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Archive for April, 2015

I just got this notification from WordPress;
“Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 5 years ago!
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!”
Five years! Wow! Awesome! I would say time flies but sometimes it hasn’t. It all depends really. It actually feels like I’ve been doing this longer.

I started blogging way back when, a little over five years ago on a blog that I’ve lost. I only published a few things before switching to WordPress.

I started blogging because I had a need. My need was to find people who understood what I was going through and I couldn’t find them. I knew they existed, no one is completely unique in their experiences, there are always others. But no one was speaking up…yet. So I decided to be “that” person. The one who spoke up and told the truth about life. I decided to make myself an open book and be available for others who needed someone like them, some one like me.

Not to long after that things changed and people started speaking out. Not just on blogs but on TV shows. And I was right, I did need them. Hearing their stories and how similar we were and what they did and went through helped me deal with guilt and bitterness and helped me on my path to recovery.

I am happy to know I have been able to help others as well. I would love to help so many more and one day I will. But even if it was just one person, that person matters.

In case you are wondering what it was I was going through I’ll tell you. I was getting out of a cult I had been in from the age of nineteen to thirty eight. However, life is never just about one thing. I have been happy to share so much more because there is always something happening wither it be good or bad, positive or negative and so on. And I am still very much aware that what ever I go through I am simply not the only one. It is still  my hope to continue to write about life and be there for others who need me and need to know they are not alone.

Here’s to the next 5 years! Cheers!

5-Year-Anniversary

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Here’s a picture of me I used in April of 2010. 

and

Here’s a picture of me now!

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Wait!

That’s not me!

Let me try this again…

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There I am!

**

This was the perfect song to come out during that time of my life.

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What is Autism? (ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder)

According to Google definitions Autism is; “a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.”

Aren’t labels bad?

They certainly can be, but, they don’t have to be.

Labels are part of our culture and communication. Without them companies would lose customers and groups members and finding your favorite book series would become very difficult.

Labels are a quick description and should be treated that way rather then looked at as the whole idea.

If a label is condescending, well then yes, it would be bad.

Some labels are just misunderstood. That is why things like dictionaries are so important. So we don’t all end up with different definitions of things and lose our ability to communicate. If there is doubt, look it up in the dictionary and then we can all get back on the same page.

In some places labels like Autism, Aspergers, ADHD, Bi-Polar, Manic Depression and so on get used negatively and people see them as bad and demeaning labels. But that isn’t how it should be. Labels like those are just descriptions of how someones brain is wired or of an illness someone has to face off and on or even on a regular basis.

If the person with such a label uses it to demean themselves or make excesses not to better themselves or sees it as a way out of doing things they should be doing, then the label is being used in a negative and even harmful way.

However, if the label is being used to understand ones self, better ones self, learn how to cope or over come or discover talents, if the label is being used to get the help they need in school, work and the community, then it’s a good thing. In many schools a child can not get an IEP or a 504 plan and so on without a descriptive label. Those sort of plans can open up all kinds of learning aid that can help the child catch up, get ahead and become a successful student which will matter later in life.

Should we be looking for a cure?

Some people would like the medical researchers to find a cure while other people are insulted by the very thought. Peoples opinions on this matter are often influenced by their own experiences. For instance someone with a child that has high functioning autism may feel proud of their child’s special talents and accomplishments which they may not have been capable of if they weren’t on the spectrum. While another parent may have a very low functioning autistic child who needs constant care and supervision and can not handle daily tasks in their own. These two types of parents will likely view autism very differently. Understanding and respecting that each person has their own perspective is important.

Where does Autism come from? Do immunizations cause it? Is it passed down in the genes?

It is 2015, researchers are still trying to understand Autism and where it comes from. Many folks believe it is genetic because they can trace it from one or both parents and on back.

There is no proof that immunizations cause Autism. The idea came from Dr. Andrew Wakefield who is now disbarred. He falsified documents and abused developmentally challenged children. Sadly his false claims were told to high profile people who then spread them and influenced a lot of people to not immunize their children as well as made people who already gave their children immunizations to feel unnecessarily guilty.

Some people believe it is the result of pollution and chemicals in the air, water and the products we use.

There are some folks who believe Autism is part of human evolution.

It is best to not pick what you want it to be from. It is human nature to need answers. Thankfully there are many researchers looking into this.

Why is the number of people with Autism growing?

Researchers are still trying to understand this and there are a lot of theories.

Some people believe it is because we now have a better understanding of Autism and can recognize it and diagnose it better then in the past. Years ago people were often called socially awkward or socially handicap and other names that may have really been Autistic traits. Sadly some were seen as dumb and bullied terribly because of being misunderstood.

Do both girls and boys have Autism?

Yes, both boys and girls can be on the spectrum. At this time studies show that it is more prevalent in boys then girls. But there is still much to learn about Autism.

It isn’t always Autism.

Many people with Autism have co-symptoms. A lot of folks see the co-symptoms as part of the Autism which is not always the case.

IQ and Talent

Most people in the spectrum have an average to high IQ but there are some exceptions and co-symptoms can make this very as well. If a person has an average or high IQ they may still be seen as less intelligent because of mental blocks that cause them to shut down or cause some learning disabilities. Children who are bullied often will likely have failing grades. This is not a sign of low intelligence, but of abuse.

Many people on the spectrum may appear to be genius in certain areas. Wither they were that way naturally or not it is often because of their obsession with the subject that they have become or appear so. Because they often obsess over certain things they tend to learn as much about the subject matter as they can and from every angel possible to them. Finding an Autistic persons obsession(s) can be very important to their well being and even survival. It gives them a sense of purpose and accomplishment and a way to regulate themselves instead of having a melt down. It is ones hope their obsession will translate into a career but it isn’t always the case.

Manga, Anime and other Fandoms

Not all people in the spectrum are into manga and anime. However, it is common. It isn’t surprising since many Japanese cartoons use extreme facial expressions making it a sort of “brain break” for people who have had to spend long hours trying to interpret what other people really mean.

Star Trek used to be, and for some people still is, another favorite due to Spock and other Vulcan’s who are very Autistic like and easier for Autistic people to relate to. More and more shows now days are including positive images of either Autistic people or Autistic like people.

Many people on the spectrum like to attend manga, anime and comic cons, (conventions). Again it can be a brain break for many people on the spectrum. They can dress up as their favorite character and play act along with other people who do not judge them or expect then to “act normal”.

Can you tell if a person is Autistic by looking at them? Do Autistic people have feelings?

People with Autism do not usually look any different then the average person.

Some people with Autism do appear outwardly to have something like Autism due to lifelong habits. For instance, if they have sinus problems, like any child they may tend to leave their mouth open in order to be able to breath well. If not taught other wise they may continue this habit into adult hood making them look odd to other people. This can actually happen to anyone, not just Autistic people. Many Autistic people rely on their own logic which will often over rule other peoples ideas in their own mind. So, if looking odd in order to breath better or move about, etc, is more logical to them then the outward appearance might not matter in that regard. All Autistic people are different and have their own personality so there is no pat answer for such things.

Sometime you can recognize an Autistic person by their ticks, melt downs, what stimulates or over stimulates them and so on. But, it isn’t a good idea to assume ’till you learn more about that person because there are other things that a person can have that have similar traits. Melt downs are a common occurrence for children with autism. Many parents have been judged as bad parents and many kids have been labeled demon possessed due to melt downs and what others see as odd behavior. Common problems for Autistic people are florescent lights, certain noises, crowds, and other things that cause over stimulation. Because many Autistic people do not know how to properly express themselves or are not allowed to they will invert and withdraw or they may start screaming, wave their hands, spin circles, rock and many other things to try to regulate themselves. Once they are in a melt down it is very difficult to communicate with them, they are mentally shut off. Punishing them, hurting them and so on doesn’t translate into help, but even more stimulation and makes the matter worse.

They normally do not naturally read facial language and body language and they usually do not get hints. It is common for them to not use facial or body language and they are often very blunt and forthright with no verbal filter. Because of these things they are often misunderstood and misjudged. Some people may see them as psychopaths because they can appear to not have emotions. However, that is far from the truth. They usually express their emotions differently then the average person and often find what others see as funny as not funny and what others see as serious as not serious due to their different perspective on life. They usually feel as deeply as anyone else, just in different areas then the average person.

Many Autistic people can learn to emulate facial and body language. They can also learn what is and isn’t appropriate in our society. If they desire to fit in, they can excel at this. Some Autistic folks have done so well at this that they seem to have phased out of Autism or overcome it. However, it is still something they have to deal with mentally while the typical person doesn’t have to even think about it. So while they are in the public they are likely mentally working harder then most the people around them.

The Spectrum (ASD) and Mental Illness

There is a full spectrum of people with Autism which is one of the reasons they are all different. The outer edge of the spectrum used to be called and still is called in many places, Aspergers. On the inside edge of the spectrum there is high functioning Autism and as you get closer to the center of the spectrum there is low functioning, etc. Then there is the co-symptoms adding even more angles to each individual.

Many people do not consider Autism as a mental illness. However, many folks with autism can relate to people who have mental illnesses because they often face similar issues both mentally and socially. Plus, some people with Autism have mental illness co-symptoms.

Therapists, School Counselors and IEP’s

It is good for a person on the spectrum to have a therapist or someone who they can talk to and get their frustrations out as well as learn coping techniques and social skills. However, therapist, like everyone else, are all different. One therapist may relate to a certain type of person but not to another type. Some people find a helpful therapist right away while for others it may take a while.

School councilors are often very helpful to students. It is wise to introduce your child to their school councilor and help them become comfortable with talking to them and visiting them when they need help and do not know where else to go.

Getting the school to give your child an IEP (individualized education program) can make a huge difference in their educational success. IEP’s can open the door to many resources they would not other wise be able to use as well as options for how and where they take tests, where they can go to regulate themselves, and so on. Plus is causes the teachers and staff to communicate with the parent(s) or guardian(s) and keeps everyone responsible for any actions the school staff may take.

Support Groups and Resources

While people in the Autism spectrum may all be different, they usually have some things in common that can cause them to relate and understand each other better. This is also true for parents, guardians, family and friends of people in the spectrum. It is good for both the person in the spectrum as well as those around them to have people around who understand what they are going though, people who can relate to the frustrations as well as the joys without prejudice.

You may find there are many resources in your area. While searching online can help it can also be frustrating. Often the local Autism support group will have resource contact information making finding such things less stressful. Some people qualify for state and government aid. You may want to contact your local Social Security office and ask them for information on help they may provide as well as resources they recommend.

Being a friend to an Autistic person.

People in the spectrum need friends and a social life like anyone else. Some of them may have even shut down and given up on making friends in order to protect themselves from being mentally hurt.

Knowing that someone has Autism sometimes helps but people in general should be given a chance and not hastily judged. You just never know what a person may be going through and what they have had to deal with as well as how their brain works and interprets what is around them.

Though Autistic people are all different there are things you can assume until otherwise notified. Don’t crowed them and enter their personal space and don’t touch them without permission even if it is a kind gesture like a hug. Some Autistic people loved to be cuddled and hugged, but many do not! Do not hint around, say what you mean to say plainly. Do not expect them to read your facial or body language and vocal ques. Many Autistic people have a wonderful sense of humor, but it may not be like yours and they may not “get” your humor. Be ready to be offended at first and challenge yourself to get over it. Many people on the spectrum say what they are thinking and do not mean to cause harm. In a way, they do what so many people say they wished people would do, they are honest and forthright. Sometimes it’s okay to tell them what they said hurt your feelings so they can learn more about you. But give them time because if it isn’t logical it may be difficult for them to grasp. While Autistic people often have a reputation for not lying, don’t assume either way. They are human just like you can can learn to lie just like anyone else. But, just like anyone else, give them a chance!

If an Autistic person is having a melt down, give them their space. Don’t try to fix them. While children may not know what to use to regulate themselves, an older child or adult likely will and may just need time in order to do so. If they need to be alone, respect their need.

Trying to change an Autistic person, or really anyone, is an unnecessary stress on both of you. As long as what they are doing or what they are obsessed with is not causing anyone harm, learn to accept it, appreciate it and be happy for your friend. As a parent you may need to help your child learn what is socially acceptable in order to get good grades, not lose a friend and get and keep a job. But beyond that Autistic people are individuals and should be encouraged to be true to themselves and who they are, accepting their differences and appreciating their unique way of thinking. The odd character and way of thinking of many people in our past and present have contributed greatly to how we live today and the technology we use. Without their different way of thinking we wouldn’t be nearly as advanced as we are today.

Bullying

Sadly many Autistic people are bullied. It often happens to them as children, but it can follow them into adulthood.

Like any child some will become introverted and shy away from people while others will fight back by becoming bullies themselves. Neither is a good reaction. Ignoring the fact that a child is being bullied will not fix the problem and it will not make the problem go away. Even if it doesn’t seem like the child is really being bullied, if it is true in their mind, it still needs to be dealt with.

Once the child gets older they will have established habits making it more difficult to help them. It’s possible, but not easy and will depend on wither they want help or not.

It is wise to involve the school councilor and the child’s therapist to help the child learn ways to overcome bullying and thrive around their peers. Their obsession can also help. Having something they love to look forward to and to use to help calm and regulate them is very helpful. Another helpful thing to do is to look up famous people who have overcome bullying and are now successful. You will find there are a lot of famous people who also are in the spectrum. Seeing examples of people who made it through the tough times can give a child incite to a better future and a wonderful sense of hope.

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This article was written by Lorenakoran.

I am not a licensed professional. I’m a mother of four, two of my children are in the spectrum.

I encourage you to learn more about Autism by researching from time to time since there is still more to be discovered and understood. Please remember to be skeptical of new information and take the time to research it and it’s sources before accepting it as truth and sharing it with others.

I invite you to be a part of my FaceBook community dedicated to encouraging people in the spectrum as well as their families, friends and supporters. It is called Autism Rises Above, the web address is; https://www.facebook.com/autismrisesabove.

Please fell free to share this article and add links to your own local ASD support groups at the bottom clearly marked as yours, but do not remove my name and link or change anything I have written.

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Happy Grateful Tuesday!

Grateful Tuesday!

The name doesn’t quite rhyme but I’ll use it anyway.

Some lovely things happen this morning that have put me in the grateful mood. So I’m just gonna enjoy the moment.

The warm sunny weather has cheered me as it is, and I love that my cat snuggles me when it’s time to get up but today already I’ve also had some pleasant surprises.

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Felicia waking from a nap. 

When it was time for me to wake the kids up the unthinkable happened. It’s happened before but it is very rare. My youngest, Kyle, popped out of bed, had a funny story to tell and proceeded to be cheerful.

To top that off when we pulled up to the school he decided he needed his backpack, tossed the library book filled bag on his back, jumped out of the car and ran to the school doors.

Say Whaaaaat! I know! Right!

Well, that was all simply amazing.

When I got home from dropping the kids off at school my neighbor called me over to where she was and offered to let me use her fire pit on weekends and such. Here where we live we can’t have an open fire pit. It has to be off the ground and covered. I’ve been wanting a fire pit for summer and her mom told her about it. That was so thoughtful of her! So, now we can have some outside fire pit fun this summer. #roastedmarshmallows #SWEET

I guess so many positive things in a row got me thinking. Being a single mom with kids that have certain challenges, I often wish for a vacation. I love my kids, but a few days off sounds so inviting. And sorry to say, but, sometimes thinking of them growing up is my way of coping. I am proud of my kids and I believe in them. But when I’m in the middle of a stressful moment, well, a vacation and the future look really good. Living in a trailer rental that is cold in the winter and with rooms that are very small, well, the crowded feeling doesn’t help either.

However, this morning my thoughts were different.

Here I am, in my own home, (yes it’s rented but it’s rented in my name), drinking a lovely cup of coffee, caring for my own kids. It was a pleasant feeling moment. Why was this any different then any other day? It wasn’t. But, it is so different then my past, and that’s where my mind went for a few seconds.

For many years I was stuck living with my parents. As a kid I had the old fashioned dream of meeting mr. right, falling in love, getting married, having kids and so on. Back then I wanted  this dream to come true when I was thirteen. I was quite sure I was old enough. Sure, that was a tad young, but the idea of leaving home was a wonderful thought for me. Not because I didn’t love my family, I did, but because it’s just how my brain was wired.

So, I met mr. wrong, I was already in love with love but not him, married, got pregnant and finally left home at the age of 28. …  Had kids, rarely saw my husband and had little control over how my kids were raised or how my life was conducted because although I finally moved out of my parents place, my church and church leader had full control over my life. Though I ended up with my own house, what I did with it, and how I lived was not up to my choosing.

I could go on but that’s the basic idea. So, there I was standing in my kitchen drinking my coffee and thinking how wonderful it is to have my own home, my own kids, my own life. How much better I have it now then back then when I had no control over much of anything.

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I ‘m a realist. I have a tendency to be negative. I’ve worked hard to be positive. I have come a long way but that doesn’t mean I still don’t hear the negativity in my head. I just do my best not to give in to it. So I am aware this feeling is passing. Which is the main reason I decided to write it out. It’s my way of catching the moment. It’s kinda like taking a picture of a feeling.

Good feelings, bad feelings, neither will last. They will come and they will go and that’s okay.

Right now, in this moment, I will enjoy the sun and be thankful for all the lovely things that come my way!

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Taking my youngest (nine years old at this time) to school has mostly been a stressful task. It’s the dropping him off part. It takes him what seems like forever to get out of the car.

He used to take the bus with his siblings but the crowded atmosphere just set his DMDD off. (DMDD is Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder.) I figured it was enough for him to use all he has mentally to behave at school and to start the day off with a bunch of unruly kids who the bus drivers didn’t seem to care about just didn’t seem fair. My other three kids all go to school in the same area so that is why I take them all.

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When getting close to his school, I tell Kyle how much time he has left and when to take the seat belt off and so on hoping it will help him move a tad bit faster.

There have been a few times that we have been honked at. I found this very rude. Do people actually think I am lingering there because I have a thing for lingering there? Kyle has taken the honking as a major offence and tried dealing with it by assuming whoever was behind us was the culprit and his frown which he aimed in their direction would teach them a lesson. I’ve reminded him since he started this that we don’t know who has been doing the honking and that most the folks wait politely or pull away which is cool. I also tell him to please go faster because many folks behind us have to go to work. While it doesn’t hurt it doesn’t always help. But it could eventually.

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So, yesterday…

I actually “caught” the honking person. I knew it was gonna take longer then usual to get Kyle out of the car so I pulled even further ahead then normal and put my hazard lights on.

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The person behind me got the message and left enough room for them to be able to pull out. But, the lady behind that person pulled right up to my bumper (even closer then most people), dropped her kid off and then honked.  By this time Kyle was out and about to walk around the car to get to the side walk. I looked directly at the lady who was trying to sign to me that she needed to leave immediately and I was in her way. I then both verbally and with hand signals let her know I had a kid with mental issues. I don’t normally like to revert to using my kids DMDD as an excuse but I felt this was a good cause for enlightenment on that ladies part. Besides, I know I am not the only parent who goes through this and people like that lady could use a little more compassion and empathy.

When she saw what I was trying to get across to her she balled her fist up and placed it over her mouth like some people do when they realize they made a huge mistake and regret it.  When we both pulled out I let her go ahead of me hoping to spread the message of kindness and it seemed she had some place to be in a hurry.

Part of me was glad I finally go to do something about the rude honking person and that it seemed I actually got the message across. But part of me felt bad about it. I believe that is party because confrontation always sets bitterly with me but also because I didn’t expect the culprit to actually understand.

I don’t know if she is the only honking person, I think there may actually be one or two more. Life is going to have people who don’t understand for what ever reason and in the long run it is better for Kyle and me to not let it get to us. Still, it was nice to finally deal, in a peaceful way, with at least one such person. And it is nice that she will likely become a better person for it. I have a good feeling about that!

Unless she was biting her fist in anger. Humm, well… I didn’t see any teeth.

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The photos were found on Google Image search. 

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