Remembering a Strange Sign

  MyGuy's Granddad had a lot of stories.  Like most of us, we didn't listen as closely as we should have, but MyGuy was remembering this story last night, and, as usual with us, it led to a minilesson in communicating.

Life on the Computer Farm: Mail Error & Chronotypes

  Tuesday morning my main email account worked just fine.
  Sometime while i was out Tuesday, my mailhost decided that my password was not my password and my main language is Spanish.

A Beauty Tip - For the Brave (Or is that Stupid?)

  You won't find many beauty tips on my blog.  This one appears because my stylist complimented me on my "beautiful, 'natural' brow arch."
  After i stopped laughing, i told her the story, and i thought ya'll might be interested too.

A Christmas Movie

  No, not that one.  i seem to be the only person who doesn't find the movie with the leg lamp charmingly nostalgic.
  This one, while also referencing Indiana, is much different.
  My father in law recommended Remember the Night as a heartwarming screwball comedy.  i didn't think a 1940 movie would be so suggestive.

"But we can't put up a Christmas tree because the kids would get into it."

  So many times i hear parents tell me that they can't put up a Christmas tree or play board games, whatever, because the kids would make a mess of it. 
  It does take creativity, and God knows i'm not always up to it myself. But it's important to stretch yourself and your kids, because if you don't take the time & effort now, it may or may not be easier when they're bigger.  
i think i got the ideas shown in the photos

Brave New World: The Future, Autism, and Siblings

  In his blog entry today, John Elder Robison comments on the Time article Autism's Invisible Victims: The Siblings.
  As a person with autism himself, he has numerous issues with the article.  It is perhaps written with amazing unfeelingness for a professional - or simply amazingly limited perspective.  The author, Barbara Cain, seems to have fallen prey to the popular notion that "people with autism" is always equal to "children with autism."
  But children with autism grow up.
  Many of them grow up to be highly competent.  Some even MIT engineers - one MIT alum suggests that
 "the 'abnormal' condition known as Asperger's syndrome" could be "remarkably similar to the 'normal' functioning of an engineer's mind"        Read more:,9171,2089358,00.html#ixzz2E0vUipCX

  Some of them remain little children in men's bodies.  Here is a Time magazine book excerpt of a sibling's story of one of them.  i don't know any statistics on how many grow up to be like this; probably not as many as Ms Cain, the author of my originally cited Times article above seems to think.

  Max is 22.  He is in between.  He dresses himself.  He toilets independently, but gives no clue whether all is well or not in that department.  He's still struggling with that 3rd grade reading comprehension.  If he could get past that, maybe then the engineer thing.
  But there is a long way to go.
  And yes, there have been brother inconveniences. But there always are. Has Boom been a victim of his brother's autism?
  Not as much as Max has.  And will be.

What do we Really Know?

My Quote

 The above quote is part of an entry in the Dover Beach blog.
  Cosmas was discussing rich and poor, a valid discussion today.  The complete quote is even in words that echo Boom's framing of the subject.

Sensory Overload & Autism

  But we know so little of each other.  When i've visited the Apple store with my mother in law, i've felt overwhelmed with the sensory input.  Especially the last time, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Fortunately my sister in law was there too so i could escape.
  This is a world many with autism live in daily.  We can't enter there.
  Despite the author's disclaimers, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime describes behaviors that look, to those of us familiar with autism, like those in our loved ones.

My Point

  Earlier this week, i received this link to a video preview clip about autistic sensory overload.  It lasts about two minutes.  Be sure to give it a look.

Appy Apple

Ok, last month, with the help of:
  •     Boom, the telecom graduate
  •     MyGuy,the 35 year+ computer pro
  •     Daniel and Jeff from The PATINS Project/CIESC
  •     not one, but TWO employees at the Keystone at the Crossing Apple store
  •     and, again, Boom
i have installed my gift card to our iPad and loaded two apps recommended by our wonder-full speech therapist.

  Should it take so much effort?  Am i really so dense?

  Later, we had to unload & reload one of the apps because it wasn't working right.  We got the sound to work, but  it won't do everything we need it to, until i can load email on the darn iPad.  Maybe i'm blocking, but i don't want to do it, and it's not working for me.

  Last night i added another two gift cards and one app.  Max has used one with Boom, but consistently refuses to do so with me.  It's kinda cool to have a little computer for internet surfing - where have we seen this actor before? - but that is NOT why we bought it.

Something Different

  When i last posted, i shared about our upcoming Thanksgiving plans.  i suppose ya'll might want to know how they worked out.
  It was. . . .interesting.

Happy Thanksgiving - and a Helpful Holiday Link

Last Thanksgiving, i got an accidental photo of someone else's stray facial part.  Max thought it was funny and asked to be photographed so.   And here is his Maximum Smile.
 In yesterday morning's* email, i got an article from IRCA about holidays and kids with autism.  It's not a new article, though it may have been tweaked - at least, i'm sure i've seen parts of it before, and very helpful they've been.  i've adapted their Thanksgiving visual schedule for our day tomorrow* - it will be our first to have Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant.
and an ear. 
*ok, this "yesterday" and "tomorrow" are actually the same day.  "Yesterday" because it's after midnight; "tomorrow" because i haven't gone to bed yet.

"More plate, please."

well, i thought sure one drawing would get the concept to Max.
It worked before.
But this week he is still asking for "More plate please."  Sometimes after clearly pointing and verbally indicating plate other than the "more plate" that is the subsequent choice.
i'll make another drawing and post it on the wall next to his place.  Maybe having it handy will help.  i'm told he needs work with his short-term memory.
At least there have been no plates smashed this week.

Teaching a Difficult Concept

  We have 3 different kinds of plates.  There's a beige set with blue border, a white set with brown border, and a white set with blue border.
  Lately Max has been trying to express preference as to which plate he eats off of.
  Well, why not? Max is having a hard time learning to advocate for himself, and plates are a good start. 
  But Max has trouble telling me which he wants.


Conflicting Needs

  i'm told structure in the life is a good thing.
  MyGuy thrives on it.
  i know Max needs structure in his life.  As a Person with Autism, it helps him feel in control and independent.

  i hate structure.  i like the free-flowing lifestyle.  Maybe i'm just lazy, but i hate following any sort of schedule.
  For me, predictability is knowing i have corn bran, skim milk and oj for my breakfast.  The rest of the day can follow general outlines (no driving in the Mile Square, thank you!) and that's fine.

  Max desperately needs constant schedule and predictability.
  And as The Mom, it's up to me, not The Dad, to put the structure in the life.

Kaleidoscipic Max

  We took a short trip this week, in honor of fall break.
  We drove from Indianapolis to Bloomington.  The colors were gorgeous Thursday, and the air properly crisp for October.
  This is the story of traveling with a young man with autism.

What Awareness Month is This?

  Well, i guess everybody knows this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Again.  Not that i have a problem with that, though there is so much to be aware of, & this is a terrible killer of women AND men, but not the biggest.
  This month, we should also be aware of

How Many Ways?

showing Max our remainder after 5x3: his choice, an awkward layout to work with!

  Max only wants to play Thomas card games now.  i try to encourage him to play other games, but it's often easier to go with the flow.  It's interaction.
But we can go for more, the big fish in the small pond idea.  The deck we now play Match with contains 22 cards.  How many ways can we arrange them?  Math lesson!
  • (5x4=20) +2 = 22
  • (7x3=21) +1 = 22
  Well, it's a new idea.  i think we'll next go for (6x3=18) + 4 = 22. 
  What else can we do with a 2 person game with Thomas cards?

Apple-Ville II

ok, i can live with the terms.  i don't actually need to upload from iTunes to get photos on this beast.  The language apps are SO much more extensive on Apple products.
So we're keeping the iPad and i now have an Apple ID.
But maybe we'll at some point get Android too, because they also have functionality with the good apps while PC doesn't.  Can't encourage or tolerate anything like a monopoly.

Attending a Wedding with Max

  Recently i spoke to a woman who proudly told me about her son's upcoming wedding.  She said her other son, an older young man with autism, would not be attending the wedding however, because he doesn't do crowds.
  Boy do i know the feeling.  It is hard to relax with Max in a social setting.  i remember all the times "back when" when --- i can't begin to go there.  i'll have to try it another time for you.  But maybe you've seen another family in the midst of such a crisis.  Or maybe you ARE that family.
  When we received my cousin's invitation to his daughter's wedding,

TaDaa! The New Computer Desk

  Well, after two or three weeks of fitting in the work with everything else, it's done.
  By now, it's even functional, beyond what you see here. This is from is from last Sunday, when it was newly set up. 
  MyGuy is a really good mentor, and Max enjys the assembly process.

Not Quite Wordless Wednesday: Another Desk, Another Time

Brothers "Musty," short for Mustard, and Inky

 Inky was an "engagement present" from an aunt.  Musty came to my sister, because of course there were lots of kittens.  But they were always my parents' cats.

Another Family's Medicaid Experience

  Life is busy on the Computer Farm just now, with rearranging a 12x24 room, building a big computer desk in scraps of time, and i won't even get into the organizational  doodoo MyGuy and i are sorting through.
   Fellow blogger Anne Higley's (Two in TransitionMeandering Through the Medicaid Minefield  post then came at a very opportune time.   She's wading through the same Medicaid muck we are, and expresses herself very well.
  i recommend you wander over and take a look.

Two Recent Things that Made My Day

another view of Whitefish Point
  Last week i was having breakfast with a girlfriend.  As often happens,