What one word best describes your current state of mind? flexible
What inspired you to begin blogging? What do you blog about? Complete this sentence: “I blog because….
I blog because I want to document my #Autism child’s progress, share our experiences with other families and, hopefully, make a difference in how society thinks about #Autism! If I can share something that will help the world around us #ThinkDifferently and encourage society to come up with creative, new ways to assist children and adults with #Autism accomplish daily tasks or special projects, it is worth every bit of the time I spend on my blog!!
Tell us about your day.
Three years ago, I started out working as a substitute teacher, in a local middle school close to my child’s school, so that I could get to know the teachers in the Special Education Department. When an opportunity came up, I began accepting assignments at my child’s elementary school so that I could be assist him and his teachers if he was having a rough day. At the beginning of this school year, I was hired as a full-time as an Assistant in the Special Education Department at the local middle school where I began substitute teaching. Before we had completed the first two weeks of school, I was promoted to an Autism Classroom Assistant, where I have been working with an individual student for last several months. I’m excited to say that he is making great progress in recognition, hand-eye coordination and communicating his needs while at school! This nonverbal student has so much potential locked up inside of him and he is more intelligent than most will give him credit for. I’m enjoying working with this young man during this school year but, I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can accomplish during the next school year before he moves on to the high school!!
What current projects have you engaged and excited?
I started as the new AutismOKC support group Leader a little over a year ago and we have experienced such a tremendous growth that we have had to move to a larger meeting room! We have also had to reach out to local colleges for volunteers to help in our childcare department during our monthly meetings…a great problem to have!! I am excited to say that I am learning new things while helping others find the resources their families need! My #Autism Family Team, Nathan’s Voice, just hosted our first Christmas Store for our AutismOKC families. Because it was such a success, and we had so many volunteers donate their time during the AutismOKC Christmas Store, Nathan’s Voice has already decided to continue hosting it annually and open it up to all special needs families in our area!!
Our Parent-led AutismOKC support group is also looking at adding a college-age group for those who are graduating from high school and trying to decide if they will be entering college, taking a job that they are interested in and/or moving out of their parents’ house into their own house, apartment or group home. Some of these young individuals may consider moving in with another individual on the autism spectrum in order to split the costs of rent, utilities and food. I will be working alongside with another individual, whom can mentor these young people, to prepare these young people what is ahead of them in the way of daily tasks such as making a list for a trip to the grocery store, sorting/laundering their clothes, safely using chemicals when cleaning their clothes, dishes, kitchen and/or bathroom or more in depth renting an apartment or house, when they are ready. We hope to cover every aspect of their lives so that each of them have a better understanding of what is involved before they attempt to tackle something that they have no experience with. This will also be helpful because my own son will need to know about these things when he gets to that point in his life!
This last spring, I became the Easter Seals Oklahoma Sibshop Coordinator. Children have FUN playing games, interacting with other siblings and learning new coping strategies to help each other successfully understand, accept and adjust to the challenges of having a special needs brother or sister. This is a great opportunity for the parents to plan ahead for a babysitter for their special needs child, spend time with their spouse, grab a soda with a friend that they haven’t seen lately or just have some much needed time to themselves!
What can I do to help you?
What are 5 things/items you think moms can’t do without?
and most important of all, “Me” time!
What is the best parenting resource you would recommend? why?
I would have to say the best parenting resource is parents that have accomplished what you are currently going through. I recommend searching those parents out to be able to draw from their experiences. Verify, through references, that they are who they are. You will want to learn what worked for them and what didn’t work, keeping in mind that every child is different and unique! What might work for your child one time, might not work the next time you try it. Remember it because you may want to pull it out of your bag of tricks!!
What do you do in your downtime to relax?
I don’t have much time to relax but, I do enjoy downtime every chance I get! Besides, being a Mom to a child with #Autism, and working in a self-contained Autism classroom at my local middle school, I am getting ready to start back to college to get that teaching certificate in Special Education that I have been thinking about for the last several years. So, when I can find the time to watch a movie with my family, plan something fun for my support group or grab a soda with a friend, it will definitely be something to treasure!!
What is your favorite part about being a mom?
It is difficult to decide what one thing is my most favorite part of being a Mom! I enjoy watching my children learn what their individual strengths and weaknesses are, which builds their self-esteem and makes them more confident in daily tasks at home and school. I also love spending quality time with them, whether individually or as a family, and being able to tuck away those memories that we make together each time. There is always the moments where they need me to fix something or make them feel better about something that happened. It is important for everyone to be able to express their feelings and to share their acheivements and disappointments with family!
What is a little known fact about you?
I had an extremely difficult childhood and it wasn’t until my youngest son was diagnosed with high-functioning #Autism, or Asperger’s, that I came to realize that I probably had the same disorder and just wasn’t diagnosed as a child. It explains why social interaction with my school peers was something I had trouble mastering and why I got along with most adults better than kids my age; why my perception of everything around me was more of a turn off to the friends I had making it hard for me to keep them; and why I couldn’t shut off my brain at night so that I could sleep…the wheels in my mind were turning non-stop! I have learned so much about myself and my own experiences, motivating me to use that knowledge to help my own son and others succeed in their journey.
Blow your own horn – what do you want others to know about you?
I am a blessed Mom to have four fantastic children: a trendy 24 year old daughter, an awesome 20 year old son, a fabulous 12 year old son recently diagnosed with ADHD and an extremely intelligent 10 year old son who has #Autism! I am also “Nana” to an energetic 4 year old grandson and a sweet, pixie 2 year old granddaughter. The best part is that I have been married for almost 13 years to the most wonderful and patient man …my life couldn’t be better!!
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