An unlikely cure for autism: Dr. Sheldon Cooper

3-big-bang-theory-sheldon-cooper-quotes1We love Big Bang Theory! From the time our son was diagnosed we have always had friends & older family members who had a hard time understanding what was going on with him. ‘He’s just an odd kid’ or ‘He’ll grow out of it’ were common sayings that made us want to pull our hair out. Slowly as shows like Parenthood became more popular they showed some of those people what we go through daily people started to get it. Even more than the heavy story lines of parenthood, Big Bang & Dr. Sheldon Cooper came to the rescue showing the masses that these kind of people are not only productive members of society but they are awesome! It wasn’t just a win for getting people to look at kids with Asperger’s in a different light but it was a release for patents like us, a time to laugh & say ‘he totally does that!!’ Last night we settled in to watch the most recent new episode in which Penny & Sheldon do an experiment to see if they can fall in love by going through questions. Aside from the fact that the episode was hilarious there was a moment where he went all high functioning autistic on us talking about how he wished he could read minds because facial expressions & social cues were so hard to understand. He told penny he was envious of her because she could do these things so easily. While millions of people tuned in & laughed & laughed again at the antics the characters were going through I couldn’t help but take a second to realize that while all these NT people are laughing there are scores of parents just like us watching, welling up with a tears at the realization that it’s going to be okay that our kids aren’t the same as yours. It’s a big deal that the writers add these kinds of story lines. When someone comes along who doesn’t have contact with one of these kids & 10 years ago would have just written them off as an odd ball now they associate them with someone like Sheldon making them, even unknowingly, more accepting of our kids!

Is it a cure for autism… kind of yeah! Because the kind of cure we need is acceptance & awareness! Autism isn’t chicken pox, it’s not something that is going to go away after taking a pill or drinking a fruit smoothie. Granted there are a boat load of opinions on these last two sentences but even if you do think autism is something that is curable we can all agree that awareness & acceptance is always a good thing.

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my previous post about Parenting Tips I’ve Learned From Dr. Sheldon Cooper

Middle School, Just As bad As You Remember It!

It’s been a while between posts but as we are pretty much snowed in today I thought I would take a second to update. We got a call last week from the middle school letting me know there was a problem but they couldn’t really give a lot of details but told me the principal would be contacting me shortly to go over what happened. Well, I’m not really a ‘wait for a phone call’ kind of parent so I headed up to the school for an in person meeting. I quickly found out that he was playing, acting like a robot, & some kids that were in the same area didn’t like it so one of them grabbed him by the hood of the jacket throwing him to the ground. My son hit his head on the ground but the school said he seemed okay so they sent him back to class. When I got into the principles office I was told that they were pretty sure my son & the kids he was playing with were playing this ‘game’ in the area of the other kids to ‘annoy’ them. I was told at that time that he was just shoved down to the ground & hit his head, only getting the full story later. I know this all sounds bad & that I should be super upset that this kid did it but when talking to the school I was told the offending kid is a good kid & the principle knows his family… yeah… I feel so much better now! So all is forgiven because the kids parents are friends with the staff? They were quick to let me know that my son got up from the ground & told the bully ‘F#@k fudgeYou!” Was I surprised that my autistic angel knew this word that his dad has never used before!?! :) YES, I don’t know wheeeerrrreeee he would have heard that word! But on the same page, you throw me down & I slam my head against the ground I’m probably going to give you a few choice words as well. Do I condone him talking like that, no. Did I have a talk with him about it, yes. Am I going to bust his chops over it, no way! Honestly I’m more stoked that he used it in the right context :) Autism Win! (Shhhhh don’t tell anyone I said that!)

So let me get this all lined out; My son was playing, another kid came up behind him because the fact that my sons was playing a game in his vicinity was annoying & grabbed him by the hood of his coat throwing him down on the ground & hitting his head on the ground, & I’m told my son said a bad word & the other kid is a good kid from a good family! Just another example of solid logic used by our public school system here in progressive Oklahoma. So frustrating!

Crazy days but all will even out. I think things are getting back to normal. Thankfully right after that incident was his 12th birthday so we gave him the option a party of a day where we did 10959669_10200301319452823_3017764049307308822_nwhat ever he wanted to do. He wanted to go eat at his favorite restaurant & go buy him a new keyboard. He really wanted one that would sample, loop, & allow him to compose his own music. Some of his music is getting really good, most days you can find him in his room writing music notes in his notebook. I thought it was strange that he wanted to go to a super authentic
mexican restaurant for his birthday since he will not eat it but we sat down & he ordered chicken strips with french fries. Hey, what ever he wants! The staff heard us talking about his birthday, they brought out their sombrero for him & sang. He was so excited.

 

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A look back at him growing up…ouch! How did we get so old!

 

Doctor Who Holiday Awesomeness GO!!

If you follow me on social media you know we just got out of the hospital with our middle son Zion. Asthma is always a looming problem in our home and for the last couple of years we have been pretty well controlled but this year it caught us off guard. Three days in the hospital for breathing treatments and steroids was rough but back to “normal” we go! I just wanted to take a second to say thank you so much to all of the followers that took a second to comment on social media, message, or email sending good thoughts/prayers our way. You have no idea how much that means to us.

We started the fun off by renting a limo to drive us around looking at Christmas lights. I won’t get into how horrible the day was when our transmission went out on the highway stranding us an hour from home in traffic trying to limp to where we were meeting the limo. Our brand new (new to us anyway) SUV….our brand new, most money I’ve ever paid for a car & makes me sick to think of the car payment on a car that’s in pieces at the shop right now…our brand new, the extended service plan they sold me better flippin’ cover this or I will be the only male stripper trying to make money by taking $1’s to put my cloths back on, car. Yeah… you get the picture. The kids had no idea & when it pulled up to get us it was all worth it. Their faces were glowing!

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Over the last few months we have officially become Doctor Who fanatics in this house! I say we because despite my resistance at first I am now sold on the Doctor. So when it came time to search for Christmas gifts we turned to one of the only places that really get our kids: Think Geek. We got sonic screwdrivers, we have stuffed Daleks that MUST be cuddled but let you know that they want to EXTERMINATE you, books, games, a magnetized floating Tardis, you name it we got it this year! BUT the one thing I was banking on to blow minds was a massive Tardis tent that folds out to be bigger on the inside. It did not disappoint! At one point I could hear Jayden giggling when I peeked in I found him in the Tardis with his plasma ball, very sciency! Yeah, sciency… thats a word right. It was a great holiday & I hope that all of you had a great one two!

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I was just supposed to put it together but TOTALLY got sucked in!

 

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The two youngest called dibs on sleeping in the TARDIS first!

 

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Even Grumpy Cat got in on the action

Will Smith Was Right! ‘Parents Just Don’t Understand’

My parents never understood! They didn’t understand my music, the way I dressed, ANYTHING! I won’t mention the fact that I listened to punk rock, wore two different color chuck taylor converse, & mostly sported old man plaid pants I bought at Good Will! STILL they didn’t get it! But you know what I’m finding now that I’m a parent; now I don’t get it! I feel like I get more than my parents did. I get adventure time, I get minecraft, I REALLY get Gravity Falls, I get Doctor Who & I feel like I get autism! (not like I GET autism… ‘I’m feelin’ strange, I think I may be getting autism’ not like that!)  I DON’T get so much more than that though. I don’t get:

  • Milestone – I don’t want to talk about the birds & the bees let alone know WHEN to. Can’t Google be the parent on this one!?!
  • Friends – I want the kids to have friends but at the same time they have brothers & I can control those…yeah, I’m overprotective!
  • Middle School – It has to be the 7th circle of hell! The kids are massive, the teachers are scowling, & the hormones are running.
  • PTA – I know it’s for the kids but I don’t want to be the chairmen of the board in charge of how many ply toilet paper is in the girls bathroom in hall #4 & I definitely don’t want to be the one sitting at the door of the fall carnival trying to keep a straight face explaining to people why it’s $4 a kid for a half a glass of powdered lemonade & one slice of a $5 pizza from Little Caesars! 
  • Douche bag dads! - Pardon the crass language but their shirts are tight, their music is cranked up in the car line, & they have that Top Gun Val Kilmer look on their face! WHO ARE YOU TRYING TO IMPRESS? The parents think your annoying & the kids are laughing at you.

I guess all things come with time & as we come to a new bridge we will either cross it or burn it! Either way as long as we stick together it will be okay but MAN is it scary! In my last post I talked about my son being bullied. I was crazy mad & confused as to what to do! Then I got a phone call:

Mr Hibben, this is your sons middle school. There has been an incident that we need you to help us address with your son.

I’m in full attack mode, WHAT HAPPENED NOW! Come to find our my tables had been turned. In his favorite class, science, they were preparing to do a project. This is live heaven to him because any thing science related falls under our special interest. The class was loud & wouldn’t stop their talking so the teacher, after giving the class as a whole a warning she told them they would not be doing the project because of their disobedience. My son was crushed & upset so he apparently walked up to the kid in class that was talking the most (in his mind because he was the biggest culprit he was the main cause) & he kicked him in the leg. Thankfully the kid went & told the teacher insteaadventures in aspergersd of beating the crap out of my son. After all the over stimulation & emotions running wild he waited in the councilors & fell asleep. He hardly touched the kid thankfully but so far out of the lines of whats okay & what’s been instilled in him. It completely turned everything around. He understood what he did was wrong & after a long danny tanner talk we headed home, I’m very happy that if this had to happen at least we didn’t have many more schools days till winter break! We had some talks, reworked though the situation as to how we should have handled it, & went back to school with a “hopefully” heartfelt apology to the boy who was kicked.

I feel like I’m a pretty sharp guy. I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job. I feel like I can spot a problem on the horizon or trouble looming up ahead but at times like these you are reminded that just because you think you have a good idea of whats up ahead always be ready for anything! I should really start a parenting boot camp for newly diagnosed parents but lets just be honest we would probably overwhelm them & end up polishing off to many bottles of wine to be helpful! :)

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, & a great New Year!

A Tale Of Two Lunchboxes

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… but mainly it was the most frustrating of times. 

If you have read past blog posts you know that we had an unfortunate incident with a lunchbox a month or so ago that involved someone taking his lunchbox, shoving it in the toilet, & trying to flush it down. Don’t worry… the school assured me it wasn’t bullying, it was an isolated incident that was a crime of opportunity not targeting my son. Okay, I’ll buy that. You can read that post here. I ordered him a metal Dr. Who lunchbox to smooth life out & all was kosher.

A few weeks ago I got a call from the school counselor letting me know that while he was using the restroom he sat his bag & new ($30) Dr Who lunchbox down in the breeze way only to find that it had been stomped in when he came back out. They school bent it back as best they could & he was okay. When I got the call from the counselor letting me know I was so relived to hear that the school is sure that this was an isolated incident that was a crime of opportunity not targeting my son.

Flash forward a week or so. I picked him up from school right before Thanksgiving break & on the ride home he told me about his horrible day. He was headed to the restroom & put his lunchbox on a desk by one of his teachers room that is next to the rest room. This is what the school had told him to do instead of leaving it where all the kids leave theirs to make sure no other “Crimes of opportunity” happened. So this time someone went to the teachers door, got the Dr Who lunchbox & gave it another good stomping. I didn’t get a call this time because I’m not even sure if he bothered telling anyone because they have proved that nothing will happen. So as I kept my cool while hearing him tell me about how his most prized possession would no longer hardly latch I realized that, much like my respect for the public school system, advocacy at Shawnee Middle School is dead & gone. I calmly called the school that day to speak with his principal to see what was going on & why this was happening without anyone stepping up to help. I got his voicemail, I left a voicemail, &…. yeah that’s about it & this was before thanksgiving break. I have called two other times with no luck of talking to anyone & I’m starting to feel like I’m the crazy girlfriend in this situation! Is the staff at the school trying to tell me they don’t want to be in a relationship anymore? I want it to work, we’ve had some great times together! I remember that time we all had an IEP meeting in the library & everyone told my wife & I that they just LOVED my son! I remember everyone saying they would look out for him since he is vulnerable & I said thanks & that I was so appreciative! Remember that public school system? Remember? I chaperoned the trip to the zoo & when someone didn’t load the lunches I raced 50 miles back to pick them up only to make it back just in time for them to eat & you were so appreciative of me? Remember that, public school system? Oh, & remember that time we were laying on the beach & I brushed your hair…wait that was my wife… you get what I’m saying’? In the words of Theodore Roosevelt: Why ya gotta do me like that boo?

I guess my issue is… they kinda suck. Isolated incidents, crimes of opportunity, & security cameras that are seemingly never pointed in the right direction all make for a bully friendly environment. I mentioned in my previous blog that the local news did a story about a girl bing bullied by several other kids while filming it on a cell phone & posting it on the internet. That was at my sons school & when they interviewed the parents of that girl you know what they said ChanceCardthe school told them… wait for it… wait for it… we are confident it was an isolated incident & not a situation where your child was bing targeted. It’s like they have a deck of cards with crappy excuses to tell parents. When a new one comes in with a problem they just draw a card from the deck!

The next move? Not sure! First move was ask nicely, second move was vent my frustrations to thousands of blog readers, third is to I guess go back to the drawing board. It’s just such a fine line because he says there is no one person bullying him but at the same time he is so oblivious to things like that we have seen situations like this before when someone is mean to him & he doesn’t even realize it. In rural Oklahoma there are not a lot of private school options (Ones that aren’t crazy religious or super expensive) & it upsets the hell out of me that we would even have to look at that option because he can’t get a fair shake at public school!