So, I like many others in our humble portion on Autism Avenue in wonderful old Special Needs Ville USA I make my own visuals and PECS and social stories etc.on occaison when i need or have or want to etc. Well yesterday i decided so many parents and kids or adults need them and don’t have the time, money, energy to do it. If i can do it for my kids i can do it for others, cheaply, turn a profit eventually, do some probono in the mix and help all at once. And a business is born! Their Voice Visuals! On Etsy and firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂 i have 4 probono families right now and will take orders for custom work soon! My loverly and extremely talented friend Mindy Christopher over at Mindy Christopher Photography will be taking my product pics for my etsy shop. Shes got some amazing skills with a camera, so if you have back to school photo needs… go check her out!
I can’t believe it’s JUNE already?!? Seriously people this has got to slow down some! But, certainly I know time must go on. 10 years ago as of June 23rd 2015 BB turned 10 years old!! Who in God’s green earth authorized THAT? My sister “W” also lnow as Aunt Neenee said “uh he did… duh” Ignore her, humor and sarcasm are lost on her. Anywho, BB is the big one oh and ot feels so surreal. He is VERY proud of double digits and losing his 5th tooth and the friend bowling party and family bbq we have planned for this Saturday. Also… we are interviewing (well I Am interviewing and then informing DH that “this one is the one, say yes or you’ll never hear the end of it” Due to miscommunication issues and the fact my current childcare option is just.plain wore out, we opted to look for professional qualified care. I’ve had a few phone I terview and have one in person meet and greet/interview for this Sunday coming up and feel 99.99% sure this is “the one”. I really resonated with her philosophy and view on relating to kids as people and the was she was so passionate about her job. More nervous now she won’t want to choose US! The meet and greet is the clincher. I’m sure she will love the kids, most people do. I’m more worried about some of my clutter that’s not whipped into shape 100% of the time, the stains on my carpet and everything else. But I know this. If God has it already written I to our story then it’ll be. His plan is perfect and He has this all worked out! Just gotta take deep breath!
Thank you Jesus for my son and how beautifully and wonderfully made in your image he is. Thank you for LS abd LB, DH and our families and friends and church family. Thank you God for my job, it truly is a blessing. I put all this in your hands and praise you that you got this, you got us and that’s enough!
My shot at making Pokéball cake pops as party favors for BB’s friend party. Bowling, Pokémon, BBQ, new friends, old friends and family. Happy Birthday BB, your mama loves you SO SO MUCH! To infinity and beyond my boy 🙂
Love this post from Lauren Casper follow this link. Enjoy and Happy Mother’s Day!
It will be ok, I told myself. He’s just a little late, he will roll over soon, he will crawl eventually. But “just a little late” turned into late for every milestone, skipping some all together. By 2 1/2 years old BB was barely talking, much less than his typically developing peers. I remember the day before we had his first evaluation with our Neuro-Developmental Pediatrician. We were in the mall, a very sensory rich and overloading environment. I had taken BB then 2 1/2 and LS then about 6 months old with my old high school best friend and her daughter to the mall to play in the kids play area. We stayed too long, i told her we barely had an hour at most before it’d be too much for BB. Even back then I knew his limits and warning signs, even before when knew he had Autism. She kept pushing to stay longer, until ofcourse her baby needed her nap then it was “hurry up lets go she needs her bap” BB lost it in the middle of the mall, wailing, screaming, frozen, standing and rocking himself and tapping his head repeating over and over “apple, apple, apple” i looked up to my friend for help, but she was so mad at our embarrassing her and my son ruining her schedule and her daughters nap time that she walked off without us, which made him more distressed. I was trying to help him with one hand, and hold the baby stroller with LS in it with my other hand. The mall was way crowded, people were staring, whispering, judging, shooting dirty looks. I was crying at this point, i was scared for my boy, mad my friend abandoned me and not sure what to do. I thought to my self ” He’s Autistic, he has Autism, this is what Autistic kids do” I tearfully picked him up, and tried to hold him with one arm and push the stroller with the other. When i finally got to the car my friend looked at me and said “That’s NOT normal!”. Wow, really? thanks. The next day we got the ball rolling with the Neuro pediatrician. She prescribed OT, Speech and talked about other interventions besides the ESD early intervention he was receiving through the early childhood program in our school district. I spent the next few years in crisis mode. It became all about BB. How to help him, how to help him communicate, help him eat more foods, how to get him to let me bathe him without a 2 hr meltdown, etc. We had a third baby in that time also, great idea right? 🙂 we love our kids, but most people thought we were insane. LB joined the world and we went on, our little family of 5, in this weird noisy world together. BB went on to Kindergarten, we met his amazing teacher Ms. B and things started to click. BB made a lot of progress in her class. It was in that year I had my first glimmer of hope. Ms. B told me that he would be ok, that he was smart and wonderful and he would succeed. Autism or not he was a great kid. Find your tribe she said, youll be ok. After BB left her class things took a really bad turn. BB got worse, LS got lost in the shuffle and LB started showing signs of developmental delay and sensory issues just like BB did at his age. We took him to the same Neuro-Developmental Pediatrician and got the OT and Speech and ESD help going. I was crushed, discouraged and tired but i didn’t quit. “This too shall pass ‘ I said.”Find your village”, i told myself, “find your tribe. It WILL BE OK!” It was just this year that I had more ease, even in the really bad moments. The kids are now 10, 8 and 7. I watched BB yesterday in his last Soccer game, playing his heart out, flapping his hands away in his stimmy run, fearlessly after that ball, just like any other kid. His coach, treated him like every other kid, the other kids did too. I could’nt help but think to myself, it really WILL be ok. My boys have special needs, my daughter has a learning disability, I’ve got a little bit of craziness called bi-polar, but you know what? WE ARE OK! We live, we laugh we love. My kids are smart and beautiful. They are talented, caring, kind, silly little creatures. I don’t care what labels you throw at us world, bring it on! because in the end I know, I have found our village, I’ve found our tribe and WE ARE OK!
Keep it real. Embrace, accept, educate, advocate.
BB Soccer 2015 LS and LB Easter Sunday 2015 LB, LS , BB Summer 2011
Like many parents of kiddos experiencing special needs I was thrown into this world not really knowing what to do, what to expect and how to survive let alone thrive with my child, to help HIM thrive. By the time my son was five and entering Kindergarten I had no idea what to do about school and no idea how to get what I believe he needed. At the IEP elegibility meeting I tried to stand my ground and push for what I felt was best for my boy, but in the end the strong willed better informed school district won. Judah was placed in an SLCB classroom (Structured Learning Center for Behavior) I thought this type of placement was the end for him, an educational death sentence before he even got to begin. Little did I know what lay in store for him, and who God had set in our path to help.
I had no idea what to expect the day I entered Ms. Bach’s classroom. I walked in nervous and on edge, scared and unsure of what this was going to be like. She took one look at me with my nervous smile and non stop chatter, smiled shook my hand and said “your doing fine mom, and he’s going to do wonderful!” She let me look around the room a bit and then sent me off, promising again “He will do wonderful!” I did not know this woman, but for some reason her bright eyes and firm kindness set me at ease. J flourished in her class. My son went from a runner who took 20 minutes to corral in from recess to a boy who was eager to please and capable of mainstreaming for first grade. I volunteered one day a week in his class, doing anything I could to try to be of help to his class. After all, it’s what I’d done when he was in preschool, elementary should be no different. Ms. Bach Gladly put up with my chatter and wrote me lists of things to do, gave me encouragement and support and just let me be. I don’t know if she knew, but her allowing me to volunteer in her class helped me a lot and taught me so much. I can never repay her for what she did for us. She wasn’t just my son’s teacher, she gave us HOPE. While Judah flourished in her class, home was still a struggle. One day while asking her advice on applying her structure in class at home she said “well, maybe it’s time we did a home visit” I gladly accepted. I didn’t know this was not common practice for elementary school special ed teachers. My son’s head start and ESD teachers came over all the time. Ms. Bach spent a couple hours at our home. She sat on my couch and gave me pointers, skillfully observing and making sugestions, providing support and teaching skill. She was unwavering, patient and kind. After one trip of redirecting J back to his room for a nap I looked up to see her folding my pile of clean Laundry that was on the couch. With a smile she just nodded and gestured behind me ” take him back again, be consistent, your doing great.” J had come up behind me insistent on winning his way. I looked at her with gratitude in my tired eyes and said “thank you” it wasn’t enough, but there weren’t words adequate enough to express my grattitude. She just chuckled and pointed down the hall. I took J back to bed and she folded laundry. I learned so much from her that day. And not just about consistency and teaching my son, but about human kindness, love and dedication to those you serve and care about. It is rare these days to see someone, especially someone already giving so much go above and beyond, but Lisa Bach certainly does. She’s not just a teacher, she’s a parent, foster parent, grandma and fearless advocate and friend to our special needs community, she is apart of us and we are a part of her. I always tell moms with newly diagnosed kiddos “find your village, find your tribe, and you’ll be just fine” she may have not used those exact words, but I learned that philosophy from Lisa Bach. Judah only got to be in her class one year but I will never forget the gift she gave us. The impact she had on my son and our family will last forever. Lisa opened up a whole world for us, she never wavered in her confidence in J or her support of my ability to help my son. She always said “He will be ok, he’s brilliant, he’s capable, he will succeed!” That’s something a mom needs to hear and I believed her, because she genuinely believed it and that gave me the strength to see it and fight for it and believe it too. I’m the advocate for him that I am today because of Lisa Bach, her example and love and talent. It’s because of her I had the guts to take on some pretty big issues this year. She doesn’t know that, but it is. Without that example and gentle but firm push in the right direction, I don’t know where we would be today. Lisa helped us find ACAP (Autistic CommunityActivity Program ) a summer program for individuals experiencing Autism, she helped me find my voice as a mom and an advocate, she helped my boy feel safe and enjoy school for almost the first time ever. To this day, the best year and academic success J has had was in Kindergarten in Lisa Bach’s class and we couldn’t have done it without her. Lisa helped us see our son’s potential and showed me how to dream add believe and advocate. I plan to get my masters in social work administration and have my own non profit someday, advocating for other families affected by disability, and I owe that dream to Lisa. When I meet moms of kids who are at the beginning of their journey, who look like I did, scared and shell shocked, I think of Lisa and I say ” you’re doing great mama, he will be fine. It WILL be ok!” And it’s true. Lisa Bach taught me the value of community and the true meaning of love and sacrifice by going above and beyond for our son and our family. There’s so many more stories I could tell, but that would take too many words 🙂 So to close I just will say: Thank you Lisa for loving my boy, for giving us hope, for being patient with a scared talketive mom and helping us find our tribe. We are forever greatful.
Much Gratitude and Love,
So, it’s that time of year again. Easter. Jesus is risen, he paid a precious price for us, forgiven our sins forever so we might have everlasting life with him in heaven should we choose to follow him. And it’s also that day when good old yours truly takes mental note of how many bags of Cadbury mini eggs it will take her to go through to give her enough sanity to brave church.(which that part still happens now, but instead I make a call instead of actually inhaling a billion calories In chocolate) I belive the above photo says it all. There’s also a few that are more colorful (courtesy of BB in full meltdown mode) that I may or may not post… we shall see how I feel at the end. 😉 I don’t care how much they hate it or how many shots featuring BB flipping me the bird I have to go through, I WILL get a picture of this moment damn it, if my life depends on it. We made it through church. All kids did amazing the entire time AT church, it’s before and after that leave much to be desired. BB decided that he was going to “show you mommy” by making a quesadilla in the microwave and then wiping the pooled cheese grease all over the front of his nice button down shirt that took me 20 min to wrangle him into. Lucky for me I lost my last “give a s@$!” about 30 min prior and drug his unhappy but to church in his greasy shirt. Atleast it was a NICE greasy shirt, and not the 4 days worn/dirty angry birds shirt I’d been trying to pry off him since Friday. Thank you Jesus, miracles do happen every day, yes Virginia there is a Santa clause, tooth fairy, easter bunny and thank GOD BB is wearing a new, nice , clean cheese greasy shirt to Easter Services…. we got home with most of our wits about us. I fed kids food, at my lunch and now we are off again. This time to visit our sweet “German Grandma” 97 years young and still going, despite the scare she gave us this last summer. So for now, Happy Easter, Jesus lives. Love you all… and ps I need to invest in stock of Duct Tape 😉