So right now my daughter is struggling with having a brother who is autistic and I understand. In our family, like no doubt most families with someone who is autistic, it can be quite a struggle.

Tomorrow however isn’t one of those days because tomorrow I will just have my son. The reason? He want’s to wrap his sister’s Christmas gift, the one that I got her. He’s actually already wrapped the one he got her.

In addition to that, we will hang out a bit and maybe do something, just the two of us. For I know that beneath that autism is a young man who is very sweet. In fact, last week he bought a Christmas gift for a good friend of mine. He didn’t have to buy her a gift, he just wanted to. The thing is, she lives half way around the world.

She thought so much of it, she bought him a gift. Granted, I ended up getting it and will give it to him from her. Amazing how he can be so sweet to someone he’s never even met. It reminds me of the age old question, why can’t we all just get along? Or maybe we just all need to be a little sweeter.



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The next stage

So a week ago my son turned eighteen. This past Saturday he graduated from high school. I have to say, that while I am extremely proud of him, it hit me pretty hard.

I shed a few tears as I sat there, then a few more as I shared the story with friends & family and today, I shed quite a few more when I red this article entitled “Struggling to Find My Role After Placing my Son with Autism in Residential Care” by Kristen Scott over at The Mighty.

While it’s not my story, it’s perhaps a glimpse into the next stage of my relationship with my son. Fortunately I still have a little while before we get there.



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Friday Night Lights

It’s always good to see when something good happens close to home. This past Friday night, before the high school football game, there was another game. According to the article:

This first event, called Friday Night Lights, brought five dozen students together. Those with disabilities and their siblings paired up with football players and cheerleaders for a game of flag football.

Okay, the last few words were added by me but, the idea and plan of action were all theirs. I only wish my son and I could have gone. Even those he’s a senior, it’s been with his help that we’ve had the opportunity to help educate the school district. One small step at a time.

The article is entitled “Friday Night Lights now means something more at Kirkwood High” by over at the . Friday nights will never be the same here in Kirkwood.



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Letter from dad

I read this article at work earlier today, a letter that for any parent of a child who is autistic, I’m sure hit close to home.  It wasn’t a letter that necessarily stuck an emotional cord with me, perhaps because for me I’ve been on this path for a while now and I’ve made that same stop but, when I read the part where he talks about ‘Holland’, it took me back to  that place once again:

I’m sure that if Christopher were typical (that’s the word we use instead of “normal” in our world of ‘Holland’, for our developmentally delayed children), I would have not had this conversation with him either.

It was a well-written letter that perhaps begs of us to all do that little thing like sitting down next to someone who is by themselves or just say hi! The reality is, we’re all on our own path but for any of us to make it, we need help. As Mr. Cornelius said:

there’s no easy answer for this…at the end of the day it comes down to compassion, empathy and understanding.

I almost forgot, the article/letter is entitled “This Dad’s Heartbreaking Realization That His Son With Autism Has No Friends over at Pop Sugar and continues on at Facebook.

Sweet dreams!


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Senior pictures

Today I share not an article but, a moment. After talking with the mom of my son’s best friend a few weeks ago, I decided to make an appointment for my son to get his senior picture this year and I have to say, it was one of my best decisions.

Yesterday I got the chance to be a parent to a high school senior, nothing more and while he kept saying he didn’t want to do it, he did a fantastic job. He did everything the photographer asked me to do. He was great.

When we were done, we had to wait a few minutes to see the proofs and boy were they worth it. After he chose the one to use for the yearbook, we went through the rest of them and he chose one additional one, which I have to say was perhaps his best.

It was the one with him in a cap and gown holding his diploma. He looked great and his smile was perfect. I was so proud of him. In fact, this morning on the way to work as I was listening to a song that makes me think about my dad (who passed away 22 years ago last month), I had a tear in my eye. Dad would have been so proud of both of us.



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ABLE Act & life insurance

This Thursday I will find out all that I ever wanted to know on the ABLE Act in the state of Missouri. This week, I started asking questions about what life insurance would work best for me and my family.

In turn, I had the good fortune yesterday to find out from a co-worker that where I work (the federal government) will be offering life insurance to families for the first time since I started working there in 2005.

Along with that, I’ve been e-mailing the author of F.A.M.I.L.Y. Autism Guide: Your Financial Blueprint for Autism, Mr. Greg Zibricky, to discuss my options for life insurance. Both just  pieces to the puzzle. All in all, it’s been a good week.



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Just like I talked about in the importance of family and friends and the role they play, the parents play an even greater role. So great in fact, that this article really says it all.

It’s entitle “Doctors Listen Up! Parents Can Spot Autism Long Before Diagnosis” over at Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks called in one of it’s top ten stories this year. So if you have any doubt, do what I’ve always done, go with your gut. After all, no one knows your child better than you.



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Friends (and family)

Unfortunately it’s taken me a long time to learn that the most important things in life are family and friends. I think for most people that just comes with age. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Talking to friends, I continue to be amazed at how life can give you what you need when your eyes are open to it.

Since that conversation, I’ve gone back to my reading to prepare for my son’s future and I must admit, it feels much easier now. I feel like I have a map as to where I am going and some of the stops along the way.

When you have a child with special abilities, there is  a community out there, you just need to connect. As I said, you just need to keep your eyes open but equally important, start a conversation.

As someone who is an introvert, that is one of the hardest things for me to do but when it comes to my son, sometimes I feel like it’s the easiest thing to do. That community is so open, it’s just getting your courage up to ask. After all, we’re really one big family.



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Talking to friends

I was talking to someone who I’ve talked to before and who like me, has a son with special abilities. Now mind you, I was out with my daughter looking to pick up a Christmas gift for her other brother, so I was just there looking to buy the gift.

Little did I know I would receive a gift as well. We were talking about our kids when the topic of guardianship came up. Now while I’ve gone to workshops and have been doing some reading about them as of late, I was still unsure of what to do for my son. After our conversation however, I think I now have a much better idea.

We also talked about what are called Sheltered Workshops. These are an employment option for our kids, once they age-out of of their school. Like guardianship, between what I learned from our conversation and an article I just happen to come across on shelter workshops at work the next day,  I have a much better idea about what to do.

I’m one of those people that believes sometimes things happen for a reason. You just have to keep your eyes open when they do.



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This is a that I’ve heard many times before and it’s still just as heartbreaking. In fact, there’s a link to a birthday party invite (near the end of the story) that’s a story we need to hear more often. Kids and parents willing to step up and make a difference.

The article is over at Yahoo! and is entitled “7-Year-Old Girl With Autism Writes Heartbreaking Friend Wish List” by By Bethany Ramos. The birthday party article is entitled “The First Time My Son With Autism Got a Birthday Invite I Didn’t Have to Decline” by over at The Mighty. The power of the story is alive and well.



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