Why Autism Gives Me the Strength to Fly!

By Megan Amodeo In just a few short days I will turn the chapter and enter year number 44 of my life. It has been 8 years since two of my three children were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. It has been 8 years since I was also deemed as an autistic mom, wife and woman. I started to think about all the things in my life that have changed or been altered by our autism diagnoses. I honestly felt a huge sense of relief the moment my daughters were diagnosed. That may sound strange to typical parents, but I have never been typical. I … [Read more...]

Dealing with Failure is a Learnable Life Skill

By Megan Amodeo Life can be beautiful and wonderful. Life can also be disappointing and frustrating. Many of us on the spectrum see life as black and white or right and wrong. There often isn't any room for those in between ‘gray’ areas of life. You either make the baseball team or you don't. You get a good grade on your term paper or you don't. These seem like clear cut outcomes. Unfortunately, everything in life is not always so literal. Even when things are very black and white, there is always a little bit of gray. Gray areas … [Read more...]

Finding Peace and Calm in a ‘Going Out’ Bag

By Megan Amodeo We all have certain objects, sayings, foods and routines that make us feel comfortable…our creature comforts. You may enjoy a warm blanket, a pair of fuzzy slippers and a good cup of hot cocoa on a winter day. A long hot bubble bath, with no kiddos banging on the door, is a necessary creature comfort for many of us moms. Creature comforts bring to mind favorite foods. I love a cup of chili on a cold rainy day. I'm sure we can all make a list of the things that make us feel happy and comfortable. My family goes on one … [Read more...]

Why I Stopped Worrying About After-School Activities

By Megan Amodeo When we first set eyes on our tiny little bundles, boy or girl, we have visions of great athletes, scientists and presidential aspirations. The reality is, our children become who they become. We parents can only do so much to shape our children but ultimately, they becomes their own unique selves. My youngest daughter started middle school this year. Of course I had the same concerns that every parent has as their child enters a new stage in life. I worried about her classes, her locker, her friends…a laundry list of … [Read more...]

Advantages and Disadvantages of a ‘Tape Recorder’ Mind

By Megan Amodeo I have always been on the autism spectrum. Two of my three daughters have always been on the autism spectrum. By no means do I claim to be an expert in all things autism, but I do have a good sample size in my own home which provides me with a unique window into the minds of autistics. The 'Tape Recorder' Effect One characteristic of autism is what I like to refer to as the tape recorder effect. Hopefully everyone still remembers what a tape recorder is used for and its functions (Hey, I was born in the 70's!). A tape … [Read more...]

Do People Really Believe You Can Outgrow Autism?

It occurred to me suddenly the other day, my daughters aren't babies anymore. I know this may sound ridiculous. Of course I know the ages of my own children. I have two teenagers and a tween. As we near the middle of summer and I start to ponder the back to school schedule, I realize now that all my daughters will be in junior high or high school. Wow, I blinked and the grade school years are just memories and collected art projects. In only four short years my oldest will be ready for college, or whatever post school path she chooses to … [Read more...]

Are You Worried about the Safety of Your Autistic Child?

Parents, remember the excitement, joy and sheer terror we faced when we brought home our new little bundles from the hospital? No matter boy or girl, twins or more, the second you walk through the door you start to worry. WORRY, about everything! Is she breathing? Is he eating enough? One blanket, no blanket? Does anyone really know how to do this whole parenting thing?!? Usually after a few weeks (OK, maybe months) things start to settle into a daily routine. But wait, who said anything about walking? The worry and panic start all over … [Read more...]

Do You Really Need to Like Yourself?

What does self-acceptance really mean? Do you really need to like yourself? I have thought about these particular questions more than I would like to recently. I have two teenage and one tween-age daughter. Junior high and high school can be particularly brutal and cruel especially when you are a teenage girl. Even though I graduated from high school in 1991, things haven't changed for the better. Not only do our youth have to face mean girls, cliques, and awkward growth spurts, there is the huge world of social media. Social media is … [Read more...]

Anxiety and the Pressure Cooker of Life

Pressure. The pressure to succeed. The pressure to fit in. The pressure to be normal. Pressure leads to anxiety. Anxiety and autism and Aspergers Syndrome often go hand in hand. I know because I am autistic. Knowing that I am not ‘typical’ often fills me with dread and overwhelming anxious thoughts. Do not get me wrong, it was a huge relief when I was diagnosed with autism. I finally felt the freedom of being myself. There was a reason I am different. Knowing who I am has made me a whole person. Anxiety has always been a part of my life for … [Read more...]

Autism: To Tell or Not to Tell?

To tell or not tell, that is the question. Parents of children with disabilities struggle with this question from the moment a diagnosis is made. Some disabilities give parents little choice in such a decision. For instance, blindness and deafness do not need to be fully explained to be understood. But, what should a parent do when the diagnosis is more complicated? Parents of children on the autism spectrum often wrestle with the decision of whether to tell others and their child about an autism diagnosis. For those of us with children with … [Read more...]