Monday, March 31, 2014

New article in Central Penn Parent Magazine

Please check out my newest article in Central Penn Parent Magazine. I polled over 20 parents of children with autism, to see what they most desired other parents to understand about autism.

Go to: and then scroll to page 20 to find my article. Or, look for the April issue of Central Penn Parent in most doctors offices, grocery stores, or elsewhere. Thank you.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Last week Ethan had his six month check up with his pediatric endocrinologist. Doctor appointments have become increasingly challenging for Ethan as of late. So, I was somewhat prepared for our visit, but not at all for what actually transpired.

We decided to have Ethan wait in the hallway in a quiet little seating area away from all the noise of the waiting room. Good move right? Wrong! He began pacing a bit, so I decided to walk him up and down the hallway pointing out pictures and objects for us to pass the time. Good move right? Wrong again! He took particular notice of the FIRE ALARMS along the hallway.

At first I didn't think much of it. In hindsight, his infatuation with all things bright red, such as the Biohazard logo, should have alerted me. We continued down the hallway and all of a sudden he leapt at one of the fire alarms and PULLED it!! I swear to you my heart stopped beating for at least a moment. I started praying out loud, "Oh please dear god, DO NOT let that fire alarm go off." Then I heard it. Slowly at first. Then louder, accompanied with a blurb, blurb, blurb, and flashing lights.

I actually considered ducking into a hallway closet. What do I do now? What do I do? I looked at Ethan, who appeared to be grinning. People began coming out of their offices. They were evacuating! Should I just follow along and say nothing? No, I have to speak up. So I did. I told everyone it was an  accident and we needn't evacuate right? Nope. All 3 floors of this entire medical establishment had to evacuate and wait for the fire company to come and inspect the building.

Needless to say, we did not get seen that day. We had to reschedule for today. And, I am very happy to report we did in fact take Ethan back to the "scene of his crime" without incident. Can I tell you how ready I was? I had the IPad, loads of lollipops, and a singular focus on each and every fire alarm in that hallway..

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Long time no talk

It has been 3 and a half months since I've posted a word here. Thought maybe it was time to call it quits since I was struggling to find the time and energy to blog. But, I see how many of you still find the time to check in here. Basically, if you all can do it, so can I.

Updates on the three munchkin bunchkins:

Big E

He is healthy. He is "mostly" happy. He is still our rock star.


He is in third grade! He is still the most incredible brother to his sibs he could possibly be. He makes me proud each and every day.

Miss Mama Mia

She is improving! I mean really improving! She is using so much more language and has a budding interest in her peers!

I will try to blog more in the upcoming weeks. Thankfully, I am still getting to freelance for Central Penn Parent. And, I am working on a children's book. Hey, it may take me a couple years to write and publish it...but I am determined to do so. Hint: the book is about a brother's love for his two siblings who have autism.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Parenting and the autism spectrum

When my children were first born, I had the same hopes and dreams all parents have. I envisioned driving lessons, dance recitals, and late nights waiting up for them to return home safely. I was eager to teach them, counsel them, and help them become unique and independent beings.

Early into my parenting journey, I realized that my expectations had to drastically adjust to what was becoming our reality. We now have two children with autism. They are bright, beautiful, and full of life. But, they also quite disabled.

My eldest son does not speak. He is heavily reliant on us for most of his day. He has an incredible belly laugh and smile that is super contagious. But, he requires constant support and supervision.

My daughter is not nearly as reliant on us, and thankfully has speech that is continuing to develop. She as a stubborn will to succeed, coupled with intense anxiety in new situations or environments.
She loves the outdoors, exploring, and animals.

I also have a precocious typical son thrown into the mix. He is my absolute hero. He supports his autistic siblings in every way he can. He is able to find constant joy in his life, that can be quite challenging.

When you are parenting children with autism, everyday routines and excursions can be challenging. Sometimes you feel judged by those that have no frame of reference for what you are going through. Other times, you feel incredible support from parents who are like yourself, or at least make an effort to appreciate and value your child as a unique and important member of our community.

The fact is, autism is incredibly common. It would behoove all of us to learn what we can about this ever increasing disability.

My advice to those that know a family with an autistic child, or children, is simple. Remember they are children first. The disability is secondary. Autism also varies greatly in severity for each individual. Get to know the child. You might be quite surprised just how much they do know, and can do!

I am a proud parent of 3 very unique and spectacular kids. Two of them, just happen to have autism.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Transitioning to school age

I had to go register Mia for kindergarten yesterday. Normally, this is an exciting, as well as, a bit anxious time for parents. All I feel is pure anxiety.

I even went to the wrong school to register her. Showed up at one elementary when I was supposed to be at another. The very helpful and kind school secretary told me so. Right after she asked where my child was. To which I replied, "Mia has autism and cannot participate fully in a screening." Her mouth opened wide and she said, "You have TWO children with autism?" "Yup, I said, lucky me."

Then I felt bad and wondered if that wasn't the best reply. What else could I have said? Oh yes, but that's fine. They are wonderful (which they are!). I know people are blown away on a regular basis regarding the amount of challenges my family has faced. I respect their admiration deeply. However, I never want their pity. So, ultimately I don't know what the best reply should have been. I very often use humor to diffuse a tricky situation or question. So that is what I did.

Getting back to "Miss Mama Mia."  She has been at a private school for children with autism for the past two years. I had hoped that maybe she would have made enough progress, so that she would be ready to enter kindergarten with her peers. That has not happened, although she has made considerable progress. Now the task is to keep her at this setting to monitor and support her continued progress, so that in the future, a less restrictive environment will be in her best interest.

I worry about absolutely everything. Will she become more communicative? Will she become interested in her peers? Will she be able to go to new places without extreme anxiety? These are all unknowns at this point. And just like with her brother with autism, I know that the most important thing is to NEVER give up hope. To expect great things, and great things will come.