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...]

The Panic of Party Time

While most families view social occasions as exciting and joyous, families with autism panic. There are a number of factors that can cause a boisterous celebration to go awry for those of us living with autism. The day the invitation comes in the mail, email or from a phone call, the panic begins. Let's talk about the event itself. Family gatherings may seem easy and non-threatening but it’s full of anxiety when not every family member is on board with your child’s diagnosis and treatment. There always seems to be one relative who thinks … [Read more...]

The Pulling, Tugging, Squirming Issues of Clothing

Many of us across the country enjoyed a warmer than usual fall and early winter in 2015. It was a wonderful respite for those of us that often endure unreasonable amounts of layers well before the official winter months of January and February. For those of us with autistic children, the warmer fall meant not having to change wardrobes for a few extra months. You might be thinking, who cares about what type of clothes one wears? I for one, breathed a huge sigh of relief that I did not have to worry about a winter coat until the end of … [Read more...]

Forgo the Battles and Get to the Heart of Autistic Food Issues

Food is a basic staple of life. You need food to survive. In the United States, food is everywhere. From the grocery store to fast food restaurants and everything in between. So it goes without saying that food is of major importance in our daily lives. It is a priority. For some of us in the autism community, food can be a major issue. You might not realize how many challenges food can present to someone on the spectrum. [Tweet "Forgo the Battles and Get to the Heart of Autistic Food Issues #PenfriendProject"] First let us discuss food … [Read more...]

Why Do So Many People View Autism as an Illness?

There are many different types of illness. Some are temporary and some are chronic. When the word illness comes to mind, people think of maladies such as cancer, diabetes, and strokes. One does not normally classify neurological disorders as illnesses. Since autism spectrum disorders are neurologically based, they are lifelong companions of those of us with autism. They cannot be cured. One is born with autism, and one dies with autism. Autism is not eradicated through the latest drug. So why then do so many people view autism as an illness? … [Read more...]

Autism and Invisibility

I was recently scrolling through Facebook posts when I noticed a post about Invisible Illness Week. The post listed various illness that may not be noticeable to the naked eye. These illnesses covered cancer, autoimmune diseases, mental illness, and autism. Wait, did I just see autism listed as an invisible illness? This will be a two part article, so make sure you read my December article. Let me make one thing very clear, I do not think my autism or my daughters' autism is an illness. I will address autism as an illness in my December … [Read more...]

Autism and Anger: Riding the Emotional Waves

Let's have a chat about anger. Specifically autism anger, or what I refer to as autism rage. As we have all heard a million times before, everyone on the spectrum is different. These differences include, but are definitely not limited to, how we as individuals deal with emotions. This morning I was reminded just how quickly anger turns to rage for some of us. My oldest daughter turned fourteen this summer. She loves to ride her bike, draw, watch Doctor Who, and use her iPhone. Technology can be help and a curse when it comes to autism. It is … [Read more...]

Summer’s Goodbye – Overcoming Back-to-School Anxiety

The countdown begins. My children start school in a few (long) days. Honestly, I can hardly contain my excitement! Okay, I'm not trying to be harsh, but summers become tedious and mind numbing by the second week of July. This is especially true when you are the proud parent of two on the spectrum and one with ADHD (all girls, way too many hormones). Don't get me wrong, I love my children more than anything in this world. All three are intelligent, humorous, and loving in their own way. The main issue becomes routine and summer lacks the … [Read more...]

What Happens When They Know but Refuse to Accept Your Autism?

Acceptance, belonging, acknowledgement, these are all words every human being wants to hear in her lifetime. To be a part of something. To belong to a group. To have an identity that others understand. To be embraced. Let's face it, we all need to know that people−our friends, families, coworkers−accept us. No one wants to be an outcast. No one wants to volunteer to sit on the sidelines of life. Unfortunately, for many people, that is exactly the way things happen. Prince Charming doesn't save the day, lost pets aren't always found, … [Read more...]