Thursday, January 31, 2008

One BUSY And Very Crazy Week

In the last week our People magazine article came out. A camera crew from 'Good Morning America' was here almost the whole day on Wednesday. The day before I was making calls to coordinate them going to Emma and Nephi's elementary school and talking to one of our Dr's at the Autism genetic study we've been involved in the past 10 months. We'll know tomorrow when the show will air next week, could be Monday or Wednesday--stay tuned here!

At last count, hold on a minute... let me check... we've had 96 individual emails, 30 blog comments, other Autistic parents have purchased 217 of our 'Autism t-shirts' (that's twice what we've had since we put them online last spring), on this blog people have looked at my profile 293 times and Mom's has been checked 454 times.

Most of the family has been sick with a lingering cold. Mary threw up two nights ago, I took Sarah to the Dr on Tuesday, Emma barfed at school Tuesday, Robin's voice will sound much lower and hoarse during the 'Good Morning America' interview, Sarah made it back to school today after a week and I had to go to Ammon's school today to take him home, because his nose started running like a faucet.

We got info on a different school that Sarah could attend since she will not be able to go to her 'Autism only' school here since I missed getting in the paperwork on time and the school only has half as many openings as Autistic children that need to get in.

We've now received calls from 3 different daytime shows that are talking with us about appearing in the near future. They all wish to remain anonymous (so don't ask) and we are determining which one will give us the most time and best exposure. Sure it's our 15 minutes of fame, but the main reason we decided to start all this about a year ago is threefold:

1) We want to educate this country about Autism, its ups and downs for the families and Mom's and Dad's and other general knowledge.

2) Increase the tolerance for Autism, where people will not assume someone is a bad parent just because their child(ren) are acting up. And especially cause them to pause before making any uninformed or ignorant comments.

3) Make the world aware that Autism is financially devastating for families. Find ways to have needed funds get into the parents hands for what they feel is best for their children. Be it treatments, interventions, diets or home needs. Our poll to the right shows most of the visitors here agree. Money spent now will decrease the money needed and the 'burden' on society required later when Mom and Dad are no longer there.

Then there was today. I was at Mary and Sarah's school to talk with their teacher about how they are doing. Mary, 3, (PDD-NOS) is doing pretty good and is at the worse just a year or so 'delayed'. Sarah, 6, (classic Autism) however worries us, her average 'age' is from 6 to 18 months. Many times she's look at us and get upset like she's trying to communicate and just can't. Like she's trying to get herself out and can't find the way. It's so hard and sad.
At two o'clock the Autism genetic study worker from the University of Utah came by to get blood samples from Mary. Yes, Mary. I was very concerned how she would react, it was her first needle poke. I held her in the recliner, Bobby held her arm steady and the worker put on the big rubber band thing. The whole time she was watching the whole thing and smiling brightly. We talked to her gently and then it came time for the stick... nothing. She continued to smile and watched as he took six small vials of blood. "Look at the little blue butterfly on your arm Mary", I told her. It must of helped that she has seen this worker come to our house many times over the months AND his technique was perfection. Took it out, put the stretchy bandage on she wanted a bottle and she was on her way. To say the least I was quite surprised. When we did Ammon last year it took THREE adults to hold him down.

Our Schwanns delivery driver, Mike, came by about 4. This is one of the prizes we won when Robin won the 'Busy Mom' contest last year. Then Robin went to Cub Scouts for the running of the Pinewood Derby.

To top off the day, the three youngest got their SSI payments shorted AGAIN, second month in a row. I've written and left phone messages. Guess I'll have to go in and see if I can get things straighten out.

Here are some of the comments on emails sent to us that touched our hearts.

"...I love your tee shirts...when ricky was little his actions drew a lot of know what i mean.We could have used one of those shirts!..."

"...The "gentleman" said "Some people need to learn to control their children." At that point I turn(ed) politely to him and replied, "He is Autistic." He then said (rudely), "How was I supposed to know that? It's not like he's wearing a sign..."

"...You both are truly a blessing from God to both have bared these children and raise them in such an amazing and loving way ! God Bless you Both... God Bless you ALL !!"

"...Please know that just by word of mouth about the internet and websites I am for sure that your foundation will get off on the right foot!! We all need some support from some where..."

"...I cried as I read your story. Your family is beautiful!"

"...I am going to put the photo of John hugging Ammon up in my kitchen so I can see it everyday..."

"...I have read the article written in the People magazine, and I hope it will show some in light on people who do not understand the many forms of Autism."

"...I read and re-read and re-re-read the article in People magazine and the more I read, the more awe-struck I became. You and your family are truly the example of dedication, love and preseverance. Your strength and outlook on life amaze and inspire me..."

To Emma: "...You are a very fine artist! We would like to buy a piece of your art for my room to add to my collection. Would you consider selling us a piece?" (Emma says yes)

"...I will be watching you site and hope the non-profit gets started--we all need it..."

"...Your article was reassuring because it reminded us we aren't alone out there..."

"...Like your kids, our Peter has no friends...and thank goodness he has his siblings. Both my husband and I have felt so much despair in our lives, and thank goodness we have each other..."

"...We read the article in People magazine and my mom started crying because she thought having one autistic son was difficult. My mom has been deppressed about our situation lately but now you guys have inspired us to look at the brighter view. thank you!"

Our thanks to all, now do keep those cards and letters coming!


Friday, January 25, 2008

Kirton Family Featured In People Magazine Article

Today our long expected article about our family has hit the news stands. Sharon Cotliar, our reporter, originally called me 2-3 days after our local paper had an article about us. That was in June 2007. She visited with our family for 3 days the week of July the 10th.

In between then and December, when our photographer Ken stayed for 3 days, she would check in with us and assure us that even with various delays they were still very interested in our story.

We are VERY happy with the story and pictures. Sharon has captured us and our situation to perfection. Because of her limited space she cannot go into as many details as she would have liked, soooooooo I thought I fill in a bit more here.

First, any questions you have, please put them here. I will be compiling them to create a FAQ section on the main website:

The t-shirt Ammon is wearing on page 91 is of our own design, Robin did the face and I put the words with the face. We have a total of 30 different combinations. (See link for t-shirts to the left). We hope that by having our story told that we can:

1) increase the awareness and understanding of Autism.
2) from our example (we know we're not perfect) that it can give hope to other parents struggling with their marriage and children.
3) jump start our efforts to create our AutismBites Foundation. The goal is to help put funds directly into parents hands for whatever, without a lot of red tape and hoops to jump through.
4) since a lot celebrities read People also, we're hoping some will step forward to help with our fund raising efforts for the AutismBites Foundation.

Well, got to go, four of the children have been sick this week and now Robin is not feeling well. We'll do our best to update this blog and add addition info to the website that my sister-in-law is helping me with.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pampers Diapers: They Really Work Best For Us

A very nice lady, Andrea, sent us coupons for us to try some various Pampers products. We go through a LOT of diapers. Ask anyone who visits the house what's the first thing they see when the come to the door. The diaper trash container next to the steps. Which only takes two days to be completely overflowing. Anyway here are Mom's comments and experiences with the Pampers:

"We wanted to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the free products we've been given. First, we were sent a box of night time diapers, or Pull Ups. We have bought them in the past, but since none of our autistic diaper wearing children, Sarah, 6, Ammon, 4, and Mary, 3, are potty training yet, they weren't something that worked out the best for us at this time. However, our 3 year old is higher functioning, and is getting closer to being potty trained. She lets us know when she messed up her pants right away. And, Mary loved the characters on them, Dora and Diego, so of course, we put them on her until they were gone because she happily insisted.

You recently sent us coupons for 3 free packages of any jumbo sized Pampers diapers and a free tub of wipes. I haven't opened up the tub to use it yet, but I will soon. I got the lavender scented ones. I also got 3 packages of size 6 Pampers Cruisers, and again, we've bought them in the past. So, we were especially excited to get more of the brand we love! Pampers Cruisers are our favorite. We really like how the side straps are so stretchy. And, the whole top is very roomy. It also smells really good, has a very sanitary smell to it, and it totally minimizes the odor when they urinate in it. The filling is also very absorbent, it's truly amazing how much it can hold! Sometimes they pee a lot at once, and other times, we get distracted and kind of forget to check for a few hours--we usually check about every two hours. But, for those times that we don't check their pants as often as usual, their clothes are usually still dry, as in, they usually haven't peed out of the diaper and onto their clothes.

We used to buy Huggies, but realized how much better Pampers is. I used to like Luvs, but the top hardly fit around their waists and their sticky taps didn't stretch either, argh! The cheap brands I've tried droop really bad when they pee, aren't absorbent, leak a lot, I have to put duct tape over the tabs to try and keep them in place, and the smell of their padding when mixed with the pee doesn't minimize the odor at all, yuck!

Yeah, Pampers is by far the best diapers out there! So thank you once again for extending such kindness to us. I like how you are the only company that has size 7 diapers too! Only certain stores carry them though, and I'm surprised Walmart doesn't. I go there the most often because of the prices, I would really like to see size 7 Pampers Cruisers at Walmart."


Friday, January 18, 2008

Autism Music Video to Raise Funds

Our friend, Linda, at Sen. Orrin Hatch's office sent us this video. Every little bit helps:

I strongly Urge you to watch the music video below. In doing so, not only will you help to fund autism research, but you may just learn something. The 4 minutes it takes to view the video could have monumental and everlasting effects in the lives of thousands of children! Go ahead, Do your good deed for the day.

The band Five for Fighting is generously donating $0.40 to Autism Speaks for *each time* the video is viewed. The funding goes toward research studies to help find a cure. When you have a moment, please visit the link below to watch the video and pass it along to your friends and family. They are aiming for 10,000 hit, but hopefully we can help them to surpass this goal.

If the link doesn't work, copy and paste.

Please remember to forward this to everyone you know so they can join in and help those in need.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Dad Starts New Career - Voice Over Talent

For many, many years I've been told that I have a great sounding voice. Hear my voice here. (see link in lower right side)

When I around 19 I was part of a church youth group that was visiting a radio station. Our guide had each of us do a small recording to see what we sounded like. After listening to mine he said I should look into being on the radio.

At another youth group meeting we were going to be singing Christmas carols to seniors at a nursing home. We needed a piano and the leader said there was a older woman downstairs in his apartment complex that said we could use hers. So we were soon gathered around trying our best to be ready to entertain later that night. The woman, who looked 90, was listening closely. When we were getting ready to leave she took me aside and said that I had a terrific bass voice that reminded her of a famous bass she knew when she was young. She suggested that I take lesson to use my talent.

I thanked her for her kind comments and left with my group. When we got back to our leaders place he asked me, "Do you know who she (the old lady) is?" I didn't. "She's (I forgot the name), she was a very well known soprano opera singer in the 1930's" He also went on to relate that she was THE main act at Carnegie Hall several times. "She KNOWS what she's talking about, she gave you a great compliment."

Then I've had friends and aquantices over the years tell me similar things. At church the Sunday school teacher always wants me to read the scripture verses. "I just love the sound of your voice" is her typical excuse. I don't mind, I love the compliments and I agree. I too like the sound of my voice.

But, until last August I never did anything about it. I checked into singing lessons or voice over training in the past but the costs were always more then I could afford. However, with our family needs and the help that Mom needs with the children I felt the time was right for some changes. I found a company, Such A Voice, that I could finally afford the basic package, on the Internet.

So, I'm now ready to embark on this new career. Currently I'm still looking for a regular J.O.B. to fill our basic needs until I can do this full time. I'm looking forward to getting the equipment needed to have a in-home studio (when I can put aside $700). This will give me the flexibility to earn a living, have true fun doing it and be here for my wife and kids. Got a need for a great bass voice? Email me at: autism_bites at yahoo dot com. Thanks!


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Thanks to Our Many Sub Santa's

This was the best Christmas our children have ever had (and Mom and Dad did pretty good too) as you can see from this picture around our 'tree'. To explain the tree, we haven't been able to have a regular tree for at least 3 years now because Ammon (4) and Sarah (6) lose the ornaments, strip off the lights and knock over the tree. A nice friend from church painted the 'tree' you see.
Our Santa subs were our state, Division of Service for People with Disabilities. Another was a Credit Union, a car dealership and an individual family. The family's help, spearheaded by a Mom and daughter team (Rhonda and Lacey) just went crazy doing and giving for us. It didn't all start at once, but it just snowballed and hit us right at Christmas.
We have been blessed and we pray for God's blessings to be upon all those who brought us so much joy and the spirit of receiving at the end of this very heart wrenching and tiring year.
Dad and Mom