Loving a Child with ASD: Handling the Diagnosis

March 20, 2015   

Image Source: mychildwithoutlimits.org
This post was contributed by a loving mother of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is a series of contributions about her experiences with autism and her amazing son. I'm honored to have her share with us. This is her story... 
Before my son was born, I read a lot about childbirth and caring for newborns. I had books like the well-known What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and even a Day-by-Day Pregnancy Journal. I was as prepared as any woman could be before she has her first baby (which really isn’t much because all moms know that you’re never as ready as you think you are). In the early months of his life, I continued to read about development, feeding, (the dreaded) “tummy time”, eating solids, “back to sleep”, etc. As he continued to grow and change, my library shifted from the basics of child care to information about language delays, sensory integration disorder, and autism. Undoubtedly, during his early years, I read about autism so that I could eliminate it as a possibility for my baby.

When the doctor finally used the word to describe my four year old son, I was incredulous angry. Why had he never told me? He had been my son’s neurologist for nearly 3 years. We had discussed speech therapy, play groups, and day care. He told me that the way my son turned to look at me, as if to check in, before starting new tasks was a good indication that perhaps he did not have autism. I felt as if I had been misled tricked. But I will never forget his explanation and how his plan of action had helped my son and our family. He explained that the “diagnosis” didn’t matter because we had treated the symptoms. Using the word “autism” would not have changed anything about the fact that we began speech therapy and that we decided it was time to start day care. The label would have only added to my apprehension as I joined play groups to allow for more socialization with children his age. He had, in essence, looked at the symptoms and prescribed treatment for those symptoms. Because at the time, the symptoms were mild by comparison, we could focus on getting help for those issues without drowning in the fact that my baby had autism. And while my brain understood his words, my heart shattered as I felt the hope I’d clung to for years being ripped from my body. Nonetheless, once I had the diagnosis and cried for what seemed like days, I felt motivated to become equipped to raise (teach, help) this boy, my baby. Therefore, once the neurologist confirmed autism as our reality, I read about autism for different reasons. I could no longer rule it out, so instead I read to become informed on ways to help him. I read to understand what was happening to him (because it is happening to him not me). I read to find comfort in the stories of other mothers like me. I read two of Jenny McCarthy’s books (Louder than Words and Mother Warriors) and found them to be a source of shared experience and understanding (however, lots of helpful resources can be found in the final pages of Louder than Words). 

The more I read, the options available for treating symptoms of autism seemed endless. I came upon terms such as hyperbaric chamber, chelation, gluten free and dairy free, behavior therapy. I was overwhelmed duh, to say the least. I was frustrated sad and generally feeling like I did not have a good handle on the situation (Now, I do feel like I have a handle on the situation – not sure if it’s a good handle – but a handle nonetheless).  I could write interminably about those first few months after I had the confirmation of what I had suspected for years, but for now I will leave you with my life motto: "One foot in front of the other", that is, take it one day at a time because life with autism is unpredictable, but you can manage (and your child can thrive).

Just breathe.

What to Wear to Disney: Under $25

March 19, 2015   
Contributed by Carmen Ordonez from Viva Fashion.  Make sure to check out her amazing blog!

As most of you already know, next week the family and I are heading to Disney World. I can't wait! Like us, many South Floridians are taking advantage of Spring Break to make this trip. If you happen to be one of the many traveling to the happiest place on Earth, here are some pieces to get you in the Disney spirit.


Mickey Mouse Tee, Target, $13

True Love Mickey and Minnie Tee, Disney Store, $22

Minnie Mineral Wash Tee, Forever 21, $14

Mickey Tank Top, AliExpress, $15

Mickey V-Neck, Disney Store, $22

Shorts, H&M, $19

Cotton Shorts, H&M, $24

Mossimo Boyfriend Shorts, Target, $22

Black Shorts, H&M, $12

Weekly Roundup

March 18, 2015   

Hello everyone... hope you're having a great week. 

As the temperature rises and I begin to shed my winter layers, I can't help but get excited for the upcoming summer break. Long sunny days, beach trips, and afternoons of making forts with the kiddos are what I look forward to most. In our home, it's become a special time of making memories and having backyard adventures. So naturally, you'll find some warm weather goodies in this week's roundup. Sit back and enjoy! 

1. I really enjoyed this article about how to make your kids smarter. Have you done any of these with your kids?

2. Celebrities read their own mean tweets on Jimmy Kimmel and the results are hysterical!

3. Awesome Etsy shop for cool vintage shades. I like these and these!

4. Pretty cool features on Airforce One.

5. These cute red sneakers are on my wish list for summer.

6. The perfect flowy top to welcome in summer. 

Spring Break Dreaming

March 17, 2015   

With Spring Break officially 2 days away, I can hardly contain the excitement.  I've been anxiously awaiting this since we came back from winter break (#teacherproblems). Normally as a teacher, I look forward to any of the breaks, but I've got to admit, this one has been highly anticipated. "Why", you may ask? Because we are going to (drum roll please).... Walt Disney World, AKA the happiest place on Earth! Yes, I still get excited about going to see Mickey Mouse (#childatheart).

The best part is that my little princess has no idea what's in store. I didn't want to tell her at first in case some unforeseen circumstance arose which would prohibit us from going and would crush her little heart. But as the days have gotten closer my motives have changed. Now I want to keep this little secret until the drive up to see the expression on her face, and to avoid addressing questions like: "Is it Spring Break yet? Are we leaving today? Why can't we go today?" You know, the typical questions all toddlers ask that drive parents mad. I'm definitely not making that rookie mistake again! Some think it's cruel not to tell her, I think it's genius ;)

So, what are your plans for this upcoming Spring Break? If you don't have any, what are some fond memories of previous vacations you've had?  I'd love to hear all about it, so feel free to share.

Loving a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

March 13, 2015   
This post was contributed by a loving mother of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This is the first of what I hope will be a series of contributions about her experiences with autism and her amazing son. I'm honored to have her share with us. This is her story...

My boy is currently nine years old. Daily, I am stricken by the fact that the nine years have gone by in a flash, while at the same time, I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t his mom. He was my first born, the light of my life. Wonderful and amazing; I was (AND AM) in love with this boy. I can’t remember the exact moment that the “A” word became a factor of which I was aware. However, I do recall being in the pediatrician’s office, attempting to interpret her look of concern as she interacted with my baby and asked me why he wasn’t talking more, walking more, interacting more, and on and on.