Monday, April 14, 2014

ABCs of Autism - R

R is for Regression, I guess.  It's hard to say if Anthony is regressing because maybe it's regression and maybe things just suck right now.  He is definitely having a regression with toilet training.  Yesterday he was outside several times and just - went in his pants, not to put too fine a point on it.  Maybe it's because he is just having a high old time outside and doesn't want to come in, maybe he thinks the heck with it, I have been indoors for six straight months, I'm not going in now!  But if that's what is happening, it's still a regression of sorts because in the past, I think he would know to come in.

He is also having tantrums like he used to, meltdowns, whatever we want to call them, and he is grabbing the heck out of us.  Mike says, and I agree, that we have to just think about what's happening right now and not get weighed down with the future.  If he gets bigger and still grabs me like this, I think, he could really hurt me! But Mike says there is no point in thinking about the future because maybe he'll stop doing it, and he is right.

My cousin Agnes posted this great thing on Facebook the other day.  Here it is:

In essay titled "The trick of Life" -NY Times 4/6, Akhil Sharma wrote while going thru a breakdown: "I began to pray for the people passing by. I prayed for the nanny pushing a stroller. I prayed for the young woman jogging by in spandex....I prayed that each of them got the same things I wanted for myself: that they have good health, peace of mind, financial security. By focusing on others and their needs, my own problems seemed less unique and somehow, less pressing..." 

I thought it was just brilliant, it really spoke to me, and I told her that.  I am always praying for myself, nearly constantly, in the middle of all my breakdowns, and maybe that's not the way to do it!  Now as I lay on the floor, where I've dropped so that Anthony doesn't tear my shirt as he pulls me, I don't pray for myself, like I normally would.  Normally, I'd say please get me out of this hellhole or something, ha!  Right now, Felicity is screaming and yelling at me, for example, because she does or does not want me to put a backpack on her shoulders, and instead of feeling sorry for myself and praying for myself, I am praying that she will stop being such a jerk, ha!

Seriously, I am just filling my time formerly spent praying for myself and praying for Anthony.  Praying for the people around us, who might want to give us a dirty look in church or even just stare too long.  I'm praying for the parents who are so hell bent on finding out WHY their kid got autism that they get an answer, or that they give up and just focus on making their lives better.  I pray for Mike and for the other kids.  It really does make me feel more a part of the world, less lonely.  Anyway, it turns out it was foolhardy for me to think that I could ever sit for two seconds of my life and do something but Anthony is having a regression and that starts with R and now I am finished with R the end.

Monday, April 07, 2014

April is Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month and people are making me mad about it.  I feel like most people are great about it, truly wanting to be more aware of how they can help people with autism, families with Autism, etc.  My cousin Bridget posted a cute picture of her and her son Liam wearing blue for World Autism Day.  I have friends who are moms of kids with autism who post facts about autism, Anthony's school is doing a blog post a day ( I wrote one ) about it, these are all good things.  Not so good things include the ongoing love for Autism Speaks, a corporation that I really think is more damaging than good for people with autism, and just people in general.  Also, it seems like Autism Awareness Month sometimes turns into Vaccines Awareness Month and it drives me crazy.

Here's what might happen - a Facebook friend of mine might post something about vaccines.  Sometimes, the article has a disgusting picture with it, I won't post an example, because it's DISGUSTING, but like a child covered in welts and bumps, with a headline about how mumps is making a comeback.  It's so patronizing and insulting because I don't think that's what mumps looks like and also?, don't try and scare me with pictures!  I can't unsee those things!  Anyway, so the friend posts it and then someone else will comment that the government can't be trusted, or they don't want their child getting AUTISM and this is what really makes me mad.  Because while I agree that the government can't be trusted, I really feel like my pediatrician can be trusted, and if I didn't feel like he could be, then I think I should get a new pediatrician!  But what kills me is that there are people who compare having mumps or measles or whooping cough with having autism.  Having a disease which can KILL their child with having autism.  The mind boggles.

Also what might happen is an Autism Advocacy group I follow on Facebook (The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism) might post an article about how they are not supporting Chili's Restaurant supporting some Autism group which mentions that maybe vaccines cause autism.  The advocacy group says that any comments which say that vaccines DO cause autism will be deleted, and then so many people get SO MAD and what about their RIGHTS?, they ask, is this SOVIET RUSSIA, or AMERICA? and I think go to hell, dummies!  Why should you get to keep perpetrating this MYTH of vaccines causing autism on an autism advocacy page?

I have Facebook friends who believe that vaccines cause their child to have autism.  One friend posts pictures of her infant child making eye contact, saying that he didn't have autism then!  Ugh, it drives me crazy, but what can I do?  I can't post and say, um, yeah he did, because I don't really know and it's none of my business but man, I wish she would shut up about it.  They post about how much they HATE autism and they don't want to call it Autism Awareness Month but Autism ACTION Month.  They want to take action and get rid of autism, because they hate it!  And I think, I don't know what kind of wizards they are but I can't separate autism from Anthony enough to abolish it without thinking that Anthony might go, too.

I try and be patient with people -  I am lucky enough to have four kids, so I have a very clear example of how four kids with the same parents can have the same vaccines and if only one out of that four has autism, maybe vaccines didn't cause it?  Also, if maybe another child out of the four is kind of a weirdo, sensory-wise, maybe that can prove to me that genetics might be a cause of autism.  I read another comment from a 'scientist' at Autism Speaks which said that 'probably' the mother's age might have something to do with autism and I mean, I'm no scientist but do we say probably in science a lot?  Without any actual facts to back it up?  Because if we do than my scientific statement is that since I was the youngest when I had Anthony and he is the only one with autism, I 'probably' disagree with that 'scientist's' theory about the old moms.  But anyway sometimes when people have only one child and that one child has autism, maybe it's easier to blame vaccines, since they have no built in focus group like me.  I know it's really hard to have a child with autism, I want someone to blame sometimes too!  But then I think - and this is the KEY - I think what good does it do Anthony if I find someone to blame?  In what way does that help him or enrich his life?  And then I think, it doesn't, not one bit and then I forget it.

Anyway.  Here we are in April again, Autism Awareness Month.  Funnily enough (ha ha boo hoo) Anthony is having a VERY hard April so far.  He has had two terrible weekends in a row, but I am just hoping it's the darkness before the dawn.  I dream someday maybe the mud in the back yard will clear up and we can go outside and get fresh air and be happier.  It's been a long winter.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Update - Medication and OT

So I forget if I said but Mike and I took it upon ourselves to down the dosage of Anthony's epilepsy medication and we have seen 100% better behavior.  He was having a toileting regression, acting super aggressive and crazy in general, and it's just so much better.  His OT told me tonight that she felt like he "was back", she said they had great communication and that many times he smiled at her and cuddled into her neck.

I feel so glad, despite the fact that the scumbags at Anthem BCBS have denied our appeal, or at least this step of our appeal, that he is back and is cuddly and sweet and having so much success.  As I type this, Mike is giving Anthony a bath and I fear from the sound of things that he is splashing water every where, which is SUPER annoying but I'm not going to worry about that right now.  It's just water.  When he was acting in such a crazy way two weeks ago, I was so sad, I felt like I didn't even recognize him, I am unfamiliar with the feeling of being scared of Anthony.

So yes, the insurance company denied our appeal.  They want him to just - go to school!  They are not there to cover educational expenses, which, um, we are not asking for that!  We have a medical doctor who has prescribed Anthony FORTY hours a week of ABA therapy and they are acting like we want them to pay for his summer camp or something.  They also said he appears to have slowed down on his progress, which really gets me right where I live, I think, screw you!  It's true that I can't see Anthony's progress on a daily basis but I know how hard he is working and we are working and his therapists are working and it drives me crazy that some asshole in some suit is sitting in an office, drawing a line through his name and just giving up.  I swear I am not a violent person but I would very much like to smack this "doctor's" face, the one who says that Anthony doesn't need ABA therapy anymore.  I mean, they are not even saying that.  They are saying he's not doing that well with it, he's almost nine years old, give up.  Give up on him and send him to public school because he is not making fast enough progress at his ABA therapy center.  I challenge anyone to tell me how that makes sense.


Wednesday, March 05, 2014

ABC's of Autism - Q

Q is for Question.  Or query.  My dearly departed friend LeBron used to make a joke, where he'd say "I have a little query", and then he'd say, but really, what prep school boy hasn't? Ha!  

I have so many questions about Autism.  And Anthony.  And now epilepsy.  And medication.  And life.  And state supported waivers.  And - just everything!  

Specifically, we are having the hardest time lately with Anthony.  I took him for a checkup at his neurologist and reported that he had had one 'breakthrough' seizure, which I guess means that it broke through the medication?  Anyway, he wanted to up the dose so we did.  Also, he prescribed Anthony a medication that is used for ADD, he said it would help him focus and that it would be great to see what Anthony could accomplish if he could focus on it.  I agree, of course, so we decided to do it.  

There were some problems.  He gave me a card which said that I'd never have to pay more than $20 for a copay but the card was expired so instead we paid $84.  We have to give it to him early in the morning because it wears off all day and this way maybe it wouldn't affect his sleep, or his appetite.  It was also more medication to give him and we have had a hard enough time giving him the seizure medicine, so it was a lot to add another 2 mls, even though that doesn't sound like much.  But we did it.  

It's been like two weeks and we are seeing absolutely no difference in a positive way from the medication.  Certainly we are not seeing 'focus', whatever that looks like.  They have been reporting from his school that he gets a little weepy and cries at around 1:00 each afternoon, but we haven't seen that on the weekends, so I think that is probably more related to school-related stuff.  Since we upped the dose of his epilepsy medication, we have seen a lot of aggression from Anthony and it's terrifying.  I swear I would rather have him have a seizure than raise his legs to kick me in the face, or pull my hair, or both at the same time.  

Last night I took him to OT, and it was a mess.  We were early so I said let's go get you a soda, which I sometimes do when we are early.  I wanted to get one for me too because I was so tired I thought I'd fall asleep at the wheel.  But the McDonald's drive through was all messed up, I left after a few minutes of un-moving cars and went to the Hardees next door, but there appeared to be some kind of a problem THERE too, and anyway we were late.  Also, Anthony squooshed his soda all over him, soaking his shirt, underwear and pants.  I had everything in the car so I tried to bring him inside to change him and that's when he kicked me and then he slapped me.  I mean.  That makes me really mad!  I am turning myself inside and outside every damned day and he's going to HIT ME?  Really, I said?  REALLY?  Then I got a hold of myself and said, Anthony.  You can't hit me because we have to go inside and go see Amy, so let's go, and he did.  Then he peed all over his new clothes five minutes later and at this point I just wanted to go home.  He was CRAZY, like some kind of jungle boy.  Amy, his OT, said no, he really needs to be here when he's acting like that, which I really appreciated.  Every time he acts out or something happens at his school, they call ME to ask me what's going on to cause it and I'm like, really?  How the hell would I know?  I never see him and when I do he is pulling my hair!  I mean, I know they are not blaming me but it feels like it to my paranoid mind and it was a great relief last night to have someone try to help me.  

Soooo, I put him back in his soda pants, which were at this point better than the urine pants and that Amy got him completely calmed down and sweet and back to his normal self.  Mike and I decided that we aren't going to give him the ADD medicine anymore, I mean, what is the point?  It's not doing anything but hurting him if he is taking a medication that doesn't work, right?  We also decided that we are going to go back to the original dose of the epilepsy medication and see if we see less aggression.  If you google aggression in autism, what you will find is a lot of recommendations for Risperdal, which is an anti-psychotic medicine and has a million side effects, ranging from weight gain to, oh, early DEATH, which, COME ON!  Personally, I think that what Anthony is dealing with is the anxiety caused by not being able to TALK in a world of TALKING and it is bringing him down and he acts out by jumping, climbing, slapping, pulling hair, kicking, etc.  Mike and I have to figure out how to control it so that we can win in the race against time wherein Anthony gets bigger than us and starts hurting us, or God forbid, the girls.  

The thing is, I really think getting Anthony his service dog would help, a lot.  But there are more than 60 people on the waiting list for dogs and I don't know when we'll get the call so I have to do something in the meantime.  I haven't even mentioned it to Anthony's neurologist because I know that I would come across like some crazy dog lady or something, suggesting we replace medication with a dog's love, but I honestly think it would help.  

But again, there is no one to help us.  No one to guide us, only medical professionals to suggestion things that I know won't work but I do anyway, because I am so desperate for help.  For the first time in a long time I am really scared about what is going to happen to us.  When Anthony acts like he's been acting, tearing the glasses off Mike's face, laughing maniacally as he kicks me in the throat, I think, he can't live here.  He can't live with us and be like this.  It is a terrible thought and I don't want to have it but I have to think of everyone here and in order to do that, I have to think if one of the people here is kicking the ass of another person, something has to be done.  So we will try, but man.  I really wish we could get some help.  


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Frozen Review - SPOILERS!

I, like everyone else in the world with two ears and a heart, love the movie Frozen.  Maria has seen it the most at four times, Mike has seen it once with her and I have seen it twice with her.  She went the first time on a(n) (awesome) field trip.  My neighbor gave us the cd and we listen to the music a lot.  Maria and Veronica's favorite song is Let it Go and it's mine too.  When I first saw it in the theater, I felt like I was seeing a Broadway Show - I thought, 'these are some incredible production values!', ha!

My internet friend Bonnie has written about Frozen as it relates to kids with autism and I can't stop thinking about it and I can't stop CRYING when I sing the song.  So.  This is SPOILERY, if you haven't seen it yet.

The back story is that Elsa is a newly crowned Queen of Arrendelle (sp) and at her coronation party, it comes out that she has this strange and secret power, which is that when she touches things they freeze.  When she and her sister Anna were little, she used to use  her power to make a winter wonderland in their ballroom, but one time she mistakenly shot Anna with some ice and her parents had to take her to see some trolls to warm her up.  But by warming her up and healing her, they had to take her memories of Elsa's power.  Elsa had to stay in her room and they closed the gates to the castle.  This was the parents bright idea, which, whatever, I don't want to say anything too bad about them because of course (Disney) they die early on in the movie.

So Elsa is in her room for years and years and Anna is running around the empty castle and then it's Coronation Day and they open up the gates and Elsa is ... coronated?  Queened?  I don't know, but she has a near miss when she starts to freeze her scepter or whatever she has to hold.  She and Anna have an argument later and Anna takes one of her gloves and boom! she shoots out some ice and the townspeople turn on her and she has to take off to the North Sky Mountain or whatever and she sings this song.  She is realizing how good it is to be free and she sings:

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation,
And it looks like I’m the Queen.

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door

I don’t care
What they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway

Then, she starts to see the good side of it - now they know!  She doesn't have to conceal it or not feel it anymore, her power, because she is alone and free!  This next line is where I start crying because she looks back at the town and laughs a little as she sings:

It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry

Here I stand
And here I'll stay
Let the storm rage on

It makes me cry because I think about, not just Anthony, but kids with autism and how - well, not Anthony at all, but some kids who have to go to school and 'act normal' or not stim or whatever, how hard it is for them.  We are (?) lucky because we have never been in a situation where someone has said, sure Anthony, come on in to school and learn your reading and writing and arithmetic, just pass for neurotypical because he can't.  It's never been an issue for us.  But the thought of him working so hard all day and then just coming home and, like screaming or hanging upside down or spinning around, because he feels free and like we can appreciate his power which is seen as a curse by other people, well, that is what makes me cry.

I get so annoyed with him.  He is so, so loud.  Some days I think I will seriously LOSE MY MIND if he doesn't SHUT UP.  But if I try and think of him feeling free!  And having some distance and not being afraid! And being one with the wind and sky!, it makes me feel better.  Also it makes me feel sad because I think he is never going to probably sit in a classroom and raise his hand and josh around with friends and - I mean, I hope he will but he probably won't and that has to be okay but sometimes it's still not.  So I am always on the verge of tears, and that's why.

The other part of the story that really gets me right where I live, as it pertains to Anthony, is that Elsa decides that she is going to just live on her own in her (beautiful) ice castle and she won't have to worry about anything.  Because she doesn't know that she froze her whole town and that everyone there is suffering, until her sister comes and tells her so then she whacks her with frozen power AGAIN (if you ask me Elsa should stop GESTURING so much, the dummy) and now she gets her in the heart, which the troll said can't be fixed.  But it can be fixed, with an act of true love, which of course happens and Elsa figures out that true love can save not just Anna but Elsa too and everyone!  True love, she says, of course!  And then I start to think that even though Anthony has this power that no one really appreciates as a power and is in fact kind of a PAIN, the only thing that will save us and him is TRUE LOVE.  Once Elsa realizes it, she uses her power for good and she can control it.  So I think, well, we can just truly love the heck out of Anthony, and not just him but each other, Mike and me and these other kids and then we can use his power - we can let him live in the world and be happy.  And then I cry like this boo hoo hoo hoo HOO!  And this is all while I am singing in the car and Maria always says, what is WRONG with you?  Ha!

Anyway, obviously, I give the movie two big thumbs up and also ten tissues.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

ABCs of Autism - P

I want to write this post about patience, which is funny AND ironic because the p on my keyboard is broken.  I know just what happened to it, too, I vacuumed it up last weekend.  I have been working on the computer in the toy room because my laptop's keyboard is broken and these kids bring so much damned food in here, it's always disgusting, so I vacuum the computer desk and whoosh!, up went the  p key and the F5 key, too.

Anyway, patience.  It is important to work on patience with any kids, but probably more with four kids and definitely more, an infinite amount really, if your kid has autism.  So many things can go wrong on a daily basis, AND you have a lot of worry about the near and far future, it's definitely necessary to have an abundance of patience.

I give you last week.  Anthony has been off from 'school' since December 20 and I ut it in quotes because it's of course not a school but a therapy center.  He is prescribed 40 hours a week of ABA therapy, but he was off for two weeks.  This is maybe so that his therapists, and other therapists, can have time off, which I'm sure they really need.  When I went in for my last meeting, it struck me how hard they work, how involved they are with their learners, as they call them.  But Mike and I, after going through the two and then THREE week break with Anthony, are of the opinion now that it can't work for them to have such a long break again.  It was horrible.  It was horrible and THEN they had ANOTHER week off because we had snow and extreme cold in Indianapolis.  Anthony's school follows the closing schedule of the school corporation in the town where his lace is located, which is mostly not a problem, but it got really crazy last week because Thursday afternoon, the school corporation finally said they'd just have a delay on Friday and then the parents in this rich suburb of Indianapolis went insane, so worried that their widdle children's feet might get a widdle bit wet and HOW could they stand at their BUS STOP when there was SNOW DRIFTS there?  HOW?  How could they ut them on the bus, they asked on the school's Facebook age?  Wouldn't the bus SLIDE?  OH NO!  What will we do?  Well, what the school corporation did was change the delay to a closed day and so we had to tell Anthony that even though we told him YESTERDAY he could go to school today, in fact he would be home another day.  It was like 43 degrees on the day that they canceled school.  It was ridiculous and frustrating and it made me want to give u.  I wanted to just stay in bed and give u!

But of course I didn't, we can't.  We had to get u and put on boots and go for a walk and try and get some fresh air and try and tell the powers that Be at Anthony's lace that we think closing down for that long is a bad idea and detrimental to him and his program.  We also have to try and see if they can see that it's kind of stupid to follow a school cor that is so worried about students standing at bus stops when no one at Anthony's place even takes the bus.  Anthony's never even been on a bus, ha!

Luckily, Anthony still had occupational therapy while he was on break.  He had OT on new year's eve and on the Tuesday after the snowstorm on Sunday.  We went outside every day that we could.  He went to the nearby trampoline place the Saturday after New Year's, but he couldn't go last Saturday because we were having a birthday party for Maria at 11:00 and we had so much to do.  Trying to get this house ready for a arty with everyone in the house is another exercise in frustration, I was basically praying for a quick death most of the morning and if Mike had taken Anthony to the jump place and not been here, I know I would have lost my mind.

I have more patience with Anthony than I do with the other kids, as I've said.  I have more because I need more.  This morning I tried to wake him u and give him his medicine and get him out the door by 8:10 and he allowed me to dress him, but fought me like an animal when I tried to give him that medicine.  He kept pulling up his legs so he could kick me, I thought, has he taken a self defense class somewhere?  Isn't that what they teach you?  Finally, I got him his medicine, gave him his congratulatory piece of gum, and put the girls in the car.  I went back upstairs to get him and of course, he was soaking wet from an accident, so I had to change him and then get him downstairs and in the car so I could get him to school on time.  Of course it is snowing, I just got the van back yesterday from six weeks in the body shop from when we got rear ended and it's making a funny noise, and I thought to myself, I can't do this.  I can't.  I can't do it!  But then I just put the car in reverse and pulled out of the driveway and off we went.  What are my options?  To not do it because it's hard, because it seems impossible?  Not allowed!  In a situation like that, I have to be patient and wait for it to get better.  It always does.

We are trying to find things to put on our budget for our medicaid waiver.  I know they will cover respite care but do we have to find the car?  Do we have to have a respite care babysitter for Anthony and another regular babysitter for the other kids?  Can I put my Y membership on the budget because Anthony takes adapted swim lessons there?  We have so many questions and we haven't even been approved yet. maybe we won't and then we will have to aeal.  That will stink but we will have to do it, right?  We have to be patient and wait to hear about the waiver and then be patient and wait for our medicaid counselor and then be patient and wait wait wait.  We went on this list five and a half years ago, we heard we were eligible six months ago, and we are still waiting.

I am not a patient person by nature, I guess.  But if you have a child who is diagnosed with autism, start brushing up on your patience skills, you are going to need them.  Maybe read some Book of Job or something.

**Note, in order to get the p key, I typed it with a pencil and then copied and pasted it so if there are errors forgive me!**

Monday, January 06, 2014

ABCs of Autism - O

O, I am terrible at this, ha!  Really we will talk about Outlook for O.  

I have been following this guy on Facebook and reading his blog, Autism Daddy is what he goes by, and I have really been enjoying his blog.  It's I guess not surprising that people go on and on about what a great DAD he is, how his OUTLOOK is SO GREAT, on and on and on in a way that I don't really see people going on about mothers of people with autism.  I would chalk it up to regular sexism, but I think there's something else, too.  I think that Dads of (usually) boys with autism can have a lot of problems adjusting, as documented by Rodney Peete, and I think we are all just really impressed when we see a Dad acting in a good and positive way.  Of course, we only see the outside of people's lives when they show us what they choose, but this guy is very interesting and seems to have an overall realistic but sunny attitude about his son, Kyle.  He is also close to Anthony's age and the dad is close to Mike's age and the boy has pretty severe autism and is non verbal and was also just diagnosed with epilepsy, so there are many similarities and God knows I love to find similar stories to ours, to help us feel not so alone.  

Anyway.  I try to have a positive outlook about Anthony and his having autism.  I remind myself that he is a healthy person, and that he is really smart.  I try and look at the sunny side of it, believe it or not, even if by nature I am a pessimistic person.  It has been so ... I have no idea what I was going to say there, we are all home and these kids are driving me bonkers.  I only thought I could write this because Anthony has been sleeping literally all day, we think he had another seizure in the night because there was evidence that he threw up and he never and I mean never sleeps like this unless he has had a seizure.  We want to call the doctor and see about if we should do anything but no one is working today because it's -15 degrees and we have a foot of snow and declarations of EMERGENCY have been made here in Indiana, so we are just letting him sleep and hoping for the best.  

Anyway, I am a pessimistic person and I felt really superstitious in a way that I never was when Anthony was a baby.  I would have ONE tiny thought about how he had slept okay the night before, or that maybe things were getting better and boom! he would have a terrible night.  When Maria was born, I thought surely I can't have two colicky babies in a row, right?  And then she was super bad too, and by the time I had Veronica I just expected it to go badly and then when it did I felt bad that she was so bad but also HAPPY that I was RIGHT, for once!  

But I can't afford to be pessimistic about Anthony, I simply have to believe that things are going to work out okay for us, for him.  I have to believe that his story will be more like this girl and less like the horror stories that I read seemingly everywhere else.  He is so smart and so great and so...Anthony that I feel like I owe him a positive outlook.  Lord, there are so many people with such bigger problems and there are people who don't even get to raise their kids.  I mean, Anthony is right here!  He is smart and sweet and so cute and charming and he also has severe autism and sensory issues, that is the whole picture, that is what we are working with.  You can't choose your baby, as my mother used to tell me, but I know that we can choose our outlook and we owe it to Anthony to choose a positive and hopeful outlook.  I think everyone does.