A Beautiful Moment to Share With You…

This morning, when I came out of my bedroom, far earlier than I would have liked, I knew my son Cooper was waiting on the stairs for me. For one I could hear train whistles and happy music coming from his ipad. We often hear him before we see him. And secondly, lately, he’s been waiting for me more. Near, but far. Not close enough to touch, but easily heard and seen if I peek around a corner or under a table. He gasped as he usually does when it’s…

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Parenting Autism and the Conversations We Must Have

A few nights ago, my husband and I found ourselves driving around a picturesque town for 20 minutes or so…alone. We had no kids with us. There was no loud noise or fighting, endless questions, or voices from an iPad. It was just us, driving around looking at holiday lights, Christmas music playing softly. Eventually we found ourselves in the parking lot of what looked like a brand new apartment complex located right on the river. It was breathtaking. After looking at the sign, we saw it was for folks…

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The Power of Silence: Communicating with Heart

When you have a child who communicates differently than most, you learn to listen with more than your ears. You learn to communicate with a look, a touch, a gesture. Words became less important. You read your child’s needs just by looking at their eyes. A simple look is all you need. You know what a sounds means. One grunt or squeal can tell you everything you need to know. A flap of a hand or a stomp means happy or stressed. Some days you swear you can even feel…

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A Special Night With Santa

Tonight was one of those really special nights. Our family, along with 25 or so other families, spent an evening with Santa Pj and Sparkles the Elf. Some kids lined up chairs. Another watched an old 1950’s train docu-series on YouTube called Hobart and Cosmo. A few played tag. Some did crafts. One young man had a stack of paper with printed photos of the vintage treasures he wanted. Another young man wore noise canceling headphones the entire time. A few used speech devices to say…’hi Santa.’ One beautiful girl…

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You Are Stronger Than You Think

I don’t know how you do it… Last night I shared a video on Instagram of my autistic son ripping paper and books. It’s a new behavior. It’s really loud. And messy. I shared it for a glimpse into the beauty and reality of our world. I could tell you why he does it. He wants to have all the pieces of the magazines and books in his hands. He’s a sensory seeker. He likes to see and touch. To spread the pages out. To line them up. It makes…

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The Way He Brothers

I was rushing to get out of the house. Helping Cooper with his shoes and wrestling the baby into her jacket. Only she’s in that…‘I do it myself mama’ phase. I filled water bottles and packed a bag and grabbed snacks. Made sure kids had hats and gloves and Cooper had his speech device and that I looked halfway presentable. You know, doing all of the things. Cooper, my oldest, who is autistic, was nonverbally letting me know that he was going to bring all hundred of his treasures. Sawyer,…

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Every Day is a Party: Celebrating the Simple Joys with Cooper

There is a quote that says, ‘don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day your alive is a special occasion.’ My son Cooper reminds me of that quote every single day. The reason I’m sharing it with you is because someone recently commented on one of my posts, pointing out that we always have balloons in our house. And it’s true, they are everywhere. They drift through the house, from room to room. Birthday balloons. Dora balloons. Square. Round. All brightly colored. Some old. Some new. Why? Because…

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My Nonverbal Teen’s Birthday Tale

Nonverbal communication is a pretty amazing thing really. My son Cooper, the one in the middle, he communicates mostly with sounds: Think grunts and squeals and gasps. He points a lot. And brings things to us and brings us to things. He places his hands on ours and guides them in certain ways. He touches our lips and uses his hands to turn our faces to see things. He uses his iPad to show us pictures or videos of things he wants to tell us about. He does some typing.…

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A Brother. An Advocate. A Helper.

Recently we ventured to the store for a few things. Eggs. Milk. Nerf gun bullets. And 2 pieces of paper. The essentials. Obviously. Outings as a family are still relatively new for us. And while they are far from perfect, they are real. See, we have a kid who is just learning about waiting and buying and walking and all the parts of the world. While our son Cooper is making amazing progress at stores and by amazing, I mean huge leaps and bounds…so much of it is still hard…

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Birthday Countdown: Communication Without Words

My son Cooper is nonspeaking. I know that’s a confusing classification. I even sometimes struggle to explain it. See when it comes to autism, and the spectrum you hear about, the waters are often muddy. He said his first word at age 8. It was mom. Now he says it no less than 50 times a day. But he couldn’t tell you his name under pressure or if he is in pain. He can’t use the phone but he can type the name of his favorite movie into YouTube. He…

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