Holy Menstruating Minerva, Batman! Autism Dad not yet driven insane …

pms

No dad is ever excited about the arrival of a daughter’s first period, but to this autism dad with a non-verbal child, it was something that I didn’t even want to think about for more than a microsecond.  Well, that day arrived this year ON FATHER’S DAY.  Wow, thank you universe for that great bit of cosmic irony.

In any case, it has now been several months and I am happy to report that it was not the end of the world.  Mom gave a quick lesson on whatever it is that you ladies to and our little trooper has been a pro at taking care of things herself.  She does still require supervision or she would use 45 pads per day, but thus far it has not been the complete disaster that I expected.  Knock on proverbial wood.

There is some moodiness and crankiness that goes along with it, which is about the same as unexplained moodiness that comes and goes anyway.  So far.

For dads out there expecting the worst, wait and see.  PMS + Autism has not been the 7th level of Hades that I expected.

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You may be an autism parent if …

you leave kid unsupervised for all of 40 seconds and return to see something like this …

detergent

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Standing on Baby Jesus’ Skull and Urinating on the Lord, My bad …

Recently on Autism Daddy‘s Facebook page, the topic came up embarrassing stories related to poo, pee, etc. and two immediately came to mind for me.  While we have had out share of crapisodes as Kim Stagliano likes to call them, thankfully they are fewer these days and the potty is not a huge deal anymore (knock on wood, since I know things can regress on a moment’s notice).

The two that came to mind for me were …

1. Standing on the Baby Jesus’ skull and urinating on the lord and savior.  When my daughter was still very young, my wife wanted her to be in a Christmas program at a local church.  She was and still is the optimist of the family.  She is usually right and I am glad we did whatever it was that she wanted us to do, but in this case I saw where this was going.  This was a fairly large church and my daughter was the hit of the show.  I don’t recall what her specific part was since I refused to attend, but I think she was, ironically, an angel.  She didn’t stay where she was supposed to and the crowd was more focused on her than the impending birth of Jesus.  As a closing act, she stood on the baby Jesus (not a real baby) and proceeded to urinate on him.  As my grandmother would say, “I have already asked the Lord to forgive me for this and I don’t want to talk about it any more!”

The second episode that came to mind was just this past Christmas.  My stepbrother and his wife came to visit.  They went out for a bit to do some shopping and came back to the mother of all crapisodes.  My daughter, who has been great with the potty, just could not make it this time.  She had an upset stomach and was outside swinging.  She made a mad dash for the bathroom and almost made it.  Right around the GUEST BEDROOM, with her pants down, she spewed a diarrhea stream on the wall and left a lake o’ poo juice in the hallway right.  This continued into the bathroom and took out the bath mat and even made it’s way all over the shower current.  As luck would have it, our guest returned about a minute after the eruption.  They are young and have no kids.  I am thinking this probably them set back having kids or awhile.

Ah, the joys of autism poop tales …

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iPad/iPhone:Autism Mode (Disable Hardware Buttons, Lock into Single App)

***UPDATE: This is a standard feature in the newer versions of IOS, it’s called Guided Access.  http://autismdad.com/2014/03/20/using-guided-access-in-ios-to-lock-your-kid-with-autism-into-a-single-app/***

If you are like me, you see the iPad (and to a lesser extend, the iPhone) as a huge benefit for kids with autism spectrum disorders, BUT it can be a hassle getting your kid to stay focused on the great new educational or ACC app that you know could help them, when they can switch over to their favorite game app, etc.  For example, if you use ProLoQuo2Go for ACC, they can’t get out to play games or watch videos.

ios 6 resolved this dilemma.  using the Guided Access feature.  The following instructions work on the iPhone or iPad.

  1. Go to SETTINGS
  2. Click GENERAL
  3. Click ACCESSIBILITY
  4. Under LEARNING, click GUIDED ACCESS
  5. Turn GUIDED ACCESS ON and SET PASSWORD.  If you want the screen to still sleep after inactivity turn that option on as well.
Next,
  1. go to the app that you want to lock the kid into (ie – they can use this app and can’t get out to others via the HARDWARE BUTTONS.
  2. TRIPLE TAP THE HOME button (click 3 times quickly).  This starts Guided Access.
  3. Click Options.
  4. Leave HARDWARE BUTTONS to ALWAYS OFF, Leave TOUCH ON, and MOTION ON.  Click DONE.
  5. In top right corner, click START
  6. Guided Access is now engaged.  To get out of it, TRIPLE CLICK THE HOME BUTTON, enter password that you set up in settings, and click END.  You can now browse to any apps.

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Explaining death to child with autism

Recently, my non-verbal 11 year old daughter lost her grandfather. She was very attached to him and we were really unsure how to deal with the situation. We took the approach that, although we don’t know what she will understand, we will tell her what happened and be honest with her. She attended the visitation and saw his body in the casket. She was very interested in him, but quickly moved on to other things and wanted to play with her iPad. In short, I have no clue what she understood or how it impacted her. She has been to his house since his passing and I don’t know if she really gets it. I know she was totally crazy over him, but it doesn’t seem to have much of an impact. It bothers me that it doesn’t seem to bother her more than it bothers her. Is that how she will be when one of her parents is gone? Will she keep on trucking like nothing happened? We continue to operate on the premise in there somewhere, she gets it some. After all, there have been many other things that I had assumed she “didn’t get” and I turned out to be wrong. This is one of those things that I guess I will file under “I have no frickin’ clue.”

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Flexible Spending Accounts: New $2,500 maximum hurts autism families

As any parent of a child with autism knows, it is EXPENSIVE. I love(d) the Flex Savings Account offered by my company. The idea is that you can set aside a certain amount of PRE-TAX dollars to use to pay for various healthcare expenses. At my company, it was $5,000 this year. This means my taxable income is reduced by $5,000. Another great part of the plan is that, while my contribution is taken out bi-weekly, I get the full amount to spend on Jan 1. The plan is “use it or lose.” If I put in $5,000 and don’t use all of it, I lose it. Fine, it’s not really hard for families with autism to rack up $5,000 in co-pays, prescriptions, etc. Given the new $2,500 max, some are questioning the “use it or lose it” part of the law.  (read more on FSAs @ Wikipedia … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexible_spending_account)

In light of the new $2,500 cap on healthcare flexible spending accounts under ObamaCare, the Internal Revenue Service is asking taxpayers: Do we need the use-it-or-lose-it rule? It might sound arcane, but it can mean hundreds of dollars extra in your pocket each year.

Some 33 million workers divert pre-tax salary into these accounts to cover out-of-pocket healthcare expenses like co-pays, deductibles, and orthodontia. But millions of folks don’t take advantage of these plans because of the dreaded “use-it-or-lose it” rule: Dollars left in the account at the end of the plan year are forfeited. Others rush and make unnecessary expenditures at year end trying to run down their balances, and those who forfeit money because they miscalculated projected expenses are left seething.

“Many middle class Americans are foregoing this benefit because they aren’t able to accurately predict their health care expenses,” says Natasha Rankin, executive director of the Employers Council On Flexible Compensation, which has long supported efforts to eliminate the use-it-or-lose-it rule.

FSAs were invented by Congress in 1978, and the use-it-or-lose-it rule dates to proposed regulations issued in 1984 sparked by a concern about excessive compensation deferral. Why the new interest in modifying the rule? Under the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, starting Jan. 1, 2013, there will be a new $2,500 annual salary-deferral limit for healthcare FSAs. Currently, there is no legal limit, and 78% of large employers set it at $5,000 or higher, according to AON Hewitt. The $2,500 cap was a revenue raiser estimated at $14.6 billion over 10 years. The thinking is that with the cap, there is no need for the use-it-or-lose-it rule.  - http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2012/06/19/obamacare-calls-flexible-spending-account-use-it-or-lose-it-rule-into-question/

So, while I do like some aspects of the new healthcare law, like the pre-existing conditions and keeping your kid on your insurance longer, this new max on flex spending is not one of them.   This change will cost my family several hundred dollars than could have been put to better use than donating to Uncle Sam.

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Octomom, Nadya Suleman, takes break from soft-core porn to blame messy house on kid with autism

As entertaining as Ann Coulter has proved to be over the last few days, it’s time to move on to more important subjects.  Like … The Octomom blaming her kid with autism for her house being trashed.  Since he was the only one mentioned, I can only assume that this child has more destructive energy than the other 13 kids in her collection …  combined.  Damn, woman, you have a small army to help you keep house.  Spend a little less time doing soft-core porn and a little more organizing your little platoon.

Nadya Suleman is making headlines for the umpteenth time in the past few weeks, this time for a video in which she blames her young autistic son for trashing their family’s La Habra home last year. This sounds pretty awful on its face, and Nadya Suleman typically comes across as anything but a stable individual, but hold on. Might there be something to her claims that her seven-year-old son, quite possibly more destructive than most children his age due to his disorder, wreaked some major havoc?

If that is indeed the case (and of course, no one but Octomom knows for sure what goes on in her household), we are glad she has taken what sounds like the appropriate measures to remedy or at least help the situation, give her son boundaries and keep her new house in good repair. More @ http://www.examiner.com/article/video-octomom-nadya-suleman-blames-autistic-son-for-dirty-house

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Ann Coulter’s Retard Apology

Ann Coulter: Special Needs

Ann Coulter is pretty pathetic.   On the 3rd presidential debate last night,

“I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.”

Sadly, I doubt Ms. Coulter will or is even capable of an apology on this matter.  Given her past record, she might muster up an “I’m sorry if I offended anyone” non-apology.

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Autismate Winner

Congratulations to Lee Veinot who won the free copy of Autismate.  Picking a winner was a very difficult task. Thanks to everyone who entered.

We have a wonderful 5 year old boy with autism named Joseph. He is a gentle boy, and very sweet by nature, but the autism makes it so these traits don’t always come through. He has two younger brothers, a three year old who can’t understand why his brother is “mean” to him sometimes and a 9 month old who has nothing but trust, but is starting to cringe when he is around. Joseph cannot understand that something can hurt somebody, he does not understand that the actions he does cause pain to those he loves. Instead, he will laugh. We need some way to help him understand, to improve his social skills. He is about to enter Kindergarten in a special ed class, and has spent the past two years in a class especially for autism, gaining experience with the ipad. I know ipad apps capture his attention, but they seem to complicated for him. When I read about this app, and that the creator attempted to make an easy to comprehend app, I saw hope. I ask that you please consider us for you free copy of the app. We love him so much, his parents and brothers.  - Lee Veinot

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★ The communication and learning platform designed specifically for autism

For many visual learners, AutisMate’s scene-based approach to delivering therapy can be more effective and easier to understand than traditional grid-based augmentative communication (AAC). Hierarchal grid-based AAC was developed for a wide variety of communication disabilities and requires generalization, categorization and complex navigation that can be very difficult for many learners on the spectrum.

AutisMate integrates applied behavior analysis (ABA) strategies such as video-modeling and social stories to promote behavior and social skills in addition to communication. In minutes, caregivers can now share a view of the world around them by using their own pictures, videos and voice recordings that can be taken right from your iPad. These familiar scenes make it easer to share experiences with individuals on the spectrum and build communication skills, functional skills, routines, social skills and anything else you can imagine!

Learn more at: www.autismate.com

———-KEY FEATURES————–

➤ Easily customizable scene-based AAC
AutisMate’s visual approach to AAC allows caregivers to create contextual environments of a user that are more intuitive to learn than pure grid-based AAC systems. In just a few minutes, caregivers can upload their own custom videos, images and audio. In addition, AutisMate comes fully loaded with synthesized voice and a library of over 12,000 symbols at your disposal.

➤ Integrated video-modeling
Video-modeling allows children to model functional skills or appropriate behavior in day-to-day real life situations. Create your own videos and simply add to a contextual scene or social story to teach routines, social behavior, independence and much more…

➤ GPS-enabled
Scenes can be tied to the app’s physical location through GPS, simplifying the navigation process by presenting relative language that is location-specific. For example, be presented with scenes tied to school when the end-user walks into school.

➤ Social stories for routine, functional or social skill development
Social stories are an effective way to present information on social situations in a structured and effective manner. Social stories can be integrated into relatable scenes, resulting in a powerful teaching tool where end-users can explore, learn and practice through pictures, video and text without the possible stresses of the social situation itself.

➤ Multi-variation recordings for generalization
Teachers and parents can set multiple variations of a certain phrase to the same picture in order to promote generalization. For example, one time a button may say, “I would like to have some orange juice?”, while another time it may say, “May I have some orange juice please?”

➤ E-mail content sharing
Share fully customized scenes with images, video and audio recordings with easy to use iPad to iPad content sharing. With just one click, teachers can share scenes with parents and vice versa.

➤ Custom word boards with multi-touch gestures
Grid-based word boards give the end-user access to communication that’s more abstract or that needs to accessible from any scene. Multi-touch gestures allow caregivers to move or hide the pictures/symbols of word boards during therapy while preventing children from doing the same.

➤ Free in-app support
Whether it’s a question or an idea for a new feature, our support team is always there for you. Just tap on the email support from within the app or visit our website to send us your inquiry.

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Goodbye Netflix. Can’t block specific show.

While I love Netflix and it has come in handy with my daughter when we are out somewhere, waiting in a line, etc; the inability to block a specific program is a major problem.  Specifically, The Wonder Pets.  The obsession with the show and the echoing/behavior issues it induces is a problem.  There is no way to block a specific tv show or movie.  The only parental controls are based on program ratings (G, PG, R, etc.)  You can vote down a show so that it doesn’t show up any more, but it is a LOT of work and takes forever.  So, goodbye Netflix, it’s been real.

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