Wednesday, August 30, 2017

International Peace? No. Internal Peace.

World Peace. I've heard people speak of that wish for as long as I can remember. It's even been the joke that all beauty pageant contestants say it as their greatest wish.

I'm not writing about World Peace.

I'm wishing for Country Peace.

Wow. We've gone that far backwards. I can't help but wonder what people of the past would think.

"Brave people of 1964, you did a great job protesting against the Vietnam War, but it didn't last. We have a new war every week. Wars inside and outside of America." I am sorry.

"Dr. King, I know you wanted the children together. They're no longer separated by segregation laws. They're separated by growing up in a time where lines are being drawn in the sand. People believe you are or you are not. If you aren't, I hate you". I am sorry.

"Mr. Lennon, I know you were one of the loudest protestors. You were never afraid to show the world we needed peace through speech, art and song. Today the songs have no real meaning and none of them can bring people together". I am sorry.

I've been an advocate for children with Autism for nearly six years now. Trying to speak for those who can't. Working for change. Breaking down the stereotypes of children with special needs.

How can I fight for these children when the whole country is becoming more and more divided by the day? I don't have the answers. Not even close. So until I do, I will listen to those who felt the same heartache many years ago. I encourage you to make a playlist of these both beautiful, sad, yet hopeful songs.

1. Marvin Gaye
"Mercy Mercy Me"
Where did all the blue skies go? 
Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east".

2. The Youngbloods
"Get Together"
"Love is but a song we sing.
Fear's the way we die.
You can make the mountains ring, or make the angels cry".

3. Credence Clearwater Revival
"Fortunate Son"
"Some folks inherent star-spangled eyes.
They send you down to war.
And when you ask
'How much should I give?'
They only answer, 'More! More! More!'"

4. Bob Dylan
"Blowin in the Wind"
"How many times must the cannonballs fly,
Before they're forever banned?"

"How many times can a man turn his head,
And pretend that he just doesn't see?"

John Lennon
5. "Give Peace a Chance"

6. "Instant Karma"
"Better recognize your bothers,
Every one you meet."

7. "Imagine"
"Imagine all the people, sharing all the land."

8. Elvis Presley
"If I can dream"
"If I can dream of a better land,
Where all my brothers walk hand in hand.
Tell me why can't my dream come true?"

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Winter is Here!

Are you totally disgusted with politics right now?

Do you think "Oh, it can't get any worse", yet the next day it somehow does?

Do you like Game of Thrones?

If you said yes to all above, this is for you. You're welcome.

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Forever Young

Forever Young. As a parent of a child with special needs it can be described in two ways:

1. Your sweet child grows up a bit slower than most.
2. The fear of passing away and leaving your child one day alone. The parent's wish to stay, forever young.

Things are going so great right now. Boog is just doing so many things. He's with the right people and at the right school for this specific time in his life. People who not only understand, but they also believe me when I tell them something new. You'd be surprised how many times over the years people either ignored me because they thought I was just projecting - wanting to believe something happens so much you convince yourself it has. I'm a concrete thinker. If I say it happened, it did. At a time that Boog is getting into more specific interests and doing new things, it's an overwhelming feeling when you know that teacher/therapist gets just as excited as you do. It's a blessing.

I wear myself out time and time again. A good bit of it is due to number 2 up there. I need to work on being thankful for today. I need to appreciate the accomplishments now, instead of immediately jumping to the next project. It's hard, but I'm going to try. I just want to do every single thing I can think of that could possibly help. Having a child who's non-verbal, I try to convey so much. Pages and pages. Notes and notes. Sleepless nights.

So if you're run down, dark circles under your eyes, the laundry is piled up - you're not alone. Just know that you can slow down, you are doing all you can, and screw the laundry (it will never be caught up, I don't think it's possible).

Here are a couple good quotes I've seen recently:

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Didya Make It?

Congratulations to all the parents out there!!

We have made it through the summer!!

I sort of feel like Tom Hanks in Castaway when he finally makes the fire.

I hope you also made it through and finally have a little (necessary) time for yourself because:

*This post brought to you by Boog's Mommy, who really needs a pedicure, haircut and everything else you have to be alone to do.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

You Want a Piece of Me?

If you thought the title of this blog might also be the lyrics to a Britney Spears song were right! Sorry that it will be in your head all day now 😬

Anyhoo, I just wanted to chat about my opinion of the symbol for Autism, the puzzle piece. This is **just** my opinion and I am by no means trying to throw any sort of shade or spill any kind or flavor of tea. I am actually VERY thankful for the puzzle piece because it is a symbol that makes people think of Autism and isn't used by any other group. For example, the primary colors are also used for LGBTQ+ people and the color blue is used for several other types of awareness.

Now that that's out of the way, I want to explain why I'm over the puzzle piece.

Initially Autism was even more misunderstood and incredibly difficult to pinpoint or even define than it still is today. It totally makes sense - we need to complete the puzzle - we don't know why/how/what Autism really is. It's a puzzle and we need the missing piece(s).

There are so many theories and studies being done because we still don't know everything about Autism. However, we know a lot more than before and for that I am truly thankful.

I guess what I'm trying to state is, I'm not looking for a piece of my son that's missing. My son has Autism and if he didn't he would be a completely different child. I don't want a completely different Boog, so I have all my pieces - does that make sense?

Now that I've been an Autism Mom for several years, I look at the spectrum in a much different way. Yes, I do want science to continue to come up with ways that make life easier for people with Autism. Things like communication, sensory issues, socialization and more. If you think about it, that statement could be used to describe a million other things. We know it's there, we want to help, we need to go forward to help.

I choose to use "Neurodiversity" as my focus. To me it means that there are many, many people of whom think "differently" and we need to celebrate those thought processes too. Neurodiversity isn't just for Autism, it's also about supporting people with ADHD, OCD, BPD, Aspergers, and about a thousand other things that make people who they are. These diagnoses describe a part of who that person is and if removed, most would be a different person.

Here is a partial explaination via Wikipedia:

The entire definition/explaination can be found on Wikipedia here.

Look, I am no scientologist trying to say that mental illness doesn't exist or need treatment. I'm also not going to jump on Oprah's couch or call anyone "glib" either. I just mean that we're starting to understand just how many people think differently. Those people shouldn't feel they are beneath anyone else. Different does not mean less. 

I can look back at my high school and college days and think of so many kids that were just thought of as extremely shy, when in reality they may have had Aspergers and social situations were very hard for them.

So by celebrating and supporting neurodiversity you're including many types of people under that umbrella. Good news: the umbrella is massive and we have room enough for all.

So basically less this:

And more this:

***Again, this is just my very humble opinion and I have absolutely no intention of offending anyone***

Peace, Love & Acceptance,
Boog's Mommy

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Summer Water Safety

Please share this. So many kids with Autism are attracted to water.

This is a real danger when kids play in water. It's not hard to notice, but here are the signs: 

I made an image of the warning signs you can save, print and share:

There's no such thing as being too safe!

-Boog's Mommy

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Friday, June 2, 2017

A Real American Girl

When you think of the word "bravery" several things come to mind; soldiers, people protesting, a fireman leaving a burning building with someone safely in their arms.

But actually, that's just a couple types of bravery.

Sometimes bravery comes in forms you wouldn't expect. I read about some today and wanted to share it.

There is an incredibly kind, interesting and bright girl that runs a very popular American Girl news website. She is often the first to have pictures of new outfits, information on sales and exciting details  of upcoming events. She also just happens to have Autism.

I'm going to link a post below that she made recently about being at school and someone calling her the "r-word". If I could erase one word from existence it would be that word.

We Are Special - by Sydney

I get praise from others for fighting for my son, standing up and making people listen.

Do you know what's braver than that? Facing that ignorance in the face and having the courage to know that person is wrong.

You know what's even braver than that? Posting about it on the internet so it might help someone else with Autism.

Thank you Sydney, for being BRAVE and for being YOU - the best example of an American Girl 💗

-Boog's Mommy

P.S. Don't forget to tell any doll lover in your life to check out Sydney's awesome site! She works very hard on it and it shows:

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Rock Solid Success

If you're not aware of who Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is, you have been living under a rock (complete pun that was so intended).

I've loved him since he was in his wrestling years. I can remember being a young girl and getting the biggest kick out of his catch phrases "jabroni", "roody poo candy asses" and when he would just refer to someone as "boy". The fact that he's very easy on the eyes was an added bonus.

Fast forward years later and this guy is the definition of success. Movies, popular tv shows, and endorsements galore.

This morning I read a post he made about his incredibly humble and hard beginnings:

Yes, things get hard.
No, you don't deserve this.

At some point a parent of a special needs child makes a decision. After the initial fear, hopelessness and grief you stand at a crossroads.

Am I going to let this destroy me?
I've seen what making this choice looks like. A parent who just lets their child with Autism run wild. Never digs in and does the hard part. Uses any situation to pawn them child off and get them out of the house. This choice most often creates a point of no return where the child is too far gone to ever make things completely right again. The bad behavior has been ignored and reinforced for so long that the child cannot be controlled. This choice is made out of pure selfishness.

Am I going to mourn, get on my knees and pray, and somehow pick myself back up?
This decision is so much harder. So much. You give up the majority of your life. Your time is spent learning, trying, thinking, praying, crying. I'm not going to lie, it's much easier to ignore something than to face it and it's brutal truth. If you choose this path it will wear you down. You will probably lose a lot of friendships. You will even feel like you've lost yourself at times. So why do this? Why go through so much? Because this choice gives your child their BEST CHANCE at succeeding. This isn't about you - this is about that little baby you promised to protect, love and stand up for no matter what.

So what will it be, giving up or diving in? The choice I've made has changed every aspect of my life, but I know I would have never taken that easier way out. I know things slowly become easier, hard work pays off and eventually some of the biggest fears and obstacles you've had are behind you.

And that is how I decided I'd never be a candy ass - but I still enjoy the occasional candy bar 😉

-Boog's Mommy

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Stress Does What?

Sometimes it can be easy to forget a special needs child is within earshot. I myself have had to make changes, not in what I say in front of Boog, but of including him in conversations and asking more questions. I also make sure to compliment (brag) on him to others when he can hear me. He needs to know how proud I am of all he does just like any child.

I recently read a study on the effects of childhood stress manifesting into actually physiological changes/disorders. Meaning kids that live in frequent stress can end up with things like asthma. Seriously. Children with Autism often deal with much more stress than neueo-typical kids. The stress of not being able to do what a teacher requests even after trying for weeks and weeks. The stress of not being able to, in detail, tell someone how you feel and what you want.

The study discusses children that are born into a family life of abuse, but I think it still holds value. It's a great reminder that what's going on now greatly changes the future:

"The science to support my claim is documented in the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study – epidemiological research done by the Centers for Disease Control and Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. This study documents the undeniable link between toxic stress caused by experiences such as family addiction, abuse, dysfunction, violence, and divorce in childhood, and adult chronic diseases such as heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes, some breast cancers, and a host of autoimmune diseases."

I will link the study below and think it's a valuable read for any parent.

Terrifying Children into a Life of Asthma

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

A United Front

A United Front.

Right now those three words have multiple meanings.

1. The airline, United, is currently putting up a Front that they're remorseful for the severe beating of a defenseless man. In reality it's big time damage control.

2. A United Front is required to hold companies accountable. If we don't point our finger, tell our opinion and boycott, then our voice is never heard and we are invisible.

I have friends of all races, colors, creed, age, body type, social standing and sexual orientation. Why? Because a truly good friend is a very hard thing to find. Why would you limit your chance of finding people you care about and will be there for you when you need them? Exactly.

The man recently attacked by employees of United Airlines is Asian and believes that played a part in why he was chosen. That is incredibly scary for anyone of a cultural/national minority.

What does this have to do with Autism?
Because Autism is invisible.

Autism is found more in males, but it definitely doesn't discriminate.

So follow me for a minute:
Airline employee tells random person they have to give up their seat.
Person "refuses".
Person is then humiliated, harmed or both.

The following is included in the description of Aspergers on Wikipedia:

So what do we learn here? That someone with Aspergers or Autism can have difficulties in basic social interactions. They may have problems making eye contact or responding to someone's questions. They may inadvertently make a gesture they cannot control that could very well be misinterpreted.

Now do you see my fear?

If a PHYSICIAN couldn't make these horrible people listen to him, what chance does someone with Autism have?

Thank you, United Airlines, for giving us yet another reason to fear for our loved ones who are on the spectrum.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Barnes Being Very Noble

I love bookstores. Something about being able to browse real books while I drink a light, sugar free, no whip mocha is awesome. I also end up reading more real books than I read using the kindle app. I guess I'm old school - or instead as I prefer to call it, being an "OG".

Barnes and Noble is doing something awesome this summer for kids in grades 1 through 6. Basically you:

1. Check out the list of books for your child to read this summer from B&N's list (you can see the lists by grade here).
2. Have your child journal about each book (or you guys journal together). The journal can be printed HERE
3. Bring the journal to your local B&N between May 16 - September 5th
4. They get to choose a free book!

Encouraging reading and something free = fantastic. Boog loves to read and I'm very, very thankful for that.

For all of the specifics, look  HERE

This is really a great opportunity..... But you don't have to take my word for it! (ten points if you know where that phrase is from).

-Boog's Mommy

**This is not a sponsored post. I just like spreading the word on fun things.

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Autism Awareness - Free Printables!

Boog's elementary school is beyond amazing and supportive. Not only did we decorate for Autusm Awareness Month, but

Students are encouraged to wear blue on Fridays
Teachers are creating a dialogue with students about Autism (grades k-6!)
I created a booklet that explains common situations dealing with Autism

I found facts online, free clipart and creativity to make this up. It took a long time, but was so worth it. Please feel free to print/save any of the pages as long as it is for no personal gain, monetary or otherwise. The following are available for educational purposes only:







Hopefully this can be helpful to some of you guys out there. 

Have a great week!

-Boog's Mommy

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