August 18, 2014

August Goals Update

So we're more than halfway through the month and none of you have pestered me about sticking to this month's goals. Thanks guys! :p

Luckily, for some reason I remembered them and am trying desperately to hold myself accountable. So here's the report on how I'm doing.

We're sort of going to be earlier, for the most part. At the very least, Hubby and I are getting to bed at the same time and he's also making an effort to turn in early, so yay. But there have still been some late nights for no reason other than we're frittering it away on the Internet. Boooo :(

I biked to work once and started jogging again. So yay for activity. The problem with biking to work is it's been raining a lot. Also, my work started offering not just food delivery, but dry cleaning/laundry service as well, so you can imagine I don't exactly want to try carrying groceries and laundry while biking. That's my excuse.

As for spending less time on time wasting websites? Well, I installed a Chrome extension called Stay Focused. It gives me a limit of 10 minutes a day to mess around on time-wasting sites, then it shuts it down and my screen says, "shouldn't you be working?" It's smart and it works, so there. External reinforcements keep me off Pinterest.

And the books? I haven't finished any books. I wish I had more time for books.

However, I am writing a lot and just finished a submission for The Huffington Post, so let's hope that gets accepted.

Sometimes you don't get what you expected, but it's not all bad!

August 15, 2014

Special Needs Spotlight

You'll find out more about us from an interview conducted by Miggy at This Little Miggy, where she featured us in her Special Needs Spotlight series.

Make sure to read the other interviews - there are so many amazing families and stories. I learned a lot about different disabilities.

Thanks for interviewing us, Miggy! And I hope to see her and her family in my WondrousWednesdays series soon!

August 13, 2014

Left-Hander's Day - #WondrousWednesdays

Left-Hander's Day on One Quarter

Today is Left-Hander's Day and I'm celebrating because I'm left-handed! If you're not left-handed, you are supposed to celebrate by only using your left hand to do tasks.

Everyday, us South Paws have to deal with a world not made for us (sounds a lot like being Autistic, doesn't it? lol). Doors open the wrong way. Chain saws and golf clubs are all backwards. Scissors don't work. We bang elbows at dinner tables.

But it's ok. I still have a sense of humour and pride. I don't really put much thought to it on a regular basis.

It only really comes up now when trying to teach my son something manual. I see if I can teach him "backwards" and then I tell him to find his own way to do it. I'm not sure we'll be tying a lot of shoelaces. I know it took me forever to figure that out.

Anywho, if you can celebrate with me, please do! And report back. Hopefully no one injures themselves. Don't blame me if you do.

August 08, 2014

The Magic of Inclusion

I am proud to say I grew up going to inclusion schools. My elementary school included two smaller "satellite" schools within it. One for physical and learning disabilities and one the Deaf. It was normal for our teachers to wear an FM transmitter when teaching, in order to help those with hearing aids. It was also normal to have children in wheelchairs and using adapted desks. One of the first things I got to learn in Kindergarten was how to lock and unlock the leg braces of one of my disabled friends and get him back into his chair in the case of a fire alarm. I was his "buddy" and it was my job to push him out of the building during fire drills. (Of course, I was not alone, the physiotherapist also came in right away to help, but I took my responsibility very seriously and with great pride :)

Inclusion word cloud by
Inclusion word cloud in shape of a butterfly

In high school, the school integrated into ours was for those with learning and behaviour disabilities. Wherever possible, these students took classes with us. Art, music, gym - we were all together.

For whatever reason, even as a child and not knowing I was disabled myself, I always gravitated towards those who were different, disabled or outcast. My mom always told me I rooted "for the underdog." Maybe I felt an affinity. Maybe those were the only people who would accept my own differences. I don't know, but I am grateful for those who were brave enough to be friends with a "weirdo" like me.

So in this way, inclusion saved me because it allowed me to have friends. While we're more aware as a society these days, and more children are getting better diagnosed and earlier, I'm sure some are still falling through the cracks. Despite that, even as a child, we still know we're different. Others know we're different also and tend to shun or bully us. But when you have inclusion, there is more of a likelihood these children will have friends. It's also a higher likelihood that those who are not disabled will be better aware of disability, less likely to bully, and more compassionate. Kids who go to inclusive schools are not going to be the adults of tomorrow staring at disabled people and making snide comments.

I recently read about the Assertive Community Treatment model recently. A small town in Belgium integrates adults with mental illnesses into foster home-like long term living arrangements. It improves the health of those with special needs by making them feel like members of a family. They get a private room in a house and are less lonely, as a result.

As a mom, I wish we had a model like that here. After my husband and I are gone, I want the comfort of knowing my son will still have a "family" who cares about him. People he can lean on for support. Inclusion benefits all of society, whether you are disabled or not.


You can read more articles about the town of Geel, Beligum here and here.

You can read a chapter of a new book about how children benefit from inclusion here

August 06, 2014

Why Is Eye Contact Important To You?

Why is eye contact important to you?
I'm not asking to be facetious, but to understand. At the same time, it's a question I think everyone should ask themselves. 

We know many studies have shown eye contact between humans is a way we try to understand the intentions of a person. We link eye contact to trustworthiness. When we want to know if someone is lying, we say, "look me in the eye and answer me!" We see romantic moments on TV, where people stare longingly into each other's eyes, and we consider those who don't hold our gaze to have the worst intentions. 

Have you always been right with your assumptions? Has someone ever looked you right in the eyes and lied to you? Did you fall for it because they looked you in the eyes? 

I'm going to ask you to let those ideas go for a bit. I'm going to ask you to consider a different way of being. 

eye from on
There are those of us who very rarely lie. You'll know us because when we talk we have no filter. If we are asked an opinion, we speak it freely, without any awareness of how you might hear it or feel. When we cannot answer or don't know how, rather than lie, we often go mute. If you keep asking us questions, we're even more likely to shut down. 

We are the same people who rarely make eye contact. You think we aren't listening or paying attention. You think we're not interested. You don't trust us because we look down at the floor. If those are your beliefs, you're putting a whole lot of negative ideas onto people who, through no fault of their own, simply cannot make eye contact easily.

The sad part is because of that little detail (or at least I consider it a little detail), we are routinely excluded. We are misunderstood. The irony is that often, if I cannot look at you when you talk, it's because I really want to hear what is being said. I really want to hear every word and concentrate. It is fascinating enough to me that I want to understand. And yet, I am accused of not listening. 

Think about the discomfort you are demanding from someone else and try to have some empathy. Think about what you are really asking of someone. Think about the assumptions you make. Are you able to take a good look at yourself?

August 04, 2014

Milestones and Goals

It's been a busy summer for me personally, but other things haven't been going so badly. For example, this month my blog made it to 300 posts and over 100 000 page views! So thank you for reading and sharing this journey with us. It's an amazing milestone for me and I never expected it. All the comments, likes and shares mean so much and I hope to continue growing.

Never one to rest on my laurels, I've been reminded I should be making monthly goals again. And you know who my favorite goal-setting diva is? Leonie Dawson! I've used so many of her courses/planners/tips to kick my ass into gear and she curses like a sailor, like I do, so I just love her.
So with a bit of support from her, some other goal-setting bloggers and you, I'm going to share my goals for this month and maybe you can keep me in check! :p goals for august 2014

So, can I do all those things? Will you check up on me and make sure I'm sticking to them?

July 30, 2014

Autism Parenting Magazine Disappoints

A fellow Autistic blogger, M Kelter, alerted me last week that he is no longer contributing to Autism Parenting Magazine because this month's issue includes coverage on a "curebie" doctor. You need a subscription to see the full issue, but you can see the list of contents on their site.

(If you know me by now, you know I don't provide a voice or links to things I don't agree with, so you'll have to do your own research - besides, I think that is better than just listening to my opinion! So while I will tell my story, I will not name names. I don't believe in giving these people a forum or space on my blog.)

So this particular doctor is a doctor of engineering, but since his daughter was diagnosed as autistic, he suddenly became some sort of biological expert. He no longer gets her vaccinated (he believes vaccines caused her autism) and he believes some sort of mixture of vitamins/supplements will "cure" her.

So after M Kelter informed me of his decision to cut ties with the magazine, I tweeted them to ask why they were including an anti-vaxxer in their magazine. To my great disappointment, they never replied to me. They did speak to him and said it was a matter of a difference of opinion. I'm sorry (actually, I'm not) this particular difference of opinion not only hurts Autistics, but it hurts all of society.

I don't believe you can seriously say you are working in the best interests of autistic people while simultaneously advocating for their "cure."

Also, when "treatments" become a matter of opinion and not based on actual reputable and real scientific facts, you have a great possibility for harm. I mean, I could say I believe eating worms is more effective than brushing my teeth, but that doesn't suddenly make it right, no matter how educated I am.

Why is it ok to experiment on Autistic people? I'm pretty sure most of us these kids didn't sign up to be test subjects. Meanwhile "doctors" and parents think it's totally cool to inject their Autistic kid with B12 in their ass in the middle of the night because CURE.

Not cool, Doc, not cool. Stick to building roads or bridges or whatever kind of engineering you were actually trained for. Shame on Autism Parenting Mag for giving a voice to a quack.