Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Autism Hacks #18: Happy Feet!


What's more exhilarating than echoes in the hallway?

After a long day of M-STEP-ing, G kicks up his heels to the rhythm of his singing sibs at their High School Spring Concert... the hallway with 40 feet + 2 sets of blessed soundproofed doors between proud families and his Happy Feet.

Anxious for another day of standardized state testing, G was a bundle of energy and nerves. He jumped around in his seat, unable to get comfy. He followed me around (and in front - edit!) while I shot pix for the Choir department. I had to rouse Dad from his post-hectic-workday-music-appreciation-reverie to jump in for duty. Energy drink in hand, Dad took him out to the car during crowded intermission period, played hand games in their "way far back" seats, bought goodies, kept him on the inside seat (though G squeezed to the aisle 67 times to shadow my volunteer pursuits). Funny word, shadow. Perhaps highlight?

Please don't mind the Pesky Photo Mom and her Photo-Bomber.

Coaching whispers:

watch where you're walking

bend over, you're in their way

don't stand so close to them

don't touch the camera

no electronics now

it'll be over soon

do you have to go potty - you're so jumpy!

yes, I saw that too

I can't talk right now


Teamwork, tag team...we made it work. Today: Day 2, Breakfast in bed to power up for my EXTREME test anxiety kiddo. Go G!

Fun night! Applause and shout out to my awesome teen singers. Lovely M sang in a small Chamber group - surprise, Mom! N was busy Stage Assisting as usual, sang in several difficult pieces with his esteemed Choral group.
Loud and PROUD!

The kids request a pic with a respected friend who joined the choir for the alumni invitational finale. I was lucky to work with this gentle soul as a ParaPro. A fun reunion for all.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Autism Hacks #17: Campfire Songs?

G's obsessed with campfires. We have them several times a week from spring till fall. I've gotten talented at finding dry wood; we even have campfires in the rain. I have to watch G constantly, for safety. Thus, I've made a nice little firepit area in the packed dirt that used to be under a pool in the backyard.

A generous neighbor recently gifted us with a beautiful chiminea that they no longer use. I decided to put it front and center next to a sweet bistro table in the front yard. This way we could have 2 areas - a private spot and a second to interact with neighbors, and watch G unobtrusively without following him up and down the block to his friends.
We gave our new area a try. I was excited at the prospect of socializing with walking neighbors. Spring, sunshine, kids, bikes, dogs, lawn mowers...weeds. I began picking weeds as G poked the fire. I had the grand idea of burning them, trying to entertain the boys and save our garden. Stuffing them down, they caused a plume of smoke that threatened to put out the fire. 

G was inspired to break into song,
"We're smokin'
every day!"

Teen broski didnt even know the song. YouTube? I had to look it up, turns out its a song by Snoop Dogg. Yikes! 

So much for wanting to socialize with neighbors...really I have no idea how he knows this song. Ah, the joys of inappropriate scripting. Proud moments.

I snorted with laughter and giggled for days. We're loving the new campfire spot. Spreading awareness and giggles even when we're gardening.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Monday Blues Hack

Monday Blues?
Alter your filter.
Don your rosy specs,
see(k) a fresh purple-spective.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Carpe' de Mikey

ROCKIN' G sings his heart out to synthesized creations at the Imagination Station Science Museum in Toledo, OH.

"Can't Stop" infamous final line rings true:

This life is more 

than just a


Live LOUD. Love LOUDER. 


Can't Stop, Red Hot Chili Peppers, RHCP

Michael Balzary, Flea

Wise words to love, live, sing.

ASD Sparkles

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Midnight Masterpieces

G's winning bedtime ritual: steamy loud hour-long shower with sensory foam and soap. I load up on various scented shaving cream, shampoo, soap at my darling dollar store - best $2/week ever! G sings, describes, scripts, stims, giggles, SHARES while he smears and draws. He draws his favorite characters, names, people, places. I roam the general area to do daily stuff or laundry while he gabs away. Sometimes he has me guess at his creations, writing backwards for me to view on my side. At times I open the door to a quick facial/swoosh/slam and have him guess. Totally cracks him up. I try to think of visual puzzles about our day or upcoming fun, all positive happy thoughts to send him off to dreamland with delight. 

With G's anxiety over the past 3 years, I've learned to adapt his regimen. Staying up all night or most of it, waking full out ADHD energy in the middle of the night - was not healthy for him and clearly left the family sleeplessly miserable. G deserves the peaceful calm that all children should feel before bedtime. His brain and nervous system don't know how to decompress. The old methods of reading or tv worked up his brain too much. Hot tubs turned into doggie getting dry skin from the nightly swim-a-thon, now only 2x/week. His nightly demand of backrub got to be too much, though I do have my relaxation massage down to 20 minutes in case of emergency in the wee hours. I had to dig deep to consider the many factors of sensory elements and their effects on G. I found a winning combination to throw into my big bag of tricks... 

What ALWAYS calms G? Warm water. With the addition of soaps to waste - mix, pour, squirt - he expresses his thoughts, gets his wiggles out, gets squeaky clean. Foam is highly sensory - shake, whoosh, slather - and large motor swirls are great for stretching while he creates. The warm shower calms him, steam clears "our" sinuses and loosens his muscles to allow for smooth slumber. I'm free to get a few minutes of organization in for the next day, while getting quality quirky CREATIVE comforting time with my kiddo. Winner! 

Art washes away from the soul the dust of daily life. ~Pablo Picasso

G's serious pose under Cloud Gate, a gloriously gleaming curvy bean of reflection in downtown Chicago. I found these fun facts about the sculpture, which answered my boys' questions about the "practicalities" of the bean. Geek on! 

Construction facts:

The Artist: Anish Kapoor. 

Click around to view his funky sculptures around the world

Fascinating view into the artist's mind, art and backstory.

About his mirror sculptures:

 "the space doesn't recede - it comes out at you ... a new sublime that's forward of the picture plane." ~Kapoor


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spring Break Hack

Power tools = great motivator! Peeled G away from a screen

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Celebrate Ability

Happy World Autism Awareness Day!

Celebrating my miracle bio-baby today! You work so hard, your abilities are taking off, SuperStar!