Archive for the ‘Liam Rocks’ Category

April 9, 2012

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

I was at the Thai restaurant with Liam and had a revelation. I kept him out of school today to go see the doctor because he has been having frequent headaches. I have a feeling it is vision related as he has them after school and when he plays on his iPad for a long time. We were referred to a neurologist to check everything out. I decided to take him to the Thai restaurant for lunch. Usually this involves a little bit of stress and fear because he tends to yell and scream in situations he is not supposed to. Sometimes it is that high-pitch loud scream that really hurts the ears of anyone it falls upon. Then the whole store turns to me and stares. I get nervous and he does it more. It is a game.  I know the secret is to not get nervous, not only on the outside, but on the inside. Regardless, we went to Thai and he was a perfect little boy! He yelled few times here and there, but nothing crazy. I had an appetizer, a meal and I ordered Thai donuts for him. He loves them and so do I. Every single day I struggle with trying to start and stay with the diet I am trying to do with him. The guilt I carry is such a burden, it clouds my mind with a heavy dark cloud and I can’t see clearly around me. Have you ever felt guilty about not being able to make changes you feel will benefit your future? I am filled with them! I am not doing the diet, I am not getting enough sleep, I am not exercising enough, I am not meditating like I would like to or doing yoga. I did not finnish school when I was younger. I did not save enough money to be secure. I did not raise my boys perfectly, as they are struggling in school. My biggest one has been that I have not found the volunteers I need to help me with Liam’s Son-Rise program, nor have I gone in the room consistently.  The list goes on and on!  So while sitting there at Thai, I realized that guilt has been my driving force for change my entire life!  And do you know what it changes? Next to nothing! It’s change is so slow and ardorous that the results are definitely not worth the effort it takes to carry it. It has kept me stuck in a place like trying to walk with glue stuck to your feet.  I don’t know where it came from or why (well I do know why, and where I guess) but I truly realized that this is what has been holding me back on all fronts of my life! I know we can know these things intectually, but until we allow them to enter or entire being and embrace them with love and kindness towards self, we won’t be living their blessing. So I feel so very blessed to get this one! It was holding me back from playing with Liam in his Son-Rise room freely and without worrying about all my other responsibilities.

I still have the dream of figuring out and following exactly what diet will be right for Liam. I am not completely sure on this one. It takes tremendous effort, time and conviction to follow such a diet. I am fine while we are at home, but when we go out to places like Disney it feels impossible!  He loves food, what child doesn’t?  I want to truly know what his needs are so I can not always wonder if what I am doing is necessary or not.  I do know it can’t really hurt, but it is expensive and requires consistent effort.  There is always the fact that other autistic children have benefitted greatly, and even recovered from following such diets.  I am not giving up, but decided to go forward without the harsh voices of guilt keeping me stuck.  I am blessing it and letting it go.

As far as Son-Rise goes, I am so grateful for having come upon this path. It is the most amazing, loving approach you can take with autism and life! I am so grateful to all the people who helped me get to the courses. Liam’s life is already on a different path because of it. I can only imagine how much that path will change once I get a solid full-time program running. I have been looking for volunteers for a year now, very hesitantly. We are on a volunteer website. I have had about 12 responses and when I follow up with the inquiries, they do not get back to me. I am thinking that they are looking for an organization they can volunteer with so that they can gain access to a career path, or for school credit. I think when they find out it is a family who needs help with their child, that perhaps this is not what they are looking for. I don’t know why people are not coming on board, but I am deciding that given that I have been confused about the whole thing myself with the whole guilt thing etc., I am not in a place to draw the right people to me. I feel that for the past week or so I am shifting this and it all became clear suddenly today while I was at lunch with Liam.  I have been afraid, afraid I won’t enjoy being in the room with Liam for sustained periods of time, afraid I won’t know how to convey to my volunteers how the program works, afraid that Liam is too old for a significant change, afraid that I won’t be able to hold it all together trying to juggle school, work, the boys, my household and Son-Rise. I have been afraid that I am making the wrong choice in deciding to go back to school for accounting.

I have been afraid to make a choice of whether or not to continue waitressing or jump into the accounting career. I have tentatively concluded that for now I am going to leave things as they are. Yes I am waiting on people for a living, but it is flexible  and forgiving. If I need time off I can have it. I think for now, it will allow me to focus more on Liam’s Son-Rise program. I will finish my master’s degree in August of 2013. Perhaps then it will be time to take a career. One other issue that has been on my mind regarding waitressing is the fact that I wait on some difficult guests. I have been struggling since I moved to Florida with the ‘culture shock’.  There are people here that make you so upset. They don’t care about social graces, rules etc. They will not look you in the eye when you approach them at a table or even acknowledge your hello. They can laugh right at you. I have even been called a ‘hoe’ or ‘bitch’. These are the worst. I have struggled not to go to hate or anger when I have to wait on them, and so far I have not been able to achieve this on a regular basis. I realize that I can still love them despite of their behavior. I do not know where they have been. I can learn not to judge and just observe what is. When we first moved to Florida, my inclination  was to turn around and run away to get away from people like this. I knew deep down inside that there was a lesson to be learned here and I knew it had to do with love. So I am here realizing this completely. I feel I can not leave this job until I feel no more anger and can love all I interact with regardless of their behavior. I don’t want to leave a job behind to get away from anything, and even though taking a career in accounting would be going towards something, I don’t want to have anything unresolved behind that was ‘escaped’.

I am learning and growing and feel that I have cleared up what is blocking me from giving myself to the process of Son-Rise for Liam. All that matters is staying present in each moment as it unfolds.  It is not my responsibility to predetermine Liam’s life. I am reminding myself that I am here to help him be who he came here to be. I get scared that his future will require care 24-7. Will he ever stop running away or being oblivious to danger? I have to come to accept that it is not my place to set his future in stone, especially one that might not be his path. I am going to let go of fear and live in the blessing of today.

Our next step is to go for what is called an intensive. We will go as a family to the Autism Treatment Center of America and work with them for a week. The magic of this is that Liam will be in a Son-Rise room with trained teachers and facilitators all day long. They will video tape the sessions so that we can refer back to them and share them with volunteers. They will give us feedback in our interactions with Liam as well. They will counsel us and heal beliefs that are holding us back in program, marriage, family relationships and life! Marcus is the most loving dad one can imagine. There is nothing he would rather do than be with our boys.  I feel that this next step will take that love and channel it effectively into a program that will guide Liam gently out of autism. Marcus goes along with all I have planned so far, but I feel I am driving this. I want Marcus to truly see for himself how S0n-Rise can bring miracles to Liam’s life. I don’t want him doing it because I tell him to. That is not a very inspired place to move mountains from. I want to strengthen us as a team. I feel this will spill over into our marriage and family. The boys will participate as well learning how they can interact with Liam in the Son-Rise room. The classes I have taken thus far have laid the foundation. I understand the basics. For some this is enough to be successful. I think the biggest mistake I have made is not following up with support services when I feel lost or stuck. They have counseling sessions, video feedback services, and dialogues sessions I can do over the phone. Even if I went no further with all of this and did not continue S0n-Rise, its principles are forever in us and Liam is blossoming as a result. He is learning, growing and happy. He feels cofindent , loved and accepted. I have learned to look at autism as a blessing, not a sentence. Just this very core belief sets you on a whole different tangent where love prevails and life is blessed. I have so much more to do for Liam, with Liam. I am truly letting go of guilt. It no longer serves me. I will get my course-work done, my housework done, the bills paid, my health taken care of and Liam’s Son-Rise program running from a place of confidence and joy. I can’t tell you how much of a burden has lifted in realizing this!

Our next step is to fundraise for the intensive. We are hoping to be able to attend in December of 2012. That gives me enough time to have a program running more solidly to have a better place to start from and grow and expand. We will need about 12,000$ to cover the cost of this. We will cover as much of this as we can ourselves, but currently we make enough to get by. It is part of the reason I have struggled with deciding to jump into accounting just yet. I might make more money so that I could provide more for Liam, but I would have less time and I would have to pay someone to care for him a certain amount of time weekly. It might just be a wash. For now things are working in our lives. Marcus works about 50-60 hours a week and I work around his schedule about 35. I chose accounting so that our future could feel more secure and I pray one day that one will pay off. For now we are blessed to have enough to get by. I don’t know how it will come into our lives but I do believe that God put this in my path for a reason. When I read about the intensive in the past it always made me cry because I believed I could not have it. I knew it held something so precious for me and my family, but I felt unworthy of it because of its cost. I know realize that we are worthy and that this is our destiny.  I know this because I feel hope and joy when I believe that it can happen. I feel deep sadness when I turn away from Son-Rise and it. I have already leapt off the cliff of believing I will land in the Berkshire Mountains with my family in December healing our family and learning how to take our program to a place we dream of. I am toying with the idea of making my own organic laundry soap and selling it to fundraise. I am calling it Soap Full of Hope. I need Marcus’s help with this one though.  I don’t know yet how it will happen, but I know now that it will, because it is God’s will. All I have to do is open up to it and follow its path.

Now I am going to go play with Liam. I will follow up with how it goes in the room as we progress.

January 1, 2012

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Here it is! The beginning of another year, holidays behind along with them the excuses to eat all the yummy foods that are so ingrained in them.  There is just something to the fact that food is such a huge part of society, traditions and rituals. When we think of Thanksgiving its turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberrysauce, apple pie, pumpkin pie etc. Christmas more of the same, Christmas cookies, ham, cakes, etc. No one says Oh its Christmas I can’t wait to make a Christmas salad! However this is something I have to find a way to change my perception of food. The ‘comfort’ foods simply are not good for us and especially for Liam. While I enjoyed being ‘bad’ this year with food, eating all we craved, all that was convenient, all that we grew up knowing no other way. I made cookies, I gave the kids pizza on all the nights I was too tired and overwhelmed to cook, I let them have cereal in the morning and I let Liam buy lunch at school (which he was thrilled with!).  A huge part of me enjoyed this, but I knew deep down that I was paying for it in ways that just did not sit right with me. I myself gained weight to the point that if I gain any more I will have to go up a size.  Liam has been hyperactive. Tristan is addicted  to sugar and carbs, hates vegetables. Marcus is tired and lacking energy.  So while it was fun to do what is considered the ‘norm’, I am ready to make changes that will change our future. I am going to try the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I won’t go into specifics here, but after reading all the science behind it, it makes sense, and most importantly it seems doable for me. A lot of diets makes sense for one reason or another, but they do little good if we can’t live up to them.  I want to clarify, that I am not desperately grasping at straws when I seek out information that can help Liam and autism. I do a lot of reading. I am going to give this Specific Carbohydrate Diet a try. Let’s see where it takes us!

As far as Liam, I kind of stayed away from writing on this blog about him because I kind of felt like I was failing him and had nothing to report. However my husband keeps pointing out that he is blossoming before our eyes and this is true! I may not be running his Son-Rise program yet, doing his multi-sensory therapy, or following diet. He is developing before our eyes, really able to express himself in ever-new ways. I attribute this to a few things. First of all I think the most important thing is the love we shower on him. We accept him as he is and he feels so secure and loved. He can be himself. We learned this from Son-Rise. We truly cherish him for who he is right now.  He wakes up everymorning saying “I love you MOMMY!” He loves hugs and tickles.  We talk and laugh and play. He gets up and gets his iPad and climbs back into bed and we play some more.  All through the day we love this child and he is blossoming.

A second factor I feel his development is attributed to his school. I think they are doing a wonderful job with him. He loves to go to school, so I know he is happy there. His school experiences have not always been positive so I have learned along the way what I want for him. Most importantly I want teachers and professionals around him that love what they do and love their students. I think the teacher-to-student ratio is wonderful this year too, not too overcrowded. Two years ago he had 10 students, one teacher, one paraprofessional, and one speech therapist. It was chaotic and dangerous. I think it is so important to have enough adults present with these children so that they can get the attention and learning they deserve. I am thoroughly happy with his school situation this year. If I weren’t then I would probably pull him out and home-school. I am glad I do not have to! I have prayed for things to work out and they have been.

My next step is to really get the Son-Rise program going on a regular basis. I am going to reach out this week and look for volunteers. I am a little afraid of this but I can do it. Son-Rise families are doing this all over the world with miraculous results. It will be exciting to see where it can take us as a family!

So a new year and yes a new me. I think we are always in a process of renewal, but New Years is the time to stop and pay attention to it. It gives it that extra push to get a momentum going.  As wonderful as holidays are, they are stressful. As much as I miss the magic of them, it feels so good to put them behind, put the tree away, clear the clutter and have nothing else to distract you from what is really calling you towards your best future. It is time to listen to that voice, make changes and love yourself along the way. Make it playful! That is what I intend to do. The theme of this year will be play for me. Play in Liam’s Son-Rise program, play with my older boys more (perhaps embracing their silliness, rather than being annoyed by it). Play with the new diet, see how fun it can be to come up with new recipes. As a result I know I will feel better and have way more energy, to do what? Go play! Go to the park and Rollerblade, go work out with Marcus, go for walks with Liam.

If I make mistakes, oh well, keep moving on. No more focusing on what I  am doing wrong, because everything is going to be all ‘right’.

December 26, 2011

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Another year has flown by! I woke up today determined to turn my attention to Liam and take further steps to journey with him as he shows me the way through autism. I have fliers made seeking volunteers to work with him in his Son-Rise room. I have the materials to begin his multi-sensory therapy. This is something that helps his brain repair and improve. I am going to start a new diet that I truly think I can actually handle. I wanted so badly to do the Body Ecology Diet, but I kept failing to live up to its strict rules. It had me in a cycle of giving my all to start, and losing steam as it progressed. That was the problem. I did not have it in me to do it consistently and this made me feel like a failure as a Mom. It just didn’t fit realistically within the lives of a family with teenage children and a 9-year-old autistic child who already has experience of all the foods he loves that are not allowed on the diet.  It took so much effort to sit there and try to force-feed my children food they did not like. It took a strong will to stay with it myself, and many times I found myself finding one excuse after another to put it on hold (birthdays, Disney trips, Christmas, parties, visiting relatives etc.). I knew in my mind though that I would really have to change something because, doesn’t Liam deserve the best possible chances? I would read and read the posts of the other mothers on the diet message board and see success, but often at the price of such stress. Even after the healing it feels like they are unraveling an onion skin by skin and going deeper into health issues that simply and completely overwhelmed me. I decided that stress around food negates any benefit that may be achieved, especially if I find it too hard to stay consistent with it. I’m not saying that the Body Ecology diet is not a wonderful healing tool, I am just being honest about my abilities to handle it and this I accept about myself. No use continuing to beat myself up (believe me I have done this intensely) anymore. I need to be at peace with my life and live it in a manor I can handle. When you factor in full-time work,  pursuing my master’s degree in forensic accounting full-time, trying to raise 2 other boys as well and running a home it can get quite overwhelming! I need to find what fits and what I can handle and discard  the rest.

I am learning to do just that. I am learning to recognize what to discard. I used to try to control everything! I envisioned Christmas eve day as follows: Marcus and I would get up and go shopping for the boys together, something we never got to do before) We would have lunch and laugh and play trying to find things that would delight our boys.  We would come home and wrap the gifts and make dinner and Tristan and I would get dressed up and go to church in our convertible with the top down. I would take in all the magic of the choir and singing the Christmas carols, I would infuse myself with the spirit of Christmas and what it is really about. Tristan and I would drive home, top down, listening to Christmas music and create yet another memory, a reference point of a year gone by. We would go home and watch Christmas movies together and go to bed to wake up to Christmas morning and the excitement inside of all the pretty packages.

Well this is my vision and you would think after 42 years, I would know better. After getting 5 hours sleep (every night since I can remember) I woke up to Onyx throwing up red Swedish fish vomit in every room that has a carpet. I had just shampooed all the carpets the day before! It took 2 hours to clean. I went to vacuum under the boy’s bed and didn’t see the vomit I missed. All inside my Dyson vacuum! So another hour to take apart the vacuum and clean it.  11:00 and it is time to go shopping only Marcus who just had excruciating dental work is not feeling good, so I take Tristan with me and we go to Sweet Tomatoes for lunch and then shop for the few missing items I planned for presents for Liam and Julian. It was 90 degrees and the mall of course was crowded to the point where the one store, Hollister, that I wanted to go to most to get Julian some clothes had a line wrapped around the store so long I think  would have been 2 hours to check out. I put the clothes down and walked out. I took Tristan home and went to Sports Authority to find him some Rollerblades which I knew he would be happy with and surprised by. I came home at 5:o0 exhausted and overwhelmed. My house was not clean enough, I did not cook yet and was not ready for church. I went down into Liam’s Son-Rise room and sat there exhausted watching Christmas movies as I slowly wrapped presents. No church, no cooking! I told Julian to put a pizza in the oven and there was dinner!

Marcus came downstairs with Liam and the boys even though we never let them see the presents until Christmas morning. He said, ” I want you boys to see all this an look at your Mom and thank her, without her you would get a check for Christmas and me in bed. We all love you Mommy and thank you for all you do.” It was sweet!

I went upstairs and cleaned the house as best I could. The boys carried the presents upstairs and put them under the tree. It looked so beautiful. I loved being able to see them there the night before. Even Liam wanted to wait to morning to open them!

My point to all this is that I am learning to let it all go and go with the flow. Things did not go as planned for sure so I just readjust. Pizza is fine on Christmas eve. It is okay to not go to church if it is too stressful to try to get there. It is okay for the kids to see the presents under the tree the night before. It is okay to let Marcus rest, much needed, to try to recover. It was okay to walk out of Hollister and not buy the two shirts I had in my hand.  It was all okay and all magical! I had a great Christmas. I opened my heart to what was, rather than trying to control the outcome of everything and force it into alignment of my preconceived expectations. I think this is a great new perception to apply going into the new year especially with Liam. I am going to be open to let this Son-Rise journey unfold. I will eagerly anticipate the sweet surprises it will bring as we laugh and play together. I will let the diet come into our lives and appreciate the good it does for our bodies. I guess in a sense I am truly letting go and letting God….

August 22, 2011

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

It has been a quiet summer, in which I feel like I have been hiding! Hiding from my promise to share the results of my self-imposed goals of getting a strong Son-Rise program running, a successful implementation of diet, along with my own personal goals of reaquainting myself with a crash course in accounting so that I could be ready to begin my Master’s in Forensic Accounting program at FAU which begins, oh in 5 days. Although I finished my b.s. in accounting this past December, having never really worked with it I felt I needed more study of the basics. I also planned on studying for the GMAT which I will have to take and pass by the middle of October to stay in the program.

Well guess how much of this I accomplished? You guessed it, none! I did however have a really fun summer with the boys. We bought 2 surfboards and learned to surf. I actually stood up on one briefly as I rode a wave in, and if my boys would let go of the board for more than 5 minutes I might have caught more! We ate whatever we wanted, one excuse rolled into another and although it may have not been the best choice for any of us, we certainly enjoyed it for what it was worth. The freedom of being able to dine anywhere without worrying. We had a friend’s daughter, Carolina, stay with us for 2 weeks and Iknew she would not be to fond of veggies smoothies for breakfast.  Liam did gain weight. He is very solid right now, not too skinny. So I will lay down the guilt, and take it all for the best things it gave us as a family.

Now it is time to get back though. It is not easy for me, but very necessary. I know in my own body I feel the effects of consuming gluten and sugar. My joints are aching again and my arms go numb and tingle at times. I feel tired.  Liam is hyper and compulsive. It is time to find a peace around diet and come to a plan that works for our family. I do know that complete strict compliance is not likely. It brings more stress around food that quite possibly negates the positive effects of  the diet. I do plan on reducing sugar to absolute minimal if not any, no gluten, no dairy and no refined carbs. That is where I will start. I will make coconut Keefer and cultured veggies and give him green powder smoothies, vitamins, and fish oil every day.  This alone in about a month should calm him down some.

I met someone who is willing to volunteer with Liam in his playroom and I couldn’t be more excited. I am going to add a page to this site explaining what Son-Rise is and how it works as best I can.  She has daughters that are also willing to work with him and I feel so encouraged that I can get his program running strong. You can not go wrong with Son-Rise. You go into a room and pour love on a child in a judgement-free zone. They flourish in response.  I don’t know where exactly we will end up as a result, but it is time for me to let go of the fear of not achieving anything close to full recovery and enjoy the journey. I am going to let go and trust he will go where his heart takes him. It is my job to love him, all of him and that I do.

I look forward to writing more as this Son-Rise journey unfolds. I am out of hiding. My life is about to get hectic again, bringing school into the mix, but I am up for the challenge. Sometimes we need a break, and this summer was truly that for me. We thouroughly enjoyed every moment. Its hard to believe the boys went back to school today. I blink and they grow, I blink and they change, I open my eyes to an ever-shifting family, our journies intertwined.  I am daring to reach for the stars, I am content to sit back at times and just take it all in. An ebb and flow of  inspiring chaos and  sweet moments of calm.

May 4 Liam plays catch!

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

I just wanted to share a great moment I had in the Son-Rise playroom this morning. Usually when we go in Liam will do his own thing and I will do it along with him (joining). He usually won’t engage in a back and fourth game for more than one or 2 exchanges without losing interest. Today before school we went in while waiting for Daddy to finish getting ready and I sat on one of the exercise balls and he sat on the other. I picked up a tennis ball and threw it to him to catch and he did! He threw it back and I continued on for about 5 minutes cheering him on everytime he caught the ball. This is a taste of what it is all about! It was spontaneous and done with no pressure or expectation.  Kind of magical!

April 25, 2011

Monday, April 25th, 2011

It has happened yet again. I put my faith in God that if it was in my fate I would be able to attend the third in a series of S0n-Rise training programs and through the blessings of wonderful family members, it is so. I will be attending New Frontiers in May.  I was fortunate enough to come across a volunteer that has worked with Son-Rise before and she was able to come see me and give me some helpful insights and clarity. I learned I was not joining enough in the playroom with Liam. One of the most important aspects of the Son-Rise program is to join the child in his or her ‘isms’. Isms are the things they do to take care of themselves such as flapping arms, rocking, or repetitive actions.  They do this because it makes them feel better and helps them deal with the difficulties they have in being in our world. If you truly go in and join them in this for however long it takes minutes, hours, days, weeks, months; it does not matter how long.  If you do it with a genuine acceptance, they then will see you joining in their world and feel connected with you, feeling safer to venture out.  I sat with Liam and twisted my hair elastic around and hummed for an hour, with a few wonderful interactions.  I played Chutes and Ladders and moved the pieces for Liam. Occasionally he would take an interest and move the piece himself.  He asked to go in the fun car with daddy,which is the convertible.  I asked him what song they play and he jumped in my lap and with the biggest smile began to sing “Hey Soul Sister”.  That song to me is the epitome of Liam,  it has such a happy, celebratory beat and musicality to it.  For the first time I went into the playroom feeling no pressure. It felt good to just ‘be’ with Liam. I didn’t realize this before, but I do not have to take on the whole scope of what I hope to achieve with Liam and carry it into the playroom each session. I just go in and relax and be and the magic will unfold itself.  He enjoyed it and wanted to stay in longer.  I am really excited to have arrived in the place I am at with him.  It is my hope to be able to find enough volunteers by June so that he can have a full-time program running. 

There are so many different approaches to take in dealing with autism. I admit I sometimes wonder, am choosing the right one’s?  Many claim they have the answer. As far as I am concerned I feel there is no one right answer. We can take from each what fits our families and leave the rest.  I am really grateful there are choices out there.  I do not think Son-Rise is  exclusively the only way to heal my child.  I do think however it will do just that.  I love its loving approach. They teach you how to take care of the whole family in such a healing way.  I am confident in my choice to make it my primary foundation for all else I do with Liam.

March 1, 2011 A New Beginning

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

I am feeling so much clarity lately about a lot of things . It took a lot of confusion, overwhelment, and hope to get to this point. I feel like my life is coming into balance and I see now that Son-Rise is truly the answer for us. I think I tried to take an overloaded approach and incorporate a little of everything, but that has not worked for us. It is time to pick one thing or maybe a few and do them well. Son-Rise is my one. I have been reviewing all my notes, and the webinars that the Autism Treatment Center of Amercia has on their website and I am seeing the whole picture of where this really can take us. I am excited! Son-Rise is about complete love and acceptance. You play up the desired behavior and because you are in a safe playroom, there is practically no such thing as unwanted behavior. Children will use this as we all know to get our attention. Negative, positive, it is all the same. Imagine immersing the child in an environmet where he or she gets one-to-one attention designed to show love, excitement and enthusiasm for as many hours as possible every day. They feel safe and ready to then come into our worlds. In typical life, they do not fit in and it shows at every turn. Liam for example from the moment he wakes up has no’s shouted at him, when he tries to get food he can’t have, when he tries to run away when we are pressured to get him dressed quickly to be on time for school, when he runs out the door into the street instead of getting in the car, when he tries to throw dirt in the car (oh how Daddy loves that!), when he unbuckles his seatbelt on the ride or throws objects out the window, when he tries to turn off the lights in the shcool office as we enter, or open every door along the way to class. I get to class and hand him over where I am sure this kind of stuff cotinues all day long, no running, no hitting, no spitting, no climbing, no food, no putting your head in the toilet etc. I realized today that although his classroom and teachers are the best I have encountered  thus far, Son-Rise at this point in his life would simply be a better option.  Nurturing a child out of autism will make him more ready for academics which can be learned at any age. I think I have to let go of the pressure to have him on target academically and find my way in to my little boy’s world  from a place of wonder and genuine desire to be in each and every moment with him. You can try to stop a child from displaying all the symptoms and behaviors that result from autism, but it doesn’t make the child  not autistic. You have to reach into their hearts on a soul level and be worthy of having them follow you out. If you are unhappy, they feel more inclined to stay in their own happy world. Why would they want to come out to one riddled with stress and frustration, or perhaps even worse. I feel like I am finally getting it! Today at school I picked him up and I could tell it had been a rough day, when they try to barricade the door with a sign. I enter and they are so ready today to hand him over, and I honestly don’t blame them one bit! Their his aid stood with goggles on to protect her from flying saliva handing him to me hurridly like she couldn’t bear it any longer. I know, I have been there. Don’t get me wrong, they are the most loving, compassionate teachers and aids I have known so far. I feel his teacher already possesses some of Son-Rise philosopies without having an awareness of it. You can see passion in her eyes and a genuine love of her students and what she does. So that is why until now I have been comfortable with leaving him there. However, that moment staring into the aid’s goggled eyes was a light-bulb moment for me. I can do better for him by putting him in an environment that  only says yes and there is no motivation to have ‘bad’ behaviors to get attention.  After some time in this environment, they flourish and become ready to come out into the world.  He is a handful. I have struggled to exhuastion with his behaviors. I have cried, raged, sulked and pulled myself out everytime always coming back to knowing that this child is a gift. It is now time to begin a journey where I dare to hope, it doesn’t ever hurt to hope.  I beleive there will be nothing less than Liam graduating college one day. I am ready to begin healing my child, I am already healing myself…….

February 15, 2011

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Okay, I have this awesome website and I am supposed to be sharing all the information I have learned as I apply it. And Liam is supposed to come out of autism and grow up happy and healthy. I have a ton of information (overload) running through my mind on a constant basis. I have been to 2 Son-Rise training courses and while I know in my heart they are the key as to what is needed here, I am stuck and afraid.  I am not going into the playroom with him and I don’t know why.  All I have to do is go in for as many hours a day as possible and play and for some reason, I do not know yet, I am completely scared to do so. I am scared to find out I don’t want to play. I am scared that although many other parents are going full force with their programs and succeeding, I am holding back. God knows I love my child so deeply, so why am I not eager to go into Son-Rise?  His behaviors now are challenging me now more than ever before at a level I am so scared that it simply can not evolve in intensity or I will lose him. He gets scissors, screwdrivers and pliers or anything he can find to pry the locks off the windows. He hangs out his body unaware of the tipping point at which he will fall. He runs along the balcony edge, with such good balance. Every time I pray fiercely as I try to get out the window out to him quick enough to grab him.  It is an adrenaline rush every time and it leaves me exhausted. Right now I have to go pick him up from school and I am scared of the ride home. He might open the doors while I am driving and/or get out of his seat.  Yesterday I left him with the boys to run to Lowes to buy more window locks as he pulled some off the third floor window and threw them out. He got out of the house and ran down the street naked and the boys chased him. I don’t know how many times I will be so lucky. I don’t know how much longer I can protect him from himself. I am scared. But I love him. He constantly talks about falling down from heights and dying. What am I supposed to say to that? “Thats nice dear?” I found a website that sells harnesses and I am going to get  one to help the situation a little, or at least help me deal with it. I can’t help but feeling there is an underlying issue here that needs to be addressed. I can tie him up, harness him, hold his hand, buckle him in, as much as I want. For the one second I am not looking he will run. So how to address the inevitable? On the website for the harnesses I saw an adult wearing one and it made me sad. Could this be Liam? Am I really in for a lifetime of this? Will his autism change, will he change? I can only dare to hope, as I know when I begin to feel hopeless I just want to give up and not deal with anything. It gets so raw and painful .  When I do feel this way however it is hard to see my way out of it. I walk around like a robot and try to do all the things I am supposed to do and wait to feel better, more optimistic. I know this is not the way to be in Son-Rise. It has to come from a place of joy. Can I find this joy and sustain it? I am certainly going to try. It seems Son-Rise would provide a solution to it all. He would be in a safe room all day long, being loved and played with. He would grow and possibly leave autism behind like so many other children have done.

So what am I to do when I feel this overwhelmed? I picked him up from school and put him in the front seat with the suitcase strap wrapped around the seat and his leg. This worked and he minimally grabbed at the buttons. He came home and did his usual routine of trying to open the windows by removing locks with whatever he could find, his latest pens.  I made him a green smoothie and quinoa pancakes. I put gaba in his smoothie and it seems to calm him down some.  Upon doing a little research I found that gaba works in calming some children and helps them sleep better. It is also supposedly helpful for anxiety. Some take it as a replacement for Xanex, as it does not have the addictive factor.  We went to go get the boys at school and he did pretty good in the car again.  I brought the boys to their MMA class and took Liam to the park. He played happily and we took a walk by the lake as the sun set. I find Okeeheelee park to be one of the most healing places for me. It is so beautiful and peaceful. When we got in the car to leave, Liam asked for spaghetti for dinner. I kept saying no, it is not good for your belly. He screamed and cried a lot of tears. You can tell when his yeast is desperate for feeding.  I stayed firm and said no every time he asked. When I picked up the boys at MMA, it took all my will not to go into 5 guys burgers and fries, as I too am dealing with cravings like you would not believe. I am trying to get back to the Body Ecology Diet and that means no sugar or simple carbs.  I do know that when I follow the diet, I feel really good and energetic. Perhaps the energy I need to go into that playroom and play with enthusiasm.  I wanted to give in so badly,but I stayed away, came home and made salmon and veggies with brown rice. It came out really good. I bargained with Liam to eat 10 bites and I would make him an omelet with hot-dog in it.  So here I am at the end of a long day. Liam is sleeping. As I look back I feel good that I pulled myself out of that slippery slope that can lead to depression and apathy. I know I am simply tired as well. We do not sleep enough and I am sure that affects our ability to stay positive and energetic. Liam’s energy far exceeds ours put together. I have no choice but to get as healthy as possible, and generate more for myself.

I question whether or not I should really be sharing such truth, as it is not always pretty. But somewhere deep down I know we all go through our struggles and have the ability to heal the parts of ourselves that lead to a more peaceful life. Today I had the choice to wallow,give up, be angry and I chose to follow what felt better and that began with hope that ways will come to me that I can keep Liam safe. It began with knowing I have to do what is not easy right now and that is not go to one more fast-food restaurant, but cook healthy foods that will help Liam.  I don’t know when I will be ready to really begin Son-Rise, but I know it is soon. I am actively looking for volunteers as this is a crucial part. I am praying the right loving people come my way to help me give this to Liam.

I really do feel overloaded with information right now as there is so much to navigate out there! I am really thinking as with all things in life there is simply not one way only to reach one’s goal whatever that may be. It is the same with Autism. There are many therapies, biomedical interventions, supplements, diets etc which all hold the potential for recovering one’s child. The trick is weeding through and recognizing what fits for your family and child.  On top of discerning what will actually work is coming up with the funds to pay for it.  Right now I choose to give him green powder drinks every day, vitamins, cod liver oil, gaba, lutimax and as much healthy food as possible. There are so many things I want to try for him but for now this is where we are at. I just realized that most of my anxiety over it all is losing sight of the idea that it is all about the journey, not the outcome.  I can look ahead and see a harness on an adult or I can look at now with Liam in a harness grateful that it keeps him safe and allows him to move a little more freely. I can imagine it as a string from my heart to his where my love pours out of me, travels down the strap and surrounds his heart keeping him safe.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring but for today I am at peace again.  I share this honestly because I want others to know that it is okay to not be perfect. It doesn’t mean you will not succeed and to deny one’s negative feelings will only bury them deeper for them to resurface in other ways.  I love my little boy, I love my family. We might all be tired having to be so vigilant, but I trust in God that this is a gift and a blessing.

February 6, 2010

Monday, February 7th, 2011

It has been a challenging few weeks to say the least. I have my moments where I feel I can not do this any longer. I promised to share all the moments even if they are not happy and optimistic. It is the truth and I know we as autism parents go through this.  Liam is in a public school in an autism classroom and I love his class and teachers.  Despite his behavioral issues (spitting, hitting, running, climbing), he is learning so much! I can only imagine where he can go if I can get on the healing diet and calm him down some, and healing whatever is inside him causing his obsessive compulsive behavior.  The scary thing that has me under so much stress is his safety issues which are happening more frequently. He is opening the car door while I am driving  repeatedly. I have him in a car-seat with a combo lock strap around him and he can get out of this in about 10 seconds. I have time to reach back to grab him when I see this is happening, but this is not exactly the safest scenario as I am driving, nor is shutting his door behind me. I called Mercedes to confirm if there was any way to set a child lock and there is not.  We can not buy another car just yet, but we are hoping to soon.  At home he is figuring out ways to get the locks I have on all the windows off. He used scissors like pliers to turn them. So now we hide the keys, the scissors and the wrench.  He climbed out our second floor living room window and climbed onto the balcony the other day. I could not get through the window to get to him,  so I had to go upstairs and get the hidden key to get out there and pray he didn’t fall as he was running along the ledge fearlessly. I am so lucky he is okay.  This all takes a toll on me emotionally, combined with the lack of sleep and I pretty much acted like Mommy Dearest today! I try not to drive with him alone in the car but I have to when I pick him up from school and pick up his brothers. He knows it gets to me so he opens the door and laughs repeating “want to run away”.  Liam is what they call a ‘runner’. I was googling this and trying to find solutions today and unfortunately there is not much out there to solve my car problem. I can only pray that the diet will have an effect as will Son-Rise.  I am trying to pull together volunteers to get his Son-Rise program going. I have 4 yeses as from people willing to play with him. 

Another big stress is trying to do figure out which supplements, therapies, and food choices would benefit him most. Marcus and I do not exactly see eye to eye as he is a little more skeptical that anyof it works at all. He doesn’t understand why it has to cost so much for food, but I know better. I have done the research, and I followed my instincts. This diet is right for him, but it is very expensive to do correctly. It averages about 400-500 weekly if you do it right.  I have to pick and choose which items are most important as I simply can not do this at this time.  I make cultured veggies, coconut kefir, and try to buy meats that are hormone and antibiotic free. Best would be grass-fed meats but for now they are too expensive. Everything you buy in a standard supermarket costs at least double or triple for a gluten-free casein-free version.  I have not been able to really get the diet rolling on a consistent basis, but given his more dangerous and challenging behavior I am faced with simply having to. 

I have had my ups and downs in all this and this week was certainly rock-bottom for me emotionally. I almost felt like giving up. That is not an option and it occurred to me that the reason I am so down about it is that I am not looking to the optimistic outcome that is there waiting for me (him recovered). When I turn away from this I feel sad. I listen to Abraham-Hicks for many years now and they talk about law of attraction and how it all works. Our negative emotions are simply indicators that we are not following our bliss.  When I give up and fall into frustration and sadness I am not lining up with the outcome I desire.  I believe this is how prayer works. I believe in affirmative prayer. If you have faith in what you are praying about, it will come to you.  I also believe in the power of intention on behalf of others. Call it prayer, visioning, affirmations etc. I believe that if all who read this simply see the best outcome and unfolding of this journey with Liam, it will help it be so.  I ask you all to see it happening, see me able to provide for him all he needs and I will do my best to believe in it also.  If anyone has any ideas or knowledge of products that will keep him safer in the car, I would greatly appreciate it.

He is running around the living-room, jumping from couch to couch, throwing pillows, yelling and happy.  He runs into the kitchen to steal food that he shouldn’t have. There are tortilla chips in there and he is eating them. Tomorrow they will no longer be there. I am going to begin the diet without training wheels that motivator foods provided me. Eat this salad Liam and you can have chips. The motivator foods became a crutch. They feed his yeast, contribute to hyperactivity and compulsive behavior. It is not easy to take them away but I owe it him to do what in the beginning will be difficult but down the road has the potential to be miraculous. I often find myself wanting to cry at how difficult it is to deal with food and not be able to buy anything other than from the perimeter of the supermarket. I watch other mothers innocently put all the standard foods in their cart as Liam is screaming for cereal, or cookies . It is an ordeal sometimes, but I imagine as I go further into it, we won’t miss those foods and we will be blessed with healing. That is my plan. I will continue to share as it unfolds.

until next time,

a tired but hopeful Mommy

Welcome to Liam Rocks!

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Here I am at the beginning of officially sharing this journey publicly and it is a little scary for me. Will I live up to the potential that I know can be reached with Liam? Will I be enough of a mom to give him a safe and happy future? I watched the 2nd Nanny McPhee movie with the boys 2 nights ago. And I found myself thinking, Nanny McPhee, I need you! No one came to my door or window however and I sat there exhausted and overwhelmed from the day.  Some days I feel so inspired and optimistic that I can figure out what Liam needs and manage to implement it in our lives. Some days I just want to crawl under a rock and not deal with it all.  I do know I need to come to some sort of balance within myself first so that I can be strong and consistent with Liam.

I have experimented with the Body Ecology diet over the past year. The more I tried to do it with Liam, the calmer he seemed to get. People did notice improvement. It is however something I have struggled to really commit to.  Food is such a part of our society and the fact that all 3 boys were raised  on the SAD (standard American diet), unfortunately they are addicted to these foods. I now know however that this is something that will simply have to change despite its challenges. I know the rewards will be great for our entire family. When I followed the diet myself, my arthritis symptoms disappeared and I had never felt more energized in my life.  So my job ahead is to dive into the diet, commit and heal Liam’s and our entire family’s bodies giving them the best possible nourishment I can provide.  This means a lot of organic veggies (80%) and proteins (20%), healing broths, young coconut kefir, fermented veggies, green smoothies, healthy fats (coconut oil, avocado, palm oil), and whatever supplements I can afford to supply his body.  Autistic children are usually in such a state of mal-nourishment. Their brains are literally starving and the answer lies, I believe, in first healing their gut. There is a series of short videos on Youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLP0Ijo2CK4 that explains it all such a way that makes perfect sense. For me it gave me a complete picture of the possibility of recovery rather than just pieces.  When I first came upon the Body Ecology Diet, I looked at it and thought no way  could I do this and I put it out of my mind. When it came to my attention a second time via these videos I watched and I thought there is no way  I can not do this for my child.  So here I am one year later and I need to begin. It is my intention to share this as it unfolds truth and all.  I know what I have to do.

The second part of this journey is sharing Liam’s Son-Rise program as it unfolds. I believe in divine guidance and learning about Son-Rise has certainly been a result of this. It is a loving and accepting approach to autism that can produce miracles! It is a home-based therapy program that parents learn at the beautiful campus in Sheffield MA. www.autismtreatmentcenter.org You go there with such a mixed bag of fear, anxiety, love, determination and hope for your child. For 5 days you sit in  a room with other parents of autistic children from across the globe and you are not alone anymore. Everyone in this room gets it. It was the most profound experience of my life thus far.  They teach you that you can choose love and acceptance for how your child is right at this moment. Your child is a gift! You take this love and acceptance into your child’s Son-Rise playroom and play joyfully with your child every day. They really are super perceptive and they see a change in you. You go into their world with their permission and when they are ready they follow you out. It is a magical experience.  I have been blessed to attend the Start-Up program and Maximum Impact. I am ready to begin his program along with the diet.  I am seeking volunteers, as much of the success of Son-Rise is because of people willing to volunteer and help families like mine.  The more hours spent in this loving environment, the more amazing the results will be.

This has been an amazing journey so far. I have been pushed to what feel like my limits (but I know better). Liam is an energetic, happy, loving little boy who can be quite mischievous at times. At times it can be downright scary. He opens the door of our car while I am driving (Mercedes, no child locks, shame on you!). He runs away from me if I let his hand go, without regard for cars or anything else dangerous and now he actually runs faster than me.  He finds our keys and goes out on the balcony of the second floor to climb on the ledge (time to throw those keys away).  We have to use a key to leave our house so that he doesn’t run away. He will sometimes scream at the top of his lungs if we are out in public knowing it is getting to me (oh the looks I get!). He will try to cook objects in the toaster oven and flush all kinds of things down the toilet. He climbs up walls and doors and pulls out the vents. He has jumped out of a second-story window, and ran into  the side of a car going 40mph (scariest moment of my life).  He is however the sweetest, happiest and most special little boy. He loves his Daddy and they are inseparable. Marcus’s dream is to win the lottery so he can spend every waking moment with Liam. They go to parks together, to car garages (Liam’s favorite thing to do), long walks every day.  I am really blessed to have such a loving and involved husband. We simply were meant to be his parents. He sleeps between us every night, so confidently loved.

Navigating the journey of Autism can be scary, overwhelming and frustrating at times. I also have known it to be full of joy, summoning the deepest of gratitude. These children are simply angels amongst us. They are so pure and display a wisdom that one just can not deny. They will not be molded into what society deems acceptable. They follow their bliss. There really is quite a lot we can learn from them at a profound level.  I have my ups and downs and I simply must accept this in myself.  It is my intention to walk forward hand in hand with Liam proudly and with sweet anticipation of a future that allows him to be who he came here to be. I will share this journey as it unfolds.

I just want to thank all who have supported me thus far in this journey. Paulo Martins who designed and built this beautiful website , http://www.influxstudio.com/ ,Marcus and Carla for your amazing love and support, Mom for your ever-caring generosity that has made so much of this possible, to Shannon for sharing with me the possibility of Son-Rise and then giving me a class so that Marcus could attend, and to all my friends and family who have prayed, supported and given me the gift of hope that my child can have the brightest future possible. God has proven to me over and over that I am not alone in this. This is only the beginning……