Friday, September 20, 2013


Ashton has this new obsession with watching You Tube videos of people opening eggs with toys inside.

For example:

Apparently this is a "thing" people do.  This particular video has 2,411,389 views!  Seriously?  I don't get it, but he absolutely loves these videos so much he acts them out. hehe

Has anyone else heard of this?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Make A Difference!

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."

-Loren Eiseley

Our Story!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Thank You!

I am still in shock and awe from the events of today.  We got the amazing opportunity to meet some truly fantastic individuals and are so utterly and thoroughly thankful!  Our fence is up!  Not only that but they built the kids a swing set, repaired our deck, sprayed our yard for bugs and so much more. There is far too much to be thankful for today! =)

I would first and foremost I would like the thank God, I know so cliche...right?!  Seriously though, with Him nothing is impossible and anything is possible!  His master plan orchestrated all of this!  So...Thank you very much for holding Ashton in your hand and for always placing your strongest and quickest angels around him. Thank you for touching hearts and allowing all of this to work out perfectly.  Thank you for giving all those who helped today the strength to do so!  Thank you for loving Ashton even more than I do (which is more than I could even express).  Thank you for everything!

Next up would have to be Jessica Toney!  From the time we initially spoke on the phone I felt like we had a special connection.  You truly are an amazing woman whose compassion, sacrifice, hard-work, dedication and pure awesomeness set you apart.  You surprised me at nearly every turn through this process, exceeding my hopes and dreams for this project.  I am still in complete awe.  You have taught me so much!  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart....THANK YOU!  PS. I am so glad that Ashton gave you a hug!  If anyone deserved that, it was YOU!

To the Home Depot team leaders and volunteers, you guys are utterly and truly amazing!  To take time out of your busy schedules to come and help do all that you did today means so much to me and my family! Your skill and hard-work made all the difference today!  Dan, thank you for your GREAT idea to install the fence panels the way we did!  That was perfect!  Lionel, Thank you for the swing set idea!  I know you put your heart into it, we appreciate that so much!  As you saw, the kids LOVE it!  I could go on and on about each and every single one of you.  Thank you so much for everything.  You have really touched our hearts and have created memories that will be with us forever!  Today we laughed and had a great time and hope that you did too, you are truly an amazing group of people.  I can honestly say that it was an absolute pleasure to meet each and every single one of you.  Ashland Home Depot is lucky to have such an amazing leader and team!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Rachel Reynolds, thank you so much for all you did to help with the grant application and paperwork.  You were a very important part of making this happen and we really truly appreciate all you did in this entire arduous process. You have done an amazing job with the school since you took over and this just goes to show that you are more than willing to go above and beyond and that means more to me than you will ever know!  Thank you, Rachel!

To the family and friends that came and helped today, Thank you!  Your support and help means so much!  We are really lucky to have such amazing family and friends.  I know you each love Ashton (and Kayleigh) and it warms my heart to see that love in the hard work that you did today.  We love you each so much, THANK YOU!

Thank you to those who were unable to be there but have been there through prayer and support during the last several months, you know who you are!  A special thank you to Sheri, I could tell that this was something close to your heart.  Thank you for that, it really means a lot!

Please stay tuned for pictures! Here is a teaser...

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Grandparents Day!

My kids are so blessed to have such an awesome Grandma, this post is for my mom!  My mom is a superhero without a cape!  She does so much for everyone around her without expecting anything in return.   

Kayleigh is really developing a special relationship with her and it makes me so happy (most of the time). When she cries when it's time to come home, it makes me sad a little. ;)

Ashton also loves his grandma so much he is often found stalking her house on Google maps on his Ipad. Anytime we go anywhere he asks for "Grandma's House" so we usually have to prepare him in advance if that is not where we are going.  He will still get mad when we take a "wrong turn" (any turn that doesn't lead to her house).

Thank you, Mom for being the best Mom and Grandma my kids could ever hope for!

A Fence For Ashton

Ashton absolutely loves being outside.  Due to the location of our home (surrounded by woods, lakes and curvy roads), the only time he is outside in nature is going to and from the car when we go places - which isn't very often, to be honest.  I hate that he can't go outside to play and explore like other kids.  Ashton elopes, just like 50% of other kids on the autism spectrum.  What that basically means for him, is that he will wander (run) away from a safe environment without caution or awareness of danger.  He has pulled away from us and ran down the middle of the road, he has gotten out of school and our home on multiple occasions once he has timed and planned each perfect escape.  He has walked into a random house, nearly been hit by a car and more.  The danger of wandering is very scary which is why we limit going places and being outside.  He does have a fenced in yard and playground at school, which he ADORES.  The playground is so motivating for him that it is one of the first things he verbally asked for when he began to talk.  "Playground" became "I want playground" which evolved into "Follow me to the playground, please" which is what he said to his daddy last week during the open house at Kayleigh's school.

In May of this year, Jon and I began actively perusing fencing our yard to give Ashton the opportunity to play outside.  We had just received our tax refund and thought it would be the perfect time.  We began collecting bids from fencing companies and people we know in the construction business.  The first bid we received was from a guy that I knew from working in property management, he would be doing it on the side so I thought it would be affordable.  I was shocked when the estimate came back at $4,500.  The other two bids we got were even more than that!  YIKES! 

Not only was the $4,500 way more that what we thought it would be but it was more than we had.  We are not monetarily wealthy by any means, raising children with special needs is a very expensive task and siphons away any and all "extra" money!  We ended up again experiencing this the first week of June when Ashton was hospitalized for a few days again due to his "wonderful" gastrointestinal issues. Away went the cushion of "extra funds".

With all that being said, to be perfectly honest, I am one of those people who do for themselves and find it extremely hard to ask for or accept help even when I really need it.  When a friend suggested asking for donations it was really hard for me to even think of it as an option but the way that she phrased it made me really think.  She said "Allow people to directly help a child with Autism".  All of a sudden a realization came to me that people love to help, people get joy from helping.  I have been stealing joy by not giving people the opportunity to help in a situation like this where my own pride is keeping Ashton from playing outside.  MY OWN PRIDE!  That really sunk in.  OK God, I get it! 

I set up a website for donations, Facebook and Twitter pages for awareness.  I also got some great ideas for allowing local businesses to help.  I thought about Home Depot and the role they played in the recent "Light It Up Blue"campaign for Autism Awareness Month in April.  I decided to email the local Home Depot.  I called and got the email address for the manager, Jessica.  The following is the email I sent:
Hi Jessica, 
Good evening, I was told you are the perfect person I need to speak with.  I understand that Home Depot is known for its charitable work and volunteer programs within the community.  I am also aware that your company was very involved with the “Light It Up Blue” campaign with Autism Speaks in April of this year which brings me to why I am contacting you. 
To make a long story short my 6 year old son, Ashton, has autism and exhibits severe eloping behaviors.  A fenced yard would mean the world to our family and to Ashton.  Currently he is unable to play outside like other children his age (unless he is at school or at my mom’s house, both areas are fenced).  At any moment no matter how “supervised” he is, he could bolt (and does) and from experience it takes every ounce of strength from my 6ft 2in husband to catch up to him if he gets away.  Our house is locked down like Fort Knox and we also participate in the project lifesaver program to dull the constant worry although it does not take the place of having a safe place for my son to play.  If we are in a situation outside of the home, he must hold an adults hand which leaves very little freedom for my awesome boy to develop and grow by playing outside and develop his sense of self.  My husband and I are trying to raise money to purchase a fence for our backyard.  
Please feel free to visit for more information about my son, the importance of a fence and our unique situation.  Please let me know if this is something that Home Depot would be interested in getting involved with. 
Thank you so much for your time.
I was honestly not really expecting much. I was hoping for maybe a discount on materials or something, but the response I received was awe inspiring I got an email back that evening stating that she would look into what they were able to do and that Ashton touched her heart. She told me she would contact me in about a week. She called me a week later and told me that not only were they going to be completely covering the costs of the materials, but were going to be recruiting volunteers from three Home Depot locations to help build the fence. WHAT? Seriously? How awesome is that? The Home Depot team came out a few weeks later to meet Ashton and take some measurements. They brought him his very own Home Depot apron!

I am sorry but if this entire situation didn't teach me something, I don't know what will.  This whole process has been extremely humbling and amazing!  There has been some red tape and planning but the official date of the fence build is this Friday September 13, 2013!  We are extremely excited!  Stay tuned for pictures and updates!

P.S. If you need anything for your own home improvement projects, check Home Depot first!  They have our continued loyalty and I hope they have yours!  They really do care!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Friendship is Magic!

On Friday we said goodbye to Ashton's preschool teachers.  These six ladies are amazingly wonderful and have built such great rapport with Ashton that he has personally named each teacher after one of his very favorite cartoon characters.  

I think Jon may kill me for this, but Ashton adores My Little Ponies.  It is neat for me, as a mother, to watch my kids take the same joy in something that I did when I was their age.  Albeit, they look quite a bit more awesome now!

What is more age appropriate, then using your imagination to name your teachers your favorite cartoon characters?  This makes me so happy on so many levels!  He basically began calling his teachers by their new My Little Pony names and at first they were not sure what he was referring to until one of them made the connection.  On a side note, I do think they are all happy with the names that were chosen for them.  On his farewell poster, each teacher put their corresponding My Little Pony sticker on their picture.  It was a really cute gesture.  I am so grateful that Ashton got to work with such amazing ladies, we are really going to miss them (except Ms. Emily - we will see you in two weeks!). =)



Friday, August 16, 2013

Autism and Wandering

In July 2009 (Ashton was 2 ½) we got Ashton’s official autism diagnosis from a highly knowledgeable well known specialist in the field of autism.  After asking us endless questions and handing Ashton a puzzle that he quickly completed.  It went a little something like this, “Your son has autism he falls in the middle of the “spectrum”, get him into a class for kids with autism.  Have a good day”.  You know how people say that parenthood doesn't come with a “how to” book.  Well apparently autism parenting doesn't either.  I had no clue what to do.  Jon was still in the denial stage of the diagnosis so I felt like I had no support.   
 I clearly remember a conversation I had with a friend of mine from high school shortly after that day.  I wanted to reach out to someone who knew what I was in for.  She told me a story about how her son (who also has autism) got out of the house while she was in the kitchen and he was in the living room.  She went through the terrifying story and I felt so horrible for her.  She warned me, be careful!  I had no clue that it was nearly as common as it is.  I thought this was a single incident.  I wish I would have paid more attention and took heed to the warning.  I thought: “Ashton would never do something like that, I am glad I don’t have to deal with that.”  Being that Ashton was only 2 ½, I didn't see a big difference between him and typical kids his age.  I always had his hand in public and at the house he wasn't quite tall enough to start messing with the doors or coordinated enough to make a quick escape.  If it was something I had to worry about you would think the pediatrician would have mentioned it, right?
About 6-8 months later, Ashton began school in the local school system.  I will never forget when I met my now best friend (another autism mom) and she asked me the following question “What do you do to keep Ashton safe?”  I don’t remember how I responded exactly but I went through what little we were doing as we really didn’t have any reason to think of doing more.  We “child proofed” our house wasn’t that enough?  She mentioned Project Lifesaver to me and how her son participated in the program.  She even gave me the contact information for the deputy to get Ashton enrolled.  I am very embarrassed to admit the following thought ever even crossed my mind: “Ashton already has enough going against him right now, that is the last thing we need….something on his wrist or ankle that further sets him apart from all the other kids”.  Can I please get a time machine just to punch myself in the face?  I still did not realize why it was so important or how prevalent elopement was in kids with autism or honestly what it was exactly.
Spring/Summer of 2011 we started having brief elopement incidents.  Ashton was 4 years old and his problem solving skills were evolving.  He learned how to operate the child safety locks on cabinets, how to take off the door knob covers, how to unlock the front door.  He hadn't quite mastered sneaking so he unlocked and opened the door right in front of Jon and I.  He bolted so quickly down the stairs, I was shocked.   Jon chased him down and caught up with Ashton half way down the street at which point Ashton was cracking up running down the middle of the road.  Not funny buddy, not funny at all.  “You have to stay with mommy and daddy” we said very firmly.  That was our first real scare.  We quickly got a door knob cover for the front door.  We had always thankfully been right there when he attempted to get away from us.  He would pull his hand out of our grasp and try to run or would take advantage of anytime the door was not locked (taking out the trash etc.)  When school started the 2011-2012 school year, I called an IEP meeting making sure that everyone was aware of the new side of Ashton.  Especially due to the fact he had a brand new teacher and new principal.  He already had a one to one aide written in his IEP, but he had grown so crafty.  I wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page and that a plan was in place due to his new found love of attempting to escape from safe environments.  At that point I started looking up more information on project lifesaver and got the contact information for our county again.  I still had not made the call. 
Not until September 28th, read about it here: What Is The Worst Phone Call You Have Received?.  Almost exactly one month later an event that rocked our community made me so thankful I decided to make that call - the story of Robert Wood Jr.   Robbie had gone to Ashton’s school.  His younger brother was in Ashton’s class.  I followed the story wondering how on earth I could live with myself if that was Ashton.  Project lifesaver participation jumped dramatically in our county the following days and weeks.  This story had a wonderfully miraculous ending however the majority of wandering incidents do not.  This year alone, at least 14 children with autism have perished after eloping from a care giver and in the past four years wandering lead to the death of at least 60 children. 
The relationship between autism and elopement was not, for the longest time, in the forefront of conversations about autism.  When something affects close to 50% (according to research published last year in the journal Pediatrics) of such a large group of people (according to a federal survey this year the prevalence rate of autism is up to one in every 50 school age children) you would think it would be highly publicized and known.  I was so glad to see the ABC News story this week, that covers the topic of autism and wandering.  Therapy and education are important for those on the spectrum but safety and safety education - awareness should be the #1 priority. 
The National Autism Association are doing a great job bringing this topic to light and providing a much needed resource for parents, caregivers and first responders.  Visit the site dedicated to autism safety at and their main site at

Saturday, July 20, 2013

When fear comes to life, it feels like a dream...a very bad dream.

I woke up this morning to the sounds of the kids bustling around the house.  Jon had tried his best to let me sleep in.  We had decided we were going to have a nice lazy day, one with no schedules.  The last few weekends have been busy and full of planned activities.  Today was going to be different, relaxing.  God knows we needed it.  The kids were already fed, so I ate some cereal as Kayleigh and I cuddled in bed to watch some My Little Pony episodes while the laundry washed.  Ashton was going from room to room stopping to do something of interest then moving on leaving his typical trail of humming and other random noises echoing in his wake.

Jon came in and said he was going to mow the lawn.  "Please make sure you lock all the doors so Ashton doesn't get out" I say automatically.  I knew he would lock everything like he always does, but something makes me say it anyway.  "I will, I always do" he replies to reassure me, somewhat mockingly.  Through the years we have stepped up our game as Ashton's problem solving skills evolved.  We went from a general child safety knob cover to a more sophisticated knob cover and chain to our current double sided keyed lock and chain lock.  The sliding glass door has a door lock, bar lock with key, and a piece of wood tightly in the bottom as an extra measure.  When we are both home the chain is kept locked as well as the main lock of course.  When one of us runs out for a bit, we typically haven't been locking the chain lock due to the pain of letting the other person back in the house.  We felt safe having the double sided lock on the front door, as safe as you can feel when you have a child that likes to bolt given the opportunity.  

After the grass was trimmed, Jon came in, showered and offered to go get some pizza if I called in the order.  I called the local Italian pizza place at 12:58pm.  They said our order would take 30 minutes, so Jon left between 1:15-1:20 to get the pizza.  I heard him leave, I heard the lock mechanism lock after he shut the door.  I wanted to take a shower as I was still in my pajamas, but decided to wait until he got back.  Ashton, Kayleigh and I were back cuddling enjoying our relaxing day when Ashton decided he was tired of cuddling.  He heard the door close and bolted from the bed when the door shut, he likes to watch Jon leave from the window.  I didn't think anything of it when he left the bedroom for the living room humming along the way.  He came back in and grabbed the iPad and ran back out of the room a moment or two later.  A couple minutes later I got up to use the bathroom, I left the door open as I always do listening for anything that needs my attention.  

When I was done, I sat back down beside Kayleigh and noticed something that I don't notice very often.....quiet.  No humming, no stomping, no singing, no crashing....NOTHING besides the TV.  This was not normal...the soundtrack of our lives is a cacophony of noises, sounds, vocalizations, singing, reciting lines from favorite movies but never ever quiet.  Quiet spawns panic.  I briskly walk out of the bedroom to check on Ashton.  I call his response.  The eerie quiet sustained.  I look to the left and my heart dropped as I spy the front door ajar with MY set of keys dangling from the double sided lock.  The dream state felt like my feet were in cement.  The air was thick with dread.  All I could hear was the sound of my heart beating...quickly beating faster and faster.  The thoughts, the terrible thoughts and feelings of guilt began to barrage me.  I felt the stomach acid rise to the back of my throat.  All the "what if's" began attacking me.... What if he gets hit by a car?  What if he wanders into the woods?  What is he wearing? I think to myself.  Grey.....this is not good...not good at all.    

As quickly as I could, I ran outside to see if I could see him.  I yell his name a few times at the top of my lungs "ASHTON" and listen for any sort of response, any rustling of leaves, any humming any noise.  NOTHING....not a sound.  I couldn't even hear the normal sounds of nature, I was in a glass bubble.  I immediately think about the pond that is less than 100 yards from our house.  I ran back in and grabbed my phone and told Kayleigh to sit on the bed and not to move.  I run back outside forgoing shoes "AAASSSSHHHHTTTTOOOONNNN"  I yell again with terror laced in each syllable as I see my neighbor Christy rushing over.  She yells, "what's going on?".  "Ashton GOT OUT" I reply quickly.  She bravely says "I will stay with Kayleigh, you GO".  I resumed yelling "ASHTON" at the top of my lungs as I attempted to dial 911 from my cell phone.  In this dream like state, I found it hard to think straight.

Before I am even able to physically hit "send" I hear a reply yell..."I HAVE HIM, HE IS SAFE" a female voice responds then quickly recites her address.  "ACROSS THE STREET, I HAVE HIM, I called the sheriff" she yells as I dreamily follow the voice across the street and down her driveway, the gravel cutting into my feet.  As soon as the trees clear, I see him beside her standing there as if nothing happened.  He glances up at the sky squinting his eyes then focuses his eyes on me for a brief second. My phone rang just then at 1:29pm, I briefly looked down at my phone and didn't recognize the number.  I wasn't thinking that it could be the Sherriffs office, I wasn't thinking straight at all.  All I was thinking was "there is my boy, my heart, my life...SAFE."  I didn't answer the phone, I ran up to Ashton.  I try to quickly explain as I grabbed his hand and held him close to me.  Holding him tightly I try and explain.  "He is autistic, I am so sorry" partly to her and partly to him.  How could I let this happen?

Thankfully she explains that she is a teacher and noticed that he had autism as soon as she saw him.  Which I guess was very apparent when he rang her door bell, walked right in and started immediately playing with her daughters toys before she could even get to the door.  She also noticed the tracking device on his ankle.  I am so thankful for this awesome neighbor that I had never met before.  I am thankful that Ashton's angels were working overtime to lead him to the perfect place that would recognize the situation and would do the perfect thing by calling the sherriffs office.  I am so thankful that he is safe, sleeping in his own bed tonight.  

The unspoken understanding is that we have to step up security measures yet again but words can not even scratch the surface of explaining the emotions and fall out of the event that occurred today.  This was THE single most horrifying event that has ever rocked my life and I am thankful beyond words of how it played out.  I am honestly still in shock, still shaken up.  My head is still pounding and the nausea will not subside.  I am unsure how long it will take for me to be able to get over this.

I understand, more now then ever, the studies comparing the stress level of a combat soldier and those with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to an autism mom.  Since Ashton's first elopement attempt we have been sitting in our metaphorical foxhole planning, preparing and waiting for the next "attack" facing it and preparing for the next, always stepping up our game.  We don't sleep soundly, we have to be constantly vigilant day and night.  We can not function like typical parents do.  The constant nagging worry will be stronger and more toxic this time around.  An event like this will have lasting effects on the both of us physically, emotionally and mentally.  Please pray that we can find some sort of normalcy in the coming weeks, months and years.  Please pray for Ashton's safety above all.  As we saw today, he is a determined little guy that will do whatever it takes to get what he wants.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What Is The Worst Phone Call You Have Received?

The Watcher - Painting by Thomas Blackshear II
I feel that I am finally able to openly discuss the alarming event that occurred the fall of this past school year. Some of the recent frustrations that I am facing are a direct result of this and to give a better background I am now going to put it all out there.

At around 3:30pm Wednesday, September 28, 2011, I received a phone call from the school where Ashton attended. As a parent, anytime the caller ID reads “THE SCHOOL”, I think we innately freeze and our heart stops beating. I personally think that biological response triples for those of us who parent children with special needs.

The following is part of the reason why....

“Good Afternoon Mrs. Parker, I am calling to inform you that Ashton got out of the school today.” “Please don't worry, he is safe now, but just wanted to call and let you know what happened.” The “downplaying” of the event promptly followed.

Once I was able to get the facts this is what occurred...

At lunch (around 10:30-11:00am), Ashton's 1:1 aide got up from the lunch table to fix his oatmeal, once she was away from him, Ashton promptly got up from the lunch table and proceeded to run through the cafeteria, down the small rear hall and out the side doors leading outside. Once he was outside the school he proceeded down the middle of the side road in front of the school towards the major highway/byway the school resides on (a major roadway where cars are know to travel the upwards of 70 miles per hour-speed limit of 55). Thankfully when he was about 15-20 feet from the highway a woman driving towards Ashton stopped her minivan, got out and intercepted him. She then led him back to the school.

What isn't said here is that I have recording after recording of IEP meetings (If you are not sure what an IEP is read here) prior to this event detailing his known elopement behavior. Especially once I knew that this school year would start with a brand new teacher, a brand new principal and several new aides working within the classroom I made sure that I over explained during several IEP meetings WHY we have a 1:1 written in the IEP and the importance of someone being within arms reach of Ashton in order to prevent something like that from happening.

There are many horrible, terrible, devastating outcomes that I am sure were rushing through your mind as  you read the details of the event.  I am beyond thankful that Ashton's angels were working overtime that day and that nothing horrible happened. It did not however, leave the school void of responsibility. After multiple meetings it was finally decided that it was appropriate for him to attend a private day school for children with Autism at the county's expense. It was promised by the new school, that he would have a 1:1 aide with him at all times and thankfully we haven't had any successful attempts at elopement since he started at his new school.

I am in shock at how well he has done and how far he has come in the last several months since this placement started. To find an environment where you see tremendous growth in your child is priceless. It was like a huge burden was lifted off of my shoulders, I felt like I didn't have to fight so hard anymore. I felt like all my dreams had come true....No more IEP meetings where you leave feeling like you want to crawl in a hole and die, defeated. NO MORE!!  These people really care!

On to recent frustrations.....

On the last day of school June 15, 2012 I received a lovely letter stating that due to the fact that ownership of the school had changed hands and that the curriculum was changing they were not going to be able to provide a 1:1 student/aide ratio any longer.

The event that occurred in September came rushing back full force. After speaking with the representative from the school that following Monday it was ultimately determined that NO ONE was going to receive a 1:1 aide and there was no way around that. They understood if I felt that placement elsewhere was appropriate for him. A flood of emotions hit me in that moment and I again felt defeated. What happened to not having to fight anymore? What happened to thinking that “these people REALLY have my sons best interest at heart”. I felt like an environment that demonstrated without question to help him was being pulled out from under him like a deceitful rug. After I said somethings that I now regret, I sat in my car and cried. I cried one of those ugly know the ones I am talking about. Make up running, sobbing with the ugliest possible contortion to your face...Yeah, that’s the one!

After a head slitting headache and the drive home. I realized I can not do this on my own anymore. Jon has never really been involved in the kids schooling. That has been completely and utterly on my shoulders alone. I attend IEP meetings alone, I go through IEP's alone, I research education laws on my own, I draft/edit IEP goals on my own....I don't care if he has no clue what is going on, I need support. We talked.

After I vented to Jon, prayed and slept, I felt a little more refreshed the next day. I called the representative back and started with an apology for my emotional response and asked if we could call a meeting to discuss options. We are talking about developing a safety plan for Ashton that meets his needs to prevent elopement without a 1:1.

This is my prayer..please join with me!

Heavenly Father, thank you so much for continually keeping Ashton safe and getting him in this program where he has shown so much growth. I know that you have a plan for this situation and that you ALWAYS have his best interests in mind. Please help us develop a plan that works. Please give guidance to the teachers and aides that work with Ashton. I pray that he continues to grow and learn in this new program. Above all, please continue to keep him safe. Place your strongest and fastest angels around him. In Jesus name, AMEN!