• anxiety,  autism,  COVID life,  medication,  mental health

    Sertraline

    Take the syringe, watch the calibration carefully as you pull the clear, bitter liquid out from the bottle. That bitterness is why you need lemonade. Orange juice works too. The acidity will offset the bitterness. Wipe the bottle clean before you place it back in the cupboard. Any medication that spills along the sides will be sticky. J is 5 when we start this regiment, hoping that the sertraline prescription will do enough to keep his anxiety and OCD-like symptoms manageable. We were nervous to start. Anti-anxiety medication for a five year old? But the anxiety is debelitating for him. We feel like we don’t have any other choice. “Don’t…

  • autism,  COVID life,  motherhood,  special education

    We are living a privileged autism experience

    After the events of George Floyd, I feel like our little life events this month have been trivial in the importance of the national dialogue about race and privilege in North America (and across the world) and so I feel like maybe this week’s post should focus on more important voices that need to be heard that haven’t been heard. What I would like to do with this post is recognize our privilege as a white autism experience and share some voices and experiences of people of colour, specifically people of colour with autism. It’s an area of inequality that I should be more aware of, and I’m embarrassed to…

  • anxiety,  autism,  COVID life,  high school,  mental health,  special education

    COVID Rules

    Monday morning, J and I sit in front of his school-issued laptop while we chat with his special ed teacher, para, and speech therapist in our little “small talk” session and suddenly J bursts into a complete meltdown. Not just meltdown–I’m pretty sure it’s a panic attack because there’s hyperventilation and big ugly-cry sobs. We try to keep him on camera to help talk him through it–to assure him that things will not just be fine, things will be great, but he can’t do it and he needs to leave the room. It’s a very big reaction to (what we thought) was a pretty benign question: When is quarantine over?…

  • autism,  COVID life,  high school,  home strategies,  IEP,  motherhood,  special education

    First Day of School Take 2

    Wednesday Fargo Public Schools started their first day of school thanks to COVID-19. It seems like everyone I know across the US and across the ocean (in Saudi Arabia) has already been participating in virtual school for at least a week or two already. In general, I feel like North Dakota has been a few weeks behind everyone on everything COVID related (probably because we fall 47 out of 50 in population size in the United States). And that’s okay. I (personally) need that extra time to mental prepare for all the changes that are happening, and I appreciate watching and learning from everyone else who has started the “new…

  • anxiety,  autism,  COVID life,  motherhood

    The world keeps changing every 2 hours

    Just as I started to write this post, my phone rang with an automated Fargo Public School message regarding school breakfast and lunch for low income families: from Wednesday to Friday this week, students can walk up or drive up to designated school pick up locations for their meal. Two hours ago, I checked my phone and the front headline said that the CDC now recommends we congregate in groups no larger than 10 people. Three hours before that announcement, the Fargo Marathon was postponed. It will be held August 29 instead of May 9. And today’s only Monday. The world keeps changing drastically every 2 hours in the last…

  • anxiety,  autism,  high school,  medication,  post high school,  post secondary autism

    Prognosis

    This week involved parent teacher conferences, a conference call with a guardianship lawyer, and driving to school to help J through an evacuation drill. I’ve thought a lot this week about how grateful I am for teachers who are flexible with their classrooms and curriculum to allow J to participate in the ways he can with his peers. I’ve thought about “the end of all public school things” and “adulthood” and what J’s future will look like and how much participation on our end will be needed as parents. I’ve thought a lot about J’s anxiety and how he just can’t seem to make it to the pre-determined time before…

  • autism,  empathy,  exercise,  family,  mental health,  mindfulness,  motherhood

    Lessons from the long run

    When I was pregnant I was aware of every single little change in my body at every single stage of my pregnancy. I took prenatal vitamins. I read up on and kept track weekly of what was going on with my body and what was going on with the baby growing inside of me. I figured out really quickly what exact foods and smells would trigger nausea and vomiting. I knew exactly which foods would help a little with the nausea: limes and carrots (I was in my first trimester of pregnancy with J during my last semester in college and so I would carry bags of baby carrots to…

  • anxiety,  apps,  autism,  exercise,  mental health,  mindfulness,  motherhood

    Thoughts from the treadmill

    J has finally, FINALLY recovered from the last two weeks of being really sick, and I thought for sure that we’d be back on track with behaviours and motivation. Apparently, that was wishful thinking. Lately it seems like it’s getting harder to determine if J’s behaviours fall into the “anxiety” category or “I’m a 17 year old boy and just want to be a punk sometimes” category. Throw in illness, changes in schedule, changes in semester, or anything else, it starts to get even more difficult to parse those things out. It’s downright frustrating as a parent (and I sense for J too), and I’m realizing more and more the…

  • autism,  high school,  medication,  motherhood

    January Was a Tough Year, But We Made It

    I picked up J from school Friday morning and he looked exactly like the school nurse described on the phone–“ashen.” School overhead fluorescent lights aren’t flattering on anyone, but the lights weren’t the problem. J looked like a zombie. Eyes vacant. Lethargic. Just all around awful. J’s doctor had warned us that some kids have this type of reaction to clonidine and that J might too. But J never had this reaction the first time he started the medication back in December and I wasn’t sure he had fully recovered from the flu–since he still hadn’t fully gotten over his cough and raspy voice (W and I have been symptom…

  • anxiety,  autism,  medication,  mental health

    The Uneaten Bowl of Spaghettios

    Or “Never a Controlled Experiment” Part 2 We’ve been struggling for months now–probably since the beginning of the school year–trying to decide if J’s current medications are effective and helping him to be the best version of himself. We’re starting to think that they’re not. It was a question J’s Dr asked us back around October. It was our first visit with her (J’s old psychiatrist retired just recently–we loved her!) and as she was familiarizing herself with J’s file she asked us, “do you think J’s anti-anxiety medication is still helping his anxiety.” The question totally took my off guard. Every discussion we’ve had for years is, “how is…