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SAHM of 3 wonderful kids, one brilliant one Asperger Syndrome. This is not a living shrine to his disorder, but rather a place to share & discuss the different challenges that came with it and other things about parenting & life in general.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wished for a vacation, wish granted, or was it?

I finally have my wish. I got a break. A well deserved break.

But as everything in life, there was a catch. A big one.

I had a lingering back pain that came  time to time. Instead of finding a primary care physician, as I did for the kids, I went to the ER. Got medication that took care of the problem, I thought.
As always, I ignored it by putting band aid on it.

But  last week, my body gave out. I couldn't get up from the floor. I called for help.

I went to the ER. I got pain medication and went home.

But did I look for a Doctor? Nope. As always, life got in the way. Meds kept my pain at bay. Too many things to do, too many responsibilities.

My need to continue as I usually do, I ended up in the ER again two days later.

Monday, I spent half a day searching for a doctor. Searching for my own doctor was worse than the back pain. After 19 phone calls, including 3 to the insurance company, I found a doctor. I went in at 230. By 530, I had complete workup including blood & other, plus X-ray, diagnosis, and proper medications.

Did I learn anything from this? I need to take care of myself, not just the family.

Now I am forced to sit here, off my feet, updating my blog as I wanted while doing some reading on the side.

I am looking forward to moving around again and being a mother instead of a zombie.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

If I only knew...

This is W at 100 days old. In Korea, babies celebrate 100 days after birth and 1st birthdays. Along with the celebration, we have their picture taken.

I was a young mom at 21, clueless and immature. Motherhood was new, and I treated him like a very cute personal doll. I was happy to have my happy, cute baby.

Never did I imagine the challenges that were to come.

I used to think it was my fault that he had Aspergers. I know that the cause is still being studied. But there was always that guilt in my heart, that I somehow contributed to it.

I used to see him only as a happy baby. My perception changed as we were confronted with challenges of his, then undiagnosed, disorder. I asked myself if there were anything I could have done differently that would have lessened his difficulties. But I decided to forgive myself. I decided to remember him as the happy baby he was and be thankful that he is a happy person now.

"Life is an adventure in forgiveness. - Norman Cousins"

Monday, August 15, 2011

Therapy & my aspie

To be honest, the therapy he received was very minimal. He was recommended for speech pathologist by his Pediatrician due to his speech delay. He was enrolled in Special Education class to continue to receive it. 
I was clueless and so was everyone else. Autism was the farthest thing in my mind. No one thought to ask because the only visible difficulty he had was speech.
W was a quiet and content child, who many believed would grow out of the phase and join the rest of his peers. That did not happen. When speech followed, we assumed things would fall into place. I was wrong. He was speaking, but not enough to carry on a conversation. I could have been proactive, but I wasn't. 
He was integrated into regular kindergarten where he continue to receive speech therapy. I had to pull him out of school because I found something disturbing. I visited his class one day and found him alone in a booth desk, while other kids sat in a circular desk. Teacher’s excuse was that he was inattentive. But I was never notified that he was having any difficulties. I pulled him out and placed him in private school for two weeks, then finally to a very small Montessori school where he thrived. Since he was in private, I had to pay out of pocket for a voice coach to continue his speech therapy. 
When he had a diagnosis, after much bullying in school, he was recommended for therapy. Since he was functioning well in school and required no assistance, once a week therapy was the only option he had. There was no group sessions being offered and information was very limited. 
These were his main difficulties:
  1. Meltdowns - consisting of him sobbing as if someone died
  2. Lack of self-awareness - circling, smiling, unaware of his surrounding
  3. Eye contact 
  4. Focus on one subject- trains, planes, automobiles, transportation, reading, drawing, and disasters.
  5. Monotone or over-animated voice
  6. Unable to hold conversations - usually one sided, sticking to his topic
  7. Unable to read body language or other facial cues
  8. Studdering, or repeating back what the other person said
  9. Selective memory - remembering every fact from book but forget simple instruction
His therapy & his voice coach helped with the following. His meltdowns decreased significantly because he was no longer frustrated by what he did not understand. His voice coach helped with his over animated voice, his gestures, and holding simple conversations. The therapies were only two hours a week. I had to take over where therapy ended.
I have to admit that I wasn’t proactive about reading more on this subject.  I had a session with the therapist to see what she was doing so I could continue at home. I was and am a very strict mom and sometimes, to others I can even sound mean.  
I will probably cover the things I used to do in another post. But this is where he stands. He can hold conversations now, with minimal redirection. He controls the tone of his voice and gestures when he speaks. He can keep eye contact by looking at the nose or the face instead of the eyes.  He stopped going around in circles or smiling and talking to himself. 
It wasn't simple. He is constantly working on his skills. Boyscouts & JROTC is helping him practice the skills he learned. Since the bullying incident, he has matured more and is capable of avoiding some situations. His therapist said he only needed on session per month, but I insisted on twice a month. I'm afraid how it would be once therapy is no longer available to him. 

All in all, therapy helped W learn the skills he needed to grow. For me, I learned to understand how W works and I am still learning to be a good mother to my aspie son. 

For more posts from 34 bloggers on this topic check out: Best of the Best, Edition 9: Therapy & Special Needs Kids  http://bit.ly/og6To4

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New perspective on a moody day

I had one of those days. I left the house in the morning with my preschooler and came home around dinner. Errands, drop offs, pickups, and waiting. I came home exhausted. The rainy weather was not helping either. After putting dinner on the table, I tweeted my self-indulgent tweets. My tweeps came to my rescue.
       I was humbled by their struggles and made me feel ashamed that I was complaining about mine.
 Then I looked up and saw this. It was still raining, but there was a rainbow. 
It changed my mood instantly. I found my sunshine. It's all about perspective.

Look up once in a while. It is a marvellous feeling.

Some people are making such thorough preparation for a rainy days that they aren't enjoying today's sunshine. - William Feather

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My aspie's bucket list

W came home today and handed me his planner.  His assignment was to create a bucket list. It made me laugh to get a glimpse of what was in his mind. Very colorful indeed. I like the last one.

So here is the big reveal.

  1. Become a doctor who works primarily with low income families.
  2. Attend John Hopkins University in Baltimore Maryland
  3. Graduate from High school
  4. Fall in love
  5. Have a date to the prom
  6. Get married on a top of a mountain
  7. Sing at a karaoke bar with a jazz band
  8. Write a fantasy / science fiction novel
  9. Explore the problems Islamic-Americans face in America
  10. Go to a heavy metal concert in New York
  11. Drive across America
  12. Buy a house for my Uncle/Aunt and Mom/Dad when they get old
  13. Travel to Korea
  14. Live to see the day when North and South Korea is united
  15. Watch a place in London's Globe Theatre
  16. Visit Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
  17. Rescue people from human slavery in India
  18. Take a look at the Acropolis in Athens
  19. Pay respects at Auschwitz - Birkenau
  20. Watch an Olympic game in the audience
  21. Travel on a flight from Singapore to New York
  22. Listen to "1001 songs before you die"
  23. Dine at a 5-star restaurant in Hong Kong
  24. Spend a week in the Laksawedeep islands in India
  25. Buy a house in Rome, near Victor Emmanuelle II monument
  26. Ski in Vail, Colorado and then surf in California in one day
  27. Be an extra in a music video
  28. Watch a Russian ballet in St. Petersburg
  29. Take a river cruise in France
  30. Taste actual Belgium Waffles
  31. Backpack to Monte Carlo, Monaco
  32. Watch Mozart's Marriage of Figaro in Vienna Austria
  33. Bath in volcanic hot springs in Iceland
  34. Party in Cancun Mexico
  35. Become a vegetarian for 2 weeks
  36. Become vegan for a week
  37. Actually try PX90
  38. Watch Korean Arirang without sleeping, from back to back
  39. Launch fireworks in the desert
  40. Pilot a plane
  41. Skydiving in Australia
  42. Go on a safari in Kenya
  43. Watch a fashion show in Tokyo
  44. Build houses in Haiti
  45. Be a blood donor
  46. Donate my body to science when I die
  47. Be fluent in Korean & Spanish 
  48. Have children
  49. Travel around the world for one year
  50. Be happy & optimistic
If you made it this far. Please leave a comment. He thought it was funny I was doing this post.