Living in a Sensory World, Without all your Senses.

What is Autism? Many know, many think they know but most have no idea. I’m no expert and most of what I know is basic except for what my son deals with. He is considered High Functioning Autistic and has been labeled as such since he was 3 years old. Elias is 5 now, about to turn 6 in April and I’m questioning his diagnosis as I did the first time I heard them say the word. 

My son was born in April of 2004. But he didn’t come easy. I had high blood pressure and my doctor recommended I be induced a week early. I wasn’t happy about this because it didn’t prepare me the way I wanted to be prepared. I was terrified of giving birth and thought when those contractions came…I would have no choice but to be ready. Nevertheless, the High Blood Pressure scared me into agreeing. This was my first mistake. 

I was a big momma. I hadn’t gained the normal 25-35 lbs. I gained 75 lbs. They thought my son was huge and before they began the inducement, the ultra sound tech figured my son to be at least 10 lbs. That morning, my contractions began and I told my doctor I didn’t think I needed the Pitocin they were about to give me. He didn’t seem to care so I went along with it. This was my second mistake. The Pitocin started around 10am and I began Hard Labor pushing at around 8pm. I pushed and I pushed. In fact, I pushed harder then the strength of my contractions. The pain was unbearable and the Nurse was a joke. My doctor was no where to be found. By 10pm, I was worn out but pushing I was and little Elias wasn’t budging. Then 1130pm came around. By now I wanted to kill myself. I believe I was screaming, “Please just kill me”. The pain, the pain, the pain! My doctor showed her cute little face and I believe I fantasized of punching her lights out. She said that if by Midnight he wasn’t down, I was going to have a C-section. I was watching that clock like an eagle! I couldn’t lay still, I remember tossing from side to side and I even dislocated my husband’s thumb thru the process. FINALLY, sometime after midnight, the doctor came in to tell me I was being prepped for the surgery. My anesthesiologist came in and had a look of shock when he saw me screaming and crying. I remember him saying something like, “Don’t worry honey, I’ll make the pain go away”. I don’t remember much after that. My son was born and I remember my husband saying how beautiful he was. Then I began screaming in pain because I could feel them sewing me up and it was like a movie. The anesthesiologist came above me with a mask and light’s out baby! Elias was born at 1:22AM on the 22nd of April. He wasn’t 10 lbs! He was 8 lbs 7 oz and only 19 1/2 inches long. But strong he was. In recovery I held him and he lifted his head on his own to reach for milk. The nurse was amazed, I was too drugged to realize. 

2 Weeks old

So, what the hell does this have to do with my son’s condition? I think it has a lot to do with it. My son was wide-eyed from the moment he was born. Always looking at everything but me. He couldn’t sleep alone, it seems he needed that touch. The moment we put him down, no matter how soft and gentle we were, he would begin to scream. After 3 months of sleeping between us, we began to move him to the crib. It took months. We would have to rub his back and try to sneak out when we were sure he was asleep. Sometimes it worked, most the time we were running back in to start the process all over again. This lasted until he was almost 4. At his two-year wellness appointment, his Pediatrician was concerned. He wasn’t saying more then 5-10 words. He wasn’t even saying “Mommy”. We had therapists come to the house and work with him. They concentrated on sensory and gross motor skills. After a year, they didn’t know what was wrong and suggested we get him evaluated. We did, and that doctor thought he had Autism. I was in severe denial and 6 months later had him reevaluated by a Child Psychologist. She agreed and the label stuck. 

I moved back to the states 1 year earlier then my husband because there were no services for Special Needs in Germany after 3 years old. When I got to Colorado, I enrolled him in Speech and Occupational Therapy. It did wonders for him.  When his dad got back, his speech improved 10-fold. It was amazing. But there was also fights brewing with the pre-schools. They weren’t listening to me and in short, didn’t believe me. Usually 2-3 months later, I’d get a phone call that they didn’t know how to handle him. It was a nightmare. 

Then we moved to Albuquerque. Things were ok here until he started Kindergarten. I was fighting with the Peds Clinic to get him back into therapy and finally..after 6 months got him in. Liz is his therapist and she is a wonder. She runs Indigo Therapy  (site is under construction) and I love her! Liz believes that Elias may have Sensory Processing Disorder  and not Autism. The more I read about it, the more I’m convinced this is true. 

Elias is very social, very loving and has a thing for the ladies 🙂 He tends to take the younger children under his wing and loves adults. 

The problem is, Sensory Processing Disorder is not a recognized diagnosis…yet. Autism is. There are many facets under the umbrella of SPD. My son would be considered a “Seeker”. His Nervous System doesn’t process things as easily and therefore, he tends to be more rough, does not understand personal space and fidgets constantly. Because of this, it effects other things. He doesn’t know how to calm down, his focus is two words deep, he chews on his shirt sleeve or collar, he has to smell everything and he doesn’t understand the pain he feels is what others feel. On the plus side, he eats almost anything. It’s shocking really. He loves olives, every kind! Pretty much every vegetable, lamb, spicy foods, sauerkraut! Sometimes I watch in awe when he eats. 

Autism is a spectrum. It goes from sever cases to the opposite side. There was talk of sensory issues being included in the criteria of Autism but I don’t believe that has happened yet. Most people, including our lovely educators out there have no clue what Autism entails and most, when seeing my son, deny that he is Autistic. But if you look at High Functioning, many of Elias’ issues fall under that label. 

Before Elias, I thought most of these issues that children deal with were bullshit. ADD, ADHD, Autism…all of them. Well I’m here to tell you, they are not. ADD, ADHD and SPD are very similar and make complete sense when you think about it. How many of you can’t sit still during a meeting? Have to tap your toes or click the pen constantly or tap that pencil? How many shift in their seat? I challenge you, at your next meeting to watch other people and see what mannerisms they have. You may be surprised. But what does that mean? It means that their Nervous system is getting too much or not enough of something. These little ticks we have subconsciously help us deal with it. A child who has ADD, ADHD or SPD has the same problem but it’s more severe. You may think we have 5 senses, but we have 7. Smell, touch, taste, hearing, sight, vestibular and proprioception. Children are either Hypersensitive(Avoider) to any of these or Hyposensitive(Seeker). 

Micheal Odent  believes that C-sections, especially emergency c-sections may be having a long-term effect on our kids, more then we realize. Its a fascinating read and also talks of allergies and Anorexia (A disease he believes to be the female version of Autism). Though I can’t write a book on here, after all the research I have done, I have to agree that what he has compiled makes sense. 

I plan to continue this discussion on here and hopefully enlighten the unenlightened. I’m here to tell parents of Special Needs children that it is ok to panic but there is help out there, progress can be made but don’t fight it. There is no use for that and it only ends up being counterproductive. 

There are many theories, some I don’t believe. I don’t think that vaccines are the issue and feel that some parents are forcing it so they have a point to finger at. I think this is more complicated but still, we may have someone to blame. Doctors mostly. I feel that C-sections and inducing has become a way of life. Yes, there are times it is needed, but these days, it’s like the “easy” way out. 

I feel like this post is a little discombobulated but the information out there is strenuous! Which is why I will touch on this subject again and be a little more concentrated on certain aspects. It’s easy not to believe when it isn’t your child. But Elias is mine and everyday I pray he gets better, that he doesn’t hurt someone at school and that he learns what he needs to make it outside mommies protection. 

March 2009

Why Saturn, What Big Rings You Have!

saturn_rings1.jpg

Whoa Cassini!

From NASA.gov :

The Cassini spacecraft surveys Saturn’s outstretched ring system in the infrared from a vantage point high above the planet’s northern latitudes. Nearly the full expanse of the main rings is visible here — from the C ring to the outer edge of the A ring (in the upper left corner).

Ring shadows are visible on the planet at lower left, and two large storms swirl near center.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 52 degrees above the ringplane.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 752 (red channel), 890 (blue channel) and 728 (green channel) nanometers. The view was acquired on April 5, 2007 at a distance of approximately 1.4 million kilometers (900,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 81 kilometers (51 miles) per pixel.

saturn_moon1.jpg

NASA.gov :

Soft hues, partially lit orbs, a thin trace of the ring and slight shadows highlight this understated view of the majestic surroundings of the giant planet Saturn. Looking nearly back toward the sun, the Cassini spacecraft captured the crescent phases of Saturn and its moon Rhea in color a few months ago.

As striking as the above image is, it is but a single frame from a recently released 60-frame silent movie where Rhea can be seen gliding in front of its parent world. Since Cassini was nearly in the plane of Saturn’s rings, the normally impressive rings are visible here only as a thin line across the image center. Cassini has now passed the official half-way mark of its mission around Saturn, but is well situated to complete another two years investigating this complex and surprising system.

I wrote earlier about the soon-to-be possibility of exploring the universe from your desktop.

This isn’t quite the same, but…it’s as close as most of us will ever get to our Neighbors.

Neverthless, feeling a little Martian?

sky_saturn1.jpg

Meet the new Sky by Saturn. Sexy isn’t she?

But Maybe you want something with a little more Ring?

0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds? It’ll get you to Saturn in no time. 😉

redline_sky1.jpg

The Sky Redline. Sexxxxxxxxy!

 (limited edition)

“Baby, you can drive my car
yes, I’m gonna be a star
Baby you can drive my car
And maybe I’ll love you”
(wink)

Thanks to Dad for the NASA pics.

The Universe : The Internet

Yesterday, while reading my recent issue of Popular Science, I stumbled upon an article that has me BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZING with excitement!

I don’t believe I’m looking forward to anything “Techno-Cool” , like I’m looking forward to this!

 

From PopSci.com :

Surfing the StarsJonathon Keats

Within a decade, a dream team of astronomers and computer geeks vows to bring a world-class observatory to every desktop, giving anyone with a PC access to remote galaxies and exploding supernovae. The pledge is the result of a partnership announced last winter between a network of 19 national research institutions and engineers from the search-engine giant Google. Their collective objective is to develop potent software to process the estimated 30 terabytes of astronomy imagery (think 12 billion five-megapixel photos) that will stream nightly from the newly built Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, or LSST, slated to go online in 2013. Set atop Cerro Pachón Mountain in Chile, the LSST will be the largest survey scope of its kind, sequentially imaging nearly 20 billion astronomical objects in the night sky twice a week at least 2,000 times over the scope’s 10-year lifetime. Google’s role in this $350-million project (beyond the modest $25,000 annual dues payment) is still largely undefined, but Rob Pike, Google’s principal engineer for the LSST, envisions a tool set akin to Google Earth, which combines a search tool with satellite imagery. So instead of killing time flying over your ideal vacation spot onscreen, you can opt for more productive surfing, such as scanning the skies for hazardous near-Earth asteroids.
HOW IT WORKS
One thousand times as powerful as previous telescopes, the LSST will survey the entire sky every three nights using a wide-angle mirror and a three-billion-pixel digital camera. As the telescope rotates on its base, the camera’s 15-second exposures take in an area 50 times as large as the full moon. Software will compile three-dimensional imagery to produce time-lapse digital “movies” of the universe.

I cannot wait to sit at my desktop and explore the Universe.

WOW.

The Human: Disease

Well, Global Warming is in the news…..AGAIN, but this time it’s the trees causing the problems. Damn those trees! Let’s go cut them all down so we can reduce CO2 levels and Oxygen! Yayyyyy…no breathing, sounds great 🙂

Alright, I’m being sarcastic and over-the-top..but now you know how I feel when you tell me my breathing is killing the Earth and driving us toward a Warming Armageddon.

This is my problem with the “Environmental” Army. They act as if we landed here from another planet and are sucking it dry. The “Army” wants to eradicate humans so that Earth can prosper. Well what the hell is the point of that? We are here because we evolved like everything else. I think it’s funny that some have this view that the Earth can’t evolve?? Where were you in Earth Science class?

Humans aren’t a Disease! I once read an article in Discover magazine that had pictures of what the Earth would look like without Humans. Again, I ask, what the hell is the point of this? Ugh….

Global Warming is going to cause the ice caps to melt, the Ocean’s to rise and we’re all going to die a horrible drowning death. Oh wait..not quite. There’s going to be some coastal flooding, lands may change, lots of people with sun tans walking around with plenty of food to eat. I think we can manage.

There I go being a smart ass again. or am I? 🙂

The recent study is on Trees. Now I have found three different articles/studies saying the opposite’s of each other. Trees cause Global Warming; Cutting down the trees causes Global Warming; Trees could help Cool the Earth.

I’m confused? So…I went gallivanting thru the Internet only to find a million links with , pretty much, the same information. I had so many windows open I thought the computer was going to crash. It took 30 seconds for a web-page to load…the horror!

#1. Trees Cause Global Warming

     Well let me clarify, Trees in snowy areas cause warming because their canopies absorb more sunlight which would normally be reflected by the snow.        

     This is obviously different from the normal enviro-speak. Plant more trees, reduce Global Warming. Uh Oh, maybe not. No one is saying cut down the trees because they have a very important role in our environment. Nevertheless, this just shows you how much we don’t understand. Jumping to one specific area of science and only concentrating on that is just plain stupid.

#2. Trees Help Cool the Earth

     The consensus has always been plant a tree, preserve the forests and help reduce global warming because trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it to oxygen.

     Not to mention, the trees absorb water from the ground, which aids in producing clouds, which shields us earthlings from the Sun.

    ok, I buy this.

#3. Cutting Down Trees causes Global Warming

     Obviously this is the exact opposite of above. Cutting down the trees, nothing to absorb that heinous CO2 but the good ole atmosphere, hence Global Warming.

All three of these make perfect sense if you think CO2 causes Global Warming.

I don’t believe that…exactly. I think we have a lot to learn…as if I need to give you examples (hint hint..look up look up).

Now before I go on with my diatribe, I came across an article and a published study on the benefits of CO2 in regards to Plant life.

First is an article from ABC.com dated Aug 16th.

The short of it is, Duke University wants to see the effects of increased CO2 on Loblolly Pine and small hardwood trees.

Apparently, the trees are loving it.

The preliminary answer seems to be that at least some of the trees in the forests will love it, growing more rapidly, reproducing more robustly, thriving at a time when some parts of the globe will slip perilously into a rising sea.

“It’s really dramatic,” says Shannon LaDeau, a doctoral candidate at Duke who is running part of the long-term experiment.

The pines are growing about 25 percent faster than pines just outside the experiment, and they are twice as likely to be reproductively active. “They are making three times as many cones” which carry and incubate their seeds, she adds.

The article is Four Pages long and well worth the read. It also has some pessimism in their for all you “Global Warming” fanatics (wink)…but what would an article be without the negative aspect?

 This is for you :

What’s good for the loblollies is devastating to other living organisms, including coral reefs. Researchers at Columbia University’s Biosphere 2 in the Arizona desert have found that the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide that we might expect in a few decades will dissolve the reefs like an ice cube in boiling water.

The second Study I found is a little more “Scientific” in language from CO2science.org

The study is about range expansion in the South Western Unites States. There’s a lot of different experiments referenced here.

Here’s a piece:

When the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration is experimentally increased, the vast majority of earth’s plants lose less water to the atmosphere via transpiration, but they produce more biomass, the latter of which phenomena is generally more strongly expressed in woody perennial species than it is in annual herbaceous plants. As a result of increases in the air’s CO2 content, therefore, earth’s bushes, shrubs and trees would be expected to grow better and expand their ranges more than non-woody species would be expected to do. Simultaneously, increases in atmospheric CO2 often make plants of all types actually preferwarmer temperatures (Idso and Idso, 1994), causing both woody and non-woody plants to grow more vigorously and expand their ranges during periods of global warming. In this summary, we review some of the evidence for, and the consequences of, these phenomena, focusing on what has been learned in North America, concentrating on the southwestern sector of the United States.

My problem with Global Warming is this, We don’t know enough to make drastic changes which could, in fact, cause a negative effect instead of the intentioned Positive.

I can’t help but think of the Wolves in Yellowstone that HUMANS took out of the park which almost collapsed the eco-system.

The Introduction of wolves back in to the park after 70 years is rebalancing the eco-system.

EcoSystem Rebalancing

KidsNews, National Geographic :  An informative article directed at kids but educational for all 🙂

Yellowstone Wolf Page

So, what we think is the right thing to do is not always the right thing to do. Just as 35 years ago scientists thought we were on the brink of another Ice Age and were spouting the gloom and doom that the Global Warmists are spouting today.

Make up your mind! Are we doomed when we’re cold or warm? I think the answer is they really don’t know.

So for now, I stand behind Conservation but am not losing sleep over Global Warming.

I’m looking forward to the warmth.

And one last thing…an article by Steven Milloy of Junkscience.com 

“Can’t See the Warming for the Trees”

Keep your mind open before jumping on this sinking ship .

Update from Flopping Aces : “Global Warming Skeptics Growing” (very interesting)

The Ring of Darkness

Take a good look, it’s hard to miss. That big dark ring, astronomers believe, just might be some proof of Dark matter. “Blatant Proof”

This was taken courtesy of the Hubble telescope.

Dark matter makes up a vast majority of gravity-exerting mass in the universe, while only about 10 percent is matter we can see and touch.

How it was formed?

The ring, 2.6 million light-years wide, formed when two huge clusters of galaxies slammed together in a head-on collision roughly 6 to 7 billion years ago, puffing the mysterious matter outward, the astronomers figure.

If the galactic hit-and-run had occurred outside of Earth’s line of sight, the result might look more like the “Bullet cluster” — another cosmic impact site that astronomers view as strong evidence for dark matter.

Though some scientists are skeptical of the findings ….

“But it shows up in another Hubble camera’s data as well,” he said. “It’s not as clear, but it’s still there. We argue the ring has been seen twice now.”

Isn’t the Universe fascinating?

The complete findings will be detailed in an upcoming issue of the Astrophysical Journal.

After reading this article via Foxnews.com, I have an urge to pull out “The Whole Shebang” by Timothy Ferris.

I’m a Chimera, You’re a Chimera.

 

Just last night I was reading the archives of bookofjoe.com and came across one of Joe’s BehindtheMedspeak Posts from August 28th, 2004.

In Short :

Fetal cells that resemble stem cells have been found in the organs of women after they have given birth, raising the possibility that the cells could be removed and used to treat diseases.

The woman who discovered this is Dr. Diana Bianchi, chief of the division of medical genetics at Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston.

I found this quite interesting, so you can imagine how funny I thought it, when I came across an article this morning at Discovermagazine.com titled :

You Are A Chimera (Thanks to Mom)

So what’s a Chimera? According to Wikipedia.com it’s :

In zoology, a chimera is an animal that has two or more different populations of genetically distinct cells that originated in different zygotes; if the different cells emerged from the same zygote, it is called a mosaicism.

Chimeras are formed from four parent cells (two fertilized eggs or early embryos fuse together) or from three parent cells (a fertilized egg is fused with an unfertilized egg or a fertilized egg is fused with an extra sperm). Each population of cells keeps its own character and the resulting animal is a mixture of mis-matched parts.

According to the Discover Article “Scientists recently found that a small number of maternal cells can persist in a woman’s offspring for decades or longer.”

So what does that mean?

Although researchers have suspected that maternal cells might play a role in provoking immunologic problems, this study found that in individuals with type 1 diabetes, at least, those cells might actually be lending a helping hand.

It also means our mother’s are always with us.

Think back to all the things you’ve done out of your mom’s line of sight…you thought she didn’t know?

Well I’m here to tell you, she was there and saw the whole thing!