A Special Birthday for My Son with Autism   My son recently turned sixteen! A milestone birthday. I wanted this birthday to feel special to my son. It was a milestone after all. How did we celebrate this milestone birthday with our son? First, in lieu of having a big party, we had three close friends over to the house. My son played games with these friends and we all ate pizza and chips. This was done on a Friday, late afternoon to evening. Second, the next day (a Saturday), we had a family gathering at the home of my … [Read more...]

Autism and the Community How do our kids interact within the community? What about their neighborhood? I have read stories about neighborhoods that complain about a child with autism. A few of these stories report that neighbors even go so far as to pressure the family to leave. I have also read (way too many) stories about bullying people with autism. What is it about being in the community and people on the autism spectrum? Community interactions are never easy for our kids. They have a natural tendency to struggle with all … [Read more...]

Autism and Talking to Strangers “Mommy, can I go talk to other people?” These sweet words were spoken to me recently by my son. Where were we? Once or twice a winter, my son and I drive up through the Angeles National Forrest. We live in the foothills below the San Gabriel Mountains, so this drive is easy for us. During past winters, our goal was to “drive to the snow.” My son always wanted to “visit” the snow once or twice every winter. He likes to sled and “throw snowballs at Mommy.” We’d also visit the mountains at other times of the … [Read more...]

Autism and Staying Positive Even though my son is fifteen—the age for LOTS of challenges (autism-related and age-related)—I do believe parents need to try to stay positive as often as possible. Yet, it is challenging for us parents. How do you stay positive? I’ll be honest, it’s not easy when you’re dealing with the attitude of a fifteen-year-old. They can be surly and moody, and they’re different, too. My son has changed more in the last year than I think in all the rest of the years combined. Some of it is great. He does his own laundry … [Read more...]

Is Autism Different in a Small Town? I’ve lived in the Los Angeles area for twenty-eight years now. Over half my life. I had my child when I was thirty-six. A year and change later, we were taking him to a regional center for evaluation for autism. We received services soon after, and off we went. Again, this is in the Los Angeles area, a huge city that’s quite spread out. I think this area has three or four regional centers to cover it. (In the State of California, Regional Centers provide services to our kids on the autism spectrum. They … [Read more...]

Dissolving Friendships with Kids on the Autism Spectrum We all have friendships. And, somewhere along the way many of us have had to walk away from a friendship or two—for whatever reason. Friendships happen in many ways, with or without our kids. With kids, I’d like to address two situations… One is when parents are friends, and they get their children together. The children may or may not like each other, but the parents like each other. It works out well when the kids do get along, of course. A second situation is what if kids like … [Read more...]