Halloween: Practice makes perfect

14570248_10154737311249802_6051882326642531108_nHowever, it’s a fast-moving holiday fraught with social expectations such as knocking on doors, meeting strangers, saying the right words (“trick or treat” and then, “thank you”) and then doing it all over again. In our neighborhood, there is also pressure to stay with the group (he wants to, but at his own pace, which can frustrate everyone). And it can be rainy, cold, hot and dark with a ton of flashing lights and streets to cross.

And yet he can’t help himself. He loves it. Continue reading


Special needs and siblings

14670707_10154712157929802_3172116063646932110_nThis blog usually focuses on our son with special needs – but he has an amazing sibling. Just because I don’t talk about him here much, I do want to say how wonderful he (and all special needs sibs) are. I truly believe they make each other better people. This photo is a moment I caught between them recently while we accompanied our special needs child on his class trip. Precious…..

Here is a wonderful snippet and link to an article that sums up how I feel from a blog I love… Continue reading

Family Photos With a Kid on the Spectrum: We are who we are. Nothing more or less.

fam-photoI’ve put off having a professional family photo (and Christmas cards) for 5 years – ever since we received our son’s autism spectrum disorder diagnosis.

Pictures are incredibly difficult and adding in a non-family member taking it has felt overwhelming. The anxiety the process causes didn’t feel like a true reflection of our family or my sweet child. All I saw was the deep hurt of a family struggling with autism.

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Priorities and a new school year

About the time school ends, I might be in the swing of the new school year! And we aren’t even doing any extracurricular activities. Just about when I got the therapy schedule nailed down, our amazing team of therapists found after-school appointments (which are a priority – we started the year still in time slots that cut into his school day). So the schedule changed again. But we are getting there! Sloooooooowly……..

How are you doing on getting back to school (as we roll into November)?

I actually drew a chart for myself reminding me of priorities for our unique family:

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Up on 2 wheels!

14522923_10154658120689802_9145720301499842269_nWe thought it might never happen! After years of our son on the spectrum violently resisting riding a bike, he accomplished this milestone with his usual lack of flair and fanfare…convincing me he’s known how to do it for a long time and just wanted to be absolutely solid in the new skill before revealing it.

Before school today, he simply got on the bike and….started riding. And he rides a 2-wheeler like a pro. There’s no wobbling or falling. He’s outta here.

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Navigating the Grandparent Relationship and Having a Child on the Autism Spectrum

14115663_10154516240139802_510463038567214886_oWe are at the end of a 2-week visit in our home from the grandparents—which also coincided with back-to-school. Having guests always has its ups and downs with our child on the spectrum (it’s a change in routine for sure). In addition to managing my child’s anxiety about changes, I find myself managing the grandparents’ uncertainty about approaching my son with Asperger’s—and I get it that his reactions are sometimes unexpected and even downright hurtful.

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How We Became a Special Needs Family (the diagnosis)

Often, other moms ask how I knew my son was on the autism spectrum. I can share our story, but I can’t reassure them that it was a set of very obvious things. Every diagnosis story is unique. It’s important to trust your instincts with your child and seek out information, screenings and early interventions. We can say that is the key reason our family is thriving today.

So, here’s our autism story….

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Take the ‘Ack!’ Out of Back to School

11952964_10153631263239802_3790904392380399632_oAround our house, most changes in routine are anxiety provoking (for all of us). I’ve accepted that no member of my family will ever joyfully get on board with ending summer vacation to go back to school, even though there are a lot of great things about the school year (seems like only yesterday I was dealing with two weeping children who were devastated to leave their teachers and classmates).

With a little bit of preparation and work before summer ends, we’ve discovered ways to ease the transition. I couldn’t say it any better than Ilana Danneman did in her post on The Friendship Circle so check it out at this link: http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2014/08/11/10-back-to-school-tips-for-kids-with-autism-and-special-needs/. Here’s a sneak peek:

“Now is the time to prepare. An “ounce” of preparation can go far! Let’s take a look at supplies, routine and dress before you start out to school this year.”


6 Ideas for Planning Activities for Special Needs Kids

blog image 6 ideas for planning activitiesFiguring out activities that work for both an autistic 6-year old and a typical 4-year old can be a challenge. But I’m surrounded by a lot of creative moms and I’ve learned a few things.

I feel like (positive and negative) awareness of special needs is at an all-time high and I encourage families with children with special needs to get comfortable with getting out with your kids of all abilities. Continue reading