A Walk in the Park

Today we went to the annual Autism walk for our local autism centre. This morning while we were getting breakfast for the boys, Jeff said “today we’re going for a walk in the park!” I chuckled because ironically, for us, a walk in the park can be the farthest thing from “a walk in the park”. It can be challenging, rewarding, and exhausting all at the same time.
Registration started at 10 and the walk started at 11. We timed it out so that we would have minimal waiting time before we could start walking. The four of us arrived about 5 minutes before the walk began, and even that was about 4 minutes too early!! I registered and gave Lori a small donation from us and from my parents. Then we waited as people began to gather near the starting line.
Ledger was anxious to get moving while Tucker took in all the people from his comfy stroller. Deb, the director of the autism centre, said a few words to get the crowd fired up and even chanted “give me an A…give me a U…” And finished with “let’s walk for our kids!” Our third walk, our third year, and I still choke up at that…I’m not sure I will ever feel enthusiastic about the fact that my child has autism. But it sure is nice to see that the people who have lived it and who have older children and young adults are positive about the disorder.
We have met a few people on our walks over the years. Some who we knew previously to our journey and some new faces. One man we met last year… He was observing Ledger from a distance and quietly approached us to ask how old he was and when he was diagnosed. He listened and then told us that he wasn’t diagnosed until he was much older. He didn’t have any therapies or support groups like Ledger has access to. We were grateful that he had approached us, impressed by his social ability, and encouraged by his confidence. Today, he approached Jeff and Ledger again to give them two small paper birds that he had made himself. Ledger tried to throw them in the water which he was so drawn to, and the young man suggested to Jeff that maybe he could find some stones to throw in the water. A simple suggestion that Jeff had already thought of, but seemed so heartfelt coming from the young man who, I assume, can see a glimpse into Ledger’s world.
Throughout the walk I find myself looking at the other people on the journey as well. Young, old, boys, girls, some verbal, some non-verbal, some with obvious sensory issues, some clinging to a parent, some observing others around them, and others struggling to walk past a small water fall which has caught their attention.
Our walk in the park today was not a walk in the park. But then again, neither is our life. With all of the differences around us, there was one common factor today. That was the love and support that you could see in the parents, family and friends of all of the people who they were walking for. Some days it feels like a very lonely world, and it is impossible for anyone who isn’t living with autism to fully understand that feeling. Seeing the people today, some enthusiastic, as I mentioned, and some looking very tired… everyone shared a common look of understanding. No one looked at us in shock or misunderstanding. I never felt the need to apologize or the need to explain the situation. My wish is that someday, that group of people who understand and accept the differences of autism will be as broad as the spectrum itself…

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April

Sorry I’ve been slacking with my posts! This month has kind of been a whirlwind! Jeff was away for awhile, Easter was in there, and on top of that, all of us in the house have been bogged down with colds! Tucker was on his first dose of antibiotics for a throat infection, I was on them for a sinus infection, and Ledger was on them (and still is) for a chest infection! Some how, Jeff stayed clear of the infections…lucky him!
So Easter went well, although we were all sick. We did not make it to church because Ledger and I were both at the hospital on Easter morning to get some antibiotics. We did manage to get in both family dinners which we were very grateful for! The Easter egg hunt was a big flop…I hid 38 plastic eggs and probably picked up 30 of them after the day was done. Ledger put a couple in his basket with a lot of prompting, and Tucker was just happy to roll them around on the floor!
This week was spent recovering from the colds/infections, giving the right medicine to the right kid, and also a visit to the paediatrician. We talked about Ledgers development and our concerns. We are getting a referral to meet with a man in the province who has developed some of the different therapies for autism. He will meet and observe Ledger and then hopefully give us some suggestions of therapies that may work for his personalities and help with some of his struggles. We also voiced our concern on how active Ledger is. He is unable to stay focused for even 2 minutes at a time. As a teacher, it’s frustrating because if I could get him to focus a little bit more, then he should be able to learn a little bit more. Our dr suggested that we try a very small dose of medication to help with his hyperactivity and to see if that improves his attention. If we don’t notice a difference, then we can eliminate the med and move on to another strategy.
Tomorrow we are looking forward to spending the day as a family. There is an autism walk at a local park to help fundraise for our local autism centre. We have gone for the past two years, and we’re hoping to make it again tomorrow. Then in the afternoon we have a birthday party to go to for our nephew/godson!
Here’s hoping the colds are on the way out and we can have a fun filled weekend!

Holidays…

This weekend is Easter. Which means decorating, gifts, family, food, and for us (I’ve said it before), no expectations.

So how do we deal with holidays? Well, I put up a few decorations almost three weeks ago. Ledger noticed them right away. I had to tell him a few times not to touch them and thought they might get destroyed, but so far they’ve survived!

As far as gifts, we always use Easter as an excuse to buy the boys a few spring clothes and then of course a toy and some treats. Presents are hard for Ledger. He doesn’t like to open things, and I think that’s because he doesn’t know what’s hiding behind the tissue or the wrapping paper. We normally open gifts for him, but of course, praise him for any effort he puts in!

The family part is relatively normal. We often go to my parents or my in laws for dinner, so this isn’t out of the ordinary for him. Food is often difficult due to his milk, eggs, and peanut allergies so we usually bring his lunch bag with us just to be sure!

Church… This is always up to Ledger! We always plan on going for special occasions like Easter, but to be honest, Ledger will decide whether we’re going or not. No expectations leads to no disappointment or frustration…right?!

Chocolate… Yes I intentionally put church before this! But comon, we’re all big kids and we all associate Easter with chocolate! Ledger unfortunately can’t have chocolate eggs or bunnies due to his allergies. But that doesn’t stop us from enjoying Easter with the boys. This week I’ve been making special chocolates for the Easter bunny to hide around the house. It’s a simple recipe: 1 cup of enjoy life chocolate chunks or mini chips, mixed w 1/2 tsp of coconut oil. Melt in the microwave and pour into molds. Trust
me they’re delish!!! We also picked up some angry bird gummies and Mickey Mouse dried fruit for his basket.

If you know a kid with allergies, I suggest checking out this site:
http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/KFA-Celebrates-Easter.pdf
This link takes you right to the Easter section, but it’s a site for all holidays. It’s helpful with treats, small gifts, and activities!

So yes, there will be stressful times over the holiday weekend but we plan on trying it all…church, dinners, and you know it, even eggs hunts! I’ll let you know how it all goes ~ Happy Easter!

The terrible twos…

So for those of you who actually follow my blog (thanks!), you know that neither one of my boys are two. But with Ledgers delays, and his latest actions, I feel that we are experiencing the terrible twos! Sometimes they make me stressed, sometimes they drive me crazy, but most times they make me laugh…why? Because they seem to be typical, boy, mischievous behaviours!
For example, he was never a climber…ever! Now he climbs on anything…speakers, shelves, people, and even into Tucker’s crib! Yup, we definitely need to keep our eyes on him.
Food is an obsession to him. If he comes to take your hand chances are he’s pulling you to the cupboard. He might want apple sauce, a cookie, the iPad (which we keep in the cupboard lol) or raisins. These things he can’t get on his own so he pulls you to help him. However, if he wants a drink, he opens the fridge and (if he’s lucky) we have a drink poured for him. Sometimes this satisfies him and sometimes it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, he is notorious for grabbing the mustard. He’ll bring it to you, throw it down the stairs, or lose his train of thought and I’ll find it in my bed later on that day.
Yesterday morning Ledger got up and got his own breakfast! To most of you that sounds fantastic! Lol however, if I tell you that it consisted of going into the freezer and eating two frozen un-toasted waffles you might change your thoughts! Lol how did we know??? We found the empty packaging and the waffles were nowhere to be seen! At least he didn’t try to pour his own syrup!
He loves running a bath! In fact one morning, he went into my bathroom, started himself a bath, and climbed in! By the time I realized that he was in there he had his pants off (although they were in the tub) and his shirt was still on! Guess he wanted to go for a swim!
The best laugh of the week was one evening this week… Jeff was downstairs with Tucker and I was upstairs with Ledger. I went into the washroom, and when I came out Ledger was running around without any pants or underwear on. I asked him where they were but he just kept running lol. So I starting looking around to find out where he took off his pants. After checking every room I called down to Jeff to come help me look. We checked every room again and then finally I spotted them. There they were, pants and underwear attached…stuck inside Tucker’s exercauser! Obviously he had climbed in, got a little stuck and climbed out, leaving his pants behind! At least he gave us a good laugh!
These are the times…the crazy, wild, typical boy stuff that we can laugh about, look forward to, and get us through the day 🙂

A special day

The color blue is a favorite in our house. That’s kind of a given, considering the fact that we have two boys!  But today was a special day filled with blue to honor our boy and to celebrate autism awareness day. That’s right, I said celebrate!! I’ll find any reason to throw a party :).

The morning was typical – I hate to throw off his routine before he goes to intervention!  We did our normal morning thing, but made sure to wear blue of course!  At lunch time, I picked him up from school where they were all very festive in their blue shirts, the lobby was decorated in blue streamers, and they had a blue cake which smelt delish – but we opted out…thanks to allergies lol!  We headed home and I got the boys some lunch.  I put Tucker down for his nap and then started celebrating with Ledger by doing some of his favorite  things.  He started by playing on the IPad…and by choice, he usually goes back and forth between games and educational apps.  As a transition away from the IPad, I offered him one of his favorite treats – pretzels! – in a blue bowl just for fun!  He also had some blue skittles as a treat a little later on 🙂

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Then we had some craft time!  My original plan was to trace Ledger’s hand, but when I showed him what I was going to do, he wanted to trace mine!  So, of course, I happily let him take over…unfortunately my long skinny fingers have all merged together and now resemble one gigantic mitt haha!   He wasn’t enthusiatic about letting me return the favour, so we did a finger paint hand stamp instead which he seemed to be happy with.

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After we finished making a mess upstairs doing crafts, we headed downstairs to build a blue fort and watch Monsters University – there’s actually quite a bit of blue in that movie.  Tucker decided to wake up and join in on the fun!

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Before sitting down to supper we played with some blue floam (kinda like slim but with little beads of foam in it), blew some bubbles – yes in the house! – and played with a blue balloon…

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We ended off the day by having cupcakes, dancing in the living room, and Ledger had a bath in our big tub 🙂

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Thank you to all of my family and friends for showing their support today and everyday!  I have to be honest, it was sort of emotional reading all of the posts and seeing all of the people who wore blue today!  I had so many messages and pictures sent to me from near and far (even Ottawa and Florida!) saying they were wearing blue for a special boy, a special cousin…and some even called him a friend!  Everyone was so thoughtful to think of us, and their “friend” Ledger!

When Ledger was diagnosed just two and a half years ago, numbers were at 1 in 80.  Just recently, stats for diagnosis went up (again!) to 1 in 68…but to us, he’s our 1 in a million.  Thanks to all of you who helped raise awareness today!  Hope you enjoyed your day little man, love you!