Tag Archives: daddy blogger

“He was there…then he wasn’t”

How many times have we heard that phrase when talking to parents with a child on the autism spectrum?

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While we never experienced William acting “typical” (remember – we don’t say “normal” bc what does that even mean?) when he was an infant, we certainly talked to a number of parents who swear up-and-down that their child was acting and behaving differently before they gave medicines and shots.

This is NOT a blog to discuss vaccines and MMR shots and whatever…mainly because I don’t care to get into that tired discussion AND…who am I to say that someone’s child was acting one way until they administered a shot and then they started acting differently.

eyes4BUT…we have recently experienced something like that.

William is now 13-years-old…would put him somewhere in the middle of the pack when it comes to autism.  He’s not that verbal or self-sustaining but then again he is really smart at spelling and loves to jump and can follow instructions (when he wants to.)

The Pink Stuff

Over the holidays we noticed he wasn’t himself so we went to the doctor and got him a prescription of The Pink Stuff…you know…Amoxicillin

This wasn’t first time we’ve given him this medication.  William is a fantastic medicine and pill taker…too bad there’s not a job for that!

eyes5He started the potion and after a few days we started noticing a significant change in his behavior.  It was almost as if a light switched on inside him.  We noticed he stopped stimming with his favorite item.

We noticed he stopped the constant non-verbal blabber we’ve grown so accustomed to.

We noticed he was calm…he was agreeable…he didn’t say “NO!” when we asked him to feed the dog, brush his teeth, put Chapstick on his dry lips and get dressed…he would do it with a happy heart and he would do it immediately.

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It was the craziest thing I think I’ve experienced

We drove to church on Sunday in complete silence…something we’ve never, never, never done because he’s always making sounds.

He came up to me and kissed me while I was working at my computer…no prompting, no nothing just a kiss and forehead bump (that’s out thing) out of the blue.

We wasn’t trying to upset our barking dogs.  He sat on the couch and watched a TV show with the rest of the family without squirming, getting up to tap, tap, tap.

I could go on and on.  It was a dream come true!!!  We were amazed.  His therapists were amazed.

 

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Then he was gone.

We started noticing anxious behavior this past Saturday.  Sunday he was still calm but there were spurts of sounds and stimming and the “no, no, no thanks, no thanks,” response we’ve grown accustomed to.

Tuesday was horrible.  I came home to learn that William lost three tokens (measures of good behavior) at school.  He didn’t want to hug me.  He didn’t want to clean his plate, brush his teeth, pet the dogs gently.

The noises were back too.  I remembered how much I hate, hate, hate that noise.

Where did William go????

Melanie’s done some research on Amoxicillin and autism and there might be something there.  Maybe it’s gut health – that is the problem du jour in America it seems that every network marketing company wants to cure.

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He’s had Amoxicillin before…he didn’t act like this before.  Will he do it again if we give him more of the Pink Stuff?

I’m not going to put a lot of hope in us giving him Amoxicillin again and him reverting to the New William…I don’t believe it’s that simple and I don’t want to get my hopes up.

All I know

All I know is that for about a week we experienced a calm and peace and love from our son that we’ve never experienced before.  We saw him interact with others in a manner that was foreign to us.  It was awesome…and I want more of it!

Buy The Book – Look At My Eyes

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

 

Buddies

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It took us a while – but we are buddies

Seth Says

If I’m being honest, I probably never thought my son, William, and I would be buddies.  After he was diagnosed I went into a depression and malaise regarding him and regarding what I anticipated the future with a child on the spectrum would look like.

Initially those anticipations proved to mostly be true…William and I would do things together but I never got the feeling that we were developing a relationship or bond or that either of us really craved being together.

William is still really quiet.  He has language but doesn’t initiate talking (unless he wants something badly enough) and he’s not one for having conversation.

That’s okay.  I get it.

What he can do (and does a lot) is respond to my questions.  He tells me when he wants something.  He tells me if he likes one thing or another.  He will answer in his own way – maybe not with words but with a hug or kiss or simply by not leaving the room immediately if I enter.

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In the last blog I mentioned his penchant for doing puzzles.  That has become something we do together.

We went a TCU vs Texas basketball game together earlier in 2018…that was something I never thought we’d do.  He’s never going to follow players and their matriculation through high school to college to the NBA like I did (and still do), but he enjoyed clapping, high-fiving, eating popcorn and other treats when we went to the game.

He still says, “Daddy stop singing…stop singing, stop singing” when I’m into a singing mood…and that annoys me.  He will still refuse to work on a puzzle together if he’s not in the mood.  He will still sit silently in the car if I don’t try and pull word out of him.

And that’s okay.

We are now buddies.

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

 

Allergic to Autism

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How easy do you think it is to tell an 8-year-old boy that he CAN’T play outside?

I’ll give you 5 seconds to come up with your answer…………

If you said “not very easy” then…ding, ding, ding…you are correct

Now what if that 8-year-old boy who can’t play outside has autism…

Would it be easier or harder to tell him that he can’t play outside?

You shouldn’t even need 5 seconds for this one—too easy

Thus is our situation currently.

Our 8-year-old child with autism can’t go outside and play. He has allergies. If you live in Texas then you know what allergies are and what a pain they can be to just about everyone. William is allergic to grass, trees (especially Pecan Trees) and just about everything else that makes you sneeze, have runny nose, itchy eyes and all the other fun symptoms that come with allergies.

William loves three things. He loves to stim (he taps on items to soothe himself—right now it’s a plastic measuring spoon set and an old hairbrush). He loves to play on the iPad. He loves the monkey bars.

If Monkey Bars were a class that you could take in school…William would most certainly get an “A”.

He is so strong, his hands are all torn up by going from bar-to-bar-to-bar on our monkey bar set in the back yard. He loves it and never gets bored with it. He can play on the monkey bars for hours and hours.

April and May are the MOST MISERABLE months for allergies in North Texas. The trees are blooming, it’s dusty, it’s windy and it’s awful.

This past weekend we were all outside and a few hours later…William comes in with red, puffy eyes, sneezing, coughing…you get the picture.

Now before you decide to send replies about medication and remedies and shots and all that—don’t bother. We’ve tried those things. Some things help, others don’t.

He doesn’t understand why he can’t go outside—only that he can’t go outside. So he paces the house and stims and his behavior suffers during weekends when there really isn’t much for him to do if he can’t go outside and play on the monkey bars.

Anyone else have this problem? The meds we give him can also make him tired, grumpy, not hungry—and those aren’t good.

So we just deal with it. Ugh. Allergies SUCK. Allergies and Autism SUCK EVEN MORE!

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

a Skipper Too

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William’s legs are long.  Like, really long.  He’s always looked the same.  To put it into perspective, at birth, he weighed in at 6 lbs and yet his length was 22.5 inches. Yep, I told you, long!  He almost never wears a pair with the “worn” look because they’re off and then it’s on with another new and longer pair.

But, as I look at these long gangly legs, I am reminded about so much more than pant purchasing woes.  Over the past 8 years, these legs have entered more therapeutic facility doors and have endured more therapy hours than one can even conceive.

With these legs, he has achieved more success than I hope to in a lifetime.

These legs never crawled as a baby and standing and walking were HUGE milestones in more ways than one.

At one point, I thought these legs would never be able to run…

The plethora of hours in occupational and physical therapy certainly helped these legs reach their goal.  In fact, the goal was surpassed by mastering the “light” jog.  As William grew more strong and mobile, the “jog” one day became a “run.”

Every year, the Fowler Four participates in a phenomenally fun and meaningful 5k race and every year I am reminded of these long gangly legs and how far they have taken him… how far they have taken, us.

I continue to be blessed by each step that is mastered, his legs, his strength, his ability to tolerate hours upon hours of hard therapy and academics.

Guess what???  You will never.  These long gangly legs can now skip. <smile>

What has been accomplished that you never thought possible?

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

Ugh, ANOTHER thing I hate about Autism

The list is long and distinguished regarding the things I hate about autism…but this is the one on my mind…would LOVE to hear if this affects you and  your child and if so, what do you do about it?

William has these episodes of frustration or confusion where he starts spiraling and just can’t regroup and bounce back without major meltdowns or fits of rage.

For example…yesterday my wife picked him up from school and  he for some reason didn’t want the snack she gave him in the car.  He got frustrated with the snack and then when she took it away, he started freaking out.

Well what do you want?  The snack?  To eat it?  There’s almost like a no-win solution.

It got progressively worse.

We have these ABSURD radio stations in DFW that think it’s funny and cool to start playing Christmas music 24/7 starting the day after Halloween…it’s extremely annoying to me because I get very tired of the same 100 Christmas songs and why rush the holidays?

So William hears a Santa song…then they go home and watch a “Max & Ruby” (he loves those) and it’s about Christmas and so William can’t understand WHY there is no Christmas tree in our house.  He doesn’t understand the concept of time or seasons or anything like that.

He has a total meltdown…he cries and throws his favorite item (these days it’s hair brushes) and just can’t regroup and get it together.

So we turn off the video because he can’t handle it…to which he gets even more upset.

Have I mentioned a no-win situation?

We can’t start talking about going on a vacation or visiting family too soon because it doesn’t compute to him that we’re going to BeBe’s house…in a few days.  He thinks that because we’re talking about going somewhere, that it is going to happen immediately.

It’s really frustrating because we want to involve him in our activities and experiences and want to share the joy and excitement of anticipation and holidays and all that…but more often than not it ends up with him getting very upset and emotional and having a fit of frustration and rage.

Surely this happens to you too?  What are some tips to not have this happen or when they are spiraling, are there any ideas of how to regroup as quickly as possible and not have it turn into episodes?

To read more blogs from 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

Autism is Expensive

Autism is expensive…yeah that’s the understatement of the Century isn’t it?

I actually had a friend of ours say that to me and I think I replied…”uhhh yeah, no kidding…”

Like that one time you went to Mexico and came back with some strange rash (hypothetically speaking of course)…autism is the gift that keeps on giving.

Often when I am talking to parents–in particular other fathers–the topic of money and how expensive therapies and medicines and treatments and just about everything can be.  I have to say that it’s terrifying to really think about how much money we have spent over the past 7 years on my son…but I know deep in my heart that it’s all worth it.

It wasn’t always like that.  I remember one time my wife wanted us to go to a weekend conference on autism…I threw a HUGE tantrum and basically said, “why do I need to go to a conference where they’re going to talk about autism and remind me that my child isn’t typical and then they’ll try and sell me some magic potion and will try and convince me that this magic elixir is the end-all, be-all for treatment of autism!”

I didn’t want to go, I didn’t want to spend the money, I didn’t want to be around those in a similar situation like mine.

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is the only scientifically proven therapy to help children on the spectrum…and it’s expensive.

My son takes medication to help his moods and swings…that’s expensive.

There are all sorts of secondary therapies: horse, gymnastics, music, art, water, judo, kung-fu….yeah those are expensive.

As a father I hated spending money on these things…do they really work?  How do I even know they work?  It sure doesn’t SEEM like it’s helping my son.

It’s not like he was coming home and showing me new Kung-Fu moves…or really becoming a polished horseman…or telling me how much he was enjoying these activities.

Ahhh…once again the ugly head of selfishness rears it’s little head.

It’s not about me.  It’s not about what I think or what I want or what I can see or what I can prove.  It’s about my son.  He might not be the next Bruce Lee…but I know he’s getting something out of Kung-Fu…I’ve seen him improve and that little improvement bit-by-bit….is enough to pay for lessons.

You have to remember that progress has to be measured differently from your other “typical” children…it’s not a linear progress…you might never see progress!  You might see little bitty progress and then BOOM…a lot.

Yes…autism is expensive.  Figure out a budget.  Talk to your spouse.  Make sure you don’t spend money where you can’t spend money.  Do your research on activities and therapies and medicines…if you feel it’s worth it and you feel that it will benefit your child…and you have the money…go for it.

Remember…you and your spouse are the family…your child is an addition to your family unit.  If you are causing  your family hardship by spending on things for one child…to the detriment of the others in the family…then you might want to reconsider what you’re spending on and try to cut back a little.

Money isn’t going to cure autism.  While there are many expensive aspects to autism…there are also some free aspects to autism as well.  Go to the park.  Run around the yard.  Embrace your child.  Smile at your child.  Make them know they’re loved.  Hold them to a high standard…when you want them to pay attention to you–make them pay attention to you (even for a few seconds)

It’s not going to benefit your special needs child one bit if you spend all your money and have nothing for them…

Go for it!

To read more blogs from 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

A feel good autism story…

You can tell that April is around the corner.  Yes, April is Autism Awareness Month and that’s when all your media outlets pay attention to the world of autism for 30 days.

But recently I’ve been seeing more articles and stories regarding autism so that’s positive.

I ran across a story of a police officer who has befriended a young man who is on the spectrum

It’s a simple but powerful story of how a little act of kindness and taking a little time out of one’s day can make a huge impact.

As our children on the spectrum get older and older and more into the “typical world” both sides need one another.

I mean that we need more stories, more events like this police officer and young man.

We need to expose the “typical world” to the world of autism…they need to see that there’s nothing wrong with our children.  There will be differences but they’re not harmful (mostly) and so there’s nothing to be afraid about when being with a child on the spectrum.

The autism world needs the typical world as well.  We need to have our children around as many typical people as possible.  My 7-year-old son needs to experience what it’s like to be with others who are not on the spectrum.  He needs to learn what’s socially acceptable and not acceptable…the only way he’s going to learn that is from being in that world.

It’s not an Us vs. Them scenario.  If we educate each other about autism and our children, and how they’re smart, happy, funny, playful, sensitive just like everyone else, then maybe in years to come we won’t have issues will people thinking those on the spectrum are not contributing members of society.

Kudos to this police officer for actually taking time to be a part of this young man’s life…he might not know it but he is not only helping the young man but he’s helping many across the country who may soon realize that children on the spectrum are different…but the same.

We need more stories like these!

Getting High For Autism…is that the answer?

Recently I read an article where parents in Oregon were giving their 11-year-old child with autism medicinal marijuana to “help” with his behaviors and symptoms.

I had to read the article a few times to really digest it and consider it from different angles.

My first inclination was outrage…really?  Parents are now doping up their kid to get him to calm down?  There’s nothing else to do?

After reading it again it just made me sad.  I’m sad for this 11-year-old boy who is afflicted with autism and seizures.  I’m sad for these parents who have had to put their precious child in a state institution…at age EIGHT?

My son is seven years old.  I can’t even imagine–on his worst day–how it would feel to deposit him in an institution because he was too hard to handle.

I don’t condone giving children medical marijuana…but that’s just the superficial  element to this story.  It’s not really about doping up this kid, it’s that there doesn’t seem to be anything out there to help him in his situation.

For that I am extremely sad.

We must do more.  Doping up kids is not the answer.  Maybe it will chill them out for a while, but it’s not going to solve anything or certainly cure or “treat” any of the symptoms.

We live in a society where we want immediate gratification.  If I want something, I’ll buy it.  If I don’t have the cash, put it on credit and pay it off later (or never).  We are in an Internet Generation of immediate results, answers and solutions.

We can’t treat our children on the spectrum like a Website.  We can’t expect to get the quick fix when it comes to autism.

My heart breaks for these parents–I don’t even know them–but I can imagine how their hopes and dreams and hearts have been smashed to pieces time after time after time.

Autism SUCKS!

We have to demand more from local, state, federal resources.  We have to demand more from the private sector.  We have to demand more from churches and non-profit organizations.  We have to demand more from our public and private schools.

If the studies are true and 1 in 47 boys are now afflicted…how much medical marijuana and how many state institutions are going to be needed in 5, 10, 15 years?

This can’t be the solution.  Doping kids and casting them aside isn’t the final answer…I just can’t believe that is going to be the best solution.

We have to demand more from ourselves…no one outside the Autism Community gives a rats-ass about our plight.  No one is going to just start handing out money to help find realistic treatments and maybe even a “cure”…if it’s not going to be you then who will it be!

No…none of us asked for this.  Our children didn’t ask for this either.  But for some reason we’ve been given the duty/chore/task/blessing of having a child on the spectrum and together we can only make changes.

What are you prepared to do?  Take the easy way out or do something about it?

To read more blogs from 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

It’s OKAYto have a Pity Party (sometimes)

I get a lot of emails and Tweets and whatnot from other parents with children on the spectrum.  They typically are very positive.  They’ll talk about how the read our book (and you should buy one too!), and will share some of their stories, frustrations, questions.

Every so often I’ll get comments where a mother or father (c’mon dads, need more of you to step up to the plate and be active in your child’s life!) will actually feel badly because they “aren’t there yet” when it comes to accepting and dealing with the diagnosis of their child.

I get comments from people saying, “I don’t want to be peppy and cheery all the time,” and “I’m not at a point where I can deal with our situation gracefully.”

I totally get that.  I have been there…I still go there…P-L-E-N-T-Y.

As my wife so correctly put it in our book  (did I mention you need to BUY IT), “You will never stop grieving, but you’ve got to get over it because if you don’t, it’s not helpful to you, your child, your family and your marriage.”  Lot of truth in that.

I still mourn.  I still get bummed when I think about the future and what may or may not be in store for my 7-year-old son….and that’s okay.

So I want all of you to hear this…IT’S OKAY TO HAVE A PITY PARTY from time-to-time.

No one is going to breeze through your situation.  Like our children on the spectrum, our situations of grief and trials are completely different.

It’s okay to be sad, angry, confused, just flat out pissed off at what’s going on.

My son has started getting very emotional about things at home.  If he doesn’t get something, he’ll start weeping and won’t let anyone see him or touch him.  If the dog jumps on him, you’d think we just shot the dog…seriously, he is weeping at the drop of a hat.  IT’S DRIVING ME (US) CRAZY!!!

I visited with a friend of mine about diet and family meal plans and we talked about how expensive and time consuming and all that it will be…yeah no kidding…it’s okay to be upset at that…have your pity party and then get back in the game.

I’m not perfect.  You’re not perfect.  No one is going to go through our trials without losing it from time-to-time.  I just want you to know that it’s alright to do that…as long as you get over it quickly, don’t take it out on your child, and don’t make it a crutch.

Give yourself the permission to have a pity party about your situation.  Give yourself permission to be sad, angry, scared.  Give yourself permission to not want to have a rosy disposition about the state of your situation.

But then shake it off, get back in there and get after it.

Good luck…oh and buy our book!

To read more blogs from 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