The Funny Things You Hear in Our House-EPISODE 3: We Need More Duct Tape!

Probably our family should invest in the Duct Tape stock market, or however that works.  Also packing tape, superglue, and batteries.  When we say that Peter wears out his toys, we really mean it!  At our house, you’ll see toys all over the place in various states of destruction – wheels missing from trucks, gouges and scratches on plastic toys, and pages torn or missing from books.  Peter is destructive.  He doesn’t do it on purpose, that’s just the way he is.  He likes to pull things and smash things and rip things.  He also likes to chew on books.  He’d rather chew on a book than on real food, like an apple or a carrot.  This is another example of him being unaware of what is socially unacceptable.  Do I rip my textbooks up at school and pull apart my classmates’ backpacks?  Do I chew on the corners of my Algebra book? No way, because I know that’s not the way to act at school. Peter doesn’t have that awareness, so he does whatever he feels compelled to do.

Due to this state of destruction, we have huge supplies of repair materials around the house.  Lots of duct tape.  And I feel really bad for my mom.  Why?  Because she’s a librarian, yet all of Peter’s books are held together by clear packing tape.  You can see her cringe when another page rips and she has to stick it back in a book with tape.  It’s against her nature.  But she does it anyway.


The Funny Things You Hear in Our House-EPISODE 2: Tell Me What You Want on Your Talker!

NOTE: See the Introduction for an overview of this “manuscript” told from a sibling’s viewpoint.

Though Peter is 9 years old, he has never said one word.  Like, ever.  He can’t talk.  Nobody knows why.  Doctors have done all kinds of tests on him, and we know that he can hear and see just fine.  He makes sounds so he’s not mute.  He just can’t seem to speak. Continue reading “The Funny Things You Hear in Our House-EPISODE 2: Tell Me What You Want on Your Talker!”

The Funny Things You Hear in Our House-EPISODE 1: Hurricane Peter Has Struck Again!

“Why do you even bother making Peter’s bed?” I asked my Mom the other day.  She was in Peter’s room, putting things in order for about the seventh time that day.  When I say things like this, just assume I am NOT exaggerating.  This is what happens day in and day out: Continue reading “The Funny Things You Hear in Our House-EPISODE 1: Hurricane Peter Has Struck Again!”

The Funny Things You Hear in Our House: Introduction (sibling viewpoint)

BY WAY OF EXPLANATION:  Having spent the better part of two years trying to find a publisher for this manuscript, I decided to give up and instead post this work, one section at a time, on this blog.  One chapter a week. What better platform that one that is already devoted to revealing what it’s like to be US?

This book is told from the sibling’s point of view (think of Thomas, our middle child, when you are reading).  It’s meant to be a lighthearted work for siblings and their peers that promotes an understanding of autism through anecdotes.  It’s intended to teach teens or ‘tweens about autism through the eyes of a brother.  Please share with any teens or ‘tweens you know!

I KNOW there is an audience out there for this work.  If any of you has a connection to the publishing world, by all means feel free to share these “chapters”!  The more people that read about Life with Autism, the better to promote awareness and acceptance.  Continue reading “The Funny Things You Hear in Our House: Introduction (sibling viewpoint)”

Special Needs Binder: The Great BIG BOOK of Everything About My Very Special Child

After Peter’s autism diagnosis at age 2, I had to learn very quickly how to organize the incredible amount of information that began to pile up. Each time we visited a new doctor or specialist, I found myself scrambling to gather files, to look up data and facts, to remember dates and phone numbers and names and insurance information. I nearly pulled out my hair one day trying to find the scrap of paper on which I wrote a specialist’s contact information.  I realized that I needed to get organized or I would drive myself crazy in an environment already leaning towards lunacy.

So I created this printable “binder” in order to have all of the information I needed in ONE place. Now I’m offering it to other families through my Etsy shop in the hopes that it will ease a tiny bit of the burden and stress that comes with the job title of Special Needs Parent.   (NOTE: Family Life Printables is my NEW Etsy shop, the first being “Alleluia Rocks.”  This new shop is meant to offer fun ways to organize family life.  There are only a few listings thus far, but I’m working on it!)

This listing is for a PRINTABLE DIGITAL FILE that you print yourself on normal printer paper or card stock. (NO PHYSICAL ITEM WILL BE MAILED TO YOU.) The PDF file contains 45 non-editable 8.5 x 11″ pages. Print the entire file OR only the pages you need. Print some pages multiple times; you may print as many times as you like for your own personal use.

The photos shown are selected pages from the “binder.” The entire binder contains the following sections:

1. Cover Page
2. The Basics (Name, Insurance Info, etc.)
3. Family Information (members & extended family)
4. Family Medical History
5. Child’s Medical History (birth, milestones, growth & development, physicians, specialists, screenings, diagnosis, medications, Prescriptions Tracker, allergies & food aversions, hospitalizations & urgent care visits, Notes)
6. Therapies (Early Intervention, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Music Therapy, Other)
7. Weekly Therapy Schedule table
8. Daily Schedule table
9. Educational History
11. Skills Trackers Charts (fine motor skills, gross motor skills, sensory skills, social skills, speech & communication skills)
12. Legal Information (wills, power of attorney, guardianship, Special Needs lawyer, Special Needs Trust)
13. Respite Information (local & state agencies, respite caregivers)
14. Safety (accommodations & considerations, local law enforcement contacts and resources)
15. All About My Child: For Caregivers and Babysitters (communication, abilities, behaviors, likes and dislikes-toys, likes and dislikes-foods, tips & tricks, routines)
16. Reflections
17. Notes

NOTE: if you have ideas or suggestions for additional pages, please let me know!

I sincerely hope my BIG BOOK of Everything helps parents to feel secure about having key information at hand.  One less worry!  That’s the goal.

When Our Son is Sick – Part 2

Last year, I wrote this post when Peter had fever and some kind of stomach bug.  I talked about how incredibly difficult it is when a nonverbal child is sick, and how helpless we, as parents, can feel.  Once again we’re dealing with another illness that has been making its way from person to person within our family.  Fever, congestion, fatigue.  Maybe the flu.  Maybe not.

Peter has had fever since Friday.  He woke up flushed and lethargic.  I checked his temperature, and – sure enough! – a fever.  My anxiety spiked immediately.  I knew that I needed to get medicine in him ASAP to bring the fever down.

Continue reading “When Our Son is Sick – Part 2”

The Cereal Box

Peter tends to fixate on random things for reasons that are unknown to us lowly “neuro-typical” folks.  By “random things” I don’t mean stuffed animals or toys, which you would expect from a kid his age.  I really mean random things.

Last week it was this set of plastic plates:cereal4

First thing each morning, he would make a beeline to the kitchen drawer where they are kept, retrieve them, and proceed to tote them around all day long.  We had no clue why.  Was it the cute dalmatian images?  The sound the plates make clinking against each other?  No clue.  But he had to have them near.

Yesterday the “random item” changed.  To a cereal box.  Not the cereal.  The box.  THIS box:


Let me immediately state that I am in no way compensated by Kellogg’s company to advertise their product.  In fact, we have never bought this particular product.  Yet we were compelled to do so yesterday by none other than – you guessed it! – our nonverbal son!

Here is the story:  Peter and his dad (Patrick) went on their Saturday Outing to Publix. (Again, no compensation for the mention of this particular grocery store, which happens to be Peter’s favorite.)  Normally Peter likes to first play with the carts (that’s another story) and then go along with his Dad to various favorite spots within the store.  Yesterday, however, the routine changed.  Upon entering, Peter bypassed the carts (!!!!!) and ran through the store, followed frantically by his Dad.  He would not stop.  He had a purpose.  He went straight for the cereal aisle where he made his way directly to this box of cereal, grabbed it from the shelf, and did a Happy Dance.

To put it mildly, Patrick was a bit perplexed.  This was not Peter’s normal favorite cereal.  This was Raisin Bran.  Peter does not like raisins and will not put one in the vicinity of his mouth.  Patrick tried to put the box back, but Peter would not hear of it.  Patrick tried to substitute the box for the store brand with the intention of saving a few dollars.  No go.  Peter was not going to part with that box of cereal.

So the box was bought.  It came home.  And it stayed in Peter’s hand or very nearby for the rest of the day.  After dinner, our brilliant high-schooler (who LOVES raisin bran, by the way, and wanted to save it from contamination), suggested that we take out the bag of cereal and let Peter tote around just the box.  We did so, and Peter did not object.  That box was the first thing Peter looked for when he awoke this morning, and it has not left his side.  Even in the bathroom.

What is it about this box that fascinates him?  We don’t know.  He stares at the front.  He stares at the back.  There is a cute yellow sun on the front, but we’re not sure if that’s it.  There’s the same sun on the back, too, but he doesn’t seem to be staring at that.  It’s bizarre.  Enough to make us wonder… is there something that only he can see that the rest of us can’t?  A secret code?  The solution to the universe’s mysteries?!  Hey, Kellogg’s  Company – can you explain?!

This box will probably be around for about a week until the next random object of fixation appears.  Until then, well … we have some raisins to eat!


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