Autism & Shots: My Thoughts

I’ve been asked my opinion about his great debate so many times i’ve lost count. So i’ve decided to write my thoughts on this so that in the future I can just provide a link to my blog….LOL So here it goes….

It has been a long standing debate about vaccines & the cause for autism. The battle lines have been clearly drawn on this issue. It most likely will continue for quite sometime as there currently is no known cause for autism. All we know about autism is that it has increased significantly just within the last 10 years, now at 1 in 68 children, 1 in 54 boys specifically.

Since there is no known cause many feel that vaccines are the culprit. Many also feel that on top of the shots environmental factors play a role. There are many theories that have been pushed into the public, mainstream media regarding the cause: ranging from flu shots in mothers while pregnant, pitocin medicine given during delivery and even c-sections were once considered a possible cause.

There are also the cases where doctors are over diagnosing kids (I’ve seen it) parents will stop at nothing to get a diagnosis of something so generally doctors hand out autism diagnosis because it is such a varied, wide range diagnosis anything could easily fall on the autism spectrum; which this could also explain the increase in diagnosis numbers as well.

However, there still is not any clear cut indication what causes autism or how to ‘prevent’ it. Autism is definitely neurological what researchers are looking at are these children born with these neurological defects that develop over time or are the defects caused or intensified by an out of utero variant. That is still the big mystery.

As a mother, my personal feelings are as such:

I feel it is a genetic/biologic gene that is mutated or deformed by some variant whether that is in fact the shots OR environmental factors.
I don’t believe it is JUST the shots nor just biological because again families who have multiple children can have 1 out of 5 kids have autism. Also, if it is just the shots why is EVERY child not affected by autism. Some children get all their shots and are not on the spectrum.

As for the great SHOT debate I continue to vaccinate my daughter but space them out. I also do this with my neuro-typical son who does not have autism. I space them out not because of fear of autism or the rise of the numbers but because there are just too many especially given all at once.


Water Safety is Critical


water safety tip

There are a number of swimming lessons and water safety education resources throughout the communities we serve through CARD-USF. They may or may not have expertise working with students with autism spectrum disorder. CARD-USF staff provide trainings upon request to various recreation programs, but even with our training, you need to make sure the instructors and programs you choose are right for your family. Please let us know if there are some terrific programs that worked well for your family so we can share the good news with other families. Here is a list of resources for all 14 counties we serve: swim lessons

Disclaimer: As a policy, CARD will not lend its name to the endorsement of any specific program, practice, or model that is offered for service to people with autism and related disabilities. However, the sharing of information and training opportunities are key functions of the…

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I Got My Degree. Now What?


So I know some people, (*cough*) my family in particular, will be the first to respond to this post with, “What do you mean, now what?” or “Already getting bored with no school?”. So let me just say NO! To both questions. I am not getting bored. And for those who are asking if I am going to grad school, the answer is also no! So far I am enjoying my ‘freedom’ of coming home and being a productive member of the household.

What I mean by the title of ‘Now what?’ is simply this. You work so hard for this degree; for this piece of paper that essentially says, ‘Yay me I survived countless all nighters, mastered APA writing standards and a time management ninja” but what now? I’m an ‘older’ graduate already working full time and providing for a family. I just don’t feel as though I am ‘ready to take on the world’ like a young graduate might feel. Hell I’ve taken on and lived in the real world already (Ps. it isn’t fun).

I guess I’m at a cross road now with my degree. It is harder to chase your dreams and go after these career goals when you have a family to think about and provide for. However, you feel like your selling yourself short by staying put and not utilizing your degree the way you want and exploring your passion.

What are your thoughts? Did you feel this way when you graduated? I’d love to know or maybe I’m just the only one who feels this way.

~ Adrian

A year at CARD

quote blog  Today marks a whole year that I have been with CARD (Center for Autism & Related Disabilities). When I got the opportunity I was thrilled to do the work that I enjoy for a cause    that I’m so passionate about. I truly feel that Avah’s diagnosis and having to become a ‘warrior mother’ has given me purpose in this life. Has opened my eyes and heart to help people in  general but mostly a deep desire to work with and help families and parents like me. When I got the opportunity to begin working at CARD I was so excited and thought this will be amazing. Boy was I right. This past year has flown but never fell short of amazing.

Most importantly the friendships that have been created this past year, I am beyond grateful for. Each and every one of my coworkers are hard working and passionate individuals wanting to help families and assist individuals on the autism spectrum overcome their challenges. It is amazing to see each and every day the work they put in for families and young adults here in our Learning Academy. I am in awe of my co-worker’s perseverance and over abundance of joy they get from helping people and celebrate with the families for each milestone or hurdle the individuals overcomes. I have built relationships with other warrior mothers that are on staff and our constituency board members. Being able to share stories and learn from mothers who have already traveled the path Avah and I are on is an honor. Being able to see their beautiful daughters who are grown and doing amazing things helps give me hope for Avah’s future. These women have become a huge part of my life and know the struggles I face and no how to lend a hand and kind words anyway possible.

We work hard. We are dedicated here at CARD but we do have fun. Laughter can be heard bellowing down the halls. Our lunchtime together is always like a comedy show. Everyone clicks. We all have our place here to do the very best for individuals and their families who face many struggles daily.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to come here to work each and every day. Most importantly, it feels great to know I am exactly where I am suppose to be. Here’s to many more years ahead.

Blowing up balloons with Beverly for our WaWa party

Blowing up balloons with Beverly for our WaWa party. Sad it wasn’t staying up LOL

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Surfers for Autism

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Sensory Skate night ❤ these ladies

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Bulls game with MK and Beverly


College Spirit day with the co-workers (some missing)

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Autism Mommas ❤


Life becomes busy at times. We often find ourselves consumed by what life throws our way. For me with work, kids, home, and school; it gets hard for me to stop and ‘smell the roses’. To stop and truly take in what I have, what I’ve accomplished and be grateful for my life. So I wanted to take a quick moment and reflect on all that I am thankful for.
I’m thankful for my family.
I’m thankful for my children.
I’m thankful for my boyfriend.
I’m thankful for my friends.
I’m thankful for my job and coworkers.
I’m thankful for our new place and being more financially stable.
2013 has been a good year for me and my family and for that…I am thankful.
I hope you all have an amazing holiday weekend with your family and loved ones. Enjoy the down time and the holiday season.
Until next time,

2012 in review…Welcoming 2013 with open arms!


As I look back on 2012 it was an ok year the best part is the world didn’t end so suck on that Mayans and theorists. There were some high points and some low points but for the most part it was a good year. I look forward to the New Year and what 2013 will bring to my family and friends.

2012 started on a low for me and my family as we lost my Great-Grandmother. She is missed but the great thing is she left us all with so many great memories and so many ‘Hazel moments’ that we will never fall short of having something to laugh about.

R.I.P Great Grandma

R.I.P Great Grandma

2012 was a good year for me academically I graduated from HCC and went on to USF to continue on with my education. I am currently working towards my Bachelors in Communications and my first semester there I did well. I am enjoying being a Bull and I love being part of USF. This past fall, I became active in the Autism Speaks U chapter and became the Secretary of the organization. Now heading into the spring semester and into 2013 I am Co-President of the organization alongside Georgette, a new friend of mine.

My family and I at my Graduation

My family and I at my Graduation


Go Bulls!

I also had a great internship this year with the Greater Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce which I am thankful for the opportunity. I met many great people from my few months of internship. I am especially thankful for the friendship that I gained from it. Lauren and I have become great friends with LOTS in common: USF, Communication major, social media, and we love wine. We have a lot of fun and I’m sure it will continue into 2013 and beyond.

Lauren and I at the Annual Banquet

Lauren and I at the Annual Banquet

Avah is doing great in school and her speech gets better and better each day! She is starting to lose all her baby teeth, she is getting so big and becoming a big girl. I know 2013 she will continue on with her great strides and grow even more. I am so proud of her! Ayden my little whirlwind is my social butterfly. He has so much energy and loves life! I can’t wait for him to start ‘school’ this coming year and see him develope even more. I love watching the both of them play. He has helped Avah so much and though she doesn’t interact much with her peers her love and fondness of her brother is undeniable. ❤

My babies turned 7 & 2

My babies turned 7 & 2

October 20, 2012 was supposed to be Rich and I’s wedding but we had to make the decision to put it on hold. I know one day it will happen in due time. So for what would have been our wedding weekend we went on a fabulous weekend getaway to Orlando and had a great time. We try to at least have one getaway a year and for some reason, so far, it’s always been Orlando. Maybe 2013 will take us somewhere different?


City Walk

City Walk

In December of this year I went back to work full -time for the first time in nearly two years. I always said that if I was going to go back full time it would have to an amazing opportunity. I was given that amazing opportunity I was waiting for! I began working at USF on December 3rd as the Program Assistant for the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. In the past, I have helped guide families to resources and what to do next after the initial diagnosis of autism and I love helping families because I remember being in their shoes not too long ago, so being in this position to help and being surrounded by others in an office that has the same love and passion to help families and individuals with ASD is such an awesome experience. I am ready to learn and grow with this position in 2013.

RIch and the kids' first Bucs game!

RIch and the kids’ first Bucs game!

2013 is going to be great! There are so many great things happening this year! My best friend Brea is set to give birth to a baby soon and hopefully for her sake REAL soon. My other best friend Melodee is set to get married March 9th. She has waited for this day for so long and it’s finally happening. I couldn’t be happier for her and am proud to stand beside her on her big day. I am also extremely excited to be an aunt! My brother and his girlfriend Jessica will be welcoming the newest member to our family in June and I am so excited for them and can’t wait to meet my niece or nephew. My cousin Gabe is graduating high school and will be attending the University of Tampa next Fall. It is crazy how time flies as I remember watching him as a baby and now he is young man! We also have a big birthday to celebrate as Rich will be the big 3-0! (He’s not going to be happy I shared that lol). My babies will be 8 and 3 this year. I can’t believe it. I do believe 2013 will be a great year!

There are so many things great things happening all around me. Looking at my calendar of events and to do’s already makes me tired but it will be worth it. I have a great loving family, my children are happy and healthy, and 2013 will bring many great things our way. I wish everyone a Happy and Prosperous New Year! Stay safe tonight!

Goodbye 2012 and hello 2013!


Monday to recuperate…

What a weekend!

Last week was daunting as I had many papers due for my classes. I spent all day Friday working on one of them just so I could attempt to let go and enjoy my weekend of football. After finishing my paper I was able to visit with family and see my aunt and uncle who came down from Tallahassee. It was great being able to visit with them, as it doesn’t happen often. Late Friday night it was time to prepare for the big day tomorrow. GAME DAY! At midnight I was up painting my nails green and gold… (Gotta have spirit!)

Saturday was the day! It was the highly anticipated rematch, USF VS. FSU. Not only was it exciting because of the rivalry and the big event around town, but it was also my first football game as a USF student. I was excited! The only thing that would have made it better is if I had family or close friends coming with me. After doing a little bit of tailgating it was game time. It was an amazing atomosphere to be a part of! I loved it! Being among other students being part of the USF unit was amazing. I even won Fan of the week because of this picture…..

GO BULLS!! \m/

Herd of Thunder (HOT)

Even though USF lost, I was glad in the fact that we didn’t get completely destroyed like many predicted. It sucks to lose at home especially to the Seminoles. By the way can someone please tell their band to play something else other than that freaking war chant! It is highly annoying to hear it constantly, back-to-back. Regardless, it was a good game!

S-O-U-T-H  F-L-O-R-I-D-A, South Florida, South Florida GOOOOOOO BULLS! \m/

In less than 24 hours I was back at Raymond James stadium to watch the Bucs play the Redskins. Still exhausted from the night before we had a good time. Amazing seats again given by #77 Carl Nicks of the Bucs. He is very kind in helping us families with autism and through CARD-USF we were once again, front row endzone and loved every minute of it! Avah did too!

Avah loved being there. When the crowd yells the famous, ‘Tampa…..Bay”, she thought we were saying Hooray! (close but not quite!) She also loves when the stadium plays Ozzy Osbornes ‘Crazy Train’ song the “ey ey ey” gets her everytime! She sings that part perfectly on cue everytime. She even gave Captain Fear (the mascot) a high five!

                                                                                                                    GO BUCS!

                                                   We even made it on television!!! Exciting!

The Bucs lost too, which was a bummer that both my Tampa teams lost, but what can you do!? By the time we got home Sunday, I was spent. My throat hurt from all the screaming and I was just drained. My whole Monday was spent recuperating! It was a fun weekend. Which as a family, we don’t have much of so I can’t complain too much, but  it is still none the less exhausting.

Hope everyone else had a great weekend!

❤   Adrian