Life With A Side Of Autism


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

Whoever said a prayer for me yesterday, or sent a positive thought in my direction, or bought a ticket on the karma train and asked the conductor to make a stop for me - thank you.

Seven years ago, two thirds of my family income walked out the door. I was determined to keep this house, for my children, at least until my daughter graduated and my son developed enough maturity to be able to handle the upheaval of leaving his lifelong home.

For seven years, I've begged and filled out paperwork and begged and pleaded and filled out more paperwork and missed payments and accrued late fees and begged and pleaded and filled out still more paperwork, and yesterday, I arrived home from work and collected the mail to find out that somebody threw me some rope.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Tippy-Talk Is An App That Helps Non-Verbal Children With Autism Communicate

I just want to give a shout-out to an awesome app designed by Rob Laffan of Limerick, Ireland.

Rob came up with the idea working on human-machine interface designs. As he was completing his studies, his daughter, Sadie, was diagnosed with autism.

Friday, October 13, 2017

All Signs Point To Fun On A Friday!

Hooray for Friday - even Friday the 13th! Let's see if signs point to luck or if we're all just going to shatter mirrors today.

Well, that's certainly unfortunate . . .

If you're feeling lucky today, you might try this one out:

Come on, you gotta admit you're curious now . . .

Thanks, Home Depot, but I've got it covered.

Just don't.

And finally - meet the troublemaker




Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Strange Case Of My Fragile Brain & Exploding Dryer Fiasco

Monday began like any other work day - I got the kids out the door, wiped down the kitchen counters, put some dishes in the dishwasher, moved laundry from the washer to the dryer, and got ready to head out the door.

And then . . . flowers.

Fresh, beautiful flowers - the scent was overwhelming. And not flowers, exactly. Like a hint of  flowers in a field of freshly mown grass, with a clean breeze wafting over a nearby stream to carry it all. It was invigorating.

But where the hell was it coming from???

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Crazy Hair Day At School? Check Out These Great Ideas!

Oh no! It's "Crazy Hair Day" at school tomorrow and your kid just let you know! How do you style those locks into an eye-catching display? Have no fear, I've got you covered:

A ponytail and a soda bottle are easy and fun:

Braids and googly eyes make this one pop:

Monday, October 9, 2017

Signal Boosting: People With Autism Needed For Short Survey On Civil Rights

Signal boosting this - please repost for maximum exposure (Please note, the survey is for people on the spectrum - not for family or caretakers):

Conducting a study to learn more about autistic social / civil rights activism, and what people on the spectrum think about different controversial topics (theory of mind, for example, as well as other theories and autism research practices). We would appreciate your participation in a brief, anonymous survey. It should take about 15 minutes to complete, depending on your reading and response speed.

Click here for survey access.

The goal is to bring together professionals, researchers, and non-autistics in general think about autism (from a negative view to a positive one). We are working to de-stigmatize some of the topics related to autism, and promote acceptance of all people on the spectrum.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Happy Friday! Let's See What's In The News Today!

I think they forgot a word. I hope they forgot a word.

It's Friday again - how did that happen? Where does the time go? I'm ready for a nice, relaxing weekend, and since Applebee's is serving dollar margaritas all month, I think my weekend is pretty much set.  And on that note, let's kick the weekend off with a laugh as we peruse the world of media. Check these out:

Wild times in a small town police blotter: 

Catchy Headline!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

When Someone Has One Of "Those" Voices

We have a local burger joint in town that we frequent, and the drive-thru window has become a major draw due to the dulcet tones of a guy named Armando.

This kid goes to high school and has a voice that's going to make him major bucks someday. Seriously, it's a James Earl Jones caliber voice, and I'd pay to hear him read back my order anytime. We're seriously bummed if we get someone else when we order!

Our last visit led to all of us talking about people who have really recognizable voices. Singers are easy - who doesn't recognize the sound of Nate Ruess (the lead singer of Fun), or Adam Levine, or Whitney Houston or Adele:

And honey, when Cyndi Lauper opens her mouth, it's over. Good Lord.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Got A Kid With A Cold-Weather Birthday? Check Out These Party Options!

Both my kids have birthdays in changeable cold weather months. My daughter falls in the beginning of April and my son in the middle of November, so planning an outdoor party has never been much of an option.

I used to envy other parents with summer-born children with all those wonderful backyard parties, swimming pool and amusement park birthdays. My kids don't get the luxury of nearly-guaranteed sunny weather, so I've learned to get creative when looking for birthday solutions.

1. If the weather looks to be reasonable (not raining, snowing or terribly windy), arrange a scavenger hunt outside followed by cake and presents inside. That way the bulk of the energy burning happens outside in the fresh (but slightly chilly) air.
2. If your group is going to be small, find a local hotel with an indoor pool and rent a room (or two adjoining rooms). The kids can swim, and the coolness factor of spending a night at a hotel is not to be underestimated.
3. Speaking of swim parties, if you've got a larger group, call around to universities and private schools. Many of them rent out their indoor pools for group parties. I got lucky and someone tipped me off to a retirement home that's up the road – they rent their indoor pool (and accompanying lunchroom) for a song!

Monday, October 2, 2017

A Little Compassion Goes A Long Way - Meet The Barber Who Should Be Wearing A Hero Cape

[Photo credit: Marcel Robitaille]

This picture was shared on Reddit over the weekend, and I just had to shout it out. This is a barber in Quebec whose name hasn't been given yet, but whoever he is, he's a hero. 

He's pictured here cutting the hair of a child with autism, and going above and beyond in service, and in kindness. Moments like this just restore your faith in humanity. I hope this guy gets all the acclaim and hero worship he deserves.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Fun On A Friday: The Recipe Edition!

Guys, I'm under a writing deadline (which is why the blogs have been sparse these last couple of weeks) but Facebook threw a memory at me today and it's just perfect to share, considering we're moving into fall--not that you'd know it in Pennsylvania, where it's been in the nineties this week!

Here's the thing: I love to cook. I don't get to do it too often as a single woman, but damn, do I make a good breakfast. This recipe is an all-time fave of mine, and if you love all things pumpkin, you need to make these.So here for your weekend pleasure is my Pumpkin Pancake Recipe.Make these and you will be autumnal heaven all day.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

5 Things I Know To Be Irrevocably True



1. Frosted cherry Pop-Tarts have thicker frosting than other flavors of Pop-Tart


2. "Mom, have you seen my black jeans?" Will lead to a discussion of the nuances between fourteen pairs of black jeans that are apparently each wildly different from the other but you are too old/too mom to understand this.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Meet Pablo - The Star Of A TV Show With An All-Autistic Cast!

Meet Pablo!

He's a five year-old boy with a fantastical imagination, and a box of magic crayons! He's also a boy with autism, and he uses his tools to turn life's little challenges into big adventures.

The animation, produced by Paper Owl Films, sees the smart, funny and creative Pablo draw imaginary animal friends which come to life to help him handle situations which make him feel anxious, like going for a haircut or on a visit to the supermarket.

And that's not all that's great about this show - this is what the producers (the BBC's CBeebies and RT√ČJr) have to say about their creative process:

When making the series, the creators wanted to ensure they reflected the authentic voices of young people on the autism spectrum. Pablo and his animated friends are all voiced by people with autism, who also worked on story ideas and co-wrote scripts. Creatively, the team found that they discovered stories from new perspectives which resulted in really original and funny stories which young children will be able to relate to.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fun On A Friday - Let Me Carve You Off A Slice Of NOPE

Sorry for the sparse posts this week, but I'm under a deadline for my next book and it's been eating me alive. I think it's high time we have some fun, and today that means full-body shudders and exaggerated WTF faces at some of the crap I've trolled from the internet. Let's get started, shall we?

Hop aboard the NOPE train! Get ready for a wild ride!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: #JustDavidsMomThings

"No, honey, people don't fly to China just
to fart so no one at home has to smell it."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Happy "Talk Like A Pirate" Day! Meet My 5 Favorite Pirates!

Ah, pirates. We all know they were probably murderous raping scum with poor dental hygiene and questionable bathing habits, but we push all that aside for a romantic picture of the open sea and the wind taking the sails. Pirates are dashing! Daring! And they make any movie better, they really do. So here are my five favorites - and some of my favorite scenes in which they feature.


Elizabeth Swan from Pirates of the Caribbean

Keira Knightly is breathtakingly beautiful, but stick a cutlass in her hand and she's magnificent. And so damn smart!


Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean.

What more needs to be said? He's Captain Jack Sparrow . . .savvy?

Friday, September 15, 2017

It's Friday: Time To Share Some Silliness In The News!

You don't say.

It's Friday and I need to write, but luckily for you, there's been some fun in the news for you to peruse! Let's get right to it, shall we?

I may never eat avocado again.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

You'll Have To Excuse Me Today, I'm A Little Verklempt

Yesterday, I made a hotel reservation.

Not a huge deal, really. I'm not even paying money for it because I get a lot of reward points for a certain hotel chain as a perk of the day job. We're going away for the weekend in mid-October, just her and me.

Just her and me, and the college she wants to see, four hours away.

She'll tour the campus and the dorms, learn about financial aid and workstudy programs, eat in the Student Union building and get the lowdown on campus life from peers. We'll meet with professors from her field of study, and we'll see what there is to see in the town around the campus.

I had to promise her I wouldn't cry. I'm hoping to hold it until I get in the car for the drive home.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

5 Bollywood Dance Numbers You Need To See (And 1 Honorable Mention)

Last week, I shared some of my all-time favorite movie dance numbers, and this week, I'm sharing some more, from a genre that is in a category all it's own: Bollywood! I will confess that I don't watch Bollywood movies often, but I do love a good dance number. Bollywood is so full of fantastic colors, catchy music and amazing choreography - I just had to share some of the dance numbers that I've happened upon (or had pointed out to me) over the years.

We'll start with this one, because it's my most recent obsession. If this doesn't impress you, there's something wrong with you.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Special Education Lawyer Discusses Protections For Special-Needs Students

I just wanted to share this awesome podcast, from a series titled Good Law: Bad Law. This particular podcast discusses The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the kinds of protections it gives to special-needs students:

Good Law: Bad Law Episode #13 - Special Education Law

The podcast is hosted by Aaron Freiwald of Freiwald Law and features special guest Josh Kershenbaum of Josh shares why this ruling is so important for students across the country as well as what steps parents and students can take to make sure they are get the education they deserve.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Happy Friday! Let's Play "What Did I Just Watch?"

That's right - the tattoo says "PUKE" and that's a bunch of monsters puking. And there's puke coming out his belly button. Where do I find this stuff? All over. You have no idea the dark places I troll or the sick minds of the people on my various friends lists. 

It's the end of a hellish week (and next week will be worse!) for me, and I've got a great collection of weird to see you into your weekend. So strap in and enjoy the ride . . .

This one is actually pretty fascinating. It's face painting, but at a level I've never seen before:

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The "I Can't Blog Today" Blog

I spent my entire weekend writing. I mean, like, 12- 14 hours a day writing. The last stretch ended at 4am today. It's 6:50 am now and I have to get ready for work.

Deadlines. This is the life of a published writer who wants to be published again and has an invitation from her editor to do exactly that, if the book is good enough.

I am brain-dead. I am exhausted. And I really don't think the book is good enough, but I pretty much always think that, so who knows.

Anyway, I can't blog. I can't string coherent sentences together very well right now. I need to sleep and I need to not stare at a screen and I need to take a bazillion ibuprophen and defeat the angry god that's hammering me between the eyes right now.

Catch up tomorrow, I promise.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Just A Bit Of A Blog Today - I Am On A Deadline

This one's going to be short today, folks. I have a book to turn in on Tuesday and I need every precious minute. Instead of my usual witty commentary and carefully vetted thematic elements, today you get this valuable life-saving advice (click to enlarge). Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

10 Of My Favorite Movie Dance Numbers

I love a good dance number. It goes back to my musical theatre roots (nurtured by a mom who raised me on movie musicals), but a good dance number can really make a movie. Just recently, David discovered my Gene Kelly DVD collection, and he's been binging on Singin' in the Rain, On The Town and An American in Paris. I was telling him about how Gene Kelly dances with Jerry the mouse in Anchors Aweigh and it reminded me of yet another terrific Gene Kelly number that happens to be my all-time favorite:

1. It's Always Fair Weather: The trash can scene

They tap dance with a trash can lid on one foot. It's unbelievable.

That movie has another outstanding dance number that involves Gene Kelly tap dancing on roller skates. You should watch that, too.

2. Starlord's Dance: Guardians of the Galaxy

Chris Pratt steals the show early with his opening number. Come on, the guy uses a space rat as a microphone! Completely awesome.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sam And The Trip To Africa - Pushing The Boundaries Of Autism

A friend recently shared this video with me, so I'm just going to pass it along without a whole lot of comment. This is a long watch, but worth it. It's definite food for thought regarding the delicate balance we have as autism parents, between keeping our child safe in the norms he knows and pushing the boundaries (sometimes with difficulty) in order to get them to learn and experiment and grow.

Six months in Africa isn't an option for me with my son, but I think there may be road trips in his future . . .

Friday, August 25, 2017

This Shall Be A Sign Unto You - That It's FINALLY Friday!

Friday! Cue the happy dance!! I'm ready to face a mountain of laundry, a butt-ton of yardwork, and a looming editorial deadline. Yay. Still, it's a weekend and I'm ready to be off to it. So without any further ado, here's this weeks collection of silly signage.

 School starts Monday here, so this is wildly appropriate.

Thanks for clearing that up.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Lessons To My Son: When A Girl Says Go Away, You Go

David is at a difficult age. Puberty is hitting him full-force, and like any thirteen year-old guy, he's noticing girls a whole lot more. David also missed the part of the autism manual where it tells you not to be social. He's a very, very social kid. He wants to say hi and he wants to chat, especially if you're a girl.

He's just not very good at it. He repeats movie dialogue on an endless loop. He asks the same questions over and over and over again because they're the ones he rehearsed in his head before engaging you and your answer might not match what he thought you were going to say, so he asks it again. In short, if you don't know David and his unusual way of speaking and interacting, he can be . . . odd. Even creepy. It hurts my mom heart to say it but I know that it's true, particularly at his age.

David the kid is now David the young man. The five foot two (and growing) one hundred and thirty pound young man. He can be seen as not just creepy, but a potential threat by anyone smaller than him. Which brings me to our beach vacation last week.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: So Long Summer

So long, summer, for another year
School starts Monday
Days are getting cooler, and a bit shorter
Soon it'll be long pants
And sweaters
And fond memories of sand between my toes

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Target Introduces Sensory-Friendly Clothing Line

Beginning this week, Target is marketing a selection of t-shirts and leggings developed just for children with sensory issues.

The clothing line launches online this week (and will remain exclusive to the online shop) is part of Target's Cat & Jack clothing line, and is the brainchild of designer Stacey Monson, the mother of a child on the autism spectrum. Stacey describes the design process this way:

Monday, August 21, 2017

Happy Eclipse Day!

From Madras, Oregon to Columbia, South Carolina, Americans are stepping outside to take part in the first solar eclipse to hit our land in decades. I have several friends who've taken road trips to prime viewing areas, and I have to admit, I'm a little jealous.

If you're viewing today - even in an area that won't experience totality - please remember to do it safely. Check out NASA's safe viewing guidelines and don't risk your eyesight. You may need it someday for the next eclipse.

If you're out driving in an area experiencing the totality (or even close to it), stay safe. The totality only lasts minutes but it takes a couple of hours for full sunlight to return.

Most of all - have fun! Join your neighbors and countrymen in the one thing that's managed to unite us this year!

Friday, August 18, 2017

A Little Toilet Humor This Fine Friday


This is a post that's been backing up for a while now. For some reason, I have been flush with pictures of bathroom oddities, and now is the time to eliminate them before they all go to waste.

So, without further ado, here's some toilet humor for your Friday entertainment. Let's start with hotels, because they seem to get a little crazy with the toilet thing.

There's nothing like a challenge . . .

For when you're feeling contemplative . . .