23 February, 2006


The school my children attend is on a year-round schedule. For those not familiar with how year-round school works, instead of one large break for the summer, the class takes multiple breaks through out the year. I can not speak for all year-round schools, but my children’s school has an awards ceremony as 2 days before they prepare to take a break. Today was that day for us.

I should, at this point, give you a little background on Connor and school. Earlier this month, it was decided that Connor would be moved from his Kindergarten class to a First Grade class. This decision was based on a great deal of thought, prayer, and assessment of his abilities.

Now, on with the story… This morning, my wife reminded me that the awards ceremony was today. She also stated that this was the first time that neither of the boys would be receiving awards. I didn’t worry much about how my oldest, Aiden, would take it as he is pretty easy going. Unfortunately, I had suspicions that Connor’s would not be so great. One of the problems we have had in the past with Connor is that he feels that everything should be even or fair. He usually keeps track of who is called on in class, weighing the probability that he will be called, and getting upset if he is missed.

Figuring that we were headed for a meltdown, and being unable to attend myself, I discussed with my wife that she REALLY needed to be there. As I started to discuss this with her, she realized how volatile this situation was and agreed that she needed to go.

Well, unlike dinner a few nights before, we were very right in expecting an incident. As the awards ceremony rambled on, and Connor realized he was not being recognized, he began to cry a little. That led to more crying. Then, finally, it evolved into a full blow meltdown. His teacher, who had only had Connor in her class for 3 weeks, developed a “deer in the headlights” look. She then rushed Connor off to the side of the multipurpose room, where his mom was waiting. It took some time and a whole lot of work for my wife to calm him… but he eventually did regain his composure.

After work today, we took Connor and Aiden to John’s Incredible Pizza. They both have done VERY well in school and are at the top of their class. My wife and I explained to them that they will not always receive awards, as others need to be given a chance to shine.

In the end, it was a very emotional day, but such is the rollercoaster.

Missed Yesterday

Unfortunately, I have already failed in my desire to update this blog daily. Yesterday was a rather busy day and once I had the time to sit down to the computer and update the blog, I was so over stimulated that I could not tap out a coherent thought. I have found that on days where I have a number of meetings or a long meeting, I tend to become over stimulated and I spend the rest of the day somewhat shut down.

Hopefully I will have a nice relaxing day today and be able to post something interesting tonight! I am actually hoping that my new PDA (Dell Axim x51) will be here today so that I can get it set up and try blogging from the couch.

21 February, 2006

The Dinner Adventure

For most families with an Autistic child, going out to eat can be a real challenge. This is both because of very unique eating patterns and issues with sitting and waiting for food. Not being willing to let that the challenges stand in our way, my wife and I decided that tonight we would venture out to a regular feeding hole, El Toritos. While we have gone there MANY times, each time it is somewhat of an adventure with Connor.

The greatest problem we run into is that Connor is willing to go to only two placed for dinner. The first is John's Incredible Pizza, a place that offers a pizza buffet and an arcade with ticket yielding games... some what like Chuck E. Cheese. The second place Conner willingly goes for dinner is McDonalds. Any other options need a great deal of coercion and some whining on Connor's part. Some times the reaction can be so bad that it simply stops us from going. This time, I decided to take a unique tact. I sat down with him and explained that he would be able to get pizza and french fries at El Toritos and that this was some place that Mom and Dad wanted to go. With a little whining, I was able to get Connor to be put on his shoes and head out the door.

Things were REALLY starting to look good for this trip. While Connor already showed signs of being over stimulated, his hand flapping was still at a minimum and he was still controllable. We arrived at the restaurant and were immediately seated (always a positive). While my wife and I looked at the menu, trouble started to brew. Connor realized that his menu had the same puzzles as last time. A little agitated, he started to whine about having already completed the puzzles and insisting that his brother trade with him. Luckily Aiden was more than willing to trade menus. Once a gain, our fortune took a turn for the worse when then new menu Connor trade for was in reality only half of the menu. Some how, the second page was missing.

Connor just looked at the menu for a moment, and I could see that he was trying to figure out what had happened to the other half and how he should react to it. Immediately, I jumped up and got a replacement from the hostess that seated us. I smiled to myself, happy that I had averted this disaster.

Soon enough, it was time to order: First my wife, then myself and finally the boys. I must have turned as white as a sheet when the server responded to Connor's order "We are out of Pizza". Connor just sat there and looked at the server. I could see him thinking "No, you aren't out of pizza, I just ordered it." Connor was starting to get very agitated. Hoping that my luck in defusing his melt downs from earlier was still in effect, I quickly convinced Connor to change his order. I was amazed that he agreed to this, as he has NEVER ordered anything different. None he less, he went along when I ordered him a quesedia. The remainder of the dinner went without significant events, and that was truly amazing.

20 February, 2006

An introduction...

Perhaps the best place to start with my personal blog is with an introduction of who I am, my challenges, my blessings, and my thoughts. Actually, perhaps I should really start with a disclaimer:

The views expressed in this blog, "Autism: Deal With It!", are only the views of Brian. The experiences described here are not necessarily representative of life with Autism, either as a parent of an Autistic child or as an adult with Autism. If you find that you relate to some of the events depicted or views expressed, let me know by leaving a message. If you don't find that you relate to some of the events depicted or views expressed, then you are free to move on, there is nothing to see here.

There, with that out of the way, I can get on to a proper introduction of who I am. My name is Brian. I have been very happily married for 11 years and intend to remain married for all of time and eternity. I am also the father of two boys, ages 7.5 years and just under 6 years (He will be 6 in a few weeks). My youngest son was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 46 months (in case you don't want to do the math, that is 3 years and 10 months.) When my youngest was diagnosed with Autism, a great number of things began to fall into place for me. Looking back at my childhood, I realize now that I too have Autism. I have not been officially diagnosed, for several reasons (I'll save that for a later blog though).

My challenges are not much different form any parent who is struggling to come to grips with their own challenges while raising two children on the Autism spectrum. Yes, I said two. While my oldest son has not been officially diagnosed, my wife and I feel certain that he has Asperger's Syndrome.

My blessings are actually the same as my challenges, struggling to come to grips with my own challenges while raising two children on the Autism spectrum. You see, if it were not for my two boys, I would still be lost as to what my challenges are and how to work through them. My sons have taught me so very much. I am a true believer in the idea that our Heavenly Father gives us each our own unique challenges, so that we can grow to our greatest potential. He also blesses us with the strength, should be choose to embrace it, to meet all of the challenges placed before us.

As for my thoughts, you will just have to continue to tune in to read about them. I will probably discuss such topics as my struggles in dealing with challenges, the special joys of raising children with Autism, and more.

I should mention that I have created a number of Autistic shirt designs that can be purchased through my Cafe Press store. The link is located to the right. I hope that everyone can enjoy the shirts. They are a little different than the typical Autism Awareness shirts currently available.

That's all I have for now... I intend to try to update this daily, so check back often!