Thursday, November 29, 2012

Autism, Paranormal Investigators and a Guest Blog

I have been a terribly lazy blogger. I have been very busy doing other things, but I don't want to make excuses! To make up for my laziness I asked the author of the blog My Ausome Son from one of my most stalked Facebook pages A Legion for Liam to write a guest post for me.She is an amazing mom and I love her blog! Every day this month she is sharing a holiday coloring page or maze chosen by Liam- so cool!  Her Liam reminds me a lot of The Boy and her attitude reminds me a lot of MYSELF! Go check her out on FB, and go read her blog- you won't be disappointed! One of her most recent posts I REALLy enjoyed and could relate so much with was Yes, even Santa makes mistakes  So, without further delay- introducing, A Legion for Liam.

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I was asked by Red Vines and Wine to do a guest blog post….So here goes….I hope I do it justice. 
(Of course she did!)

Tell me a little about you! (Paranormal investigator- I want to know about that!):
As you may or may not know, my real name is Courtney. It’s funny because I have come to “know” so many of you, but most of you I know by your page names, not your real names.
I am 33, the baby of my family, and grew up in a small town. I still live in a small town, not far from where I grew up. I have always had macabre interests that stem from as far back as I can remember. When we moved in 1988, our house was placed on top of the old foundation of the Goodwin Family homestead. Where my room was, used to be the old kitchen, and it was where my great great Aunt, passed on. It wasn’t long before our house had paranormal activity, and at that young age I was terrified!
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The older I got, the more interested I became. I wanted to know if all the experiences I had as a child were real, or part of an over active imagination.
In 2007 we started to have experiences in our own home, and through a friend, I contacted a local paranormal group. They investigated our home, and caught one EVP. They also asked me to join their group. I was ecstatic. 
So, in my spare time, I am a paranormal investigator with Endless Mountains Paranormal. (they are on Facebook  Check ‘em out and tell them I sent you!!!) It’s often harder for me to go now a days because Liam tends to be so much of a hand full, I feel terrible leaving him with his dad. 
Tell me about Liam:

More about Liam:
Liam is now 6. He has only been officially diagnosed for over a year, though I have always known there was something different about him. 
As you may or may not know, Liam’s official diagnosis is now Autism Spectrum Disorder. He was originally diagnosed as having Aspergers, but upon a second opinion, it was changed to ASD. He is however high functioning. He very much resembles a child with Aspergers, but he also leans more towards a traditional ASD diagnosis. He is kinda, in between.

He is super smart, has an AUSOME memory and really amazes me (and many others) with his vocabulary. What is funny is that, he can’t read between the lines, he doesn’t get a joke, yet he will try like hell to make one!!!!

He is a good boy but is VERY high strung, often aggressive, and mouthy as well. Many don’t believe he is on the spectrum because “he is so smart!” A common misconception and one of the reasons I wanted to start ALFL.
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What are some of your experiences with autism? The good, the not so good and the AWFUL

I tend to be a glass half full person, and I always try to view Autism in that manner. Let’s face it though, it’s not always that easy. There are days when Autism sneaks up, kicks our legs out from under us, and knocks us on our arses! I HATE those days!

Those are the days I want to scream! I want to take Autism away, and never have to think about it again. Those are the days I might actually tell you I WANT a cure for Autism……..
If you know me, or follow me, you know that is NOT like me. I don’t feel my son needs “cured” because I don’t feel there is anything “wrong” with him. I feel Autism is a part of who he is, and without it he would be a different little boy……

But as I said, the days when Autism is full blown and raging in my face, I hate it! I hate when my child wants nothing more than to play with other kids, and then he is shot down because of his inability to understand the game or social cues of the other kiddos. I hate Autism when it shoots his anxiety through the roof, and something so simple for “normal” kids, such as a birthday party, becomes a cause for concern and major worry for a 6 year old child. I hate Autism when it makes him meltdown over a thrown away receipt, or a penny he NEEDS to pick up from the dirty, nasty ground. I hate Autism when my son won’t hug me, show me affection or look me in the eye……

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I also LOVE Autism. Yep, you read right, I sure do! I love Autism, when my son teaches ME how to use my computer better. I love Autism when my son teaches me how to play a video game. I love Autism when my son repeats a commercial or catch phrase word for word, at just the right time. I love Autism because of the bond he has with his friends with Autism. I love that they are drawn to each other and have a friendship like no other. I love Autism because I have met some great mothers with children I adore! I also love Autism because it brought you all to me, or me to all of you. I feel I am part of a sorority/frat house of other Autism parents, who understand one another like no one else can. For all of that, I love Autism!

What is one quirk that you LOVE about your Aspie?

My favorite quirk of Liam’s would have to be his connection with the elderly. Put him a room of his peers and he fails to connect miserably. Take him to an old folks home and watch him shine! He is a 6 year old with the mind of a 60 year old. He is for sure an old soul! Every year when we go trick or treating, we HAVE to take him into the retirement home. NOT for candy, but to VISIT! Yes, I said visit. He absolutely adores them! We have elderly neighbors, and almost every day he goes over for a visit.

What is one thing you would trade anything so that he would not do it?

That being said, I have to say he also has some annoying quirks. Hmmmm, where shall I start. We DON’T step on cracks! (sometimes that is a real PITA) We can’t say certain things (ie: kill two birds with one stone,(because why would you kill 2 birds!) (we also can’t say, “see you later” unless you fully intend to see that person later!) VOCAL STIMMING!!!!! I used to think Liam just talked to talk, or to annoy me!!! I now know better, but that doesn’t make it any easier. One can only stand to hear “Topeka Kansas” less than 100 times a day. Oh and phonics, well they suck! He stims on every consonant sound, UGH!!!
How do you deal with autism and the holidays?

As those of you who follow my ALFL page know, the holidays are already upon us. That means STRESS for everyone!!!! Of course, Autism doesn’t take a break. It doesn’t take a day off, nor does it care about the holidays. 

Every year I am constantly thinking of how the family gatherings will go. I will say it has gotten easier since the official diagnosis. They all know Liam has Autism, and no longer think, “wow her kid is a brat!” With that said, I still am self conscious about how he will behave. 
I ALWAYS take a bag with sensory toys and things to keep him occupied. Electronics are a must!!!! The newest addition is his body sock. This way, if I have to remove him from all the excitement, he can crawl in and feel even more secure. 

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Let’s not forgot the special goodies… He is no longer GFCF because well, we can’t afford it. (that sounds awful but hey, I am honest!) I do take food because as many of you know our kiddos are so darn finicky! I make sure I take enough for him to share because hey, he is not the only kid at these functions.
One thing I have also learned to do is to judge his emotions. I pay close attention the day of the function to how he is feeling/acting. Upon arriving at said function, I make no bones about alerting everyone to the fact that Liam is having a “rough, good, bad, angry or anxious” day. I am not looking to get him sympathy, I am looking for them to cut him a little slack if he behaves inappropriately. It seems to work with our families, and he is now more understood by them all than he has ever been!

So, my friends, that is my life in a nutshell. I am not an exciting person. I myself am quirky, awkward and sometimes anti social. I am me! You either, love me or hate me. It makes no difference to me. I am who I am and though approval is nice, it’s not needed. Hey, took me 30 years to learn this! (I couldn't have said it better Courtney!)

Thank you so much Courtney for sharing Liam and a snapshot of your family with us!  
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