At Home Together

This stay-at-home thing is really putting our new house to the test. We had no idea when we moved in here a year ago how much we would be appreciating the extra space. We can be at home together. All the time. And not kill each other (so far).
My son and I have developed a fairly decent weekday schedule. We toggle between active engagement on various things and downtime (for him) so that I can work or find other creative ways to ignore my still lengthy “to do” lists.
Since we’ve been gifted more time at home together, my son is making steady progress on learning how to do his household chores. Enough so that I’m already scheming which things I could move from my list to his. 
He even expressed an interest in my sewing machine, and actually learned how to stitch a few runs for some cloth masks – perhaps a new skill in the making? (The sewing part, not the mask-wearing part. That won’t be sustainable for him, so we’ll be staying isolated a lot longer than most, I’m afraid.)

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Foraging for Comfort

It’s been over two weeks since my son has seen anyone in person besides his parents.
Well, we’ve waved to a few neighbors on walks around our block, so at least he’s had a glimpse that the world still exists. 
But he hasn’t seen “his” world in awhile. 
I’m seeing a bit more stress in his eyes, as the novelty of a “vacation at home” with mom and dad is starting to wear off.
But I think this will be our new reality for a while longer.
I’ve tried to explain to him what’s going on, using some “social stories” like this one and offering some simple language like “We have to stay home to stay safe. People are getting sick and we want to stay well. We are safe at home.”
We don’t have our regular supports of respite providers and day program and therapies and recreational activities. It feels strange and worrisome—I want our “team” to be safe in their homes, but to also have income. We are trying out some video conferencing sessions for some of his therapies and adapted recreation, and that looks promising. At least to give this kid something to do, connect with some familiar faces, and give these valuable people a way to have an income from a distance. Read More

Golden Girls

Make new friends
But keep the old
One is silver
And the other’s gold.
My Facebook newsfeed is filled with stories from autism parents, autistic writers, special need groups, agencies, and advocates. These people are my tribe, and it helps to have other people nearby, physically or virtually, who “get it.”
But there are others who get me in a way that can’t quite be matched by those I’ve connected with because of a diagnosis.
Special needs moms sometimes lament that they find it hard to keep up friendships with their typical-parent friends because the trajectory of their kids’ lives are so different. I also find that to be true. But friends outside of that “special needs” bubble, if you can keep them, are truly gold.
I cherish my old friends. That’s not a comment on your age, ladies, it’s just you were here long before the others. I’ve known my girls since as early as 3rd grade. That’s old school.

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In Search of a Calmer Mind

Ever since I stumbled onto the idea of meditation in a late night Google session almost two years ago, I’ve been reading and listening to meditation teachers, practicing being “mindful” in my daily life, and trying to carve out time each day to quiet my brain. 

It is a challenging practice—my mind is nuts—but the more I realize how truly difficult it is to do a simple “pay attention to your breath” meditation, the more I need it. Now that I’ve seen how often my mind wanders away from the present moment and gets caught up in worst-case scenarios and false beliefs and fears, I wish for peace inside my head.

It’s even more critical now, in this time of worldwide unease, to pay attention to things I can do to find calm. I imagine some of you may feel the same.

Here are some nuggets that I am learning:

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