Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Popcorn Pickpocket

At certain times during the year, they sell popcorn on Fridays to raise funds at Austin's school.  I have been purchasing popcorn since he started there in Grade 1. It is $2.00/bag and I usually buy no less than 2 bags and up to 6 at a time.  It is for a good cause and my children look forward to popcorn and a movie on the Friday night.  Sad that my husband does not want to send anymore money to school for Austin to purchase popcorn.  I am frustrated myself due to the situation.

A couple of weeks ago, I sent Austin with $6.00 to purchase three bags of popcorn. I picked him up from school and went through his bag, removing his lunch box and papers from school.  I only found one bag, strange.  I asked him how many he bought, he said "three".  Okay, where are the other two?  He said "In my bag."  No, they were not.  So I started asking, "Did you drop them in the hallway?" "No", Austin replied.  "Did you leave them in your locker?"  "No", again.  "Did they possibly fall out of your bag by your locker and you did not notice?"  "No."  Okay, so I contacted his teacher and she to ask her if she had any idea what might have happened.  I was very concerned and thought, someone stole them from his bag in his locker.  The lockers are not locked.  The teacher was concerned too and she would look into it.

The next week, I sent Austin again with money, this time $4.00 for two bags.  The first thing he said when I picked him up was that they had changed the time to purchase popcorn.  They usually sell it in the morning and this time, it was the afternoon recess.  Austin said he rushed there and bought two bags and put them in his backpack in his locker and raced outside to play.  Okay, good.  I opened his bag, no popcorn.  I asked him "Where is the popcorn?"  He replied "In my bag."  "No it is not."  Oh boy, Austin became upset and concerned. What had happened?  I asked if it could have fallen out in his locker and he said no again.  Okay, now, I am upset!!! What is going on?  Is someone watching him and targetting him?  Austin can be oblivious to things around him.  If someone was watching and waiting, it would not be likely Austin would pick up on it.  Austin had one thing on his mind, getting outside to play!  I could not believe this happened again!  I emailed my husband and Austin's teacher.

My husband was fed up and said, "No more money for popcorn."  He is DONE after this year.  It has been a very tough year and now, Austin was being targetted in another way.  It is really heartbreaking!  I feel badly for the kids at school who are counting on the popcorn for fundraising but we do not want Austin to be someone's target and how heartless can people be?  I just want my son to be able to go to school and not have someone do something to upset him! I mean really, come on!  I am not sure if I agree with not giving anymore money for the popcorn.  I do feel like what is the point?  It is just upsetting and why would someone continue to do this to Austin?

Austin's teacher was concerned and looked into the matter.  She did question some of the other children and said Austin did buy popcorn and put it in his locker on top of his backpack but did not close the locker door.  This is Austin true to form.  He forgets to close things, shut things off, lock things, you name it, if he wants outside, or has something else in mind, it takes priority.  The teacher was very supportive and said even if the door was not shut, no one has the right to take anything from someone else. Very true!  She offered to keep Austin's popcorn in her desk when he purchases it which is very understanding and supportive of her.  How sad is it though that Austin cannot even buy some popcorn to help out the other children at school without it being stolen?  I am hopeful with his teachers help, the popcorn pickpocket will be discovered or won't have anymore popcorn available to steal.

I wish we could find out who stole Austin's popcorn.  I am not sure how the teacher will take the news that my husband does not want to send anymore money to school.  For four years we have supported fundraising at the school and it makes me sad that someone is not only taking something from my son but now from his schoolmates too.

All the best!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Little Gentleman

The other morning I was dropping Austin off at school (just like every other day) it was raining so all the children were going inside for morning recess.  I saw that there were already a few children heading for the door just like Austin.  The only difference is Austin was running to keep out of the rain.  I saw him run past all the other children and ring the bell to get the door to open.  The door opened and Austin went in first, I was not pleased since I did not think he was being polite. Social skills are very challenging for Austin.  I decided to address the matter when I picked him up that afternoon.

I picked Austin up that day and told him I saw him run past the other children to get to the door first, then open the door and enter before anyone else including ... the girls!  I explained to Austin that I was not impressed with this and said I would like him to be raised a gentlemen and a gentleman would never run past a girl and go in before her, leaving her in the rain no less!   Also, if there were other boys there first, not to run or try to get in front of them in line, it is really not polite at all.  I told Austin, if there was a girl at the door, he should hold the door for her allowing her to enter first.  He just looked at me and said "okay".  We would see if my lesson stuck.

This morning, it is raining again, sigh ...  anyway, I dropped Austin off and he ran to the door again.  A girl was walking up to the door about 15 feet behind him.  Austin had rang the bell and the door opened.  Austin held open the door and waited patiently for the girl to finish coming up the walk way and held the door for her so she could enter the school and he then followed behind her.  I was so proud of him! I know that socially Austin struggles so much but that does not mean I will not keep working with him to help him develop and I think he did great this morning!  I just LOVE my boy!

All the best!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Poor Austin!  The other day his Dad and I were home in the morning getting ready to go to a meeting at Austin's school when the phone rang, it was Austin.  He was crying when my husband picked up the phone and Austin said that he had fallen in the mud and water at school.  He was beside himself so his Dad left to go and pick him up at school.  Austin hates to be wet or dirty (I have blogged about it before) and is inconsolable until he is dried and changed.  He normally has a change of clothes at school but must have used them without me knowing and were not replaced, either way, he was so upset his Dad went to get him right away.

He came through the door and started to cry again when he saw me.  I told him not to worry, I had already packed up another pair of clothes to take back to school for his locker and had a change of clothes waiting for him.  He was soaked!  His coat, splash pants, rubber boots, pants, etc., just soaked!  He got changed but he was still crying.  No amount of comfort would calm him.  It usually takes a few minutes but he wasn't settling.  I closed the door so it was just him and I and asked what was wrong?  He replied he could not return to school and face the students because he was embarrassed.  What?  Oh my!  First, he is shy, now embarrassed.  All news to me when it comes to  Austin, he is so laid back and everything rolls off of this boy, seriously.  Okay, so I told him not to worry, it happens to everyone.  I told him I lost my shoes in the mud once and fell over and over and was covered in mud from head to toe!  It happened in front of all my friends and one boy was sweet enough to go and fish out my shoes in all that mud!  Austin laughed and said he could not believe that happened to me.  It was enough to make him smile and understand we all fall but we get right back up and do not let it get us down.

We brought Austin back to school with us and made it to the meeting on time to discuss the revisions to his IEP.  The principal was in the meeting and told us that he explained to Austin earlier not to be embarrassed and people fall in the mud all the time.  His teacher sat across from me and she knew I was going to say that Austin does not get embarrassed and she even could see it in his face when he came in the school.  He tried to hide his face near his locker.  Austin does have great support at his school and we are very grateful to them.

Austin is okay and has gotten over the fall and embarrassment (which is great) but boy, do you ever see some social changes happening!

All the best!


The Response

I finally got to ask Kaleigh what she thought autism looked like to her.  Anyone who knows Kaleigh knows how sassy and spirited she can be at times, so you need to know when to bring something up for discussion.  When I asked her the question she just stared at me with no response.  I asked the question again but she replied "I don't know.".   I did not pursue the issue any farther.  I think that she may not really know how to reply because to Kaleigh answers must be precise.  She loves Austin and to her, he is her brother and she loves him dearly.  So what if they drive each other crazy at times?  What are siblings for anyway? :)

All the best!


Monday, April 6, 2015

What Does Autism Look Like To You?

The day before Autism Awareness Day, my daughter was talking to her teacher about autism privately in the class as they had been discussing wearing blue for autism awareness the next day.  She told her teacher, "My brother has autism, but he doesn't look like he does."  Her teacher is aware that Austin is on the autism spectrum and they have met as well.  I was surprised when she told me this story, I did not know that she thought autism had a certain "look".  I have explained that people on the spectrum have all sorts of strengths and challenges.  I did address it quickly asking her what that was supposed to mean but my husband told me to let it go and discuss it another time, I was reluctant, but I did.

The next day I started to think of where Kaleigh would get this idea from since she complains a lot about Austin's behaviours.  Just a few are:  "Why does Austin always make noise?"  "Why does Austin want to be alone so much?"  "Why is Austin such a picky eater?"  "Why does Austin always want to talk about facts?"  "Why does Austin hum a lot?"  "Why does Austin get bullied so much?"  The one that really hurt my heart, she asked once (not her fault at all that it hurt because, well, kids are honest), and it still shakes me, "Why doesn't Austin have any friends?"  (Tough, that was a tough one.  I do have to say, even though Austin is not the social bee Kaleigh is, he does have a few friends.  One lives down the street and they play more and more each day as they are the same age and like some of the same games. YIPPEE!  It makes me happy to see Austin interact and have fun!)

Another situation was Kaleigh's party we had a little while ago.  We all went bowling, and of course, Austin gets too excited and annoys Kaleigh easily.  The lady that was working at the bowling alley that day gave Austin his own lane to play in at no extra charge.  Even though we offered to pay, she would not take the money.  She could see he was struggling amongst the other children and wanted everyone to have a good time at the party.  Austin went on to play happily and Kaleigh stopped asking me "Why does Austin have to act so weird all the time?"  He was over stimulated and frustrated that the other children did not want to follow the rules of the game, they just wanted to roll the balls down the lane, no points, no winner, just for fun!  Why not?  It is a party after all!  Austin, does not see it that way, ever!

I am still a little shocked that Kaleigh said this to her teacher.  I am not sure what she thinks autism looks like.  She sees Austin as her brother and even though she gets annoyed by some of his behaviours, he in turn gets annoyed by her behaviours too!  Sounds pretty much like most siblings!  I have quite a few, so I get it!

I am curious to see if Kaleigh really understands about autism and Austin's behaviours, so I am going to sit down and ask her, "What does autism look like to you?".  I am very interested to hear her answer.  I am sure you know, there will be a post about it!

All the best!


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Casual Conversations

Austin loves to talk!  He comes by that honestly, I am a bit chatty myself. :D  When he gets up in the morning, he is always in good humour and wants to talk with me; we do this everyday.  Austin's conversations include such topics as radioactive isotopes, hydrophobic vs. hydrophilic, building circuits, cell structure and function, the period table of elements, the list is long but you get the idea.  I cannot believe that he has such and an interest in these topics.  A good thing I studied Chemistry! All of these discussions occur before I even have coffee in the morning!  My poor brain!

I must say that I am so proud of Austin and I always have a smile on my face starting my day with him!  I am truly grateful!

All the best!