Tuesday, July 7, 2020

A Sibling's Point of View

There was a news story a while back that you may have missed and I feel that it is still important to talk about. It was about a very popular YouTuber named Myka Stauffer.  I had never heard of her until my daughter, Lauren, forwarded me an article about her. Myka Stauffer and her husband had adopted a son from China, who was named Huxley. After finding out he had Autism and other disabilities, they decided that he should be placed with a different family. The Stauffer's already have four biological children. Evidently, some of Myka Stauffer's followers were asking what happened to Huxley since he wasn't in any of the videos she was posting. About a month ago, Myka Stauffer and her husband made a video explaining where Huxley had went. There was a lot of negative fall out from the video including tons of judgment. Everyone seemed to have an opinion. Very few supported her decision to return him.  What I learned from one of my best friends is that you shouldn't judge others unless you are walking in their shoes. Many were concerned about Huxley and the effects of all of this on him. I read a lot of the comments and I don't think I saw any about how having an adopted brother and then not having him in the family would affect the four biological children. That was Lauren's number one concern about the whole situation, given that she has a younger brother with Autism, named Dominic. As a mom, I could only see it from my perspective. Besides having an older sister (Lauren), Dominic also has a stepbrother who is 36 and married.  My stepson has never lived with us full time and when we moved to Michigan in 2001, he was a senior in high school, so he stayed back with his mom in Maryland. We talk to my stepson and his wife each week, so Dominic is able to stay connected to them. Lauren was eight years old when Dominic was born. When the Myka Stauffer story came out, Lauren was like, "what about the other kids?" "They will be wondering where their brother went." During the time of the Pandemic, Lauren stayed with us for close to three months. Dominic started reading the "Magic Tree House" books to her. When she went back to her apartment, I was trying to figure out how the closeness could continue. That's where Skype comes in!!

Even though Lauren has a full-time job, she makes time in her day for Dominic to read to her.  He reads a chapter to her at a time and they are now on their fourth book!!!! Lauren has always thought of Dominic being her brother first and having Autism second. Isn't the way it's supposed to be?

Saturday, June 6, 2020

A Trip to the Post Office

So, we did it. This afternoon, for the first time since the Pandemic started, I took Dominic to a public place, our local post office. We needed to mail something by Priority Mail as well as buy some stamps. Before we went, I had put it on his daily schedule and showed him the Social Story for using a face mask. The only other time we had tried to get him to wear a mask was a handful of weeks back and he took it off after 30 seconds, so I was VERY apprehensive about him keeping it on the entire time we were at the post office.  Before deciding to take him, I talked about it all morning with the hubby and Lauren. Even though I am on two medications for my Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I still, once in a great while, get that old familiar feeling in the pit of my stomach, that unpleasant pre-worrying feeling. Anyways, I asked Dominic if he wanted to take the Social Story with us in the car on our way to the post office and he said no. Once we pulled into the parking lot, I put on my mask and told Dominic that he had to put his on and keep it on the entire time we were inside the post office. I had to help him put it on, but once it was on, he didn't try and take it off.  The hardest thing for Dominic to do with the mask on was trying to figure out how to pick his nose (no, I am not kidding)!! LOL. Once inside the building, I had to grab a Priority Mail label and start filling it out. I fished around in my purse and I couldn't find my pen. I knew I had one in my purse, because I checked before we left our house. I had literally worked myself into such a bundle of nerves, that once I calmed myself down, I found it. Luckily, we didn't have to wait at all. During this whole time, Dominic was cool as a cucumber and not once did he try and take the mask off while we were conducting our business at the counter. The transaction with the postal clerk took less than five minutes and then we left the building. I told Dominic that once we were back outside, he could take off the mask. He handled the whole outing like a pro. I, on the other hand, was stressed out the entire time. Dominic having three seizures at the beginning of this Pandemic, really messed with my head. I have been TERRIFIED of taking him to any public place. I knew at some point, he had to get out.  Believe me, this isn't the first time my anxiety has prevented Dominic from doing something. I am continually working on it. All I can do is just keep going forward and giving Dominic that independence he deserves!! Wish me luck!! 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Random Acts of Kindness During this Quarantine

As we continue through navigating our new "normal," one thing in particular has stood out to me as far as parenting Dominic goes. No one can make it alone through this. I'm sure you have heard the saying, "it takes a village to raise a child."  Never has that been more true than doing these unusual times we are currently living in. After I had Lauren, I had two miscarriages. When I got pregnant with Dominic, I was worried every single day that I would have another miscarriage. I think I knew deep down from the time he was born that something wasn't quite right. When he was diagnosed with Autism at age 2 1/2, it surprised me, but not really. As the diagnoses started stacking up, ADHD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder at age 3 and then Complex Partial Epilepsy five years ago, I knew that we needed additional support. Say what you will about Facebook (I know not everyone likes it), but for those parenting children and adults with disabilities (such as our family) it's very much a "lifeline." Isolation was HUGE for our family in those early days of Dominic's diagnosis of Autism. During that time, our daughter was having significant health issues and we were taking care of my husband's parents back in Cleveland. It literally was all I could do to function each day. I guess you could say, "I was going through the motions." When everything settled down a bit, I then starting looking for my "village." It's not like you can go stand on your rooftop and say, "hey, I need support here!" I wish it was that easy, but it isn't. When I started posting on Facebook years ago about important milestones Dominic reached, my on-line "village" would comment and/or like my post. During this Quarantine, Dominic (and our family) have been the recipients of many "random acts of kindness." At the beginning of the Quarantine, a neighbor down the street gave Dominic a puzzle because he knows from my Facebook posts that Dominic loves puzzles.  Five days ago, another neighbor (who just happens to be Dominic's old music teacher) brought down five Magic Tree House books that her daughter picked out special to let him borrow because she saw on my Facebook page that Dominic was reading them:

This past Monday, I met up with one of my closest and dearest friends in a high school parking lot (so we could social distance) and she gave me six puzzles, three of which Dominic has already done and yesterday afternoon, Dominic's special friend, Madelyn brought over four puzzles.

Wow, I'll tell you, I am overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity of my "village!" Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and please know this, it is very much appreciated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

How a Daily Walk Has Helped Me Through this Quarantine as Someone with Generalized Anxiety Disorder

I used to make a daily walk a priority. As I had gotten more and more busy over these past few years, I would find every excuse I could to not walk. I'm too tired, I'm too out of shape, I have a heart condition, etc. My husband tried to encourage me, but I ended up taking offense at his not so "gentle" suggestions. He stopped after a while.  Up until the past four weeks of this Quarantine, I would come to the end of the day and realize I hadn't set foot outside of our house at all! Not even to get the mail from our mailbox.  Yikes.  Lauren has been temporarily living with us and she kept asking me to go for a walk. I kept telling her no, until I decided that for my mental health, I really needed to get out of the house at a minimum, once a day. I am so incredibly thankful to her and her persistence, because we are now on week 4 of our family "walks!!" The first week or two, I had to come home and lie down after our walk because I was exhausted.  I have slowly built my stamina up and don't need to do that so much anymore. Dominic's private speech therapist has built his speech therapy into our walks. He has to find three things he sees on our walks and write them down in a spiral notebook.  During his weekly Zoom sessions with her on Saturday mornings, he is able to have a conversation with her about what he saw on our daily walks. Pretty cool, huh? For consistency and routine purposes, we aim to go at the same time, 11:30 a.m. Lauren asked me recently if I was going to continue my walks even after the Quarantine is over. I told her YES!!!

Friday, May 8, 2020

It's a "Group" Effort

Since going to the local barbershop is still not allowed where we live, it fell upon us to figure out the best way to shave Dominic's beard and mustache. Typically, Dominic goes to our local barbershop to get his haircut and his barber (Vince) also takes about 30 seconds to shave the beard and mustache. This August, it will be five years that Dominic has been going to Vince. That in itself is a huge milestone as anyone with a child/adult with sensory sensitivities knows. Anyways, earlier in the week my hubby, Lauren and I had all noticed that Dominic's facial hair definitely needed some assistance. I mentioned to Lauren that I needed to find a "social story" about getting a shave. Before I had a chance to find one, she took it upon herself to find one and print it out, it had both an electric shaver and shaving cream/razor stories!

That meant so much to me, because she didn't have to do that, she wanted to!  I showed the social story to Dominic and said with tons of enthusiasm, "we are going to shave!" His response was a resounding "no." I just kind of casually left the social story out on the kitchen table and more than once, I caught him taking a look at it. Since he showed some level of interest, the hubby and I discussed it last night and decided that today would be the day!! I wasn't sure what time the big shaving session would be. After we did a family walk (a new Quarantine activity) and the frozen pizza in the oven for lunch was almost done, I heard my husband say something like, "Daddy is going to shave and then it's going to be your turn!" My husband switches up his shaving "routine." He either uses his dad's electric shaver, which I am guessing is at least 50 years old or he uses shaving cream and a razor. When I rounded the corner to the bathroom, my husband was making his best effort to shave Dominic's facial hair. It didn't appear to be working because either Dominic has too much facial hair or the electric razor just couldn't handle it. The noise was really starting to bother Dominic too and he put on his headphones. When my husband went upstairs to get the shaving cream and a razor, I told Dominic what were going to try next. My husband put some shaving cream on Dominic's face and he actually laughed!! The hubby also got some shaving cream on Dominic's lips which I wiped off. It took longer with the shaving cream and razor, but Dominic handled it like a pro!!! Lauren, the hubby and I kept telling Dominic how great he looked and Lauren made the comment that it was a "group" effort to get Dominic shaved. A few hours after the shaving session, I asked Dominic what he preferred, the electric shaver or the shaving cream and razor combo. He said the shaving cream/razor combo. I was kind of surprised because Vince uses the electric razor. I asked Dominic why he preferred the shaving cream and the razor and he said it was because the electric razor is "too loud." I don't know if we would have had the same fabulous results if it weren't for all of us coming together as a group to achieve the ultimate goal!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Investing the Time Now to Prepare for the Future

When the Quarantine first started, I spent the first week trying to replicate what Dominic did at school on a daily basis and unfortunately, he had a seizure that Friday, March 20. The next week, I let him do whatever he wanted because I had a huge case of mom “guilt” that I had caused it. Secretly, in the back of my mind, I was hoping the Quarantine would last two weeks and things could go back to the way they were. As we all know, that hasn’t happened yet (at least here in Michigan). The third week, I started using a whiteboard for Dominic’s detailed “schedule” as well as having him write his daily chores in a spiral notebook. Dominic has had a handful of chores for well over a year now (a fabulous idea from his private speech therapist), but what I began to notice, is that I was starting to give him additional chores, many of them life skills that he will be able to carry with him throughout his life, whether he always lives with us or not.  Some of his new chores include making his own lunch (he has been making his own breakfast for several years) and bringing in the trashcan from the curb after the garbage guys come through. I gladly let him take that one over from me! Dominic has been baking along side me from the time he was in diapers. Before the Quarantine, I was so incredibly busy, that baking had really taken a “backseat.” I was hardly doing ANY baking. During this time of togetherness, I have started it up again! Dominic used to just put the ingredients in a bowl and leave. I have “expanded” his role to reading the recipe, as well as finding and measuring the ingredients. A few weeks ago, he spilled a bunch of flour and got upset. 

He is what you would call a “perfectionist.” I had to reassure him several times it was okay. So far, we have made my mother-in-law’s Sour Cream Kuchen four times, as well as Brownie Pie and yesterday, Sour Cream Biscotti! 

My great-grandfather was a baker in Missouri. I have LOVED baking since I got my first Easy Bake Oven. I think Dominic has inherited his great-great grandfather’s passion for baking. Dominic will be 16 in July. He is on the life skills “track” at school, not the academic “track.” Employment for those with disabilities is hard to find. I don’t know the exact statistic, but I do know the number is quite low.  I see SO many stories on social media about those with disabilities working in coffee shops, restaurants, etc.  Dominic loves repetition and organization. Throughout my volunteering with the disability community, I have met the most remarkable woman who I have the utmost respect for. She took over as the President and CEO of the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau right around the time the Quarantine started. I have watched her handle this crisis like a pro. It makes me even respect her more (if that's possible). When I sent her a draft of this blog post her words to me were, "with Dominic's winning smile, he's perfect for the hospitality industry!" Thank you Julie for having such a positive influence on Dominic!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Why Tim Tebow's Night to Shine Prom is So Important for those with Disabilities

This past Friday night was the second time Dominic went to the Tim Tebow's Night to Shine Prom. For those of you that don't know what that is, I will tell you!  For one night a year in February, over 700 churches from around the United States and the world host a Prom for those with differing needs. It doesn't cost a dime to attend and as long as you are at least 14 you can attend, there is no maximum age. There are dances at Dominic's high school (Homecoming, etc.)  and each time I have suggested to him to go, his response has always been a resounding no. He doesn't have enough language to tell me why he doesn't want to go, so it remains a bit of a mystery. I have my own thoughts as to why - too crowded, too loud and flashing lights. A prime setup for an Epileptic seizure. He's had 10 seizures in the past 4 1/2 years. There is a memory that is seared permanently into my mind from elementary school. This would have been approximately 1973 or so. We were walking as a class in the hallway, when the Special Education classes filed past us. I remember staring, because I hardly ever saw them. Those students were kept completely separate from the classes I was in. I'm sure they didn't like being stared at, but, I truly didn't know any better. I didn't understand what I didn't know.  Fast forward to 2020. My son Dominic has Autism, ADHD, Anxiety Disorder and Epilepsy and has been receiving Special Education services in school since he was three years old. He will be 16 this July. A lot has changed since the early 1970's, but there is still more that needs to be changed. The absolute worst thing you can do is keep the Special Education students separate from their typically-developing peers. The world is full of individuals of all different abilities.  If you would have asked me what Autism was back in the early 1970's I would have had no clue. Little did I know, I would have a son diagnosed with Autism when he was 2 1/2. Do you know what they used to call Autism? Childhood Schizophrenia. According to a recent article in Medical News Today, 

"it was not until 1980 that childhood schizophrenia became understood as a separate diagnosis - before that time, children who today would be diagnosed with Autism, which is a type of "pervasive developmental disorder" were grouped under the diagnosis of schizophrenia." 

That was a year before I graduated from high school. It was not uncommon to suggest even 20 years ago that you automatically put your autistic individual into a institution. There was a mental institution called the Crownsville Hospital Center in Maryland that opened in 1911 and closed in 2004 (the year Dominic was born). The conditions that those with mental disorders lived in were beyond deplorable.  It is a part of history that I'm sure many would like to forget never happened, but sadly it did. I am SO glad that in 2020, children with special needs are integrated into the "typically-developing" classrooms and there are events such as the Tim Tebow's Night to Shine Prom. When I looked around the room last Friday night, it made me wonder about some of the experiences the much older adults in the room must have had in their lifetimes. I wish I could have had the opportunity to talk to each and every one of them. I'm sure it would make me appreciate all of the possibilities that my son has now.    

Friday, January 17, 2020

Why I Continue to Share My "Story"

When I first started writing this blog back in 2011, it was because it had been a traumatic year and I felt that I needed a way to get my emotions out. One of my first posts was about my mother-in-law who had passed away in January. 2011 ended with me getting diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure and spending the night in the hospital. As I started sharing my different experiences such as watching my daughter go off to college, little by little, the stress I had been holding in, seemed to dissipate. I could write about my aging parents, Dominic's different disabilities, and what it's like to be a stepmom. I have been told that my blog is kind of like the way I talk.  I am grateful and humbled when someone takes the time and reads a post. Yeah, I could sit out in front of my house in a lawn chair and tell my story to the people driving by, but writing a blog post and putting it out into the Internet reaches a lot more people. I had one of my blog posts on Yahoo less than a year ago. I was curious what people's comments were so I started reading them (there are 77).  Wow, just wow. The "trolls" were incredibly nasty. I truly couldn't believe that a post I had written about having Diabetes was getting so many negative comments. One of the nicer comments was "this person is fat and crazy." I decided then and there, that I would not read the comments unless they were specifically posted to my blog! Yikes. There are a lot of people out there that feel they can write whatever they want because they aren't talking to you face-to-face.  Online bullying is relentless. I was bullied in high school but it wasn't by people sitting behind a computer screen. It was to my face. As this blog has grown and evolved, I find myself writing more and more about our challenges with Dominic, specifically with Autism and Epilepsy. No one on either my side or my husband's side of the family has Autism. No one in my immediate family has Epilepsy. Raising a child with differing needs can at times be extremely difficult. I am not going to sugar coat it, it's hard. Last week, I was trying to talk to my husband about something very important. Dominic came into the room where we were and started saying, "mommy, mommy, mommy," incessantly. After telling him several times that I would be with him in a minute, I lost my patience and yelled at him. He immediately ran upstairs to his room. A little while later, he came back down and started hitting himself. He truly didn't know how to handle the fact I had yelled at him.  Watching him self-harm, made me feel extremely guilty. After he and I both cooled off, I gave him a hug and apologized to him. I know I'm not perfect, is anybody? I think back to those really early days with Dominic, when he would cry incessantly and not sleep. I would be nursing him in the middle of the night while my daughter and husband slept. Those nights seemed endless. I think I knew something was "off" but couldn't quite put my finger on it. When Dominic was diagnosed with Autism at age 2 1/2, it was like everything started to make sense.  We were able to start getting him some help. This July, he will be 16. Parenting a teenage boy with differing needs has at times been, ahem, interesting to say the least. I am blessed that I have women that I can turn to, because they are willing to share their stories with me! It makes me feel less alone knowing that. Isolation is something extremely common in the special needs "world." Lately, I have heard from parents that even within their own families they don't get the support they deserve. I love my dad with all my heart, but he has struggled with how to be around Dominic. It wasn't until he had a major stroke, that he started seeing Dominic in a different way. Dominic will still cover his ears and hum around my dad because he remembers when my dad would raise his voice to get him to behave. I feel it's important for Dominic to spend time with my dad because it's the only grandparent he has left. I have learned a lot about myself by continuing to write my blog and I will continue to share my life "story" with others because I feel it's important to make sure that people don't feel alone.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

To the Dental Hygienist Who Went Above and Beyond

Raise your hand if going to the dentist is your absolute favorite place in the world to go. Our "journey" with finding the right pediatric dentist has been YEARS in the making.  My anxiety at one point was so high, I totally avoided taking him. We tried the dentist my husband and I go to and Dominic hopped out of the chair and wouldn't cooperate. We went to a dentist that everyone said was wonderful and she automatically wanted to sedate him after seeing him for 30 seconds. Yet another time, we tried a dentist that a bunch of my friends said was the best around and he didn't really try and work with him. So, after asking a friend of mine who used to practice Dentistry, I finally got another dentist to try. I loved this fourth dental practice the moment I walked in the front door. The front staff, the hygienist and the dentist all tried really hard with Dominic. After him non-cooperating, it was mutually decided that he would need to go to our local hospital and get fully put under. This was in May of 2018 when he was 14. Prior to that, Dominic had never had his teeth cleaned or x-rayed. I imagined the dentist coming out and saying, "your son's mouth was riddled with cavities." I was very happily surprised when she said he had one small cavity between his teeth. I knew Dominic was okay when the first thing he said when he woke up was, "I want to go to McDonald's." Food has always been a very BIG motivator for him. The dentist then said, "he's good for another 18 months."  Tuesday of last week was when he had that appointment. I had written it on our family and personal calendars and it was on Dominic's "daily" schedule. True to form, my anxiety was through the roof the whole day. Yes, even though I take TWO medications for my Generalized Anxiety Disorder, for stressful situations like this, my anxiety goes into overdrive. About one hour before his appointment, I got a call that the dentist had a family emergency and we had to reschedule.  It was hard for me to process my emotions, in some ways I was glad we didn't have to go and in another way, I just wanted to get it over with. Flash forward to this past Monday at 3:20 p.m. (the rescheduled appointment). My husband works at home on Mondays and I told him I wanted him to come with me to the appointment. The entire time up until Dominic got home from school, I talked to my husband about how I didn't expect Dominic to cooperate and how he would have to get sedated no less than five times. When Dominic hopped off the bus at 2:50 p.m. I immediately told him that he was going to the dentist at least three times. In the back of my mind, I had already mentally prepared myself for him not cooperating. I fully expected having to go into a side office and discuss the date he would need to go to the hospital to be put under again, because that is what happened 18 months ago. We got to the office a few minutes early and filled out paperwork. Pretty close to 3:20 p.m. we went back to the room and waited there for about 30 minutes. Not the best scenario for a child with Autism. After making a little small talk with the hygienist about the weather, she then did something amazing. She started asking Dominic if the television above his head was too loud, if the lights were too bright. She kept reassuring Dominic that it would be okay. When she found out we were going to McDonald's after the appointment, she asked him what he was going to eat. She asked him how school was going. Truly, going above and beyond. She just didn't reassure Dominic, she reassured my husband and I.  She could have just left us alone in the room for those 30 minutes. She chose to stay with us the entire time. When the dentist came in, my husband reassured Dominic, I counted so the dentist could do what she needed to do (a few times she told me to slow down), the hygienist calmly held one of Dominic's arms and talked to him..  A few times he sat up and said, "time to go to McDonald's!" The dentist and hygienist calmly let him take his breaks when he needed to. The four of us worked as a "team" and Dominic was able to complete the exam. I was thinking to myself, "woohoo!" It finally went great!  By the way, Dominic LOVED his meal from McDonald's!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Knowing When to Ask for Help

Shortly after the death of one of my husband's cousins earlier this year in Cleveland, Dominic started telling me, "have to get Grandma out of the Burcham Hills." Burcham Hills is the care facility in East Lansing where my mother-in-law lived for several years before her passing in 2011. We visited my mother-in-law a lot and she came to our house for dinner at least once a week, so he got to know her pretty well. About a month ago, Dominic said, "Grandma Martha is wearing a black coat in the cemetery." As most people know, I am rarely at a loss for words. I truly had no clue what to say to that. My mom (Grandma Martha) has been gone about 16 months. About two weeks ago,  I had lunch recently with two of my very good friends. During the course of the conversation,  I told them about how Dominic was still coming to terms with my moms passing and the best I have been able to come up with was, "she was broken, couldn't be fixed and went up to Heaven." Immediately, one of my friends said something along the lines of, "if Dominic breaks something, he will think he is going to Heaven." I knew in that moment, I needed help on how to explain this better. Both of my friends mentioned Ele's Place, an organization in Michigan that assists children and teens in grieving a loved one. I got a contact name and number and immediately reached out. In less than 30 minutes, I had a response back. She put me in touch with the Program Director who I chatted with last Friday. The Program Director told me that they have worked with children and teens with Autism and that she had several resources she could send me. In less than six hours, I had those resources. She also gave me the words to use now with Dominic (she was very, very, very old; very, very, very sick or very, very, very injured; her heart stopped beating or her body stopped working). Dominic with his limited language needs words that are very concrete. A word not to use is "lose." The Program Director also told me that when there is a recent loss, it triggers past losses.  Given the recent loss of my husband's cousin earlier this year, that totally makes sense as to why Dominic was talking about Burcham Hills and my mom in the cemetery. A literal "lightbulb" went off! I like to pride myself on being able to handle anything that comes my way with Dominic. In this particular situation, I'm really glad that I asked for help. I just wish I hadn't waited so long!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

**Dominic with my mother-in-law

**Dominic with my mom.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Thank You to the Kroger Clerk That Made the Extra Effort

There was a time when the thought of taking Dominic to the grocery store would immediately make my stomach tense up, because I knew there would be the inevitable "meltdown" at the checkout. Thank goodness those days are behind us! With tenth grade starting this Monday, I decided to take Dominic with me today to the local Kroger. I called it a "field trip."  I let him carry my "list" and push the cart. We were in there quite a while loading up the cart with great deals!

The Kroger was surprisingly empty around the time we went and there was a lane open with no one ahead of us when it was time to check out. I recognized the clerk at the register. I love going to her lane because she is always happy and likes to chat (just like I do)! Dominic helped me put all the items on the conveyor belt and then we both walked towards the clerk to get ready to pay. I made the comment that we were loading up for school (lots of granola bars and Cheez-Its). She looked right at Dominic and said, "so, what grade are you going into?" When he didn't immediately answer, I turned to Dominic and said, "she asked you a question, can you answer her?" Dominic started getting kind of flustered and said, "no, it's Saturday morning." That has become his thing to say when he doesn't want to and/or doesn't know how to answer a question. It's a line from an old episode of Barney. "Scripting" is Dominic's fall back mechanism when he isn't sure of how to respond. The clerk then asked Dominic another question and again he said, "no, it's Saturday morning." I then said, "I'm sorry, he has Autism." She looked right at me, smiled and said something along the lines of, "yes, I know, I wanted to ask him those questions." This awesome gal was making the extra effort to have an interaction with Dominic. She didn't have to talk to Dominic, she wanted to talk to him. Wow, just wow. For once in my life, I was speechless! That doesn't happen very often!! Thanks so much to the Kroger clerk, you didn't just make my day, you made my year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Sibling's Point of View

There was a news story a while back that you may have missed and I feel that it is still important to talk about. It was about a very popula...