Archive | July, 2011

Reaching milestones is cause for celebration!

Every parent praises and celebrates their child when they reach milestones. We’ve all heard people go on and on about how their child took their first steps, or said their first word… but when your child has autism, and you wonder if those milestones will ever be reached because you’ve long passed their expected arrival time… you don’t only praise your child for reaching them, you throw a party!

Well, ok, maybe not a party with balloons and noise makers but pretty close. A milestone isn’t just a right of passage for a child with Autism, it’s a major achievement.

Some children reach milestones right on time, some miss a few and some, sadly, never do reach some milestones through out their entire life.

That’s what we all fear, that’s what we all know is a possibility.

Cameron in the waterI’m very proud to say, because this is my mini celebration, that Cameron has been doing very very well leading up to his 6th birthday (in 11 days).

In the last month or so, he’s learned how to buckle up his own seat belt, he’s learned how to swim on his own (with a life jacket and noodle flotation thing) and he’s even learned how to get fully dressed on his own. Not just an item or two but we can give him all of his clothes and he does it.

Pretty big stuff for a little boy about to turn 6!! Even bigger for a little boy that couldn’t figure out how to press a button just over a year ago. He has come so very far, so very fast.

He’s determined, he LOVES being able to tell people about what he can do.

So, sorry for a brag post… but you know what? We all need brag posts. It’s time to celebrate and no one should ever feel shy or guilty for their child hitting those milestones. Shout it out loud!!

Besides, one day he’ll read this blog (I hope) and I’d love for him to know how proud I am of him.

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Thinking about doing live webcam chats via Google+ about Autism

google plus logoI’ve been playing around with Google+ for a little while now (and by little while, I mean days because it’s only been around for a couple of weeks) and I find that the hangout is quite the intriguing and underestimated feature.

Essentially, it’s a webcam chat where you can chat with several people all at the same time. There’s a limit on how many… 10 I think, but still, it would make for quite the intriguing chat with people.

This is a little more personal, being face to face (to face to face… etc) which can be a little unnerving for some people. But it also allows for more real time discussions as you can ask questions quickly and get answers in real time.

If it proves to be popular enough, we could schedule chats in advance and set topics for each one.

Also, since I’ve made some good contacts, I could even get some prominent people in for a discussion or two from time to time.

What are do you think? Would you be interested in doing something like this? Does this sort of thing have potential?

If you would like to join me on Google+, please add me to your circles at

For more about Google+’s hangout, watch this:











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Disgusted and Offended by some in the Autism Community

I pride myself on being able to exist on both sides of the fence… not just straddle the fence, but to have my feet planted firmly on each side. But sometimes, someone or some group comes along and says something that really makes me seriously question my resolve.

I understand where the tensions, the frustrations and even the hatred can come from when people begin arguing over what they feel is best for their children. I also understand how hurt people can be when they feel violated.

However, understanding it does not mean that I feel they are validated in making some statements or in taking some actions… such as chemically castrating children in an effort to cure Autism. That’s not ok.

When discourse fails, make them your enemy

So one group has recently been quoted as saying:

“We need to get militant, and I mean in a way that scares those in power. You know what I’m talking about.”

I am hoping that this is just strong wording to make a strong point but still, really… do we need military terminology and “you know what I’m talking about” (nudge nudge, wink wink) insinuations?

What exactly is it that you’re talking about? Combat? War? Is it really logical that if someone doesn’t do as you ask, that you become their enemy? Will that make them listen to you? Probably…. not.

Those in power” are not your enemies. No matter what you think. And if you want people to work with you, maybe getting “militant” is not the best option.

If you can’t convince them, call them baby killers

July 10th must have been a particularly bad day for this person, that tweeted not once, but three times:

autism divide 1

Immaculate huh? My guess is you just made that up rather than use a word that any sane person would have used.

autism divide 2

Is that so? I support autism the way a father supports a child that is growing up in a society and school system that is not yet equipped to understand or accommodate him. Granted, all of that doesn’t fit into 140 characters, I still can’t help but think you were going a different way with your meaning.

autism divide 3

I’m not sure I have the time nor web server space available to explain all the ways this is just so wrong…  but I have to question, what exactly would you propose? That all research just halt, ignore any findings that suggest genetics as a cause and declare environmental factors as the sole cause?

Oh wait, that must be it. You’re so certain that if they do discover the genes, if they do discover an actual definitive cause… that parents may get the option of detecting it in their unborn children and thus, have an abortion. Which means that you’d rather silence science and avoid the (possible) truth for fear of abortions.

Because if you truly cared about science or the truth or our children… you’d want the answers. 

By the way, just to finish the point, abortion is not the “end game.” But there’s very little point in explaining that. Those who know it, know it and those who think it, can’t be convinced otherwise.

So disappointed

I just can’t believe that people write this… I more so can’t believe that they not only share it but try to get others to think likewise… and the absolute worst is that this is from an organization that is in the position of influence over parents.

I don’t care if you believe vaccines are the culprit, I don’t care if you believe doctors really are out to hurt our children….. statements like this are just not ok.

There are no “camps”, we’re all on the same side!! We’re not at war and no one is out to abort children. We can’t just stop science because it might result in an answer that we don’t want to hear.

If statements like these were made by individuals as an opinion, I’d just roll my eyes because as I said, I can understand what drove them to it. I don’t approve, but I understand.

But because these types of statements are made by organizations with actual influence over people, I have to voice my objection to this. It is not acceptable to encourage others to think this way.

What are your thoughts??

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Summer routine? What summer routine?

routineThe school year seems pretty crazy while you’re going through it… assemblies, meetings, field trips… but in reality, it is such a wonderful base for all routines. Up at the same time, in bed at the same time, eat at the same time, on and off the bus at the same time… it’s perfect. Well, as close to perfect as you might get.

Then the school year is over and summer time attacks your routine like a lion attacking red meat. The sun is up earlier, the sun goes down later, meals are rarely when they should be, you wake up and go to bed at different times daily and worst of all, you have no clue what day it is!

It’s strange too, because I do work Monday to Friday and yet I still find myself having no clue what day of the week it is most of the time.

So what’s the big deal?

Well, when you have a child with Autism, it is a very big deal. Routine is paramount to keep the meltdowns in check.

What happens is so gradual that you may not even notice it happening until it’s too late and very likely, you won’t put the two together as a cause and effect situation… but in time, your child will start to become more agitated, more prone to meltdowns, less likely to eat, less likely to sleep and more.

Missing out on your routine one day might not have much of an effect on the next day but over time, you will likely find yourself asking yourself why your child is misbehaving so much despite your best efforts to give them fun stuff to do.

So what can you do?

Well, there are a few things that can help with this.

  • Camp – Many children go off to summer camp for at least a part of the summer. Camp is a great place for routines as well as keeping your little ones occupied. Specialty camps are available almost everywhere for special needs children now too.
  • New Routine – So you wake up later, stay out later and eat later… so make it a new routine. Just make sure that the times you set are the times you stick to. Also, keep in mind that school will be starting again before you know it so before it’s too late, you’ll have to start adjusting those new routines back a bit to meet back up with the old school routine again.
  • Alarm clocks – Notice it’s plural? If you want to keep your bed time routine the same as well as the wake up routine… set 2 alarm clocks. One for the time you wish to wake up and one for the time you want the kids in bed. The one for waking up should almost never ring since your children will wake up at their regular times anyway but for those times when you do fireworks or camp fires.. your little ones might be up late. And it’ll be painful to wake them up rather than let them get the sleep they need but that regular wake up time makes for a regular bed time later that day.
  • Strict planning – A big part of routines falling apart in the summer is that you’re rarely home. The beach, park, camp and other places seem to eat the time up faster than you can keep track. And you’ll seem like the downer of the group for keeping an eye on the clock (watch, cell phone) but getting the lunches right at lunch time, the dinners right at dinner time and so one are very important. You don’t have to be home to get things done at the right time.
  • Sacrifices – Sometimes, sacrifices can be made. For example, my boys are still a bit young for fireworks. They do love fireworks, mind you, but it’s not a priority. For Canada Day, we spent the entire day at the beach, water park, playground and with friends. They were ready for bed long before it was dark enough for fireworks. Did they miss out? Maybe on the fireworks but on the day? Hardly. They loved every second of it. My wife and I were the ones who made the sacrifice. We’re the ones who missed out but you know what? It was worth it.

Depending on your child, routines have to be strict or relaxed or, if you’re one of the lucky ones, are not all that important at all.

If it is important to you and your child, if you’ve had a good routine for most of the year, you may want to consider it into the summer as well because as I said, things might start going south and you won’t even realize why until it’s too late.

A routine is much more difficult to fix than it is to maintain.

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He eats solid food!

Cameron is just about to turn 6, in 15 more sleeps (as he calls it), but has only just started to actually eat solid food.

Well, that’s a bit misleading.. the truth is, he’s eaten pasta and potatoes and rice and such for a very long time but his potatoes were always mashed, pasta always soft… it’s been a constant ordeal at meal time.

For over 5 years

Any time we tried to get meat into him, we had to blend it or pick it apart into tiny little pieces that could be hidden in his potatoes. Like, tiny tiny.

Here we had his 3 year old brother eating pieces of pork chops, steaks, chicken… his potatoes were in pieces…. and yet his older brother was still getting a bowl of slop.

If you’ve ever questioned if autistic people could have texture issues with their food, we had living proof.

How did we change it?

Supper TimeTruth is, we didn’t. He did.

He decided when he was ready. We started slow at first, gave him pieces of potatoes instead of mashed… and for a long time, he wouldn’t touch it. Finally one day, he did.

After that, we started giving him small pieces of chicken… like, very little cubes. To our surprise, he tried them. He didn’t eat them, but he tried them.

We never stopped giving him those pieces though. We always presented him with the options, never being upset if he didn’t eat it. Eventually, he did!

Looking forward

It’s been a couple of months now, we no longer blend or mash his food for him. He now eats a few pieces of meat with his dinner, he now eats potatoes in pieces when the rest of us do.

We don’t have to boil his pasta to the point that it turns to mush.

He still doesn’t eat a very large variety of foods, it’s still mostly pasta, potatoes and rice… and he’s still on a rather strict gluten free diet, but now we can add in a few things here and there that he’s at least willing to try.

He’s almost 6… and it’s going to be a very adventurous year, because along with a whole new year of new discoveries and experiences, he’ll have a whole new diet. It’s very exciting!

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