Accepting and Understanding Different

If you ever get a chance to hang with Finley, you may notice that she sometimes "looks" at you peripherally. Particularly when the situation is intense. Doctors have asked us to work with Finley to "let us see her eyes" to help facilitate communication. And this has always bothered me. I fight it every time I hear it. What I want to do instead is ask her, "Finley are you hearing what I am saying?" Because that is what matters most - is she able to listen in that moment. Sure, common social rules dictate that eye contact is a non-verbal form of … [Read more...]

She is Finley

"Mom why does my brain get so much fear when my food is different? I like chocolate, but I can’t eat this chocolate pudding because my nose freaks out with the wrong smell of the weird chocolate." We have always been open and direct with Finley about differences. All of our kids really. Whether it pertained to them or others. And while I have no issue with labels, I also know the power they can have - both good and bad - so I prefer to explain things in detail without relying so much on the label part. For our family, getting any health … [Read more...]

Autism Parenting: “Clean Our Village”

They are all over my house right now. Little clumps of garbage taped to my walls. Last weekend while out on a walk, my six-year-old daughter Finley found some trash. It kind of freaked her out because she was worried that if left there other people could be poisoned by it. She decided we had to do something. "Mom, we have to go clean our village." But she became anxious. What if we touch the litter, get germs, and die? If it can hurt the earth and others by being left out, how do we pick it up without being harmed? She has always … [Read more...]

What I Learned from Autism

You know how sometimes a child will scream and cry? Maybe even become defiant. Perhaps they kick or hit and run away. On the surface it looks like misbehavior. It might seem bewildering to you. The reason why may seem insignificant. But it isn't any of those things when the person is autistic. Here are a few moments when Finley responded in one or all of the above ways. But she was acting that way out of defense to sensory overload and/or change, not to misbehave. Her mind required small accommodations or extra prep time and explanations in … [Read more...]