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Tuesday, April 12, 2011


We all know about service animals. The most commonly known is the seeing eye dog. These remarkable animals are trained and then utilized by the blind to help them see and get around. But what many don't know is that there are service dogs for many other causes including Autism. They are called therapy animals and are classified under the same service animal label. Now while these dogs don't do the same thing as a seeing eye dog would do, they do have many uses. For example.

The service dog that my daughter has is one that we have had since birth. He is a gorgeous Lab/Dane mix and very gentle and patient with her. Since he grew up with her and knows her very well he was a perfect choice. We really didn't have to do any special training as Savannah did not need help in that manner. He has however provided her with a friend, a companion and anther set of eyes for me. In fact, the dog's name was one of the first words Savannah said; "Shunshine" aka "Sunshine"

Now being a large dog, we were worried that she would eventually become scared of him or he would get to big. In fact the truth is the opposite. Savannah is actually afraid of small dogs I believe as a direct result of her thinking that a dog should be big.

There have been plenty of times when Sunshine would protect Savannah even from her own lack of self protection. He would lead her through the house when she was little and guide her towards me when I called her and she wouldn't respond. The older Savannah gets and the less she needs such attention, Sunshine has maintained his status as the Family Dog and keeps a warm place in our hearts. I know without a doubt that should the need arise, I can call on his instincts, training and love he has for my girls to aid them.

Also, since Savannah has been approved (a simple note from a family doctor stating that Savannah could benefit from a service animal) for a service animal, when ever we rented a place the owners could not refuse our application on the grounds of any 'no pet' clause. Since Sunshine is not listed as pet but her therapy dog.

If your child is suffering from lack of social skills (nothing socializes better than mans best friend) and other known issues associated with Autism, look into getting a animal that would be their alone to love. Start out with a young animal so the pet can grow up with child and include your child in the decision.

Look at each breed of Dog or Cat or the character of what animal your child chooses and get one that has the temperment that your child needs. You would be surprised at how much having a pet to love, to play with and to care for will help your Autistic child to smile. And as we all know, the smile of an Autistic child is worth more than a thousand words.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


When Savannah was younger it was difficult to keep any clothes on her, as she got older we worked with it and it's gotten much better. But I have noticed that although she will wear clothes now and I don't have to worry about her stripping in the middle of Walmart with a blizzard blowing outside, she still prefers clothes that are loose and not restricting. She refuses to wear any pants with a button or snap, only elastic waste and she doesn't care for Denim. Also her shirts cannot be tight tees and long sleeves are also out.

She still has issues with her senses, such as cold and hot. She will wear a jacket in hot weather and take one off in the winter. She says she is not cold, although I can see the goosebumps on her arms. It makes me wonder why she doesn't seem to feel it when her body is giving all the outward signs of being cold or hot. She is worse with cold weather.

At this point, I got her a light jacket that wasn't too heavy thinking that this was the problem. Nope. So for lack of anything else, she is still made to wear a jacket when I feel it's needed. As for the rest. If she never wears jeans in her what?! I will continue with stretched pants and sweat pants.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Colds and Autism

Caring for a sick autistc is hard enough. They either act as though a simple cold will kill them or a chopped off arm is nothing. It's one extreme or another, and giving medicine is like trying to catch the sun.

With my daughter she never tells me when she is feeling bad, so unless she has physical signs, (runny nose, cough) I have no idea she is sick. She doesn't even complain of headaches that go with having a fever. For this reason, her colds often go undetected. I have gotten in the habit of checking for a fever during the months that the flu is raging. When I or someone else in my house gets sick, I start keeping a close eye on her and checking for symptoms. It's a little bit more than I have to do with my TD (typically developing) kids, but chalk it up to life with an autistic child.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Nearly a year later

I really am bad at this blogging. I keep telling myself to get into it, but at the end of the day I am so busy focusing on the next day task I completely forget. I am going to attempt to force myself to post every day or at least every couple of days.

Well, my little girls still hasn't been able to understand menstrual cycles and the class was a total bomb. With her JR. High starting next year I am meeting with the health team and the psychology team to see what can be done. It still seems as though no one has ever faced this problem before. No one talks about it, no on has any idea. This is beyond stupid. So I will post all information and problem solving about it here as I go (if I can be a good little blogger and remember lol)

The first thing I have realized is I need to keep the explanation simple and I know that I am more afraid of how she will handle this then she will be when the time comes. I am lucky that my little girl has an older sister that has just hit her MC and I can use that to let Savannah get used to the idea and learn that it's normal.

As for explaining it. A friend made a really good suggestion. Tell her it's her body cleaning itself out. Because if you simplify the whole process, that's what it is. The body is cleaning out the extra blood it stored up to create a baby. Now if I add in that baby part, Savannah will believe that she is having a baby every month. Not good. So I will leave that out for now until she is older.

So for those of you looking for ideas. Introduce your daughter to it by not hiding your cycles from her. I know we do as a rule, but this isn't a time to coy, your Autistic child needs to understand and conventional ways may not work. I don't mean to get discusting with it, use common sense. Then when the questions start or even before they start, use the cleaning explanation if you are without one.

Let me know how it goes and if anyone has any other ideas that worked for them. (okay I have like 1 follower, but I'm trying. lol