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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Scary week

Tuesday afternoon began a few of the scariest days ever.  Aidan had been playing in and out of his room all day, had just eaten lunch, and we were all just chilling out.  Jeremy had just gotten back from some job interviews and was sitting on the couch next to me when we heard Aidan start crying/screaming.  I got up and went in to check on him (he'd been watching television quietly) and he was on the floor with his television on top of him.  I pushed the tv off of him (it's a 19 inch old school tube tv) and tried to get him to talk to me.  He was bleeding and had a huge knot between his eyes on his forehead, and was screaming in pain but wouldn't respond to me or really even look at me.  He was completely limp and I couldn't figure out what was wrong with him.  I finally sat him up to clean the blood out of his mouth and he threw up.  At this point, we decided he had a concussion at the very least and he HAD to go to the hospital.

We loaded Aidan up in the car, and Jeremy drove - I had to hold Aidan up because he wouldn't hold up his head, was still very limp, although conscious.  He kept dozing and so we kept him awake because I wasn't sure if he was just sleepy or if he was passing out.  He repeatedly asked where we were while we were driving to the hospital.  When we got to the hospital, they were pretty quick about getting him back to a room, which was very good I believe.  They checked him out and were as concerned as we were I believe.  Aidan's body temperature was low (96.4 F) and he was vomiting and lethargic and most non-responsive.  They let him go ahead and go to sleep/pass out while they were doing their exam.  They took him back to get a CT scan done on his head to check for bleeding, swelling, or fractures and fortunately that came back clean.  Because he was still acting unresponsive and was continuing to vomit, the doctor consulted the Ped's doc who advised that Aidan spend the night for observation.

That night, Aidan continued to be unable to keep even liquids down and was fairly out of it - he didn't speak hardly, even to tell us something hurt.  Most of the time he just slept.   They put a heart monitor on him and checked his vitals every 2-4 hours just to be safe.  The next day around noon the pediatric doc came in and checked on Aidan, and because Aidan was still very out of it, not responding well to us talking to him and still unable to keep anything down, the doctor decided it was best for him to stay a second night.  By that evening, Aidan was acting a bit better.  Still tired and very quiet, but able to keep liquids down and actually responding to whatever we said to him or asked.

By the next day Aidan was doing so much better so the doc let us go home.  Just the process of packing up and driving home exhausted Aidan and when we got home we ALL went straight to bed and slept for a couple of hours.  Aidan actually ate some food at the hospital earlier that day and I think he also had a little bit of a pb&j sandwich before going to sleep that night.

Today, Aidan is mostly back to himself.  He has a nice shiner, and still tires easily, but he's up and moving around more and is much more talkative.  He even has his bratty attitude back for the most part!

I think we might buy a flat screen for him, even though the television that attacked him still works just fine.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Things Every Parent of a Child With Autism Wishes You Knew

You know from a previous post what every child with autism wishes you knew.  Now you can see what every parent of a child with autism wishes you knew.

 From Katie Duzan:

  • Kids with autism are not bad, naughty, or wild hooligans that are a danger to society. They are not products of bad parenting or unloved children. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find better parents than a lot of the parents of autistic kids. Most families have a single autistic child and other neurotypical kids - proving that it's not logically the 'nurture' that is missing. Our kids do not need physical punishment. Here are some studies on why physical punishment is a bad idea anyway, let alone with children who have problems with relationships and development as it is.
  • Autistic does not mean Rainman. Yes, some autistic children are savants. But not every autistic child has a "gift".

  • On the same note, not all autistic children are mentally retarded. Quite the contrary, most autistic kids are just average IQ. It's just hard to test when you can't tell what the child understands because they don't speak.

  • Our kids may look the same, but they're not. Autism is a hidden disability - meaning that if you looked at a photo of an autistic child, you wouldn't be able to tell from their looks they had a disability. That doesn't mean it's not real. Type 1 diabetes is an invisible disability, too. Keep in mind invisible doesn't mean it's not there. You just have to look closer.

  • Autism is not a cop-out. Visit a household with an autistic child during the day to witness what autism REALLY is. I promise, it will blow your mind.

  • We parents are not martyrs. If you think special needs' parent's patience extends to rude and/or ignorant people, think again. We are very protective of our children, and we get defensive and angry just like everyone else. Don't be the one to push that button.

  • Our kids can hear you, even if they're not looking. And odds are, they understand exactly what you're saying. They don't respond to things like other kids. Watch what you say, because autistic kids also have fantastic memories.

  • Stimming may seem odd, but it's perfectly natural. You probably stim, too. Click your pen? Chew on your pencil? Play with your hair? Chew gum? Yeah, that's stimming, too. My kid likes to run in circles more than click his pen... It's a matter of preference. But everyone does it.

  • We are just parents. They are just kids. We will make mistakes. So will you.

  • You have no idea what really goes on in our lives. We are juggling meetings with the school district, doctor appointments, constant barrages of evaluations along with therapies and teacher meetings. We get crushed at least once every six months by evaluations that compare our child to others and note their massive failings (rather than their progress, in most cases). We go through it so much that there's not even enough time for us to heal. There is a constant gaping hole in our heart from hearing about how our children are not the same.

  • We want to know about our kids just like every other parent. Please don't think that we use autism as an excuse. We can't fix a problem unless we know about it. It is more of a challenge to teach our children, but we want to teach them.

  • Pride and ego left us long ago. Go to a grocery store, doctors office or meeting with an autistic child throwing a tantrum and you would totally understand. It fails to phase us parents after a few hundred trips, although the stares and uncaring looks still sting.

  • Despite the challenges with our children, we love our lives. We love our kids. We don't think they need to be 'fixed' - just 'helped'. We want our children to succeed - on their own terms. We don't ever want pity, although a kind ear is appreciated more than you could ever imagine.

  • We hate talking about the "could have's" or "should have's" of autism. Especially if they can't be fixed. We can't go back in time and change whether or not we got an epidural, had a c-section, had preterm labor or fed our child formula. If there's nothing we can do about it, there's no use telling us. We guilt ourselves constantly anyway, we don't need anyone else's help. There's a difference between helpful and hurtful. If you walk that fine line, remember to be kind.

  • We love our kids with all our hearts. Because of (not in spite of) their differences. They have taught us more than we ever imagined we would know. To us, different is our normal.

  • We know our kids love us. We don't need hugs or kisses to prove it (although some autistic kids are affectionate!). We know anyway.

  • No two autistic kids are alike. Some kiss everyone they see. Some hardly stim at all. Some rock in the corner. Most are very happy. If there's a diagnosis, there's no need for second guessing. And if the parents think that their child has autism, they're probably right. Disabilities are frightening to parents, and it takes a long while to accept the possibility. If a parent voices a concern, they have already analyzed it to no end. Accept the possibility.

  • Autism diagnoses are not handed out easily. It takes months to see a specialist, and usually several appointments to get the autism diagnosis. Doctors are very sure before they label a child, and won't give a diagnosis if there's any question whatsoever.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Storm Chasin'

So, as you all may know (or not know...), Aidan wants to be a storm chaser when he grows up.  Now the thing is, he has a hard time with loud noises so the whole thunder thing gives us a bit of a setback.  Basically I've just had to remind him that if he wants to be storm chaser then he's going to have to LIKE thunder and get excited by it instead of scared.  So far I think it actually worked.

Anyways, the other day it was kind of storming off and on and when we thought it had passed we ran out to run some errands.  Well, the storm clouds returned and it started raining and when we got out to the car we noticed what looked a lot like a wall cloud.  Aidan assured us that this was, in fact, most definitely a wall cloud (he's the storm chaser, he would know).  So we kind of humored him and since it wasn't raining THAT hard (at least, not yet), we drove a bit out of our way and as far as he was concerned we were storm chasing.  Not even halfway home the bottom dropped out.  We literally couldn't see more than 10 feet in front of us, the wind was gusting really hard, it was lightning like crazy.  Aidan was thrilled to be out in a real live severe storm and kept talking about the wall cloud and telling us all kinds of weather stuff.  Scary drive but in the long run quite fun.

So now, whenever there's any hint of clouds in the sky Aidan thinks it's going to storm and he wants to go storm chasing.  He's so into it that he tried to convince us to buy him a video camera when we were at Best Buy on Tuesday.

I'm pretty sure that didn't have anything to do with the meltdown he had as we were checking out - a melt down that lasted like... 45 minutes total.  That was a painful meltdown with lots of injuries all around.  And whatever it was that set him off, seems likely to be the same thing that sparked my migraine less than 24 hours later.  Probably weather related as well.

Either way, the point of this whole thing is just that Aidan is still going strong on his plans to be a storm chaser.  He wants me to call a storm chaser and find out if he can ride with them on one of their storm chases... I told him they probably wouldn't let him... for insurance reasons of course.