Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Surfers Healing on NightLine

Long time readers of this blog know that I’m a big fan of Izzy’s autistic/surfing project, Surfers Healing. They also know we were going to do this in North Carolina last year, but a hurricane got in the way of what I’m sure would have been a totally amazing experience for the Grassos (and Demetrius, in particular).

Autism Speaks is cool, and from a professional PR point-of-view, they have done a fantastic job of raising awareness of the disability and the cause. But Surfers Healing, from a personal point-of-view, is more in tune with me. Not that I’m a cool surfer dude at all, I’m not. But its a Dad, trying to find a way with his son, the autistic world they live in, and something the two of them can relate to together. That just rings true to me. Nature walks are a little bit like that for me and Demetrius I guess, but Izzy has turned it into something more than just the two of them – and for the vision to do that, I’m in awe.

So the program was profiled again, this time on NightLine, and I just had to hyperlink to the site.

Way to go Izzy, you rock. Thanks for the hyperlink, Nonni.

Posted by Jerry in 15:46:31 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tantrum Tick?

In the past week I’ve twice noticed (well, a bit more than just ‘noticed’) a new tick/manifestation with Demetrius in public.  The ‘things aren’t quite right so I’m going to throw a huge honking fit’ tick.  Like last night, he spilled some water at IHOP and it got on his shorts (dinner at IHOP post- soccer practice) and he gave it the top of his lungs scream, red face, hands over his ears shout out to all who happened to be seated within 100 yards.  Because he was sitting next to Mommy, she quickly quelled it (Mommy is always the best security blanket he has, period), but we got the stares and the blinks from the staff and the other guests.

Last Saturday we had some Daddy & Demetrius time happening and we went to Chick-fil-A for lunch….and, well, same thing.  This one was a bit more interesting (they didn’t have the free toy he wanted) and he had a nice yell at the girl behind the counter and I had to go up into the indoor play area and retrieve him (he had calmed down, and then I think saw another kid’s toy and got fired back up).   

Trend: both took place after soccer practice/soccer game.  Both were a bit of time after soccer, but I’m wondering out loud if the stress isn’t just wearing on the boy a bit, and this is the result of a second somewhat stressful event for him (I mean, come on folks, ice cold water on the crotch in soccer shorts is stress for all of us, we just don’t express our extreme agitation and physical surprise quite as prominently as the boy did in this case).  

Anyone out there have a bundle of joy that reacts the same way?  He had his fidget toys with him (he’s always better when he has a few super hero toys with him) last night, but not on Saturday, so he does have those calming fallbacks they often are for him in one of these two cases…

Not going out is not an option (we aren’t the hole up in the house types), but I’m leaning on this being another soccer related reaction at this time.

Posted by Jerry in 18:33:45 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Another Great Weekend

The weekend was superb.  A great one in all ways possible.  Great weather here in the Southeast (mid-60s) and a grandparent flew in for Halloween (Nanny Joan is in town).  We had soccer games where we brought the treats (big hit…we brought Dunkin Donuts!) and had pizza and watched movies….Cub Scout Pack 808 took a nature walk on Sunday (and we know D loves those!)….

And we had a Halloween Party.  

As soon as we got home from our Cub Scout nature walk Maya opened the door (she thought we were the first ‘guests’) and was in full-on Halloween costume, Demetrius raced upstairs to put on his Spider Man costume, and the doorbell started ringing.  We had kids, kids and more kids racing around in baseball uniforms, Power Ranger costumes, cowgirl get ups…the works.  There was candy to eat and brownies and pumpkin spice cake and Capri Sun to drink.  Crafts in the basement (the boys were less enthralled with that) and a trampoline to jump on.  Of course, with a few of the attendees being autistic boys, there was the exploring rooms without other children, pushing of the doorbell endlessly (its always great with the non-autistic parents, when they hear that happening they get a big confused, “I think someone is at your door.”  “Nah, just an autistic kid with a thing for doorbells”) and discussions about Thomas the Tank Engine and the corresponding numbers that match the different trains (1 is Thomas, 2 is Edward, 3 is Henry…).

But the kids did pretty good mixing it up, I have to say.  No matter if they were special needs or not, they all played and had a good time.  But again, how could they not? The weather was perfect and the party only about two hours long. Who couldn’t have a good time.

And of course, we had the Colts shellacking of the Panthers on the TV for the dads to watch some football….

Pictures to follow soon….

Posted by Jerry in 15:27:07 | Permalink | Comments (2)

CNN Piece on Identifying Autism

Take a look here
Posted by Jerry in 15:14:17 | Permalink | Comments Off

Friday, October 26, 2007

Good For Kim

Kim’s decided enough with the waiting around. She took the initiative. Earlier in the week, I get an invite to a Halloween party from the wife in my email inbox. I assume we’ve been invited to a Halloween party and she’s just forwarding it to me. Nah, if no one is gonna invite Demetrius to a party, then we are having a party and inviting other kids. Neighbor kids, school friends, long time friends, and……other autistic kids. Kids that don’t get invited to birthday or holiday parties. So why sit around and have your heart broken or feel sad.?Throw your own party!

Like any last minute party, some can make it, some can’t. But Demetrius has been talking about it ever since Kim came up with this and acted on it. “I’m having a Halloween Party!,” he’s been yelling to anyone that will listen. “It will be spooky….” (I don’t know about that…)

But I tell you this -

It will be enjoyed by a few little boys, and those little boys Moms & Dads.

You go Kim Grasso! Well done.

Posted by Jerry in 20:12:25 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Poor Lunch Ladies

Last night, after choir practice for Demetrius (Maya’s soccer practice was cancelled) we went for ice cream treats.  Demetrius got a tried and true treat that he likes, a Twix ice cream bar; Maya tried a different Strawberry Shortcake style ice cream.  She didn’t like it.  I could tell on the way home she was disappointed.  We talked about it. About being ‘big’ and trying new things and accepting that she now knows she didn’t like this and won’t get it again. She then said to me:

“Yes, I also tell the lunch ladies at school when I don’t like the lunch.”

Those lucky lunch ladies.  How many kindergartners do you think they hear this from on a daily basis? Heh-heh…..

Posted by Jerry in 13:39:12 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Where did THAT come from?

Demetrius has never been a fan of ‘the homework’. He’s never been a fan of ‘the practicing’. Alot of cajoling, prompting, pleading, threatening and bribing to get an assignment done. Doesn’t matter what it is, whatever the subject, it is as painful as being boiled in oil.

Last night we were practicing some writing (after dinner, before we watched a SpongeBob Halloween episode). His handwriting isn’t great, but servicable. He did it, and Maya did her assignment (Demetrius is Spider Man for Halloween/Maya is Dora for Halloween….). About five minutes into SpongeBob, Demetrius gets up, goes over to the kitchen table where we were doing homework.

Demetrius: Daddy, where is my pencil?

Daddy: I put it up, why?

Demetrius: My D (the letter) isn’t right in my name, I want to fix it.

After I get up from the floor (I think I passed out, blacked out, or something)….I, in a fog, got him the pencil and watched him erase and fix his letter D, and go back over and finish watching SpongeBob.

Its official. I’m living in a Bizzaro World. No other explanation.

Posted by Jerry in 20:36:57 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Car Kids

My friend Maddy often writes about her two boys and how they have such a hard time with transitions and riding in their vehicle. I feel for her when she blogs about their family’s trials and tribulations going to Target or the grocery store.

In contrast, my kids LOVE going places. For Demetrius, there is always the opportunity to play with toys, watch a DVD, or get a snack. The benefits for him far outweigh the downsides. Maya’s just a car girl. At some point in her life she’s going to play a role in a high school musical of Grease. She just loves cars. I also worry that she’ll go ga-ga over some doofus in high school that can only drool his name and takes shop, but drives a Bitchin’ Camaro and has an idea about my daughter and that vehicle with too much room without an uncomfortable hump in the backseat of that gas guzzler. Let me take that back, I’m channeling the 1980s – a cool hybrid muscle car, circa 2015.

I, however, drive a 99 VW Jetta. I love my 99 Jetta. Its got over 100k on it, a big scratch in the passenger side door (starting to rust) and its paid for. PAID FOR. My favorite kind of car. Yea, I’ve had to throw some coin into it this year, but it is PAID FOR. Let me just say, Maya is not impressed. She sees a Lexus SUV and makes an appropriate comparison in her head. How she can even ride with me anywhere, I don’t know. She’d rather be in that monstrosity, and I would too, if it were a paid for 99 Jetta. Poor girl.

Anyway, my car was in the shop, and I got a rental from the shop (they didn’t fix it right the first time….), a real boy toy type of car. A Dodge Avenger. When I drove up to D’s soccer practice in, the kids yelled, “LOOK AT DADDY’S NEW CAR!” When I told them it was just a rental, for one night, they heard and saw only what they wanted, “DADDY’S GOT A NEW CAR.” So we went to get ice cream after practice, every one in the place heard about my new car. They both traded seats in the back to get the different perspective from this ‘BIG GRAY CAR.’ At one point Maya put her legs up on the seat and pointed out she could put here legs across the car! Then she told Demetrius to stop touching her (I had to remind her that she had her legs on him, that technically, she was touching him). No matter, she was in the throes of new car love.

Later that night, we worried we couldn’t find the wee ones and we heard something the garage, they both were sitting in the backseat of the car, reveling in its new car ‘newness’.

This morning, we had to sit in it on the way to the bus stop. As we walked, post reveling, I held Maya’s hand.

Maya: Daddy, are you really getting your Jed-DA back today?

Daddy: Yes, and I have to take the gray car back.

Maya goes quiet. Looks at me.

Maya: Well, at least I’ll have fun riding on the bus, still.

Still?

She’s learning folks. She’s gonna make a great wife someday, ain’t she? I’ve got guilt that my car needs an upgrade for my 5 year old. I’m a sucker.

Posted by Jerry in 19:16:40 | Permalink | Comments (6)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Well, It’s Certainly An Answer

Demetrius is getting better at expressing himself.  As words come easier to him, and he is more confident in speaking, we are hearing more and more out of him about his day, and what he thinks about things.

Kim: Demetrius, will try taking your pill this morning?

Demetrius (shaking his head): No.

Kim (somewhat dejected, somewhat irritated): Will you ever take your pill, Demetrius?

Demetrius (answering quickly): Never.

Gotta love it when the answer comes so quickly to him these days.

Posted by Jerry in 19:18:07 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lost Autistic Boy Found

Another one of our big fears, as Demetrius loves nature walks. Story can be found here
Posted by Jerry in 15:50:54 | Permalink | Comments Off