September 2011

Dear autism,

Sometimes it’s tempting to let you get me down. It’s easy to focus on the difficulties you present in our lives and sing whoa is me. I’ve definitely had my share of those days but lately I’ve run into it far too often in the Special Ed community. Pull yourselves togethers mamas, teachers, aides, bus drivers, etc! How can we set positive goals for our kiddos if we convey this chronic sense of doom and depression surrounding their lives’ prospects? I’m not talking about true chronic depression, you definitely should seek professional help if that’s you but the rest of us need to just find some darn joy! Take a few days off from therapy and take a nap! Ditch speech or ABA and go get some ice cream. Hire a snot nosed high schooler to babysit and promise them a tip if your kids are still alive when you get back. Teachers play hooky for a day! Do whatever you need to recharge your batteries and relax. The effect will trickle down in the form of kids who maybe only eat a handful of dirt instead of a gallon. Maybe they will only run halfway across the parking lot instead of 4 or 5 blocks before you can catch them. Focus on the small victories people.

*Btw…in the name of full disclosure the cup in the picture is only a 1 ounce sample cup but it’s really full though! Cheers and I’d love to hear your recharging stories!



Dear autism,

Once a year around diagnosis day, I like to take a comprehensive look at what we have accomplished in the treatment and or management of you. Last year was a whirlwind! We had ABA, music therapy, bio-medical intervention, speech therapy, social skills groups, occupational therapy, kindergarten academy, and three academic studies at Vanderbilt. Whew! Not to mention all of the assessments, evaluations, and general poking and prodding that go along with all of these. I am a proponent of aggressive intervention, but this year we are signing up for some stop and smell the roses therapy. We are coming out of the labs and classrooms and into the world. We will go to the grocery store and practice requesting and managing elopement behaviors. We will go to the park for impromptu play dates with typical peers. We will hang out at the YMCA and play borrowed musical instruments badly for music therapy and have a rockin good time. We will be less scheduled, more relaxed and we might even have money for ice cream now and again. Gluten-free sorbet in a cup of course….we’re not giving up EVERYthing.