follow
'Cause we support the Union
And that's the way we like it
We like it
We like it
Okay, so what does this have to do with Autism and/or the Little Man?
Um, I forget. I wrote Union for the letter U a couple of weeks ago and don't remember why.
I kid you. But, I did warn you yesterday that today's post would be crappy.
Long story short, did you ever see the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit? In the movie, the animated Roger Rabbit has a compulsion. If someone knocks the old tune of "Shave and a haircut" the Rabbit must, must, must, respond singing "two, bits...." Even if the Rabbit is supposed to be hidden and quiet, he can't resist the urge to yell "two, bits...." to complete the tune and put himself in danger.
I often notice that our Little Man has a similar quality. He is somewhat obsessive compulsive and hates having anything left incomplete. If you start singing, Row, Row, Row Your Boat, he will make sure you sing it to the end. This is even true if the song drives him crazy.
Cue the Union song from above. So I played the video above for my kids one night and we had a great time all singing it together. As you can imagine, the novelty quickly wore off and the attitude of the kids went quickly from "Dad, you're so cool" to "Dad, stop be so annoying!"
But, if you can't annoy your kids, who can you annoy?
So, I know the Little Man (LM) must finish the song once it starts, no matter how annoyed he is, so our version of the song goes a little like this:
ME: We love ya, We love ya, We love ya
LM: (yelling) All Done!
LM: And where you go we'll follow
ME: We'll follow; we;ll follow
LM: (yelling) All Done!
LM: 'Cause we support the Union...
I try not to torture him TOO much!
Monday, April 23, 2012
“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it” – Salvador Dali
“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will” – George Bernard Shaw
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero. - Marc Brown
Friday, April 20, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still. - Chinese Proverb
I think you can imagine that when faced with a chronic disabling condition, such as Autism, you are willing to consider many different treatment methods. From the treatments supported with the most medical evidence to those supported with only anecdotal evidence, nothing is off the table.
There are many questions we discuss before we are willing to give a new ameliorative effort a try. Is there any risk to our child? What is the evidence that it works? What is the theory behind it? Does it introduce something foreign into our child's system?
I can tell you this: I am willing to try any low cost, non-invasive treatment based on a handful of anonymous positive reports from the comments section of a blog. You want me to wear a powdered wig and wear my shirt backwards while dancing on one leg bellowing out an ancient Mayan chant? Show me where I can get a wig. (http://www.beautyselect.com/bargain-colonial-man-1.html)
Enter the Qigong Massage.
About 2 years ago, my wife read an article reporting on the positive effects of pediatric massage therapy on children suffering with cancer. A little further Internet research and she read about the positive reports of parents learning and performing Qigong massage on children with Autism.
If you are interested you can read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qigong_Sensory_Training
We are about 6 weeks into performing the massage methods on our Little Man. At first, it was a little challenging to get him to keep still. But we have since gotten into a groove. He is starting to really enjoy it and even asks for it by name.
Best of all, we have seen some positive changes in our Little Man since we started. He seems calmer, clearer, more engaged and happier. This is definitely something we will keep doing and, so far, would recommend.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
So, perhaps the world's most famous person with an Autism Spectrum Disorder is Temple Grandin. Anyone who has HBO has probably seen the movie about her. Dr. Grandin has done so much for the Autism community by sharing her life and describing how she experiences the world.
It is clear to us that much like Dr. Grandin, our Little Man thinks in pictures, not words. I recall one day, when were trying to play Wii where my oldest and I were trying to teach the Little Man to push the "A" and "B" buttons on the controller at the same time. We tried to no avail. Like imbeciles, the oldest and I, acting like we were talking to an Aunt with hearing problems, increased the volume of our speech: PRESS "A" and "B." No luck One second later, the image of what to do popped up on the screen -- no words -- and viola! He unlocked it!
Visual image + no words = Ideal Learning Environment.
The best way I can get my feeble mind around it is to think of words as a foreign language to him. Sure he can do it, but it is not his natural language. Pictures are his natural language. That discovery (which came with the assistance of some wonderful professionals) has unlocked so many doors for us.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Monday, April 16, 2012
When I consider this carefully, I find not a single property which with certainty separates the waking state from the dream. How can you be certain that your whole life is not a dream? -Rene Descartes
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Okay, so I labeled this post Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, to discuss an intriguing pattern we see in our Little Man. It has happened with the children's show Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but it has also happened with the other shows, such as Jack's Big Music Show, the Little Einsteins and it has also happened to the music of the Laurie Berkner Band.
For those of you that do not know of these newer kids show, these are all shows which have various levels of music and varying degrees of animation or puppetry. [Just for giggles, I attached below, a Jack's music show parody someone did of Jack playing System of a Down. Man, are people creative and talented or what]
The pattern goes something like this.
1) When the Little Man is introduced to something new, such as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, he shows no interest in it;
2) Slowly, over time as he hears songs in the shows, he becomes intrigued, and will start to watch;
3) He will start to love the show and ask to see it more and the show seems to make him happy and relaxed;
4) He will start to become obsessed with the show, so that he demands to see it all the time and is reduced to tears if he does not see it;
5) He starts to draw and write and act out scenes from the show, even when it is not on;
6) Then, out of the blue. The mention of the show, any song it, reference to it; and any image of it; makes him so upset he is reduced to tears;
7) The show and any reference to it become contraband in our house.
We literally have about 10 shows that we do not let on because he is at stage 6 for them.
And, now, with out further adieu, ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you: Jack's Big Music Show performing System of a Down:
Friday, April 13, 2012
Your heart must ever cherish; some faith at any cost.
Some hope, some dream to cling to; some rainbow in the sky;
Some melody to sing to. Some service that is high.
-Harriet Du Autermont
Some children hold onto blankets; some hold onto binkies; or other things. Our Little Man holds onto lion.
Lion is a sweet stuffed animal that was given to us as a present almost 9 years ago, before my first son was born. It had a little button inside that when pressed said in the cutest little voice:
Let's go to the zoo!
There's lots to see and do.
Lion's, tigers, elephants and bears.
Even a monkey with some banana to share.
Our oldest son never really took to lion. He had other interests. But, lion became the Little Man 's everything. He is such a part of almost all that we do, my wife and I actually refer to him as our fourth child.
[House Secret: Lion has been to Disney World; but our youngest has not !].
We have spent many frantic nights ripping the house apart trying to find the lost stuffed lion -- with the Little Man yelling "WHERE IS THE LION?" We actually once purchased a spare lion -- which the Little Man rejected outright.
As you can imagine, over 9 years lion has gone through quite a lot of wear and tear. A dip in the toilet here, a drop in a mud puddle there-- and he has developed such a distinct [rancid] smell that I now jokingly refer to him as "Stinky Pete."
Okay. Now I must come clean. That is not a picture of lion. That is a picture of another lion I found on the Internet. Below is a picture of what lion looks like today-- like 5 minutes ago. I had to wrestle lion out of the Little Man's hands just to take this photo.
WARNING: THE IMAGE YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE IS GRAPHIC IN NATURE AND IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
[O.K. That's not all the Spanish I know. My cousin also taught me: ¡Mis pantalones están en fuego!]
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
"What this power is I cannot say; all I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in that state of mind in which he knows exactly what he wants and is fully determined not to quit until he finds it." -Alexander Graham Bell