Dyer Family Happenings

A.K.A. Mommy needs a place to write!

Mom of 2, both on spectrum… — May 7, 2016

Mom of 2, both on spectrum…

I have felt, for a very long time that Max would be diagnosed with Autism just like Leo was. We were told ADHD, OCD, speech disorder, but not enough to warrant services. That his behaviors were what they were because his brother has behaviors.

Until today. Today we had a doctor tell us that he is Autistic and because of the enourmous amounts of early intervention (because he failed a preliminary MCHAT at age 2) he tested at a level one, mild autism. She said had he not had early intervention he would have most likely been more severe.  She also mentioned that hes super smart, and if he works hard on his quirky behavior by age 10 he most likely wont present with any symptoms.

This is the first time I didnt cry at an evaluation. The first time I didnt feel like I wasn’t being listened to. The whole diagnosing team came off so loving. And I am so very thankful. Thankful for support with Max. Thankful for listening ears. Thankful for honest answers. Thankful for fresh eyes.

Hes now on a path to learning even more than he already has, to becoming better and stronger. To learning how to regulate and use his words, to learn to love to learn.

So our family is now Autism strong, both boys in need of totally different help but help just the same. Im ready to watch Max soar, to hear him tell me about his learning, for him to show me what he knows.

This next adventure is going to be amazing, and this momma is ready for it with open arms.


I’m not a fighter — February 23, 2016

I’m not a fighter

I’m not. I absolutely despise it. I will if I’m pushed to, but I try like hell to avoid it. I’m too emotional, I get mad, I cry then I’m pissed that I’m crying and I get mad at myself. It’s just ugly. It takes me an exceptional amount of time to be able to separate my emotional self from my “business mind” self. And unfortunately I have to talk or write out my emotions. I apologize if you end up one of the people I ramble to.

I’m trying to navigate a world I’m still very new to. Special Education. With Leo things were pretty clear, our path to where we are now was up hills, down valleys, around corners and through some pretty big traffic jams, but we are right where we need to be, entering mainstream school in the fall. Max is a big ball of I don’t even know.

Socially he’s reserved at first but when he warms up its on. Outside of that he has so many things that put him on the autism spectrum. Sensory issues, lack of speech, major out busts, spins himself in circles, doesn’t sleep, balance and spatial awareness issues. But he was not diagnosed as on spectrum. I don’t understand. Are social quirks and lack of eye contact that heavily weighed in an evaluation? Are all of the other issues, including slow processing and the inability to form a sentence of even 2 intelligible words not factors? I am so lost.

Do I want to have another child with a diagnosis? If it will help both he and myself then yes. If it will help explain why he screams and won’t wear clothes, why he shakes and looks like hes being stabbed with needles when you put a tshirt- with no tag on it on his body. Why he is having night terrors that last 20-60 minutes and there is nothing to be done. Why he walks around with his hands in fists and asking him to open them throws off all of his balance. Why he can dribble a soccer ball across my back yard but can’t get into the car without running face first into the door every day.

Why even with once a week speech therapy, practicing at home and at Leos school he still can’t say “Mickey”. How I am one of the few people that understands 99% of what he says, but most people need me to translate.  I’m lost. So I am asking for reports and for different evaluations. I’m asking for help because I am terrified that on March 17th, his 3rd birthday and our official first day with no services, that I am not equipped to help him grow.

I’m not borrowing worry or making things bigger than they are. He’s not just a brat, hes frustrated and I am too. But I can tell people that I am. Max can’t. So I’m having to prepare to fight, to fight and ask for full evaluations that we did not receive. To fight to ask for what I know in my heart is right for Max. And my anxiety is off the charts high and I can’t bring it down.

So ready or not here I come. After I get this emotional garbage out of my mind.

Overly emotional Mommy, party of me. — December 18, 2015

Overly emotional Mommy, party of me.

I have always been an emotional person. It’s gotten worse with becoming a mom and now being able to help in Leo’s class and seeing these HUGE leaps these kiddos are making daily, weekly, monthly and getting to see and experience the love his teachers have for the kids and us mommies and daddies it’s gotten a notch worse.

Worse isn’t the right word. My emotions for my children have grown. The steps forward and the growth in both of them makes me cry, the set backs and rough patches make me cry. And the same happens for the friends in Leos class. Some of them had a really rough start with preschool and the growth in language and friend skills, in coloring and singing in counting and direction following is amazing. They start the school year as little guys and gals, set in their own home routines and have their worlds rocked but in the most beautiful way.

These kiddos come from all kinds of family situations some with siblings some without, some spend lots of time with grandparents and some split time with their own parents. Some parents both work some are blessed like I am to learn with their kids. The one commonality they all have is when they enter Room #1 and the love that the teachers share with each and every child.

These teachers have been staying so upbeat and excited for the holiday season through illness and the excitement of 19 3 and 4 year olds. They taught them songs and poems and got them ready to sing for a whole cafeteria full of family members. And today all of the hard work and love shined so very bright when these beautiful children made their way to the stage.

I had a breath holding moment of fear before the curtain opened when I looked around at the amount of people that were in the audience. They had practiced every day on the stage but to an empty cafeteria. Today was THE day. How is Leo going to do with all of this? A year ago he probably would have tried to run away. Too loud, too many people, to bright. Not today.

The curtains open and all we hear is “WOAH LOOKIT ALL THE PEOPLE! HI MOM HI DAD HI MAX!!!” theres my guy. And I cried. No, I balled my eyes out.

I cried because of how great they all were doing sitting and singing, like little pros. I cried because of how hard we’ve worked with Leo to have confidence in any setting. I cried because he wasn’t scared. I cried because he’s such a big guy. I cried because I’m his mom and I am so proud of him, excited for everything he gets to experience that is brand new and because he is such an amazing kid.

So I cried, giant rolling tears. And my heart is so full.


Exhaustion — May 24, 2015


It’s hard trying to keep things together when you’re exhausted.
Today marks the 7th day in a row where I’ve been on my own with the boys for the better part of the day. (Single moms, Moms with deployed husbands and weird work schedules- I don’t know how you do it all of the time)
Our schedule has changed a ton in the past few weeks, and we rarely leave the house anymore. Max has ABA every weekday morning from 9 to noon and then 3 days a week Leo has ABA in the afternoons from 1 until 4. I walk everyday, but most of the time they are short, mile ish walks that only leave me out of the house for 20-30 minutes.
Yesterday was my standing Saturday House Cleaning gig, 4 hours of James Taylor Pandora, scrubbing and no children screaming that the other one was trying to touch them. It is glorious. (A big thank you to NANA yesterday for taking the boys to the zoo so I could get my job done and earn some money)
House cleaning has become a great supplement in our income and a great source of therapy for me. Physical tired is always easier for me than mental tired. And consistently having to
ask for the boys to put cups away
ask them to use words,
keep hands to themselves
stop screaming
listen to the tutors
stop getting in my face
eat what is on your plate
no you’re not getting dessert first
please don’t pee on the toilet pee in the toilet
no you cannot watch dinosaurs
no we are not playing trex in the house
its raining and cold you cannot go swimming
why are you putting a new pair of underwear on
yes you did poop and yes I am going to change your diaper
that is juice isn’t that what you asked for
please do not ride the dog
the cats tail is not a lasso
you can be a cowboy as long as you don’t hit anyone with the rubber snake
rolling chairs are not appropriate step ladder
you asked for Elmo this is elmo
we don’t rip pages out of books
please don’t pee on one another
no you cannot have a 3rd otter pop
there are 3 bicycles stop fighting over the same one
no we are not having chickensandfrenchfriesandsauce 3 times a day
I’m planning on a very long walk today. Here’s hoping my body stays together enough until I actually get to make it happen.

Backward, yet again — April 29, 2015

Backward, yet again

We can’t afford private school.

Even if I figured out how to pay for it and daycare for Max and found a job that would pay me more than 9 bucks an hour, there is no way we can afford it.

Leo will be placed in an inclusion preschool (where a portion of the kids are general ed kids and the other portion are special needs, but high functioning and require peer models for success), and he will be scheduled back with ABA 25 hours a week after June 11, when the school year is over. But until then he is in a mild to moderate special ed class. A class where there are very few words- other than his, and his right now are ugly and mean and accompanied by hitting, spitting and as of today trying to push a bookshelf over.

I don’t know what to do.

We talked at length about how this move may very well set him back. I had no idea how much. It’s a fight to get him to wear clothes again. He is constantly pinching himself and walking on his toes. He is jumping and flapping so much more than he ever has. It’s a fight to get him to be consistent with sentences other than “I be by myself”, the sensory overload is the worst it’s ever been. And I can’t help him. I try to have quiet time, I try to have him talk to me, but everything is so ugly. His words and actions to me, to his teachers, to his peers, to his brother.

He is not a mean kid. He is a lover. He is a mediator. He can tame skiddish animals. I just don’t understand it. And I feel like I am at a breaking point. The only thing they are able to do at school his put him in the thinking chair, and it doesn’t work. I want my kid back. And he will come back, but a month an a half seems like a lifetime away right now.

The realization that his is going to always have issues with sensory overload and transitions hit me about a week ago. And I cried. I’m not sure how he is going to do in Junior High school where you change classes every 45 minutes, when changing stations every 10 minutes is accompanied by a huge meltdown. How holding a pencil is the end of the world. How a fire drill is the most painful thing to his ears and eyes. How do I teach him that these things are okay, that they won’t hurt him, and that they are a part of life.

Is it all going to click one day? I pray everyday that it will. Or that it won’t hurt as much, that it won’t be as hard to move from thing to thing, place to place. I pray everyday that even if he doesn’t totally understand why we do what we do he wants to try.

Sensory overload can kiss my rear end.
It’s the one thing in the world I truly hate.

Thank you — March 24, 2015

Thank you

Please and Thank you are my two ALWAYS words. And it seems like people, not just my toddlers, forget the power that they have in all situations.

I’m sweeping the porch thinking about how giving thanks sometimes feels like it HAS to be said, even for things that should be givens. Like thanking someone for participating in something that they should be participating in. So the question pops into my head- when did it become a habit of thanking or praising everyone for every little thing. And when should I be thanking or praising and I don’t.

Should I be thanking the people in my house for participating being part of family chores? Should I be praising my children when they are asked to perform a task and they do it without a fight? Aren’t these things that should “just happen”? Like, shouldn’t the conversation go something like this:

Me: “Time to pick up your room”
Kids: “Okay” or throw a fit or whatever, and then it gets picked up
and we move on to our next event

No, we have to have a party for every….little…..tiny….thing. And it sometimes drives me crazy.

I am all for parties when we have tackled a new something, when something that is harder than hard just happens. But should that be for all chores, and expectations? I don’t know. Positive reinforcement is a great tool, but when is too much too much.

I don’t get thanked sometimes for days for the things that “I am just supposed to do”. (Lets be real, that would be everything I do every day because Stay at home parents only receive the thanks of the people in their households and fall into being expected to perform all house chores as part of their job).

And I still find myself thanking people for everything. Honestly it’s in the hopes that they will continue to thank others for the things that they do, even when the thing isn’t huge. Some days being thanked for getting Leo a glass of milk is all I need to change how poopy the day has been.

The parties for goal achievement are going to continue, the thanks for general help too. One day it’ll all make sense- right? 😉

We made it through Halloween! — November 1, 2014

We made it through Halloween!

I know, I know- it’s fun, it’s full of smiles and spookies and friends and treats. Well it was this year! (so happy about that). The past couple of years have been struggling to keep costumes on, wanting to go into peoples houses and me running after Leo while trying to make his way through  (thank goodness it was just two of our neighbors that adore him). But this year it was different, this year he is 3 and excited and talking and understanding when I tell him that we aren’t going to walk into peoples houses- even though he did ask before ringing doorbells.

We made it to 4 houses on our block this year- past years have been 2. He helped me hand candy out to all of the kids that came to our door with an excited “HAPPY HALLOWEEN- TRICK-OR-TREAT-HI FRIENDS” every time. And then, he met “Spiderman” and was totally mesmerized. He grabbed candy from our bucket, looked up and there he was- in all of his about 10 year old Spiderman glory. Leo’s eyes got big, he stopped dead in his tracks and with an adoring voice said “Hi Spiderman, wow”. As  Spiderman was walking away he proclaimed “Momma- look its Spiderman, Spiderman Momma!” It cracked me up, as well as Spidermans mom.

He got to be around kids and teachers in costumes at morning ABA, and did great. This has totally jazzed me to what this holiday season is going to be for him. Exploring, learning, wanting to see new things and be part of things that he was totally unsure of last year. We started talking about Thanksgiving, and I am hoping it will be a jump off point to tasting new foods. I think we are going to make some fun crafts for our house and Oma and Papas and Great Grammas.

Max, just wants to be like brother. He’s picked up a few new words. He doesn’t seem to use them many times over but a few are coming none the less. So I’m excited for this Holiday season. And that I totally made Leos costume. (He told me 3 days before Halloween his didn’t want to be a hot dog, he wanted to be a Bat. Not Batman, a bat “with the spooky hands and the fly momma, the fly”

So a Bat he was.


Rollercoaster week — October 25, 2014

Rollercoaster week


These guys. I have to remember when it’s a rough hour, hours, day, days or week- they are why I do what I do. They are what my life is about. They are my everything and I thank God for putting them in my world.

1413681697113 We had a few rough days with our Leo, but overall it was a great week for him. We had his first monthly meeting with his whole ABA team. Directors, Supervisors, all of his tutors. They all agree that he is totally rocking everything they are throwing at him- with Art and Circle time being the exception. They brainstormed some new ideas of how to tackle those and try some new things. They brought up again wanting to have some cube chairs here for therapy. Those things are crazy expensive- and I can’t just buy one because the wrestling match of the world would end up taking place over said chair. They also mentioned a swing- they look kinda like a deflated bean bag chair. We are on a tight income and it’s hard to come up with $300 dollars for things, I can try but it’s rough. I don’t have to. They have grant money to help us with the tools we need for Leo. I AM FLOORED. I sat in the meeting with the director telling me this with my mouth open and looking and sounding like a total moron. Having this team of amazing people working with Leo to make everything about him stronger is a blessing, having it be totally funded through his insurance is a Huge blessing, having something like this happen is a miracle.

1411664832685And Max. Oh Mr. Max. It’s been a very rough week with Max. Gas pains, hitting, kicking, general tying to beat down anyone he comes into contact with. Oh wait, nope just me. This season with him will either make me the strongest woman or break me into a million pieces. Trying to hard to get words to come out of his mouth is a no go so far. I know he’s frustrated , I watched this same frustration when Leo had a hard time talking, Max is getting more and more aggressive the more he can’t communicate.

I’m hoping to at least calm his heart in the next few weeks, but until then it’s going to be rough.

Now- pumpkin chili time.

One year ago today… — October 9, 2014

One year ago today…

After appointments, assesments, ear tubes, hearing exams and my mommy gut being in over drive, we were told that although unable to officially diagnose Leo, he had “Autstic-like” characteristics and was officially qualified for therapies through the CVRC program.


It was both the best and worst day I had encountered  since giving birth to Leo 2 1/2 years prior. I was so relieved that my mommy gut knew something wasn’t right. I was so sad that it was autism. Why did it have to be something there is no cure for. If it had to be something, why in the world did it have to be something that is a spectrum, that changes all of the time? How were we going to do this? We have this beautiful toddler with eyes that sparkle, who loves dinosaurs, who wants to play with others, who can’t communicate with me. How?

So I prayed. I asked God to lead us. I asked him to show me what to do for my family. I asked him to grow my heart and patience in HUGE amounts, to open my mind and my heart to everything I needed to learn to help make him better. And to not forget that our Max needed to be loved on at the same time.

And he answered my prayers. I was introduced to an amazing group of women through church that had either been through the process that we were just starting or were starting to go through the same thing. We had the sweetest speech teacher that gave me so much hope. God has placed amazing women in our life that have helped Leo, taught Joel and myself and loved on Max.

And I realized when he was officially diagnosed a few months later that I definately believed. There is no way I could have gotten through this without putting it into Gods hands. I needed to give my worry and my sadness to a higher power, to someone that could guide me, to someone who knows our path as a family. It was a sense of calm for me.  It helped me relax and be open to what professionals needed to tell me.

So one year ago today my life changed in so many ways. Wasn’t sure how to deal with any of them at the moment but in hindsight October 9, 2013 was an amazing day in my life.

words, sounds, sentences and frustration — October 6, 2014

words, sounds, sentences and frustration

Leo’s words are many. Not all come out properly, and although I speak Leo fluently the rest of the world definately does not. It does blow me away how perfectly some words come out of his mouth and others come out like he has hearing loss. He’s been tested before andafter tubes and we are told his hearing is spot on now (post tubes) but I can’t help but wonder why after having tubes in for a year all of his words aren’t better.

The time (I say time, not days or hours because most of the time his behaviors change so rapidly) that his words are many, and used in sentences are beautiful and productive and give me hope. Then there are the times he speaks in “Leo”, which I’m convinced is a cross of martian and Russian with a little Thai flair, and uses this jibber jabber and noises to communicate. These times kill me. It is a fight to find out what he needs, who he wants, if something is wrong. This weekend was more of “Leo” than it was english, and its been frustrating. Paired with the language of Leo has been hitting and throwing.

I can’t break through it, I couldn’t get him to use his “I want” statements, I couldn’t get him to look at me. His stimming with sounds was off the charts. And as patient as I am with him and the situation I get mad, but not at him. I get so mad that between Joel and I we have enough words for 17 people and none of those have gone to our son. I get mad that I can watch his frustration when he can’t put his wants or emotions into words and I can’t help him. So I hold him. So I hug him. So we read a book or watch a movie or go for a walk.

And now I’m starting to worry about Max and his lack of words. At 18 months he has about 7 words and a lot of sounds. None of those words, aside from “Momma” are very clear.  It freaks me out. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I’m glad I ordered a P.E.C. book.