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When you see a blog that hits so close to home you have no choice but to share it

Written by : Rhona Silverbush
Original blog found here:
The Advice I’d Never Heard About Supporting a Child on the Autism Spectrum

“My son Jack gets on kicks. Remember those Magna Doodle drawing boards? We had several minis (understatement!), because we couldn’t leave the house without one for what amounted to a large percentage of my son’s young life. One of the many reasons?

One of the sweetest (says his unbiased mom) was his cash register kick when he was about 6. He had calculators with rolls of paper that print out the calculations that are punched in, and they were his “cash registers.” Everyone who works at our corner grocer has known Jack his whole life, and they were charmed by his sincere desire to help out. “Jack’s going to help me ring up customers,” one would declare when they saw us enter. “Oh, no — he helped you last time. I need his help today,” another would say. And Jack would beam. He’d take his station alongside one of the cashiers, who would call out the prices to him as he or she was doing the actual ringing up of a customer’s items, and Jack would happily plug in the numbers and crow out the final tally. The cashier would quietly adjust that to account for tax and complete the transaction with the customer, and on they’d go to the next.Jack would use them as signs — he loves signs. He’d pretend that a walk we were on was a train ride, and he’d write each stop on the board. We’d pause along our way whenever we “pulled into the station.”

The other sweetest? Label makers, when Jack was 7 and 8. He’d print labels for people in the building and the neighborhood that were mini “gifts” to them, and he would beam when the recipient “got it” that he or she had just been gifted something precious.

Every year, he trick-or-treats with his dad, always in a very singular costume of his devising, and goes into stores in the neighborhood. “What are you this year, Jack?” or “Wow, Jack, that’s amazing,” are the common refrains. And we live in a building with a doorman now, where Jack sometimes likes to sit in the lobby with his LED sign reading “Welcome to Our Building.” The sign scrolls. It has three colors. It’s truly awesome. In case you hadn’t guessed by now, Jack is on the autism spectrum.

Don’t get me wrong — Jack is actually quite shy. He hates being in the spotlight with every fiber of his being. But as I hope you’ve gleaned by now, he seems to enjoy connecting and forging relationships with people as much if not more than anyone you’ll ever meet, and that tends to win out over his shyness — so long as he can engage in his own way.

There’s nothing shy about me, though, and I wind up getting asked a lot to speak with moms of children newly diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. I recently spoke by phone with one such mom who said, “My 8-year-old son does a lot of things people find annoying, and they get irritated. I just don’t know what to do. He doesn’t mean any harm.”

I hear her loud and clear. Same here. Jack’s challenges aren’t always visible to the naked eye, and it can be easy for a stranger on the street to misinterpret them. As he gets older and wants to go places on his own, I worry that he’ll bump into someone and be scolded, or worse.

I had two answers for the mom on the phone. The first was obvious: As her boy gets older, teach him to advocate for himself. “I’m sorry — I wasn’t ignoring you. I have trouble with auditory processing and didn’t know you were talking to me. Can you please repeat that?”

But equally important, I believe, was my second answer, and it’s not one I’ve heard or read anywhere, which is why I’m writing about it now: This mom and her child’s dad need to get out there and actively build their son’s “village.”

A dear friend of mine lives in an actual village — a small seaside town, where nearly everyone knows her son, who is also on the autism spectrum. They’ve known him since he was born, so they really know him. In their minds, he’s one of theirs, and so they all adore him and look out for him. I don’t live in a small town, but my neighborhood in my big city is akin to one, and Jack’s dad and I made sure from the get-go that Jack’s neighbors knew him — really knew him — so that they, too, could truly “get,” appreciate and care about him.

Communities often rally around those they perceive as their own. I urged this mom of the 8-year-old to get him out there in ways he could tolerate and see to it he becomes familiar to those around him. And to fill them in about his diagnosis — engage their empathy, which can override their prior irritation. He’s a wonderful boy with many attributes, strengths and challenges. Let them see the full picture. I urged the mom to turn the people in her area from strangers into her son’s community, so that they, too, can see what she sees when she looks at and smiles on him. Yes, incidents with strangers will be unavoidable. But there could be far fewer strangers and far more people looking out for him as he grows older, far more people cheering him on. Far more people sincere when they say their version of our corner cashiers’ “No, you had Jack with you last time — I get him with me today!”

 

 

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gingerbreadcookies

What you will need:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup  brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest, optional

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
2. Whisk the flour, salt, and spices together in a bowl. Set aside.
3. In the bowl, cream the butter and sugar until they’ve just come together.

4. Add the egg, and mix until incorporated.
5. Add the molasses, vanilla, and lemon zest (if using) and mix until incorporated.
6. Slowly mix in the flour mixture until your dough forms.
7. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4″ thickness, then cut out your shapes.
8. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 8-9 minutes.

 

.:Side Notes:.
If you’re not immediately making the cookies, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate (You can freeze this recipe too) until you are ready to use it. Before using, bring to room temperature.

 

While reading a fellow bloggers newest post I felt the need to share it because it struck a cord. It made me stop and think about  how being a parent to a child on the autism spectrum (any parent in general can relate), we try to do everything to ensure that we are able to provide the best for our children however some times we often over look what they really need / would really benefit from. It was a good reminder to take an extra moment to really think about what my son and I are doing let alone looking at the bigger picture when it comes to helping my son grow.

The post was called Learning to Be More Open to What My Son on the Autism Spectrum Really Needs.”    and was written by Kim McCafferty.

“Twelve years ago this month, I walked into our pediatrician’s office with my then-17-month-old son in tow, hoping for a prescription for reflux. I walked out shaking, crushed by our doctor’s callousness, and clutching four mis-stapled and badly copied articles about autism in my trembling hands. Our pediatrician never uttered the word himself, just told me to call a developmental pediatrician, thrust some numbers on a stickie into my hand and left the room.

He wasn’t our pediatrician much longer.

I remember being in shock as I left the office, as we’d just been in four weeks prior and our insensitive doctor had not seemed that concerned with the delays our toddler was demonstrating. I also remember as I made my way to the pharmacy to fill that prescription, which would at least let me help him with his reflux. I called upon my experience with the few autistic children I’d had as a teacher in my homeroom and classroom, thinking those few encounters would give me a leg up on raising my own autistic child. Boy, was I wrong.

As they say on “Game of Thrones,” I knew nothing, Kim McCafferty.

The year was 2004, a time when Jenny McCarthy was talked about a lot in the autism community. While navigating doctors appointments and the murky and ultimately deeply disappointing world of what passed for Early Intervention in northern Virginia, I spent any time I wasn’t interacting with my son researching autism on the internet, and God was it confusing.

There were parents claiming the only positive outcome of this diagnosis could be a “cure.”

There were autistic advocates and parents of autistic children claiming an alternative neurology cannot and should not be “cured.”

There were professionals informing me that studies showed that sign language gave kids an edge over learning to talk and should always be employed.

There were professionals informing me that alternative methods should always be explored, matching the child’s strengths to the appropriate communication system.

There were parents telling me not to vaccinate.

There were physicians telling me I’d better vaccinate.

There were parents explaining to me that a public school program was the way to go for their opportunities for mainstreaming, which should be my ultimate goal.

There were teachers sharing with me that despite the push for it, mainstreaming might not be the most important goal regarding my son’s future education.

As I look over my list, I realize not all that much has changed in a dozen years.

I did my best by my son Justin in those early and isolated years, reading and attending workshops whenever possible. I often felt the two of us were drowning back then, combating my son’s insomnia, aggression, gastrointestinal disorders and his adherence to having things a certain way (he would eventually receive a dual diagnosis of OCD and autism). My husband worked, our families were three hours away, and all my friends either had careers or were busy raising babies of their own. I often felt adrift at sea, anchor-less.

Ultimately what I clung to to get through it all were my choices regarding Justin’s therapy, usually based on articles I’d read, clutching their information to me as tightly as I had clutched those initial articles which had in one instant completely altered my world.

I displayed my own rigid behavior regarding that information. According to studies I’d read, sign language more often gave way to words, in my opinion a must for my boy even though his fine and gross motor abilities were delayed.

I was told that he should absolutely attend a public school program both for the chance he’d mainstream, and so he’d make friends with neurotypical peers.

And if it weren’t for professionals who gently offered me alternatives to both of these choices and asked me to keep an open mind, despite my best intentions, I might have done my son more harm than good.

After we moved to New Jersey and actually received appropriate Early Intervention services (yay the Garden State!), I clearly recall one of the therapists from Rutgers gently pointing out to me that after more than a year of working with my son, he only had a handful of signs, and some of those were used sporadically at best. I remember initially feeling that using the PECS system meant giving up on words, instead of focusing on the fact that my then 22-month old might actually end up with a way to communicate his needs other than by mostly crying.

If I hadn’t listened, he might have spent many more months often frustrated by his mother’s inability to read his mind.

I had that same rigid mindset originally as from Virginia we attempted to find the most fantastical, amazing, perfect autism program in the perfect NJ town (oy!) because I wanted my son in the public schools for the mainstreaming opportunities, and I didn’t want him sent out of district. At the tender age of 3 I wanted him to have opportunities to engage with neurotypical peers. I wanted him to have friends, to interact with others. This was the most important goal in my life, more than losing that last seven “baby weight” pounds or consuming large amounts of chocolate every day.

OK, that last is still an important goal.

After four years in two different public school districts, it became apparent that the only one who cared about his interactions with neurotypical peers was me, and that his home school district really didn’t have an appropriate program for him anymore. I remember my mom, a special educator with three decades of experience, gently telling me to look at the big picture for Justin, that perhaps him having friends was not the most important issue now, that in fact Justin really didn’t seem to care about his peers. I recall making the mental shift to becoming open to sending him to a private autism school, where educators could help him focus on the academics he loved so much, where down the road he would have better access to job programs and adult programs, and hell, even a swimming pool he’d frequent daily during his eight-week summer program.

I’m still learning how to make the shift from wanting for Justin what I think he should need to what he really needs (it remains a learning curve for me), and by keeping an open mind, I know my choices for him have contributed to the thriving, happy teenager who loves school and loves his life. I still struggle to do this with both my boys (what parent doesn’t), often employing a “what would Zach/Justin do” mentality when considering my options.

And I still make mistakes. I am still sometimes slow to recognize a shift in need, still working on ridding myself of “what should be.

But as with many things in life, I’m still a work in progress, and keeping an open mind is one goal I plan to keep.

their opportunities for mainstreaming, which should be my ultimate goal.

Sore Throat Tea

It’s the time of year where nasty colds are in the air, next time you have a sore throat give this tea a try. I know it’s my go to, an it may become yours too.

honeytea

What you need:
1 inch fresh ginger root (no need to peel it, you’ll see why below)
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed 
1 tablespoon honey

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Grate the ginger into a heat safe bowl.
2. Pour 1 cup boiling water over the ginger and let it steep for 3 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, put the lemon juice and the honey in a large mug.
4. Strain the ginger tea into the mug.
5. Stir to dissolve the honey, taste, and add more honey or lemon juice if you like.

 

.:Side Notes:.
If you want to play with the flavor give these ideas a try.
– Add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg or cardamom at the end for a warm spice flavor. Or, use a cinnamon stick to do the stirring to dissolve the honey (this is a particular hit for those with stuffy noses).

   – If you like things spicy, add a dash of cayenne—that spicy note will further help clear out those sinuses.

   – If the lemon flavor is too much for you, balance it out with a splash of orange juice works just as well as lemon but doesn’t have the bitter notes.

This tea works best if it’s warm but does the trick chilled as well.

I find the best way to grate ginger is with planer zester / grater   a but the small side of a cheese grater works too.

You can make a big pot of this and store in a drink pitcher or later.

If you’re feeling extra lazy don’t worry about grating the ginger, you can just slice it up since you’re going to strain it later. I suggest grating it though because it helps release the juice more.

 

 

I remember an will never forget

Remember when people actually showed respect for anyone in a uniform let alone for those who help keep our country safe? Well I do and it’s why I refuse to dive head first into Christmas on November 1st.

I don’t ever expect others to follow suit like I do and keep Christmas in December or until after November 11th, but please remember those who have fought, died and took part in any of the wars. Teach the meaning of why we wear a poppy and what that moment of silence truly stands for so the respect can be passed on through the future generations.

For those who have fought in any past wars and for those who are still fighting in the current battles I have the up most respect for you. Thank you for serving the country to keep people safe and have the possibility of freedom. I also want to take a moment to remember/thank anyone who has fallen or serves as a RCMP Officer / Police Officer, First Responders, Firefighters and Search & Rescue. You all put your lives on the line every time that call comes in and even though there are some bad seeds that make the news it shouldn’t reflect on everyone as a whole.

Thank you and lest we forget.

c82fa57c409afa2212c6412e3e00f9ec--remembrance-poppy-lest-we-forget

 

‘Tis the season for freshly carved pumpkins and their yummy seeds. Roasting the normal way can get boring year after year so here is some ways to change it up.

 

Quick pumpkin seed roasting 101:
First up, obviously, you need some raw pumpkin seeds. You can fish these out from the jack-o-lantern you carved. The next step is cleaning the “goop” or “guts” (we always called it guts my house, anyone else?) from the actual seeds. Once you have the seeds mostly separated, fill up a big bowl of warm water and dunk in the seeds. Use your hand and swirl them around a bit to loosen any pumpkin “guts” remaining. Let the seeds rest for a few minutes (roughly five minutes). You’ll know it’s ready for the next step when the seeds all float, and the remaining pumpkin guts sink. Fish out the seeds using your a slotted spoon or your hands (no judgement here) and put them onto a dish towel and pat them dry. Preheat your oven to 300° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You want to roast pumpkin seeds at a low temp to make sure they get nice and crunchy without burning. Per half cup of seeds, toss with about a teaspoon of olive oil, and then toss immediately afterward with the spice combo you’d like. Toss the baking sheet into the oven, and bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring two to three times during cooking. You’ll know the seeds are ready when they are beginning to brown. You don’t want them super dark, just a little golden (a few will get darker, that’s just how things work). If you taste them hot out of the oven, they may seem a little chewy still, but as they cool, they will crisp up nicely. Then once they are 100% cooled store them in an air tight jar.

 
Each of the following recipes are for a half cup of raw pumpkin seeds

 

Ranch flavored pumpkin seeds
What you will need:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dill
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Ranch is a hard flavor to replicate at home, so if you have a specific powdered ranch dressing packet or recipe that you like, you can also just toss the seeds with that after they have their olive oil bath.

 

Pizza flavored pumpkin seeds
What you will need:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

If you happen to have some tomato powder or tomato paste kicking around you can mix in a little of that as well.

 

Dill pickle flavored pumpkin seeds
What you will need:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon dill
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

 

Cinnamon Sugar flavored pumpkin seeds
What you will need:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Pinch of salt

 

Sweet & Spicy flavored pumpkin seeds
What you will need:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

 

Maple Roasted flavored pumpkin seeds
What you will need:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

 

Honey Sriracha flavored pumpkin seeds
What you will need:
1/4 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
A couple of drops of apple cider vinegar

 

Ginger Sesame Soy flavored pumpkin seeds
What you will need:
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon sugar

 

Spicy BBQ flavored pumpkin seeds
What you will need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon agave
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

 

.:Side Notes:.
If you don’t like using olive oil you could also use coconut oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil basically whatever oil makes you happy. You can even drizzle melted butter as a replacement.

REMEMEBR TO STORE THESE IN AN AIR TIGHT CONTAINER ONCE THEY’RE 100% COOL

 

 

 

pumpkinseeds

Leftover Turkey Soup

LeftoverTurkeySoup

What you will need:
1 leftover turkey carcass
3 cups shredded cooked turkey
1 onion, peeled and cubed
5 celery stocks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
12 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 cup broccoli, chopped
2 T apple cider vinegar
¼ to ½ t poultry seasoning (I use ClubHouse brand)
Salt and pepper to taste
Water to cover

Steps to yummy goodness:
1.  In a big pot, layer the turkey carcass, 2 carrots, 2 celery ribs, onion, garlic, and apple cider vinegar.  Cover with water and season with salt and pepper.

2. Cover and simmer for 6-8 hours, or overnight.
3. Strain the turkey carcass and vegetables out of the broth.
4. Either put the broth in a clean soup pot (large pot).
5. Add 2 of the carrots, 3 celery ribs, the sweet potato, mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste, poultry seasoning, broccoli, and turkey

6. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until everything is tender.

7. Serve up and enjoy.

 

.:Side Notes:.
This recipe can be done in a slow cooker, just layer the turkey carcass, 2 carrots, 2 celery ribs, onion, garlic, and apple cider vinegar.  Cover with water and season with salt and pepper. Cover and turn the slow cooker on high. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or overnight.Strain the turkey carcass and vegetables out of the broth. Either put the broth in a soup pot or back in the slow cooker. Add 2 of the carrots, 3 celery ribs, the sweet potato, mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste, poultry seasoning, broccoli, and turkey. Cover and cook on high for about 4 hours.

You can easily skip the steps on how to make a homemade broth and use store bought broth.

It’s ok if you don’t have a turkey carcass, chicken carcass and meat (or even duck) make a great substitute

 

I came across this and figure it’d be a good reminder with the holiday season about to ramp up.

 

Originally written by Heather Boorman 
And can be found here:
5 Ways Friends Can Support Parents of Children on the Autism Spectrum

 

“I know many of us are probably glad to have another Halloween behind us and don’t really want to revisit the holiday for another 360 days (or in three days when our kids start planning what they’re going to be for next Halloween). Bear with me, though. This story does include Halloween, but it isn’t really about Halloween at all.

My husband Jon and I often work opposite schedules, and Halloween 2016 happened to fall on a night when I was parenting solo. I mentioned this to my friend, Rachel, who immediately invited me and my three kids over to eat dinner and trick-or-treat with them.

About halfway through dinner, I could tell my daughter KBear, who is on the autism spectrum, was getting overstimulated. About three blocks into trick-or-treating, she said her legs hurt. About three-and-a-half blocks into trick-or-treating, she said she wanted to go back. My 11-year-old and 4-year-old were nowhere near being done.

Before I even had a second to fret about what to do, my best friend came to the rescue! I’m pretty sure Rachel was wearing a cape and there was a superhero anthem playing in the background as she leapt in and calmly asked KBear, “Would you be OK going back with me? I think the baby’s had enough, too, and we can just go back and relax.” KBear slowly nodded her head and journeyed off with my friend. My shoulders dropped, my mind eased, and my boys and I carried on and stayed out as long as they wanted to.

I remember the first time KBear had a meltdown in front of Rachel. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen or how my friend would respond. I heard her son ask questions and express uncertainty about what was going on. And then I heard my friend calmly explain to her son, in a nonjudgmental and totally compassionate way, that KBear has some differing wiring that can make it difficult to control her body and emotions sometimes. I heard my friend help her son relate by bringing up examples of moments when he had felt out of sorts or overloaded. I heard my friend calmly ask what she could do, what would be helpful, and I saw her patiently sit with calmness, acceptance and love. She occasionally asked if there was anything she could do and then refocused attention off KBear’s meltdown by quietly entertaining the other kiddos. After the meltdown, my friend hugged me, told me I’m a good mom, and reinforced that she’s here for whatever I need.

I am tearing up now as I write about it. Why? Because I feel she was perfectly supportive. Because so many people respond differently. Family, friends and strangers oftentimes back away. Occasionally, they’ll stare or say rude comments. Sometimes they’ll give unsolicited advice. And I get it. Many people don’t know how to respond. Most often I don’t feel like I know how to respond, and I do this every day. How can I expect other people to understand and know what to do?

I didn’t realize just how much I was missing the type of support my friend provided until she gave it to me. I know my family and friends are there and would do anything to help, but I didn’t even know what would be helpful to ask for. They regularly ask what they can do, or tell me they don’t know what to do. And until Rachel intuitively showed me, I couldn’t put words to what I needed.

So I’ll use Rachel’s beautiful examples to highlight what I, and possibly other parents, would find helpful in the midst of a meltdown.

1. Respectfully taking initiative. One of the things I appreciate most is Rachel respects my role as the parent and follows my lead as I’m dealing with KBear, but she simultaneously steps in to simply do the other things that need attention. She entertains the other kids. She continues making the snack. She provides quiet space. In the midst of managing a meltdown, my mind is working fast to try to address safety and emotion regulation. I cannot always think beyond the immediate risk to provide direction for all the other stuff. It can be helpful when others just take the lead on those.

2. Occasionally asking if there’s something I need. She doesn’t ask too often, which I find helpful given my state of my mind, as described above, but every once in a while I’ll hear a simple, “Anything you need?” It reminds me my daughter and I are not in it alone. It gives me the opportunity to ask for something we’d need without having to take my full attention away from my daughter.

3. Validation. As parents of children on the autism spectrum, we sometimes live in high stress. We often need to simultaneously plan everything out and be prepared to have all our plans derailed as behaviors occur. To be seen, to be heard, to be validated, I’ve found, can be so incredibly healing.

4. Validation. No, this isn’t a typo. We need validation of the challenges, but we also need validation that we’re doing a good job. It can be so easy to doubt ourselves as parents. And something that worked yesterday may not work today. We can easily feel like we’re failing or completely screwing up. Hearing from my friend that I’m a good mom, hearing from my family that I am patient and compassionate with my daughter — these are things I cling to on the days when my thoughts tell me otherwise.

5. Eyes filled with compassion and acceptance. I feel this is by far the most helpful thing. I’ve found fear, uncertainty, worry and concern can all start to look like judgment, whether intended or not. Eyes that turn away because they don’t want to stare can feel like avoidance, judgment, or like we’re all alone, or that we’re too much for others. Looking the meltdown square in the face, seeing the people who are in pain underneath the behaviors, and showing compassion and straightforward acceptance helps set my mind at ease. It helps me be able to focus entirely on my daughter and my own reactions instead of getting distracted by potential judgment. It can create an environment of love, which girds me up to respond with love, which I think is far more effective in any meltdown situation.

And here’s the deal, it is necessary for us parents to have this. It is necessary for our own well-being to have at least one or two people who can provide these things. It is necessary to feel supported, understood, like part of a team. And sometimes, we can simply be blessed with people in our lives — like Rachel — who do these things naturally. More often, we may need to teach people what to do. Most often, loved ones want to help; they just don’t know how. And if you take the time to teach them, to assertively ask for your own needs to be met, you just might be able to enjoy trick-or-treating next year, too!”

From one parent to another…

If you hear about an autistic child wandering away from their parent, home or school on the news PLEASE DON’T CRITICIZE THEM!!!

My son is eight and this is a constant worry that I have from the moment he wakes up to the time when he closes his eyes and sleeps. It’s why when I came across a blog post about this topic I felt the importance to share it.

 

The original blog can be found here :
When a Parent Gets Criticized If Their Child With Autism Wanders Away

It’s written by

Every year I feel like I hear more stories of children with autism who have wandered away from their families. It’s often one of the scariest feelings in the world when that situation occurs. Instantly the trigger kicks in, and it becomes a time when families start alerting law agencies, neighborhood watches and their friends and family members to help in the search for their child.

The issue I constantly see is when a parent receives criticism for not doing a better job of protecting and watching their children. Often times, the interrogation begins and these parents are asked why they didn’t do this and why they didn’t do that, while others say they would never let their child get into that situation to begin with.

Whenever I hear someone make a comment like that, my bottom line is simple: Never criticize anyone until you know all the facts.

Being a parent to a child with autism can often be a 24/7 job. You support them and you become their champion for supports. Until you’ve walked in their shoes and understand that child as well as that parent does, you don’t do anything by criticizing them during a time like this. The important thing to do is find the child.

When children go missing, it becomes imperative to find them as soon as possible. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is the nation’s clearinghouse on issues related to missing and sexually exploited children, and they do their best to assist families and law enforcement agencies to help find missing children. New technologies are also being developed that focus on safety for families, from smart homes to wearable tracking devices, so you know where your child is at all times.

While I never went missing in my life, I was prone to bolting during my first few years of adolescence growing up on the spectrum. Each individual is different, but today this cause is near and dear to my heart. Every life is precious. And according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, 49 percent of “survey respondents reported their child with an ASD had attempted to elope at least once after age 4 years.” 

There is still so much more we can learn out there about how to protect our loved ones. When the time comes, though, please don’t criticize. Instead, help explore ways with them of getting things back on track.

Be safe and show love during both the good and bad times we all have. I pray for the safety for our families often and always.

If you are looking to learn more about this subject you can find free resources at The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s website here.

 

Even though Kerry’s blog was written about children on the autism spectrum (an the main reason I am sharing it since I’m a mom to a wonderfully amazing autistic little one) this mentality of quick to criticize needs to end when any child goes missing. The line  “When the time comes, though, please don’t criticize. Instead, help explore ways with them of getting things back on track.” needs to be remembered and I hope by sharing the original blog post it will help the message get back out there.

 

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 11.38.13 AM

What you will need:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1/4 stick
1/2  yellow onion
8 fresh sage leaves
2 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 medium Granny Smith apple
2 1/2 cups  vegetable or chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
4 pounds whole butternut squash (about 2 medium), halved lengthwise and seeds removed

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
3. Place the squash pieces cut-side up on the baking sheet.
4. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and brush all of it over the tops and insides of the squash halves.

5. Season generously with salt and pepper.
6. Roast until knife tender, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
7. Meanwhile, peel, core, and cut the apple into medium dice.
8. Cut the onion into medium dice. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan or  over medium heat.

9. Add the apple, onion, and sage, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 7 minutes).

10. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

11. When the squash is ready, set the baking sheet on a wire rack until the squash is cool enough to handle. Using a large spoon, scoop the flesh into the saucepan with the sautéed apples and onions; discard the skins.

12. Add the broth, water, and measured salt and pepper, stir to combine, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

13. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking up any large pieces of squash, until the flavors meld (about 15 minutes).

14. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream.
15. Let everything cool just a bit

16. Using an immersion blender, purée the chilled soup in batches until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

 

.:Side Notes:.
You can easily garnish this with extra cream, roasted pumpkin seeds, crushed walnuts, extra crispy bacon bits, rosemary, honey…etc, feel free to top with any of them for whatever your craving that day.

If you don’t have an immersion blender feel free to use a normal blender. Just let the soup cool a little then purée the soup in batches until smooth, removing the small cap (the pour lid) from the blender lid and covering the space with a kitchen towel (this allows steam to escape and prevents the blender lid from popping off) then reheat in a pot.

This is a great make a head meal just cool the finished soup to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or stick in the freezer up to 1 month.