Posted in Autism, Autism Safety and Wandering

Happy Memorial Day

memorial day

Take some time today to remember and honor the brave soldiers who fought for our freedom.  I’ll be back next week with a new post.

Did you get a chance to read these two posts from last year about “Wandering and Autism”?   They contain crucial information that everyone should know as we move into the warm weather season:

@https://nickspecialneeds.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/blog-60wandering-and-autism/

https://nickspecialneeds.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/blog-62wanderi…autism-part-ii/

Have a blessed day and thank you for reading and sharing Nick’s world.🙂

~Teresa

Posted in Autism, Down syndrome, Fun Side of Nick, Recreation/Leisure and Special Needs

Blog #96~ Best Buddies Program

Blog #96~ Best Buddies Program

Spring is in the air!  I scrolled the Facebook wall over the weekend admiring all the beautiful gals dolled up in their prom dresses and the young men looking so handsome in tuxedos.  It’s a rite of passage for high school students, but one that my son Nick never had a chance to experience.  Nick has Down syndrome and autism and the prom just wasn’t in the cards for him.  But enter this awesome program called *Best Buddies. 

Students like Nick who have intellectual and developmental disabilities are often isolated and left out of traditional school activities.  That’s where the Best Buddies program comes in.

The Best Buddies program fosters one-to-one friendships between students with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).  Best Buddies helps to create an inclusive school climate breaking thru social barriers at an important time in a young person’s life.  This non-profit organization is dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership for people with IDD.  Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies has grown internationally from one school chapter to 1,700 middle schools, high schools and college chapters worldwide. Best Buddies has eight formal programs impacting 800,000 individuals both with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities worldwide.”

Best-Buddies-logo

How did Best Buddies impact Nick’s high school experience?  Because of Best Buddies, Nick was able to enjoy a wide variety of extra-curricular activities. Each month the group participated in meetings, community volunteering, parties, and social events such as bowling, going to the movies, out to eat and to local parks.  In addition, the group hosted two dances a year.

Nick volunteering at a Knights of Columbus  fundraiser……

Knights of Columbus

Nick heading to the Best Buddies Spring Dance……

best buddies dance

Nick looked forward to these events and being paired up with his peer partners.  I am very grateful for these students who volunteered their time to the Best Buddies program. Nick had a special connection with each of his peer partners. This program truly enriched his high school experience.  That’s what is in my noggin this week.

~Teresa 🙂

For more information on Best Buddies: http://www.bestbuddies.org

Posted in Autism, Down syndrome

Blog #95~ Do Just One Thing

Blog #95~ Do Just One Thing

It feels like a Monday morning.  I’m bouncing around from one thing to the next and getting off track in the process.  I started a load of laundry and took off upstairs to grab my sweaty gym clothes. Speaking of the gym, what playlist am I going to use for spin class tonight?  I paused at the bottom of the stairwell to rescue a drooping hydrangea flower which badly needed water. While upstairs I made the bed, grabbed some hangers and scooped up another basket of dirty clothes.  I heard a strange noise coming out of the laundry room.  The spin cycle wasn’t working on the trusty Kenmore, crap!  I sat down at the computer to schedule a service appointment, but the dryer buzzer went off.  I’d already hit the fluff cycle twice.  Stop and fold them now T!    I tried the spin cycle a few more times, but no go.  After wringing out each piece of clothing and putting them in the dryer, I sat back down to the computer.  What was I doing on it earlier?  I better pop another K-cup in, I have lost my focus.

K-cup

 The phone rang and on the other end was a message regarding problems with DHS (Department of Human Services) and an old timesheet from April 2013.  That’s just great.  What was I going to do on the computer?  Oh, that’s right I need to schedule a service appointment. Sometimes I wonder…….

Do I have ADHD?

ADHD

So, here is my to-do list for the week:

Finish resource list for NADS

Schedule NIU lecture and get respite for Nick

Fill out PACT survey

Deposit Nick’s stipend checks

Write article for NADS newsletter

Research essential oils and Bach Flower Remedy

Make Nick’s visual shopping list for fridge

Get eye exam (I am completely out of contacts)

Write thank you notes

Plant flowers

Over half of the list items are related to Nick and his special needs. Managing his adult affairs has become another part time job.  But, I refuse to freak out today.  I’m certain that there are lots of moms *running around like a chicken with their head cut off, much like me.

chicken with head cut off

I am going to follow my own advice from last week’s blog.  Don’t beat yourself up T.  Prioritize this list.  So I made the service appointment- Check!   As for the rest,  I’m going to take a breath, slow down and focus on just one thing.  That’s what is in my noggin this week!

~Teresa 🙂

*According to Wiki Answers:  A chicken with its head cut off tends to still run around aimlessly for several minutes after death. This is because the nerves in the body are still active for a short time. The saying “like a chicken with its head cut off” is a shortened version of “running around like a chicken with its head cut off”

 

Posted in Autism, Behavior/ ABA, Down syndrome

Blog #94~Advice for Special Needs Moms

Blog #94~Advice for Special Needs Moms

I’ve been raising a child with special needs for 20 years. My son, Nick has Down syndrome and was later diagnosed with autism. Being a parent is rewarding but also challenging and stressful. Having a child with special needs amplifies things even more. I’ve felt ashamed, exhausted, and frustrated piling on mounds of guilt along the way.  With Mother’s Day coming up I’ve been thinking about a few things. What advice would I give to that 33 year old mom back in 1994?

Joleene Pic

Advice for Special Needs Moms- 5 Things I’ve learned

1.  Let go of being the helpless victim. Take back control and commit  yourself to action. Ask for help and accept help from family, friends, teachers, therapists, support groups and special needs agencies.

2.  Adopt a new attitude when you feel bogged down.  How about this mantra? “Today I will do just one thing to move me forward to where I want to be.”

3.  Learn from others but set your own course. It’s easy to be overwhelmed when you see other moms trying gluten free, casein free, organic dietary programs, experimenting with essential oils, driving all over town to ABA behavior/OT/PT/Speech therapy programs and recreational activities. Forgive yourself, let go of those feelings of inadequacy.

4.  Which leads right into GUILT!  Society’s expectations don’t have to be yours. Don’t let anyone pack your bags for a guilt trip.

pintrest cartoon

5.  Take time to breathe, pray, meditate, exercise and feed your soul. A rested mind, body and spirit will help you navigate those rough, rocky roads.

zen

Do I follow this advice every day? Hardly, this morning I procrastinated  waiting until Nick ran out of his meds before making  a doctor appointment. I also threw out a package of moldy hot dog buns buried in the pantry. The floor hasn’t been mopped in two weeks and I sat around like a slug watching this movie for the umpteenth time with Nick yesterday….

The other guys

Do I feel guilty about it? Not near as much as I use to. The mounds of guilt have been reduced to a few, small piles I step in from time to time. poop icon

So, to all the special needs moms out there I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day. Slow down and do something you enjoy.  Go have a glass of wine with your girlfriends. Take a day or at least an afternoon to do nothing but fun things you enjoy. Please carry that with you each day as you make your way down that rocky road. That’s what is in my noggin this week.

~Teresa 🙂

Nick Sox game