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Telling if Your Child With Autism is Sick

Can you figure out if your kid on the spectrum is sick?  Not always.....

Back when my son was 5, or 6, I figured he had probably hit the age when he would start throwing up in the toilet and not on the floor.  ...or in bed....or on the couch....or wherever he happened to be.  I was waiting for him to tell me verbally that he was feeling nauseous.  I thought I would hear some kind of expression of malaise.  "My head hurts."

"My stomach hurts."

"I feel dizzy."

I thought he would tell me something.  It didn't occur to me that he didn't know how.

And it certainly didn't occur to me that he would need to be taught how.

So we started talking about it.   Where is your stomach?  Point to it.  Where is your head...touch your head.

Here are some words that can tell about how you feel:  yucky, hurts, bad, feel sick. 

Here are some pictures of people who feel sick.

I thought I had it all covered.  Until the day he told me, with a thoughtful expression, "Mom, my stomach feels bubbly and sugary".

Wow, what a cute expression.  That sounds so poetic.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.  Wait a minute.  Could that possibly mean.....?

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First teen party (and gray hair count)

My son, aged 16 (almost 17) was invited to his first teen party.  It was hosted by another teen with autism who is a classmate, and many of their classmates were also invited.  True to the ratio of males to females in the disabled world, there were 4 girls to 12 boys.  (and 4 parents)  I was curious about the mom who was brave enough to have this party - brave or clueless, I wasn't sure which.  Turns out she was both.

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A boy is a boy is a boy....

...what I mean is, autism or no autism, a boy will always be a boy.  It's been hard for me to always see the boy who is my son - sometimes all I see is the autism.  -or the dyslexia.  -or the OCD.  -or the anxiety.

But yesterday, when I noticed that besides Thomas the Tank Engine you tube videos, he has been viewing bikini-clad ladies enjoying the mud from the Dead Sea, all I could see was the Boy, with a capital "B".

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Autistic and NOT vaccinated?

Not trying to be controversial or confrontational.  I just saw this topic on 2 message boards, but I wasn't a member and therefore couldn't respond, so I thought I would ask my friends here at Autism Blogger (that's YOU).

So, do any of you have a relative/child with autism (or anywhere on the spectrum) or do you yourself have a dx of autism (or spectrum) and did not receive immunizations?

You go first, and then I'll tell.

Sher

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Autism - Searching for Answers ......Not

I'm not happy right now.

I've just been asked to join a study sponsored by the Simon Foundation (haven't looked them up yet).  I was interested, mainly because all the perks caught my eye.  Here's how the letter reads:

 

"Dear parent of .......,

The Interactive Autism Network (IAN) is pleased to introduce you to a unique scientific project taking place at Columbia University Medical Center (NYC).  Participants receive a no-cost evaluation for their child, as well as a cash incentive.  (OK, now I'm interested).  This study, sponsored by the Simons Foundation, is especially focused on unexplained autism spectrum disorders which do not seem to run in families.  Unlike most studies, this study is designed to aid the efforts of many researchers, not just one."

In an accompanying letter, the researcher further describes:

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I'm worried about the state of special education in the state of New Jersey

New Jersey's governor wants to create an autism school in every NJ county.

Why does he want to do this?  To save money.  Not to help the increasing numbers of kids with autism.

He has cut all the education budgets of all the public schools in New Jersey.  Everyone knows how much more money it takes to provide a program for special needs children, especially kids with autism.  So his idea is to take it out of the hands (and pockets) of the school districts, and build a school (just one!) in each county that will educate students with autism.  Problem solved.

Any idea how many children in NJ have autism?  I don't, but I'm sure it's a LARGE number, and it's growing quickly.  In NJ, the incidence of autism is 1 in 94 kids.  These schools would have to be huge to provide for all the students in each county, and then I guess your child or my child would have to ride oh, maybe 2 hours on a bus each way, if you didn't live near that school...and there would be no more mainstreaming, because there would be no typical kids to mentor them...

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Anyone Else Have a Tough Christmas?

Now that JP is 16, Christmas is more challenging.  A lot more challenging!  My son still believes in Santa, still wants to receive toys, is still an 8 yr old in a 16 yr old's body.  My husband and I want to encourage, but not force him to grow up.  So no longer are we as willing to buys lots of toys for him.  This year, in an attempt to foster interest in more age-appropriate gifts, he received tee-shirts, sweaters, work-gloves, and a DVD of 'That's Entertainment'.  He would have preferred Thomas the Tank Engine and Mighty Machines, but he got musicals and slap-stick instead.  He would have rather received Playmobile little people and toy cranes - instead he got a LEGO motorized truck-crane (which looks terribly hard to assemble, Lord help us!).  He was angry at the whole scene, and wanted to know why Santa hadn't brought him what he really wanted.  I didn't say "There is no Santa", because that won't get me anywhere except endless tears.  I simply said the bare minimum - these are your gifts, and we love you.  Then I tried re-direction:  let's put the model train together now!  Let's start putting the dessert dishes on the table.  Time to watch a Christmas movie!      

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Re: Chores...not a popular subject

Here I am, chatting away about the beauty of chores, and I find that many parents do not agree with me.  Let me tell you that I did not always see the importance of chores...in fact, life was way too complicated back when my son was young to even think past each moment.  Here you are, whether a mom or a dad, trying your best to manuver in the brand-new world of child-rearing, not having a map, everyone's giving you advice (usually unwanted), and you are dealing with a child who is a) not talking    b) not playing   c) not relating to others    d) having meltdowns/tantrums    e)a complete mystery to you   f) all of the above

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Chores for the young person with autism

It's surprising how many parents dislike the term "chores".  Maybe it comes from unpleasant childhood experiences doing their own chores, or is it that they didn't have chores and feel strongly that children should have a childhood free from drudgery?  Perhaps they feel that chores are menial, and that their children are "above" menial labor.  Well, whatever your reason, if you do not already have your child doing chores, then you are setting him/her up for some tough life lessons.  Chores are important.  Not only are they important, they are vital to prepare any person for adulthood.  Do you remember what Sir Topham Hatt used to say to his engines (this is if your child was obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine like my son was)?  The highest compliment he could give was to tell a train character that he was "..a really useful engine".  Chores teach how to be useful.  Useful is extremely important; much more important than smarts, or talent, or cuteness.  Statistics show that employment for individuals with ASD is almost impossible, but not because they lack brains or talent or attractiveness.  No, it's extremely difficult for our young people on the spe

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Newly-formed Parent Support Group UPDATE...some good news and some bad news

  We did it!  We formed a parent support group here in NJ, for parents of children with disabilties of transition age...so kids age 11 and up.  Most of us have teenagers, age 14, 15, 16.  It totals us to about 6  or 7 families (usually moms), small but it's a good start.  We meet for coffee once a month to talk about what we want to do, what direction we want the group to go in, and what everyone's needs are.  After 2 meetings, we decided that a need of major importance was leisure skills.  So we made a long list of every possible community event we might want to consider, then we weeded out the expensive ones (Broadway shows in NYC), and the more daring ones (tubing down the Delaware River)...and now we get together once a month to go somewhere, do something fun, and then eat at a restaurant. 

In March:  went to the movies (something 3-D).

In  April:  went to the local planetarium to see a laser light show, then ate at an Irish tavern

May - too darned busy

June:  Movies and a restaurant are planned

Oh, and we all went bowling in Feb.

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