Sunday, June 30, 2013

My Autism Support Team

Last Wednesday, the day before the last day of school, I was thankful to be able to meet with both of my biggest Autism supports!

I met with Maggie in the early morning. We had a nice visit, had a bit of a chat & as always, she encouraged me to keep being the great mom she thinks I am & not to give up!

That afternoon, I met with Meghan after a LONG time without seeing each other. It was a great time, chatting, catching up & discussing ways to help my piece COPE with all the MAJOR changes that are coming our way. In 2 days the hubby goes back to work! 10 months off, have her SO used to him ALWAYS being here. Then theres big school changes....a new teacher, after 2 years with the same teachers. Going into grade 1 in and of itself is a hard thing for her. There is also the change of Principals in the new year. Daddy going back to work. It just seems that the more we try to regulate things, the MORE upheavel comes and she gets upset & starts to try to pull away and regress!

This summer she will be seeing MANY specialists! I am hoping to get some more answers and HELP!

Meghan, gave me some GREAT ideas on how to work the daily schedules, how to give her some control back without it being overwhelming for her, she gave me suggestions for how to handle the hard times, the meltdowns and the self harming! She also reassured me, I am NOT alone, that other parents have their times, when they WANT to give up!

We are all only human! There is only so much we can do on our own & part of making it through each and every day, each and every problem, is to prepare ourselves to the best we can! Have a support team, have people you can go to when you need help, who you can call when you need to scream, cry or rant....or do ALL 3!

My autism team may be small compared to many peoples, but they are the most AMAZING team I could have EVER hoped for! So to EVERY SINGLE PERSON who supports my family, with love, encouragement, time, energy and kind words! THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART! You are all the reason, we are successful at what we do as parents!

Daddy's Little Girl

I know, that many people feel their daughter is "daddy's little girl". I know I was growing up & I am still very close with my dad & my mom, at the age of 28. I love them both to pieces. I have a connection with my parents that most people NEVER have!

Then there is MY daughter, who has honestly redefined the definition of Daddy's Little Girl in my eyes. When I think of the two of them, it brings tears to my eyes. And this song to my head May be over done by some, but its perfect for my husband and daughter.

My daughter, has been a daddy's girl since before she was born. She was a wild one in my tummy, but the second daddy touched my tummy or started to talk to her, she calmed right down. It was a wild thing to see! Then less then an hour old, when he spoke to her, she had been laying on my chest, she lifted her head on her own, eyes still closed and turned to face him. It was amazing! 6 years later, they're like the best of friends! She loves her daddy more then you could EVER imagine!

When she gets hurt, when she has a problem, when something happens, she needs support, a hug or kiss, whatever the case may be, its DADDY who she NEEDS! When she learns something new, she has to master it before she can show daddy! He is her world! And I love seeing it!

Yesterday, we did the balloon release for our twins we lost last year to still birth. Addisyn & Analeigh. It's been a really tough year, but knowing she had daddy there to support her, has really made the difference in helping her get through this tough first year! Yesterday, she told me something that I will never forget: "Mommy, I know daddy loved them as much as we did, but I am so thankful that he has stood by us through this". She is 6 years old!

Yesterday meant the world to her, because it showed her that she has family that cares!
 The group just as we released the balloons!
 My daughter released the first two by herself, as a special moment for her and her sisters
The balloons all ready to go

Those are some of the shots, that I took at our event yesterday. It was a beautiful day after the rain in the morning & it was a perfect event! 

To me, my daughter is proof to the world, that Autistic children, are special beyond words & they have hearts of gold! They may not communicate in all cases, but they are understanding the HARD parts of life & they all cope in their own ways! She proves to me, that the negative label people have put on her, won't hold her back, because I have instilled in her a great deal of self respect, self love and a love for everyone and everything!

Most importantly though, her father has ALLOWED her to cope in her own ways, hes let her cry, hes let her do what she NEEDED to do to cope! She loves him more then you could even imagine and that makes it even more special! I have NEVER seen a relationship like they have, between ANY two people EVER! He's her rock, her world! He is a large part of who she has become! She is the luckiest girl in the world, in my eyes!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer shaken

2 days left of school. Crunch time, right?! Oh BIG time! So many changes have gone on lately & it's been VERY distressing for my piece! For a while there, I thought I was all set....then a life upheaval happened to all our plans!

Tomorrow, I am SO fortunate, to say, I am meeting with my Autism coach extraordinaire! This lady is AMAZING! Years ago, I met her at Starbucks and we got chatting. Suddenly, I had someone who UNDERSTOOD my struggles with my daughter and who helped me realize I was NOT insane! These things WERE happening & it was NOT my fault! Now this lady is my amazing go to for all things Autism related! And I LOVE her blog! So worth your time! She is AWESOME! You can also find her page on facebook here:

She has been the biggest inspiration to me for years. She is the reason, I know as much as I do & I have come as far as I have with my daughter!

I have mentioned in previous posts as well about Maggie, who is my other AMAZING go to support person for my daughter! Her and my daughter have an amazing connection! My daughter is not big on touching people at all & she will ALWAYS run to Maggie for a hug!

So, with the summer shake up, as I am referring it to, I am looking forward to being able to sit down, discuss some concerns and frrustrations with Meghan as well as get help setting up a game plan for summer! This year, because we have had a lot of big changes, I need to start fresh!

Last summer was a HARD summer for all of us. The end of the school year was rough, my hubby was working overtime, we had just lost the twins, I was trying to cope and my daughter was falling deeper and deeper into a HUGE regressional state. It's been over a year now, and although she has made some good progress, she is still not up to par with other 6 year old kids. Not that we would have expected it. It's hard for ANYONE to adjust to losing 2 siblings, let alone a child who is unable to fully grasp or understand it!

This summer, I know there is a LOT of things she needs to work on. We need to work on adjusting her diet some more, we need to grade 1 prep: reading, writing, sight words, tying shoes, the mile long list goes on forever! Then of course, there is the simple coping with day to day life. We're still trying to get the hang of that one. I have been a sleep deprived mom for 6 years now! 7 if you include my pregnancy! I no longer feel like I can handle these all day/ all night situations!

So with basically 2 days till school is out & 6 days till we figure he goes back to work.....I have my work CUT OUT for me, to prepare for the major upheavel that is our lives this summer!

Wish me luck and stay tuned! I will be writing a post after my visit tomorrow with my AMAZING friend Meghan!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Summer is coming!!!

I don't know about other Autism parents, but I DREAD summer holidays, long weekends, PD days, winter break or anything like that. My daughter spends so much time, in her school schedule, that THAT is her schedule to her. So when we have time off school, it throws her completely off kilter!

Summer break is fast approaching for my piece! I am working HARD as I can, to prep for summer on the worlds tightest budget of $0!!! Yeah, not an easy task. Excluding today and taking out the TWO PD days this month, my daughter has exactly 14 school days left. YIKES!

This year, I am dreading summer more then ever, because there is a LOT of changes for the school year coming for my daughter, that she is ALREADY stressing over. She is getting a new principal, moving up to grade one so she will have a new teacher as well (for Junior and Senior Kindergarten, she happened to have the same teacher and mostly the same classmates). My daughter has had a VERY rough Senior Kindergarten year, with bully from her teacher, classmates and even being pushed from the monkey bars resulting in face and neck injuries. She has had incidents at school that put her very on edge for her allergies and has had her teacher forget more often then she remembered to give my daughter her puffer.

My daughter fears for her life in school. Yet, she is SO used to her school schedule that changes are HARD!

This summer, I was fortunate enough to be able to get a few "sensory" items for my daughter. They were gifted for her birthday today. They include a bean bag chair, a climb through tube (she loves rolling around in them), foam mats for her yoga & some art supplies to add to our collection, that goes far too quickly!

I am preparing her summer schedule similar to how her & I did her Asthma puffer chart at school. With this then that style charts! She has some set in stone activities, that are the same every year. Soccer x1, Swim Lessons x4. Those are currently set in stone already. Other things we are hoping to have come through are dance and gymnastics. Originally we had plans for those, but due to some glitches, we have had to say no to the plans we had!

Each week we will have outings, planned out events, group gatherings with friends, playground fun, activities, quiet times, reading times, working times, "school" times and more! It's a very precise and planned out summer schedule. Even more so, since I will be more then a full time student this summer.

We are hoping to save up the money to do some special trips! My daughter has made a list of places she REALLY wants to go:

Toronto Zoo
Africian Lion Safari
Royal Ontario Museum
And several more!

We are hoping to give her some awesome days out this summer. We are also hoping to hit up a few other Toronto attractions and stay a weekend there and a weekend in Niagara Falls. Money is always the concern!

So with summer coming far too quickly, this is what we are looking at!!! Wish us luck on another switch in schedules and a successful summer! There will be plenty of updates to come!!!

Another year older

Today, my piece turns 6 years old! How is that possible? Really, I don't know HOW 6 years flew by so fast! Where did the time go?

I look back over the past 6 years and think of the times we have had. The good, the bad, the scary! My piece has progressed SO far! After over 2 years of no speech, and me working day and night to get it back, she talks really well now!

I think of how much things have changed. How hard she has worked to be where she is today. I think of the struggles she went through, without any support or encouragement other then us.

Each year, I look back at the tough times, the struggles and the lessons we learned. Then I smile. Because we learned so much, she had amazing times that we can focus on instead of the bad. THEN I thank God for giving me the blessing that is my daughter!

She may be autistic, she may be hard to deal with a lot of the time, but you know what, she is MY piece of the puzzle and she is the BEST little girl I could truly hope for! I am a blessed Autistic Mama :) I wouldn't have it any other way!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRINCESS!!! I can't believe you are already 6 years old! The time has flown by SO fast!!! I love you baby girl!!!

Waterloo Walk for Autism Speaks Canada

Happy 6th Birthday to my precious little princess!!! Today is her birthday, I am finding it so hard to believe she is ALREADY 6! How did time go so fast?

Sunday, June 2nd, we drove the 45 or so minutes to Waterloo, to take part in the walk. My daughter was so excited to take part in the walk. She was also excited to see her Autism Grandma, G-Mags! We were part of a group sponsored by Pure Source, called Ebony's ABC's.

G-Mag's has been an AMAZING support for our family since I met her at a conference in our city. That was earlier this year. She has helped us through MANY tough times as well. We can't thank her ENOUGH!

Sunday, we went to the walk. My husband and I were both nervous. Our daughter doesn't travel well, doesn't handle crowds well, just to name a FEW things! So, we were on edge. The drive there went well. Surprisingly well. She asked a few times, if we were there yet, but other then that, it went very smoothly. She even had a bit of breakfast on the way and when we first arrived. A HUGE step for her, she tends to AVOID breakfast.

When we got there, it was still early. Things had just been set up, not a lot of people yet. And of course, the FIRST person she saw when she got out of the car just so happened to be G-Mags! That thrilled her to NO end! And she was even more excited (I didn't think at that time, she could have been lol), when G-Mags gave her a birthday present to keep safe in our car!

We all went up to the field, got settled and ready for the walk. Princess A had to instantly hit up the rides. There was a HUGE blow up CARS slide, a blow up basket ball game, a blow up bouncer and a trampoline, as well as a hockey game! She hit up every activity at least once and then went back to all the bouncy activities a second time, before too many more people arrived, then the lines were just TOO hectic!

She played with G-Mags dogs, that her and her husband brought along to the walk. She stayed calm and well behaved the ENTIRE day! The crowds didn't upset her. She thanked the volunteers and representatives from Autism Speaks Canada, for celebrating her birthday with her.

G-Mags, being the wonderful woman she is, had it arranged, to have them wish Princess A a happy birthday, to the whole crowd. They had a super cute Blue elephant hat for her to wear, so everyone would KNOW she was the birthday girl and they gave her a blue Star balloon, to attach to the wagon, so everyone would know it was her birthday walk! This thrilled A to NO end! She thought it was awesome that everyone wished her a happy birthday!

Her and I had even made chocolate vegan, allergen free cupcakes the day before, with puzzle piece tops and blue icing. She lit it up blue for Autism with her birthday cupcakes! I thought it was a sweet idea, she had, to make cupcakes for everyone to share :)

The walk was sadly cut short due to weather. It POURED from the start of the walk, till we got back. Some people left, but many stuck it out! A little rain, never hurt anyone! We were there for a cause! G-Mags was smart enough to buy rain ponchos for everyone to wear. Princess A thought it was fun. Normally rain puts her in a HUGE meltdown mode. But at the walk, she was enjoying it. She was in the wagon we borrowed, so thankfully she didn't have to WALK in the rain. She had a blast, and was so well behaved.

I had strangers come up to me a few times, asking if she was autistic because she was so calm, quiet and well behaved. They were amazed when I told them she was!

By the time we went to leave, she was exhausted from all her fun. The morning had been fun, but VERY tiring for her! She had a ROUGH drive home, felt sick to her stomach the WHOLE way home. Then had an emergency bathroom situation 3 minutes from home, but she made it through!

She had a great day, met amazing people, had tons of fun and enjoyed the walk in support of Autism! I was so proud of how well she did that day!

I would also like to say a BIG thank you to Autism Speaks Canada, Pure Source, Ebony's ABC's & everyone who was there with us that day!!! It was an amazing day, despite the rain and we loved seeing everyone out there!!! Great job on the fundraising!!