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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

2 Great Article Regarding Autism Spectrum Disorders

My friend over on My Space posted these articles and I felt that they were both very good. One is called The 5 Types of Autism and the other is called Asperger’s Syndrome Information - "What is?". "Big Stuff" was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome about 3 years ago, before it was getting as much attention as it is now, and I've always had trouble trying to explain it without someone telling me, "But don't all kids do that?" So I hope that these articles serve to help explain something that I have trouble explaining sometimes. Oh, and keep in mind that "Big Stuff" does not exhibit all the Asperger's symptoms listed in the article. In fact, most people with Asperger's Syndrome or "Aspies" do not exhibit every symptom. Every person on the spectrum is definately different and unique!

The 5 types of autism

Autism may not be what you think it is.

The 1988 movie "Rain Man" — starring Hollywood heavyweights Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise — introduced autism to mainstream America. It also cemented stereotypes that all autistic people are savants with outstanding math skills, that they have no emotions or senses of humor, that they cannot make eye contact or show affection.

This is true for some people, but autism comes in many shapes and sizes, in countless combinations of characteristics.

Autism is one of five disorders coming under the umbrella of Pervasive Developmental Disorders, a category of brain disorders that affect the way people speak, socialize, play and react to their environment.

Below are definitions and characteristics of these five disorders.

• Classic autism — This is the most severe form of autism. People with classic autism have problems talking and relating to people. They can be hypersensitive to their environment. Certain sounds, colors and textures can upset them. They compulsively cling to rituals, such as eating the same foods or watching the same TV show every day at the same time. Changes in routine can upset them.

• Asperger's Syndrome — A type of autism that causes problems with social and communication skills, but does not trigger language delays. People with Asperger's can be socially awkward, may not understand conventional social rules or may show a lack of empathy. They may make limited eye contact, seem to be unengaged in a conversation and not understand the use of gestures. They also have average or above-average intelligence.

• Childhood Disintegrative Disorder — A type of autism that develops in children who previously seemed perfectly normal. Sometime between ages 2 and 4, these children stop talking, lose potty-training skills and stop socializing. They can stop playing, lose motor skills and fail to make friends.

• Rett Syndrome — A condition that usually affects girls and is marked by poor head growth. People with this disorder have poor verbal and social skills. They have repetitive hand movements such as hand-wringing, excessive hand-washing and clapping. Mental retardation is common.

• Pervasive Developmental Disorder­Not Otherwise Specified — A condition in which some — but not all — of the symptoms of classic autism and another pervasive developmental disorderare seen. In these cases, there can be social and speech problems, as well as unusual sensitivities to specific sights and sounds.

Sources: Autism Society of America, Cure Autism Now, Yale Child Study Center at Yale University, National Institute of Mental Health


Asperger’s Syndrome Information - "What is?"

In 1944, Asperger's Syndrome was first described and named after the Austrian doctor, Hans Asperger. He described individuals who showed odd-like behaviours, a lot like the symptoms thought to be shown by Albert Einstein and Bill Gates.

Asperger's Syndrome is a form of autism that affects how a person communicates and relates with others. This means that they commonly have difficulty in social relationships, in communicating, and have limitations in imagination and creative play

Individuals with Asperger's Syndrome are quite often easily understood, and have intelligible speech before being 4 years old. Their grammar and vocabulary are usually very good, but they often repeat what they say and partake in conversations that revolve around themselves. They are usually obsessed with complex topics like patterns, weather, music, and technology.

IQ's of people with Asperger's Syndrome fall along the full spectrum, but many are above normal for verbal abilities and below average in performance. Many have dyslexia, writing problems and difficulty with mathematics. They mainly have concrete thinking and often lack common sense.

People with Asperger's Syndrome have odd forms of self-stimulatory behaviour and their movements are often clumsy and awkward. They are often overly sensitive to sounds, taste, smells, and sights; preferring soft clothing, certain foods, and can be bothered by sounds or lights no one else can see or hear.

They have a great deal of difficulty reading body language, have trouble determining personal body space, and are socially aware but often react the wrong way. It is because of this that those with Asperger's Syndrome are often viewed as eccentric or odd and can easily become victims of teasing and bullying.

People with Asperger's Syndrome are often punctuality, reliability and dedication.

Sometimes people assume everyone who has autism and is high-functioning has Asperger's syndrome. However, it appears that there are several forms of high-functioning autism, and Asperger's syndrome is one form. Asperger's Syndrome is probably hereditary in nature as many families report having an "odd" relative or two. It is often reported in those also with depression and bipolar disorders.

Asperger's syndrome is a neurobiological disorder that affects the brain and the people who have it seem very "normal" and people with Asperger's Syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. As a guess there is about 1 in every 500 people in the US have this dysfunction which can include everything from language disabilities to sensory problems and physical awkwardness. These people are very intelligent, extremely structured and have no social awareness; they are often very literal. Individuals with Asperger's Syndrome can exhibit a variety of characteristics and the disorder can range from mild to severe. Persons with Asperger's Syndrome show marked deficiencies in social skills, have difficulties with transitions or changes and prefer sameness. They often have obsessive routines and may be preoccupied with a particular subject of interest.

It's important to remember that the person with Asperger's Syndrome perceives the world very differently. Therefore, much behaviour that seems odd or unusual is due to those neurological differences and not the result of intentional rudeness or bad behaviour, and most certainly not the result of "improper parenting".

Most individuals (although not all) exhibit exceptional skill or talent in a specific area. Because of their high degree of functionality. People with Asperger's Syndrome often develop an almost obsessive interest in a hobby or collecting. Usually their interest involves arranging or memorising facts about a special subject, such as train timetables, Derby winners or the dimensions of cathedrals.

As soon as we meet a person we make judgements about them. Just by looking we can guess their age or status, and by the expression on their face or the tone of their voice we can tell immediately if they are happy, angry or sad and respond accordingly. Not everyone has this natural ability. People with Asperger's Syndrome find it more difficult to read the signals which most of us take for granted. As a result they find it more difficult to communicate and interact with others and have a large problem with social interaction. Meanwhile they often develop overwhelmingly obsessive interests, which can preoccupy them (but may form an ideal basis for a job).

People with Asperger's Syndrome often find change upsetting.

Young children may impose their routines, such as insisting on always walking the same route to school. At school, sudden changes, such as an alteration to the timetable, may upset them. People with Asperger's Syndrome often prefer to order their day according to a set pattern. If they work set hours then any unexpected delay, such as a traffic hold-up, or a late train, can make them anxious or upset.

The causes of autism and Asperger's Syndrome are still being investigated. Many experts believe that the pattern of behaviour from which Asperger's Syndrome is diagnosed may not result from a single cause. There is strong evidence to suggest that Asperger's Syndrome can be caused by a variety of physical factors, all of which affect brain development - it is not due to emotional deprivation or the way a person has been brought up. There is not treatment.

Asperger's Syndrome is most likely hereditary in nature as many families report having an "odd" relative or two.

As they get older, they may realise that they are different from other people and feel isolated and depressed. People with Asperger's Syndrome often want to be sociable and are upset by the fact that they find it hard to make friends. But Adults with Asperger's Syndrome can and do go on to live fulfilling lives, to further education and employment and to develop friendships. Many lead productive lives, living independently, working effectively at a job (many are college professors, computer programmers, dentists), and raising a family.

A Visitor Commented that "Those with Asperger's Syndrome have normal scores on IQ tests and are of average or above average intelligence. You should know that normal means a score above 70. You create the impression that those with AS are all very bright. This is not so. Incidentally, current research suggests that there are good reasons for not differentiating between autism and Asperger's Syndrome."


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Update on my mom & a word of thanks!

As most of you know, my mom has been in the hospital since Monday, July 14th, when she had her surgery. After a slight set back or two, I'm happy to let you all know that she is OUT OF THE HOSPITAL AND BACK HOME! She still has some recovery of course, but she is home!

I cannot begin to express to you all how much each and everyone of your kind words, thoughts, wishes, and prayers have helped me and my family. I would love to give you all a great big hug personally, but since that obviously isn't possible I at least want to say "Thank you! Thank you all from the very bottom of my heart!" You've all helped me more than you will ever know and I will forever be greatful for the kindness, concern, and compassion I have been shown, even from those that I only know "cyberly" and not "personally".

Taking it off Together Tuesdays #7

I've decided to combine "The Weighty Update" with "Taking it off Together Tuesdays" mainly because I felt a little redundant posting one on Mondays immediately followed by the other on Tuesdays. So here are my results for this week:

Starting Weight: 264.4 lbs.
New Weight: 212.8 lbs.
Weight lost this week: 1.6 lb.
Total lost: 51.6 lbs

AND here are this weeks totals for the group:

Chris - 2.8 LOSS (-5.8 overall)
Tammy - 2 LOSS (-7 overall)
Life With Hashi-Thyroid Blog - 2 LOSS (-2 overall)
Grace - 1.6 LOSS (-51.6 overall)
Leigh - 4 LOSS (-31 overall)
Clara - 1 GAIN (-9.5 overall)
Dette - no report...?
Julie - 1 GAIN (-4.1 overall)
Cheryl - 2 GAIN (+2 overall)
Cyn Blue - no report
Audrey - 2.6 GAIN (-0.4 overall)
Christy - 0 (-11 overall)
Tina - 1 GAIN (0 overall)

this week - 4.8 LOSS
over all - 120.4 LOSS

as you can see our moderator, Leigh, has now added the overall totals for both the week and total group weight lost. These are a great bunch of people who are very supportive, and not just with weight loss! If you'd like to become a part of "Taking it off Together Tuesdays" just contact Leigh by clicking here, and she can help you get added to this wonderful group!

Thank you all for keeping me honest!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Update on my mom

Little worried:

She's had a bit of a set back. She's back on oxygen & a heart monitor. They're sending her for some test right now to see if they can figure out what's going on with her.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Taking It Off Together Tuesdays #6

Here are the reports for this week:

Chris - 1 GAIN
Tammy - 1 LOSS
Life With Hashi-Thyroid Blog - 1 LOSS
Grace - 1.4 GAIN
Leigh - 0.5 GAIN
Clara - 0.5 LOSS
Dette - -1.5 LOSS
Julie - 2.2 LOSS
Cheryl - 1 GAIN
Cyn Blue - 0 CHANGE
Audrey - On VACATION
Christy - 8 LOSS!! You go girl!

Welcome new member Tina with a 1 pound loss!

Total : 11.3 LOSS WOOT!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Weighty Update

Starting Weight: 264.4 lbs.
New Weight: 214.4 lbs.
Weight gained this week: 1.4 lb.
Total lost: 50.0 lbs

It's been a rought week, but I'm alright. Moving forward.

Another one on my mom

We went to see her again this weekend, and "Little Bit" & "Big Stuff" were great. "Little Bit" was scared at first, but soon realized that it was just her "Mac". She's eating "solids" (soft food) again and walked about 200 ft. yesterday. The doctors are going to move her to oral medication today, and so far she is still on track for a Tuesday or Wednesday release.

Again, I want to thank you all for everything!

Friday, July 18, 2008

My mom's doing FANTASTIC!!!

Quick update:

Yesterday she was moved out of ICU and into a "Regular" Room. Today they made her do her walks. First one was 25 ft. Second one was 50 ft. The most recent one was 150 ft. The doctors are very happy and if all goes well she should be home this coming Tuesday. (For those following along, that's 1 week and 1 day after major surgery!) I will let you know if this actually happens.

I saw her last night, and she is still in a lot of pain, but not nearly as much as she was when I saw her earlier this week.

I want to thank you all for your kind words, thoughts, support, and prayers. My family also greatly appreciates them as well.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The latest update on my mom's condition

Surgery was a success! She's in ICU until at least today, and then they will move her to a regular room where she will most likely remain until sometime next week. I saw her yesterday, and while she is very weak and incredibly sore, she's mentally very alert and more concerned about all of us getting rest and how we are than anything else it seems. Just like a mom don't you think?

Taking it off Together Tuesday #5

Here are the reports for this week:

Chris - 2 LOSS
Tammy - 2 GAIN
Life With Hashi-Thyroid Blog - 2 GAIN
Grace - 4.6 LOSS
Leigh - 1 GAIN
Clara - 2 LOSS
Dette - 1 LOSS
Julie - 0.8 LOSS
Cheryl - 1 LOSS
Cyn Blue - no report?
Audrey - 3 LOSS

Everone help us welcome our 12th member Christy with a 3 LOSS!!

Total : 11.68 LOSS

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Weighty Update

Oh I almost forgot! And this is a Fantastic Week weight loss wise (of course it could be the stress, but at this point I'll take it!)

Starting Weight: 264.4 lbs.
New Weight: 213.0 lbs.
Weight lost this week: 4.6 lb.
Total lost: 51.4 lbs

I FINALLY CROSSED 50 lbs. LOST!!!!! Another milestone that I never thought I'd reach. This is also the lowest my weight has been in over 7 and 1/2 years!!!

Thanks for keeping me honest!

Present update on my mom

She's out of surgery and in recovery and my dad let me know that all is well, and that he was about to get to see her.

Latest Update on my mom

Just got a text from my dad and to quote him "The surgery on {my mom's name} is a miracle! Both surgeons are able to work at the same time! PRAISE GOD!" They were closing her up, according to the text, about 15 minutes ago. I will, of course, continue to keep you all posted!

Just a brief note...

My mom went in for major surgery this morning and will be in surgery for approximately 6 hours. I can not go into too much detail as it is too hard for me to explain it adequately, but the long and short of it is (like we told "Big Stuff" and "Little Bit") something inside her got broken and the doctors need to get inside her and fix it. So, there's no panic...we've known about this for a while but didn't have all the details until this past week, and apparently my mom's been living with this for a few years, but didn't know it. She does not have cancer and her heart is fine, but the doctors do have to open her up to fix the problem and needless to say with this being major surgery, and even though she is otherwise healthy...I'm still worried about her (and my dad, who told me, "As a pastor I'm used to seeing people in the hospital about to go into surgery, and it's never an easy thing to do, but when it's the "love of you life" that takes it to an entirely different level.")

I'll keep everyone posted.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Lots going on...

"Little bit" turned 3 a few days ago add we had a crowd at the house. All of this around the July 4th holiday. I didn't follow my plan for weight loss as closely as I would have liked, but I did enjoy the time with friends and family.

My friend just had her second child about 2 weeks ago, and there was D-R-A-M-A-!!!

Here's the story:

The baby arrived without much ado (other than the baby was early everything went smoothly with the delivery). After 24 hours the little one developed jaundice, and as my friend put it, "It's not the sit-in-sunlight-and-be-cured kind of jaundice, but the mommy's-blood-hates-baby's-blood-and-is-trying-to-destroy-all-the-red-blood-cells kind." The little one got sent to the NICU when the jaundice level tripled and got to wear a lovely eyemask while basking under the tanning bed for the next 36 hours. The jaundice level was down at the next testing, but unfortunately it climbed up until it was even higher than it had been when the baby went to the NICU in the first place. So back under the lights the little one went.

Meanwhile, the nurses got scared when the little one decided to take a little break from breathing one morning and turned blue. They gave the baby some oxygen for about 10 seconds,and the little one began breathing, and for all this trouble, earned an extra 5-days-minimum-stay in the NICU and visits from lots of heart and ears-nose-and-throat doctors. The ENT guy diagnosed the baby with acid reflux and put my friend on a dairy-free diet. That could have caused the breathing episode, and that would be the best case scenario because either diet or medicine could fix the problem.

You would've thought this would be enough for all of them, but one nurse in the NICU decided to make things more interesting by giving the baby some other woman's breastmilk one night. That was a bit of a shock for them, considering the bottles are "all color-coded and labeled with (the family's) name and hospital ID number, and sit in a basket that also has (their) name on it." So they pumped the baby's stomach and then they spent most of the next day waiting to find out if the other mother had HIV or any other communicable diseases. No HIV, so that's good news.

From what my friend told me everything else came out OK, but I'm not 100% sure if all of the test have come back yet. Anyway, I think everything's fine as everyone is back home and they made it to "Little Bit's" Party the other day (Yes even the baby and I got to hold the little one...I forget how small they are when they're born!)

On a different note:

Yesterday, was the 7th anniversary of the death of my friend Danielle Cipriani, and while the waste of space who did it now has to serve back to back life sentences and has been serving them since he was sentenced 4 years ago...I still have brief moments of out and out anger and also sadness...I usually don't think about her death much less the date of it and probably wouldn't have this year either if it weren't for someone mentioning it yesterday and pointing out exactly what day yesterday was...

I'm a little bit of an emotional mess today, but I'm holding it apologies for rambling on and on and on...

That's a life update to this point...moving on.

Taking it off Together Tuesday #4

Here are the reports for this week:

Chris - 2 LOSS
Tammy - 0 change
Life With Hashi-Thyroid Blog - Out Of Town
Grace - 2.4 Gained
Leigh - 3 LOSS
Clara - 2 Gained
Dette - 1 Gained
Julie - 2 LOSS
Cheryl - 0 change

Please help me welcome Cyn Blue who is reporting a 1 pound gain.

And everyone welcome my aunt Audery to the group who is reporting a 3 pound loss!

Total : 3.6 LOSS! YAY!

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Weighty Update

Starting Weight: 264.4 lbs.
New Weight: 217.6 lbs.
Weight gained this week: 2.4 lb.
Total lost: 46.8 lbs

Thanks for keeping me honest!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Taking it off Together Tuesday #3

Here are the reports for this week (and everyone either lost or stayed the same!):

Chris - 0 change
Tammy - 1 LOSS!
Life With Hashi-Thyroid Blog - 0 change
Grace - 0.8 LOSS!
Leigh - 7 LOSS!
Clara - 0.5 LOSS!
Dette - 2.5 LOSS!
Julie - 1 LOSS!

and every one be sure to welcome Cheryl with her first weigh in at 0!

Total 12.8 LOSS! Congratulations!!

The Weighty update

Starting Weight: 264.4 lbs.
New Weight: 215.2 lbs.
Weight lost this week: 0.8 lb.
Total lost: 49.2 lbs

What is it with me and the 0.8 lbs??????