Monday, March 18, 2013

Are you Aware?

As it is almost the month of April-and all things " awareness"..So, Kim and I thought that we would bring you all up to date on the goings on at the directory..

Firstly, we are looking for blog posts on Autism Awareness month. What do you think about it? Good, bad, indifferent?  We'd love to know your thoughts. If you would like to write or share a guest post on the topic-email us.  We would enjoy sharing your thoughts. You could also just leave us a link to your post in the comments section here. Just let us know if you want us to post it here.

It has been a long winter.  Both Kim and myself have dealt with a number of ups and downs that have taken up much of our time. This has kept us from doing as much as we have wanted to on the directory. As you know, we have been trying to help promote "The Autism Channel"-an exciting new channel devoted entirely to the world of autism.(If you have a Roku box-the channel is free!) We have mentioned them a number of times on the directory, and have even co-written a blog post together for their web page. We really appreciate all of the work that they are doing! We'd love if you would go on over and give them a look-maybe even a" like" on their Facebook page.

  Spring is almost here and Kim and myself are feeling a bit more rejuvenated. The demands on our time have considerably lessened. Isn't it funny how things work that way?  One minute, everyone wants your attention-and the's almost as if you aren't necessary anymore!  Needless to say, If you have written us requesting to be on the directory, or to guest post-don't be dismayed if we haven't responded. It was a long Winter, and we are just now starting to get caught up on the back log. Thanks so much for your patience.  Both Kim and I appreciate it so much. Without all of you-there would not be a directory.

  As it stands now, we are getting between ten and fifteen thousand hits here a week! We have come a long way since we first started this over three years ago. As you all know, we do not accept money or advertising for this blog site.  We never have-we never will.  We want a place where everyone is accepted and included-a place where we can share our ideas-where we can find over cacophony. All of you are helping to make this happen-and we thank you. As always, we are on the look out for new blogs and guest posts.  Please email us if you want to be included-or know of a blog that should be. It is our goal to make this one of the friendliest resources for autism and disability blogs on the internet.  If you haven't yet, we ask that you come on over to our Facebook page and give us a "like".  The more people that know about us-the more we can grow.  Thank you so much and happy (almost) Spring!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

It's All About the Executive Functioning: A Book Review

I don't often say that a book is a must read, but this one is: Executive Function & Child Development by Marcie Yeager and Daniel Yeager.

If you've ever wondered why your child can stay focused and complete some tasks and yet is hopelessly lost on others, so you decide it must be deliberate, you need to read this book.

Our kids with neurological differences from autism to ADHD and beyond have enough to battle with without adding the erroneous assumption that they are intentionally forgetting to complete tasks we give them. Sure, maybe sometimes they don't do it on purpose, but I have a feeling, having read this excellent book, that this is rarely the case.

Think about the things that our kids are able to do without constant reminders from us. Are there things about that activity that provide external cues or reminders? If there are, then you have your answer. Video games are a perfect example of this--tons of external cues.

Our three part commands or regular routines that we think our child should be able to do on their own since they do it every day? If you aren't there providing the external cues, are there any for them? If not, then they may have an executive functioning issue--if they can't internally cue themselves and keep track of where they are and what they need to do, then why would you expect them to? It doesn't matter if the routine is the same.

I wish this book had been in my hands two decades ago when Bobby was three. It would have saved us all tremendous frustration.

I've written over the years at Countering how I'm mystified by the things Bobby does so very well, and those things he just can't hold onto, and in the end, it really does boil down to executive functioning.

When he's cooking, if it's something he needs to tend to closely, he can--external cues. Microwaving or baking he can walk away from and unless he gives himself an external cue like a timer, he doesn't remember to check it.

External cues. That is the answer to a lot of his problems in focusing. The problem is that the external cues have to be auditory and sufficient to draw his attention. Written text, notes, signs--those are wholly inadequate for him, but for others they may be just the right thing.

With the knowledge and insight I've gained from this really excellent text, I can help my children and myself create external cues that work for us so that I don't have to be the external cue for them.

This, in all honesty, has been a tremendously beneficial book--I rarely am effusive in praise, but what a life-changing book for Bobby and me--any reduction in frustration and the most important thing--the realization that the behavior (not doing something) isn't intentional--oh, my---what a weight off of me and him.

Do yourself and your children (or spouse) a favor and if this is an issue your family is dealing with, read this book.

And then don't wallow in guilt for not having known it sooner.

--Kim Wombles

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Guest Post: Bacon and Juice Boxes: Our Life With Autism

My Pledge To My Children

I won't... demand perfection.
I will... demand your best effort.

I won't... excuse your misbehavior.
I will... defend and advocate for you until my last breath.

I won't... abandon or ignore you in rough times.
I will... give you room to succeed or fail on your own.

I won't... fight every battle for you.
I will... always have your back.

I won't... tell you how to live.
I will... offer advice and guidance.

I won't... hold a grudge when you ignore my advice.
I will... be there to comfort you when you learn a tough lesson.

I won't... always agree with your choices.
I will... honor the choices you make.

I won't... always have the right answers.
I will... help you find your way.  

I won't... ever stop loving you.
I will... try to not smother you with my love.

Daddy Loves You!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

End the Word: End the Attitude Behind It


The last three years, I've weighed in, offered my thoughts. The last three years, I've asked my students to think about it, too. It was again the topic of a class discussion this semester.

It's time to look close, deeply at ourselves, our prejudices, and acknowledge that we all have them, that there's a group of folks we disparage. We need to question why. We need to challenge ourselves on our language, and acknowledge our slips and that we all have a ways to go towards accepting others who are different, with different challenges. We need to experience that dissonance, hold ourselves up to examination, and accept that we've got some dark sides that we need to bring out to the light.

I'm not sure there's a solution here; people do some spectacularly stupid things, even the smartest people. There ought to be a way to convey those failures of cognition without a derisive attitude that somehow still conveys the humanity, the value, and the validation of that humanity and value. I fear it's so much easier and so much more satisfying to just slip into the use of those words that convey that attitude than it is to painstakingly break down the claims being made, bit by singular, spectacular failing bit.
The problem is we're human, hypocrisy is inevitable, and lapses in theory of mind and the golden rule are going to happen.

I'm all for ending the use of the "R" word, but it's the attitude behind the word that has to be changed, and whether we use that particular word or not, I'm willing to bet that underlying attitude is one we all employ at one point or another.

Words HURT. We have to work harder to remember that, and to remember that we are all human and frail, fallible creatures who make mistakes but get up the next day determining to do better.
Let us not only resolve to do better, but actually do better.


I am not certain we are any closer to changing the use of the word nor the underlying attitudes behind that usage. I look around at the nastiness on the internet, at how trolls can be rewarded with hundreds of thousands of followers for their nastiness, and I wonder if we can even put a dent in it, this nastiness that festers.

 I have to believe, though, that while we cannot eliminate entirely the nastiness that intentionally mean people put out there, that we can change how we use language, that we can create a more accepting society, and that we can become sensitive to how pejorative language demeans us all.

McGinley says that it is time to respect individuals with intellectual disabilities, time to end the R-word.

It's past time to respect those who are different, to accept them as equally valuable human beings.

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