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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Showcase-Jeff Stimpson of JeffsLife

  This week we have the pleasure of showcasing Jeff Stimpson-author, blogger and dad to 13 year old Alex.  I hope that you all take the time to read his wonderful post-and go visit him on his blog. 



JeffsLife (jeffslife.tripod.com/alextheboy) continues the story I began in my books Alex: The Fathering of a Preemie and Alex the Boy: Episodes From a Family's Life With Autism (both available on Amazon).

I post more or less weekly about life with my 13-year-old son Alex (PDD-NOS and solidly on the spectrum), the stories being personal about our life with Alex. Topics range from school and activities to eating, sleep, public behavior (see "tantrums") and other topics. I started these essays in 1998, when my son was born almost three months premature and he began what would turn out to be a whole first year spent in the hospital. As a journalist, I soon realized that what I was going through back then was at least as interesting as much of the stuff I had written about, so JeffsLife was born.

The current site's layout is plain (see "ugly," according to my wife Jill) with few links to autism news or other stuff. I've meant to improve this, but I do think it highlights the writing -- what I've learned the hard way is my best, if not only, talent.

JeffsLife is also Tweeted on Twitter and via LinkedIn (I welcome followers and connections, if you're on those sites). 

The following is an example of what you'll find on JeffsLife. I hope you can drop by (you might want to turn on your popup blocker), and thanks. You can also email me at jeff_stimpson@yahoo.com.



The Overnights


“You’ll have fun, Alex. Listen to the staff there.”

I’m taking Alex to overnight respite. The program, operated by the agency that provides many of Alex’s services, is mostly for adults: Some live for days in an apartment across town, with buses picking them up for school or their day programs right at the door and dropping them back off at the apartment at day’s end. Overnight guests also go bowling or to parks, go to movies or to other New York attractions. Their parents stay home and sleep.

(I have two questions: 1) Can Alex’s dad stay in this program instead? and 2) How long before some politico decides that funding for Overnight Respite simply isn’t important enough for people like my son?)

We hope that when this program is humming in our lives, it’ll help get Alex out of the house, which he wants to do (a 13-year-old who wants to get away from his parents now and then: somebody call “60 Minutes”), and it will help us recharge from the drain that is living with Alex as he gets older and bigger. It’s potentially a dynamite program. Alex almost screwed himself out of it late last winter.

He ran from the apartment and explored the building. He refused to listen to the staff. He hogged the TV. The staff’s response was to let him get his feet wet by the half- and then full-day stays, instead of overnight; they helped arrange for a 1:1 para, too. “If you took me to a strange place where I didn’t know anybody I wouldn’t know what to do, either,” the program director told me. “Tell him he’s going to have fun.

“We’ll work with you to get him respite ready. Tell him beforehand that he’s going to go and he’s going to have fun, and that he has to listen to the staff…”

“You’ve going to have fun, Alex, and you have to listen to the staff,” I say as we head in on the first morning. There is indeed a lady to para-shadow him on this first half-day. They want to know where to take him. I recommend the Mac Store and the FAO Schwartz. “Here’s his transit card,” I say, and I prepared this note for you to refer to…” Alex likes going into Laundromats and looking at the machines. He also likes grocery stores and helping pick out and bag the produce. He will pick items off the shelf if you tell him what kind and point to them and tell him how many…

“We’re all set,” they say. “You can take off. Say bye to daddy, Alex.”

“Bye, daddy!”

I spend the morning buying wine, sitting on benches, picking up paperwork from Alex’s pediatrician. My dogs are howling when I swing back by around 1 o’clock.

“How’d he do?” Last time I asked this in this place – how many weeks ago? who can recall when you’re parenting autism? – I got wags of the heads and promises to work to get him respite ready.

“Excellent!” they say. No running away? No bolting? No.

By week’s end, Alex is doing full days. That Friday afternoon, I’m on a bench nearby when he gets off the city bus with his para. For an instant I see a woman and a tall boy, almost a man, before I recognize his lope. He looks like a guy headed into something new.

4 comments:

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eman sherkawy said...

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devansh said...

DR WILLIAMS CURED 7 YEARS AUTISM
I am sharing this testimony for my daughter who suffered autism for 7 years. I am doing this, because I was her mother and caregiver  during her dark days and am very happy to share it so that others can be helped through  DR WILLIAMS HERBAL MEDICINE. It was a tough a battle for her; I was not actually the one who hard autism, but bearing the burden makes me understand what parents whose children and love with autism go through.
Lesia now 19 and was diagnosed with autism at the age of twelve, for seven years, she fought against her diagnosis. I must admit it was never easy for us as a family; we had to constantly watch her, and answer questions that we couldn’t explain. On several occasions, she asked if she will ever stop having speech delay and get well like her school mates and be the best swimmer she dreamt of becoming. She was a very happy child; and had a ‘normal’ childhood and there was no suggestion that she would later on develop autism. 
She refused to accept defeat and fought autism. She religiously kept to her medications in spite of their side effects. We all wanted a cure, so that she can chase her dream and live a normal life like every other child. But the more she takes these medications, the more her school grade drop. She couldn’t concentrate and we noticed that her memory was being severely adversely affected. Each time we went back to the hospital, her medicines were changed to a different one. Seems like, each change of drug brings about change in side effects. After about 6 years on   Abilify ,  Geodon  , and other medicines, it seemed the autism started to increase in frequency. I had to make effort to reduce her medicines with plans to eventually stop it all. We found an alternative treatment in homeopathy, which was better than her English drugs. Gradually, I reduced her drugs, and her autism were no longer as frequent as it was as when she was on conventional drugs.
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