Life With A Side Of Autism

LIFE WITH A SIDE OF AUTISM

Friday, January 31, 2014

I'm Going To Sing Out Friday With Sesame Street

I love Sesame Street. I know, I know...that's a no-brainer. Who doesn't love Sesame Street? In addition to great lessons and humor that appeals to every age level, they've featured some awesome musical numbers, one of which just got put up on YouTube this week.

So in honor of it being Friday (!) I say we sing the week out together. I guarantee, you'll be humming these all weekend long. Happy Friday, everyone!





Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Magic Glasses

Here he is, ready to go.
We're off to the movies and he insists on wearing his Harry Potter glasses.
I don't have the heart or even the desire to say no, not when he looks that cute in them.




They're magic glasses, he says. They help him see the magic all around.

But I look at him, full of wide-eyed wonder and unflinching belief in endless possibility, and I think maybe they help others see the magic in him, too.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My Son Wants A Little Brother, But This Baby Factory Is CLOSED


I brought it all on myself, I suppose, thanks to the Wal-Mart five dollar video bin.

Whenever I have a kid-free weekend and I'm at Wal-Mart (which happens to be the major grocery store in my tiny little town), I take the time to dig through their five dollar video bin in hopes of finding a hidden gem. It's hit-or-miss, but sometimes you get lucky.

That's where we found a new copy of The Princess Bride when the old one got too scratched. That's where I found Cloud Atlas and Amelie and Forrest Gump. And a few weeks ago, I hit the motherlode again and found "Zathura: A Space Adventure."

It's a wonderful movie about two brothers playing a board game about a space adventure that ends up becoming real. It's tremendous fun, and the story that evolves between the brothers is heartwarming and wonderful. We had a family movie night to watch it, and ever since then, my son's been hooked on it.

And when I say "hooked on it," I mean this is a kid with autism and he watches movies over and over and over and skips back to hear his favorite lines repeated again and again and he'll even spend an hour or more just watching the DVD menu on an endless loop.

Except, there's a problem. He's identifying really strongly with the older brother, so much so that he's decided he's missing something in his life: A little brother.


Monday, January 27, 2014

If You're Going To Read One Blog Post About Autism, This Is The One

And it ain't mine, folks. I'm going to stand here quietly in the background, and direct you to this wonderful blog post, written by someone with autism, about someone with autism.

Take a glimpse inside their world. Walk a mile, or even just a few steps in their shoes. Listen to them squeak. Feel how they pinch your feet. Try to explain that to someone who's sure you're just being difficult, who talks about you like you're invisible on a regular basis.

Read the article, please. Read it, and remember it.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Disney Will Be Releasing "Frozen" As A SingALong Next Week!!

Squeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

The only thing better than seeing Frozen, was seeing it with my kids, and the only thing that could be better than that would be seeing it in a singalong! Holy cow, how utterly awesome.

I can't wait.

I mean, seriously. Not that I can hold a candle to Idina Menzel, but you can't hear this music and not sing.

Happy Friday, everyone - I know what I'm doing next weekend!!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Remember When?

Remember when he used to sneak into her bed at night
Carrying that raggedy stuffed kitten
And she always lifted the covers, whispering to him to be quiet
Or Mom will hear

Mom heard
And the secret is that Mom didn't mind at all
Sometimes, if they giggled too long or too loud
I'd threaten until they quieted down
And they always did
Because they didn't want to sleep alone


Those days are gone now
She's nearly a teen and keeps to her room
Except for the times she sneaks in to talk to me
He's made a decade and likes to sleep with his door closed
Because the cats like to sit on him and he doesn't like that

But sometimes, at night, I can almost hear the covers rustling
The echoes of the giggles
The soft sighs and long stretches and yawns
So I steal into their rooms to watch them sleep

And I remember when

Monday, January 20, 2014

Five Great Old Movies You Should Revisit With Your Kids

A few weeks ago on one of my kid-free weekends, I decided to take part in a favorite past-time of mine: perusing the $5 movie bin at Wal-Mart.

I can only do this while kid-free, you understand. Doing this with kids is an exercise in futility. I end up with a pile of movies that I have to pick up off the floor and my $5 indulgence turns into a $25 indulgence after the kids throw their selections into the cart. Whether they'll actually get watched or not is a total crapshoot, too.

On this particular occasion, I got really, really lucky and found a great old movie that I knew - just knew - my kids would love. We settled in the following weekend, had our Friday movie night, and I was right. The movie is now one of my son's favorites and he's watched it on a repeating loop ever since. Sometimes you just know, and it takes a glimpse of it in the $5 bin to jog your memory of just how great that movie was.


[Zathura Movie Poster design by Shoolery Design]


Friday, January 17, 2014

I Have Been Nominated For A Superstar Blogger Award :)

I am completely thrilled to accept the Superstar Blogger Award from the incredibly poetic and talented inevertoldher. I have to admit, I was a casual reader of hers and when I went back to really get to know her, I got punched more than once right in the feels. I love the way you use your words, Polly. Thank you so much for nominating me!
Now, as per the rules, I will answer your questions.

1.  What is the funniest thing about you? 
Spontaneity. I can come up with some of the most ridiculous crap right off the top of my head. It'll either make you laugh out loud or get me in a lot of trouble.
2.  Who is your favorite personality? 
Mel Brooks. What's not to love? The man is a class act all the way to the bone.
3.  What is your lucky thing?
That would be my kids. They remind me nearly every day just how very lucky I am. When I don't want to sell them for medical experiments, that is.
4.  What is your favorite weather?
I find rain to be incredibly romantic and thunder and lightening are a huge turn-on. I do not, however, enjoy driving in it.
5.  A name that you want to give me.
"The Vault" - I am known among my friends for having a bizarre vault in my brain that stores completely useless trivia. You'd be amazed at what I can pull out of there. Seriously.
Finally, here are my nominations for the Superstar Blogger Award.  Please be sure to visit these blogs!



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Working From Home And Tearing My Hair Out - Welcome To The World Of A Single Working Autism Mom

My son is home sick today. I'm not terribly surprised, mind you - his sister had this intestinal bug yesterday and I guess it was just his turn.

And lucky for me, I have my work laptop with me and a wonderful, understanding boss who will, on occasion, permit me to work from home in a situation like this.

Of course, by 8am today I had a flood of emails waiting for me about issues that I pretty much have to be on-hand to solve (doesn't that just figure) and I'm going to have to call in some favors to get those resolved. I also have an enormous spreadsheet project that requires extreme attention to detail, as these figures and charts are going to be presented at an executive meeting at the end of the week.

And on top of all that, I have a son who, at the age of ten, doesn't really get the concept that Mom is working. Repeated prompts of "David, honey, Mommy needs you to be quiet," or "David, Mommy needs to think right now and she can't talk," are falling on not deaf, but autistic ears, which is a seriously hard thing right now.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

You Must Remember This: A Kiss Is Still A Kiss

I want to be kissed.

There, I said it. Out loud.

I've been separated from my ex for three and a half years, and we're almost divorced now. Before he left, we spent two years in separate bedrooms.

And it has now been five (yes, you read that correctly) five years since I have been properly kissed.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Temple Grandin Discusses The Assets Of Autism

A friend pointed me to the brilliant Temple Grandin's TED talk on the Assets of Autism.

Oh, how I adore Ms. Grandin. If you've read her book or seen the movie about her life, you'll see that she hits on two very key points that I feel really, really strongly about:

1) First and foremost, manners. Kids  - and yes, that includes children on the autism spectrum - can be and need to be taught manners. Of course, there are going to be challenges with this, and depending on where that child sits on the spectrum, there may be a limit to what you can get them to do. But the bottom line is that if you've got a higher-functioning child on the spectrum, they need to learn how to get along in the world they'll be living in.

That means learning to be polite, to say please and thank you, to have table manners and good hygiene. They need to learn the importance of having a good work ethic, being pleasant to coworkers (even if it's by rote), of learning to make appropriate "small talk". And along with their parents, they need mentors (teachers and peers) to help them do it.

2) Engage the child and be specific to their strengths. One of the points Ms. Grandin makes in her talk is that she was lousy in Algebra and because of that they wouldn't let her take Geometry or Trigonometry, which was a big mistake because she excels in both, being the visual learner that she is.

Children on the spectrum are very specific in what they excel in, and if a teacher plays to those strengths, it sets them up for a potential career in a field that plays to those strengths.

Food for thought, from someone who got the foundation she needed to help her help herself. That's all any of us want for our kids, whether they have special needs or not.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Must...Stop...Fist Of Death - Or Then Again, Maybe Not

It's taken me a few days to get my thoughts together about this story, because honestly, it's pretty much any parent's worst nightmare, but it's also a special-needs parent's personal hell.

Every single day we are acutely aware that there are people out there who will abuse or take advantage of our children simply because they can. Because they know they won't - or can't - fight back and because they know these kids may not even be able to tell anyone they were in an abusive situation.

Hell, the kid may not even recognize it as an abusive situation.

And like all special-needs parents, weighing on my mind is the very real fact that someday, oh God, someday, he'll be on this earth without me or his father. And then what?

Then I just have to pray he's learned enough about life, and his sister and friends and extended family are watchful, and hope for the best.

And people wonder why I'm up so late at night.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

You're Going To Remember This Someday, Kid, And Not In A Good Way

When I was in the second grade, we had a class party. Everyone was told to bring in goodies and like any group of kids, we were all excited about the coming sugar-fest, anticipating with great delight the feasting and tasting of massive amounts of sweets.

My Mother was a stay-at-home Mom my whole life, and while she wasn't much of a cook, she was known far and wide throughout our family and our neighborhood for her brownies. Nobody could make Betty's brownies but Betty, and they were amazing. My brothers and I were usually digging them out of the pan the second they came out of the oven, scalding our mouths on them and fighting for the corner piece.

So, of course, I had to bring brownies. My mother made a double batch, carefully laid out on two sturdy plates wrapped in aluminum foil, and drove me to school that day. I couldn't wait. I knew they'd be the hit of the party. Surely I, the girl nobody seemed to ever notice, would be the reigning queen of the classroom and everyone would be singing my praises as they shoveled little squares of chocolate heaven into their mouths.