Behind starburst eyes

Pick me up

When I’m in a bad mood I’ve long been of the practice to do something for someone else to help lift my own spirits. Years ago before they had to start refusing such offers I’d bake for homeless shelters and soup kitchens as a way of creating beauty or good energy when I was upset about things I could not control. (They now have to refuse them due to health code regulations, unless you are an actual business that has been okayed by the health department)

Tonight I was not in a great mood. Nothing really wrong per say, just feeling blah and a bit down, a touch of restlessness had settled in and I felt a bit constrained. SO I thought I’d take the boys for a walk, and on our walk we brought sidewalk chalk. We had an amazing time! C and I wrote inspiring messages at random spots, things like “You are special”,¬†“Life can be GREAT” “You are loved exactly as you are” and so on. N “helped” us to write the messages and was fully loving being completely included, so a few of the messages may not be super clear lol but it was a lovely experience for them and for me.

By the time we came home I was in much better spirits, and both boys were in lovely moods. It’s funny the messages were supposed to be for other people, random strangers to see, to take in and to perhaps offer them a spark of positivity. While they just still might, those messages definitely gave the 3 of us writing them a whole slew of positivity too. ūüėĬ†

I’d like to think that they did, and that the ones C and I wrote together will do the same for someone seeing them come morning. ūüėÄ Have any of you dear readers seen sidewalk affirmations at one time or another? If so, did they indeed offer you a spark of positivity that day?

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Buying Friendship

An article I wrote about accidently buying friendships when you’re on the Autism Spectrum:

“They say money can‚Äôt buy you happiness, but can it buy you friends? While most people know the obvious answer to that is a firm ‚ÄúNo‚ÄĚ Sometimes people on the spectrum have more trouble with the concept of buying friendship doesn‚Äôt work.”

You can find the rest of the article at Parents Space:
http://www.parents-space.com/health-fitness/the-autism-spectrum/buying-friendships/

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Dance as a type of stimming

Two days ago during a wonderful conversation with a developmental service worker student at Grandview Children’s Center we ended up speaking about how much I felt dance had helped C.

Dance has helped his confidence, and it’s given him a sense of belonging because of being on a team. But it’s given him more than even that. C used to stim allot and I never stopped him. I felt that he was doing what he needed to feel okay and that mattered more to me than other people’s opinions.

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I do a lot of¬†looking at his behaviors and thinking about potentially “socially acceptable” behaviors that are similar. I do that because I want to give him as many¬†choices as I can for him to have¬†in regards to how he wishes to interact with the world around him. So when I looked at dance I noticed how someone with a natural affinity to what the world might view as random movement could be utilized wonderfully in various styles of dance. I also figured that at bare minimum he’d have an additional social skill in his repertoire. At best my theory that he’d utilize it when he needed a form of stimming that would be deemed more socially acceptable than straight out hand flapping or rocking would be accurate.

About 3 months into his lessons I noticed that he wasn’t flapping his hands or twirling or rocking as often. Instead he was randomly breakdancing. Now I would LOVE for society to stop being so darn judgmental (and I’m working on helping to increase not just awareness but more importantly acceptance) However, until that day comes I still want my sons to have options. NOT on how “to be fake to fit in” but on various alternatives that are just as physically, and emotionally satisfying to them as their original choices.

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Why you ask? Doesn’t that mean I’m full of it when I say that I love my boys just as they are? NOPE It means that it is my job as their mother to give them every available tool I can¬†think of so that THEY can choose which¬†actions they wish to¬†utilize in any setting they find themselves in.

See never once have I suggested my sons stop stimming in public, ever! Because I understand that it helps them and all I want is happy children so why not let them be themselves! I have however asked my eldest why he’s chosen to dance instead of twirling or flapping his hands and he said to me “Dance is controlled movement. I can get my energy out more and it feels even better in my whole body than the other stuff I used to do” You can see it when he dances too, I wrote previously about how something seems to click within him while he’s on a dance floor and it’s a thing of beauty to watch. (That post is here)

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I told “D” that I was sad that Grandview had music therapy but NOT dance therapy and after she’d listened to me ramble on and on about my boys, and about all I just wrote about above, she said she was going to look into research about dance as a form of therapy for Autism. (Not to “CURE” because I find that word so darn offensive about Autism. But that’s another long expletive laden post) But if what my son says is accurate for other children in addition to himself than this could potentially help many other children to have something else to choose from. NOT because their original stimming was wrong, but because I think we should all have options that we get to choose from as to which one works best for us and for each of the myriad of situations we will eventually find ourselves in. By exposing children to various options while keeping our opinions to ourselves (Unless that opinion is the fantastic one of “Each person has a right to be happy, if _____ is your bliss than¬†as your ______ support you in your choices”) I think it’s giving our children more options to choose what they truly want to do in whatever situation they find themselves in. That my dear readers is¬†freedom. Freedom to be and¬†feel and¬†behave in whatever ways are their¬†bliss. That freedom allows them to thrive¬†and soar and there’s nothing more beautiful to watch than someone soaring free,¬†being true to themselves and loving every moment of it.

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He danced while I cried…

Tonight I cried while he danced. He looked like poetry in motion as music became movement. As fast as the bass that was pulsating through the speakers, his feet became a blur as they almost flew across the floor and through the air.

I watched and I knew in my heart this right here right now, was what he was born to do. It wasn’t just the ease with which he watched another contender and added their moves to his own freestyle piece. It was so much more than that. It was the way his eyes glowed with certainty, for he KNEW what to do. He “gets” how to translate music into movement. For all the confusion he still has in various social settings, put him on a stage or dance floor and crank up the tunes and watch the joy and sense of rightness that glows from within him.

Sweat soaked and muscles burning from exertion¬†and still his smile illuminates his own starburst eyes that are so much like my own. It’s almost like the combination of music and movement unlocks some secret special place within him, and you can almost physically see everything “clicking” inside his mind for him. Like the movement pushes the confusion and anxiety that often plague¬†him completely out of his mind. While the music pulsing causes synapses¬†after synapses to occur in places that didn’t communicate properly with each other prior to that moment. For those few minutes on stage you can see how centered within himself, and whole¬†he truly is, and it’s more beautiful than words can describe.
It’s his version of “therapy” for in those moments on stage he feels joy and acceptance in who he is. There, right there,¬†my boy who has been judged for not being able to stay still, for randomly twirling or flapping his hands when he’s having a sensory overload¬†is judged on how well he can move,

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