Just kidding.... I have come to a crossroads in my life about what the future holds for my blog. I am definitely not closing this blog, I will update occasionally, but I have decided to steer my energy towards a new blog (which will be about a passion of mine). Before I begin the newest blog in my life, I feel I must update this blog. The blog that let me talk about my kids, vent my feelings and go on my rants about what really ticks me off. This blog, that introduced me to the most fascinating and amazing parents of autistic children and autistic individuals themselves. So, here is my latest update...almost a year since my last.....and boy, have things changed in the O'Donnell house. Caitlin has become gainfully employed by a State Agency. Yes, she is still highly affected by autism, but at the mature age of 22 (next month), she has grown into a mature young woman. and Yes, she still has her outbursts and her need to jump and flap, but she controls herself enough in the work environment to maintain a great job. She was hired through her job training at Goodwill. I cannot say enough about the program she is in and will age out of in June. She is still living at home, which she will continue to do until we can no longer care for her or she no longer wants to be here. Deidre, 19 in May, started college in North Texas in August. She is thriving, to say the least. She lives in a dorm and has the most amazing Suite-mates a mother could ask for. She maintains a 3.9 GPA all while socializing (yes, Aspergians socialize) and helping to run a campaign for a local Democratic politician-much to my Republican dismay. I guess we did raise free-thinking young adults after all. Erin, 16, will begin drivers education with her sister Meaghan in a couple of months. They are very excited. Erin has continued to astound us with her wisdom and knowledge. She is so very smart. At almost 6 feet tall, she carries herself with the grace of a much older soul. Sometiimes she acts too smart, and I gently remind her that some would consider that rude to show your intelligence with such vengeance. She takes voice lessons and from what I am told, she will probably be able to go to college with her voice. Oh yeah, She is still diagnosed with autism, but lost her Special Education services 2 years ago through the school system. Meaghan, 15....what can I say about this young woman? The most beautiful red-headed girl I have ever seen (yes, I am biased). She is probably also the funniest individual I have ever met. With her wit comes intelligence. Enough for her to be inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. Teachers and students love her for her sensitivity and caring attitude towards others. She also does not tolerat bullying one little bit. Patrick, 13-egads, already a teenager. He is in the 7th grade and has more friends than I can count. He is active in his select baseball team and loves playing. They even named an award after him for persavering through all obstacles. He maintains good grades and was awared Student of the Month in November. He is getting tall like his daddy and just as handsome. He also lost Special Education services, yet still has the label of Autism (though not in the school system). He is virtually indistinguishable from his peers (but middle schoolers are not that tolerable, if you know what I mean). and Kiernan, 12 in March. He is hitting puberty with a the speed of sound. He has had some regressions since starting middle school. We are working hard with him, slowly but surely we will get there. He is still non-verbal, and yes, still wears a pull-up. According to certain parents, this makes him less, but this young man is anything but less. He will get potty trained eventually. We just need to work on the behavior issues at hand right now. He is making wonderful grades and the teachers love him. Patrick and myself are doing well for being married for over 21 years. I started working full time at a job I love (something I did over 20 years ago). We all try to see Deirdre as often as we can....we miss her so much. The house is still wonderful. We have tried real hard to maintain the home and have made a couple of changes to the kids rooms as they grew up. Our home is still full of friends and family, with the exception of my mother. My Mother passed away in late May from a stroke. On that day, our world changed forever. I had to take a step back and grieve as I have never grieved before. One month later, I attended my Uncle Dennis' funeral. So, needless to say, last Summer sucked. To end this I will only say, after catching up with the Autism forums this weekend, yep, 2 of our children have lost their special education standing at school, yet still have an autism diagnosis. They did not "outgrow" autism, they are just 2 autistic children who grew up !!!!