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Asperger’s Syndrome

Rumor Has It...

submitted by lawilcox

When it comes to rumors, I typically ignore them. But, last week a piece of “news” (if you can call it that) popped up in one of my Google Alerts and caught my attention. The "news" involved information about a high-profile actress, her daughter and the word “autism.” I was intrigued enough to click and read more.


Some People…

submitted by lawilcox

Over the last several weeks, I’ve been making some very basic observations about human nature in regard to patience and kindness. I guess that sometimes I get too busy or too bogged down with life to really spend time noticing or thinking about other people’s behaviors, because we have enough “behavior” on our plates to deal with any given day, but lately I’ve been noticing that some people are patient and kind and some are NOT – at least they are not with Ethan.


Do You Know Why I Love You So Much?

submitted by lawilcox

Last week Julie Hornok wrote a touching, heartfelt post HERE about children with autism speaking the words “I love you” to their mothers. I deeply appreciate her words as they very much mirror how I feel and reading them made certain sentiments Ethan proclaimed in the last week, ever so much sweeter in my eyes.
Over the long (President’s Day) weekend, twice Ethan said words that warmed my heart and gave me the motivation to keep on keepin’ on with all that we’re doing.
First, Ethan was avoiding doing what I had asked him to do, focusing instead on something more appealing…either LEGOs or a book, I can’t exactly recall. After redirecting and reminding him several times, when I was about to get more firm, Ethan did what I had been asking and then came over to give me a big hug. With the hug, came these words, “Mom, do you know why I love you so much? Because you’re so kind and calm.” Gulp.


Guest Blog – Professional Acting with Asperger’s Syndrome: Part 4

submitted by lawilcox

Last fall, my friend Jennifer Dodson started a fantastic series for us about how acting and drama have positively influenced her son with Asperger’s Syndrome. This final entry is packed with great information about programs and even a book recommendation for utilizing drama and acting in the lives of children with autism. If you missed the first few posts in the series, I encourage you to read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 as well. My sincere thanks, again, to Jennifer for taking the time and effort to pen this encouraging and informative series for us! Enjoy, ~Leigh
Professional Acting with Asperger’s Syndrome: Part 4
By Jennifer Dodson
The journey for our son who is a professional actor with Asperger Syndrome has been very rewarding. We have watched our son's social skills blossom and his self-confidence soar. For our son, acting has opened up his world in ways we didn't know were possible.


My Son has Asperger’s Syndrome – A Letter to Classmates’ Parents

submitted by lawilcox

Today I was welcomed into my son’s 3rd grade class (in public school) to read a picture book called “Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome” (by van Niekerk and Venter) and share some important information with the students. My husband and I requested this opportunity about a month ago because Ethan has been having some pretty huge challenges with classmates regarding friendship and social issues and we want to do everything possible to give Ethan (and his classmates) the tools they need to be successful in working through these complications. We are very open with Ethan about his diagnosis and the reason for many of his struggles and as a result he is also very open with others in his life so we felt this was a natural next step. During the pre-planning meeting with school staff held to discuss today’s visit, I was also told that we could send a letter home with the kids to help inform parents! I’ve been really excited as I have prepared for this opportunity and I absolutely loved spending 20 minutes with the children today.
For reasons not conveyed to me, the school staff chose not to send my full letter home with the students and decided instead to send an abbreviated version. While the abbreviated version listed some important information (and is of course a good start – for which I am appreciative), it didn’t convey a large portion of what we felt was significantly important...
With that stated, I hope that my letter in its entirety might help some of our readers here. It is printed below.


When It Rains, It Pours

submitted by lawilcox

Such a cliché – “When it rains, it pours!” But, sometimes there is no better way to describe life.
We’ve had a lot going on lately and have had a lot of stress in our lives as a result. For the most part I’m good with stress; I can typically roll with the punches, maintain a positive attitude and keep marching forward - usually with a smile. The bottom line is that I know everything is cyclical and that this, too, shall pass. In the past month, though, amidst the rain, it began to pour in the Wilcox household and instead of singing and dancing in the rain – I’m admittedly sloshing a bit, mindfully trying to hum my way through it.
Most impactful, my mother-in-law passed away two days after Christmas. While it wasn’t a total surprise as we watched her health slowly decline over the past few years, it wasn’t necessarily “expected” either and it has been devastating on many levels.


Guest Blog – Touch, See, Feel, Move

submitted by lawilcox

This information-packed guest blog is the second in a series from my friend and colleague Dan E. Burns. Dan is absolutely passionate about asking tough questions and finding answers related to young adults living with autism and their families. Dan’s last guest post Funding Autism for Life addressed options families have for supporting and caring for individuals with autism when they age out of public school. This excellent post from Dan explores The Brookwood Community, the brain in relation to movement and exercise and much, much more. Enjoy!
Touch, See, Feel, Move: The Brookwood Community in Texas and the Autism Epidemic
By Dan E. Burns
“We don’t just believe in miracles,” my guide told me, “we rely on them.” White-haired and in her eighties now, striding ahead of me cell phone in hand, my guide, called “Me-Maw” by some of the residents who to flock around her, prefers to remain anonymous. “I didn’t build this wonderful place,” she explained. “It’s God’s doing.”
She opened door after door as we made our way through clusters of busy citizens in the ceramic workshops, gym, natatorium, and clinic to a fine, on-campus restaurant near the gift shop and gardens of The Brookwood Community, a 495-acre residential/educational village designed to enhance the lives of adults with disabilities.


Guest Blog – Team Autism

submitted by juliehornok

Team Autism
By Julie Hornok
Being extremely independent has always been one of my best traits, and yet at the same time, one of my worst traits. In my childhood, I tried every type of activity imaginable, but I never found a team that was worth staying on.
I tried soccer, but the thought of getting kicked in the shin wasn’t worth the lack of thrill I felt when someone else kicked a ball through a goal. I tried softball, but somehow standing in the outfield and ending up covered in fire ants took away any joy away from the fact that one of my teammates could slide into home plate. Acting was worth a try, but it turned out to be quite annoying when I said my one line, “I like porridge too,” and then had to sit around watching others talk for another hour and a half. Of course, drill team was sometimes fun, but even being with my friends at something they were good at wasn’t worth listening to the screechy voice of the drill team instructor.
Even with all my childhood lack of interest, I somehow grew up with a strong “can do” attitude. I was a firm believer that with enough will power and hard work, I could overcome anything. The power of positive thinking could and would beat the odds of whatever was put in front of me. And then I met Autism.


Favorite Posts of 2011 – One More Step, by Kent Potter

submitted by lawilcox

As we prepare to say goodbye to 2011 this week, we at AutismSpot wanted to re-share a few of our favorite blog posts from the year as a means of recollection. As I carefully sifted through AutismSpot’s Founder – Kent Potter’s – posts, I was touched again by so many of his pieces. Kent has a beautiful way with words and often tackles subjects regarding autism and Asperger’s Syndrome which beg to be addressed, but he does it with candid grace. Kent and Angie Potter (and their amazing family) inspire me in many ways but I can never thank them enough for sharing their insights (and those of others) with everyone at AutismSpot over the years. I am so thankful to call Kent both colleague and friend. It is my pleasure to repost Kent Potter’s post entitled “One More Step” which originally ran back in September. Thanks for the powerful reminder and lovely illustration that small wins count BIG, Kent! I couldn’t agree more.


Guest Blog – The Magic of Christmas and Failed Expectations

submitted by juliehornok

The Magic of Christmas and Failed Expectations
By Julie Hornok
Christmas is supposed to be magical. When we are little, we spend hours dreaming about the wonderful gifts waiting for us on Christmas morning. Our wish list is long, and our hopes are high. We even convince ourselves that an old man with a big fat belly flies around and gives every good little boy and girl in the whole world presents all in one night. We can’t sleep the night before, and we are giddy with anticipation for the morning to come!
Somehow as we get older the magic in life seems to slowly disappear. We become so focused on fixing our children with autism that we don’t have the time or energy to even think about magic. Magic to us is finding the money to pay for a new food dehydrator for a new diet for our kids or pencil grips to help our child’s handwriting!
So, how does someone find the magic in their adult life? Some say we re-live it through our children. But what if my child with autism has no ability to understand all the things I love about Christmas? What if she flat-out refuses to participate in all the traditions that bring me joy?


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