Thursday, October 4, 2018

Essays - Fine "Whine" and "What If?"

Fine "Whine"

I'm fifteen now.  It's an interesting age to be.  I suppose I should feel different or older, even though this birthday isn't as big of a deal as sixteen will be.  I don't feel much different, though I think I've had to grow up and mature a little quicker than others.  Don't let the Strawberry Shortcake videos fool you.  They are more a source of comfort than entertainment.  No one is too old to be comfortable.  I guess that, to me, getting older is actually all about comfort, namely being comfortable with myself and my needs.  Self-acceptance is really a skill, and I'm happy that I'm getting better at it with age.  I would say I'm aging like a fine wine, but fifteen is below that legal drinking age, so I'll save that joke for another six years.  I'm sure that it, and I, will be just as good if not better by then.


What If?

I am always so encouraged when I make progress in certain areas and when people believe in me, but sometimes the trickiest part of everything is believing in my self.

I think that's natural and common for someone my age, and I try not to get too down on myself.

I do my best to ignore the "what if" voice in my head.

What if my skills plateau?  Why if this is the best I'll ever be?

I should be asking myself what if I win a poetry contest?  What if I get into a bunch of colleges?

I need to make the "what if" voice my friend and make her ask the right questions.

In the end, I'm in control, and the what if voice doesn't speak for me.

More and more, I'm learning to speak for myself.



Saturday, September 15, 2018

Trust

Trust is a big component in my success.

I have to trust a lot of people and a lot of things.

I have to trust that my environment will not overstimulate me.

I have to trust that my technology will work.

I have to trust that the person holding my keyboard assumes my competence.

And mostly I have to trust my body to listen to my brain.

One or more of these things may not happen, and then I have to trust that I will be able to deal with things not going according to plan.

It's kind of an exhausting way to live, and it isn't pleasant when trust is broken.

But I get up everyday and try my best because I also trust that through my hard work, my life will get easier.

I've got this.

Trust me.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Really can't believe how long it's been since I blogged.  Been very busy this summer.  The greatest thing is happening.  I've started working with a speech therapist.  Her method is called PROMPT.  My greatest dream has always been to be able to talk.  Very hard for me going through life as a nonverbal person.  Nothing can compare to being able to speak your mind.  Thanks to family's perseverance, I've been able to learn how to communicate by typing, but being able to type doesn't mean you can easily be part of conversations.  Going to work my hardest and it may take years, but I'm happy having the chance to work on speech again.  I'm always having big dreams and my family supports me any way they can.  So glad we met Teresa from Cincinnati.  She told us about her son and how he learned to get his voice to work.  This gave me hope that one day you will hear me speak WITH a voice.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

On Sunday morning I was on the news for the second time promoting RPM.  I'm grateful that I have been given opportunities like this to show the world what RPM has helped me do, but I'm always a little nervous about backlash from skeptics.  The first thing I want to say to people who think RPM is fake is, "don't you have better things to do than call autistic people liars?"  It saddens me how often have to tell people that RPM does not work for everyone, just to get them off our backs.  Feels like it negates the fact that it does work for some.  People who claim to know about autism should understand that not everything will work for everyone, but anything is worth a try.  And for those who do not think RPM is evidence based, I would think people like me are all the evidence you need.  I can participate in my own life in ways I couldn't before I used RPM. It's not always easy or perfect, but it's been a game changer and really a life saver for me.  I recently heard the phrase, "Let your haters be your motivators," and I think that applies here.  In the end, people can say what they want, but I'm going to keep working hard and proving them wrong.



Monday, May 14, 2018

My California Vacation

You had to have been wondering what's been taking place in my life in the month or so since I've last written.  Hearing from me has really become a highlight.  Don't mean to keep the public waiting, I've just been really busy and been basically unable to make the time.  Small things keep getting in the way.  Very hard going so long.  Every person that slowly moves through life like me will understand small things can become huge obstacles.  Have so much to get off my chest.  

I'm going to start by writing about my recent family vacation.  Makes my mind swirl thinking about everything we did while in Los Angeles.  Getting to LA was somewhat panicky.  My parents didn't realize how many different lines we would have to wait in at the Toronto airport.  Can't say I liked that part very much, but I dealt with it the best I could.  Dad was getting more stressed than I was.  Mom stayed calm as usual.  Must be amusing for people to watch us all happy one minute and seconds later we're losing it.  


The very worst part of gandering off to Los Angeles is the extremely long flight.  I'm years going on flights and this was by far the longest flight I've ever been on in my life.  Most of us were dying to get off the plane.  Needed to use the bathroom.  Don't like to go on the plane.  Really might like my own private plane someday.  Hope getting it is possible if Dad keeps working hard meeting his goals by the time he retires.  Must be Dad's main goal so we an go wherever we want.



Had fun our first night.  We went to my favorite character, Goofy's restaurant for dinner.  It managed to meet all the expectations.  Met lots of characters.  Loved walking around downtown.  The next day we went to people's favorite amusement park.  Going to the park run by your favorite mouse, Mickey,  was doing something that my family loves, but I only like.  Going there can be stressful because of all the crowds.  Mom does her best to work the fast passes so we don't stand in many lines.  At a certain point I'm just done.  Think we were all done about the same time except my sister Emma. 





Going the next day for another character breakfast was overkill, but was ok.  Better food at normal restaurants.  

Mom was smart to plan a whale-watching trip later that day.  Thought it was amazing!  You have to go if you ever get the chance.  

The next two days were spent exploring Hollywood.  Had fun doing a tour of celebrity homes.  Have to say it's good living in the Hollywood Hills.  The next day, the movie Dad took me to was good.  My mom and sisters spent the day at the American Girl store.





The next day peaked at the top of a big hill overlooking the valley.  Hiking up there was hard, but worth it.  Got to see beautiful views and spend time with my Aunt Kelly.  Really should end this, but only two more days. 


The next day we went back to have fun riding some scary rides.  Might surprise you that I'm able to be the kid who goes on rides.  Handle them really well.  I can't believe I went on the Guardians of the Galaxy Dropzone.  Mom was nervous I wouldn't like it, but instead I loved it.  What a thrill!  Very happy I went on it, can't wait to go on it again, because I'm live everyone else on the ride - scared out of my wits!  Managed to go on a lot of other rides before we left.

The next day was our last day.  We wanted to visit Venice Beach mall of interesting shops and people. 

 I really enjoyed seeing the Pacific Ocean again for dinner.  We met my Aunt Kelly and her nice boyfriend Mike at a restaurant on the water in Malibu.  


It was so beautiful.  Freed me from my stress going on this vacation.  Everyone needs a break from reality.






Saturday, March 3, 2018

Freedom to express my thoughts and opinions has led me to write this blog.  Missed many thoughts I had when I was young, but now being able to communicate has carried me towards many exciting things.  I can't wait for the next big thing - going to California in a few weeks.  It has been a dream of mine to see the Pacific Ocean.  Have carried these dreams around in my head for so long, I can't believe it's actually coming true.  I can't wait to see more.  

Makes me feel so lucky that my parents place an importance on listening to me and traveling.  I have made so many great memories.  Going on trips is my favorite thing because my boring days make me crazy.  My amazing parents try to find fun things for me to do, but our options in Buffalo are limited.  Managing to keep life interesting.  

You might really expect that traveling would be stressful for me, but it isn't.  Meeting heaven like happiness when I'm going to the airport to fly somewhere new.  Very distant places are even better.  Choosing California over Mexico was a good choice by my parents.  More things to see in California.  I miss doing nice adventures.  

My winter has been pretty boring.  I don't like being out in the cold, so winter confines me to the house.  March has come in like a lion and dumped a huge amount of snow on us again.  School was cancelled and I spent most of the day bored.  Actually really wish that we lived in a nicer climate, but I think we'd miss our friends too much if we moved. 

 What do you dislike about where you live?




Wednesday, January 17, 2018

You get to hear what has ben going on in my life the past month.  I've made what I would call a lot of progress.  School has been going better.  I'm getting more comfortable with the people there.  I have worked hard to not be aggressive with anyone even if I'm frustrated.  

Mom has also had some interesting things going on.  She organized a workshop with Soma, who is the creator of RPM.  She had to coordinate a lot.  Mom did an amazing job along with her partner, Laurie.  They work well together.  The workshop went great.  I got to work with the amazing Soma two times.  She decided to see how I would do with making an attempt to write.  Made me a little stressed because I don't write very often.  I was totally able to do it though.  I was so proud of myself.  Like the idea of being able to write my thoughts in addition to typing.  The amazing thing is I would be able to take tests without someone holding my keyboard.

I used to think that I was never going to be able to fit in.  Wouldn't want to go places.  Going another way was easier than facing the challenge of facing my fear of making a scene and embarrassing myself.  Must work the hardest to remain calm when I feel stressed.  That has always been a struggle for me.  I was always the kid screaming and disrupting other liked kids.  Some kids with autism run away, others laugh uncontrollably, I scream.  I wish I could stop doing it altogether, but at least I do it a lot less.  Sometimes I'm just unable to.  Would love to be able to type and tell people what's wrong, but my autism just takes over and I lose the ability to type coherent thoughts.  I'm sorry because I know that people want to help me, but sometimes it's just possible.

I'm basically another white kid who has been able to succeed because my parents have the resources to hire tutors and teachers to work with me.  Mom really wants to help kids make progress like I have been able to.  Through her nonprofit, she wants to make the sessions with RPM providers affordable for everyone.  Love that she is trying to help.  Hopefully they will get what they need to be able to accomplish that during their April fundraiser.  If you want to donate to mom's nonprofit, you can go to their website.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Active Participation

I am so grateful to the people who have helped me get to where I am today.

It makes me happier than I can say that I have so many people that I can rely on.

It also makes me happy that I can add my name to that list.

Existence can be a scary place when even you yourself can't predict what you will do.

But I am learning to trust myself.

I've taken all the puzzle pieces my helpers have handed me and now I'm putting together a beautiful picture.

A beautiful life to be sure.

I am so happy to be able to put myself into it,

So happy that it has become uniquely mine.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thankful

The theme of thanks is very prevalent this time of year.

How could I be anything but thankful for my wonderful family and all the amazing opportunities I've been given.

Yet some part of me still wonders if people assume I'm bitter because I have to live around my autism.

I'm here to dispel every part of that myth.

I don't live around my autism.

I live very wholeheartedly WITH it.

There are tough days, but I'm thankful I found a way to communicate with those around me.

I'm thankful that my support system is the strongest I've ever seen.

So if you asked me if I'm bitter, I would tell you that being bitter just takes away from all the flavor life has to offer.

And if you asked me if I'm grateful, you would be met with a resounding yes!


Monday, October 23, 2017

A Simple Choice

I think people underestimate the importance of being able to make their own choices.

When you don't have trouble saying yes or no, you don't realize how many times a day you use those words.

I hope the world gives me the opportunity to say them.

To say yes, I want to be your friend.

Or even no, I don't want ketchup on that.

I suppose the world has the option not to accept me.

But I want to make their choice easy.

They will respond to me with a resounding "yes"!!