Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Dance

Our local school had a 'dance' last Friday, to give the kids a chance to socialize. You'd think that a fruitless effort for an autistic school, with socialization being one of the 'big three' symptoms. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it went and how well we handled it with all seven of us. Linda and I assigned ourselves one girl each, and employed the other three for various duties like getting snacks, bidding on auction items etc.

Nothing real fancy, just a few balloons in the local school cafeteria; a guy with a guitar; a girl with a good voice and a decent backing track. They had lots of GF/CF snacks, which was pleasantly surprising and very few meltdowns from anyone. It certainly went better than our last excursion to a spaghetti dinner; maybe it was because we were all 'family' and THIS event was designed and run by the family.

Well we lost the bidding war for the artwork from class 1. we had to explain to Aly that this guy was NOT going to stop at $60, since his kid was in the class too and he was their only child. We took home several blow up musical instruments, which Grace was hording throughout the evening.

What struck me most though was getting Dillan and Jason to leave. Dillan had made a new friend. His new friend had said "I'll see you around." I made special effort to say the same. Back at the car, Dillan was speculating whether he went to Alyson's middle school, since he was in seventh grade. He couldn't quite grasp why this boy was interested in being Dillan's friend since he was 3 whole grades ahead. Linda and I had understood; Linda and I had seen the licking stim he had and the marks on the side of his face from it. Dillan and Jason honestly didn't 'get it'. I wasn't sure if I was out of line explaining it to them to say that he was probably an aspie. I was surprised to realize that they didn't know what that was, so I explained that he was just like them, but had a few things, like stimming, that made him a little different. Dillan is probably the most accepting kid on the planet, for various reasons, and this time was no exception; he just brushed it off.
I shoulda seen if this kid's parents wanted to set up a play date or something. He really seemed like he was very social, but he might have needed friends to practice on. He probably would have trouble trying to fit into our neighborhood 'gang' (we have 8 boys within a one block range and 5 year age range), but he might have liked a smaller group of just Dillan and Jason.

And apropo to nothing in this post except my life in general, here's the lyrics to Garth Brooks The Dance:

Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared 'neath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye
And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance
Holding you I held everything
For a moment wasn't I a king
But if I'd only known how the king would fall
Hey who's to say you know I might have changed it all
And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance
Yes my life is better left to chance
I could have missed the pain but I'd have had to miss the dance

Monday, April 21, 2008

The End of an Era

I know that growing up is all part of 'growin up', but certain things just tug at your nostalgic heart strings, like no training wheels on a bike, going to the potty for the first time, or going off to kindergarden. If Linda and I tread very lightly over the next few days, Grace will pass us through another right of passage.

It all started rather innocently enough, mom/Linda first diagnosed with strep throat 10 days ago, then last week, we check Liv and Grace's throats and we get one hit and one possible recovery (meaning Linda may have gotten it from Liv). Livie had been night waking the week before and it could have possibly been a sore throat. Doctors orders though, all items that currently reside or have re-sodded in their mouths has to go. Toothbrushes replaced; the boo boo buddies collection, one of Liv's stimmy 'guilty pleasures', out with the trash. But the most significant pieces of trash were Gracie's Nuks (pronounced like 'book'). Yea, she's comin up on 4 and we never took them away; yet another willful child taking advantage of overwrought, passive aggressive parents.

We first had a nookie roundup where oldest three were offered a 25 cent a nuk bounty. $6.00 plus later (Alyson of course grabbing the lion's share) we were nukless, save for 3 that we had on the side. Linda had the inspiration of de-nukifying the youngest. We had lots of trouble with Jason when he went nuk-free, and we were set for the battle of 2008. But the day went off without a hitch. "Oh yea, well wait 'till bedtime, we're going to have to give in if she starts screaming", Linda was already beginning to waver and this coup was almost completely bloodless.

I put her in bed, Grace made a well-practiced sweep of the bottom area of her bed rail to find nothing. "Nookie?", barely a hint of desperation in her voice. She rolled over grabbed her two favorite blankies, and whined softly "nookie" over the monitor protesting for maybe 5 minutes. I could tell that Linda was waiting for the loud wail, but it never came, she was out in 5 minutes...success! "You wanna just bust in there and shove a nuk in her mouth, don't you?" I said. I got a nod and one of those my-baby's-not-a-baby-anymore looks.

Oh, I'm probably jinxing it by posting, but it looks as if the nuk day's are over, one of the easier battles we have won...
I realize the potential for using the word 'nookie' may get me in trouble, especially on Google with late night toothless fiends looking for inventive terms for sex. We would occasionally get looks in public if we asked various of our little children if they wanted nookie, but hey, dialects are dialects...

Friday, April 18, 2008


I have to continue the innuendo, but no, this is not a blog about governments' and the medical industry in cahoots, it's about the random but seemingly intelligent way that life tries to get in the way of life. I understand that we just perceive the randomness as having pattern and we really don't always lose our keys when we're late, it has just got to me lately.

The first factor in this story is that it is Autism Awareness month. Everyone is planning their events, symposiums, plays, walks, concerts, spaghetti dinners in April. Us being homebodies, we don't get out more than once a month, so to expect all to go without a hitch this month would have been the true conspiracy.

My first 'mmmbummer' moment was realizing we were going to miss the POAC walk in NJ this month. POAC's one of my fave organizations, but we had to support our local school's spaghetti dinner and, in a rare moment of insanity, we thought that it would be 'fun' to bring the whole 7 of us. After a Grace meltdown, bad pasta and losing at 50/50 tickets, we realized we were not going to last the full 3 hours and, abandoning all hope of winning any of the gift baskets, we went home. We also had a night waking that night, so Saturday we were not getting moving for anything but a major illness.

Now, the highlight of the month was technically not an autism thing, but it related heavily to our situation. Linda had booked to be in a conference in Central Jersey for a day-long workshop on Wrightslaw, headed by the Wrights themselves. At least I'm pretty sure it was the Wrightslaw Wrights and I won't even get into the Right's right to rewrite the Wright's writing of Wrights Law. Anyway, from what they advertised, it would have been a great way to get our mindset for the IEP season coming up in June.

In any event, the day before she was set to go, she gets this awful sore throat. I'm off that day mercifully, so I jump in and take over some of the things she has planned and try and get her to the doctor. Word comes back...Strep. Trooper that she is, she thinks if she can rest up, she'll muddle through the workshop. I let her get some extra rest during the day, but night comes and we have a double wakeup a 3 in the morning, I took the brunt, but the damage was done, she's shot and gives up on going. Today, we take the two girls and find out Grace has it too and Livie may have had it a week ago (she had been selectively holding food in her mouth we thought it was a new behavior, my poor baby). We are infested, but at least we now have a reason why the girls have been getting up at night.

We'll not be attending the POAC play Day After Day tomorrow in Red Bank. Now that's a luxury that we could not afford this month, we've already worn out our babysitters for the month.

Kinda hoping this month would end: too much to do, too much to look forward to and too much hope to dash! I'm getting a little tired of wearing my autism golf shirts, although I did get someone ask me about autism, so I got to get on my soapbox while at a business meeting in Baltimore. I'll just be glad to get to May, where we can settle into warmer weather and a somewhat normal life again. Although, I think I'm flying solo for a weekend in May; Linda's going somewhere with her mom and Aly!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Tales from the Darkside

I've been somewhat out of touch the past few days...cyber-speaking anyway. My wife and I got to do yet another excursion ALONE for the weekend, with yet another fun-filled autism related conference. First, to children were lost, harmed or psychologically damaged this weekend...nor were the two people watching them. The parents nearly had a coronary when we had called and found that my brother-in-law was left in charge of the two girls and boys while grandma and our oldest daughter went to Shop-Rite. Lucky we called when we did..we walked Dillan through taking Liv to the potty. I got to listen to a great female version of Bob Newhart:
"OK, now slowly take down her pants, she might have poop...nonono, she probably doesn't, just in case. OK, have her sit on the potty...don't let her flush again till she's done. Let's hope she doesn't poop...Nevermind what you'll have to do, just listen. OK, she peed, now give her some toilet tissue...I dunno, like 3 or 4 all give it to her...OK now she CAN flush the toilet."
Suffice it to say that we would have had Comedy Album of the Year had there been poop...
Meanwhile, mom and dad were at...the DAN! conference in Cherry Hill NJ. This was Linda's 3rd or 4th, it was my 1st conference.
I did not hear as much anti-vaccine rhetoric as I expected. I mean there was an undertone, but much of the venom was pointed at environmental factors in general. Then again, we did take the 'science' path and not the 'parents' path.
First, I found Dr Paul Shattock and his 'rock star'/comedian attitude a complete turn off. He may be one of DAN!'s best communicators, but I did not find anything valuable in his message. The two that most impressed me were Dr Derrick MacFabe and his talk on "Can Acquired Infections Influence Brain Function and Behavior in Autism" and Jill James and her work with the Arkansas Children's Hospital Research institute.
Dr MacFabe's research somewhat mirrors The Wakefield idea of Digestive bugs causing some behavioral issues. It's not really the concept that autism=gut issues, but more that he's taking the path that some autism issue amy be related to specific gut issues. It was his thought process and honesty that struck me...
Dr Jill James (WHY DO I ALWAYS WANT TO WRITE JILL ST JAMES..OR IS IT JILL ST JOHN FROM THAT 70'S MURDER MYSTERY) impressed me with her honesty with her data and how she needs and is seeking a more solid study, for some of her theories. I also liked her attitude about collaborating with the AAP about autism issues. not necessarily showing them how it's done but helping them understand some of the medical issues involved in the autism spectrum. I also liked the idea of the ATN Autism Treatment Network where they combine the experts in developmental pediatrics, neurology, genetics, metabolism and gastroenterology in 15 sites across the country to dedicate themselves to the standard of card of children of autism. To quote "The ATN believes that treatments of medical issues will improve core behaviors and quality of life for children and adults with autism"
I really had some problems with some of the disassociation DAN! has with the 'realities' of autism, there was not much mention of therapeutic or even acceptance of autism (and again, I didn't set foot in a parents forum) but I found at least some to many of the doctors presenting to be concerned with the real life of autism and definitely looking at the disorder as a fragmented and treatable from a MEDICAL standpoint but NOT as a medical condition, standpoint. I know that many see DAN! as a group that looks to profit from autism, but from my point of view, many in the organization are really looking at autism holistically, and not from a strictly medical, biomedical, therapeutic or genetic standpoint.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Can I Play Sykes Google Hit Too?

sykes sykes sykes sykes Oh how much fun! sykes sykes sykes sykes To be named in a subpoena! lawsuit lawsuit lawsuit I can annoy a LAWYER, what purpose could be higher! pharma conspiracy pharma conspiracy pharma conspiracy pharma conspiracy What could all those people named on that list possibly have to do with a frivolous lawsuit? Quack reverend Quack reverend Quack reverend Gee, I hope I make it on the NEXT Subpeona...

Fo those not up on this, someone has subpoena-ed an autism blogger because she had talked about a lawsuit on a pharmaceutical corporation by a private-typ person named Rev Lisa Sykes, who is suing these companies because she feels her child's autism was caused by vaccines...

Whether I agree or not, to drag someone's opinion in a blog into a lawsuit is just just just so...Lisa lisa lisa get a grip get a grip get a grip

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


...And it ain't pretty. Hold on to your hats, this one's gonna be big, they just posted this on CNN