A Series of Unfortunate Events

One simple act; that’s all is started out as.  Taking the dog to the dog wash. A new to us location; it had several factors that made it inviting to check out. Then again, if you think about our fur baby, you realize that this is not a “simple act”.

He is 50 pounds of pure muscle packed into a body that doesn’t even come up to your knees.  We don’t know much about his past life as we adopted him;we  do know that he is deaf. If you can picture Autism in a dog…..this is our Boss.

He loves car rides!  Show him keys and an open door, he’s ready to go.  If we had the Jetson’s car with a 360 degree window, he would be in love and I would not feel so pounced on.  You must, MUST have windows down!  You will have him on a leash as well, for his safety and your peace of mind.

That may be your only peace, after that he is a bundle of energy that wants to check anything, everything, and everyone out.  If you are the one holding the leash, you now have a task that resembles stopping a runaway horse while sitting still.

My oldest Aspie son was driving; he will be the first to admit that he is topographically challenged.  His girlfriend was sitting in the passenger seat. She is also challenged in this same way. If they ever go on a road trip together, there will be hourly check ins along with tracking. LOL

I volunteered to sit in the back seat of my son’s 4 door Ford Focus with the dog, the leash, the windows. A soda cup from earlier was left in the cupholder plus my phone was charging up front. I thought we were prepared.

We were not even out of the driveway and Boss was already scoping everything out.  First the back window, then both back seat windows, now to the front.  He stepped on my phone without an issue but M was worried what his weight would do if he stepped on it again.  So he moved to the soda cup, asking if I’d want it.  He noticed after that, Boss had poked hole in it.  The answer became a definite no.  Now, remember, I am the wrestling with the 50 pounds of mass joyfully promenading around waving his jowls at any driver that passes us on either side of the car. I cannot see the front seat, especially in the dark.

It was not until 15 minutes later, halfway to or destination, that M’s girlfriend realized my phone was “wet”.  That, my dear people, was an understatement.  Remember that empty soda cup?  Yes, you have it right.  It became empty once the hole was created and all that glorious liquid poured itself into the newly formed Ford Reservoir where it was held safely by the preformed rubber walls.

Ahhh….it died a glorious death.  Well…maybe not totally.  We were able to resurrect it enough (thankully) to get all information off and do factory reset before sending it back.  My plus to all of this is that the replacement thru Asurion was actually an upgrade.

Dog is clean; so is the cupholder.  Phone is replaced and we’re back to our definition of normal……whatever that may be.  LOL

Advertisements

Opportunities

We have been blessed by great people and wonderful connections. One if them is the partnership we have with a local magazine called Metro Family.  It is a free publication with stories, event listings, and resources in and around the Greater Oklahoma City metro area.  

In a combined effort to strengthen up their online special needs section, our AutismOklahoma Writer’s Group participants take turns submitting stories for publication. 

Here is the newest online article from the AutismOklahoma Writer’s Group. Please take a moment to read it. 

 We hope you enjoy them.   

If you have any questions about the Writers Group, you can email Debra@Autismoklahoma.org. 
http://www.metrofamilymagazine.com/March-2017/The-Force-Within/

Hopes & Dreams

 

 

 

Most people start out with a thought. That thought becomes a dream  Once the ream becomes reality, there is hope that it will succeed to some level.  That level, of course, depends on how much effort you put in.  For some of us, life gets in the way and takes over and the dream stumbles. It takes a back seat to what has to be done now.

As you can see by my blog, life has been busy.  Once the boys graduated, I thought I would have “all” this free time on my hands to relax and finally “do for me”.   That was my first mistake.  There were several more mistakes to follow, some self-induced. If we didn’t make mistakes, how could we learn (or have fun)??

It’s only been recently that several friends that, after finding out I have one, have encouraged me to get it back going.  So, here I am. Setting a new goal.  Hoping to balance some stories, some laughter, hopefully not too many tears, and links to stories that we’ve been able to share with others.

This is my continuing story as living in a life with children on the Spectrum (Autism/Asperger’s).

Standing Alone?

No One Said It Would Be Easy

The old cliche states, “Stand for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone.” No where is this more true than in parenting, especially if you are the parent of a differently-abled child. No matter the ability….a little or a lot. The opinions and suggestions seem to come with the indignation that any intelligence of your own existed before.

They mean well. They want to help. They often are talking to the point that you are powerless to their words.. It is easier to just nod than attempt any form of a sentence that would suggest that you are of at least average intelligence and have done some research. I do not mean ill to these people, but the willingness to listen half as much as they talk would be welcome.
Some have even noticed that attempts at sentence structure has been greeted with the abruptness of being cutoff as if a car suddenly careening in front of you. No chance to communicate, just simply slamming on the brakes.

There are also those who truly do listen. There are those that offer a willing ear, great information or a true sense that you are okay and you’re going to be okay. We are not perfect; we’ve never pretended to be. Some of these situations are new to us. It seems like we are in a foreign land without a guide, guidebook, or even a little book to translate.

One thing that some parents hesitate on is that little feeling you get when something just doesn’t seem right. Call it intuition, sixth sense, or just a gut feeling. Whatever you call it, trust it. You may feel like the salmon swimming upstream. While working their way upstream from a lifetime of planning these moments, they battle not only the typical flow of the river but also such obstacles as eagles, bears, and yes, even humans.

Those that are lucky to make it to the end, leave behind the legacy for the next generation. A legacy built on working hard through not giving up. To everything there is a purpose, a plan, and a meaning. You may not see it at the time, but in months or years you look back and the pieces fall in place. Only then does it start to become clear. The salmon, doing a ritual out of pure instinct and using every ounce of strength they have, swims against the current for a most purposeful reason.

When faced with that immovable mountain of issues or the torrent of information being sent your way, don’t give in to the pressure that some might place. Stand firm, ask questions, and do your research. When given a set of options, weigh the choices and ask if there are other options. If the answer seems suspicious, research more. There are times that research means going up the ladder.

You may never know why choices are made by others; you may never know the reasoning behind it. What you do know in your heart that you are doing the best for your child because there are those that may never “get it”, may never understand, and quite honestly, may never want to.

For the times you receive questions and suggestions, one must do more than just sigh. If we are to one day see a time that our children are accepted for who they are and not forced into a cookie cutter world of monotony, then we must continue to educate. We have learned along our pathway of Autism; if others are willing, we can share what we have learned.

From time to time, you will more than likely get the “Why don’t you……..” question. If you haven’t yet, it is surely coming. Those that have received this question, though the mind is surely spinning with answer they’d like to say, will stay silent or give a politically correct response. Some mean well, some are hard core and have other motives in mind.

Over time with salmon as with our children researchers study patterns in hopes of making As for the “why don’t you” questions and suggestions…..check them out. Are they worthy? Do they appear outdated? Are they possibly useful for your situation? Or for the circumstances….a total mis-step that would backfire?

There may be times when an idea might have merit, be worth a chance to check out, and give it a try. As our children grow, we know that they will change and surprise us along the way. We work with them to try something new, so also must we give a valid idea a try. It will show promise or we endure the consequences of a fail, but we gave it a chance.

The one solid thought I have through it all is that in your heart of hearts, you have that gut feeling about things. You also want to travel your own path. While others offer sage advice or wisdom that they have gained, if your inner self says that you should stick with your choice, then trust it. Right or wrong, you will learn from it either way, but many of those times, you will be the one that knows your child the best,

Lost Chances

God’s gifts, but mankind’s choices.

As I look through things that I have gone through in my life, I see how God was in every part. I see how he worked on forming and molding me, even though I had no clue at the time. Even after having children, as I saw the challenges that they faced, part of me craved for respite; part of me did what needed to be done. He was still molding me.

As they got older and I became more involved in church, it started to form. Through elementary, I stayed focus on what was already formed. I didn’t rock the boat. My oldest had received his first diagnosis in 1st Grade; the next diagnosis in 3rd. My youngest received his diagnosis much later and after a lengthy struggle to find the right doctor who could see what was there. After a 5 year and 3 evaluation struggle, my youngest received his diagnosis in the middle of 7th Grade.

By this point, the Youth Pastor was really encouraging me to spread my wings more and move over to the Jr/Sr Ministry. I had been with the elementary age for over 5 years and he had seen me spread my wings there. We talked, prayed, and decided I would take the summer to pray over it. I wanted to make sure I was making the move because God wanted me to make the move……not because I wanted to. I knew if the decision was right what direction I wanted to go…..but I also wanted to make sure that God wanted me there.

Summer came to an end; so did my prayer time. Meeting time was upon us and my decision was made. Yes I would but on the basis that I would lead a Special Needs D-Group, Discipleship Group. It started on Sunday evenings only. Grew to Wednesday evenings a year later. Not long after that, Sunday mornings as well. That was approx. 2009.

Changes in leadership…closer to home or farther up. Changes in volunteers. Who stays, who goes. All these are natural….a part of church life. What you don’t expect….what you hope you wouldn’t have to see….are the lost chances that are created by lack of information/knowledge/empathy.

The push for “inclusion”, for “unity” has become so great (and don’t get me wrong, it IS a great idea and LONG overdue)…….but when the push becomes so great that the individual and/or the individual’s needs have been forgotten or pushed aside…..then something needs to be re-examined. When that push becomes so hard that it becomes a “lost chance”……then something is wrong.

I am not judging; that is not my intent. I am saying that I feel re-examination needs to occur. Who knows….maybe at this point, the re-examination needs to be within me. Where does God want me to be? …………………………………………..

It’s a Wrap

I thought that I would start this out with a recent story where I ended up shaking my head as I held it low….for I was the one that had made the mistake.  

At a recent trip to the bowling alley, I decided that I wasn’t that hungry. I already had my drink and I didn’t want the french fries. I just wanted the main part of the combo. The “combo” was the
Ham & Cheese Wrap. Note the word “wrap”…very vital word.  

In building independence and social skills, I will often write down our order and send it with one of the boys.

This time it was M’s turn. He had already begged me to go with him, to “help” of course.   “M…everything’s written down. She knows what to do. It’s not a problem.” So I send him back off.  

Okay…at this point, I should interject what my part of the order looked like.

Ham & Cheese Wrap (Sandwich Only)

Now, for those of you that have that unique talent, you will already see the error of my ways. I, on the other hand, had to be “told” by my oldest. So you can imagine that he came back to the table I was at and stated, “See! I told you should have come up there with me! Now she’s confused!”

“How can she be confused? It’s a simple order?”

“I can’t figure out how to explain this to her. How do I explain how to make a wrap into a sandwich?”

“What are you talking about?!?”

As the words came out of my mouth, the paper was being handed back to me and the meaning was becoming clear. I had written down the wrong word.

Cardinal rule of Asperger’s is that they are concrete thinkers. You do NOT throw in abstract thought without proper and sometimes extensive training.

Now, to we mere mortals, the above order my seem simple….to a trained Aspie, it is utter nonsense (on our part). So, as my son handed me the note, the imaginary hand slapped the imaginary forehead in the, oh so familiar, “Doh!” pose. Outwardly, I could not help but to chuckle….not at him, but myself.

It was my error for writing it the way I had. I immediately took pen to paper and made the following correction….

Ham & Cheese Wrap (Sandwich Only) Wrap

Correction made. Planets are back in alignment.

My son now looks at me and states, very clearly, “Why didn’t you say so to begin with?” Nuff said.

You can’t add to that….but with more laughter at the mere mortal’s mistake.