Dec 15

Makenzie is 5 months old now, but here is a picture of her. She is a very easy baby (knock on wood). Loves to smile and adores her older brothers.

EliMakIt is hard to believe that I started this blog before Eli was born. That is over eight years ago. Long before I knew he had Aspergers. It has been such a joy to be a dad, crazier now that I am a dad to three kids, but the most rewarding thing I have ever done.  Watching him now is such an eye opening experience. He is becoming a young man right before my eyes. He is long past the baby, little boy and now leaving the boy stage. I physically feel how strong he has become, how independent. It is scary. He told me today in a few years dad I am going to be a teenager. What are you going to do then. As I sit down writing this I finally know the answer. Eli I am going to cry. I am going to cry because I love you more than life itself. I love you because you are amazing and I know that you will be ok in life.

I wish those same thoughts to ever parent who struggles to raise their kids with PDD-NOS and other spectrum disorders. If you fight for your child, you give them the best future possible.

 

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Dec 15

As the regulars to this blog will know I have been very inactive lately on posts. I attribute this to a lot of changes in my life. I have been battling some very serious stomach ailments of late and have had a new addition to the family as well. Makenzie was born on July 12th, 2013 and is our third child. Eli who was originally diagnosed with PDD-NOS but as been re-classified as Aspergers Syndrome, Zachary who has developed quite normally and made us realize a lot about what we missed when it came to Eli and now Makenzie who is developing even faster than Zachary. We are truly blessed.

I think it brings up a topic I would like to discuss with the reading audience: Realizing when something is wrong. This is a hard topic because nobody wants to think their child has a problem or is different, and more importantly to first time parents who do not have a sibling to compare to, seeing a problem is nearly impossible. So what is a parent to do? How do you know?

I think the answer really comes with whether or not you are asking the question. The reality is if you are concerned, even about the smallest thing you probably are picking up on something that is real and not imagined. So instead of being the proud parent and dismissing it to normal parental worry start asking yourself serious questions and looking at your child with an open mind. The best thing you can do is get help, the worst thing you can do is say they will outgrow it. Let me restate that a different way: Getting help early is the best chance at your child having a normal life. If you ignore the signs, are blind to the flashing red light or deaf to the sound of developmental delay you have done your child a tragic thing.

Parents. Look at your children. As the tough questions. Get the opinion of others, and do it soon. The best bet is to go through your school system to get help. Most states have amazing support systems available and be prepared to fight for your child’s right to services. Do not reject a diagnosis, welcome it and even if they are wrong, the support only accelerates your child in the complex process of social learning and traditional education. Remember a diagnosis is sealed, and there is no stigma to it.

 

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Nov 22

There are times when you stick your neck out for people in your life, knowing all to well that in the end they will probably never appreciate it, or become so confident in their self superiority that they didn’t ever need you in the first place. It is these people who tend to fall on their face and never recover. I know such people, those who I have helped in unbelievable ways.  But there comes a moment where these people have a choice: Defend the integrity of the friend  because it is the right thing to do, or add to the chaos because  it is easier and feels more rewarding in that fleeting moment.

Friends defend friends, especially when the friend has saved their ass countless times and brought them to a more successful spot in life. I should feel shame for helping these kinds of people, but I don’t because no matter the betrayal after the fact, the intentions on making them better are much more rewarding then the reality of what they have done. I only hope these people find their way again, realize what they did and in the end do the right thing to salvage their own soul. Because once you betray a friend it tends to haunt you forever, and more often then not, it comes back to bite you long after the dust has settled.

“Only yesterday I was no different than them, yet I was saved. I am explaining to you the way of life of a people who say every sort of wicked thing about me because I sacrificed their friendship to gain my own soul. I left the dark paths of their duplicity and turned my eyes toward the light where there is salvation, truth, and justice. They have exiled me now from their society, yet I am content. Mankind only exiles the one whose large spirit rebels against injustice and tyranny. He who does not prefer exile to servility is not free in the true and necessary sense of freedom.”

Kahlil Gibran

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Nov 18

Because there are so many people who are just pieces of crap out there I had to remove the chat feature on the right hand side. Amazing how rude and truly evil people can be in this world.

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Nov 18

one of the greatest things that Eli has done over the last few years was join the Boy Scouts of America. He started out as a wolf and has now progressed to a Bear and I see a long and happy future. So much so that I have volunteered my time to be an assistant den leader for both the Tigers (1st graders) and Bears (3rd graders).

One thing I have noticed is that scouts is a perfect setting for a child with PDD-NOS and Aspergers syndrome because it offers the child a chance to gain so many necessary and vital skills, as well as be put in a social situation where they can learn from other kids on and off the spectrum. The scout promise is simple:

I promise to do my best, To do my duty to God and my country, To help other people, and obey the Law of the Pack.

So what does this mean to the scout and their parents? It is contract that your child will never take the easy way out, they will always put in a honest days work and effort in everything they do. The scout will honor his parents, his friends, and do the right things instead of the bad things. The Scout respects all religions, and will never be a bully towards anyone else and above all be a good citizen. These lessons are enforced in all activities and sets the stage for success in the child’s life.

How does these values help a special needs child? It gives them an opportunity to learn, to be social, and most importantly to be socially appropriate. Scouts teach each other more than the parents and leaders teach. It is a very cool social dynamic. Everyone wants each other to succeed. It is pretty cool to watch.

There are some negatives of course with scouting. Some parents just don’t want to partner up with their child, and think that it is the den leaders responsibility to babysit their kids or be the only disciplinarian in their lives. I watch parents sit in the back and let their kid run around like a madman and say nothing? Why? Because it gives them a chance to relax and not be so focused on the child. For the parent, it can be a great social hour.

The great thing about Scouts is the rewarding feeling the kids have at achieving goals. Each time  your child earns a belt loop, a bead, a pin or a patch it fills them with accomplishment and pride. Something every kid enjoys. If you have not checked out your local Scouting pack maybe you should. It will help your special needs child a lot and give you the opportunity to help your child grow

 

 

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Jun 26

I guess I am crazy. Jodi is literally days away from giving birth to our third child and this morning was a perfect example of why people stop at two. Eli and Zach have been fighting like cats and dogs lately. It starts out as fun rough housing and play. They each pretend they are one of their favorite super heros from TV and the next thing you know one is crying and claiming the other hit them. Sometimes Zach wins, other times Eli wins, but do you know who loses? The parents!

I have tried to tell them that their little sister is coming and they better learn how to buddy up and survive together, and how brothers don’t hurt each other. I remind them that in just a few weeks a new ruler of the house will arrive and we all need to stick together. That does not help of course. Boys will be boys, the scrapes, bumps and occasional bloody noses will continue.

Such is parenthood, and I have the third to add to the mix. I must be crazy.

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Jun 08
Peek-a-Poop

Peek-a-Poop

Zachary is quite the comedian. Everything he does has to be funny, risky and on the edge. Tonight he tells me he has to go poopy and wants to race to the bathroom. Of course, he wins (he always wins) and once he gets on the toilet claims he needs his “privacy” and I can’t look at him.

I leave the room and a few moments later I hear him laughing. My first thought is that he pooped and is now painting the walls. Nope. What I find is him laughing about having two spyglasses. This is what he was doing.

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May 29

It is hard to believe that I have been a dad for eight years. Eli’s Birthday is tomorrow and I sit back and absorb everything I have learned and experienced. When Eli was first diagnosed I was in denial. He was so young, and so bright and acted in a normal manner. I never saw the signs, neither did his mother.

So when the school said he was showing signs of a developmental delay my first words were that is crazy. Then it dawned on me, he did seem to be a bit slower than he should be at doing things like walking and talking, using a fork or spoon. But it was hard, because as a dad  parent you always think your child is perfect. Eli was perfect, just not developing at the same speed as the other kids his age.

Now eight years later Eli still has issues. He is emotional, hard on himself, still stims a bit but has shown remarkable intelligence and cognitive thought. He has a photographic memory and literally memorizes and remembers everything you ever said, and anything you ever did. If you make him a promise, you better keep it because five years from now he will remind you that you broke it.

I have said this a million times, I would never want Eli any other way. He is such a funny, unique and well mannered boy. It wasn’t until we had Zachary that we realized how different and unique Eli was. Where Zach is the typical boy, Eli is not. Zach wants to be crashing cars, climbing trees, hitting baseballs, and Eli wants to be reading books, playing computer games and surfing the web.

We still have plenty of work to do with Eli. It gets harder and harder to convince the school system that he needs help. As the school work gets harder this will become more and more of an issue. We have to remind ourselves that he is different, not because we want a classification to label him for the rest of his life, but because we want his life to not be marred by his inability to understand and react to situations in a fluid manner like most kids. He needs structure, a schedule and reminders.

The great thing is that he is a smart, handsome boy with a great attitude and mental fortitude. He will go far in his life and I have no doubt about that. I just want him to enjoy more of his youth and be a kid. Run and play with the other kids, laugh and be outdoors. I want him to be happy. Speaking of that, Happy Birthday little man.

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Mar 26

I have found that there are days in my life as a parent of a Aspergers (PDD-NOS) child that seem like everything is normal. You get up in the morning and your child gets himself dressed, asks nicely for some pancakes and syrup and gets himself ready for school. Meanwhile you are looking around for the candid camera waiting to figure out who prompted your child with the instructions on what to do next but then you realize, he is just doing it on his own.

I call these the normal days. The days when Eli is not flapping his hands, or crying for nothing. I wish I knew how to capture these moments so I can repeat them. Today, Eli came up to me and gave me a hug and said he loved me. I never had to tell him to do something, he simply did everything right. I loved it. Tomorrow…might be a total reversal but I will take this day and just embrace it for what it was. A great day for Eli.

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Mar 07

I love how the comments section has taken off with communication between parents working together to discuss their children. This is a dream come true that the blog is becoming a resource for others. I just wanted to remind people that all comments go through moderation. So if you write a comment and it does not appear instantly please understand that it is being held for approval.

I try to reply or approve all comments as soon as possible.

 

Thanks
Bernard

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