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God has blessed my life in so many ways: a wonderful husband, two loving sons, a beautiful home in rural Texas, and a career as a psychology instructor and therapist. I created this blog to be a stronger advocate for the autism community and help families with children and family members on the ASD spectrum. My son, Bradley, was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum at age 3 and I strive to share our experiences to help families in similar situations, increase others' knowledge of autism, and promote acceptance of autism and those it affects.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Tying Shoes Made Easy

I cannot believe that it is July already! It seems like the summer is flying by and I have several goals I am working on with Bradley to help him get prepared for 2nd grade. One of my big goals was to teach him to tie his shoes. I tried teaching him the "bunny ears" technique, because that is how I tie shoes. However, the bunny ears were mighty elusive and just not working for Brad.

I know he wants to tie his shoes, but has some anxiety about not being able to manipulate the laces properly. Earlier this year he saw one of our friends at church with heely shoes. Bradley thought they were super cool and called them "ski shoes."

I promised Bradley that I would get him some ski shoes if he would learn to consistently tie his shoes on his own. Who wouldn't want ski shoes, right???

One day I Google searched "easy way to tie shoes" and found this video:

I watched the video and have to admit that I was a little skeptical, but I tried it out and figured it out myself pretty quickly. I modified the self talk a little to get Bradley to manipulate the strings properly. I tell him to make an "okay" hand gesture like the one below (but for both hands).
This helped him manipulate the lace between his index finger and middle finger better. Sure enough, within 5 minutes he had figured it out! We are still working on perfecting the tie, but I am so thankful I cam across this blog that promotes efficient and independent life skills for children: 

We still need to keep practicing, but I know ski shoes are in our near future!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Forever Summer

What. A. Summer. Wow!  It was a whirlwind and mostly fun, but I think we were all ready to get back to school and a routine. I am grateful for:
Cactus plants at Pedernales Falls State Park

Family hikes at Pedernales Falls State Park

River time with the family at Pedernales Falls State Park

Bradley's first concert with my dad, Grandpa Leonard, at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion. We saw The Steve Miller Band and Journey!

Football birthday parties and joining in with the kids' games

Perfect Attendance and Good Attitude Award for Kindergarten and last day of Kinder with Bradley's Principal, Mr. Floyd
Swim Lessons with the compassionate, beautiful, patient, and lovely Mrs. Freese
The Lite Footers' production of Aladdin- Bradley's first play
Swimming with at Jordan at the Light House Inn in Rockport, TX
A fun day at the Texas State Aquarium with Bradley, Max, & Aunt Jordan

The Light House Inn at Aransas Bay- very kid friendly and entertaining for both boys. Bradley loved the Texas shaped waffles he had for breakfast each morning. He told me he wanted to live at the Light House Inn forever.
Beach Day (aka Seaweed City) at Port Aransas Beach. The Ferry Ride was a big hit for both boys
Shuffle board at Mom's neighbors' Pat & Debbie's house
Max's first boat ride on Pat's boat

Brotherly love
Bradley's excellent boat driving skills

Our "hotel selfie" on our last day at the Light House Inn

Super Hero Camp at First United Methodist Church in Wharton
Fun times at Super Hero School

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Autism & Dating

I have often wondered what type of husbands and fathers my sons will become one day. I hope to prepare them to be loving, patient, and dedicated spouses and parents.

When Bradley was diagnosed with autism at age 3, I was no longer sure what his adult life would be like. With each step forward in progress he makes, I realize that Bradley can still be a wonderful husband to a woman one day. 

Not too long ago Bradley told me he wanted to marry me. After explaining that he couldn't marry me (because Daddy was married to me), Bradley later shared that he wanted to marry a woman just like me. Holding back tears of joy, we prayed together for Bradley's future wife- that God is preparing her to become a woman who knows and loves Jesus Christ as her savior, will love Bradley unconditionally, and will accept and support Bradley for who he is.

I saw this short film today and it further encouraged me that Bradley's future is full of possibility. Dating is down right difficult for everyone. I'm certain that it, like many things, will be slightly more difficult for Bradley in some ways but easier for him in different ways. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Autism Song

This morning I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw this link for a new song called "We'll Get By." After reading the short article and listening to the song, I was crying in my office. It's a beautiful song with an important perspective, the child's. I needed to hear it today. Bradley has been doing a little more "movie talking" lately than he had been doing. I've been working on a blog to explain the "movie talk" and will hopefully publish it later tonight or tomorrow. Anyway, I feel like I have been a little tough on him for something he perhaps has a hard time controlling.

Please take time to listen to this song. I will personally be writing the Johnny Orr Band to thank them for doing this. It reminded me that Bradley knows we love him and that he loves us too. He's doing a great job trying to be the best Bradley he can be.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

April is Autism Awareness Month

It has been one year since I began this blog and I cannot believe the time has gone by so quickly. With that said, SO many great things have happened for Bradley just within this year. If you are reading this, thank you for your interest, support, and advocacy for the autism community and my son, Bradley!

Bradley is doing well in school. He is reading. He is socializing more. He is talking more frequently and clearly. Bradley is truly trying to be the best Bradley he can be. This makes me incredibly happy!

April 2 was World Autism Awareness Day. Light it up Blue is a campaign to encourage individuals and business to wear blue to bring awareness to autism spectrum disorders. Our school district, Boling I.S.D, encouraged kids, staff, and teachers to wear blue on April 2 and 3rd to promote autism awareness. What a great response for the first year! As my sweet friend and fellow autism advocate Lori said, "365 days a year we celebrate Autism! Today the world celebrates with us!!" Let us continue to spread the word about autism and those it affects. Thank you for reading about, sharing, and supporting our efforts.

Bradley's Kindergarten Class, Teachers, and Staff

The Newgulf Kindergarten Kids lighting it up Blue for Autism Awareness

Iago Junior High students lighting it up blue for autism awareness and our friend, Erik

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

68 Things to Know About Autism

I just came across this article called "68 things to know about autism." I read through each one and think that I agree with all 68. The Huffington Post surveyed parents about what autism is and what it is not. Their answers are truthful, genuine, and real-life. As we continue to advocate for autism in the month of April and throughout the year, I encourage you to read these 68 "things." 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

New Prevalence Rates

Today the new prevalence rates for autism were released in an article by the CDC. Now, 1 in 68 children are on the spectrum. Advocacy, understanding, and acceptance need to increase as well. Keep educating yourself and others about autism.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Stimming Explained

One of the most noticeable symptoms/behaviors of autistic children is "stimming." This short video does a good job explaining why autistic individuals self stimulate and offers at least one idea about modifying that behavior.
Stimming Explained

Bradley has a tendency to self stimulate by flapping his arms and standing on his tippy toes when he is excited. In the past I have placed my hands on his hands to make him stop. Then I realized that he was doing this behavior because he was excited.  I want Bradley to be happy and to share his happiness, but also want to prevent any hurt feelings he may have if he is ever ridiculed for his stimming.

One day while Bradley was watching TV, flapping his hands, and standing on his tippy toes I asked, "Bradley- are you really happy right now?" He said "yes." It made me realize that I was telling him that it was wrong to celebrate his happiness. Now I try to model socially acceptable ways to display happiness: clapping, fist pump in the air, verbally expressing happiness, or thumbs up (which Bradley has really taken to). I am thankful for his happiness and love to see his adorable smile

Bradley told me he was very happy with his new Thomas the Train toy he got for his 6th birthday

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

This Christmas was THE BEST! Bradley was REALLY in the Christmas spirit and enjoyed this year so much!!! His interest in Christmas began in November when he saw a remote controlled, robot spider at Radio Shack and decided that is what he wanted for Christmas.

Bradley and Max saw Santa many times this Christmas season. Each Santa visit Bradley was joyful, polite, and eager to share his robot spider wish with Mr. Claus. Max was not as happy to see Santa...

Every Christmas movie that came on was an instant favorite. We watched Rudolph, the original animated Grinch, the Jim Carey remake of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Will Ferrell movie Elf, Frosty the Snowman, Here Comes Santa Claus, Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas (this was Bradley's favorite), and An Elf's Story (the DVD that accompanies the Elf on a Shelf book and doll). Bradley loved our elf on a shelf and named him Jimmy (very similar to the dvd's main character, Chippy). Each morning Brad enjoyed searching for where Jimmy was camped out for the day. If you haven't heard of the Elf on a Shelf, check out: http://www.elfontheshelf.com/

We had fun anticipating Christmas Day. The boys enjoyed their daily piece of chocolate from their advent calendars. We looked at Christmas lights as a family. Bradley played the role of a shepherd in our church's nativity story and really enjoyed the candle light ceremony at church.

Christmas Day finally came and the boys were very excited to see what Santa brought!

The boys were blessed to spend lots of time with family and were showered with presents