Talking about Autism Sometimes a really wonderful opportunity comes up, and I can’t pass on it. What was the opportunity? There is a terrific, energetic autism mom that I know, Shannon Penrod. We had heard about each other for a few years before actually meeting. A mutual person knew both of us and he kept saying to Shannon, and then to me, that our families should meet—we had something in common. What did we have in common? We were both moms of sons on the autism spectrum. Our sons are close in age and diagnosis. We knew about our son’s … [Read more...]

Returning From an Injury for a Teenager with Autism My son broke his foot at the end of January. It was a hard time for him. He’s a kid who loves movement. He takes breaks to help regulate his body. Usually, he does this on his Razor scooter. What happened in school? He had to use crutches for two weeks, and after two weeks he was allowed to walk on his boot. He had to use the elevator at school and he had peers assigned to carry his backpack since he wasn’t allowed to do while using the crutches. What about P.E.? My son really likes P.E. … [Read more...]

Autism and Summer School Beyond regular school is summer school. I never took a class during summer school. When I went to school, you took the summer off or you went to camps (for me, it was sports camps). These days, it’s quite common for kids as young as middle school to take a class during the summer. What about my son? My son used to go to an OT (occupational therapy) type of summer program. I say it like that because it wasn’t formal school. There wasn’t teachers, but facilitators. The days were structured to maximize, well, … [Read more...]

Autism and Organizing for Finals – Part Two In my last blog I explained how my child with autism now prefers to get ready for finals. Luckily, he accepted my suggested approach to start early and spread out the work. How does his high school organize finals? His high school divides finals up by periods. The school works on a regular six period schedule. Last year, the finals were divided by periods one and two (finals were on that Monday), periods three and four (Tuesday), and periods five and six (Wednesday). This year, they’ve juggled the … [Read more...]

Autism and Organizing for Finals - Part One What do we do with finals? Finals creep into our lives twice a year. For me, twice a year I have to remember how finals work best for my child with autism. We really began to focus on how to approach finals in middle school. What happened in middle school? Middle school is the level of school with “real” finals. There are finals in the elementary grades, but they really begin to be super important in middle school. The first semester of middle school for my son didn’t end very well. Why … [Read more...]

Autism Transitions This blog is more or less a follow-up to my last blog. I had alluded to transitions that relate to my son’s age—fifteen. My son recently transitioned to getting himself to school on his own (mostly) without help from Mom (he’s been on time since this transition, including making his own breakfast). We are also working on other transitions with our fifteen-year-old. What transitions? The first one was just a recent conversation, but a significant one. We discussed spending money on gifts for others—his own … [Read more...]

Autism and a New Mother’s Day It’s new because it’s different than it used to be, but that’s okay. Change is a part of life, and my son is growing up, and it’s all about change at his age! What’s changing? When your child gets to be fifteen, things begin to change. There are frustrating, struggling moments, but there are sweet moments, too. Here’s a sweet moment… My son wanted to purchase a game he had on his computer before we had to get it wiped. The game was then lost. He recently asked me if it was okay to purchase the game again, … [Read more...]

Autism and Spreading Awareness Alternative title…You Never Know When Something Will Come Up. What does that mean? It means you never when something you did in the past will come back and add some good to the world, have an impact, be noticed, and be appreciated for trying to spread awareness. What happened? I was contacted in March by a person affiliated with a film festival in Miami, Florida. The film festival is officially called the 2018 NAMI Reel Minds Miami Mental Health Awareness Film Festival. NAMI stands for National Alliance on … [Read more...]

Autism and Flight Changes My son used to have issues with unexpected changes. The unexpected would sometimes led to meltdowns. He just couldn't wrap his head around sudden change. Now that my child is a teenager, he has improved in that area. However, there was a time when an unexpected change would throw him. What happened? My son and I were traveling back from the East Coast at the end of June. When we arrived at the airport, we were informed that not only had the airline changed the type of plane we were about to fly in, but they changed … [Read more...]

Autism and Puberty My son is fifteen-years-old. Which means…he’s in the throes of puberty. What have been some of his issues? Many of these are common issues of any child (in this case a male child) going through puberty: *Dealing with growing facial hair. Learn how to shave. We bought him an electric razor and my husband gave him a lesson. He does it himself now. *Dealing with other hair. This became a bit of an issue when my son decided to try to shave his legs (the ankle part). I asked him why he did that and he said he just wanted to … [Read more...]