Monday, May 30, 2016

Reserving Judgment- My thoughts on the Cincinnati Zoo incident

By now, you all have probably heard about the Cincinnati Zoo incident where a child fell into a gorilla enclosure, and the gorilla was fatally shot by zookeepers. If not you can read about it HERE.

I don't often write about current events for a number of reasons. One of them being that when I do it's usually in short, and on one of my FB pages, because it's a fleeting type of content. It's not content that one can look at in a year, two, or even five, and be able to relate to it like you might be able to most of the other entries I make on here. It loses it's appeal after so long, and literally becomes old news.

This story really bothered me for a number of reasons that I wanted to discuss on a wider forum that I feel an emotionally charged comment section just wouldn't suffice.  My facebook wall might do, but is limited in scope. That's why I decided to use my blog, and am unsure as to whether or not to leave the comments open, or whether I should mediate them.

The reason for my hesitancy on the comments section is the level of anger that I am seeing from the public. I get it. I do. An innocent animal lost it's life. It's really an awful thing to think about. We want there to be something, and someone to blame. There has to be. Right?

And, that is where I am not sure.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Tasting Inner Peace

I've always heard that the utmost point of inner peace, and maturity as been achieved when a person can remain calm even in the face of adversity.

I wasn't exactly sure what that meant. I mean, I know what the words mean. I know what the sentence means. But, what I was unsure of, what I halfway admitted to myself was that I was not clear on what that would look like unfolding in real time. How would that feel, and how would I know when I have reached that level?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

High School Bound #autism

If you follow my Facebook Page you might have seen that Bubby graduated 8th grade last Monday. He is now on his way to high school next year. It's not been an easy journey for him in any sense. He has struggled so much through school, and all of the misunderstanding that came with teachers, and staff not understanding his unique needs. I didn't always know what he needed, and I sure was not always able to get the school to accommodate him when I did.

Still, he made it this year with all A's, and B's. The transformation that was nothing short of awesome in every sense of the word.

At the beginning of last year it was rocky. Starting middle school is hard for a lot of kids, but it was 20 times harder for him. The staff didn't understand him, and the kids were, well..... typical middle school monsters. I don't know what happens to kids in 7th, and 8th grade, but the attitude is something from hell. It's not just some kids. It's almost all kids. I have to guess it's puberty. It makes them so difficult, and bratty.

There was one para. She was really awful. The kind that probably shouldn't be working with any kid, much less with autistic kids. She was pressing all of Bubby's meltdown buttons on a daily basis. It took meetings, and more meetings, and an unfortunate incident that had me so enraged I called the principal yelling, but I finally got them to understand that she cannot work with my son. The two together were not a good match, and if the school day were to ever go smoothly for him, and let's face it his resource room in which he belonged, they needed to find him another para. I bring that up, because of something the boy's slp said to me the other day. She had mentioned that (and I am paraphrasing here) she was so glad to work with Bubby since he was in first grade, and see such a smart, funny, sarcastic and just nice personality emerge from him as he has matured, because often boys with Asperger's (her words) kind of turn into jerks.

Now, hold on before everyone starts getting all angry about that comment.

I somewhat agree with her. Let me explain why.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Selling While Shy: Introverts in Sales

Guest Post by Emily from College Match Up

While it sounds counter-intuitive to declare introverts make the best salespeople, their characteristics may truly make them a perfect fit for the job. Introverts make up 50.7% of the personality types in the  United States. An illustrated chart of the introverted personality types shows the percentage of different introverts in the general public.


Sales jobs are expected to increase by 5% in the next decade and by 2024 there are a projected 778,000 new sales jobs to be created. What traits do industry specialists find make for a good salesperson? Assertiveness, self-awareness, empathy, problem-solving skills, and optimism.

So how are the qualities of an introvert useful in a sales setting? Well, they are often quiet and thoughtful which works well in a sales setting because customers are often put off by the high-energy assertive employees. Also, introverts themselves prefer to be helped by other introverts. Also introverts communicate best one-on-one, which is great for sales because they can really connect with their customers. Introverts are known to form few deep attachments rather than many, shallow friendships. This works for them in sales because they can form deeper relationships with their customers than extroverts, leading to people trusting them more. Introverts are reflective as well, this is great for a job in sales because they are always looking back on their performance and wondering how they can do things better.
So, what kind of career options are there for introverts who want to try working in sales? Introverts might try out being advertising sales agents, real estate brokers, sales engineers, or travel agents to name a few.


Introverts in Sales
Source: CollegeMatchup.net

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Responding to Challenging Situations with Your Autistic Child

I haven't written much about either one of my boys recently on the blog, at least not in any specific kind of way. Part of that is is because I haven't had much to write about. The other is that I am never sure what is too much when speaking about them in their youth in this public forum. The main part is that my writing style has shifted a bit to a more general subject matter that specifically includes my personal thoughts about life, and is less about autism in, and of itself.

This entry is one in which I hope does not breech my son's privacy boundaries to a great extent, but still is able to get a point across that I am wanting to.

Bubby is now 14 years old. He's grown into a fine young man with a deepening voice, and a fuzzy little mustache above his top lip. This summer he will be getting his learner's permit to begin to drive. To be honest, I have no idea how that will go. I suspect it will go fine. He's doing very well in school with his current IEP.

It was not always this way. There was so much that we had to go through with the school to get to where we are, and attitudes we had to change.

What if I told you all that 80% of the issues that I see parents (and school staff) face with their autistic kids can be resolved by viewing it in a different perspective? Would you be interested in learning a different way to interact with your child so that meltdowns, and arguments don't ensue so frequently?

The biggest mistakes I see most parents make with their autistic children are

Friday, April 1, 2016

Interrupting My Distraction

A couple of days ago I felt like my agitation with everyday life had reached it's tipping point. Not so much with my family as much as with everything else. There was this constant tightness that rested just beneath the surface in a tense little ball of swirling irritation, nervousness, and sadness that sat in my chest. I knew I needed to do something different, and since Facebook seemed to always make that ball grow, I thought that I needed to take a break from it.

So here I am on day 3 (I think it is?) on my Facebook break. I have checked in twice now at the notifications to be sure I am not missing important messages from the sales groups I belong to, but since I had not I didn't read any of the other notifications. I have not checked in over 24 hours. I do have a few items for sale, so I probably should soon, but I am almost enjoying my small hiatus.

You may be wondering if that ball of tension has reduced since I have taken a Facebook leave of absence. It has, but not really. It has shifted, and it has dispersed into a ton of tiny emotions, as if the ball were made of glass, and it had cracked, and shattered. The pieces went into different directions, and landed in different places, each with their own meanings assigned. As each hour passed I began to feel the significance of each shard of glass from the tension ball.

I began to notice where the pieces lay, and the shape, and sizes of each. As the hours turned into a day I began to feel the ache of piece where they lay inside. I struggled for a distraction, but my usual go to was not available. It was as if I had been using Facebook as an external distraction of my own pain, anguish, upset, anxiety, and every other emotion one could ever feel.  Without it I started to examine all the pieces of glass from the ball of tension I'd been carrying for their significance. I realized that a lot of my inner turmoil was something I may have been projecting

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Are You a People Pleaser?

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of explaining your reasons for not doing something, or apologizing for not being able to oblige someone else's wishes with your heart beating, and sweat building on your forehead? You can feel their disappointment, and it feels awful. If you're speaking to them the look on their face, and skillful interruptions may guilt you into caving. If it's a text based interaction the breathing space may allow you enough room to escape the guilt enough to stick to your convictions.

If any of that sounds familiar, you may be a people pleaser, or perhaps just someone who is socially gullible in a sense. Maybe, a good mixture of the two.

There's a lot of ways a person can arrive at the role of being someone who falls prey to pushy people who tend to take advantage

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Embracing Awkward

"You're the coupon lady," the sales clerk said as he walked past me in the store. I looked up from my coupon book confused by sudden conversation. "I see you on FB."

"Oh. Yeah, " I mutter. "It's my thing."

"Hey! Gotta save, right!" He says. He knows who I am, and chats with me every time I go into the store when he's working.

As I finished shopping I waited for the familiar shame of one of my weird interests being noticed to come up, but it didn't. Maybe, a slight embarrassment trickled in. A slight wonder of how the people in our small community perceived me definitely came up. There were worse things to be known as as than "the coupon lady". For instance, there is a lady known simply as "the crazy lady". I know it isn't nice, but it's how she is known in our town. I certainly didn't give her the moniker.

I did feel a bit exposed, as I always do when people call attention to one of my interests, or hobbies that I find out of the norm. I don't have too many interests that are pop culture, so many of the things I do are solitary activities off the beaten path. Even my favorite television shows are not what other people are watching, and I watch very few movies. It can feel a little scary sitting out there on my own, sometimes not really part of any group. These common threads are often what builds friendships. I don't have anything to add to topics of television shows, musical artists, and movies I have never heard of.

The few days following the store incident I kept going to back to what happened. I wondered what might have been different with me in that an incident of that nature in the past would have made me upset. I would have taken it as an insult, and as if the person was making fun of me. I would have avoided them in the future, and probably would have cried after leaving.

This time, I felt

Thursday, February 25, 2016

We're All Transitioning

The day before yesterday was my middle son's high school orientation. Since he isn't my first child it's not my first time going to one. I thought there would be nothing new for me to learn. I know this is the beginning of high school for my teen, and it's time to be thinking about what they might like to be doing after they graduate, so they can be on the right path with all the best credits under their arm in four years to be off to the best start. I know this, and I've heard all this. I prepared for boredom of the long speech I knew I was about to endure.

At the beginning of the meeting the principal always asks for a show of hands if this will be your first child going into high school. Then, he always asks if it will be your last, and applause always follows for those parents who have done their dues, and are sending their last child off to high school. Bubby raised his hand.

I was confused.

I spent most of the rest of the meeting trying to understand why it was that he had raised his hand. He is not the youngest child.


I surveyed the room.

Once while we were leaving one of my daughter CJ's event's my husband leaned over, and whispered, "Please, tell me we don't look as old as these people." referring to the other parents. We didn't. Since we had CJ at such a young age we were a couple years younger than most of those parents. But, this set of parents? We were about right in line with. Some had on Vans, and other styles that nostalgically reminded me of my 90's days. Unlike CJ's peer's parents no stupid questions were asked, and each, and every one looked as eager to leave as I was. I was pleasantly surprised at how short the meeting was turning out to be!

I also wondered which parent belonged to the shitty kids who had been picking on my Bubby. I wondered if they knew that their kid was shitty to autistic kids in school for fun, or if they'd care. Probably not, since from what I've been told the main child acts the way he does because "he's spoiled".

My eyes gazed over the upper levels of the school where the classrooms, and lockers were. I wondered how Bubby will do here. I wondered how much different it will be to middle school. I glanced over to the vice principal who used to hold another position at the elementary level, and made Bubby's life a lot worse than it had to be. I worried for more than a minute about that scenario.

I think our road to sitting there in that big, open cafeteria planning out high school classes was so different than most of the other kids who occupied that space. It was a long journey that didn't seem that long. It didn't seem that long ago that he was in kindergarten. The educational environment is so much different now than what it was ten years ago when we started out. Only one teacher believed he was autistic, and only because she had a child like him. They all chose to believe that he was just difficult, some chose to believe that even after he had an official diagnosis. Things have really changed drastically in the last several years in relation to what people think autism is, and isn't.

So, the meeting ended, and I kept wondering what the hand raising I mentioned earlier meant. Then, later than evening it hit me after I got home. Bubby is the last child to go to high school in our home.  Beans is home schooled, and even if he weren't he'd not go to a high school. If he were enrolled in a public school due to his level of need they'd have him in life skills, or some similar classroom, but there would not be a meeting about classes for him, or college, or anything like that.

My heart sank a little.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Spaghetti Sauce and Gaslighting

I would bet that most of you (if not all) reading this have read articles online about gaslighting. You've probably seen all the signs of it lined up neatly in bullet points, and yet felt like you still were unfamiliar with exactly what it was, and how it applied, if it even did, to your life. At least, that is how I always felt when I read articles like that. Sure, they felt familiar, but I don't generalize well. I need examples. Exactly what does it mean by gaslighting? How would that look in a real life interaction?

The other day I was making some dinner with a can of sauce. I always make my own, so I was nervous it wouldn't taste the same. That's when I recalled this story you're about to read, and realized that it is exactly what gaslighting means.

Several years ago my family went to go visit my parents. Must have been a good thirteen years, or so ago. I was in the kitchen helping my mother prepare dinner. I could tell she was in one of her strange moods, because nothing seemed prepared, and she seemed to constantly forget what she was doing. She had planned on having spaghetti, but the store had run out of the regular spaghetti sauce that she normally buys, so she bought another kind to try. She said this straight out in the kitchen in front of my husband, and I, because she was hoping she would like it. We get dinner made, and tables cleared off so we can eat.

We are all sitting there eating, and all is going great, until my father has his second bite. She knows it's coming. She has to know. We all know. He is really picky about his food. The texture, and brand, ect... It can be frustrating to deal with a grown man who has so many issues with food, and his hissy fits about it, but still....

"Is this sauce different?" he asks.

"No." she replies.

My husband looks at me as if he needs to verify what he just heard.