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.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Consistency, life and rollercoasters

Where do I begin? This school year is quickly coming to an end and it's been one heck of a year. To describe it as an emotional rollercoaster would be an understatement. So much has gone on in so many different areas. So many things the boys have had to learn to adjust to and so many things that I have had to adjust to as well. Navigating this life as a single mom and all the dynamics that come with that and learning to "co-parent", creates quite a whirlwind of emotions and a change of who you are whether you want it to or not. Ty and Tripp have experienced a lot this year and have been on their own life rollercoaster. I think about last summer when we went to Dollywood and how Ty was begging to ride all the rides, full of excitement and anticipation as we waited in lines and even impatience. Once he got strapped in and ready to ride he would giggle and laugh as we slowly moved up to the top for the big drop and then it was mass chaos ... as we made the turns and loops and drops and spins his expressions would change every second, happy, scared, smiles, laughs, squeals and unsure half laughs ... and as we rolled up to the end and it was time to get off the ride he was mad! Not because he didn't like the ride but because he wanted to do it again. Tripp was a different story, he wanted to ride but was scared from the start. He just wasn't sure about it AT ALL, but even being unsure he still wanted to give it a try. I offered to sit out with him while others rode but he said "no momma, I wanna try it". He was much more fearful of the whole process and during the ride he was really quiet and kept his eyes closed a lot ha! Reminded me of how I was when I first decided I'd ride a rollercoaster. He was white knuckled and tense but he was riding and hanging on for the experience. When we got off, he laughed and giggled and talked about how awesome it was and that he wanted to do it again! It reminds me a lot of how our life has been this year and especially the last few months ... we have been strapped in to this rollercoaster and at times it's fun and exciting and even an adrenaline rush. But other times it's scary and all we can do is hold on tight (white knuckles), close our eyes and endure the flips, turns, loops and drops and see what's waiting on the other side.

Ty has made a lot of improvements this year. His potty training has come a long way! This is good and bad because now he uses it to get out of situations or to manipulate those around him. He is so very smart and knows how to get what he wants when he wants it. So we have been working on not lying about needing to use the bathroom and being consistent in asking to go and then actually using the potty once he asks, it's a process ha but we are getting there. At home he has been following directions really well and completing household chores and we have even been out shopping without the stroller! This is a huge step in my book, to be able to be out and about and him hold my hand or hold on to the buggy without throwing major fits or having to be picked up and not attempting to run off as often. Now I still hold his hand really tight and we still have to have lots of talks throughout the shopping trip about staying close and not touching everything and not trying to pull away etc. But all in all this is a huge improvement to not have to be pushed or strapped in a stroller! Ty has also been feeding himself more without over stuffing! There are times when he will still put too much in his mouth but as a whole he has done a lot better with finger foods and using utensils too! He's doing pretty good on drinking out of cups; straws are definitely the easiest for us to use while eating. He doesn't backwash as much and cups with lids and straws help us not spill things as much too. He is still tongue pressing when he chews his food and only uses his teeth to bite something off and from there its like he basically just squishes whatever it is with his tongue until it can be pushed to the back of his throat or be washed down with a drink or softer food like apple sauce if that makes sense? His interests have grown this year too, he really enjoyed watching Tripp play baseball and would clap and laugh and get excited throughout the game instead of just playing with toys or not caring what was going on, he really did watch and focus and get involved as a spectator! He did pretty good with his miracle league baseball games this year too, he hit the ball off the tee independently but running the bases and fielding the ball is still a work in progress. He would rather just run around the field and then play with the bats and balls in the dugout. He has struggled at school a good bit this year. He has shown a lot of avoidance behaviors; if there is something he doesn't want to participate in he will just go to sleep or attempt to go to sleep and put his head down on the desk. He will also just refuse to do his work some days, closing his eyes and still looking in the teachers direction but not responding to instructions. He has typed on the iPad for his behavioralist but it is very challenging and takes him a while to complete words and sentences depending on what is going on but when he does type and when he does express himself in this way he has so much to say! He spells fairly large words correctly and has lots of opinions! This is so exciting that he is showing that he is capable but also challenging, because of his stubbornness, to get him to do it consistently. He still isn't writing his name on paper yet and will just scribble. I think some of that is just laziness and avoidance behaviors again but scribbling is better than nothing, however, I don't want him to use scribbling as a way to get out of work or as a way to just avoid what he's being asked to do. He is being pushed and challenged this year and I am so glad that others have been able to see what I have known he was capable of this whole time! There are times as a momma of a "non-verbal" child with autism that you doubt yourself, you wonder "Am I pushing him to much?" "Is it too hard?" "Does he really understand?" "Is it the sensory side that is holding him back?" "Is there something I'm missing?" "Is there something physically stopping him?" "Is it just his stubbornness?" I could go on an on and on with questions. But knowing that he has typed and communicated and done so in such a complex way shows me that those doubts are just that, doubts. He can do it and he just needs us to keep pushing him, to keep believing in him and to keep challenging him daily! If I'm honest, that can get tiring but it's what we have to do. I have to keep pushing him in every aspect so that he knows and he can see that there are expectations. It makes for a lot of discipline and a lot of structure. From the outside looking in it can appear to be too much and it can appear that I am keeping him from people, situations or just having fun. The only way I know how to explain it is to compare it to a kid playing with fire. We don't let kids play with fire because it will hurt them and can hurt others or cause mass destruction. In the same way I have to be strict across the board in every aspect of our daily lives with Ty because if I'm not then it can cause destruction on everything we have built to this point. It might seem like sitting in a chair to watch a ball game and not let him run and play and have free roam of a ball park is mean or that I am keeping him from having fun. When in actuality I am teaching him how to be a spectator and cheer for his brother. I am teaching him that there is a time to play and a time to watch. There are times for everything. He has lots of freedoms but I can't just let him have complete run of everything. I've tried that, it creates regression in every area of his life and it effects his school and learning environments the most. When he has structure across the board and has expectations on him across the board he is calmer, he is happier, he is healthier because he knows his boundaries. It gives him security. Even when he tests his boundaries and he pushes the limits, there is security in him knowing what is expected and what is allowed.  Just like you and I, we know our boundaries and so we are able to function in society without affecting others or getting in trouble because we know the rules and we know the consequences when those rules aren't followed. In the long run I have to look at the big picture, five or ten years down the road will it be acceptable? Whatever "it" is? It does take time for Ty to learn his limits so if I start now and if I am consistent now ... it will make him a better man in the future. It will help him learn to function in this crazy world as he grows into the man he is going to be. So when I struggle with the day to day... I just keep thinking and am often reminded by my friends, it's not about the right now... it's about who I am raising him to be. So don't give up mommas, even when it seems like it's too much or that everyone is against you ... that everyone has something to say ... don't quit. You are raising men and women and teaching them to love and obey so that they will be the amazing people God has planned for them to be. He has plans for us all and He has plans for my two boys, I can't wait to see what He has in store for us!

This life may seem like we are on one insane rollercoaster, there will be times when we just need to close our eyes and hold on tight, times when we laugh and squeal, times when we just scream at the top of our lungs and then there will be those times as we roll in at the end and think to ourselves ..."that was fun, let's do it again!"

I know that was a lot and it was all kind of jumping from one thing to another so thanks for hanging in there ... and for keeping up with us! love yall and thanks for reading!


  1. We love y'all, bigtime!! You're an amazing mama with 2 amazing fellas! Keep doing you bc you're doing the best for y'all! Can't wait to find them coasters again :)

    1. we love yall! bigtime! yes we are most definitely ready to find those coasters again! thanks so much for all you do!