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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Phenomenal Jack-o-Lanterns That You Really Need To See

It's Halloween! And one of my favorite parts of this holiday are all the creative and amazing artwork you can find on a common pumpkin. Here are a few fantastic works of pumpkin art!

This one's for the Star Wars lovers:

Monday, October 30, 2017

Trick-or-Treating With A Non-Verbal Autistic Child? Print This Up!

Trick or Treating can be a challenge with a child on the Autism Spectrum. There are lights and sounds and scratchy costumes, and the sugar, sugar, sugar! Some parents have an additional barrier if they have a non-verbal child, or a child with limited communication.

This was me for many years, but my little guy was always with someone and always able to get his point across. If a child is older, it might be uncomfortable for them to have an adult speak for them, so these cards can really help educate.

Just right click on the picture to save it to your computer and print from there:

Friday, October 27, 2017

Thursday, October 26, 2017

My Cat & Me - We're Both Feeling Our Age

I spend a lot of time hunched over a laptop these days, or squinting at a monitor, since the writer stuff is finally paying off. More often than not, I slide into bed with a crick in my neck or back.

I found myself a nice heating pad at the store with a 2-hour automatic shutoff, and I usually crawl into bed with it just under my neck and shoulder, and drift off to Dreamland -  that is, until a few weeks ago.

My cat and I have a routine, you see. She watches me carefully each night, and when I get up from the table or the couch and start shutting off lights, she walks to the foot of the stairs and waits patiently. If I'm having a late night and haven't gotten up yet, she'll jump up beside me and voice her disapproval. Sometimes she'll put a paw on my arm or even across the keyboard of the laptop, the fat bugger.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: My Forever Baby No More

You shouldn't put it in this bowl, he says. It's a little kid bowl.
But you always love this bowl, I remind him.
I'm a teenager now, he reminds me back. You should throw this away.
It's hard to remember that he's as old as he is. He still watches Blues Clues. And Thomas. He still likes to color with crayons. I just bought him a new box.
But he's fourteen in a few weeks, and more and more, he reminds me he's growing up.
No more beloved dinosaur plate and bowl. 
It's a small thing, but for him, it's so much bigger.
And I hope he never outgrows Blues Clues.

Monday, October 23, 2017

"We Need To Understand Autistic People Better - And Not Try To Change Who They Are"

Chris Packham has been a wildlife presenter and TV show host for over 30 years, and he has decided to come forward and speak about his life as a person with autism, and how it shapes and affects him.

He shares the fundamental need that every person on the spectrum has - not to be "cured," but to be accepted. Autism is who they are, and while therapies and in some cases, medications can be helpful in assisting them as they manage sensory issues, OCD issues, and various other challenges, they can be valuable and functioning members of any society, with a little accommodation and education. And they can be who they are, the way that they are.

I'll let Chris tell you all about it - it's a great video:

Friday, October 20, 2017

Road Trip!

I'm taking my daughter for her first official college visit today and tomorrow, so no blog for you. Please enjoy these sobbing mothers to pass the time.

I'm going to watch Meryl and sob for awhile. See you guys on Monday.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Some People Have Mad Skillz - Check These Out!

In my internet travels, I often come across bits of video that feature people with interesting or just plain outrageous skills. I've finally got enough for a collections, so settle in an prepare to be wowed.

How about this guy - he's pretty impressive!

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 . . .

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???

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.