Sunday, December 30, 2007

Not a New Years Resloution, just a list that happens to be written around the time of the new year

I really don't care for new year's resolutions because I never can keep them. I end up forgetting about them because I get too busy or I just flat out give up. This new year I am going to make a list of things I would like to accomplish during the next 12 months and if I don't I am going to cut myself some slack and not beat myself up about it. I like making lists and I especially like marking things off my list. I figure if I write this list out on my blog maybe I am less likely to forget about them plus I know some of you readers will hand out a hefty dose of accountability.

Ok, I will admit that I am one of "those" people who resolve to lose weight every year. And I fail. So I started Sept. of 2007 instead of setting myself for failure in January and I did great for the first time in my life. I lost 20 pounds very slowly and got healthy. I was working out 5-6 times a week, had a ton of energy and I felt great. I remember laughing (inside my head of course) last January when all the new years resolution people joined the YMCA. It was so busy that you had to wait in line for a treadmill. By Feb. the majority of those people had quit and there were no more lines. I did great until our cruise. I got comfortable, I did still go to the Y but not with the same intensity as before. I started drinking coke again and the rest is history. I have gained 10 pounds back. It just kind of snuck up on me. I know better so now I have to make the decision again to get back on the horse so to speak.

So here I go again.
Here is my list, short and sweet:
1. Exercise 5 times a week. Lose inches, some pounds would be nice, eat healthy.
2. Enjoy my children even when they are testing me.
3. Contact a lawyer and make a will and trust.
4. Drink more water each day.
5. Spend time in the Word each day!!
6. Finish FAITH. (A class I have been dreading to take for years at church. You learn how to evangelize. You go out and share the gospel. I know, I know it is such a privilege to do this but I am scared. Jarrett and I both are taking the class.)

Ok, that is mine, let's hear what's on your list.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I am adding this article to my blog for my benefit, so I can refer to it. Recently, Nathan's pediatrician and his therapist told us that Nathan most likely has aspergers, which is is a very mild form of autism that primarily affects social skills. I won't get into all the nitty gritty details but I will say that to us it is no big deal. It is just another bump in the road. We found a great social skills group that meets weekly and we started back in Occupational therapy and Pragmatic speech therapy. Our biggest deal is trying to figure out the best placement as far as school goes for next year. We are earnestly praying and seeking wisdom on this matter. It is a decision that we do not take lightly and we know that God will direct us, He always has. We are going to Nathan's developmental ped. in a couple of weeks and we will be interested to hear what he has to say. He has always said that Nathan is socially quirky but he doesn't have aspergers. It really doesn't matter unless we put him in school so that he can receive the services that he needs. If we homeschool we just get him the help he needs and it doesn't particularly matter what he is labeled as.

Socialization and Children with Asperger Syndrome

Anybody who has been homeschooling more than twenty minutes knows that the most popular probing question from the masses is: "And what about socialization?"

This is an especially bothersome question for families affected by Asperger Syndrome who want to homeschool. Since lack of social skills is one of the hallmarks of the child with AS, people naturally assume that keeping a child home instead of exposing him to the social climate of school will just worsen the situation.

The reverse is true, in my opinion, for the following reasons:

1. School has people, but that doesn't make it social. In fact, it is usually fairly anti-social since kids can be very cruel and bullies seem to be an ever-present part of the school experience. What is social about exposing our children to daily torment? Nothing. Children with Asperger Syndrome are natural targets for bullies and the situation frequently results in a tantrum, depression or violence, all of which could have been prevented by avoiding this "social" atmosphere.

2. Homeschooling does not mean denying social experiences. To the uninitiated, homeschooling conjures a picture of cloistering your child at home all the time. For most homeschoolers, nothing could be further from the truth. There are trips to the library and the park, gatherings with other homeschoolers, and lessons and clubs that tie in with the child's interests. And, we still live in neighborhoods, still have extended family and friends, church and other social obligations. Homeschooling does not mean restricted movement but rather greater flexibility.

3. Social experiences tend to be more positive when done through home education. As homeschooling parents, we can monitor social gatherings to keep them positive. That is, we can pick and choose the activities, watch for bullies and intervene, head off other kinds of trouble, and teach our children with spontaneous social lessons "in the moment," (or make a note to discuss things later). In short, we are on deck. Finally and perhaps most importantly, we can steer our children gently homeward before sensory overload undermines the whole event. In school, our kids do not get the luxury of this kind of protection or customized teaching. It's usually a case of "sink or swim." Our kids tend to do more sinking than swimming.

4. Homeschoolers may get more social opportunities out of their day. When we homeschooled, my son was in the comfort zone of his home surroundings for mornings of academic work, and that still left him with some energy in the afternoons and evenings to try other things. Parks department classes, bowling league, swimming lessons, and Boy Scouts were just some of the things he tried. When we stopped homeschooling and put him into a regular school, however, these fell away. He was too burned out from the school day to do anything else, and quit all outside activities. Although he'd wanted to try public school and did fine academically, the tradeoff was that he gained some very negative social experiences and lost some very positive ones.

5. The idea that our kids need the classroom experience of having positive role models around them every day is suspect. It's true that positive role models are better than negative ones, but just placing our kids alongside peer-age so-called normal kids does not mean that they will intuitively pick up on proper behavior. In fact, their condition of Asperger Syndrome means they will NOT pick things up intuitively. Things like social graces, body language and speech pragmatics must be consciously, deliberately, and specifically taught, bit by bit. Unless the child has a one-to-one aide to provide full-time tutelage in these things and allow ample rehearsal time, not many social skills will be picked up. Contrast that with the home environment, where the parent does have the time and patience to teach these things and can provide a safe place for rehearsing them.

6. Finally, we need to measure by a different yardstick. Our kids with Asperger Syndrome do not typically need or want the same level of social interaction than their neurologically typical peers do. Not everyone wants to be surrounded by others all day long, have large parties, or a dozen friends. Many of us (self included) cherish solitude, are happiest in our own company and function better with fewer social interactions. This is not abnormal, only different, and it should be honored. It is far better to have a little interaction and look forward to more another day, than to have too much interaction and suffer devastating consequences.

In short, parents can rest easy that their home education program is probably doing more for their child's socialization than a public school counterpart could. The only dark side, and there is a dark side, is that our children will probably never be totally at ease in social situations and will always have a few challenges, no matter what we do. Asperger Syndrome is, after all, a lifelong condition. And because of that, there will always be someone ready to proclaim why our child seems socially inept. "It must be because he was homeschooled!" they will cluelessly proclaim. Sometimes, you just can't win.

Copyright 2002 Lise Pyles

Monday, December 17, 2007

Winter Blast '07

I haven't posted in a while so I will fill you all in on what has been going on around the Short house.

We are finally thawing out here in Oklahoma. We were hit with a terrible ice storm last week. The power was out from Sunday through Wednesday night at our house. Sadly, there are still a bunch of people without power. We stayed cuddled up by the fire until bedtime each night then slept under a ton of blankets. I am thankful that I am not a pioneer woman. I was not cut out for living in the dark. We would go to bed at 8pm because there was nothing to do. We popped popcorn on the gas stove and played sorry but we had a hard time telling the difference between green and blue. During the days the kids and I hung out with my parents or my sweet friend Lisa, who took us in and fed us and let me take a shower. We lost part of our bradford pear tree and our oak in the front yard now looks like a Charlie Brown tree. The minamal damage we had was nothing compared to what others have suffered. It is an amazing sight to see those old trees just snapped in half because of an inch of ice.

Nathan celebrated his 7th birthday during the ice storm. We had to change plans because "chuckie cheese" was out of power. He was a great sport about having to make a change and he had a great time. I can't believe he is 7! TIme is flying by.

My sweet precious Mamma Bear passed away on Dec. 13. She was 92 years old and had lived a long fruitful life. We will all miss her tremondously but we have a peace that she is with her heavenly father. There is going to be a memorial service for her in Valdosta, Georgia in January. I am going to fly down there with my sister, Kim.

Next, in the news: My mom just found out she is having heart surgery on Friday. Apparently, she had suffered a heart attack and never knew it. Please remember her in your prayers, this has been a hard week for her with the loss of her mom and her health.

I have being seeing a dermatologist for the past 2 months because of some strange bumps on my head and face and a suspicious mole on my tummy. So today, I go to get stitches out of my stomach and a cyst off my face and I had to bring both kids with me because they had eye doctor appts. right afterward. Nathan gave a play by play of everything the dr. was doing, "Mom, they are sticking a needle in you. Does that hurt? It looks like a fish hook mommy. Ohh, there is blood. Don't worry mom, the Lord is with you!" He kept telling me the last part over and over in the most sweet and tender way. It totally melted my heart and I was trying not to laugh so my nose wouldn't get cut. I have a single stitch hanging out by the side of my nose. Can you imagine how attractive it looks. Several people at the YMCA tonight, were like, "you have something next to your nose." Jarrett just kept telling them it was a buger. Nice.

I got the pathology report back on the mole on my stomach and it was severly dysplastic which he told me is on its way to skin cancer. Scary. I feel very thankful to the Lord for taking care of this and getting it off of me. I will have to be checked every year now because of this bad mole and we have a family history of melanoma. It has left a terrible scar and every time I look at that I will be reminded of why I should be more careful in the sun. I rarely use sun screen and I think I look better when I am tan. No more, just get used to really pale Kathy. It is not worth dying over a stupid mole or a temporary tan! My plea is for all of you to get all of your body checked out and get anything wierd off of you. It is such a deadly cancer yet it is so preventable and treatable if caught early. Thank you Stephanie for insisting I see a dermatologist, even though it took me a year to do so. You may have saved my life.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


We were just reading a story about Jesus's birth, we saw a picture of the wise men. I asked Nathan if he knew what they brought to baby Jesus, he said, "Yeah, Gold, Frankincense and Merchandise."