My Son’s Participation in Autism Awareness Night

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As most of you already know Every April we celebrate Autism Awareness all month long. Adam was really proud to participate in his first presentation this year on Autism Awareness. The high school has been running a workshop for the past two years where the middle school and high school students present to visitors what Autism is. They go beyond that though and talk about their own experiences living with Autism. My son was so proud to be a part of it. I’m going to highlight a few things from that very inspiring night.

 

So let me give you a rundown of events

Junior High!

Our first stop was the Junior high school table. Two young boys, both in the 7th grade, each talked about their experiences having Autism. These two brave young boys talked about the teachers who have helped them while praising their parents for being there for them through all of their tough times. We also got to see how each boy talked about the differences they had within the spectrum. One boy loves anime while the other boy was all about Science! They helped to spread Autism Awareness through their presentation.

 

Next Up

ADAM!!

While the high school kids had a group presentation, which I will get to in a minute, Adam put on his own. He worked really hard with the help of his paraprofessional and Special Education Liaison. They told me though that it was all Adam. He came up with the theme of his power point using old cartoons and the Simpsons, and wrote his own speech. You can view the video below.

 

 

The rest of the high school group

High School!

There were four other high school students and they all spoke about their specific issues within the Autism Spectrum. Two of the kids have ADHD as well as Autism. They are all high functioning but they all have slightly different social drawbacks too. One girl was very talkative and communicative while two others were quiet and spoke softly and slowly. They said this was because if they talk faster, their words get jumbled. I know I, myself, have done that quite a few times. These kids also spoke highly of their teachers at the high school but also spoke highly of their parents. One boy said if his parents weren’t so understanding and patient about his meltdowns when he was younger, he wouldn’t be where he is today. His meltdowns centered mostly around social situations.

 

Now to the last group

The College Kids!

I will be honest here. While I loved Adam’s presentation and am so very proud of him, I really enjoyed listening to the college kids. The main reason for that is because Adam wants to go to college. He wants to study video production and script writing! So, naturally my curiosity about what college life is like for young men and women on the spectrum filled me with excitement.

There were four young people at the college presentation station. Two of them go to one of the local Community Colleges while the other two attend a small college in Vermont that was designed for men and women with various disabilities. I don’t know much about the college but the two young men praised it for the small campus and the welcome home feel they receive from the professors, students and staff.

A lot of questions were answered but one thing the young woman said really stood out to me. She said, “Let them find their way.” Now that is a scary notion for any parent regardless of their abilities. The young woman made a good point though. She added that we should help our kids do research to know which office to turn to for help. She also pointed out that most college students don’t know there is help on campus. Having had that experience myself, I understand what she means.

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And the night went on

After the Autism Awareness presentation the Special Education Department treated all of us to dinner at a local restaurant. They are hoping to add in the elementary school kids next year. It was such a great night for everyone. All of the children gave high praise to their teachers and parents during their presentations. The night was pretty magical and awe-inspiring. The best part is afterwards I got a huge sense of relief that my boy will be okay. He has a bright future ahead of him and I couldn’t be a prouder parent!

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Thanks so much for Reading!

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Update on the Family: What My Family and I Have Been up to

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Oh there is so much to tell all of you lovely readers out there about what’s been going on with my family. There have been some joys but also some sadness. There have been some ups but quite a few downs. We have even had a couple of deaths including my sister’s father, who, despite not being a huge part of my life was the only man I ever called ‘dad’. I am planning on writing a separate post on that soon so stayed tuned.

 

 

 

Oh my boy has been doing so well this year! His first year of high school has been such a positive experience for both of us. Adam struggled with only a few things in the beginning – like trying out for the school plays and not getting a part – that was hard on him but he adjusted well and didn’t give up and it paid off. Finally, he got a part in his first high school musical! He did such an awesome job too!

My boy had some moments where he didn’t want to do it because he didn’t like the lines or the music hurt his ears. At times, between working so hard on his academics and rehearsals for the musical he got overwhelmed and I had to take the helm for him and let him calm himself by giving him the space and time to just breathe and be himself. Conner also helped. That’s family.

(Adam is the tall one in the back with the sailor hat on)

The social aspects of school and the play was hard sometimes. Autism isn’t easy but Adam worked through it like a champ and the end result was honor roll for the first quarter and a great performance at his play. I thought he was done after that though because he was so exhausted by the end of it but he’s going back at it rehearsing for yet another play! His school is also having a presentation on Autism for Autism Awareness month and Adam is going to speak about what he goes through. I’m so excited for him and can’t wait to see what his presentation will be!

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Conner is doing great in the 4th grade. He works hard and has improved tremendously in spelling, reading, and writing. This year he has struggled with the Math a little but he still is his class’s “Math God” and doing his best. He turned 10 in December and we couldn’t afford a party for him but I did make a video of the first ten years of his life. It’s what I did for Adam on his 10th birthday so I did the same for Conner. 10 is a milestone and so far my baby boy is loving it! FYI: That video is too long for my blog apparently and Facebook won’t let me upload it due to it having songs so here is one of him dancing.

Conner is still a Minecraft nerd but now he’s pretty obsessed with Five Nights at Freddy’s. It is a horror game/book/whatever. Just like back during his Angry birds obsession and My little pony obsession, he now has just about every action figure, book, poster, and of course all the plush toys he can get his hands on. I gotta tell ya, this kid is expensive! But he’s worth it. My family is very important to me and my boys are numero uno. It’s been hard getting him to agree to any sort of after school activities but it’s still a work in progress.

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I started getting pretty depressed around Thanksgiving this year and have struggled with it ever since. I found myself in a funk and it didn’t help that right before Christmas my sister’s father passed away.

family_rockinrandommomAs some of you know I have had some car troubles as well. I can’t seem to get away from car troubles for some reason. Seriously, it’s like I’m cursed. I have bad car Karma and have no idea why. Not having a reliable vehicle has played into being stuck in the house way too much. This, of course vamped up my depression. My family has been a great help just by being there. However, when you take away the car, you take away the independence. This just doesn’t work for me.

Staying fit and eating right has also taken a huge dive but there is some good news to be had. I have ordered a couple of Tai Chi and Yoga DVD’s and well, this will also be another post. Perhaps I will start my fitness series again. I’m still dating the person I met last year but I have been keeping that pretty close to my chest. Maybe I will write about him in the future.

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Thanks so much for reading!

 

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Rockin’ Quote #25: Another Autism Quote

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Here is another autism quote that Conner wrote to his big brother for Autism Awareness Month but this is also something he wrote for Adam when Adam came home one day, anxious about Autism Awareness Day coming up and it being talked about in school.

Adam is very fortunate to have such great classmates that really take the time to try to understand him and are very patient with him and saying that about Middle School kids is really saying something. So when he came home and expressed nervousness about it, Conner and I had a conversation with him about Autism and that having Autism doesn’t have to spark negative feelings towards the disorder or towards himself.

Adam is pretty comfortable knowing he has Autism but sometimes knowing that it is going to be talked about raises some anxiety for him but not because he is afraid of what others will say but more because somewhere along the line, in his own head, he has associated raising awareness for it as a negative thing. I’m not really sure what exactly is going through his mind to put that thought into his head because he is not very good at expressing his thoughts verbally.

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Another Autism Quote from Conner to his brother!

Conner and I were successful though in helping Adam understand that raising awareness for Autism, or any other great cause out there, simply means to educate those who aren’t familiar with Autism. It means helping others understand what Autism is and what it isn’t. Once Adam understood this, he felt better about Autism Awareness Day and about April being Autism Awareness Month. This conversation is what sparked Conner to write the above quote for his big brother. It may be just another autism quote but it’s out of the mouths of babes.

How do you feel about Autism Awareness Month? For parents out there with children on the spectrum, how do your kids see it? Do they see it as a positive thing or a negative thing? A great question for parents to ask their children who don’t have Autism, what do your kids think of Autism? How much do they know about what Autism is and what Autism isn’t? For children going to school with kids with Autism or Down Syndrome or anything else, they may know more about these things than we did at their age.

Thank you so much for Reading,

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Rockin’ Quote #24: Autism Awareness Day

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So, as most of you know yesterday was Autism Awareness Day and the month of April is Autism Awareness Month. Conner and I had a conversation during the week about the importance of Autism Awareness and how important it is that people understand his older brother Adam. So, Conner came up with two things he wrote for his brother. It shows how much he loves his big brother and how much he sees what his brother goes through.

Conner has been writing a few things here and there about his brother and this month I will be sharing those things here on my blog. While I don’t make Adam’s Autism a major priority in my house because I don’t believe in using any illness or disorder as the end-all, be-all of their lives, I educate both of them on what Autism is and acknowledge when Adam might be having a problem that is related to his Autism.

autism_rockinrandommomConner has seen this since he was very young. When he was about 5 he started to notice certain things like Adam not wanting to play with him or anyone else because he very much prefers to be alone. That’s when I started to explain little things about Autism.

When we are driving, Adam has to wear his headphones and listen to his iPod because outside noises get to him. It especially bothers him when Conner sings in the car. As a way to allow Conner to sing but being considerate of Adam’s sensitivities, I encouraged Adam to wear headphones and it makes car rides so much more peaceful than they used to be.

Conner had a hard time understanding these things when he was little but he also always accepted his brother as he is with a level of understanding that I wish the rest of the world would embrace. As he gets older and learns more about Autism, as well as his own ADHD, he is even more accepting and understanding towards his brother.

Next week I will have another quote by Conner as we will be celebrating the month of April with Autism Awareness. Adam might even make an appearance with a few of his own quotes. My boys are a great example of how Autism doesn’t hinder brotherly love or the sibling connection! It’s a day late but Happy Autism Awareness Day!

Thank you for Reading,

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My Top 5 Stressors This Week

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This past week has been a rough one on me. The past three weeks haven’t been the most positive but this week I found myself more stressed out than usual. As many of you know, I haven’t been writing new posts but rather, I have been focused on sharing some of my old ones as they are my first posts and I want to give them some more views. I have also canceled my linky as I realized that I was taking on too much and I’m still in the process of figuring out where I want my blog to go. So, for those of you wondering what could possibly have me stressed, they really aren’t major things, here are my top 5 stressors this week:

  1. Spring Colds – My teen son and I have both been struggling with a cold this week. Actually it started last week but this week it really hit my son. He’s like me and doesn’t get sick very often but when we do, it hits us hard. My poor boy has been out of school since Tuesday. He has a bad chest cold and it seems to only be getting worse and since his father and one of his aunts had Pneumonia over Christmas break, it’s something I’m concerned about. I know Pneumonia isn’t contagious but I still worry. I’m a mom. It’s what I do.
  2. High School Registration – Speaking of my teenage son, this week was high school registration and I have been more stressed about this than I care to admit. In fact, the day of his high school orientation (something he couldn’t attend because he was too sick), I was snappy with everyone around me for no apparent reason. The littlest thing would anger me. You would think that this isn’t something to get overly stressed about but because I am who I am, let’s just say my thoughts have been racing. It isn’t just registering for high school that has me stressed (which looks more like a college catalog of classes than high school) but I have so many questions about how the school deals with teenagers with special needs. harrypotter_panic
  3. High School Orientation – So, I’m sitting in the high school library getting ready to speak with the Special Education coordinator, guidance counselor, vice principal, and principal who are explaining to me and several other parents how this high school helps those with special needs. It was so much information but it did help ease some of my fears about high school. However, it was in this meeting that it hit me as to why I am really stressed out.
  4. I ONLY HAVE FOUR MORE YEARS LEFT! As this nasty little thought crept into my brain while the Vice Principal was talking, I actually started to tear up. I successfully held back the tears as I hate crying in public but once that thought was there, I couldn’t stop thinking about how my first born will be an adult in only 5 short years then he will be in the world and how is the world going to receive him? Will they welcome him with open arms? Or will they judge him by his oddities and shun him from the rest of society? This thought made me angry because I know the world is a cruel place. How do I prepare him for that? I know that parents of kids without disabilities probably ask themselves this same question and that makes me feel not so alone. This is a really scary thing to think about, at least from my perspective.
  5. Where do I want my blog to go? In addition to the stress of high school looming like a dark cloud over the horizon, I have been seriously asking myself where do I want my blog to go? When I first started, I was very much wanting to work hard to make money off of my blog and that meant doing whatever I had to do, including writing posts that I really didn’t want to write. I wrote a few reviews early on that I didn’t get paid for and that really had nothing to do with my blog. I also never heard back from them. Looking back, they may have been a waste of my time.

bigbandtheory_rockinrandommom  It isn’t just the getting paid part of though, but the promotion of my blog that has really weighed on me. I am still barely getting 2,000 views a month and I have been promoting like crazy through linkies and groups. I’m sure there is more to it than that but I thought about how much promoting I’m doing verses actually writing and I don’t like the ratio. I have decided that I’m not going to stress about my page views or my klout score. Instead, I’m going to write because that is what really matters to me.

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