IMPROV FOR ASPIES!

The key to every social lesson I've taught my son, is to make it fun and appeal to his sense of humor.

When my son was younger and I had to prepare him for an upcoming social event, we would role play. I would pretend to be a person who had to introduce themselves to a group of peers. I'd enter and re-enter his room introducing myself in different, exaggerated ways. Shoulders hunched and eyes on the ground, mumbling my name and offering a really limp handshake or dragging my feet into the room, smacking my gum, eyes fixed on my phone, then keeping my arms crossed and not introducing myself at all. Then I would have him tell me what his first impressions of me were when I behaved that way.

Once the point was made, we'd practice the proper way to introduce ourselves (eye contact, firm handshake, shoulders back, chin up) and work on 'getting to know you' questions and answers. Once the lesson was done, we would take the game in a really exaggerated direction and take turns acting out really outrageous introductions and laughing at the impression those characters would make on a new group of people.

I had the bright idea, after showing him the best of Adam Sandler skits from SNL, to sign him up for a local improve class. Luckily, the first place we signed up with was a perfect fit. It was owned and run by some young adults (former Disney TV celebs) and was close to home. It took just one test class for him to agree to join up for weekly improv lessons. The energy was high, the classes were small, and the rules were loose - it was a perfect place for my boy to learn about himself.

The zanier the exercise, the more involved he would become, completely forgetting to be self-conscious or uncomfortable - because he and all the kids there with him were just 'acting' and it wasn't 'real life'. It wasn't long before I could see self-confidence begin to grow. Sadly, the classes weren't getting enough participants and they didn't run as often as I would have liked. We tried an improv class that was being offered at the community center, but the vibe just wasn't the same, it was too focused on the 'art of improv' and not enough on the 'just go for it' improv he had previously experienced. He tried out one class and didn't want to go back. At the end of the day, I think taking improv changed his life. He has been, increasingly, the class clown over the years since always searching for that great feeling that making people laugh gives a person.


I made is sound kind of easy, but he started out as a very frustrated boy. He couldn't articulate his feelings and would often go into 'rage mode' because of it. After doing improv on and off for a few years, he was better able to control his body and articulate his feelings. I believe that learning to manipulate and express himself in a safe and accepting environment like improv class, helped him to get in touch with his own voice and sense of self.

I also believe, that Aspies should, where possible, go into groups like this with 'typicals' to offer them the opportunity to learn from them via proximity by witnessing how they react and behave in different situations.

Do you have any similar stories or suggestions to help our Aspie kids? Leave a comment!

Good luck our there,
JB

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Our Best Bitches Annual Surprise Birthday Day

My best friend and I plan a surprise day for each other every year on their birthday. Pretty freaking awesome right?
 
It began around ten years ago when my best friend and I had an epiphany. We had met only a few years before that through work, discovered we both had kids still in diapers and began meeting on the weekends to drink tea while said kids ran amuck at the local indoor playground called The Monkey's Jungle.

Over the years, in discussing our significant others' downfalls, as girls are want to do, we agreed they weren't really in tune with our unique and often odd personalities, which made us so hilarious to each other, or our sense of adventure. They were continually giving us things like emergency car kits or boring old flowers for our birthdays - and with no sense of ceremony at all! We both felt we were pretty fabulous gals and deserved to have our birthdays, not just noted, but celebrated! If we were forced to get older we might as well enjoy the ride.

The realization was that we set our hopes too high every year just to be let down. We couldn't fault our mates for not performing to a standard that they didn't even know existed, could we? And so we took our happiness into our own hands and decided not just to celebrate our birthdays together every year for the rest of our lives, but to plan each other's birthdays as a surprise in advance every year as well. And thus was the beginning of our Annual Surprise Birthday Day. My birthday is in April and RBs in July, so the weather was usually good enough for whatever we conjured up to do.

Who knows you better than your bestie? Probably nobody. It's a relationship with no holds barred. You intimately know the best and worst of each other as well as the best and worst of everyone in each others life through proximity. You love who they love and hate who they hate. You've got their back and they've got yours. If you are one of the lucky ones, this also describes your relationship with your spouse. The significant difference here is that women get women.

Your spouse may also be your best friend, but he'll never really get your the way your bestie does. We figure we are saving them the inevitable grief of cocking up our birthdays and taking the pressure off them, leaving us looking forward to our Birthday with giddy anticipation every year instead of the dread of another hum-drum birthday. Besides, everybody knows it's important to maintain your friendships even though you are in a relationship: Read This! So every year our spouse is off the hook and we get to go out into the world and act like a couple of idiots all day long, refusing to actually grow up just because we happen to be getting older.

So are you in? Do you have a friend you can make the Birthday Day Pact with? It will change your life. Even if you don't have a significant other, it's important to your overall wellbeing to make time to spend with your friends. I promise you will cherish these two days per year that are dedicated to the people who will always be there for you. And you will make SO MANY HAPPY MEMORIES.

OUR BIRTHDAY DAYS

There are no rules. It is totally up to the other person and their budget at the time to schedule the entire day in advance. It really matters not what we do or where we go in the end, only that we spend a day together. We leave the stress of every day life behind twice a year and run away for a day. It really is freeing.

We always start our days off early to make the most of it. We have breakfast together, sometimes in the car on our way to our destination while also enjoying our steeped tea from Tim Hortons.

In the beginning we started out almost every birthday with a trip to a spa where we would get our nails done and sometimes get massages. It got expensive and made it harder to plan for the others things in the day so we don't do it as much anymore.

DAY TRIP!
Here are some of the things we've done on our Birthday Days:
  • Window shopping in some cute little tourist town a few hours away
  • A Helicopter ride over Niagara Falls
  • Watching a play in the theatre district of Toronto
  • Taking a Pole Dancing Class
  • Having high tea a the Royal York
  • Zip lining
  • Going to a museum
  • Taking a tour - any tour!

This year, on my birthday, we did a tour of the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) and then kicked around in the city in the afternoon, window shopping and dining and 'documenting' everything with our phones. After taking a photo, we decided to started saying "documented!" We are silly and it made us giggle. The point it that as long as we're together, it's going to be fun day.

For my beastie's birthday, I took her to cottage country where we took a boat tour that turned out to be a bit on the long, get me off this damn boat and get some food into my body, kind of tour. Afterwards we window shopped in the harbor town and then headed to my modest cottage an hour away for the night, concluding the evening with a fire and marshmallows.

GIFTS

We started filling a treasure chest for each other as a new tradition. Again, nothing fancy or expensive, just things you know the other person would appreciate. My bestie, who is truly the best, actually makes me chocolate covered Swedish berries every year - I suck as a friend in comparison - they are my absolute favorite thing in the world, next to my own child. I put google eyes in the box for her this year, and she had some fun vandalizing property with them as you'll see "documented!" below.

DOCUMENTED!

BEST BITCHES 4 LIFE!



GOOGLE EYES!


THE ROM

ZIP LINING (RB was sick for the rest of the day)

'WINDOW SHOPPING'


'WINDOW SHOPPING'








SCARY ASS DOLLS WE FOUND WINDOW SHOPPING





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Sh*t My Mom Says

Some mothers, like myself, come up with sweet little sayings that are sort of like inside jokes for mom and child. For instance, I was tired of telling my son that "practice makes perfect!" so I started saying "practice makes popcorn!" which made us giggle and still got my point across to my ever reluctant son.

As for my mother's many, many sayings and expressions, I though I'd make a list of some of her gems. Keep in mind she is of a different generation and was raised in the forest by wolves (actually in the woods and my grandfather was a fur trapper). In her defense, my mother is actually the sweetest person I know. She had 5 kids to raise and she welcomed all of our friends and neighborhood kids into our home. She would pack a lunch for all of us plus my best friend who would show up at our door every morning to take the bus with us. I could write a book on just how amazing my mother truly is. But today, I'm going to write about all the sayings that kept me guessing over the years. My mother is a respected member of her community....somehow. Anyway, here we go!

Sh*t My Mom Says:

Let's get warmed up with some of the PG ones:

"Some people's children." She would say this when we were being weird or misbehaving as though she was judging another person's kids. I like this one and use it on my son now.

"Rise and Shine! Daylight in the Swamp!" This is how she would wake us up for school when we were teens. I kind of loved it.

My mother would sing this to me sometimes: "You may think it's goofy, but my daughter is a Newfie!" I also kind of loved this because my father is from The Rock.

"That's the pot calling the kettle black." It's a classic, but now we have stainless steel kettles and our pots can come in a variety of colors. This expression came about when people used cast iron in the kitchen - and it's not a racist expression at all. It's a way of calling somebody a hypocrite.

"Like it or lump it" I actually found this one on the internet: Meaning: "Said of an unpleasant outcome that one has no choice but to accept - one can either endure it willingly or endure it with suffering. - Lump - To look sulky or disagreeable (16th century) http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/like-it-or-lump-it.html

Are you warmed up? Because here come the doozies:

"I'm broke flatter than piss on a plate." I think this one is self explanatory.

"That thing (jar, door, whatever) is closed up tighter than a Nun's c*nt." (yup, she really says it - without a care in the world - kind of like Betty White) Both insulting to women and religion in one blow. I'd give this one a 9 on the offensive scale.

If I am bent over to pick something up, she will say this before smacking very hard on the bottom: "Never pass a tight ass..." What does that even mean? Without smacking it I guess.

She would also call me a "Wandering Jew" when I walked around the house in boredom as a child. I did not know how to feel about this one. I found out recently that there is actually a biblical character that this reference pertains to, whether my mother knows this or not, I will have to ask her. "The original legend concerns a Jew, who taunted Jesus on the way to the Crucifixion and was then cursed to walk the earth until the Second Coming." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wandering_Jew

And the ultimate pot calling the kettle black is when she would tell us kids, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Really Mom? Really?

My parents together have a ton of inside jokes as well. They often quote television commercials that made them laugh or just a part of a joke that they both thought was hilarious. They have a great relationship and still flirt with each other after forty years of marriage. So I think the secret to a good marriage must be that you both have to have a sense of humor be a little bit crazy.












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25 Things I Know Are True at age 37

  • Bagels are just as bad as donuts.
  • "Choose your battles" is really good advice.  
  • If you choose forgive somebody then you should actually do it. 
  • Croissants are as bad as muffins. 

  • Eating nuts is a good idea. Nobody remembers to eat nuts. 
  • Meat is as bad as meat. 
  • If we never cried, laughing wouldn't feel so good. 

  • Being "broke flatter than piss on a plate" means you are having financial troubles. 
  • Global warming is real, dummy. 
  • Women are genetically disposed to being attracted to assholes. 
  • Depression is real, dummy. 
  • Owning a pet will mprove every aspect of your life. 

  • Having children is supposed to change your life, dummy. 
  • Small houses make loving families. 
  • Bananas will bung you up if you eat them too often. 
  • Friends are not important, they are vital. 
  • Meditating improves every aspect of your life. 
  • Some People will let you down and some will surprise you. 
  • PMS is real, dummy. 
  • Migraines suck. 
  • Chocolate is as a gift from God to women, literally. 

  • Sugar can make a headache worse. 
  • Drinking more water will improve ever my aspect of your life. 
  • Love is every emotion, good and bad, and sticking it out through them all is what counts.
  • Too much of anything isn't good for you.
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My Jane Austen Summer

My bestie gave me a book containing all of Jane Austen's novels for my birthday a few years ago and this summer I plan to read them all. 

It is now early August and so far this summer I have read Persuasion, Lady Susan, and Mansfield Park. I fairly recently read Northanger Abbey so I feel like I can skip that one. 

My big ass Jane Austen book has been at arms reach all summer. It has been to the cottage, in my hammock in the back yard and as far as east as Newfoundland. I've even left it out in the rain of course. 



Right now I'm going to watch the movie Austenland (Adapted from the adorable book written by Shannon Hale http://books.google.ca/books/about/Austenland.html?id=fTXOJ3BClGwC&redir_esc=y) on Netflix to continue my Jane Austen summer. 



Up next is Emma. 

I plan to end this summer rereading my absolute favourite book since age 14, Pride and Prejudice. And if I can spare sixteen hours I'll pull out my BBC DVD set too.

 

 
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Let's Talk About Death



My father-in-law passed away recently. His wife, while he was on his deathbed, removed his wedding ring. We asked her, what she was doing. And she replied that she didn't want anybody to steal it when he is buried. I had to chuckle and say that there aren't grave robbers anymore, nor do we live in Ancient Egypt. She said she was just going to put it in her drawer - forever with some of her other jewelry. Feeling compelled, I asked would your husband not want to be buried with his wedding ring as it was such a part of his life, being married to her for the last 50 years. In the end she kept the ring off of his hand, after going back and forth a few times on the subject.

What this made me realize is that we do not talk about death as much as we should before actually dying. I think it is easier on your loved ones if you to let them know your wishes. When I was speaking with my own father and telling him the story I just shared, he said very frankly that he wouldn't want to be buried with his wedding ring on. I was shocked. I would have very much assumed that he would want to be buried with his wedding ring on given that he loves my mother so much. This only strengthens my point is that we should have these conversations.

My ex-mother-in-law did something that I thought was creepy when I first met her, but now I understand and actually admire her for it. She went around her home, at around the age of 70, putting little nametags on all of her belongings. When I asked her what the heck she was doing she told me she was putting her children's names on her belongings so they didn't fight over anything when she was gone. Is this extreme? I'm not sure anymore.

To me when somebody passes away, respecting their wishes is your final act of honoring them. For instance some people may insist that they have a closed casket while others may insist they be buried in their favorite golf outfit. I think that there should be a list, not like a Will per se, but a list of things that you would like to see happen after you pass.

I'm not a photogenic person. I will have pictures picked out for my funeral before I go, to save from anybody posting a bunch of awful pictures of me in memory on some board or slide show.
.
Life doesn't go on forever and that we have to prepare ourselves for the end eventually. Thinking about these things isn't easy, that's for sure. Mortality is a slap in the face at best. Especially when we've seen so many die young, and die very ill. But lets be brave and by being brave and having these conversations, we are being kind to those we leave behind.

A few things about my funeral:
  • I want only the best photographs of me to be displayed
  • I want to closed casket
  •  my closest family can view my body but that is all, as I believe it is a very important part of the grieving process and for closure.
  • I want very specific songs played at my funeral such as amazing Grace and On the Wings of a Snow White Dove. Maybe a little White Stripes?
  •  I want my grandmother's engagement ring to go to my son and to be passed along to his children but I want to keep my engagement and wedding ring from Victor on my finger for eternity. 
  • Only orange flowers at my funeral. No boring flowers allowed.
  • I also want twinkle lights, I'm not kidding.

Other Things to consider:
  • When somebody passes, the funeral home will ask if you want them to be embalmed or not. Embalming is a sort of preservative. If you do not embalm, then you must be buried quickly in accordance with the law, apparently. I didn't know we actually had this choice. I say embalm me so my family isn't put under the stress of time restraints at such a time.
  • Clothing and other items that a person might like to be buried with. Photos, jewelery, etc.
  • Cremation, burial, vault, ground...etc.
  • Would you like to have a Viewing/Visitation with family, or what I call a Wake.
  • Type of ceremony - religious etc.
  • Is there a specific place the person would like to have the services and viewing?

I'm going to sit down with my parents and interview them about what they would like for their funerals. They have already begun planning by paying in advance, just like my dear grandmother did. These conversations need to happen so that I can truly know what their wishes are when the day comes. Although I can say for certain at that time I will be completely inconsolable. I adore my parents, and the last thing that I want to think about is their departure from this earth and from my life. I realize that their wishes for their funeral arrangements are sacred and important and I would like to honor them by respecting those wishes. So I've created this checklist if anybody would like to use it for themselves or their family members, for that day is inevitable and none of us can avoid it, but we can be prepared and prepare loved ones to make it easier on them when it's time to make important decisions about our funeral arrangements.

Good luck out there, JB
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You and Me Against the World - Raising a Child With Asperger's



A Mother's Love

My son has Asperger's and I can't imagine him any other way.
D, my son, recently told me about a surprisingly philosophical and religious conversation he had with his best friend. The two twelve-year-old boys had a discussion about reincarnation. They decided that you can keep getting reincarnated and end up with the same family over and over again, but sometimes they will be your Dad instead of your Mom, or your cat instead of your dog, but nobody has any memory of the life they had before. I was quite impressed as this is my understanding of reincarnation as well, although we've never had it come up in our own conversations before. Then after some consideration, my son added that when you get to heaven you can choose whether you want to stay there or go back to Earth. With those big brown eyes, he looked over at me in the driver seat and asked, "Mom, when you go to heaven, can you wait there for me instead of going back as someone different?" My heart swelled and my eyes welled as I made my promise to wait there for him with open arms someday. And I will.

Good vs. Evil
We are not a church going family, although we've been known to drop in once every blue moon. We are, however, a believing family. The balance of good and evil is something my son clings to as an Aspergian boy. He seems to have almost too good of a grasp on what's right and what's wrong - he's a real stickler for the rules. It's great, but a little embarrassing when he catches me doing something I shouldn't be doing. This also causes problems at school when the boys his age always seem to be doing something that isn't exactly above par - I had to teach him that some things you just need to let go and not tell teachers about, otherwise you'll quickly run out of friends and allies at school.

The good news is that he's not going to be falling for peer pressure anytime soon. It's not that he doesn't mind taking the high road, it's that something in his brain just doesn't allow him to stray from his very rigid understanding of right and wrong. It's a blessing and a curse I guess.

I think he'd make a good cop someday, but as a mother, I wouldn't want him to have such a dangerous job. Truly, it's up to him, but I know he has a bright future. Morals are a rare thing in people these days and I think that he will stand out as an honest and reliable person when he enters the work force. Although, sometimes too honest.

Daddy Dearest

For years I've been trying to explain to my ex what my son needs from him. He's even had notes come home from teachers asking him to help boost our son's self-esteem. The biggest complaint year after year is that when he's with his Dad, he is ignored. Sure, he's fed and told when to go to bed, but otherwise pretty much ignored.

You may be thinking, well kids exaggerate, but I've lived with this man and I too was completely ignored for four long, nearly silent years. I have no doubt in my mind that L, my ex, should be diagnosed with OCD, and Social Anxiety Disorder, and possibly even Asperger's. Despite that, it's hard not to think of him as an jerk given the fact that he chooses to ignore the ones who love him most, and this includes his parents when they visit as well. But, I know under that almost impenetrable surface is a really really good man with a lot of issues that were never addressed, medicated, or even acknowledge and it really isn't his fault that he is the way he is. It makes me fight for my son even more, to ensure I'm providing him with the interventions required so he can have the soft skills his father is lacking and.

My son, who I love and adore, has Asperger's which causes him to have social anxiety along with some quirky behaviours, just like his father. Daddy is afraid of germs, son is afraid of buttons (see post: Afraid of Buttons? ). Daddy is something of a robotic personality, son still just loves to be tickled (he's almost a teen).

They are both kinda different in their own way, but when ones differences negatively affects the other, what am I supposed to do? My son needs a lot of affection, reassurance, attention, and interaction from me because he misses out on a lot of that from his Dad.

Here's a recent email to his Dad from me:

He needs face time – NOT screen time. He needs to know he can talk to you about school problems, kid problems, puberty, everything! He needs you to make the time to hang out, he will not decide that he should get off the computer/game to have human time – that’s your job – limit the screen time. Make rules about screen time and stick to them. (I know we’ve talked about this before) Read together, TV and movies are a good way to spend time together and discuss. Get outside, walk to the store or Tim Horton's for a hot chocolate, go for a drive, visit your mom or brother...anything! You need to fill up his weekends with sustenance. He’s old enough now to decided not to go to your place at all. What do you think he would do if given that option?

I know that last part was harsh, but when I have to spend every second week building him back up, it's an option that I'm seriously considering. I know he's not being abused in the normal sense, but I consider emotional neglect a form of abuse in this case when it's affecting my son the way it does. I've had to agree to stand beside L at my son's basketball games to coach him on the appropriate things to yell out (positive, rather then negative remarks). Bless his heart, the guy is trying, but without me there to intervene, remind, and encourage, it just goes back to the way it was. Frustrating? Yes, very. My son is beginning to suggest they go on walks when they are together, which is fantasic - I always praise them both when I hear about this.

Step-Father Follies
Because my Fiance has two active and very social children of his own, he is a busy guy. And when his kids aren't with us, he's not in 'Dad Mode'. And because my son annoys him at times just as much as his girls annoy me, we end up with another man ignoring my son. So we are two for two in the male role model department. The nice thing though, is that we do get out together as a family so my son does benefit from the family bonding, which is becoming less and less now that the kids are getting older and have their own agendas which don't include hanging out with us parent types. Since my son does all his socializing online (gaming), he's home with me most of the time, while V, my fiance, is out taxiing his girls around.


So Now What?
I have my son in ongoing social skills classes, he has an ABA worker, among other programs and activites we are engaged in through various organizations and school.
We are navigating the Aspergian waters pretty well now, I would say. He takes supplements (see article:Suppliments for Asperger's Syndrom - Guess What? They Work!) and they are truly making life better for us. I attend parent support groups and am becoming more active in the mental health community. We carry on. We just keep going. That is the most important thing that I hope my son learns from me, is to just keep going.

"Problem Solve" is a term we often use. When there is an issue big or small, we problem solve to find the solution - it's a valuable tool that is becoming more and more ingrained in his defeatist personality. My son is quick to become upset when things don't go as planned and so providing him with coping tools is important.


Do you have any questions about Aspergers? Do you have a story to share? Please leave a comment!

Good luck out there,
JB


 
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Selfies!

I read somewhere that there is now etiquette for taking selfies. Such as, comb your hair, at least have a bra on, things like that. Well, here are my own tips for taking selfies that make you look ten years younger!

1. Go find a picture of yourself from ten years ago and post it on the internet. 

Just kidding.

Here are my real tips:

Find a spot in your house with soft lighting. The best is if its filtering in from a window. Soft lighting seems to ignore wrinkles. And hotel lighting for some reason is perfect. 

Next raise the camera on an angle above your head so you have to look up a little bit...TADA! No more double chins!

And finally, don't forget to edit your photos using Instsgram.

Here are recent selfies when I was having a good mascara day. No joke: my father didn't recognize me when I posted one of these photos on FB. And I just saw my folks last weekend! What the heck?

Now you try using my tricks and let me know how it turns out!

I read today that Kim Kardashian is publishing a book of selfies. I suppose I could do the same. I hate having my photo taken....by other people who aren't as concerned about whether I look fat or weird or crazy. That's why I'm admittedly a little sfie obsessed, just to remind myself that I can look pretty in a photo, when my picture is taken in a certain light, from a certain angle, and on a good hair and makeup day. 





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SUPPLEMENTS FOR ASPERGER'S SYNDROME - GUESS WHAT? THEY WORK!

Teachers have reported the following changes over the last 6 months, since my son started taking supplements prescribed for ASD:

  • Increased eye contact
  • Ownership around school work
  • A more alert child
  • Less negative facial expressions
  • Less prompting to stay on task
  • Self-regulation

Changes I've noticed at home:

  • All symptoms of depression are gone
  • Increased self-esteem
  • No more self-hate talk
  • Maturing
  • No more one word answers
  • Generally happier
  • More positive outlook

So what are these magic pills?


My son had began spiralling so deep into depression at the end of 2012 that I was beginning to consider anti-depressants for him. A combination of  social anxiety, miscommunications with peers, schoolwork stresses, along with low self-esteem and a short fuse were the key factors. We did breathing exercises, relaxation CDs, self-esteem worksheets, but nothing was working. He was slipping away into darkness while I struggled to keep my grip on his hand. Medicating my son was something I did not feel comfortable with and had turned my nose up to many times over the years. It was when my hair began falling out in clumps that I booked him to see his therapist and told her that if she recommend meds, I'd be on board.

Serendipitously, that week I attended a parent support group for those with children on the autism spectrum and there is where I met Dr. Sonya Doherty, Naturopathic Doctor. http://naturalcareclinic.ca/dr-sonya-doherty/ She talked about the link between dairy, wheat, and ASD; she spoke about supplements, and showed us a diagram of wheels on a cog and how those wheels turn more slowly for our kids in comparison to neuro-typical children. I booked a meeting with her the next day and, after her assessment, we were given a prescription for supplements and a recommended diet plan. She even gave me the opportunity to have an educational shopping trip with the clinic's nutritionist.

Benefits of treatment include:
  • Enhancement in receptive, expressive and spontaneous language development (was not an issue)
  • Increase in vocabulary, language complexity and appropriate use of language (saw this change)
  • Increased social awareness, interaction and appropriate play (saw this change)
  • Cognition, understanding and learning (saw this change)
  • Eye contact and responsiveness (saw this change)
  • Normalized behaviours and interaction including self-stimulating, self-injurious, tics and aggression (saw this change)
  • Understanding and feeling emotions, affection or increased tolerance to touch (saw this change)

How Did I Get Him to Take the Supplements?

I introduced each supplement in monthly increments. First was St. John's Wort (for depression), then the Vitamin B injection (best way to absorb this particular vitamin), then the specially prescribed Beneficial Oils
in pill form and we just added the specially formulated multivitamin, Brain Fuel to his regime.

My son had to learn to swallow pills which took some encouragement and now it is just a part of everyday life. Here's a trick that worked - practice swallowing Nerds candies starting with the small ones and working up to the larger ones. He understands why he takes each supplement and what the intended result is for each. I think that forcing a child to do something 'because I said so' isn't the way to gain their cooperation. I treat my son with respect, he has the right to know what I'm suggesting he put into his body and why. Although he has said that he does not want to cure his Asperger's because it makes him who he is, he does posses the desire to lessen the negative feelings and consequences that come along with the the disorder. The thing about Aspie's, I find, is that they are immature in some ways and wise beyond their years in others.

St. John's Wort
"Those who have Asperger's syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder characterized by impaired social and communication skills, can often find themselves feeling anxious, nervous, or depressed. One form of treatment for these symptoms is St John's Wort, a herbal supplement that can be purchased at health stores or online. The St John's Wort asperger's syndrome treatment option is helpful for certain people, particularly those with milder symptoms." http://www.healthguideinfo.com/aspergers-syndrome/p77260/

Vitamin B12 Injections
Dr. S. Jill James (who has recently received a NIH - National Institute of Health - grant for her research) has shown that children with ASD have impaired methylation and decreased levels of glutathione.  Supporting and/or repairing the underlying impairment and deficiency translates into increased social, cognitive and language development. http://treatautism.ca/b12-and-methylation/
Beneficial Oils"Two American researchers, Louise Patrick, SLP, and Ronald M. Salik, M.D., have recently reported the results of a clinical trial of the effects of a fish-oil supplement on language development and learning skills in children with autism or Asperger’s syndrome. Fish oil provides essential fatty acids (EFAS), which are critical for brain health. Children with attention deficit, autistic, and related disorders have been shown to have significantly lower levels of EFAS in their red blood cells." http://www.totalhealthmagazine.com/features/childrens-health/fish-oil-supplementation-and-autism-aspergers-syndrome.html

Brain Fuel
"Brain Fuel was developed by Dr. Sonya Doherty in conjunction with her sister, a biomedical toxicologist and naturopathic doctor specializing in fertility treatment.  The Brain Fuel ingredients are based on the most recent research on essential fatty acids and development. Brain Fuel is used to promote language, social and cognitive development for children with autism, PDD, Asperger’s Syndrome, OCD, TS, ADD and ADHD.  It combines fat soluble vitamins (A, E, D, and K) with high levels of EPA, DHA with a small amount of GLA.  Brain Fuel is in a phosopholipid base that increases effectiveness. This unique essential fatty acid support is made by Douglas Laboratories and distributed by the Natural Care Clinic." See the website above to order online.
The only drawback is that the supplements can run me about $100 per month, but they are well worth it, given the results. I suspect that changing his diet will even further increase his abilities, and maybe now is the time to start. I also hope to be able to switch him to the pill form of vitamin B, so that I don't have to continue giving him a needle in his backside into his teen years.

It is six months later and his social skills still need a lot of work, but I couldn't be more thrilled with the report I received from the school. Now that we have added the Brain Fuel supplement, I look forward to seeing even more progress. Of course supplements alone can't do it all. A support team of professionals, school supports, and social supports are all key factors in bringing your child to a level of Independence that will give him solid ground to stand on as he navigates the teen years and adulthood.

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please leave a comment. I'm happy to share my experience with you or learn from yours.

Good luck out there,
JB

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The Interview - A Fortune Cookie Story

The Interview

A young reporter meets her idol.

Written by Sylvia Wells

Checking myself one last time in the mirror, I decided that there was nothing more I could do, I hated fussing over my appearance and it was finally time to go. Wondering, as I walked out of my hotel room, if I had gone overboard by wearing the band's signature colors in my small attempt to prove something to them - even if I wasn't even sure what I was trying to prove.
Jack had mentioned once in an interview with a British reporter that he liked the idea of his band and any direct associates having a uniform of sorts in the colors they wore when they were on tour, on stage, doing a photo shoot, or rehearsing. Before starting his first band, The Upholsters, he was considering becoming a school minister; he liked the idea that everyone dressed the same but had their own unique personalities, he had said. How intriguing that the man who was voted number seventeen in the Rolling Stones list of the top 100 rock guitarists of all time, had once considered becoming a minister.

Although I was wearing black, red, and white from head to toe, I didn't want to look like a groupie; I wanted them to see me a serious journalist who happened to be a fan. But more than that I wanted their respect and I wanted to be a part of what they were. Choosing to wear a pair of wide legged black dress pants, a crisp white colored shirt, red heels and a red wool jacket was not enough. I added black earrings, a black and white bracelet and a chunky red necklace to complete the ensemble. Would he even notice my intricately selected wardrobe I mused?

I fully expected Jack to be the one doing all the talking in our meeting, as was the case in all the interviews of him and Meg, the sole members of the band. I flagged down a cab when I reached the street outside the Soho, where I was staying in New York for a few days on my mission to fulfill a dream.

Pulling up to the front of the rehearsal studio my palms began to sweat and panic swept over me in a flash of heat. Full of doubt, fear, and nerves, I passed a few bills over the seat to the driver and slowly climbed out of the cab. The cool Fall wind gave me the slap in the face I needed to pull myself together. "You are a professional. They are wildly successful musicians, but they are human just like you." It was a mantra I had been repeating to myself in the weeks leading up to this day. Raising my chin an inch I walked confidently toward the glass double doors of the building which looked like the outside an old theater. Inside looked like a normal office reception area except it had gold records and pictures of famous artists hanging on the walls.

"May I help you?" asked the young woman behind the reception desk.

Trying not to let my voice jump all over the place I said, "I have an appointment with Mr. White."

The young blonde's face lit up at the sound of his name, she must have been about twenty. "You can go right in, they are in Studio B."
I thanked her and followed her arm gesture down the hallway to her right where I found a door marked 'Studio B'. I could feel the receptionist's eyes on me as I stood with my hand on the door knob inhaling and exhaling slowly, preparing myself for the initial shock of meeting him in person. Praying that I wouldn't turn into a school girl and start blushing and giggling, but keep my cool; I didn't have a crush on him after all. The mission here was to gain consent to write his biography and the biography of what was possibly the most intriguing band to emerge in the last twenty years. Gushing over him would not win me that honor, but keeping my composure and staying relaxed, treating him like a regular person, and treating the interview like a business venture would be the best way to go about it. We both had something to gain. He would have a person who respected him to write his story and I would have no trouble selling the story; so in the end it was a win-win situation.

On my last calming breath I turned the knob quickly to enter the room, my chin again fixed in an upward position. However, somebody from inside turned the knob too, pulling the door inward while taking a step forward out into the hall. The motion of the door pulled me crashing face first into a hard, fantastic smelling male chest. Surprisingly the man I crashed into didn't waiver but caught me by the shoulders with both hands and gently stood me back on my feet an awkward few inches away from him. With embarrassment scribbled all over my face I looked up into the face of Jack White.

"Hello." His voice was deep and sweet, a slight look of concern in his dark brown eyes.

"Hello." I said trying to regain my balance by widening my stance. "I'm Samantha; I'm here for our meeting." Noticing that we were still very close to each other, I smiled and took a step back to hold out my hand.

Taking my hand in a firm shake as he guided me into Studio B, Jack smiled down at me and said, "I like your jacket".

Fortune Cookies: (where ideas come from)
You and a friend will follow your dreams.
You will meet a very important artist one evening.
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