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juliehornok's blog

Will You Dance?

submitted by juliehornok

It was a beautiful cool summer evening in a Colorado ski town. The amphitheater was
strategically placed perfectly to display the majestic snow-capped mountains in the background.
We found an open spot in the grass, laid our blankets down and waited for the live band to fill the air with music.
As soon as the first chord struck, my daughter Lizzie, who has autism, sat straight up and a
gigantic smile slowly crept across her face. Before the chorus had even began, she had made her
way down to the front and placed herself right next to the stage.

Time To Let Her Fly

submitted by juliehornok

When Lizzie turned 12-years old last December, she appropriately labeled herself as a “preteen.” She was very excited about this new chapter in her life and began craving independence like mad. No longer was I allowed come in when taking her to gymnastics. Instead, I was only permitted a quick drop off at the front door. When I asked her to do simple tasks such as clear her dish to the counter, she began to groan and say, ”Moooooooooom!” in protest, as if she was offended that I would even ask her. I also noticed that asking a preteen to take something up the stairs when she was already on her way up was simply beneath her. How could she bend down to pick up something that was hers?

Autism in a Nutshell

submitted by juliehornok

Like most afternoons, Lizzie and I decided to take a walk to the park across the street from our house. Unlike most afternoons, there was a large family barbeque going on in all areas of the park. There were little kids running around, chasing each other and flying kites. The older kids were playing basketball, and all the adults were congregated in the center of the park, sitting in folding chairs near the tables of food.
I thought maybe the crowd would be too much for Lizzie, but instead she walked right up to the adults and stood there observing the scene. I was so excited that she seemed interested in the people. They began talking to her, “Hi there. What is your name?” No response from Lizzie….of course. “Wow. You sure are cute. You have the most beautiful brown eyes. How old are you?” they continued with their questions. I began answering for her since I knew she would not. As we chatted for awhile longer, Lizzie walked amongst their smiling, happy faces and seemed to be making herself quite at home. She even hopped up on one of the empty chairs and began happily swinging her feet while scripting one of her favorite movies.

The Monsters Down the Street

submitted by juliehornok

Here's to all the amazing siblings in our children's lives! They don't get enough credit for their kindness, compassion, and ability to think on their toes when a dangerous situation arises with their brother or sister with autism. I am so proud of my son Andrew, and here is just one reason why:
It was a normal day like any other day. The skies were blue, the weather was pleasant, and there
was a slightly cool breeze that made me vacillate if I should run in and grab jackets for the kids.
My oldest son, Andrew, was eight years old, and my daughter with autism, Lizzie, was six.
Andrew and Lizzie rode their scooters down the street, just out of my eye sight. At the exact
same crack in the sidewalk, Lizzie would turn around, and they would scooter back to me.

Can Essential Oils help Autism?

submitted by juliehornok

Essential Oils have been getting a lot of buzz lately. Every time a turn around, I seem to hear someone saying “there’s an oil for that!” I was extremely skeptical at first, but I won’t lie, now I am on board the oil train full speed.
I first tried an essential oil called Thieves that is good for immune system support. My youngest son came home for school with that glassy look in his eyes and lethargic body language that told me I was going to have to cancel my whole day tomorrow. As an experiment, I put some Thieves on his feet before bed and diffused it in his room over night. He jumped right out of bed the next morning good as new!
I was a little shocked at how quickly he was feeling better and decided to start trying the essential oils for issues I was having with my daughter with autism. I couldn’t believe the difference the oils made in her! She started asking for her oils at night because they helped her fall sleep and stay asleep, and she asked for her “brain oil” in the morning because the oils made her “fuzzy brain” go away. When she was having a huge amount of anxiety due to state testing at school, essential oils helped her keep her emotions under control.
Here are a eleven essential oils we have found very beneficial in our home.

5 Ideas for Cultivating Friendships

submitted by juliehornok

I am a little nervous to write this because I don’t want to jinx the good thing we have going. I am certainly not going to claim that I am even close to having it all figured out. But, as I drove my daughter with autism to SIX birthday and 5th grade graduation parties on the last week of school, I realized that maybe there are some ideas to share that may help others.
Formula for the Perfect Friendship:
Find someone you have something in common with + smile and look them in the eye + show a little kindness = Lifelong BFF

NOT!!! Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a simple formula to cultivate friendships?! Too bad friendships are so much more complex. Along with the simple give and take skills, there are expectations, past experiences and so many different personalities to consider. It is so complex that when you try to break it down to teach a child with autism about friendship, it seems almost impossible.
We all know by now that life is not even close to being fair. So, it won’t come as a surprise to you, as the parent of a child with autism, that you are going to have to once again do all the work. But, when you sneak around the corner and hear your child giggling and conversing with another peer, it is worth all the blood, sweat and tears you put into it. Here are 5 ideas that we have found to be helpful in cultivating and keeping my daughter’s friendships. Hopefully, they will work for you too.

You Know You Have a Child with Autism When....

submitted by juliehornok

I don’t know about you, but the end of the school year is so stressful! All this testing is killing me…..state tests, unit tests, quarterly assessments and 3-year assessments have all seemed to fall within the same month! If we aren’t studying for a test, we are preparing mentally for a test. I feel like every night is a night that we are told to get to bed on time to get “good rest” and every morning is a morning we must eat a “healthy breakfast”.

Guest Blog: What Are My Plans?

submitted by juliehornok

A few months ago, the National Autism Association of North Texas was fortunate enough to bring in Kirk Smith for our Autism Moms' Event at the Improv Comedy Club. He talked about life with autism in a very real way, while making us laugh until tears were streaming down our faces! I think you will enjoy this guest blog from this very talented, very funny Warrior Dad.
What Are My Plans?
By: Kirk Smith
My son’s name is JJ. He is big boy. I am taller than my son but I am built like a modern day Ichabod Crane. I am 6’2”, a lanky 195 pounds…fully clothed. JJ is 6 foot 210lb, in his preferred state… naked.

Baby Steps Can Lead to Giant Leaps

submitted by juliehornok

There he was for all to see in his flashy bright red Corvette convertible with a giant smile on his face! He looked to be about 80-years old and was slowly creeping along at about 20 miles per hour in the right lane. I couldn’t help but smile as I saw the joy on his face and imagined what events had taken place in his life that led him to be driving that Corvette on this bright and sunny day.
Maybe he had been a child of the Depression, scrounging for food and saving every dime. Or maybe he had been a young, bright-eyed, blue-collared worker, living paycheck-to-paycheck, whose dream was to save enough money to buy a Corvette. Or maybe he decided to blow his kids’ inheritance on a sports car. Regardless, he had accomplished his goal!
Kids with autism are a lot like the old man in the red Corvette. Our kids can do anything the average person can do, it just takes longer. Sometimes a lot longer....

GUEST BLOG: Top Ten Sensory Toys

submitted by juliehornok

Shopping for Christmas for kids with autism is tough. I remember hearing all of the moms talk about buying their little girls Barbies , baby dolls and all sorts of fun toys for Christmas. Meanwhile, my daughter, Lizzie, who had no ability to do pretend play, couldn’t even stand to look at toys that had eyes. If I handed her a doll or stuffed animal, she would scream and adamantly throw it to the ground. But still, the Christmas spirit in me wanted desperately to buy her something new that she would love. I had to believe that the Christmas magic was still possible with her, but I just didn’t know where to go and what to buy for her.
This year, I asked Stacy, from Stacy’s Sensory Solutions, if she would be willing to provide our families with a list of sensory items that our kids would love for Christmas. I hope this helps simplify your shopping this year!

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