I was thrilled when Hartley asked me to review “Autistic Like: Graham’s Story” by Erik Lindhorst. I’ve been wanting to see the film for a while since their story is so relatable to our personal journey. Erik and Jennie Linthorst are parents to Graham, a boy diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. This film is an honest look at the struggle parents have throughout the diagnostic process and early years.
When Graham was about a year old, Erik and Jennie began to notice some differences in Graham’s development. For example, he would fixate on lines and floor patterns. When Jennie takes Graham in for his 15 month well check, she mentions this to the pediatrician and Graham is tentatively diagnosed with Autism. The Lindhorsts journey begins, and we are along for the ride.
Graham begins ABA therapy, and while Erik and Jennie see improvement, they don’t feel the therapy is quite the right fit. They see Graham doing what he is coached to do, but not really making connections to people. During one of those one-off parenting moments, Erik has an idea and does something to connect with his son, and they have their breakthrough moment. (I really don’t want to tell you all what it is, but trust me when I say it is touching and funny! You just have to watch it yourself.)
After the breakthrough moment, the Lindhorsts really begin to trust their parental gut and seek other therapy options for Graham. During the process they find out about Floortime, and they also get a more accurate diagnosis for Graham–Sensory Processing Disorder. The research begins in earnest, and Erik and Jennie begin to see Graham make those connections they knew he was capable of making.
I won’t go into too much detail of the overall movie (I don’t want to ruin it for any of you!) but I do want to touch on the things my husband and I talked about most. We were both blown away by how universal the journey is. All parents research, obsess, lose sleep, feel exhausted, become overwhelmed, and Erik and Jennie are no exception. I was moved to tears when Jennie comments about how exhausting it is to be a parent to a special kid on a simple play date at the park. Not knowing who to trust is another universal truth, and as parents we just have to trust our instincts and keep searching. …continue reading
I was so excited to have the opportunity to review DreamCatcher Blankets! This is an amazing company that makes custom weighted blankets and other weighted products. One of my favorite things about the company is that it was founded by the parents of a child with Autism. When Eileen and J.C. Jackson’s nine-year-old son STILL wasn’t sleeping through the night, they began looking for a weighted blanket at the recommendation of their Occupational Therapist. When they didn’t find anything that met their demands for high quality and affordibility, they made their own. And from there, their company was born! It’s their desire to provide high-quality, affordable, attractive weighted blankets to special needs families. They have put a lot of research into their materials and methods–their website is full of helpful FAQs and links to studies about the effectiveness of weighted blankets.
Their story spoke to me. My nine-year-old daughter does not sleep through the night either. Squirrel often lays in bed for an hour or more every night, trying to fall asleep. She wakes up two or three times on a good night (more on a not-so-good night!) and sometimes cannot fall back asleep for an hour. Between her sensory issues, her anxiety, and her OCD, her thoughts often take over and make her very tense and agitated. Then she just cannot stop thinking to fall asleep! Needless to say, this makes mornings very hard for her. She’s short-tempered, and she often dozes off in school because she’s just exhausted. After reading the success stories on the company’s website, I was anxious to see if a DreamCatcher weighted blanket would help her as well.
Our 12-pound cotton and fleece blanket arrived just five days after shipping. It has a colorful, “grown-up,” girly print on the front, which Squirrel loves. The fleece and the satin binding are perfect for her tactile needs–she strongly dislikes anything stiff, itchy, or rough, so the soft blanket is just right for her!
(By the way, DreamCatcher has a huge selection of fabrics to choose from if you want to custom-order your blanket. They also have an in-stock inventory to choose from, which ours came from. It’s very important that you make sure any blanket you use is the right weight for your child. To determine what size/weight would be right for you child, please check with your child’s Occupational Therapist. Squirrel craves deep, strong pressure, so our OT said a 10-12 pounder was right for her–that’s twice the recommended weight for her frame.) …continue reading