Living, Loving and Laughing with Aspergers

Dave Angel has worked with children, adults and families with a variety of differences for over 20 years in the social care field. In the past 10 years he has been supporting parents of children with Aspergers online through his Parenting Aspergers Community, blog,  and, more recently, his daily email tips to parents. He recently released a free e-book, Living, Loving and Laughing with Aspergers. Tell us about your book. It’s a collection of short stories which all relate to parenting children with Aspergers. They are –hopefully - … [Read more...]

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...]

That’s My DJ: A Family’s Journey with Autism

I virtually met Cindy on our Geek Club Books Facebook community where she talked about becoming an author: My journey with DJ hasn't always been easy but as my husband Michael and I wrote this book, I was able to look at some of the highlights of my life and began to feel blessed by all that we have accomplished. I hope our book encourages others to share their journey and continue to strive for the best. I NEVER thought in a million years that I would see my son on the front page of a book...Or that my name would be on the title as the … [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...]

My Only Regret? Having You.

I recently watched the HBO documentary “Six for Sondheim” paying tribute to the Broadway composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. To our family, Sondheim is a god. His songs are smart and complex and at the same time playful and witty. They grab our hearts and make us think deeply about ourselves.  We like that. The show is a biography told through edited clips of interviews with Sondheim himself throughout his life. I was fascinated to hear about his inspirations, his process, his successes and failures.  But that’s not why I’m writing about … [Read more...]

My Post-it Note Proof of Parenting

We love them beyond measure. That’s a given. And no one handed us a “how to” guide or technical manual when they were born. Fortunately, my daughter Molly left me post-it notes which served as my validation 'clues' that I was on the right track with my parenting. Like you, I tapped into that unconditional love and did the best I could to raise my children to be confident, well-adjusted, and self-reliant so they can one day go forth to live with passion and meaning. (Happy to report that they are doing just that.) There are many factors that … [Read more...]

My Haute Couture Designer Christmas

For over a decade I worked in the luxury design field and every year around Christmas time there were holiday show houses and charity events where the designers would hold nothing back to create the most beautiful displays for the Christmas season—Trees with baubles and sparkles, swags of fresh greenery festooned with handmade bows, every room dressed to the nines, dining and breakfast tables set for imaginary entertaining, and hundreds of perfectly wrapped packages that would make Santa’s elves go green with envy. The sights, sounds and … [Read more...]

The Blessings of No Expectations – A Gift from My Asperger Son

Before we become parents, we already have expectations about our children’s lives. For most of us, they are unintentional but they are there and come from, I believe, our own life experiences. I didn’t recognize this in myself until I had my first child. I didn’t consciously pre-plan his life, I just figured he’d follow a similar path to mine or my husband’s. Both of us were honor roll students, participated in school and community activities, socialized with our peers, and took on leadership roles when given the opportunity. Jonathan was … [Read more...]

Interview with Sharon Fuentes
Author, Columnist, Autism Advocate

Sharon Fuentes is flat out funny. Her favorite topic? Parenting. She writes a monthly parenting humor column for Westchester Family magazine in New York and her articles and essays have been published in numerous regional, national and international publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum. She has her first book, The Don’t Freak Out Guide to Parenting Kids with Asperger's, launching next week so I snagged her for a few minutes to sit down and have a virtual chat about her life, her blog, and the experience … [Read more...]

Angels and Demons: The Pain of the Proud Mom

Angels and demons are out there. And in this context, I don't mean that in a spiritual sense. Angels are the people in our lives who have supported, rescued, stepped in, reached out, and caused miracles to happen for our children. And most have no idea of the impact they've made. Even their small acts of kindness have a magical, transformative powers. Demons are those who have no clue (or do they?) of the damage that their words or actions cause. They are insensitive and careless about what they say and how they interact with others. And … [Read more...]