I have to start with saying I do not know what blogger is doing to my post -- I have typed it all up nice with good spacing making this long post easy to read -- and for some stupid reason, it's taking out all the spacing making it one gigantic blob of words. No one is going to want to read that. ARRRRGGGHHH.

so if you are reading this in it's blob form, bless you. if it's not in blob form when you are reading it, then I finally got the issue fixed, and bless you too. :) Here's what I really have to say:::::::

I have gotten a little obsessive about reading blogs lately. Most of them are written by women who are moms to special little children - children like Thomas. And the more I have read the more I am starting to understand.

We know Thomas has PDD - Pervasive Developmental Disorder - and as he is getting older and working in the school setting we are starting to see him more categorized into the Aspergers Syndrome part of the autism spectrum. When he was little, I didn't think he "fit" - but as with ADHD, it's tough to diagnose small kids, because they could just be being little kids. It's not until school age that things can be "measured" against something "normal".

So I just wanted to write about a few things I have stumbled across, as I am working to be the best mom for my special child.

here is a quote from Wikipedia: "A pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger syndrome is distinguished by a pattern of symptoms rather than a single symptom. It is characterized by qualitative impairment in social interaction, by stereotyped and restricted patterns of behavior, activities and interests, and by no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or general delay in language. Intense preoccupation with a narrow subject, one-sided verbosity, restricted prosody, and physical clumsiness are typical of the condition, but are not required for diagnosis."

yeah, like that isn't difficult to understand so on one blog, one mom had it broken down to make it much easier to understand, and I took most of what follows from her and changed it for Thomas.

1) Problems with social skills - Thomas doesn't know 'proper' or typical social cues. He speaks out of turn, he can't follow conversation, and often has 'outbursts' which can make others around him not want to be around him.

2) Eccentric or repetitive behaviors- these behaviors are usually stimming, helping him 'self regulate', and they include his bouncing his head on the couch rhythmically and clapping or flapping his hands.

3) Unusual preoccupations or rituals- A child with Asperger's syndrome may develop rituals that he or she refuses to alter, such as getting dressed in a specific order. Thomas has to have his left shoe on before the right shoe, if we do it wrong, he melts down and we have to do it over. He also has to wear certain jammies with certain goodnights on certain nights of the week. I will be making this easier on myself soon - he is outgrowing his 4t jammies, so when we get new ones they will all be the same, no more scooby doo one night, and lightning McQueen the next, etc. His underwear is the same issue. I dealt with that problem today by putting dividers in his underwear drawer labled with the days of the week, so he can put the correct characters in the certain days, so we won't have anymore meltdowns when it's time to get dressed. And I can't forget his Handy Manny shirt that he wore everyday for several months. He finally outgrew it, and now insists he has to wear a green shirt everyday.

4) Communication difficulties-People with Asperger's syndrome may not make eye contact when speaking with someone. They may have trouble using facial expressions and gestures, and understanding body language. They also tend to have problems understanding language in context. I had been taught that to help a child to follow directions you get them to make eye contact with you, so you know that you have their attention before telling them what you needed them to do. Well, this doesn't work with Thomas. We could have been holding his face in our hands with our faces close to his, trying to block out everything else so he would focus, and he STILL could not look us in the eye. In normal conversation, we can be talking with him about something, and he acts as if we aren't even there, and can start talking about something else that is on his mind (which could be anything from something someone in his class did a month ago, to something that he did yesterday).

5) Limited range of interests- A child with Asperger's syndrome may develop an intense, almost obsessive, interest in a few areas, such as sports schedules, weather, or maps. I remember my aunt told me of a little boy who knew every kind of vacuum on the market. It was his "thing". With Thomas, it's Letters. When we used to visit Grandma Hansen upstairs, Thomas had no interest in the toys that she had out for him to play with. Instead, he would go to the bookshelf in the hallway, lined with her old Encyclopedias, and would have her read the letters to him. For a while he was obsesed with the letter D book. He knew almost all the words in there from Dagger to Dogs --he had no interst in all the types of dogs, like I figured most little boys would be -- he just kept turning pages to the end of the book reading all the D words. We only have 2 songs that we can sing at Family Home Evening - "Thomas's song" - which is Nephi's courage, and " Grayson's song" which is I am a Child of God.

6) Coordination problems- I am not sure that this would be one of Thomas's symptoms. It is common for movements of children with Asperger's syndrome to seem clumsy or awkward. But Thomas is great at throwing, running and jumping, and riding his bike. He does however struggle with using his utensils to eat, holding a pencil (doesn't help that he is left handed), and cutting with scissors is also a tough task.

7) Sensory issues- many kids with Asperger's syndrome are either extra sensitive or less sensitive to sensory issues. Thomas is very sensitive to sounds. He can hear things that I barely notice in the background, and will ask me, "what's that noise?" One time he had asked I had to really listen to hear what he might be asking about, and finally decided he was hearing the very quiet hum of the refridgerator. Thomas also makes loud 'screeching' sounds, which I have to guess are to 'self regulate' for sounds.

8) Difficulty with regulating emotions- If you know what mood swings on a pregnant lady look like, then you can imagine the mood swings of a kid with Asperger's. Things that wouldn't seem like a big deal can make him cry for hours, especially if I can't "get thru to him" and break the "sad" cycle. I have found that if I try comforting him by saying "it'll be ok", it only makes him more upset, because he doesn't understand what that means. Recent meltdowns we have dealt with began with: Grayson touching Thomas's white board, his friends came by after school to play without prior "prep" for him to be ready to deal with that change of normal afterschool routine, and the whole picture day fiasco I wrote about last week.

9) Lack of empathy- this one bothered me a lot when he was little, and we didn't know much yet. I was quite worried that I had a "broken" child when he laughed when others cried. We tried to teach him that he was supposed to say "I am sorry you are sad", or "it will be ok". He doesn't say it still, but at least he doesn't laugh anymore.

10) Difficulties with transitions and rigidity- Schedules, plans and lists. here at home, I let Thomas choose his own activities as he keeps himself busy, so when it comes time to do something we need to do, he doesn't transition well. Eating lunch and dinner can be huge battles most days. Eventhough it's something we do every day, he still doesn't understand why he has to stop doing what he is doing, and come do what we say (even if he is hungry). Again, you'd have to read the post about the picture day fiasco.

11) Difficulty with imaginative play- this was another thing that boggled my mind when he was little. My sister in law asked if he was like her boys, and just automatically knew how to make car noises when he played. I said he didn't. And he didn't play with the cars the way I would have expected most kids to play. Instead, he lined them up. (which I have learned is very common with AS kids). Children with Asperger's can be very literal and can have a difficult time with doing things like pretend play. This can be very difficult for the child with Asperger's with playing with other children.

12) Skilled or talented- Many children with Asperger's syndrome are exceptionally talented or skilled in a particular area, such as music or math. For Thomas and his preoccupation with letters, he is so very smart and is already reading (which astonished his sundayschool teacher when he started in her class in Jan). He has a very good memory *which can be a pain in the neck most of the time. Because of his ADHD, though, it is hard for him to really focus. He can read --- but he chooses not to, because that would require holding still.

13) Scripting- Kids with Asperger's tend to "script" things out and do them exactly the same, or say the same script over and over again. Thomas has some issues with impulse control. He knows exactly what he is doing because he will walk up to me and say "I'm going to pinch you" - and even though he knows it's wrong he does it anyway. He doesn't do it maliciously - he just cannot stop himself from doing it. When he is "bouncing" on the couch, he will say things over and over again, and it's often interesting to hear what his little mind is focused on at the moment. It could be about how he is going to have chocolate milk at school, and how he doesn't like strawberry milk, and he doesn't like the school's juice, only white milk and chocolate milk. It could be about something he saw on a show - like the whole storyline of a word world episode or how he wants to be the turtle from Wonderpets and his little brother is the duck (this is why he will only wear a green shirt, by the way, he is a turtle.)

So there ya have somemore info on our wonderful yet challenging brilliant active little boy.

Poor Grayson is going to think we just ignore him, cuz I am always talking about Thomas. I promise to blog about him soon.


I must be crazy

I just bought us tickets to go to a Day out with Thomas- it's a 3 hour drive down to Heber.
We took Thomas when he was about 2 - the ride was a bit disappointing and we went on Memorial Day Monday, so it was a crazy busy day.

I remember somehow Thomas had an accident, and he was all wet, and he got me all wet. I had a change of clothes for him, but not for me.

With Thomas being, well, Thomas - he wasn't really interested in anything, so we didn't stay long. And ended up going to the zoo afterward that day too. That was too much LOL.

Anyway -- Grayson is at that Thomas the Train loving age, and I talked Tyson into letting us go again this year. I think we will have a much better time. We are going on a Saturday, and a little later in the afternoon, so we can take our time a little easier.
I am just keeping my fingers crossed that it will be a well spent $70 (I am choking on that price honestly - it's a bit unbelievable - yet I did it anyway).

Before we get to the end of may, though our weekends are going to be pretty full. In April we have General Conference, then Baby Animal Days at the American West Heritage Center in Logan. Then Tyson will have his game day, then will be our anniversary. The next weekend will be easter - we hope to do an easter egg hunt at Grandma and Grandpa Anderson's house in Newton on the saturday!!! Then the next weekend is the last of April. Yikes. It hasn't even started yet LOL.......
Lots to look forward to!


Thomas will show you how to Zumba

picture day fiasco

These were the faces I got when I asked him to smile ^
Down below you can see last years pictures on the bottom.

Today was picture day at Thomas's school. I think St. Patty's day should be off limits for a picture day, because a mom has to choose whether to send their kid in green, so he doesn't get pinched, or to dress him up in his nicest clothes (that will match the living room decor when the photo is hung on the wall) and risk him being tortured thru the day.

They only gave us a weeks warning about this, so I had been on the lookout for something cute the boys could wear - last year they were in matching outfits - so that is what I had in mind.

But I didn't find anything to my liking. Then Thomas picked out a cute orange shirt from Walmart because it says Junior on it - and his name is Thomas Junior. So that is what he wore, and I just dug something out of Graysons closet for him. Hopefully they will look cute on the wall.

So Thomas is not very good with things that are off of his usual routine. And he also doesn't like doing things that require him to hold still. (He has always hated getting his picture taken). Today was no exception.

I arrived at the school with Grayson just in time to see Thomas's class heading to get their pictures taken. But Thomas wasn't with them. So I walked all the way down to his room, to find him with his aid (that does great one on one work with him). He was mad because it was "work time" and he was saying things about how he didn't want to do pictures, etc. I got him to hold my hand and "walk" with me (more like dragging his feet and flopping all over). The whole rest of his class was sitting, his teacher was saying to the photographers that this was a difficult class (I guess the girl she had sitting with her is the other big challenge, she works with). But the only one acting up was Thomas. And boy was he acting up. His aid was trying to help him with the "transition" (as they call it), but he would not accept this change. And he was flopping all over. She was holding him trying to keep him from breaking his head open on the bleachers, and talking to him so calmly. I wanted to ring his little neck for his horrible behavior. But instead I just sat in the background holding back my tears.

Thanks to digital photos I was able to see that they did in fact capture a class photo with all the kids - including Thomas - were looking at the camera. Not necessarily with a smile, but not in full body flopping tantrums at least.

Then it was time for individual shots. Thomas decided to go last. He sat so good right where he was as all of the other kids took their turns and then headed back to class. But his expression was of someone lost. Then it was his turn. All he had to do was hand the photographer his ticket with his name on it. He refused, holding it behind his back, saying he wanted to keep it. His teacher coaxed, the photographer coaxed, I coaxed. Nothing. So finally they gave up, and made him a new one, let him just keep the one in his hand, and we moved on to getting him to look at the camera, hold still and smile. Well, just like last year, the best shot they got was a pretty stoic look. it would have to do, because he was DONE.

Then it was Grayson's turn. We didn't get a smile out of him last year, so we tried practicing with him at home all morning. But this year, we were lucky we didn't get a pouty lip or tears. He did NOT want to sit there. But the photographer got one good shot. It's not a smile, but it will have to do.


too many appointments

I admit I like being a "home-body." Staying home in my "jammies" all day long, playing with my kids, cooking tastey food (I don't like the cleaning up after cooking much though LOL), working on my yard and garden, and not having to haul the kids around - that is the "difficult" part of errands.

But lately our lives are quite full of appointments.

This week Thomas's Dr. switched him to a new med again. So now we are giving Concerta a try.

I also had an appointment, and got a med for my IBS!
It is really amazing to get Dr.s who actually listen to what we are saying!

Next week we accidentally double booked - can't be in 2 places at once, so I need to reschedule one of them.


a new day

I was really looking forward to going to our appointment with Thomas's new psychologist today, especially after the kids antics last night.

I was getting their dinner ready, and I thought they were playing so well together. But it turned out that they were actually destroying every room they went in. The toy room was already a mess, so they were running back and forth thru the house. In my room - which they shouldn't have been in in the first place, they spread clean laundry all over the floor. In each of their rooms, Thomas climbed up the shelves in their closets and knocked every single thing down to the floor. All in a matter of a few minutes. I know the kids can be noisey when they play, but how did I not notice what they were doing sooner?? I don't know.

So I was extrememly frustrated last night, and really hoped that our Dr. visit would help me get a few ideas on what I should be doing better to both avoid these kinds of nights, and also what to do to handle them when they do happen - cuz ya know they will.

I know it might seem too simple, but Dr. Nate's advice that really stuck in my brain was about taking a deep breath before I react. I am so tired of yelling - and it doesn't do any good, so I am going to try much harder to stop and calm myself, and decide what is to be done before I just fly off the handle and yell.

Dr. Nate watched Thomas closely today. Tyson practiced the "special time" with Thomas in the toy room, and Dr. and I observed in the next room thru the one way mirror and he talked to me about what he saw. he said Thomas's ADHD and his PDD are working against each other - on one hand Thomas wants to go-go-go. and on the other hand every imput around him is telling him to be cautious and watch out. so he said Thomas is a bit gaurded. He said it's no wonder Thomas has a hard time with control. And that is what he wants - he wants to be in control. Dr. Nate talked with me about ways to redirect Thomas without Thomas feeling like he is not in control, and he also reminded me to pick my battles. Because with Thomas, some of the things are just the ways that he needs to get out energy or help himself feel balanced (like the noises he makes - ugh - we hate to listen to them, but it's just part of his sensory imput being out of balance).

So things went good today. I am feeling a little more renewed to deal with my special little boy.

Grayson was in heaven - all those fun toys to play with. Then we went to burger king for lunch! Spoiled little boys.

I guess I forgot to add that he mentioned that as Thomas gets older we may start seeing more symptoms of Aspergers immerge.


a little catch up

We took Thomas to his pediatrician. He was diagnosed with ADHD, PDD and ODD.
We first tried the medicine Adderall. It made him an insominac, which in turn made him weepy all thru the day cuz he was so exhausted.
The Dr. switched him to Strattera. It is a little different, cuz the dosage is increased a little at a time - he is on the second week of it, and last night he was again up for alot of the night, and he has been quite difficult for the last few days. he isn't at the full dosage yet, so we will give it another week or more, but I am not sure that this is the med for him either.
We have started seeing a therapist with him to help us deal with his PDD. Tomorrow is our third visit.
So slowly but surely we are starting to try to get a handle on our lives.

Today Grayson had me up at 6 am, and while putzing at the computer I stumbled across a blog of a lady who has 3 children - one has adhd, one has aspergers, and one has down syndrome. I don't know what it was about this blog that kept me reading. I think I was reading for over 3 hours. It could have been that I realized, maybe I don't have it so bad. It could have been that she had been dealing with a lot of similar things to me, for so much longer than me, that I learned a few things from her experiences. It could have been that I wish I could be a little more like her.

I have been blessed with the chance to go exercise in the mornings at the church. 9 am every weekday, a lady lugs her tv and dvd player to the gym, and a tiny handful of us Zumba for an hour. Somedays I take the boys with me - they can just run around and play with any other kids that come, or draw on the chalkboards. The last couple days I have left them home with Tyson, and that has been nice too. I skipped out on it today though. My IBS has been insufferable. I don't know if all that zumba-ing has been the cause of the irritation - I HOPE That's not it - but I cannot think of anything else I have done to make it act up.

I haven't quite gotten to the point of "liking" the exercising - my back, legs, feet, belly, etc. hurt - BUT I do have more energy to get thru the day. And that is important to me.

So with some of this energy I have been trying to get back to doing my hobby. On the first saturday of every month I get to spend as much of the day as I wish scrapbooking while Tyson takes care of the boys. Last month I just made cards, to get back into the swing of things. I did scrap photo pages this month, since I have been spending a lot of time during the week nights making cards. I have an online friend that is hosting a crop later this month, and as part of it, she is also collecting cards to send to Operation Write Home. I have fallen in love with this program. Now I have a great excuse for making cards. The Mission of OWH is "Supporting our nation's armed forces by sending blank handmade greeting cards to write home on, as well as cards of gratitude to encourage them."
my goal for this time was 80 cards. so far I have made 70 - 10 more to go this week, then I will mail them off! next time I will have a much higher goal, cuz I will have lots longer to create them.

and Little Grayson - well, my big 2 year old still loves to copy everything big brother does. He likes to use the toilet, but isn't quite potty trained. He loves to color and draw. He is starting to talk better. I was worried for a while about his speach, but he is slowly increasing his vocabulary. Some words still come out blbaha, burra, hassa, though :) One phrase he knows perfectly well is "weed pweas" - as he holds out a book and attempts to climb onto our laps. He really enjoys having me read the book first, then he hops down from my lap, yells "Dadda" and then tells daddy to "weed pweas" and climbs into his lap. When daddy is done, the game starts all over as he yells "Mamma" and runs back to me.
some of his other words are : non-us = Thomas (this is used for his brother, as well as for Thomas the train) , mop = milk, beb = bed, gog = dog, guck = duck and truck and stuck.
Tyson laughs when I talk with Grayson, because I can figure out what he is saying, but Tyson still can't understand him.

Grayson has grown tall enough to reach his door knob, so since he is in his big boy bed, he gets up a lot when it's time to go to sleep - nap time included. So now I can't put him down for a nap until he has gotten over tired, and will actually fall asleep, otherwise it's just a game of chase for him. Bedtime at night has gotten a little stressful, it takes him almost an hour to settle down and stop coming out of his room. I hope that someday when the warm weather returns, the boys will start to play hard outside and actually get their energy worked off, so they will be ready to sleep at night. (oh, yes, that reminds me - that it's daylight savings time again this weekend - we spring forward - so that will be interesting to see how that affects their sleep as well).

ok, well, my hands are tired of typing so - that is all for today.....sorry I couldn't include pictures again this time. maybe next time....


See how good Thomas draws

This first picture is of Daddy. He is wearing his glasses, and he is wearing his t-shirt that reads "Your Mom goes to College". -- Thomas was drawing this while I was sitting in at the computer, and he kept running back and forth from the toy room asking me "How do you spell YOUR?" then he came again asking "how do you spell college?" I knew then what he was doing, and had to giggle. And then when he was finished I had to take a picture :)

This is also a picture of daddy, this time he is wearing his glasses and a t-shirt with an american flag on it. Also pictured is Uncle Jared, wearing his glasses too. You can also see Thomas's school bus at the top, the church house at the borrom, and the dark stuff on the bottom right, I think was the computer. The circles are his bowl of breakfast cereal.