Tag Archives: fathers and sons

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

Celebrating Autism: Waiting in Line

Happy New Year everyone…let’s get to work

I’m sitting here watching some NCAA football, the fire is on, the dog is asleep at my feet, nice glass of vino within arms distance…perfect scenario to blog!

I was going through the family computer and cleaning out files and documents that we don’t need.  My wife has a “William” folder with all sorts of documentation and notes and all that fun stuff.

In the file are notes from our 18-month legal battle with our insurance company, notes about what William was doing at certain ages, much of the stuff she used to write our book “Look At My Eyes”

I opened one document that described William at 2 years and 7 months of age–just before he was officially diagnosed with autism and our lives continued to change.

One entry said “has serious issues with patience.  Won’t stand in line, refuses to wait–flips out if he can’t have it now!”

So today as my wife was sick in bed with flu-like symptoms and the kids were getting cabin fever, I took them to the Children’s Museum (a HUGE staple in our weekend routine all year ’round)

They have amazing exhibits and the kids love to go there.  As with many families on the spectrum, we have our routine.  We get our tickets, we go to the gift shop, we say “hello” to Ms. Lisa, we take off our shoes and go down the Dyno-slide, then we go and do other things…but it always happens like that.

As William and his sister were going up-and-down on the slide I realized that William was very patiently waiting in line for his turn.

Kinda made me chuckle.

Another exhibit they love is some spinning mechanism–I don’t know what it is, you step on it, hold on and it spins you and you get all dizzy–kids love that stuff you know.

As usual, there was a line.  Immediately William said (in his broken-but getting better-communication skills)…”not your turn, wait in line…not your turn, wait in line…not your turn, wait in line”

And that’s what he did.  Over and over and over, he waited in line, was patient and  calm, took his turn, flapped a bit, got back in line

“Wait in line…it’s not your turn.”

So ironic that I found the report of almost 4+ years ago where my son was not willing or able to stand in line, be patient, wait for it…and here we are…not saying he’s destined for greatness–but HAVE HOPE PEOPLE…every year that passes we notice successes (sometimes big, sometimes small) and hurdles that he clears.

Way to go my son!  I am proud of you for learning to stand in line, wait your turn, be patient…

now you just need to teach your old man that patience thing…Happy New Years

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

Rocks and Rice…Fathers and Sons and Autism

Rocks and Rice…huh?

What’s that got to do with autism?  Please explain.

Okay I will.

Last month I was visiting with a friend of mine who is also a father with a son with autism.  We’ve developed a good friendship over the past few years–my son is now 6-years-old and his son is a little younger–and we like to bounce ideas, stories and other things off one another.

I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again…FATHERS: YOU NEED TO HAVE SUPPORT WHEN DEALING WITH YOU AND YOUR CHILD ON THE SPECTRUM

I have a weekly group I meet with–but that’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about getting to know another father who has a child on the spectrum.  You need to have a go-to person (not a spouse or family member) preferable another male that knows EXACTLY what you’re talking about.

It’s one thing to have a buddy listen to you and say, “gee, that sucks.”  BUT it’s another thing to have a buddy say “man, I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about…my kid did the exact same thing”

Trust me…do it, do it….DO IT

So my friend was telling me a story about his son (and it’s okay bc he said I could share)

His son loves to pick up rocks and put them in a kiddie pool in their back yard.  Over and over and over again this boy will pick ’em up…put ’em in…pick ’em up and put ’em in

I’m assuming that parents return rocks to yard when child isn’t paying attention.

My friend’s son is also big into texture and so they decided to fill their kiddie pool with a 100 lb bag of rice because his son loved the feel of the rice.

Like my friend…I love sports.  I love to throw the ball and Frisbee and be active.  I loved shooting hoops as a kid and do all that fun stuff.  My dad had two left feet.  Not only was he NOT into sports but he had these “coke bottle” glasses and so wasn’t comfortable with balls flying in the air.  I learned at an early age that if I were going to have someone tossing me the ball…it wasn’t going to be my dad.

Growing up I always thought about how much fun it would be to have “a catch” with my son.  You know…stay out until dusk tossing the football or baseball when it gets just dark enough that you’re not sure if you can see the ball–and then getting clunked in the head from time-to-time…fun stuff like that.

So to my friend.  Even though we understand that our sons might not be super athletes, we still think about tossing the ball or kicking the ball in the yard.  His son isn’t into it…and neither is mine.

And that’s okay…we’re not so hung up on ourselves that we can’t find joy in doing other things with our children.

But my friend was perturbed because he didn’t feel as if he was bonding with his son just by picking up rocks or sitting in a kiddie pool of rice.

OH CONTRAIRE MON FRERE…

He’s doing just what he’s supposed to be doing.  No, he’s not tossing the ball or shooting hoops…but he’s doing what he needs to be doing…and that’s spending time with his son.

At times fathers (and mothers I’m sure) feel they’re not doing anything constructive with their children on the spectrum.  I know I feel as if I’m not making a connection or bonding with my son fairly often.

But then I got to thinking about it…IT’S ALL ABOUT ROCKS AND RICE!

It might not seem like a big deal to us fathers…but to our children it MIGHT be a huge deal.  We’re spending time with our children.  It doesn’t have to be the most fun we’ve ever had–but get out there and spend time with your child…you are making a connection.

I started thinking about my relationship with my son…”what are my rocks and rice?”

Then I thought about bath time and the little games I play with my son.  He loved to tap, tap, tap (yes, drives me CRAZY!) on the water bucket when I’m pouring water in the tub.  I know he loves it, he knows it drives me nuts, we’re a very knowledgeable family.

So the little game we play is for me to try and swipe his hand away before he can tap on the water bucket.  Then it becomes fun because he tries to get faster and faster and maybe distract me.  All he wants to do it tap, tap, tap that water bucket.

We have other little things…yeah they might not seem important…BUT THEY ARE.

So fathers (and mothers) just remember…it’s not about what you’re doing with your child on the spectrum, it’s not about YOU and your needs…it’s about Rocks and Rice.

What are your Rocks and Rice?  Share them if you please…

Stripping for Autism…Go Away Jenny McCarthy!

So it’s a Monday morning and I get to my computer at work and I start checking the emails I received over the weekend and I see a link to a wonderful Website called Special Needs Book Review where they have been so gracious to read our book, Look at My Eyes and they interviewed me (a dad) and did a great job.

I was so excited to have the opportunity to share some thoughts with this great outlet–that is read by many, many parents (and hopefully dads) and just thrilled to be able to make more connections…not just to hopefully sell some books, but to reach as many people dealing with a child on the autism spectrum as possible.

I went to my friend and fellow dad with child with autism Stuart Duncan to post the link to the interview on his site…Stuart lives in Canada and I have never met him but I would consider him a friend and a fellow father fighting for his son!  Stuart and I have had a few conference calls together and have been featured in  publications together…so it’s a joy to share information with him and to read his posts and blogs.

And there it was…I opened his page to see that Jenny McCarthy is apparently taking her clothes off for Playboy all in the name of Autism. (Note: I am not going to link the article of Jenny making this announcement because I don’t want any more clicks on that bullshit as possible)

Can I explain how angry I am right now?  Probably not!  This is just a joke and an outrage and I’m so ticked off on so many levels.

Who make this fraud the Queen of Autism?  She’s all about “curing autism” and how apparently her son had it and is now “cured” or something…which would be amazing since I don’t think I’ve EVER heard of anyone being cured from autism…but maybe he’s extra-extra special.

She’s big into bio-meds and all the vaccines “caused” my son to have autism although all of the reports she hangs onto have been disproved and not deemed scientific at all.

Let me get this straight…this no talent, fake boob, D-list “actress” (if you could call her that) who wrote a book (big deal, I wrote a book too–and it’s actually a helpful book!) and claims to have all the answers to autism–apparently she’s extra super smart…she just plays dumb in her life…is now going to take her clothes off to “fund autism research”

I’d love to go on and on and on about how pissed off I am and how stupid the media is to even report this…this is nothing more than a pathetic cry for attention by an aging (yet beautiful still I’m sure) never-has-been person peddling her son’s diagnosis to get money.

Shame on you Jenny McCarthy!  You are a disgrace to your son and to all the parents out there who are truly fighting and scraping every last resource possible to help pay for medicine, therapy, testing, treatment, anything and everything to give our child a future!

You are hurting those of us who truly are trying to make a difference in the autism community.

You are a shame to your name…you decided taking your clothes off 20 years ago was the best and only way to make a name for yourself and to make money…that’s fine, that’s up to you…and kudos to you for maintaining your surgically enhanced looks at your age now where you are able to be comfortable in stripping for the Playboy again…if you’ve got it, flaunt it.

BUT DON’T PRETEND THAT YOU’RE DOING THIS TO HELP YOUR SON AND OUT OF THE KINDNESS OF YOUR BOTOXED HEART…call it what it is….you need money and you crave attention…great, but don’t pimp your child in order to get attention or make money.

You don’t like what I’m saying…you are free to contact me directly and I’ll give you my mobile number and would love to visit with you!  info@thefowler4group.com

Have some respect for yourself and for your child…have some respect for us parents with children on the spectrum that can’t sleep because of the fears and stresses of our daily lives and the thought of our children growing up unable to blend into society as we get older…

Keep your mouth shut, keep your clothes on…or at least don’t associate Autism when you do it!

The Third Greatest Invention for the Autism World

Continuing on our journey of the Greatest Inventions for the Autism World…here’s MY OPINION for the Third…

BUT FIRST…in case you missed it:

The Greatest Invention for the Autism World

The Second Greatest Invention for the Autism World

And so…without further interruption…and remember people, this is not factual or scientifically based so please spare me the emails about “that’s not #3 on the list!”…this is my opinion and this is supposed to be fun and make you go “hmmmm”

The Third Greatest Invention for the Autism World…the exercise video!

Yep…you thought I was going to say some heavy  blanket or noise maker or spinning something didn’t you…NOPE…it’s the exercise video.

I guess it’s not called a video anymore these days but I’m a Gen-Xer and back in my day it was video so that’s what it’ll be.

Here’s why the Exercise Video is #3…because my 6-year-old son with Autism loves P90X and Insanity and if he likes it then it’s high on the list.

About 9 months ago I decided to start waking up early and doing the P90X workout at home…so I’d quietly get up and put in Tony Horton and start jumping and stretching and all this fun stuff.

Eventually my kids realized that I was up early and if they were quiet and not in my way they’d be allowed to get out of bed early. And so it came to be that my son started liking Tony Horton and P90X…not so much for the exercise but because it was routine…if you’ve never seen the videos they have about 13 of them and they’re all similar in that on the screen it will show the name of the exercise and will have a running timeclock and then Tony is one of those semi-annoying types that I find quiet enjoyable, but many just want to shut him up…he’s goofy and says funny things that just stick in your brain all day long…no really, ALL DAY LONG!

But it was good for my son because he would get up close to the screen and start calling out the letters of the exercise word he’d see on the screen…

he’d say, “M-A-S-O-N…T-W-I-S-T…what spell, what spell, what spell?”

it was a lot of fun hearing him call (or yell) out the letters and I didn’t mind because he was using his words and his brain.

Tony also has these sayings like “Bring It!” and “Do your best…forget the rest” and they’re catchy so I’d tell him and my daughter to “bring it” and he’d give me a high-five and say “bring it”

If you’re reading this and you don’t have a child on the Spectrum then you have no idea how great this type of interaction is…might seem small but in my world it’s HUGE!  To get him to engage and respond…I love it.

P90X is a 90-day routine and I just kept on doing it for about 120-150 days…so we all were very familiar with the routines and the words and phrases.  After P90X I did Insanity with Shaun T. which is similar but more core work.

Again…Shaun T. is one who has a lot of sayings and so my son would learn those as well.  Then he would start doing drills like Mummy Kicks or other exercises and it was fun because I could tell that he wanted to mimic what I was doing and be a part of it.

So there it is…the #3 most important invention for the autism world…not what you’d expect but that these workout videos (dvds) allowed me to share fun moments and interactions with my son and that he would work on calling letters and remembering phrases (even if he didn’t know what they meant)…well worth the sweat and pain!

Thanks Tony Horton and P90X and Shaun T. and Insanity…not only am I getting in great shape but I’m spending time with my son and that’s what’s most important!

BRING 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