Friday, July 27, 2012

The House with 10 Windows

It was a Thursday afternoon.  Our appointment was for 1pm.  My husband and I walk up the carpeted staircase in an old building downtown.  We were the first to arrive so we sank down into the leather seats to wait for the rest to join us.  Soon our Realtor arrived along with the sellers and their Realtor.  Soon we were escorted into the meeting room with everyone gathering around the table.  Making small talk with the seller was a bit awkward.  You could tell she loved her kitchen.  I assured her it would be used often and taken care of.  I told her that our son loved to cook.  She smiled.  Then a huge stack of papers were presented and pens distributed.  Surprisingly enough, I was at ease.  No stomach jitters.  I looked at my husband and we smiled at each other. 

After signing most of the stack of papers the most important one was at hand....the deed.  The seller signed off on the house with tears in her eyes.  Then it was our turn.  My husband went first.  As he signed he told the seller that her house was already sold before she put it on the market.  She looked at us with a puzzled expression.  We started to share.

We made the decision in April that it was time to purchase a new home.  We had 2 things that we were looking for.  The first was a new school district and second was a large, flat backyard.  You would think that would be an easy thing but it proved to be more difficult that we thought.

After doing research and calling several school districts we decided on one that we felt would be the best fit for our son's needs and also great for our daughter.  That narrowed the search.  We started Sunday drives to narrow the search even more.  We were constantly checking on Zillow and the paper for houses to drive by. 

Often, we would just drive around the area to look.  One night my husband and son went on one of these drives.  My husband  told me he was on a road when my son suddenly said, "I want to go in that house.  My house.  Stop.  My house."  He took note of the house and liked it.  He then told my son that it wasn't for sale.  There was no sign out front. 

I was able to go look at houses with our Realtor while the kids were at school and hubby was at work and eventually narrowed it down to 2.   On a Tuesday afternoon our Realtor, hubby and I pulled up to house #2 to check it out.  As we were getting out of our cars, we noticed a house across the road with a sign on the front lawn.  I pointed it out to the Realtor and said I wanted to go into that one.  My husband agreed and told me that was the house our son wanted to go in, the one he called 'my house'.  Long story short....we put in an offer on Saturday and it was accepted Sunday. 

We kept asking the kids, "What kind of house do you want?"  My son always replied, "10 windows.  The house with 10 windows." 

I met the house inspector at the new house to go through it but before we started, I stood at the top of the driveway and counted the windows.  Sure enough, there were 10.  You could see 10 windows from the street.  Coincidence?  Lucky number?  You never know with him sometimes.  He truly has a sixth sense.

Later that week, I told the kids that Mommy and Daddy bought a new house then took them for a drive by and asked what they thought.  My daughter loved it and my son said, "The house with 10 windows, my house" as a matter-a-fact.

Everyone in the room couldn't believe what they were hearing.  It was followed up with "That's amazing." " Oh my gosh."  "Wow."  The seller had a huge smile on her face along with watery eyes.  She knew the house was in good hands.  It was meant to be.  

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Must've Been the Soda

Yesterday afternoon I found a lump in my left breast.  My first reaction was NOT NOW!  Summer is way too busy.  How was this possibly going to happen?  My next yearly is in September and it wasn't there last time.

When I was 27 I had a lump removed but didn't have any kids.  There were doctor appointments, mammograms, ultrasounds, meet with a surgeon 2x, then finally went to go have surgery to get the darn thing out.  Wait, wait, wait for the results all while healing.  Everything came back negative for the big 'C' thank God. 

Here we go again.  Now that I'm 40 and have 2 kids, 1 on the spectrum, summer activities, constant running around, and another school year to get ready for where oh where am I going to find the time?

 I will make the time because I want this thing out of me.  I knew something was up about 2 months ago when I noticed my left side was a bit larger than my right but couldn't feel anything.  Started to check daily but nothing.  Coffee in the morning, water all day long and wine at night, my usual.  Yesterday the kids and I stopped off at Daddy's work and had some pizza.  My son whined the whole time because he wanted to see the movie Brave, which I promised, so ordering was rushed.  I ended up drinking 1/2 of his soda...I don't drink soda.  Later that afternoon my left side felt very tender, I think do to the extra caffeine and low and behold, because of the tenderness, I found the lump.  Don't wait until October to check it now. 

The one thing parents tend to do is take care of their children before taking care of themselves.  Guilty.  So guilty on this one.  We have to be sure we are still around for them by taking care of our health also.  When the kids are sick, we do all we can to get them better asap.  For example when I have a cold, I take some meds to keep on going.  No time to lay down and sleep.  I'm sure you're with me on that one. 

No messing around with my current situation.  I'll be calling the Doctor as soon as the office opens to get in asap.  Not sure how all the appointments will be fit into the schedule but it will get done.  Not happy about another surgery to get the darn thing out but it will get done.  Recovery time?  I'll request major pain killers I guess but it will get done.  My kids and husband are worth it.  I'm worth it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What does BHRS, BSC and TSS stand for?

There have been many times when I've been asked what BHRS, BSC and TSS stand for within our discussions on the Grape Jelly on Pizza page.  Here is a brief definition of them.  My son currently has these services and has had them since he was 4 years old.  They are beneficial to him due to the fact he has autism and behaviors that need to be addressed.  If you aren't sure how to get these services, please ask your Developmental Pediatrician or your child's Psychologist.

Behavioral Health Rehabilitative Services (BHRS) 

Behavioral Health Rehabilitative Services (BHRS) are administered through the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) in the Department of Public Welfare (DPW). Children and adolescents who have medical assistance (MA) are eligible to receive medically necessary BHRS services until the day before their 21st birthday.
BHRS is a rehabilitative, MA-funded program providing trained professional support for youth to reduce or replace challenging behavior with positive, socially appropriate behavior. BHRS are family and child-centered and can take place in a variety of settings, including the home and community. Services are defined by the Behavior Treatment Plan, or Behavior Care Plan. Progress is monitored with data, updated regularly and reevaluated every four to twelve months.

Behavioral Specialist Consultant (BSC)

Behavior Specialist Consultants are professionals with a master’s degree in psychology, education, social work, or other related field and one year paid experience working with children in a CASSP approved program. All BSCs working for Autism Behavioral Services, Inc. are supervised by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). BSCs conduct functional behavior assessments, write treatment plans, and supervise the implementation of the program.

Therapeutic Staff Support (TSS)

Therapeutic Staff Support (TSS) are professionals with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, education, or a related field and one year paid experience working with children in a CASSP approved setting. The TSS provides one-to-one intervention to the child or adolescent in the location where services are indicated. The TSS works under the behavior program and supervision of his/her Behavior Specialist Consultant (BSC).

Saturday, July 7, 2012

You will not be a shoplifter, my boy.

As a mom, I have been changing the way I have been acting. For example, when he was little and was throwing full-on fits at stores, I would tell whoever was starring, "He has autism. Sorry." Basically calling him out. As he is growing, I am growing as a person and realizing that it isn't OK for me to do that anymore.  Sometimes it can be tough not to say anything. 

A few days ago we went to Home Depot.  He enjoys going to Home Depot because of all the isles of tons of stuff and I like going because my creative juices get started.  Anyway I had to pick up something that I wasn't familiar with so to save time, I found someone to help.  George asked, so I handed him a small list and we were off to collect the items.  As we were filling up the cart, George told Benjamin to steer the cart because we were turning left.  Hesitation on my part because did he know right from left?  Turns out George sorta steered the cart left so my son then continued it.  While I was getting a brief explanation on how the product worked, my son kept pestering my daughter.  She started complaining, he kept after her and I had to take many breaks from the conversation with George to say, "Stop.  Stay away from each other.  No candy when we leave."  Not that I promised candy but sometimes there is a level of desperation to try to get them to behave.  This happens with typical I am told.

Thanks George for all your help but we were heading down a spiral path.  You could just tell that in a very short time there would be trouble....autism trouble.

The candy that started it all.
At check-out, he grabbed M&Ms and brought them to the counter but I stuck to my guns and told him no. He then took the candy and started to put it in his pocket when the check-out guy looked at him and said, "Don't even think about it." He put the candy back then walked back to the cart. As we were walking out of the store I told him that by putting the candy in his pocket without paying for it would be shoplifting. If you shoplift you would be in trouble with a police officer and he would then have to go to the police station in the police car without Mommy. I explained it as if I were telling my NT daughter. Without hesitation my son understood what I was saying and immediately said sorry with tears in his eyes.

He got it.

I resisted temptation to tell both George and the check-out guy about his condition.  Would it have made a difference anyway?  Autism looks typical.  If he would've put the candy into his pocket and gotten in trouble, would an explanation of autism have been enough to get him out of it?  I don't want to know...I think.  He needs to know that shoplifting is not OK and hopefully he doesn't attempt it again. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

"I am not in Kindergarten"

Extended School Year (ESY) started, which is a necessary in this household.  There is regression over the holiday breaks so as soon as the school year starts, ESY is requested. 

We don't call it school in the summer.  Instead we refer to ESY as camp...yay, camp!!  So, imagine the excitement when it was time for 'camp'.   He picked out his favorite Angry Bird shirt, gathered his backpack together and stood at the front door.

The bus was 35 minutes late to start.  After waiting for 15 minutes I called the school to make sure he was still on the route and was told, "first day, scheduling problems."  OK.  Waiting isn't my child's favorite thing to do.  When the bus came, he was so excited he ran to it, found a seat and waved to me with a big smile on his face.  What a relief.  It could've been different.  Way different.

When he came home he was mad.  Really mad.  He stormed into the house, threw his back pack and stomped into the other room.  Not good.  I followed to see what information I could get out of him.  I asked if he had fun.  He took his little hands, made two fists, and crinkled his nose.  I know that look.  He wasn't sharing any information anytime soon.  So I made him lunch.  Hot dog with ketchup, mustard and relish per request. 

Still no words when it was time to eat.  His BSC came for a while and when she asked him about camp, he threw pieces to a game and stomped his feet right out of the room.  She tried several times but there still was no answer.  Not that we expected a full explanation.  That's the difference with my child with autism compared to my NT child.  She will talk about everything in detail.  You have to piece together what he is saying or get information from his actions.  

He took a break by playing Sonic on Wii.  This seemed to calm him down but I still had to figure out how to help him.  You would think a note would've came home with him if he got in trouble but there wasn't anything.  I just wanted him to answer me.....what happened?

Around 3:30 I got what I was fishing for.  Why was he so upset?  I asked again.  What happened at camp?  Why are you mad?  He told me, "I am not in kindergarten."  There was my answer.  His buddies probably aren't there.  After all, he is going into the third grade and my guess is all of the kindergartners who are going into first grade are in ESY. 

The real test was to be the next day.  Would be voluntarily go on the bus or did he really dislike it so much that he would refuse?

Turns out he did get on this morning but let it be known....he is not in kindergarten.  He wants to be shown respect.  Nursery rhymes don't cut it with him anymore.  Just because he looks at things differently doesn't mean it is OK to belittle him.  He may not be able to read like we do but he has the ability to figure out very difficult computer games that blow people away.  He is smart.  Smarter than people think.  When you are with a child with autism, please keep that in mind.  Talk to them like you would any other child.  They may not look at you but they are still listening to every word you say.  Show them respect.  My son may be in an autistic support classroom but I talk to him like he is a third grader.  A typical third grader.