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!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Autism Hacks #15

Our awesome family dental office was stellar with G at his teeth cleaning appointment. Though G doesn't have the huge fear of dentists that many ASD spectrum kiddos do, I worried about his anxiety and sensory issues. 

No worries...The clinician talked softly, explained everything ahead of time and again as she worked on him. She introduced the tools, explained them, gave him jobs of holding items and doing his own suction. She gave him cool sunglasses to shade his eyes ftom the bright lights. Brilliant! I'll always bring some along. G's involvement and empowerment made his visit a success. Possibly too ambitious?

Before she began work on G, the clinician set him to practice on me for 5 minutes...with a poker too, YIKES!!! I was impressed at his gentle curiosity. In reality, he spent 1 minute in my mouth, the rest adjusting my chair and exploring cool stuff (of course!). G must have processed the idea of dentistry as a career...always planning, assessing. On the way home he stated,

"I want to be a dentist because they don't have 'homework' like Dad does."

Insightful little fella.

But...I'm certain it's quite stressful working on mouths all day! :)

Thank you for calming and inspiring, Dr. R. Your understanding office has our back, our mouths, and our heart. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

We're All One of a Kind: Let's Ace It!

I was dealt a smooth ACE skipping around social media today...
Here's how a social media scan typically goes:
90% 》scroll
5% ×check/like/comment/scrap
3% >>share w/friend/social media/self
2% >>>Jump around site, intrigued

Sound about right?

I clicked an article about anxiety on Twitter, being highly relevant (eek!). I instantly fell into the author's personal raw admission and epiphany. Turns out, the author Hayden is an Aspie with a personal mission. He and a partner teamed up to support Aspies and coach them to self/life success. Further research (jumping around site!) needed, but I truly admire his heartfelt writing style and positive approach. From casual scan, they offer coaching services and paid video webinars (ages14+), as well as a host of helpful tips, Aspie-directed inspiring blog posts and free webinars on their site. Way to pay it forward, Asperger Experts!

I'd like to share Hayden's blog post that moved me emotionally, then compulsively (acceptance! hehehe) to share. Well done!

Recalls to mind this delightful Dr. Seuss quote, a favorite. Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

No one is
Than YOU!

Bravo, Asperger Experts, Hayden. Your fresh message was worth exploring...and sharing! Thanks for the hope and guidance you offer to the Autism Community.  :)
More info:

Celebrate your quirks 

Celebrate your strengths

Celebrate your YOU-nique-ness!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Autism Hacks #14

Morning silliness sends G off to school in perky spirits. Crabby, uncooperative, slow? Just add laughs to spark a happy note.

He asked for a bowl of cereal... :)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Autism Hacks #13

Sibs rock + G Challenge Winner! #13 is dedicated to my teens, because when they were young, they'd say being Autism Sibling brings "bad luck" at times. Nowadays, they roll with the best ASD teams I know. I'd love to deliver all the solutions, yet all I can do is offer positivity.

My 15 year old wanted to see a movie with his new girlfriend over mid-winter break. Big sis and I took G to see Spongebob while N and his girl went on their own. We filled up on popcorn and snacks so much that nobody wanted to go to eat. 

Shopping at Target was voted in. I promise I didn't suggest it, but who am I to argue? The kids perused the toy section, then wandered the books, snacks - landing in technology. I joyfully pranced off with my buggy. G kept hunting me down with new items he "had to have". M would soon follow, trailing G. After much debate, G finally chose a big nerf blaster to spend his Christmas cash. The kids regretfully ended their videos in the games section; once again I'd "closed" Target.

On the drive back to hang out at our house, the teens all pitched in to uncase G's new treasure. In the silence of their feverish project, G proclaimed to N's date,

" I love you more

than ALL of Nick's girlfriends!"

Smooth move, little Broski! 

We all cracked up after a brief uncomfortable pause, but I'm sure N was glad it was dark in the car. (Blush) :)

N's date survived the G Challenge, even taking a day trip with us to a fun museum later in the week. She jumped in and helped find my wandering (running) curious kiddo when I missed him a few times, without judgment. She exuded life and great humor and listened to G (and me) belt out several songs in our 2 hour road trip. She even joined in singing and got N to sing. What a trooper!

Autism Awareness is who we are. Anyone who becomes involved with us on a regular basis sees the challenges, the fun, the embarrassment, the LOVE. 

Welcome friend, to our Perky Quirks. My N is special because he's himself; so proud of my accomplished, smart, funny, hard-working volunteer and leader. My N is extraordinary because he's lived in a home filled with all that Autism brings. He's helped his brother achieve major milestones. We have DAILY struggles. My kids weather these difficulties too young, but we don't have options. Instead it strengthens us, toughens us, deepens us, challenges us. Fulfills us at times; depletes us more often. 

We do share a strong bond of Autism Code. We high five each other on small feats and outrageous wins and offer respite when the going gets tough. My kids have been mini-caretakers since G began running. My amazing kids are siblings first; yet strong advocates, diligent therapists, loving counselors. My kids are my children first; helpers and respite more often than I'd like. G's hot buttons are crowds, sensory, new environments, homework. Unfortunately, most outsiders see G in this heightened social/public state. His sensory meltdowns and erratic behaviors are what his sibs contend with in ALL family/social situations. We must take turns monitoring G and work as TeamASD. The frustration gets to me; I can't imagine the feelings of helplessness and humiliation for a teen sibling. Can you remember being a teen? EVERYTHING IS EMBARASSING! (especially with families!) Kudos to my great teens, Super Autism Sibs. They lead the way to awareness through outreach programs, but they soldier through daily drills and promote acceptance in our community and family. My teens are top advocates. Priceless. 

I so wish I could find a teen support group for N/M. They grew immensely in their 3 years with SibShops, which ended at age 12. Sadly, teen sibs are likely the most needy when it comes to expressing their frustrations and working through to positive solutions. I'm a natural coach/counselor; I can usually bug them until they share, I have my ways. But my kids could really BENEFIT from a strong outside outlet. I'm certain they have issues with me or that they don't want to share with me, understandably.

Call Out to someone: 

How do I start a ASD Sibs Teen Support Group?

Are there books, resources to share? Please do. I'll update with research/resources.

Until then, we spread awareness one over-stimulating event and embarrassing yet sweet comment at a time. Love my family and our collective Perky Quirks!

My deepest apologies to N's sweet date and dear N; G expresses himself honestly but awkwardly. Thumbs up from the whole fam!

Finally, thanks G for shining your sparkling gifts upon our family. We adore you!