Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Allegory Of Bathroom Stalls

I told my mom yesterday how I explained their Autism to my kids, and she asked me to write this up.  so this is for her.
DK came to me sometime -oh – almost exactly two years ago now, (time really does move on, amazingly)  and he asked “Mom; Do I have Autism?”  Yes.  “What’s Autism?”  The question of the era, right?  But what if it’s not a doctor with lots of education doing the asking– but a 13 yr old trying to understand himself…   Well- that was one of those golden moments of inspiration; here we go.
 Bathroom-Stalls-1
There are all kinds of bathroom stalls in the world–
There are the tiny little Kindergarten ones that seem big when you are 5, but are actually pretty short when you grow up.
 GW BUSH Stalls 2
There are the slightly bigger walls in the elementary schools.
There are the “almost-tall-enough” stalls in the high schools 🙂
The tall, nearly private stalls in movie theaters,
 Bathroom-Stalls
And even the incredibly tall, fancy, stall walls in the nicer hotels.
Autism is like the wall around a Bathroom Stall.  The person is just a person on the inside- but he is locked inside a wall that interferes with how well he can see and understand and communicate with the people on the other side.
Some people have very short walls, like those kindergarten walls.  This is like the end of the Autism Spectrum we call High Functioning.  (“where you are, my son”)  For people inside this kind of bathroom stall, when all is calm and normal, they can see over the wall really well.  They can talk and giggle and interact with the rest of the world without anyone really noticing the wall between them.  But if there is something surprising come up, or they feel sick or in pain, or something hits their trigger– it’s like a bit of wet floor, and they slip and fall.  There on the ground- not only do they hurt, but they can’t see over the wall, either.  It doesn’t matter how short or tall the wall is,  they still can’t tell anyone what is wrong or even get comforted until they recover enough to get their feet under them and stand up far enough to see over the wall again.
Some people have really tall walls.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t any less of a person inside, it just means that they have a hard time seeing over the wall.  All sorts of modern knowledge and efforts have been used to try to help.  Most therapies are designed to either work on the communicating (talking to the people on the other side of the wall) or interaction part of their struggle.. it’s a false notion that it opens the door; it’s more like giving them a step-stool to stand on so they can see over their wall.  Then they can be part of the world, as long as they are feeling steady.
 bldtr040074
 On the other side of the wall, there are all kinds of people too.  There are the ones who only come into the bathroom to look at themselves in the mirror.  They don’t notice anyone else in the room, so don’t let it get to you if they don’t look at you either.  There are the ones who have all their attention grabbed by the efforts to see themselves over everyone else’s heads, and they are unkind to whoever gets in their way.  It is not your fault- let it go.   And then, there are those who come into the bathroom with approachable hearts.  They look up and see you in the mirror and are willing to say hi.  You will find some of these, and more as you get older and they do too- People grow up, and the more they grow, the more they can see past the end of their own problems enough to be kind.  It’s hard work- but no one wants to feel alone, so we try to see over the wall.  Have patience and be kind.  It is worth it.
Categories: "only with Autism" Adventures, LDS Mom of Autism, Parables | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Careful what you ask for….

Saturday morning ponderings

Digging for Gold amid Pyrite - finding the good

A little while ago, I went with my teens to their Stake Youth Conference.

IMG_9247-XL

Talk about Awesome!

I am very impressed with any pile of leaders that can pull off a fun and spiritual full-day event (and I hear they did it with very little advance notice.) There was even a special table at the meal lines for Gluten Free needs.   ❤

The very best part, of course, was the Fireside that night. The theme was Overcoming Trails, and guest speaker was Josie Thompson– you can look her up here– and if you ever get a chance to hear her talk, it is well worth all sorts of effort.  I learned a thing or two that night.  When our dear speaker talked about her dark moments as being times when she couldn’t see or touch the world- my sweet daughter leans over and says “Mom- just like me during…

View original post 907 more words

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“With the Light” A reader’s review from a new perspective

I have had moments to wonder why Manga is so very attractive to my kids.  They read very well, but if given the choice- it will be manga.  Well,  I started finding out from my hubby and my kids, that they think in pictures- and they feel like speaking in English is like translating from their first language (pics) to a second language (words).  And suddenly, it was not so hard to understand; reading in your native language is a happy place.

41IwfvHJUcL

Now- My sweet TeaRose found a book at the school library… and it’s pure love.  Not only Manga, but is a lovely little story of a young mother’s efforts to raise a severely Autistic boy in modern Japan.

She has these (the first 2, so far) in the place of honor on her night table, after she asked me to read it too, of course.  Then she started asking me very good, direct questions of the “was I like this” and “what are the other ends of the spectrum like with this” sort.  She says it has helped her a lot, and everyone should read it  🙂  and, well- it is actually a good read   (if you are willing to read from the right hand end of the book to the left, Manga style.)

Categories: Favorite Books, Guest Posts (seeing the Autistic perspective) | Tags: , | Leave a comment

High-School, Disneyland, and some Things I have Learned

I’m sorry I haven’t written much lately.   I have tried writing this post half a dozen times since I started it late last December.  But even tho it’s a little late, I think I still want to finish, because I feel like there is something here that is needing to be shared.

IMG_1915

Have you ever had one of those school years that just has no other words besides hard, hectic, no rest, etc.?  This is one of those years.  A quote from the movie “Sky High” seems to pop into my head a lot– “If life were to suddenly- get fair-I doubt it would happen in High School.”   I mean, the feeling of drowning is getting easier to bear, because it’s so normal.    At times, it has been so hard not to feel like I get nothing done.  In retrospect- keeping everyone going and sticking with it to the end of the semester,  has been my only available agenda for some time.  Just Mom-taxi to/from all the schools is minimum of 40 miles a day- and doctor appointments can more than double that.  Coaching one-on-one help thru homework usually takes what ever is left.

Getting the kids (and me) thru school stress means LOTS of hugs, LOTS of prayer, keeping the lists and calendars in more than one place (kitchen wall and in my purse at a minimum)   Plus a running list in my head to make sure I don’t leave anyone’s needs out;  getting the scriptures on audio, because I’m too tired to read;  and showing my sweet ones how to squeeze in the search for joy amidst the everyday things.

IMG_1440

And, you know, just like for anyone, Joy for my kids is also found – in the feelings of success -in watching for those moments to be grateful for- and service.  Searching for joy is really hard when you’re tired; but we have managed a few great moments–

Here’s just a few…

The remodeling is coming along very slowly- but weekend visits from my folks are so exciting in bringing visible progress…

IMG_4371

A December success moment; we have a new door…

One of December’s success moments– DK had to make a Globe Theater model for his Drama semester final.  Since it was so close to Christmas, we decided to make it out of Gingerbread (gave me an excuse to keep up my gingerbread tradition) It was a very fun way to handle an unavoidably hectic 2 days!

IMG_1931

and it got a good grade- plus the fun of lots of oohs and ahhh’s! 🙂

I always make sure to watch for awesome clouds and sunrises while we drive,

IMG_1998

and my kids have learned that I like to spot birds.  It cheers me up, and they help me keep my finch feeder full.  Best birding day ever was just this last month…

IMG_1901

My phone camera doesn’t zoom enough to do this justice, but this is a Bald Eagle that is visiting the field by the kid’s High School!  He was about 80 feet away from me.  Also in this field, but giving the Eagle plenty of space, are Ducks, tons of White Egrets, a few Sand Pipers, a Blue Heron, 6 Vultures, a whole flock of starlings, the odd, common Brown Bird here and there, and a small Hawk that I haven’t identified yet. Kinda one of those days that you feel the Lord is aware of what you are going thru, and sends a tiny miracle to cheer you up.   🙂

Service Projects are one thing that I try very hard to make a priority during stress times.  It sounds weird on the surface, but not really.  Losing your focus on self for a tiny bit, and helping someone else, brings the Lord’s help- sometimes in a big enough way to allow me to point it out to the kids.

IMG_4379

preparing bottles of home-made vanilla to give away at Christmas time… Science and service project rolled into one- totally something my kids could get into.

And then- (drum roll) we came to finals week; but, you know, the last couple of preparing weeks before-hand were grueling.  This year has been especially hard on TeaRose.  Trying to cope with 11th grade mainstream is hard for everyone on occasion;  but adding in Autism stress, and sensory integration problems has really had her running from tears, to non-verbal meltdown, to more tears, and starting to spike stress-fevers at all kinds of odd moments of the day.

With the rest of them stressed over school too;  and all of them in the house together– it’s one of those recipes for cabin fever of the 99th magnitude.

Finally, the kids needed a break so badly (and me too), so Mark gave me the incredible gift of a quick jaunt to Disney Land. We chose to take a sick day from school (I made sure there were no tests) on the middle Monday of December, which we had been told was the least busy of the year.  This is the first time we have been brave enough- and able- to take the kids.  It didn’t help the work load, but it seriously cheered me up  to sneak around packing the kids bags in secret; all the while hoping that the experience would let them, especially T, manage Finals the rest of the week.  Just fyi- you probably could have heard Kydee’s scream of excitement from the other side of the neighborhood when she found out what I was up too .  😀

Well- the Sunday of the drive came, and my oldest wouldn’t go. He told me he felt really bad about it- he just couldn’t take the claustrophobia and social anxiety.  It was sweet; he has been a little extra tender with me lately, even gingerly hugging me.  Brand wanted to ditch too, because his stress has made him freak out about being around the younger kids… but I didn’t want to let him.  I told him that learning how to be around sibs was high on the Lord’s priority list, and that if he was going to try to pull a “I’m too old” trump card, then he better be able to look at all the ramifications like an adult- and then tell his little sister himself… Finally, Mark went in and talked him into handling the trip by having him bring his earphones, and giving him access to his smart-phone to stream music.  (p.s.- make sure you know how much data that uses before you do that :O !)

The drive to disneyland

The drive to Disney Land

I held my breath all night at the hotel (figuratively) because I knew that the next day would be a day of extremes, and I just hoped that good memories would be part of them.

IMG_1963IMG_4426

Well- now I can tell you about extremes, and the Lord’s blessings…

IMG_4414

Yes- the morning was very good.  We had less than 5 minutes in any line we went to.  Even Brand was all grins with the Star Tours ride.   Eventually we stopped for lunch, and that was about the edge of the proverbial cliff…. After lunch, the volume of people in the park exploded, and the noise.  Brand was no longer willing to endure- but knew that the others wanted a bit more.  So he said he would wait for us at our predetermined spot in the park center.  I decided to catch on camera what might have set him off– and I found that the camera’s mic was overloaded; 7 different rides could be heard from that spot, plus happy people.  It was a mommy-duh moment.

On the other hand, my sweet Tea-Rose leaned over and said, “Mom, I think Heavenly Father blessed me with having a cold- my ears are all stuffed up and the noise doesn’t bother me like it normally does, so I can enjoy the rides.”  So there you have it.  Blessings in disguise, and noticed too.  🙂

Well, we didn’t stay much longer- the walking is hard on me too- but long enough to learn a secret spot for any other family who struggles with hearing-sensory integration problems… there is a little “theater” on Main Street that plays the old black and white original mickey mouse movie reels non-stop.  That little space was quiet and dim and pretty boring to most of the people who peaked in and left again… We stayed for almost an hour, while Mark and Brand went off for pain meds for me–  it was the most blisfull oasis!

So, off home we went- very glad that we hadn’t spent the money for more days worth of tickets, but also very happy with the experience. And in case you were wondering, yes it did help them get thru finals week- Major Daddy Success 🙂

Categories: "only with Autism" Adventures, LDS Mom of Autism | Leave a comment

good morning courage quote

It’s 6:20 am–and tho cars are buzzing outside, inside is still tiny slice of absolute calm.  So, for this tiny piece of quiet before the whole house wakes up- I thought I’d share a few courage quotes from one of my daughters favorite heroes-
IMG_0509
“It is for us to pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks, to go forward with a great desire forever beating at the door of our hearts as we travel toward our distant goal.”
 “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.

–Helen Keller
Categories: Courage quotes | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.