When you have a special needs person in your life, it is always a learning experience. As the saying I use goes, ”I found my new normal and it’s a moving target.” Our youngest son is now seventeen and it took me about twelve years to finally start to understand how he thinks. The funny thing is, once I started to get the ‘we not I’ way of thinking, it helped me understand why some of my extended family members act and react the way they do.
Let me explain a little. The bottom line is this, when you say to someone with Autism, ADD, ADHD or something similar that they need to be to bed earlier since they woke up so early that day, usually you get a fit and a large argument. But if you say that we all woke up early and we should all go to bed early, that one individual seems to calm down and agree with you.
In our home we have learned to be creative and use we more than I. Yes, some might say that we are giving in, but we say why have an argument when you can just change the wording and make life a little easier?
Do you struggle with a special needs family member? What have you been able to do with changing one or two words?
Here are some practical tips we use to help the day a little better:
Things to do and say:
- Include yourself and talk as if you are a group.
- Speak clearly and only use the facts.
- Smile and be kind.
- Make eye contact and smile.
- Use kind speech and words.
- Respect them as you would anyone.
- Remember God created them unique.
Things not to do or say:
- Don’t single them out.
- Don’t use figures of speech
- Don’t joke: jokes to them are insulting (even the most simplest joke is not the same for them)
- Don’t expect the same in return when it comes to eye contact. (eye contact for them sometimes can be overstimulating)
- Don’t yell or use harsh words (a soft voice goes much further with them)
- Don’t treat them with disrespect….they are people too.
- Don’t treat them like they are weird.
We are all unique in our own way and have been wonderfully made. Your uniqueness might make you just as strange to someone else as they are to you. Remember to be kind and respectful to each person you encounter. Most of the time we can navigate life much better that way.
Lynn A.C. Wilson – Resume of a Mother
Life is definitely a journey and an adventure if you know anything about me. Every day brings new and exciting things and also some overwhelming moments. For the past two weeks my husband has had two major falls from having seizures which led him to be in the chiropractor’s office 2 to 3 times a week plus having to have physical therapy and wear a back brace.
Because of this we decided to take a quick weekend away that we called a Saturday vacation. While on this vacation he had a seizure, his scooter that he uses to get around in large places died in the middle of the museum. This led to us having to push it out of the museum, to loading it in the car manually, and causing me to be completely overwhelmed and having to have a good cry.
If you asked me is it all worth it I’d say 100%. If you asked me what I marry this man again I would tell you absolutely 100%. He is the man of my dreams and if he comes with an extra package called epilepsy …I wouldn’t change a thing. Now having said all that… I have stated over and over it many times that I have found “my new normal and it’s a moving target”.￼￼￼￼￼￼ so what does all of this mean, for me there is no normal, normal is only for a moment and that changes again. And I am OK with that. I’ve had to learn to be OK with that… Otherwise I would not have survived life and all that has been part of it.
This is made me in the long run realize how precious life is, it is giving me the desire to encourage other women and their walk and their journey, it is also encouraged me to invest in peoples lives whenever I can.
But having said all that… I have a new journey in life and an adventure and that is my YouTube channel. Come and join me and come and visit me and see what this crazy life entails.￼￼￼￼ I hope you will find encouragement along the way, maybe some new ideas that you’ve never thought of before, maybe a few laughs, but most of all I hope that you leave feeling a little bit better about yourself, a little bit more encouraged than when you first started to visit with me.
Lynn A. C. Wilson – Resume of a Mother
YouTube Channel name: “At Home with Lynn Wilson”
What an amazing night… What an amazing event! How many of you have someone with some type special needs and long for them to have a typical night like any other teenager could have such as a prom night? Tim Tebow foundation has created an event for people with special needs to have a prom like event for them to feel special for one night… and for them to “shine”!!!!
We were absolutely amazed at the organization, presentation, and variety of events put together in one evening. We arrived to find that girls were getting their hair, nails and make up done… while the boys were getting their shoes shined and their hair touched up. From there they went and met up with a buddy that they would have for the evening to keep them company. Then on to the horse and buggy carriage ride, and then to ride in a limousine! Once they departed from the limousine they were escorted to a red carpet where there were volunteers lined up on the carpet to root them on and cheer them on and take pictures. As our son said “I felt like a movie star”!!
Then they entered the gala… with white twinkling lights, beautiful tables decorated, a DJ, and I wonderful meal provided by Chick Fil A!
They could dance all night, they could be with their friends all night, they could feel as special as any other person ever felt on a prom night.
The final event… Would be to gather all the people with special needs and their buddies… They would be prayed over, and then everybody was crowned king and or queen of the prom with a beautiful crown or tiara.
No one was left behind and no one was left out during this beautiful moment. Everybody felt like they shined for this one special evening… our son came home feeling like he was worth something so special!!! This is one night he will never forget for the rest of his life!
Lynn A. C. Wilson– Resume of a Mother
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.
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!!!!!
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.
If you are not part of a support group you need to be!!!
Lynn A. C. Wilson – Resume of a Mother
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!!!
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
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.
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
- water bottle
- 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
It was interesting to sit and watch the other night at a group of kids all of whom had Autism. I learned a very valuable lesson that night!
Let me back track a little for you to get the whole picture. Our youngest son has Autism and we belong to two different support groups. One group especially offers a wide variety of support for parents and lots of activities for the kiddos. This night happened to be a night for the kids, it was filled with fun, running around and freedom for them.
Freedom for them!….what I mean is that they could be who they were created to be. It was a time for them not to be judged, made fun of, no one was looking at them as if they were weird. They could speak their own language, wave their hands if they needed to, swing their legs and jump as high as they wanted. They are a unique group of people! They have uniqueness that are their own…..and yet they don’t judge each other and they seem to relate to each other on a higher level. They are like minded and understand each other. Most of them have never even met before, and yet they can get along as if they were best friends forever.
What a lesson for me to learn! Here I live in the ‘average” world without Autism. My friends and acquaintances are “average” people. And yet we seem to judge, talk about each other, and we are not like minded. If we enter a room with people we haven’t met before ….we tend to look at our phones or just down right ignore each other. Oh if we could only have the mind of someone who is Autistic….and let loose and be free! Be free to say hello to a stranger, be free to play with someone we met for the first time, be free to jump as high as we wanted to and swing around in circles if we felt like it.
I am so glad that we have a place that allows our son to be free! A place for us to be with other parents who we can relate to! A place for him to be able to feel like and where he can say…..“I can just be me”. God has given him a uniqueness called Autism…he is not strange or weird just different.
Lynn A. Wilson – Resume of a Mother