Can I breathe yet?

I’ve been holding my breath.  Since Monday, June 30th, I don’t think I’ve taken a breath.  We stopped giving Pink 2 of her medications on that Monday, and she responded so well, we never added them back.  I had felt for sometime that her meds weren’t right, but have been going through the lengthy and stressful process of finding the right psychiatrist for her.  Her current one kept wanting to add medication, and it just didn’t feel right.

Pink had blood work and an EKG on Monday morning.  The blood work required her to fast, so I didn’t give her the morning meds.  She was so calm.  She was completely cooperative with the blood work and the EKG.  We ended up not leaving the hospital until the afternoon, so I skipped her 2nd dose as well.  My girl slept and slept, but she was okay.  She was joyful.

The past couple of months she has been so agitated.  We experienced predictable meltdowns prior to dance and t-ball, and any other thing that takes us away from the home.  But since we’ve stopped the Adderall and Risperidone, she’s only had maybe 3 meltdowns.  She used to have up to 6 meltdowns per day.

The Adderall and Risperidone, at one point, worked great.  But then it just didn’t.  We added Abilify, which caused increased agitation and irritability for the first 2 weeks or so, but then we saw a slight improvement.  I think the Abilify is working so well for her, that the Adderall and Risperidone were only adding to the issues after we added the Abilify.

6 months ago, this child would not sleep.  Putting her on medication helped her sleep, AND, it helped her stop blowing up every 10 minutes.  Now, 6 months later, to have gone through so much medication, and now be at the point where it SEEMS like Abilify alone is handling it, is a relief.  She’s a bit more hyper, but joyful.  The hyperactivity never bothered me…it was the severe irritability and frustration, and her unhappiness that bothered me.  She seemed so tormented by her own feelings and by everyone around her.  We crossed the line when she started hurting herself, and I sought immediate medical help.  Medications helped.

But its also scary.  I want this ONE med to work forever.  I don’t want to do that pharmacy dance any longer.  I don’t want to worry about what combination is finally going to make her feel better.  It’s so hard to not worry about tomorrow.

But for today, she is well managed with just 2mg of Abilify at bedtime.  Today, that’s our miracle.

I will try and breathe.



All Better Now

Violet has been doing great.  She went from scaring the hell out of me, to being very pleasant to be with.  We have been very focused on her driving practice, and she’s getting better and better everyday.  She’s also loving her Friday evening Anime drawing class.  There has been no melodrama, no apparent depression, and she’s been her usual cheerful self.  Even the week prior to her menstrual cycle has been okay.

She’s also been hand sewing a sock monkey, and drawing more at home as well.  She’s done so well, that I returned her iPhone to her, after reiterating the rules.

Aspergers really messes with her understanding of context and appropriate behavior via texting and e-mail.  We have an agreement that she will not engage in serious conversations with anyone via social media, texting, e-mail, etc.  I explained that if you need to talk about something serious, like friendships, relationships, depression, or any real conversation, it needs to happen over the phone, where she can hear voice inflection.  She is allowed to text, but it must stay light, no heavy conversations, and Role Playing (RP’ing) is okay as long as it stays imaginative and not dive off the deep end of pornographic.

I have been waiting, and waiting, to get her in with a psychologist so that she can have more support when it comes to the difficulties she will face as she grows into a young adult.

But for now, all is well.

For that, I am so very thankful!


Against Doctor’s Orders

For 6, very, long, months, the doctor has ordered Adderall and Risperidone for my 4 year old daughter Pink.  In the beginning, it was amazing.  I had tears of relief to see her be happy, calm, and better adjusted to all the stimuli in her world.  She became more attentive, loving, and connected with those around her.  She was also sleeping a regular night’s sleep for the first time in her life.  But then, after a few months, something changed.

Her agitation started increasing.  She became frustrated with EVERYTHING.   It progressively got worse and worse.  In the meantime, I have been seeking a new child psychiatrist, as the current one has become very flaky, has no showed me on several appointments, yet, insists we see her every three weeks.  She has no notes in our file regarding Pink, and she is very disorganized.  But, because she was our only avenue to medication, I have stuck in there, smiling, nodding, and trying to do the best for my daughter.

We finally saw another child psychiatrist (actually, the Nurse Practitioner).  Again, they were clicking boxes, but not listening to what I was saying.  OR, there is such a language barrier that they didn’t understand me.  My mommy instincts were/are screaming “No, no, no!”  This is not the right fit.

The original psychiatrist wanted Pink to take Adderall, Risperidone, Abilify, AND Intunive.  But yet, didn’t seem to understand how I must CRUSH all medications for Pink to take, as she simply can not take them any other way.  Intunive, should not be crushed.  So, we just added the Abilify.  Pink had a few weeks of increased irritability, and then it smoothed out.

Something in my gut has been telling me to try removing the stimulant.  But, I didn’t want to go against doctor’s orders.

A few days ago, we went to Children’s hospital to do blood work and an EKG as part of the screening process for the new doctor.  Pink needed to fast, and I didn’t give her morning dose.  She was happy, joyful, and showed no signs of agitation or aggression.  She let the techs take blood, and attach her to wires for the EKG with curiosity, but no worry.  She continued to do so well, I skipped her 2nd dose of the stimulant and the Risperidone.

We got home, and my girl napped for 2 hours, seemed very tired, but still was just so joyful.  Hmmm…  so, since she was tired, we skipped her bedtime dose of Risperidone, and just gave the Abilify.

I have had a feeling that the Abilify was agreeing with her, and didn’t want to discontinue it.  She slept soundly through the night.

Yesterday, Day 2, I took her to her dance class in the morning.  Typically we have at least 2-3 monumental meltdowns prior to dance.  Yesterday, she just kept telling me how excited she was about going.  She even let me take a picture of her joy, which was unusual.  She has been quite oppositional about pictures.

She was joyous all day, we had no evidence of agitation, frustration, or aggression.  I do see her as being a bit more hyper, but we were never concerned with her hyperactivity to begin with.  I can handle a joyful, happy, active child with impulses that are harmless.  We originally sought help because she started hurting herself with her rages, biting her lips until they bled, chewing her fingers, and just seemed miserable with herself.

Today, Day 3, she slept all night last night.  She woke up cheerful.  Yes, she’s a bit impulsive, but she’s so full of joy.  There’s no agitation, and she’s being very patient.

It’s been an amazing three days.

I’m still looking for an “expert” that I can see eye-to-eye on.  Based on what I know of my daughter, I would believe that she has some sort of sensory processing issue, along with ADHD, and that she’s somewhere mildly on the ASD spectrum.  But, I think that her treatment should not be with stimulants.  I feel the Abilify is working well for NOW, but maybe trying a guanfacine like Tenex if the agitation and fits return.

But maybe, Abilify is just enough.

I don’t really care about the official diagnosis, I more care about keeping my happy, joyous, girl.

So, against doctor’s orders, I abruptly stopped Adderall and Risperidone.  I’ve been feeling as if they should be discontinued or switched for awhile, but haven’t found a doctor to consider the change.  I didn’t intend to stop abruptly, and I was ready to continue her doses if I saw any signs of adverse withdrawal or issue.  But there was nothing but improvements in her demeanor.

I expected her to continue to be agitated actually.  But I figured, I’d rather have her on ONE medication and be agitated, than on FOUR with the same result.  I knew that others take stimulant breaks during the summer, so I didn’t see the problem with stopping the stimulant.  But, I honestly was very worried about the Risperidone.  However, her dose is very low, so maybe that’s why we didn’t experience adverse withdrawal issues.

Tonight is T-Ball.  Usually we have 2-3 monumental meltdowns prior.  Let’s see how we do tonight.

My hope, wish, and desire is that I can discontinue seeing the two doctors that don’t feel right in my gut.  If Pink is off the stimulant, which is a Schedule II medication, this is going to be a lot easier.  I won’t be trapped with a bad fit doctor.  We have another consultation on the 15th with yet another child psychiatrist.  I’m hoping this one will be right.  If not, then I will go back to the primary doctor and see if he will refill the Abilify until we find the right fit.

Not a Doctor,


Breaking Road Laws with Aspergers

Two weeks ago, Violet finished her driver’s education class.  Last week, I took her to take her written test at the DMV.  She passed.  Yesterday, I took her to drive for the first time.  This was against the law.  In my State, she must have a certified driver’s training instructor sign off on her permit before she can get behind the wheel with any other adult.  These instructors have special cars equipped with additional safety equipment, primarily, a passenger side brake.   She’s required to have 8 hours of behind the wheel training with an instructor.  She is out there…right now…on the road…with some guy named “Steve” who is going to make sure she’s safe behind the wheel. Meanwhile, I wish I could take a good benzo and sleep the afternoon away and not stress over it.  But, since I have 300 other kids (okay, just 3 other), I have to stay a responsible adult and will just blog about Violet instead.

So how dare I break the law???  Why would I endanger us all and, take her driving unlawfully, and demonstrate poor parenting behavior? Because I know my kid, that’s why.  Other kids (like my daughter Pink, and myself when I was a kid), will soak up bits of information their entire lives about daily living.  Other kids might be dreaming of the day they get to be behind the wheel.  They can envision themselves, with a key to their independence, and way to get away from the family for awhile.  But not Violet.

Violet doesn’t want to drive.  Violet doesn’t want to work.  Violet doesn’t want to do anything, really.  Until she does, and then she’ll obsess until we are all going insane from her repetitive requests.  Violet will never obsess about driving.  Nothing about it is fun to her.  She has made it perfectly clear, in these exact words, “Mom, I do not want to be independent….ever”.  She also hasn’t paid one ounce of attention in her entire life to driving, navigating, or how anything on a car works.  She isn’t interested, so these things are not soaked up.  When she approaches driving, its as if she’s never seen anyone drive before in her life.

So, I had to give her a shove out of the nest, and let her know that learning to drive is not a negotiable endeavor.  She must learn to drive.  I am requiring it.  If I don’t do that, then she may not ever drive, get a job, and she just might live with me until I die.  I want more for her than a life full of my nagging, control, and direction.  I want her to be independent, trusting of herself, and a fully functioning adult earning a living for herself and making choices on her own.  Again, she wants nothing to do with those ideas.

So, back to my heinous crime of taking her to drive.  I knew that the driving instructor was going to make her jump in, drive, and overwhelm her until she just shuts down.  His pace is perfect for most kids, who are just simply nervous.  But Violet locks up completely when pushed out of her comfort zone.  She also overreacts, has emotional outbursts, and cries when she’s facing something big and scary, like driving.

So, I took her out.  I made her pull out of our apartment complex.  I could make corrections to the steering from the passenger side, but I sure wish I had a brake.  So, my instructions to her, for the first 30 minutes, was that she was simply to cover or press the brake, and she was not to touch the gas.  We crept out the driveway using just the momentum of the transmission.  We went across our little street, to the school parking a lot across the way.  We went in circles in the circle drive.  I had her practice lining herself up with parking spaces, backing out of parking spaces, and getting a feel of the physical footprint of the car.  I high-fived her when she started lining herself up almost perfectly in parking spaces.  All was good.

Once she was feathering the break nicely and stopping smoothly, I introduced her to the accelerator.  She only mixed it up with the brake once, and we just narrowly avoided a brick wall.  We continued parking, stopping, gently accelerating, over and over again.  Then I let her out onto the frontage road.  We were cruising along with the hazard lights on at 15 miles per hour.  She stopped at the stop sign and would check for oncoming traffic obsessively.  She did great.

We stopped, went over where things were, like signals, wipers, lights, emergency brake, etc.  Then, I decided to take her on a REAL ROAD.  It wasn’t very busy at all,  I think we came across 5 cars at most.  I made her drive around the block at the insane speed of 25 MPH.  Once we hit the road. She locked up.  I had to tell her to “let” me steer as she was “white knuckling” the steering wheel so much that I could barely correct her positioning on the road.  We made it around the large block, and the poor girl cried.  She was mad that I “made” her go out on the road.  I then explained that she either had to have her first time with me, or the driving instructor, and I would rather her have the internal lock up with me (a person who understands her, and knows she’s going to be okay) than a stranger who may not understand.

It was the right decision.

She quickly forgave me over ice cream.

Now, she’s out on the road with “Steve”.  I am hoping she returns with a signed permit, stating that we can now LEGALLY practice together.  We shall see in a couple of hours.




Lack of Child Psychiatrists

I am just so frustrated.  I am looking for a child psychiatrist.  One that speaks English well enough to be understood by my child.  One that isn’t flaky and keeps their appointments and doesn’t “no show” their clients.  One that is consistent, and keeps good notes, and doesn’t have amnesia every 3 weeks when we visit them.  One that is actually GOOD with children, and doesn’t scare the hell out of them.  One that has an office that returns phone calls.  One that has an office that doesn’t lose prescriptions.

The current psych my ADHD daughter Pink and I are working with is a mess.  But, she’s all we have got right now, so we have to continue to see her every 3 weeks to maintain the medication my daughter takes.  We saw a new psychiatrist today.  Well, not exactly, we saw the Nurse Practitioner for our initial visit, as I guess the actual Psychiatrist is far too busy to be bothered with such matters.  The NP “Gilbert” had a very thick accent.  From all my years working in customer service, I am pretty good at understanding people with thick accents.  My 4 year old needs more practice.

There are only 6 child psychiatrists within a 50 mile radius of my home (listed on our insurance plan).  So far, I am unhappy with TWO of them.  Of the six, only ONE of them has credentials obtained in the US and are native to our country.  The remaining 5 have received their degrees from other countries, and speak several languages with English definitely not their native tongue.

There’s nothing wrong with having credentials from another country, or having a different native tongue.  In fact, I have other medical doctors that have credentials from abroad, that are some of the best doctors I’ve ever had.  It’s just this recent child psychiatrist category is leaving me wondering what in the hell I am missing.

Every provider in my area has a 2 month waiting list.  2 months is a VERY long time in terms of finding care for my little girl.  In the meantime, I watch her be tormented by her own self, and I can only provide comfort during her storms.  I can’t alleviate anything for her.  I have to be her advocate, and continue to explain what is going on at home to every “qualified” practitioner I can find until we get answers that ring true and align with my instincts.

Today’s visit seemed pointless.  I was just handed more forms.  I really do not believe he listened to anything I said.  He kept asking me if she makes eye contact.  I told him 150 times YES, she does make eye contact NOW.  She had a harder time with it prior to medication.  She is also loving and affectionate, and connects in an emotional way more often ON medication.  He asked me the eye contact question several times?!?!

We need to move to a real metro area, where there are plenty of good docs.

I am extremely frustrated with our lack of options here.



Suicide and Aspergers

Geez, I don’t even know where to begin here.  My daughter, Violet, age 16, has freaked out recently.  I have heard her talk of self-loathing, suicide, extremely desperate emotions, and she has scars on her wrist from what she calls “punishing herself”.  What the hell?

She is typically pretty happy go lucky.  Her main challenge is social appropriateness when communicating via text, chat, or e-mail.  For her, its so abstract, she gets WAY off course when communicating through these channels.  Her emotions snowball.  Then, if she is communicating with someone who may be struggling with self-esteem, angry at life, or has any dark tendencies, she takes a huge dramatic turn with them, in an effort to relate or fit in I think.  I’ve been trying to unravel this tangle of darkness for about 3 weeks now.

She has no clue, no temperature, no measurement of what is an appropriate response.  For example, if a friend writes to her, online, and makes the comment,

“Life sucks, I’m sick of everyone’s bullshit!”

Her response will be,

“I know its all my fault, I hope you’ll be able to forgive me, I know I’m not worthy of your friendship, but I need you, and I feel lost without you, and I want us to be close like we used to be!”

Friend:  “Uh, that’s all water under the bridge, it’s not your fault, it’s other things in my life.”

Syndrome:  “Please tell me how I can make you happy, I want to make you happy!  You are so important to me, I need to know that we’re going to be okay.”

Friend:  “I told you, we are fine, it’s not you, it’s other people.”

Syndrome:  “How can it not be me?  I have ruined everything.  I really hope you will forgive me, even though I don’t deserve it!”

..and this goes on, and on, and on.

She has willingly let me monitor her conversations for this very reason.  She understands that often times she misses the point, doesn’t understand the context, or may be acting upon a situation inappropriately.  She wants me to make sure she doesn’t “ruin things”.

But lately, she’s been a train wreck of emotions, and these conversations are WAY off course.  The friends she talks to repeatedly tell her to “chill out”.  But she gets wrapped up in this drama.

My counselor seems to think its her wayward assessment of a situation and an attempt at mimicking.

I also asked her where the “idea” of suicide, cutting, and self-harm came from.  Her response is often “I don’t know”.  Then, the other day, she says, “Maybe from health class.”

I sat her down with the family, and explained to her that mentions of suicide and evidence of self-harm will not go ignored around here.  I explained that if I, as her mom, is doing something wrong, then we need to talk about it so we can fix it.  I also told her that if suicide is becoming a part of our vocabulary, then there WILL be a full intervention, which includes removing her bedroom door, hiding all objects that can be potential for self-harm, full monitoring of all communications, never being left alone without an adult, counseling daily, frequent and periodic drug tests, mandatory journaling, and mandatory daily conversations about emotional well being, self-esteem, and emotional checks.  There will also be mandatory reading, physical examinations from head to toe to ensure no self-harm, and full disclosure of our concerns to our general doc, a psychiatrist, and our counselor.  Every adult in her life will know that she’s “at risk”, and will be watching.

She told me that she doesn’t want that, its not necessary, and she’s fine now.

I let her know that we are still going to have a full evaluation from a mental health professional, and I will be following up daily, despite that she feels “okay” now.

As a mom, my instincts tell me that we are okay, and this was part of her mimicking.  I do feel that she is feeling lost as an Aspie teen.  I will continue to be proactive in my efforts to ensure that she knows her place in this NT world.

My first step will be to get her PMDD managed.  These desperate emotions seem to be most prevalent during the 10 days prior to her menstrual cycle.  We have an appointment for a full mental health evaluation as well.

In addition, she is going to be taking an Anime/Manga drawing class this summer.  I’m hoping that she will find some common ground with those in the class, and she might continue taking classes from this Arts Academy to facilitate a sense of belonging and commonality with others. In plain terms, I’m hoping she finds other kids on the spectrum there, that will become fast friends based on common obsessions with Anime and Manga.

I also need to mention, that this dark trip down the rabbit hole of inappropriate and severe emotional response does not seem to be present in her face to face interactions.   I try to observe her as much as possible.  Her voice conversations and her face to face interactions stay light, and always are centered around things of interest, and not emotions.

I would love to ban all other communication, but I know that isn’t practical in this day in age.  I am going to have to continually help her with appropriate interpretation, communication, and response to others’ emotional displays in text formats.  We started her an anonymous blog, and I encourage her to write THERE fully anonymous if she’s feeling emotional, mad, angry, unsure, depressed, lonely, etc.  I want her to write there, where she can get this stuff out, and not risk losing her current friendships over her accidental inappropriate response.

But I must admit, this is exhausting.  She’s 16.  How long will I need to supervise these things?  I see that the next 5 years or so are going to be tough, and we have our work cut out for us in getting her to independence safely and appropriately.

I’m eager to talk with someone that has worked with Aspegergers and this age group, to help me navigate these matters.

Probably Failing,


Dating, Puppy Love, Break Ups, and Aspergers

He broke up with my daughter Violet.  She’s 16.  This is her first time being dumped.  She has had other boyfriends before…but I feel like this was the first real one that involved a natural progression from, common interests, friends, going steady, dating, meeting family, and then break-up.

She came into my room, and I could tell something was amiss.  I asked her, “Is everything okay?” She proceeded to break down and tell me that Wade had broke up with her.  I stopped everything I was doing and gave her 100% of my attention.  They have been dating for a couple of months, and this boyfriend helped her settle into her new school.

I asked “What happened?”  She said.  “I don’t know!! Mom, I did everything you told me to do!  I didn’t bombard him with texts, I let him be the hunter, I didn’t overwhelm him, or pester him!!”

See, with a Asperger’s teen, you have to help them navigate the social aspect of things.  My daughter has had a problem with pestering the hell out of people with text messages. I have taken away her phone for a time before, until she could logically understand why you shouldn’t send 100 consecutive text messages to someone who hasn’t responded.  She gets bored, and somehow doesn’t understand that her texting out of boredom may be inconsiderate of the person on the other end.  This might seem obvious to others, but I have to really work to show her what’s appropriate “texting” and what is not.

She’s also gotten herself into some sticky situations with boys who are smitten with her.  I have witnessed boys pining after her via text, and she would talk with them about things that you would talk about with your boyfriend, not your friend.  But she would think it was okay to talk about the things, because the boy said that it was “okay”.  She didn’t get how these conversations could lead the boy on.  She also doesn’t understand how these conversations can be disrespectful to her current boyfriend.  I had to logically explain all of this to her.  We’ve also had to have numerous talks about never putting something in a text you wouldn’t send to the recipient’s mother.  I have to say, “What if so-in-so’s mom saw this text…wouldn’t you be embarrassed?”  I have to explain these things as if I’m teaching biology to a 9th grader.  These subjects aren’t logical or obvious to an Asperger’s teen.  The logic and consideration that goes with social relationships has to be patiently taught, and re-taught, with pop quizzes, and reiterated with every new social application.  It takes a lot of work as a mom to not get frustrated with things that are seemingly “obvious” to me.  But, it’s a good trade off, because I DO NOT have to teach other things to her, like mathematics, science, and other straight forward subjects.  She GETS those.  She doesn’t GET the social part.

Our conversation continued, and I said, “Baby, I have been so proud of you.  You have done nothing wrong.  Your texts have been appropriate, and you didn’t do anything that would drive him away.  Now tell me when this happened, and exactly what he said.”  See..sometimes Asperger’s will read into a situation in an odd way.  Their discernment and impressions can be either way too harsh, or totally oblivious, and there’s rarely much in between.

Violet:  “He told me right after school…”

Me: “What exactly did he say?”


Me:  “Hang on… so he said he wasn’t ready for this kind of relationship…what else did he say?”

Violet:  “He said he wasn’t ready for this kind of relationship, and that he thinks I’m really great, but he just wants to be friends.”

Me:  “…and what exactly did you say?”

Violet:  “I said okay….I understand.  But mom, I don’t!!”

Me:  “I know baby…  hang on..  so you said ‘okay’, what happened after that?”

Violet:  “We hugged, and he walked away.”

Me:  “Did you cry?”

Violet:  “No.”

Me:  “Did you get crazy and pester him about why…. did you express your thoughts about not understanding?”

Violet:  “No.”

Me:  “Baby, I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!!  There are many adults who wouldn’t have handled themselves as gracefully as you did.  You held your head high, you showed him respect, and even more importantly, you showed SELF-RESPECT.  That, my love, is amazing, and I couldn’t be prouder!!  Do you hear me??  You exemplified, self-respect, maturity, and grace, and that, my love, is so amazing, and I am so impressed and proud of you!”

Violet’s posture strengthened, the shame left her face, the pain lessened, just a little, and she started calming down.

Me:  “Now, here’s the thing.  You did nothing wrong.  This has nothing to do with you.  This has everything to do with him.  There is nothing you can do, should do, or could have done differently.  You don’t understand why he feels that way, and baby, you won’t.  But here’s the deal, what he thinks of you is NONE of your business…and is HIS business.  You let HIM keep that.  You hear me?  That’s on him.  It’s HIS problem, not yours.  Do you understand?”

Violet:  nods her head…

Me:  “Here’s the other thing…  you are not going to understand, and it sucks and it hurts.  Right?”

Violet:  crying again…  nods her head….

Me:  Sharing her tears…as one falls out of the corner of my eye…

Me:  “Baby…that’s okay.  We will never understand exactly what motivates other people or what people are thinking.  Asking, and obsessing over why doesn’t help anyone get closer to an answer.  But I know…I know it hurts…and its gonna hurt, for awhile.  The ONLY thing that makes it better is time.  Only time, my love.  But here’s the thing about time….IT ALWAYS WORKS!  Even if it feels like you need to understand…with time, that need to understand will soften, and you will be okay.  But you have to trust me love…it WILL get better with TIME…. I promise.  Time and distraction is what you need..focus on your art, your anime, your Nintendo Ds….  Do you trust me?”

Violet:  “Yes…mama…” and we hugged it out.

Me:  “Want to go get an ice cream?”

Violet:  “Yes…  but I want a large chocolate Frosty from Wendy’s.”

Me:  “Okay, are you sure you don’t want Cold Stone or something?”

Violet:  “Yes, I want a chocolate Frosty.”

Me:  “You got it…  would you like to stop by the Anime store in the mall?”

She had an instant focus change, practically skipping out the door with me, totally obsessed with what she might GET from her beloved Anime store.  She started monologuing excessively over characters in her favorite Manga, Anime, and the possibilities of what she wanted and why.  She was okay.  In a break in her stream of talking…

Me:  “Do you think you’re going to be okay?”

Violet:  “Yes, I have my family, my Nintendo DS, my Manga, and my Anime, and I have other friends too!”

Whew! I sit in amazed silence as she continues on with which friends like which Manga and Anime just like her, and how her friends like her Anime shirts she wears daily, and her other Anime accessories, and on, and on.

I reflect on what I would have been like at 16 and just been dumped.  I was so insecure then. Self-assurance was not something I knew existed, and I also had very little self-respect.  This breakup would have sent me on a rampage of melodrama, and self-loathing.  I would not be able to see past my nose, to the bigger picture.  I would have thought my life was over.  I would have self-destructed, self-sabatoged, and acted out in self-deprecating ways.

But not my teenage daughter.  I’m not sure my parenting had anything to do with this…or if I “lucked out” having my first teen be Aspie’s too.  But, my only wish, the only true conviction I have ever had, was raising my daughter to be strong, independent, self-assured, and to conduct herself with self-respect.  And she did.  She is much more balanced and mature than almost every other woman I know.

Part of me wants to stand tall and take some credit.  Part of me knows that she was born with these beautiful characteristics, and I had very little to do with this.

I’m so in love with her, in awe of her, and wish I could be more like her.

One Overwhelmingly Proud,


Mommy, the Medicine Makes me Lose my Superpowers!

So, Pink, my 4 year old, has been distraught over the past couple of days.

Let me first say, that Pink has been doing SO well on medication.  Adderall 10Mg 3x’s a Day and Risperidone .25 Ml 3x’s a Day and 1.25 Ml at bedtime.  This combination makes Pink calm, loving, attentive, careful, and has almost eliminated any hint of rage.   There is patience where there used to be unending frustration.  Pink seems fully tuned in now, instead of perpetually tortured by thoughts and OCD.

The only side effect is a throat tick, that is aggravated by the Adderall.  The small dose of Risperidone helps throughout the day in this regard.  There is also a stutter, that comes and goes.  These things were there before Adderall, but it seems like the Adderall makes it a bit more prominent at times.

Otherwise, I would say that Pink is more able to be an authentic, non-tormented, caring child than before.  Pink has started preschool 2 days a week.  The teacher commented on how easily Pink made friends and how incredibly smart Pink is, passing all tests, for a child that hasn’t been in preschool but a few weeks.  Yup, Pink is super smart.  You might have missed that before, as the OCD, torment, and frustration would have taken over, and you would have mistook that for an inability to learn or understand.  Now, Pink is able to calmly demonstrate the knowledge that has been gobbled up by her prodigy like brain.

But, Pink is convinced that the medicine and the throat clearing has taken away her powers.  I’ve asked a lot of open ended questions in this regard, to try and hear an authentic version of what this child is feeling.  I also have to take into account that many of the cartoons that Pink watches includes various “powers”.

So, after many inquisitions, this is what I got out of her,

Pink:  “Mommy, the medicine in the jelly makes me lose my powers!”

Me:  “Really baby?  What kind of powers?”

Pink:  “My SUPER powers, yah, they’re just gone, the medicine in my jelly and my throat made them go away.”

Me:  “Well, what could you do before, that you can’t do now?”

Pink:  “I used to be able to ‘burrrrr’, and I can’t now.”

Me: …struggling to find a logical word to fit with the ‘burrrr’…Pink is 4, so sometimes speech isn’t as clear as it can be…  “What was that?  What is it that you can’t do?”

Pink:  (crying), “Mommy, I can’t ‘burrrrr’ anymore!”

Me:…  I start to panic internally, trying to figure out what essential function of life I have cruelly denied this child due to the medication..

Pink: “I used to be able to ‘burrr’, and I can’t, Zest can ‘burr’…Zest isn’t taking medicine so Zest can ‘burrrr’…”

Me:  …feeling incredibly confused.  I can feel Pink’s anxiety start to get frustrated with me because she knows that I am not understanding what in holy hell ‘burr’ is.  So I call Zest, the 3 year old in, to see if Zest can shed some light on the situation.

“Zest, listen to Pink, what super power is missing, what is she talking about?…  Pink, tell Zest what isn’t working anymore.”

Pink:  “Zest, I can’t ‘burr’ anymore..because the medicine takes it away!”

Zest:  (aka bobcat golthwait, because everything Zest says is loud and really goofy sounding at 3 years old).  HWAH, HWAH, you can do it Pink… can ‘burr’ still, TWY IT!!!  COME ON Pink…TWY IT!  TWY IT!

Now I have to break to tell you that this has become like a family intervention at this point.  Pink is in the room trying to figure out what is going on.  Whoa is on the bed, making baby noises.  Pink is being cradled in Daddy’s arms in front of me, as if she has experienced some serious trauma.  I am sitting directly in front of Daddy and Pink, holding her hands to try and keep the energy calm, as I feel the tension boiling within her, and my 3 year old Zest is flailing arms like a maniac shouting “Come ONNNN…Pink…TWY IT, TWY IT!!  GO ‘burr’!!…

Then, finally, Zest demonstrates – and blows a raspberry.

minion raspberry
“Brptbrptbrptbrptbrptbrpt” with split flying everywhere.

Pink, melodramatically, sinks in Daddy’s arms and says, “I just can’t…(quietly) doesn’t work anymore…”  as if this is a death scene by Shakespeare..

Daddy and I look at each other.  We have to balance our amusement so that we don’t bust out in laughter, and still show appropriate concern.

Me:  “Oh..don’t worry Pink, you can still do it!  The medicine doesn’t have that kind of power over you.  The medicine does great things!  Don’t you think?”

raspberry_1325Pink:  “But, I can’t go ‘burr’”

I’m still a bit freaked out by this whole exchange.  Does she really feel like the medicine contributes to a loss of “powers”?  In a logical sense, the medication does make your mouth very dry – so yeah, it might be very difficult to blow a raspberry, come to think of it.

I know that my medicine makes me lose a few powers too, like the ability to multitask, my passion for seeking adventure, and my voracious appetite for adrenaline and life.  In many ways, this loss of powers is a good thing.  But in other ways, I sometimes do feel too complacent.  For now, I can still ‘burr’ though.  What if I couldn’t?  I would miss blowing raspberries with my kids….for sure…

superwomanSuper Brptbrptbrptbrpt’er (It runs in the family),


Aspie Teen’s Gender Reveal

For the sake of protection, privacy, and anonymity, I had previously chosen to keep the gender of my children a secret.  I’ve carefully edited out the “he’s” and the “she’s” from my writing so that their genders aren’t revealed.

But, here’s the thing.  The gender of my teenager with Aspergers is kind of a big deal.  Why?  Well, because most would assume a teenager with Aspergers is most likely going to be a boy.  Even though I’m not specifically writing for my viewers, I think its important to discuss the specific challenges of having a teenage GIRL with Aspergers.

Yes, my oldest child, my first born, is a girl with Aspergers. I want to try and sum up her essence in this post, so that you can get to know her.

She’s never been a girly girl.  Her life hasn’t been filled with pink frilly things and Barbies.  I thought maybe she was more of a Tomboy, but I learned that doesn’t really fit either.  I introduced her to sports, thinking that maybe she would have an aptitude…but she was never interested.  Being a “team” player eludes her.  She’s not motivated to improve, practice, or work at anything.  So, we tried tennis, softball, and basketball, but she really never “fit” in those situations.

Growing up, I tried to introduce her to as many of the arts as is possible.  She was my compass, my everything, and I wanted to give her opportunities I didn’t have as a child.  We watched a Karate lesson – nope, not interested.  I put her in dance – mildly interested, but she is awkward and clumsy, and wasn’t interested in things like dress rehearsal, wearing makeup, tights, etc.  Allsheet musicof this was impractical to her.

I attempted to teach her piano – but that was like teaching an 8 year old how to make excel spreadsheets or something – she just was not interested.

Her friend “Jack” played clarinet in beginning band, so she decided she wanted to be in band too.  She chose alto saxophone.  She took to it quickly- prodigy like.  Although, she was never motivated to practice her sax, so she never expanded her ability to it’s “full potential”.  She just wasn’t interested or driven by external goals.  If she wasn’t obsessed with it, she would not “work” on it.  However, she was making friends (all boys) who were sharing some of her interests and accepted her goofy, inappropriate, outgoing-ness.  (Jack later went from long time best friend, to boyfriend, to no-friend – which is directly related to Aspergers).

Later, she decided on her own volition, that she wanted to learn how to play a Zelda Theme on her keyboard.  She asked me to find the music online to print, and she sat down with it at the keyboard.  She understood, from her saxophone experience, how to read treble clef, but didn’t have any clue on the bass clef.  She finally asked me for help.  I showed her the basic differences in the staff between treble and bass clef ONE time.  In addition, she had no idea where the notes were on the keyboard, and I gave her ONE lesson.  Within

She taught herself vibraphone so she could be in the drum line.

a few days she was playing the Zelda Theme and reading bass clef.  I was amazed.  What took me 5 years of piano to learn, she picked up in less than a week.  She’s just so damned brilliant, and when she is self-motivated (maybe obsessed is the right word), she can do things that are superhuman.  Seriously.  This piece of music is somewhat “easy” as it is in the key of C.  But for someone who had never read bass clef, never touched a piano before, to learn it this quickly was amazing to me.  Soon she was asking me to download many of her favorite video game, cartoon, and anime theme songs so that she could learn them.

That lead to her joining the drum line, and teaching herself how to play the vibraphone…  Which, selfishly, was my FAVORITE extracurricular thing she has ever done.  But, I knew, I had to be somewhat nonchalant about my love for this interest.  “Encouragement” does not always work with an Aspergers child.   I loved the driving rhythms of the drum line.  I loved going to her competitions.  There was nothing boring about drum line.  It kept my ADHD very interested, and even my little ones could go, because the power of it all held their short attention spans.

In her Freshman year (9th Grade), music was dropped – also directly related to Aspergers – and I will tell that story later.

My Daughter - The Bronco

In grade school, she found great popularity being the first “Mascot” for the school.  This was difficult and wonderful all at the same time.  The costume provided her with anonymity, where she didn’t have to worry about “saying something stupid”. She could be goofy and not get in trouble for being

too loud, inappropriate, or obnoxious.  However, she was supposed to learn the cheers and practice with the cheer squad.  The cheer squad included an evil stepsister who felt embarrassed around her.   Cheerleaders were worried about things that never even occurred to my daughter.  There was nothing in common.  She never felt comfortable in that environment.  The social bubble of the cheer squad is one that she will never penetrate – and you know what?  That is JUST FINE BY ME.

I also enjoyed this activity with her, but again, it only lasted one year, because of Aspergers.

For someone who can kind of “take or leave” people, she has a penchant for things.  I’ve had to closely monitor what she keeps, as she could easily become a candidate for that hoarders show.  When I divorced Numbnuts (her dad), I felt a lot of guilt over the disruption it was going to cause her.  In result, I let her build strong attachments to things, and for many years, I didn’t make her get rid of anything.  She has always loved stuffed animals, and treats them like family.  Couple that with F’Bomb (her grandmother) and her hoarding tendencies and desire to buy and spoil the grandkid with

The pets always loved her room, and when she was gone at her dad's, I would often find the pets, laying in the middle of all the chaos, waiting for their sweet girl to come home.

collections – creates a recipe for disaster.  At one point, I had a 2 car garage attached to a very tiny apartment.   I had at least twenty 100 Quart Sterilite containers stuffed full of stuffed animals in my garage.  These were items that simply would not fit in her room anymore, but she would NOT get rid of one thing.

Her room always looks like a war zone.   She happily sits amongst the chaos in the middle of all her stuffed animals.  Somehow, they bring her comfort.  I finally got her to pare some down, and many of the ones in the garage had to “disappear” during a move.  The thing is, she could inventory 300 missing stuffed animals by memory, and years later will ask what happened to George the red monkey, Bob the green snake, etc.  and will know exactly when and how she acquired the item.  I’ve been teaching her how the accumulation of “things” can get out of control.  She saw it first hand with F’Bombs hoarding (more on that later, too).  So, she’s been learning to let things go.  She does well when she can give her toys and stuffed animals to kids that she knows.  She feels better about letting it go to a good cause, like another kids enjoyment.

She gets very distraught if someone “touches her stuff” or something breaks, gets lost, etc.  Ever since she was very small, she seemed to care more about her things than people.  I’ve had to teach her the logic about how people are more important than things.  We still have

Here are two of her cats, always sticking close to her - animals love her.

these talks today.  I assure her that if it can be replaced, repurchased, remade, or rebuilt, then it will be okay.  As a little girl, she would cry and cry if something was lost or broke..then she would wipe her little tears and say, “Ged anudder wun mahmah?” I would love her, hug her, dry her tears, and say, “Yes baby, we can get another one sometime”.  I would HAVE to fulfill that promise, because she would not forget.

She has her own sense of style, which is based around television, cartoons, video games (Zelda) and anime.  She loves anime.  I wonder why this phenomenon is so prominent in the Asperger’s population?  She is an avid drawer, of mainly anime.  Maybe it’s because anime is so popular, so its somewhat socially acceptable and “cool” to know so many facts and recite scenes from it?  All of her friends are into anime.  This is how she has been able to fit in.  She loves to buy anime apparel and she wears it daily. She loves cosplay too.  Her outfits have been the start of many sincere conversations about anime.  The thing is, she fits in by accident.  She doesn’t buy the things because she thinks others will like it, she buys it because SHE LIKES IT.  It’s just an accidental side effect that this helps her seem

She has a way with her younger siblings.  They see her room like "Disneyland" and if they happen to get an entrance pass - they behave out of respect for the privilege.  Her room is a coveted stop in the house, by pets and siblings.

less awkward in social situations.

She has what is I believe is called delayed echolalia, where she can recite things word for word, whether it be a conversation, a tv show, favorite lines in a movie, etc.  She recites them obsessively when nervous around new peers.  I’ve watched her recently, stand with a group of 3 kids in our neighborhood – one her age, and two younger, and recite an episode word for word.  She is completely oblivious to how uncomfortable it made them.  They wouldn’t look at her, and was slowly trying to move away, but she kept getting into their personal space adamant to finish the recital.  I finally interrupted and told her we had to go.  It’s so hard for me.  On one hand, I don’t want her to worry about what they think.  I don’t want her to worry about how people might feel in her presence.  I like that she’s outgoing, loud, funny, obnoxious, and seems to be completely immune to the social pressures of teenagers.  But on the other hand, she was completely unaware of how uncomfortable her obsessive recital made everyone.  I think these kids, for the most part, like to be around her.  They always call out to her, say hello, and ask her to come outside and play.  But, at the same token, I can tell that they sometimes find her obsessive communication tiring, and awkward.

As a female, there is more of an expectation put on her to be sensitive and show empathy.  The little bit of information out there about Aspergers and girls talks about the diagnosis of Aspergers due to the girls ability to adapt, be quiet, and observant.  Well, that’s not my girl.  We have endured social situations together where her untimely assertions of her observations and blatant truth left people believing she was a spoiled and impolite, child.  I have been told that I wasn’t “hard” enough on her, that she has an unappreciative and disrespectful attitude.  I ignored those jerks, and stayed my course with what I believed she needed.  I understand her,

She has her own sense of style.  This is what she's wearing on a normal day in Fall, while we were doing crafts with her siblings.   She hated to do any of these activities as a small child, but as a teen, she loves to do these preschool crafts with them - which I find very interesting.

for the most part.  That has been the saving grace in this situation.  I have stuck up for her, advocated for her, and protected her environment.  I haven’t pushed her to be like a normal kid, a normal girl, or to keep up with the “Jones”.  I have allowed her to just be her.  I understood why she related to boys better than girls, and didn’t see that as a “danger sign”, but as a very positive and safe place for her.  Admittedly, that gets to be a tight rope walk dealing with a 16 year old girl, as now the intentions of boys are much different than when they were 10 years old.

She’s bright, funny, quirky, intelligent, and caring.  Yes caring.  She cares in her own way.  She gets emotional like any other teenage girl, but there’s an added obsession and awkwardness about it.  She over-cares on some topics, that she really shouldn’t find important.  Then, she under-cares about things that should be quite obvious.  I can’t make her “care” about anything.  I can only explain the logic of situations to her, so her behavior will show more respect surrounding the subject or person.  This has worked because she does have a heart of gold and would never intend on hurting, frustrating, or annoying anyone.  She just can’t tell when she does.  If she’s told about it afterwards, she will obsessively apologize and has a hard time letting her “mistake” go.

I love this kid. She, is so amazing to me.  As she continues to grow into the ages where she independence is expected, it gets tougher and tougher.  She has had boyfriends, and I can’t get a “read” on the situation because she only reports from a very narrow point of view with no consideration for context.  That’s hard as a mom.  I’m very intuitive, but can’t get enough information to know how a social relationship is going.  She often misreads it, will obsess because a teacher doesn’t like her, and then I’ll ultimately find out that she is one of the teacher’s favorites.  On the other hand, she’ll drive someone absolutely nuts, barrage them

1st place for first floral design piece ever.

She never liked to touch sand as a small girl, she didn't like the feel of it.  Then, a couple of years ago, she built her first sandcastle.  Yes...this is my child's first sandcastle/sculpture.

Me and my beautiful teenage daughter

with text messages, and have no clue that she’s being avoided or shunned.


She’s also artistic, and when she obsesses on something, she does “award winning” work.  I could go on, and on, and on.  There is so much to write about this beautiful girl.  Yes, it’s been a challenge to see things from her point of view, but it’s also made me appreciate the richness of life and the trivialities of emotions.  A lot of human struggle is all in our head – and we would all be less distraught over things if we just stuck to facts and logic.  

So there it is, my beautiful Aspergers child is a teenage girl.

Infinitely Proud,





Introducing “Violet” My Asperger’s Teen

Violet, my kiddo, is an amazing kid.  Violet has Aspergers.  I have never had Violet officially diagnosed, but ever since Violet was just a pre-schooler, I noticed the symptoms:

Lack of recognition of inborn social skills, like recognizing body language and voice inflection; maintaining conversations; taking turns talking; dislike of changes in routine; lack of empathy; can’t recognize sarcasm; advanced literal vocabulary; one sided conversations; difficulty with eye contact; delayed large motor skills; easily overstimulated; unable to read peers; doesn’t recognize when being made fun of; and more.  

Before I had ever heard of Aspergers, I knew that I had to raise Violet in a way that was very literal, with routines I can stick to, and I would always be sure to keep my promises.  I would never make false promises or bribes, as the devastation of lack of follow through for Violet was quite dramatic.  For example, if Violet had expected go to the store and buy a pack of gum, and I changed course and went to get ice cream instead, Syndrome would melt down, even though the ice cream is more preferable.  If I said I was going to the store to get gum, I had better do it, or else there was monumental tantrums.

This consistent style of parenting and dedication to keeping promises suited me fine.  Why?  Because my screwed up parents never delivered on their promises, could never be counted on, and regularly left things undone and unfinished.  I was bound and determined to raise my child differently, so naturally, one of the things I vowed to do, was always DO WHAT I SAY I AM GOING TO DO!

About 6 years ago I heard about Aspergers.  I honestly don’t remember how, but it was about 6 years ago that I realized that the symptoms associated matched my kiddo exactly.  However, because of the reliable structure and routine I had set up, Violet did fairly well in school.  I am overly sensitive of social situations and peoples feelings, so I was able to teach Violet the cause and effects of words and actions.  Therefore, I felt no need to seek support from the school psychologist or special education department. Violet typically attained A’s and B’s, with a few C’s, and that is just fine by me.  Violet also made friends fairly easily, although there were very few close relationships. Violet was outgoing and goofy in school, and seemed to be favored by younger children on the playground.

There have been a few run ins with teachers, but we navigated those bumps.  I ensured that I was Violet’s advocate when there was trouble, but I feared a diagnosis that 1)Violet’s dad would dismiss and 2)Would prevent Violet from adapting to the real world.  So, I went forward with the understanding that if things ever turned for the worse, I would seek additional help and a diagnosis to support additional services.

A Drawing by Syndrome

Just this year, in January, I told Violet about Aspergers.  I also bought a book geared towards kids and teens in how to deal with “normal” situations in school and with peers. Violet cried, and also was completely relieved. Violet started to recount a ton of different social struggles from the past, and connected the dots and finally felt like there was a reason behind the inability to understand.

A Drawing By Syndrome

Violet is very open about Aspergers.  I couldn’t be prouder of how this has gone so far.  At 16 years old, we could be experiencing some of the toughest years of Violet’s development.  Instead, Violet came home today and announced a new relationship.  This is puppy love #4 for my 16 year old.  I’m pretty impressed considering the social challenges of Aspergers.

A Drawing By Syndrome

Violet seeks out ways to have things in common with peers.  For example, Violet loves (some may say is obsessed with) anime.  In result, Violet is a brilliant anime artist.  Also Violet wears anime t-shirts and other accessories.  This opens up conversations with other people at school who are into anime.  It’s a way for Violet to instantly belong to a social group that has no problem obsessively talking about anime.  I have found that most individuals who are into anime, are ALL IN, and can recite facts and episodes from memory about anime and manga.

Violet is also prodigy-like when it comes to music.  Violet is a self-taught pianist and learned to read music independently.  I have a gift for music, and played piano and woodwinds for quite sometime.  But my aptitude is NOTHING like Violets.  It’s truly amazing.  The catch is, motivating an Aspergers child to practice and be ambitious with something is no easy task.  Violet doesn’t see the “gift” and the “potential”, nor does Violet care.  This is both a curse and a gift.  It’s nice that Violet is not worried about striving to be like others, or living up to some imposed potential.  But also, as a mom, I see the potential and wish Violet would leverage it!  But I’ve learned, nothing I can say or do will motivate or inspire Violet.  Violet’s currency is electronics, gaming devices, and television.  So I use those things to correct behavior, as an explanation often doesn’t do the trick.

So, this is just an introduction about my brilliant, amazing, superhuman, Violet.  I plan to post more about the gifts and curses of Aspergers, but for now, I hope this introduction gives you a glimpse into this beautiful person.