a little background

hi, my name is mandy and I have two amazing little boys. My oldest son, Ty, has been diagnosed with autism (which is what you will read most about in this blog); I also have Tripp, who is an amazing little brother to Ty (who you will also hear alot about). I was encouraged to start this blog to document our journey through life and life with autism... my world has been rocked in last few years and i have responded in good ways and bad ... but Jesus has gotten me through all of it...

i hope i can be an encouragement to you, and for the friends and family that will read this - maybe this will keep you posted indepth on what Ty is learning! :) and the adventures of Tripp too

thank you for reading, and if you have any questions, comments or smart remarks; feel free to post them.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


It seems like autism has been on the front of most folks minds lately. I have had high school students call for interviews they need for reports/projects for school and others, of all ages, have just had general questions. I like to hear questions about autism and I like to discuss our life as a family and I like when people are genuinely interested in what goes on with Ty and kids like him. I love when I can tell that our conversation switches from "is she ok talking about this" to "ok now for the deep questions". Recently I was asked if i think people with autism can love. My immediate respond is YES, why wouldn't they?! This question has hung around in my head for a while and I keep coming back to scripture. The Bible says that love is patient and kind... 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. What I have realized is that people with Autism love deeper and more clearly than any "normal" person ever could. When most people talk about love its always an emotion, when really its an action and something that is learned not given to us at birth. I mean think about it, from day one we enter the world looking out for ourselves and trying to satisfy needs and desires that we have. I am reading a book that was recommended to me by a friend called "the speed of dark" by Elizabeth moon. It tells a story from the perspective of a young man with autism. He is very straight forward and honest in everything he does, mainly, because to do otherwise doesn't make sense. One example- He was late for work so he stayed late to the minute because it would bother him for weeks if he didn't. He isn't mean to others, even those that we consider annoying... He just sees them as different. Aren't we all unique?! For anyone to say that Someone else is incapable of love is to say that, they themselves are incapable of love because by the biblical definition Love does not boast, it's not self seeking, keeps no record of wrong. So if we are looking at what someone else can or cant do isnt that boasting or in a small way saying "im better than you" just because of some small irregularities or tics or stems and if all we want to do is label one another... Can we really love? I'm not saying that it is wrong to say "someone has autism" or to talk about what that means or to attend therapy and discuss life with autism but it is wrong to judge and say that we are better just because someone is different .... So yes I believe they know how to love and are capable beyond what our minds can comprehend ...

Monday, April 1, 2013

School, Awareness and Life

WOW! Is it April already?!!! Time has just flown by and I have so much to do, and so little time to accomplish it all!! I'm sorry that I skipped the month of March on my posts, but we had a lot going on and I never got to just sit down and write. So here we are in April. Ty will be graduating from the Children's Center in May and if all goes well starting school in August?! We have not decided where he will be attending just yet, because we are hoping for a God thing and that some doors will be swung wide open at a school in our area for a new class for kids with autism?! It would be much easier to add a class to a school than to start a school from scratch in such a short time frame?! Well that means that this momma is a basket case. Even though I am not a planner, I don't like the uncertainty of the future for my Ty man. With Tripp we know that he will attend preschool and then elementary, jr high and then high school all at the same place -  and I want these same assurances for Ty but I do not want to be satisfied with "good enough" - I don't want to look back and wish I had done something different. He has come a long way in 5 years and I am afraid of regression. I am afraid of having a teacher who doesn't know what to do and who is to prideful, scared or unwilling to ask questions or to push him beyond his comfort zone. If you don't push Ty then he will do his best to run over you and get what he wants. I do want him to be happy but I also want him to learn and to show this world what he can do. So because of all that, some days are just better than others.
I know that God has a plan and I know that He will use Ty for his glory. Even though I know, it doesn't make it easy.
April is autism awareness month and I know now, more than ever how important it is to be aware and to make others aware. Autism is prevalent everywhere we look, but the sad thing is that teachers and people don't know what to do. Some teachers do but not all of them. They don't know how to respond to kids and individuals with autism because each one is so different. There is no text book answer, there is no list of "do this and that" and you will accomplish "this" ... it's just not that easy. I've noticed that because of the uncertainty of outcomes of therapies and different teaching styles some educators choose to look the other way and just ignore the issue. I've always wondered why in the world you would have standardized tests. Even outside of autism, every child learns differently, every child is not the same and how can we expect 25 5 year old to learn and react the same way when they are still growing and learning and their ages could be 6 months apart? Do we expect a 6 month old to do what a 1 year old does? Then why do we expect 5 year olds to learn on the same level as 5 and 1/2 year olds? yes there are some 4 year olds that are smarter than 5 year olds and so on and so forth. But my point is, if we would approach education in general as an individual plan for each child and not expect every child to develop at the same rate then maybe there would be less ADHD and PTS and who knows what else that is caused by the stress of school and the inability to learn in a stamped out time frame. The gov't demanding things of states who in turn demand things from schools who demand things from teachers who put that weight on a child? Does this really make sense? how about lets love on these kids, all of them "normal", "special" or whatever label they choose to place.... if we would just get rid of all the red tape and focus on the kids, don't you think we would accomplish a lot more? I know that I can learn and function a lot better when I am happy. I know that teachers would be less stressed and so would the kids. Guess I'll step off my soap box ... any who

On to the good stuff. Ty has almost concurred drinking out of an open cup! He loves to do it and will drink just enough and then empty the rest out on the ground/carpet/floor/etc. So we are working on not dumping the cup! He has concurred the whole drinking without water pouring down the side of his face. :)  His eating habits are also improving, he still loves breads, pizza, oatmeal, spaghetti and pudding but he is branching out a bit with peas, corn, strawberries and a few others. He is willing to try anything but after that first bite, if he doesn't want it - you will know! So things are coming along. His words are still forming and from day to day we hear him say new things but then he doesn't say them again when you ask so we aren't always sure if we heard him right. Sam was playing with the boys the other day and said that Ty said "Batman" clear as a bell... Tripp argued with him about it.... and we haven't heard him say it again, but I don't doubt him one bit! There have been other words that he has said and we get excited for him and he gets excited because we are excited!! It makes me happy that he is becoming more vocal. He may not be forming sentences yet but I know that once he gets the hang of this he will be a chatter box! Even more so than Tripp, if that's possible! :)

We had an Easter photo shoot at the house and this was the first time that I didn't have to chase Ty down for pictures! Let me rewind here for a minute... At their birthday party we had a photo booth and used a bench for the kids to stand on so that they could be in the pictures. Well Ty had a blast, he photo bombed almost every group and would just run up and touch the screen and stand there cheesing for his own photos?! I assume its because he could see himself on the screen, but I am not really sure.  So when I got ready to take their Easter pictures, I was expecting the same run around and fast snapping that usually takes place. But when I pulled out that bench for them to sit on... Ty just walked over and sat down and smiled?! He would get up and go get different things and then come back and sit down and smile. He would stand on the bench and smile with Tripp and then jump off and get distracted but he kept coming back?! I didn't have to really fight him like I normally do? It was awesome! I would tell him to sit with Tripp or love on Tripp and he would do anything I asked! I was blown away by the ease of the photo shoot and afterwords as I was flipping through the pics on my computer, both boys sat and looked at their pics, pointing and laughing at different ones. It was just awesome to see him doing things that, he normally wouldn't be interested in, but for whatever reason he wanted to be in on it from the start to the finish!

So things haven been exciting on our little hill and I will do my best to post more often! :) thanks for reading! i know i am kind of all over the place on this one?! :)