a little background

hi, my name is mandy and I have two amazing little boys. My oldest son, Ty, has been diagnosed with autism (which is what you will read most about in this blog); I also have Tripp, who is an amazing little brother to Ty (who you will also hear alot about). I was encouraged to start this blog to document our journey through life and life with autism... my world has been rocked in last few years and i have responded in good ways and bad ... but Jesus has gotten me through all of it...

i hope i can be an encouragement to you, and for the friends and family that will read this - maybe this will keep you posted indepth on what Ty is learning! :) and the adventures of Tripp too

thank you for reading, and if you have any questions, comments or smart remarks; feel free to post them.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

the joy of Christmas!

Christmas is by far the best time of the year. I love all of the smells, foods, lights, and most of all friends and family. My favorite thing to do is give gifts, and I absolutely love to find something that I know someone would like and then give it to them. Not because I want recognition or to be thanked but because I simply enjoy the look on their face - the smile or laugh that comes with it and the hugs or conversations that will come after that.
Last year Ty was not much into the gift opening part of Christmas and I had a feeling that he would love all of the paper tearing and toys this year! Well I was partly right, he did really well once we got something out of the box and he could play with it but he wasn't real big on sitting and opening a gift, he did play with the paper and try to eat it after everyone else opened their presents. So to each their own :)
Every gift Ty received for Christmas was perfectly suited to him, everyone was so thoughtful in finding something that he would like even if it was a toy that might not be "age appropriate" in others eyes, it was perfect for my little Ty. I have the best family and friends in the world!
Christmas is also a very busy time of year with lots of traveling for us. And traveling with my boys is not always easy. Sam was working Christmas Eve so we went to my dad's Friday night had Christmas with them and then Sam left for work the next morning and that afternoon we went to visit my cousins and then on to mamaw's for a meal that could feed half the roman army (that's my brothers words). I always feel like we stay long enough to eat, open gifts and then leave and I really wish we could stay longer. But the hour and a half ride home was waiting so we packed up shortly after dirty Santa and started home. I made it half way home when Ty woke up screaming. Needless to say we stopped to see Sam at the fire house to keep my sanity and then drove home around 9:30 or 10.
Being that Christmas day was on Sunday we went to Church that morning. We were asked to read and light a candle as a family during the service and I wanted Ty to participate so we kept him in church for the first time. Ty absolutely loved the singing and would get so excited every time we stood to sing. Once the music stopped and the preacher or music minister would speak/pray Ty would start to make some noise, not a scream but just his version of talking. I assume he was talking to God in his own way :) I would try to quit him some but part of me just wanted to let him say whatever it is he needed to say ... from the mouth of babes right!?
During the childrens story part of church we sang happy birthday Jesus and the kids showed a new toy to the congregation. So after the song was over Ty was so excited and started clapping, have I mentioned that he loves a crowd and he loves for people to clap ... typically he loves for people to clap for HIM, but clapping is a favorite activity no matter who it is for! So once everyone stopped clapping Ty kept going, he stood front and center in front of the pulpit and just kept clapping with a smile bigger than the state of Texas, his teeth shinning, his eyes squinting and slightly bouncing with excitement. He could have stood there all day I am sure but I swooped him up and took him to the nursery. So that's when I stop to think. Shouldn't we all do that. Shouldn't we all stop and just praise the Lord. I don't know for sure if that is what he was doing, but I like to think that God used him to open my eyes and say "this is how you do it". No worries just pure joy and excitement!
here are a few pics from Christmas ... Ty loved the lights :)

thanks for reading! hope yall enjoy! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

it's christmas!

Well I can't believe that another year has passed so quickly!? A friend of mine tells me that the days get longer and years get shorter as our kids grow up; and that is so true!
It is less than a week before christmas and I have one more present to buy but I have not put up my christmas tree??? Yes I know that I need to do it; but I just haven't made the time to make it happen?! Who knows maybe I will do it today :). ok on to the good stuff...
Ty has been doing really well! The Children's Center sent home his AAC device (it's a device that speaks for him when he touches the icons of what he wants, for example "want" "need" "cookie" "more" "drink" "ball" etc). I thought it would be simple to use at home, but I keep forgetting that we have it? He does really well with this device and will even put together 3 word phrases like "want more cookie" and he just gets so excited when we give him the cookie. It's like he knows that we finally have a way for him to communicate those words that he might not be able to sign or say, and sometimes the words that he knows how to say and sign but at times he just can't get them out. Now there are times when he just won't say them and he will give you this adorable look as if to say "isnt this enough" but you have to fight past wanting to give in and make him talk. No, it's not easy but if you give in once then he knows that there's another option - and we would much rather pull those words out of him then to let him slip by with an adorable smile. right?! - thats what I keep telling myself...
so on to my little Tripp for a minute..
Tripp was in our kids Christmas program at church and stole the show! haha we all have to say that right? But really he did a great job, he knew the motions and words to almost all of the songs and only almost fell off the stage once :) so that was great for him! Because the last time they sang in church he stood up closed his eyes and then put his hands over his face?! so we have come a long way! Now all during the last few months of practicing these songs I wanted so badly to give Ty a chance to sing in the program, I know he likes music and he loves to dance (rock from one foot to the other and wiggle, its super cute) and he is not afraid of crowds at all. But I didnt want him to be a distraction to the other kids or to run up and down the isles laughing and jumping until he reaches the back door so he can open and close it. Now I am not saying that there werent kids on stage that were distractions, Tripp was one of them. But I have my reasons for waiting... they seem trivial now that I look back on it all but I guess I am just a bit more protective of Ty when it comes to stuff like that? I am not embarrassed or ashamed but I am quick to anger and until I am able to harness that I think it was best for me to let him sit this one out. Not that anyone would have said or done anything to my little man at church but I guess there is just always that "what if" in my mind... and it takes me a little longer to let go and let him do what other kids his age are doing. So maybe next year? ...That will be my plan..
When we got home we replayed the video from the program and Ty ran and jumped in my lap so he could see the computer screen and started shaking his shoulders and humming and then he would jump down and do his little happy dance and then repeat the cycle... it was awesome! and thats what made me think - maybe he was ready and I just need to not worry...

Ty has been doing some major oral sensory seeking over the last few weeks and I couldnt quite put my finger on why - but we have been without the pabby for a while and thats got to be why he is seeking so much! I've been trying to replace it with a vibrating mouth toy and so far that has worked but I am hoping that we will be able completely replace his shirt chewing with this toy?! we will see :)

Ty's Tshirts have taken off! and I cant thank you all enough for your love and support! you are all angels in our eyes!!

I read a few quotes that I thought I would share

"I know of nobody who is purely autistic, or purely neurotypical. Even God has some autistic moments, which is why the planets spin.”
— Jerry Newport

“Autistics are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It’s that you’re destroying the peg.”
— Paul Collins

“This is what we know, when you tell us of your fondest hopes and dreams for us: that your greatest wish is that one day we will cease to be, and strangers you can love will move in behind our faces.”

-Jim Sinclair, “Don’t Mourn For Us”

these speak volumes! sometimes we just need to step back and think ... am I helping or hurting? Is this just a difference of opinion or is this something that will help him function? My desires are not that Ty will be normal but that he will be able to be the best at whatever it is he wants to be... communication is the key right now... and we just want to provide him with everything he needs to do that.

i know this was a pretty random post ... but i had different things that i wanted to share ... so i hope you all enjoy! thanks for reading!