Sunday, July 27, 2014

Now Talk Fast....

So my daughter is spending time at her aunts house, and the boys are here with us.  She just called to check in with us.  

Her and Donovan have always had a very strong bond.  She is very protective of him and he always looks for her.  

After speaking to me and her dad, she asked to talk to Dono... We couldn't hear devynn but hearing Dono brought tears to my eyes.  It was one of the most spontaneous and appropriate conversations we've ever heard.  

Dono: Hi Devynn

Dev: unknown

Dono: Are you okay?  

Dev: unknown 

Dono: Great! 

Dono: Now Devynn, talk fast... (He speeds up) Everything is okay and talk to you later! Okay now Bye!!!!  

I laughed a happy laugh. That laugh that makes you all warm and brings happy tears to your eyes!  




Monday, July 14, 2014

Limitless

I remember when the doctor told me what I had already suspected.  Donovan has Autism.  I felt the world coming down on me and right away began to think of all the things in life he wouldn't be able to do!  I was very protective of him and hovered over him all the time.  

When he started Early Intervention, the therapist told me that I had to be stern and that I had to make Donovan work for what he wanted.  If I continued to just give in, he would never progress.  And so I took their advice and we made him request for things.  I was amazed at the first time he pointed at his sippy cup, after asking him what did he want.  I started placing it in random places and repeating "what do you want?", just so he would point.  It excited me. It gave me hope, but I was still very protective, and kept thinking that I had to be particular about activities, because my Dono, wouldn't be able to do it.  

My hubby would constantly tell me, "leave him, you can't keep babying him!" I just thought he was in denial, and couldn't accept that our son was Autistic.  

Dono constantly surprised me!  When he began center based EI, he learned sign, and then slowly began to say words! I started realizing that my austistic child was capable of so much! But my biggest eye opener was watching my Donomite learn how to swim with Typical children.  



Here he  is at his last lesson at Roberto Clemente State Pool, they jumped into 11ft of water.  And held my breath and was ready to jump in and save him! 


But he jumped in like a champ! 



And then he came back up and the smile on his face said it all! "I can do this!" He waved at me and swan his heart out!  


He was so at ease and was so proud of himself!  And I knew at that moment that I was limiting my Donomite!  And I would never do that again!  He is limitless!  



Here he is again, starting the summer off with a dip in the deep end!  Fearless! 



And here he is riding his bike, with no training wheels!  He insisted we take them off.  
 



He wanted to play baseball, and so he does!



He refuses to use a Tee! He wants the ball to be pitched to him!  So he can "hit the ball".  

I know how scary it can be, and how much you want to protect your child.  But, as scary and hard as it can be, you have to allow them to try!  How else will you know what they are capable of?  Will it be easy? No!  Will they have meltdowns? More than likely yes!  But just like any typical child you teach them, and guide them.  You even reprimand them if it's required.  I promise you won't be disappointed!  







Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Am I My Brother's Keeper

I remember wanting to have a child.  I was willing to do whatever it took to become a mother.  It was a process and a roller coaster of emotions.  I miscarried, and I had a blighted Ovum.  It took a lot of prayer, injections, pills, and doctor visits! 

And just when I thought I would have to try another method, BAM! I got pregnant!  I was blessed with a beautiful little girl!  My Devynn.

Imagine my surprise when she was 4 months old and I learned I was pregnant AGAIN!  I said to myself I prayed so hard God felt I needed another blessing! He gave me my Donomite!  

Devynn and Dono, immediately connected.  She was nurturing and very protective of him.  He looked up to her.  In fact, she was a huge part of his progress.  He would imitate her, and responded to her!  She didn't fully understand, but she would and still to this day tries to help others understand him.  

Every so often, she will ask me "mommy when you die, do I have to take care of Donovan?" And my reply is "you don't have to, but I would hope that you will always look out for each other" Dev and Dono have a younger brother.  My littlest one Dustin.  I am doing all I can to raise them, to love one another and to support each other.  

See, my Devynn has Dyslexia.  She struggles in school, and doesn't like to read or write.  So I worry about her too!  I push her to try her best and to have confidence in herself.  

 
This is one of Devynn's creations! It says, this is my other brother. He is Autistic, and I really do love in my heart!  I saw this on her bedroom door.  I was filled with so much emotion.  Even with all the errors, I still feel the love that she has for him.  


It shows me that I'm doing something right, and it gives me hope!  It eases my fear of the future.  I can see that she is her brothers keeper!  And her brothers will be their sisters keeper!  





Monday, June 30, 2014

Quality Time with my Donomite!



Today was not a good day.  But having my Donomite with me, helped get through the day.  

I had an allergic reaction to something. I took some Benadryl.  I've never used it before, but I had never had a reaction like this, so I decided why not?! 

Well, it knocked me for a loop! And made waking up this morning pretty difficult! I got up late and rushed to get ready for work.  As I was getting ready, Dono woke up.  I quickly got him ready with every intention of dropping him off at my mom's house, but I was so late, that I took him to work with me.  

I got to work rushed through what I could get done and then hop on the subway to go downtown.  Dono loves the train so he was excited and this made me happy.  We rode the 6 all the way to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall.  

I had to drop off a photo at the building department.  I was worried he would get restless and start yelling "I don't want to wait! Waiting is BORING!" But he sat patiently for me.  When I was done we left and stopped into Duane Reade.  He wanted Crayons, and he did awesome! He deserved it.  

Now we walked back to the subway.  We waited for the 5 this time.  He got a little impatient.  He kept pointing at the trains that pulled into the station.  A five finally rolled in and we got on.  I loved watching him as he explored his surroundings.  We  arrived at our station. We exited the train and started to walk to my office.  We stopped at checkers for lunch and continued on our way.  

We get to my office and I go in my bag for the keys, but they're not in my bag! �� so I call my boss and he tells me that one of the guys is at 86th and 2nd.  So back on the subway we go! I meet up and head back to the subway! 

Whew we are back at my office and I'm in the building but my office door is locked with my keys inside. ��. 

Dono couldn't understand why we were t going inside.  Called my boss and let him know what is going on.  I apologize and headed home. I felt so bad! But the smile on my Donomite's face made me realize that as long as my kids are happy all that matters.  He was happy just to be with mommy.  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Keep Trying! Never give up....

"Keep trying, keep trying. Don't give up, never give up!" This has become my theme song! 

So many amazing things are happening. I feel like my life is playing in fast forward.  Most times this would overwhelm me and cause me to have a mommy meltdown.  This time it's been such a great experience and I am enjoying the ride!  


For those that follow, you know that I was working on starting a baseball program for children on the Autism Spectrum.  And it is happening!  


We have 62 children registered. The season is going great! As each week goes by you see progress. Many are hitting the ball without a Tee. They are catching and throwing the ball with little prompting!  The season is coming to an end, and I am sad to see it end.  


We have gotten lots of recognition! AND a parent nominated me for NY1's New Yorker of the week! 



Bronxchester Little League is not the first league to start a challenger Program, and I am praying it isn't the last! 

The kids are having fun and it's great to see all the parents and families excited about their Ausome Kiddos playing!  



One of my main goals was to create a space where we would all feel welcome and comfortable.  I wanted the baseball field to feel like a second home, and all involved to feel like they're surrounded by family!  But most of all, I wanted to create a space where everyone felt comfortable to Try! 



I never said it would be easy, and that our kids were going to ease right into it. But I did say we would give it our ALL!


  Trying is so important, for both the children and the families!  Sometimes not being in the right setting affects us and the effort we make.  But if we back down and give in after every meltdown, how can we expect progress? 



I am truly grateful to everyone who has supported us.  I never anticipated all of this attention, but I was told that good news travels fast! I see it as steps to completing my ultimate goal, which is spreading awareness of Autism and most importantly Acceptance! 







Monday, May 19, 2014

Good Times with Mr. Chuck E Cheese!

I must admit that I wasn't always a big fan of Chuck E Cheese.  Having a child with Autism, makes you think twice about where you take them.  
Last Summer I learned a lot about my amazing Donomite.  What I learned was that I could not limit him.  I needed to at least try, before I can say it is something he doesn't like or can't do! 
 So, when I got the opportunity to take my family to visit Chuck E Cheese, I thought AWESOME!! Let's go!
 I was expecting it to be loud and crowded.  Two things that can cause my Dono to have a meltdown, and me an axiety attack.  But, when we got inside it was neither.  There was a line, but we didn't wait for very long before we ordered.  

 Whoa! Imagine my surprise when I saw that Mr. Cheese had added a salad bar to their menu!  The price was reasonable and the selections looked fresh and tasty! 

 We placed our order and got our tokens!  We were seated and the kiddies were READY to get out there and play.  

Dono was anxious to go out and play.  He grabbed his cup of tokens and hit the floor!  He didn't need any prompting from us! 


Even his big sister Devynn, was thrilled to play.  

At first I was nervous, because Dono wanted to go out and do his own thing, and although I have come a loooong way, I still tend to hover over him.  But he did just fine.  


My Three were scattered throughout Chuck E Cheese, But I felt they were safe.  Everyone got stamped as they entered.  Everyone gets checked as they exit.  If the numbers of the adult and child do not match, you are not allowed to exit.  












At the end of the game, most were rewarded with Chuck E Cheese Tickets.  Once you were ready you were able to cash in your tickets for a prize at the prize stand. 






The food arrived and it was time to round them up and bring them back to the table so they could eat some YUMMY Pizza!!!!! 



I chose to try out the salad bar, and I was not disappointed.  It looked and tasted just as amazing.  

I was very satisfied!  

My kiddies swallowed their goodies and rushed off to play some more.  The hubby and I were able to sit at our table to finish off our food.  We could see them from where we were seated.  




Dono was doing well and I felt completely comfortable letting him go off on his own while I kept a close eye on him.  








Chuck E Cheese has a little play area.  Dono wanted to go in so bad, but I wasn't sure it was a good idea. The play area was small and I was afraid that he would get over stimulated and start to stim inside the tube or grab someone's ears.  But his big sister Dev, insisted that I let him go, because she would stay with him and make sure he was okay.  

And he did awesome!  
Having a table helped, the children knew exactly where to find us. Or just come get a sip of something cool to quench their thirst from running around.  

Tokens were spent and it was time to cash in their Tickets!  They had these cool machines that ate up your tickets and counted how many you had.  It printed out a receipt for you to show the person behind the counter.  

There were sooo many awesome things to choose from.  The staff were friendly and patient.  They helped out, when they saw that the children were a bit overwhelmed by so many choices.  



The best part was right when we were about to leave, We got to meet the the star!!! Mr. Chuck E Cheese himself!  

It was definitely an awesome afternoon, and a definite, must do!