Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Checking in!

Wow! It’s been a while since I have been able to post here! It all started over a month ago when Dougie got ill with the flu. It was the second time that month that he had fallen ill. He had strep throat earlier in the month that knocked him down and out for about a week and a half. It is difficult when any child gets sick, but what upsets us so much when Dougie gets sick is the fact that he is nonverbal and he can't tell us that he feels sick or tell us what's wrong with him, so it can definitely be very challenging, but we manage to figure it out and get him on the road to recovery.

As any parent of a child with autism knows, new challenges arise all the time. We have discovered that plane travel with Dougie has become one of them. He actually doesn't mind flying, it doesn't bother him at all, but it is hard to explain to Dougie that the man sitting in the seat in front of him doesn't want his headphones suddenly ripped off his head with no warning at all or the lady behind him doesn't want to share her peanuts as Dougie helps himself, again with no warning at all. He also feels that the seat belt rule should not apply to him and now that Dougie is bigger and stronger it is much harder to make him sit down when he doesn't want to. It is kind of funny, but I get really stressed out because I feel that not all people will be understanding, although we haven't had anyone complain so far. We decided to look into other means of travel, we ended up purchasing a small RV and we now drive to our vacation destinations. It has worked out quite well, Dougie loves it and he can be as loud as he wants and grab what he wants and none of us are stressed out, he even keeps his seat belt on. Neither Doug nor I have ever camped or had an RV before, but we are becoming quite good at empty and filling all of our tanks and I even know how to put in the antifreeze and winterize the RV. It is a whole new experience for all of us, but it has been a wonderful way to spend time with our family. Speaking of family, our daughter Alexa turned 20 in March, so Doug and I feel officially old now that she isn't a teenager anymore. I don't know where the time goes!

I also wanted to thank everyone who joined us for our annual conference back in March and congratulate Heidi Bowden again on receiving the 2008 Doug Flutie, Jr. Award for her dedication to those afflicted with autism as well as other disabilities. Heidi exemplifies what the Doug Flutie, Jr. award is all about through her dedication to the Annual Maine Autism Resource Fair, her Girl scout Troop for "girls with varying abilities" and most importantly as a mother to a child with autism, her daughter Addie. She is truly an inspiration to all of us and we are proud to honor her. I only wish I could have been there to present this award to her in person, but as you know sometimes our mom duties take priority over everything else.

Doug and I also wanted to thank everyone who participated at the 9th Annual Doug Flutie, Jr. Celebrity Golf Classic on June 23rd & 24th. We are amazed by the continued support of our major sponsors like Sun Life Financial, Sports Illustrated, Continental Airlines, The Hyatt Regency in Boston, Pinehills Golf Club, TJX, Carey Transportation, Hewlett Packard as well as the folks who purchase foursomes – you all are incredible! We feel terrible that we had to cancel the golf due to the thunderstorms, but really enjoyed the opportunity to hang out with all of our supporters as we all ate Sal's Pizza and Ben & Jerry's and waited out the storm that decided to not stop. I guess we had been lucky to have great weather the first 8 years of the event. Hopefully we’ll be able to start a new streak of consecutive good-weather years with the 10th Annual golf event in 2009!

Have a great 4th of July everyone! - Laurie Flutie