Thursday, October 20, 2016

Came at the Perfect Time

James is currently studying Meiosis in science and they have gotten to sexual reproduction.  I have been working on a new pamphlet for my website >>click here<<  about him growing up and starting puberty.  It is a very basic little book about how to talk about relationships, girls, boys, puberty, body changes and the dreaded M word.  (if you read the pamphlet you will get it)

Please let me know if there is anything else you might like me to include or research for you and your growing pre-teen.  >>click here<<

Hold on.... It is going to be a wonderful ride into adulthood!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What Does "No Homework" Really Mean?

I used to LOATHE doing homework with James!  He would tantrum for hours over putting 5 words in ABC order or doing 3 addition problems.  I have requested countless IEPs to discuss homework modification. I have been a strong advocate for teaching kids at school and allowing them to have time to just be kids at home.  I have spent so many years dreading the minute James walked through the door knowing that the next 30 minutes - 4 hours were going to be a living H E double hockey stick time!  Fast forward to August 2016.  I am not sure what happened but time at home supplementing what has been done at school is now a pretty special time.

The following is an actual recap of the class from my son's teacher's website,

"Today, we reviewed percents, decimals and fractions.  It has been a while since we have had a full day without MAP testing, so I wanted to go over the material again.  We will be reviewing this information tomorrow and have a quiz on it by Wednesday. ​NO HOMEWORK" (Thank you Mr. H. I chatted with him briefly when I picked James up today and he said that there is no homework but that doesn't mean James can't study.  Huh... is that going to be the next battle in my house?  I think I will stick to not telling James we are studying and continue what we are doing because it is working.)

Most kids would probably dance a jig when told there was no homework but for James, that doesn't apply.  No homework in our house just means that there is no formal homework but there is Mum work.  We go over vocabulary learned in Science, and currently we are tirelessly going from decimals to percents, percents to fractions, fractions to decimals and every combination that can be done until James doesn't even need to think about the process.  James reads and is read to.  We do about an hour every day after school as soon as he gets home.  It is working because James is doing very well.  

This is the picture I think of
when James does his best
Not every kid with Autism is like James.  But it doesn't matter if your kid is in preschool or high school or a special day class or a regular class with or without supports; every kid can do some kind of Mum work, Dad work, Grandma or Granddad work when the backpack gets dumped in the hall.  It could be learning a new PECS word, hanging their coat up and placing their shoes neatly in the hall, matching colors, sorting silverware, listening to a story and pointing to a picture in a book, memorizing multiplication tables, or unraveling the mysteries of Shakespeare.  EVERY kid on the spectrum is capable of great things!  Just don't be fooled; most but not all, will require additional support from the home team.  

Even if his brain is giving him the silent
treatment, it is often willing to spend
time thinking, learning and becoming
the best student he can be
To be a successful home team takes planning, research, great communication with teachers and other school personnel, and sometimes the patience of Sisyphus. Start small; 2-3 minutes for each subject, and work your way up to 15-20 minutes.  Put it on your child's schedule, (Unless it is on his schedule, James won't do anything without me knowing how unhappy he is about it.) Take many breaks, have finger snacks available, invite a lovey to the table for comfort and settle in.  In the beginning, you child might need a lot of support.  Give them the support they need to answer the questions and feel proud of their accomplishments.  I promise that in time, your child WILL become more independent.  James and I have been working on this plan for many years and we have finally found a place where all I have to do is set the timer and let him go at it.  Sometimes he wants me to correct as he goes, and that little extra support is usually all it takes for him to finish the Mum work in good spirits.  


Sunday, July 17, 2016

WHAT??? A Name???

I have tried really hard to raise my children in a musical home.  They have both taken music lessons and we have just about every live action and animated musical ever made on our DVD shelves.  I have always been a singer and played clarinet from 5th grade through high school.  Growing up, my family went to movies and plays that encouraged my love for Broadway.  
Recently, I have found a wonderful way to encourage active participation while watching some of our favorites.  There is a movie theater not too far from where we live that offers "sing along" versions or some of the greatest musical movies ever made.  We have seen Mamma Mia, The Music Man and last night we got to see Aladdin.  Each time we go we get a "kit." Inside the kit are props to encourage participation.  Favorite one last night at Aladdin... a small packet of crackers that we got to force feed to the person sitting next to us.  For Mamma Mia, fake money we got to throw in the air because that is what people with a lot of money do with it.  Anyway, usually there are about six props for each film.
James has only seen Aladdin on our TV and it isn't a movie that he frequents.  I wasn't sure if he would love it as much as my husband and I do, but I knew it was an experience I needed him to try.  James got surprisingly into the movie, (minus the very loud scenes but my husband's hands over James's ears solved that problem.) The movie got to the scene where Aladdin and Jasmine had been caught after the marketplace scene.  >>click here<< Jasmine was upset at Jafar for (supposedly) carrying out the punishment for "kidnapping the princess."  ("Death... by beheading.") The scene ends with her crying into the thick fur of Rajah's coat, lamenting that she didn't even know the boy's name.  James had been very quiet during this part of the movie.  However, upon hearing that line, he slumped further in his chair and loudly belted out, "REALLY? That is what she is concerned with?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Boy, do I love this kid!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

I Guess the Extra Math Practice This Summer is Helping.

½ off sale
James came to me last night just before he was heading off to bed.  
Every night as we put James to bed,
we call Kiefer and he comes trotting 

like a puppy, jumps up on the bed and 
settles in.  I know he is mostly there 
for the fuzzy blanket, but James loves 
this part of his end of the day routine!
"Hey, Mom."
"Do I have a 3 pack?"
"Ah... what?"
"Well, I don't have a 6 pack so do I at least have a 3 pack?"
"Ah... I don't think so."
"Well then... I'm just fat."
Before I could respond with my motherly quip to help with his self-esteem, away he cheerfully went off wishing me a good night and calling his favorite bedtime fellow, Kiefer.  

Just another night in the Laughter House. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

He is Growing up SO Quickly!!!

Okay, I know that I should expect it because my son is twelve, but it took me by surprise this morning. James has had crushes before, the most notable one in the second grade.  During that one, the young lady's parents contacted the teacher and were very unhappy that James had such affection for their daughter, almost to the point of trying to have him moved to another class. Autism or not, I believe it was an appropriate level of attention for a young child trying out love for the first time.  Anyway... fast forward to today.  James has been doing an online camp for beginning coding using Minecraft. He almost immediately really liked another participant, a young lady only identifiable by her Minecraft username. Today was  the final day of the camp and I spent some time before the camp prepping him for this disappointment. >>Pizza Therapy after last Minecraft experience ending<<  He talked himself into having a great time and it was very successful.
Today, the kids got to do pretty much what they wanted to do, and James and this young lady had a wonderful time.  Towards the end of the camp, the counselors invited all of the kids to the dance floor.  James and all the other kids went and when they got there, James gave a poppy to his young friend.  He whispered to me, "Mom, I have a crush on her."  He blushed, his hands went automatically over his face, his hands got clammy, etc. He was experiencing everything that young boys and girls experience when they truly like each other and want to spend a lot of time together.
At the very end, the counselors let the kids write bios and disclose their first names to the other campers. James wrote that he was twelve and entering the seventh grade. He hoped to have fun and have a lot of friends in the coming school year.  He also wrote that he lived in California.  (I had to stop him from giving out our town.)  His young friend wrote that she was eleven and lives on the East Coast.  (She additionally gave her state, but for her protection her name and location won't show up here.)  James got super excited and he started bouncing in his chair saying that she lived close and we could meet with her. I had to tell him that the East and West Coast are on opposite sides of this very large country.  He took it well, asked her to meet him on his personal Minecraft realm and off he ran to meet her in a place that defies all geographic limitations.  I hope she will be taking the game design camp towards the end of July. That would be so fun for James to meet up with her again in a camp.  However, for now, they will be on his realm in Minecraft and giggling.  The time difference may be difficult for them to work around but Minecraft doesn't follow many of the rules we have on this planet we live on, so I guess it won't be too difficult.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

How Can You Tell When Your Kid Has Had Enough Summer Vacation?

Actual conversation in the Laughter House this afternoon...

sweet little man but no words!
"James, time to get ready for Karate.  Please go change in."  (this is our shorthand for getting ready. 'Changing in' is to get ready and 'Changing out' is to take the uniform off.)

sweet young man, words
and attitude of a typical teen
"Mom, I thought Dad wasn't going to make it." (Dad just called telling us he was stuck in traffic.)

"Well James, there are other drivers in the house."

"Oh great, the undrivable mom, (my van is in the shop) and the always irritated with me sister."

"Yup, you do have choices."

My mantra today that will keep me from losing my mind, "I wanted him to be able to talk, I wanted him to be able to talk, I wanted him to be able to talk!"

Boy do I love this kid!!! Especially right now that he is in karate class!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Something to Bond Over..... Thankfully

He certainly knocked that one out
of the park!!
(this picture is old but super cute!)
There certainly are challenges when there is a wide age gap between children.  There certainly are benefits, such as having another set of hands to help with whatever chore is daunting at the moment. Our kids, not by design but by destiny, are seven years apart.  James was the best "doll" we ever got our daughter, and she adored him. Over the years, the kids have been close and had basic sibling difficulties like all kids in a family.  
Our daughter is back for five weeks before she moves back to college for summer classes, her own apartment, and the fall quarter. James has had some trepidation about having her return and eventually leave again.  This usually looks and sounds harsh towards the person he is going to miss horribly when they are no longer in his environment.  I have seen it happen time and time again and although it is tough for the person it is directed at, I know that all behavior is communication.  My goal for him is that he will be able to find a way that doesn't alienate the person leaving so they are excited about going away.   
This wonderful exchange happened yesterday between them and it made me smile.  James went through a long period where he was obsessed with everything Mario. Yesterday, he made his sister smile when he let her into his world for a while.  "Princess Peach deserves better! She shouldn't be a damsel in distress all the time!  I mean, what's special about Mario? Peach has magic!"  Our daughter was so impressed with her brother, the budding feminist!! 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Don't PANIC... It is Only Summer Vacation!

It has happened again... The school year is almost over and the summer is nearly upon us.  This year, there is no Brainiac Academy (a science program for incoming 5th and 6th graders) for James because he has aged out of it.  He isn't a kid who can get ESY (extended school year),  So, what is a mum to do?  PLAN.  HYPER PLAN and hope for the best.
While James has visions of restful days wearing only a Tshirt and undies and playing endless hours of Minecraft, I have visions of him going 10 weeks with little to no structure and possibly losing 70% of what his teachers have spent the last 10 months gently cramming into his head.  And so I choose not to panic and have been planning for this summer for the past 9 or so weeks.  First, I scoured classes through the community centers and rec programs. I looked for online activities that would catch his attention while focusing him on an agenda that isn't his. I know that he is good at math, but it's a subject that must be constantly reinforced, or his brain will turn into a sieve and all that knowledge will pour out like a giant waterfall. I also know that James will need to be active so fingers crossed, his Karate Dojo will have a summer camp program.   All I know is that we are racing towards the prize......... August 10th when 7th grade starts!!! (I am by no means trying to rush the summer fun away but 10 weeks is a really long time to be without the structure of school for...........parents)

Here are some ideas to help keep your child's brain active and ready for the next year~

Math: >>click here<<  15-20 problems a day in game form can keep their minds sharp and ready for the new year.  >>click here<< compete against another player or do the games privately.  >>click here<< very cute help Curious George find numbers, numbers in word form and number of items (find one lion). >>click here<< some really cute stuff here.

Language Arts: Really only one word is needed here, well really two,  READ and TALK to your kids. If your mouth isn't tired by the end of the day, and I don't mean from eating ice cream or watermelon, you probably haven't talked enough to your kids.

  1. Go to the library
  2. Attend story hours
  3. Read books together
  4. Have your kids read out loud to you and then tell you, in their own words, what they have just read.  After about an hour, have them tell you again, (helps reinforce longer term memory. No worries if they can't remember, you can give them clues.)
  5. Mess up favorite stories and have them fix your errors.  No need for tantrums by you changing out favorite part of the story.
  6. Reading comprehension can be difficult so help your kids understand what they have just read. 
  7. Hit YouTube, and frequent School House Rock.  I was a kid in the 70's and this stuff still makes me smile (all time favorites, "I'm Just a Bill" {I know that one is history but it is GREAT!} and "Interjections!") Both of my kids were brought up on this stuff and James still comes running when he hears the music start for "I'm Just a Bill" and "Interjections!"
I know that the summer is supposed to be relaxing but it is possible if you plan, the beginning of the new school year can go smoother if you lay a good foundation.  

Saturday, May 21, 2016


James totally shut down on the floor of the movie theater

James has been going to Super League Gaming >>click here<< to play Minecraft at a local movie theater.  It was for 4 weeks and before the first session, he didn't sleep the night before because he was sooooo excited!  He loved every minute of this experience except for the final 45 minutes of the fourth session (today).  He was superficially upset that they weren't playing the "exciting games." In reality, James was sabotaging the experience so he wouldn't be upset that it was ending.  This is something that happens when anything he loves ends.  TOTAL SHUTDOWN!!! My husband and I tried everything in our power to get him to rally and have a great end of the gaming.  Nothing would work. Even his teammates, who he talks about fairly constantly at home, couldn't persuade him to join in the fun.  This shutdown was EPIC!!! I felt so bad for him and equally bad for his teammates who had fought hard to finish in second place even without his strong playing capabilities. James is a very sensitive soul and feels things exceptionally strongly.  He talked about giving up Minecraft for good, (a threat that he makes often when we ask him to stop playing so we can do {fill in the blank}.)
Image result for pizza my heartWe had already decided to go and have pizza at a local pizza place. James adores pizza so I was hoping that it would bring him out of his funk. He told us that he just wanted to go home and never go out again.  My husband and I took a chance that pizza may be the key to getting him in a better mood.  Actually the directions that my phone was giving us made him giggle so that was a positive sign.  Any as predicted, PIZZA therapy did the trick and my cheerful and bubbly boy was back.  Rambling about Minecraft and when he could add his new friends to his realm.  Thank you again pizza!!!
No kidding this is what our meat keeper looks like 90% of the time!
If we ever move again, which isn't likely, but we will always need to
be within 20 miles of a Costco with a food court.
Now that we are finally home, James is in his room frantically adding his friends to his realm and breathing down my neck to contact their mum so he can play with them.  Just another day........

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

He Finally Learned This!!!! I am soooooo PROUD!!

this was the T shirt he was wearing.   
I have spent many years trying to teach James how to match his clothes.  He has always worn what was clean but never really cared about how they went together.  Over the years we have seen many very interesting top and bottom combinations.  James may finally be understanding how to put clothes together so that they are not offensive to other people's vision.
Today I got a random call from him.  He was stuck in the bathroom at school.  Lucky he had his phone with him!  He called and told me that his clothes had gotten wet and he couldn't leave the bathroom.  I called over to the office, asked for his extra clothes to get to him somehow.  James stayed on the phone with me and eventually some guy took over and got on the phone with me. He was the principal at the other school that shares the campus.
Somehow, James got to the bus. I found out later they actually held the bus for him.  After a short while, I got another call from James, "Mom, would you let me wear............. black shorts with black, red and yellow shirt?"  "It's okay, buddy.  Just come home and we will take care of it. Thank you for checking and I love you."  "Love you too, Mom."  Black shorts match but not as much as the red ones he was wearing this morning.  Nice to be asked though.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

And the Oscar Goes to........

Okay, I admit it, I am that mom. The one who ferociously defends her cubs, protecting them from harm but not putting up with any of their destructive fits either.  Yesterday was one of those days.  James needed to get a blood test done before his neurologist would give him more medication to control his seizures.  Easy enough.  James is my brave one, always good during the draws.  Showing those in the waiting room how experts do it.  Well, apparently James didn't get the memo about how good he is at the draws and took forty-five minutes to get off the sidewalk and into the car, and then one hour once we got to the lab to do his draw.  He lay on the floor, shut down, hands over ears, the whole works.  Finally I got him into to the draw room with silly videos of our cats.  He sat and giggled and I thought it would be quick, but the phlebotomists were not ready.  Okay people, I got him in and in a good mood; you need to work on his time, not yours.  Anyway... He had conditions, like he ALWAYS does.  He would sit in the chair but they couldn't put anything in his body.  Couldn't keep that deal.  Okay, he would sit in the chair but no one was allowed to touch him.  Couldn't make that deal either, because one would have to hold his hand to keep the other lab lady safe in case he lost it and slugged her.  Somehow the pressure band was placed, hold your breath now, little pin  James was beside himself.  Only five more tubes and then we are done.  Wailing child continued..... (Child??? This kid wears a size 12 men's shoe which is one size larger than my husband who is 6 foot 1 inch.) .... needle was removed and bandage was placed.  Away we went.  Got to the elevator and had to turn around because the bandage was soaked red.  More screaming.....  As we left for the second or seventh time, my husband asked if they believed he would get an Oscar for his performance.   >>scene change<<
Fifteen years ago or so, I was sitting in the doctor's office with my beautiful, headstrong, determined four- almost five-year old.  She was fine and chatting with the doctor about this and that other princess or Harry Potter something or other.  She has always been verbally precocious.  (My mother-in-law and I both witnessed my gorgeous four month old imitate "I love you." Cross my heart it happened!)  Anyway... there we were at the doctor and the topic of vaccinations came up.  She needed a Hepatitis A shot before entering kindergarten.  All of a sudden, she turned and emphatically told me in no uncertain terms that she would not be getting a shot on that day or any days in the near or far away future.  Okay, here we go.  I was used to epic long negotiations that were the length of War and Peace, all 1225 pages of it. (I am paraphrasing this because it was so long ago.) "I will NOT get a shot." "You need the shot to keep your body healthy." "My body is healthy and I don't need any more help protecting my body." "This shot will help keep your body safe from Hepatitis A, which is a dangerous disease." "I WILL NOT GET A SHOT AND YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!!!!"  "Okay, your choice, but don't come crying to me if you happen to get Hepatitis A and your skin turns yellow."  "I DON'T WANT YELLOW SKIN!!!!!" She flung herself onto the chair and the Hepatitis A vaccine was done.  She may be a master but I am the Supreme Master of Childhood Negotiations Defusement.   I am that mom.  Hate me if you must, but neither of my kids have yellow skin or have overdosed on their medication because they were allowed to refuse lifesaving blood tests and vaccinations.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Teachable Moment and Riddle...

When is 3rd place bronze way more precious than 1st place gold?  When you work super hard for the bronze and you get the gold just for showing up.  Today was the karate tournament that James dreads every year.  He HATES them, and he tells me I am the worst mom on the planet for signing him up for it without asking him.  I just tell him it is part of karate and until he is an adult, he follows the karate schedule.
We got to the venue at 9:15 and it took 30 minutes to get him to go into the building. Three hours later, when he still hadn't done any karate, he shut down again and flopped on the pavement just outside the building again.  Shutting down is his fabulous behavior that is so endearing!!! It is like trying to move dead weight through quicksand.  Anyway, off to the riddle.
After about hour 4.5, James was finally called for flag sparring.  He likes the flag sparring because it is gentler and more fun for him.  As we watched him take his place, my husband and I mentioned to each other how gigantic he looked compared to the slew of 4-6 year olds who were going to flag spar. After a short period of time, James was called over to the judges and presented with a gold medal because there was no one else in his age group who was going to do flag sparring.  He was elated that he had gotten a gold medal basically for showing up and breathing. He was so happy that all of the waiting seemed worth it.  This to me was kind of like forgetting about the pain of childbirth the moment the doctor handed me the two most beautiful babies I had ever seen.
I know, RIDDLE...  bear with me, it has been a veeeeeery long day.  James went on to do his Bo routine with such precision.  This was at hour 5 or so and he was soooooo done.  He didn't forget any of the routine, treated the judges with the respect they deserve and off he went.  He got a bronze metal and was sad with a "poor showing".  I decided it would be great to use this as a teachable moment.  I sat with my sullen son and started spinning my best mom lesson.  "James, which metal did you work hard for?  Which one means more to you?"  He thought for a second and quietly answered, "the bronze one because I had to do a routine and the gold one I got because no one else my age showed up." Love teachable moments!!!!!!!!!!  >>click here for wonderful video of Bronze moment<<

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Autism Awareness, FINALLY, but not exactly the way I anticipated.

It has been a difficult decision for our family to figure out if we should talk to James about Autism. We have never hid it from him, it is after all, one of the defining factors that makes him who he is.  In the past, we have talked about it as a different way of interacting with and experiencing the world. He never really has seemed that interested in owning this part of his life.  I figured he would talk to us about it when he is ready.  He is finally able to list the 3 main components that are underlying in the diagnosis.  Today, not unlike every other day, James was complaining about practicing his guitar.  He feels that if he plays through the song once, he is done.  I have a different idea on practice techniques. Anyway, he shutdown and got really upset when we tried to negotiate him back into the chair with the guitar and pic.  He yelled and I stood my ground.  Eventually, he got through the practice.  All of a sudden, he apologized and looked at me and stated, "I guess this is because of my Autism.  It is a different way interacting with my environment." (It actually is because he hates to practice and he was being pre-teen difficult!!) James has never chosen to own his different ability. He has always gotten upset with us when we talk about it.  I guess, Autism now has something to offer him.  He is now aware like we are everyday of our lives.

                                                       >>click here for Autism pamphlet<<

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Just Hanging With a Few Great Friends!!!!

James doesn't really like to read.  He prefers to have the action happen on a screen.  Today, I caught him with his favorite friend, Rodger, and a good book, (he is expected to read 30 minutes everyday after school).  It is a Minecraft book but he was reading and enjoying it!!! He even went over his 30 minutes by about 20 minutes but we just didn't have the heart to pull him away from this fun!! 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Problem Solved James Style!!!

James has been under the weather for the past few weeks.  Last week he looked soulfully at me and moaned, "I want a one way ticket to Heaven because I can't handle this cold and allergies at the same time."  I talked him down from his desire to leave this world because of a cold with the simple fact that Minecraft doesn't exist in Heaven.  He decided it would be okay to stay here as we gave him more decongestant that may or may not be helping him.
He finally got diagnosed with something that we could fix, an ear infection!  Anyway, James's school allows for independent study as another part of the school is home schooling.  I set him up for independent home study for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  James got to sleep in and I planned for breaks and getting the work his teachers sent us to do.  The system worked really well.  James got enough sleep and got to work at a pace that worked with his sick body.
One day we were working on history, Ancient Greece.  One of the vocabulary words that stuck in his head was Funerary Vase. This was an urn type vase that the Ancient Greek folks believed would allow the dearly departed inhabitant to enjoy their favorite activity after death.  James looked at me and beamed!! "Mom, I can do Minecraft in Heaven!  It is my favorite thing and the Funerary vase helps people enjoy their favorite things after they die." Okay, got it but little man may be missing an important point, I don't think there is electricity in Heaven for his computer or extra batteries for his tablet.
James is feeling much better and he will be returning to school on Monday for 4 days and then will be on vacation.  He asked for us to take this video last night to prove he is feeling better.... Enjoy!!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Wasn't Expecting this Reaction!

Okay, need a little back story... James "accidentally" punched the metal pole on the tether ball equipment yesterday at school.  There was much dismay about his bruised little finger, slightly swollen hand and the pain.  I happened to have a sling from a few years ago and he grinned as I suited him up.  Luckily the injury happened to his right hand and he is a lefty.  James loves to be at home and get to do James stuff.
My husband was staying home today to transport me to a clinic about 30 minutes away from home because I am not currently able to drive.  James woke up in the morning with the burning question, "what do I do about school today?" Well, after a very short discussion it was decided that an x-ray might be in order so he was given the go ahead to stay home but he would need to accompany his parents on their day.  He agreed believing he was getting a pretty good deal.
X-ray, my Dr. appointment, 2 1/2 hours at the wheelchair lift repair shop we finally returned home.  The whole trip out took about 7 hours.  I was able to check on his x-ray through his doctor's email and it came back normal.  He was happy it wasn't broken.  I told him this meant that he could go back to school tomorrow.  Without hesitation, from the back seat of the van, came a loud cheer!  Guess we know what to do the next time James decides to punch the tether ball pole with his his fist and wants a day off!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Lost in Translation

Sometimes the things our kids say can be hard to figure out.  There are things from my kids' early years that I continue to miss. My daughter was verbally precocious.  At 18 months old one of her favorite things to say was, "gogo baball." Now for those of us who knew her well we knew that she wanted to watch, for the 100th time, the live action Cinderella with Whitney Houston. Well, James is a different kid.  He was a late talker (he had speech at 12 months but lost all of it at about 14 months). We learned very quickly how to translate his communicative attempts.  Fast forward many years to today.
James often calls me from school for this or that ailment.  He has hurt toes, headaches, earaches, an allergy nose, just about anything he can invent to get out of (most likely) math class.  Today he had a headache, his ear hurt and his nose had allergies.  I told him I wasn't able to get him, told him to go back to class, made a late afternoon doctor appointment and called my husband to have him leave work early so he could drive us to the appointment. James's math teacher meanwhile emailed me stating that James left his class early because his hair was causing his head to hurt.
My husband and I met James off the bus and he looked remarkably happy for a kid with so many health woes.  He came bouncing to the car and was surprised to find that we were heading to the doctor's office.  He then indicated that the curls were too long and poking into his ears causing ear and head pain. So I cancelled the doctor appointment and told James that Dad had to come home early from work because we thought there was something medically wrong.  Anyway, the best cure for all that ailed him today was...

an EPIC HAIRCUT!!! no curls, sigh

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Friday, February 5, 2016


Over the past 8 years or so, James's language has soared!!! He is now holding complex conversations about favorite topics.  He can also have conversations on materials he has learned at school. It is really cool to get to have a conversation with him these days.  Who knew I wanted to talk, well mostly listen, insistently about Minecraft?!?!?!

One of the things he continues to have difficulties with is finishing a sentence with something that makes sense.  Such as, "James, it is raining, you need to get your ________________ (coat, boots, umbrella...)  Anyway, last night, I decided to have some fun.  It was supper time and I had already decided that he could have his beloved orange chicken which is usually reserved for school lunches.  I called him as usual.

James, are you hungry?    


If you promise to leave enough orange chicken for lunch tomorrow, you can __________________.  Dead silence nothing from the kid.  So I started naming off some possibilities

1. lick the cat
2. spin in a circle
3. have a bologna sandwich
4. croak like a frog...

I was having way too much fun for him at 6:50 on a Thursday night.  I decided to give him a little more.

If you promise to leave enough orange chicken for lunch tomorrow you can have some ___________________________.  Finally he filled in "orange chicken for supper!"  Pure glee and spinning.

 guess he decided on #2 and some orange chicken.  Too bad, I would have loved to see him lick the cat!!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Not a Typical Post from the Laughter Mum... (worked for our family but may not for yours.)

Obsessions.  We all deal with them with our kids.  Let me see if I can remember all of James's.  As and infant, he always needed something in his left hand.  Then there were cars, Speed Racer, The movie Cars and Herbie, super heroes especially Spider-man, Thomas the Train (and all of his friends), Mario, Pokemon and now MINECRAFT (I may have forgotten some but he is twelve and my memory is fading).  All of James's obsessions have lasted months to years.  Mine usually don't last that long.  There was only Josh Groban music when I was pregnant with James, the CHESS concert (this one lasted less than 9 months but still a longish one) and others but currently, my family has been blessed with my new obsession, Lip Sync Battle.  Obsessions are comfortable and bring great joy.  One of the battles that caught my fancy today was >>click here<<   and here is my silly guy getting into it.  Just another day filled with laughter in our house.  Find joy and peace in your days and give into your obsessions sometimes.

Click here>>It's Raining Men

Friday, January 15, 2016

Everyone Has Unique Gifts to Share

All for our kids are special.  It doesn't take a diagnosis or two to show how special our kids are.  They show us daily by being unique and wonderful.  Today is just a Friday.  It is mid January and for once this month, the sun is shining through the blinds behind my computer.  Today is the day I get to go and celebrate James.  He made honor roll again this term and we couldn't be any more proud. James is your "typical" High Functioning Autistic kid.  He is bright and capable of being in a typical classroom keeping up academically and almost socially with his peers. This year he is even without an aide.  He has a strong team at school and an equally as strong team at home.
Not everyone's kid with Autism is like James.  Some are non verbal and some need extra support to be in a classroom.  Some are home schooled and some are in special day classes. Whatever level and where ever your kids are, take time today and celebrate them.  PEACE
For those of you not from Boston, this translates to "Highly Intelligent"

Monday, January 4, 2016

Sometimes Words are Not Enough

James has been home for two weeks now and we are preparing to send him back to his unsuspecting teachers tomorrow.  This video really shows why the Laughter House is such a giggly place.  I'm sorry and ... Enjoy!!!