Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Child With #Autism Was Featured On A PEOPLE Magazine Cover And I'm So Very Proud Of Him!!

It's SO very exciting to see my youngest son's face on the cover of a PEOPLE magazine! He is the third child to be featured on this special media magazine cover in a campaign to help everyone "Think Differently" about Autism and how we should approach their potential as they find ways to overcome their challenges, realize their dreams and accomplish their goals. To see the actual debut of his PEOPLE magazine cover, click here to #ThinkDifferently! 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Honoring A Brother Whom Has Made Numerous Compromises & Has Been Very Patient With His Brother Whom Has #Autism

This is Vincent, Nathan's eleven year old brother and best friend. They may do things at times to pester each other but, there is no separating these two! Vincent and Nathan are equally adapt in defending each other, regardless of the situation. My husband and I are blessed to be their parents. I am so looking forward to coordinating the Fall 2013 Easter Seals Oklahoma Sibshops for Vincent!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Don't Let The Opportunity Of Getting To Read My Featured #Autism Article On Our Mom Spot Pass You By!

YOU haven't had the chance to read my Featured Guest Article Preparing For A New School Year over at Our Mom Spot?!? April is #AutismAwarenessMonth and I hope YOU will make the time to click the link above to read my article! Please leave me a comment, underneath the article on Our Mom Spot, to let me know if you thought it was helpful information, or if you have something you would like to share that I missed. Thank YOU for your support and I look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

You're Invited To The April Vision Screening Hosted By The Oklahoma Vision Development Center!

I'm posting this on the homepage because I hope that it could possibly help a family in Tulsa, OK find resources like this:
4 quadrant logo
The free vision screenings are being held April 22-26 to detect any eye tracking, eye teaming, and visual processing issues.

Children must be between 6-18 years old and be accompanied by a parent.  Children must have had an eye exam in the past 12 months. Screenings are by appointment only.  Call 918-745-9662 to schedule your screening.

4520 S. Harvard Ave Ste. 100
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74135
Please pass this information on to the parent of any child you think may be struggling from a vision related problem.

Dr. Monte Harrel

Monday, April 15, 2013

Reminiscing Over Nathan's Progress

Our almost ten year old son, Nathan, has really made tremendous progress over the last five years since we were told he had Autism Spectrum Disorders. In The Beginning, our family was limited in what we could plan but, now we are able to participate in many more activities outside of the house. If you have not had the opportunity to read about how Nathan's diagnosis came into existence, please take a few moments to get to know how this extraordinary young man turned obstacles into stepping stones! 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

"WIN! Enter our Coconut Oil Giveway"

Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil Giveaway Event

Hosted by: BearShirt.org
Prize: 32 oz. jar Tropical Traditions Gold label Coconut Oil
Event dates: 4/15 – 4/22

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.

WIN 1 quart (32 oz) of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!

Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

How to Use Coconut oil: There are hundreds of uses for coconut oil! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x28yuVzwrMk
We also have several very popular recipe videos on our YouTube channel that you are free to use:http://www.youtube.com/user/TropicalTraditions

"If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you."

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Virgin Coconut Oil, Gold Label - 1 quart

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Are YOU Already Preparing For A New School Year And How It Ultimately Affects Your Child With #Autism?

Can you believe how fast this school year has gone by?!? Before we know it, we will all be thinking about everything that has to be done, before our child with Autism starts back to school this coming Fall! Please take a moment to read my Guest Article, on the Our Mom Spot community, to see how I am Preparing For A New School Year...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Yes!! The Article For My #Autism Advocacy Was Published In My Hometown Newspaper!

     You are probably tired of hearing about this but, I am extremely excited! In case you didn't get the chance to read the article that was published last month in the Oklahoman, our large newspaper for Oklahoma City, you have another opportunity to read a similar article published in my hometown newspaper, The Edmond Sun. Last Fall, I was nominated and accepted as a new member of the national networking organization, to represent the state of Oklahoma in Autism Advocacy! Thank you for taking the time to read my article in support of Autism Awareness, Understanding and Acceptance!
     I am so excited about how this will increase exposure for the efforts of my local AutismOklahoma.org, Nathan's Voice and the autism community in general!! If you are interested in supporting our efforts, please visit Oklahoma Piece Walk & 5K to either register to walk with us and/or to make an online donation. Thank YOU for your continued support and our team always welcomes hearing from their supporters!


Friday, April 5, 2013

@AutismOklahoma is Featured as the Mom's Monthly Journal Sponsor For April on the Our Mom Spot Online Community!

I'm absolutely thrilled to announce that local charitable organization, AutismOklahoma.org, that I am privileged to be a part of, is featured as the Mom's Monthly Journal Sponsor on my favorite online parenting community, Our Mom Spot, for the month of April! Please take a few minutes to check it out here and browse to get familiar with the site before my guest post on Autism launches next week...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Guest Post: It's About Learning To Dance In The Rain!

Please welcome my friend, Jennifer Butler Modaff, whom I convinced to be our Guest Blogger on Nathan's Voice!  We encourage you to check out her blog and follow Caden's Tale. Please leave a comment below to share how much you enjoyed Jennifer's post.

Born August 15, 2006 Caden was a beautiful little boy who loved to be held; actually he only liked to be held so we did a lot of it. I have never been as thankful for recliners as I was in those early months of his life. He also wasn’t a fan of bright lights, and we often joked that maybe I had read one too many vampire books while pregnant. 

By a year old, Caden was well on his way to talking, and he could easily identify mommy, daddy, his big sister Ry Ry, cat, dog, and several dozen other words. We would play a game in the car where I would ask him to say “mommy” and he would say “daddy.”  I’d say, “no, Caden, say mommy,” and inevitably he would say “daddy” again.  I’d smile and say “oh, okay, Caden, just say daddy,” and he would crack up laughing while he said “oh mommy.”  It was a game that we played dozens of times, and one that I have since relived, a million times in my dreams.

Around 15 months of age, Caden started losing some of his words. By the time he was 18 months old, he had lost all but two words if we count “uh-oh” as a word.  I would casually mention to our pediatrician at each appointment (due to an immune deficiency there were a lot of appointments) that I thought something was wrong, and each time he would pacify me with a story of how his little boy had lost some words too, or how another child he cared for was also extremely shy.  Each time he reassured me that this was just a phase and there was no need to overreact.  You know how we mothers can be sometimes.

Finally, one night, I emotionally broke down in the shower, and had a nice long cry over the fact that I hadn’t heard my precious beautiful boy say “mommy” in weeks.  Later that night, as my husband and I talked, we realized that the word “mommy,” and so many more, were just gone.  Our little boy no longer verbalized requests or demands; he instead relied on a gesturing system.  Shyness was replaced with the complete inability to tolerate people in his space, to the point that anyone who dared walk down the same grocery store isle as us was treated to a banshee-type scream.  Caden could no longer recognize anyone out of their context, and everything in our house was either lined-up or stacked by size and color.  And every single door in our house had to be closed as did curtains or blinds. 

Honestly, I think the pediatrician eventually gave us a referral because he was tired to hearing me ask about Caden’s developments.  I was thrilled that we were being referred for evaluation, but that joy soon turned to despair when we learned that the wait was 6-9 months at our local Children’s Hospital.  Thankfully, our speech referral moved much faster.  During that evaluation, the speech language pathologist came back in the room and asked me if I had ever considered autism.  This wasn’t one of those unexpected oh-my-goodness where did this come from moments; instead it was relief.  The relief lay in the fact that someone else saw what we saw and was confirming what I had been reading. Then, she asked me if I was interested in the new interdisciplinary autism evaluation clinic that the university was getting ready to start.  With a verbal confirmation and a signature, the evaluation could take place two weeks from that day. 

The speech pathologist confirmed the language loss wasn’t typical, and without a lot of fanfare the evaluation team would confirm that Caden was on the autism spectrum.  At the end of the evaluation day, we asked if our suspicions were on track and the therapists said yes.  Then during a one hour meeting shortly after Caden’s 2nd birthday, they reaffirmed his diagnosis, handed us packets of papers and brochures, told us there was no cure, resources were limited, and then wished us luck, as the next family was waiting to hear  what their future looked like.

For a few moments, my husband and I just sat in the car in silence.  Then we quickly we realized we loved our son before the meeting, and we had already been dealing with the behaviors; nothing had changed other than the fact that we now had a label for which we could pursue services.  And although it seemed like the world should stand still, life marched on.

We quickly learned the autism lingo: ABA, SLP, PT, OT, SPD and so on.  We realized we were no longer just parents but, also advocates for our son and others on the autism spectrum.  Suddenly, we were living billboards and public service announcements for myths and facts about autism.  We were fortunate that we saw eye-to-eye relationally on what we wanted to try and what we wanted to avoid for Caden.  Caden, like most children, hasn’t read the autism “manual” so many of our “great” ideas have failed. We joke that we have the black hole closet for therapy items that failed to pass the Caden test.

When Caden was 3, we made the decision to enroll him part time in our local Head Start educational program.  It was quickly apparent though that while he didn’t engage the other children, he loved the routine and ritual of school, and we switched his enrollment to full time.  It was during this year that he started to regain some language and we realized how precious every mispronounced word really was. 

We celebrated Caden’s 5th birthday on our way home from service dog training.  I can honestly say, Elf, our autism service dog, is a doggy angel who has truly changed our lives.  He has helped Caden overcome some of his anxiety and helps him work through meltdowns and sensory challenges in remarkable ways.  He certainly isn’t the answer, or cure for autism, but he has been a furry and amazing addition to our toolbox.

Life isn’t easy for a kid with an autism spectrum disorder. At the tender age of 6, he has been in school full-time for 4 years now.  Three days a week he leaves school early, in order to do in-home therapy and a 4th day he completes his hours after the school day is finished for a total of 14 hours of therapy a week.  The therapy combines speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, social skills, and life skills. He plays with a peer mentor from the university for a few hours each week in a variety of social settings and engages in adaptive sports at the local Y with karate, baseball, soccer, and swimming being particular favorites.  I’m sure we could be doing more, but we’re committed to allowing him to be a kid as much as possible.  Thankfully, his therapy is often play or craft-based so he enjoys the time that he puts in and he loves the adult attention. 

We are an autism family.  We live autism in our personal lives and have figured out how to incorporate it into our professional research lives.  Ironically, 6 years ago I doubt I could have defined autism for you, and never imagined that I would run an awareness page on Facebook and have my own blog dedicated to our experiences.  The road isn’t easy and it often contains unexpected twists and turns.  The thing though is that we’ve learned to truly savor the accomplishments and we know how special “special moments” really are.  For the first time in my life, I truly understand what it means to say "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.... It's about learning to dance in the rain."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Would YOU Please Consider Making An #Autism Donation In Support Of This Sweet Face?!?

This young man is Nathan, my youngest son. He is almost ten years old and was diagnosed five years ago. We walk every year in support of Nathan and the many other individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Our Family & Friends Autism Team "Nathan's Voice" is looking forward to the Autism Oklahoma Piece Walk & 5K on Saturday, May 4th, 2013...so much, that we want YOU to join us by either walking with our team and/or making a donation to support grants for local programs, education, research, special projects and more!! If you have any difficulty registering for, or making an online donation, please contact me via email at Lorrie@AutismOklahoma.org so that I can assist you. We hope that YOU can join us in support of Autism Awareness, Understanding and Acceptance! Please leave me a comment below to share how YOU are celebrating World Autism Awareness Day!!