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.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


I know it's been a while since my last post. I just haven't made time to sit down and write but I was inspired by something I read. There was an article someone posted on facebook called "The boy whose brain could unlock autism". The boy's father is a neuroscientist and was in the process of creating a super computer that functioned like the brain (or at least that's my take on it). However once his son came along and started showing signs of autism he quickly used his talents to research and discover what causes autism and how to help his son. His son, like Ty, is affectionate and shows a desire for contact from family, friends and strangers. He likes to hug strangers and has no fear, he even slapped a cobra on the head in front of a snake charmer, darts out in traffic and really just shows an absolute disregard to things that others would show a natural feeling of fear. I immediately was drawn in to this article because of the similarities with Ty, I am often in survival mode and watching exits, people and surroundings as if I am the sole member of the secret service protecting a president! As I read each statement I could relate, I felt their desire to use what resources they had to find the source of what seemed to be cripiling their son. The article is very lengthy and goes into great detail about research and the science behind autism: causes, symptoms, diagnosis process, stereotypes, family connections, savants, etc. The part that stood out to me the most was this:

"According to the intense world perspective, however, warmth isn't incompatible with autism. What looks like antisocial behavior results from being too affected by others' emotions-the opposite of indifference."

Sam and I have had many conversations about how loving Ty is, how much he wants to be around others, he wants to play, he wants to interact and that goes against one of the main stays of autism. Diagnosis would say "loner" "keeps to himself" - so we have often wondered if it was something else.

But I think this article points out so well how wrong we are, the diagnosis of autism is correct but the criteria for diagnosis and understanding what is in the head of those with autism is completely wrong from the "normal" (i use this term loosely) point of view. Imagine going to see a 3D movie, this movie is so full of colors and objects that flow together in a way that you never imagined and that captivate you from the moment it starts. You are drawn in by the shapes and smells that they piped in to intensify the experience and your senses become overloaded. You are drowning in a sea of senses, so much that you can not concentrate on the narration that is full of mind blowing facts and the longer you stay in the theatre the harder it is to concentrate on anything. The smells become too strong, you close your eyes to stop the color explosions, you feel dizzy so you spin or rock with your eyes closed to level out the sensations until you have had enough and you run out eyes and ears closed until you get to a dark empty room where you can relax and process what just happened. Where you can detox from all the experience.

That's how most folks affected by autism feel daily. They get to a point where they just can't take it anymore and their behavior doesn't match with what society says is "normal" when dealing with these life situations. I've read articles that say the savants aren't really intelligent they are just lucky to have a talent that shows through their disabilities and that's all they can do - there's no real intelligence just mimic type behavior and a great memory, but I think the correct way of looking at this is to say that maybe just maybe their minds are much better than the rest of us and we have created a society that is so overloaded with sensory needs that we never really learned how to enjoy the simple things in life. We don't know how to use our senses properly and we have to get more and more of everything to even know how something smells or tastes. In the south we like to salt and season our food so much that when someone comes from another county or different state - they could possibly choke on what we consider just a touch over being bland. We aren't satisfied with sitting outside and playing with rocks because we have to have toys and objects to assist in our playing. Ty could play outside for days with nothing but the things God provides (and a ball) and I think that takes much more intellectual know how than to play with toys appropriately and take tests on paper or express feelings in an organized manner. Ty loves the iPad and can do more math, matching, puzzles, recognize numbers and letters and pick out rhyming words but he has very few words and on paper he doesn't test well and has yet to write his name. Does this mean he doesn't know his name or "can't" do all the things I've listed in the previous sentence? NO but on paper... on an IEP ... created by all of the "normal" folks he appears to be disabled and incapable of living a life pleasing to the rest of society and people feel sorry for him and others like him ... I can't help but think - in his mind, he sits back and empathizes for us, because we can't feel the world and enjoy all the things he does. He has so many feelings and emotions and is able to love and show love greater than anyone I know. Yes we have bad days and yes he throws tantrums and hits and laughs at the wrong time... and no I am not ok with him hitting someone and laughing.... but on the little things - the quirks that we look at and see a disability.... I think we need to look again and see his great abilities... how awesome it is to be satisfied with life... to be so overwhelmed with life that he has to take a break ... what it must be like to live like that ... to feel so greatly that you can't express how excited you are so you jump up and down and sing "eeeeeeee" to smile so big that your face has to hurt at the end of the day... to laugh so hard that you don't care who hears you... to love so much that everyone you see needs a hug and sometimes a sloppy kiss...it must be the life

We were created to give God glory and I prayed daily when I was pregnant for God to use Ty - I never imagined it to be like this - but He is our creator and He knows better than me how to live this life to the fullest.

I hope this makes since, sometimes its hard for me to really express what's in this head of mine. and there was so much in that article that I'd like to share - maybe in another post.
love yall, thanks for reading!