Behind starburst eyes

Why I don’t often write about my sons anymore…

When I first started this blog, I would write quite frequently about my children. I thought that by giving others a glimpse into the world of Autistic children, and the parenting of, that it would help. That it could show the world what our lives were like; both the positive as well as the struggles.

There is a difference though between when a parent of a neurotypical child writes about parenting, and a parent of a special needs child writes about parenting. I didn’t realize that when I first started writing. I didn’t realize that far too often the media utilizes those same struggles to suggest that a parent of an Autistic child should be pitied. Mostly I didn’t realize it, because I don’t pity myself.

I see myself as having been gifted 3 beautiful souls to guide towards their fullest potential. I see myself as a kind of tour guide. I’m only here to help till they themselves feel less like tourists and more like locals. The thing is, I thought that was what all parents have to do.

I have never been a mother to a neurotypical child, so maybe it’s totally different? But from what I have heard, it’s still hard as hell to be a mom; regardless of a child’s neurobiology.

So why is it that having a rough moment or day or even a totally rotten week is viewed so differently when the child is classified as special needs? It’s different because we view having a child with a different neurobiology as something bad, as something to grieve and be depressed about. Only I’ve never felt that way about my kids.

So when I write, I have to consider what kind of impression am I adding to society of the reality of having an Autistic child. I don’t want to add to the gross misconception that they are less for having a different neurology; because, they aren’t. The society that equates how much money a person can contribute to corporations (through working at, or purchasing from) as a human being’s only worth is what should be pitied, and seen as less than; not my beautiful children.   

 

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Learning about Emotional Equations

Some of our homeschooling doesn’t look like “regular” schooling. Okay, most of it doesn’t look like it lol. That does not mean they are not learning, nor does it mean they aren’t learning very important things.

Many people find it difficult to get to the base root of their emotional states. When one does not understand the root or cause of an emotion it becomes almost impossible to find a solution that effectively works long-term.

To that end, for some viewing their emotional states as equations can assist in further self-awareness. Further self-awareness can assist in higher levels of overall satisfaction with ones life as steps are then taken to ensure they get what they need out of various situations and interactions.

This is what some of our homeschooling looks like:

emotional-equations_chip-conley_honey-patel

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Grateful for a meltdown?!?!

Mr.N had a meltdown tonight. A full blown tears streaming down his face, screams pouring from his mouth meltdown. He hasn’t had one like this in a very long time. It was pure primal in it’s intensity.
The reason…We were at the farm and no one was there, so he thought we’d have to go back home without staying.
While on the one hand I was hurting for him, there was a part of me that was thrilled that he has become so attached to that place and the people there that it would cause such a reaction.
I remember all the times I hesitated to bring him to places, NOT because I was ashamed of him, but because I knew that others would not understand him. I knew others would not be as kind as he deserved, or as patient with him as he needed. After all, I had seen with Mr.C, how becoming more open, visiting, staying overnights and all the things families do with other families had lead to many unkind and at times outright cruel moments because he was different…because I parented him in the ways he needed me to instead of the ways others thought I should.
Now though, they truly have a tribe. A tribe that sees every aspect of Mr.N, and not only accepts, but embraces him. I don’t feel like I have to take him elsewhere if he’s having a meltdown, or stand ever so close while someone is trying to converse with him to help ease the difficulty some people experience trying to have a dialogue with him. I don’t have to explain about any aspect of his neurobiology. There, all aspects of him are simply aspects of Mr.N. No explanations, or mitigation of situations necessary.
That overwhelms me with gratitude.
P.S  As they’d only been out on an errand, 2 of the 3 residents came home within 15 minutes of us being there, so Mr.N got to see them afterall 😀
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Dear Friend,

Today I seem like I flaked out again on you. Like your event/celebration/get-together doesn’t matter to me. Nothing could be further from the truth though!

Your friendship matters to me, you matter to me. The truth is I’ve spent a great deal of time planning what I’ll wear, what gift I’ll bring, how I’ll get there, and who will watch my children while I’m out with you.

Each time I get a text, fb message, or event invite from you I smile and think how great it is and how much fun I’ll have with you, how much I enjoy your wit and conversation. I think how lucky I am that you haven’t given up on inviting me even though there are so many times that I’ve bailed at the last second.

My stomach sinks and I wonder if this will be the last invite from you when I have to break our plans yet again. I wonder if your view of who I am changes with each cancellation. I wonder if I seem flighty and fake to you. I hope I don’t. The truth is, I’m really loyal. So loyal in fact that when I have to break plans with you it’s because I made a promise to someone else. Three someone’s in fact. When each one was born I promised them I would put them first. And so I do. So when one is sick with a stomach bug or bad flu I’ll tell you.

But the hidden part, the part I don’t usually say is if one is having a bad day emotionally. I won’t post or text that one has been having a meltdown for 2 hours and that as much as I want to enjoy your company they have to come first. I won’t say that one has been up until 7am inconsolable about a fear they are struggling with and that short of drugging them there was nothing I could do but hold them and sing to them their heart song while I wait for the sunrise with them so they will calm enough to sleep. I simply look at the dress I bought specifically for today; quietly put it away, and message you that I wish I could come.

I don’t regret my choice to actively put them first, a child deserves nothing less from their parent. They won’t be young for long, and each day they are filling their tool boxes with more and more fantastic things. Things that will one day create the very wings they will soar on. But until then, when I seem flaky, please know I’m not. You matter to me, and I do hope you won’t give up on me; on the potential friendship we could forge; in time.

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Masterpost: Dermatillomania and Trichotillomania

A fantastic list of real alternative solutions!

The Artism Spectrum

More than half the letters I get from my readers ask me for help with stimming—be it redirecting unsafe stims, ideas for healthy stimming, or developing sensory coping skills. I’ve decided to create a series of masterposts to serve as a kind of FAQ for these common issues! I’ll be adding onto these continuously over time, and this is only the first, so if you have any ideas to contribute, or any sensory needs I haven’t addressed yet, please comment here or contact me!


Dermatillomania & Trichotillomania

dermtrichfull

Compulsive skin picking and compulsive hair pulling, respectively. Dermatillomania can include picking at scabs, skin bumps, acne, cuticles, etc. Trichotillomania can include plucking or ripping the eyelashes, eyebrows, head hair, body hair, etc.

The majority of the emails I get from autistic adults asking for help are for one or both of these conditions, so I felt it was worth it to start with…

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Acting?!?!

Back in September Mr.C tried out for a youth theatre group. He was nervous and didn’t project his voice as much as was needed. That aspect of his audition cost him the part. While talking with a friend I mentioned what had happened, and she sent me a link for a background extras agency. I signed Mr.C up and by the end of his first day he’d been totally bitten by the acting bug. Of course the 2 wee ones and Ms.D also wanted to try it out too 🙂
So for the last 2 months I’ve spent over 2 dozen days taking them to fittings, auditions, and on various sets with various combinations of the 4 of them. We get up some days as early as 3:30am to get to set on time. The plus to that is my night owls are quickly becoming early risers lol!

Do they like doing it? Yep! They think it’s fantastic, and I think the various learning opportunities they are having from it are vast and unique. I’m not talking about the fact that they have tutors on set, but instead the inner workings of shows, how many different jobs and skills are needed to create a t.v. show, legal stuff: I taught the 2 older ones how to read the confidentiality agreements we sign and what they mean. About how vital it is to be on time for work, to come to work prepared for anything your job could throw your way, and so much more.

Right before Halloween Mr.N saw a commercial for a movie that scared him. I was able to draw on specific examples from times he had been on a movie set to help him understand that the movie wasn’t real and that he had nothing to worry about. Without that direct experience prior to, I don’t think I would have been able to alleviate his fears nearly so thoroughly or quickly!

Well, I’m off to make pre-made meals and snacks (like banana muffins) for the upcoming busy week 🙂

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Heathenry Belongs to All of Us

I am a white feminine cis-female. That does NOT mean the I agree with the AFA. Below is a response to this issue that completely expresses MY beliefs on the matter.

mainer74

Freehold and Troth Banners

Hail,

I have long said that it is not the Troth’s place to tell the AFA how to run their house.  We go our own way and have our own understanding of Heathenry, what it meant to our ancestors, and what it means to us today.  I have said that, and I meant it.  I don’t run their house, nor would I be welcome in it.

They don’t own Heathenry, neither does the Troth.  However, Heathenry is my community, its peoples, all of them, are my peoples, and they are now under attack, and it is mine to defend them.  The Troth does not own Heathenry, but we are sons and daughters of the Heathen community, we are listening to the AFA tell our brothers and sisters they are not welcome , that they have no right to be here, to follow our gods, or to raise the horn with…

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Dear Mental Health Professionals:

dsvm cover

I am aware that the DSVM (all editions since the 3rd) include Autism as a mental illness/disorder. However, just because they are included does not make the mental health field correct in their assessment of Autism as a disorder. It is included because Western society has a serious lack of acceptance of anything different. All things different should be treated and minimized to the greatest degree possible, is often the misguided thinking with Autism and many other neurodiversities.

The Ontario government has released a statement that they are pledging $333 million dollars towards treatment, but that the maximum age for treatments of IBI will decrease to 5 years old. This is said to be because the greatest chance for changing these children is until they are 5 years old. After that, it becomes harder to help change their behaviors to mirror neurotypical behaviors.

Autism is looked upon as something to correct, or at least to help intervene as much as possible and push towards encouraging the person to act as neurotypical as possible. I’d like to ask you why this is? I’d like to ask you why someone has to behave the way you do for you to see value within them? I’d like to ask you why biodiversity in the world is a plus, but neurodiveristy within humankind is not? I’d like to ask you why someone has to live in a predetermined manner for it to be the right way to live? I’d like to ask  you what is so bad about allowing someone else to live their version of a happy life, even, especially if it’s not the same definition of happy as yours? I’d like to ask you what will it take for you to see that my sons do not have a disorder, they have a different neurological structure. What are the words you need to hear to understand that their value is not to be based upon how well they can become chameleons in society, but that their value is based upon the person they truly are when they stop trying to fit into your rigid, substandard predetermined cookie cutter shape of humanity…The Autistic Person they always have been and always will be does not need to be fixed, they just need to be loved, respected and appreciated for who they are, just like every other living creature on this biologically diverse planet.

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Unwind your anger printable activity

I found this on pinterest and I really liked it for Mr.C who sometimes struggles to “let go” of his anger.

I am excited to release a new activity page to accompany my newest book Ursula Unwinds Her Anger . The book teaches children mindfulness and relaxation skills such as deep breathing and noticing fe…

Source: Unwind your anger printable activity

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How to guides for daily living

It might seem obvious to many how to do every day living activities. For example, the steps needed prior to cooking a meal such as washing our hands, getting all the ingredients ready or ensuring there is enough time for the recipe in question. But at one point when we were children, those steps weren’t obvious. And even for some that are older, those steps may still not be readily apparent.

There have been many recent studies showing a direct correlation between competency with daily living skills and overall happiness. Which really only makes sense. If you don’t have the skills to navigate the small day to day stuff, than you’re going to be upset and frustrated more than not. No one would rate their life a happy one overall if each day is filled with stress, anxiety and a lack of how to get their basic needs met.

Which is how the chart below (and several others) were thought of, and subsequently taped up around our house. So far I’ve seen a great improvement in my eldest’s sense of pride with himself as he sets out to do a task and successfully completes it without having to ask anyone for help. Yes, he may look at the charts I’ve posted, but in the end he did the activity on his own, and you can see the sense of accomplishment this gives him.

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