Thursday, February 23, 2017

When everythings meant to be broken, I just want you to know who I am.

This is me. A mom of four. A mom of a special needs child. Emotionally and physically drained. Some days I feel like years have been added to my life. No joke. I seriously feel as if I am going to fall apart. I cannot stress enough how much it takes a toll on ones mind alone.

People... Since I became a mom of a special needs child it has turned me into a anti people person. I literally can't stand the stares. The comments. The advice they feel you need to hear. This morning was a bad morning and my sons bus driver felt the need to give her own advice. While I'm standing there hyperventilating and crying because Landon decided to fight me to the bus. I was already breaking down. I didn't need to be told how to handle my son. She hasn't been the only one. I deal with this every time we go somewhere. Someones always gotta say something. They know better than you. Its so frustrating. I have thought many times to just pack my family up and run to an isolated place. You know its sad when a person gets to that point.

Yes Landon is a handful. We have good days. We have bad days. There is no in between. Lets be real here. I have cried more in the past year than I ever have. Teenage hormones have changed him. Hes become more outgoing and has acted out more than in the past years. There are days where I do walk into my room and I just cry. Something my mom always told us six kids to do. When you're overwhelmed and feel like you need to scream. Do it. You need to cry out of frustration. Do it. Don't hold it in.

Its a job in itself raising a special needs kid. The hours and days of therapies. The government coming into your house. Dealing with CPS. Having to explain every cut, bruise and mark in notes so CPS doesn't show up at your door again. When you have a son who doesn't feel pain and goes down the stairs on his knees... Writing that note was a doozy. I think I have written so many I could've written a book. Its sad that I have to do that. But I hate dealing with CPS. We had a worker a few years ago. She was a real winner. Actually asked my husband about my mental state because I was still grieving the LOSS of my sister months before. Yeah... Nice right? She really enjoyed seeing me upset. You could see it in her eyes. I don't even remember what her name was but when she tried to throw Native American documentation at me and told me I should do it for benefits I looked at her like she lost her damn marbles. Like I'm going to claim to be from a tribe in Michigan just to claim benefits? HA! (It was her way of making it right.) What a joke.

Dealing with teachers these past couple of years.. I'm telling you. If I could homeschool my kid I would. Just to avoid the constant phone calls, notes and meetings. They want you to medicate your kid until he becomes a zombie you know... aka manageable. If you try new medications and they don't work well try again... Try and try again. If their hyperactive they have to be on meds.  Its a no win situation. The same with cold meds and allergy meds. Landon has allergies all year round like me. He got my curse. There are only 1-2 over the counter meds I can give him for it that don't counteract his four medications he is on. One pharmacist actually told me that certain over the counter meds can cause my kid to go into cardiac arrest because of the strong medications hes on. Try to explain that to the teacher and nothing but argument. Its like they don't want to listen to you.

All of that alone makes me feel worn down. I literally cannot count how many times I have hung up with teachers and cried because of frustration. Somedays I just want to walk into a hospital and say take me. lol. Seriously though I have stayed up many nights in the past couple of weeks with Landon who was too riled up to go to bed and think about how nice sleep would be. How nice it is for everyone who is sleeping right now. Then when that finally does happen its 3 or 4 in the morning. I literally can't sit down during the day because if I do I'm out. lol. Not good folks. Not good at all.

Landon is a awesome kid. He really is. I wouldn't trade him nor his siblings for anything. I love them all to the moon and back. We have given up so much. My husband gave up his favorite job (US Coast Guard). I have fought to get him the services he needs and deserves. Countless disagreements with doctors who said he couldn't do this and that. Well.. They were totally wrong. He did all of what they said and more. He will walk through the house with a smile on his face. Loves to try to sing the words to songs of one of his favorite bands Of Monsters and Men. King and Lionheart is still his favorite song.

Laugh at accents like they're the greatest thing ever. He lives his life like there isn't a care in the world. I wish I could live like that. Finally have that library I always wanted. Go on a honeymoon we never had. Even just go on a hike in the woods and lose myself. But all of that is just thoughts. Wishes. Something that is never going to happen. But in the end seeing his face, Cheyennes face, Gavin and Brennans faces every day makes it worth it.

People ask me "how do you do it? How do you raise a special needs child and not drink or lose it?" I simply say " I'm his mom. I accepted this when he was 18 months old. I have been by his side since day one and honestly...
I do it because no one else would."

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Never apologize

In the past couple of years I learned a lot. I learned who I can confide in and who I can't. Who will listen and who won't. I learned where I stand when it comes to family and friends. Its okay. But the one thing I learned most of all especially on facebook is that people will change their opinions of you in 2 point seconds flat if you don't see things their way. Its the most FRUSTRATING drama I have ever dealt with. I was accused of hating Obama (never hated anyone in my life) because I pointed out ONE policy I didn't agree with. One. I didn't bash Obama. I wouldn't bash anyone. But apparently because of an opinion I am officially a "Obama hater". Quite laughable honestly. I didn't like Clinton and wasn't accused of being a Clinton hater. I wasn't a fan of George Bush. Never was accused of being a "Bush hater". Although I'll admit his speeches were pretty entertaining. I don't even like Trump. Didn't vote for Trump. I don't like a lot of what our American government does. Honestly I wish America could've gotten a redo on candidates and now we're stuck with Trump for four years.

The thing that irks me more than anything else. Why is it that people don't comment or like posts on your facebook until you post something they don't like or "against liberals". That's where they all of a sudden come out of hiding for a witch hunt and start drama where its not wanted. It was a DAMN VIDEO I didn't even make. I didn't have any control over what the guy said about Democrats yet here comes the hate. This is why I almost left facebook yesterday. You can't share anything without someone getting butthurt and starting drama. Its like I'm dealing with facebook police. If you post something Anti Trump you can hear crickets. But you post a video of a guy talking about the protests and BAM here comes the bitching. "People have a right to protest their beliefs" etc etc. What about mine? Why can't I post something on facebook without someone pouncing on it? Why can't I have a difference of an opinion without feeling attacked because you feel the need to tell me I'm wrong? Its like you can't win on your own facebook. Or you have the "friends" who are on your facebook but unfollow you or hide your posts. Can someone tell me what is the point of that? Seriously? I want to be friends with you on facebook but I don't want to read your views or thoughts. Just want to string along.

Its mind boggling how people are. I seriously want to just clean out my friends list and start over. Just keep the ones who actually enjoy my posts. I have people on my facebook who I have never met who are more like family to me than my own family. Its pretty damn sad. Seriously though. I feel like a person should be able to post whatever they want regardless if you agree with it or not. I have seen people post things I don't agree with and I keep scrolling why? I don't let it bother me. I have seen pictures of things I don't want to see and do I bitch to them about it? No. I keep scrolling. Honestly. Facebook is my getaway. People don't know whats really going on in my life. No one does. I was hardly on facebook when my mom was alive because I could go to her. I would sit in my backyard and talk to her for hours with coffee. There are days where I feel so damn alone and no one knows because I don't say it. I don't tell my true business on facebook. I used to until my family criticized me for it. They think I spend all my time on facebook. While sadly they spent their entire lives criticizing me, bringing me down, making fun of me and making me feel like shit.

However the one thing I will never do is I will never apologize for who I am. No one should ever apologize for how they feel, their opinions and beliefs. Never let anyone make you feel you need to change your way of thinking because to them its wrong. Never. You be you and if they don't like it that's on them. I was raised to speak my mind. I was raised to never let anyone tell you different when they don't agree with you. Its okay to hear what they have to say. But never let them bully you into changing your mind. Thats they great thing about being able to think for yourself. I'm not gonna change. I'm going to be the same person I was yesterday. I have come to the conclusion that Facebook used to be fun. Now its all politically correct and drama. Its like high school all over again.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Autism & Halloween

Halloween is my most favorite holiday. I absolutely look forward to it every year. Not because I get to see my kiddos dressed up. Even though I love it. I just feel a strong connection to all Hallows Eve. I believe my Celtic ancestors have something to do with that. Even though for them it wasn't about dressing up and partying or giving candy to little kids. It was a spiritual and a deeper meaning. 

Halloween is a day we get to celebrate and have fun. But also keep in mind that its also the day where autistic children don't understand the fuss. My son Landon for instance could care less about dressing up. Whereas his sister and his twin brothers are stoked about getting tons of candy. For Landon its just another day. Finding a costume for him is a chore. Every year we struggle to find a costume that doesn't require a hat or mask. It seems like every costume has them. So last year I put together a Incredible Hulk costume for him and it worked out. The only time we found a hat he would wear was when he was Jimmy Johnson (Nascar driver) for Halloween one year. It was cute. 

The biggest struggle is understanding from people. That's the thing. Some people don't and we would spend a lot of time explaining why Landon didn't want to walk up to get candy. How Landon would sit down on the porch in meltdown mode because he was overwhelmed by all the children. Or the time he grabbed a handful when he didn't understand to grab one and a woman flipped out. Only to have a person on the next house over give him three handfuls because she heard the woman saying we didn't need to be taking him trick or treating because hes special needs. That was a couple of years ago. Now every year we go to the same neighborhood and the people in it have never given us strife. They are very understanding of the fact that Landon is special needs. He was first diagnosed with cognitive impairment then autism. So hes twelve years old with the mindset half his age. He has learned to only take one piece of candy though. Especially his favorite Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. That's pretty much the only thing he will eat in his bag and while his sister and brothers go through their candy in weeks. Last pillow case lasted six months. Mainly because hes not a big candy eater and wasn't eating any of it. 

What I really want to say is I wish there was a way to spread awareness to everyone passing out candy to be mindful of the child that comes to their door. That not every kid is gonna understand to take one piece. Not every kid is gonna walk up in a costume they find cute or scary. I saw a special needs boy dressed up as a businessman last year because he loves suits and didn't want to wear a costume. I told his mom "hey whatever works for him." He was happy and that's all that matters. Landon was the incredible hulk but didn't wear green makeup on his face because he would've spent the entire time wanting us to rub it off. So we opted not to do it. 

I wish we could spread awareness to not pass judgement on the parents who are trying their best to get their kid off the ground because he or she is in straight up meltdown mode. If you don't know what it takes to calm down an autistic child while they're trying to harm themself keep your opinion and judgement to yourself. Try walking in our shoes for one day and see how quickly those opinions stop. Its not easy. Its not easy trying to explain to grown people what is wrong with my son. I actually became resentful of people in public because of it. The stares, the whispering and the comments is the reason so many friends of mine don't want to take their kids out in public because it embarrasses them when their kid has a meltdown. Whereas I don't care. My kid goes into meltdown mode and you want to stare or make a comment? Prepare to hear me say something you might not like. 

I'm hoping we have a successful Halloween again this year. Trick or treating is supposed to be fun, Halloween is supposed to be fun. As adults we all should show some understand and awareness that even though some on the spectrum don't truly grasp what is going on that there is a feeling of excitement there. In fact Landon got the hang of trick or treating when he realized they were putting the "good candy" in his pillow case. After that he was going to every door with a smile on his face. Made the cold rainy night in Michigan worth it. 

This Halloween please by mindful of the kids who are different. Don't ridicule them. Don't ridicule the parents when they're trying their best and most of all don't pass judgement. Don't make the family of a special needs or kid on the autism spectrum feel unwelcomed because you don't understand why the kid is flapping his hands or quirky behaviors. Its part of the spectrum we parents deal with and honestly I wouldn't trade it for anything. I know other parents feel opposite and wish their kid was normal but I see it as a part of Landon. Take it away and he wouldn't be Landon. He would be a totally different kid and of course autism doesn't define him but its a part of him. A part that I accepted since day one. 

What is Landon going to dress up as for Halloween? We have no idea. Any suggestions are welcomed as long as they don't involve a mask. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Raising a teenage girl..

I have a fourteen year old beautiful daughter who loves to test me everyday. She is my eldest of four, very opinionated and sarcastic. She gets those traits equally from her dad and I. Sometimes its fun and sometimes I shake my head at her. I love my daughter. I love being her mom. She and I have a special bond. The kind of bond where we both share the same quirky sense of humor. Its so bad that sometimes I make her hit the floor with laughter and my husband stands there looking at us like we're crazy. Maybe we are...

My daughter started freshman year in a new high school in a new school district. Last summer we gave her that choice. She could go to the high school in our city or somewhere else. She chose to go somewhere else. We figured it would be up to her because we are trying to teach her to make her own choices. I admit that as many times as I told her she was going to be okay I was just as nervous for her. But we started her in marching band camp at the end of summer in hopes it would prepare her and she did well. Which was the best thing for her. First day of marching band wasn't easy for her. We expected it coming from a middle school with no music program. She was overwhelmed and came home freaking out. She wanted to quit. So I told her to give it one more week and if she hated it she could. You can't quit marching band after one day I told her. One week later she stuck it out. Now she loves it.

I think it helped her come out of her shell. Cheyenne has always been a loner. She had a few friends that would come over. But she really wasn't one to hang out. Out of all the years she has only made a handful of friends. I think by choice. She was never a kid to surround herself with a huge group of people. A loner trait that she gets from her dad. So we have only had a handful of friends at our house at different times, days and throughout the year. The same group of friends who went to the mall with her for her birthday and she loved it. They are a good group of girls who call us mom and dad. Since she switched schools we don't get to see them. But they know they're welcomed at our house any time. 

One thing I stand by and will always stand by is always be there for your kids even when they don't want you to.. I have always been there for her. Talked to her about everything and have been her shoulder since she was a baby.  When she was little we would read books together. We even read Little Women together which is one of my favorite books. It was the quality time I enjoyed and it became a routine until she hit thirteen. What teenager do you know wants to read a book with their mom? So that tradition has since gone. She has moved on. She is hitting the typical teenage stage. The "leave me alone" stage that I am still trying to get used to. Granted she has her moments where she will tell me about her day. Stories about her friends and how band practice went. She even chases me around the house with her Korean pop music yelling "mom listen to this song!". I literally have to run from her to save my sanity... Haha. It reminds me of her Jonas Brothers and One Direction stages. Except they're Korean boys. 

Lately though she has had her moments of not wanting to talk to me. My friends say "its normal. Just let her go. Let her do her own thing.." Thing is I was raised by a mom who refused to let us go into our own demise. I was diagnosed with depression in my teenage years. My mom saw me hit rock bottom and made it a mission to show that she was there whenever I wanted to talk. Most of the time I didn't and would try to hide in my room. But she wouldn't have any of that. She would make me sit and she would sit there and stare at me until I finally told her what was wrong. Quite honestly my mom saved me. Without her I probably wouldn't be here typing this right now. I would sit in my room and wallow in my depression. Actually thought that I should just end it because I didn't want to deal with my mental illness anymore. My mom sensed it and we would sit on the porch and talk. I would tell her everything. It wasn't easy but knowing I had her there even on my worst days really showed me that it was okay to talk about it. Even after I got married and had kids my mom would show up, I would make coffee and we would sit in the backyard and just talk. I miss those days so much. Never take time with your mom for granted because one day you will sit and think "I wish my mom was here.."

I'll admit that as a parent of a teenage girl sometimes I get frustrated with Cheyenne when she gets attitude. Tells me to go away. Yells at me and you know the typical "shut up". I usually leave her alone and she always manages to come to me and all that teenage angst is squashed. She will sit and tell me about friends and what she did that day. Or  my favorite is on the weekends.. She and I sit and watch movies together. Last weekend it was The Ring and The Blair Witch Project. The Ring she said was great but she gave The Blair Witch Project two thumbs down. She called it lame. haha. I actually love found footage movies. She and I watched an Australian one a couple of months ago called The Tunnel and it was great. Movies are our thing now. 

I understand where Cheyenne is coming from though. No teenager wants to tell their mom everything. But the thing is because of my upbringing I can't just walk away from her. I can't just pretend I don't care. Its not in my DNA. I give her space. She hides in her room. But I do check on her. See whats shes up to and show her that I'm there regardless. Yeah a teenager needs space. But the ones who are left alone are the ones who end up thinking their parents don't care. I had friends who felt that way about their parents and I vowed that I would never let my child or children feel that way. My mom was there for a lot of my friends too. She took in kids who had no where to go. She was amazing. I will admit I'm not trying to follow in her shoes because I could never live up to my mom. She raised six kids, worked, took care of the house and still managed to take the time to be there when we needed her. Even after we all moved out. She passed away six years ago and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of how lucky my siblings and I were to call her mom. 

Raising a teenager. Especially a girl has not been easy. She is still finding herself. She is figuring life out on her own and I respect that wholeheartedly. She knows her boundaries and hasn't stepped over the line yet *knock on wood*. I'm not naive to know that there is that chance. However she is a smart girl and knows its not the way to go. The only thing my husband and I can do is encourage her to stay on the right path. Shes a good kid though and through the years we were told how respectful, well mannered and a huge sweetheart she is. I want Cheyenne to know that she is loved. That even when shes grown she can call me anytime and know that mom is there no matter what. Even if it annoys her.

I would say one of the hardest jobs in the world is raising a teenager. Its challenging for sure but you can't give up on them. You can't let them hide. You have to be there. Even if you have to be their shadow. Show them that they're not alone. Don't give them too much free reign because some kids (from personal experience with friends) who get to do whatever they want feel that their parents could careless about what they do as long as they're occupied. Its sad. I had many friends who looked up to my mom because they felt their parents didn't care. My mom was there for them. Our house was full of teens because to them we were their family. Yes let them live their life. Let them hang out with friends. Go to the movies. Walk around the mall. But keep tabs on them. That's what my mom did and it showed us that she cared about what we were doing. Even though I wasn't crazy enough to act out because growing up in a military family... We knew better. haha... 

Teenagers are vulnerable. Hormones are all over the place. They need someone to be there. Even if they tell you to go away. Don't. In reality they do want you there they just don't know how to tell you. 

There is a quote by Mother Theresa about loneliness that I agree with. 

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty. 

~Mother Teresa

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Not for wimps that's for sure.

When my son Landon was first diagnosed with autism we were told what we were in store for. We sat through appointments, MRI's, EEG's and genetic tests on Landon. Neurologist appointments. All for the diagnoses for Motor Apraxia and Autism. The challenges we faced were typical ASD. He didn't know how to communicate and what happens when your special needs child doesn't know how to communicate? They get frustrated and the meltdowns ensue. When he was two years old we decided it was his best interest to get him a specially made helmet.  The helmet was for when he would have meltdowns outside and would try to bang his head on the concrete. He has a permanent bald spot on the front of his head from all the banging he did. When we cut his hair we have to be careful on how short we cut in the front. Its pretty noticeable when his hair is cut too short. 

 Of course now at age twelve he doesn't wear a helmet. He has thankfully calmed down with the meltdowns. He has since learned how to tell us that he is mad or that he wants a snack. We use verbal prompts for everything. You have to because its the only way they learn. So we tell him "you have to ask?" so he will say what he wants. Hes doing great with it. He has shown a lot of progress and sometimes gets amused when we say "you have to ask". He literally laughs at us. Its the funniest and greatest moments.

Its a work in progress trying to redirect his meltdowns but we won't give up. We will never give up on him no matter the challenge. He has been keeping us on our toes since day one. He's a good kid. Always happy. Finds amusement in a lot of things. This is the same kid who loves accents. He finds Harry Potter amusing. Every time Harry speaks in the movies Landon falls over belting in laughter. His contagious laugh will have you crying tears from laughing so hard. He also loves to scream and its the worst when he does it in the store and scares people. Who thankfully laugh after the fact. We have had our fair share of moments where we stood there like "please don't turn around... Just keep walking." All the while hes snorting in laughter.

He tends to be cautious of people. But I think he gets that trait from me. If he likes you he will want to hug and will say "muah" and gives you his cheek to kiss him. If he doesn't like you he tends to get standoffish and reads people really well. That is how I have always been. I tend to be the same way and I hug people I like.. Not so much the kissing.. I hope I clarified that. Landon just recently discovered that if he gets kisses he gets attention so hes all for it. Thankfully its only to people he knows. I'm waiting for the day he decides to try it on a stranger. It will definitely be awkward. Totally giggling here.

He has many fans. He has have a fanbase for years since our days of livejournal and some of those fans root for him on my facebook. Every photo I share and every post. Every journal entry I wrote about his progress. They stuck by him and wanted to know all the details. He is truly blessed. And.. It was all done in a positive light. When people ask me "how do you deal?" I smile and say that I don't think of it as a burden. I think of how it has changed me. It has made me a better person. It taught me to be compassionate. It taught me understanding and acceptance. I accepted the fact that he was cognitive impaired and autistic since day one. I knew it was going to be a journey. But the journey has been worth it. For all the bad along the way. We surpass it with good. So much good that I love sharing him on facebook. I love showing everyone what Landon has accomplished. The silly moments because raising a special needs child there is never a dull moment. I have had mornings where he would take showers in his school clothes and posted it on facebook because its one of those moments he does that sound frustrating but in reality I'm standing there laughing along with him. Its moments like that to me outweigh the ugly side of autism. Sure its frustrating. Sure its a everyday struggle where you feel frustrated for your child. I don't look at Landon and say "he won't do this or that." I look at Landon and say "he will and he will do it at his own pace." Sure he may never go to dances, have a girlfriend and do typical teenage angst. Things like that seem so trivial when you're raising a special needs child. When I look at Landon I see a kid who will grow up and do things at his own pace. We call it "on Landons terms". He will do a lot in the future because hes already changed many lives. Every person who has met him will tell you that they absolutely love him. He is living his life in his world. We're just privileged to be a part of it.

My mom used to say "it takes a special person to raise a special needs child and that person will know what to do, what to say and stand by their side no matter what. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

I didn't know autism had a look?

I took a hiatus from facebook because I have had a cold for almost a week. It got worse on Thursday and I am finally starting to feel like myself again. I can taste coffee again (YAY ME!). This blog isn't about me being sick though. Its about a post I saw on a mommy group on facebook last week before I took my hiatus. It really irked me. 

I am in a lot of mommy groups on facebook. Don't comment much on them. Mostly keep to myself. Its the Finn in me I suppose. So I usually just read posts and move on. But last week a lady posted about how her friends kid didn't "look" autistic. Which got me to wondering what she meant by it. So I questioned her and she said "well you know.. Special needs kids have a certain look and my friends son looks normal..." I couldn't help but shake my head. I told her that if her friend is concerned that her son is showing the signs of autism that she should have him evaluated. Depending on his age that early intervention would benefit her friends kid. 

I also made it a point to tell her that autistic or special needs kids do not have a specific look about them. Down syndrome children yes. But autistic children "look" like normal kids. The only difference is they have quirks. My son Landon for instance. He was diagnosed with motor apraxia at twelve months old by his neurologist. His motor skills were delayed and he didn't sit up, crawl or walk like most babies would his age. So we went through many tests. Brain scans etc to find out what was wrong with him and that's when we were recommended that we put him through the early on program. At twelve months old Landon did physical and occupational therapies 2-3 times a week. All the way till he turned three years old when he graduated from the program. He made such great progress he took his first steps a few days shy of his second birthday. We were told by his pediatrician that day would never come. It was after his second birthday he was diagnosed with autism even though the neurologist and psychologist were convinced before his diagnoses that he was autistic. He had all the signs. Stared off into space. No eye contact. Repetitive behavior. Self harm. No communication whatsoever. But they weren't comfortable with diagnosing him until he turned two. 

Landon didn't speak for eight years of his life. His pediatrician called him the "silent kid" and although we did everything to get him to show interest in words it never stuck. Not until my twins started talking. Once they started talking and putting words together (they had to have speech therapy too because of their "twin talk") he showed interest in making sounds. He started picking up things from his baby brothers. Showing interest in what they were doing. He would try to mimic what they said. It was amazing to watch. Here's Landon the big brother looking up to his little twin brothers. It was like watching a record repeat itself over and over again. He started to show interest at speech therapy too. Finally giving the teacher what she was working so hard for. I still say to this day I don't think my twins were the motivation first though. It was after my mom died that I swear a light bulb went off in his head. He was more aware. He showed interest in his siblings. He wanted to cuddle and watch movies and just be around his family. It was like he changed after my mom died but changed for the better.

It wasn't until we took him to the doctor (pediatrician) that we didn't realize the real change in him. Usually he hates doctors offices. They're too small and once the door closes he goes into claustrophobic mode. He cannot handle a room the size of an walk in closet. So we knew as soon as the door opened he was gonna flip. Try and get out the door and just not have any of it. But to our surprise he sat there all cheerful like nothing could ruin his day. It was when the doctor walked in that we knew he was a different kid. Usually Landon never acknowledged people not even the doctor. So when the doctor came in he usually does his "hey Landon how are you?" Then turns to us to ask the usual. Well not this time. When he walked through the door.. Landon looked up, smiled and said "HI. How are you?" Dr Grover looked at us and said "did he just talk?" with tears in his eyes. We all sat there pretty much in awe that our Landon was changing. Changing for the better.

Now at age twelve he is in the autism impaired program.and goes to a school specialized in autistic kids. He has learned to love music. He has learned singing songs. He has learned a love for numbers and we have taught him how to say his name. How to count to 20 so far and he also knows his ABC's. He asks questions and loves saying "HI, Good morning!" even if its afternoon or night time. He loves to interact and has opened up to more social gatherings than in the past. Before we could only stay 20-45 minutes tops. Now he will last at the zoo for 3-4 hours. But it took a lot of hard work to get where he is and hes doing amazing. We're so proud of him and the progress he has made thanks to many people. 

In the photo below you can see that Landon looks like a normal kid with a smile on his face. But when you meet Landon you can see by his mannerisms that hes not a typical twelve year old kid. He has motor delays and can't hold a conversation. He is however starting to become socialized and has coped with the world on his own pace. We take him out in public and most of the time the meltdowns have subsided. He doesn't throw himself down in aisles in a store or on the ground at places as much as he used to. It seems like he has matured a lot. He doesn't have the understanding of social cues just yet but working with him we believe he will get there. We have also learned when hes in meltdown mode to reinforce it with positive influence like his favorite songs on youtube, tickling or even singing the numbers song and he will stop and try to interact too forgetting the fact he was upset minutes before. He also loves to spend his time lining up his semi trucks and school buses. Lining up his emergency cars and trucks that light up, sirens going off. He isn't a typical twelve year old that has friends. He doesn't have friends. He doesn't play video games. He doesn't do what twelve year olds do. But he knows he is loved. He knows he has a family that has his back and he knows we're determined and have fought for how far he has become and will continue to do so just so he can have a good life. Landon is a kid that has made me a better person through and through. He doesn't look special needs but he is and hes living proof that with support and determination you can get far. Wouldn't trade him for anything even with the daily struggles of raising a special needs child. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Landons story..

This is a picture of my 8 year old son Landon. 

Landon is autistic and cognitively impaired. When I was pregnant with him I knew something wasn't right. You see before Landon I had a daughter named Cheyenne and it was after her first birthday we found out we were expecting again. When I was pregnant with Cheyenne it was normal, she was a firecracker, always moving, feet in the rib cage, basically she was pretty active.... In Landons case it wasn't so...

Landon didn't move a whole lot. He would stay on the left side and just sit there. I was put on multiple stress tests and nothing ever showed. I even mentioned to my ob gyn that maybe there was something wrong. My gut instinct was telling me he was going to be different and boy I was right.

Six months after Landon was born we noticed his behavior as being peculiar. He wouldn't make eye contact, would constantly lay on his back and wouldn't make any sounds that most babies make. But our pediatrician at the time told us there was nothing to worry about..

At twelve months Landon didn't walk, sit up or crawl. Our pediatrician said there were no concerns. Mind you this man was named one of the top ten pediatricians in the state of Michigan. So I took matters into my own hands. I told him that since he wasn't going to help like hes supposed to I was going to get it myself. I then took Landon to a neurologist who diagnosed Landon with Motor Apraxia and cognitive impairment. She couldn't believe the pediatrician wouldn't do anything. 

We were referred to the Early On program. He went through a evaluation at MISD. Was seen  by a psychologist who then agreed with the neurologists assessment. So we were then sent to the Early Program to start Landon into physical, occupational and speech therapies because he was also non verbal.

Thanks to Macomb Intermeddiate School District and Early On Landon walked before his second birthday. I will never forget the day I was watching a movie with my daughter and looked over in time to see him pull himself up to the couch and take a few steps. I literally jumped out of my chair and started crying.. My baby boy was walking!! I called my husband at work and said "guess who finally walked?" My husband couldn't respond because he too started to cry. It was beautiful. We were told by the so called pediatrician that Landon would never walk. Never sit up. Well he did and the day he walked up to his physical therapist by himself she cried too. It was the greatest moment.

Now I bet you're thinking "I hope you got rid of that so called pediatrician?" Why yes we did after he told us that Landon wouldn't walk, sit up or crawl because he was "lazy". Yes he called Landon lazy. He wasn't lazy he was delayed. When we told his psychiatrist what the pediatrician said the psychiatrist called him and with me in the room said " how can  you call yourself a doctor when you claim a two year old child is lazy when if you did your job you would've known that he is delayed!! As a doctor myself my opinion is that Landon isn't the only whose lazy. You're the one that is lazy and apparently shouldn't be a pediatrician since you suck at your job!! Then he hung up.

I sat there in shock. I didn't know what to say... But in my mind I thought.. Damn he just told him. lol

Landon was put through physical, occupational and speech therapies. He had his hearing checked multiple times because he was what you call a silent kid. He made no noises, sounds and spoke no words. For seven years not a peep. Until my mom died back in 2010 and all of a sudden a switch went on. He talks now. Not in full sentences just words here and there but hey its a start! 

He goes to a special needs school. He is in a cognitive impaired class and he isn't potty trained but we are still working on it. Its a slow process but its getting better. He has shown great progress and we know he will continue to show it. We have faith in him and he has our love and support 100%.

This is a kid that was said to never walk but with the help of some awesome people. Who knew the doctor was wrong and worked hard to show it. They did an fantastic job. And the proof is in the pudding as they say because our little Landon participates in the Special Olympics every year and has almost 20 ribbons for track and field. 

The hard work of a determined little boy. A little boy we love and adore, a little boy we wouldn't trade nor change for the world. Many say they want a cure for autism. I don't. If Landon was cured he wouldn't be the same person he is today. I can't imagine him any other way.