Thursday, November 21, 2013

Happy Birthday Mom

Today was my Mom's birthday.  It's been two months since she passed away and I still can't believe it.  It doesn't feel real, yet it is.  I've been angry with God, but lately the anger has turned to sorrow.  I'm glad she isn't suffering anymore.  She was so sick the last year of her life. 

As I look through more recent pictures of her I can see now how sick she was.  I can't bear to put any of these pictures up now.  At the time I couldn't see it and that I feel was God's grace.  I couldn't have cared for her had I fully seen how sick she was.  Tonight we shared cake and remembered how wonderful it was to have her with us. 

I've decided I don't want to miss any opportunities to love on others.  We need to take every opportunity to enjoy our family and friends.  To enjoy life's little simple pleasures while we can.

Dear God, please give my Mom a great big birthday hug from me and tell her that I love her - Amen.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Why Bother

Why Bother?
One day I figured out that if you took into account all of the reading, writing and traveling I've done over the years I've been working for less than minimum wage at National Autism Resources.  There are now many more autism stores and sites out there.  New ones pop up every day...

Sometimes, actually many times lately, I ask myself - why bother!?  Do you ever just stop and look out the window and wonder if what you are doing matters?  if I stopped would anyone care?

It's worth it!
But then I get a note like this:

Ashley put his noise reduction ear muffs on 
and immediately said, "these feel good".  
The amazing part of this story is that 
Ashley is still considered non-verbal!
 How great is that!  Ashley is the reason why I bother.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Visual Gift Ideas for Autistic Teenager

It's time for my annual post on my favorite toys and gifts for teens with autism.  As always its a challenge to find really great gifts that are socially appropriate for a teenager with autism.  This year I've found some really good ones that are highly visual.  I like highly visual gifts because most of the teens on the spectrum I know are fascinated by highly visual items (including my son LOL).  Anyhow here, is a sneak peak at our Christmas list.

Laser Stars
This projects a bunch of floating stars and what kind of looks like the Milky Way onto the walls and ceiling of a dark room.  Once in awhile a shooting star will go across the ceiling.  It is so awesome to look at.  This would make a great calming gift for a teen with autism.  It could turn any darkened room into a quiet planetarium.

Here is a video but I don't think it does it justice:

Super Light Doodler
The super light doodler is big sphere of light (about eleven inches I believe) that you can manipulate which is really neat.  You can make the light spin, or stop, or it can randomly change designs.  This is really interesting to look at and best of all other teenagers think it's cool.

OK to understand the greatness of the Strobotop you've got to watch this video:

Now that you've seen the video, you know how awesome the Strobotop is.  What I like is that you can make your own animations, draw in your own designs.  For teens with autism who are also artistic this is a really fun and interesting toy.  

Hoberman Sphere

The Hoberman Sphere is another really interesting, highly visual mechanical toy.  This thing literally expands to three times its size.  My son is fascinated by mechanical pieces in action.  I think this would also be a great gift for other autistic teens, but they have to be careful.  If your teen is rough with items then I wouldn't get it.  Some of the plastic pieces in the joints are small and can break if not handled carefully.  Super interesting and fun to play with. 

Mosaica is a magnetic mosaic set.  You can make a wide variety of colors and designs using the tiles.  I like that it comes in a sturdy tin so all of the mosaic pieces stick to the tin.  This is a fun travel toy or holiday distraction for teens that need one. 

What about you what are you buying for Christmas?  If you've got some good gift ideas for your teen please share them!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Death Sucks

Lately I've had a morbid infatuation with death.  I'm watching zombie movies, asking people about their experiences with death, my ears perk up when I hear anyone approach the subject.  I can't stop thinking about it I can't stop talking about it.  I seem to be weaving death into every conversation.  I even brought death up with one of my bubbly sales reps...

Awkward pause...

And then I knew it.  I've turned into a grieved, death obsessed weirdo and I've got to control myself.  At least I have to control myself while at work.  At home I'm free to watch all the zombie movies, Walking Dead episodes (yes I'm a fan does that offend you???), talk about death, talk about my mom all I want.  I talk then become tired and fall asleep... and my family still loves me.  I'm glad they love me because my death talk doesn't always make sense.  Who knows, this post probably doesn't make sense.  But it doesn't matter because the way my Mom's death went down still doesn't make sense to me.

She suffered.  She suffered and I held her hand through it.  Have you ever been glued to a situation and part of you didn't want to leave, but the other part wanted to run away screaming madly to somewhere?

That's what it was like for me.  I couldn't stand to watch her suffer and I couldn't stand to have her alone in her suffering and so I stayed.  I stayed and held her hand, and cleaned up her vomit, and prayed...

and then God didn't answer my prayers the way I wanted Him too.

I never wanted something so desperately and I didn't get it from God.  It's not like my prayer was selfish, I just wanted the suffering, the vomiting, the nausea, the pain... I wanted it to stop and it didn't.  So now I just feel so angry.  I'm mad that my loving, kind, fun, people lovin' Mama had to suffer. God could have helped the suffering and He didn't.  I don't understand why He didn't.  It was ugly, it was hard and I hate that it happened.

Death sucks

The Process of dying sucks even more.

I hate that all of us will have to face it.

Like I said you probably don't want to read this blog.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Well for over a year now my blog has been quiet.  I haven't had much time or energy for writing.  In the summer of 2012 my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Let me just start right of by saying CANCER SUCKS.  I packed up her home and she came to live with me and we fought like crazy to beat it, but in the end she didn't make it.

Here is my favorite picture of her:

I love it because this is how I think of her funny, vivacious, welcoming.  She thoroughly enjoyed people and she thoroughly enjoyed me.  So I think for awhile I'm going to write about her.

Cancer sucks

Grief sucks

and Death is not easy...

You may not want to read my blog for awhile.

Thunder Shirt for People

My kids showed me the above video of this cat.  It was kind of cute but when the cat put on the Thundershirt it just didn't want to move.  Then I had a thought thunder shirts for people are basically weighted vests.  They can be incredibly calming and comforting for some and ineffective for others.  I've seen weighted vests work wonders for some, allowing them to feel calm and focused.  I've seen others who absolutely hate it.  So as in the case of the cat make sure it is calming and if you do try a weighted vest or neck wrap and it doesn't work - take it off!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

5 Great Gifts for Autistic Teenagers and Those with Aspergers

Here are my top five favorite gifts for teens on the autism spectrum.  I decided to write this post because I see lots of gift ideas for younger children with autism, but there's not much out there for teens.  When looking for a gift for an autistic teen I ask myself two questions: will they enjoy it?  Is it socially appropriate?  I can't stand to see teens on the spectrum play with baby toys!  I'm not saying its wrong, I'm just saying there may be other options.  With that said here are my top five gift picks for 2012.

Tangle Chrome
I love tangle toys.  They are interesting to look at, great fidgets and come in lots of styles.  For teens my absolute favorite is the Tangle Chrome Jr.  First of all it looks beautiful and appropriate for a teen.  Second of all it is made of chrome so it has some weight, which feels good in the hands.  This is a very sturdy toy made of metal.  That is also a benefit but if your teen bites things this will break his or her teeth.  If they throw things then this is not the gift to get.  My son absolutely loved this gift. 

Jellyfish Lamp
The Jellyfish Lamp is gorgeous and looks great in a teenagers room.  Turn on this lamp and watch jellyfish glide around in the water with a slowly changing LED light backdrop.  This also works well as a nightlight and will automatically shut off after four hours.  If the autistic teen you are buying for is highly visual they will love it!  Some other good gift lamps include a Volcano Lamp, Disco Ball or the Vision Motion Lamp.

This is a team version of the classic charades game.  Its fun to play as a group and can also help autistic teens work on group interaction skills, understanding body language and nonverbal cues.  It's fun to play as a family and since its group oriented your autistic teen can have fun playing without a lot of pressure to win and learn some social skills at the same time.

This is a three dimensional puzzle game.  It comes with interconnected colored spheres of different shapes.  Teens must build different puzzle shapes using the correct colors and configurations.  This inexpensive gift is really fun for highly visual teens and it comes with a plastic storage box and a full color book with puzzle challenges.  Take this game to a restaurant or in the car while you are traveling to help keep teens with autism or Asperger Syndrome happily occupied.

Isoflex Ball
Life is stressful, this little stress ball looks socially appropriate for teens and makes a great stocking stuffer.

This is just my list of favorites for 2012.  I wrote more about how to choose a gift for an autistic teen in an earlier post that offers some general tips.  Happy Shopping!