Rules

Every household has rules.  Kids and adults need rules – to give us boundaries, define how we will interact with each other, and thereby provide a comfortable environment to live in.

Families with Autism, if they are anything like THIS family with Autism, likely have more rules… and certainly more interesting rules… than the families without Autism.  Our kids with Autism structure their worlds differently and so the rules must accomodate that… accomodate their perspective… and that can make for some weird strange unexpected interesting rules.  Rules that sometimes must be repeated again and again and again.

Some of the more interesting rules from the last month include:

(from me, after Christmas pageant practice at church) “Here’s a rule.  This is very important.  You do not sing “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” in mouse language at the top of your lungs while everyone else is singing “Silent Night.”

(from me, while holding onto the dashboard in the car) “No one is to smell Daddy’s armpit while he is driving!  Do you understand?  NO ONE!”

(from our younger son (with Autism) while giving his order to a waiter in a restaurant) “Here’s a rule.  It is very important.  The chef must stir sugar into the recipe but NOT the poison!”

I particularly like that last one.  Any other “interesting” family rules out there?

Felted Christmas Ornaments

The crafting bug has really bitten this time… and I’ve totally gotten into making felted Christmas ornaments (I took a class last weekend).  In fact, it has become a bit addictive.  Here’s a sample (a bit out of focus) of some of the ornaments I’ve made so far.  I haven’t wired them for hanging yet… but will do that soon.

I love how these feel as I work on them – all soft and cozy.  My son (with Autism) loves the feel of the finished product.  He also loves to finger the roving that I use in the felting process (and roll it into little balls, and tear it into tiny pieces, and form a faux-beard with it…).  His sensory needs seem to be satisfied as he explores the textures he gets as he plays.  Extra bonus?  I get to actually finish a project while he is in the room.  Win – Win!

My relatives had better watch out – it will be a felty Christmas this year!!!

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Looking for Book Recommendations

I love to read (have I mentioned that I am a Janeite already? 🙂 ), and I love to share my faves.  I’d like to expand my list of faves, so please share your favorite reads – the books that help you balance the humor in this crazy life – the books that leave you inspired, feeling better about life and your place in it.

My top recomendation?  The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.  It is my all time favorite book and I have given out so many copies to friends over the years.  If you haven’t read – YOU MUST!!!  It is about a Dutch “elderly” spinster, living with her older sister and father, above their clock shop during World War II.  They participate in the resistance movement by hiding Jews in their home… well, I won’t share more or else I’d ruin the story for you.  It is an easy read and chock full of inspiration, charity, values, and heart.  I find something extraordinary in this book every time I read it.  The last time I read it it was with the perspective of a parent of a child with disabilities – and it helped my perspective develop in a better direction.

Please, share your faves with me in the comments – I’d love to find some new favorites!  Thank you, and peace to you all!

What’s In A Name?

A few years ago my youngest was learning his letters.  One of his teachers taught him that the Xs represented a kiss.  When he came home and told me about this, I taught him that the Os stood for hugs.  He was tickled with this information and made sure that his Daddy learned this vital information as well.

Months later he learned to write his name.  He came home that day and announced that he had a hug AND a kiss in his name.  He held up a school paper to show me just what he meant.  He showed me the X and kissed it.  He pointed out the O and then hugged the paper.  He was so proud.  “I am the only one with both a hug and a kiss in my name!!!” he crowed.

On this Mother’s Day, my youngest crawled into bed with me and handed me a card.  Inside he had signed his name and drew several Xs and Os beneath.  He had me kiss each X and hug each O, including those in his name, then he gave me a hug and kiss for each as well.  My heart swelled.

My sweet baby, my darling son.  True to his name, he is full of Xs and Os… and blessings every day.

Crazy Elephant Stories

My younger son receives Occupational Therapy (OT) in school each week.  He has alot of sensory issues, gross and fine motor skills to develop, and of course tons of energy.  His school OT is a good professional and very creative.  She makes him work hard too – which he doesn’t always appreciate 🙂 .

At the last IEP meeting, the OT tells us the following story…

The OT, in preparation for our son’s session, “messes up” her room, turning chairs over, moving desks, taking books off the shelves and putting them on the floor.  She does this so that she can ask our son to put everything back when he first gets to the room.  This gives him some deeper sensory stimulation and helps him calm and focus himself for the work ahead.

Our son, walking into the room, says “What happened!  Why is the room so messy?”

The OT tells him that an elephant came through the room and moved all sorts of things around – she needs his help to clean up.  Our son, suspicious that an elephant didn’t reallycome through her room, but willing to play along, gives her a look and then starts to put things back where they belong.  After half-a-minute he stops, cocks his head, and says “I have something to tell you about the elephant and how he came to school to mess up your room.”  Clearly he has concocted a story to help explain this strange occurance.

The OT, wise to my son’s story telling stalling techniques, tells him that now is not the time to tell stories, now is the time to work.  My son tries again with no success.  Eventually the room is put back to rights and they begin a more traditional exercise.  My son is a bit perturbed but settles in.

At the end of the session my son is preparing to leave the room to go back to his regular classroom when he turns at the door.  “I want to tell you a story,” he tries again.  He is determined to tell a story!

“What about?” she asks.

He pauses for dramatic effect then raises his eyebrows.  “About the CRAZYOT,” and placing hand on hip he grins and says “and YOU are the OT!”  Satisfied that he has made his point he flounces out of the room (as best as a first grade boy can flounce) and makes his way back to his classroom.  At this point in the story we all laugh, shake our heads, and agree that our son has quite a personality and flair for the dramatic.

Thank you to all of the crazy OTs and STs and PTs who work with our crazy kids and us crazy parents.  We couldn’t get through this without you.  Thanks for pushing us a little farther so that we can all achieve our best – especially when the elephants charge through our lives.

Hallmark Untaps New Market? – Autism Greeting Cards

Ever walk through the greeting card section in your local mega mart and wonder…  With Autism diagnosis rates increasing, could there be a new angle for the greeting card industry?  Shouldn’t there be greeting cards to reflect this significant part of our lives?

Sympathy cards: I’m so sorry your child was just diagnosed with autism…

I Love You: I love you, Mom, even though I’ve never been able to tell you in words…

Anniversary cards: It’s been a heckofa year since your child was first diagnosed…

New Year’s cards:

– Another year, and your kid is still autistic???…

– Another year, and your kid still isn’t potty trained???…

IEP Thank you cards: Thank you for all of the double-talk, confusion, and aggravation from our last IEP meeting…

Congratulations cards:

– Now that you’ve spent your life savings on therapies and are entering bankruptcy we didn’t want this important milestone to pass without saying congratulations on destroying your credit rating…

– Congratulations on sleeping through the night!

Thinking of you cards: I know you never get to go out with your friends anymore, but we’ve been thinking of you and wish you were here…

Extreme Makeover cards: You and your life are so totally different now that you have a child with Autism… what a makeover!

Alas, none of these would take away the pain that comes with a diagnosis, but I sure could use these once in a while!  What other ideas are there for a new line of greeting cards?

What is Dinah Doing?

You know how you can get song lyrics wrong?  You know how funny it is when someone else does it?  Take my younger son, who insisted that this little ditty was the “correct” set of lyrics to a section of the kiddy classic “I’ve Been Working On The Railroad”… 

“I’ve been workin on a railroad, all the livin day!

I’ve been workin on a railroad, jus a bass a dime away!

Can ya hear a wiffle owin, aye uh a eary ih a born!

um a uh uh uh uh uh dah, Dinah bow ya born!

Dinah Warsh and Blow,

Dinah Warsh and Blow,

Di – nah Warsh and Blo – o – ow!”

Rather than working on the railroad, I think Dinah opened the west’s first Cut’n’Curl Beauty Salon… but that is a whole other post.  Peace to all out there!