Tag Archives: pdd-nos

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

Stare? Yes please!

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In the beginning, I didn’t like the stares. I mostly ignored them. Sometimes I stared back with “the look.”

On a few occasions, just a few… I fought back with rude sarcastic tones and huffy behavior, sometimes appearing sweet but it was quite sour I assure you.

I was young. I was young to autism. I wanted everyone to understand and the stares infuriated me. I loathed the situation I was in. It was me against all the ignorant… the general public that knew nothing about autism.

I don’t know exactly when it all changed…when my frame of mind changed.

Realizing that I was in “the club” and not getting out felt suffocating and threw me into a tailspin…

That was my first act of acceptance. Once I got over that hump aka “Mount Everest,” the stares began to bother me less and less.

I found myself wanting to speak more freely, more openly to others. I found myself using the stares for my own purpose… the purpose of educating and advocating.

I found myself talking to strangers that…. stare. <smile>

It began to look like:  Stare= Opportunity= Discussion= Knowledge= Awareness

If I don’t act on a stare, I see it now as a missed opportunity.

Don’t miss an opportunity.

In the beginning, I didn’t like the stares. I mostly ignored them.

Now, I can’t get enough of them! <smile>

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

 

 

 

fighting for Gray

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Color coded tabs, labels of any kind, a well stocked and organized pantry… these all put me in a state of sheer bliss.  Put me in an office supply store and I could meander for hours with a crazy smile on my face. Seriously.

Organization and structure are key ingredients for autism.  All children need structure BUT for children with autism, it is absolutely necessary.

Man oh man, I had this down.  Timely activities? Check!  Well organized routines? Check!  William thinks in black and white.  It is an organized way of thinking… it goes way farther than my colored tabs and labels.  Yes, it’s black and white… it’s always the same.

BUT.  Where is the Gray?

Where is the line of flexibility?  Over the years, I have come to love and nurture the Gray.  It’s the Gray that makes the big splash.  He thrives on Gray… that hard place he never wants to go to.  The place where his structure is questioned and put up on a shelf.

Thank you shelf.

I realized we needed more Gray years ago… The setup:  I pick William up from school.  We drive our route home.  I remember, “Oh, we need groceries.” I turn right instead of left to stop by store.

Fits of rage fill the car like a huge fog… crying and self infliction follow shortly after.

What just happened???  Gray entered the picture.  We began doing this more.  A missed turn here, a stop there… completely out of routine.  Over time, it got easier.  He became, well… pliable. FLEXIBLE.  That’s what you want people… I promise.  Routine is great, but you must, absolutely must, give room for a little Gray.

Gray is where you will see the most progress. It is where the the most strides in accomplishing goals are most visible.  We can now eat at different restaurants, do unexpected errands, change our minds and go a “different” route…. uh, we can be “normal” in a lot of ways thanks to Gray.

Keep fighting for the Gray while keeping your black and white close by.  Everyone needs a little Gray.  I am beginning to really like this color…it’s done wonders for William.

I need it too… <smile>

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

God for Thought

William’s eyes are beautiful.  Everyone says so, and even if they didn’t, I know so. They are most hypnotizing when he is looking and thinking about something off in the distance.  Everytime… everytime I ask William, “What are you thinking about?”… his answer is always and never failing, without a doubt, and never pausing… “GOD.”

William likes going to church and can sing a number of churchy songs off hand if asked.  He LOVES Christmas… and not because of presents.  Actually, he could care less about presents and how many he has under the tree. For him, he loves a decorated tree, the ornaments, the stories… THE ADVENT CALENDAR.  He has the symbols memorized and can’t wait to wake up each morning to put a new symbol on our tree.  He likes hearing stories from the bible and enjoys going to Children’s Church with Margaret.

He loves to pray for others…his list can be different every night.  He might pray for someone he hasn’t seen in years (truly) and every time, I am amazed at how the name slips right off of his tongue as if he had seen them just yesterday.  He certainly loves hymns and learning new ones, and rest assured, you have never heard them being sung quite like this!

So why am I surprised that his answer is always… “GOD?”  Certainly William has been exposed since birth to the bible, songs, prayer etc, BUT, I think it’s much more than that.  William lives in this world differently and with that, he sees and feels differently.  Maybe, just maybe… different or not, William’s one word answer is just what we all need to cling to and remind ourselves of everyday…that God should be the center of our thoughts and actions.

It is definitely a reminder for me and as William continues to grow, I have the opportunity to witness God’s specific and perfect purpose for him.  This simple one word answer that rolls off his tongue so undoubtedly so, does not go unheard.  I’m in awe of the life God has given me.

The majority of William’s life has been full of one word answers and incomplete thoughts.  But, this question that is asked as his beautiful eyes gaze at the distance, is COMPLETE with only one word… “GOD.”