Thursday, 19 September 2013


I did it.  Totally stepped out of my comfort zone and spoke to between 50 to 100 people.  I can't be certain as it took all of my effort to 'keep calm and carry on' and keep my head held high.  Yours truly can now put "guest speaker" under her belt.

Again, I'm no expert on Autism...  Wouldn't want to pretend I am either.  Heaven forbid.  Did I mention I'm no expert?  But I am a mom, and co-founder of PACE (Parents Of Autistic Children Everywhere).  And I'm happy, so very happy to have had the opportunity to meet all the wonderful people I call my friends through both PACE and Autism Diva Help.  They are my family!

So, my friend Marni facebook messages a couple of us autism friends and asks if anyone would care to be a guest speaker and talk about autism in our lives to the YMCA staff of angels.  I call these awesome people 'staff of angels' as these people take care of our most precious possessions in life - our babies.  Not only do they look after and ensure our kids' safety, they WANTED to learn about autism.  They came to LEARN what they could do to HELP our kids!  Do you have any idea how rare that is?!  Naturally, Mike tells me I should do it.  Well, actually...  he dares me.  You know me and dares, how could I pass this up?  I didn't really think that anyone would actually follow up with me...

In the 11 years of Dayton's life, I have never had a phone call from an organization asking if I could donate some of my time and talk to their staff of angels about autism.  Not once.  Until now.  I was FLOORED.

I explained to everyone in the room that it was my first time speaking to an audience, never mind the large turnout I had to speak to.  They heard what I had to say, they asked questions and took notes???  I am honoured to have shared three hours with these people, and I pray that what I had to share with them will be of some help in their work.

What could I have had to talk about you may ask...  This is me we're talking about, and I have a lot to say.  I spoke about consistency, and about picture schedules, about visual aids, organization and routine, routine, routine!  I talked about how literal some of our kids can be and that before you know it, you're having two arguments in one, because our children are focused on either a technicality (I said red when it was brown) when the argument itself is of much greater importance than colour, or literal thinking (you're as fast as a bunny rabbit--I'm not a bunny rabbit!!!)

I brought samples or workbooks that I've been using at home for our kids, as our kids need to be taught most things, things don't naturally just come to them.  And of course, I brought a magnet responsibility board for them to see in action.  Most people that see it, LOVE it.

The most important information I shared with them was how parents feel, and to cut us some slack from time to time.  We may not always show it, but we love the people who look after our kids and we appreciate more than they will ever know.  It may not seem like it, but for those that look after our kids with kindness and really want to understand our kids, we could even say we love those people.  I explained that we come into their day cares looking like hell sometimes, and may not smile, but it is no reflection on them.  We may be rushed, but it isn't because we don't care enough to say 'hey, how was your day?'   We're running out the door and doing it quick because we want to avoid a meltdown, either because our kids have a hard time with transition, or they have this obsession with pulling the fire alarm on their way out and we're not looking forward to the wrestling match preventing them from actually pulling it, or there's construction on the road on our way home that wasn't there yesterday, and change is upsetting to our kids, or, or, or...  Or we've had a bad day at work because we got a phone call from school because little Johnny yet again swore in the classroom or disrupted the class with echolalia (repeating words without being able to use them; there are two types:  immediate and delayed),  or our child did something inappropriate (Dayton did a lot of that on a daily basis, but has progressed nicely the last two years, outgrowing some of his autistic traits, which gives me high hopes for his future--a lot of work and therapy, and most importantly--consistency and routine).

I was asked how I could handle having four of my children on the spectrum...  Well, it helps that one is of age and moved in with grandpa, it really does.  And as for the rest, I firmly believe God will never put any weight on your shoulders that your knees can't handle.  I think that's why mine are so big.  In fact, yes...  I'm sure of it, LOL.  Sorry, I'm not a fan of the teenage language, but am having to learn it because of my oldest...  You know OMG, LOL, LMAO, ROFL.  I've come up with some new ones...  TDKM (Teenage drama is killing me) and my favourite DTD (do the dishes).

The hardest, most stressful, emotional, but most rewarding job in this world is being a parent.  True happiness is the sound of my kids playing, laughing and even fighting, because when they're gone it's silent, and I miss the noise and want them home.  This is even more true for those of us raising children on the autism spectrum.  I love my babes!

I told them how much care takers mean to us.  How we couldn't go to work without them, and without work, we couldn't afford the medication our kids need to be successful.  I told them how much we love our kids...  They make me laugh, they're silly, hyper and sometimes a complete mess, but they have the sweetest kisses and the strongest hugs.  They are my world and I love them.

Until next time, consider yourselves hugged,