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Sunday, November 1, 2015

In Whoville, they say...

By the time Mason turned 4, I had accepted the fact that he probably would never really understand holidays and birthday parties. Maybe it was a defense mechanism. I was scared to believe it could happen, because if he never did, I just didn't want to feel the blow.

Every holiday and birthday party (his own or another kids party) I would have pep talks with myself.

It is ok if he doesn't understand or it is too overstimulating. He is having fun in his own way.

His own way being that he would leave the room and not interact with anyone. It was like things were happening around him and he didn't see.

I tried very hard to make it all about him and not me.

I would ask myself... why does this upset me? He is not upset. He is getting upset when I try to put him in an environment that is too much for him.

Last Halloween was such a disaster,  you can read about it here, that this year I had pretty much given up on anything regarding the day.

The Halloween party at school was the same as last year. Mason was miserable. He clung to me. We made it easier for him by letting him hand out candy instead of doing trunk or treat, and when the class went up to sing the Halloween song for their parents, I was by his side. He didn't participate and just looked away. I tried to have pep talks again with myself but the honest truth is i was heartbroken for him.

Halloween is supposed to be fun. I just couldn't figure out why a day that is supposed to be fun was just filled with anxiety. It is not that I was mad at him...I just felt horrible.

Halloween eve started the same as last year too. Mason screaming "No Halloween!!" Holding his ears, holding his head, tears streaming down his face. And I had not even asked anything of him-just asked him if he wanted to put on his costume. Then a toy he was plaything with ran out of batteries and at that point it was so bad, I gave up. I laid him down on my bed and let him play games on my phone to calm down.

His cousin came over about an hour later and Mason was so excited to see him. And then I have no idea how this even happened, but his uncle asked him if he wanted to go trick or treating and put on his costume. Mason looked very nervous and at first said no and started to cry.

All of a sudden, he put on his costume. And he yelled "CANDY!!!"

And off we went.

The kid totally "got" Halloween. He went door to door saying "trick or treat" and after every house he would say "Excuse me. Was that fun? I had fun!"

We only went to a few houses but Mason had a blast. He doesn't like candy so when we got home, he just tried to feed it to me.

I swear I have not been this happy in months. I felt like the Grinch when his heart grows 3 times. Every time he went up to a house and said "trick or treat" and then "thank you" I just felt my heart get bigger. He even started shaking people's hands after they passed out candy.

The teachers at his school don't refer to him as "The mayor" for nothing.

All and all it was a success. And the lesson I learned is to not doubt this kid.

He can do anything.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Stereotype Shmereotype

I have been on a pretty emotional roller coaster these past 2 months as far as my personal life, so blogging has been on the back burner.  I am just like...can the emotional roller coasters of life please stop? Things get good, then something else happens and I am back on the ride, Blah. Getting so tired of this.

Anywhoo...besides just trying to get thorough some tough times non child related...Mason is surprising me every day.

Don't get me wrong-there are struggles.

He is 4.5 and not potty trained yet. That is really REALLY hard.

Where the heck do you change an almost 5 year old?

I am a small person and I am very nervous about this going on much longer.

For me, other than worrying about not being big and strong enough to handle changing Mason as he gets bigger and older, I am pretty patient with this whole process. is scary all the same.

Most of my anxiety comes from being worried about what other people are thinking about Mason. Not people that know him, of course. But people on the outside not knowing what is really going on.

He is still in a diaper, and kids his age (and even younger!) ask why he is in a diaper. I understand they are not being rude-I are kids.

It is just really starting to become a draining conversation.

Also the other day at the grocery store the cashier asked me how old my baby was when I was buying diapers. I just looked at her  with dead eyes and said "Four and a half."

Enter awkward silence.

I am TRYING to get his kid potty trained-but that is a post for another day.

I am 100% sure it is not related to a developmental delay.

Autistic people have a very hard time with transitions and I know that is what is happening with Mason. I mean good lord the other day we actually ARGUED about him using the potty.

Noooo Mommmyyyyyy. Want a diiiaaaaappppeeerrrr. Nooooo Poootttttyyyyyy!!!!!

And then yesterday he knowingly told me big boys use diapers and babies go in the potty.

There are other struggles.

His diet is crap. He eats nothing.

We are on a waiting list to begin feeding therapy at an outpatient facility.

Maybe I will get into that in another blog but Mason's lack of eating habits keep me up at night for sure.

He needs a lot of support for a child who is 4.5. TONS of redirecting. He doesn't sit still AT ALL.

There are other issues we are dealing with but I do want to talk about the positive.

There are so many stereotypes and misconceptions of autism.

One of them is that autistic people are in "their own world."

I guess I can say this was true when Mason was younger.

Now...he just isn't like that. He is still very much autistic. You can see how his peers are different than him.

But I guess what I want to say is autism isn't the doom and gloom I thought it was 3 years ago.

It is challenging that is for sure.

There is a side of autism that I don't think people know about

There is the side that...maybe isn't surprising...but can leave a smile on your face

And then there is the side...that probably no one knows about-autistic kids take selfies with their mom.

Take that stereotypes!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Bunch of Random Stuff

So I have not written in a while but noticed by blog was getting a lot of hits lately so I decided I should post about what has been going on.

Mason is doing GREAT!!!!! He is such a clever kid...he is very very smart and I have a few funny stories I want to share.

When Mason was first evaluated by Early Intervention in 2012, his scores had indicated a severe communication delay which obviously scared the crap out of me.

He was evaluated using the Battelle Developmental Inventory 2nd Edition. A score of 100 is considered "average". 89-80 is considered "below average" 79 and below is a delay. So...obviously the lower the score, the more delayed the child is.

69 and below is a severe delay

When Mason was first evaluated  he scored a 59 in communication, and a 77 in cognition.

Cue Mom crying in her pillow.

I knew Mason was smart-he could identify all of the letters of the alphabet upper case and lower case before his 2nd birthday.

I also knew he was delayed in language-he was one and a half and did not have a single word and was not using gestures to communicate. But the score of 59 just seemed really...low...and scary.

The cognitive delay really blew me away though.

I remember just looking at the scores.

He is intellectually delayed? I mean yes he was 2 points from being "below average" but again who wants their kid to be "below average" in intellect?

THAT had never crossed my mind.

As time went on, we have had this evaluation done a few more times. Thanks to early intervention, his communication scores have gone up.

In July of 2013, one year after his first eval, he scored a 61 in communication, and then a year later when he was aging out of early intervention at age 3, he scored a 69.

Interestingly, his cognitive score has stayed around a 78 every time and I really just don't get it. I mean, it is good it is staying the same because that means it is not getting worse as he gets older. But I still cannot get over that  he is considered intellectually delayed.

I do wonder if it has to do with his delay in communication-like he cannot communicate all that he knows.

Reading the scores is like a punch in the gut but at the end of the day, I know he needs the help and that is what I need to focus on-not the scores.

Mason can count to 100. He can count by 10's. He can say the alphabet backwards. He can read. And as I said previously,  he is very very clever.

These are the funny stories I wanted to share:

"Mason clean up your toys"




"Y-E-S" (I spelled out the word yes.)

Mason looked at me.

"Y-E-S. It spells NO"

I seriously laughed out loud when he said that back to me! What a bugger! He looked at me all serious too when he said it. I could see it in his face.

I am not cleaning these toys, lady.

Because I laughed, he now unfortunately says "Yes spells no" when I tell him he has to do something.

I pretend to not think it is funny but inside I just want to give him a big hug every time he says it!

Another funny story

Mason has this thing lately where he wants my phone ALL.THE TIME. It is driving me up a wall. I typically don't like giving him my phone and will use it as a last resort.

A few weeks ago, he watched me put in my pass code to unlock the phone-I had never showed him what it was before.

I really didn't think anything of it as he watched me put it in.

Later that day, he yelled from my room

"Mommy! I did it!"

"What did you do Mason?"

He walked out with my phone and it was unlocked

"9 9 2 6" (my pass code)

I just laughed and laughed. And now he knows my pass code and I cannot bear to change it because every time he puts it in, his face is priceless.

Yeah that is right mommy. I know the pass code.

Anyway the other morning, he woke up and immediately went for my phone. I of course did not want him playing video games first thing in the morning so I took my phone from him and hit it under my pillow.

He was MAD. Like...super mad. When he gets really mad at me, he tells me to go to the store and so for the next 5 minutes, he just cried and was yelling at me to go to the store.

Then suddenly, he stopped.

He made the most pathetic face I have ever seen.

"Mommy. I NEED Cheerios. PLEASE"

He seriously started acting like I never fed him.

I got out of bed and without him noticing, grabbed my phone.

Mason watched me-he didn't take his eyes off me.

I pretended to leave the room and as soon as I did, he went straight for my pillow. He looked under it.

No phone.

"NO MOMMY'S PHONE!!!" he shouted. He crossed his arms and stomped his foot which I actually found hilarious- his plot has been foiled!

My point with this whole story is this-he was able to come up with a plan to have me leave the room so he could get what he wanted. His brain is always thinking. He can come up with ways to problem solve. He comes up with creative answers.

Oh and I forgot the best one-he pretended to be sick 2 days in a row to get out of going to school. he actually did a GREAT job-he clutched his stomach and laid lethargically on the sofa. I even took him to the doctor because I was becoming very concerned.

On the third day, he started limping. WTF. So now he is walking around clutching his stomach and limping. I was nervous, but it was all just becoming a bit dramatic

I decided to see once and for all if this was real. I told him he could stay home from school. He still behaved the same.

I needed to do something more so I invited his 3 year old cousin over to play.

Well wouldn't you know-the limp was gone and so was his stomach ache. He jumped on his bed, ran around, and laughed.


And as soon as his cousin left, the limp was back!

Anyway-I realize I am babbling but my point is that Mason is a smart and clever kid  no matter what those dumb test scores indicate!

His next evaluation will be when he enters kindergarten which is next year and I am really interested to see how he has progressed.

I don't even know what the point of writing all of this is other than to say I think my child is brilliant.

On to some more exciting news-


Thank friggin God!

Mason has been finding all of these explicit Angry Birds videos to watch on youtube. I tried clearing my history, I put the filter they have on. But nothing stopped these vidoes from popping up.

I would be cleaning my room or something and hear "Watch out you little bitches!! I am going to fucking kill you!!"

Umm WTF???? Seriously who has time to make these videos and put them on youtube?

And actually...that goes for ALL youtube videos.

Mason LOVES watching this particular video on you tube...he calls it "Doggie Dancin"

Christmas Dog Sings Shout

Cute right?

Well search You Tube for "Christmas Dog Sings Shout" and see how many videos come up.

There are like MILLIONS of people who have this dumb dog that put a video of it on You Tube.



Like who has time to do this stuff? I literally was like flabbergasted at all of these singing Christmas dog videos.

While we are on the subject of what Mason likes to watch on You is another one he watches all the time

Banners and Airplanes

He loves to create banners and airplanes too

And another video he likes to watch

Disney Collector Glitter Gliders

Here are Mason's Glitter Gliders. He loves them and likes to tell me they glide.

He also has regular Magic Clip (that do not glide) dolls and they always are put in the exact same order that you see below. If they are in any other order, Mason will walk over and rearrange them back to this order.

And since this blog post is just randomly about nothing, here is a video of him during ABA therapy working on conversational language.


When Mason turned 4 he still had no conversational language skills and all of his language was just wants and needs. For example if I asked him what he did at school, he could not answer without major prompting from me. So this is pretty exciting! He now is starting conversations with me without being prompted.

"Look mommy I see an airplane!"

And we will talk about the airplane together.

No one will ever be able to convince me that getting Mason early intervention did not play a role in where he is today.

I know Mason will always be on the autism spectrum. Thoughts of a cure are long gone-you cannot cure a part of who someone is. But...I will continue to push through and set up up as best I can for a successful life.

                                                  Wearing new glasses

Thursday, May 21, 2015


So....I realized I have not written in over two months. I don't think, since I started this blog over two years ago, I never went that long without writing. And...I think that is a good thing.

Two and a half years ago this blog was a way for me to cope and has been for all this time. But lately...I am in a good place.

 I really don't get upset when I see neurotypical children the same age as Mason anymore. I used to go home and cry and be angry but...I noticed that isn't happening.

I am not wishing for his autism to go away. I am not wishing for him to be someone he isn't-I actually feel like a big asshole for ever thinking that.

This year has been a big year for me in terms of acceptance-it took forever for me to get here. I didn't actually even know I was travelling down a road toward acceptance. If someone had asked me 2 and a half years ago if I accepted Mason's autism, I would have said yes and looked at them like they were crazy.

But how accepting was I?

I cried all the time.

I didn't want him to be autistic.

Now I am just like whateves.

I laugh at things that he does because his personality is"Mason".

Last night he was playing with some kids outside. He fell and scraped his knee. Now a neurotypical child would naturally run to their mom, tell their mom their knee hurt...blah blah blah.

Not Mason.

He started randomly yelling at me through his tears that he didn't want a sandwich.

 I didn't think it was weird or strange. It was just...Mason.

I know that sometimes,  he doesn't know what he is supposed to say.

So..he fell down and decided to yell at me about non existing sandwiches. It actually made me laugh.

I will try to update here and there, and I hope in some way it has helped other parents who were or are in my shoes two and  a half years ago-I felt so alone and misunderstood at that time.

I still worry about Mason.

 I worry about bullying when he is older.

I am sad that certain situations are hard for him when they don't seem to be hard-I guess it is something I just don't understand and I need to focus on how to help him vs focus on the whoes me

I am horrified at the thought of kindergarten next year in public school.

Overall though I feel good. I am positive for the future.  I have learned that this  is his journey and not mine.. I just need to be there to support and advocate for him as much as I can.

Most importantly, I think, for the first time in almost 3 years, my "new normal" just feels...normal.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Something To Think About...

So I was at Target today buying some shizz for my new crib when I saw a mom and her son, who seemed to be about 12 or 13 years old, coming toward me.

They immediately caught my attention because I could tell she was leading him down the aisle-his hand was on the cart and her hand was over his.

Her other hand was behind his back and I watched her guide him.

I knew it was a mom and a son-  I don't think a non mom could have had the look on her face that she did.

He sipped a drink he was holding and they both walked slowly.

I heard her say over and over "I am so proud. I am so proud of you. Great job"

It was obvious to me she was praising him for walking through the store.

If a voice could beam, hers was beaming.

I looked at the boy.

He looked like any other teenager. Nothing physically stood out about him.

I thought of the many times people have said to me "Mason doesn't look like he has autism"

What is that supposed to look like anyway?


I don't know if this young man was autistic-I thought perhaps he was.

Their interaction together took my breath away.

I wanted to continue to watch and see how this mom interacted with her son. I wanted to see how he reacted to the environment.

I seriously wanted to hug both of them and tell them they were doing great.

Before being a special needs mom, I think I would have just thought "I wonder what is wrong with him" and went on my way.

Instead, I thought of how hard this boy probably worked to get to the point where his mom could guide him through the aisles of Target.

Probably countless hours of therapy.

We all go to Target every day.

I go like every week.

Mason loves Target and he is on the autism spectrum and he is 4.

I thought of "The Spectrum".

It is fucking huge.

If you have seen one kid with autism, you have seen one kid with autism.

Just because one child has very specific needs does not mean they are all the same.

Autism is a neurological disorder that affects normal development in social and cognitive development.

This can range from a person just being very awkward,  to the boy that I was probably uncomfortably staring at in Target today.

I thought of how much therapy he probably went through to be able to walk through Target.

Years? Years. It had to be years.

I listened to him say "Proud of me" to his mom when she said she was proud of him-his pronunciation of the words sounding similar to a toddler.

I wanted to run up and hug him and tell him how amazing I thought he was but I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes and I didn't want them to think I was a big weirdo.

One thing is for sure-when you are the parent of a child that does not hit milestones naturally...everything is a celebration.

I watched them walk away and hoped with all of my soul maybe his mom could sleep a little easier tonight. I hoped that this boy knew what he had accomplished was amazing and that being able to walk through a store could help him accomplish his next goal.

Every goal has a purpose-to get you to the next one.

Progress-no matter how fast or slow-is still progress and that goes for any disability not just autism.

I left the store and sat in my car for a minute to see if they were going to walk out, but then felt totally stalkerish and drove away.

I know that boy will never know me and never know how he touched me and he will never know how I will be thinking of him and cheering him on.

As parents of special needs kids we can never give up. Our lights at the end of the tunnel are very different but our goals are the same- ensure our kids get the best chance at life.

I really do feel like I know how proud his mom must have been of him.

And I was proud of him, too.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

More Positive Updates

So I am pretty excited about something that happend this week but in order to share, I need to bring things back to about a year ago.

It was the end of the school year and Mason's dad and I were at the end of the year picnic...that got rained out.

We instead were inside of the school room-it was jammed backed with teachers, students, and parents.

The school had set up little "stations" for the kids to take their parents to and do various activities.

As I looked around, I felt like Mason was the only kid who was not showing his parents the various stations.

To make a long story short- I watched kids the exact same age tell their parents what kinds of crafts they wanted to make, sit with their parents and talk about what they were doing or what they wanted painted on their faces by the very scary clown.

I was like literally in really...can have conversations like that?

Now I have a niece and nephew the same age, so I was not completely blown away.

My niece has always had very advanced language skills-she started talking-and I mean talking not babbling-at 8 months old. By 19 months you could have a back and forth conversation with her. Just the other day she told my sister "Mom my brain can talk to me and I can answer back without talking" um...what almost 4 year old even says that? I am still trying to get my kid to talk to me, and she can talk to her brain. Alrighy then!

My nephew had a language delay as a toddler- he started early intervention at 2 years old and at 3 he qualified for speech with the public school. The funny thing about my nephew is that although he talked very late due to his language delay...there was never any question in regards to what he wanted. He could somehow talk to everyone, and everyone knew what he meant, but he wasn't talking. I cannot even describe it, but it was actually pretty funny. He could non verbally have a conversation.

So...when Mason turned 3...I had seen both sides-a child with advanced language and a child with a language delay who was otherwise developing typically.

So why did the social behavior of these 2 and 3 year olds in Mason's class shock me so much?

You can read about my emotional day here

So anyway-that was less than a year ago.

By three, children start to have conversational language-which is what I was witnessing.

Mason is now 4 and he still has no conversational language. He tells me his wants and needs but if I were to say, for example "What did you do at school today"...he developmentally is not there yet as far as language goes to answer that question.

I brought it up in a meeting I had at school with his BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) and the director of his ABA inclusion program.

The BCBA looked a little surprised-I guess that is the point of these meetings-to get these things in the open.

She said this is something we absolutely have to work on developing as far as language and I got the feeling that they were going to step it up a notch? (kick it up a notch? Isn't that from something?)


She asked me a couple of questions to confirm what I meant and I told her if I ask him how school was he does not answer. If I ask him what he did today, he does not answer etc...

He isn't ignoring me. He cannot answer.

That was about 2 weeks ago.

Fast forward to...uh..yesterday.

Every day since he has been 2 years old, I have asked him what he did in school and if he had fun and was always greeted by silence and a sort of blank stare.

But on Friday...something amazing happened!

"Mason did you have fun at school today?"


ummm??? hu????

"What did you do at school today"


Holy What?????????????

"What else did you do?"


My heart like jumped out of my chest.

He answered!!! I could not believe it!! My eyes filled with tears. I looked at him in the rear view mirror and just wanted to give him the biggest hug. And it was no big thing to him.

"What do you want to do after school?"

"Want to go to Shop Rite and get Chex and Pretzels"

 I don't know what to say. My kid loves Shop Rite.

SO off we went!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

"Hi Everything!"

Yesterday Mason was watching Barney. (ugh OMG I never knew anything about Barney before and wish it could stay that way)

I feel like he is a bit old for Barney but whatever. He really likes it.

He LOVES seeing the kids who are on the show. When they come on, he yells "HI KIDS!!!"

Actually on a side note, he says hi to everyone and everything now. As we were leaving Shoprite a few nights ago  (yes Shoprite again. I feel like lots of shit always goes down in my blog at Shoprite) he yelled at the top of his lungs "BYE SHOPRITE! SEE YA NEXT TIME!!!"

Anyway getting back to Barney. As we were watching, a song about exercise came on and Mason started copying what the kids were doing on the show.

They ran, he ran around the table. They jumped, he jumped too. They crawled around, he did too. Hands in the air to reach up, he did too.

He was laughing and yelling "Hey kids!" the whole time.

No prompting from me-he was doing it on his own.

 I joined in and at the part where the kids jump, he grabbed my hands and we jumped together.

My mind flashed back to when I had him enrolled at "Little Gym" when he was about 19 months old.

To make a long story short, he was in a class for 18-24 months and I remember all of the kids except Mason could follow the teacher's instructions when she told everyone to run in a circle, try to skip, try to hop, etc...

I remember just watching the kids in his gym class just follow along and laughing and enjoying themselves...

I remember just watching Mason and wondering why he didn't understand like the other kids did. The kids in his class could even answer what their names were.

Yeah there were some kids who didn't want to participate but I could tell they were CHOOSING to not listen, as opposed to Mason who just didn't understand the situation.

This is really happening. This is really fucking happening.

That is what I thought to myself over and over. I actually asked his Early Intervention therapist if I should put him in a younger class but she said no-being in the class with same peers will help him.

Later I found out this is called "Peer Modeling". learn by watching each other and it is very effective way for children with developmental delays to learn.

Peer Modeling is why it is very important for someone like Mason to be in an inclusion classroom setting. This means that he and other students with autism participate in a classroom setting with typically developing peers as opposed to being shunned away to a special ed only class which is what used to be done back in the day.

Mason has been in an inclusion setting for almost 2 years now at his school. I know that the peer modeling has made such a big difference in his development-particularly this year when his individualized program is really putting an emphasis on peer to peer interaction.

I have seen a huge difference in him probably within the last 6 months socially.

He says hi to EVERYONE. He actually said hi to a person on a bike the other day.

"It's a bike! Hi Person!"

 He has now taken an interest in what other kids are doing and what they are playing. Yeah he is not pretending to be Batman yet like kids his age (and who knows if he will even ever like Batman) but the most important thing is that I am seeing growth. His development, while slow, has never stagnated.

So to other people, watching an almost 4 year old boy run around and yell "hi kids" and participate to a show on television doesn't really seem like that big of a deal.

For Mason and was something we had never done together. He giggled and laughed as I crawled around with him.

"Mommy's turn Mommy's turn!" he yelled.

So much of Mason's life has been me watching watching him simply react to things around him, and me prompting him to help him along.

To watch him at almost 4 years old, finally start to interact on his own is something I was not sure was going to happen a year ago.

I don't want to "change" Mason. I am not trying to "erase" who he is.

I know he will always be autistic and I have finally realized that trying to "erase" autism is not going to help him.

The best way to help him is to work with him and not against work with his strengths but still let him be himself.

Autism, I have realized, does not a death sentence.

As Mason has grown, so have I. I realize I need to fit myself into Mason's world as opposed to making him fit into mine.

And I need to make it crystal clear to everyone who interacts with him that is what is expected.

I think this mindset is helping me mentally and it is helping Mason developmentally.

I love all of his little quirks that..if they were gone...he would not be Mason.

I love this kid so much.

I am so proud that I am his mom.