Author Archives: babstierno

Pirates and Paw Patrol

πŸ‘» HAPPIEST of HALLOWEEN! πŸŽƒ

Halloween is always a fun time at our house. The cousins and Shiva come over and we all trick or treat together.

FYI- If your Halloween doesn’t include a floor wallowing tantrum, you aren’t doing it right.

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Goodbye Monster πŸ˜”

The best dog in the whole world died October 19th. Every member of our family claimed her as their best friend. She knew all the secrets, dried all the tears, warmed all the feet, and are all the food when no one was looking.

There is a hole in my heart and our family. Hoping Simba steps into the family rock quickly. πŸ™πŸΌ

Creative

Cub has a high IQ. He’s above grade level in math and science. Despite these consistent test results, the school says he doesn’t qualify for gifted education but he doesn’t have “enough creativity points.” Autism doesn’t present creativity in the way you or I would recognize it. Autism’s creativity can appear as pattern recognitions, problem solving skills, building and testing, and creating order. For Cub, he creates complex obstacle courses in the backyard. It’s creative as hell and extremely entertaining. Too bad the school can’t see what I see in this kid! πŸ€”

This school fits juuuust right.Β 

Our sweet Roar is making so much progress. We pulled him out of his preschool and put him in a special school with a 1:2 ratio that will focus on his social emotional learning. 

Prior to this move, Roar could not function through a single day without exhibiting self-injurious behavior at school. He struggled to regulate his emotions, engage with peers, meet the multi step demands of his teachers, and navigate the daily routine. 

Roar’s sensory needs hijack his brain. It’s awful to watch. If you stop the behavior without providing an appropriate alternative, he begins scratching his arms/thighs or banging his head on the floor. 

His teachers tried ignoring the behaviors but that led to escalation. They tried intervening but that led to escalation. They tried isolation but that led to escalation. They tried holding him but that led to escalation. They tried every tool they had but at the end of the day, they just didn’t have enough tools to help my kiddo. Our relationship with the staff wasn’t always rainbows and sunshine, in fact there were a few incidents that I found unacceptable but I do feel they tried their best until desperation took over. 

The new school is incredible. The teachers meet Roar’s needs and limit the demands placed on him. He doesn’t have to wear shoes (big issue), he’s allowed to climb and even encouraged to do so (big issue), he’s supported when he escapes situations that overwhelm him, his hoarding is treated as a coping skill rather than a problem behavior, vestibular sensory input is incorporated into his day at regular intervals. 

Stay tuned. This kid is making serious progress. πŸ˜‰

Ugh.Β 

Things have been rough here lately. Looking back I probably won’t even remember why. I’m far overdue a post and have so very much to share but it will just have to wait. 
This is my outlet and I enjoy it. Life has suddenly become a bit too overwhelming to enjoy. Moments of joy seem like I’m robbing Peter to pay Paul. Two special needs kiddos is no joke. One isn’t either.
I swore up and down that good parents give it πŸ’―. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, it’s still πŸ’―. Somewhere along the line, it seems I started giving more than πŸ’―. Taking from me and giving to them. 
Now we are all at a deficit. 
It will get better. I won’t remember this week. Life will go on. But today, this week, this month, Ugh. M

Learning how to autism

Another Cub moment, we are reading Sleep Book by Dr Seuss before bed last night. He gets upset because the characters aren’t real animals. I reply “this book is pretend.” He gets quiet, looks confused, stares hard at the book for a minute and says “it looks real to me.” (Meaning the actual book not the story)English is so hard for literal minds.Β 

This came up as a memory on my Facebook from four years ago. Cub is twice the size but nothing about the story has changed. Language is so hard for him. We have to be so thoughtful about the words we use, what they mean, what they imply, and how they could be interpreted.

It’s our normal. Problem is, it’s annoying in real life. I went away on a girls trip this weekend. We talked endlessly. It was amazing. Except- I spent the whole weekend basically saying, “Precision of Language.” (Read The Giver) and “clarify your pronouns.”

Annoying. Right? πŸ™„ My normal has changed. I am now wondering in what other ways I have tried to immerse myself in my son’s autism to clarify and enrich the world for him.

As I reflect, I have already noticed many other ways. He’s one odd example. (They are all odd).

Someone recently asked “anyone know where the area code 727 is?” I immediately responded with “St. Petersburg Florida. More specifically, I believe it’s Β Panellas County.” What in the hell!? My grandparents live in St. Pete so I kinda knew it from that but not enough to offer it up as a firm answer to a question. The reason I knew it with such conviction is that Cub likes area codes. When I encounter a new area code I remember it for him. When I can answer his questions and have conversations about his interests I feel more connected to him.

So basically, I’m learning how to autism. I didn’t even notice. Wish me luck! 😁