Friday, May 20, 2011

Autism- and A Book Review

All the work we have done, all the tricks I have learned to do my job so that my student can function as 'normally' as possible in a general education setting have not gotten me into his head quite like the book I just finished reading.


It's simple, heartwrenching, and from the point of view of a girl with Asperger's. (If you didn't know, Asperger's is on the Autism spectrum.) She shares similar traits with my student. For instance, abstract concepts are more difficult for them both to understand.
They both have odd behaviors not acceptable in public. While their behaviors are odd to us, they clearly come from a need inside them that we can't even begin to associate and draw parallels to triggers in their lives or environment. They both have unique skills that they excel at.

In MOCKINGBIRD, Caitlin thinks the world revolves around her. She learns about empathy, manners, finesse, and closure; all very difficult things for an autistic child to grasp. Reading this book brought clairvoyance and understanding of the way my student's mind is wired. Things are literal. The world is a place of only his feelings. Sometimes it's more than too just loud, too colorful, too stimulating, and the only release is to return to the comfortable places that make sense.

Katheryn Erskine paints a vivid picture of grief, the stresses of childhood, and the ways society behaves towards special needs. Every character is believable. We all can relate to the feeling of needing something and not knowing how to get it. Advice abounds, but like many times in the book, we just don't 'Get It', so we can't follow any of the advice.

This book is a quick read, but don't let that fool you. Your heart will go out to Caitlin and you'll see others in a different light after experiencing this story.

Yes, I said

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Turkey Run

This weekend we got away from it all in Turkey Run, a large state park located around Sugar Creek. With all the rain and flooding, the creek was high, but Saturday was dry enough and temperate for a long hike.
Normally, hubby has issues with bridges, especially suspension bridges, but he did great both times we crossed this one, even telling me to get pictures from it's height. Such a brave man!

Which path do I choose?? On the left, the man-made bridge over a ditch, on the right, a log from a fallen tree. So many great dilemmas to philosophize over in this picture, so little time!

We hiked for 2 hours, viewing cavernous holes, rock formations, and even some wildlife.I nearly stepped on this little snake!

But mostly, his trip was about our anniversary and us being together, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! We have decided that this is a great place to bring the boys, as long as we add in a canoe trip and not hike quite so far! We'd make it a one day thing. This park is an hour's drive from my home.

..Oh, and we must remember to bring change for the arcade.. :)

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Magic is Love

May is always such a great month for me! *deep breath, huge sigh* Ahhhhhh!

  • The weather starts to behave; I plant flowers.
  • My anniversary arrives; I write poetry and renew my commitment to my husband.
  • Mother's day brings me cute hand-drawn cards and maybe more flowers; I get hugs from my boys.
  • My birthday reminds me I'm not a youngin' anymore; I make new resolutions.

The focus of this post is on Love. I've been thinking a lot about the different kinds of Love, how to be pure, what Love means versus grace or forgiveness, and how hard it is to accept Love because it takes faith and vulnerability.

Sometimes we only think of Love as passion and that butterfly feeling in your stomach and fire in your loins.

Rush of water full of noise
cascading, ricocheting, refracting
Wisps of vapor curling high
Blurring, obscuring, enveloping
Fresh clean scent of Ivory soap
Wafting, invigorating, enticing
Single translucent shower curtain
revealing, concealing, alluring
Sharp intake of breath escapes
unnoticed, uninhibited, desired
But this kind of Love doesn't last for many people and when it changes, they feel out of love and hurt. They harbor painful memories of the break-ups and neglect. It makes it hard to get back into a relationship.
“You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” she softly stated, staring at the tiny whitecaps behind him.
“Then why do you push me away?” He pulled up his pants and buckled them.
She studied his form; watched him pull on his shirt. “Because I don’t want to have my heart broken.”
“I don’t plan on breaking it. Look, you can’t love someone completely and protect yourself. Love takes sacrifice and vulnerability.”
She smiled at him. Some weight began to lift off of her chest. She suddenly felt free and joyous. He was right.
And she loved him.
She ran to him, her joy carrying her into his arms, and he caught her momentum turning it into a spin. The embrace was warm and true.
“You always know what to say to me. That’s what’s in this for me.” She smiled and let him lean down to kiss her; a kiss which she returned wholly.
The last sliver of sun disappeared behind the waves, but a new relationship had dawned.
Hand in hand, the two sauntered off into the perfect evening.

Sometimes the best parts about Love are discovering the ways you and another person can coexist in harmony. Sure, there are many moments when the two of you collide, finding your agendas crashing into one another. The best thing is to say to yourself, or to them, "I love you, but I don't like you right now." Explain how you feel, or what you were expecting and why you are upset.

Love requires sacrifice. It may mean you open up to another. It may mean you trust someone for the first time. Perhaps you give up a lifestyle of carousing, or compromise over furniture and paint, or study a new religion, or live in some other part of the world you never had before.

The person that Loves you will allow you to be you. They will love you for who you are, and help you achieve your dreams. They may offer sound advice, provide a stepping stone, or even play devils' advocate to your dreams, as long as it overcomes barriers and builds you up.

That's how I see it!

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