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  1. I’m freaking out. You’re freaking out. We are all losing our marbles. We are in a scary time, there’s a lot of uncertainty, a lot of change in routine, and a lot of chaos. At Asperger Experts we aren’t denying that and we don’t want you to deny it either. It is of the utmost importance that for the health of ourselves, our loved ones, our neighbors, and complete strangers that we stringently practice empathy, social distancing, washing hands, and if need be social isolation. But in addition to prioritizing our physical health, it is extremely important that we also preserve our mental health. I’m not going to lie to you, even with a plethora of tools in my toolbox, like many of those reading this I have lost sleep, I have stared blankly at walls, I have worried about bills, I have cried in fear for the safety of my immunocompromised loved ones. Everyone reacts to trauma and anxiety differently, not everything in the below is going to be an ‘aha moment’ for you, but I hope that similar to a lighthouse we can shine a light for one another as together we navigate these rough waves of Covid 19. 1. Know the facts and do the basics. Statistics are hard to talk about in an ever-changing situation, and Covid cases are going to continue to rise in the upcoming days but having an understanding and knowledge of the baseline basics and 101’s through either The World Health Organization or the Center For Disease Control can go a long way. Additionally, for peace of mind make sure that you are taking the right physical steps. Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using alcohol based hand sanitizers as a substitute. Disinfect and clean commonly touched surfaces such as electronics, doorknobs, and countertops. Limit social contact with other people to 6 feet if possible and if possible work from home/school from home. If you can’t work from home, communicating with your employer your fears and setting a plan of action for what can mutually be done to mitigate potential problems is not a bad idea. 2. Health at home. If you’ve enrolled in even a single Asperger Experts course you by now know that the mind and body are connected. Make sure that you are hydrating, eating healthily, getting sleep, maybe doing some yoga or even meditation/breathing exercises. I find myself doing this particular one on average of at least once per day. 3. Turn the news off. I am a news junkie. Human rights? Politics? Coronavirus? I am tracking it and I am slowly taking steps to stop doing so. Following every lead, every diagnosis, every case is a repetitive exposure set up for anxiety. It is incredibly important to be informed, but make sure that you’re limiting the flow of updates to the point that it is not suffocating you. Everyone’s threshold for this is different, but within the last 24 hours i’ve put time restrictions on my facebook and twitter use and already feel significantly happier. If you’re watching the news multiple times a day, try watching once at the end of the day. 4. Distract yourself. For folks on the spectrum, the disruption of normalcy can be incredibly panic-inducing, this is particularly true as we see school closures. If possible, attempt to stick to somewhat of a similar learning routine. On a different note, make sure that you are providing time for flexibility to do what needs to be done to calm oneself down. Do I normally use video games as an unhealthy crux and play for 6 hours a day? No. Did I allow myself to do it last Saturday because that’s what I needed to recharge and reset? Absolutely. It’s okay to lightly bend the rules for safety and security. 5. Do one productive thing per day. In a situation where things are uncertain and we have little to no control, we can build stability by doing even the smallest of things that already exist within our circle. Big tasks. Small tasks. Easy tasks. Hard tasks. Do one productive thing each day to give you that sense of purpose and progress. 6. Practice reframing your thoughts. While it may seem silly, finding different ways to view the situation can provide some mental relief. Look historically, remember how you felt about a previously stressful event and how you think of it now? In 10 years that could likely be you looking back at the coronavirus. Terrified at the thought of being quarantined? Try taking advantage of the time for some self-reflection, goal setting, and maybe even taking care of some projects that you have put on hold. 7. Talk Worried? Let it out. Know that there is incredibly powerful and calming solidarity in having real and genuine conversations about worries and concerns. Someone else worried? Hold space for them, empathize with them, reassure them. Be realistic, yet simultaneously caring with your loved ones. If you have a child on the spectrum, chances are they are going to need more reassurance than in times of less crisis. Practice patience, everyone's concerns are real and valid. If you are concerned about your situation, and need somewhere to blow off steam, feel free to do it in the comment section of this article. Closing thoughts Take care of one another, love one another, don't stock 8 years of toilet paper, we’re all in this together. Keep an eye out for a new course about how to homeschool and community events in the upcoming weeks. - Love Asperger Experts
  2. Where does the majority of anxiety come from in teenagers, and what can you do about it?
  3. WARNING: MATURE CONTENT: DESCRIPTIONS OF NUDITY. What up guys, Growth Monkey here. Before I start, I want to preface this by saying that in addition to getting help, I'm also using this blog as an opportunity to work on my blogging skills for when I eventually start my own blog as a way to build a following for my own eventual online business. So feel free to react, follow, & leave feedback. Hygiene, Manscaping, & Defense Mode First of all, let me preface this by saying that I'm a man. So this pertains to male anatomy. Females may have different issues than I do, but I'm hoping that people of both sexes can understand what I'm going through here. So, I was shaving my pubes this evening. Which is actually the inspiration for this post. Let me tell you why: IT TOOK ME 4 HOURS TO DO, after all the breaks I had to (and chose to take). And I have something that I want to get off my chest after this shaving session: SHAVING MY PUBES PUTS ME IN DEFENSE MODE. Allow me to explain: Imagine having to do basically the splits, naked, bent over at the waist, for an hour, while trimming the hair off the area of the body that's the most sensitive to you (in my case, my penis, testicles, & groin area). And on top of that, you have to go super gentle, because the blades are so sharp that every time they even make contact with your groin area, you run a 1% risk of cutting yourself to the point where you bleed (I've done this an innumerable amount of times before). And imagine this too: you've done sex ed, so you know that STI's can pass through these small open wounds even if you're wearing a condom. Not to say that this should be an issue for me because I don't have a girlfriend or any romantic prospects (and probably won't be having them any time soon due to the current state of my life), but the idea of being vulnerable to STI's because you had a shaving accident is scary. Oh yeah, and if you don't cut yourself, you also have to deal with the fact that your voice can sound like it has an "echo" after the shave for 5-10 minutes afterwards because you were in that awkward position for so long. Regardless, I still do it. Every Friday night (Saturday or Sunday if that's not possible). This is because it puts me more in Defense Mode to be dirty than to be clean. Let me explain: in my 23 years of life, I've crashed on beds without showering or brushing my teeth or making my bed more times than I can remember because of the sheer amount of schoolwork I had to do during the previous day, or just because I'm plain exhausted. And when that happened, I always ended up waking up about 2-3 hours later (4 if i'm lucky) & never really being able to get back to sleep after that because my own rank smells bother me so much. Unless of course, I shower, brush my teeth, & just take away the smell. I've also noticed that lately, I start to feel this way whenever I crash on an unmade bed. And that's not counting the numerous days I've felt overwhelmed & just lied in bed sulking all day because I have untrimmed toenails & fingernails, or in rare cases, when I look like I have a homeless beard because I haven't shaved in weeks due to overwhelming workloads. Or when my armpits & pubes turn into jungles for the same reasons... it just feels a little uncomfortable looking at it after a while. So, in order to ensure optimal sleep quality for myself, I make sure that my the hair on my face, armpits, & pubes is trimmed every Friday night, that my nails remain short & trim, & that I've showered, made my bed, & brushed my teeth before bed. Because I can't stand the smell or look of myself otherwise, which causes me to not get into a productive rhythm with the other tasks I need to get done in my life. I know this sounds contradictory to all the stories I've heard from AE's YouTube videos on kids not showering or brushing their teeth in a week, etc. But I also believe two other things: If you've met one person with Asperger's, you've met one person with Asperger's. To feel good, you gotta look & smell good. And this Aspie, frankly, loves cleanliness, neatness, and tidiness on his body. I love being well-groomed & hate being unkempt. It's always been a thing with me: I can't stand being dirty. Maybe it's my mom's "hygiene freak" nature, or maybe it's just some sensory stuff left over from my early childhood that I just began processing once I understood what Defense Mode was & began to try to work to get out of it. But being dirty puts me in a horribly depressed mindset, while feeling clean, looking good, & smelling good makes me feel like I can conquer the world. But I digress: back to shaving my pubic hair. Because of the risks of cutting myself, I become squeamish whenever I know I have to cut my pubic hair. I can do it as part of my weekly routine, but with all the breaks I have to take, it basically takes up a full day for me; half a day if I'm lucky. During that day, my parents get super pissed off that one bathroom is closed to them & I'm using alternative bathrooms (hello, we have 4 bathrooms & there are 4 of us; chill!), but then again, if I were to use my regular bathroom, I would get water everywhere, making my pubes even harder to clean. Which brings me to another point: cleaning up my hairs is hell because with how much I'm expected to be hygienic, I believe that I'm basically expected to make the bathroom look spotless every time I use it, especially because my pubic hairs supposedly carry "venereal disease" (according to my mom), even though I'm a virgin. Sure, I use a vacuum cleaner for this, but my parents are old people who sleep & wake up ridiculously early, and I've been yelled at numerous times for trying to clean up after myself while they're asleep. Yet, if they walk into that bathroom and see the mess my pubic hair has made, they snap at me & demand I clean it up. Basically, my parents demand that they have their cake & eat it too, which probably contributes a lot to my Defense Mode. Closing my bathroom door doesn't help as the sound of my vacuum cleaner just seems to travel through their walls, despite the fact that their room is on the other side of the house from my bedroom & bathroom. So basically, cleaning myself up turns into a walking through a minefield in high heels... in every way you can imagine. I've considered shaving during the day, but most of the time, I'm busy with other things: the only time I get a significant chunk of time to shave at all is at night. Anyway... a full shave & trimming just the way I want it, from when I set up my equipment to when I'm done, takes about 1 and a half to 2 hours if I do it straight through. The vast majority of that time is spent on my pubic hair. Partially because I trim my nose hair, facial hair, armpit hair, & pubic hair at every session, & I try to keep my equipment as clean as possible to prevent debris from accumulating & make my equipment last longer (which is much harder than you think). However, more often than not, shaving & breaks in between the shaving sessions where I go off & do other things basically take up my whole day. And it really gets to me because that's 1 day that could have been productive completely lost to self-maintenance. Basically, in terms of my hygiene & grooming, I'm in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. But I do it anyway, because I know that the benefits of staying clean (and the happiness & sense of freedom & sleekness that I get from it) far outweighs its costs. When clean, I feel like a lean, sleek machine. When "dirty" or unkempt, I feel like those homeless people I used to pass by every day while going to university in downtown Toronto. That said, my main coping strategy, at least at this point, is to just try to rush through my shaving as quickly as possible before my subconscious mind realizes what's going on & tries to stop my momentum by bringing back the fears of cutting myself while shaving my pubes. So far, it seems to be working: after breaks & clean-up, I seem to have kept my weekly shaving time down to about half a day. And I also do it much earlier than usual thanks to being unemployed: when I worked my accounting job, I would shave from 10PM-1 AM or so every Friday night/Saturday morning. Now, I start shaving at about 1 or 2 PM, and after eating lunch & dinner, and doing various other productive tasks while taking breaks to go to the toilet, among other things, I can finish at around 8 or 9 PM (like I did tonight). That's progress, but I still want more. I want to be able to be in & out of my bathroom, completely done shaving, straight through, within an hour and a half. It also helps me to listen to podcasts of guys that I really like to listen to because of their content, as well as old, familiar movies: I've gotten so familiar with these guys' voices that they honestly soothe me & help me to focus whenever I'm concerned with pricking my balls so hard I give them open wounds. Deep, slow, nasal breathing also helps... there are meditation exercises to help you cultivate this. Looking at it now, achieving my goal of shaving (or really doing any hygienic task) quickly, like a normal human being, comes down to changing the stories that I tell myself. Historically, the stories that I tell myself have been ones of discouragement: "how is it that EVERYONE can do (x thing that's supposed to be quick/easy, but is long/hard for me) but me?" "Why do basic tasks take you so long?" "Why does it hurt me so much when it doesn't hurt others?" But I can also tell myself encouraging stories: "When this is done, I will be the sharpest, cleanest-looking, best-groomed guy in the room, and people will be attracted to me for that, as well as the confidence I exude when I feel like that." "The only way out is through." "I take long on basic tasks because I like being clean & looking after myself & I pride myself on my hygiene." Through my adventures with cutting my shaving time, I've also learned that sometimes, the best approach to cure anxiety & deal with problems is to make like Nike and "Just Do It." Just execute on it as fast as possible, as soon as you become aware of the first synapse firing in your mind telling you, "I want to do it.". Because if you don't, your mind will rationalize all sorts of excuses as to why you can't do it, & you'll essentially think yourself scared. Trust me, as someone who has frozen up & missed literally thousands of opportunities to approach cute girls I liked because I was overthinking, I have a lot of experience with this. It's something I'm working on in every aspect of my life. But that's a story for another day. I hope this post helped some of you considering taking that next step in your life, but feeling scared to do so. Takeaways (TL;DR): Sometimes, you just have to execute as fast as possible. If you're too scared to do that, just breathe deeply as a way to regulate your vagus nerve until you feel calm enough to logically do it. Some Aspies love being clean, well-dressed, & well-groomed. I'm one of them. Don't worry if a task is taking you longer than it should. Take pride in the work that you do; chances are it's of much higher quality & care than that of your neurotypical counterparts. If a task physically hurts you or makes you feel overwhelmed, keep experimenting with its elements & tweaking it until it no longer does so. I now use shaving equipment & techniques that don't really cut me, so that's helped cut down my shaving anxiety by a lot. Anyway, thanks for reading. Again, feel free to react, follow, & comment.
  4. Are the holidays something you dread? Maybe it’s too many people, high expectation placed upon you or even worse low expectations? You’re not alone. I can tell you that I approach holidays from a very different place now that I know better. What do I mean by know better? I mean listening to my own body and being honest about the capacity I have for celebrations, as well as listening to my twins Lillian & Chloe. Before I understood what Asperger’s/Autism was, I took my daughters behavior personally. I thought Lillian’s refusal to go to Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma & Grandpa’s was a direct defiant behavior. When she had a meltdown at the dinner, I thought she was trying to make the day about her and get her way to make us go home. I was wrong! Lillian’s refusal to go to Thanksgiving dinner was because she knew she would be in a good amount of discomfort. She may not have realized why but she knew it would happen and when it did, she just needed to leave. The noise of everyone socializing, the smells of all the food, and the expectation that she needed to participate in these conversations was too much. So yes, she screamed to make it stop and for me to take her to a safe place. I did not hear or see this at the time and for that I have apologized profusely. Today we talk about the events that are coming up and build a strategy to make it possible for Lillian and Chloe to be there. I am now okay if being there is not an option. Each event is different some examples of what we plan for could be a clear exit strategy. Whether this means I or my husband leaves with them or now that they are old enough to Uber home themselves. We see if there might be a quiet room where they could just chill for a little while if they start to have too much stimuli. We have found sometimes when they just remove themselves from the chaos for a little while they are able to return for a bit more time. Just knowing that there is a plan and that I will listen to Lillian & Chloe has made a world of difference. Lillian & Chloe were not trying to make the holidays about themselves, in fact it is most likely the opposite. They did not want to bring attention to the difficult time they were having. As parents we need to listen to our children. They are telling you what they need even when they don’t have the words. Written by Gail Carrier, Founder of OurTism
  5. Since I can remember, I have hated looking back at the child I was. I look at my childhood and I cringe, and for the longest time I have had the resounding thought that I was a stupid kid. I was stupid, weird, and ugly, and that's why other people made fun of me. That's what I thought, for years. But it wasn't the truth. Because when I was seventeen, I was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. And while I hate to say it, that explained everything. For instance, I have never understood social norms. It started out fairly normal, the only people who picked on me for not knowing at first were other kids. I didn’t understand why, but I had an understanding that kids picked on each other and besides, they were all still my friends … right? Looking back, a lot of my “friends” from that time just liked having me around to laugh at. But soon I had bigger problems. I was getting older. But I still hadn’t learned the rules. And it was starting to frustrate adults now. Did you know, for example, that it’s considered inappropriate for a fourth grader to write about a family that openly dislikes each other? I certainly didn’t. But my teacher made sure I did. In front of the whole class. A few years later, junior high came around and, well, I still didn’t know everything my classmates knew, but for the sake of brevity (and not sounding like I’m too full of self pity,) I’ll stop here, but needless to say, I was still picked on until 10th grade. But I blamed myself! I spent a long time telling myself, “If I had spoken differently, or just not talked at all, I would have been FINE!” and “Why did I ever wear those stupid clothes, and those stupid glasses, and that stupid hair?!” and of course, the favorite “I was just a weird kid, so of course people would make fun of me.” When I started writing this out, I still thought that it was all me, and that I was weird. I didn’t expect to unpack all of this. But this is the conclusion I have reached. I was never the problem. My symptoms were not the problem. I was displaying signs of a disorder that no one knew I had. So, to the child I was; I’m so sorry. I have hated you and blamed you for so long. You were never any of the things I, or anyone else called you. It was never your fault. It may take me awhile to fully stop being mean to the kid I was. But it is a journey I know I need to make. And if you felt the same way about your younger self, I hope you can do the same.
  6. Right after James’ diagnosis of autism, his preschool had an end -of -the -year party. Parents talked about their vacation plans while little ones played on the swings and slides. I sat on the curb, away from everyone and glared at them. I glared at his teachers, who had first referred James for testing. I glared at the kids, who had refused to play with him all year and even now, were avoiding him. I glared at the other parents, especially the woman who had said upon hearing our news, “Oh, we wondered what was wrong with him. You seemed so normal.” My husband motioned for me to come over and talk to James’ teacher. I didn’t even shake my head to say no. I just glared. They got the message. My world changed the day my child was diagnosed, and I knew it. And I was mad. I felt like the diagnosis had taken away my child’s future. It had certainly taken away MY vision of James’ future. What would be in store for him? Would he go to a regular school? Would he get married? Would he have a career? Would he be happy? Would our family be happy again? On that day, it didn’t feel like it. I denied the diagnosis long into the summer. I kept saying, “But my baby is smart.” And he was. The diagnosis of autism, ADHD, or Oppositional Defiance Disorder (or all three together, as James has) does not mean your child isn’t smart. It doesn’t mean he is bad. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent. But it does mean that he will need some help. So eventually, when I was ready, I made some phone calls. I first called a friend who was an occupational therapist that worked with autistic youngsters. I had heard from her that “brushing’ was an approach that showed promising results in calming children who had anger issues. “You literally take a hair brush and stroke your child repeatedly on his arms and legs,” Kelley said. Supposedly, it stimulated the nerves and promoted sensory integration. As we talked, Kelley asked me if I had applied for the autism scholarship. “I didn’t even know there was a scholarship,” I said, writing it down as yet another thing to look up. “Well, all the therapies you are going to need for your child are expensive,’ she said. “If you choose us as a provider, you’ll probably want the extra assistance.” “I need a brushing provider?” I asked. Kelley sighed. I am not dumb. I have a master’s degree. But I felt like she didn’t know what I wanted, and I certainly didn’t know what she wanted from me. Why couldn’t I brush him? Why was it expensive? (And really, why was I brushing him again?) “Maybe you should come in and talk to my boss,” Kelley said finally. And that proved to be good advice. When you are new to the spectrum, phone calls can be very intimidating and confusing. There are code words and acronyms and jargon that therapists used oh-so-casually but sound completely foreign and frightening to a parent new to the spectrum. Talking to someone in person, and seeing their occasional look of sympathy and their almost-constant desire to help, is much easier. Not easy, but better. I found that the medical field had changed, much of it due to political correctness. There were no more words like “handicapped” or “emotionally disturbed.” There were no “special ed” teachers or short buses. Now there were “intervention teachers” for special needs children who rode on their own regular-length bus with a personal assistant that would come right to your door to escort your child to school. And how nice is that? But you have to know to ask for it first. You have to know how and who to ask for what you suddenly, horribly need. And I had never needed so much help before. I needed help interpreting the new words and foreign world before me. That’s when I called a therapist. I asked for someone who specialized in autism. I went every week with James, but more and more, I realized that I was the one who needed to talk and needed the therapy. He was five. He didn’t want to hear about yet another chart to monitor his behavior. To tell you the truth, I didn’t either. I just wanted someone to hear me as I grieved and questioned and cursed. I wanted someone to tell me that it would all be OK. And it will. It will be OK. But not magically. Not easily. I learned that it will only be OK if I made it OK. I had to start. I had to start learning and stop crying. I had to start listening and stop talking. I had to start nodding and stop glaring. I had to start helping my special needs child.
  7. After James' diagnosis of Asperger's, Syndrome, I read hundreds of articles on autism, sensory processing disorder, and oppositional behavior defiance disorder. I signed up for a conference given by Tony Atwood, sat in on "chats" in discussion rooms online, and attended a parenting class at the local YMCA. I joined a Mother's group too. I knew I needed to talk about it all -- but instead, the mothers talked to me. Mostly about diets. Good Lord, the diets that were recommended to me! No dairy! No red dye! No preservatives! Every mother had a different "remedy" for autism. Finally, I asked a friend of mine, Jane, who was an occupational therapy instructor at the local community college to talk with me. We knew each other casually from working together on committees, and I had long admired her no-nonsense style, mixed with just the right amount of compassion. When Jane walked into my office, I felt nervous though. Suddenly, I didn’t know what to ask her. What could I say that wouldn’t let her know how devastated I was? What if I sounded dumb? I really didn’t know how an occupational therapist would help with autism anyway. Jane had reached that time in her life when she was ageless. She could have been 40, or she could have been 60. I didn’t know, and I certainly didn’t know her well enough to ask. Her gray hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and she wore a knit tunic over simple black pants, with a brightly-colored scarf wound around her neck. She looked earthy and casual and elegant, all at the same time. I felt over dressed and frumpy at the same time, in a too-tight skirt and too-high boots. We made small talk for a few minutes, but then, in typical-Jane style, she got right to the point. “So your world has changed.” I nodded. And I started to cry. Five minutes later, I looked up again. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to do that.” “It’s fine,” Jane said. “You take your time.” “I’m okay. Let’s just take it slow. I guess I’m a little more emotional than I thought I would be. I mean, I’m a teacher, and I even took a lot of special ed classes in college, so I could get double-certified. But it all seems different now.” “Now it’s your child,” Jane said. I noticed she didn’t have any makeup on. Her eyes were brilliant though, startling, with their brightness and sincerity. She was so genuine and real, that I felt the mascara weighing heavily on my own lashes. “I started reading about Asperger’s and autism. I think I’ve read about 100 articles already. But some of it just confuses me. A lot of it puts the onus on the parents, is that right?” “The special education field has changed, Kristina, and rightfully so,” Jane said. “We strive to educate the entire family about the disability, and much of the services are provided for in the home setting. Instead of using providers exclusively, a team approach works best in creating a sensory diet for the child.” “Oh, no. ‘Sensory diet? Home setting?’ I hate jargon,” I said with a grimace. Jane laughed. “I’ll try not to use too much jargon then. Actually, the language has changed a lot though, since you were in school. Much of it due to political correctness. There are no more words like “handicapped” or “emotionally disturbed.” There are no “special ed” teachers either. Now we use terms like “challenged” and “special needs” and “intervention teachers.” You’ll get it. Just ask for help. No one can, or should, do this alone. Ask for help when you need it.” I nodded. “ I have never needed much help before. I’m not used to it. Usually I’m the one who helps other people.” “I know,” Jane said. “You have quite a reputation for helping your students.” I looked down. My eyes started to brim with tears yet again. “Here,” Jane said, handing me another tissue from her purse. “Listen, the best advice I can give you is this. It will be okay. But not magically. Not easily. Call a therapist,for you, one who specializes in autism, to get you through the shock. I’ve got some numbers listed here. Then, when you’re ready, let’s get him started with some occupational therapy. I have a friend with a clinic in your area.” I nodded. I knew I needed help. “Thanks,” I said, getting to my feet. “What about your husband?” Jane asked. “Is he doing okay with the diagnosis?” She stopped by the door. “Sort of,” I said. “I’ll tell him all of this. He wants me to take the lead on all the doctor’s appointments and schooling.” I noticed her smile fade a bit. I quickly added, “He’s a great dad. The best. And he loves James. He just . . . well, he doesn’t see everything I do. James isn’t as bad for him. I mean, I’m home with him more, but still, it seems like James takes everything out on me.” “Children only let their true feelings out when they feel safe.” “So it’s a compliment that he’s worse with me?” I asked. “In a sense,” Jane answered. “It certainly doesn’t feel that way. All of his teachers say that he has great manners, and he’s really good for them now, most of the time, anyway. But when he sees me, he just goes ballistic. I mean, seriously, he gets in the car after school, and he starts kicking the seat and yelling.” “Think of it this way. He is under a lot of pressure during school. He’s fighting to keep it all together. He’s like a balloon, blowing up little by little, as the day goes on. When he sees you, he sees a safe person, and he just explodes.” “That makes sense, I guess. It still doesn’t feel good though.” “Well, maybe you could try letting him play on the playground for 15 minutes before you load him into the car. That way, he can let off steam, and you won’t bear the brunt of his anger.” “I like that idea,” I said. “That’s something I can do pretty easily too. Thanks.” “There are all kinds of tips and strategies that we occupational therapists use to make your life easier,” Jane said. “You really don’t have to do this alone.” “It’s a good thing,” I said. “Listen, one of the best things I ever heard about raising a special needs kid is this . . . “ “If you say, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle,’ I will hit you.” “No,” Jane laughed. “It’s this: ‘Having a special needs child doesn’t take an extraordinary person, it creates an extraordinary person.’” I nodded and smiled like she wanted me to. But later, when Jane was gone, I sat at my desk for a moment and let her words sink in. I wasn’t a great mom. I was mad and desperate and fed up and depressed and overwhelmed. There was no way I was extraordinary. But I was willing to try to become it. For my son.
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