Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Autism: Fighting the battles you can win

I started today's post as a rant, which I said in April I wouldn't do again. A couple of people had said some idiotic things that tripped my trigger, and I was going to go off on how insensitive and unthinking people can be. But then I realized that these people don't have a clue about autism, so I decided, what's the point?

Instead, I thought I'd share with you another autism anecdote, something that happened to us just this morning and that typifies what we go through every day.

When getting the kids together in the morning, I admit that either a SpongeBob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer or Blues Clues DVD will be playing in the background. It's a battle we've decided is better "lost" than challenged while trying to give meds, brush teeth and everything else involved in trying to get a couple of high maintenance kids together for school. Anything we can to to make the process as emotionless as possible --- for us --- is a good thing.

This morning we were on an episode of the square sponge of which Nolan is not especially fond. He knows about "skipping" the episodes and ran to grab the remote. Practiced as we are at this game, it was a no-brainer what he was asking, and we attempted to move the episode along. Several presses of the remote met with no results, and Nolan became visibly upset.

He began to whine and repeated "skip, skip" in his own pronunciation. We thought to change the batteries, hoping that would do the trick.

We've just moved and our house is still yet to be fully unpacked. So, finding a set of small triple-A batteries hidden amongst the boxes labeled "Kitchen", "Kids Stuff" and "Your Guess is as Good as Mine" was a near impossibility. We were fortunate however and snuck some out of a small, light-up fan we had just bought him.

By now he was melting down, giving a crying fit that no parent wants a child to suffer before school. But he's yet to learn patience or the limitations of something that's broken. It has worked every other time without incident, so why not today, People?

We opened the remote and realized right away that no amount of changed batteries would do anything to help the situation. Tipping the remote upside-down, a small amount of moisture/water/some unknown liquid trickled from the hand held and onto the entertainment center. Oh happy day! We tried, but the batteries just ended up getting wet.

Nolan's meltdown now in high gear, we realized the only remedy would be another DVD, and fast. We popped out SpongeBob and slipped in a Looney Toons collection. It worked, and fortunately the bus was less than two episodes away. Nolan calmed down and all was quiet on the homefront.

It would be better if we could get the mornings going without movies altogether. But we're willing to accept that there are other places we can put our collective foot down. Morning just isn't that place.

~ Jon

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Autism Spectrum Disorders: Calling all storytellers!

Phase two of the marketing test for Same Child, Different Day elicits your help once again. As many of you are aware, this family autism support resource is full of our own anecdotes and stories of how Nolan's autism has affected our family directly. But I've realized with the latest promotion that our experiences are only one small part of the story that is autism. Time and again people commented, "When I read your booklet, it was refreshing to see we aren't alone," or "I'm guilty of feeling justified that you experience the same meltdowns we do," and "Thank you for making me realize it's OK to laugh about this condition every once in a while."

You, too have experienced so much in dealing with ASD's, that I would love to hear from you, as well. And I'd love for you to share your thoughts and experiences with all of us, with the ultimate goal of telling the world what we have to say.

If you are comfortable with it, and in your "spare" time, please feel free to comment below or email me with your own "Spectrum" stories. Not as an invasion of privacy or morbid voyeurism; rather this is a chance to celebrate your loved ones and show them off in front of the world! Parents love to brag about their kids and now's your chance.

Share something funny, something frustrating, something prideful or something quirky. Did you have an awkward but amusing run-in in public? Maybe we did, too! Does your loved one living with autism have a funny trait? No need to be embarrassed or devastated by it; brag about it now! Here's your chance to tell everyone how frustrating that stim is, while at the same time admitting that you have laughed about it behind closed doors. I am not asking any of us to make fun of our loved ones --- oh goodness, no! Instead this is an opportunity to include them in mainstream life --- a chance to show off the fact that, just as they are as different as chocolate and vanilla, they are equally just like everyone else.

And if sharing your name is an awkward proposition, no worries! If you ask me to, I'll honor your request for confidentiality and anonymity. Just keep in mind that the final intent is to present your snippets in print.

I have a saying: "Doctors keep people alive, but storytellers keep CIVILIZATIONS alive." I think there's a message there somewhere. Anyhow...

...thanks a lot and Happy Storytelling.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Autism Support Booklet: Thanks for the critiques

The requests for Same Child, Different Day over the last month were exciting. Granted, I gave the autism family support resources away, but that was the point for this 'promotion'. Now I'd really like to hear from those of you who got a free copy of the booklet; time to keep your end of the bargain.

I look forward to your honest critiques and comments. You can email me privately at, or you can post a comment below. Either way --- and as long as you let us --- your opinions will be shared with the other readers.

But I have a deeper purpose than just comments on a blog: this is one leg of a multi-faceted marketing survey. I have bigger intentions for the booklet, and you my friends (and of course, your helpful words) are one piece to that plan.

So, if you've gotten the free autism support guide Same Child, Different Day, then I'm calling in your chips, as it were. Please email me or comment below when you can. I'm looking for honest opinions, suggestions, things you were satisfied with, something there should be more of, whatever there may have been too much of, or things that made you laugh or cry. I'll read all your comments and emails, then decide next which direction to take the resource.

If you haven't received a copy of Same Child, Different Day: One family's experiences during the first year after a child's autism diagnosis, you can still get one by ordering from the sidebar to the right. As before, first select from the drop-down the pricing based on the quantity you desire. You'll be able to select an exact amount when you get to the order page --- the price is $4.95 per copy or less, depending on the number you request.

Of course, if you order at the right, please email me explaining that you've placed an order with PayPal. Oh yeah, and don't forget to let me know how you stumbled across this little world.

Please let me know if I missed anything else.