Different – and normal – are in the eye of the beholder

What does it mean to be normal? What does it mean to be different? These are big questions in any discussion about autism or other disabilities. The term “disabilities” itself begs this question, since a disability is defined based on “normal”. I like what Kristin has to say on the matter (the emphasis is hers): […]

Take time to listen, and to learn their language

Open and clear communications is one of the most important things between parents and their kids, and a lot of parents spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to do this. Read just about any book on how to improve your communications skills and you will find that one of the most […]

Don’t ask me, ask him (about the autism C-word)

A few years ago, a friend asked me the question: “If someone told you there was a pill you could give your son that would cure his autism overnight, would you give it to him?” Sounds like an easy question, right? I hadn’t really thought much about it for some time, as it had been […]

Devote more time to your kid’s strengths than their shortcomings

Consider this opening paragraph from the book Strengths Finder 2.0: At its fundamentally flawed core, the aim of almost any learning program is to help us become who we are not. If you don’t have natural talent with numbers, you’re still forced to spend time in that area to attain a degree. If you’re not […]

Is there autism in heaven?

If there is indeed a heaven, and your autistic child goes there when he dies, will he still be autistic? Over the years I’ve come to believe that asking someone this question about autism in heaven is one of the best ways to understand how they view autism. Even better than asking them whether they […]

Enjoying the scenery on your autism detour

If parenting is indeed a journey (as I wrote yesterday), parenting an autistic child is a detour from the path that a parent’s journey normally takes. Several years ago I heard the following (I wish I could remember the source): A truly happy person enjoys the scenery on a detour. Would I have chosen this […]

Parenting is a journey, not a destination

Sometimes our kids surprise us. We try and try and try to get them to do something, understand something, say something. They go for a long time, apparently ignoring (avoiding?) all of our best attempts. Then, all of a sudden, when we aren’t really looking (or when we’ve kind of given up), they do it, […]

Perseveration, or perseverance? Obsession, or passion?

The distinction between “perseverate” and “persevere” is one that I have often wondered about. What I’ve come up with, in a nutshell, is this: perseverate is bad, keeping at something for no real purpose persevere is good, keeping at something in pursuit of a meaningful goal. Another way to look at it is that someone […]

Lead – don’t manage – your (autistic) kids

Autonomy  –  Mastery  –   Purpose Aimed at adults who have already heard the starting gun, these are three things that Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers) and Dan Pink (Drive) have written about in terms of meaningful work and a meaningful life. These are also incredibly important parts of growing up. As infants and toddlers, the focus […]