Defying Diagnosis & Exceeding Expectations

Chase was initially diagnosed with Autism when he was almost 3 years old. Through more extensive testing later on, it was discovered that, his autistic like tendencies were caused by a mild form of PVL (Periventricular Leukomalacia), a brain injury most likely caused in Chase's case, by the severe hypertension I experienced during pregnancy. With the diagnosis of PVL also came a diagnosis of Dyspraxia. Some of Chase's symptoms were: lack of eye contact, delayed and limited speech and language, lack of socialization skills, visual stemming, weak fine motor skills, limited eating habits, poor short term memory, tightness and spasticity in the legs, and ADD and OCD tendencies. When Chase rea

Earning A PhD In Your Child

When I first found out I was pregnant, I figured the least of my worries was whether or not I could handle being a good parent. I was naively confident in my yet to be utilized parenting skills. After all, I grew up in a big family where we learned how to help change diapers the same day we ourselves were potty trained (Ha!). Our parents taught us how to love and take care of each other at a young age. I knew how to hold a baby, talk, teach, and play with children. My mother and father could run a household of 14 in their sleep (and sometimes they did....LOL). I had the rare benefit of learning from that kind of example. "This was going to be one of those blind-fold-me-tie-both-hands-be

The Idiot Box?

The idiot box, the boob tube, the baby sitter. At some point or another in our lives, we've all heard our parents refer to that square, loud and colorful box by some clever name that signified their annoyance of...THE TELEVISION. As strange is it may sound, I am eternally grateful for that loud, square and colorful box. And I will tell you why. The television quite literally helped Chase find his voice, and was instrumental in demonstrating to him how to socialize with others and engage with the world in general, through a safe, non-threatening venue. As you know by now, Chase is part of a large family. We are an active, social and outgoing group. However, the speech and cognitive delay

What Does 'Of' Mean?

Where do babies come from? Why is the sky blue? How do you spell supercalifragilisticexpialidotious? All of those not so easy questions that come at you like bullets once a child really taps into language. As parents, we get so excited when our kids start to talk. Those first words...Mama or Dada.. We think it's so cute when they repeat "bye-bye" over and over again when someone leaves. It's those moments they begin to discover that the sounds coming out of their mouths have meaning, command attention, and a reaction. When I first brought Chase into the neurologist where I received his initial diagnosis of autism, he was almost 3 years old. He could speak and understand meaning of only

Learning to Give as an Essential Part of Education

Getting an education isn't just about learning your ABC's and 123's. It's about being able to take that information and applying it, not only to benefit yourself, but to benefit others. There will never be a time when people don't need other people in order to survive in this world. Whether you are recommending a friend for a job position, pointing someone in the right direction, or a perfect stranger is helping you push your stalled car to the side of the road. Life is about giving and receiving. Whether I am the one in need of help or the person standing next to me is, I am always reminded of the Golden Rule, and I ask myself, "If that were me, how would I want someone to respond to my

Learning Life Math Skills with Board Games

I shared in a previous post, that math is Chase’s least favorite subject, and the one that causes him the most stress. And when the stress kicks in, the learning just completely stops for him. I know that he, like most us, will not be another mathematics genius like Pythagoras, Descartes, Newton, or Einstein, which is perfectly fine with me. However, in order for him to function day to day as a responsible and self- sufficient individual, I know that he must become proficient, and is capable of learning, basic life math skills that we all use throughout the day, every day of our lives. I have also mentioned before, that life activities such as grocery shopping, traveling, banking, and cooki

Stimming: An Unexpected Pathway to Personal Creativity and Success

​It’s rather strange how quickly our survival instincts take over and we are able to learn new words and meanings when our lives or loved one’s lives are depending on it. Words and terms that you never knew even existed. Words and terms that people who are familiar with them already say so quickly, eloquently and matter-of-factly - as if everyone knows or should know what they mean. Pretty soon though you find yourself amongst those same people, rattling off words and terms as if you were a certified doctor or therapist. The process is baffling. It’s like being dropped off in a foreign country and the only way to survive is to learn the language, which you pick up in a matter of weeks.

The Teenage Years and Beyond

The realization that you’ve graduated from raising a child, to raising a young adult comes almost over-night. One day you’re holding the hand of your child, who stands as high as your waste, walking into the movie theater to watch the latest animated movie. The next minute that same child is tall enough to look you in the eye now, and ask you to drop them off at the theater with their friends, to go see the latest PG-13 movie. Parenting a “typical” teenager can be a trying and tricky business - and parenting a teenager with unique challenges has an additional set of circumstances and considerations that must be dealt with. As any parent of a child with special circumstances knows, the cult

Super Hero Discovered

What do you do when you adopt a child that is later diagnosed with autism? You do exactly what Jenn Lynn and her husband Chris did when their adopted son, Jake, was diagnosed with ASD. You stay "miracle minded" and raise your child to be the super hero they were meant to be! Read more about their families amazing journey in Jenn's own words. ~ Mary Bailey Ours wasn’t the conventional way to make a family. There was no nine-month nesting period. We’d been trying for years, faced unthinkable heartache again and again, and then gave up. There was no weight-gain, only binge-drinking wine, and carb loading at the news of each failure. There were no labor and delivery pains as most know them

Not A Prodigy But A Visionary

Apart from his autism, Chase is just like the majority of us common folks on the planet – he has interests, preferences, goals, dreams, tendencies, talents and shortcomings; and like us, he must go through the long and laborious paces of learning, practicing, stumbling, failing, re-thinking; and then learning and practicing some more, in order to become proficient in his culinary and showbiz endeavors, and to achieve a desired level of success. When it comes to cooking and the performing arts, Chase is an aspiring chef and comedic entertainer in-training – NOT a fully-formed, teenaged Master Chef; nor an Academy Award winning, one-take wonder. If you’ve read my other blog posts about Chase,

The Power of Others Speaking Life into Our Circumstances

Whenever I’m asked what has made the difference in Chase’s development since being diagnosed with autism, the obvious response is of course early intervention. Nothing can take the place of this. But just as important as early intervention has been surrounding both Chase and myself with the right support system. Chase would not be as successful in his therapies, and I would not be as successful as a parent, if we did not have the right people around us speaking “life” instead of doom-and-gloom into our circumstances and efforts. When Chase was first diagnosed with autism, I remember a family friend, who had worked in special education for years, telling me every negative thing that was po

Re-Defining the Word “Cure” In the Age of Autism

When my son, Chase, was diagnosed with autism nearly 12 years ago at the age of 2, I was bombarded with more theories about cures, causes, and conspiracies than I could digest. One therapy group was telling me that it was the mercury in fish that did this to Chase, and that I should take him in to have the mercury removed from his blood. Another group was telling me it was the vaccines. While yet another was telling me that the government was out to destroy the black community by infecting young black baby boys when their parents weren’t looking. To this day, whenever I see an article entitled, “I’ve Found the Cure to…” my knee-jerk reaction is to shake my head and roll my eyes. If I decid

Ten Non-Negotiables in Parenting a Child Who Has Been Diagnosed with Autism

1. Go with your gut. This is your child, and you are going to know them better than anyone. If you suspect they are struggling in their development, get it checked out. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain when you confront and explore the possibilities and options. 2. Surround yourself with the right kind of support. Groups that have pity parties are NOT the right kind of support! People who will encourage and enable you and your child to succeed are the kind of people you want around you. The ones who invite you and your child to birthday parties, or show up to the birthday party you plan for your child. These are the kind of support and influences you want and need in your

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