Friday, May 09, 2014

2013-2014 Photos

 Michael is a Junior Firefighter with the Middle Island Fire Dept.

 Michael at a college basketball game in Brooklyn, NY

 Michael is involved in student gov't.  Here he is with other student leaders at an event.

 Second marking period of 9th grade, Michael had a 92 average.

Michael likes to spend his time volunteering, especially for autism organizations.

Spring 2014


2014 Update on Michael:

Now in 9th grade, Michael leads a pretty typical life.  He's an honor student, takes Italian, plays the violin, loves going to baseball games, volunteers with the local Fire Department and plans on attending college in a few years. 

We are so grateful for everyone on this road to recovery! 

For more information on autism treatments, please visit: http://www.TacaNow.org

Thanks again for reading our blog!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

2012

2012 Update: A quick update on Michael.  He's 12 years old and just finished 7th grade.  This year he played violin again in the orchestra, had a small part in the musical "Willy Wonka", took Italian and ended up with an 88 grade point average.  It was a hard year for school work.  Changing classes every period & having around 7 different teachers was an adjustment.  The last month of school, we got rid of his 1:1 aide.  Basically, she wasn't doing much anyway- but annoying Michael.  He is for sure independent and wants to be treated like everyone else.  I guess the biggest problems this year have been socialization and behaviors in unsupervised situations. 

Michael loves to swim, ride his bike, surf the internet and do things most pre-teens enjoy.  Thanks for reading our blog!!!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

First Half of 2011 Summary

I haven't posted much on this blog about Michael, because I do daily updates on Facebook. Most of our family & friends are there, plus it's soooo easy :)

But, I thought for those of you who read the blog, but not our FB updates, I should post some new information today.

Michael is currently finishing up his last month of 6th Grade. He'll be going to Jr. High School next year. Can't believe it. He's also grew a lot- probably about 5'3'' or so. We stopped chelation last March (2010). Michael's still in a class with 24 kids. He gets some special help- like an aide & an additional teacher for the class (Special Ed teacher). Everyone has been really great at school. Michael has done a lot this year. Again, he was in the drama club. They did Aladdin this year. He still plays violin in the orchestra. One activity was different- he played in the volleyball club recently. They met once a week before school. Michael also joined the Yearbook club and helped to put the Middle School yearbook together.

This winter was VERY cold & snowy on Long Island. We had snow on the ground for at least two months- so we didn't do much outside. Reminded me of my old Buffalo days :) Spring/Summer is here now FINALLY & we're excited. The pool is open & we'll be taking another roadtrip this summer (NY-->MN).

Here are some recent photos of Michael:
Thanks again for keeping up with Michael's progress. We've been very lucky. Michael continues to work hard & is closer to "recovery" every day. Socially, he still has challenges & the peanut allergy is a pain in the neck- but basically he leads a pretty normal life. Michael likes watching iCarly, Sponge Bob & Glee. He rides his bike, swims, goes to church, plays in the orchestra, etc. His teachers have described him as "the most behaved kid in the class". We are all so very proud of him.

The only thing biomedically we have changed is we added "Amino Support" from Kirkmans a few months ago (saw increased speech). He's still gluten/casein/soy/nut/sesame/pea/garlic/beef/pork/seafood free. We are also still giving him Coromega, MB12 from Kirkmans, Super Nu Thera from Kirkmans, Vit. D, Calcium, TMG, Glutathione, MSM, ALA, NAC & probiotics (including Nystatin).


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Video- Sept. 2010

He looks a little odd laying in bed- but Michael wanted to do a "you tube video" and show his progress. He just turned 11 last month and started 6th grade last week. He's in a class with 24 kids (along with an aide).

Monday, May 17, 2010

You're NOT going to believe this!


There have a been a lot of changes since last year. First, we stopped chelating last month. After 3.5 years and seeing all the progress, we felt like we got all we could of of chelation- which was a lot. But, I think now we have to focus on the social & school stuff.

Speaking of school stuff, Michael is now FULLY MAINSTREAMED in a 5th grade class. He does have a shared aid (to help with social & keeping him away from deadly peanuts), but now he's doing all regular work and tests. His new teacher is WONDERFUL. She has a nephew with low-functioning autism and REALLY understands Michael. More than that, she really LIKES him! And we like her too!

Michael performed in the school musical (for the second year in a row) and still plays the violin in orchestra. He has NYSSMA coming up soon- so lots of practicing! But, Michael spends a lot of his time riding his bike & scooter, going to the beach, attending church & doing research on the computer. Sounds like a 10 year old to me!

Of course he's not fully recovered, but personally I couldn't be happier and appreciate every single gift/miracle. Every time he says something to me or we have a great adventure somewhere, I consider it a gift. I know not every parent is THIS lucky and so I count my blessings.

Not sure yet what we're going to try. But whatever it it, I'll be posting about it. Thanks again for reading about Michael's road to recovery!!! What a trip!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Update: 2009 & 5th Grade

Hello everyone. I know I don't post here much anymore. I do most of my updates on Facebook, so look for me there.

Wanted to do an update on Michael currently. Of course, he's doing GREAT. We're still doing IV chelation with Dr. Imam. It's been a little over 3 years (with a few short breaks in between).

Michael's attending Middle School and is in a class with 15 kids. He has a shared aide. He's also in orchestra (violin) and drama club. Today we got his report card. (see picture). Amazing! I just can't believe my kid with autism is doing SO well. Taught me a big lesson. Sometimes your expectations are actually limitations. I never thought he would do this well and I was wrong. Thank god.

More updates and pictures soon!

Video from October 2009:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Recent Video of Michael



Michael is pretending to do newscasts to the camera. I think he can see his reflection in the lens because he makes some silly faces. He's been watching Sports Night and using phrases from the show- like "we'll be right back."

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"Perfect"

The end of the school year is coming and I can't believe Michael is going to middle school this year. I think of all he has accomplished the last 2 years- it's amazing. I've also been reminded, time after time, that sometimes your EXPECTATIONS are really LIMITATIONS.

I've said things like "he'll never be out of a 6" or "he'll never go to college" and I was wrong. Another wrong prediction was "he can't play violin" and boy was I wrong, again.

Michael started playing last fall in school. It took a few weeks and then he got the hang of it. The kid LOVES to practice. He usually does about 100 minutes a week. Most times I don't have to remind him to play. It's all beginner stuff, but he gets better everyday.

A few weeks ago Michael participated in NYSSMA. That's a music competition where kids go in front of a judge and play or sing. They get graded. The best kids go to all-county or all-state. It's very important for serious musicians in New York State.

The school asked me if I wanted him to do NYSSMA and I thought YES! Back a million years ago, when I was in high school, I played piano and sang in the competition. I remember going to Riverhead HS and playing on a grand piano in the aud- scared out of my mind. Experiences like that build character :)

Anyway, Michael played his Level One solo and we got the results. He scored a PERFECT score! He even did scales and sight-reading. I'm flabbergasted. Never, never, never in my wildest dreams did I think MY son with autism would play the violin and get a perfect score in NYSSMA. Usually the words are "delayed" "special needs" "autistic" "handicapped"-- not "perfect". The amount of pride and joy in my heart cannot be measured.

HE accomplished this because of his hard work and dedication. I'm so happy he found something he loves.

This week Michael played 4 times in concerts. They did the 4th grade concert- two for the students and one for the parents (at night). He also played with all the strings in the school district. He played, waited with the other kids, followed directions, etc. The staff didn't even pay attention to him, in a way. They don't "worry" about him. Of course, I was a little nervous because he doesn't have an epi-pen with him in these situations and he's got a deadly peanut allergy. But, he just blends in.

The other kids are usually nice to him, but I do notice he keeps to himself a bit. I think a lot of times he doesn't know what to say or how to socialize with them. He's a lot more ease with 4 year olds then 9 year olds. But, hopefully that skill will come with time.

Michael came home from one of the concerts and said "I want to be a music teacher". LOL- I think this time I'll keep an open mind and believe that anything is possible.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Presidents on Parade

Last Sunday we had the traditional St. Patrick's Day parade in my hometown of Rocky Point, New York. This was the first year Michael really got into it. We stood for about 2 hours watching marching bands, fire trucks and boy scouts. Of course I spent most of my time talking approximately 800 pictures and Michael stood by my side the whole time.

One photo is Michael with our US Congressman, Tim Bishop and NYS Assemblyman Marc Alessi. Marc sponsored a bill for vaccine exemptions and has been VERY supportive of our community. Congressman Bishop has been too. He also has a nephew with Aspergers (a form of autism).

Anyway, there was this funny moment when the Rocky Point Historical Society came marching down 25A. They had a couple dressed as Mr. & Mrs. Abraham Lincoln. Michael saw them and his eyes got really wide. He LOVES LOVES LOVES presidents right now. He gets about 10 books a week on presidents from the library and read them over and over. Right now he's learning about first ladies.

Michael points to the group and says "Look, it's someone dressed like Abe Lincoln!". I was laughing to myself thinking, "Most kids would rather see Derek Jeter or Brittany Spears. But, MY son's favorite people right now are the US Presidents".

Last month we visited Monticello in Virginia, Thomas Jefferson's home. I hope this summer to travel around the East Coast as much as possible and visit other president's homes, birth places and graves. There are probably some presidential libraries too along the way.

I'm excited to learn right along side Michael about US history. We really are sharing the experiences. I keep thinking more and more that someday he will go to college- something that I thought at one time was impossible. But, I was wrong-thankfully!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Playing at Church - Video



Here is a video of Michael playing violin at church in front of about 25 people. So proud of him!!!!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

After 2.5 years of Chelation




(Photo is Michael
at the beach
in Virginia
December 2008)


After 2.5 years of chelation, Michael is on grade level academically, playing the violin, got a part in the drama club musical and can pretty much go anywhere without a problem. I'm so proud of him and so grateful for Dr. Imam and Nick- and everyone else at the office (Center for Advanced Medicine in Center Moriches).

There is so much LESS stress in my life right now. I don't worry about him running into the street anymore. I don't have to remind him to do his homework. We can eat in restaurants. I can go to a party and relax. Car rides are a breeze. He gets out of the bath, dries off and gets dressed all by himself. He can get his own food and drink now too. I get comments from people like "he's the best behaved kid here". MY KID? My kid with autism?

If you didn't know Michael when he was little- check out the videos on You Tube. But, just know that he was anti-social, non-verbal, very stimmy, and lower functioning then he is today.

Right now he's practicing violin in the other room. I didn't even have to ask or remind him. He just does it because he likes to. Yesterday, he was doing math problems on the computer and saying "math is fun". Goodness- I know that didn't come from ME. He has learned so much at school. Next month is the state Math exam and then the Science test. Unfortunately it takes MONTHS to get the results back. But, I know he'll do well. The best part is how is enjoys taking the tests. He even pretends he is a teacher and sets up a classroom at home- preparing the "pretend kids" for the big tests.

What's next? I don't know. He goes to Middle School next year- which is going to be a huge change, but he's excited to go. I'm not going to worry about it.

We're going to keep going with the chelation. We met with Dr. Imam last week and he thinks everything is going great and we should just continue.

As for the summer- who knows? We can't really afford camp, but I hope to spend a lot of time at the beach. When I was a kid, my mom took me to the beach a lot. We live 10 minutes from the North Shore (Long Island Sound) and 20 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. There are beaches everywhere. Finally, we'll be able to enjoy them together. Michael went thru a long period, from about 3 years old to 7 years old, where he hated the beach. He didn't like the sand. He was scared of the ocean. Now, you can't keep him out of the water.

I love how adventurous he has become. He wants to visit Washington DC and the White House. He gets books from the library about all sorts of things and asks questions. I could probably take him to more concerts and finally a Broadway play-- and he would love that. I get frustrated that we have to stay here in NY and can't move back to Virginia. But, at least there are a lot of things to experience here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Progress Report- Fall 2008


Sorry I haven't been posting THAT much. After posting every day during the summer road trip, I was a little posted out. Plus, with Michael's progress- I keep losing track of all the new things he does and says. Isn't it great just to be at that point?

Anyway, Michael is still at Ridge Elementary School in a class with 15 students. He was in that class last year, but with only 12 kids. It's a full class this year.

Michael is now sharing his aide with another kid. Part of the reason is because he doesn't need her as much. The other reason is because the child could use the help. Longwood has been so helpful over the years, I didn't feel right being selfish and holding on to the aide like that. Plus, Michael was the one who didn't want her around so much. He would even say so at times. It's not that he didn't like her, because she does a great job and is very caring. I think it was more him trying to be independent.

Michael is now playing the violin. And I mean PLAYING. Honestly, I thought the instrument was never going to work. I played piano, flute and sax, but didn't know how to play a string instrument. So, I was worried that I couldn't help him. But, he is doing great. He plays everyday for at least 20 minutes. He's very good about it (just like his homework). He's reading music! Sometimes I pull the keyboard out and we play songs together. It's just so cool. I NEVER thought that would happen. I don't know what his band teacher thinks- but I think he's doing wonderfully! I CANNOT wait until his concert. THAT will be on YouTube for sure. LOL!

Michael has a new friend- the kid upstairs. They get along so well it's scary. "Jessie" is about 7 years old and moved here over the summer. They go to the after-school program (SCOPE) together. The cutest thing is when they see each other at home, each of them jumps up and down and yells the other's name. It's like they haven't seen each other in 20 years. LOL. Sometimes Jessie knocks on the door and asks if Michael can come upstairs. Jessie's Mom keeps saying to me "I wouldn't know Michael had autism if you didn't tell me". Well, he still has autism- but it's great to hear that. Last weekend we went to an Islanders Hockey Game. The boys had fun. I'm so happy for both of them- since they are only children. And I'm very grateful that Jessie's whole family is so accepting. Oh, and the boys went Trick or Treating this Halloween too (along with Paul).

The funniest thing happened the other day. I picked up Michael from SCOPE and he didn't want to leave until this one boy left. Michael was staring at this kid's Mother when she walked it. We had to follow them out. When we got to the door, the woman says to her son "get in the car Billy" (or whatever), but in a raspy voice. She sounded like Kathleen Turner after smoking 1000 cigarettes. Michael gets in our car and says "Billy's mother has kind of a weird voice". I was laughing so hard I couldn't drive.

I wasn't laughing at Billy's Mother. I just couldn't believe that Michael noticed it in the first place. And the way he said "kind of a weird voice". He didn't say that she sounded like a man. He used language that was more abstract. Which is awesome! Plus, I turned it into a whole exercise about why you shouldn't smoke. LOL.

I saw a report and Michael is on a 2nd grade level for Math and English. Which doesn't make a lot of sense to me, because he scored average or above average on his 3rd grade State Exams in both Math and English. I'll find out tonight- we have our yearly parent-teacher conference. I'm looking forward to it. I always have with these meetings. Maybe during pre-school I didn't, but I can't remember that far back. LOL. But, at Ridge they have always been so helpful with Michael, there is no fear there.

We're still going to Dr. Imam's for IV chelation. Everything is going well with that. Nothing new to report. We took 2 months off from chelation during the road trip. Michael was fine- but it's hard to say whether he was affected by NOT having chelation because we were on the road. But, overall- he was great. I don't want to stop the IV's until we know we have all the heavy metals out of him. We'll be doing a urine test this Saturday.

Summary: We are so lucky that Michael continues to do so well. Both his teachers and the SCOPE people say he's the most behaved kid in the class. He does his homework without having to remind him. He's playing violin now. He's continues to make friends. He's happy and social. He does continue to have some stims- like the weather and his "pretend kids"- but that's a lot better than touching the bushes (which he rarely does now). He's very independent- he brushes his own teeth, fixes his own meals, dresses himself, picks out his own clothes and always finds something to do (watching tv, reading, coloring, etc.) I notice a few times he stutters or need a second to form a sentence- but his use of words is amazing. I need to do another video update and post it.

Again, thanks for reading Michael's blog. I cannot say enough about the people at Ridge/Longwood School District and Dr. Imam's office. We are truly one of the lucky ones in the autism community.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Swimming Video



I just uploaded a video from July. Michael was swimming with Ethan and Stan Kurtz in California. Ethan was once dx with autism, but is now recovered.

On a side note- Michael is doing great. I'll write some more updates soon.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Trip Blog

To read about our Summer Road Trip please visit:

http://www.heerenroadtrip08.blogspot.com

Thanks,
Christine
currently in AZ

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer Poetry

You've got to see this. Michael did such a great job reading poetry and singing!


Friday, June 13, 2008

Conversations with Michael



I call this video "Conversations with Michael". I wanted to show everyone how much his speech has improved. Notice how he comes up with new ideas- like how Michelle was a substitute for me on field day. I was not feeling well that day.

He's also doing some "silly talk" where he talks about Calliou or bad behaviors. I guess you can call it a verbal stim. He also does some stimming off the towel rack. I guess right now the stimming and the social piece are our biggest problems. Everything else is on track.

We leave in eight days! Holy cow. I can't believe the date is almost here. I'll be blogging the details of the trip here: http://www.heerenroadtrip08.blogspot.com. If you can't remember that, just come to this site, click on my profile and it will list the other blog. Thanks.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Video from the Rally




You can see 5 other videos by visiting my YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XreRnkigDCU

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Green Our Vaccines


Wow. What a crazy two days. Michael and I drove down to Washington DC on Tuesday and stayed with our friends Casey, Cara and Holly. Michael entertained the girls by guessing their ages and playing school.

We woke up the next morning praying for good weather. Both of us have a strong dislike for standing next to a tree with an umbrella in a thunderstorm. But when we arrived at the Washington Monument around 9:30am, the taxi pulled up and I found myself getting emotional. There were so many people I couldn't see the end of the line. There were thousands! The last rally had 400. This one had 10 times that amount. The first rally I ever attended had about 40.

This was the first rally for Michael. In the past I left him home so I could take pictures and video. It was hard to have to keep my eye on him, but he did VERY well. When we got our picture taken with Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey Michael had the biggest smile on his face. It was so cute.

After the rally we met with our congressman Tim Bishop. Michael almost fell asleep on the couch, but I spoke to the congressman about the rally and autism. He was great. The first thing he said was "sorry to hear about your mother". Near the end of our meeting there was a tornado watch and we weren't allowed to leave the building. Bishop's office gave us passes for the Capitol so we went to the see the House of Representatives. My first time. I was trying to explain to Michael what we were looking it- but how do you explain politics to an 8 year old? LOL



We finally got home around 1:30am. It was a LONG day. Michael said he had fun. I think he did. Plus, it was good practice for our roadtrip. I can't believe it's less than 3 weeks away.