Friday, April 30, 2010

Missing in San Diego


Living in San Diego it’s really hard to not worry about your child going missing. Hey we have the unfortunate misfortune to boast Chelsea King, Amber Dubois and Danielle Van Dam to our San Diego missing “hall of fame”. It’s almost scary how often it happens here, and makes national news. For me personally I often wonder how many missing children are not as fortunate as our top three candidates.

And but by "fortunate", I DO NOT MEAN ANYTHING GOOD!!! I mean they had PITA’s for parents, their parents fought hard for them, they kept their children in the news and they made sure there was justice for them.

Not every missing child is that fortunate, not every child gets that opportunity. How many children have gone missing in San Diego County since Feb. 2, 2002 when Danielle went missing? Does anyone know? I could not find any hard concrete numbers on this, but I know that from the news coverage, most people only know of the above 3 girls, and I am positive there are many, many more missing children.

As a parent of a child with Autism, a child who is a huge flight risk, I know there will be more in our future. Our numbers of children with Autism now ranks at 1:110 kids; our kids have a higher chance of becoming like the three angels above, because they are extra vulnerable and are more likely to be taken advantage of then the average child due to their social deficits. The social deficits, leaves our higher functioning kids with autism especially vulnerable to child molesters, bullies and many other people who do not have their best interests at heart, because our children want to be accepted. Then add into the mix our non verbal, escape artist children with Autism and most of the Autism population is at risk for going missing.

So what brings these two unique groups of people together? The fact that Amber Dubious Family has already held one Search and Rescue class, and now they will be bringing another one to San Diego. They brought it to help girls like Chelsea, Amber and Danielle, but ultimately it will benefit any child who goes missing. These classes are meant to address how to search and rescue missing people. It is a training class in the proper police techniques on how to help police and not hinder the police investigation in the search and recovery process of missing people. As a parent of a potentially missing child with Autism I think this is doubly awesome and will benefit multiple groups of missing person organizations.

Long story short, the more people trained the better off all of us in San Diego are!!!

Short end of the story, if you have a child with Autism, a parent with Alzheimer’s or any other person at risk to come up missing, you should think about taking this class for yourself and the rest of the community.

If you don’t fit in the above categories you should take the class to be a Good Samaritan when one of the above set of people goes missing. The more trained, the more people to search, the more people searching the more likely we are to bring home any missing person home alive.

To read more on what these classes entail you can read about them here. Click Events & Volunteers.

After clicking Click Events & Volunteers…

Click on:
SAR Letter
&
Outline of class

As I post this there is only information on the last class that was already held, but click on those links because it’s great info. I will update this info when they post registration for the Memorial Weekend class.

I have not personally met Chelsea, Amber, or Danielle’s parents, but I am pretty sure today I can speak for them and all the future missing children with or without disabilities that you should PITAup and go to the Search and Rescue Training Memorial weekend. Their families need the public support now, and the best way to show the families we support them is to go to the training. So please register to protect all San Diego children, no matter who they are, no matter if they have a disability, just volunteer to protect all our children.

The life you save may not be the one you expect.

Until Next time PITAup and Change the world one person at a time, I know that Chelsea, Amber, Danielle and Autism have done that for me, please pay it forward in their memory!!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Autism Lives Here


When you become a parent you know there is going to be times when you worry. You know you will worry about how children will change your marriage or relationship, you worry if you be a good parent, you worry if you can provide everything a child will need and you worry for your child’s future.

As a parent of a child with Autism, these worries are compounded to the "n"th degree, instead of just the above worries you also worry about your entire family’s future, and how a child with Autism will impact your other children’s present and future. You worry about your sanity due the constant having to fight for everything my child needs to be as independent as possible in the future, you worry that your child may never be independent in even the simplest ways like potty training, crossing the street alone, preparing their own meals, cleaning up after themselves, living independently, surviving once you are deceased and I am sure a million more I have missed or have yet to think of.

Then you read a story, like the one published Tuesday, April 27, 2010 in The Independent, about a father, age 44, and son, with Autism, age 22 being found in what appears to be another murder/suicide of a child with Autism. It makes parents like me think again that we are not worried enough, we don’t fight enough and there is no way for us to plan enough.

It is also makes parents like me wonder and worry about when the United States Government and our elected officials are going to even worry about our children with Autism. If the numbers are already 1 in 110 children have Autism, when will the number be high enough for them to worry? How many more precious lives have to be lost due to a parent not having enough support, enough help or a child not getting enough services to help them survive and live as independently as possible?

I can tell you it is not anytime soon. The government, especially our state governments, is cutting services on a daily basis from families, like ours and the one in the news story. These types of things are going to be happening more in the future, this was the 2nd such story I have read in the last 3 months. The 1st was from The NY Daily News on February 5th 2010. The child in this story was only 8 years old, the same age as my child, Austin.

I don’t want this for my future or any ones future, won’t you PITAup and ask our government to make a difference in the life of their constituents’?

You can contact your federal and state representatives and let them know you concerned about families like the ones in these stories and families you actually know. You can contact your U.S. Senators here and you can contact your House of Representatives here. In California, you can find the contact information for your State Senators here, other states will need to Google the information.

Don’t let Autism Die this way, show our families some compassion and let us and our children live to our fullest potential.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Big Shout Out!!!


Now don’t fall out of your chairs, I feel a compliment coming on here. Ok that part is not really that shocking, it’s for whom the compliment is for, that may surprise you.

I want to say how much I really and truly love Austin’s teacher this year. Her and the teacher of the 3-5 grade Severely Handicapped classrooms at Hope Elementary are outstanding.

Our teachers are so awesome because they are fundraising for every child in their two classrooms to have iPod Touches loaded with Proloquo2go and other apps on them. Ok every child except Austin. Austin is already getting one through the school district, even though it might be next year before we actually begin using theirs and stop using ours. (Rolls eyes, got to love the School district and how long purchase orders can take).

While to me this kind of action is not surprising, I think it may surprise many. I think a lot of teachers get a bad rap. Now I agree there are some bad teachers out there, I have had one or two, Mr. Hoyle comes to mind (I know all you CBAD grads are now laughing to yourself and hearing his monotone voice say, “Get rid of it”), but I think most teachers get into teaching for all the right reasons. Being the wife of a teacher I might be a tad prejudiced though.

Teaching is truly the worst customer service job out there. Not only do you have to please the parents, the students, the principal, and the public, you get to do it while being underpaid and in the times of budget cuts having to worry about losing your job. If you are a special education teacher or have any special education students in your class, you also get the worry of being sued personally if something goes wrong with implementing FAPE and IEP’s.

In customer service you generally only get to hear how you are doing, when you are doing it wrong. So today your PITAup challenge is to look and see if you have one of those hidden gems of a teachers, teacher’s assistant, or any school district employee who is doing an exceptional job and thank them. Maybe pick up a thank you card or some treat for them, but at the very least say it out loud to them and if you can within ear shot of their boss.

So to Liz and Michelle, I just want to give you a shout out and say thanks for all you do for Austin and all his classmates!!!

Until next time PITAup!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Risking “life or lung” for autism.


Risking “life or lung” for autism. I know the correct statement is “risking life or limb”, but not in my world. In my world its life or lung!!!

When we started enzymes 5.5 years ago with Austin, I quickly realized that I was allergic to them. It started with small panic attacks, which were really asthma attacks and continued to get worse when I was exposed to the powder. 3 years ago I ended up walking to the fire department which was 4 houses from mine and then at the ER after Austin dumped a ¼ of a bottle of Houston's AFP-Peptizyde HN004-P 200 dose bulk powder, with cellulose. I knew even before I turned around what had happened. I could feel my lungs closing, I could breathe in but not out. I really and truly thought I might die at any moment. Luckily for me my older children were home, I got one of them and without explanation handed Austin to them and walked out of the house. As I tried to calm myself down I realized I had no choice but to go to the fire department. I had my cell phone but was afraid if I called 911 they would not be able to find me. I was also fearful that if I did not hurry and get to the fire department that I might pass out right there on the side of the road and not be found until it was to late. Fortunately when I got to the fire department they were home and they quickly gave me an albuterol inhalation treatment.

That night at the fire department and again in the ER I was told I should just stop giving the enzymes to Austin. I looked at them like they were crazy while they looked at me like I was crazy.

What’s the point of this story is the simple one; I would do anything for any of my children to make them feel better even risk my own life. I know this concept is hard for some but it is not for a mother. The thing I don’t understand is why this surprises people. When your children are born something happens that you can’t explain. A feeling comes over you; a feeling of protection. You just want to protect that little being from everything. You would risk your life or even die for your children, because life would not be worth living without them.

Anaphylactic reaction or not, I would do anything to help recover my son, Austin. I do now have an EpiPen and inhaler with me at all times though. Bottom line I am in this for the long haul…I am a Wife, a Mother, a PITA!


If you want to learn more about enzymes you can here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Warning: I will photograph you in the handicapped spots at the Elementary School and post them on FB and my blog!


There is nothing more annoying then someone who does not have a handicap placard and parks in a handicap parking space, in the stripped loading zone between the handicap parking spaces or in the handicapped loading zones in front of buildings.

In the Hope Elementary parking lot we have 2 handicap spots and one loading area in front of the school. The buses and handicap transportation vans all park in front of or near the later area about 15-20 minutes before school get out and leave by at least 5 minutes before school lets out. On non rainy days this works out wonderfully because that is when the parents of disabled children who do not ride the bus pull in as the others leave and we can easily get pick up their child up in a safe manner of the 2 spots are filled.

Many of you who have long followed me on Facebook know how many times I have posted on this subject before. It annoyed me so much that I even occasionally posted pictures of the offending car that has illegally parked at least once a week since the beginning of school. The week of the time change, the worst offender parked there every day that week and I finally said something to her. I was nice and polite, but I did explain how it was against the law and rude. So far, at least in my presence, she has not repeated it.

So yesterday it rained and on rainy days, here in “sunny” California parents think little “Johnny” and “Suzy” will surely melt like the “Wicked Witch” if they are touch by one tiny drop of rain. This makes the parents crazed and they all fight for the area the busses were in. The majority of that area is all red curbed just like the rest of where the regular education kids load and unload, but there is an approximately 12 foot spot that is clearly painted blue, has a wheel chair ramp and a legal blue sign stating it is for handicap loading. Just because its not an actual handicap spot I think the parents miss it is still legally only for people with handicap placards or handicapped transportation vehicles. The pathetic person who did it today got yelled at by some old guy with a placard, I was secretly cheering him on.

I know many people look at my family when we step out of the car in a handicap spot and think why do they have one. People need to be reminded that some handicaps are hidden. My friend Kelli’s heart only works at 40% and you would never know it, she looks as healthy as can be, but even a small cold can make walking and doing things difficult for her. My friend Cindy is only 30 and has an extreme back problem that makes walking difficult. Then you have families like mine who are kids look “normal” and at times even act normal, but at any moment might take off into traffic. Our kids with Autism are huge safety risks.

If after hearing me rant on this subject you are still considering parking on a handicap spot, the stripped area, handicap loading zone, you might also be surprised to learn it is also illegal to be just stopped within 3 feet of pavement, ramps, etc., per CA vehicle code 22507.8(a) and (c) 3. In California you are also subject to hefty fines, between $250 and $1,000, for violating disabled parking laws and according to the newest legislation in 2010 the following acts will net you the enhanced fine:
1) A disabled person who knowingly permits his or her disabled placard or plate to be used by a person not entitled to it
2) A person displaying a disabled placard that was not issued to him or her (except when transporting a disabled person), or a disabled placard that has been canceled or revoked
3) A person using a vehicle displaying a special identification license plate issued to another who parks in a parking stall or space designated for disabled persons
4) A person who, with fraudulent intent, displays or causes or permits to be displayed a forged, counterfeit, or false disabled person placard.

So PITA up and if you don’t have a placard DON”T park in the blue, if you don’t have a placard and qualify go get one!!! And remember what my friend Megan said about me,” Warning: I will photograph you in the handicapped spots at the Elementary School and post them on FB and my blog!”

Have a great day and PITA UP!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Peer Pressure


When my brother-in-law Clem got married we went to Las Vegas for the ceremony. The night before the wedding my sister-in-law to be wanted all of us to go out to The Ghost Bar at the Palms Casino. For those of you who know me well, I am afraid of heights. Hate them, don’t do them, nope not me, but here I was frantically searching for a drink while waiting an hour in line to get into this club which happens to be on the 55th floor. 2 tiny drinks later, I found myself in the Ghost Bar. Unfortunately to get the next drink I had to walk onto that beautiful patio you see in the photo or wait an hour in the massive line at the inside bar. I thought about peer pressuring my friend Kimmy into going out there until she walked out and her Marilyn Monroe style skirt went flying up from the winds. So through out the night, being the good friend I am, I went and got Kimmy and I numerous drinks on that patio. It did get easier with a few more drinks. Thank goodness for peer pressure or I would never have had that awesome experience of the amazing view from the top of the Palm's and it was actually a fun club. I like to think I would go back, if the fear of heights still did not paralyze me.

So after the wedding, my then 14 year old, Nick, begged me to go take him to the Stratosphere Hotel & Casino and to go to the top with him for their X-Scream roller coaster. I of course had to explain to my child that I was afraid of heights. He tried to reason with me that just the night before I was on the 55th floor of the Palm’s. I then had to explain to him how peer pressure works and how he was not my peer. .

I want the world to know I believe in peer pressure. Yes I do!!! Some of the best things come out of peer pressure. Poor “peer pressure” gets a bad rap for all the bad things people do but really some good things come out of it too.

A great example of this is the term PITA as used in my original blog and as it refers to our San Diego and Orange County Mom’s Night Out groups. If it was not for a joke between my friend Janine and me, the PITA’s would not now be quite what we are today. We had the Mom’s night out group going before the name PITA was added to it. The MNO group while the people are the same as then, it was not quite what it is today. It all started when some of the other PITA’s heard I started a PITA Facebook group, as a joke, to amuse Janine. I got 10 why didn’t you invite me, with those looks that you know they mean business. That was the beginning of what you see the PITA’s as the group it is today. I was peer pressured into making us an “official” group. It then is when we all went out as groups we started referring to ourselves as the PITA’s, (if you read the book “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” think Ya-Ya’s). That little Facebook group is now 2 yahoo PITA groups (one for the SD activities and one for OC activities), a photo shoot, a Facebook fan page, a PITA bodybugg group (which trust me is a whole bunch of more peer pressuring and a different blog, lol) and a whole bunch of requests to become PITA’s and give help on how to get a group like us started in another part of the country.

So today’s message is to go peer pressure someone into doing something good. It might be to make a donation to your favorite Autism Charity, it might be to help you with your child with Autism, but go out and do it.

So go use your PITA powers and peer pressure someone to help for our cause or to follow me;-)!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Emotional Vampires


Do you have some one in your life that is just so negative that they are pretty much an emotional vampire? I have a couple in real life and few who are Facebook friends most who have children with Autism. Some days, most days, I think about defacing them, I mean unfriending them. Honestly, I get tired of the whole life sucks, autism sucks, they have nothing positive to say about their child/children, Jenny McCarthy sucks, DAN doctors are snake oil salesmen, vaccines suck, etc.

YES WE KNOW AUTISM SUCKS!!!

HEY!!! It could always be worse. Many of my friends with kids with Autism that are dealing with that and a whole bunch more, they would be thankful to only have Autism to complain about.. Here are a few examples off the top of my head.
1) CPS.
2) Fighting cancer
3) husband’s has passed away in the past year
4) many with chronic immune issues
5) chronic pain
6) heart issues
7) domestic violence
8) drug abuse
Most of the friends I have with the above issues complain but not 24/7, and they do post some positive things when they have a good day.

I seriously worry about people who can’t find something good to post about once in awhile. I’m not looking for huge things; the something good could be that your child with Autism smiled at you, the sun came out, or you caught all the green lights on your way home. Any happy thing here would make me feel better.

This may sound like I am dissing one of my fellow autism parents’ but I am not trying too. If I was I would have already defaced them and moved on. I just want to feed them some food for thought. I think most of us on Facebook and have a child with autism are Autism Awareness 24/7 but I fear the always negative message may scare off the people in your lives who do not live and breath Autism 24/7. I also fear it will scare the new parents to autism from trying some of the interventions that have helped other kids. 6 years ago I was a lot like my emotional vampires friends, well except I am pro Jenny and DAN. Then I realized that I was sounding like a crazy person and alienating those I wanted to help. I then took a step back and changed the way I worded things. I gained a lot more supporters and people who do not have a child with Autism, but know someone who does and may need the information I have learned.

A great example of this is my Cousin Renee’s aunt friended me the other day. I’ve know this aunt all my life, she is like an aunt to me. She friended me a year and half after she heard me talking to Renee’s cousin April about why she should not use Dreft on her baby’s clothes. Renee’s aunt is becoming a grandma and she heard me talking to April at Renee’s daughter in law’s baby shower, trust me I wanted to yell full force to April to not vaccinate, but I didn’t. I did not because I knew I would send April the other way. Instead I talked to her about something small, because I DO NOT scare pregnant women. I want pregnant women to feel free to have an open dialogue with me at anytime. My calm attitude when speaking to April, left the door open for someone who was listening to talk to me about their concerns 1 ½ years after the initial conversation.

This same dialogue with April also lead me to friending and talking to another one of Renee’s cousin’s wives. Her child has been extremely sick and was recently diagnosed with multiple food allergies, and needed help with finding foods her child could eat and my thoughts on eating GF at home for the entire family. Had I stayed the crazy person both these people may not have learned the knowledge I had to share.

I guess the point of this blog is to:
a) Think before you speak, don’t scare off the people who want to listen to you
b) Remember you may not be able to change the entire world at once, but you can try to change the world one person at a time
c) Most important don’t be an emotional vampire, let your friends know something positive every once in a while other wise we will worry about you!!!

PITA up, you know you want too!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Gluten Free


Every where I turn lately there are articles lately on how women should be gluten free. Gluten is a protein found in many grains, such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, and triticale. Gluten is often associated with oats due to wheat and oats being grown on the same fields. According to a 2008, USA Today article, “In 2003, just 40,000 Americans had been diagnosed with celiac disease; today, it's 110,000 — and, if everyone with the disease were diagnosed, it would be 3 million, says Alessio Fasano, medical director of the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research in Baltimore”.

I am thinking about going Gluten Free myself and have a friend that is trying it right now.

Which leads me back to my new favorite things…

Imagine Natural Creations Creamy Portobello Mushroom Soup is absolutely amazing.
At Christmas & Easter I used it to recreate French’s Green Bean Casserole minus the French Fried Onions. If anyone has found Gluten free Casein Free fried onions please send it my way.
I am going to using the soup to try and recreate the Coke Pot Roast Recipe, well I will if I can find a high corn fructose syrup free cola (oh and do not suggest Pepsi Natural because it has Apple Juice in it).

My most favorite item I have found recently is something my child can’t have, because he can not have eggs, but it is by far my most favorite thing I have ever tasted that was Gluten free Honestly if I can find a good tasting Gluten free beer I will be Gluten free immediately, because I think I could do it with this product and beer and that says a lot!!!

Udi’s Gluten free Foods White Sandwich bread tastes wonderful, it is also casein free, soy free, and nut free. It is soft and flavorful; to me it tastes like Italian bread. I am eating it right now will oil and vinegar like you would at an Italian restaurant. It is simply divine and only 140 calories for 2 slices!!! I can’t wait to try their whole grain bread, muffins, pizza crusts, and granola.

If you the readers have any new gluten free products to suggest please send them my way.

Until next time PITA up and have a great Monday evening.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hope



When you have a child with autism the littlest things can become the most amazing things. Yesterdays amazing event was Austin made himself a sandwich. May not sound like much to most, but as a parent of a child with Autism it means hope! Hope that some day Austin will be able to live on his own and make his own dinner.

Hope is a wonderful thing. I sometimes think sometimes people forget how important it to keep the hope and faith alive. When you get the diagnose there are a lot of people out there, especially the medical community who will tell you to go home and learn to deal with it, because this is the rest of your life. For me that statement was given to us by a neurologist. My first thought was a curse word and “no this is not my life”. I am so glad I had that thought because my life is so much better today because of my attitude.

Ok, I am not going to lie to you Autism is far from fun. It has some really bad days. Like one day last summer where I woke up and Austin had dropped all of the food out of the pantry and the fridge and pretty much ruined about $500 worth of food. Or the days where he cries for no reason and I can’t figure out where he hurts or what is wrong. All those poop smears we have cleaned over the years. I could go on and on about those not so fun days!!!

Then there are those exceptional days like yesterday he made the sandwich, the day continued to get better. We went to a friend’s house for dinner and there he actually played with a toy appropriately. Ok it might have helped that it was a little claw game that had nerds in it and he really wanted the candy, but I’ll take it. He also played with his iTouch and watched TV with the other kids and we got to enjoy the other adults company. It’s nice to be able to enjoy a normal family day.

Austin amazes me everyday, not just because he can make a sandwich, but because we didn’t listen to that neurologist. If we had, my beautiful, amazing young son would not be where he is today. Each day he amazes me with the “little” things he does. Most would not even notice these small accomplishments, but I certainly do! The hope for the future is so bright for him it’s nearly blinding for me and all who support our family.

I hope through this blog that I can spread some hope to parents who are new to the diagnoses and to let them know things do get better you just have to keep and open mind look for the opportunities this journey will bring you.

Here’s to hoping today and tomorrow are as amazing as yesterday.

PITA up and do something to show someone around you a little hope.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ever wonder what is a life changing event?


Ever wonder what is a life changing event? Ever wondering how many life changing events one person can have? I have…

For me they stand out pretty clearly. The first was having cancer, the second was having children, the third was having diagnoses of Autism and the fourth was having diagnoses of heart disease.

Ok that might be a bit deceiving because I have never had cancer, Autism or heart disease but I have lived through them all, and I am only 38!!! I have lived through my boyfriend, soon to be husband having cancer when I was 17, having kids at 18, my youngest child’s diagnoses of Autism and my husband having a heart attack when he was 39.

I always thought Autism would be the MOST life changing event, but I was wrong. The heart attack was. Surprise surprise.

The heart attack made me really think of how short life is. It made everything go into perspective; it made me realize I wanted to live. I guess that is what is different before kids and after kids, because cancer should have done that, right?

Nope.

As mom’s we are notorious for taking care of everyone but ourselves, and that becomes ten-fold after the diagnoses of Autism. I remember those first 9 months reading 40 hours a week on Autism. While most of you may think I live Autism now, trust me, this is the calm me. I know hard to believe, but free to ask Ed, Ashley & Nick. Before I get a 100 Facebook posts (since I know no one comments here, lol) yelling at me for not including Emily, I will point out it is different because she has only known a life with Autism, because Austin was like this since she was 3 and he was about 18 months.)

Ok back to the subject at hand, taking care of ourselves. You have to do it. You are not getting any younger, and the kids they are getting bigger and stronger every day. Eventually they will be able to out run us and you darn well better starve off that day as long as you can!!!

First let’s get rid of the excuse you are now yelling at the computer.

Excuse #1 taking time for me is SELFISH. I am pulling out the BS card on this one and telling no its not, it SELFLESS!! The better your health the easier it is on hubby and the kidlets!! The better you feel the better the household feels and runs.

Excuse #2 I don’t have the time, I work fulltime. Again I am pulling out the BS card you have the time. Every parent I know watches at least one 30 minute TV show a day, either give that up or exercise while you watch. If you work and you say you are too tired at the end of the day, again I say BS. You are entitled to two fifteen minute a day breaks and at least a 30 minute break for an 8 hour shift. Walk quickly for 10 of those 15 minutes and go to the bathroom in the other 5, and to make it more difficult take the walk up the stairs if you can. At lunch walk the other 10 minutes. Heck I just put “10 minutes of exercise 3 times a day” into Google and came up with 9 million hits.

Excuse # 3 I don’t have time I am a stay at home mom. When you pick your child up, pick up under the shoulders and lift once or twice and use the body resistance as a weight. Potty training? Use the door jam to do push ups off, run in place, etc.

Excuse # 4 I have some type of disability, war injury, stubbed my toe, etc. There are chair exercises and ways to adapt most exercise, be creative. Can’t think of any adaptations send me an e-mail or Facebook me and I will find one or ask around and find one.

Last and final BS excuse I won’t exercise. Fine then set down that Starbuck’s White Chocolate Frappuccino® Blended Crème at 760 calories and do some serious calorie counting. And don’t do it alone, invest in the bodybugg my best friend from high school does not exercise and has lost 45 pounds just by counting calories with the bodybugg telling her how many calories she burns everyday. You don’t have to give anything up, you just eat in moderation. Is it as good as eating wisely and exercising? No, but losing the weight and being in a healthy size will extend your life and make you more likely to exercise. I love mine. I lost 45 pounds and went from a size 16 to a size 6 in 9 months. I have also used the system to maintain that weight loss for over 7 months, and in those 7 months I have survived Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s and Easter, are there holidays that you eat more then those?

Ok now when you see the price of the bodybugg, don’t come running to me to tell me it’s to expensive or I will write you a list of why you can afford it and how too;-) If you have a flex spending account let me know, I got Ed’s covered under ours.

Now go PITA up and get healthy!!!

(Updated March 24, 2013 because Bodybugg has changed their software and the new info is at http://bodymedia.extole.com/m/1270648960)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Why does the little blue puzzle piece and its organization not speak for me?


Why does the little blue puzzle piece and its organization not speak for me?

I get asked this question A LOT!!! Well today they do not Speak for me, because they take the money out of the pockets of great charities that actually help parents. My wonderful friend, Cindy Killeen Waeltermann, today is worried about her awesome little charity not making it because of “No money. Tired of making ends meet. Autism Speaks wins”.

An example of how Cindy’s charity helped me personally is that a few months ago when a fellow San Diego PITA asked for help for a friend that went to college with her, Cindy and her charity were the first to help out. Cindy personally sent me a message on how to get the child an evaluation ASAP. This is a mom, who started a charity because she wants to get kids services and her charity reflects that. When she posts on Facebook about “events” they are doing, many of those are events are kid related, not just about raising money. When was the last time the little blue puzzle piece threw a party for the kids with Autism? When did they do a conference to educate new parents with Autism? When did they sponsor a parent of a child with Autism to go to a conference? Honestly what have they done for me lately, oh wait they have not done a damn thing for me ever!!!!

Today, my older son Nick, who turns 18 in a few days and is realizing that he will have to go to a junior college because of lack of funds asked me what Autism Charity gave scholarships to siblings of children with Autism? I laughed and challenged him to get the little blue puzzle piece to do it, so I could stop bitching about them. Well hopefully his hopes are not high because I am sure that they will fail him just like they have failed his brother and his parents for the past 6 years. Instead of helping me or anyone I know they have instead used their money for a very fancy Park Avenue office and bad mouthed the daughter of the founder for believing in biomedical help for Autism.

So if you are still wondering why you should not donate to the little blue puzzle piece and their big fat NY offices, remember that of the $60 MILLION donated last year only $837,000 were donated to expand Autism services, so do the math less then 1/60 of their revenue, $341,000 went to expanding recreational services, but that does not mean any child actually saw a recreation service it means they were expanding them.

Yet they paid $1.3 Million on advertising, their chief science officer got $669.000, yes you read that correctly they got almost as much was used to “expand Autism Services” and twice as much as was used to “expand recreational services”
There are so many more stats that I could fill up the library of congress, ok maybe that is a bit far fetched, but I could at least fill up at least the Carlsbad Library with their wasted funds.

Here is a couple of awesome youtube videos on this subject if you want more info:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fc_qtWxMes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6S-9yQrsras

So PITA up and help the little charities that help real families right now.

Here are a few of our favorite ones

www.firstgiving.com/austinprimer (Talk about curing autism now)
http://www.sd-autism.org/givingPrograms.html
www.surfershealing.com
https://ssl.charityweb.net/genrescue/ (Generation rescue)
www.autismlink.com
www.nationalautismassociation.org/

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What’s for dinner?


What’s for dinner?

After almost 6 years on the Gluten Free Casein Free diet, I especially find it amusing hearing how hard the diet is and how someone could never do it. Sorry people it is not that hard. PITA UP!!!

When we started 6 years ago we ate bark, literally most thing tasted like bark!!!

Ok I should be forthcoming, the Primer household doesn’t all eat GFCF, but I am also not a short order cook. Had we only had Emily and Austin when we started the diet we would have all been, but we had a 12 and 10 year old who had a life before GFCF and before Autism. At that point in their lives we were so upside down we decided it was not fair to make them give up everything and trust me after meeting Autism we gave up everything, it might have been good for them to give this up too, but I would not ask it!!!

We did for an entire year though not have any commercial cereals and this was before EnviroKids had much more then Gorilla Munch. It was the one thing Ash and Nic used to leave down and one day I hit my limit and said, in the mom voice, “If you leave that down one more time, we will never have it again” and then for a year we did not. But trust me when their favorite bread was the next thing they left for Austin to eat got the threat, they did NOT leave it out. The learned they adapted!!

So for the record we all eat the same dinner and I make Austin his own “TV dinners” to take to school every day from the leftovers. I freeze them in wax paper and Ziploc baggies and they serve at school.

The diet is like any life change, i.e. exercise, moving, changing jobs, whatever, it is a mind set, once you realize that is just the way it is you get through it. Today’s GFCF people have it easy. I envy you all since we are now GFCFEFSFAF, for those newbie’s, those letters mean Gluten Free (no Wheat, rye, oats or barley), Casein Free (no milk), Egg free, Soy free and Apple free. For most things now days you can find tasty foods that are free of a lot, but generally they are either GFCFEF or GFCFSF, but you can’t be both. All you companies out there thinking what does the public want next, we want GFCFEFSF ;-)

OK so I have days where I have simply run out of ideas for what is for dinner. I figured others might also. So I thought I would share my new favorite GFCF recipe and that in a future blog I will share some of my other new favorite GFCF things.

Today I managed to make Emeril's Chicken Marsala. I subbed rice & potato flour for the wheat flour and ghee for the butter. It turned out fabulously and I am highly recommending the recipe!

Let’s put into perspective how well this was loved. The child who 6.5 years ago would eat no meat, veggies, fruits and definitely not a sauce with mushrooms in it, he ate it, and as I type is licking the plate, and before this when he was done eating his food he had seconds, and then moved on to his dad’s food!!!

That means we will be eating this at least once a week now!!!!!! YUM!!!

Oh and for those of you who say my kid is toooooooo picky for GFCFSF this is the same child that 6.5 years ago found a small piece of hot dog my sister tried to trick him into eating and he figured out how to get it out of the piece of Mac & cheese, without loosing his gluten filled opiate food and only spit out the hot dog!!! The more restrictive we have gone with the diet the better my child eats!!!

OK I will continue this subject in the future because I have some other fun and great new products to promote!!!

Until then PITA up and make the world a better place for our 1 in 91 kids with Autism.

Monday, April 12, 2010

”She should label that kid" and Tanya said, ”Yes like the book the Scarlet Letter or mark you with a capital I for idiot!”


Seriously, what are we getting for 60 million dollars? Does anyone know?

Because I am always being told that Autism Speaks at the very least (and I use that term loosely while my faces contorts into some gawd awful look) promotes Autism Awareness.

If we are getting Autism Awareness after all those walks and all that cash, I want to know why I’m up at 3:29 am pissed off that I again have to educate some ignorant Disneyland employee about Autism. $60 million is a lot of money, and we should have a whole hell of a lot of Awareness going on. No wonder most of us have to call it Autism Action Month, come on Autism Speaks send some money to California to educate Disneyland employees to not yell at children with Autism who are walking independently and staying with their big person, even though it was through the stroller exit and wasn't through your stupid turnstiles, the ignorant British woman who told me not to yell at the staff and “idiot” guy who wanted to put a label on my child. The worst part is I swear at least once a year I have to march into City Hall and give this lecture. When is Disney going to educate the entire staff, because I am tired of doing it myself? (OH and the quiet room will not being making me quiet, nope not this time, not ever when it comes to Autism Awareness and Action!!!)

Seriously the numbers are 1 in 91 we can’t be the first person with Autism that these 3 ignorant people have met, can we? OK maybe we can, but I am sure we will be the most memorable. Especially after I told the British lady that in this country children like mine had rights and laws to protect them while her husband sized up my husband and wondered if he could take us if he needed to. Sorry lady, I don’t care if you were a foot taller then me, my scrappy little American arse could have taken you and your husband out, and you do not mess with a mommy on mission to protect her child from ignorance!!!

Ok so here is the challenge of the day, if Autism Speaks, who doesn’t speak for the Primers and can’t make people “aware”, I guess it is up to all of us in Autism Action month to do it. So PITA Up and make the world a better place by taking some Action on Awareness today!!! (OH and Disneyland you can thank me later for not publishing your phone number at the end of this and asking my 521 Facebook friends to call you and complain too!!!)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

iPod Touch one of the best inventions EVER!!!


Wants the world to know how great the iPod touch is! Honestly it may be the best invention ever, at least for my household and a few of my friends’ households. It has even passed up the baby wipe and the Ziploc bag in my top two inventions ever, and you all know how much I love my iPhone, computer and internet. Funny thing is I should be blogging about http://proloquo2go.com/ which is awesome, and my friend Malinda would tell you it changed her life.

Malinda Cook says, “The proloquo2go program on the iTouch has changed my life as well as my non-verbal daughter! Since we started using the program in October 2009, she has been able to communicate her wants and needs much better. She uses the program at home as well as at school. I was able to customize it to her needs – proloque2go is so easy to use and program! I recommend it to anyone who needs a communication device for their child. There are 1000’s of icons that are not only up to date but familiar to children – no more stick figures. You can also download you own pictures easily. I highly recommend proloquo2go.”

We just got our proloquo2go.com in December and we are seeing nice progress in communication and we happen to think it’s great also. We especially love it since after 5 devices in 5 years we have one we can program our self and are not dependant on a speech teacher to do it. LOVE THAT!!!!

The part I never expected was games, or apps that can be downloaded on to an iTouch. As a wife of a video game addict and mother of 3 other children who also love to play video games, I love that Austin at 8.5 is now playing video games, even if they are just the toddler ones! I was often jealous of my fellow PITA’s who had kids that played video games and often wondered how much easier my life would be if my kid was a video game addict (how lazy does that sound? lol).

Well Thursday night I got that pleasure. We sat at quietly at That Pizza Place in Carlsbad, enjoyed adult conversation with out of town guests and Austin did not object. Ok he got up and tried to run a way a few times, but he sat and played for a long time. After 8.5 years of having Austin this was huge for us. Even my sister could not believe how well he did. If you haven’t thought about buying your kid an iTouch, I am highly recommending it and give it 2 thumbs way up!!!

Ok while thanking things that have us gotten here, I should include, we could not have done it with it out TACAnow.org, GFCFSFEFAF (ok it feels like a million things free), Houston Enzymes, Dana’s View, and all the wonderful PITA’s who showed me the way.

So as usual PITAup, and don’t be like my friend Nicole and think anything bad about up after the A. ;-)

Think of it like Cowboy up, lol. Change the world, be a PITA, and PITAUP!!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Is there a difference between a Soccer Mom and a Football Mom?


Is there a difference between a Soccer Mom and a Football Mom?

According to my husband, the high school teacher and football coach, there must be. Since I lost 40 pounds and stopped wearing dumpy clothes, he keeps teasingly asking when I am heading to the soccer field or PTA meetings. Should I be offended? Luckily for him I am not. It feels good to have lost 40 pounds and to get to enjoy new clothes and have a new self confidence at almost 39 years old.

By now you are probably wondering what this has to do with Autism. Really it has nothing to do with it, but in reality it has everything to do with Autism. On June 15, 2004 my life changed when my youngest child was diagnosed with Autism. For the next 4 months, I read 40 hours a week on Autism, I was a one track mind “mom on a mission” (thanks Lin Wessell), and until November 8, 2008 I continued on the path to help my child and any other child I met on my way. On November 8, my world once again changed. My husband was admitted to the hospital and a few days later we were told he had a heart attack at 39.

Again you are probably wondering what this has to do with Autism. It has everything to do with Autism. We as parents, and especially us mom’s when we get the diagnoses we drop our lives and we do anything and everything Autism. One of the huge things we neglect is our health. November 8, 2008, I realized how short life is and how important health is. I made a point from that day forward to work on my health, partly for my health, but mostly for my 4 kids. I saw our family life pass before my eyes and realized that they needed one parent to live.

Luckily I have the best set of friend’s, my local mom’s night out group the PITA’s who were there to help me along the way. Victoria who recommended the bodybugg.com system, Amy who walked on what Ed refers to as our “death marches” with me everyday, and to all the others who cheered us on.

Now back to Autism, some of you may still be wondering what this has to do with Autism; it has everything to do with Autism. During Autism Action Month I want all the Autism Mom’s I know, all the PITA’s I know, to PITA up and start doing something for their own health. Stop thinking 30 minutes of exercise is selfish and start thinking it is “selfless”.

PITA up!!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Why is Temple Grandin different then the rest of the crowd?


Why is Temple Grandin different then the rest of the crowd?

Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is different from the rest of the crowd because she the most well-known and probably the most vocal adult with autism in the world. Like most parents with children with Autism her parents were told she should be institutionalized. Thankfully her parents like many parents I know did not listen to that and she is now a renowned author and works as a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. Templin also is a well known speaker on both autism and cattle handling.

From Emergence: Labeled Autistic, Temple has said, "I have read enough to know that there are still many parents, and yes, professionals too, who believe that 'once autistic, always autistic.' This dictum has meant sad and sorry lives for many children diagnosed, as I was in early life, as autistic. To these people, it is incomprehensible that the characteristics of autism can be modified and controlled. However, I feel strongly that I am living proof that they can".

Despite the above quote the Autism News still titles their Feb. 2, 2010 article “Temple Grandin warns against ‘curing’ autism”. I personally do not read this quote as saying that, “I believe there’s a point where mild autistic traits are just normal human variation. Mild autism can give you a genius like Einstein. If you have severe autism, you could remain nonverbal. You don’t want people to be on the severe end of the spectrum. But if you got rid of all the autism genetics, you wouldn’t have science or art. All you would have is a bunch of social ‘yak yaks.’” (http://www.theautismnews.com/2010/02/02/temple-grandin-warns-against-curing-autism/

While a lot of high functioning people with Autism and Aspergers do object to “recovery” or “curing” a child with Autism, I believe Temple has PITA’ed up and said while she would not change herself she is not opposed to helping our kids who are not HFA“. For a parent of child who most consider low functioning, I think this is wonderful that she can see the difference. I wish others could too. I would never ever take away my child’s “normal human variation”, but I also do not want to leave him in the autism alone. Before diet and enzymes he colored and spinned 22 hours a day and thought of me as nothing more then the furniture. 6 years later he has a smile that lights up a room, and when he looks at you and smiles because he knows you it could melt even Frosty the snowman.

I hope someday he can be as accomplished as Temple, and tell his thoughts and opinions on the subject of Autism. Not only do I think Temple is pretty special so does TIME magazine, you can now vote in “The 2010 TIME 100 Poll for the leaders, artists, innovators and icons who you think merit spots on this year's list of the 100 most influential people in the world”

http://tiny.cc/fo4em

I hope everyone who thinks like me takes the time to vote, let’s show the world that some one with Autism can be the most influential person of the world.

As always PITAup and vote for Temple!!!

If you like my blogs please become a follower and leave a comment.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The “Good Wife”

The “Good Wife”

So I am really loving the new show “The Good Wife”, funny as that sounds this leads me to think what is “The Good Wife”

Before kids or Autism it’s the wife that has no issue with her husband hanging with the guys for poker, football, baseball, soccer, etc. After Autism it’s the wife who no matter what still gives the husband some physical attention, even if it just a quickie. Fortunately for me, I was married almost 12 years before Autism, so I actually get this.

Trust me in marriage there are days and times you do not want to be intimate. And it is probably most days. Fortunately with marriage you also learn compromise; you learn that some days you have to give it up to make sure you have a happy household.

Ok sorry if this shocks you but it is true, it’s also even more true when you have a kid with Autism. Trust me by the time you are done with Autism on any given day you are ready for a nervous break down. You are sick of not understanding what your child needs, you are sick of diaherra or constipation, you are sick of tantrumming you are sick of not having a child like your friends, you are sick of being different and most important you are sick of having to explain it to your family, friends and possibly your husband.

This being said, I have a feminist PITA/friend who does not like a certain autism organization who says the same thing I do, but in my humble opinion you sometimes have to take one for the team, and for this conversation the team is the “family”. But bottom line a happy TEAM is a family that has a chance of staying together and if the stats of more then 75 % of families get divorces I am willing to piss off the feminists!!!

Even with that I am willing to state on the web, that a couple who does the deed is a family that stays together.

That being said, I remember being a mom, “in the weeds” of Autism. And by “in the weeds” I mean, so overwhelmed in the first 3 years of diagnoses. I remember reading 40 hours a week and when my husband came home overwhelming him with information he did not want. I remember also finding ourselves clinging to each other. Of course we had 12 years of marriage and 15 years of being together to cling onto. Most parents do not have that luxury. Which is why I highly encourage you new mom’s to go out there and “cling” to your husband even when you don’t feel like it. I promise you, if you are not in an abusive relationship and you have a relationship with your husband you will end up stronger and better off because of it.

As always just my opinion and as usual PITA up!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What is a PITA?


What is a PITA?

For most conversations as it relates to FB, a PITA is a member of our Mom’s Night Out Group for parents of children with Autism in San Diego County. We have now expanded out to Orange County and are looking for further expansions.

A PITA by definition is a Pain In The Ass parent.

Where does the term PITA come from?
I once heard a teacher refer to parents like me as a PITA and I thought to myself, why yes I am.

Generally this answer satisfies most, but for those who push further and want to know more, here is a more broad answer…

A PITA is a parent who pushes for her child and your child no matter what she is facing, we are not a biomedical group nor are we anti-biomedical. We take all parents, we take all care givers, and we take all that fight for our children with Autism to have better lives. We are change makers. We are what the school districts, government or pharmaceutical companies try to hide from other parents. We are parents who will not be coerced into taking less for our children. We are parents who want to help other parents learn the skills we have and to give back what has been given to us. We will not take the knowledge we know and walk quietly away once we have solved our children’s problems. We will take on the world for every child we know and love and find a solution for all our children.

I am sure I missed something, but pretty much if you fall under these guidelines, you are a PITA and welcome to start a PITA group near you!!! All we ask is that you stay within the above guidelines and that you take all parents of children with Autism and make the world a better place, and when asked where you got your name, you give credit back to the OP’s the Original PITA’s of San Diego!