Sunday, December 27, 2009

Off Topic: My Wife's New Family Blog

No, I don't mean my wife has a new family (though sometimes I see her daydreaming...). Lori has decided to throw her hat into the blogging fray with her new blog Nothing More, Nothing Less.

In it she talks a little bit about each of our kids, her frustrations and fears, her attempt at tackling college with all that's going on around us, and putting up with me (which, I would have thought would have been the most pleasurable of think you know someone).

Anyhow, if you get a chance, please stop by her blog and give her your thoughts, encouragement and suggestions. Oh, and remind her what a great guy I am.


Do it.



Saturday, December 26, 2009

Some December Tidbits from "Same Child, Different Day"

I just realized that this must have been a busy month. I haven't posted anything in almost 4 weeks which, no matter what has been going on, is a rarity for me! There has been much ado in both our autism and non-autism worlds, and I guess time just got away from me. I mean, holy cow! Can you believe another Christmas has come and gone? Here's where we were last year with this blog: Same Child, Different Day Content - I was still describing the chapters of the booklet and was only on the 4th post! This is the 45th post, and so many people say they have been helped by both this blog and the booklet "Same Child, Different Day: One family's experiences during the first year after a child's autism diagnosis": Review, Reader Critiques, Global Reach, Radio Interview.

I wish I could write more often; I should write more often. But I can only do what I can do. As I have done once before (and am sure I will do again), here are a few tidbits from the past few weeks, both related and unrelated to our autism work --- because it all relates, doesn't it?
  • Our new business is forming nicely! I'm just waiting for the VT tax department to get back with me on a couple questions, and I need to finish designing one form on my end. I have a meeting with BROC Micro-business --- a free, community-based service in our city which helps new entrepreneurs --- on January 7. If this all works out (and it has to), in the end it will mean much more time to spend with the family. God knows, Lori could use the help! How do you manage work and therapies?
  • Speaking of Lori, she'll be starting college in the summer. She'll attend the Community College of Vermont and is looking to concentrate on Pediatric Physical Therapy. Has dealing with autism inspired you in any way?
  • I published an article on Associated Content in opposition to our state Medicaid department making the unilateral decision to reduce Nolan's coverage. Since our local papers wouldn't print it, I took it online. One reader was prolific in her comments, and feels that my opposition is counter to the best interests of Nolan. I tried to explain the crux of the article regards the state agency making an unqualified reduction. The commenter implied that, regardless of the entity making the decision, we are using our therapists as a crutch. Please slide over to the article and post your comments. I value your opinions.
  • We wrote a 4-page letter to the state, requesting they reconsider the above decision. Surprisingly, a week later they wrote back that they had, and his services are once-again covered to an acceptable level. Tell us if you have ever had to battle with state agencies.
  • Then, we found out from our private insurance company that they (the insurance company) should not have been covering Nolan's services based on his diagnosis. So, to make an already-frustrating situation even worse, I'll have to battle with them, along with my illiterate state legislature that doesn't believe autism should be covered by insurance. Does your state require insurance companies to cover autism therapy services?
  • (Downer Alert!) We found Christmas to be tough this year. As far as I'm concerned, Christmas in our house is about the kids. Lori and I like to give each other gifts, too. But as long as the kids get taken care of, and are excited Christmas morning, our job is done. Well this year we were looking for a great reaction from Nolan, based on some of the strides he has recently made. We'd hoped, anyhow. Instead, while his sisters eagerly tore open gifts and screeched happily, Nolan paced the house, covering his ears and making noises akin to Taz of Looney Tunes fame. He did play for hours with one of the toys we bought for him (an inflatable ball pit with a tower and "ball" waterfall), but somehow, it just wasn't the same. My good friend Deanna, who is always the most wonderful voice of support, encouraged on Twitter, "you may have a long way to go, but remember the journey is worth it. Sometimes hard to do, I know...". You can say that again, Deanna! Tell us about times the frustrastration that can be associated with autism has affected your family and how you have coped.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Autism: A Speech Milestone

We all know that coping with speech issues can be a priority issue for most families living with autism. Getting these kids to repeat words can be a milestone, never mind having them utter a spontaneous sentence. Nolan shared some spontaneity back in September that prompted me to post this short article.

Since then his speech has been getting better, and he has been repeating a lot of things we say. He's also been doing a great job of responding to different questions we ask, and his replies have been quite appropriate. But getting him to just say a sentence is something we had yet to experience. Until today.

We wait for the bus with Nolan and his sister about a block from our house. Since its been getting colder, we've been standing by in the idling, warm Jeep. Nolan knows when we see the bus turn up School Street toward us, it's time to unbuckle and get outside. Usually, we have to ask him, "Is that the bus, Nolan?" He will of course, answer, "Yes."

Today was a shock. A big, in your face, exciting shock. As the big yellow tube headed for us, Nolan said most assuredly, "Look, I see the bus." Now, some of the words were garbled, and he dropped a few consonants, but he said it all by himself! No prompting. No questions asked. Since Mom and I were both reading, we hadn't even seen the bus for ourselves yet. This was all Nolan. And it was wonderful.

Who knows when the next sentence will happen? I don't even think I care. To me, this says that he has an excellent chance of "making it", to overuse a phrase. Whatever...we're proud of him.

Good stuff, huh?