Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Update: 2009 & 5th Grade

Hello everyone. I know I don't post here much anymore. I do most of my updates on Facebook, so look for me there.

Wanted to do an update on Michael currently. Of course, he's doing GREAT. We're still doing IV chelation with Dr. Imam. It's been a little over 3 years (with a few short breaks in between).

Michael's attending Middle School and is in a class with 15 kids. He has a shared aide. He's also in orchestra (violin) and drama club. Today we got his report card. (see picture). Amazing! I just can't believe my kid with autism is doing SO well. Taught me a big lesson. Sometimes your expectations are actually limitations. I never thought he would do this well and I was wrong. Thank god.

More updates and pictures soon!

Video from October 2009:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Recent Video of Michael

Michael is pretending to do newscasts to the camera. I think he can see his reflection in the lens because he makes some silly faces. He's been watching Sports Night and using phrases from the show- like "we'll be right back."

Saturday, June 13, 2009


The end of the school year is coming and I can't believe Michael is going to middle school this year. I think of all he has accomplished the last 2 years- it's amazing. I've also been reminded, time after time, that sometimes your EXPECTATIONS are really LIMITATIONS.

I've said things like "he'll never be out of a 6" or "he'll never go to college" and I was wrong. Another wrong prediction was "he can't play violin" and boy was I wrong, again.

Michael started playing last fall in school. It took a few weeks and then he got the hang of it. The kid LOVES to practice. He usually does about 100 minutes a week. Most times I don't have to remind him to play. It's all beginner stuff, but he gets better everyday.

A few weeks ago Michael participated in NYSSMA. That's a music competition where kids go in front of a judge and play or sing. They get graded. The best kids go to all-county or all-state. It's very important for serious musicians in New York State.

The school asked me if I wanted him to do NYSSMA and I thought YES! Back a million years ago, when I was in high school, I played piano and sang in the competition. I remember going to Riverhead HS and playing on a grand piano in the aud- scared out of my mind. Experiences like that build character :)

Anyway, Michael played his Level One solo and we got the results. He scored a PERFECT score! He even did scales and sight-reading. I'm flabbergasted. Never, never, never in my wildest dreams did I think MY son with autism would play the violin and get a perfect score in NYSSMA. Usually the words are "delayed" "special needs" "autistic" "handicapped"-- not "perfect". The amount of pride and joy in my heart cannot be measured.

HE accomplished this because of his hard work and dedication. I'm so happy he found something he loves.

This week Michael played 4 times in concerts. They did the 4th grade concert- two for the students and one for the parents (at night). He also played with all the strings in the school district. He played, waited with the other kids, followed directions, etc. The staff didn't even pay attention to him, in a way. They don't "worry" about him. Of course, I was a little nervous because he doesn't have an epi-pen with him in these situations and he's got a deadly peanut allergy. But, he just blends in.

The other kids are usually nice to him, but I do notice he keeps to himself a bit. I think a lot of times he doesn't know what to say or how to socialize with them. He's a lot more ease with 4 year olds then 9 year olds. But, hopefully that skill will come with time.

Michael came home from one of the concerts and said "I want to be a music teacher". LOL- I think this time I'll keep an open mind and believe that anything is possible.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Presidents on Parade

Last Sunday we had the traditional St. Patrick's Day parade in my hometown of Rocky Point, New York. This was the first year Michael really got into it. We stood for about 2 hours watching marching bands, fire trucks and boy scouts. Of course I spent most of my time talking approximately 800 pictures and Michael stood by my side the whole time.

One photo is Michael with our US Congressman, Tim Bishop and NYS Assemblyman Marc Alessi. Marc sponsored a bill for vaccine exemptions and has been VERY supportive of our community. Congressman Bishop has been too. He also has a nephew with Aspergers (a form of autism).

Anyway, there was this funny moment when the Rocky Point Historical Society came marching down 25A. They had a couple dressed as Mr. & Mrs. Abraham Lincoln. Michael saw them and his eyes got really wide. He LOVES LOVES LOVES presidents right now. He gets about 10 books a week on presidents from the library and read them over and over. Right now he's learning about first ladies.

Michael points to the group and says "Look, it's someone dressed like Abe Lincoln!". I was laughing to myself thinking, "Most kids would rather see Derek Jeter or Brittany Spears. But, MY son's favorite people right now are the US Presidents".

Last month we visited Monticello in Virginia, Thomas Jefferson's home. I hope this summer to travel around the East Coast as much as possible and visit other president's homes, birth places and graves. There are probably some presidential libraries too along the way.

I'm excited to learn right along side Michael about US history. We really are sharing the experiences. I keep thinking more and more that someday he will go to college- something that I thought at one time was impossible. But, I was wrong-thankfully!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Playing at Church - Video

Here is a video of Michael playing violin at church in front of about 25 people. So proud of him!!!!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

After 2.5 years of Chelation

(Photo is Michael
at the beach
in Virginia
December 2008)

After 2.5 years of chelation, Michael is on grade level academically, playing the violin, got a part in the drama club musical and can pretty much go anywhere without a problem. I'm so proud of him and so grateful for Dr. Imam and Nick- and everyone else at the office (Center for Advanced Medicine in Center Moriches).

There is so much LESS stress in my life right now. I don't worry about him running into the street anymore. I don't have to remind him to do his homework. We can eat in restaurants. I can go to a party and relax. Car rides are a breeze. He gets out of the bath, dries off and gets dressed all by himself. He can get his own food and drink now too. I get comments from people like "he's the best behaved kid here". MY KID? My kid with autism?

If you didn't know Michael when he was little- check out the videos on You Tube. But, just know that he was anti-social, non-verbal, very stimmy, and lower functioning then he is today.

Right now he's practicing violin in the other room. I didn't even have to ask or remind him. He just does it because he likes to. Yesterday, he was doing math problems on the computer and saying "math is fun". Goodness- I know that didn't come from ME. He has learned so much at school. Next month is the state Math exam and then the Science test. Unfortunately it takes MONTHS to get the results back. But, I know he'll do well. The best part is how is enjoys taking the tests. He even pretends he is a teacher and sets up a classroom at home- preparing the "pretend kids" for the big tests.

What's next? I don't know. He goes to Middle School next year- which is going to be a huge change, but he's excited to go. I'm not going to worry about it.

We're going to keep going with the chelation. We met with Dr. Imam last week and he thinks everything is going great and we should just continue.

As for the summer- who knows? We can't really afford camp, but I hope to spend a lot of time at the beach. When I was a kid, my mom took me to the beach a lot. We live 10 minutes from the North Shore (Long Island Sound) and 20 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. There are beaches everywhere. Finally, we'll be able to enjoy them together. Michael went thru a long period, from about 3 years old to 7 years old, where he hated the beach. He didn't like the sand. He was scared of the ocean. Now, you can't keep him out of the water.

I love how adventurous he has become. He wants to visit Washington DC and the White House. He gets books from the library about all sorts of things and asks questions. I could probably take him to more concerts and finally a Broadway play-- and he would love that. I get frustrated that we have to stay here in NY and can't move back to Virginia. But, at least there are a lot of things to experience here.