Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Look Back at 2013

Thinking back on this last year I can say that it has been without a doubt eventful. It's been one of those years that one grows leaps and bounds as a person. I talked about hard topics like loneliness, what it's like not to fit in anywhere, and even my natural desire to not blend in.

I covered so many school  issues with both boys that made me step out of my comfort zone. I tackled situations that I never thought I could in my wildest dreams. If you'd asked me last year if I would have been okay with attending so many IEP meetings where I was very plainly considered the enemy while people behave behind the scenes in the most unethical way possible I would have said 'possibly not.' Yet I did. When Beans got hurt  at school I wanted to run away. I didn't want to be the squeaky wheel, and even though in the end  Beans ended up homeschooled it all ended up okay as I learned to believe in myself. I overcame almost every fear that I had this year, up to including going on our local news, and giving an interview about the situation with the school, even though Bubby is still governed by the same special ed unit. If you'd have asked me if I would, or could do something like that the year before this last year I would have said absolutely NOT! It's not my nature to be in front of cameras, and it's not my nature to be loud.

This year we discussed that autistic children can be very giving

Blog Milestone and Sincere Thanks!

Last night I went to sleep feeling almost like a child awaiting a visit from the tooth fairy. You see my blog was about to reach 200,000 hits! I was about 30 away when I went to shut down my computer at 11 PM. I knew that probably within the hour my goal would be reached, but watching numbers turn is a lot like watching paint dry, so.... I resigned myself to wait until morning. This is what I woke up to!











Thursday, December 26, 2013

Super Easy Creamy Noodle Salad

This recipe is a favorite in my house. I make it for every holiday, and barbeque.  It's easy to make, and is really tasty. There is a lot (and I do mean A LOT) of variation with this salad. That is why my measurements will be a little on the suggestive side. I would always recommend using the least amount, then letting it set for a few hours before adding more of the items that might make the noodles too soggy, or runny.  You can always add more dressing, or mayo, but you can't take it out once it's mixed in. The consistency tends to change a bit after it chills.



What you will need:

* 2 1/2 C. of spiral noodles (I typically try to use about 1 cup of wheat noodles to make the salad as healthy as possible without effecting the taste too much)

* 1 can of olives-chopped

* 1 cucumber diced

* 1/4 to 1/3 cup Italian dressing

* 1/3 to 1/2 cup mayo

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Mix the other ingredients with the noodles, and chill.

There is a lot of add ins one can use to spice up this salad.  I like to put in about a quarter of a chopped onion.  Also, grape tomatoes, bacon bits, and cubed cheese  make a nice addition.

This recipe makes a generous size bowl of salad, enough to feed several people.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Feeling Blue This Holiday?

Browsing through my FB feed I came across a blog entry from a mental health blogger that had me thinking. It was yet another one of those sentiments about being happy with what you have, because someone who has way less than you is happy with what they have. That was point, then later in the same article it spoke of not comparing yourself to others.....so... which one is it? Maybe, only compare if you're on the upwards swing, to remind you that you're blessed? While I get that sentiment, and I get the gist I am not on board with it.

While the holidays can be a wonderful time of year, full of giving, love, and family it can also be one of the most stressful times of the year, as well.  Not everyone has the money for the giving season.  Maybe one doesn't have any family, or friends to spend the holiday with. Maybe they might, but they're not pleasant people. We're not all born to loving parents, and other family members who care, nurture, and support us.  Some people suffer seasonal depression that tends to peak around the mark of the winter solstice with short days, and long nights. There's all sorts of reasons why a person might be feeling low, or less than festive around the holiday season.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Instant Pancake Mix Recipe (Shake & Pour)

After trying several different pancake recipes I have landed on this one that I tweaked until I found it to be to the best so far.  It can be stored in a jar, and used as a 'shake and pour' method, but I find it just as easy to measure into the bowl, then stir until barely mixed, and moistened. They both will work, depending on your own preferences. The recipe makes about 5 medium sized thick-ish pancakes per recipe.

What you will need:

Monday, December 9, 2013

My Education Plan for Beans

Since I am staying home with Beans now I decided that I needed to make my own IEP. I felt that I needed a guide of sorts to direct me on how to best help him. I also wanted to be able to share my goals with the other people that work with him, so that we can be on the same page.

Below is the what I came up with. It's not as thorough as an IEP usually is, but it is a rough plan of action with some goals sprinkled in there. It was harder to map out than I initially thought it would be.  I run across so few Beans in the world that I am often left feeling like a foreigner in knowing how to navigate.  Writing this up seemed to feel like my final jump into homeschooling.

I am certain that it might not fit some people's philosophy about how to 'treat' autism. It wasn't more than 24 hours after giving the plan to Beans private speech therapist that she called me, and told me she would no longer be seeing Beans anymore. She said that our philosophy is too far apart, and that her approach is too different than what I was looking for.  I really didn't think there was anything in the plan that was extreme. Obviously, to her there was. She didn't even want to discuss any of it. She just wanted to discharge him, and recommended that I give my plan to future SLPs from the beginning so that they can know that is what I am wanting. It took a lot of courage to write what I did, and put my ideas on paper only to have them thrown back at me like that was hurtful. It was completely out of the blue, and it left me blindsided.

Anyway...here is my controversial homeschooling IEP of sorts:

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Honoring Motherhood- How I learned to turn away from our mother-bashing culture, and embrace my own instincts.

I was doing some thinking since writing the entry How Can We Best Support Autism Parents? As I thought about the question I posed in the title I kept coming back to the slideshow of my worst parenting moments in my head. I know that I am not alone in those moments. I know that other moms feel this way , too. For this entry I am mostly referring to mothers.

Let me explain why.

As a group, mothers are judged so openly, and harshly by others about every move, decision, and idea we have. I rarely hear of fathers shouldering this kind of judgement. They might be judged on their finances, and employment decisions, but even that pales in comparison to the daily barrage mothers face.

Don't believe me? Here is a short list of things I have heard people say before in relation to mothers, and their ability to effectively parent their children. All of them are completely false judgements.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Why Inspiration Media Leaves Me Feeling Empty

In the last few years I have noticed that the world seems to be a lot more tolerant of differences, or at least one would believe so by our social media. You can't go far without seeing a motivational, inspirational message somewhere.

Don't believe me? Go check your Facebook wall. Check Twitter, and the front page of Yahoo, or wherever you get your news from. Go ahead...I'll wait check mine, too.

Ready to compare results?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Giving Others Your Attention and Respect

As I hung up the phone my stomach pulled in with anger rising up through my body. I am a mature person (most of the time) so I refrained from spewing it into the ear of the inconsiderate person on the other end of the receiver.

She just committed one of my all time most disliked pet peeves.It was a miscommunication, which is frustrating, but it wasn't just the misunderstanding it was the careless way it was delivered that makes me upset. This happens to me frequently when I talk to office associates, but none as often as doctor offices. I get it.  I really do.  They get so many calls a day, and I am certain that most people want to tell them their life story, never getting to the point.  I answer the phone for my husband's tree business, and out of what every customer tells me during the majority of the calls only about 25% of it is necessary information. This is with people inquiring about their trees, yards, and lawn sprinklers, so one can imagine that being times ten with people calling about a health related concern. So, I do empathize that they have to move through conversations quickly. I get that they probably get used to filtering through about 1/3 of what they hear to get the really necessary info. The thing is, I don't speak that way. I am on a need to know basis with everyone. If you filter though any of my words you're not gonna end up understanding any of what I am asking, or trying to state.

The conversation went like this:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

How Can We Best Support Autism Parents Who are Struggling?

Last week I wrote a blog entry about a poor parenting moment I had.  I laid it all out. It wasn't anything way out there. It was about a moment of struggle that I had when my Beans was having a what I call 'not having it day' that was in more of the week than a day. He was not having clothes, and not wanting to move when asked. I was late for everything that week, and some things were really important. Days on end like that had me at the end of my rope. I yelled at him, and tried to pick him up, which did not go well, since he's about the size of me. One day a few days ago he decided he was going to just park it on the middle of the parking lot. Just booomp., and there he is. Solid as a rock. Nothing I can do to change it. He's just there until he decides not to be.  There's not a doubt in my mind if he was smaller any parent would just pick him up, and move him. The thing is as his body grows, cognitively he isn't.

In any event, I posted that post knowing that in the autism community there had to be others struggling with the same thing.  Maybe their children wasn't as old as mine, but they had to experience this behavior, and at times of constant struggles I am sure that most parents have yelled. Yet, when I posted that entry I got very little feedback. When I did, it was mostly hinting at pity for me, or maybe disdain? I am not sure, but I do know I got little support. It was awkward, and the way I felt judged was not helping, so I took it down.

This got me to thinking, and wondering.

When did it become a taboo to say you're struggling with your special needs child?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Awkward Encounters of an Autistic Woman

It happened again.

I am strolling through Walmart, actually power walking, because that is my usual speed. I round the corner of the cereal aisle, and out of the corner of my eye I see a lady, and a boy. I think to myself that that person looks a bit familiar, but then I am in an area shopping where there's a lot of people I see frequently that I don't know. I get a couple feet away, and I hear "Where is the rest of your family?" It's the lady that I passed. I study her, and her son's face for a moment, and realize she is my husband's cousin. She is offended. I have done this to her before. I try to explain that when I am shopping I am in the zone,and not paying attention. This isn't the first time I have blogged about my Face Blindness. I know that I have made so many social mistakes with this particular person that there is no way to fully recover. I just try to be gracious possible about the incidents, and hope she just thinks I am a bit loopy, and not snobby. It's not personal.

The other times it has happened it was with people I barely was acquainted with. Those situations I can kind of shrug off, because it's not that unusual to not recognize an acquaintance you don't know very well. However, I have known this person for over 16 yrs. I don't see her often, but honestly I should recognize her. As I thought about this after I got home another similar memory came to mind.

It was 15 years ago, just after my daughter was born. I was going out to dinner with my husband, and a big gathering of his family who was visiting. We got in the door, and one of bus boys seemed to take notice of us

Thursday, November 21, 2013

More Than Lonely

I laid my head on my pillow, and tried to close my eyes for sleep, but instead the heavy feeling of sadness came. It's the unique feeling a deep throbbing ache in my chest as I hold back sobs as hot tears pour down my face.  I have only felt this feeling a handful of times in my life, and they were all at that moment when I tried to relax my mind to sleep, but instead the pain I was hiding from in the day came out of the shadows of night.

I remember once feeling this way as a little girl, maybe seven, or so.  I nestled down in my bed for sleep, but instead the days events played out in my mind.  It must have been a particularly bad day. I pulled my blankets up to my chin, and chewed on the strings of my favorite bed spread to try to comfort myself.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Changing Perspectives #ThisIsAutism

I must admit, I did not fully read Suzanne Wright's Call To Action until this morning. I am familiar with Autism Speaks, and their agenda, so I had a pretty good idea what it would contain. I wish I could say I was shocked, dismayed, or even surprised at what I read when I took the time to fully consider the entire letter, and what it meant, but I wasn't.

I would like to counter Autism Speak's ideas that autism is somehow new, and somehow only affecting children. I would like to somehow understand how an organization could have so much access to autistic advocates, yet deny those people a say in advocating, and speaking on behalf of a 'disorder' they're diagnosed with. I would like to ask them why they alienate us. Why they scream for support from the government, but offer not a dime to adults on the spectrum needing support today.

But, I won't.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Learning to Overcome: Learning Disabilities in the US

 I was contacted by Cara from Special Education Degree about sharing an infographic about learning disabilities that her team had created.  Learning disabilities is a topic I touch on often in my blog. In my home we have a variety of different learners, and I value the importance of educating others on what LDs are, and further spreading awareness that will lead to meaningful change. It's my view that LDs aren't overcome, as much as need to be taught differently than the rest of the population. The more we can understand, and effectively customize education efforts for the differently minded, the better the outcome will be for these unique individuals.

Below is a message from the people at Special Education Degree:

Learning to Overcome: Learning Disabilities in the U.S.

Chances are, you or someone you know has been diagnosed with some type of learning disability. It is estimated that 4-6% of the population in the United States has some type of learning disability.  While many view these individuals as lacking in intelligence, this couldn’t be further from the truth. www.special-education-degree.net has created an infographic detailing the statistics behind learning disabilities, the top five diagnosed learning disabilities, and how things we take for granted, such as an education and employment, seem to be a challenge for those with a learning disability.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Having Baby Dreams-what do they mean?

Sleep in my house (for me and Beans anyway!)  hasn't been happening as often as it needs to, or that I would like. Any night I get to sleep more than 4 hrs uninterrupted is a great night! I have been working on that with Bean's doctor, and it's a work in progress.  However, that's another post for another day.

When my sleep is all fragmented my REM cycles create vivid dreams that I recall in detail upon waking.  The theme recently is babies. Now, I know that dreaming about babies usually not indicative of actually wanting a baby.  Babies in dreams can mean several different things from your own

Thursday, October 31, 2013

When Special Interests Lose Their Appeal

 I see my special interests like trees. Some grow big, and strong, and some only make it to saplings, grown out of a seed of another tree.  My interest in psychology, for instance is a mighty oak who has grown for about 20 years. It has spawned many other saplings in it's time, but none have outlasted the tenacity of the psychology interest.

Autism is another that is related, but not on the same tree. It's been around for almost 8 years now, and is strong, and been by far my most compelling interest, as it has a lot to do with my everyday life.  Some of the branches on that tree include this blog, and my Inner Aspie FB page. They're definitely a part of my interest, but they're not the totality of it.

Sometimes, I out of nowhere I will decide that I have had enough of a special interest. This might happen to a short term, or long term interest. Sometimes, how I know if I am about done with an interest is I begin to not enjoy it as much. It's not exactly that pronounced, though. I might become moody, and edgy.  I have that nagging, something needs to change feeling.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

#Autistic Inertia

I have erased, and began again on this page. I look at the blinking cursor as I try to get my thoughts out, but none are quite what I want to convey. I imagine this blockage would be worse if I were having to actually speak, instead of type. So many thoughts in my head, and emotions building that I can't quite articulate any of it, and it's seemingly stopping me from doing anything productive.

I call this phenomenon autistic inertia. I may be not even be enjoying whatever repetitive activity that I am doing, or thoughts that I am dwelling on, but they are looping in a manner inside my brain, and freezing my body in a way that I can't seem to break free from.

I know that I should do something else. I know that I have tons of things that need done. I know I am behind, and should get moving. I am aware of the time. The clock is making me nervous,

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ouch! That Hurt My Ego!

In my last post I talked about not only fearing, but expecting rejection, and another recent post I spoke about feeling almost depressed, and needing a break.

I think I see a pattern here.

In sharp contrast to me almost rock solid confidence in the recent post about letting go of preconceived notions of limits post I wrote just a few weeks ago I see a decline in mood. I see a decline in energy, which shakes my confidence up, leaving me feeling like maybe I don't got this.

I'm noting my ego is easily bruised by things that I usually would just let slide. I'm sensitive. My physical body is ill. My stomach is in knots,

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Expecting Rejection-How can I stop?

Last night Hubby, and I went out on a date, as we do most Friday nights. I know that is like a dream for most parents, much less special needs parents. I am aware of how lucky I am to have this opportunity to go out for a few hrs child free with my husband. However, it rarely ends well, or is even enjoyable.

Last night was another failed attempt. It wasn't a total waste, but it wasn't all that fun, either. We can't seem to find anything to do that we both enjoy in the time frame we have to fill. The sitter gets to our house at 7:30 and we have to drive 30 minutes into town, and be leave town by 11 PM or so. So, that leaves us with * PM-11 PM for eating and whatever we decide to do. That's roughly 3 hrs. The issue is filling those hours, My husband doesn't drink, and I don't like movies. Nothing is open for shopping, and such that late. Museums, and other places are closed. So, unless you want to be in loud, places with loud people there is not much left to do. Parks are okay, but not terribly safe to be sitting in late at night.

My mood is our biggest barrier. I get excited about going out. I look forward to it, but then once we are out around people I just want to go home.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bean's First Speech Session

Today was Bean's first session at the new speech clinic. It went pretty well. When we arrived the SLP was just finishing up with another child, so Beans, and I waited in the waiting area. It's an open floor plan, so he darted out of the waiting area, and into the offices some as I tried to corral him. He loves to push the levers on the water cooler. He does not like to drink, or collect the water, but just to play with it. Getting Beans to be still in waiting rooms has never been easy, and as long as he isn't bothering anyone, or in their way I see his moving around to be a sensory need, so I let it go. Hubby, and I disagree about this, but that is my way.

In any event, it went pretty well. She first had him check his schedule, which he did not like. It was the same
type of picture to picture schedule we used to use. I am hoping that that is not something she wants me to continue with at home, because I don't think he understands the whole picture thing, and he tries to eat them whenever he gets the chance. I think we had talked about using objects before, which I know that he did understand when we used them at home. We ran into the same problem, though with him wanting to rip them up every chance he got.

The first thing she wanted to do was read 'Good Night Moon' which Beans was not wanting to even try. I had to sit down before he would go to the book area, then he sat on my lap while she read.  She had him point at things, and turn the pages. It wasn't his favorite activity, which I figured it wouldn't be.  I was actually glad that he came to sit with me, and would participate when I was helping. I know it seems ridiculous, but he never has much response to me, so I never really knew if he cared that much about me being around. He definitely proved today that he does.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Processing Change & Almost Depression Days

Today is going to be one of those days where I need to keep moving, even if I don't want to. I will have to push myself, as I can feel the energy, and optimism slowly creeping out, as darkness, and self-doubt creep in.

These days are processing days. Days that I need to do, as my mind processes all that has happened recently. That is how my brain works. It often downloads in the background as I do other tasks. Kind of hard to explain, but much like a computer updating software. I take in lots of info, but it doesn't quite 'download' right away.

It takes a lot of my energy to try to take in a lot of new changes, and information. This energy has to come from somewhere. For me, it often comes from my mood, and forsakes efficient cognitive processing for daily tasks.  Mostly my mood, though.

Days like today are days long with dysthymia.  Dull, color faded, melancholy days that are drawn out. I make myself keep moving through it, because if I sit, and think too long that negative voice gets too loud to block out.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Quick Points for Effective #Autism Advocacy

Since Beans school incident recently I have become all that much more aware of how school improperly handles children with needs they don't understand.  I am seeing a re-occurring theme that I find so unsettling.

It's the over-correction, under-supportive, non compassionate, non empathetic way that schools often view, and treat our children.

It seems so common that I find most parents don't even notice it.  They just see the way their child is treated as the way it is.  It doesn't have to be. Most find what happened to my son to be appalling, but what they don't understand is that if their child is being restrained at any point in their day that could easily be their child.

I have written a lot about behavior supports, and such, and will include those entries at the end of this entry for a reference to those that may not have seen it. As a quick reference, here are some points I'd like people to remember when dealing with the school, and autistic children.

* If your child is struggling in any way with school personnel, and behavior request a Functional Behavior Assessment. Don't think that it would cause too much trouble, or think that just because a certain para is working with your child that they'll be okay. Don't let the school make you feel that they're doing so much that you should be grateful, and not ask for more. That was the biggest mistake I made, by far.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What If I Can?- letting go of the belief that I am limited

There are events that occur in our lives that change our path to something radically different in just a few minutes, or hours.  Last month, one of those life changing events happened to my family.

When Beans came home from school hurt on the 10th of last month my journey as a mother took a sharp turn.  I pulled everything to a halt, as I searched for answers as to what happened, and what I can do to help Beans get the education he has a right to receive.  I didn't count on the odds being stacked against us. I didn't anticipate so much hostility from the people that are supposed to educate my child, and have his best interests at heart. The shocking amount of covering up for each other, and adversarial nature of all involved was a life lesson I wish I never got.

As my biggest fears were realized in this situation I realized something else. I realized that my biggest, most tallest fear was that I was incapable. The way in which I underestimated who I am, and what I can do is by far my biggest weakness, and my biggest fear producer.

I realized that in this moment of adversity I could fight it, and get stuck on the part where we are the victim, or I could move forward on this path that I have been suddenly thrust upon.  I began to see the new situation, and the new found path as a journey full of opportunity, borne of unfortunate circumstance.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Next Chapter- #autism and #injustice

If you're unfamiliar with the entire story you can get up to speed here  and  here .

I'm sitting in a blissfully quiet house sipping coffee, contemplating my day, my week, and what to do next after a devastating outcome to what appears to be the final meeting with Bean's special ed provider at school.

I was not able to persuade them to allow Beans to go to another school. They stated it violates Least Restrictive Environment, due to the other structured learning room being further away than the one he was attending. I know that there will be 20 comments about how I can fight that, but their wording, and their reasoning doesn't have to make sense. I had 2 of the best advocates in my entire state helping me through this. If there was a way to fight effectively against our special ed coop they would have done so. If there was words to use, and ways to fight that wouldn't be wasting my time, and money they'd have jumped on that opportunity. The fact is, our local special ed coop is run pretty much like our government. We all know they're not doing things right by the people, but there isn't much we can do. We can take it to the courts, where their friends, and acquaintances work, and there is rarely ever a judgment in the parent's favor. Government agencies rarely like to step on the toes of other agencies.

With that being said, I am of course going to go forth with reporting the misconduct of the whole situation to

Friday, September 20, 2013

I Found My Courage

After some silent time of contemplation, I am back. 

During that time I thought about what is happening in my life right now, and what it means. The simple fact is, I am a natural born writer, and thinker, but not one that likes spotlights, and controversy.  I like to share, but from a quiet corner. I know that many of have urged me to go to the media with this latest awful situation with Beans, but I have to say that is my last resort, because it is so far out there in my comfort zone that I would literally have to left with no other options, besides defeat. To be honest, I'd almost rather accept defeat than to be on TV talking about such a high conflict situation that is going to bring fire down onto my family.

I don't handle high conflict situations well. What else that I don't handle well is situations where there is a very serious social injustice.  So, I feel that in this case, I am dealing with it whether I want to or not. It's on my doorstep, and isn't going anywhere.I can buck up, and stand my ground, or cower. The consequences for standing up will be harsh. I will be subjected to scrutiny, and I will lose friends, and alliances. Making noise, and being the proverbial whistle blower is not an easy task to carry through.

I thought about all these things the last couple days. I gathered up all of my strength to make the decision to carry on. I have made note of the close friends, and family I thought I had that have not been supportive. I make no apologies to the people that want to get their panties in a bunch when I don't take their advice, or ask them politely not to do something on my personal facebook page. They want to think of only themselves, then that is their right to be selfish, and petty. Fuck them. I won't let them bring me down any longer.

So, I am back. Rested, and ready to go forward, even in the face of adversity. I have to stand up for what is right for Beans, and for all the other kids that this situation has, or will have happened to.


"Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
Martin Luther King, Jr."

Monday, September 16, 2013

Update- Beans and the School Investigation

In my last post I talked about the beginning of what has turned out to be a nightmare on so many levels. Today, that nightmare has gotten scarier.

I received the update from the school police officer who told me that he could not find any criminal conduct in his jurisdiction. He says he interviewed everyone, and no one is criminally liable for Bean's injuries.

I asked him then how does he explain them, and he just kept repeating that he couldn't find anyone to hold criminally liable. No one (obviously) owned up to it, and Beans can't tell us, so he says a crime hasn't been committed.  This makes about as much sense to me as finding a murder victim lying dead with a gunshot to the head, no gun around, and declaring it not a crime, because the victim can't tell anyone what happened, and the police don't know what happened.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Injured Wrists and a Nonverbal Child- Autism mom looking for answers

There is one thing that is in the back of almost every parent's mind when they send their special needs child to school everyday. Those of us parents with nonverbal children are even more prone to worrying about this.

Is my child safe? Are the staff treating him/her well?

Tuesday afternoon when my son got off the bus I quickly realized the answer to both of those questions was no.

I'll start from the beginning.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Space Where My Picture Used to Be- healing and accepting parental rejection

This morning my husband mentioned something to me that set off one of my triggers. It's the trigger that is linked to a sad, desperate, despairing deep in my the pit of stomach. It doesn't matter what it was, because that's not really important. What is important is that something so seemingly mundane should not release in me such extreme emotions that I sit on the edge swinging my feet, and tossing pebbles curiously into the pit of despair for the rest of the day. I make no fuss. No one around me would likely guess that I feel this way. I have matured enough to know that my reaction to something so small is out of proportion to the situation. It's a quiet sadness that longs for reassurance.

I know where this pain comes from, and while it's understandable, there is no logic in getting upset over something I can't control.

A few weeks ago my grandfather, and his new wife came to take my two oldest to stay with them for a few days. I jumped at this opportunity, because neither my parents, or my husband's parents (except his father) do anything with my kids. They literally don't ever have the grandparent experience.  While they were there they visited my parents.

My daughter said that there was no evidence in their home that I even ever existed. All pictures of me have been removed

Sunday, September 8, 2013

17 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Tight Schedule

Do you think that you're too busy to eat healthy? Do you often find yourself stopping at a convenient store, or drive thru due to tight schedules, and a a rumbling stomach?

This is such a common issue that I believe it is warranted a bump up on my blog posting list about developing healthier habits. On a previous post about this topic a reader asked me for some tips about how to eat healthy while balancing a hectic schedule. I would have liked to do a post about what to eat, and what to keep in check first, but I wanted to address this question, because it is a terrific one. I believe that time is probably one of the biggest, second only to maybe not having the correct information, obstacles most of us face in eating better, more nutritious food.

I will address the reasons why in a later post, but here are some tips to eating a healthy diet when busy:

*If you can afford it, take advantage of the already prepared produce trays at the store. This can cut down time when you're in a hurry, and is still likely less expensive to prepare a meal using already prepped ingredients than eating fast food.

*Cook things likes beans in bulk, and freeze them for tacos, and chili meals.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Back to School IEP Tips and Ideas

A few weeks ago I promised that I would share some tips about how Bubby's IEP meeting went.

It wasn't quite an 'IEP' meeting. I guess it was just an informal meeting designed to update old staff, and inform new staff about Bubby's needs. It was not to change, or alter the IEP, so I suppose that is the only difference. The whole team was there, as well as as the coordinator of  our local educational coop's special ed dept as per my request.

First of all, it was a night, and day difference with the way the principal behaved with the Special ed. coordinator there. He still said a few things that were not in line with today's laws, and regulations, but all in all his obstinate, bully-ish demeanor changed to a subdued version of that demeanor. He barely concealed his contempt at having to use what he would consider nontraditional methods on his school, because he doesn't feel he should have to bend for any student, but rather if the student can't acclimate to his environment, then they should go to a different placement. But, since that is a violation of law I work my way around him. If you had not been up to date with Bubby's school situation here is my last entry about it.

First, here is the letter that I write every school year to help acquaint them with Bubby,. and his needs.

Hello!

At the beginning of every year I always like to make up a little info sheet about Bubby to hand out to teachers, as well as a shorter version for you to tuck away in your sub folders to help quickly acquaint substitutes with Bubby.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Empathy, Familiarity, and Murder

This is my current thoughts about the latest tragedy in the autism community. I am not meaning any of it sarcastically, or rhetorically.

When one person commits a heinous act of murdering her child we scream "Nail her to the cross!"

But, if someone we have kind feelings. and positive associations with does the very same thing, society gathers to defend said person.

I am trying to understand how the two are different.. How is the action, the result, the crime committed, the pain inflicted different between person 1 and person 2?  How did the facts change? Is it just your view that changed? If so, should people be treated differently with different consequences due to how we *feel* about what they've done, and less by the  the action itself?

I have sat all day thinking on this issue, and trying to find reasoning in it, but I just can't. I am not a cold callous individual. I don't believe in the concept of good, and evil. I think sometimes when someone does something as unthinkable as trying to kill their child there are mitigating factors. I'm not an unreasonable person. As a matter fact, I'm a very logical person and today's reaction from the autism community to the tragic news of a mother trying to harm her child is not making sense in my head. If a stranger harms another being is it still not the same amount of harm being inflicted if it is your best friend doing it? Does the harm amount to less if it's a familiar person? If the harm is the same, then why should punishment be any different? Why does one scenario have almost all of the autism community saying in unison that lack of services is never a reason to kill your child, but today that is different? This case is different, because...?

This isn't me talking about disability rights, or who could have, or should have done what. This is me trying to make sense of the social concept of empathizing with a murderer/attempted murderer, because this person evokes familiar feelings of love, and care. I am not as angry as I am confused. How I feel about the action of the mother in this case is another post entirely. For now, I am lost in what appears to be a social custom that I cannot wrap my head around. Others are free to hold their own opinions. I'm just trying to understand them.


*Please keep comments respectful, and read this before you blame my autism for not understanding your POV. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

#Autism Mom Mcjudgypants

This is one of those posts. If you're a writer you know which kind I mean. Those posts where you begin, and erase, and begin again. You feel the words, but they remain elusive, just out of reach..... You know what you want to say, but can never manage to really convey it. The words you write don't do your thoughts justice, so you erase them, and stare at a blank page, and blinking cursor, until it's time to do something else. This has gone on for months with this post.

I think I have touched on the issue quite a bit about parentingkindness, and what we can gain from not being so judgmental. I talk about it quite a bit on my page, too. I know it's not a novel concept, yet I want to bring this topic up again in the context of special needs parents speaking to other special needs parents. (Sorry, I don't use person first language).

What does this interaction usually look like?-You may ask.

Well, it usually goes something like this:

Scenario One:
Usually, a topic is brought up by parent 1. Parent 1 may be asking for help, or may just have mentioned a certain topic of discussion, but either way parent 2 has heard, and has some advice to offer. They offer it, even if it's completely not useful to parent 1. If they are pushy, they will insist that it works, and ask a bunch of questions about why it won't work. Now, this is where I get flustered. Usually, I can just thank the advice giver, and be on my way, but if they are insistent, then that is much harder. I am not good with being evasive. I always respond with long detailed answers that will usually make parent 2 try to come up with reasons why their way can work despite all of those things.

With this scenario I feel kind of defensive, and almost like I am being attacked. I feel like it is obvious from what they are telling me that my child's autism is not the same as their child's.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Bean's Developmental Pediatrician Appointment

Last Thursday my husband and I made the journey to take Beans to see his developmental pediatrician.  To be fair, it's only about a 40 minute drive from our home, but getting Beans there is a journey in, and of itself.

First, I have to actually obtain an appointment with the the doctor. She is one of the only doctors who can diagnosis, and 'treat' autism in our state. You can imagine what her schedule looks like. When I initially called a few weeks ago I was originally given a January date. Umm... no. My son is not in a place where he can wait that long. He is having some really serious self injurious behaviors, and I need him to see the doctor. Soon. So, I explained the situation. I said there was no way my son can wait 5 months. He's not a new patient. He's been her patient for over 7 years, and I have only brought him in 2 in the last 7 years. This is an emergency. She checked with the nurses, and found that there was an opening due to a cancellation in a few weeks. I really didn't want to wait a few weeks, but it's better than months!

So, I get the appointment, and the day comes to get together to see the doctor. I forget how terrified he is of the whole process. We get there, and he doesn't want to exit the van.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Striving for Health- Some facts about weight loss and exercise

Tips, tricks, and plans to lose weight hits you in the face almost wherever you go. They're splashed across every magazine at the checkout counter, in many commercials, on the news headlines, and featured on almost every page ad on the internet. Yet, we are by far the most unhealthy we have ever been here in the US.  As a whole, statistically there has never been such a wide divide between what our waistlines look like, and the people we Photoshop, and edit onto our magazine covers.

I don't want to make this into a big political piece about how the fashion, and beauty industry is taking advantage of us, and making us feel ugly to buy their products. To some degree, I think they are, but what I would rather focus on is being healthy. It's not healthy to be overweight, or to be normal weight, but with a high fat percentage. This is a fact.

Monday, August 26, 2013

#Autistic Know-it-all, or Could it be #Anxiety?

On my Inner Aspie page I spoke of a  little personal challenge to not correct my husband, or critique anything he does for a whole entire week. I made it about 24 hours before I blurted out "That's wrong!!!" when we were making the bed, and he was going to put the blankets in the wrong order. I tried to slow my thoughts down, and think of another way to say it, but I got so anxious.  In the afterthought of it all I realize that something so small as the blankets being in the wrong order shouldn't feel so nerve-wracking. I wish it wasn't met in my mind with such obsessional urgency that I feel the energy shoot from my stomach, up through my chest, down my arm, and out my fingertips in a flappy expression of overwhelm. However, it does.

In my mind at that moment it feels like the world is collapsing. My blankets won't feel right while I sleep. They'll probably not stay on the bed right. The satin fabric one is too slippery. It will slide off in the middle of the night, and I will be cold, then I will have to get it. Then, I will be tired from fixing blankets all night. Not to mention what it will do to the color scheme of my room! They won't match like that, and then my room will look dark, and dark shadowy room hurt my eyes, and , and, and,....

That is how anxiety works in my head. I'm not trying to be critical of others. I'm trying to control my world so that I can feel comfortable.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Hateful Letter, #Narcissism, and #Bullies

I have been asked by more than one person to do a blog post on my opinion about the letter that was anonymously written and delivered to a Canadian family last weekend. I have been reluctant to do so for a few reasons. None of which are popular with the autism community, so I tend to stay out of these conflicts. I wish I could respond like everyone else, and have an emotional reaction that outweighs my logic on these sorts of events, but I don't. I've been a lot of places in my life, and seen a lot of things. More so than the average person in respects to places that most would call unpleasant, dysfunctional, and dangerous. It's these experiences that have left me with a realistic view of people. Some people are not nice. Some are sometimes. Most are most of the time, and a small fraction of people are so dark that they are devoid of any human conscience at all.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Understanding the Why When Teaching Autistic Children

I have seen a theme of discussion here lately about "pushing" autistic kids. From Temple Grandin's speeches to autism pages, and blogs that I read. I have posted, and spoken about it a lot on my own personal page, even going so far as to tag educators that work with my son. I somehow feel they probably don't appreciate that. Their knowledge comes from classroom teachers, and textbooks, which is fine. There is nothing wrong with that, but the picture is not complete without the perspective of people that are on the spectrum weighing in on the subject.  After all, we once were the kids they are teaching now.

I have argued in real time with some of the people that work with my sons about the idea of pushing. What it means, what it doesn't, and when it should occur, if ever. I still don't think I have made myself clear, or come to any agreement so far with many.

I think part of the issue is what does pushing really mean? Does that mean 40 hours of ABA? Does it mean constant repetition, and hand over hand?  Does it mean do this, and get this? This is where it gets sticky, because what seems like pushing to one person isn't to another.  We're all different in how we interpret things.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Most Parents Are Lazy

Did the title get your attention? Good. If you agree with it, then this blog is written with you in mind. Please, keep reading, before skipping to the comments section.

It happened again. I got sucked into another dreadful parenting debate. I always tell myself that I won't, and usually I don't, but sometimes I do. I just have to respond to people. I have to let them know just how narrow minded they are being, and in the end I doubt it matters to them one iota.

These people know just how every child should behave, and how every parent should respond when they don't.

These commentators know that every misdeed of the kid (no matter how old) is the parent's fault.

They know, because their child would never...

They know because back in their day......

How do I know these parent's POV so well? I have a confession to make here.

Our First Bowling Trip

In one of my recent posts I talked about date nights, and what we could do differently.  I promised some follow ups.

Last Thursday evening we decided to mix it up a little, and make it a family thing. It occurred to me that my kids have never gotten the opportunity (except for maybe field trips) to go bowling, or to the movies or a lot of other fun things. There's various reasons for this. The main one, is that Beans (and up until recently Bubby on some things) would never be able to tolerate it. The other is lack of fun funds.  If one can't hardly pay their bills, my philosophy is that one shouldn't be out spending money on nonessential activities.  In other words, I am a stingy, party pooper.

I left Beans with respite, picked up my daughter's boyfriend, and off we went. The fact that we waited so long to go is evidenced by the fact that my daughter is old enough to have a serious boyfriend. My heart hurt leaving Beans out of family fun, though. I knew there was no way he'd enjoy it. I feel the same every time we go to a carnival, too. It's always bittersweet, because I always feel like I am leaving him out. It's like on one hand, I want to give my other children life experiences as they age, and grow. I want them to have fun. I want them to know what it's like to live beyond our four walls. On the other hand, I don't want to leave Beans out of these experiences, even the ones I know for a fact he would not enjoy.  It was hard, but I did it. I am glad that I did!

We had so much fun! Bubby only had one small meltdown, because he had issues getting his shoes on. He's not terribly accustomed to laces, so he got really discouraged. We moved on quickly, though. The rest of the night was super fun, full of laughs.

I wish I had some pictures to share with you. I didn't take any, because I was too busy having fun!

I'm looking forward to our next activity, and am more open to trying new things, sans the guilt! :)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Losing Beans- Last night's bad dream

Last night I had one of those dreams that you wake up from sobbing. At first, I thought that the meaning was pretty straight forward, but after thinking on it, and looking up some of the main themes in my dream dictionary I quickly realized the meaning was much deeper than I originally thought.

In my dream, I was sitting around with some friends that I used to have when I was a teenager. We were back at my hometown, doing fun things that 14 year old girls do, except I was not 14.  I was the same age I am now. It was nostalgic, and I was having a really nice time. Then, it was evening and we were sitting by a pool. The next thing I know Beans has disappeared. I can't find him anywhere. Panic sets in, as I look for him.

Then, I am in a sort of haze, or something. It was like I was unconscious, and had woke up. I asked some people around me where Beans was, hoping it had been a dream, or he had been found, but they confirmed what was my worst fear... he was still lost. They said he had wandered into a nearby forest. I held back my tears, as I asked how long had this been the case. Two or three weeks was their reply, and with that I knew. I knew he was gone, likely forever, and I just kept saying "Oh man, oh man. no." as I sobbed, and sobbed. I think I made a few attempts at following up, but I knew it was pretty final. He was gone, and that was that.

I tried to move on, but life felt so empty. I tried to keep things

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Organizing Toys for Kids With Visual Sensitivities

In my last post I talked about how much Bean's behavior has been changing, and how I am struggling to not only cope, but to find others that are going through the same thing.

Through chatting with a few others that reached out, I am back on my game now.  I am still going to take him to the doctor (which is a mess of situation worthy of another post in, and of itself) but I am going to try some new things in the meantime.  Some of those I detail in the comments section of the post, so I'm not gonna relay them here, too.  However, one thing that occurred to me was that maybe it was time to do another de-cluttering of Bean's toys. He tends to get really overwhelmed easily when he has too many choices. I try to keep his amount of available toys to choose from neat, organized and at a minimum to help him. For some reason, it hardly ever occurs to him to dig through toy boxes to find his favorite items. If he can't find something in his line of vision to play with he will just not try, which renders him bored, and irritable.  I am aware that the totality of the situation does not rest on the organization of his toys, but I do think it might help.

I thought to myself as I was preparing to do my usual cleaning routine that if my son does well with certain things in certain orders than maybe  others might benefit from it, too, so here is my tutorial on how to help arrange play areas for children with visual sensitivities:

First- Gather all toy boxes

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Severe #Autism, Puberty and the conversations that need to be happening

Here lately I have been struggling with Beans, and his increasingly aggressive behavior. I don't care as much about about the aggression, or the destruction of my home as much as I care that he seems quite unhappy.  I have spoken about it some on my Inner Aspie page, and more on my personal FB page.  I tend to keep quite a lot of these struggles to myself, as I know the inevitable wall of advice is bound to come along with anything I post.  I don't mind advice, and sometimes welcome it, but in the case of Beans it seems he has a different kind of autism than almost anyone else I have ever met, online, or off.  Autism Daddy is probably one of the very few examples I have found that somewhat matched up with my Beans. Though, his son, and ideas on dealing with things differ from mine it is a close approximation.

Last year, for Christmas one of Beans paras took a bunch of photos of his classroom, and put them on a special slideshow/video dvd for the parents.  Beans is in a classroom with other kids who are severely affected by autism, as well. He is by far the most delayed. I don't know that I noticed as much until popping that dvd in. I watched the other 2 kids in his class participate in activities while Beans just ran around in the background. Don't get me wrong, the school (usually) is very good at including him in every activity they can. The thing is, he doesn't have the skills to be involved in most of what the rest are doing. In P.E. the other 2 try to mimic what the rest of the 3rd grade class is doing, my son is running around playing tickles with the para. He will play tickles and peek-a-boo all day long. It isn't wrong, and it is engaging socially at his level of ability. I don't have an issue with it, but he is quite delayed in development, but yet his body is growing. His mind is beginning to get flooded with the hormones of adolescence, which delayed or not makes anyone moody, and obstinate.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

When Good Date Nights Go Bad- What to do?

After another date night that fell flat, and almost ended in a mega argument, my husband I are now being more proactive in planning these things. I am a big planner. I plan for plans, even, It really wasn't lack of preparation on my part, as much as lack of ideas. My husband counts on me to have the plan. He never tends to have one. Sometimes, I find this irritating, because it seems that I'm doing all of the work, but when I look at all areas of his life, he never has short term plans, so I take that into account, and try not to take offense. I am still doing the majority of the work in running things, but again, this is my strength.

I thought about when my husband and I were dating. What did we used to enjoy out on dates, and for fun?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Personal Consumption Challenge- Join me!

I came across the challenge I quote below in my inbox from VIA- Institute of Character. I'm not really familiar with the organization, but I did like this particular email. I thought their idea was a very, very good one.

So, I'm gonna do it! I think it's important to know what we are doing, and what we are being exposed to on a daily basis. I am not one for thinking about energy in spiritual way, whatsoever, but I do think our thoughts, words, feelings and action impact others. Our environment is important in how we feel.

I am going to go one step further in the process, and write down what I am feeling, thinking, and doing every hour as well. Not a whole journal entry, or anything. Just a few words should do. I am curious how my results will look.

So, here's the challenge:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Off the Cuff, and From the Heart

As I sit here on my couch, and contemplate my day it's about 10:30 pm. I hear Beans running around his room tapping his an empty water bottle, and exclaiming "Daaaa daaaay deeee!" My husband slumbers half off our sectional couch so exhausted that our 55 pound dog just ran over his head several times chasing the cat without waking him. My daughter, and her boyfriend sit in the other room talking, and the floor is littered with grapes, and cracker crumbs. I still will have to clean up the kitchen, and put away laundry before bed, but that's okay, because Beans is not likely to go to sleep before 11:30 anyway. This scenario is not atypical for my house at this time of day. As a matter of fact, it's pretty on schedule for what I expect.

Today wasn't anything great. It's wasn't anything awful. It was just another day. I got some stuff done, but not all of what I wanted, or even needed to. I think that I will never have my list of to-do's completed. I could very well be 98, on my death bed still clutching my to-do list. I can see it now

Sunday, July 14, 2013

How to help an Introverted #Autistic Person Feel More Comfortable in Social Activities

On my Inner Aspie FB page an interesting discussion took place the other day, and a question was posed that I said I'd further think about, and extrapolate here after doing so.

Basically, it was a discussion about introverted vs extroverted aspies, and how would one go about making an introverted autistic feel more comfortable in a group, or even social setting. I would like to first point out that an extroverted autistic person may or may not be auspicious. Sometimes, they are the most noticeable, due to how on display they are naturally. They  loudly violate social rules that make me sit back, and cringe as they do it. Sometimes, I am too hyper-aware of the rules, and am over thinking everything, instead of being in the moment, which is somewhat needed for a fluid social exchange that is positive, and rewarding for all sides. The thing is, most of my social skills are not intuitive. They are intellectual, so it is hard for me to be go on autopilot around people. Mostly because I just don't have much to say to most people

Thursday, July 11, 2013

She's No One's Best Friend

A few years ago, I was talking to an acquaintance on the phone about a lady we both knew.  I didn't know her, but from passing. I'd never spoken to her, but her presence kind of came off as a little insane.  The person I was talking to said "She's no one's best friend. She's just not the best friend type.". That phrase really stuck with me. It was something I thought about since then quite a bit. It seemed that it fit me quite well.

I've already talked about my aversion to group activities, and why I'm not popular, and never will be. This post kind of attaches itself to those by subject.  I have a strange aversion to being the center of attention, and wanting to be. It's a strange contradiction. On one hand, I love getting likes on FB page, and feel nothing short of very sad when I lose likes, or 'people talking about this' goes down, yet I am not willing to be someone I am not to get more likes. I am not just a parent blogger.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Closets From my Past

These last couple of nights I have been having dreams of an odd nature. Not only am I able to recall them when I awake, but they are that kind of realistic dream that sticks with you for awhile.  You are aware of the heaviness that it imprints on your consciousness emotionally.  I feel kind of nostalgic, and sad.

In both of them I was on a road trip that suddenly landed me at my parent's house.  Their home in real life is a few hours away, so you would not just stumble on it by accident, and decide to stop in, but in my dream that is what happened. I felt kinda lost, and not sure where to go, and what to do.

In the first dream I was in my old room going through my closet, cleaning out clothes.  I was surprised at how much still fit. What I was stuck on, was what was still in style. I kept second-guessing my keep, and throw out piles. I would try them on, and wonder to myself "Does this still work?" "Is this in style?"  I couldn't always decide what was still in style, or not, so I began imploring my husband's opinion. He told me it wasn't his choice. I'd have to decide for myself.

In my dream, I felt very oppressed,

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

#Autistic Overwhelm Prevention

Yesterday, I was reminded of my personal boundaries in a potentially lethal way.

Lately, I have been having to answer phones, and do other office work for my husband's business that has grown too large for him to manage on his own. There is a series of urgent calls with frantic customers on the other line needing their needs put first.  They all are important, and they all have relavent needs, but unfortunately, there is only so much work my husband can get to ay any given time.

Secretary work, by far, is NOT my thing.  I don't like phones, and I don't like chatting with strangers. But, this is a life necessity.  I can handle it, once I get used to the routine, and develop a new one. Plus, there will not always be this volume of calls, and other duties on a constant stream.  I am aware of that, so I am being rational about it.

However, my brain is taxed.  I thrive on routine to keep my brain running smoothly.  This is stops me from overexerting and having to over think every move due to poor executive functioning skills, or really not skills, but ability, maybe?  Skills implies that I need to learn more, but I have learned what helps me, and that is having s solid routine, as well as not overdoing things by trying to multitask. Yesterday, I had several appointments, and errands to run, as well as phones to tend to, and calls to return.

I felt a bit rushed, but fine. I felt like I was a bit uncomfortable, but could manage.  Then, I backed into a car leaving an appointment. I didn't see him there, but it was just a superficial bump.  All is good.  I head to my next stops, and head home.  I start not to be able to remember the phone calls I made this morning. Who did I say what to? Nevermind, I will remember later. I head out to take the dog to his obedience class. Crossing an intersection I bump another car. This was almost a big accident. I should have not done this.  This is my brain malfunctioning.

I forgot the rule of how my brain works.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Twirling Naked in the Streets-and No One Noticed- Review & #Giveaway

Twirling Naked in the Streets-and No One Noticed- Growing up with undiagnosed autism
Jeannie Davide-Rivera was born 1974 in Brooklyn, New York decades before Asperger Syndrome would be recognized in the United States as a diagnosis.

In her book, she takes you through a first person account of what it was like for her growing up. She recalls very early memories as a toddler playing with her imaginary friends, and first special interests The New York Yankees, to her precocious reading ability that lent her the ability to memorize large amounts of information as a very young child.  Her book takes you through an amazing journey of ups, downs, tears, and laughs as Jeannie recounts her experiences.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

My Thoughts on Time Management

I have been asking myself some hard questions lately. The kind that lead to hard answers, and even harder changes. I know that I have hinted at being kind of done with autism advocacy, and the autism as a special interest lately.  I don't think that I truly am, just yet.  However, I am changing how I go about this interest.  Sometimes, even  I get overwhelmed, and kinda....I don't know know what the word is I am looking for....almost bored, but not quite.  Maybe, complacent?

I have personal challenges in my life, as well as the ones I speak about here.  I find time to be my biggest contender, yet.  I never have enough of it to do what I want, yet... I know that is not true.  We all have all the time we need. If we added hours onto everyday, we would still feel like we were lacking in time. It is because we are not spending it wisely.  There is a gap in what we are doing vs. what we want to, or know needs done.  I think this applies to most people in general, but for me it is a huge factor in my overall life dissatisfaction.  Time is currency, because time is money. What we value is apparent by what amount of time we spend on any given activity. If we find that we are not spending time on what we value most, there is likely going to be some conflict.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I Wish The World Had a Pause Button

Ever since I was a child I can remember that I can go from being completely happy, and okay with my current situation, to completely overwhelmed, and confused. When this happens the only thought in my mind is to run away.   I need the world to stop, so I can process it. I need people to stop talking, stop moving, stop everything. I need time to pause, so I can recover my wits. Obviously, the problem with this is that the world doesn't stop just because I'd like it to. I wish I could hit pause. I wish the world had a pause button.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Bigotry and #Autism Advocacy- The (undefined) line we all think we avoid crossing

If you follow me on my page, or on this blog you will know that I am passionate about autism, civil rights, and just plain advocating for the equality for all, because to me, everyone matters. I tend to limit these views to my own space, because I try to not go around imposing my opinions on others. I am low drama, because  my brain doesn't really understand it very well. I freely admit this is a limitation that Asperger's has enabled within me. It's not necessarily a bad one, either. My self worth is not dependent on who likes me, who agrees with me, or any kind of group collaboration. One saying that I have had since I was in my teens before I have ever knew about AS is "I do what I do, and you do what you do." What I have always meant by this is that I am who I am, and I'm okay with my choices. As long as you're doing what makes you happy, and aren't hurting anyone, your choices aren't any of my business. My ability to remain neutral is usually logically intact before, during, and after any disagreement with a person.

I do however, occasionally get into disagreements with others about various things. This isn't hard in the autism community where the atmosphere is generally tense between opposing beliefs. What I have found that is different for me than others is how I am often treated differently due to my neurological status, if said status is disclosed to the other party.  In other words, if I am known to be autistic while I debate share my thoughts, and refuse to admit that I think I am wrong I am often accused of not understanding the social situation, or the proper social protocol.  They may insinuate that I was not sufficiently stocked with the right social stories as a child, because obviously I don't understand their point of view. I was not taught manners. Or, maybe I am just too rigid in my thinking.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Celebrating Dads-Breaking Gender Stereotypes

As many of you in the US I'm sure are aware of, Father's Day is this weekend.  I already talked about how much I adore my husband, and father of my children this post , so I won't repeat it here.

What I do want to talk about is the perception of fatherhood in our society.

On Mother's Day, I saw an outpouring of support, and admiration of women, for our place as mothers, and wives.  It was a week of gushy posts on Facebook, and Twitter. Images of flowers, and blessing of love, and gratitude filled social, and news media. Suggestions about the best gifts, and the yummiest breakfast to wake mom up to was everywhere.

What do I see this week as we lead up to Father's Day?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Growing Into Love

Like many nights, my husband came in the door tonight after 7 PM, despite leaving around 12 hours earlier.  This happens more nights than not 7 days a week. He owns his own business, and it requires backbreaking grueling labor all day, everyday.

Despite this, he comes home with a helpful attitude. always asking what he can do to help almost as soon as he comes in the door.

He comes home, understanding that my day is not always easy. His day doesn't end when he is away from work, because mine doesn't, either. We didn't arrive at this kind of give, and take relationship overnight, and I had to advocate for my needs (respectfully) plenty to get here. But, we didn't give up.  We stayed through when it was tough.  We sought marriage counseling when we needed direction.  We considered divorce many times in the last 16 years, but we stuck it through the trials, and tribulations, and let me clear- there were many life altering tribulations that we have encountered. I am glad we did.

Some ladies want diamonds,

Friday, June 7, 2013

Trigger Warning- Possible Ausome Overload!

I've been thinking... everyone is always on,and on about how great Beans is. He is truly loved. At home, or at school (where he is s favorite for sure!) he is truly valued. Bubby is, too. I thought it would be nice to share a positive post about the awesome side of autism. My life may not be as planned, and it may not always be easy, but I am grateful for what I have, and I intend to make the best of life. I don't have time for pity parties. Some days, it's hard, and that's okay. I know that there is always a corner coming to turn. I let myself feel down when I need to, and pick it all back up when I'm ready.  

So, here is my ausome household.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

My #Aspie Brain Was Set on Buying Milk. Not Socializing- failure to divide attention

Yesterday my daughter, and I were talking about how her boyfriend's dad was upset, because my husband didn't stop and chat with him at our local supermarket the other day.  He thought it was rude, but I know it was that my husband was in a hurry, and didn't think about it. I know this because it's very unusual for my husband to see someone he knows out in public, and not stop, and have a long chat.  Since he owns his own business, and meets lots of people this happens all the time.

Then my daughter says to me, "Mr. S. (her computer teacher) said that he's seen you at the store a few times, and he said hi to you, but you didn't respond. I told him you just don't really notice people."

I never heard, or saw him.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Raising Kids on the Spectrum- Book Review & Giveaway

Several weeks ago I was contacted by a publicist from Chicken Soup for the Soul requesting a book review of one of their latest additions to theChicken Soup series Raising Kids on the Spectrum.  I have never read any of the Chicken Soup books, so I jumped at the opportunity to try something new.  I knew it would be a different experience for me, and I had heard some good things about it.

When I received the book in the mail my first impression was that this was most definitely going to be an in depth read.  It was quite a bit bigger than I had anticipated, which is always a good thing. I love books to take me on a journey lasting more than a few hours, or a weekend.

As a matter of fact, true to the unpredictable fashion of life with autism things popped up, and inconveniences happened.  As I began getting into the stories in the book it seemed that one thing after another kept diverting my attention.  From school issues to unexpected appointments. I just couldn't devote the time I wanted to really get the book read.  Thankfully, the way that the stories in it are set up that was okay.  Though my bookmark moved at a snail's pace day after day I found that Raising Kids on the Spectrum didn't leave me feeling like I had lost my place every time I had to set it down, and pick up later.

Monday, May 27, 2013

How To Make Your Two Cents Valuable- Kindness, #Autism, and Support

I've had it said to me that when offering my opinion I need to work on my delivery. I have worked on that area. I have worked really hard.  If I have something to say that is advice, criticism, or a correction of any kind I am proud to say that I try very hard to stop, and think before letting the words exit my mouth, or fingers as the case may be.  I ask myself if what I need to say is important, true (which for me it always is) helpful, kind, necessary, and maybe the biggest one... being asked for.  Is the person wanting my opinion? Are they in a situation where me offering my 2 cents is going to help their life be better?  Or is it that my life will be better, because I got to get my opinion out, and feel like I'm right.  Usually, I am truly trying to be helpful, though.  The problem is, no one likes to be corrected all the time.  Sometimes, it's helpful to have a mistake corrected, or get advice to guide us in a better direction when we didn't know that direction existed. I think that the way the advice is given is particularly important. Maybe, you know might have been in a situation that seems like it's similar to the one someone else is describing,  You know what worked for you, so you're ready to tell them.  Nothing wrong with that. The only issue is that we need to remember that not every situation is the same.  There may be factors that make other people's situations different than yours.  There may really be no clear right or wrong choice.

When we are talking about parenting, and autism there seldom is.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Deeply Emotional & #Autistic- how my brain processes emotions

The other day when I was in an IEP meeting the assisted communication specialist was describing a new communication book that we would be using for Beans.  She described how we would point at the pictures in it to talk to him, and not just use it for him to request from us. In other words, it wouldn't really be PECs, and it wouldn't just be a one way conversation. Most of the people at the table were confused at what this meant, why it was this way, or how to use it.  The communication specialist was trying to explain it the best she could in her technical language as it was taught to her. She was over complicating it, and missing the mark. That's when I stepped in.

I explained to them that many people on the autism spectrum never think in words, and don't interpret the world in language. Some of us can learn it, and some of us can't.  Sometimes we think in pictures, sensations, or in a way that I can only describe as intuition, because there is no word for that. When we speak to my severely ASD son with words he most likely has to translate this to pictures, or to whatever way his brain interprets things.  On a good day, some of the message might make it through, depending on how familiar he is with those words in that order. On a bad day, or day where he might be low on energy none of the message will make it through.  It will be a garbled mess.  So, when we point at the pictures to speak to him, there is a conversation going on. He is not just using his book to ask for cake, or to go swimming. He is able to 'hear' us. I might tell him that I am wearing green today, and point at the color green. Or maybe, I'd like to tell him that I think it's hot outside. So many choices, but the idea is to build on receptive language in a way that he might grasp it better.

That got me to thinking about the subject of how I interpret the world,

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Cupid- The Almost Service Dog

We have a dog named Cupid.  The animal shelter named him that, because he loves everyone. He's a real people kind of dog. We got him as a birthday present for CJ.  However, soon after we got him about 7 months ago he picked another family member to turn his attention to, Beans.

Cupid is a very, very high strung dog. Full of puppy mischief, even though he's getting close to being 2 years old. He is a handful. A noisy handful, which is extremely off putting to Beans, who doesn't like noise, and too much commotion. Beans does not feel the same about the dog, as he does about him.  Beans runs away from him, and his noisy antics all day.  The dog follows him. When Beans has a meltdown Cupid runs around him in circles barking. This obviously makes Beans cry louder, and lash out at the dog. No matter how many times Beans hits Cupid, because he is encroaching on his space during a meltdown, Cupid never stops doing it.  He runs around him pushing away anyone who comes near Beans when he is upset. When a stranger comes in our home, they cannot even look at Beans sideways, or Cupid will start to bark, and push them away from him.It took a few wks before Cupid would allow our respite provider to do anything with Beans. As soon as she's play with him, he'd go nuts.  He would follow them to the bathroom for pants changing time, overlooking everything, making sure it was all cool. He even used to do that to me! If Beans tries to go out the door, Cupid will follow. Beans has never petted the dog, or acknowledged him in any way, except to toss some food his way. If Beans is eating paper, or some other nonfood item, Cupid wants to, too.  Cupid think Beans is the bees knees.  He's like a badly behaved service dog.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Be specific- How my autistic brain thrives on rules.

I used to spend hours arranging my barbies, and stuffed toys in rows.  I would take my line down again, and make a new rule for the order, and begin a new line.  The order might be by animal type, alphabetical, color, or even by most favorite to least.  I LOVED playing 'store' and would spend hours arranging all the 'merchandise' in my store.  I even made little price tags, and and sales receipts. I spent 10 times longer setting up my store, than actually playing with it.  I mostly liked playing with my brother, because he had to play my way.  I didn't have so much control over other children.  I wasn't very nice to my brother, and would often smack (I'm embarrassed to admit that!) him when he didn't obey my rules.

Now, I do this with adult things. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

#Autism & Self-Acceptance

I posted a pretty long post on my FB page about how I process emotions after I yet again, took something too seriously that my husband had said, and made a bigger deal out of it, than it really was.  This is something that always happens to me.  When I say always, I mean at least a few times a week.  It doesn't help that I have a hubby that I swear has ADHD, and everything is a joke to him.  My autistic brain is literal, and I often feel like he's making fun of me, when he is just interpreting the world in the way his brain is wired.  Anyway, this is what I wrote:

"Emotional regulation issues, and autism/asperger's. I find that I get irritated, and anxious by minor issues often, only to realize later while looking back that the thing that seemed so upsetting, or anxiety provoking really wasn't that big of a deal in the first place. I sometimes am embarrassed about my overreaction to seemingly insignificant occurrences, and the anxiety about how others might view me in light of my meltdown, or the anxiety about it happening again will keep me from trying new things, and socializing, if I let it.

As I have gotten acquainted with ASD, and what it's all about I have become aware of the reasons behind this phenomenon. One big one is weak central coherence (inability to see the bigger picture) and the other two are executive functioning issues, combined with difficulty in detecting, and describing emotional states. It's hard for me to see the bigger picture when I see something that goes wrong in my mind. I lose sight of how to get it back on track, and struggle with understanding how to deal with mounting emotions.

The last, but least of these triggers is, the deep down fear that I am being judged harshly by others, and won't/don't measure up. I think this reason is one that most, on or off the spectrum can relate to, but for those of us that seem to get things wrong so often, self-doubt is often a big obstacle to overcome when trying to regulate our emotions. I can lash out defensively, as if I deep wound has been ripped open, because in some ways, for me it may feel like it has. Learning mindfulness, and lot, and lots of opportunities to learn self-acceptance has helped a lot."
 
Then someone asked a million dollar question: How do/did you learn self-acceptance?  Can you give some examples of that?