Post 103 ABA Therapy Has Been Vital To Greyson’s Development

ABA Therapy also known as Applied Behavioral Analysis is a very controversial topic. People are very divided on supporting it or being against it. I can say I completely understand how and why people feel the way they do, regardless of which side they fall on. On the negative side, some people consider it to be abusive. I personally do not feel that way but I have had good therapists and bad one’s as well and I can totally see how a bad therapist could push the boundaries and cross some lines.

I do believe that the key to success in ABA, comes down to the relationship between the child, BCBA, RBT and parents. All of them need to work together as a cohesive unit to put the child in a position to succeed in a way that the parents can support. I believe that when done properly ABA can be a tremendous tool to teach anyone anything! Yes, I did say anyone, and anything, because I have found that since learning about ABA, Alex has been using the strategies on me to mold my behavior. So it does work extremely well for most people.

Like I mentioned earlier I can understand why people can think of it as being abusive in a way, because molding someones behavior and rewarding some actions while withholding desired things due to other behaviors and actions can sometimes seem cruel. In the early days it was hard on both Alex and I, but particularly on Alex when Greyson would cry for help during therapy and we couldn’t help him. Many times it felt like we were ignoring his needs and not protecting our child.

However, that time lasted for a short time period while Greyson was overcoming some of his behavior challenges and getting used to ABA Therapy and learning the basic principles. It is easy to understand how he would be frustrated early on when he wasn’t sure what the therapist’s were really asking him. Eventually, after a few months he turned a corner, really understood and was comfortable with the methods and started to excel. Not nearly as many challenging behaviors and he was just learning new skills at an incredible rate.

So I understand that ABA is not for everyone, and I completely respect everyone’s views on it because we have all had different experiences. For us and for Greyson it has been incredible and it has really made a dramatic impact in Greyson’s life, and our families. So, if you’re unsure about ABA, go with your gut feeling about it, or just give it a try and see what you think. you can always stop. One thing I can tell you for sure though, is do not judge ABA after have an experience with one BCBA, RBT or Provider, good or bad. Because I know from experience that there are many good BCBA’s, RBT’s and provider’s as well as many bad one’s!

Post 102 Our Favorite Time of Year

It feels so great to be heading into such a wonderful time of year! I know, I know I always say how much we love summer and how we are summer people but there is something so special about the holidays. I know most people think of the holidays as Thanksgiving through New Years, however I think it really kicks off with Halloween. Once we are within a few days of Halloween, Thanksgiving is not far off. This year seems especially exciting, and not because we have any kind of special plans, but because of how we live our lives.

First, we are really working hard in every aspect of our lives so having the holidays to enjoy means so much. We work a lot and with all the responsibilities and complications of raising a child on the spectrum life can be hard and a grind. so having a special time of year that provides so much joy is so valuable!

Second, because of how we have grown as a family and really changed our values. We value our time together and the experiences we have. As I always say, happiness and joy is found in the journey not the destination. This is a time of year that living in the moment and being present to enjoy every second is so incredibly valuable. We live our lives this way every single day now, but the holidays are really going to bring the Joy to a whole new level!

Post 101 Conquering The Potty

Potty training has been an achilles heal for us and Greyson for a long time. I will admit that Alex and I are at fault for some of the struggles. It has been a struggle and we have had times where we have been working on it diligently and times where we have definitely slacked off. I just think sometimes when you are working on something diligently for a while and you do not get the result you want, you get a little discouraged and you eventually get a little lazy. Potty training can be challenging with any child, so it is no surprise it can be even harder with a child on the spectrum.

I will be honest though, I think a child really needs to be ready to take this step in there development. I do not believe Greyson was ready most of the times in the past. Recently. we started trying once again and really focusing on it again. I give all the credit to Alex for this because she is by far his primary caretaker. She started working on it regularly and sitting him on the potty every 30 minutes all day. Very quickly we had a victory and then another on a few hours later. Already 2 victories in just a few hours. Now a few days later we have had a couple more successes. We have not been without accidents sometimes but with so many successes we are on our way to concurring potty training.

Alex has done so well with him. She has helped teach him to relax and release as she always says and I think its great. What ever works, do it, right. She has been giving him tons of praise when he succeeds and has been calling him a potty training machine. This has become his reinforcer and he loves it. Every time we call him the potty training machine he starts racking up. It is absolutely adorable. Reinforcement is the key to teach a child any skill and potty training is no different. I do think Greyson is in a place where he is ready to succeed because he has started to refuse to wear diapers as well so it seems to time! We are well on our way to conquering potty training!

Bonus Post 7 Every Frog Is Special

I am super excited to announce my book has finally launched! “Every Frog Is Special,” is a beautiful and heart warming story about Greyson! I hope the book helps kids understand that every person on this Earth is unique and special!

If you would like to purchase the book, we will be adding it to our site, and in the meantime, you can find the book on Amazon. I will leave the link below.

I would also like to thank everyone who has supported the book, especially Alexandria!

Post 100 Celebration and A Look Back

Today I get to celebrate 100 posts! I can’t believe I have gotten to 100 already, it has gone by so quickly. I have really enjoyed sharing our journey with everyone from my perspective. I have enjoyed every moment of it! This Blog has turned into such a great way for me to express my feelings about all the crazy emotions that you go through when you have a child on the spectrum. Life is always a roller coaster but when you have a child on the spectrum it is amplified by 10 fold!

Greyson has truly been a gift from God for me though. He has taught me so much in life and given me so much that I do not think anything I do could ever repay him for what he has done for me! Everyday I wake up and thank God that I was the one chosen to be his father. I spoke about it on the last post but I have really learned that everything in life is meant to be enjoyed and living a truly joyful life means living present in every moment and enjoying it for everything it is! We don’t get to rewind life like a movie and replay it so we better make the most of every moment. I know that this blog is part of that and I celebrate every time I sit down and write a new post!

Thank you for all your support and I look forward to the next 100! Come enjoy the journey with us!

Post 99 Journey Not a Destination

If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that we have a new therapist, and that we lost our last therapist after 2.5 years with Greyson. It has been heard the entire time we have been transitioning. Losing Ed and bringing in the new therapist has been hard on all of us, especially Greyson and Alex. What I have realized and affirmed through this experience is that our journey as a family with a child on the spectrum, is just that a journey and not a destination.

I guess this is a true life lesson for everyone. I have read many books and articles and watched many video’s about the topic. One quote I like is, “If you are not growing you are dying.” That quote rings true in regards to our current situation. No matter what we do or how we structure our lives, change is inevitable. No matter how much you want to maintain your current life structure the world won’t allow it. So, we must embrace it and to be honest it does make life more entertaining and exciting. Embrace the changes life has to offer.

To be honest with you, the joy of life doesn’t come from the destinations we reach. The achievement and the joy that comes with it is momentary and fading. When we buy a new car or a new home, despite that fact that is a life changing experience in our lives, the joy that comes from achieving that goal fades quickly over time. So the true happiness and joy in our lives, comes from the journey itself! The journey molds us and shapes us as human’s and shapes our destiny. This is where we find true joy and happiness in our lives.

It has taken a long time and a lot of pain, struggle and challenges for me to come to a place where I can accept and truly understand that is where we can find the true joy and happiness in life. But none the less I realize it now and I see it in every facet of my life. Greyson, and our journey with him on the spectrum is no different than any other part of life in this regard. And I believe the answer to managing the stress and anxiety of all the ups and downs is found in embracing the joy that we can all find within the journey itself!

Post 98 Happy Happy

Not only did we get to celebrate Greyson’s 6th Birthday a few days ago, but we were also able to celebrate my 40th Birthday! It was a wonderful week. We spent a lot of time with Greyson on his birthday and took him to the park down the street. I had to work so we didn’t have time to do anything to crazy, but we made the most of it and had a great time!

We do not normally go to the big park down the street, usually just the one in out complex. He loved it running in the baseball fields, playing in the sand on the beach volleyball courts, and playing a a playground that probably seemed new to him. I got him some of his favorite alphabet cookies, which he loves and we just can’t always find at the store. He has enjoyed them tremendously! We got him some new puzzles and toys as well! Still going to have a little party for him in a few weeks, things have just been crazy.

Then on my birthday we had a great day. I worked a half day which was great and got to spend the whole day with the family. That doesn’t happen often so I really savored the moment. All I can ask for on my Birthday now a days is to spend time with the people I love so much, and I fulfilled that goal this year. This family is what means the most to me and spending quality time is my biggest priority. The time simply goes by way to fast.

The night finished up with Alex and my mother in law singing happy Birthday with my favorite carrot cake, and what made the day was Grey helping me blow out the candles for the first time! A Wonderful conclusion to great day!

Post 97 Birthday Boy!

Greyson is now 6 years old! His Birthday was a few days ago, September 28th. I remember the day he was born so vividly. I woke up for work and Alex stopped me right away saying she thought she was in labor. We immediately, got our stuff and headed down to the hospital. If you know Alex she was very particular about the hospital. It had to be the hospital that her doctors group worked at which was an hour away and probably more in rush hour traffic. The intensity and energy in the car rose as we drove, and she started having contractions frequently. I will never forget that when we were about 2 miles away stuck on a one lane road with only partial shoulder, she was screaming at me to cut onto the grass and get her to the hospital ASAP! I don’t think she said ASAP! I am positive she threw a few profanities in the sentence though.

We got checked in and her water broke immediately. She got into a room and we got her comfortable. As the contractions increased in both intensity and duration, she got more and more angry with me. she even blamed me for all the pain she was in. She argued with the doctors and told them to get her on the epidural list immediately because she knew it could be a wait. It is funny though how everything changed when she got that shot. It was like Jekyll and Hyde, and she was more calm and relaxed then I had scene in a long time, maybe even years.

She was fully dilated at about 4pm and the final push began. Alex did so well the doctor didn’t even arrive fast enough. They started having her push before the doctor came in and never expected it to go so fast and actually had to have her stop for a contraction or two so the doctor could get in. At 4:16PM we enjoyed the most incredible experience of our lives as Greyson Alexander Guthreau graced us with his presence! He was absolutely incredible as I looked at him with tears running down my face! He started breast feeding immediately and he looked absolutely perfect!

That moment was just so precious and every year on his birthday all I can do is look at him in amazement and remember the day I was able to look at him with my eyes for the first time. It always makes my tear up and get emotional because life has never been the same from that moment onward. He has completely changed everything for me. In good ways, for a time period a bad way but ultimately I could be the greatest father of all time and I could still never repay him for what he has done for me! I always thought I knew how it would feel to become a parent but I totally did not. The gift of experiencing love for your child is like no other feeling, emotion or connection it is probably the most beautiful gift God could bless someone with!

Post 96 Missing

A lot of people are probably wondering what we lost, what Grey lost or if we lost one of the dogs. This post is not about a tangible item we lost, but instead about something far more valuable and important. I have lost a lot of time with my family, and I miss it incredibly! I have been putting in 75 hours a week of work recently and when I am not working I have to take care of stuff around the house, take care of the dogs and of course continue to build Building The Puzzle. Alex is also working in the evenings most days. She is actually working as I write this and I miss her terribly.

I am missing Greyson more and more every day as well. For the first 2 months putting in 75 hours a week and working 7 days a week wasn’t to bad. The amount of work isn’t really that bad even now, but the fact that I feel that life is just passing me by is really hard. I feel that I am missing out on so much time I can never get back. Time with Alex, time with Grey and time as a family. I never wanted it to be this way but I guess it is something that happens sometimes in life.

I have been feeling really bothered by it lately and I just couldn’t shake how I have been feeling about it. So, I decided to share it with all of you. I know many others can probably relate to the feeling. I am just trying to stay positive, telling myself. “If it doesn’t kill me it will only make me stronger. This to shall pass. I do this now to enjoy a blessed future.” I will never let things like this completely overwhelm my life. I know I will get through it and find myself in a better place in my life. It has been making me realize what I really value and appreciate in life, and that might just be the exact purpose God put me in this place right now. There is always a reward that comes out of every challenge we face and I am trying to focus on the reward that will come out of this one.

I may not understand why I am where I am and why I feel what I feel right now in this very moment. However, one day years from now when I look back I will understand exactly why I went through this. It is amazing how the value of experiences do not always present themselves until way in the future. Or maybe it is all just hitting me because I am turning 40 in a couple weeks and I am having a mid life crisis. But whatever the reason is I will learn from all this and find the reward that comes with this challenge. –

Post 95 Frustration

Greyson has been a joy and a wonderful child to parent. When you compare him to other children his age, he is easier to manage in many ways, despite the challenges Autism Spectrum Disorder gives us. He lives a very happy and joyous life most days and rarely overwhelms us with neediness, like other children do. However, we have recently hit a rough patch in our journey in this particular area.

Greyson has been very frustrated lately. Therapy has changed a lot recently once again, just like 4 months ago. I think it is really having a toll on him because his frustration level has been way up. He is having a hard time recently regulating and therefore, I do not believe his sensory needs are being met right now. I spend a lot of time together swinging, and tickling and lifting him up, but it is not always enough. He misses the sensory input from the therapists over the past few years.

Greyson was lucky because his therapists always embraced his sensory needs and it has taken a toll on all of us since that has been reduced. One reason we incorporated sensory activity into therapy is that it seemed to eliminate his sensory seeking long enough to teach him and have him interact and learn. At this point he is obviously not getting enough stimulation so we need to find ways to fulfill that need for him.

His behavior has not been the best and I think it is all because he is dis-regulated. We are working on some ideas and ways to overcome that. One thing we are going to do is go back on more supplements again. If you recall some of our former posts and podcasts, Greyson did very well on many of his supplements, but unfortunately, he stopped drinking his milk when he lost his front tooth. That was how we gave him his supplements and without a transportation mechanism we had to limit his supplements because he could detect some of them in his yogurt and food.

So we are going to make sure he gets on more of them and we make his supplement schedule easier for all of us. The supplements were so valuable for him and us in the past. We were completely overwhelmed and he was miserable every day. The supplements eliminated that within a week. We hope we are able to rebuild that with him again. I also plan to give him plenty of stimulation when I am home. At least an hour every night. I know Alex is going to incorporate it into therapy as well. So hopefully, our plan can make all of us happier, because when Greyson isn’t happy no one in the house is! not even the dogs.