I did it for…

I walked for Jaylen.

I walked for all the kids I know with Autism, who are loving, sometimes frustrated, special kids.

I walked for frustrated parents doing the best they can.

I walked for the parents who just got the diagnosis and are confused, sad, lost, and hopeful.

I walked for people who raise awareness, promote understanding, and do the research to help our kids.

I walked for Jaylen.

(In the pictures: me, my husband Gerald, Jaylen, Xavier, my Mother-in-law “Mimi,” and my sister “Aunt D”)

You Choose: A Brat or A Behavior Disorder

I knew Jaylen was different by the time he was 6 months old.  By one year of age he did not connect with us, was often in his own little world, and was hooked on repetitive actions.  At 16 months, when he was still non verbal despite scoring normally on hearing tests, we began the evaluation/diagnosis journey.

Tantrums were the other huge indication something was “off.”  At the height of his behavior issues, he would tantrum almost every hour, which left he and I exhausted and confused.  Jaylen’s inability to sleep through the night, common for kids with Autism, ensured we were also sleep deprived.

I called a friend who specializes in infants and toddlers with Autism. She told me he was tantrumming for reasons, despite my insistence they came from nowhere.  Sometimes, I knew he was frustrated or annoyed.  Other times I was completely baffled:  Was it pain somewhere he couldn’t communicate?  Did he want me to play a different way?  Did he need more or less stimulation?  Having a non verbal child is frustrating, sad, and incredibly trying.  I give thanks everyday Jaylen was able to learn to communicate.


Sometimes these tantrums would be severe, last up to an hour, and involve self injurious behavior, broken objects, and blood chilling screams.  At the time I thought nothing could be worse.  I felt sorry for myself and hated Autism with a vengeance.  I was beside myself and at the end of each day wondered how I could make it through another.

I assumed neuro-typical terrible two’s would be simple compared to what I went through with Jaylen.  Was I wrong or what?  This kid is a brat!  Those “typical” toddler issues I had read and heard parents complain about are happening and they are loathsome.

Xavier yells at me in full comprehensive sentences.  He tells me how things are going to be.  When he doesn’t get his way he throws things, hits, and bites.  Jaylen couldn’t even say no until he was almost 3, which killed me at the time, but now I almost appreciate.  At least Xavier warns us by yelling, “I’m gonna frow (throw) this fish stick” or whichever object has him upset at the moment.  Oh and the incessant whining…I don’t even want to go there.

Which is worse?  A kid with Autism, SPD, and ODD?  Or a bratty two year old?  I’m going with the two year old.  Maybe it’s because the two year old terror is my current reality. I definitely have more respect for “normie” parents right now.  I realize it’s not all butterflies and rainbows with the omission of special needs.

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I am at Theta Mom

Today I am guest posting at Theta Mom.

Yes, you read that right, I. Am. At. Theta Mom.  If you don’t know her, you should head over now.  She is an amazing woman, mama, entrepreneur, and blogger.  And I am so proud to be a part of the Theta Mom Community.

Theta Mom was one of the first bloggers I met when I started this blog a year and a half ago.  She was very supportive and gave me tons of advice on blogging, time management, and dealing with not so nice women we meet in this blogosphere…and she still does!

Thanks for the opportunity Theta Mom!   

Even more good news, I won a huge blog makeover from SITS and Studio Bold.  So stay tuned for a massive overhaul and reveal!

Now everyone head over to Theta Mom and read what I have to say about being a work at home special needs mom.

And stay tuned for my next post on where we went yesterday.  Hint:  it was a Zumba class for kids with Autism.  Discuss amongst yourselves and then I’ll tell you what it really was like.  Yeah, it’s that good.

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One Size Fits All?

Did anyone say, “Distract him!” to you when your baby or toddler was crying? 

I heard that one.  A lot.

I did as they recommended and sang.  I took their advice and I built a tower and knocked it down.  I listened when they suggested I sing and dance and act like a clown to get my son to stop crying, screaming, and tantrumming.  It didn’t work.

Now that I have a neurotypical child I realize for a lot of kids distraction does work.  If Xavi is crying or being a brat I can usually distract him with a song or a flashy toy.  I can feign excitement over the littlest thing and get him to relax.

That wasn’t the case with Jaylen.  He couldn’t be distracted.  In fact, he still can’t be distracted.  He has laser focus on what he wants, when he wants.

I’ve talked before about people not passing judgment or acting as if every one’s situation is the same.  Being a special needs mom has completely opened my eyes to the reality that each child is different.  What works for one probably won’t may not work for another. When I was a teacher, not a parent yet, I didn’t understand or grasp this concept.

My advice for new parents, listen to others suggestions, but remember that you know your child better than anyone else.  If you try something, even something widely used and accepted, and it doesn’t work, then move on. To each his own.

This is my favorite picture ever of Jaylen, “Wait…What?!”

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