Life With A Side Of Autism

LIFE WITH A SIDE OF AUTISM

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy Almost-New-Year! Try Not To Overindulge...

 ....because you never know who's going to be watching (and recording) you! Let's check it out:


That's gonna hurt the arm hair


 Drunk and Dog shaming



Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: I Forgot To Think Right


He suddenly stopped wearing his favorite pair of Converse
Telling me they don't work anymore
I assumed they were too small
So we went shopping for new ones
Red this time
And he pronounced them a perfect fit
They were exactly the same size
I told him so and he reiterated - they don't work
Then I saw the problem
The lace has a very tight knot near the end
It's been there a while
He told me about it
But it was in so tight, I couldn't get it undone
It's the lace, isn't it? I ask
The knot bothers you
Yes, he says 
I told you
There's a knot
I don't like it
I can't wear it
I'm sorry, I tell him
I knew about the knot
How about some new laces?
No more knots
I wasn't thinking that the knot 
Would make it so hard for you
But you're thinking now? he asks
You're thinking right?
Yes, I assure him
I'm thinking right now

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Time For My Steamy (Soggy?) Confession: I've Got A Real Thing For Rain



It's not a dirty confession, really. Especially since it involves water. But the truth is, I find rain to be impossibly romantic.

I was mostly raised in the southwest, where rain is rare and when it comes on, it's usually with a clap of thunder and a flash of lightning, all drama and wind and passion lighting the sky. I can remember as a child rushing outside and standing in it, twirling round and round as my mother shrieked at me to get inside. 

And let me tell you, as a former resident of the great state of New Mexico, Land of Enchantment....if you've never smelled rain on sagebrush, you need to add that to your bucket list. There is no smell like it in the world anywhere. God, I miss it.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Resource Monday: 17 Things Princess Bride Taught Me About Autism Parenting


This one's been around for a while, but it's just so great I have to shout it out again. Bec Oakley at Snagglebox.com blogs about autism parenting with heart and humor, and in her article, "17 Things 'The Princess Bride' Taught Me About Autism Parenting", she drops pearls of wisdom like shrieking eels for all of us who adore that movie and take up the mantle of autism parenting every day. Take point number four:

You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles

Be patient. Change and growth takes time, and there are no corners to be cut here. Every kid is working to their own schedule and developing at their own rate.

 Bec's blog can be found here, and it's worth a read and a bookmark! I mean it!

(Anybody want a peanut?)



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: What A Christmas





This year, we pretty much have it all
She's got a 4.2 grade point average
He's a solid B student who just sang his first solo in chorus
Me? Someone bought my book
We're all healthy
Bills are paid
Presents are under the tree
And I paid some of that joy forward
Cash donations, presents to those in need, the food bank
It's been a very, very good Christmas
And it looks like we have it all
But the truth is, we always have it all
No matter what the bank account reads
We have each other
And we have love
So much love

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Have A Happy Christmas - P.S. Stop Drinking


This was posted on Reddit this morning. Someone found a ripped-up Christmas card on a bus, and pieced it together before they took this picture.

Bad things happen to good people sometimes, but how you react to those things is what defines you. 
You always have a choice, there are better things ahead for you but it's in your hands, it's your responsibility. 
Have a Happy Christmas
P.S. Stop drinking. Get help from someone.

It's a picture of a card, but also a picture of so much more.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Resource Monday: "NeuroTribes" Is On My Reading List


A reader sent me a link to this Forbes article about Steve Silberman's book, NeuroTribes and now I am waiting impatiently for Amazon to deliver my copy.

Silberman goes into the history of autism and its perception and impact through that history, but one quote from the review really, really stuck with me:

Friday, December 18, 2015

Fun On A Friday - More Memorable (And Hilarious) Signs!


It's getting close to holiday time, and I'm just plain lazy today. Here, have a laugh and pass the eggnog!

They mean it.




Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Ridiculous And Strange Talents Of My Children





My children are wildly talented.

I could sit here and brag all day about how Anna can out-Math the Math-iest person in all of Math-dom or  how David can sing the background music to just about any movie he's ever watched, but that's Christmas newsletter fodder and you certainly don't need to read me droning on about all that.

No, today, I want to talk about their lesser-known talents. Stuff that still amazes me every time I see or hear it. Here is a list of some of my children's more amazing feats:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Inquiring Minds Want To Know: What's The Worst Christmas Present You Ever Got?



We've all gotten a present that's gone wrong, haven't we?

I'm not talking about bad news like a death in the family or the diagnosis of a terminal disease at Christmastime - those are hardly "presents."

No, I'm talking about the well-intended gift that just ended up being a train wreck. The half-assed attempt that fell laughably short of the mark. Or worse, the one that was meant to be as awful as it was.


Friday, December 11, 2015

Time To Get Cracking On Those Holiday Cards - And Here's Some Inspiration!



It's the holiday season, folks, and every year I slave over a pile of Christmas cards, wishing I could be as clever and witty and exciting as everyone else seems to be. Here are a few people who are absolute pros at the whole Christmas card thing - maybe their inspiration will rub off!


For you single gals...Bridget's Oh-So-Single Birthday Cards feature offerings like this one:

These are great, and I have no idea why some gorgeous man hasn't snapped this beautiful and hilarious woman up already. Warning - language on one of them but makes it even funnier.
Here's her 2015 card.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

When The Fire Alarms Go Off, A Lot Of Things Become Clear





When my daughter was a baby and I was carrying her brother, the ex and I were jarred out of bed at 3am one Sunday by the sound of the smoke alarms screeching in the night.

We both leaped out of bed and ended up colliding as we both tried to get through the doorway of our daughter's bedroom. Once we'd figured out the issue (we'd been remodeling the basement and drywall dust had clogged the downstairs smoke alarm) and realized there was no real threat, we were able to laugh about the way we'd slammed into each other, both of us with just one thought in our head: save Anna.

Last night, at 11:30pm the alarms went off again, and I flew out of my bed in a panic, racing for their doors. And I promptly collided with Anna as we both tried to get to David. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Music To My Ears


His first solo
He was so excited
Not nervous, though
He's never nervous
And he was perfect
Just perfect
And I stopped his teacher
To say thank you
Thank you for giving my son a chance
And she smiled warmly
And said he had a great voice
But more than that
She wished she could put him in a bottle
and unstopper it
On the days when she needed to remember
Just why she chose to teach
Because he lives every day with joy
And sings with joy
And it rubs off on everyone
And then we both laughed
At the tears rolling down our cheeks

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

I'm More Than Happy To Teach You All That My Son Has Taught Me


I was on a Reddit post the other day and someone brought up having a girlfriend with an autistic kid and how hard it was for them to be in a relationship with her - which turned into a full on dump on parenthood and parenting special-needs kids and as usual, on Reddit (with this subject, anyway) it just got ugly.

It shouldn't surprise me. Their demographic is largely teen-to-young-adult male so what do they know about life or parental love or anything beyond their own little bubble? Still, it hurts me everytime I read someone's short-sighted comments, and I felt compelled to toss in my two cents. I didn't preach or try to shame them - I just pointed out that while my son could be challenging, he's taught me solid skills for interacting with people that I never would have known before. And I love him just like he is.

I got downvoted mostly, but I did get a few direct messages from some people who supported me, and a few people on the spectrum who thanked me for being a decent human being. My detractors will hopefully grow up and learn to be decent human beings themselves, someday, when they've gotten knocked around by life a little more.

So here's the practical application of what my son has taught me, and how it helped me to help someone else:

Monday, December 7, 2015

Once Upon A Time - Season 5, Episode 11 Recap: The Man You Want To Be



Am I ready for this? Is my multiply-wounded Captain Swan shipping heart really ready for this? Oh, God, the anticipation! I can't take it! I can't wait! I -

Have to watch the president talk about terrorists.

Ugh. Important stuff, I know, but really, couldn't he just have sent an email? And they damn well better not have a republican follow-up to his remarks or something dumb like that. He'll be addressing the nation next week as a bunch of rabid Oncers take the streets.

Okay, so now we're ready.

x37825m

We begin tonight with young Killian (aww!) in the hold of a ship on stormy seas, calling for his ungodly hot father.

"We're all braver than we think," Papa Jones tells him. "When you're afraid, look in here," he says, tapping Killian's chest. "What kind of man are you going to be?" Nothing like philosophical conversation to distract from imminent death. Way to go, Dad.

Cue to morning and Pops is gone, leaving Killian and Liam with the grizzled old man he sold them to, trading them into servitude for the money to make a getaway. "Now you know the kind of man your father really is," the old guy tells Killian.

Resource Monday: Check Out "Marathon Men"


Today's resource is a wonderful documentary about three people on the autism spectrum, and the story of their personal challenges in taking on the New York marathon. This is so heartfelt and amazing.



Friday, December 4, 2015

It's A Sign....That We Need To Laugh! Happy Friday!


Once again, it's Friday (yes!) and once again I've amassed a collection of signs for your perusal because I really have no social life and this is fun for me to do. Enjoy!!

My kind of place:


That is a serious parking fee:



Thursday, December 3, 2015

Gus Gus And Me: A Christmas Love Story







It was Christmastime and I was home from college. Mom suggested we run some errands and maybe do a little bit of Christmas shopping, and I was bored, so off we went.

Around lunchtime, we decided to stop in at McDonald's since it was close by. 

This is the shameful part where I tell you that I hadn't spent that many hours alone with my mother in years. I was a senior in college, and other than a few days here and there when the dorms were closed, I didn't visit home much. I loved my parents, but I honestly didn't want to live with them anymore.

My mother's only fault in this wasn't much of a fault when you think about it. She loved me too much. She was always trying too hard, overdoing, overprotecting, over-worrying to the point where it was cloying and restrictive and made me want nothing more than to be free of her. I loved her, but I loved her in small doses.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: It Ain't Christmas Without A Tumbleweed


Growing up in the desert
It's a Christmas tradition
You find a tumbleweed
You spray paint it gold
Or green
Or white
You wrap it in lights
And set it up in a pot
Or outside your home
Maybe build a whole tree with them
Or line your front lawn
But they don't do that here in the Northeast
No tumbleweeds, you know
Guess they can't cross the Mississippi
But I remember those Christmas tumbleweeds
I miss 'em
One goofy tradition
But it reminds me of home

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I Thought Kindness Might Teach Her A Lesson, But Instead It Taught Me



I'll begin this tale by letting you know what a horrible human being I am.

I am one of "those people" who go shopping on Thanksgiving night instead of spending it with my family. I've already talked about how I have no family to spend it with on Thanksgiving and how much easier it makes my life to do this instead of fighting throngs at 6 a.m. the next morning, but that's not the crux of this tale.

This tale begins in the checkout line at Target, fully a hundred people deep, being routed in a winding pattern through health and beauty to await our turn at getting an open register. It was hot. It was long (though to their credit, moving quickly) and we all wanted to get out of there.

The woman two spaces in front of me was on the phone arguing with someone - loudly. Then she turned to address a young boy who ran up to her, and stood there talking to him so long (and again very loudly) that the line ahead of her moved a huge distance.

The woman in front of me very meekly cleared her throat and said "Um....are you going to go?"

The loud talker immediately turned on the girl, railing at her, telling her to mind her own business and just where did she think they were all going to go? "You're in line!" she shouted at the woman. "We ain't going anywhere!"


Monday, November 30, 2015

Resource Monday: Educate Autism Offers Free Printable Aids


Just came across this and I wanted to pass it along: EducateAutism.com has a wonderful array of printable teaching aids - things like:

I've started using the motor skills printouts with my son as an extra reinforcement (since they cut back on his OT this year...grrrr!) and I've found them very helpful. The site is geared toward teachers but a lot of those printables can be used for extra practice at home. Keep in mind, this site originates in the UK, so spelling on certain words will be slightly different than here in the US.

You can never have too many visual resources when it comes to autism!


Once Upon A Time - Season 5, Episode 10 Recap: Everybody Dump On Emma

We begin tonight right where we left off, with Emma immobilized and Zelena cooing over a newly-made Dark One: Hook. In retribution for her taking his memories, he decides to take Emma's, and we'll just leave it at that and not address how it's possible that he's filled with all this dark magic and just had no inkling of it because he didn't remember. Welcome to the world of plot convenience, folks.

And in spite of that....holy damn am I loving the hell out of Dark Hook.

satan

How is it possible that the man could get any sexier? How?? He seethes and I squirm.

Ahem.

Friday, November 27, 2015

It's Hard To Be Merry In A Mall: 6 Things Everyone In Retail Wishes You'd Do



The holiday season is upon us once again, and as I watch the commercials on TV, wade through the decorations at the Mall, and watch store owners prepping to open earlier than ever on Thanksgiving Day, I think the same thing I do every year:

Thank God I'm not in retail anymore.

I spent entirely too many years after college (thanks to that ever-employable Theatre degree) doing time in retail. I worked in clothing, shoes, lingerie, books and jewelry. I worked as a part-timer, seasonal help, full-timer, assistant manager, manager, and did five years as a district manager over a dozen stores in three different states. Throughout all that varied retail experience, I found one thing that just about all retail workers have in common:

They hate this time of year.

They love it when the commission check comes in (if they qualify for commission, that is - a lot of them don't), but during this holiday season when the milk of human kindness should be flowing and the holiday cheer should abound, you'll find very few gentlemen resting merry in the mall and the Christmas spirit is more like a shrieking poltergeist in the form of an angry woman denied a discount for lack of a coupon.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful Thursday: Thank You



To all of you reading this, Thank You.

For every word of encouragement dropped in a comment, on a Facebook post, Tweeted or just thought and felt...thank you.

Some of you have been with me from the beginning. Some came in later, and may not even remember how. Some of you read me faithfully every day, and some of you pop in every now and then.

Each and every one of you brings something to the table, and makes me a better writer, a better blogger, a better person.

So on this day of giving thanks, please know how thankful I am for all of you. Wherever you are, you've made a difference to me. 

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Over The River And Through The Words



Most people are getting ready for Thanksgiving
They're cooking and baking and cleaning and decorating
They're meeting relatives at the airport
And wondering if they bought enough yams
Me, I'll be sitting here with a keyboard
And a Turkey Lean Cuisine
Trying to take advantage of all this kid-free time
To hammer out a small portion of the writing I need to do
And a very, very thankful one at that
Pass the salt and pepper
And I'll try not to get any gravy on the keyboard.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

When Your Kid Makes You Say The F Word


Okay, that title isn't fair.

I always tell my kids when they're screaming that no one makes them scream. They choose to do it.

So yes, I have a teenage daughter, and yes, I chose to use the F word in the middle of our heated argument.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Resource Monday: AutismTakeOn, a PostWaves Community


Today, I'd like to give a shout-out to AutismTakeOn, a community hosted by Postwaves (a community forum), where people share all sorts of stories and insights related to autism. 

They reached out to me via Twitter last week and I spent a few hours just perusing the page and reading people's stories. Being an autism parent can make you feel like you're in an isolation bubble some days, and reading all the stories, all the shared articles, helps you feel just a little less alone on the harder days and five times as joyful about the good days.

Create a free account and share your stories - they (and I) want to hear them!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Happy Friday - Here's A Bunch Of Stuff I Laughed Entirely Too Loudly At

It's Friday. Hallelujah. My brain is fried and I am so ready for some weekend. I always like to leave you laughing, so here's a collection of gifs that made me guffaw and snort in a very embarrassing way:

We'll start with the pranksters:



Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thankful Thursday: This Is A Good Week To Remember Who We All Really Are



In 1977, we sent a message into the blackness of space - one that may not be received until our civilizations have fallen, and we are all dust and memories. One that may never find another soul to hear it. But we sent it anyway.

A team of scientists, anthropologists, psychiatrists, linguists - all sorts of "ists" came up with these images, calculations, scientific data and songs to introduce humanity to the cosmos.

They did not include images of war. Or hate. Or suffering. They wanted whoever was out there to see the best of us.

If only we all wanted the same in our daily lives.

Today, I am thankful for the bounty of our world, and the diversity and unique voices of all the lives upon it. We all matter, and we're all in this together.

The final line of the video says it all.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Not Yet, My Boy, But Someday...


I'm twelve now, he reminds me, every time he leaves for school
Find the twelve year old!
He squeals it from under the covers every morning
Another birthday passes
Another year of struggles
And marvels
And miracles
I'm twelve now, he tells me
I'm almost grown up
And I think not yet
Not exactly yet
But someday
And I wonder if I'll be able to close the door behind him
Without a care or a worry in the world
Not yet
I think I hear him tell me
But someday

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Autism Parent Wish: "I Want To Have A Conversation"



I came across this touching post by Erik Voigt on YouShareProject.com and he voices what so many autism parents wish: communication. Strong, direct, defined-as-we-know-it-to-be communication.

That last bit is important, I think. My son communicates with me all the time. Unlike Erik's daughter, David has a fairly good vocabulary. The problem is he doesn't use it like everyone else. He speaks to me in blocks of movie dialogue. He repeats inane questions or remarks over and over until you're teeth are gritting at having to answer him one more time. I love the boy to the moon and back, but some days (especially days when Mom has a writing deadline) it can be trying.

When I started writing my YA novel, I knew I was going to give my protagonist a sibling who was on the autism spectrum. There aren't a lot of books out there with solid characters on the spectrum, and when there is a character with autism, they're almost always Aspberger's (my son is not) which means they're very verbal and they're usually crazy intelligent almost to the point of superhuman.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Once Upon A Time - Season 5, Episode 9 Recap: This One Time, At Bear Camp...


Admit it, you'd love to see a spinoff called "Merlin's Angels"

So....the writers have left us scratching our heads and rubbing our bruised hearts and thoroughly befuddled, so they all looked at each other around the table and said, "What now?"

"I know!" said one. "How about a diversion!"

So let's clack our coconuts together and head off on an adventure back to Camelot, where Zelena and Arthur have just poofed away from Emma and Merlin to plot a way to get Excalibur back. There's something that can help them in Dunbroch, Arthur tells her, and off they go.

Over to Dunbroch now, where Merida is talking to her father's headstone, asking for his guidance as she rules the pansy saps that laid down their arms because she shot at their arrows. Her Mom shows up to remind her it's coronation day. And I wish to hell they could have gotten Emma Thompson to cameo. Dammit.

58G

Flashback to Dunbroch "several years earlier" (not taking any chances with that timeline) and Merida's dad is breaking into the witch's cottage. Invaders are attacking from the south, so he asks the witch for some magic to "ensure the future of his kingdom." She tells him she wants an IOU in return and he adds his seal to the agreement.

She takes a piece of hair from Fergus's beard and makes some polyjuice potion a magic helm that will give him "exactly what he wants" if he wears it into battle.


Once Upon A Time - Season 5, Episode 8 Recap: It Takes Two To Make A Thing Go Ri-ight



We begin tonight with David going to confront Arthur, who takes off running with Killian in hot pursuit. He manages to get the drop on Killian, but Emma steps in to save her boyfriend, throwing Arthur into a tree.

Emma's deep voice is seriously not sitting right with me. I mean, I get why she's doing it but it makes my throat hurt to hear it. Anyway, Killian is touched that she saved him and lets her know that he believes Emma is still in there and he wants to help her. He refuses to believe she's not dark for a good reason, and Emma drops the bombshell: "I'm doing it for you."

Flashback to Camelot, and Merlin shows up to let Emma know that Arthur has bound him to Excalibur. He tells her that Arthur is going to order him to murder her family if Emma doesn't ignite the ember and turn it over, along with the dagger. Merlin also cautions her not to seek vengeance on Arthur.


Stop The Violence, Stop The Bombardment



I was out sick on Friday, and I live in a cord-cutter house. I have never been so grateful for the lack of cable television as I was this weekend.

That's not to say that I didn't see the news. My Facebook and Twitter feeds overflowed with it. Reddit clued me in before most of the rest of the world was even reporting on it. I logged into CNN and Google news, and felt the fist hit my gut. My hand settled over my mouth in horror as I read, and mourned, and then the hand turned into a fist, settled next to my keyboard.

And it still wants to strike out, and strike back.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Happy Friday The 13th! Check Out These Unlucky Saps!!



Holy cow, am I ever glad it's Friday. This week has been moving in dog years, I swear. But I'm kid-free for the weekend and I just bought "Game of Thrones" season one on DVD so I can get my Momoa fix (along with the various other mancandy on that show).

What was I saying? I sort of lost my train of thought after "Momoa..."

Oh yes. Friday. Friday the 13th, even! And in the spirit of this fine and spooky holiday, here are some videos of some poor schmucks with really terrible luck (note: some of these contain NSFW language/situations).

This one's just a nice compilation:





Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thankful Thursday: It's The Moments That Make Up Your Life


This week, I'm unbelievably thankful for all the little moments that make a life worth living. For instance:

  • My son turned twelve yesterday. I took a moment before I woke him and watched him sleeping. Just seeing his chest move up and down and watching his peaceful face and realizing how very, very wonderful it is that somehow he's mine.
  • The cat climbed up on my bed this morning and laid down next to me, purring loudly. She wasn't smacking at me or headbutting me - just laying there, purring because she was happy to be next to me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Twelve Years With My Personal Superhero



Twelve years ago they pulled him from me
But a piece was left behind
Burrowing deep and taking root
I think he was endowed with so much capacity for love
That it overflowed
Leaking into me
And splashing onto everyone who's ever met him
You can't meet him and not feel it
Guess he missed the memo on kids with autism not having empathy
Because he loves and cares about everyone
No matter how they treat him
Twelve years ago he rocked my world
And he hasn't stopped since
Happy Birthday to my beloved David
Sunshine in a bottle, my silly-billy-crazy-patootie-head
Friend to all and superhero supreme

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

So It Turns Out There's A Scientific Reason For My Love Of Irish Accents



As a person with a Theatre degree, and a lifelong lover of words and language, I am an absolute sucker for a man with an accent. Or anyone with an accent, really. So much so that I have to work hard not to fall into the accent myself.

I'm especially undone by an Irish accent. Maybe it's my heritage calling to me, but it turns out there's solid science behind our love of certain accents, according to this article from CNN.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Resource Monday: A Helpful Chart For Dealing With Aggression In Autism




Reader Michael pointed me toward this helpful chart on dealing with aggression in a person with autism (click on the pic to make it larger). I like this way this breaks down the potential triggers and options for accomodation and then simplifies it so that anyone can understand and help.

They did leave off a few obvious triggers that any parent would know: fatigue, hunger and pain - which a child with autism may be unable to communicate well. Other than that, this thing is spot-on for helping them learn to self-regulate and providing them safe alternatives to deal with their feelings.

I was unable to find the original source for this after Googling the hell out of it - I did find it cited on several blogger sites but nobody's claiming they created it. If anyone knows the original source, please let me know so I can give proper credit.


Once Upon A Time - Season 5, Episode 7 Recap: The First Rule Of Dark One Club Is You Don't Talk About Dark One Club

57D 
You had ONE job, Snow....

We begin tonight at Emma's house, or should I say "under" Emma's house, where she's dealing with Dark Rumple. He discusses the history of Excalibur and tells her it's time to fulfill the promise in the blade.

And now we go back a thousand years ago. Two people are running through the desert, away from soldiers who are hunting them. One of them is Merlin but he's wearing rags. They're hot and dying of thirst when Merlin sees something glinting in the distance. They end up finding the holy grail. His companion grabs the cup and is instantly pulverized.

poorly

Merlin decides to take his chances, and takes a drink from the cup. The grail finds him worthy, giving him magic, and the desert blooms to life under his fingers becoming (I assume) the Enchanted Forest.