Saturday, March 26, 2016

Autism Awareness Month- 2016

How can you be aware of something if you don't really know what to expect?  What is autism?  What does it look like? For starters, I'm going to tell you that one person's autism is not going to look like another person's autism.  There will probably be striking similarities in some areas, but stark differences in others.

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of a child's life and influences that child's ability to communicate and interact with others.  Autism affects every individual differently and to varying degrees of severity.  It is characterized by repetitive behaviors, difficulties in social interaction, and difficulties in verbal and nonverbal communication.  There is no known single cause for autism.  Current statistics released from the CDC last year state that an estimated 1 in 68 children (1 out of every 42 boys and 1 out of every 189 girls) are diagnosed with autism in the U.S.

That is a very brief definition.  And it still doesn't tell you what you need to be aware of, does it?  I found this graphic and I really like it.  If you look closely at it, you may see words and acronyms with which you are unfamiliar.  Words like: 

"echolalia" - meaningless repetition of another person's spoken words as a symptom of disorder 

"IEP" - An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written statement of the educational program designed to meet a child's individual needs.  Every child who receives special education services must have an IEP 

"stim" - (short for "self stimulation") is the repetition of physical movements, sounds, or repetitive movement of objects.  Common autistic stims are rocking back and forth, finger flicking/rippling, spinning, humming, repeating words or sounds and complex body contortions.  Stimming can, in some cases, be a self-injurious behavior.  Common forms of these behaviors include head-banging, hand-biting, and excessive self-rubbing and scratching.
So when you ask a child with autism, "How was your day?" and he repeats to you "How was your day?" that is echolalia.  Please be aware and understand.  

When a colleague/friend/relative talks ad nauseum about their child with autism's IEP, please be aware and understand that this is a huge part of their daily lives. 

When you see a child flapping their hands, repeating nonsense words/sounds to no end, or obsessively twirling their toys, please be aware and understand that that child may be autistic and stimming is a part of who they are.  

And when you see a child in the middle of what appears to be a temper tantrum, please be aware and understand that you might be witnessing a meltdown, a moment when the autistic individual has become completely overwhelmed and has lost control.  

In short, have an open mind and be slow to come to conclusions.  Please be (autism) aware.  Please understand (autism.)  

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Timberman 70.3 Training Weeks 5-8

So I'm in Week 10 now of training.  I'm not at all surprised that I'm falling behind on the workout recaps, are you?!  Haha!  So this will be brief.

February 8- March 6 by the Numbers
Four weeks or 28 days to train
2165 minutes or a little over 36 hours of accumulated workouts
38 workouts total (4 strength, 8 swim, 9 bike, 17 run)
2 days of complete rest

What I Need to Work On
The pool-  I had several crummy swims.  I just can't find my groove, and the harder I try the worse I get.  I know it's getting better, but it is agonizingly slow.  

What I'm Really Proud Of
Can I just tell you that I am running faster at further distances a lot sooner than I ever could have imagined!  It's hard, but I manage it every time.  I'm so proud of the work I'm putting in and actually seeing the change take place.  It's really exciting for me.

Also, I was able to present the donation ($5750!!!) from the 3rd Annual CJ's Resolution Challenge to the Northeast Bradford Elementary School Life Skills Classroom.
Presenting donation to Tracy

What Else is Going On
Yep, I have a life outside of training.  
  • Cullen began having 1.5 hours of therapy at home four nights a week 
  • In addition to my regular job, I picked up extra time twice
  • Maggie has speech therapy once a week
  • Took the kids to see The Minions at the ADMI Sensory Friendly Movie Series
  • I had two doctor appointments
  • I volunteered at the Humdinger
  • Attended my cousin's daughter's birthday party
  • Continue to work on Team CJ at River Towns as well as the First Friday Fundraiser at Fero 
Busy.  But you only don't have the time for the things that aren't a priority to you.  So far the next four weeks have been going really well.  I'm looking forward to finding out what I can do.