apps,  autism,  family,  mindfulness,  travel

When Family Can Help You Settle Your Glitter

I feel like the summer is flying by and we’ll be starting school again in no time. I was talking to a co-worker last week and we both decided that the fourth of July is the halfway mark of summer. After that it’s just a fast downhill descent to the beginning of fall semester. That means J will be soon starting grade seven and I’m not ready for that. We’ve got so many things to learn and work on before that happens. We’ve been working on handwriting, but I want that to be at a better place before school starts. We’ve been working on reading comprehension but not as much as I’d like. I had grand plans for writing projects but we’ve only completed one. There’s still so much I want to go over with him.

With all my ambitions for academic rigor, I need to remember that living is part of learning. I keep telling myself this–that there are lessons to learn, opportunities outside of our daily drills of running, piano, handwriting, reading comprehension, and math. It’s really hard; I feel like we’ve been playing catch-up since the toddler years and to give myself permission to let that go for a few weeks is hard. There’s a lot of paranoia being a mom of an autistic child. Every wasted day is a wasted opportunity to rewire the brain. Every change in routine can undo weeks of work, so I repeat this mantra:

Living is learning too.

This week we headed to Kansas City, Missouri and Wichita, Kansas to visit our parents. We were lucky enough to have some siblings meet up with us. I brought along J’s piano books and some “homework” along the way. Sometimes we were able to fit most of his routine in, sometimes just a few things. We’re lucky that J has (mostly) gotten over his insistence on strict scheduling. He prefers to practice piano every day, but when we missed one day it wasn’t the end of the world. Some activities were great–the 10 hours at Worlds of Fun with late lunch and late dinner ended up working out just fine. The trip to the Royals stadium the next night went well initially–until J started thinking about our dog Fred and how much he missed him. By the 8th inning when J announced he was so tired and that ten o’clock was way past his bedtime. The workers of Kauffman stadium got to experience a full twelve year old autistic meltdown. It’s hard to know how to push when you’re out of town, out of your element.

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Enjoying the Royals Game (before the meltdown)


Smoke from the Canadian wildfires made it as far south as Kansas City making for a hazy night.

A few days later we headed down to Wichita and visited more family. My sister’s kids were there as well and so W had a good time playing with them. They went to the trampoline park and the Nut House. Overall the whole trip has been a good experience.

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Fun with cousins at the trampoline park.


The autism factor is interesting when you’re dealing with family. We live so far away from family that we’re lucky if we see them every six months,and within six months, J changes astronomically. Luckily, family is always willing to learn, support, and enforce the things you’re working on. I explained to everyone: “If he talks about exit signs or spelling words, just tell him that it’s inappropriate and redirect the conversation. He knows it’s inappropriate and he won’t be hurt if you call him on it. If you’re annoyed that he keeps talking on and on about the same thing, it’s okay to tell him to stop. The great thing with J is he’ll keep trying to interact with you until he figures out the right way.” That’s great thing about family is that they’ll back you up, even if they’re uncomfortable or unsure if they’re “doing it right” they’ll still try.

*Bonus points and a shout out to my sister Laura–one day J was having an anxiety attack (because he was overtired from the late fourth of July fireworks). She knew exactly what to do, she pulled him in close to her and started rubbing his back, ignoring all of his anxiety-filled gibberish, while I was able to grab the ipad for a calming app. Sometimes you feel so isolated in this autism journey, and when someone who isn’t by your side every day and doesn’t deal with autism every day is able to give you a hand, it makes all the world of difference.

*The “Settle Your Glitter” app available through iTunes is awesome. And it’s free. Which makes it even more awesome. You can check it out here:

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