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Monday, December 31, 2012

I wish he would just leave her alone..............

This morning Hayden, Ruby, and I sat down at the table to work on some school work.  We worked on school work for about 15 minutes.  Ruby worked on her hand writing and Hayden worked on reading. We then did a puzzle.  This is when the "picking" started.  Hayden took one of Ruby's puzzle pieces with a big grin on his face.  He waited for her to look at him then he threw it on the floor.  Ruby then screamed and Hayden snickered.  I turned my head from the kids and snickered too :)  The kids went back to work on their puzzles.

When they finished their puzzles Hayden started looking at and reading his I-Spy cars book.  Ruby joined him in looking at the book.  It started out super sweet.  Ruby would point to the picture she wanted Hayden to find and Hayden would find it.  After a bit of this I suggested that they take turns finding the pictures.  They took turns for a little bit then Hayden decided to "mix" it up a bit.  He looked at Ruby with that mischievous little grin of his and I knew he was plotting something.  He would point to the picture Ruby was to find, give her a second, and then point to the picture, and say, "here Ruby."  Ruby then quickly said, "It's my turn."  Hayden actually shrugged his little shoulders at her with the little grin of his.  This went on for a few turns and Ruby got sick of it and went to play with her pony.

Hayden finished looking at the book and then went to Ruby's bedroom where Butterscotch pony and Ruby where playing.  He quickly climbed on Butterscotch's back and said, "Giddy Up Butterscotch."  Ruby's face was priceless.  She put her little hand on her hip and sighed.  She continued brushing Butterscotch and Hayden continued to ridding Butterscotch.  Ruby then decided that Butterscotch was hungry.

We have a board game that has little acorns in it.  Ruby like to feed the acorns to Butterscotch.  I stayed in Ruby's bedroom with Hayden while Ruby went to get the acorns.  Hayden made that little grin again.  I thought, "Hmmm.....I wonder what is going to happen next."  Ruby came back with the acorns and Hayden left.  Ruby started feeding the acorns to Butterscotch and Hayden came back with the rest of the board game.  Hayden said, "Ruby play squirrel." (the name of the game is sneaky squirrel).  Beautiful moment :)  Ruby said, "No."  Hayden then took the acorns.  Ruby screamed at Hayden.  Hayden ignored her.  She then said, "Those are mine."  He looked her right in the eyes and with his little pointer finger poked her in the arm.  

Ruby then choose to become super unhappy about the poking.  She ran screaming out of the room and Hayden continued down the hall with his pointer finger in the poking position.  Hayden caught her and continued to poke her.  Ruby screamed, "Leave me alone."  For that brief moment I thought man, I wish he would just leave her alone.

Wow, what a thought.  I stopped myself super quick in that thought.  I absolutely do NOT want Hayden to leave Ruby alone.  I then thought that this is pretty freaking normal!!! Siblings poke at one another.  What an amazing morning.  My sweet babies have played and poked at one another for 90 minutes straight.

Amazing......Amazing......Amazing.........2012 has been an amazing year for us :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Magical Trip to See Santa

It amazes me how much your perspective can change in an instant.  If you have been following my blog you know that Hayden has had a rough month and I have allowed myself to be an emotional mess during this period of time.  Well that all changed at about 12:40 pm today :)

I was ridding in the car on our way home with my husband and both children from visiting Santa.  What a treat it was that all four of us were able to go together.  While ridding in the car I was reflecting back about the events that had just taken place.  I have to admit that it took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes.

We had a rare break in therapy today and decided to take full advantage of it and go visit Santa at the mall.  I had no expectation of the trip and decided if Hayden didn't want to go in I would just wait in the truck with him and Daddy and Ruby could visit Santa.  Hayden has not went anywhere but Grammie's house for the last several weeks.  The reason we have not been taking him places is because he was showing signs that he was stressed.  While we are recovering Hayden from autism we want him to be as comfortable as possible and avoid stress as much as possible.

We got to the mall and Hayden was very excited.  He could hardly wait to get out of the truck to see Santa.  Hayden kept saying, "See Santa....I want a dump truck."  Ruby was not as eager but still wanted to see Santa.

We entered the building and Hayden began to verbally stim a bit.  He was repeated the sound "ahh..ahh.ahh" in high pitched tone about 3 times.  Then grabbed ahold of my hand and calmed down.

We turned the corner and we could see Santa.  The kids both had a huge smile on their faces.  We went through the little set up, wrote letters to Santa, and then we got to see the big guy.  The kids both stayed about a foot back but were very interested in Santa.  They carefully looked him over.

Santa then asked Hayden what he wanted for Christmas.  Hayden promptly said, "A dump truck."  Santa then asked if Hayden had been a good boy.  Hayden said, "Yes."

Then it was Ruby's turn and Santa asked her what she wanted.  Ruby said, "a helicopter with a remote."  She told Santa she was a nice girl.

I then told the kids that they could give Santa a hug.  Hayden actually stepped close to Santa and I thought he was going to hug him.  Hayden then put his hand on Santa's hand and said, "Merry Christmas."

I was blown away.  Hayden generally doesn't talk to strangers and in the past screamed at the sight of Santa.  It was pure amazement.  I began to cry tears of joy.  I am so proud of Hayden.  It is hard to believe that three years ago I was told that my son might never speak or interact with people.  Here was my little man having a conversation with Santa with a big smile on his face the entire time.

We were getting ready to leave and Hayden said, "Go to bookstore."  So that is just what we did.  We went to the book store and both kids picked out a book.  Hayden and Ruby both walked, didn't have a tantrum, didn't even scream.  When it was time to pay for the books we were getting Hayden had no problem waiting in line, giving his book to the clerk, and only getting one book.  He was calm and still had a smile on his face.

Brandon and I took the kids for lunch at Red Robin.  Hayden and Ruby were super excited for this.  Hayden had chicken on a stick and steamed broccoli.  Ruby ate her adult portion of whiskey river wraps and her adult serving of steam broccoli.  Hayden and Ruby both sat on their bottoms in the booth and ate their food.  It was AMAZING....I even got to eat my food.  While we were eating Hayden said, "Go downstairs."

The carousel at the mall is downstairs.  When we finished eating Ruby and Hayden walked holding hands all the way to the carousel.  We walked past candy stores, gum ball machines, cookies stores, toy stores, and the play area.  Hayden didn't even ask once for any of those things.  In the past he would have a tantrum at the sight of forbidden food.  I think he is getting the concept that those types of food hurt his tummy and make him not feel well.

We got to the carousel and both kids rode their own animal. When were done Hayden thanked the lady with out me telling him to.  We then went potty and were on our way home.

We had such an amazing morning together!!  Hayden didn't even want to wear his hat to help block some of the noise.   He didn't have one outburst or tantrum.  He was just a typical kid today.  I would even say an extra well behaved typical kid today :)

At 12:40 after my reflection.  I said to Brandon, "Why do I let myself get so worked up when Hayden is having a rough time?  He has come so far and me getting upset is helping no one."  Ahh.....the truth comes out.  I think about where we were 3 years ago when we started our journey to recover Hayden from autism and where we are today.  WOW...WOW...WOW!!!

Absolutely mind blowing :)  3 years ago Hayden didn't respond to us, we didn't think he knew what his name was, he tantrumed 90% of the day and night, he had NO language (actually no sounds except screaming), he wouldn't allow us to touch him, and no eye contact.

Here Hayden is today having a conversation with Santa :)


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hurting for Hayden

The past 48 hours have been a challenge and a true testament to the dedication I have for my son.  We removed fruit from his diet 48 hours ago and he has been craving it big time.  He screams and tantrums the way a drug addict craves drugs.  The craving he has for fruit (mainly the sugar that is in fruit) has taken him over.  Hayden has become pale and has dark circles under his eyes.  His belly is bloated and he is emotional.  He is sensory seeking more than I have seen him do in the past year.

I feel like my heart has been kicked and that someone is sitting on my chest.  I absolutely hurt for him.  I know that I am doing what is best for him.   I made a statement to God tonight "Has he not suffered enough."  I know many people might think he just has autism....he is not suffering.

Hayden has been hospitalized 2 times in the pediatric intensive care for his asthma, once to the pediatric floor.  He has had stitches, staples, and been glued on three separate occasions.  He has had numerous blood draws that usually require 3 plus sticks to get his blood drawn.  He has had oral surgery to remove two teeth and fill 15 surfaces on his feet.  Hayden has horrible gut issues that just don't want to stop despite my best efforts.  Hayden is unable to eat any kind of grain, dairy, fruit, and refined sugar.  He has to consume an all organic diet to reduce his toxic load.  Hayden had horrible eczema until we figured out what was causing it.  Haircuts are physically painful as well as teeth brushing, loud sounds, lots of things moving, smells, and bright lights.

In all that Hayden has been through I am still thankful and incredibly blessed.  I am thankful that he does not have a life threatening disease.  I am beyond grateful that he has the ability to communicate with me his wants or needs, to give me a kiss, a hug, and say I love you.  There are parents out there that NEVER get any of those things from their children.  Heck their are people out there that are not even able to have children.  Their are parents out there that hold their dyeing children in their arms.  There are mothers out there that give birth to babies that are not living.

My challenge to you is to really look at your children and celebrate them.  Celebrate the fact that they are able to tell you NO, celebrate the fact that they are able to spill their drink on the floor, celebrate the fact that they are able to kick and scream and have a full blown temper tantrum.  What an incredible blessing and NONE of it, I mean NONE of it should be taken for granted!!!

While I type this blog my mind is thinking of all the parents I have watched hold their children while they take their last breath.  For you I am grateful to have that experience with you.  By being present in one of the hardest days of your lives you taught me to be a better parent.  I don't take one day for granted and truly take the time to be present with my children.  My heart and prayers are with you all.

I often look at Ruby and can't help to think about how super amazing she is.  I love the fact that she can tell me exactly what she is thinking........sassy or not.  I appreciate that she can tell me NO or STOP IT. It is my job as her parent to teach her and model her how to be respectful and loving.  If I choose to have a tantrum or yell at her for telling me NO what does that teach her.........yelling gets you what you want.  I prefer to get down on her level and explain to her why we don't talk to Mommy like that.  No, I am not perfect and yes, I have yelled at her.  I do my best.

I am sitting by my sweet Hayden watching him sleep.  It is amazing to me how peaceful his body looks while he is sleeping tonight.  I know in a few more days the worst of the fruit and honey withdrawals will be behind us and the healing will begin once again.

My heart is still heavy for Hayden tonight and I am okay with that.  A nice soak in the bath, with a few chocolates, and a nice book sound like a nice way to end my day and refocus on what my purpose is.

Goodbye FRUIT and HONEY

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming................

This scene from Finding Nemo Plays over and over in my mind this morning as I am taking several deep breaths.  Hayden had one 45 minute screaming tantrum and one 25 minute screaming tantrum because he wants fruit.  Mainly he wants the half of banana that he usually gets in the morning.  I am proud of myself in one aspect and of the tantrum and want to do better in another aspect with the tantrum.

The aspect that I am proud of is that I remained super neutral and told Hayden that when he is screaming I can not understand him and he can just tell me in a normal voice.  Hayden then told me in a very calm voice, "I want a big banana in the garage." (we keep the bananas in the garage because Hayden is super limited on the amount of fruit he can have) I then explained why he can have the banana.  "Hayden, my sweet love we can no longer have fruit because it hurst your belly and I want to help you be as healthy as possible," I said.  This led to more screaming and I let him know that he can choose to be happy about not having fruit and that the screaming will not change anything.


The aspect that I want to do better at is owning and being okay with the fact that Hayden can not have fruit right now because the sugar in the fruit feeds the yeast in his sick digestive system.  A part of me feels bad for my little man and a part of me is PISSED off that my child can not eat half a banana a day with out humping the crap out everything in site.  Yes, a half a banana makes my child hump things.  It amazes my just how sensitive Hayden is.  When I examine my beliefs about Hayden eating fruit I ask myself does having the belief that I feel bad and pissed off for him help Hayden or myself?  Is this belief serving me in anyway?  The belief that I am sad for Hayden not eating fruit is only causing myself and Hayden discomfort.  Hayden is super sensitive and feeds off our feelings and emotions.  I can choose a new belief about our fruitless and honeyless situation.  I am going to believe that by taking fruit and honey out of Hayden's diet that I am DOING the best I can do for him to become healthy.  I can believe that I LOVE him so much that I am going to removes things from his diet and environment that are harming him.  I am also going to remind myself that this is only temporary and the harder I work now the more likely it is that Hayden will be able to eat a well rounded diet in the fruit that includes some grains and fruit.

So here I am doing my best to help my child heal and grow to his best potential.  I would love for you to send good vibes our way and to one other person in your life that is dealing with a difficult situation.

Happy Wednesday Everyone :)

XOXO,
Brandi

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pieces of Us: November Update...choosing to drop the judgements!...

Pieces of Us: November Update...choosing to drop the judgements!...: Where has November went???  Where ever November went it is coming to an end quickly!!!  November 2012 has been a fun, fast paced, life chang...

November Update...choosing to drop the judgements!!!

Where has November went???  Where ever November went it is coming to an end quickly!!!  November 2012 has been a fun, fast paced, life changing month for us.  I traveled to The Autism Treatment Center of America for the final training class in the Son-Rise Program.

The class I attended was New Frontiers and it was as equally amazing as the other two that I have attended.  Every class / training I attend I dig a little deeper inside myself. My big work continues to be to drop my judgements of myself and others and LOVING big.  I am making some great progress with being nonjudgmental and loving big.  When I realize that I am judging myself or judging others I stop myself, take a deep breath, and asking myself..."by judging this situation how is it serving me?"  I really pause and digest that question.  In all honestly I am doing my best and that is all that maters.  I use to think that when I was judging myself (or beating myself up over something) that I was motivating myself to do better.  The truth is I can choose to be happy and accept that I am doing my best and do it again.  I model this concept for my sweet little Hayden in the playroom all the time.

Hayden use to get super upset when his legos did not do what he wanted.  Our team and myself have modeled several times how fun it is that we get to keep trying and choose to be happy.  Hayden has made some real progress with things not going his way.  He rarely tantrums anymore and has fun trying.

Here is a great book to read if you want to understand and put this concept into your life:  

http://www.amazon.com/Happiness-Choice-Barry-Neil-Kaufman/dp/0449907996

I am no means perfect and yes there are times that I choose unhappiness and discomfort.  Those times have come to a minimum.  When you think deep down about it what does being unhappy or angry do for you.  Does it changes the situation?  Does it make you feel good?

Hayden continues to make great progress daily :)  Hayden's Son-Rise Team has been working hard the last month at deepening Hayden's connection to us.  We have done this by backing off on the requests we make from him.  He is coming to us now way more and is super invested in the games we do together.  By backing away from requesting we have given Hayden back full control of the playroom.  Super proud of Hayden and our team!!!  It was a bit challenging to back away from our requests but we did it!!!

Hayden also made significant progress with tantruming and whining this past month.  As a team we stopped accepting language that is screamed, whined, and shouted at us.  Instead we tell Hayden we don't understand and tell him that he can just speak in a normal voice.  WOW!!  This technique has worked like a charm :)  It amazes me how much Hayden understands and responds to what we are saying to him.  It's like a flick of the switch....Hayden is screaming, we tell him we don't understand and he can just ask in a nice voice, and he totally tells us using a sweet voice with that amazing little grin he has on his face.   Thank you intensive team for bringing this issue to my attention!!!  We have ran with it :)

We had a fabulous Hayden's Son-Rise Team meeting last week!!!  Here are the notes from our team meeting with all of the activity ideas for the next month:


Meeting Notes:

Pausing: give Hayden at least 8 seconds or longer to respond.  This will allow Hayden time to process his thoughts and say / or do what he wants and does not want.

Windows:  A new boundary with keeping the windows closed has been established.  Let Hayden know that we want to keep him healthy and safe.  When we have the windows open it can cause him to get sick.  Ask that Hayden close the windows himself.  Give him two chances.

Celebrating: Continue to celebrate, celebrate, celebrate every single word, every eye contact, every look, and any acknowledgement (looking at what you are playing with, taking what you are playing with).

Training: Maximum Impact is April 21st-26th.  I would LOVE for each of you to go.  If you are interested let me know ASAP.


GOALS:

Motivate Hayden to Look at Others to Start or Continue an Interaction
-Become Santa using voice or sing Christmas Songs
-Reindeer and Rudolph--red nose
-Christmas Decorations (tree and stockings)
-Christmas Songs--add movement
-Christmas Tree--ornaments
-Jingle Bells
-Christmas Finger Puppets
-Slapstick Humor
-Christmas Songs--change voices
-Have a big dice that has colored paper with pictures of motivations on each side.
-Bee Puppet stings you and Hayden.  Have big exaggerated slapstick humor with the stings....use lots of big    movements.
-Make a Cars Photo Album or Collage

Encourage Hayden to Use Greetings (hello, goodbye, see you soon, etc)
-Model Greetings exaggerated
-Say “Hi” using animals
-Cars and Puppets using greeting to one another
-Excitement and Exaggeration over greetings when changing workers in the  room
-Putting Figures on Popsicle sticks (cars, etc) to model greetings
-Use a cereal box to make a house with door to use puppets, figures, cars, etc  going in and out using greetings.
-Use Puppets to model greetings to one another
-Have Cars drive around and meet people.  Have pictures of familiar faces around playroom and greet everyone.  Place the same colored squares on the floor and move to the color that was rolled on.  Have a prize for the end of the game
-Have Hayden run a race (around slide) and greet people
-Build a carwash out of a big box and use greeting to the workers...have Hayden dress up as a car and you as a worker
-Make a big doorway out of boxes and have different people, cars, or puppets answer the door.  Model greetings and give tickles.
-Have 4 places set up in room with people to meet and give tickles after each greeting
Support Hayden to Increase Interactions to 4 Times or More an Hour

-Build by bringing new item instead
-Create Places and roads to places (houses, visit doctor)
-Make Lorax
-Building on Books and Songs he Enjoys
-Hats and Glasses
-Walk in as a Character
-Make Big Tree and Put on Wall
-Paper Chains
-Feather Duster that tickles him
-Hayden’s House of Motivation...on a poster board put 6 houses that have motivating characters behind the doors.  On each house have instructions on how to get the cars or characters out of the house.  Or have keys hidden around the playroom hidden around the playroom
-Make big pictures of us and different hairstyles out of construction paper and yarn.  Have fun giving haircuts.  Hayden allows us to cut his hair but does not enjoy it.  So super model how cool it is to get a haircut
-Feeling Box....place objects of interest and non-interest in box and have Hayden stick his hand in a hole to feel for the object
-Use a kiddie pool and place foam squares in it.  Place pictures of interest in the bottom of the pool and have Hayden swim to find the pictures.

Motivate Hayden to Allow Peripheral Variations in His Rigid and Repetitious Behaviors

-Fireman and Policeman Dress-Up
-Hopscotch out of Tape
-Songs
-Running Around Building, bridge, town
-Use Hats Puppets, Scarves, mustaches
-Build on his pattern of play by incorporating different things with the cars (car  wash, go to the movies, take a bath, go to Grammie’s
-Make up song that has dress up clothes incorporated in it
-Cars go to Santa’s workshop and help Santa prepare for Christmas
-Family and Friends Mix Up....take pictures of family and friends and cut them in half.  Have fun being silly and putting the family parts on different family members.

Motivate Hayden to Eat a Larger Variety of Foods and Stay Hydrated
-Bring a drink and express thirst
-Model and Celebrate when he does drink or eat
-Plant a garden with lots of fun foods and have the puppets, cars, and ourselves eat them



Ideas on How to Build Running Around Slide

March around Slide
Puppets run around slide
take train ride around slide
walk, jog backwards, crawl, scootering
pull around on scooter board
going on bear hunt song around slide
create running safe zone with tape
instruments and singing while walking
pretend to skate and skip

Ideas on How to Build on Playing and Looking at Pixar Cars

-Cars save someone....women with broken ankle in middle of street
-Ship cars somewhere to be repaired
-Paint job---tape, glue, color, add accessories
change the cars tire
-fill up with gas and pay for gas at gas station...great time to model greetings
-cars get thirsty and need to get a drink....great time for Hayden to get a drink
-fill up with the wrong gas and cars get sick to stomach..great eye contact game
-Tune up cars between two friends modeling relationships
-Bring Cars Rug in Playroom
-Make the Cars have gas and need to toilet (make toilet to take in playroom)
-have the cars talk in different voices
-Give the Cars mustaches and hats to wear
Activities Using Ping Pong Balls

-Make Character Faces on Ping Pong Balls (cars, friends, puppets, lorax)
-Make a wind chime with the balls out of tape
-Have Puppets eat the ping pong balls and poop them out
-Place the ping pong balls on a scarf and throw them in the air
-Tape ping pong balls to myself and pretend they are tumors that need to be removed

We have had a great month of November and are super excited for Christmas.  Hayden has been talking about Santa and Frosty quite a bit the last couple of weeks.  Santa is delivering and Elf on The Shelf this week and I am going to have some great fun with that :)


Hayden is exhibiting signs of yeast overgrowth again.   I am going to take fruit and honey back out of his diet, start daily hbot, and give him grapfruit seed extract.  Yeast has been an ugly battle for us.  I am upping our game ;)


Big LOVE to all of You :)

Brandi

Monday, November 5, 2012

Red Flags

I have been thinking about our "early" years with Hayden recently.  I have a friend that has a two year old son that has sensory processing disorder.  I have been listening to what she is going through and helping her help her son.  The things she talks about brings back so many memories for me.  At 18 months Hayden was "diagnosed" with Sensory Processing Disorder.  I say "diagnosed" because we didn't seek out official diagnosis, this is what the early intervention team felt he had (which I completely agreed with them).  I had to fight with our pediatrician at the time because she felt nothing was wrong with Hayden and we should just wait it out and see.  I pushed forward and requested that early intervention evaluate him.

Tonight I decided to look through old pictures of our sweet little Hayden.  This quickly put me in tears. All of the red flags and warning signs were there.  I thought I had dealt with my past decisions for Hayden but I as I looked through the pictures I did a fabulous job of beating myself up.  "Why didn't I see this as a problem / abnormal," I thought to myself as I looked deeply at the pictures through my tears.  "Why did I listen and trust his/mine physicians......Why did I feed him CRAP food?"  "Why did I expose him to so many unnecessary toxins?"

I know that I was doing my best at the time but I still beat myself up.  I still deep down blame myself for Hayden being autistic.  All of this could have been prevented.  Wow.....I really thought I had deep down accepted and dealt with my feelings of being responsible for Hayden being autistic.  Guess I have some work to do :)

I do my best to raise awareness about autism and give people hope for their children.  Autism is completely preventable and curable. I am going to share a list of red flags that I observed in Hayden early on.

1) Would not walk barefoot outside of the house and would cry hysterically if put in grass.  It was not a typical cry it was this is painful cry.

2) Could not handle any adjustment to his routine.  If we were not home for nap time there would be hell to pay the next several days.

3) Spit up and vomited on a daily basis.........this is NOT normal and it is NOT genetic!!

4) Eczema.........again NOT normal and NOT genetic!!

5) Constant runny nose.............don't be okay with this......find out what your child is allergic too

6) Dark circles under eyes.........indicates a child in poor health and is NOT okay

7) Pooping every other day...........everyone should have formed, sinking poops 1-2 times a day.

8) Crying and melting down over everything

9) Playing independently the majority of the time

10) Prefers to be in a room by themselves

11) Can not stand to be messy.....cries in a way that you think they are in pain

12) Does not want or seek out cuddling

13) constantly in motion seeking out crashing into things

14) Fear of nothing

15) High pain tolerance

16) Lining up of objects

17) Not playing with toys appropriately.......watching wheels on cars spin vs.  driving cars around

18) Instant meltdowns in unfamiliar surroundings full of people

19) Covers ears constantly and seems to be sensitive to loud noises

20) When you walk into a room and your child does not notice you

21) Flapping of the hands

22) Tip toe walking

23) Super limited diet

24) Does not respond to name

25) Does not speak or communicate

26) Does not gesture

27) No or limited eye contact

28) Does not appeared interested in people only interested in objects

29) Flat facial expressions, rarely smiles

30) Has a "drunk" laugh or appears to laugh for no reason

31) Wakes up in the middle of the night screaming hysterically and is very "un-reachable"  This was absolutely horrible.  I thought he was having seizures of some kind

32) Tantruming 90% of the day.

33) Sleeping less than 10 hours a night


Yes, even with this long list of red flags our pediatrician did not think there was anything wrong with Hayden and we should wait it out.

THANK YOU GOD I did NOT wait it out and I did NOT follow her advice at all!!!!  The earlier you intervene the easier the recovery is going to be.  The longer you wait the more toxins and damage is being done in your child's body.  Yes, you can still recover a older child from autism.  It just takes more work to reverse all the damage.

Hayden is doing amazing, in fact I feel we are all doing amazing :)  He no longer has any sensory issues, in fact he only still has one of the red flags on that list and it is very mild almost a non-issue.  Hayden is healthy, thriving, and absolutely glowing.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Intensive, Biomedical Changes, and the UPS and downs of recovering from autism!!

Well, well, well here I am again on a Friday night blogging :)  I have lots of updates and lots of ideas running through my head.  I am going to come clean and confess why I have not blogged about Hayden and the program recently.

The truth is the month of September and the first part of October proved to be a challenge for us.  We have had several changes with our team and Hayden has been getting around 30 hours a week of therapy.  Starting next week we ramp back up to 60 hours a week.  These changes are not bad just different and was a bit of an adjustment to juggle and plug everyone into the right hours to work with Hayden.  One of our team members is actually starting a Son-Rise Program for her grandson.  I am super excited and happy for her and her grandson.

The biggest challenge has been the change with Hayden.  The months of July and August we seen  HUGE, MIND blowing progress.  He hardly isimed (repetitive behavior), he became super social, he hardly tantrumed, and his language and eye contact exploded.  In September I noticed Hayden starting to isim more and then he started giving less eye contact.  I was slightly concerned but felt the most ease I have ever felt when Hayden has regressed.  The second week of October we traveled to Son-Rise for Hayden's intensive.  While we were there Hayden isimed 90% of the time in the playroom and was only speaking in 1-2 word phrases.  I am not going to lie that was hard for me to swallow.

I actually became very upset when the Son-Rise teacher presented the developmental model they plotted Hayden on early in the week.  I was absolutely CRUSHED.........all the handwork we have done......all the progress Hayden has made and the teacher told me they were putting Hayden at a stage one for eye contact.   Then I got pissed.......I mean how can "they" evaluate my son fairly at a strange place, and him working with complete strangers.

I am actually chuckling at myself as I type this.  What I came to realize and understand is that Hayden is doing his best, I am doing my best, Brandon is doing his best, and our team is doing their best.  The Son-Rise Intensive Team evaluating Hayden to be at a stage one for eye contact does not change how amazing Hayden is nor does that "number" represent all our handwork and effort.

What that "number" is, is where they evaluated him at and what they are basing his goals for the week of off.  It does not, nor did it change anything besides the fact that we have really amped up our game for motivating Hayden to give eye contact.

Our Intensive well was INTENSE!!  I have NEVER wanted to run away from something so much in my life.  The biggest change in Hayden's program has been to stop requesting so much from him.  We have pretty much stopped requesting (except when appropriate) at this point and have been working hard on celebrating, celebrating, celebrating, and more celebration of Hayden :)   We are also giving a lot more to him.  Hayden has been super responsive to this and we are getting a much deeper connection from him.

The super biggest change since we have been home has been Brandon and I's relationship.  We had become just room mates in passing over the last year.  Brandon works second shift and has his rentals to deal with during the day.  I work 12 hour shifts on the weekend.  When I am home during the week I am running Hayden's Son-Rise Program, making all our meals from scratch, managing all of Hayden's biomedical needs, the housework, and taking care of my sweet little girl.  I am not complaint about my responsibilities at all.....just saying what I do :)  The problem is that Brandon and I pretty much have zero time together.

We have completely put our marriage on the back burner.   Ahh.....so NOT the thing to do.  We communicated through text messaging and Facebook.  We have been working hard at correcting this and have actually started communicating face to face.  I discovered why I judge Brandon so much.  It is because I judge myself.

The truth is Brandon is an amazing husband, fabulous father, and an all around great guy.  He is doing his best each and every day.  I love his even temperedness, I love his sense of humor, I love his laugh, I love how hard he works for our family, and I love watching him with our children.  Brandon has grown so much in such a short period of time.

One of my biggest issues with Brandon prior to our Intensive was his lack of help in the mornings.  I use to get so pissed at him!!  Mornings were hectic for us.  Hayden use to wake me up demanding I make his fresh pressed juice, before the juice was done, he was barking at me to make him a yogurt smoothie, then he wanted his breakfast, and paints, and toys, and who knows what else he would demand at me.  Then somewhere in there Ruby would be waking up and wanting things as well.  It was rough because I let it be rough!!!

It took a few days at our Intensive for me to realize the Brandon is doing his best and that I CAN do all the things in the morning with out him.  I also got some great ideas on how to work with Hayden on his demanding behavior and how I can be at ease in the mornings.

I must say it has worked like a charm!!  I no longer dread the morning.  Hayden no longer barks orders at me.  I actually take my time making the things Hayden wants in the morning or I don't even make them at all.  If he has to wait......he has to wait.  It is his choice to be happy about it.  It didn't even take a full week to adapt to our new morning routine.  Mornings have been peaceful for us.  This morning Rub was upset about something.  Hayden actually said to her, "You can choose to be happy Ruby."   Ruby did not appreciate Hayden's statement and choose to be un-happy.  I celebrated Hayden big time :)

So why did I not want to share Hayden regressing (which I totally don't view regressing as a bad thing)??  Mainly because I was working hard at being with peace with it myself.  I was confused on what to do and how to handle it.  I didn't want anyone feeling bad for us or loosing their faith in Hayden (which I know these are all silly beliefs now).

Hayden is pretty steadily getting back to where he was in August.  He has actually become quite social outside of the playroom.  He has been playing with Ruby for hours at a time.  Having typical sibling arguments, constructing a ton of original sentences, and making a ton of statements.  Tantruming has been less and less :)  Woot....WOoT!!!

I have been working my way back on the biomedical trail since July.  Hayden has not been on any new supplements since December.  Last week I started a different Fermented Cod Liver Oil for him.  This week I started giving him GABA.  New week I am going to increase the dose of GABA and hopefully the week after that I am going to start him on grape seed oil.  We should get his methylation pathway lab results back in about 9 weeks.



Friday, October 19, 2012

Pieces of Us: Hayden Draws a Monster......GAME Alert :)

Pieces of Us: Hayden Draws a Monster......GAME Alert :): I decided to make a game out of one of Hayden's favorite books.  Jeremy Draws a Monster by Peter McCarty is an excellent book.  I borrowed t...

Hayden Draws a Monster......GAME Alert :)

I decided to make a game out of one of Hayden's favorite books.  Jeremy Draws a Monster by Peter McCarty is an excellent book.  I borrowed this book from the library because it looked like a cute story.   Little did I know that it related to Hayden's life.  The book is about a little boy that looks out the window at the other children playing soccer outside.  Jeremy never goes outside to play with the kids he just watches them.  One day Jeremy decides to draw a monster.  He draws the monster and he demands that Jeremy draw him all sorts of things to feed him and entertain him.  The monster decides it is to time to leave and leaves.  He comes back that night and sleeps in Jeremy's bed. Jeremy decides to draw a suitcase, bus ticket, and a bus for the monster because he has had enough of the monster.  The next day he sends to monster on his way and goes out to play with the children.

I relate this book to Hayden because of his autism he use to be only in his own world.  He never played with other children until recently.  Hayden's autism is the "monster"  it has taken chasing the toxins, pathogenic bacteria, heavy metals, yeast, and parasites out of his body, and the proper therapy (Son-Rise) to show him how amazing the world is.

Hayden has not seen the book yet.  I will present it to him Monday morning during our play session :)

The hole in the page is for me to stick my face in while we read and act out the story :)

I printed pictures of all Hayden's first cousins to be the kids

All the things the monster demands are on velcro and will be attached to the playroom while prior to reading the book to motivate the use of language and gesturers



Hayden playing soccer with all his cousins.

Super excited to play this activity with my little man :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pieces of Us: A Day of Upset and Thinking about what I WANT

Pieces of Us: A Day of Upset and Thinking about what I WANT: Today has been one of those days that I am putting behind me and moving forward.  It started out like a normal day  I got up made fresh pres...

A Day of Upset and Thinking about what I WANT

Today has been one of those days that I am putting behind me and moving forward.  It started out like a normal day  I got up made fresh pressed juice and waffles for the kids and I (Brandon prefers to eat processed crap).  I cleaned up the kitchen, helped Brandon get the kids ready for the day, and sent Hayden off to the playroom.

Ruby and I headed to the gym for me to work out and Ruby to play in the child watch.  We then went to story time at the library.  Ruby loves story time and today she made a crown to wear.  We stopped for a coffee for me on the way home :)

I got home and observed our team member working with Hayden for a bit and got in the shower.  I realized that Brandon would not be done mowing so the decision was made that Ruby and I would go in the playroom and have our team member fill out a session evaluation form.

I go into the playroom to relieve the team member and she says, "I need to talk to you."  Great....I remained as calm as possible but at this point I was already agitated that I had to take Ruby in the playroom to work with Hayden.  This is not the most effective way to work with Hayden.

Good news is our beloved team member is not quitting or reducing hours.  She just wants to change her hours.  The change is for a excellent reason and I am so HAPPY for her and her family :)  I made myself a crazy emotional mess for a few hours thinking about how this will impact my family and Hayden's program.  What I was doing was making assumptions and judgements when I really don't know what is going to happen.

The truth is whatever happens, happens.  I can not control it, I can not change it.  What I can do is choose to be happy and embrace whatever the outcome is.  Regardless of what happens Hayden will still recover from autism.  We will continue Hayden's Son-Rise Program.  For a brief moment today I was enticed by how much easier my life would be if I just sent Hayden to school and stopped his program.

The truth is right now I am tired and run down.  I have been sick for a week now and I am just DONE. I want to get back to a routine.

I have decided to give our externship one more attempt before looking into other options. Our new student is set to start the end of October.  I am going to change the hours of the externship, make some new rules and guidelines, and only have one student at a time.

I want to start having team meetings.  Yes, all of my Son-Rise friends we are still not having team meetings.  I have decided on a day and time.  I will inform all team members this week.  Mainly because I am tired and this is one more thing to add to my to do list.

I have also decided that I want more help with Hayden's Son-Rise Program.  I want someone else to help me give feedback, provide motivation, and give me a break from time to time.

I also want to make new flyers to recruit volunteers, call the local newspaper, and give a presentation to the local autism support group.

I am working hard and will continue to work hard at not letting others un happiness or actions effect me. I am going to continue to be the best person I can be.

In 30 minutes my sweet babies will be in bed and I am taking a nice hot detox bath and reading a great book.

HuGS  to everyone,
Brandi

Friday, September 7, 2012

Super Amazing Day!!!

I have to say that today was one of the best days of my life.  The beginning of this week I faced Hayden having a significant allergic reaction and making a difficult decision about one of our students that would greatly affect the amount of therapy hours Hayden would get over the next 3 weeks.

I handled the situations the best way I could have.  Hayden was pretty much back to normal in 24 hours after his allergic reaction and I feel I made the best decision about the student.

So what made today so super amazing??  It started off as my typical day.  I got up helped Hayden take a bath.  I prepared his goat milk yogurt smoothie and made both us fresh juice.  I then made a special breakfast cherry muffins (I was going to make raspberry but the raspberries were molded), eggs, and grilled chicken strips for lunch.  Brandon gave Hayden his morning supplements and got the kids ready for a trip to the zoo.

As a family we usually don't have time to go places with all four of us.  With the reduced amount of time in Hayden's therapy schedule for the next three weeks we have the time and we are going to take advantage of it.  The zoo has always been something I have loved taking the kids to.  We have a zoo membership and we use to go at least once a week.

We packed up and headed to the zoo.  The kids were super excited.  Ruby was telling us how she was going to ride the ponies and Hayden was telling us he wanted to see the sharks, lions, and giraffes.  He even seemed interested in riding the ponies himself.

We let Hayden decide what animals we were going to see first.  He choose to see the lions first.  He specifically said, "I want to see Bill the lion."  Hayden was calm, happy, and looking at people and the animals.  In the past Hayden is usually focused on objects not people or animals.

While we visited "Africa" Hayden fed the giraffes in a very crowded area with the greatest of ease, he played the drums with the other children, and he even waved and said, "Hi friend" to a little boy while giving him great eye contact.  He stopped and studied a interesting bird for quite some time.

We left "Africa" and let Ruby decide where we were going next.  She wanted to ride the ponies. Hayden said he wanted to see the sea lions.  I told Hayden that it was Ruby's turn to pick and we could go see the sea lions after Ruby rode the ponies.  Hayden was okay with this and off to see the ponies we went.

We got to the ponies and Hayden walked right up to the ponies.  He has never wanted to be near the ponies in the past.  I even thought he might ride one.  Hayden decided not to ride the ponies.  Ruby got on Cookie the pony and off she went.  I stayed with Hayden and we pet the ponies.

It was then time to see the sea lions.  We arrived just in time to watch the sea lion feeding show.  There was an announcer talking about the sea lions and came around with a list of activities that the sea lions could do.  He asked the kids to pick an activity from the list.  I read about 5 of the options off.   Hayden said, "Sea Lion do handstand" before Ruby even had a chance to speak up.  Not only did Hayden say, "Sea Lion do handstand" he looked the announcer right in the eye!!  I was speechless for a few seconds and right away celebrated and held back tears.

Hayden really watched and responded to the sea lions today.  I was super proud of him.  In the past he liked watching the motion of the water not the sea lions themselves.

We went on to a few other exhibits.  Hayden asked to do several things at the zoo.  He acknowledged people.  He smiled and he asked for french fries when he seen someone eating them.  I just told him that french fries make him sick.  There was not tantrum or shouting.  Hayden gave me a look like "yep, Mom I know and understand" and we moved on.

He played on the train with other kids.  He got on a tortoise statue that another child was playing on.  He wanted to pet the animals in the petting zoo.  He even brushed to goats.  We went past the gift shop and there was no screaming fit because we were not going in.

When it was time to go Hayden got in the truck and we left.  He asked to watch a movie on the way home and I told him that we didn't need to watch a movie and there was not even a scream for that.

We got home and Hayden played with his sister until it was time to go to Grammie and Papa's house for the evening.

We swam and when I told him it was time to get out for dinner he was okay with that.  Hayden sat at the table and had dinner with us talking and giving great eye contact the entire time.  He told Grammie, "Good job on chicken" and gave her a standing applause.  This was totally out of the blue completely un-prompted.

We then went outside to "feed the cows" aka as pick and eat raspberries in Hayden terminology.  Hayden talked and interacted the entire time we were outside.  He said so many things to Grammie, PaPa, Ruby, and myself that I can't recall all the went down.

We fed Rocket Rabbit.  Hayden got down, fed him treats, petted him, and talked to him very gently.  We then went inside and took a bath and headed for home.

Driving home I had time to reflect on this amazing day.   WOW.......I mean HOLY, FREAKING WOW!!  Hayden recovering fully from autism is happening.  He is SOCIAL, he is emotionally in tune,  and the most important thing of all he is HAPPY.  I couldn't help to think if he would even be diagnosed with autism anymore.

We still have more to our journey but WOW we are on our way!!!  Way to GO HAYDEN!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Healing Myself to Heal Hayden

I have to admit that I have always put my children first.  My needs and wants always came last and I viewed anyone that put themselves before their children as selfish.  The truth in the process of always putting my children first I was suffocating the life out of myself.  I hit my cracking point this past winter and decided I wanted to change that.

I wanted my kids to not only see me as "Mom" but see who the real Brandi is.  When I really thought about it I felt like the real Brandi had become lost.  I had given myself away early on in motherhood.

I remember the days of going all day with out eating, taking a shower, and tears running down my face because I had to pee so freaking bad.  I was determined to take care of Hayden with out the help from others and do everything myself.  I remember Brandon wanting to help and offering to feed Hayden a bottle.  I use to get so pissed off at the notion of "feed him a bottle".  I am pretty sure that Brandon would tell you that my head would spin when he suggested such a thing.  I was also 100% determined to breastfeed my child.  I was so determined to breastfeed or provide my child with breast milk while I was away that I lost 80 pounds in 3 months.  It was CRAZY....although I liked the weight loss it was not healthy to loose weight like that.

So fast forward 3 years.  I was working more hours than I wanted to, starting Hayden's Son-Rise program, sticking to Hayden's diet, and continuing on his supplement and biomedical schedule.  All I did was eat and breath autism and go to work.  I was feeling run down, emotional, and starting to gain weight.  I am pretty sure I was depressed.  I went to my doctor for support and encouragement.  All the doctor wanted to do was put me on antidepressants and birth control. Yeah, that was a NO go............why did I even bother!

I then went to the chiropractor because I had been having horrible headaches.  I thought I just needed to be adjusted.  He adjusted me and said, "I think you are just stressed."  REALLY......YOU THINK SO!!

I still laugh about this!  Holy crap he hit it on the nose.  I decided it was time for me to take charge of my life and stop putting myself last.  I started a vitamin regimen for myself and changed my diet.  I started with removing gluten from my diet.

I started feeling better in a months time but something was still missing.  I wanted to do something for myself that I would not feel guilty about leaving my children for.  I came up with this plan to start going to the gym.   I told myself that by going to the gym I would be healthier and a good example for my children.  I could go when Hayden is in therapy and I could take Ruby with me to the child watch area.

It cracks me up that I had to think of my kids to make this happen from myself.  I am happy to report that I am still going to the gym 2-3 times a week and absolutely 100% love it.  It feels so good to go and work out.  I often dialog myself while I am running.  I talk to people, I smile, I laugh and a lot of times I am laughing at myself.  Today I fell off the bench I was doing plank jumps on and started laughing :)  Usually I laugh because I nailed myself on the back of the legs with the jump rope for the one millionth time.

Today I ran 2 miles in 18 minutes which is a huge accomplishment for myself.  I have learned to love running and over come asthma.  There is nothing like a nice hard run to clear your head.

I go to the gym now for me.  I go if my kids are crying.  I go if my kids are sick.  I GO and I feel good about GOING.  I want this time to myself and I take it!!

I look forward to the day that I can run in marathons and my family will be cheering me on.  I want my kids to know how important it is to take care of yourself and love yourself.





Monday, August 27, 2012

Ruby's Homeschool Adventure :-)

I have to admit that I am having so much fun homeschooling Ruby!!  We are not following any specific program and it is not super structured.  I am doing my best to put Montessori practices into Ruby's homeschool adventure.  I want Ruby to learn as much hands on and with purpose vs. sitting and doing worksheets in a un-cerative way that don't make sense to her.  I want to celebrate and enjoy every amazing activity that she chooses to do and the way she wants to do it. I want school to be something that she loves and looks forward to.  I want Ruby to be a life long learner.  I want to cherish and enjoy this very special time together.

I feel like I am putting together a Son-Rise Montessori Preschool.  Last week Ruby asked that I sit on the floor and help her put the alphabet train puzzle together.  I would pull each puzzle piece out of the box with great excitement, enthusiasm, and energy.  Ruby was beyond excited.  She could hardly wait to tell me what animal was on the puzzle piece, sound out the letters with me, and tell me what letter was on the puzzle piece.  I held the puzzle piece at eye level, I acted out some of the animals, and I cheered her on.  Much to my surprise I discovered that my little girl knew a few of the letters.  We spent a 45 minutes doing this activity.

I have spent some time researching and making activities for Ruby.  I have to say at the age of 32 putting vinegar in baking soda is still super fun!!

Ruby dropping colored vinegar into baking soda on top of the light box


Hayden joining Ruby after a 11 hour day of therapy



Salt box with a sheet of different colored tissue paper laminated underneath the salt

This is what it looks like with out the flash

Plexi Glass art board that Papa built.  Super fun to paint on!!

Scooping and pouring in the sand box (well outside the box in this case)

Ruby's homeschool area in the living room.  We put a dry erase board over the fireplace

Two shelves, work table, reading chair

Magnet board on wall.  Currently I traced around animal magnets and Ruby matches the appropriate animal to the tracing

Lock Work.  Ruby has to match the right size keys to the right lock and un-lock them

Color matching and fine motor skills.  Ruby takes the right coloring clothes pin and clips it on the matching color on paint stick

Cutting, glueing, and coloring work or hair cutting as Ruby prefers

Play doh work

Cleaning work.  Ruby loves to spray and clean her table and dry erase board.   Even Winston Wiener  Dog gets a little cleaning ;)
I have so many other exciting activities to put together for Ruby :)  Who wants to come over for class??

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tears of Joy :)

We had pictures taken this week of Brandon and myself working with Hayden in his Son-Rise Therapy  Program.  I want to document this moment in our lives for many reasons.  I want to be able to show Hayden one day how amazing his recovery from autism was and is.  I want him to see how much we lived in the moment and celebrated every day.  I want him to see how cherished and loved he was just the way he is.  I want to look back at these pictures and celebrate the true miracle that has taken place.

I must say that I already cherish this pictures.  I can not stop looking at them.  Every time I look at the pictures I cry tears of joy.  I am so overwhelmed with happiness and joy that it is bursting out of me.  I live and celebrate every moment with Hayden.  Looking at the pictures is just different.  It is still shot that I get to really look at and study.

When I look at the pictures I see PURE Happiness on Hayden's face.  I would say 95% of the day Hayden has a smile on his face.  This is such a huge change from a year ago.  Hayden rarely smiled.  Three years ago Hayden never smiled.  In fact he had a very "blank" look on his face.  It was a look of lifeless ness.  WoW!!!  Amazed, grateful, and blessed for this amazing journey that we are all on as a family.  I feel that Brandon and I have changed more than Hayden has.  That is the beauty of The Son-Rise Program.

The Son-Rise Program starts with the parents attitude and view points on life.  I have learned to LOVE and I mean dig down deep and LOVE people, I have learned how to ask for what I WANT, I have learned to be happy in ever situation possible, I have learned to be non-judemental, and I have learned that I am doing my absolute best and that is all the matters.  I am still a work in progress but I sure feel great about where I am.

We are living in the present and celebrating every day :)
Hayden can actually stand on the top blue rung with out holding onto anything

Hello, Mr. Hippo....try not to eat Mr. Dragon today

Making an octopus out to he ceiling fan that traps puppets




Which puppet do you want Hayden?


Ready to free the puppets

Looking at me right in the eye








Hayden can also manage a 3rd puppet on his leg ;)



My Daddy is SOOOOO much fun!!!

Smiles all around


"Reading" Three Little Kittens








Yep, I can totally ROCK a book :)




Celebrating Hayden's awesome eye contact

Licking Hayden...he LOVES it!




Joining Hayden in window climbing

Yep, I LOVE to climb too!

You told me to get the gears box down Hayden.  You didn't tell me where you wanted me to put the box!



Truly amazing how easily Hayden can get the gears all set up and working in a matter of minutes.  Yep....takes me a few hours longer ;)

Looking healthy with full cheeks and cute dimples!  He may have my eyes, but he sure looks like Daddy!

Oh, how I love when you share your food with me.  Even when you drop it on the floor and step on it first!

How big did you want me to draw that green frog??




Hayden drawing Snow White!

Gotta love scootering around with Hayden

Yes, I will push you forwards and backwards and celebrate all the way!

How fast did you want your car to go Hayden?

Oh, that fast...buckle up baby here we GO!


I could seriously kiss this kid all day long!!!  Hope he likes it when I drop him off at school :)

Yep, Mom I am going to look at you while I talk

and totally be into what we are talking about

Yes, Hayden I will celebrate, celebrate, celebrate every amazing eye contact, interaction, and use of language that you give!!

How big did you want that piece of tape?

Great Job Buddy.....you choose just the right size!

Proud of his creation!

I can be a firewoman


and a silly person with large glasses

Whatever it takes to make myself more exciting than your autism

Dream BIG Hayden.....Dream BIG......YOU can do whatever you want in life!!!!


Thank You Terry for coming into our world and capturing such an amazing time in our life!!!!