Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Ten Reasons Why People with Autism Rock" written by Jené Aviram

"Ten Reasons Why People with Autism Rock"
This article is property of and copyright © 2003-2011 Jené Aviram of Natural Learning Concepts.
 Toll free: (800) 823-3430 Main: (631) 858-0188 Fax: (631) 858-0061

1. People on the autism spectrum don't play mind games

Sarah: "I'm going to have a cozy day at home honey, but whatever you decide to do is fine."
Mike: "Great. I think I'll head on over to Greg's house to watch the game and have a few beers."
Sarah: "Fine! You might as well sleep over there too since the locks will be changed by the time you get home." (Exits room and slams door)
Mike: (Frowning, confused and totally nonplussed) "What the..?"
Typical people are often masterful at saying one thing, while meaning the opposite. It's a game that most of us hate but we play it anyway. Consistently needing to read between the lines can be emotionally exhausting. Why is it so difficult for most of us to simply say it straight? People on the autism spectrum don't play these mind games. They tell it like it is and it's remarkably refreshing to be in their company. They don't expect you to play these games either. They mean what they say, and expect you do too. That's right! They'll take what you say at face value, without secretly doubting or disbelieving your word. What a great characteristic!

2. People on the autism spectrum are not interested in "looking good"
Many of us have an unconscious need to impress others. The clothes we wear, the topics we talk about, and even the careers we pick are often influenced by what others might think of us. People on the autism spectrum tend to do what makes them happy. If those ugly red shoes provide great comfort, then so be it. If reading children's comics make them laugh like a little kid, that's what they'll do. They're not about to feign interest in some philosophical argument just because it might make them look good. They're not interested in keeping up with the neighbors or buying the new "in thing" because that's what everyone is doing. They are who they are and that is that! This makes them genuine, sincere people who are unique and fascinating to be around.

3. People on the autism spectrum maintain an innocence about them
Many people on the autism spectrum have an uncanny ability to maintain the innocence of a little kid. They are captivated by the small things in life and are likely to be far more impressed by a leaf blowing haphazardly in the wind, than by the worldly possessions someone is flaunting in front of them. Foreigners to deception, they believe every word you say and this characteristic leaves them as gullible and naïve as a child. They don't look for hidden meanings and even if they did, they are unlikely to find them. They accept the world at face value, often delighting in the beauty around them.

4. People on the autism spectrum are honest
Since deception is not part of their makeup, people on the autism spectrum hardly ever tell a lie. One might even say they are honest to a fault. People on the autism spectrum will call it as they see it. If you want the truth, you know who to go to but be prepared for a brutally honest answer. Most of this population has never perfected the art of a white lie. They typically do not cheat or steal and remain remarkably in integrity. Most often people on the autism spectrum are valued friends who are honest, forthright and one hundred percent loyal.

5. People on the autism spectrum delight in the moment
For many of us, the book we found fascinating in college wore off pretty fast. The jingle that first made us laugh drove us crazy 20 minutes later. The first sunset we witnessed captivated our heart but years later we put on sunglasses and barely notice it. Sadly, it doesn't take much for us to become blasé about the world around us. Most people on the autism spectrum are just the opposite! The joke that had them in stitches a month ago has the same effect on them today. The light reflecting off the glass window has them just as mesmerized as they first time they saw it. The color of the sky after a summer storm fills them with wonder each and every time. Perhaps because they are so sensory aware, they possess the talent of delighting in the small moments of life. One thing is for sure, their enthusiasm for life is contagious and it's great to be in their presence.

6. People on the autism spectrum have an intense ability to focus
While the rest of the world is socializing, many people on the autism spectrum are pursuing their interest with frenzy. There are no limits to the amount of time and effort they will dedicate to their passion, and they possess a unique ability to filter out the rest of the world while doing so. This intense focus and attention to detail enables them to master a subject or skill, which is often a great asset to the workforce. Temple Grandin says that if we eradicate autism from the world, we'll also be depriving ourselves of all the great gadgets and technology we enjoy, such as software programs, computer chips, video technology and the likes. While many of these inventors and pioneers might not be diagnosed with autism, many of them certainly possess autistic traits and the ability to focus intensely on their subject of interest.

7. People on the autism spectrum don't gossip
You know those people who are always talking behind your back? You can be sure they are not on the autism spectrum. People on the spectrum do not indulge in gossip. In fact the whole thing goes right over the top of their head. And as for all those private smirks and eye contact people surreptitiously engage in during a public exchange, you can bet your spectrum friend will never do that to you. If your spectrum friend has something to say, he'll either say it directly or keep it to himself. Blabbing about it to other people is completely foreign to his nature.

8. People with autism are not judgmental
Wouldn't it be great if people could just accept you as you are? The answer is to befriend someone on the autism spectrum. People with autism concentrate on the matter at hand. When they're listening to you speak, this is where they maintain their focus. They won't be furtively judging you on your clothes, your level of success, the color of your skin or how well you play baseball. If Jim tells his autism spectrum friend that he likes eating burgers from McDonalds, his friend thinks "Jim likes eating burgers from McDonalds." He doesn't judge Jim based on his eating preferences or secretly concludes that Jim has poor eating habits, and is in need of an education on the food pyramid. The same holds true when a person on the spectrum encounters someone, who, let’s say for example has pink hair. There is no judgment about what type of personality this person must have or the background they must have come from. They simply acknowledge the presence of pink hair and move on. The ability to abstain from jumping to conclusions about people based on their appearance, career or some other aspect is admirable, and we have much to learn from our friends with autism in this department.

9. People on the autism spectrum make great employees Many people on the autism spectrum make great employees with admirable work ethics. They are typically creatures of habit. They arrive at exactly the same time every day and never leave early. They wouldn't dream of taking extended lunch breaks and you won't find them socializing at the coffee machine. They're more likely to be working studiously at their desk. Many of us balk at the routine aspects of our job and overlook the small details we should pay attention to. But this is often an area of strength for those on the spectrum, who are masterful at paying attention to detail. They are honest and loyal workers, who certainly don't enjoy job hopping and are typically committed and dedicated to their place of employment.

10. People with autism have a unique perspective
People with autism have a unique way of communicating and a fascinating perspective. Many are capable of such a diverse range of exceptional abilities. If you take the time to look, you'll find that the amount we can learn from them is quite staggering. Because people with autism have such a different way of thinking and being, they can contribute greatly to us, the workforce and to how we view life. If you are lucky enough to be close to someone on the autism spectrum, you will know firsthand that not only do they see the world from a different angle, but they have changed your perspective too and instilled in you a sense of compassion you never knew you were capable of feeling.

To all of you out there who are on the autism spectrum...You Rock!


 You can find a pdf version of this article from it's original source at http://www.nlconcepts.com/articles/10reasonsautismrocks.pdf

FOR MORE GREAT RESOURCES VISIT http://www.nlconcepts.com  

By Jené Aviram
This article is property of and copyright © 2003-2011 Jené Aviram of Natural Learning Concepts. Reference of this article may only be included in your documentation provided that reference is made to the owner - Jené Aviram and a reference to this site http://www.nlconcepts.com/

Jené is an accomplished author and developer of education materials for children with autism and special needs. She is a co-founder of Natural Learning Concepts, a leading manufacturer for special education materials and autism products. Visit the Natural Learning Concepts website at http://www.nlconcepts.com/  or call (800) 823-3430

Monday, January 30, 2012

My Top 11 Benefits of Having a Kid w/ Classic Autism

(originally written & published on January 30, 2012)

As you all know I often rant & complain about my fickle mistress Autism and how she gets in the way of my son making any significant progress.  (yes Autism is a she :-) If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that Autism and I don’t get along too well.   I don’t like her too much and she doesn’t like me too much.  Autism and I fight a lot and she wins a lot of those fights.  I win a few once in a while, like potty training.  But every once in a while we need to have a truce and evaluate things and try to look on the bright side so we don’t kill each other…  :-)

Hence today’s list…

My Top 11 Benefits of Having a Kid with Classic Non-Verbal Autism

I've written about this before but in case you STILL haven't heard, you can get a handicap parking placard if your kid has severe autism and has no sense of danger and is in danger of running  into traffic. For more info about this click HERE.
Anyway, with your handicap placard you great spots at movie theaters, supermarkets, amusement parks, Home Depot... as long as you have your kid with autism with you.  :)
Woo-hoo!  Yay autism!

Most amusement parks give kids with disabilities a pass or wrist band that lets you skip to the front of the line. We've successfully done it and Sesame Place and several Six Flags parks and I've heard amazing stories of asd families being treated extra special, like kings at Disney World and other Orlando parks.  At the parks we went to we were told to wait by the exit to the ride and alert an attendant and they would let us right on.  Did we get some dirty looks?  Yes.  Did I care?  No.  And some asd parents will say it’s important to teach our kids that they have to wait like everyone else.   I say, life is hard enough, take the perks when you get them…

I doubt any of my friends with typical kids appreciate sleep as much as the wife and I do.  I also appreciate having a DVR full of my favorite shows ready for me & the Mrs when we finally get Kyle to sleep each night.  And we appreciate a night out more than most parents.  Even something as a good burger cooked medium well is a thing of beauty…

Ok sometimes my son Kyle is the reason we are late to places due to any number of things (meltdown, feeding issues, etc)....but sometimes mommy and daddy are just spazzes and lose track of time.
And when we show up late somewhere, especially a family function, and folks will say "what happened?  Why so late?"  We will throw Kyle under the bus and whisper  "somebody had a rough morning..." and motion towards Kyle.  Everybody nods understandingly…  NUFF SAID...CASE CLOSED  :)

I really try to notice & appreciate the littlest teeny tiniest milestones in my son’s life.  If you’ve read my Autism Daddy Facebook Page for a while you’ve read me revel in the fact that my son for the first time tracked the dog with his eyes while she ran around the backyard.  Or celebrated my son getting potty trained (for the 3rd time).  Or playing with the Ipad appropriately by himself for 30 minutes straight.  Or trying a new food with a different texture.  These are miniscule milestones in a typical parent’s life and in the grand scheme of things may be small milestones in Kyle’s life, but they are worth noticing & celebrating…

When we are going to a new doctor who doesn’t know us and Kyle, the wife will call in advance and tell them about Kyle and how hard it is for him to wait a long time.  She will also ask that any forms we are supposed to fill out get emailed or faxed to us in advance so we are not in the waiting room trying to fill out forms.  When we get to the appointment, if both mom & dad are there one of us will wait in the waiting room while the other hangs with Kyle and will call the other when it’s our turn.  When the wife has gone solo she has checked in and if there is a wait she has asked the receptionist to call her cell phone when it’s Kyle’s turn and then they wait out in the minivan watching dvd’s…
(we only do this with “normal” doctors.  If it’s a doctor who sees lots of special needs kids, we will wait our turn and take our lumps…)

When you enter this autism world you meet the most AMAZING people.  Of course we’ve become good friends with a lot of the autism moms & dads in our lives, and yes they are amazing.  But even more amazing are the people who CHOOSE to work with our asd kids.  I didn’t CHOOSE to have a kid with autism.  It just happened and I’m dealing with it as best I can.  But the people that care for our son every day?  The teachers, therapists, aides… Most of them CHOSE to work with kids with Autism.  For most of them this is what they wanted to do with their lives.  And to me that BLOWS MY MIND.  I mean y’all know what our kids are like.  Most of these people should be up for SAINTHOOD!   And then I run into a few autism moms that change careers after their kid’s diagnosis to become autism teachers or social workers working with asd families.  To me they are the most AMAZING of all!  To have autism at home and then go to work and deal with more autism?  How?  God bless you! 

My kid isn’t superficial.  He doesn’t whine that he doesn’t have the latest Wii system.  He doesn’t sit on Santa’s lap at Christmas time with a laundry list of things he has to have.  He is extremely happy with the same books & toys he’s had for years.  He rips / destroys his copy of ”Brown Bear, Brown Bear” and he gets a new one as a gift from an old friend.   His toddler cash register gets lost and his Grandma buys him a new one.   In fact, the wife will rotate old toys in & out of his room and he is thrilled when an old favorite is brought back into the mix.  (Toddler toys are still HUGE in my house.)

I was 33 when my wife gave birth to Kyle but I feel like I’ve grown up and matured so much in these last 8 years.  I’ve learned more about autism then I ever thought possible.  I’ve learned more about the law then I ever thought possible.  I learned more about schools and districts and bureaucratic red tape then I ever thought possible.  I learned how to stand up & fight & advocate for myself and my kid.  I’ve done more adult/ responsible things that I never would’ve done (like completed my will).  I evaluated myself and realized that I needed some help to be a better father & husband.  All in all you could say that Autism help make me a better man…

I’ve written this before.  The wife and I both have potty mouths.  We curse a lot and we have a very bawdy sense of humor.  And yes, we talk like that in front of Kyle sometimes.  He is non-verbal, but the wife and I would be thrilled if his first words were “Will you motherf&$kers shut the f&$k up?”

I would never have had a Facebook Page or written a blog if my son didn’t have autism.  And I know I’ve only been at this “writing” thing since April 2011, but I feel like I’ve gotten so much out of it.  I’ve learned a lot about myself.  I’ve gotten some great advice to help my son.  And from your feedback I’m feeling like I’m helping some of you…which is still MIND BLOWING.  I don’t know where this Facebooking and Blogging is heading in the future, but I’m sucked in and along for the ride.  Hook, line and sinker…

And I’ve got my fickle mistress Autism to thank for all of this…  That bitch!  :-)


-- If you're gonna shop Amazon anyway, can I ask that you enter Amazon by using the search box above or by going to http://www.amazon.com/?tag=a050ef-20  This way I can make a little money to help pay for my son's after school & weekend therapies.  This blogging thing has been awesome & life changing for me... but I must admit that it's taking up a lot more time than I ever thought... so if I can make a few bucks it'll make it easier for me to justify....Love you all! Thanks!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew ... written by Ellen Notbohm

When my son Kyle was first diagnosed with Autism in 2005 one of the first things I read was this amazing "Top 10" list written by Ellen Notbohm.  She later expanded it and turned into a complete book and the wife went out and bought like 6 copies and gave them to all our parents & siblings.  It is a great crash course in autism written in laymen's terms and even though the spectrum is huge and wide this top 10 list kinda applies to most.  (If you're interested in buying the book, click on the picture of the book above and it will take you to the book's Amazon page.)

So without further ado here's her original essay "Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew" but I encourage you to read the whole book as she really expands on each of the 10 things...

(© 2005, 2010 Ellen Notbohm)


Some days it seems the only predictable thing about it is the unpredictability. The only consistent attribute — the inconsistency There is little argument on any level but that autism is baffling, even to those who spend their lives around it. The child who lives with autism may look “normal” but his behavior can be perplexing and downright difficult.
Autism was once thought an “incurable disorder,” but that notion is crumbling in the face knowledge and understanding that is increasing even as you read this. Every day, individuals with autism are showing us that they can overcome, compensate for and otherwise manage many of autism’s most challenging characteristics. Equipping those around our children with simple understanding of autism’s most basic elements has a tremendous impact on their ability to journey towards productive, independent adulthood.
Autism is a complex disorder but for purposes of this one article, we can distill its myriad characteristics into four fundamental areas: sensory processing challenges, speech/language delays and impairments, the elusive social interaction skills and whole child/self-esteem issues. And though these four elements may be common to many children, keep front-of-mind the fact that autism is a spectrum disorder: no two (or ten or twenty) children with autism will be completely alike. Every child will be at a different point on the spectrum. And, just as importantly — every parent, teacher and caregiver will be at a different point on the spectrum. Child or adult, each will have a unique set of needs.

Here are ten things every child with autism wishes you knew:

1. I am first and foremost a child. My autism is only one aspect of my total character. It does not define me as a person. Are you a person with thoughts, feelings and many talents, or are you just fat (overweight), myopic (wear glasses) or klutzy (uncoordinated, not good at sports)? Those may be things that I see first when I meet you, but they are not necessarily what you are all about.
As an adult, you have some control over how you define yourself. If you want to single out a single characteristic, you can make that known. As a child, I am still unfolding. Neither you nor I yet know what I may be capable of. Defining me by one characteristic runs the danger of setting up an expectation that may be too low. And if I get a sense that you don’t think I “can do it,” my natural response will be: Why try?

2. My sensory perceptions are disordered. Sensory integration may be the most difficult aspect of autism to understand, but it is arguably the most critical. It his means that the ordinary sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches of everyday that you may not even notice can be downright painful for me. The very environment in which I have to live often seems hostile. I may appear withdrawn or belligerent to you but I am really just trying to defend myself. Here is why a “simple” trip to the grocery store may be hell for me:
My hearing may be hyper-acute. Dozens of people are talking at once. The loudspeaker booms today’s special. Musak whines from the sound system. Cash registers beep and cough, a coffee grinder is chugging. The meat cutter screeches, babies wail, carts creak, the fluorescent lighting hums. My brain can’t filter all the input and I’m in overload!
My sense of smell may be highly sensitive. The fish at the meat counter isn’t quite fresh, the guy standing next to us hasn’t showered today, the deli is handing out sausage samples, the baby in line ahead of us has a poopy diaper, they’re mopping up pickles on aisle 3 with ammonia. I can’t sort it all out. I am dangerously nauseated.
Because I am visually oriented (see more on this below), this may be my first sense to become overstimulated. The fluorescent light is not only too bright, it buzzes and hums. The room seems to pulsate and it hurts my eyes. The pulsating light bounces off everything and distorts what I am seeing — the space seems to be constantly changing. There’s glare from windows, too many items for me to be able to focus (I may compensate with “tunnel vision”), moving fans on the ceiling, so many bodies in constant motion. All this affects my vestibular and proprioceptive senses, and now I can’t even tell where my body is in space.

3. Distinguish between won’t (I choose not to) and can’t (I am not able to)  Receptive and expressive language and vocabulary can be major challenges for me. It isn’t that I don’t listen to instructions. It’s that I can’t understand you. When you call to me from across the room, this is what I hear: “*&^%$#@, Billy. #$%^*&^%$&*?”  Instead, come speak directly to me in plain words: “Please put your book in your desk, Billy. It’s time to go to lunch.” This tells me what you want me to do and what is going to happen next. Now it is much easier for me to comply.

4. I am a concrete thinker. This means I interpret language very literally. It’s very confusing for me when you say, “Hold your horses, cowboy!” when what you really mean is “Please stop running.” Don’t tell me something is a “piece of cake” when there is no dessert in sight and what you really mean is “this will be easy for you to do.” When you say “Jamie really burned up the track,” I see a kid playing with matches. Please just tell me “Jamie ran very fast.”
Idioms, puns, nuances, double entendres, inference, metaphors, allusions and sarcasm are lost on me.

5. Be patient with my limited vocabulary. It’s hard for me to tell you what I need when I don’t know the words to describe my feelings. I may be hungry, frustrated, frightened or confused but right now those words are beyond my ability to express. Be alert for body language, withdrawal, agitation or other signs that something is wrong.
Or, there’s a flip side to this: I may sound like a “little professor” or movie star, rattling off words or whole scripts well beyond my developmental age. These are messages I have memorized from the world around me to compensate for my language deficits because I know I am expected to respond when spoken to. They may come from books, TV, the speech of other people. It is called echolalia. I don’t necessarily understand the context or the terminology I’m using. I just know that it gets me off the hook for coming up with a reply.

6. Because language is so difficult for me, I am very visually oriented. Show me how to do something rather than just telling me. And be prepared to show me many times. Lots of consistent repetition helps me learn.
A visual schedule is extremely helpful as I move through my day. Like your day-timer, it relieves me of the stress of having to remember what comes next, makes for smooth transition between activities, helps me manage my time and meet your expectations.
I won’t lose the need for a visual schedule as I get older, but my “level of representation” may change. Before I can read, I need a visual schedule with photographs or simple drawings. As I get older, a combination of words and pictures may work, and later still, just words.

7. Focus and build on what I can do rather than what I can’t do. Like any other human, I can’t learn in an environment where I’m constantly made to feel that I’m not good enough and that I need “fixing.” Trying anything new when I am almost sure to be met with criticism, however “constructive,” becomes something to be avoided. Look for my strengths and you will find them. There is more than one right way to do most things.

8. Help me with social interactions. It may look like I don’t want to play with the other kids on the playground, but sometimes it’s just that I simply do not know how to start a conversation or enter a play situation. If you can encourage other children to invite me to join them at kickball or shooting baskets, it may be that I’m delighted to be included.
I do best in structured play activities that have a clear beginning and end. I don’t know how to read facial expressions, body language or the emotions of others, so I appreciate ongoing coaching in proper social responses. For example, if I laugh when Emily falls off the slide, it’s not that I think it’s funny. It’s that I don’t know the proper response. Teach me to say “Are you OK?”

9. Try to identify what triggers my meltdowns. Meltdowns, blow-ups, tantrums or whatever you want to call them are even more horrid for me than they are for you. They occur because one or more of my senses has gone into overload. If you can figure out why my meltdowns occur, they can be prevented. Keep a log noting times, settings, people, activities. A pattern may emerge.
Remember that all behavior is a form of communication. It tells you, when my words cannot, how I perceive something that is happening in my environment.
Parents, keep in mind as well: persistent behavior may have an underlying medical cause. Food allergies and sensitivities, sleep disorders and gastrointestinal problems can all have profound effects on behavior.

10. Love me unconditionally. Banish thoughts like, “If he would just…” and “Why can’t she…” You did not fulfill every last expectation your parents had for you and you wouldn’t like being constantly reminded of it. I did not choose to have autism. But remember that it is happening to me, not you. Without your support, my chances of successful, self-reliant adulthood are slim. With your support and guidance, the possibilities are broader than you might think. I promise you — I am worth it.
And finally, three words: Patience. Patience. Patience. Work to view my autism as a different ability rather than a disability. Look past what you may see as limitations and see the gifts autism has given me. It may be true that I’m not good at eye contact or conversation, but have you noticed that I don’t lie, cheat at games, tattle on my classmates or pass judgment on other people? Also true that I probably won’t be the next Michael Jordan. But with my attention to fine detail and capacity for extraordinary focus, I might be the next Einstein. Or Mozart. Or Van Gogh.
They may have had autism too.
The answer to Alzheimer’s, the enigma of extraterrestrial life — what future achievements from today’s see just how far I can go.

(© 2005, 2010 Ellen Notbohm)


If you're gonna shop Amazon anyway, can I ask that you enter Amazon by using the search box above or by going to http://www.amazon.com/?tag=a050ef-20  This way I can make a little money to help pay for my son's after school & weekend therapies.  This blogging thing has been awesome & life changing for me... but I must admit that it's taking up a lot more time than I ever thought... so if I can make a few bucks it'll make it easier for me to justify....Love you all! Thanks!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

12 Things I Let My Son w/ Autism Do That Most Parents Of Typical Kids Wouldn't Allow

(originally written & published on January 26, 2012)

So my son has severe classic non-verbal autism.  And because of that my parenting style is probably totally different than if I had a neurotypical kid.  (but who knows cuz I don't).

Anyway, it got be thinking about all the things that I allow my son to do that most NT parents usually tell their kids not to do.  Some of these I encourage my son to do because it's a typical thing that kids do.  Some of these I let my son do because I pick & choose my battles.  And some I let him do due to the limitations from his disability...

So here they are... no particular order...

This is a combination of picking and choosing my battles and adjusting my expectations due to Kyle's fine motor issues & major eating issues.  When your kid doesn't eat very well to begin with as long as he's getting it down I don't care that he uses his hands.  This might change in the future, but for now this is a battle not worth fighting. 

I always see parents or teachers tell their kids to stop running in the hallway and I think why?  :-)  But seriously the school where Kyle gets his music therapy on Saturdays has a big wide long hallway to his classroom that's PERFECT for a fast run.  So while all the other parents are telling their kids to wait, not run, I'm dragging Kyle by the hand saying "let's run, let's run!"  I'd just love to see him run somewhere with a sense of purpose instead of his usual meandering around.  Plus I like to run.  I run marathons (very slowly) and would LOVE to somehow get Kyle involved in the running community.

It's a right of passage for kids to splash around in the tub.  So what if water gets ALL OVER the floor!  That's what towels are for.  And the pool?!  That's what pools were meant for...  Splashing!  Why are all the NT parents discouraging splashing?  What am I missing?  Did I miss the memo?  :-)  I'm the one dad in the pool who's splashing water in my son's face.  I must look like a big jerk...

Again my kid's got major eating issues and lost weight a year back so when he's hungry he gets what he wants and that's it.  Other ASD parents know what I'm talking about.  There's another autism blog called Grape Jelly On Pizza.  She knows what I'm talking about.  I'll give my kid a multivitamin to make up for the lack of nutrition.

Every time I take Kyle to the playground I overhear at least one parent say "your getting your pants all dirty!" WTF?  This is what playgrounds are for!  Getting dirty!

Not every meal... but again you gotta pick and choose your battles.  If having a show on will get him to eat more then I'm putting a show on.

What can I say?  My kid LOVES coffee!  Is it good for him?  Probably not.  Is it gonna irreparably harm him?  Probably not.  So when daddy is drinking a cup in Kyle's vicinity he's most likely getting half.  And if I can use coffee as a reinforcer to get him to eat other things, then that much better.  I love coffee...

We try to get Mr. Kyle to at least eat dinner at the table, but breakfast is a walking around and grazing meal...

Back at the playground I hear NT parents yelling "don't jump in that puddle!"  Meanwhile I'm on the other end of the playground trying to TEACH my kid how to jump in a puddle.  Jumping in puddles is a right of passage, a part of growing up...

My kid is completely non-verbal so if and when he decides to start talking he can talk whenever, where ever, and as loud and as long as he wants to...  :-)

Those are my 10, I would love to hear yours??  :-)

UPDATED 1/27/12 11:06AM
Based on your comments & feedback I thought of two more!


We've been pushing him to walk more lately and he's been doing pretty good...probably partially due to his service dog and partially due to his school going on community trips (store & restaurant) every 2 weeks.   But if we need to get in & out of Target quickly or if Kyle is having a bad afternoon I have no problem stuffing my 8 year old into the cart and giving him a bag of popcorn and a book to keep him happy. Recently in Costco we were leaving a popcorn trail throughout the store...    :-)

I can remember just a few years back when Kyle didn't know how to jump. And they would work at it in his physical therapy sessions.  Now he's a jumping machine. And we encourage it. He's got a trampoline in the backyard, a mini trampoline in his play room and he also uses his bed like a trampoline.  Now 3-5 more inches and he'll be hitting the ceiling when he jumps on the bed. But we will allow it until the bed breaks or he hits his head on the ceiling....whichever comes first.   :-)



-- If you're gonna shop Amazon anyway, can I ask that you enter Amazon by using the search box above or by going to http://www.amazon.com/?tag=a050ef-20  This way I can make a little money to help pay for my son's after school & weekend therapies.  This blogging thing has been awesome & life changing for me... but I must admit that it's taking up a lot more time than I ever thought... so if I can make a few bucks it'll make it easier for me to justify....Love you all! Thanks!!


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