Hands on Events for Autism….NO JUDGEMENT ZONE!!!

Well we are here and sitting at a museum with about 200+ Autistic kids and their families. WOW!!!!! This is an adventure to be with so many family and now friends that we have made.

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It amazes me while I sit and watch the differences in each individual who has autism or on the spectrum! My son for example has changed so much that next to most of these kids he almost seems average. There are families with kids having meltdowns of all ages. Kids wearing head phones to lighten the sounds and other kids walking in circles or having stemming issues. But all in all to watch all these levels get along and come along side of each other with NO JUDGEMENT!!!!!

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YES… I said no JUDGEMENT!!! Just the other day I had someone tell me point blank to “put him on a diet”. My son is far from needing a diet….his only thing is …is that he is tall. Then only a few days later I have someone tell him right to his face “did your head fall in a bucket of paint”. Yes he tinted the top of his hair red… and I ask you where is the crime in that?

What a JOY to be part of this awesome support group here in New Jersey!! We have been part of this group for about 5 years now. Some of the events have a charge and some are FREE like this one tonight.

Tonight our kids can run free through the hands on museum designed with sensory play stations of all kinds. From a restaurant to a climbing wall, a TV station to a doctors office, a pet shop to a nature center.

Our sons favorite is the basketball and dinosaur room.

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If you are not part of a support group you need to be!!!

Lynn A. C. Wilson – Resume of a Mother

Surf Ups… Autism Day!

Many people are misinformed and have a distorted view of Autism, disabilities, and what can be achieved! We have told our son he can do anything he wants… he might need to do it in a different way, but he can do it!

We are blessed here in New Jersey with several organizations that help people with disabilities and Autism. We have an organization called POAC, NJ Autism Warriors and organization that has come to New Jersey for this event in particular called “Walk on water”.

This day was created entirely for people with Autism and disabilities to have the freedom to feel the Atlantic Ocean surround them… to allow them to learn how to surf with a professional by their side… and to allow them to have the opportunity to know that they can do anything when they put their mind to it.

I have personally never surfed, but I have a few friends who have, and they said that there is nothing like riding a wave and the freedom it allows you to feel.

These kids were blessed one by one with riding the wave, winning an award, having a day set aside just for them and the list goes and on.

For one day they felt like they could be like everyone else. For one day they could feel proud. For one day they could feel like they were “all that”.

We were blessed to have such a special and awesome day for our family!!!

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Horses…therapy… & Autism. Finding peace!!!

We had been invited for the past couple of years to go horseback riding with one of our Autism support groups. It always seemed to fall on a day that either I had to work or we had other events going on, and honestly I didn’t think much about it. For some reason this year I felt compelled to make a point of attending. I was absolutely amazed and blessed after we went to see how beneficial it was!

This particular horse ranch is designed to assist people with any sort of disability and will teach them how to ride a horse in a safe environment. The trainers are certified and definitely know how to handle children with Autism! Our son found peace, he found joy, and I watched him actually be able to relax and be calm like I had never seen before. If you know anything about Autism in children this is very unusual!

When we arrived they gathered all the kids together and then they had them pick out their helmets for protection, before they could ride a horse. They then divided them into two groups and each group needed to find a buddy. Our son was in the first group… We started on the other side of the barn, where he was able to learn how to care and feed a horse.

Gavin was able to brush a horse named Lady, he was able to feed a horse named Terminator, he was able to talk to a horse named Finn and it was amazing to watch him and Finn together. The horse just stood there ever so kind, as Gavin just continued to talk and talk and talk to the horse. I watched a gentle and loving side of Gavin come out as he was able to connect with this beautiful animal.

In addition to brushing the horses and feed them…the kids were able to get some great lessons on the care of a horse in general. They then brought them to the next room where they lined up to have the opportunity to ride a horse.

One by one they brought them in and saddled them up with a horse based on the size of the child and the size of a horse. Once they were on the horse, two of the trainers walked them around three times in a very large enclosed barn. Gavin was able to also ride a horse as he did a gallop around the barn, which was a real treat!

I saw a different spark in Gavin’s eyes… this day was a huge blessing to him and I can truly understand why these beautiful animals are therapeutic.

We will continue with horseback riding lessons in this next home school year and Gavin also would like to volunteer there one day a week as well. Looking forward to some new adventures!

Lynn A. C. Wilson – Resume of a Mother

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Autism and Routine….

Routine is something hard to create and stick with in our lives….but it is a necessary thing.  I watch a You-Tube channel with “Andrea Mills”.  She talks about doing things routinely if they are important enough to you. Check out her website and channel for this topic and more.

https://www.andreamills.tv

With any type of special needs and we have two types in our family, I find as a homemaker that I need to create a way of organization for them; and not necessarily for me.  With epilepsy and Autism in our home, I find that this affects everything that we do!  For example, just leaving the house to go out for the day…we need to make a list on the back door of what we need to bring with us.  This way my husband who has Epilepsy, whether it be a good day or not, does not have to think about what to bring. Especially when it is an “off” day for him, he just looks at his list on the door.

(example list for the door)

  • travel bag
  • pills
  • water bottle
  • phone
  • phone charger

For our son has Autism.…so for his needs we have created labels in the refrigerator and also a routine of where to put things.  This way there is no frustration of where things go.  We also labeled where all of our coats go.  Again, this way it keeps things simple and organized!

We have created a “white board” system to help with all those daily questions that you find Autistic kids always asking.  They want to know what the next days meals will be 24 hours ahead of time. Our board includes 3 meals, 3 chores, 3 school events (we homeschool), and whatever the special event of the day is also.

This has proven to relieve many meltdowns, and crazy evenings in our home.  When he asks the questions that he always does by 5pm sharp, we can just refer him to the white board.

Special needs can be a struggle to the caregiver as well as the person who struggles with it.  Why not make life as routine as you can to avoid any chaos and confusion.  There will always be other issues to deal with, but when things are routine it helps out a great deal.

Lynn A. Wilson – Resume of a Mother

Minimalism…Simple….Simplify-where does life have you?

What does this mean to you?  Minimalism comes to my mind. So many of the younger generation are going this way.  Many of them have watched their grandparents and parents collect things over the years so they now have taken up with the new trend of “less” is better.

I do find that the old saying…“less is more”, can be true!  But what is less?  I have watched some “extreme” shows, where they will have a beautiful “large” house and only have a mattress on the floor, 1 dish, 1 cup, 1 fork…you get the picture and they seem truly seem happy. This is not the life that I want.

I have a friend who LOVES to collect things…did I say loves it.  She collects any and everything that you could imagine.  She has now gone through her collection and resized it.  To most people…you would still say that she has a lot of “stuff” but to her …she has simplified her life in her own way with her collections and she is a happy girl.

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In my life…which is full of special needs and most days cioas….I need “my” type of simple.  Let me explain. My husband has Epilepsy and my youngest son as Autism…..for me this changes my life on a daily basis.  I have always enjoyed a full schedule of events, lots of involvement in family, work, church and life in general.  I like lots of hobbies, things, stuff, and decor in my home etc…I like to enjoy life as I see it….but then life doesn’t alway fit what I like!!!

Recently in my home….I have had to simplify things. Less stuff, less things and to be more practical and less nostalgic. This has been very hard for me but as I get into it …it does becoming easier. I need to create a very practical world for my two men. I need to label where things go in the refrigerator and label whose jacket goes where etc… And yet find a way to make my home still seem special and pretty to me and our guests we invite over.

Recently with my schedule….I have had to simplify that too. How do you take a girl who LOVES a full schedule and adapt it to “SIMPLE” one…so that I meet the needs of my family as well as myself.  I have and am still learning how to balance life ….I really don’t know how to explain that in words with exactly I am doing. I probably need to do a VLOG on a day in the life of me.

This might not be “minimalism” to some, but for me I need to carry a planner, snacks, change of cloths, meds, water, essential oils, band aids etc… in many different bags.  I have a travel bag, pocketbook, workbag, church bag etc…each one is filled with what I would need for that event and the extras for that “just in case I need it” moment.  This works for me….my car is full of bags stuffed with stuff.  But all this stuff to me equals an organized, simplified and simple way of living.  To me my life is now not full of stressful moments and I don’t have to think as much when life takes over and craziness begins. If you have anyone in your family with special needs you would understand. We never quite know what’s going to happen at a given moment and having these extras with us at all times and organized in designated bags for that particular event definitely helps.

Simple is defined by YOU and only you.  We should not jump on a trend just because!!! Yes, we should evaluate our lives and simplify them… but this does not mean throw everything out that you own, and live in a sleeping bag.

God has given and blessed our family many times over with things and not necessarily money…I need to use what I have, simplify what I buy and sometimes bless others with my overflow.

Remember to enjoy life and where life has you. I know that this is a unique way of looking a “simple life” but it is the way I do it.  How do you do it..leave a comment below.

Lynn A. Wilson – Resume of a Mother

A life filled with Routine or a Life of Adventure…..

img_0775I am a Modern Day Working Mama with a homespun twist and a dash of special needs and disabilities – a life of adventure with a constant new norm. 

 I just love to watch people and how they live their lives, I try to figure out why they do what they do and I learn about what I like and don’t like and how I want to live my life. It got to thinking today when I watched three people who are in my life…and how they are living their lives, and if I want to this that way. 

Do you ever people watch?  I have a friend who fullsizerender-2was
sharing witProcessed with MOLDIVh me that he and his wife where having a “discussion” about what to buy at the food store.  Now you might ask “what is the big deal”…but we have all been there. Discussing, fighting, arguing about which Ice Cream to buy, what brand of bread to get etc…. It sounds silly and it really is and yet we let this get to us.

I have another friend who has a very, very structured life.  She maps out her life in increments of time and activities.  She will work her 8 hours and 8 hours only.  We will plan for evening after work, to take on one task which can include baking. When she goes home….she will prep, bake, clean up and call it a night. Mind you I would be washing dishes, doing a load of wash, listening to a You-Tube channel and stirring the pot for dinner …all while baking.  Her life is so planned out and she never deviates from this.

I have another friend who as I would like to say…gets upset over a pen falling on the floor.  She is wound up so timg_1913ightly that everything in life seems to bother her.  She can bully anyone in her path for the smallest thing they have done wrong and yet if you try to talk to her about anything she will burst into tears with fits of anger.  Yikes!!!

I have two other women in my life who I admire for the way they adapt to life.  Both of them deal with a “special needs” situation in their life.  One seems to run with ease …I know she will tell you that is not the case, but to me she does.  The other friend seems to just live life and take on new adventures anytime they pop in her life.

Now getting back to a life of structure or a life full of adventure…..well, you probably guessed it, I will take the life of adventure.  Yes it can be filled with chaos at times, it can be filled with half done jobs, dishes in the sink, laundry not done and drive-through for dinner. But life is too short to worry about a pen dropping on the floor, it is too short to worry about which ice cream or bread to buy and it is too short not to taste life at its finest.

If you have read my story and the journey that I am on….my life is never normal and it is always a moving target to finding a new normal.  I am a “Modern Day Working Mama with a homespun twist and a dash of special needs and disabilities – a life of variety a constant new norm”!!!img_9065

I work full-time, I am involved in three distant ministries, I homeschool, I am a mom of a special needs son, I am a wife of an epileptic,  I am a mom of adult children, I am a women who strives to live out her dreams, I am a women who loves to blog, craft, scrapbook, be a planner nerd, try new things, travel, make homemade soups, decorate her home and much, much more.

Some people ask with delight how do I do it all….they watch me on Facebook and see how full my life is.  Some watch with judgement and question all that I do and wonder if my life should be more structured.  Some watch with wonder and they would love to live this way but are afraid to step out and try it.

Now my dishes do get washed, and my laundry gets done…..we don’t run around in dirty cloths. I do stay at home and with a task list in hand at times and “try and get more organized”. fullsizerenderYet on the other hand….life keeps calling, new places to see, new things to taste, new adventures to try with my family.  I have people to meet, lives to encourage, people to share great experiences with, people to mentor, people to learn from and a whole lot of life to LIVE.

What Journey are you on? What path have you chosen to live? This is your life and your choice to make…..what do you like “structure”, “wound up tight”, or “a little chaos”?  Tell me your story in the comment below…I would love to hear from you today.img_0921

Follow me on my blog for some fun, new and interesting topics.  Like my blog post  and share with a friend who might need to rethink how they are living their life.

 

Lynn A.C. Wilson – Resume of a Mother

Modern Day Working Mama with a homespun twist and a dash of special needs and disabilities – a life of adventure a constant new norm!

It feels like Autism is contagious in our family…..

Autism is part of img_7357our daily life…..and we are still learning every day what this means to be a family of special needs!  We adopted our youngest son 13 years ago and we had no idea the ride we were in for!

Gavin has Autism along with other disabilities which can make it hard to know which issue he is having and which disability it belongs to.  They are can actually run together to make for a fun day at times.  It would also take us on many adventures and journeys that as a family we never knew we would go on.

In the  beginning he had “quirks” as img_8847we would say since we didn’t know that they were linked to being Autistic.  Things like loud noise, certain movements, lining things up, repeated show watching, talking to trees in back yard, repeating lines from shows he has watched consistently, eating certain foods and putting them on his plate in a certain order…. and many more things. I am sure if you have someone in your life who is Autistic you can relate to the above and probably add so much more to this.

A funny thing happened along the way…we have found that we too can no longer handle a certain noise level, crowds make us uncomfortable, we use the large handicap bathrooms instead of the regular stalls for more space to move around in, I find I myself lining things up on my desk and doing little crazy things like lining up my pen cap to the writing on a pen and other unusual things. YIKES….he rubbed off on us, and we love it!!!img_0315

At first we didn’t even realize what we were doing and how we were changing….but then after looking back we can see it more and more how we have changed.  You know what the best part about this is for us….is that we can relate to our son.  Even through others see these things as usual, we find them to be a gift and a blessing to better understand him.

Our son lives in a world that he cannot always relate to…he lives in a world that is backwards img_0324and inside out for him.  I heard the other day on a TV Christmas program…that if you don’t fit into the box….then get another box! Yes, yes, yes……that is just what we all needed to hear.  Gavin’s box or life is his own special package and that is how he was created to be.  Could the Lord have stopped him from being this way, absolutely….but he chose Gavin to have this gift of Autism and we feel that he is rubbing off on us so that we can relate  & understand him better and others with disabilities. To be able to share some of his struggles and in turn try to can help him learn to adapt to this world we live in, by finding the right size box for him!

Do you have a loved one that has Autism or someone who does not fit in a box?  Share you story with all of us in the comments below….I would love to hear from you!!

Lynn A.C. Wilson – Resume of a Mother

 

Homeschool with a Twist…UNO Math, Cereal Box Reading and Go Fish Spelling

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You probably guessed it already that we tend to teach in an unconventional way. As I read on a homeschool blog called “The Encouraging Homeschool Mom” the other day by Jamerill Stewart and she called it “homeschool in a box”. Yes we had tried that route and it did not work for us with our youngest son. Now after years of homeschooling, research, chats with other moms and great blogs like the one I will link below…..we found some good tips and tricks that I hope will help you on your Homeschool journey.

I will let you know that we homeschooled our oldest (he is now 27 and excelling in his career, which we contribute a lot of his skills to things he learned in his homeschool days), with some of the more traditional lessons but always adding a bit of a homeschool twist. This worked for him…he needed more structure with how things would be done in a regular school setting. After a few years of this style of teaching….we did find that he needed some more creative outlets for learning his lessons. Now that we are schooling our youngest that has very distinct special needs, we see at least for him, that not only “one on one” teaching is needed… but very creative techniques and a constant change of styles is needed too.

Gavin is 14 and technically in 9th grade. He does fall a bit short on keeping up academically with the other kids and at his grade level. Putting all that aside….we as parents need to make sure he is taught the best he can be and with or without special needs. Each child is different whether they have trouble learning or not. We have been gifted with these children in our lives and they in turn have been gifted to have us as their teachers and mentors!!!! As a family we can minister to each other and we can share learning, teaching, gifts, skills, abilities, life lessons etc…..as we guide these young hearts to grow in the Lord and in their maturity. As parent we need to equip them in every way so when they leave the safe haven of home….they can be ready for what comes their way. Homeschooling does not just know what 1+1 is or how to spell…..yes that is a major part of learning but so is teaching them how to live life is too. Especially if you are a special needs parent then you would really get this point.

Here are just a few tips and tricks that I can share with you today that we have used and have worked well for us.

UNO Math

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We take UNO cards in a pile with only the numbers and wild cards. You then pick from the pile…the first 2 cards on top. Next you add these two cards (you can use addition, subtraction, division or even multiplication). If you draw a number and a wild card…your child can pick any number he/she wants to replace the wild card (which can make the math game even more fun). Now of course I said we do everything with a twist. Our son does not like using pen and paper. So we use a whiteboard, chalk board…..writing in sand in a box etc… Today, I had a bunch of leftover cd’s from a VBS project this year that we will not use again. So we took the cd’s and allowed him to write on them for each pair of numbers he picked. He could draw counting sticks, counting dots on the cd to help him do the math problem etc…to a help him add the UNO card 7 + 9 etc….IT WORKED GREAT!!!

Cereal Box Reading

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This is one of many ideas. Our son would not read a book. As a matter of fact when we pulled him from public school in 4th grade he would not read at all. I saw him trying to read a fortune cookie one day, at a Chinese restaurant and then it got me thinking….what else would he read? He loves Nerf guns and power rangers….ok then….what could we use to make reading fun and to incorporate the things he loves and likes. So, off we go with this idea now and when he buys a Nerf gun he reads the box, as he gets his favorite cereal he reads the box, you get the picture. He is now reading more and more (including books) and he is surprising us all the time with his reading skills. He also loves to use the “closed caption” on the TV and read the lines as they speak it out loud on the shows he watches. Who would have thought that watching TV can be a great reading lesson!!!

Go Fish Spelling

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Spelling is a something that was never fun!!! Ok what could be done…..well again schooling with a twist. I found an old set of playing cards, and put white labels on them with our spelling words. Then use them just like you would for a regular game of “Go Fish”. Do you have a “dog”….no go fish. Then when you get the matching pair….you lay those words down. Of course as the mom/teacher in me we needed to repeat the word, sound it out and spell it out loud before moving to the next word. We then found a set of cards with words and used it the same way.

These are only a few of my tips and tricks I use to teach our son. They are not new to some of you and to some of you just starting out and or needing a new idea… I trust this will increase your creative juices today to come up with some of your own fun ways of teaching some very basis things.

Write below in the comments and tell me what ideas you have. I would love to hear from you and what worked for you and also what did not. These tips….are great for special needs but all in all they are great for anyone who needs a little fun and creativity in their homeschooling.

Follow me on my blog for more fun tips and tricks, other ideas for special needs kids and just some all in all…..wonderful encouragement for moms.

Feel free to email me….I would love to hear from you all. Also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram for other tips, tricks, ideas and pictures @resumeofamother

Lynn A.C. Wilson – Resume of a Mother

I found my NEW Normal and it is a moving target…….

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Normal…..this is one thing that many people strive to be….then some of us like to say that we like to be a little different. I am sure you heard the term growing up….”that is not normal”. So who defines “normal”? Somewhere along the way “normal” was defined as we were growing up and this is probably the pattern of life that you thought you would be following. I never knew what it would mean to have to find a new normal for my life. I grew up in a family of five and the most challenging thing growing up with 2 sisters was waiting in line for the bathroom. Life growing up seemed very normal for me.

We had families who lived down the street that we would say as kids…..” that is the family that is not normal”. I have no idea really why we said that other than for some reason they did not fit into what we did.

attachment-1-1I dreamed of a career, not staying at home….I loved the thought of working, not having a husband and children….traveling and always learning new things was on the top of my list, not having a life filled with special needs, daily challenges, trying to follow a constant moving target and not having an ordinarily life.

Then life took over and little did I know that I would be a mom, a wife, a career woman, a wife of a husband with epilepsy and on full-time disability, a mom of a special needs son, a mom of a “average” son (as most people classify it), a mom who would homeschool her two boys, and that my life would take a turn in a way that I could never have imagined. I would have a life of major change… to the point that I would feel like a single working parent and a single woman many times in my “normal” life.

After being a mom to my first son where it seemed to be a very normal life and raising him was very natural, I thought had it all figured out. Then to have 2 miscarriages, and then many years later I would find out that our second child would come through adoption and have a life long list of 4 major disabilities. We would then to be told he would never walk or talk and to accept what his life would be. Wow….what happened to my ordinary life?

The normal life that I knew growing up just came to a screeching halt. Where is my normal? How do I now function? Where to go from here…..

So what is normal?? This is a question that has taken me years to realize that there is no such thing. When you live your life and ask the Lord to guide and direct you …..the target and life that you keep striving for….keeps moving and changing.

So what is my new normal and where am I now in this thing we call life? A woman who works out of the home full-time, a mom of an adult son who is now married, a mother-in-law, a home-school mom of a teenager with special needs, a wife of a husband on full time disability due to epilepsy, a woman who runs a ministry out of my home, a woman who is in leadership in my local church, a woman who has now entered the age of helping older parents adjust to their new norm as they age, and along with all of this…..a woman that still needs to be just a woman who enjoys life for herself in just being simply Lynn.

I am on a journey in life that is exciting, ever changing, and full of challenges, stress, fun, and new adventures all the time. The young woman who dreamed of a life of a career and travel was short lived. My new normal changed me and allowed me to become the wife, mother and woman I am now. My norm is not the norm I dreamed of….and my norm is not normal…. it is a constant moving target and this was not the life that I would have chosen.

attachment-1-2This is my story and we all have one, the chapters are being written and the book has not been completed. I have come to realize that my fears, desires, challenges, and my everyday life and my everyday normal……are unique and different. Yet there are so many similarities that we can share together as we walk our journey as moms and women .

I would love to share with you my heart and the daily delights that God shares and sends to me. I would love to share with you what I have learned from being a wife of an epileptic and a mom of an autistic son. I would love to share with you what I have learned from the challenges and uniquenesses of my life. There are so many layers to a life that is not normal and your normal is a moving target. Come and join me on my journey of finding our NEW daily norm and also adding to our “Resumes of being a mother”.

Come with me as we see how full our resume is with all that we do….look forward to stories, challenges through devotions, recipes, special needs tips and tricks, women’s ministry ideas, tips on adapting to a change in your life, how to move forward in a new norm, crafts, DIY’s, basic budgeting ideas for broke people and so much more.

I am so looking forward to connecting with you and getting to reach out and touch your life even if it is in a small way to encourage you a mom and a woman.

Written by Lynn A. C. Wilson, Resume of a Mother