Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bravo Artistas Baristas!

Watch this video to catch inspiration for our young adult's futures.

If you have trouble with above video, click this link:

Awesome, huh?

What I love about this inspiring autism mom's venture is she goes one step further than simply opening a business, a challenge onto itself.  She provides employment opportunity for young adults on the spectrum, pioneering for a rapidly growing segment of autism's population.  In her own humble coffee cafe, she has opened up eyes and minds in her community.  She promotes positive autism awareness to all who come in contact with her venture in a ripple effect.  For her spectrum employees, she offers possibilities, dreams, hope for their future.  Their work grows their strengths, encourages social skills, boosts confidence, fosters independence.

As the saying goes,

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
~Chinese Proverb

I hope that scores of businesses/organizations take notice and find ways to empower our hard working, conscientious spectrum workforce.  They might just discover the most capable, focused, organized, and loyal employees ever.

Got ideas?
I do!
Let's brainstorm over a delicious grande "Rembrandt" from Artistas.  I'll meet you in Tampa (in my dreams).  :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Brief Twinge

G blows me a kiss, a sweet image to remember
"Will you please go away now?"  

No matter how many times I hear this from G, it still shoots a white hot pang through my heart, chokes up my throat, scalds my eyelids with tears.  Spoken with formality, a polite request emotionally devoid.  It doesn't take the edge off.  Instead it serves a cruel reminder of G's autism, his intense social skill deficiencies yet to be mastered.  Tonight we'd been reading Christmas books, G curled with me, head resting comfortably on my arm as I read the familiar favorites.  We shared a warm emotional bond, sweet and tender.  My guard fully vulnerable, thin skinned. When I tucked him in, I knelt next to his bed and laid my head on his pillow facing his to chat quietly a few moments.

Gong!  Buzzer!  Wrong!  Not this time, Mama!  I'd hit the limit, overstepped boundaries, wore out my welcome, became a nuisance.  

G's 'Will you please go away now?' might as well have been, 'Get away from me, ugly b?#ch!'.  Shock rocked my warm tender mood, delivered sleepless hours.

choose to recall our moments of bonding just moments before, erase one tiny moment that cancelled it all out like a bad check.  As autism parents, it's what we do.  Wipe out negativity, shake off our kids' physical tantrummy-on-mummy, their fight-or-flight screeching panic attacks. We push away their harsh words so hurtful to us.  We few, the proud warriors at the ready with fierce to-the-core love and protectiveness.  Advocates.  The tightrope we balance on is a shaky one, often frayed.  We must build a tough skin; but need the raw emotionalism to recognize their struggles, teach them healthy acceptable feelings, actions and expression.  We often overthink the tightrope.  We engineer a perfect scenario only to be chased by the unknown, running precariously over a pit of snakes.  Tripping, dangling at times; we always win.  Our payoff: a squeezy hug, fleeting eye contact, connection by humor, exuberant goal realized, an offering of melty chocolate from their sweaty palm.  

As a familiar saying goes, "It's not personal, it's business."
Alrighty then.  The business of Autism.  For it truly isn't personal to autistics.  It's their business of coping, communicating when zoning into themselves is the easier preferred path.  

Tomorrow I'll create a social story to make it a teachable moment.
For myself.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

12 Quirky Days of Christmas Autism Style

Christmas in July! 
Summer 2010, an impromptu dress up/jam session 
in the garden next to my flowering towering  hydangea.
I'm so glad N and M are in choir - instruments are NOT their strong points!  ;)   
On the 12th day of Christmas, my spectrum child gave to me…

12 Social Stories

11 Collars chewed

10 OT‘s-a-leaping

9 Potty Dances 
8 Lined-up Legos

7 Stims a-spinning 

6 Tics-a-twitching

5 Awesome Apps!

4 Calling Aides 

3 French fries

2 Flapping hands and

A fleeting glimpse of eye contact!

and of course lots and lots of proud mama moments, love and laughs.

Merry Quirky Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2011

I Say Wex-ler, You Say Wac-slr

Check out this refreshing article from Scientific American about the hidden intelligence that is being overlooked in autistics.  In low-functioning, mid-functioning, verbal/nonverbal, physically impaired/non, mainstreamed or in special education classrooms.


Do you have a child on the spectrum who has a penchant for patterns, rhymes, visual spatial, logic, science, equations, music, art?  As parents we see these abilities in our kids.  Schools, social activities and mainstream settings usually don't unless they're in a progressive community.  Not to say that all autistic kids are brilliant, as not all typical kids are.  But they have abilities that aren't seen, therefore they aren't given a chance to grow and nurture their gifts.  Think about how most autistics have taken to computer games, ipad apps, learning tools and communication devices.  They barely need training, it is instinctual.  What about their repetitive activities, noises or rocking movements?  

We say young children take risks of daring physical feats because they lack the fear that adults have.  They leap before they look.  I believe it's this way with many autistics.  They take leaps of thought we may not take because of preconceived ideas, logic, social mores, religious beliefs, current events, etc.  Instead they blurt out their answers, see information as black and white; because they do not have to overcome fear or mental obstacles, social phobia.
They:  See ~ React ~ Report  

Spectrum brains may "see", or experience the world around them differently.  As Temple Grandin says, "Different, not better."  But maybe it IS better.  Wouldn't it be great to think so?

Does your child or loved one on the spectrum have a splinter skill?  Do you nurture it, tap into their strength?  Do you search for practical applications for those skills so that they may become productive adults?  How about your schools - have they discovered any hidden treasures?

Back to the Scientific American article.
I LOVE this comment:
Comment #12:
Could it be that autism is merely the genetic growth and development of the human brain along its way to its next iteration?

What a fun, interesting concept to mull around.  Perhaps they are to be revered by all, not just their caregivers.  What do you think?