Stop by the Dallas Moms Blog to read my new post about Ethan, Asperger’s Syndrome, Super Mario Bros., Friendship and Unexpected Valentines. Leave a comment to let me know what you think!

Super Mario Bros. for Nintendo DS

Super Mario Bros. for Nintendo DS

Posted by Leigh, filed under Asperger's Syndrome, Dallas Moms Blog, Family. Date: February 10, 2010, 1:49 pm | No Comments »

01  Feb
Purple Belt

Ethan has been slowly progressing up through the levels of difficulty in Tae Kwon Do for a year and a half now. On Saturday, he tested for his purple belt and found success!

 In order to earn this belt, he not only had to display knowledge and proper use of kicks and punches (alone and in combinations), but he also had to master 3 separate “forms”, spar with a peer and break a wooden board with nothing other than a well-delivered side kick. Since his “breaking” kicks have not been extremely consistent, I have been a slight bit worried for a couple of weeks, but Ethan focused well and kicked right through the board!

Hooray for Ethan; another accomplishment forged through hard work!

Ethan testing for Purple Belt

Ethan testing for Purple Belt

Posted by Leigh, filed under Asperger's Syndrome, Family. Date: February 1, 2010, 10:00 pm | No Comments »

Well–it is official!

Starting on Wednesday, you’ll be able to regularly read my ramblings on the Dallas Moms Blog via the Dallas Morning News website. My posts will pertain to parenting a child with special needs; especially mothering a certain charming little boy with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Please tune in when you’re able and leave a comment when you feel so moved! Posts will go live every Wednesday at noon, but you can take a look and comment whenever you have a few moments throughout the week. You can even follow the Dallas Moms on Facebook and Twitter.

I had the pleasure of meeting many of the other Dallas Moms and the gracious and talented Editor of the Blog–Nancy Churnin, last night; what an amazing goup of women! I feel truly honored to be among such great company. I’m looking forward to learning a great deal and hope you’ll come along for the ride!


Posted by Leigh, filed under Asperger's Syndrome, Family. Date: January 23, 2010, 11:17 pm | 2 Comments »

15  Jan
Can you Duet?

There have been numerous times over the past few years that Ethan has requested that Greg or I be silent in the car while he joyfully sings along to our music selection, whether it be Jack Johnson, The Eagles or James Taylor. Usually we allow him to assert some control, but help him ask in a mannerful way.  However there are other times we make Ethan endure our singing along with his and the musician’s to help teach him that he cannot control every situation and always manipulate circumstances to his personal preferences. Just a few days ago I was wondering to myself if Ethan would ever get to the point that he would WANT someone else to sing with him. Today he unexpectedly requested that I sing a duet with him in the car!

Ever seen the Disney movie Bolt? The two main characters are voiced by Miley Cyrus and John Travolta and the theme song, “I Thought I Lost You,”  is pretty catchy. There are only two songs with lyrics on the soundtrack; all the others are instrumentals which Ethan likes because he can visualize exactly with which part of the movie the music correlates. Ethan has been absolutely stuck on “I Thought I Lost You” for about 2 weeks now…singing or humming it constantly. The humming and singing is common for him, but he usually switches up the songs. This afternoon I was very surprised and encouraged when he asked me to sing Miley’s lines and he belted out John’s; especially since I was thinking to myself not that long ago that it was something “we” would have to work on. Smart little guy–he worked it out himself! 

It may not seem like much to anyone looking in from outside, but I consider this self-initiated growth and progress such a gift.

Hooray Ethan!

Posted by Leigh, filed under Asperger's Syndrome, Family. Date: January 15, 2010, 2:22 am | No Comments »

Dear Readers,

A piece I wrote about Ethan, Asperger’s Syndrome, Family and Finances just went live today on the “Dallas Moms Blog” at the Dallas Morning News website! Check it out here.

As always, thanks for reading.

Posted by Leigh, filed under Asperger's Syndrome, Family. Date: January 13, 2010, 2:31 pm | No Comments »

It truly doesn’t seem possible that 2009 can already be a thing of the past and that 2010 is here, four days into it, nonetheless! Does it?

Over the years, I’ve made New Year resolutions; some I’ve kept and some I haven’t…this year I hope to really give each one the attention it deserves. I figure if I post my resolutions here, for all to see–all of my friends, family, colleagues and other readers can help hold me accountable! Are you in? (Feel free to post your resolutions in the comments if you are so inclined; I’ll help hold you accountable, too!)

Resolution #1: This resolution involves keeping a strict food journal for Ethan to try to detect food intolerances (via health and behavior trends) we may have missed over the past 3 years on our journey with Asperger’s Syndrome; Ethan had a tough fall at school (100% included in 1st grade) and I want to make sure we are doing everything we possibly can to help him on the home front! We’re also doing some blood testing through Dr. Rao to pinpoint any pesky food culprits (results due late this month), but keeping this journal is one sure-fire way I can feel in control and know that I really am doing all that I can to feed Ethan well according to what his body needs and does not. (For past blog posts regarding Ethan’s biomedical treatments, check my old posts!)

Resolution #2: I’m also going to rework our family diet to include more healthful, healing foods. (This really goes hand-in-hand with the resolution above, but will benefit Greg and myself, as much as Ethan!) Ever heard of Cooking to Heal? I saw Julie Matthews (Certified Nutrition Consultant) and and Suesson Ross Vess (Chef & Food Coach) present at the DAN!Conference in Dallas in October 2009. They were extremely inspiring and motovational. My mom and dad ordered the Cooking to Heal DVD and workbook for me as one of my Christmas gifts! What a true gift it will be for all of us (when it arrives, hopefully this week!) I already own Julie Matthew’s Nourishing Hope for Autism and Suesson Vess’ Special Eats: Simple Delicious Solutions for Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Cookingand plan to put all of them (plus the aresenal of other great cookbooks and guides I have to GF and GF/CF cooking) to good use in 2010.  So Dear Readers, If you’re interested in hearing how our dietary adventures go (think “Julie and Juliastyle) let me know!

Resolution #3: Put the oxygen mask on! Our wonderful Dr. Rao reminded me in December that if I don’t take care of myself, I won’t be able to take care of Ethan the way I wish to care for him…Dr. Rao said that when he first heard that air passengers seated next to small children should put their oxygen masks on first in the event of an emergency, he thought it was selfish. But after considering the consequences, he understood the need for adults to place masks on first so that they can stay conscious long enough to meet the needs of the children seated next to them. So, with this analogy in mind, I plan to give my dietary and supplement regimen more attention and refocus on my fitness and health. I’m really pretty great at meeting Ethan’s needs when it comes to supplements/medications/exercise, but I don’t focus on myself and my health has paid a costly price. Time to refocus!

Resolution #4: Write more, espcially material for kids. In the past several years, I have been blessed with a growing freelance business and I am truly grateful and thankful for each opportunity and all that I have learned. While I hope to continue to build my editing/freelance writing business, I also want to dedicate a larger portion of my writing time to pursuing my Children’s writing. I’m sure this will involve continued involvement in my wonderful local SCBWI chapter, but I also know that I need to take a step back from leadership roles this year to allow myself to fully benefit from all of the opportunities NC/NE Texas SCBWI has to offer in 2010.

Here’s to bringing in the New Year with a healthful, prosperous focus.

Welcome 2010!

Posted by Leigh, filed under Asperger's Syndrome, Children's Writing, Family. Date: January 4, 2010, 12:24 pm | 6 Comments »

07  Sep
Lord of a Cairus

Ethan’s school nurse called last week to let me know that he had been in to see her when he started coughing in PE and kept coughing after. He loves our school nurse and has often had very engaging conversations about health topics with her in the past.

So, when he arrived, he told her–in between coughs–that he thought he was getting “Lord-of-a-Cairus!”

Knowing Ethan, and intuitively the kind of woman who is good with kids, she probably replied, “Really, why do you think so?”

He shared that he was coughing a lot and his voice was scratchy. I’m quite certain that without missing a beat, she told him that it very well could be Laryngitis, so he should probably drink extra water and take it easy. After a couple of cups of water and a hug, she sent him on his way. I appreciated her call later in the afternoon to update me about the situation.

Lord-of-a-Cairus=Laryngitis. Only a wonderfully intuitive school nurse who loves kids would’ve known that!

Since then, Ethan’s Lord-of-a-Cairus has turned into a full-fledged cold with a runny nose and icky cough. Poor guy.

Posted by Leigh, filed under Family. Date: September 7, 2009, 5:00 pm | No Comments »

27  Aug
Back 2 School

How can time pass so quickly? It seems like not so long ago it broke my heart and made it swell with pride at the same time that I was dropping Ethan off for Friday Mother’s Day Out at our church. Now, he has successfully launched himself into First Grade, with only a quick, but sweet, glance back.

When preparing all of his school supplies the night before the big first day, Ethan asked if I could put napkin notes in his lunch again this year. Needless to say, I was touched. Of course I will put napkin notes in his lunches again! Then, on the second day of school after walking to campus through our neighborhood, we approached the school’s entrance and Ethan said, “It’s okay, Mom, I can go in by myself.” GULP! With a smile, a kiss and a hug, I sent him on his merry way but stayed to watch him dance along into the school. My heart nearly exploded when he stopped after the first glass door and turned to look at me. What could be better than sending off a flying kiss and receiving one back from a bright-eyed and happy boy with a super-sweet-first-grade-smile? Not much of anything can even compare.

I’m proud of my little guy. I know that he’s ready and confident. He is in good, kind, capable hands with the school’s staff.  With all my heart, and only a few tears, I wish him only the best in his First Grade Endeavors!

Ethan on the 1st day of 1st grade!

Ethan on the 1st day of 1st grade!

Posted by Leigh, filed under Family. Date: August 27, 2009, 1:10 pm | No Comments »

If you don’t already know, April is the official month to learn more about Autism. If you already know a lot, your job is to share! I can tell you that I’m already learning more through my friends and I wanted to take a moment to share, too.

This is the face of Autism in our family.
This is what “Autism” looks like.


Our journey with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome has been bumpy, but not hideous. We’ve met some amazing new people along the way (think teachers, doctors, therapists and of course friends.) Ethan has made wonderful gains and continues to do so on a weekly basis.

To what do I contribute these gains?

1) Love and Understanding: Ethan knows that he is loved and appreciated, even on his “bad” days, here and at school. When a child spends 40 hours a week with other people, it is comforting to know that he is respected and adored by his two primary teachers. (We love you Tresi & Sarah!) Plus, Ethan is a true love bug! We are constantly exchanging hugs, kisses and heart-felt I Love Yous. I personally can’t imagine loving one human more than I love Ethan.

2) Biomedical: Jenny McCarthy an Evan have brought new understanding to society in general about this important component of Ethan’s well-being and I am grateful. It just makes sense to me to look a child’s well-being from EVERY standpoint possible. Why would I treat Ethan’s behaviors alone without making sure that his body is absorbing the nutrients it needs and processing toxins appropriately? It is simple–I wouldn’t. Thanks to Dr. Seshagiri Rao, local Warrior Moms I’ve met along the way, and some amazing doctors/authors who have researched and pioneered the way for other biomedical families like us, we are on a good path with Ethan to maintain a healthy yeast balance in his system, to detoxify the nasty heavy metals plaguing his system, to keep his neurotransmitters at healthy levels and to be vigilant of all of his vitamin and nutrient levels. What a healthy kid we’re raising!

3) Gifted and Caring Therapists: We are quite blessed to have had two Occupational Therapists (OT) who really “get” Ethan and have helped him make tremendous gains with Sensory Processing and Self-Regulation. (Thanks Terra & Rashi!) Ethan also makes new progress each and every week he spends hours with friends and the wonderful Social Thinking Therapists  at Help, Hope, Solutions. Katie and Stephanie were meant to be with these kids and I am always amazed at the progress I see with Ethan in social situations.

4) Martial Arts: Thanks to a former Social Therapist’s (Tammy) recommendation for Ethan to start Tae Kwon Do, we’ve been “at it” since last June. Ethan has grown in leaps and bounds in regard to his mental focus, respect for peers and adults, eye contact, listening to directions and following through, balance and completing detailed sequences of punching and kicking alongside his peers. While it may have taken him longer than the average Joe, Ethan earned his Yellow Belt in March and is eager to test for his Green Belt already! I am thankful to Master Ahn for his dedication to all of his students, but especially kids like Ethan.

Ethan with his Yellow Belt and Belt Test Certificate
Ethan with his Yellow Belt and Belt Test Certificate


Autism is complex and the research is continually changing. For this reason, I am thankful that I love to read and feel passionate about doing whatever it takes to care for Ethan. Above all else, I want Ethan to be happy; not just as an adult, but NOW, too. As such I work to balance all that we do for Ethan while monitoring his state of mind. He IS happy and that’s why we continue to do all that we do, even though we have depleted our savings to keep him in private therapies, on special diets and on a multitude of necessary supplements. HE IS WORTH IT!

Please know that while I am 100% Ethan-focused and busy working two part-time jobs to help pay for Ethan-related expenses, I also love to answer questions and help those who come along my path. This blog alone has brought me a few new Autism friends and I welcome others. If you’re an old friend, or a stranger who found me thanks to Google, please let me know if you have any questions and I’d love it if you’ll simply leave a comment about Ethan, Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome this April.

Thanks for taking the time and effort to become more Autism-Aware this month!

Posted by Leigh, filed under Asperger's Syndrome, Family. Date: April 3, 2009, 10:24 am | 3 Comments »

I simply CAN’T belive that 2009 is here and that it has been a month and a half since my last entry! Time flies, especially when you’re working two jobs and trying to raise a sweet little man…

I’ve taken on a new freelance job which seems to eat up most of my computer time and any extra energy I have left after caring for Ethan and taking an occasional substituting job at his school. Preparing for Christmas also sucked the energy out of me and I’m still recovering, but oh-so-thankful for the blessings that we have been given.

As a way to say good-bye to 2008, I’d like to share some sweet pix of Ethan taken this past fall just before his 6th birthday.  Sixth! Six years. Seis! Can you tell I’m freakin’ out?

Ethan's Six Year Portraits
Ethan’s Six Year Portraits


More from Ethan's Six Year Portrait Session
More from Ethan’s Six Year Portrait Session




And a couple of silly pix…he is a pretty silly little guy for the most part!


What six year old doesn't love to have someone take pictures of his silly faces?
What six year old doesn’t love to have someone take pictures of his silly faces?



Posted by Leigh, filed under Family. Date: January 2, 2009, 12:58 pm | No Comments »

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