As a mother, I will never give up on my child. As a mother of a child who has autism, I will never give up hope.
I look into his eyes and I see all the potential that he has to offer to this beautiful world and I just know that one day the world can see what I see.

Follow my blog as I share my life and my experiences as a person who loves someone with autism.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

#CANFamFest Canucks Autism Network Family Festival 2015

Join me and my family on Sunday, April 12th, 2015 from 10:00am to 2:30pm at Jack Poole Plaza at the Canucks Autism Network Family Festival in celebration of Autism Awareness month!

The event will include a pledged walk, BBQ lunch, live entertainment featuring Charlotte DiamondNearly Neil (huge fan!!), an appearance by hockey legend Trevor Linden, and lots of family friendly activities!

Canucks Autism Network Family Festival

We encourage you to invite your friends, families, neighbours, and colleagues to come out in support of people living with autism in our community!

Please support the Canucks Autism Network by signing up as a fundraiser today and make an impact on the lives of individuals and families living with autism in British Columbia.

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya and Bryce

For more information about this event, to make a donation, or to sign up to fundraise click here.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The dentist makes him smile

Today Bryce had his first teeth cleaning and did absolutely amazing from start to finish including perfect X-rays on the first try!

I forgot to bring my phone to take pictures during his appointment, but he completely surprised me staying super still for x-rays and didn’t even have a problem with the awkwardness of the grape flavoured flouride trays.

My dentist is great and I’ve been going to him for years. He is really patient and thorough. His lovely assistant who cleaned Bryce teeth was also very patient and told Bryce everything she was going to do, making it fun, and to fit his level of comfort.

I made a social story using i Create... Social Skills Stories app by i Get It! Apps to help prepare Bryce for his first teeth cleaning dentist appointment. You can customize everything from text to images, and even record your voice to add to the social story.

I took pictures of the dentists office, the chair he’d be sitting in, and used pictures I found online of teeth and teeth cleaning to add to the story.

March 26th, 2015-02

March 26th, 2015-03

Great first teeth cleaning experience! We even got to take two cavities home as souvenirs Winking smile but otherwise, all smiles!

Thanks for reading,

This post wasn’t intended to promote this app, but I definitely have to give them credit as this app helped make Bryce’s dentist appointment go smoothly. I really am a huge supporter of I Get It! apps! They have a wide variety and range of apps that are completely customizable and designed to support language skills development using real photo books.

Check out my review of I Create... Social Skills Stories.
Check out all of my reviews of I Get It! apps.

About I Get It! apps

I Get It! applications are designed to support language skill development by offering real photos books that are age respectful to the user.

Language skills, including vocabulary, sentence structure and social skills, are the foundation of understanding and expressing ideas with others. Weaknesses in language abilities affect listening, learning, and communicating.

i Get It! applications are designed to facilitate cognitive growth through building language skills.

i Get It! is dedicated to developing educational applications that can be utilized by diverse populations. Each app is designed for all ages with real photo books for contextual support, personalized text options for visual support and recordable audio capabilities for auditory support. However the user may easily modify the samples or create their own pages to customize the app for their student/child’s individual learning needs.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

I swear he doesn’t have autism anymore.

Bryce was diagnosed with autism just before his 3rd birthday. He’s almost 14 years old now and I swear he doesn’t have autism anymore.

Ten years ago, yes, hands down, can totally agree with his diagnosis. Yes, my son was showing symptoms and signs of autism. The hand-flapping, the lack of communication, lack of social interaction like he was ‘in his own world’ (I hate that term, but it’s an easy way to sum it up), attached to certain objects like his blanket, would only want to wear this one outfit, lined up objects all the time, seriously all the time, the list goes on.

But after reading this AMAZING POST, “10 Ways Being an Autism Parent Has Been Different Than Being a ‘Typical’ Parent (So Far…)” written by Melinda Brown, I started comparing some of the very common traits that she mentions that many children with autism have and I started to realize that a lot of these traits are long gone in Bryce. Keep in mind that every child with autism is different, but a lot of the symptoms and traits, routines, habits, etc, all those kinds of things are generally the same. Except I don’t feel like that’s the case for us anymore.

Now, I’m not saying Bryce is cured of autism, but he definitely has lost a lot of the traits. Was it the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy treatment? Maybe the school system and his amazing one on one Special Education Assistants throughout the years? Or is he just growing up and ‘growing out’ of these typical autism traits? I don’t know the answer but I can tell you what’s changed for Bryce throughout the past 10 years.

The Routine
Routines can be very important for most children with autism. Structure is like a security blanket and it helps them cope knowing what’s going to happen and when is it going to happen.

Over the last year I’ve pretty much phased out the need to explain to Bryce what’s going to happen and when it is going to happen. Routines weren’t really a huge problem for Bryce, as he’s always been able to adapt to any situation. Generally things he was looking forward to, and then for whatever reason, we weren’t able to do it anymore can result in tears or a tantrum, but I think that’s normal for any child really. Bryce still uses a schedule board at school that has laminated pictures of what his day will look like and I think that helps him with moving around from classroom to classroom being in a middle school, but nothing like that at home. I’m able to say, “Bryce let’s go!” and he drops everything he is doing, puts his shoes and jacket on without a problem and ready to go.

A lot of children with autism are considered ‘picky eaters’ because they don’t like very many things and like Melinda Brown mentions in her post, you generally can name everything they will eat on one hand. Bryce was definitely a picky eater. Super picky! For the longest period of time, every meal was French fries and ketchup. I’d say for the past 3-4 years that hasn’t been a problem. I can put any meal in front of him and he will eat it. Some meals take longer than others to finish, but they do get finished.

Sleep (or Lack Thereof)
Most children with autism may have difficulty sleeping or sleeping through the night. When Bryce was a baby he would sleep through the night. I seriously thought I was the luckiest person in the world because I know that isn’t always the case. He went through a phase where he’d crawl into my bed in the middle of the night for maybe a year, but other than that, slept through the night every night.

Public Outings
Bryce doesn’t really have any sensory processing issues, which generally is why public outings can be be difficult for a child with autism. When Bryce is excited he does this thing with his hands and it’s so hard to explain without visuals, but if you watch this video on our YouTube page you can see him doing it at 0:44 seconds into the video. Anyways, when he does that, sometimes we get starred at, or ‘the looks’ from people but it doesn’t bother me much anymore because I know that it means he’s happy and couldn’t be bothered what anyone else is thinking.

Holidays haven’t ever been a problem. Bryce goes trick or treating on Halloween. He leaves cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas and opens his presents without any hesitation. He even writes his own name all by himself when we had out Valentine’s Day cards.

The only ‘holiday’ we ever have a problem with is his birthday. We can invite his whole classroom of 30+ students, and maybe 8 will RSVP back at all. Part of it is because his birthday is the day after Canada Day which generally is a busy time for people, not to mention his birthday also falls at the beginning of summer vacation and some people aren’t able to come. That being said, he’s never celebrated a birthday alone.

Communication is something that can be challenging for Bryce. Bryce is verbal, but at the same time, not really verbal. He can tell me when he wants something whether it’s in a complete sentence like, “I want more juice please,” or if it’s just the a couple of words, “go bathroom”. Some of it is prompted, like being told what to say, for example if someone says hi to him at school and he doesn’t respond, me or whoever he is with will say, “Say ‘hi’ Bryce” followed by the persons name. Most cases he is parroting. Every single day after school, secretly hoping he will tell me without having to prompt any further, I’ll ask him, “How was school today, Bryce?” and he will respond, “How was school today, Bryce.” But if I ask him if he wants something he has no problem saying yes or no.

Bryce will always have autism. He will grow up to be an adult with autism. But many autism traits that were very prominent when Bryce was younger are simply not there anymore.

But regardless of anything, something I do know is that I love someone with autism and he means the world to me!

Thanks for reading,

For more information about early detection please visit First Signs, a website dedicated to educating parents and professionals about autism and related disorders.

If you are concerned that your child may have autism, please consult your pediatrician.