Friday, October 9, 2009

A Final Post

Wow, what a year it has been since I last posted here. Tripp is doing amazingly well. We tried some new things this past year. We've done hippo therapy, and are continuing to keep Tripp in a therapeutic riding program. We also added a new supplement that has really made a difference. It's call MaxGXL and it increases his body's production of glutathione - a very important antioxidant. Those things along with lots of prayers, some amazing teachers and therapists, and Tripp's own efforts have given us a year of rejoicing.

Tripp is in his second year in the Head Start Inclusion class at Rock Prairie. It really is amazing how much he has grown and developed since this time last year. His ability to communicate verbally has sky rocketed. He is able to sit through circle time. His academics continue to amaze all of us. He's playing with peers - and his siblings! It's really just mind boggling what a difference a year makes.

Is he still quirky? Absolutely. He still stims, and has poor eye contact, and spends a great deal of his time in his own world. Autism/Aspergers doesn't go away. Instead, we learn to work with what we have and make the best of it. Tripp is indeed doing that.

So, the title says this is the final post - I want to explain why. When I started this blog it was to give myself an outlet for all the "stuff" I was going through associated with Tripp and our journey with him. Well, the journey hasn't gone away, but I realize now more than ever that it doesn't need a special outlet. Earlier this week our oldest daughter, Paris, was also diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. I started this blog so that autism wouldn't take over my life and every post I wrote about my family. Well, turns out that autism/aspergers is a big part of my life and my family. It doesn't need it's own separate outlet. It is, and always wil be, part of who our family is. Now please don't get me wrong - I still refuse to let it define us. God defines us. This world and the struggles it contains can not do anything to separate us from the love of God.

So, if you'd like to keep up with Tripp and the rest of the Fosters, from now on you need to go to my "regular" blog -

I'll leave this blog open for a while. Long enough to figure out how to save all my posts or print them out or something. I know I'll need them all when I write that book people keep telling me I'm going to write. :-) Thank you to everyone who has loved us and prayed for us along this journey. Please continue to do so and check in on us anytime over at Sarah Station. And whatever you do - never stop dancin' with those you love, even if the dance is unfamiliar.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

News Flash

this blog will become active again by the end of September. Stay tuned to learn what's happenin' w/ the Monkey - it's all good!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Long Overdue

I can't beleive I haven't posted since July. There's no way to really catch up on all that has transpired so I will do my best to sum up how life has been since then. July continued to go fairly well. About the time we hit August things started unraveling. Folks had vacations and schedules had to change. Tripp had me and home as his main constant, but the rest of our routine was hit or miss each week. He start regressing quite a bit. In order keep myself sane I let him spend way to much time on the computer. I'm sure that didn't help much. So, by the time we were ready to start school he was going through 3-4 pair of undies a day and was pretty uch a walking stim. I will say that the brightest spot of the summer is that his language held strong. Thank you Tessa for working with us this summer! I have no doubt that our time with you was crucial in us not loosing any language.

When it got time for school to get going we had a few shockers. I went to orientation and found out that the co-teach program was going to be in was full inclusion, not partial like I had expected. Knowing the state Tripp was end by summer's end I had a very hard time believing a "regular classroom" all day everyday was really a good thing. I prayed a lot and went into his ARD with A LOT of questions. I even called Mom to come and go with me because I was afraid I wouldn't have sufficient backbone on my own. Truth is, I was just plain scared for my Monkey and I needed some confidence in that meeting. I came out of the ARD not happy, but satisfied that this was worth trying and probably the best fit the district has for T at this point.

The first two weeks were horrible....for me. I cried, and I mean ugly cried, the first day. That was the only day I shed tears, but I continued to get sick to my stomach for about the first week and a half. Things got better after that. I think Miss Devine and Ms. Alice have had a shock too. They were really surprised by how much Tripp regressed. Miss Alice even said to me one day when I picked him up,"This makes me sad." And she meant it. I think that is what has given me peace about T being there. Miss Devine and Ms. Alice really, really care about my son. They are doing everything they can to help Tripp settled and get back to where he was at the end of May. Alice even made him a token chart that is all numbers and calculators! Love that!

There have been a few other shockers like that day I got there and there was no teacher to receive Tripp and they actually wanted me to tell him to walk all the way into the building by himself. Like that was going to happen! They got a "concerned" email as soon as I got home that morning. That hasn't happened since. They also finally realized that having us drop off with all the rest of the K-4 school is a bad idea and moved our drop-off location to a different spot. The other big shocker came this week when we got a letter letting us know that the regular ed. Head Start teacher and aid are leaving the classroom and we will be getting new ones. We are finally starting, and I mean just starting, to get back on track and they are chaning 2 of the 4 staff in his classroom! Thank goodness Miss Devine and Ms. Alice, who I'm supposed to call Ms. Kowalik (ko-wall-ick), are staying. T won't call Ms. Alice anything but Ms. Alice and I don't blame him. Kowalik is hard to say. Anyway, I haven't written my letter about the teacher change yet, but I'm formulating it in my head. I understand that things happen and changes need to be made, but changing half the staff in a first year co-teach program six weeks in is a poor choice in my book.

There are a few other things going on, but I'll save them for another post. Mokey is happily playing on the other computer right now and the girls are playing play-doh. Easy is playing in a golf tournament benefitting Sonshine School. I need to get moving and get some cleaning done this morning. I hope you are all doing well and I promise to keep you more up to date on my sweet Monkey!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fire Alarms and Freedom

So, my Nana was in the hospital last week. When she went in (Tuesday)she lived at Bluebonnet house. When she came out (Saturday) she lived at Carriage Inn. Sunday we had a b-day party for Paris. My mom suggested that Nana would really like to see all the kids that evening, so after the party and dinner we loaded up the crew to go see Nana's new digs.

We had a lovely visit. Her new place is nice. This kids were starting to get a bit manic so we were trying to gather everyone up and get out of Nana's hair. I stood in the doorway holding a laundry basket watching the Goose and Monkey and waiting for the Bug, her daddy, and my mom to join us. Just as Mom is coming out the door I see my son out of the corner of my eye. He's touching the fire alarm. I lunged. I was not fast enough. The sirens start balring. I drop the laundry basket, Easy grabs Vivie and the basket, Mom took off to tell the front desk it was a false alarm. Paris walks down the hall with her hands over her ears screaming. I grabbed up Tripp who had covered his ears and gone completely limp. It was nice.

Turns out there are no covers on the fire alarms at Nana's new place. The little red box is at Tripp's eye level and right in the center on a round handle it says PULL. Tripp can read. Apparently this wasn't the first time this had happened. It does seem that we were the straw though - it was announced at their "town hall meeting" yesterday that they are purusing purchasing covers for all the fire alarms.

On a much happier note.......we were driving home afew days ago and the song "Free" was playing on the CD we were listening to.

I am free to run.
I am free to dance.
I am free to live for You.
I am free.

I've heard this song on KSBJ a million times. The version we were listening to was done for a kids worship CD. Same song, different voices. I'm driving along and I realize that Tripp is talking to me.

"Tripper is free Mommy. Tripper is free."

"Are you free buddy?"

"That's right," he says as his cute little hand pats his chest, "Tripper is free."

I know this could be chalked up to echolalia, but not really. He wasn't repeating the song, he was applying it. It felt like a big moment. A few tears brimmed as I realized that somewhere in my precious son was a feeling of freedom.

My sweet Monkey - you are indeed Free in Christ. You are a picture of innocence and love. You are a precious gift from God. Many people know of your journey and see that you are trapped, or bound. Yes, you experience the world a little differently, and you dont' express yourself like everyone else. But your core truth is that you are FREE in God's might love to do all He calls you to do. And as for me, well I'm just glad I have such a cute little reminder that I too am free. I love you.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


So I've been lazy about posting - sorry. I'm at work right now. I'm based out of the library today because I share an office with the youth interns and they are here today. They are not, however, actually in the office. Instead they are in the parlor - right next to me playing with the middle school kids and making so much noise that I absolutely can not be productive. So, I'm posting instead!

Before I tell you the tale of the EEG, I can't remember if I mentioned that we officially got into Head Start for the fall!!! WooHoo - Sherri, if your reading you can do the hip swirling dance for that one! My Monkey will have a full day of school all week next year with his current PPCD teacher as well as a "regular ed" teacher. It is going to be good. The only catch so far is that they don't want to accomodate our gluten-free status. Apparently as part of the Head Start program the kids are required to eat breakfast and lunch at school and they don't have to accomdate any dietary restrictions without a doctor's note stating it's medically neccessary. Nice. We're working on it though - God will make a way to keep me from having to glutenize my son everyday.

Now for that fun part..........the EEG. So, Tripp got referred to have an EEG done to rule out seizure activity. He zones out sometimes and doesn't respond to anything and then he comes back and goes on about his business. We realized this could be small seizures so the EEG was ordered - like over a month ago. I finally called last week to find out why we hadn't been scheduled and Helen - the secretary for Dr. Hall our developmental pedi - said enough that I knew they had forgotten. Apparently my phone call helped them remember because St. Joes called the next day to schedule it. I asked a lot of questions about how it would go and felt confident that I could handle it on my own. (ie - no need for Easy to stay home or have someone go with me).

Yesterday was the big day. Our appointment was at 10:30 and they said to be ther for check-in at 10:00. I wasn't sure exactly what sort of distractionary techniques I'd be allowed to use so I packed an assortment of things in the backpack and planned to just not show Tripp any of it until we were in the room. We got through check-in at 10:15 and then started the wait. And we waited. And waited. We pottied. We waited. We jumped, well, he jumped around. We pottied again. I started wondering why I thought I could do this alone. We waited. Finally, at 11:30 (!!!) they came to get us to take us to the EEG room.

Once there I started asking what I might be able to use to keep him still. They had told me on the phone that they would need him to be still. In fact they asked if we could schedule it at his naptime. Ha. He so doesn't nap. The tech that was doing the test clearly fell into the category of people that just don't get it. Everything I asked about using she would say "Sure, while we're putting on the leads, but then you need to put it away." Yea right. Like I could let him see we have the video player and then take it away. I kept asking questions and she says, "Well we really would like him to get comfortable and go to sleep." Hello? Does he look tired to you? He was dancing on his toes at that moment. I finally said," Look, he's 3 and he has a form of autism. If you want him to stay in that chair I need something to occupy him." She conceded to allow us a book. Yippee. 1 book.

We settled in the chair and started the process of putting leads on his head. She had to clean each spot with this stuff that looked like salt-scrub. He was not tolerating that well at all so she decided to just put the leads on with out cleaning all the spots. This seemed a good idea on the surface. Unfortunately, when she got them all on and went to callibrate the machine and make sure everything was getting a good connection she wound up having to take off about half the leads (as in pulling the tape out of his dry hair and take off the lead), scrub the spots with the cleaner stuff and re-do them. Man was THAT fun. Perhaps we could have just done it it right the first time. Oh well, I can only hope that her next victim, I mean patient gets the benefit of that lesson.

We finally get things settled and she start watching things. I'm trying to keep him calm so I'm rocking him in the chair. The tech calls in," I'm going to need you to stop rocking." ?!?! Why do you put a mother in a rocking chair and tell her to keep her child still and then say no rocking? Grrr... It just got better from there. She kept calling Tripp "Foster." "Foster, be still." "Foster, I need you to be quiet." I finally looked at her and said "His name is Tripp." (like she hadn't heard me use his name 600 times since we walked in) She looked very confused and pulled his little chart. Finally she figured out that Foster is our last name. Seriously, she really seemed to believe that I should be able to just sit ther with him in my lap and keep him silent and still with nothing to entertain him. Clearly, she didn't get it. He would start stimming and she would look at me with this "make him stop" look on her face. I just sat there thinking - "Woman, if I could make him stop I wouldn't be here!" I smiled and whispered to him and we somehow made it through.

The removal of the leads wasn't as bad since she got this enormous washrag wet and laid it on his head. I finally just took it from her and finished it myself. To her credit, she couldn't possibly know how to touch Tripp without upsetting him. She seemed grateful that I took that part over.

Needless to say, we were both spent when we got done. We left the hospital a little over 3 hours after we got there. We picked up the girls, cnaceled speech for the day, and went home to retreat to our corners. Exhausting!

We have about a two week wait I think before we'll hear anything on the results. I don't even care today. I'm just glad it's done. I think it was the first time I encoutnered someone who just so clearly didn't understand. All those movements and noises he makes - that IS him being still and quiet. You want to see his brain at rest, this is as close as it gets. Man, I hope we don't have to do that again anytime soon!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Social Steps

Well, we're week one into the period of transitions and all is well. The Monkey has definitely had some crazy days, but all in all is doing great. As much as I love Sonshine School and all, it is clear after a week of just the PPCD class that Tripp even prefers the services he gets at the school district. He is thriving. One more week of that and then we swtich to summer. The first week of June will not be our true schedule - but it will be close and then the week after we start our new routine. Pray for smooth transitions.

Now for the fun stuff...Our precious Monkey has been taking some major social steps the last few weeks. I've seen him playing with his baby sister! That's right, he's not just tolerating her presence, and telling her "No, Vivie!" He is playing with her! He came running out of her room the other day squealing and then stopped at the end of the hall. He looked back and here came the Bug after him. He waited until she got close enough to touch his back and then he took off again with a squeal. They repeated this process for about 10 minutes. Beautiful!

He's also been making progress with our sweet dog Cowboy. He has let Cowboy give him kisses a few time. This used to send him into a fit - I'm guessing it was sensory overload or something. As of late, however he has allowed it and even said "Thank you kisses." To top it off I saw Tripp give Cowboy a kiss on top of the head. WooHoo - he's bonding with real living creatures!! That sounds bad - he's always been bonded to some of us, but his circle is a growin'!

Let's see, what else can I tell you about the Monkey.....oh, yesterday at church when it was time to pray during the worship service he actually got it. He stopped what he was doing, folded his little hands, closed his eyes, and put his head down. He waited for the amen and then went on about his busy business. It was awesome!

And one last funny thing he's done lately......While on the potty recently he was, um, examining his most male part and proclaims "It's a big (fill in anatomically correct word here)!" "Do you see the big -----?" "It's a very tall -----!" My response? Trying to not laugh or be mortified I said "Yes, I see the -----, now use it to put your TT in the potty." I'm glad he's learning to use some adjectives, but seriously do we have to talk about THAT?!?!?!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Funny Goose

Last night I sat down with Paris and read her the book All Cats Have Aperger Syndrome. We started off by talking a little about how Tripp's brain doesn't work like ours. She saw the book and asked if it was about kitties. I said it was about kitties and Bubba too. We read it and made lots of comparisons/connections. After we were done I asked if she had any questions and she says:

"Yes I do. Why does Assboogers make Tripp and kittens crazy?"

I nearly fell off the bed laughing. I held it together and explained that Aspergers is just what you call it when your brain works like Tripp's. She didn't have any other questions and I left feeling like it went very well. Though I couldn't help but think as I walked out that a** boogers might make me crazy too if I had them!