Giving to our local police.

Today my daughter melted my heart. Just a rewind in time to start this off.

Alyssa asked me a few days ago if she could make the police a gift. Of course I said yes and started looking up some ideas. Together we came up with survival kits for our local police officers.

We gathered the items needed and went to work. Alyssa did most of the work gluing the guide to the bags, adding the candy that belonged in the bags and she attempted to stamp the washers with the bible verse that went best with the gift. (Matthew 5:9) “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

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Because metal stamping isn’t easy for a 7 year old, I did have to help. We attached the washers to the bags with some blue ribbon and we were done.

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As soon as she was finished and as soon as she was sure they were as perfect to her as they could be, we were off. We took them to the local police, along with her personal letter and delivered them.

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Who says children with autism don’t have much empathy? This is one child with so much love and kindness to give. She does have a very big heart and where her social issues may not fit the norm, her heart is bigger than most kids her age. All she wants is to make new friends and now she has some pretty amazing friends.

She wants to change the world….

ASD and the learning disability

Homework in our house can easily go one of two ways.
1) Not so well, relentless anger towards not understanding and not knowing how, what and when things have to be done.
2) Awesome and moving forward. ☺

For my little girl and her ASD with learning disability, we generally have a good experience  when it comes to doing homework. She loves to learn even when she doesn’t exactly get it. She enjoys coming and telling us about what she did or what she is doing in classes. She enjoys  showing us that she can do her homework. and she enjoys making us all so very proud to see her getting it.

Alyssa is amazing when it comes to repetitive understanding, such as the alphabet or counting in order. Those are the things she got down with no problems at all, but when you ask her to show you a letter within the alphabet, that’s when it becomes hard. The repetitive action is something she is used to, its routine or how it is just supposed to go. Taking a piece of that out and needing to understand  where that piece actually fits is the hard part.

We have a normal routine at the house, when dinner is over we sit at the table and work on what is in the very well-organized homework folder. (left side is homework and right side is finished work that has been corrected and ready to stay home and put away for the future) Every night is reading night, it does take some time to get through a book but we manage, and with Alyssa if it is taking to long the frustration will set in and could result in not so good behavior, so we take it in 10 minute increments. Work sheets on the other hand can be somewhat overwhelming, every weekend is a new worksheet with new material to learn.

Alyssa wants to badly to learn and be smart and she wants so badly to understand everything the human 7-year-old can.  She knows she has to try harder at things than other children in her class and she knows she will get it someday.

Homework.

Alyssa is a fighter, she is smart, she is determined and she is willing to learn, and with every struggle there is a reward, so all we can do is keep on trying.

New look on life’s images?

I am one of the luckiest women on earth. Yesterday my husband bought me a new camera so I can take beautiful pictures of our kids, life, tragedy’s, emotions,  and well all the little things that make us up! Up until now I have been taking all of my pictures on my cell phone using a few apps here and there to work with my photos.

I am so excited. I now have a Canon Rebel T6i DSLR. Its very exciting and a lot to take in. I will have to do some research to understand how to use the camera and how to get the best images with it. But for now I am just happy to have it.

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Yes I have this great camera and I still used my phone, But really how could I have taken the picture of this beauty otherwise?

Recess and Lunch with the Army!

Today my son got a very interesting surprise at his school. His big sister came to visit him for lunch. You are probably saying to yourself, ” no big deal, people have lunch with their family all the time at school”. Well this was no ordinary lunch.
Today my sons big sister brought some friends. Today was her day to stand up for her brother and let him know that he not only has her for support and friendship but her Cadre-family as well.
So she and a few of her Army unit personnel came to visit Jordan at his school. Jordan had no idea what was happening, just that out of no-where were 3 people dressed in uniform standing in the hallway front of his class, waiting to go out on the recess field and play some football. Was this exciting, of course it was,  there were kids everywhere who wanted to know why, who, where they came from, do they know someone? Then it was, WOW that’s Jordan’s sister and her friends……
Lunch was interesting, there were several questions from students pertaining to the military. There were a few stares and there was that nasty school lunch these tough guys wouldn’t even touch.

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These men and this sister didn’t have to do it, but one thing I have learned from my daughter joining the military, These people come together for more then just training, they come together to be part of something good. They are our strength, our hope and our future.. 

Gymnastics and our ASD child

For several months now my daughter with Autism has been going to Gymnastics. Does she like it? Yes, she loves it. We have tried several different activities for Alyssa and she usually ends up pretty frustrated and doesn’t want to go any further. But so far so good with Gymnastics. She knows she goes once a week at this time and she looks forward to going. This is exciting for us because she can keep going and she can be happy accomplishing even the little things.

During the time Alyssa has been going to gymnastics I have found several beneficial aspects to gymnastics.

Discipline
Each time Alyssa goes she knows there are rules to follow. How is this any different than school or home you might ask. Well at school she has rules and at home she has rules but those are two very comfortable places for where she can retract into her own space. She can stop what she is doing and walk away. In gymnastics, it’s not her place, its gymnastics space. There isn’t a fidget room, a case worker room, an OT room. She doesn’t get to remove herself as easily. Now I ask does she want to even remove herself at all. The coaches are tough, they are pushing her to do her best and yes they know she may have a meltdown, but they are prepared for it. The discipline goes into more than just what she can get away with, it really is the discipline to be there every week, on time, ready in her leotard and hair up. It means she is walking and representing the gymnastic world, even if she is still a beginner.

Being tough
At first Alyssa didn’t know what she was getting herself into, she was going and doing a few tumbles and a few cartwheels here and there. Now she is holding onto a bar and trying her hardest to get her body over that bar or she is swinging while hanging onto the bar. This causes callus and after sometime your skin will hurt and toughen up. I am sure over time she will get bumps and bruises from falling or landing wrong but for now I will take the little things.

Balance and Focus
One of the many things you think of when you hear Gymnastics is Balance beam. Yup, that is Alyssa’s favorite thing to do. Each session she gets to use a balance beam that is higher and higher. What does she get out of this? Balance, Focus without these two things she can’t possibly go much further. She gets so happy when it’s her time on the beam, she gets several different exercises to work on and she nails them every time.

Determination
Many kids with Autism have this but many don’t know how to use it. At first Alyssa would try and then quit. She just wasn’t determined enough to complete a task of work on something hard. This gets tough, things get tricky and in her mind that means it’s time to end whatever is happening at that moment in time. Now since joining gymnastics she has a new way of being determined, she isn’t quitting. I ask her after every session if she wants to stop before I sign her up for the next session and she always says “mom, I am going to be like Gaby Douglas someday, I want to keep going”. To me that’s so amazing, to hear my daughter has a person she admires so much that she wants to continue even when things are getting harder for her each session. I know she can do it and at this point, she does too.

Consistency
Alyssa knows we have this planned one day of every week. With her Autism she is great with routine. And if you take her away from that routine then she can have many issues follow. For her it’s what she looks forward to and she can plan on it being a part of her week, and even month.

Food values
One major good thing about Alyssa has always been her eating choices, my child will eat anything. I often wonder if it’s because of the sensory processing disorder she also has or if she just likes all food. She eats HOT peppers (ghost peppers) like its nothing and doesn’t even break a sweat. She eats Quinoa and greens. Well anything really. If you give her the choice she will pick healthy over candy almost every time. Since joining gymnastics however she has been a little more food conscious. She will ask if what we are having for dinner is healthy or she will say she won’t eat certain meats or fat foods because “they are not healthy choices mom”. So with the help of gymnastics, Alyssa and her healthy choices are even healthier now.

Respect
Alyssa has had many issues with respect in the way she talks to people, she can be mouthy and she also can tell it like it is. She is very honest in the fact that she expresses herself with no fear of what could happen. She has had these issues in school and yes even at home. It is hard sometimes because she doesn’t understand why what she says is bad, disrespectful or even wrong when what she is saying is either her feelings, her brain tells her what to say, or she is telling the truth. She doesn’t think about other people’s feelings with the way her saying things or what she says. In gymnastics she has learned to be respectful to her coaches, still she struggles with how she communicates with her peers but I hope over time that too will get better.

Teamwork
While we have not worked to be part of the TEAMS who go out and get judged as of yet, Alyssa is still part of a team each session. During these sessions (beginner, beginner2, advanced beginner) she is placed with a set of 5-8 other children at her level and they are all taught the same things. This is still a team and Alyssa is working with a team. At first she struggled with this and a few times I have talked with her as I have seen her social cues of confusion or need to express herself differently. Over time in gymnastics Alyssa will improve her team work skills and that is a big thing in her world of Autism.

Over all Gymnastics has done wonders in the short time she has been going, even if the wonders are only seen while she is there. The amazing part is that if she can do all these things and she can work on the many downsides of her Autism that maybe it will flow over to her everyday life. Maybe we will see more of the positive things that take place from gymnastics happen at school or in public at the store.

I see her working on her fine motor skills, learning at her own pace, working in a sensory-rich environment and getting the effects of joy and learning the effects of disappointment. When I see all of these things happening each time I watch her, I can’t help but feel this is something my kid can do.
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Remember the phrase: “She believed she could, so she did” Well “I believe she can, and she will”.

Bruises go away, feelings don’t.

Let me tell you a little bit about my son. He is 11 years old and he is one of the gentlest little men I know. He is caring and he is smart. He isn’t aggressive but he is one to stand up for his friends and what is right. He doesn’t do this in a bad way, instead he does it in a verbal way by simply asking why? (Why did you push him? Why would you say that? Why are you being mean?)

My son has ADHD, he is the class clown. His teachers find him to be a delight in their classrooms and find that he is always smiling and making others feel good.

Last week this all changed. Last week I got a call from the school saying that he had been in a fight. I was told at first that he and the other boy were both at fault, that they were both suspended because they both contributed to punches. Now being as my son has never been in trouble at school and the fact that he is timid and non-aggressive, I had to question this. I asked him what happened and he wasn’t sure, he said he couldn’t remember how it started (at first). I spoke with the assistant principle and she has said she spoke with a few witnesses who said my son had thrown the first punch. (Again this is not my son)

Later we went home, went to football practice and then came home, when we got home there were kids from the neighborhood who came to check up on my son, they were concerned, and they had a different story. Its goes something like this, its recess and the kids were playing football. One kid played then left and then came back to play again. At this point the kids who continued playing the game said that he could not join at that moment because they were in the middle of the game and the teams were set and scores made. The boy got angry and went to get a few of his other friends. One kid pushed another kid and then, they explained that my son simply asked a kid why he had pushed another kid that then turned into words being exchanged and then my son walking back to the door to go to lunch. As my son was walking back to the door, a kid chased my son and pushed him to the ground, he proceeded to kick him and the got on top of him and punched him several times in the face until a teacher pulled him off of my son.

Does this sound like my son was throwing punches? Does this sound like my son was the aggressor? No it sounds to me that my son walked away.

I have come to find out that the other child is the same child who bullied my son in 2nd grade, the same child who tried to make my son lick a toilet in the school bathrooms. The same child my sons 2nd grade teacher had called me about to let me know that it was happening and that they were keeping an eye on the situation.

Well, the day after my son was suspended I spoke with the assistant principle again. I brought it to her attention that there are several other witnesses who claim a completely different story, Finding out by those same kids that the AP actually only spoke with the friends of the aggressor and not the kids who were there part of it from the beginning. I gave her the names of the kids and the story line that was given to me by several of the students. At that time my son’s teacher chimed in and said remarkable things about my son and that she herself couldn’t imaging my son being part of this situation.

I must say that I felt good knowing that others see what I see in my son. A good, boy with a heart of gold. A friend till the end and someone who doesn’t think violence is the answer.

My son’s suspension was removed!

Moving forward to this week, my son is hurt, he is down, things are being said at school by other kids about him getting “OWNED” “WEAK” “Can’t fight”. These are the friends of the other kid and I know kids can be mean to begin with. The problem I am having is that my son is afraid to tell a teacher or the AP. He doesn’t want to get the kids in trouble because it will fall back on him and it will get worse.

My son came home from school yesterday and lifted weights for an hour, then ran on the treadmill for an hour and a half. He feels now that if he gets a little bigger they won’t pick on him, that maybe next time he can stand up for himself and not be stuck on the ground.

I don’t want my child to feel this way. I don’t want my child to be afraid. I don’t want my child to think this is how life is. I don’t teach my children to fight. While I have taught them that words don’t hurt, in all actuality they do. I am an adult, I can brush words off and go on but a child who wants friends, a child who wants everyone to like them doesn’t feel the same.

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While his bruises will fade and go away, his self-esteem is shattered and all I can do is be there to protect him and stand up for him when he is afraid to.

Note: Today I call the school about the words being said to my child and ask that something be done.

GPS for your wandering child!

As many parents of children with ADHD or Autism know, our kids like to wander. Some wander and don’t know they are doing it as its part of their Autism and others wander because they don’t think ahead of time letting us know something they want to see or something that catches the eye.

Well, I am here to tell you about this great watch we got from Verizon Wireless. It’s called the GizmoPal and it is perfect for our Little Autistic love muffin.

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See Alyssa has a tendency to wander at times, not because she chooses to but because she forgets or as she says her brain just wants to go somewhere and it shuts everything else out. We have had a few very bad scares with this child and we would be devastated to lose her.

GizmoPal is this pretty neat watch that has no numbers or screen, Just a speaker and a button to push. It has a GPS tracker in it so that you can find your perfect someone wherever they are. With GizmoPal you can connect it to an app on your phone. This lets you change features (volume, fun sounds, ringtone, quiet mode, quiet time), Locate your child, give history of where your child has been, and call your child. You have the ability to add 2 outbound call numbers (mom, dad) and 4 incoming call numbers.

This has been great for our daughter as she loves to call and check in, even if she is in her bedroom closet watching a movie on her tablet. It’s a direct connection to mom and dad and it is helping her be a little more independent. She can push the button once to call me and twice to call dad, she can even hold down the button to get the time.

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All in all I love this watch and compared to other tracking devices for your special needs children it is really affordable. I have seen several in the $hundreds and you have to pay a monthly fee of over $10.00. GizmoPal is less than $100.00 to purchase and then its only $5.00 a month on our Verizon plan.

So far I have not seen anything to give GizmoPal a bad review, I have seen it do everything it says it will do. We have had no problems with things not working and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is concerned about their little ones.