Category: Random


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!”

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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.

 

 

Being a parent of a child with a disability there are many things I can relate to but also feel very alone with. It’s why when I saw this video in my social media feed from the fine people over at The Mighty I felt the need to share it. The video is short but filled with things that you may relate too, simple reminders you needed to read / see again and maybe even a few things that will be helpful as well.

The video is called:
Secrets of Being a Special Needs Parent

I hope it helps you feel a little less alone or perhaps spread some understanding if you happen to be reading this but aren’t a parent to a special needs child or even a parent at all.

Be back soon

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We’re out going on adventures, getting some inspiration and making wonderful memories to share.  I promise to be back soon and share it all.

Happy Birthday Canada!!

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Tomorrow is the 150th Canada Day, there will be BBQ’s, fireworks and all sort of fun memories being made. From my family to yours I wish you all an early, safe but loads of fun Canada day.

To the men out there who are real dads I wish you all an early but wonderful happy Fathers Day.

When I say real dads I mean the men who are always there for their children no matter what or where they are in the world, they’ll stop and do everything they can for their children. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing it with a partner in the same home, co-parent because you and your spouse split up, are a single dad or perhaps a step-dad who loves a kid(s) that even though they’re not yours by blood you love them as if they were.

To this day I don’t know my biological dad but I was very fortunate that my mom fell in love with someone who loved me like one of his own and to this day has been there for not only me but my son whenever we needed him. It doesn’t matter that we aren’t blood family he has been there since the start and for that I will be forever appreciative of. I’ll never be able to show him how much he truly means to me as a dad but I hope he knows how loved he is. So thank you for being there and I hope you all enjoy your day.

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Every body is a beach body

SO PUT ON THE DAMN SWIMSUIT AND ENJOY YOURSELF ! ! !

I find myself telling a friend or two the same thing every year “We’re going to the beach to have fun, there will always be someone more skinnier than you, more fit or bigger than you and they’re not going to give a damn what you’re wearing so just have fun” but have never took my own advice, I know bad me how dare I bla bla bla

I don’t remember what age I was when I got my first real bikini but I’m sure I was probably excited to wear the it because maybe just maybe I would feel just as beautiful as my step sister and all her friends when they wore theirs. However when I saw them in their suits and me in mine I got that harsh realization that my body will never look like theirs but tried to ignore it and enjoy just being in the water swimming.

When I was in my very early teens years, I got boobs, my families big hips and their big ol’ bubble butt. I had begged/dreamed for some curves like my favorite singer, actors…etc or even like some of the girls who were dancers at my school. However life (more so genetics)  decided that it should all be settled on my thighs and my waist. These were not the curves I’d envisioned when I’d submitted my requests an I immediately felt like I got the shaft. All the other women in my family were gorgeous and confident. Even my little cousin rocked her beautiful freckles that looked like they were placed on her face by the worlds greatest painters. My dreams of lounging on the beach or pool side in a cute bikini were gone and I scrambled to try to find a “look” that would work for me. I ended up with going for the “surfer look” and rock out the board shorts and bikini top. Which ended up working out for me after because I got more active. I’ve never had a six pack but my flattish tummy was good enough for me to case any of my insecurities away until I was having fun in the moment. It also helped that I kept convincing myself that board shorts were a good option because you don’t have awkward wedges with board shorts like you do picking out a bikini bottom that decided it wanted to live it’s dream of being a thong.

Life went on, the summer seasons did too and during my pregnancy with my son, I felt beautiful. I would of liked to tell people that but was still a little shy / insecure because I’ve become that person who kind of just blends in. Like it felt okay to admit that I felt like I had a natural beauty because I was harboring a human. I was legit glowing and the curves felt like they were in all the right places and I didn’t compare my body to anyone else because I was growing a person inside me and that felt like a miraculous situation all in it’s own but I couldn’t just say “I’m beautiful” out loud yet.

My son was born, my body changed as bodies do with time and age and having a baby. And I dreaded the up coming swimsuit season all over again, even wondering if I would even attempt to put one on. I dreaded the times when my thighs and my stomach would be on display next to others.

As I mentioned I’ve been “fit and healthy” but have always had a little more meat on my bones and the reality is… there are really big things worth fearing in this world. And yet I feared a damn swimsuit.

My body has been torn all apart and put back together during my c-section / other life events, I’ve always fluctuated in my weight. I’ve gone through somethings that made me think maybe I wouldn’t know this body of mine anymore as I once did. That perhaps I’d only be a soul wandering around being too busy no raising my little human on my own to ever really focus on me and I wonder now… what did I miss because I wouldn’t wear the damn swimsuit?!

I have had more anxiety at times over the thought of wearing a suit than I did when I would go 4x4ing or that time when I was scared sitting in the back of my Dad’s truck going backwards down a mountain side cause the breaks failed. Even more importantly I’ve realized this: if in my almost 30 years, there hasn’t been a year in more than 2 decades that I can recall being one hundred percent “comfortable” in any sort of clothing…that I’m the one holding myself back. I’m the one comparing my legs, stomach, skin and even my big ol’ booty. And I gotta let it go. If I want to truly live in the moment of the moments… I’ve got to Elsa the situation and just let it go all while being my fabulous self.

I haven’t done it for long but this is what I’ve learned so far…

Wear the damn swimsuit. Just wear it. If you want to be in on the action splashing with kiddos soaking up the sun, not caring if you get soaked. Not caring that your thighs are friends who are constantly hugging or if you want to look at it as being one step closer to being a mermaid just wear the damn swimsuit and have fun.

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Eat the burger! Enjoy your favorite food because hating food or being scared of what it will do to your body it will only cause bigger issues. Just keep it all in moderation and enjoy it all because much like yourself food is amazing.

Dance when there’s no dance floor. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the kitchen, bathroom, hallway if you wanna dance do it.

Sing like you’re on The Voice. In the shower. In your car. On the stage if you have the courage to do that just sing it loud and proud.

Take a moment to just sit there with the sun on your face and enjoy the warmth.

Or take a moment sipping on a warm drink listening to the rain hit the ground.

Tell someone “Thank you” even if it was just them holding the door for you or the cashier ringing in your groceries.

Call someone and say “I love you

If you miss someone or have been meaning to reach out to someone just do it. Pick up the phone and call them.

Snuggle your kiddo, dog, cat, spouse, whoever you care about just a little longer because our time with them isn’t promised.

Let the dishes wait, because there will always be dishes.

Let the clothes in the dryer sit there a little longer and enjoy the afternoon with friends / family because much like the dishes laundry never goes away.

Write, share and tell your story. It doesn’t have to be on a blog or public either. Go to the store or look online for a journal and write down your memories / story there.

Life is shorter than short, we all already say “Can you believe it’s already {insert time of year here}” just wear the damn swimsuit and enjoy life.

Maybe your morning was so crazy that you forgot to put that permission slip in your kiddos school bag. Or did you turned your back for one second and your five year old tripped over their own toys and bumped their head or perhaps your newly walking little one just also had their first sip of coffee because you didn’t think they could reach it on the table just yet.

It’s ok, just breath and remember that this doesn’t make you a bad parent because guess what….WE ALL MESS UP!!!

As a parent we want nothing more to make sure our children are safe, properly cared for and know how loved they are. However life can and will just throw you an unseen curve ball which results in a scrapped knee, bump on the head or slip onto the bum. When these moments happen we already feel bad enough that we weren’t there to “save” our kiddos but the extra judgemental looks / comments that come from those around us don’t make the situation any better. So here is that reminder you may need to hear right now:

You are only human and even those who aren’t parents make mistakes and mess up too. No one is perfect and we’re all trying our best.

Now this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to prevent things from happening. Store cleaners / chemicals properly, have window locks so even if a bedroom window is open a crack no one can call out of, teach your kiddo to wear their helmet, the list can and will always go on for your own home / situation. All we can do is try to be the best parent we can be for our children and keep in mind that most accidents are just that accidents that no matter how much you planned and prepared for this one incident would of happened no matter what.

Hopefully this little blog entry is just what you needed to hear today, because I know that I need this reminder once in a while too.

 

happy_mothers_day

This post is a day early but I’m sure many of you reading this won’t seem to care about that after you read it……

I would like to take a moment to thank all those who don’t always get thanked and are normally over looked for what you do. Thank you to the moms who do the work of two not because you wanted to but because you had to for your children as a single parent. Thank you to the moms who are truly there for their children and put themselves dead last after everyone else even strangers are taken care of. Thank you to the moms who were scared when they found out they would be a mom but have blossomed into a wonderful loving and caring mom. A special thank you to the dads who have to act like moms because single parent dads get over looked all the time.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a mom to be or a mom to a living baby, have had the horrible misfortune of having a miscarriage, still birth, or your little one (some times not so little ones) died due to some terrible accident. To the step parents, grandparents, aunts / uncles, foster parents, adoptive parents and other people who are a mom to someone they didn’t give birth too I would like to wish every mom ( and single dads playing two roles) out there a very happy Mothers Day.

Now put down the technology and spend the day with your loved ones making new memories and having fun. Maybe also take a moment to be thankful for the moms who aren’t around anymore, they still matter as well because if not for them you wouldn’t be here or be who you are.

 

Being a parent you will get asked some random questions, most of the time it’s by our kids wanting to know things like “But why can’t we have a pet wolf? I’d love it and pet it” or “Cookies have food groups in them so they must be good for breakfast“.  However parents of  children with special needs (in my case a child with autism) the random / weird questions I get often come from people in our lives or total strangers. The questions only get more odd once they find out I’m a single parent to boot. Here are some of the things I hear along with my response.

Person – “Have you tried a specialized diet?” 
Me – “Have you ever tried dressing a snail?” {insert pause} “Oh you were serious. How would a diet help my child? He already eats pretty well and I’m lucky that he loves fruits”

Person- “Really? He has autism?  He looks so normal”
Me – “Well I could throw some wolf ears on him if it helps but I’m pretty sure we both rather just have you understand that not all disabilities are visible”

Person – “But he’s so happy and full of energy”
Me – “Yea…..because he is a kid. Did you assume that he is going to be miserable lump on the ground just because he has Autism?”

Person – “I’m sure it’s just a faze and he’ll grow out of it”
Me – “I didn’t know you specialized in children with Autism, please tell me more because the professionals we go to every week say other wise”

Person – “Are you sure?”
Me – “Of what…life? or that I really should or shouldn’t be buying my fourth coffee of the morning?”

Person – “I’m so sorry”
Me – “Why? What did you do?”

Person – “And you’re doing it all on your own, how do you manage to do it?”
Me – “Have you heard of caffeine?”

Person – “I’m sure there’s a nice man out there just waiting to meet you and help you with your son”
Me – “…yea……doubt that. Most people run when they hear that I’m a single mom let alone a single mom to a child with autism. So if he is out there he can find us because I’m not spending any of my limited extra energy looking for them”

These are just a sample of the questions I get, yes they are random and as you can tell I reply mostly with sarcasm because unless it’s a real question about autism I’m not going to give it any real attention. Now I should make it clear that I didn’t write this entry to be rude / vent. My goal is that people will remember that it’s ok to ask questions just don’t ask judgemental ones or ones that are just dumb. Instead when you see a parent (because it doesn’t matter if they’re a single parent or not) say something like this…..

“Your son/ daughter is really lucky to have you as their advocate/parent”

“I hope you remember to take a breather for yourself at some point today”

“You’re doing a great job”

“I hear so much about autism but don’t know that much really about it, what can you tell me?”

The point of this entry is to remember people (single parents or not), autistic children/ children in general, any one young or old with a disability (visible or not) we are all human beings — every judgment you make about them, even more so in front of them, affect them it doesn’t matter if they react to it or not. They think and feel things just as everyone else does, sometimes they can just feel them in different ways. Every parent of an autistic child can spend a great percentage of every day of their life advocating for their child, and if it isn’t apparent to you that the child is autistic — that might just show you how hard everyone is working together to make the life of the child fuller, easier and happier all around.