Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April - A Month of Adjusting

Owen has been in Bethesda's IBI program now for 49 days as of today, and what an up and down 49 days it has been. I have to toot this child's horn for a second if I may; I have never seen a child work as hard as him. He was quickly eased into the Bethesda 25 hours in a 2 week period, and from then on he has had a busier life than me.. which says something.

I want to just list my sons days so you get a feel of how hard he works;

Mondays - Sleeps in till 8:40am
                - Bethesda at our home from 9am - 12pm
                - Lunch break with mom 12pm-1pm
                - Bethesda at our home from 1pm- 4pm

Tuesdays - awake at 8 am
                - bus at 8:32am
                - school from 8:50am - 12:30pm
                - Picked up by mom - Bethesda bound after a quick stop at McDonald's for transition fries
                - Bethesda 1pm- 7am

Wednesdays - Same as Tuesdays

Thursdays - Everything the same but Bethesda 1-5pm

Fridays - Everything the same but Bethesda 1-4pm

I honestly admire this child for how hard he works. This was no easy process for Owen in the first few weeks; we had meltdowns, we had tantrums, we had over sleeping, we had under sleeping, we had confusion, we had it all.

How did we handle this? Could we really blame him for feeling this way and acting out? No, of course not. This child was burning the candle at both ends; and thankfully we have an amazing therapy team at Bethesda and a wonderful EA at the school who helped us him to adjust and make the transition go a bit smoother; this is how.

Owen was having a difficult time understanding he had to go back to school after Mondays. Mondays (as listed above) is at home all day, which Owen loves, so obviously the rest of the week he didn't want to go back to school, how did we handle it? Bethesda made Owen a great visual schedule that lists the days he is at home, what days he is at school, and then finally, the times he is at Bethesda, what a help! During the week, we ATTEMPT to get Owen in bed at a reasonable time, which isn't the easiest, but he has gotten better at waking up in the morning.

When Owen was going through all these changes in his life; it really effected me. I felt like I couldn't blame him for feeling like this; he was meeting new people that he had to spend 25 hours a week with. I was worried that maybe he wasn't being challenged enough, maybe he was manipulating everyone, I couldn't control this new situation and that is hard for me. I am putting my sons life in the hands of others most of the week; and then what I was waiting for happened this month; we saw a change.

No more was he mad and upset to go to Bethesda and having tantrums; he was back to being excited! Reading his visual schedule to Ryan and I; knowing his days inside and out - he began to have better days at school, doing paperwork with his typical peers in the hallways, being invited to birthday parties; at home, we are able to participate in his development- and he is rocking it in front of us. I know as an adult, I work hard at living my life; but Owen completely wipes the standard clean. I have witnessed it, and I admire him.

After one evening of therapy till 7pm, Owen fell asleep on my lap in our living room, as I began to watch the movie, "Bully". I was prepared for what I was going to see; what I wasn't prepared for, was the effect it would have on me, and what our future holds. I often speak about my concerns for the future of Owen and Ben, how again, I am going to be loosing control and my over protectiveness is going to cease when I am not allowed to be around. What I took away from watching Bully, was that Ryan and I will always have to be conscious of everything surrounding Owen, behaviours changing, marks on his body, personality changes; I will have to rely on Maddie (and thankfully she is a year behind him). I cannot believe how scary a bus ride can be; and from what I witnessed in that movie (the bus scenes being one of the hardest to watch) I will drive Owen and the other 2 at a certain point; and making adjustments is alright, and I am okay with it. If you get a chance; force yourself to watch it and be vulnerable, I did - and I think I am going to be a better person and most importantly, special needs parent for it.

Lastly this month; my best friend Valerie and I are taking on a new adventure in our lives in addition to both of us working full time, we are in the process of certifying ourselves to train others to make themselves healthier, most specifically, women. I have used fitness as a release for the past 3 years, a release from the stress of life, from work, from having children with Autism, from family; from everything. Fitness and making time for myself was the best thing I could do/ and continue to do for myself. I meet so many women saying they don't have the time, they don't have the tools; and finally one day while talking to Val on Facebook we both said in our own ways, " WHY THE HELL NOT!".

We both have made this lifestyle our lives, and we want to help other women who have no clue where to start. We want to offer babysitting included in the price for moms, for them not to feel like they can't make the time, and further more, have someone watching the kids who is great with not only typical children but children like mine, with special needs. We want to give women the options in classes, "today I want to do a boot camp style in the evening, and maybe in the morning I want to do a kettlebell class" - give options! I know what worked for Valerie and myself, and we have kept our weight off for 2 and 3 years; why not do something we both love? Then Velocity Fitness was born.

So, after joining my Boot camp with my trainer Dan Giancola - check out his website here and that is what gave me the final push knowing this is the route I wanted to go with my life. I crave working out, and what better addiction than being healthy and fit? Dan is amazing enough to help Val and I in our journey of fitness, and we will be operating out of BTO Performance when we begin this summer. It has been great learning from Dan, I don't think I could learn from anyone better. This new life change will also in time, be able to give me the flexibility for my children, for school, appointments, therapy - everything. Even though this is a lot of work; it already has been worth it.

So basically in conclusion; April has been a whirlwind of emotions. Being so happy to start another life path with my best friend, Owen adjusting to his hectic life and rocking it; it couldn't make me any happier. Knowing that we are always going to have ups and downs in life and my emotions and mental stability will have to always be ready for anything; sometimes is very overwhelming. I know I appear to be so strong, to have it all together, to take on sometimes more than people think I can handle and rock it; I am glad I give off that persona.... but sometimes, it is furthest from the truth. I am just fortunate to have my children, Ryan, family and close friends through it all, I honestly wouldn't be who I am without support and love.... and the gym, I love the gym.


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