This morning, I walked into the office/playroom and was greeted by this:
That's right. It's my younger son, Harrison, holding an ear. Fortunately, it's not a real ear, but a fake one, which had been attached to the scary electronic chimpanzee seen here:
We headed downstairs to eat breakfast, and I carried "Vincent" as I'm now calling the chimp, and his ear.
I got out some glue to attempt to glue the ear back on. I thought Crazy Glue would work fine, but Vincent went for the Gorilla Glue, of course.
After gluing, I wrapped some tape around Vincent's head to hold the ear in place. I don't have a great feeling about the "surgery" outcome. Guess we'll see tomorrow when I take the tape off.
Tully checking to make sure everything is OK.
Good Old Boy, Fergus
Sally, with shorter hair on her neck from her own surgery in January
Tully as Window Dressing
Saturday, April 28, 2007
This morning, I walked into the office/playroom and was greeted by this:
Friday, April 27, 2007
Yes, that's really sad. I pulled up a "hit" song from sometime in the 90s(?) to use for my title. Well, I have so much random crap in my brain, it has to come out sometime!
So, Kimbuhly tagged me for this! Thanks, Kim! I'm glad I make you think. Sure, you probably think, "Man, that chick is fried!" after you read my entries, but still...
My five blogs are:
Kim, of course. Yeah, that's probably against the rule, but I don't care! I love Kim's site for it's great mix of humor, novel-writing insight (hey, I always wanted to be an author! Maybe some of her skill will rub off magically through my keyboard? Now, there's a idea for a book!), and all things Autism.
Allie. The Gouda set me up in blogging! She's my inspiration! (No, I'm NOT going to sing the Chicago song. I'm NOT!) The Gouda is another great source of humor as well as political and cultural wisdom. Plus, her movie review blog lets me see films vicariously!
Matt-Man makes me think about how it would be to be a guy. He's always funny, never boring. No navel introspection as I've been known to indulge in from time to time. (No, Matt-Man, that's not a sexual term.)
Ashley has interesting things to read, also related to Autism quite often. She needs to post more often. Hint, hint. No excuses accepted! You will blog and you will like it!
A new (well, to me anyway!) blogger I like is Agent M. Another Autism Mom, but also a middle school English teacher. (My favorite subject from the most miserable time of my life!)
Have to get this posted before heading off to Hutton's "Friendship Class". Have a great weekend, everyone!
In my last post, Lisa posted in the comments about a happy moment with her son that brought tears of joy to her eyes. I started to write this in the comments, but I'm so long-winded, I decided to make a new post instead.
I have happy moments quite a lot with my boys. Moments I just enjoy seeing my children smiling and happy doing everyday stuff. I get happy tears from everyday stuff, too. One from yesterday: I was driving home, and looked back at Hutton in the little "kid view" mirror I have attached at the bottom of the rear view mirror. He met my eyes in the mirror and smiled his beautiful smile. EYE CONTACT! AND A SMILE! For the parent of a child with Autism either of these is great, but together, they're so wonderful. My eyes are tearing up just writing about it. Then I reached my hand back, palm up, and he reached forward to put his own little hand in mine for a squeeze. This wasn't the first time we've done this, but it makes me smile every time.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Reading about Cho, the Virgina Tech killer, and his social problems, brings up my own social ineptitude.
I've never been popular. Wait, I take that back, in elementary school, from kindergarten through fourth grade, I was best friends with the popular girl, so I was popular by association. Then came the first step in screwing all that up -- moving across town. Oh, don't worry, my own super dorkiness also came into play later, so I'm not blaming all of this on my parents.
Today, I was moving some books around on my bookshelf, and took out my yearbooks from school. I glanced at one from high school, then pulled down the ones from seventh and eight grade. For some reason, I neglected to get one in sixth grade. Seventh grade was a pit of despair for dorky old Laura. I had one friend in my classes at school, Sarah. I think that was step up from sixth grade, though, when I literally sat alone at lunch. Yes, all kinds of dork there. I usually brought a book and read through lunch. So, I suppose it looked like I preferred books over people. Well, I know I preferred books to actually having to approach someone and ask if I could sit with them. Can you imagine the horror? I did get lots of good books read that year, though!
Oh, and I did have younger friends I played with after school. It was just during school that I had trouble. I wonder what was so wrong with me that I couldn't approach someone, make conversation and sit with them, at the very least. I was always shy in school, even in Kindergarten. I remember my mother using the phrase, "painfully shy" to describe those days. And really, it is painful to remember. When I think back to those days, I wonder if I maybe had some "spectrumish" behavior going on. (Not to mention my days of COPE class in elementary school, AKA remedial PE.) Whatever it was though, I seemed to grow out of it by high school, when I was able to make friends. Well, I succeeded in making friends in eighth grade, as well, when we moved to Tennessee. Though being the "new girl" failed to make me the tens of friends I'd thought it would, I did connect with some of my fellow "gifted" geeks, but it really took me until high school to get the whole, "You can talk to someone BEFORE they talk to you" thing down. I just didn't seem to understand that friendship involves reciprocity - if you want someone to invite you to do something with them, often you need to invite them first. However, when faced with a group of non-dorks, or those less dorky than yourself, this is particularly hard. In high school, several people, upon getting to know me, would tell me they'd always thought I was a snob because I never talked to them.
Phew! I'm just glad I'm not in middle school anymore. Though, I think if I had to do it all over, knowing what I know now, I'd at least have become involved in some clubs or groups in middle school. I was uber-involved in high school, so seeing my seventh grade dork self in only two blurry pictures in the year book -- home room and band -- it really makes me sad for old self. Jeez, girl, why were you not at least on the Academic Olympics team? Oh, and I would have NOT cut my hair short in seventh grade, either. Pubescent girls who don't wear makeup yet should NOT have short, un-styled hair.
I did have some nice Esprit clothes in those days, though. So, apparently being well-dressed does not help with social ineptitude. It probably adds to the "she's a snob" facade I apparently had going in eighth grade.
We had a meeting a Hutton's school this morning about his "re-evaluation." They do these every three years in the special ed world, apparently, to make sure a child still qualifies for services (read: do they have to spend $).
I waited in the office for a few minutes, reading the "prepositional houses" a class of sixth graders had made, while they set up in the conference room. One of Hutton's aides came through the office and told me how adorable Hutton is, even though he "Loves Mrs. X [the other aide] and always wants to be with her, not me!" Still, I love hearing how adorable my child is. Then I walked into the conference room, where a small table was set up, with name tags all around marking places.
His occupational therapist, speech therapist, and the school nurse were there, and the school psychologist led the meeting. I sat at the place marked "PARENT!" Hutton's teacher wasn't there yet. (We heard about her child vomiting at 7:45 when she arrived a few minutes later.)
I don't really know why the nurse was there. Then again, the school psychologist asked if Hutton was on any medications, so the nurse was probably going to let us know how they could help keep him drugged at school. I told the psychologist he wasn't on any drugs, just a special diet and supplements.
Psych: "So...nothing for ADD, or anxiety?"
Psych: "Hmmm. OK."
Yes, apparently the "Autism expert" (read that with heavy sarcasm) school psychologist thinks we should be drugging Hutton to help with his "anxiety and ADD." I, on the other hand, consider those part of his Autism, which we're treating biomedically. You know, going to the cause of the symptoms, rather than just masking them with drugs. Oh well, as long as Autism is a "mental" disability, covered under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DMS-IV), I guess school psychologists will be involved.
The real "experts", the therapists and I, made it a little clearer that most of Hutton's issues were sensory -- he doesn't like the computer lab when all of the computers are on at once, or the library as they are too loud. He doesn't like when lighting is not working. He must smell everything given to him, and if it smells good (as apparently, crayons, glue, and play-doh do) he will then taste it.
Fortunately, his teacher was in better form than she's been in the past, too. She referred to Hutton as a "smart cookie" at one point when discussing his academic performance, which she ranked on a Kindergarten or higher level. Everyone in the room (except the "PARENT!" of course) talked about how young Hutton is. (OH MY GOD! A 5 YEAR OLD! IN KINDERGARTEN! IMAGINE THAT!) This led me to believe that I really could have had him in preschool another year, but I'm one of those stupid parents who doesn't fight for what they think is best for their child.
Anyway, the gist of the meeting is that I have to get some forms signed by a doctor to prove Hutton still has Autism so they can continue giving him the therapies he needs which are written in his IEP. (Read: They need the form signed to get their $) Because apparently, in the World of Special Ed, kids lose their Autism diagnoses all the time. Wouldn't that be great if it were actually true?
I live for the day when I can go a re-evaluation meeting and actually have them reclassify Hutton as ineligible for services due to his losing his diagnosis.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
If you ever saw me from a distance, the first word you'd probably come up with to describe me would be "mysterious." Wait, no, I think it would be "galkdoatl." Yeah, I made that up. It's a word that means "ho-hum, yeah, seen it all before, next" in the language of my home planet.
I AM mysterious, though! I AM! Well, OK, I've done some secret shopping. That's really the extent of the mystery.
I started secret shopping to make some extra money when I was pregnant with Hutton. A friend of mine did it and gave me the information. Very mysteriously, though. She sent it to me in coded letters delivered by strange men in dark sunglasses. Yeah, I made that second part up. She just gave me some websites to check out.
Soon after signing up, I was off, sneaking into nondescript fast food restaurants, scoping out the scene, jotting notes in code in lipstick on my arm. Once again, I made that second part up. Enough of that.
The best job I'd have to say was when I did a mystery shop at a local sex shop, while pregnant. Pregnant women in sex shops -- there's nothing better in my opinion!
Anyway, I dropped out of the mysterious world of secret shopping for a while, but saw an email about a certain ubiquitous coffee shop and thought, "Hmm, I drink coffee. I think I could get paid for that." And I signed up. I very stupidly signed up for seven shops in one afternoon, which I performed last week. I was doing great until Harrison feel asleep in the car after shop number 4. Fine, Harr, we'll go home and I'll finish later, I thought. Except later I had a splitting headache, and had to take two boys with me, instead of one. I struggled through, then had to write up the seven reports on my computer that evening, still with headache, now with added nausea. Good times. And the reports were slow-going: "Describe the person running the register, listing height, hair color, gender." Next question: "Describe the register partner's height." Next: "Describe the register partner's hair color and length." Yeah, I already covered that in the first question. Let me repeat myself. And then do it again six more times.
Of course, I didn't learn from my mistakes, and have another afternoon of seven jobs on a Saturday next month. I'll be able to go solo, though, leaving the boys at home with Hubby. All the same, I think I'll start signing up for two jobs per day, max. Or maybe I won't. I'm mysterious that way.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Well, it just feel like that.
I've been stuffy since last Wednesday, and currently have a sinus headache. Every day I go through a hundred tissues and still the mucus flows like...well, mucus. It's a beautiful day, but after spending about 45 minutes with Harrison on the swings, we came inside and both napped on the couch. I still want to nap.
That's all the excitement going on around here.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
The Virginia Tech Massacre. Shockingly sad. I saw the news on the TV at the gym yesterday. It's too hard to put into words. I just wish the VT community peace in the coming days and comfort in their memories of friends and loved ones.
I visited Virginia Tech on a college road trip with friends for our Fall Break trip one year. We stayed with one of my college friend's high school friends there overnight. I don't remember much from our visit there, other than eating at the Hokie House. Thinking of all the past, present and future Hokies out there today, and sending my condolences!
Monday, April 16, 2007
Elaina worked at the same company Hubby did, but he didn't really know her, just in passing. This happened six years ago, when I was pregnant with Hutton. I'm about to cry thinking about it.
Glad they finally solved the case! Hope her "fiance" becomes someone's bitch in prison. Sorry, not nice.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
I had the weirdest dream of the week last night. I was playing soccer on a snowy field with the cast of American Idol. I was pissed at Sanjaya - boy can't do a throw in to save his life! Told him to throw it UP FIELD not back towards our goal. Idiot! Then the team all got distracted and ran off to practice singing or something. I then slid over a snowy ramp and fell into a cold river, and had to go find some clothes to put on, because for some reason, I took my clothes of immediately. I realized I didn't really belong on AI -- I really didn't think there even was a Laura on the show -- and looked in all the rooms of the compound for anything that might reveal where I was staying so I could find something to wear. I saw a room where someone was getting her hair and makeup done, and thought maybe I could ask if there was an outfit I could wear, but since I was naked and all...
I woke up in a cold sweat soon after.
That dream was on Sunday, but I saved it for "filler material". Weird, since last night I actually played soccer and American Idol was on. Guess those two have a pretty good subconscious half-life. I was late to soccer thanks to afternoon traffic making Hubby late, and further evening traffic making me late. Once I got on the field, it seemed I was in for a clutz fest. I was trying to beat an opposing player to a ball heading out of bounds and we collided, I landed hard on my hip, elbow and hand on the "all weather sand" they still use on half the fields around here, since grass gets trashed really quickly in the wet weather. The "sand" was the consistency of really crumbly concrete, and scraped my elbow skin off. Fortunately my ass was more padded and my hand was OK. And because I took one for the team, the ref even gave us the throw-in. Later, in the second half, I was chasing another opposing player who had the ball near our goal. As the ball went out of bounds, the player threw up her hands in despair and punched me in the eye and nose in the process. Fun. Actually I think I used another "F" word at the time. Hey, there weren't any kids around. Fortunately, my eye only watered for a minute, and I only have the one mark on my elbow from my game yesterday. And I must say, my team played a whole lot better than the American Idol team did in my dream, even though we still lost by one.
True confession time: Last night I peed in the bathtub. It's not as gross as it sounds, really. OK, it is. Well, I was taking a bath, sipping some hot tea and reading a book, and just had to finish the book. The water was growing cold, I'd finished my tea, and I needed to pee, but kept reading. I finally got up to dry off, and realized I wasn't going to make it downstairs to pee. (Our master bath toilet is still broken -- the replacement flapper ball didn't fit, and Hubby turned off the water to the toilet so it wouldn't run constantly.) The water was already draining down the tub, and the sound of it made it unbearable, but it's not like I peed in the water I was lying in. I just happened to "accidentally" pee while I was stepping out of the tub, and there was plenty of water left in the tub to dilute the pee. Plus, I cleaned the tub out afterwards. Sigh. Now I've become a gross person who sees any drain as a potential pee disposal area. I promise it won't happen again! I'm going to pee before I get in the tub next time, no have a big cup of tea while bathing, etc. I'll just blame it on the fact that Hubby hasn't fixed the toilet. Yep, anything involving plumbing falls under his domain. I can unstop a toilet or unclog a sink as well as the feisty housewife, but I don't do the big fixes.
Oh, and my title. Obviously a reference to the big Don Imus debacle, but also to the fact that I haven't washed my hair today, and now I'm already dressed and don't want to go back and take another shower so I can wash it. (I was in a rush to get dressed to take Hutton to the bus.) So, overall, this post is not presenting me in too flattering a light, is it? Oh well, I'm just being honest with my "audience."
Well, sort of. School starts back tomorrow. The weather is crappy, cold and rainy again, and has been most of the week. Happy Spring Break, right?
This morning I was greeted by not one but TWO poopy diapers. Yay. Hutton still wears a diaper overnight so I don't have to change the sheets every day. I really need to start waking him up overnight to do his business in the potty, but hey, I'm lazy! Anyway, today both boys got the "Mommy is SO DARN TIRED OF POOP!" lecture as I cleaned up and put stinky pjs in the washing machine. I also told them how tired I am of doing laundry to wash just one small load of poop-scented pjs. Fortunately, they both seem to have pooped after they got up, but even though I didn't have to wash sheets, I was even more pissed that they waited until they got up, but still didn't use the potty. Well, Harrison is not potty trained at all, so he's more acceptable.
I went over the ROUTINE once again with Hutton - 1. Wake up. 2. USE THE %$%*&^* POTTY. 3. Get dressed. 4. Play or eat breakfast. Again, play or eat is #4, not before USING THE POTTY. Repeat, repeat, ask Hutton if he understands. "OK, tell me what your morning schedule is?" "Get up, eat break...I mean, use the potty..." ARRRRGGH!
Speaking of potties, mine is broken. The flapper ball leaks, according to Hubby, so I think we have an exciting trip to the Home Depot in our future. I already went Thursday with Harrison and bought mulch. Woohoo! After spreading two bags and only covering an area the size of my desk, I quickly concluded four bags wasn't enough. Think I'll have a big load of it delivered instead. Then I can spend my days outside spreading mulch. Sounds fun, doesn't it?
Friday I took the boys to the University of Washington for Hutton's ABA appointment. After seeing his consultant, we went in search of food for lunch. I had heard that Red Robin had Gluten Free fries, so I got the boys psyched up for that. Hutton was surprisingly OK with having a plain hamburger patty, some lettuce and fries without ketchup (CORN SYRUP! It's EVIL!). I gave him some enzymes, too, just in case anything was contaminated with gluten or casein. After lunch though, Hutton was scripting (an Autistic behavior involving repeating lines from shows that don't really pertain to the situation). Well, in this case, though, they did sort of pertain. He was saying, "George, how 'bout we put an ice pack on your tummy?" He was talking about Curious George, but I figured out the ice pack on the tummy bit was because his own tummy hurt from lunch. He always asks for ice packs if he hurts himself. I asked him and he told me it did hurt. Crap!
We headed back to the UW for "Social Skills" group, and Hutton was saying he wanted to take a nap, so I carried him back and stayed with him for a few minutes until he magically snapped out of it when they started doing letter stamping. The plus: Harrison and I got to sing the "Hello" song. I learned my lesson about Red Robin. Sigh. We used to eat there all the time! Even my tummy hurt a bit, though. Guess the Whiskey River BBQ Burger was too much for me! Guess I'll be bringing a Thermos of gluten and nitrate-free hotdogs next time and we'll eat in the car. Yep, the diet makes for fancy eating conditions!
I realized how much I hate driving in cities (and I wasn't even in the "real" part of Seattle!) when I had to drive past the restaurant twice and turn around twice in order to park for lunch, and I almost turned the wrong way on a one-way street. Fortunately, the light was red for the oncoming traffic so I was able to back up into the intersection before we got smashed by a bus. Fun times.
One thing that actually was fun: seeing a guy pedaling his bike over the bridge over Portage Bay, carrying a Starbucks cup in his left hand. Biking with coffee! Impressive.
Time to go color my hair (for those who remember this, rest assured I'm going with a brownish hue) while the boys are distracted with Xbox and DVDs. Yes, it's a glamorous life I lead!
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
OK, this post isn't actually about the fabulous film listed above. It's about Spring Break! Whee! It is the second break of 2007 (mid-winter break was #1), so the "2" and "Breakin'" fit.
We're having a mellow, stay-at-home break. Well, that is, when not going to speech therapy or the dentist, the two big events of yesterday. Hutton had his teeth cleaned and no cavities and was great throughout the appointment. The dentist is so much about SWAG nowadays, though, that it seems almost fun to go. In addition to a new toothbrush, dental flush, and "happy flosser" or whatever the smurf they call those things, he got a token for the vending machines, and ended up with a pink rubber bracelet. He loved it, though, and the big, biker-looking guy in the waiting room had a chuckle over Hutton's excitement over a pink bracelet. Harrison, even though he didn't lower himself to have his teeth "counted", also got a vending machine token, and received a kick-ass dragon necklace.
After the dentist appointment, the boys ran around like crazy, and while I was answering the phone inside, Harrison face-planted outside and came in crying with blood all over his face. Fun. After cleaning him up and getting him set up with an ice pack, my BFF and her kids came over.
I attempted to make Rice Krispy Treats, using fake marshmallow fluff and gluten-free rice cereal. (Real marshmallows have corn syrup, which Hutton can't have. Plus I substituted ghee for the butter.) While I ran upstairs to print out the recipe for the treats, my friend opened the new container of fake fluff I'd bought and yelled to me something about it being gross and something was terribly wrong. I ran down and looked into the container and was horrified. The container was half-filled with some runny brown gooey liquid. I looked at my friend as if maybe she were playing a trick on me -- while I was upstairs, she'd secretly switched my regular fake fluff for some random melted crap she'd melted down in the microwave, perhaps? But no, she said that's what it looked like when she opened it.
I smelled it. It smelled OK. I dipped a finger in and tasted it. It tasted fine. My friend looked digusted and didn't think I should make the treats. I told her they'd be fine, but she was insistent that we'd get some bacterial infection or something. I said the ingredients didn't seem likely to have anything weird going on -- rice syrup and soy protein were the main ones. She was concerned about the soy. I called the hotline on the back of the container of RiceMellow and left a message about the weird crap in a tub I had bought. Then I proceeded to melt the already melted stuff into some melted ghee, stirred in the puffed rice and waited a few minutes. I tried them while my friend looked on in disbelief. They tasted like stale rice crispies with ghee and marshmallow, but didn't stick together like normal treats. The boys like them, though!
Next time I'll use coconut shortening instead of ghee, crisped rice instead of rice puffs, and hope the RiceMellow is in a normal state when I open the container.
Oh, and this morning at !!7:15!! someone from the RiceMellow company called. She left a message since I wasn't about to answer the phone that early. Come on, people! It's Spring Break! This was my only morning to sleep in! Grr! I called X back after lunch and she's sending me another jar of fake fluff and a shopping tote "to show off at the health food store!" Yeah, lady, if my second jar of fluff looks like melted brown goop, I don't think I'll be offering you any free advertising by carrying your tote. Well, I'll carry it with the name turned in.
This morning I found a new vitamin delivery method for 6 of the umpteen supplements Hutton takes daily (or should take daily). I made some pear sauce by pureeing some pears, and it safely covered the taste of several vitamins. I didn't attempt adding enzymes to it, though, as I've found Hutton will only take those in the expensive chewable tablet form (only $75 for a month's supply! Woohoo!). I bought them in powder form, thinking I'd be able to add them to his food or drinks, but he has successfully avoiding eating or drinking anything with the enzymes, except for the enzyme-laced chocolate wafers I made him for the express purpose of getting him to eat the enzymes. Hmm. So, I either order $75 worth of chewable tablets or go spend a half hour making a week's worth of enzymes in chocolate. Spring Break is just so much fun!
Friday, April 06, 2007
Last night, Hubby came home late from work. He sat down next to me on the couch, and told me he'd downloaded the DAN! Conference videos from last fall and had been watching them while working out at the gym. I was shocked. I waited for the other shoe to drop..."And I thought it was crap!" Nope, he didn't say that. He started talking about Dr. Levinson (my good friend, Amy, takes her beautiful son to see Dr. Levinson on the other side of the country whenever she can, and consults with him on the phone) and his treatment protocol while I looked at him with shock and bewilderment.
I attended a day of the DAN! Conference last fall (see this) and Hubby didn't really have all that much to say when I raved about it. He also didn't jump up and down excitedly when I gave him the Discover Magazine on Autism to read a few weeks ago. So, for him to actually show some initiative in learning the latest in treatments for Autism...WOW!
Hubby did do some reading when Hutton was first diagnosed three years ago, and he was the one who figured out which supplements to start Hutton on while we tried to get him in with an Autism-focused doctor. Then, slowly but surely, Hubby started losing hope or interest or both, and I took over as researcher of all things Autism.
So, Thursday night, Hubby talked about Dr. Levinson's protocol, and I told him what we're doing right now for Hutton, and that we'd be going in for a re-check in May. I am excited that Hubby seems to be back on board for the bio-medical treatments!
Friday the weather was beautiful! Hutton's afternoon appointment (Social Skills Class at the UW) was canceled, so we spent the afternoon playing outside. The boys played on the swingset, lounged with me in the hammock, and we blew lots of bubbles. The only downside was Hutton going in the creek behind our house. I always tell him, he's welcome to go in the creek if he's wearing shorts and his water sandals and I'm with him. It's an annoyance when he goes in wearing jeans and his only pair of sneakers the currently fit. He did it Thursday afternoon, too. That's OK. The sun is out to dry out the wet sneakers, right? I'm going to have to get Hutton some of those plastic clogs, too, I guess!
Oh yeah -- OPRAH!! It was a good show, though too short to cover everything we Bio-Medical parents would have liked: diet, bio-medical treatments, and potential recovery from Autism, plus showing a wider range or kids on the spectrum would have been great, but for an awareness show, it was great! I cried during part of it, especially when the older sibling of a boy with Autism was on. (I hope Harrison doesn't feel left out by our focus on Hutton's Autism when he's older. I spend lots of one on one time with him, but we do spend lots of time going to appointments for Hutton.) I loved this Katie Wright opening "the can of worms" on Oprah -- bringing up her belief that vaccines played a major part in her son's Autism. The V word is out on Oprah! Oh my!
And read this from JB Handley of Generation Rescue after the show:
Guys, the chances of me getting on Oprah are ZERO, but thank you. Besides, if I was invited Merck would have me shot before I got in the studio...Remember who pays the bills on Oprah's show.
Katie was told by the producers before the show was filmed that if she mentioned vaccines she would be off the show.
While taping, the pediatrician made the misstatement about vaccines and autism (that whole "no connection" reassuring bullshit), and, during break, Katie appealed irectly to Oprah to let her respond, as you saw on the show.
However, Oprah's response to Katie about "opening the can of worms" and the audience's applause after what she said was actually based on a much longer exchange, all of which was edited out of the final cut of the show.
After the part you heard Katie say, Katie went on to say that the preservatives in the vaccines made her son sick and that the combination vaccines and the vaccine schedule were grossly unsafe.
Everyone's favorite pediatrician then jumped in and said that if the schedule were changed there would epidemics. Katie responded by saying there already is an epidemic and that our kids are not disposable so the CDC can perpetuate irrational fears of the measles and the flu.
I think this highlights a number of things:
- The censorship most media outlets give to this issue is very high. My personal opinion is that this is due entirely to the power of pharma advertising and to the fact that the media outlets hear directly from pharma in advance of these shows and get warned. The fact that the daughter of NBC's FORMER CEO must be deeply troubling for pharma because this is going to be one very tough person to shut up.
- Oprah over-ruled the directive Katie was given because she is Oprah and appears to have strong moral fiber. If Don Imus is a 10, I give Oprah a 5, which makes her second-best for national personalities dealing honestly about our kids, although it is almost incomprehensible to me that this is Oprah's first show on autism.
- The lame doctor saying "if the schedule were changed there would be epidemics" has no idea what she is talking about. It is unbelievable that it is NEVER reported that in the mid-1980s there were 10 vaccines on the schedule and today its 36. We were not
having massive epidemics in the 1980s and the schedule has more than tripled due to money and recklessness, with no monitoring system that could ever catch a delayed-onset condition like autism.
- Katie is a true warrior for her son and all of our kids. She said so much more than America got to hear.
Off to enjoy the sun.
U OF M STUDY FINDS THAT PRIMARY MEDICAL CARE
FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM NEEDS IMPROVEMENT
No! Really?! (Sarcasm over now.) I guess it's good that what I find painfully obvious is being researched, as it brings to light yet another failure to kids with Autism, and hopefully those who can help will be aware now.
I remember when I managed to finally get Hutton diagnosed with Autism, three years ago, with absolutely no help from his pediatrician. We'd had his hearing tested six months before. It was fine. His speech was delayed, but the place where we had the speech delay diagnosed (which was actually recommended by the pediatrician) couldn't help us. They didn't even put us on a wait list. I found a speech therapist who could fit Hutton in for (very expensive) therapy, but he still only had a speech delay diagnosis -- not enough to get special services from Early Intervention. I got the name of a neurologist in Tacoma from a friend whose son had been diagnosed with Autism a month earlier. The neurologist didn't have a wait list, unlike the other places that could diagnose a child that were closer than an hour away. They all had wait lists of several months to a year, just to see somebody for a diagnosis. The neurologist didn't really diagnose Autism. He just wrote, "We should assign the diagnosis of Autism at this time." Everyone who read that looked confused, but at least it got Hutton into Early Intervention for a few months.
When we went back to the pediatrician later, he seemed surprised at the diagnosis, but strangely enough, had nothing to offer us at all in terms of help or advice. We've been to several other doctors before finding our current doctor, but I still credit the internet and online support groups for 99% of the help we've managed to find for Hutton.
Hubby and I have drilled the following information into his sister, the pediatrician: Make sure you take any delayed developmental milestones seriously with your patients! Follow up and trust the parents' intuition; don't tell them they're just worried or overly cautious until you've at least done the M-CHAT (Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers). Of course, she didn't believe Hutton had Autism even after he was diagnosed! Sheesh.
U OF M STUDY FINDS THAT PRIMARY MEDICAL CARE
FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM NEEDS IMPROVEMENT
Care Does Not Meet Criteria Set By American Academy of Pediatrics
MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (April 2, 2007) — Children with autism do not receive the same quality of primary care as children with other special health care needs, according to research from the University of Minnesota Medical School.
A study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that parents of children with autism were less likely to report that their children received the type of primary care advocated by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) when compared to parents of children with other special health care needs. The "medical home model," which is defined by the AAP as accessible, continuous, comprehensive, family-centered, compassionate, culturally effective, and coordinated with specialized services was used as a measure for ideal primary care of children.
"This study shows that children with autism are less likely to receive the type of primary medical care that we hope for all children," says principal investigator Allison Brachlow, M.D., research fellow at the Department of Pediatrics. "With increasing numbers of children diagnosed with autism, it is imperative to understand how to provide optimal care for these children."
Specifically, Brachlow found that parents of children with autism were less likely to report their child's care was family-centered, comprehensive, or coordinated. For example, parents of children with autism were less likely to report that their child's primary care provider spent adequate time with them, offered understandable explanations, or discussed outside services, such as speech and occupational therapies. Furthermore, parents of children with autism were more likely to report difficulties obtaining subspecialty care, such as referrals to a gastroenterologist or other subspecialty doctor.
Researchers analyzed data from the National Survey for Children's Health (NSCH) which surveyed 102,353 parents or legal guardians of children under 18 across the nation. Of this number, 495 children were identified as having autism and 18,119 were defined as children with other special health care needs such as asthma, attention deficit disorder, behavioral conduct problems, and depression.
As a disease, autism presents challenges which may contribute to difficulties in providing primary care.
"While there is a recognized genetic component to autism, the cause is still unknown. Additionally, the diagnosis of autism is clinical, meaning there are no blood tests to determine if a patient has autism. Currently, there are many therapies and treatments for autism, each with varying degrees of supporting scientific evidence." Brachlow notes, "Epidemiological research is challenging because children with autism appear to be a heterogeneous group. Further research is needed to determine and implement the best models of primary care delivery for children with complex medical conditions, such as autism."
According to the Autism Society of America, autism is estimated to affect approximately one in every 150 births. This accounts for approximately 1.5 million Americans who have been diagnosed with some form of autism, which varies in its severity. It is expected that the number could reach 4 million within ten years.
The Academic Health Center is home to the University of Minnesota's six health professional schools and colleges as well as several health-related centers and institutes. Founded in 1851, the University is one of the oldest and largest land grant institutions in the country. The AHC prepares the new health professionals who improve the health of communities, discover and deliver new treatments and cures, and strengthen the health economy.
Contact: Amy Devore, Academic Health Center, 612-626-4784; Sara Buss, Academic Health Center, 612-624-2449
Oh yeah. April is Autism Awareness Month. I'm sure I'll have lots of posts about Autism this month, since so much is popping up about it now. OPRAH!!! OPRAH has Autism! Well, actually, she just did a show on Autism. But it made big news in the Autism community. I'll try to post my reaction to that later. I know you're dying to read that!
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Saw this on a Washington State Autism message board:
SENATE RESOLUTION (WA State Senate)
By Senators Rasmussen, Regala, Roach, Fraser, Pflug, Prentice, McAuliffe, Spanel, Murray, Jacobsen, Shin, Franklin, Parlette, Clements, Hewitt, Hargrove, Fairley, Holmquist, Brown, Weinstein, Berkey, Tom, Eide, Schoesler, Poulsen, Stevens, Delvin, Swecker, Haugen, Carrell, Benton, Kastama, Kline, Morton, Oemig, Hatfield, McCaslin, Zarelli, Kilmer, Kauffman, Rockefeller, Kohl-Welles, Pridemore and Honeyford
WHEREAS, Autism is a developmental disability that typically appears during the first two years of life and continues through the individual's lifespan; and
WHEREAS, Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability, affecting 1 million to 1.5 million Americans - 1 in 250 babies born; and
WHEREAS, Many children are not diagnosed until after 3 years of age, often because of lack of recognition of autism characteristics by general practitioners; and
WHEREAS, There are many different characteristics in individuals with autism - delayed or deficient communication, decreased or unresponsive social interaction, unusual reaction to normal stimuli, a lack of spontaneous or imaginative play, and behavioral challenges; and
WHEREAS, There is no known cause and no known cure, however with aggressive and continuous therapy, some individuals can learn to acclimate to their environment and mask symptoms of their disability; and
WHEREAS, All individuals with autism should be included and regarded as valuable members of our community; and
WHEREAS, Autism can create significant stress on the families of those affected by autism; and
WHEREAS, Families, caregivers, advocates, and organizations are striving to bring about positive changes for children and adults with autism; and
WHEREAS, Through research, training, public services, support groups, advocacy, and increased awareness, we will be more understanding, inclusive, and better-equipped to support the growing number of individuals with autism and their families;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the Washington State Senate honor and support individuals with autism and acknowledge the tremendous courage that they and their families put forth every day; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That a copy of this resolution be immediately transmitted by the Secretary of the Senate to the Honorable Christine Gregoire.
Being honored and supported by the Washington State Senate. What else could a person with autism and his family ask for? Gee, can't think of ANYTHING. Oh wait, they're not going to support us in any way financially or help with therapies, diet, or school? Oh, well, now that just sucks!
Well, there is this part: "WHEREAS, Through research, training, public services, support groups, advocacy, and increased awareness, we will be more understanding, inclusive, and better-equipped to support the growing number of individuals with autism and their families;"
Yeah. I'll believe it when I see it.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
I saw a dirty white Jeep today that had the following inscribed in the dust on its rear liftgate: "I wish my wife were this dirty." Classic.
On the Jeep note, a few days earlier, in the exact spot I saw the Jeep above, I saw a truck with a "JEEP" sticker on the back. Hmm. I love Jeeps, too, but it's kinda stupid to put that on a Chevy truck. Maybe you should get one of those license plates: "My other ride is a
mustache Jeep." (See this post for more on that.)
Pretty boring around here. It's nice and sunny today. Yesterday was sunny, too. Harrison played on the swings while I attempted to take out a couple of tree stumps with a pick ax. Not the best tool for the job, but I'm too scared to get out the chain saw. Maybe I'll try it if Harrison takes a nap tomorrow...
Today was speech therapy at 9 a.m. We were doing great time-wise. The boys finished breakfast at 8 a.m., and I headed upstairs to get dressed. I told Hutton, "Please go get dressed!" and ran upstairs. I ran down a few minutes later to help Harrison find his shoes. Hutton was sitting in the bathroom in his pajamas, playing with the toothbrushes. "Sweetie, please put those away and get dressed!" Ran back upstairs to put on some makeup. Couldn't figure out which lame shirt to wear. "Hmm, it's cold out now, but will be warm later. What should I wear?" As if anyone who sees me in the lobby of the speech therapist's office, or at the pet store, or anywhere else I will go today cares. Finally picked out a cotton shirt with a matching cardigan. Ran downstairs, annoyed that it took me so long to get ready. That's OK, we'll still make it on time...
...Or not. Hutton is sitting on his bed. Naked. Not dressed. Not at all. Angry Mom comes out of hiding. "HUTTON! PUT YOUR CLOTHES ON NOW!!!!"
Six minutes later, we're leaving, six minutes later than we need to leave to have any chance of making it on time. Angry Mommy is still bitching for the first five minutes of the drive, making sure to drive home to Hutton that when Mommy asks him to get dressed, she in fact wants him to put his clothes on. She doesn't want to have to repeat herself more than once. Blah blah blah. The steam eventually escapes from my head, and Partly Sane Mommy returns. We are only 10 minutes late. Not the end of the world, right? Our speech therapist still gets paid for 60 minutes of work, right?
Harrison and I then went to the pet store, to pick up some cat food for Tully, that will hopefully not be contaminated with gluten or melamine or whatever the hell killed other poor, unfortunate pets elsewhere. After the pet store, we headed to Payless. I wanted some shoes for doing yard work in, and picked up some of those plastic clogs. Harrison insisted on looking at shoes for himself. (A boy who likes to shop? What's not to love about that? I don't have a daughter, after all!) He wanted "racecar shoes" -- the Lightning McQueen "Cars" sneakers. I lied and told him they didn't have his size since he had some month old sneakers from Stride Rite. He started getting fussy, so I plied him with some camo rainboots. That did the trick, until we got to the register and he looked at the glasses, and wanted new sunglasses. There were only women's glasses, but the cashier "helpfully" pointed out where the kids' sunglasses were. They had "racecar" sunglasses for $8. The same sunglasses we had at home, just with a Lightning McQueen decal on the side. Joy. I asked Harrison if he wanted them, and he yelled, "NO!" Hmm. Fine. I bought the shoes and we left. Immediately, Harrison started crying about the racecar sunglasses. Moments later, full blown tantrum over racecar sunglasses. I dragged him, literally kicking and screaming, out of the mall and to the car, politely explaining that he had said "no" when I asked if he wanted the glasses, and we didn't have time to go back now. "Racecar sunglasses!" Between tightly pursed lips, "Harrison, you didn't want the sunglasses when we had the chance to buy them." "Racecar sunglasses!" Sob, sob. "This is what we call a missed opportunity." RACECAR SUNGLASSES!" Repeat for five more minutes.
Dragged Harrison, still screaming, to the speech therapist's office, got Hutton, dragged Harrison, still screaming, back to the car. Finally explained to Harrison that if he wanted to go to art class in the afternoon, he must stop screaming. Miraculously, it worked. He stopped screaming and we all enjoyed the ride home.
At home, I gave him the regular sunglasses with no Cars stickers. He excitedly put on his "racecar sunglasses". Wow. Who knew.