No Medication For Our Son!

Our son’s original diagnoses was pediatric bipolar and because of the diagnoses and what seemed to be extreme self-hurting behaviors we had decided to put him on medication. Let me explain, when we put him on medication it was one of the hardest decisions of my life. I was always against medicating children. Yet, when your child is trying to jump out of moving cars, run into the street, and all he keeps saying is I want to die. Then you turn around and he is scrubbing a spot on the floor​ for an hour, I was at a loss what to do. We tried many different cocktails, but nothing seemed​ to work for him. During his Kindergarten year another diagnoses was added to his records along with Bipolar. He was also diagnosed with Aspergers.

March of his kindergarten year was a living hell. There was academic placement issues. We couldn’t get the cocktail figured out. The doctor had put him on Lithium and after a blood test had us increase the dose. The first night after raising the dosage he showed signs of lithium toxicity. We rushed him to the hospital. At that point, my husband and I made the decision to remove him from all medication. We were questioning the diagnoses of Bipolar by this point. After reading about Aspergers and hearing further information on Sensory Processing. We were pretty sure the behavior we were seeing: trying to jump out of moving cars, run in front of cars, and pushing me down stairs all had to do with overstimulation. With a new doctors help we tapered him off all medication understanding if he indeed did have bipolar we would have to be put him back on medication.

The first year, we spent time building trust with him. So, if he said he was done and ready to go. We left or removed him from the situation. It didn’t matter if we were visiting my friends and family, on a playdate, or even somewhere fun with his brother. If Jacob, my husband, was around one of us would take Yaakov and other would take Austin, his brother. This way Austin wasn’t always paying the price.

As time passed, we saw that he didn’t need medication for Bipolar but really was suffering from Anxiety. Yet, after the last experience with medication I didn’t want to go that route. We had a huge support system. Coaches, teachers, friends, and family would help us in dealing with his anxiety. So, we had been able to give him the tools to be successful!

As time passed, I was gratefully that we didn’t have to put him on medication. With that being said, it wasn’t that we didn’t have meltdowns we did! Medication just didn’t need to be a tool for the meltdowns. We talked through the anxiety and we pushed him to be successful even when he didn’t think he was going to be a success. Through this experience, I recognize there is a time for medication, but I also believe research is very important. The doctors hadn’t asked me the right questions. Before trying to jump out of the car, how long were you in the car? 6 hours. Before he bit you and didn’t let go what were you doing. We were driving for hours and hours. He was getting more upset and wanting to jump out of the car. If these questions were asked we would have saved ourselves and Yaakov a lot of heartache and fear.

The Bunny Will Hop By For AiN’s Easter Egg Hunt for Special Needs Kids

A special thank you to Pleasant Hill Ambassadors and AiN board member who helped AiN out with preparation of our 3rd annual egg hunt. With the help of Pleasant Hill Ambassadors 1000+ eggs were stuffed and 30+ baskets were put together. 20160303_200324
Thank you to Kellie Conde, board member for taking time out of your busy life to help prepare for this event. Pleasant Hill Chamber Ambassadors: Michael Brionez at J Rockcliff Realtors, Pam Green at Keller Williams Realtor, Rod Harris at Generation Mortgage Company, Debbie Smith at AHA! Movement, Jeanne Schwass at JBS Promotions, and Susan Wood at Susan Wood Photography.

A special thank you to Jeanne at JBS Promotions that helped get us our bags aka baskets, slinkies, and bubbles20160303_193658

This event is possible because of wonderful business supporters and the grant that AiN was award by SMPS Family Fund.
mattrinn

East Bay ABA logo

unnamed (2slowhandbb

AiN is Awarded Two Grants

egg hunt rath 8All in Need, Family Support (AiN) serves families with special needs children, ages 18 and under, who live in the East Bay area. AiN offers support in a nurturing and learning environment that promotes social interaction and gross and fine motor activities, all in a sensory based atmosphere.

The “Revive” respite care program gives parents the chance to take care of themselves, so they can take better care of their children.

Their “Special Events” are held several times throughout the year for the entire family to enjoy. These are age appropriate activities, offered in a mainstream setting, allowing for kids to participate in events in a safe and positive atmosphere. Whether enjoying decorating Cookies with Santa, exploring for eggs and prizes at the annual Easter Egg Hunt, or dressing up in the costumes and participating in safe and fun trick or treating at Trunk-or-Treat, these events are a unique and fun way for kids and families to get engaged. Because it is so important for families to share their stories and support each other, these events not only encourage friendships among AiN Children, but offer an opportunity for parents to network with other AiN families.

AiN was award their first grant from SMPS Family Fund for $3,000 last month. The money is to be used for their special events program.   They were shocked to also find out they were rewarded a $250 grant from the Jim and Sharon Walker Family Fund that they were unaware of. Autumn Green, Executive Director and Founder, says she cannot express her gratitude enough for these two grants.

If you would like more information on AiN programs or how you can support AiN visit their webpage at www.allinneed.org.

Cookies with Santa 2015 an Event for Children with Special Needs

Santa had contacted AiN’s Executive Director, Autumn Green explaining that he couldn’t make it to Breakfast with Santa this year. Autumn was disappointed she had already planned on making Green and Ham for the Dr. Seuss Christmas theme.  She understood the schedule conflict, so she agreed to have Santa join the kids on Saturday, December 12, 2015 for Cookies with Santa.

karlyandkevin

 

What a hit! 30 plus kids registered one of the two 45 minute sessions.  Kids rotated through four stations: Cookie station, art station, sensory station and Santa station. While they waited to see Santa they were able to look at books.logan2

With donations from Maggie Wolf each child received a stocking stuff full of goodies, and of course Santa had presents for each child. (2 books) which was possible by the sponsors of this event. Santa, Mrs Claus and Karen De Jager at Spectrum Photography worked extremely hard to make sure every child had a positive interaction with Santas Claus.  Santa was even willing to pop out from behind a chair so that the family had one photo with Santa and their daughter.

sara

Thank you to all our sponsors: Matt Rinn at State Farm, Debbie Smith at AHA Movement, Margret Miner at VinoCruising, Joe Stokely at Stokely Properties, and Michael Bronies at J. Rockcliff Realtors. We cannot forget all the other 1volunteers that put hours into preparing for this event. This event wouldn’t have been successful without you. A special thank you to Jen Tipton, who made dozens and dozens of cookies for this event.

unnamed (2 unnamed (1)

East Bay ABA logo karen mattrinn MBrionezLogo_1115

Strength of the Special Needs Parents-Angel Fund Awarded for 2015

angelfund2Working with families at All In Need, Family Support (AiN) has taught me that parents and caregivers are strong. Each child that comes into AiN worms their way into all the volunteers’ hearts, and as volunteers we hear the parents’ stories of their child’s success and struggles.

As the Executive Director of AiN, I often times cry after hanging up with a parent hearing how their child is taking a turn for the worse or their child’s behavior is out of control. I hear desperation in the parent’s voice as they are struggling to support their child’s needs. Having a child on the spectrum, often times, I can understand their feelings and can tell parents it will get better. But, sometimes I cannot relate to what the parents are saying. All I can do is listen and try to hold it together while parents give me the latest updates on their children. Then I hang up and cry. I cannot even imagine your child having additional medical issues on top of the daily fight of Autism. I cannot imagine the fight of a wheelchair, because your child is too tired to stay on her feet. I cannot imagine hearing the words “your child will not make it to adulthood”.  So, this parent tries to relate to what parents must be feeling, but instead I crawl under the covers and cry for the families who are hurting. Yet, I see these parents go on and advocate for their children. Knowing they are exhausted, but amazingly strong.  Yet, as a spectator in their lives, I get to learn what love is and what dedication and strength is. It is humbling that these families allow us at AiN to be part of such an intimate detail in their lives.

angelfund

At AiN, we know we only can help carry their burdens, and we do that through offering respite care to the families. Their child has an opportunity to socialize with others and play games. We also offer three special events a year. This gives them the opportunity to participate in mainstream events and parents to network with one another.

Lastly, we offer the Angel Fund. We choose one family who has attend at least one Revive event in the last year.  The goal of this fund is to help the family who is in need of additional support due to unforeseen circumstance. We are proud that we were able to provide $250 to the Cook Family to help cover medical expense for their son who suffered a stroke early in 2015.

 

Photos taken by Karen De Jager: Spectrum Photography

 

I am a Mother! I am a Mother of a Child who has Special Needs & it is Time to Give Thanks!

I am thankful! I am a mother!  Us mothers have those moments that we look at our child with pride and are grateful that they were put in our lives.  As a mother of a neurotypical developing child, I want to give myself a high five or a pat on the back because I rock! I look at myself in the mirror and think no one can do it better than me! I am raising this boy, who is now 15 years old to be the man he was designed to be! A sophomore in high school he is already planning on moving to Oregon, so he can study to become on Occupational Therapist. He has a love for children and kids love him. His desire is to work with kids that have special needs. Of course, I know there are many wonderful mom’s out there and I would have not gotten this far if it wasn’t for my son’s father. Lets face it, it took both of us to bestow our values onto our son, and with guidance from us and our son’s own spiritual beliefs he is where he is today. I am not saying he will not have hard times, and I am not saying these next two years as he becomes more independent I will not go crazy with his rolling of his eyes, or snottiness. But, hey I cannot help but be grateful for the young man he is turning out to be. How can I not be thankful for this gift from God! As a mother we love unconditionally and only our own children can teach us this love! I am thankful! ( The oldest makes faces when it is time to take pictures because he is too cool to hang out with mom.) austin and me

 

I am thankful! I am a mother! I am a mother of child with special needs. Our life hasn’t always been easy, but I would be crazy not to be thankful for this gift from God. This gift has taught me to love unconditionally; this love has been thrown in my face by my son. Fear has tested the love, love has brought away from the shame that at times would eat me alive while being in public with a child who was out of control, frustration that my love wouldn’t be enough, at times feeling helpless knowing my love wasn’t sparing my child from a life his brother was living.  Yet, I am thankful my love accepted the adventures we faced raising a son with special needs. Thankful for the struggles we faced as a family; it was those struggles that allowed me to share our story with others and to be able to offer respite at All in Need. This same little boy set the stage for his older brother to have a desire to serve others with special needs. I am thankful!

yaakov and me

 

I am thankful I am a mother of two amazing boys who bring me joy that I could never have imagined. I am thankful that my path was paved by a very special child who has taught our family to love unconditionally other families who have similar issues. As Madam Blueberry said, “A grateful heart is a happy heart!”

kids and me

Happy Thanksgiving from the Green Family!

I Am Not a Depressed Mom Though the Anxiety May Just Eat Me Alive

 

Yak and mom tea

Just recently, I read an old Facebook post from 2010 where I said “I have been looking for hours, where did I put my of How to Parent Special Needs Kid’s Handbook?”  Within the comments I wrote “I set Yaakov off today, so bad that he wanted to kill himself. Yelling at a car that went by to run him over.”  It is hard to believe that five years ago this was our daily life. I felt like I was walking on egg shells, so as not to set my child off. Today our lives are easier, to say I don’t set him off now would be lie, but I guess I can go with the flow better than I use to, or maybe now I don’t know if he is going off because of his special needs or if it is because he is a 13 year old boy.

When he was littler and seeing a psychologist regularly the doctor would often ask me how I was holding up. He would remind me a lot of parents in my shoes would be on antidepressants and it was okay if I was depressed. It was odd back then that I didn’t feel depressed, determined would be the word I would have used. I wasn’t going to live through hours of therapies with my son, advocating for my child just to be a parent who had a child with special needs, but wanted to be a parent that made a difference for my own child and other families. So, depressed wasn’t an issue.

Yet, looking back I can now see things that I have done because I had no control of our situation. Like my house was always clean. I worked out when Yaakov was at school for several hours. All of these things are normal to a degree, but I took it little further.  My house was always clean, I mean I woke up and cleaned it, and kids went to school and I mopped and vacuumed. Kids came home I mopped and vacuumed as soon as their homework was done. I would walk my oldest to school, run home to the gym, and spend an hour and half at the gym and run home to shower. Getting done in time to walk to school to pick him up and bring him home.  Things changed when I started working at an elementary school four years ago. My house is very rarely clean and though I run and ride bikes I don’t put 6 plus miles on daily. I look back and I see what it really was I wasn’t depressed, but the only place in my life I had control was cleaning and working out. Because everything else in my life seemed to be about raising a child with special needs.

As I said, it is different now, my house isn’t clean all the time like I wish it was. I don’t workout all the time. I only run 25 miles a week and try to get in 50 miles on the bike. I have a life outside of my family which consist of work, All in Need, chamber events, and so on. But, over the years the control has changed into anxiety, massive anxiety.  I love a clean house and there is nothing like running for fun or playing in the mud but it is a healthy love not an obsession.

11537390_10153439496962162_2984014618109795806_o

I cannot handle being around people or should I say adults. I do everything I can to avoid having to be in social situations. I can typically pull myself together if it is a one on one {1:1) situation and if I can make it into something about All in Need with people I are already know, then I can typically do it.  But put me in a room of people I don’t know, and the fear of them talking to me and me falling apart is frightening. If you put me in a room of mixed people I know and don’t know it is almost worse. What if they don’t think I have my life together. What if they know that I doubt myself as a parent of a child with special needs? What if I am not classy enough for this situation because I have a child with special needs? Hell! I don’t even know if I will use the right fork during dinner.

I know some of my social issues stems back to me coming from a small town, my family didn’t have parties and I don’t remember anything formal like a gala in the small town of Oakridge,OR that I grew up in. But, it is more than that because as my youngest got worse I dreaded having people come over for dinner or for get togethers.  It became a joke, that my son got his social issues from his mother.
Just recently I was asked to go to the We Care for Children Services gala by one of their board members and I jumped at it because more than anything I wanted to support her and show how much her little boy meant to me. Then of course the anxiety stepped in. What if I don’t use the right fork. My mom jokingly told me that I had seen “Pretty Woman” with Julia Roberts and had learned everything that I would need to know. I didn’t think I would make it through. prety woman

Meeting up before the gala I was lucky enough that the people there didn’t even bat an eye that I was shaking so bad and fighting back tears. As, we got to the gala, I recognized a lot of the faces and many of those faces knew I was pushing my boundaries further than I have ever done before.  With the support of many wonderful ladies I didn’t just make it through, but actually enjoyed myself.  I did have a laugh, because when I seemed to have issues was during transition time which seemed all to familiar. Just like when my own son seems to struggle during transition times as well.12191407_10153724168892162_841754733445004776_nI even went out after the gala for a little bit!  A special thank you to those ladies who were patient with me. I would have never made it through the night without your support. You too Vi and Audra!

 

11666260_10153724365262162_4937488968154982862_n

 

Crowdrise Campaign Results Keep Rolling In

condeAll in Need, Family Support (AiN) brought you two stories this last month for our first ever fundraising campaign. Special Needs Means Special Parents where Doug and Kellie Conde shared their story of raising a son with Autism and how it affects their every day life. How their communication has become a list of To Do’s, but not a chance to share their days with one another. In their story they are able to find some relief, and focus on their marriage once a month through AiN’s Revive Program. Revive allows parents to drop off their children once a month for three hours. While the kids are in AiN’s care the kids are working on fine motor, gross motor, speech, and social activities. Everything therapist gave to Autumn Green, the founder of AiN, to work on with her son she took it and incorporated into the program. This first story pulled in $1,000 with Matt Rinn, a State Farm agent who made a large donation pushing AiN overall our goal.

AiN never expected that the first campaign would reach their goal, so they up it to $2,500 with the release of their second story. Greatsean joni Couples Make Great Teams, this story is shared by Sean Posadas and Joni Fortini about raising their daughter Zoe. Zoe has been coming to AiN’s events for years and Sean even mentions that they feel like they are leaving Zoe with family. AiN makes sure Zoe has a 1:1 in place, so that the couple can enjoy their evening once a month. With this additional story AiN brought in another $750!

Here is the campaign breakdown as of November 11th. This campaign brought in $1750 and a donation also will be matched by a donor’s employer, pulling the total up to $2000 after fees AiN will bring just below $1,750!

Here at AiN, we would like to thank Doug, Kellie, Sean, and Joni for sharing their stories! Because of you our campaign was a huge success! Thank you all who support our campaign. We look forward to serving East Bay families another year!

 

Feeding His Autism-I Mean His Obsession

As I shared in an earlier post, we took a trip to the East Coast so that I could run a half marathon for my buddy who has Autism. To hear about that part of the trip visit I run 4 Jahdiel. But, what I didn’t mention was we decided it was a once in a life time chance to  for our youngest to experience Boston. So I apologize up front for all the photos in this post, but to see your son enjoy a vacation in itself is huge, but giving him this experience was awesome!

happy

Yaakov, our youngest who is on the Autism spectrum, loves American History! He loves the American Revelation and loves the Boston Tea Party. We took him to the Boston Tea Museum where he reenacted the night the colonist threw over the tea. He saw the only remaining tea chest. Of course, then sampled the tea in the tea room.  It was a dream come true for him and to see his actual smile was worth the long drive from New York City to Boston!

boston

Next we walked the Freedom Trail, and visited the Burying Grounds where Samuel Adams and Paul Revere, and many other famous historical men were laid to rest. He also learned that the people who died in the Boston Massacre was buried near Samuel Adams.  He was pleased to stand where the Boston Massacre took place and hike up the Bunker Hill, and of course he finally got to visit the Old North Tower Church.

trail

 

 

Boston was everything that he thought it would be, and more. He told me it was hard to say good-bye but he has decided to become a historian and focus on the American Revolution and to do that he will move back to Boston to go to college and get a job there. Sure, he is in 8th grade and things may change but it was so good to be able to be part of sharing his love for history.sam

As Yaakov, showed his passion for history. I was able to see Austin, my oldest son use his phone to take pictures and I was shocked to see some of the photos he came up by using his camera on his phone. If you are wondering why there isn’t any photos of Austin. That is because he is 15 years old and too cool for pictures.

austin church 5

 

Before we left Boston, my husband and I dragged the boys to Cheers!

cheers

 

We also thought we would take him to Philadelphia, but it wasn’t where he wanted to be. We enjoyed being together as a family but the four of us agreed that Boston was way better!

Here are my boys in Philly!

philly boys

Special Needs Means Special Marriages

conde
“This is where you need to be. This is who you’ll need to pick up. This is what you’ll feed them precisely at 6:30.” A year ago Doug and Kellie Conde found that their only communication was around schedules. As parents of a 6 year old son, Brandon, with special needs, they found they had become prisoners to a schedule that kept Brandon’s symptoms under control. Unfortunately, this came at a price.
Doug and Kellie found that they had lost track of themselves as a couple. There was no “How was your day honey?” or “Let’s go grab a bite to eat tonight”. Instead they were living a highly structured life that revolved around Brandon’s schedule, leaving no time for them to interact as a couple.
All until they found All in Need. Through All in Need’s monthly Respite program, Doug and Kellie have an enriching environment to leave Brandon in while they have a few hours to escape an exhausting reality. “Without All in Need it was really hard to have adult conversations,” says Doug. “There’d be this mental timer and no matter where we were in conversation, we’d have to check on him every two minutes to make sure he was OK.”
Now, while Brandon (and sometimes his sister Karly) are at Respite, Doug and Kellie can relax. “Before All in Need, we really hadn’t gone out as a couple since Brandon was an infant,” says Kellie. “Even with family willing to help, we found that we just weren’t comfortable asking people for that help.”
Doug and Kellie really enjoy the fact that Brandon is having just as much fun as them in those precious Respite hours. “It’s not just the parents that need a break,” says Kellie. “The kids need a break from us too.” Brandon used to be completely focused on animals. As a result of his time with All in Need, he’s now learning to embrace building with Legos® as well. It puts Doug and Kellie at ease to know that he’s in an environment he enjoys and is broadening his horizons at the same time.
“It’s funny,” says Kellie, “there’s really nothing more exciting to us than going out for a completely non-eventful, early, normal dinner. And it’s all thanks to All in Need.”
All in Need needs your help! With your support, we can find more families like Doug and Kellie’s to help. This email kicks off our first ever Annual Giving Campaign for the 2015-16 school year. Our plan this year is to continue providing an enriching curriculum for the children that attend Respite and to increase the number of families we’re able to serve.
We are hoping we can count on your support. Your contribution is fully tax-deductible and several payment options are available. We appreciate all donations and recognize all our contributors.
Our success depends on the generosity of the community. Please help us work to be a resource for families who face extra challenges — after all, everyone deserves a break here and there!

Donate