Life With A Side Of Autism

LIFE WITH A SIDE OF AUTISM

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Finding Pickled Love At Isaac's Deli




You should find a true love, my son says matter-of-factly
As we wait for our food at Isaac's Deli
I will when it's time, I promise
He's always been a believer
In Happily Ever After
Me too, I guess, but for everyone else
I get to make my own happiness
Instead of hoping for it to show up
With flowers in hand
You need to look for a sign, he tells me
Then I reach into my dish of complimentary
pickled yummies here at Isaac's Deli
And I pull this out:


So maybe my dream man
Will show up with some pickled things
Instead of flowers
They'll last longer, anyway

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Keeping The Crazy Mom Thoughts At Bay - One Side Of Parenting I Never Expected





My daughter is currently having the time of her life in Costa Rica, courtesy of the Spanish Club at her school and her father, who really stepped up to the plate and fronted 2/3 of the cost of the trip.

She's staying in hotels with WiFi, so I asked her to please post some pictures to Facebook and also to use Facebook messenger to get in touch with all of us so that she's not using her data plan. 

There have been five pictures in seven days. Four of them were all in one day and two in the other, so it's hardly an even distribution. And messages? A few words at most. Day before yesterday, she didn't send a message all day. 

I was trying not to sound too nuts the couple of times I messaged her. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Tokyo Toys - Where Autism Inclusiveness Is All In A Day's Work



If you should ever find yourself in Glasgow or Birmingham, Scotland, be sure and stop in to Tokyo Toys! The store is the brainchild of Hideki Nguyen, and specializes in all things Manga, sold with exuberance and a whole lot of fun.

On top of that, every Tuesday is "Coco's Calm Tuesday," where they tone down the music and lights, and the staff takes a more low-key approach so that people on the spectrum - who happen to be some of their most devoted fans - can shop comfortably.

Check out the video, and if you're ever in Scotland, drop in and say hello!


Friday, June 24, 2016

Fun On A Friday - Signs, Signs, Everywhere Are Signs....





It's Friday, peoples! I am looking forward to a weekend of writing, movies (Finding Dory! Independence Day 2!) and housecleaning, if I can find the shovel.

Much of the work is in the form of laundry, so I feel that sign above very keenly. Let's see what other signage we can find to guide us to the weekend!

I want to find this sign, because this sounds like my kind of place.



Thursday, June 23, 2016

Do You Talk Your Age?

I ask this in the wake of a Facebook quiz I took yesterday, that informed me I talk like a nineteen year-old.

I suspect that's because I'm very active on social media, have a teenage daughter I converse with daily, and write Young Adult novels. But that doesn't mean the "older" idioms don't sneak in. For instance...

When I was writing my book, I referred to the downstairs bathroom in the protagonist's house as a "powder room." You know, the room with just a toilet and a sink? No bath, hence, not a bathroom?

I was told it sounded "too old", and to call it a bathroom. All righty, then.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: The Big Adventure



I put her on the bus yesterday
The bus went to the airport
The plane left the continent
And just like that, she's on an adventure
Further from home than she's ever been
Further from me than she's ever been
And I hugged her
And told her I love her
And to be safe
Please be safe
And have fun
(be safe)
I didn't talk about the plane
(be safe)
Or the volcano
(be safe)
Or that girl that went missing
(be safe)
All those years ago
(be safe)
On a school trip
(be safe be smart oh GOD be safe)
She knows all that stuff
I know she knows
And I want her to live it up
Have an adventure
Revel in it
With a heaping plate of gusto on the side
So I watched as the bus pulled away
And I whispered once more
(be safe)
My girl
Taking on the world

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

This Post Cost Me $7 In Stock Photos, So Go Ahead And Read It


So here's how it went down.

I use a lot of stock photos when I blog, so I pay for a couple of different subscription services to ensure I have quality photos.

Last week, I did a blog piece about my son and an incident that left him in a meltdown. I needed a good stock photo of a boy being very upset, so I searched out "boy tantrum" expecting a shot like the one above.

There were a few of those. 

But there were also these five in the search results, and they were so bizarre, I had to share them.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Resource Monday - Check Out These Special Headphones For Sensitive Kids!



I wanted to pass this along because I think it's brilliant. My son has a serious love of his iPad, as well as watching DVD's on his sister's old laptop (I have no idea why - he has a DVD player on the TV in the family room, where he likes to hang out). This can cause problems when we're in the car or he's sitting in the same room as someone who's trying to watch TV or have a conversation.

The answer, of course, is headphones, but when you've got a kid on the autism spectrum who's very sensitive to odd-feeling things, headphones can be a real pain in the butt. The ones that go inside your ears bother him too much, and the larger ones that go over the ears irritate him and don't sit the way he wants them to, ever.

I'd just about given up on ever finding a pair of headphones that would work when I saw CozyPhones!

Friday, June 17, 2016

It's Father's Day Weekend - Check Out These Awesome Dads!




 It's almost Father's Day, and for those of us lucky enough to have a great one, it's a day well worth celebrating. So pick up a pair of Dad socks like these:


Then settle back and enjoy this collection of awesome dads!


Thursday, June 16, 2016

When An Autistic Child Can't Cope, Things Can Get Scary Fast



My weekend camping trip ended with a punch of fear squarely to my solar plexus.

Sunday night, we got back to our campsite late after a day out and about. My son was itchy from his chlorinated skin and chafing from his swimwear, so he walked down to the bath house to take a shower. David is fiercely proud that he does this by himself now, and the bath house was just at the end of our row of camping spots and around the corner of the main drive - a short walk.

I got a roaring fire going, and a few minutes later, I heard David screaming "Mom!" over and over, then "No!" Then "Help! Help me! Mom!"

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: She Knows You're There, Dad


You started to sit down next to her
But she told you to sit on the other side
You asked her if she was sure
She reminded you she's almost twelve
With an eyeroll, of course
You seemed a little hurt
But you dutifully took a seat on the other side
And the ride started
And she laughed
And you laughed, watching her
Don't worry, Dad
She's letting you know it's time to step back
But she still wants you nearby
She still wants to share the fun with you
And the memories of the fun
She knows you're there
Believe me, Dad...
That is everything. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Please Don't Ask Me For My Playlist



A few years back I remember getting into a discussion in an online forum about dating. We were mentioning things that were red flags or turn-offs, and I was surprised to see there was a group of people (mostly men) who truly felt they could tell if a girl was compatible by looking at the music they had on their iPhone.

I took offense at first, but then again, if they're going to disqualify me as a romantic possibility simply because of my music choices, then they're right: we would most definitely not be compatible.

Especially since I have very, very little music on my iPhone. Well, actually, there's a lot because my daughter and I share an iTunes account, but very little of it is mine. And I listen to almost none of it.

When I get in the car? Silence.
When I'm at work? Silence.
At home when I'm writing? Silence.
Sitting on the beach, hiking in the mountains, riding my bike?
Yup. Nice and quiet.


Friday, June 10, 2016

It's Friday And I'm Off To The Wilderness!



School officially ended yesterday and the kids and I are off on our annual summer camping trip. And I know some of you don't consider it camping unless you're in a tent and digging a hole for your own feces, but we call it camping even though there are hot showers and flush toilets at the bathhouse and a campground store that sells ice cream.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Regarding The Brock Turner Conviction: Guys, Why Don't You Behave Like Girls?



I haven't blogged about the whole sordid Brock Turner story yet because honestly, anyone who knows me knows just how I feel about this remorseless whiny boy and his dumb-as-a-box-of-arrogant-rocks father, and the victim's statement was so beautifully eloquent and emotionally eviscerating, there's little I can add by way of comment to enhance it. She's amazing, he's a sub-human asshole raised by a sub-human asshole, end of story.

But I just have to ask one thing:

Guys, why can't you be like girls?

I don't mean that in a "Why do you all go around fondling, intimidating, coercing, assaulting and raping us when we don't do stuff like that to you" kind of way. The truth is, there are women who do all of that. There aren't nearly as many, mind you, but they exist.

And this isn't a soapbox lecture about the pervasiveness of rape culture. Brock Turner's Daddy did more to shed light on that than even his son did. I don't need to go there.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Here In These Later Years


She's thirteen now
She's sleeping a lot. Nearly all the time
Sometimes when she jumps up to something, she misses
Or wobbles and slips
She still sleeps next to me at night
Climbing onto my chest in the early morning hours
Begging for an ear rub
Purring like crazy
Just happy to be snuggling
And loved
Here, in these later years
I know we don't have much longer
But I promise
I'll love you for as long as it lasts



Tuesday, June 7, 2016

My Daughter Is So Much More Than Her Brother's Sister




I love that pic. And I love that they love each other. Sure, they want to scream at each other on a regular basis, but it doesn't change the love. Nothing changes the love.

And I know I gush about my kids all the time, but there's no escaping the fact that I gush a lot more about David. I want to make this clear that it's not because he's better, or more valuable, or more dear to me. He's just the easiest to talk about because he has to work so damn hard at all he does.

Sometimes, it's easy to forget how hard she works, too.

This is a picture of my daughter's 4th quarter grades in this, her freshman year:

Monday, June 6, 2016

Resource Monday: Ford Announces A New Job Training Program For People With Autism

Ford has recently announced a new pilot program to help train individuals on the autism spectrum.

Developed in collaboration with the Autism Alliance of Michigan, FordInclusiveWorks kicked off June 1. It will provide work roles in Ford’s product development organization.
"We are truly excited to be collaborating with Ford on this pilot program,” says Colleen Allen, president and CEO, Autism Alliance of Michigan. “For so many individuals with autism spectrum disorder, getting and keeping a job is a challenge. Often, companies lack understanding of the unique characteristics associated with autism, which can be challenging, and unfortunately this can lead to perceptions of a poor fit for the individual and coworkers. I applaud Ford for taking these critical steps to understand autism, and for giving those who have struggled to find competitive employment real career opportunities that could be life changing for them.”

It's so heartening to see major employers like Ford taking not only an interest in forwarding the careers of people on the spectrum, but also recognizing that they have valuable skills that make them an asset in the workplace, if they're given the proper training and coworkers are educated to help them reach out to those workers effectively.

Well done, Ford! Let's hope this sets a new standard for the industry.

Read Ford's entire press release on the program here.


Friday, June 3, 2016

Fun On A Friday - Time For Another Edition Of "Today In The News!"



Ahhhh, Friday. So nice to be here.

And as always, it's time to laugh our way into the weekend. Today's theme - News! Get a load of these prime pieces:

Truly, the dregs of mankind here:


Thursday, June 2, 2016

5 Bits Of Knowledge You'll Wish You Hadn't Learned






A little knowledge is a dangerous thing - especially when you might have been better off not knowing. Beware! These five pieces of information may leave you feeling more than a little off-balance and viewing the world around you in a very different way...

1. A Stranger Is Just A Friend You Haven't Met

According to a former chief of the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit, "A very conservative estimate" is that there are between 35 and 50 active serial killers in the United States at any one time. So smile big and say hello!

2. They Changed It To "Password"

From 1962 to 1977 the code to authorize launching U.S. nuclear missiles was 0000000. This was chosen to make the launch as quick and easy as possible. And these were intelligence officers who came up with that.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: 30 Seconds Of Serenity


Spent the day at the beach
Just me
And the breeze 
And the sand
And the water
It was worth waking early for
I filmed exactly thirty seconds of it
So I can pull it out
Anytime I need thirty seconds of serenity



Let it seep in
Breathe deep
Just be