Thursday, December 17, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas from Spaceship Max!  Thank you for all the love and support over the last two years.  It has been a huge source of comfort to have so much love sent our way as we travel through life with our two special boys.  We hope that you continue to follow our journey.  Have a wonderful Holiday with your family and friends!  Much love, Will, Tiffany, Max and Dexter. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Underwear Required

Max lives in a very naked world. Underwear required. 
Max is now potty-trained which was a HUGE deal! 
He still wears pull-ups at night, but most nights will wake up dry and go potty right when he wakes up.  It has been life changing.  He gets so excited about going and screams "I did it!" after every success.  But beyond being potty trained his sensory issues have taken a huge nose dive. 
He hates clothes and takes them off any chance he gets.  Now, we understand that being naked is a part of childhood, and it is "normal", but Max screams, cries, fights, and tantrums over the thought of getting dressed.  He has taken his clothes off in inappropriate places and we have had to fight to put them back on.  He doesn't like the feeling of anything on his skin, not matter what fabric.  He tolerates it when he is forced.  We do know that cotton clothing and soft materials are more tolerable than others. 
At school he wears these noise blocking earphones to help block noise. 
Dexter has his own sensory issues.  He doesn't like anything covering him while he sleeps, he hates loud noises and gets overwhelmed in loud places.  Dexter is starting to become very picky with textures of food, and just like Max, is starting to drink more of his diet than eat solids.  We are trying different methods to get Dexter to eat, and when either Max or Dexter requests something to eat we are happy to oblige for them.  We just need both of them to get calories.  People are always shocked when they hear how Max eats because he is off the charts in height and weight, but Dexter isn't even on the charts and can use the calories!

One thing that Will and I wish people would understand about Max and Dexter is how overwhelmed they get in large groups, on holidays, and anything that is out of the norm.  For example, Thanksgiving Day was spent at Aunt Katie's house.  We had a great time, and Max and Dexter actually did great.  Max had one major melt-down but other than that the day went smooth.  On the way home Max got fixated on a helicopter that he played with at his Aunt's house.  This turned into a tantrum that lasted all the way home, and then into the night.  It took us two hours to get him calm and into bed once at home.  Then the next day his body was exhausted and he spent most of the day calming his brain down.  He spent so much of Thanksgiving trying to stay calm which takes a lot of brain power for Max.  We have to pick and choose how many events we do in a day and in a week because too much can really be hard on our whole family once we get home. 

Holidays and social situations have changed for us.  But our boys are teaching us that it is okay to be different.  Different is good. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Overwhelmed on Halloween

Being overwhelmed is such an awful feeling. 
It can be described as: 
-to overpower or overcome, especially with superior forces; destroy; crush.
-to cover or bury beneath a mass of something
-to load, heap, treat, or address with an overpowering or excessive amount of anything 
(a child overwhelmed with presents; to overwhelm someone with questions.)
I get overwhelmed and anxious when I have to much scheduled in one day.  I start the day feeling tied and worried about the long-jammed-packed day ahead.  I also get overwhelmed if I get behind on grading and the piles are stacking up against me.  
This year for Halloween we were prepared for Max to be overwhelmed by the end of the two day holiday.  This year Halloween was two days because it was celebrated in school on Friday and also on the actual day of Halloween.  This year was better than last year, and I am sure in years to come  will be even better than the last.  
Max gets overwhelmed easily.  He doesn't lash out, or hurt himself like he used to, but he gets very emotional and screams and cries.  His overwhelming behavior might not be apparent until later that night or the next day.  His mind can only take so much stimulation and once it hits maximum capacity he spins downward.  He goes into manic behaviors especially at night.  He can't fall asleep, he talks very fast and in gibberish, he cries, and can get physically violent.  It is very hard to watch.  This is why we have to be careful as parents to pick and choose what activities we do around the holidays.  We want Max to be involved but not at his expense.  

Children and teens having a manic episode may:
  • Feel very happy or act silly in a way that's unusual
  • Have a very short temper
  • Talk really fast about a lot of different things
  • Have trouble sleeping but not feel tired
  • Have trouble staying focused
  • Do risky things.
This year Max had two packed days.  Between his classroom party and then trick-or-treating on Saturday with his cousins Max was done.  Saturday night he was up until 2am and mad at the world.  Will and I knew this would happen, and we prepared for it.  But finally on Sunday his body crashed.  He wanted to do nothing but sit and watch his i-pad.  Which we let him.  He needed his brain to relax.  He needed to re-focus.  It is all about balance and being okay with taking a day (or even two) to regroup.  And yes, that means Max has a lot of "screen" time, and yes we are okay with this.  
 We are learning on step at a time.  
This year the boys were Mario Brothers.  It was a perfect, simple, cotton costume.  
Past costumes:

Max's First Halloween:


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

It's a Horse!

Last week Max's preschool class went to Farm Country. A field trip with 12 preschool kids on the spectrum is like herding cats (cats with serious sensitivities to light, sound, and crowds that can easily overstimulate them and make them behave unpredictably.) So it's pretty important to have at least 147 parent volunteers on hand. I was there. It was fun.

Max was very much excited to go to Farm Country. In school they had been learning all about farm animals for weeks. At least, I assume so; Max came home singing E-I-E-I-O every day. He doesn't have a lot of vocabulary to work with, so when new words show up it's easy to notice. 

We went to Farm Country as a family about a year ago, before Max was attending Giant Steps (his special needs ASD preschool.) A year ago, Max wandered around Farm Country, not engaging with his environment, constantly trying to run away, and hardly even noticing the animals. He could have been in a dirt field, full of weeds and his reaction would have been about the same.

But this time he couldn't wait to see everything and to name it as loudly and energetically as he could. The first animal he saw was a huge, black horse. This particular horse is right up front and has a sign that says "Please pet me." Max's saw him and ran right to him. "It's a horse!" he said. "It's a horse! It's a horse! It's a horse! It's a horse! It's a horse! It's a horse It's a horse!"

And Max actually reached out to pet the friendly animal. I was so proud of him. Honestly I got a bit misty.

Progress is progress no matter how small.

-Will (the dad)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Give me the tools

When I was in Junior High my Dad built a large wood soccer kick board in our back yard.  I grew up in rural New Jersey and we had a good amount of yard space to practice any sport we were playing.  This wood back board became a tool to help me develop the skills I needed in the various sports I played.  I vividly remember throwing and catching lacrosse balls using the back board.  I remember playing one-on-one matches with my dad using the back-board as my goal.  It was a resource which I used to help me improve.  It also was a way to bond my Dad and I.  We spent hours outside together.  We would talk about sports, school, my dad would give me advice, and I would tell him goals I had for the future.  The simple tool of a back board was a special connection with my dad. 
My back yard in New Jersey.

When Max was born I was so nervous to be a mom.  I loved him with all my heart and soul, but I didn't know what I was doing.  Parenting was something new, and it was something I didn't go to school for.  I read books on parenting, on sleeping, on nursing and having a happy well adjusted baby.  But when Max started not hitting basic milestones, was socially behind his peers, and I was unable to connect with him I didn't feel like a good parent.  I failed.  I was failing my child.  I wasn't doing something right.  Max would spend hours screaming all day, would physically hurt himself, and was unable to communicate.  As much as I wanted to understand, I didn't.  I was frustrated, depressed, and worried that I was not a good mom. 

Then a miracle happened.  We talked to our pediatrician and explain the things we have been observing with Max.  He comforted us and told us there is help.  He also told us that we were not bad parents, but instead we are parents of a special child who is going to need our help to navigate through life.  At age 2.5 Max was diagnosed with Autism.  This was a year and a half ago. And since then I have been gathering tools that allow me to enter his world.  The diagnosis WAS NOT the end of the world, it was the beginning of a brand new one.  It was a world that I am so lucky to be a part of.  Autism has helped me reach both my children.  It has helped me be a better mother, wife and teacher.  

Max has been the best guide in the world.  He is a fantastic example of unconditional love, kindness, stubbornness, and devotion to his love for life.  He struggles, we all do.  But at least now he has parents who have tools to help him be successful!  Having two children with Autism gives us even more tools because what we have learned works with Max might not work with Dexter.  We have to be constantly learning. 

Autism isn't a label for my family, it is a tool, a guide, and a world that connects me to my boys. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

It take a Village

There are some days I sit and cry.  I cry with frustration, with tiredness, with negative thoughts that I can't be the mom my boys need.  And every single time I have had a moment, or even a full day like this I have had a friend or family member reach out to me and offer to help, or just talk, or even just take a drive around the block.  (Sodalicious has become a major stress relief in my life.) I can't tell you how grateful I am for these moments, and for the village Will and I have formed to help raise our two special boys. 

People often ask "What can we do to help?"  or "Do you and Will need anything?" 
We don't know how to answer this.  Our personalities are not one who ask for help.  We like to serve.  We like to help and be helpful to others.  So asking for help is hard.  But we are learning. 

There are not many people who can watch Max and Dexter.  They are hard boys and I totally understand make people nervous.  Dexter is so anxious to be without Will or myself and will cry for hours.  Max can bolt at a moments notice, and honestly that scares me.  Then Max and Dexter both have sensory issues with food.  So we tend to do everything as a family.  We go everywhere together and travel as a pack.  It is just easier. 

There have been so many people who have helped us.  So many people who have come to our rescue and have made our lives easier.  The emails of support, the texts on hard days, and the middle of the phone calls mean the world to us.  Will and I feel so lucky to have such a huge village.  It is the stranger in the food store who helps me when both of the boys are melting down in the busy parking lot.  Then there are the group of BYU boys who live across the street from us who have on multiple occassions cleaned up our outside toys and have saved Max when he has run into the street.  These acts of kindness make me have so much faith in humanity. 

This past weekend we took part in The Utah Walk for Autism Speaks.  We created a team for Spaceship Max.  We didn't have any expectations for the walk and we really just wanted to go and be a part of the Autism Speaks event.  I was blown away by the support we had.  We had many who supported us by donating to our team and then we had a great group of friends who came and walked with us.  The event was loud, which for an Autism event was strange, but all and all it was a great morning!  Our family is blessed with so much support.

I love my family!  
Super hero dad

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Every Child is Different

Every single child is different. 
They learn different. 
They each have unique qualities that make their individual personalities. 
They react to situations differently.
And over the past four years of being a mom I have learned that both of my children are as different as they come. 
But one thing is for certain they both crave love.  They want to be understood and loved.  And it is my hope that Will and I are doing that for both of them. 

When Dexter was born two years ago both Will and I knew Max and Dexter would have a close bond.  Will witnessed one of the cutest events when Dexter was just a day old.  Dexter had some breathing issues at birth and was in the nursery receiving oxygen.  When Max came to the hospital to meet Dexter, Will went to the nursery to get him.  Will leaned into Dexter's bassinet and said "Time to go meet your brother."  And Dexter smiled big and proud.  He knew how much he already loved him.  Max at the time wasn't expressing many emotions but as soon as Dexter was brought in the room Max put all his cars straight into his bassinet.  Brotherly love is deep with these two!

Dexter has had sleeping issues since birth.  And we have seen so many specialist and had so much advice given to us about sleep.  I have followed my mommy gut on a lot of decisions.  We as a family do not believe in the cry it out method.  Plus Dexter was physically hurting himself at night if he was left to scream and cry.  He would go into full panic mode, and has had many bruises to prove it.  He has never slept through the night and wakes up anywhere between 3-8 times.   
Dexter still nurses and that really has been a blessing.  It is the only thing that calms him.  And on really bad nights even nursing won't settle him down. 

Dexter also has sensitivity to noise.  Especially deep noises, or loud pitches.  This past weekend we were in Salt Lake with my Dad and we ate at Kneeders.  Every once in a while a high pitch beep would be heard from the kitchen.  Dexter would whimper and cover his ears. 

Dexter is very smart.  I know, I know I am his mom but I have never met another 2 year old that knows the alphabet upper and lower case, his numbers 1-20 (can say them and recognize them) and has now started to realize that letters form words.  He has known his letters since about 18 months or even earlier.  It has become a huge obsession just like Max's obsession with trains and wheels. 

About nine months ago we started noticing some concerning signs with Dexter.  Some were the same that we saw with Max and some were very different.  We talked to Max's teacher and also to our pediatrician and determinded that we needed to get him evaluated for Autism and Anxiety disorder.  The process has changed in the past 18 months because of insurance companies taking a more active roll in Autism treatments, which is a good thing, but makes the process long.

This past Monday we went to our final meeting with our case worker and psychiatrist.  And it was determined from all the testing we have done over the past few months that Dexter has a speech delay, Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), anxiety disorder, and has Autism Spectrum Disorder. This was not a shock to Will or I, but it is still a diagnosis you don't wish upon your child.  We are prepared for the life that this means for our family with two special needs children. We have already started fighting for Dexter just like we do for Max.
We are very grateful for our family and friends who love, support, and listen to us on the hard days.  Thank you.  It truly takes a village.  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Conquering fears

Last summer when my Dad came to visit we went to Park City and decided to give the Alpine Coaster a try.  We thought Max would love it because it is a car/train that you get to ride in.  Little did we know that after waiting in a line for 90 minutes Max would panic once it was his turn for a ride.  You can read about that experience here

This past weekend was a whole different story.  My dad came to visit and we again went to Park City to see if Max would try the Alpine slide and then the Alpine Coaster.  We had no expectations, we just knew once he got on he would love the whole experience.  His brother Dexter is a dare devil and we knew he would want to ride everything also. 

We went on a weekday and during school hours so the park wasn't crowded.  We did the Alpine Slide first.  We road the ski lifts up to the top of the mountain.  Max did GREAT on the ski lift.  He was excited and kept saying "so high" and "look train!"

The Alpine Slide was a huge hit.  I think I was more nervous than Max was.  He sang "Mickey Mouse Road Rally" the whole way down at the top of his lungs.  Will and I were singing along and cracking up. Max was so happy and had no care in the world.  It was awesome!
When we got to the bottom Max immediately wanted to "do it again!" This time we bought tickets for the Alpine Coaster.  This was the same ride that last year he was scared and didn't want ride.  The line was short.  It was only about a 30 minute wait.  When we got to the front of the line we asked Max what color car he wanted to sit in.  He said blue.  Then we asked who he wanted to ride with?  He said "Ride with Poppi!"  I had tears in my eyes, I was so proud of him.  We all rode the coaster, and the whole time my dad said Max was saying "Poppi go faster!"  When the ride was done he screamed "That was AMAZING!"  I didn't even know he knew that word. 

I realize that him being scared is more of an age thing rather than an Autism issue.  I know that being scared is a normal life feeling.  But the fact that he is feeling is what makes this whole event so special.  He is recognizing his own feelings.  He knows when he is excited, happy, and scared and more importantly can express these feelings.  Expressive language is something that children on the autism spectrum really struggle with.  They need to be taught how to appropriately express feelings and not just tantrum or scream.  Max made me so proud this past weekend.  And I can't wait to ride the coaster again!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

iPads and Autism

Hi, it's the dad again. My name is Will.


It's not a secret that tablet computers are great learning tools for kids with ASD. It's been reported on many times. There are even really boring scholarly articles written about it.

I want to give a shout out to some of the best learning apps I've come across. Max and Dexter both love these apps. You should check them out for your kids wether they are on the spectrum or not. Really good stuff here.

Endless Alphabet: I can't say enough about how great this app is. It teaches letters and vocabulary. It is beautifully designed and animated. And it has TONS of personality and fun. Endless Alphabet, Endless Reader, Endless Numbers, Endless Word Play. Get them all. Seriously.

Loopimal: This one teaches cause and effect relationships. And it's crazy fun. I'll even play with it sometimes. It's kind of brilliant.

Sago Mini Space Explorer: There are a whole bunch great of apps made by Sago Mini but my kids' favorite is the Space Explorer. They can be a bit pricey but if you watch you can find them on sale or in discount bundles. A lot of people would say that these apps are "just for fun" and aren't really "educational." But those people are dumb and don't understand just how important fun is in the life of a child.

These apps are great for any young child really. Check them out.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Potty Training - a pain in the butt.

I loath potty training. 
I don't hate a lot of things, but potty trianing is high on my list. 
Luckily I have a very patient husband who has been relentless this summer. 

Max doesn't have a "treat" he likes.  He actualy has made a drastic turn for the worse when it comes to food.  He only drinks his meals.  (Another post about food at a later time)

Potty training has been rought for Max.  And for Mom.  It stressed us both out. 
He doesn't really sense he has to go.  He needed a pattern.  I was still working during the year and felt like I wasn't a big help at all.  I felt really guilty about that.  
We started at school. His teachers were amazing and got him on a great potty schedule.  And once he mastered school we really started working on potty training at home.  We tried to have him on a schedule, we tried to use a sticker system, we tried so many things, but nothing worked.  We were all getting frustrated and upset.  So we stopped.  That was in the beginning of June. 

Max then went to summer camp at Giant Steps two days a week.  And there again, he had accident free days. So we knew he could do it at home. 
Max LOVES trucks and toys.  At school if they have a good work session he gets to have his special toys for a lotted amount of time.  We thought, could this system work at home? 

And then magic happened. 
We bought him the toy he has been wanting.  A rescue bot.  (We actually bought him the wrong one...but Poppi is going to be the hero and send us the correct one!)
Everytime Max is successful using the potty #1 or #2 we allow him to play with his Rescue Bot for 10 minutes.  We set a timer and when it goes off, the toy goes away.  I was reluctant.  I know, negative Mommy moments.  But it worked!  And he put the toy away. 
This has worked every single time.  He even tries to force pee out just to play. He also wants the Rescue Bot show on while playing with his toy.

*The real success story:
Today we were gone at a doctor's appointment for Dexter for 4 hours.  When we came home Max came in the house, he ran to the potty, went and then wanted his Rescue Bot.  Miracles do happen. 

Now, he still wears a diaper at night and in the car.  But, progress is progress no matter how small. 
And we couldn't be prouder of our cute little underware wearing boy! 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Walk Now For Autism Speaks - UTAH

This year our family is walking in the Walk Now for Autism Speaks - Utah Chapter.  Autism Speaks is a world wide charity organization.  We are really excited to give back to such a wonderful community.  We know first hand how beneficial being a part of a community of support means to a special needs family. 

If you would like to walk or donate to our team click on the link below. 
We would love to have a great turnout to support SPACESHIP MAX!! 
The walk is:
 SEPTEMBER 12th, 2015 
Sandy, Utah
South Towne Expo Center 9575 South State Street Sandy, UT 84070 - See more at:
South Towne Expo Center 9575 South State Street Sandy, UT 84070 - See more at:
South Towne Expo Center 

Here is the link to become a part of Team Spaceship Max:

South Towne Expo Center 9575 South State Street Sandy, UT 84070 - See more at:
South Towne Expo Center 9575 South State Street Sandy, UT 84070 - See more at:

Friday, July 24, 2015

Castle Trucks

Hi, it's the dad here. My name is Will. Nice to meet you.


One of the things I have had to learn with Max is how to enter his world. One of the best ways to do this is just through play. We've been on a LEGO/DUPLO kick lately so we build them a lot.


But we don't build just anything with our highly-sophisticated-interlocking-brick-system. We build trucks. Big trucks with 5 separate sets of wheels. And bulldozer, airplane, and firetruck parts. We call them castle trucks.

It's awesome. Max, Dexter and I all love it. And it helps us connect.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Triggers for Autism

Autism is complicated.  Every child is different.  Every situation for every child is different.  It is unpredictable.  There are definite triggers that can be seen and hopefully be used to prevent major meltdowns. 

The following chart is the best I have seen to visually illustrate the triggers that can set off a child with Autism and SPD (Sensory Process Disorder):

Some triggers for Max are unfamiliar places with people he doesn't know.  Max has high social anxiety, and hates walking into a new room of people.  Max doesn't like clothes at all.  He would rather be naked with a diaper all day.  He likes soft cotton only.  He doesn't like anything tight on his body, or anything with tags.  Max doesn't like loud noises that come from random places.  He can hear better than anyone I know, so when there are a lot of noises coming from multiple venues he gets very agitated.  This is why a bowling alley, fireworks, large parties, etc. are so overstimulating and hard for Max.

We try our hardest to anticipate meltdowns and what environments will be overstimulating.  But we also want Max to experience the world.  We want him to try new things even if it does cause a meltdown.  We also want to make sure he learns how to manage meltdowns.  So if we are out somewhere are you hear a screaming child, just remember they could be in the middle of a major Autism meltdown and be kind to the parent and child.  In general, be kind to one another.  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Thank you Giant Steps - Year 1.

Words can't describe how blessed Will and I feel to have Giant Steps Preschool in our life.  Max started Giant Steps in November 2014 and has made amazing progress since then.  Early intervention is so important when a child is diagnosed with Autism.  It helps build a foundation for the future and gives the child coping skills they will use for the rest of their lives.  Giant Steps is amazing, and I am so happy Max has another year left in the program.  Giant Steps helped Will and I enter his world, and boy are we glad we did!  It is one amazing world to be a part of. 

What a difference 8 months has made:
-Max can now say over 50 words and makes some two-word statements.  In the beginning of November Max was almost non-verbal. 
-His tantrums have decrease tremendously. 
-He has inflection in his voice. 
-He can say names including his own, some friends, close family, and his teachers. 
-He is 80% potty-trained.
-He will look you in the eye when asked. 
-He loves school!  (Even though some days drop off still is hard and there are tears.)
-He is more confident.
-He is eating a little better.  He still mostly has a liquid diet, but has done a food program at school and will at least lick new foods.  
-He has friends at school and knows their names. 
-He knows how to follow directions with multiple steps.
-Knows when to use "please" and "thank you" and "sorry".

We are working on:
-Dressing himself.
-Potty training at home.
-Not running away. 
-Asking for things using "Can I...?"
-Drinking from a regular cup. 
-Writing letters and cutting with scissors.  (He is left handed like his Grandma Strong!)

This summer Max will be attending the Giant Steps Summer Program two days a week in July.  We are going to try our hardest to keep Max on a schedule.  *Try* is the key word.  

A few of Max's amazing teachers who we love so much:

This is Amber, the Autism Specialist in Max's class.  She is amazing and has helped our whole family. 

This next year Will and I have been made Co-Chairs of "Friends of Giant Steps" (FOGS), which is a non-profit organization that provides support for the Giant Steps Preschool.  We are both nervous and excited to have the opportunity to serve the program.  We are very proud to be a part of such an amazing organization, and we have blessed with so much love and friendships.  Wish us luck!  And when the Charity Auction comes around in March 2016 I hope to see you there!  We would love your support. 
If you would like to stay up to date on Giant Steps Events make sure to "Like" the FOGS facebook page:  Link here.  

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Anxiety and Therapy Animals

I am an overly anxious person.  I am not afraid to admit that I take medication for my anxiety and have for years.  It helps me sleep and be a happier person overall. 

I never realized how anxiety can effect a child.  Especially when a child can't vocalize what they are feeling.  Max's anxiety has gone up a lot in the last six months.  It is effecting his school performance, and also how he reacts at home.  Autism and anxiety actually go hand in hand, so does ADHD, ADD, and Sensory Processing Disorder.  This is not saying that if you have one you have them all, it is just common that with Autism another side effect could be one of them. 

I love how it is explained in this article from Autism Speaks:
Children with autism express anxiety or nervousness in many of the same ways as typically developing children do. We often see separation anxiety, for example, when children must part with trusted parents or caregivers to go to school or camp. Many children worry and become preoccupied with challenges such as homework, friends or health issues. These issues commonly affect both children with and without autism. However, social anxiety – or a fear of new people and social situations – is especially common among kids with autism.
If your child suffers from anxiety, he may experience strong internal sensations of tension. This can include a racing heart, muscular tensions, sweating and stomachache. Intense anxiety can result in repetitive behaviors that appear to serve no function, such as shredding paper or clothing.
Of course individuals with ASD often have trouble communicating verbally. So outward manifestations of anxiety may be the only clue that something is bothering them. Some researchers also suspect that outward, physical symptoms of anxiety may be especially prominent among those with ASD.

I do a lot of research daily and read as much as I can about Autism.  It is fascinating to me.  I know as a mother and also a teacher it really helps me to be informed and to learn as much as I can so that I can best care for my child.  A few months ago Autism Speaks had a article about how animals help with Autism and Anxiety.  (This is the original article I read via Huffington Post) I talked to Will about the idea of getting a pet for Max.  We have fish, and to be honest, they are boring.  Max hasn't bonded over them.  He has put things in the fish tank a few times to "share" but they don't really do anything for his anxiety.  I started looking into a kitten.  I wanted something that was for Max, that we could help him learn with, that he could help care for, and could be an instant friend.  Therapy animals also help with social skills and making friends. 
I read a lot about therapy animals, specifically cats, talked to other mom's about animals and having a therapy animal in our condo, and felt so good about it.  Will and I talked to Will's parents, and they agreed that it would be okay for us to have a kitten for Max. 

Three weeks ago one of our friends posted on facebook that they just had a new litter of kittens.  It was perfect timing.  And I fell in love with a white and gray kitty they posted a picture of!  Will and I set up a time to come look at the kittens, and the very next day we brought home our kitty home.

Introducing:  The Magnificent Marvelous Mad Madam Mim.  We call her Mim for short. She is named after one of our favorite villains in Sword in the Stone. 

She is so tiny, has the cutest little nose and little kitten meow.  She is very loved.  Max adores her and has since she was introduced to him. 

The first night she was with us she snuggled up to Max and went to sleep next to him. 

When Max gets up in the morning Mim is the first person he looks for, when he gets home from school Mim is the only thing he cares about, and at school his teacher told us all week Mim has been a very popular topic of conversation.  He calls her "My kitty Mim" and I am really excited to see how much she helps our whole family. 
 He has even shared Gerald with her.  That means it is true love. 

Other interesting articles about Therapy animals not only for Autism for specifically for Anxiety: