wake up

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I get this question at least once a week.

Usually from friends who have friends. Usually from friends that are trying to be good friends.

“I think there is something wrong with my friend’s child… what do I do?”

I always first ask the age of the child. If they say 2-4… I breathe and begin the spiel calmly.

If 5+, I cringe and get a bit rage-ish

EARLY INTERVENTION people.

Let me back up…

If you have a child with autism or any type of special needs and you are proactive… then you are ON.

You are ON all of the time. 24/7.

thinking, doing, investigating, pushing, crying, praising, persevering, nasty persistent. Yep, it is unrelenting… but you are ON and being ON is good.

It’s really good.

If you are in {pause} mode, you are doing none of the above. Nothing.

Pausing for a while to catch breath? Yes, fine.

I am talking about pausing for months that turn into years and chalking it up to be “nothing but a speech delay.”

Oh how people love to use this phrase.

Oh if I had a penny for every mother in {pause} mode that tells me “it’s just a speech delay.”

What a cop out!

I haven’t even gotten started… this is your wake up call.

This is for you. Give me the evil eye now and thank me later.

Okay, if your child is speech delayed, seldom exhibits eye contact, does not interact/engage with others and has many repetitive behaviors…. the list goes on… then it might be more than a “just a speech delay.”

How do you know? You don’t always. That is why you get an assessment.

Get one.

Who do I call???  Start with a licensed Neurodevelopmental Pediatrician.

Look it up. Google one in your area. They are the Gurus and can steer you straight.

“Oh, but I don’t want to talk about it and I don’t want others to talk about it.”

I promise you, people are already talking.  Tis true.

For the love…Do something.

I can say all of this because I know the {pause} button well.

We were once short-lived friends…. Hallelujah!

Get off the {pause} button because that button is debilitating. It is.

That button is preventing you from being proactive.

That button can be a form of child neglect.

Ouch, harsh.

Yep, tough love. You need it.

Make the call. Get on the list. Have a full assessment done.

Call me. I will talk to you. I will cry with you.

But I won’t say it’s okay to {Pause} for too long.

I will never say that.

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

Photography by the famous Callie Shepherd at www.callieshepherd.com

a Thief and a Liar

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William has been taught or shall I say, “trained” to do and say many things.

On his own, he has an amazing ability to remember names and comments almost immediately if you have new shoes or a new haircut… that’s his schtick and has been for quite some time.

He also likes for items to be in their place at all times… my little organizer.

It’s not uncommon for something to disappear if left floating in space.

The amazing part is that you almost never see the swipe occur. Yes, he’s fast, slick and just that good.

But like I said, much of everything else has been trained.

So when something “untrained” or spontaneous seeps out, I can’t help but get excited, throwing my hands up in the air, looking like the cheerleader I was so many years ago.

Oh how I love the “untrained” responses.  I live for these moments.

Last week we went swimming. He loves to swim.

Thankfully, this is an activity that keeps his attention, keeps him in the circle, keeps him… happy.

I love happy.

We came home, wet suits and all and I started to walk near him to help him change.

He said just one word. ”no.”

I tried again. This time he patted his left pocket and said, “no.”

I had forgotten that his suit had pockets <smile>

From the look on his face I could tell he was hiding something from me.

As I had him empty his pocket, a plethora of trinkets appeared. Three water torpedos and an unidentified plastic toy to be exact.

“Did you take these from the pool?” I asked. “No.” he said.

I asked again and then again…. his final reply being “Yes.”

As I talked about lying and stealing I couldn’t help but turn around and smile my biggest smile.

He had accomplished a heist.

Something rather typical in children… something I almost never experience with him.

This took many calculated steps from him and I counted them all, proud of his premeditation.

Yes, yes people, we will try to keep his robberies to a minimum.

But for now, having a thief and a liar is something I have been secretly looking forward to.

Something untrained and well… delightful really.

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

Special Thanks to Jewett Photography DFW Photographers http://www.jewettphotography.com

 

House of Cards – Autism Style

Stacking cards is a new opportunity for William to pass the time

Stacking cards is a new opportunity for William to pass the time

“Seth Says…”

Don’t worry…I’m not going to blog about Francis and Claire Underwood and tie that into the autism world…although that would be quite a blog huh?  Maybe we should get the show “House of Cards” to write a Bill that actually has some teeth to autism funding–wouldn’t that be an interesting plot!

But I digress

So this past weekend was the Fourth of July.  In the past, weekends have been very difficult for our family because it’s hot in Texas and we tend to run out of things to do–and when William runs out of things to do his behavior goes down the drain in a hurry.  I can’t speak for Melanie but I know I was a bit nervous about this extended weekend and how we were going to pass the time–and how we were going to keep William as occupied and happy as possible.

It just so happened that on July 3rd I had a little poker night at the casa…I stink at Texas Hold ‘Em but love playing…and so I had a few new stacks of playing cards lying around the house on the 4th of July.

After breakfast Melanie started playing with them and trying to build a house of cards with the playing cards while Margaret and I played a card game that she was making up on the fly (she always seems to be the winner of those games…hmmm)

William was stemming with  his brush and spoons and I could tell he was getting bored.

Then all of a sudden he took an interest in what Melanie was doing.  He wanted no part of the game Margaret and I were playing, but he became fascinated with Melanie stacking the cards and building a structure.

She offered William a stack of cards and PRESTO…he was hooked.  I don’t think he’s going to become a professional card stacker…but it was really cool to see him sitting there trying to stack the cards.  He’d get pretty frustrated when they would fall but we encouraged him to be gentle to the cards and keep trying.

He probably played with those cards for 30 minutes.  That might not sound like a lot but as a parent you know that’s a huge victory–the kid really doesn’t like to play with much.  He isn’t really into Legos or TV or games…he lines up cars, jumps on his mini-trampoline and taps on his favorite brush and spoons.

I don’t know if card stacking is going to be a new fixation for William but it was really cool to see him working at getting the cards just right and the excitement on his face when he would get one or two levels stacked.

So if you’re looking for something for your child to do…go spend $1.99 and buy a pack of cards and have fun!

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

 

great things He hath done

 

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Dear Margaret,

I see it. I see your mind trying to understand the complexity of the situation everyday.

I see you putting forth the attempts over and over to connect with him in the slightest inkling of a way.

I’ve watched you cry. I’ve watched you watch me cry.

I’ve watched you make a wish with your only precious penny that there would no longer be autism in our lives. That he would play with you. That he would snap out of it and be the big brother that you see in so many other families.

I’ve heard you ask as his birthday comes around each year….”Will he talk now?”

Last year you stopped asking.

I’ve watched you work tirelessly to get his attention and how a word uttered back to you is like having a thousand gifts to open. Your eyes reveal it.

I’ve seen you try to fix it. I’ve seen you fail.

In all of this, you must know…

This was not a mistake.

In many ways, you are closer than any other brother and sister could ever wish for.

You hang on to every word, touch, or look he gives you.

You are proud of his accomplishments and encourage him to always do more.

You are lavished with hugs and kisses from him anytime you wish.

You are his and he is yours.

The greatest gift is seeing how you are being changed, molded, and used for the ultimate purpose… for God’s glory and HIS alone.

Hold steadfast to this purpose sweet girl and know….

This was not a mistake.

Love,
Mommy

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

Special Thanks to Jewett Photography
DFW Photographers
http://www.jewettphotography.com

 

change of heart

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Eight years ago, my husband became a father.

It started out the “usual” way…. rocking, loving, kissing, holding.

He was present in all of it. The baby stuff: baby carrying, baby changing…baby duty.

Honestly, for us, that was the easy breezy.

After the diagnosis, things definitely changed. Hearts were hurting.

Things got hard. I felt and saw the distance.

The “Dreading to come home and deal with the inevitable” look.

The “How am I going to relate to my son who doesn’t want or know how to relate?” look.

The “I can’t do this!” look.

With precious time and extensive therapy, <very extensive> the hope began to grow.

Hearts changed. His. Heart. Changed.

Many selfless acts followed. Many. Too many for you to comprehend.

Finding ways to connect became his mission. It became his way to love and support his son.

Thank you for finding ways.

Thank you for the selfless acts.

Thank you for being the father with a mission.

Happy Father’s Day to a father that really knows what that means.

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

 

 

The Cost of Autism

How many coins is $2.4 Million?

How many coins is $2.4 Million?

“Seth Says…”

Recently my wife, Melanie was interviewed for a piece on the overall costs of having a child with autism, and the expected lifetime costs.  It’s a very informative piece and you should read it

“Lifetime Suport for a Person with Autism Can Cost Millions”

So I need to start saving up to $2.4 Million to take care of my son over the course of his lifetime?  Uhhh…I wonder how I start.The article brings up some great points–IT’S EXPENSIVE TO HAVE A CHILD ON THE SPECTRUM–sorry for pointing out the obvious.

Also it brings up some good points about loss of parental income.  I hadn’t really thought of that because our plan was for Melanie to stay home with our children until they got to elementary school age, but I can see how that could drastically impact so many families.

FINALLY…the article brings up a point that I’ve been S-C-R-E-A-M-I-N-G about for a while (don’t believe me just see my other blogs) which is the pandemic that is looming in our city, county, state, country, world!

If it’s true that 1 in 68 children born today will have some sort of pervasive developmental disorder…and we are going to come out of pocket $2.4 MMMMMillion per child over the course of their lives…that’s a lot of money!We have to have opportunities and outlets for these 1 in 68 children…and we have to start NOW!

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

 

sway

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Everything starts with small steps. Everything is taught. Everything.

A few months ago, it occurred to me that I wanted William to learn how to slow dance. I’m not sure why I desired this to be.

Maybe because I thought he would like it. He didn’t…. not at first.

Maybe because I liked the idea of him being close. I did…. always and forever.

Who am I kidding, he is a scrumdiddlyumptious bar and any way I can be close to him, I’ll take it!

Maybe because most 8 year olds don’t slow dance with their mommies and I wanted us to accomplish something out of the norm. Something to call our own.

No time frames, no comparisons, no charts, no age-based norms to look to.     Just us.

But, like most tasks, it took a lot of work. I began to see the small steps seep through just as they always do. It is always work… for him, for me.

We started with the simple task of holding one hand and I had his other hand around my waist. This took about a week. He would flop on the floor like a fish when I would even utter the word “dance.” “No no no!” he would say. “No dance!”

It was new… William doesn’t like new. I kept going…. as his resistance towards the new doesn’t stop me nor does it control my emotions, at least not the way it used to.

Two weeks went by and the “fish flopping” decreased.   He began holding my hand and the arm around the waist was quite loose but it was a start.

Next came the swaying…many times we fell over. Did I mention he is almost 4 and a half feet tall? He’s very strong too (thanks to the monkey bars) so if he falls, I fall.

After the third week, the swaying softened up a bit. A few moments turned into a few longer moments.

A few times the mirror caught my eye and I could see us both standing there.

Quiet, perfectly engaged, and in the moment.

It happened.

Maybe one day he will want to dance with a young lady.

Until then, I will be standing there ready to be swayed.

Nothing can take that away… not even autism.

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

Special Thanks to Jewett Photography
DFW Photographers
http://www.jewettphotography.com