~Pablo Picasso

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew By Ellen Notbohm

Some days it seems the only predictable thing about it is the unpredictability. The only consistent attribute -- the inconsistency. There is little argument on any level but that autism is baffling, even to those who spend their lives around it. The child who lives with autism may look "normal" but his behavior can be perplexing and downright difficult.

Autism was once thought an "incurable" disorder, but that notion is crumbling in the face knowledge and understanding that is increasing even as you read this. Every day, individuals with autism are showing us that they can overcome, compensate for and otherwise manage many of autism's most challenging characteristics. Equipping those around our children with simple understanding of autism's most basic elements has a tremendous impact on their ability to journey towards productive, independent adulthood.

Autism is an extremely complex disorder but for purposes of this one article, we can distill its myriad characteristics into four fundamental areas: sensory processing challenges, speech/language delays and impairments, the elusive social interaction skills and whole child/self-esteem issues. And though these four elements may be common to many children, keep front-of-mind the fact that autism is a spectrum disorder: no two (or ten or twenty) children with autism will be completely alike. Every child will be at a different point on the spectrum. And, just as importantly – every parent, teacher and caregiver will be at a different point on the spectrum. Child or adult, each will have a unique set of needs.

Here are ten things every child with autism wishes you knew:

1. I am first and foremost a child. I have autism. I am not primarily "autistic." My autism is only one aspect of my total character. It does not define me as a person. Are you a person with thoughts, feelings and many talents, or are you just fat (overweight), myopic (wear glasses) or klutzy (uncoordinated, not good at sports)? Those may be things that I see first when I meet you, but they are not necessarily what you are all about.

As an adult, you have some control over how you define yourself. If you want to single out a single characteristic, you can make that known. As a child, I am still unfolding. Neither you nor I yet know what I may be capable of. Defining me by one characteristic runs the danger of setting up an expectation that may be too low. And if I get a sense that you don't think I "can do it," my natural response will be: Why try?

2. My sensory perceptions are disordered. Sensory integration may be the most difficult aspect of autism to understand, but it is arguably the most critical. It his means that the ordinary sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches of everyday that you may not even notice can be downright painful for me. The very environment in which I have to live often seems hostile. I may appear withdrawn or belligerent to you but I am really just trying to defend myself. Here is why a "simple" trip to the grocery store may be hell for me:

My hearing may be hyper-acute. Dozens of people are talking at once. The loudspeaker booms today's special. Musak whines from the sound system. Cash registers beep and cough, a coffee grinder is chugging. The meat cutter screeches, babies wail, carts creak, the fluorescent lighting hums. My brain can't filter all the input and I'm in overload!

My sense of smell may be highly sensitive. The fish at the meat counter isn't quite fresh, the guy standing next to us hasn't showered today, the deli is handing out sausage samples, the baby in line ahead of us has a poopy diaper, they're mopping up pickles on aisle 3 with ammonia….I can't sort it all out. I am dangerously nauseated.

Because I am visually oriented (see more on this below), this may be my first sense to become overstimulated. The fluorescent light is not only too bright, it buzzes and hums. The room seems to pulsate and it hurts my eyes. The pulsating light bounces off everything and distorts what I am seeing -- the space seems to be constantly changing. There's glare from windows, too many items for me to be able to focus (I may compensate with "tunnel vision"), moving fans on the ceiling, so many bodies in constant motion. All this affects my vestibular and proprioceptive senses, and now I can't even tell where my body is in space.

3. Please remember to distinguish between won't (I choose not to) and can't (I am not able to). Receptive and expressive language and vocabulary can be major challenges for me. It isn't that I don't listen to instructions. It's that I can't understand you. When you call to me from across the room, this is what I hear: "*&^%$#@, Billy. #$%…" Instead, come speak directly to me in plain words: "Please put your book in your desk, Billy. It's time to go to lunch." This tells me what you want me to do and what is going to happen next. Now it is much easier for me to comply.

4. I am a concrete thinker. This means I interpret language very literally. It's very confusing for me when you say, "Hold your horses, cowboy!" when what you really mean is "Please stop running." Don't tell me something is a "piece of cake" when there is no dessert in sight and what you really mean is "this will be easy for you to do." When you say "Jamie really burned up the track," I see a kid playing with matches. Please just tell me "Jamie ran very fast."

Idioms, puns, nuances, double entendres, inference, metaphors, allusions and sarcasm are lost on me.

5. Please be patient with my limited vocabulary. It's hard for me to tell you what I need when I don't know the words to describe my feelings. I may be hungry, frustrated, frightened or confused but right now those words are beyond my ability to express. Be alert for body language, withdrawal, agitation or other signs that something is wrong.

Or, there's a flip side to this: I may sound like a "little professor" or movie star, rattling off words or whole scripts well beyond my developmental age. These are messages I have memorized from the world around me to compensate for my language deficits because I know I am expected to respond when spoken to. They may come from books, TV, the speech of other people. It is called "echolalia." I don't necessarily understand the context or the terminology I'm using. I just know that it gets me off the hook for coming up with a reply.

6. Because language is so difficult for me, I am very visually oriented. Please show me how to do something rather than just telling me. And please be prepared to show me many times. Lots of consistent repetition helps me learn.

A visual schedule is extremely helpful as I move through my day. Like your PDA or day-timer, it relieves me of the stress of having to remember what comes next, makes for smooth transition between activities, helps me manage my time and meet your expectations.

I won't lose the need for a visual schedule as I get older, but my "level of representation" may change. Before I can read, I need a visual schedule with photographs or simple drawings. As I get older, a combination of words and pictures may work, and later still, just words.

7. Please focus and build on what I can do rather than what I can't do. Like any other human, I can't learn in an environment where I'm constantly made to feel that I'm not good enough and that I need "fixing." Trying anything new when I am almost sure to be met with criticism, however "constructive," becomes something to be avoided. Look for my strengths and you will find them. There is more than one "right" way to do most things.

8. Please help me with social interactions. It may look like I don't want to play with the other kids on the playground, but sometimes it's just that I simply do not know how to start a conversation or enter a play situation. If you can encourage other children to invite me to join them at kickball or shooting baskets, it may be that I'm delighted to be included.

I do best in structured play activities that have a clear beginning and end. I don't know how to "read" facial expressions, body language or the emotions of others, so I appreciate ongoing coaching in proper social responses. For example, if I laugh when Emily falls off the slide, it's not that I think it's funny. It's that I don't know the proper response. Teach me to say "Are you OK?"

9. Try to identify what triggers my meltdowns. Meltdowns, blow-ups, tantrums or whatever you want to call them are even more horrid for me than they are for you. They occur because one or more of my senses has gone into overload. If you can figure out why my meltdowns occur, they can be prevented. Keep a log noting times, settings, people, activities. A pattern may emerge.

Try to remember that all behavior is a form of communication. It tells you, when my words cannot, how I perceive something that is happening in my environment.

Parents, keep in mind as well: persistent behavior may have an underlying medical cause. Food allergies and sensitivities, sleep disorders and gastrointestinal problems can all have profound effects on behavior.

10. Love me unconditionally. Banish thoughts like, "If he would just……" and "Why can't she….." You did not fulfill every last expectation your parents had for you and you wouldn't like being constantly reminded of it. I did not choose to have autism. But remember that it is happening to me, not you. Without your support, my chances of successful, self-reliant adulthood are slim. With your support and guidance, the possibilities are broader than you might think. I promise you – I am worth it.

And finally, three words: Patience. Patience. Patience. Work to view my autism as a different ability rather than a disability. Look past what you may see as limitations and see the gifts autism has given me. It may be true that I'm not good at eye contact or conversation, but have you noticed that I don't lie, cheat at games, tattle on my classmates or pass judgment on other people? Also true that I probably won't be the next Michael Jordan. But with my attention to fine detail and capacity for extraordinary focus, I might be the next Einstein. Or Mozart. Or Van Gogh.

They may have had autism too.

The answer to Alzheimer's, the enigma of extraterrestrial life -- what future achievements from today's children with autism, children like me, lie ahead?

All that I might become won't happen without you as my foundation. Be my advocate, be my friend, and we'll see just how far I can go.

Three-time ForeWord Book of the Year finalist Ellen Notbohm is author of Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew and three other award-winning books on autism. She is a columnist for Autism Asperger's Digest and Children's Voice and a contributor to numerous publications and websites around the world. For reprint permission, book excerpts or to explore Ellen's work, please visit www.ellennotbohm.com .

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Green Tea For The Body and Soul

Green Tea
 Hot or cold....love it!

Here's an inexpensive way to use Green Tea for your body on the outside too. After steeping the tea bag in a cup of hot water for your tea, squeeze out the water and gently rub on your face as you would a cleansing cloth. Being careful not to break open the bag unless you want a bunch of green tea bits stuck to your face.

After you use it as a facial scrub open the tea bag and empty the green tea bits onto a plate, let dry in the sun and scoop into a glass jar. Use the dried green tea leaf bits in any soap or recipe for an all over body exfoliator.

Having to live frugally makes for creativity:)

P.S. I have read using tea bags on your skin can start to leave a sun kissed glow from the tea stain. That's a healthy alternative. Can't hurt to try, right?

Monday, October 15, 2012

20 Year Old Family Recipe~Yummy Pumpkin Cookies

This recipe has been in our family for 20 years. Handed down from a quaint family pumpkin patch in Oregon. After going back year after year it closed. Sad day. We will always have this recipe to remind us of that great little pumpkin patch.

We have made these cookies so, so, so many times the actual paper recipe is worse for it's wear but I suppose one of these days I will transfer it to the computer so I will have it to hand down for years as well. You will love them! They are soft and fluffy. Enjoy.

NOTE: These can easily be made into All Natural or Organic. You can find Organic ingredients pretty much anywhere now but I frequent Fred Meyer (Kroger), Whole Foods and Trader Joes. Also, you can cook your own baking pumpkins, puree and add to your recipe in place of canned versions.

Yummy Pumpkin Cookies
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup cooked pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Optional- 1 cup raisens, 1 cup cranberries, 1 cup of walnuts, or 1 cup of chocolate chips♥

Cream butter or margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, pumpkin and vanilla. Mix well then add the dry ingredients. Mix well then add your optional ingredients (raisens, cranberries, walnuts or chocolate chips) if you prefer.
Drop by teaspoon onto a well greased cookie sheet or non stick one. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned and insides are done. Remove from the cookie sheet while they are still warm, cool. Makes about 6 dozen depending on how big and fluffy you want these delicious cookies to be.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Love Vintage Pyrex!!

I can't believe I haven't posted in over a year! Life sure does get busy, doesn't it?:)
On to my blog post......Vintage, Vintage, Vintage, Vintage Pyrex to be exact! It's a hard thing for me......to not keep all the Vintage Pyrex I find. If I buy 2 I will give up 1. But, if I only find 1 of these beauties....yes, I will keep it all for myself. Do you have something you love to collect?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What Are Your Thanksgiving Day Memories?

I saw a post on Etsy about Thanksgiving Day meals gone wrong and I immediately started thinking about Thanksgiving's Past. Ahhh....Good times, good times. I can't think of any really except the time I cooked the turkey upside down and didn't notice it until I put it on the table and thought "Wow! this turkey doesn't have much meat on it and it looks kind of funny." Thanksgiving gets hidden in a flash as the upcoming Christmas season barrels it's way through. I will always remember though waking up on Thanksgiving to the sound of the Thankgiving Day Parade and the smell of sauteed mushrooms permeating up through the heater vents (mind you I despise mushrooms and the thought of these along with the giblets and turkey neck added to the stuffing made my head spin).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Basic Thanksgiving Recipes by Jill Cooper

For those of you just need just the basic side dishes and desserts for your Thanksgiving dinner, here they all are in one spot:

Mashed Potatoes
5 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk

In a large saucepan, place potatoes and enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender (about 10-15 minutes depending on your altitude). Drain. Transfer potatoes to a mixing bowl and mash. I use a hand mixer for this but you can use a potato masher. Add butter, milk, sugar and salt. Beat until smooth. Serves 5-6.

Sweet Potato Casserole
3 cups sweet potatoes, mashed
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla

1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup butter, melted

Mix all the ingredients and put in a buttered 9x9 casserole dish. Sprinkle on topping. Bake uncovered at 350° for 20 minutes. This is a great dish for holiday dinners and potlucks because it can be made the day before and then baked the next day. Serves 8-9.

Grandma Tatum's Stuffing
I have hesitated about including our stuffing recipe because it is one of those recipes where it is hard to give exact measurements. This year, I have finally decided to try. You can adjust any of these ingredients to suit your taste and if you want, you can add different things to the dish. For example, you can replace some of the bread with cornbread or you can add mushrooms, celery, apples, or giblets and many other things according to your own taste. This is one of those recipes that looks complicated but is really easy once you make it.
Here is the basic recipe:

8-10 cups dried bread, cubed or torn (You can use anything including hot dog buns, dinner rolls or French bread.)
1/2-1 lb. pork sausage
1/2-1 onion (or onion powder to taste)
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups broth*
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/4-1/2 cup margarine
3 heaping tsp. ground sage
1 small bag or box of seasoned croutons
Salt and pepper

Cube and tear bread in a very large mixing bowl and let set out overnight if not dry enough. Fry sausage and onion. I don't like celery in my dressing but if you do you can add it at this time. Drain and add to the bowl of bread. Pour broth into a large measuring cup. Add margarine and bouillon cube and heat in the microwave to melt margarine and bouillon cubes. Pour this mixture and eggs over bread. Add sage, salt, pepper and onion powder if not using onions and croutons. Using your hands, mush it all together until well mixed. Place in a well greased casserole dish or pan. Cover. Bake at 350° for 30-45 minutes.
If you like your stuffing soft on the inside with a crispy crust, just remove the cover for the last 15 minutes. If your dressing seems too dry, add a little milk for more moisture.

*For broth, I simmer the neck and giblets in a pan of water for an hour or two as soon as I take them out of the turkey. Then I use this water and some broth from my turkey, which has been cooking, to make my 1 1/2 cups.

Turkey Gravy
3-4 cups turkey juices/drippings
1/4 cup flour
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Pour turkey juices/drippings into a sauce pan. Whisk in flour. Add salt and pepper. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring once in a while until it is the right consistency.
If the gravy is too strong or you need to stretch it just a little, you can add a small amount of water.
Another way I used to make the gravy (either way works) is to dissolve the flour into a half cup of cold water and then whisk it into the turkey juices.

Pie Crust
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/4 cups shortening, cold
1 egg, cold
1 Tbsp. vinegar, cold
5 Tbsp. water, cold

Mix flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives (I use my fingers). Add egg, vinegar and 3 tablespoons water. Mix lightly. If dough is too dry, add more water. Mix with hands. Don't over mix. Mix just until the dough sticks together.

Divide into thirds. Roll out to make 3 pies crusts. When using the crust for the top of the pie, sprinkle sugar on top and poke with a few steam holes. Crust can be frozen in balls and then defrosted and rolled out when ready to use. Makes 3 crusts.

Pumpkin Pie
1 pie crust
2 eggs
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk

Bake pie crust at 350° for 1-2 minutes until crust starts to puff with small bubbles. Watch carefully. Then remove from oven. Blend all ingredients together in a bowl. Pour into pie crust and bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 350° for 45 minutes. When a knife is inserted into the center of the pie and comes out clean, it is done. Makes one pie.

Pecan Pie
1 stick butter
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt
1 1/4 cups pecans, chopped
1 (8-9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Brown butter in a pan until golden brown. Do not burn. Cool. Add other ingredients in order given in a separate bowl. Mix well. Blend in cooled butter well. Pour into pie crust. Bake 10 minutes at 425° and then 40 minutes at 325°. Makes one pie.

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt, by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit http://www.LivingOnADime.com

Kellam Media and Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 844, Andover, KS 67002, USA

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Winner of the Fall Giveaway is?????????

The winner of my Fall Blog Giveaway is Katie! Katie gets her choice of Green Love Photography Print or Black Flower Earrings.

Congratulations Katie and thank you to all that entered! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season.