Barret's Fight Against Autism

A blog about ABA therapy, fighting autism, and supporting those who are facing it. Plus some recipes, funny stories and cute pictures of Bear!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Brothers Pic

Ted making Barret smile for the picture! This is the "quarantine" tent on the trampoline. It made me want to sleep in it!

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More Wind Shield Wipers: Autism and Omega 3's

Here is Barret with his regular stick wind shield wiper. It's especially fun if he can see it's reflection in the glass. The second one was funny because he was turning his gummy Omega 3 vitamin into a tiny wind shield wiper.

Which reminds me, this is the one thing besides therapy that we have found to be effective for him. I read about how autopsies on autistic people have shown that they have evidence of life-long brain inflammation, keeping them in a hypersensitive state and functioning in "survival mode". They found that this was sometimes genetic, and sometimes because viruses that couldn't be fought found their way to the brain and became a part of the nervous system.

So, I thought that if there was brain inflammation, and you can't give a kid Motrin or Tylenol everyday, that you could fight it with food. So I looked up foods that fight brain inflammation and found that most of them I couldn't get into picky picky Barret. So, I tried DHA Omega 3's, which are great at fighting brain inflammation. Horizon milk has a DHA variety, so we switched to it. Barret started talking that day and started making eye contact THAT DAY. So we stuck with it. When we can't find the right milk, or if he's sick, he falls back into stemming all day with the wind shield wipers. So, we're pretty sure that the DHA is helping.

Note: Publix is about the only place that I can find the DHA variety of Horizon Milk. But, I'm reluctant to plug them right now because Publix just refused to make a donation to the Autism Walk. Take that Publix! Ha!

Back to business, Barret used to always regress over holidays, on trips or after illness, but he hasn't since we started the DHA milk almost a year ago, he's only progressed. We had these Omega 3 vitamins, but he wouldn't eat them because they had a sugar coating on them. He hated the texture. Then I checked out the label and they were AHA Omega 3's, which is basically vegetable oil and we get a lot of in our diets anyway, so they weren't what I was looking for.

OneSource Omega 3 DHA & EPA Gummi vitamins are the best ones. No sugar coating, they taste like regular gummies, they're not mushy or hard and he just thinks they're candy. So, I highly recommend them to those of you who want to try it. I couldn't find them online to link to them, but you can get them at Wal-Mart for $9 a bottle, 160 gummies in a bottle. It says to eat one 2-4 times a day, so you can use them for potty treats or rewards for other behaviors if you want.

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Barret Is Sick

Normally, Barret is the first to get anything. This time, Ted went first, with fever, nausea and a pain in his right side. So, we kept thinking it was his appendix and ran all sorts of tests for 5 days. Then I came down with the pain in the right side, and it spread to my whole body. My doctor said that it was a virus that attacked the lymphatic system, inflaming lymph nodes all over my body, which hurt like "a mofo", making me literally cry out loud when I even had to walk to the bathroom.

So, now Barret has it and I KNOW he's completely miserable. Tylenol only keeps his fever to about 101. All he wants to do is lay on the couch and play with his favorite windshield wiper, a used giant paint stick. (He makes everything into windshield wipers.) Chopsticks, regular sticks, pencils, crayons, toothpicks, straws, remotes, everything. Just waves them in a windshield wiper motion in front of his face for comfort.

He used to put his feet up on the wall and wipe them back and forth, which gave him awesome abs, but we made him stop because he was slowly turning all of the walls black where ever we went. I was tired of explaining, "Oh, he just loves to watch things pass in front of his eyes." People unfamiliar with autism think that you and your child are crazy! Anyway, this is Barret's one remaining autistic behavior out of the 10 stems that he started with before therapy, so we'll take it. He's not biting plugs out of his arms, darting into traffic, squealing at the top of his lungs or banging his head on the wall, so we're pretty happy with wind shield wipers! Nice, quiet, safe wind shield wipers. :)

Now if I could get him to not poop in my computer chair......


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Friday, March 27, 2009

Make Me Cry Chicken Pot Pie

Okay, this turned out SO good that I had to post it. Ted named it "Make Me Cry Chicken Pot Pie" because onions make you cry, and this has a lot of french fried onions in it.

Boil 1-2 chicken thighs (salted) for about 45 minutes. Remove from water, take chicken off of the bone and chop into little bits.

Place chicken in casserole dish.

Add 1 can of cream of chicken soup (I use Healthy Request, no MSG).
Add 1 cup of milk.
Add 1/2 can of French's French Fried Onions.
Add about 1 cup of mixed peas and carrots (I used frozen ones).
Add 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.

Mix this up and bake at 475 degrees for about 10 minutes, just until hot.

Stir again. Flatten canned southern style biscuits (not flaky layers) and tear into strips. Lie them in rows creating a lattice top.

Bake until biscuits are browned, about 20 minutes.

Pour the remaining French Fried Onions over the top. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese and bake until onions start to brown, about 10 minutes.

This turned out so good that I ate way more than I planned!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Swim Lessons for Kids with Disabilities: Huntsville, AL

Hi! If anyone is interested in sending their kid to swim lessons, this one is specially designed for kids ages 6-21 with disabilities.

April 13-17, M-F
Dr. Richard Showers Sr. Pool

Contact Brian Winston at 256.427.5780 or e-mail him at for more information!


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YAY! An actual family photo!

I would like to thank my bestie Becky Harbin for FINALLY getting a family photo for us! This is a very difficult task, as many of you can imagine. Barret is generally very opposed to having his picture taken, that is, if we want him to pose. So, thanks Becky!

(Note the hand giving Barret a "horse bite" to the knee! Trickery, trickery.)

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Autistic Kids and Photography

Okay, anyone with an autistic child knows the frustration of getting a family photo. Well, I guess this can hold true for neurotypical kids too! It just takes a LOT of patience.

I've had a lot of people tell me that they are embarrassed to keep the photographer so long. Well, when you're dealing with an autistic kid, you may just have to wait, let them down for a while and try again. You may have to try multiple locations because they can be so sensitive to sounds, spaces or people. They may not like the photographer trying to get their attention. After all, a lot autistic kids are extremely stressed by people trying to get them to make eye contact. So just imagine, a stranger trying to make you look directly at them AND smile. It can prove to be just about impossible.

If you're hiring a photographer, ask them to bring a tripod. We are big believers in tickling the kids to get them to give a natural smile. See Barret's blog photo in the Lightning McQueen shirt? He's smiling for a photographer because I was lying on the floor tickling him for the picture! That's why it's a little blurry, he was trying to get away. :)

My husband and I have a photography company, Alabama Pro Photo, and would be more than happy to work with you if you are having problems getting decent pictures of your autistic child. We take our time and are more than understanding of outbursts, refusal to cooperate and the high pitched squealing that is music to all of our ears. :) Plus, 100% of our proceeds go to pay for Barret's therapy. Please excuse the poor quality of my web site, it is not my forte. :D

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