“Born a Crime” is fantastic

It took us a little under two days to read “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah. I was riveted and would not let Mom stop.

Learning about history in this first hand account of life in South Africa during and post apartheid brings the realities of it to life. Lessons in being a great human were prevalent throughout.

Joy, fun, and humour help to highlight the lessons in life and mask the horrible environment Trevor and his mom lived in and through. Totally purposeful to survive the conditions, Trevor gets himself into all sorts of entertaining trouble. However, the underlying thread is always family, love, and community.

So love that a comedian can move past getting bitter or being a victim, and get that life is all in what you make it. Perspective is everything.

You must read.

Love,
Jordyn

Advertisements

Can caring writers just speak for themselves please?

Learning from other non-speakers writing is a great joy of mine. Each have wonderful perspectives and insights to share. I love to get deeply connected to the through their experience.

Let’s be real though. I can only share with you my experience of life. Being an advocate I need to be very conscious of my words being taken as facts. Learning from my experience must always be tempered by the knowledge that it is my experience and may not be the experience of my peers.

I quite believe that it is not the intention of some writers to be the loving voice for all autistics. However, we must remember who our audience is. There is a large part of our beautiful audience made up of parents searching for answers. I love these parents as they are looking to their child’s peers for guidance. I don’t want them reading my experience as fact and acting with inquiry. My joyful Mommy is great at homing in on possibilities of what is happening with me, but before I could share with her she was about 50% correct. It is only with communication that loving parents will know for sure their own child’s world.

I have read a few books by other non-speakers now. I loved them all! Learning from them always makes a big difference, yet I get frustrated when they speak for me with “autistics…”. My experiences may be similar but 45% of the time they are literally nothing like what is being written as the truth.

I am hesitant to list all these authors as recommendations on this site without a caveat that says “read keeping in mind that this is the experience of one and they can not speak for all”.

Jordyn

image credit: Photo 55084899 © Ivan Kruk – Dreamstime.com

Creating partnership takes two!

I know I’ve been on a roll lately with blogs about creating strong communication and regulation partnerships, and 100% I can’t stress enough the need for every student to have access to communication as readily as you have access to speech.

Is it so hard to do 10-20 minutes a day of a lesson to build your skills as a Communication Partner? What would you need to alter or give up so your student could have a person who is confident and skilled in their corner both at home and in the community? “Altering or giving something up” could have to do with your schedule, but most likely your schedule would alter if your beliefs or attitude altered.

Another way for me to ask the question is: “What is in your way of practicing?” If you immediately answer with some circumstance you are missing the gold here. Your answer, if authentic and lovingly insightful will start with “I am …” or “I believe…” etc. 100% acknowledging the beliefs that are stopping you is the doorway to creating partnership.

I can almost guarantee you that your loving student doesn’t want a perfect robotic CP, but someone who is genuine, authentic and committed to growing with them. Let’s make building partnership about building a powerful relationship. Lastly, “parent” needs to get put to the back burner. CP is a lovingly intentional partner learning with NOT above or superior. Let’s be 80% CP and 20% parent when working together.

Let us know your answers to my questions if you have been stuck, and allow us to support you in achieving what you ultimately want – a strong communication partnership with your student. Let’s be champions of your unleashing of expressions too!

With love and a compassionate tush kick,
Jordyn

Image credit: ID 136853059 © Marek Uliasz | Dreamstime.com

Good loving people let our voices shine

Having Mommy work so diligently with other families like ours is letting me be a great asset to the World. Going back to the beginning with these students, but with all the learning we have done together makes Mom a very powerful Communication and Regulation Partner.

Just remembering how rough it was for us when we started and so glad these families have local support. Love meeting the caring and devoted parents learning to be Communication Partners for their family members.

I think it is great to see not only their partnership in communication grow, but to see their relationships change and evolve. From concerned caretaker they evolve into powerful advocating partner. From being responsible for to instilling responsibility in their family member. From being their family member’s voice to joyfully empowering their family member’s self-expression and self-determination.

Loving Mommy will always go to the ends of the Earth (not literally) to unleash the true voices of the non, minimally, and unreliably speaking community.

Jordyn

How is good angel to go about living a human life

I have said it before listen to my experience of life while suspending your disbelief. I can only share myself in hopes that it makes an impact where wanted and needed.

Joy is playing powerfully to transform this cynical and fear-filled world.

I love how I can touch someone’s life glowing with pure love and make their fears or suffering lessen. Having a special connection to the power of love has given me many insights and opportunities to refine my glow. It has been very difficult to not want to help everyone… and I do mean everyone.

Learning to take care of myself has been a real process of untangling what is me from everyone else’s emotions. Learning to harness my power and proactively versus reactively use it has been a lot of work.

Thankful for those who have supported me, and continue to support me, on my journey. This is going to be one heck of a novel and road map, if I ever get to writing it.

Lovingly,
Jordyn

Leave your idea of a good time…

I have been to many gatherings. 100% I have started to work out what types of things I can and can’t participate in. I share my findings with you as information you can bring to conversations with your autistic family member or friend.

My ideal gathering is small, intimate, and unstructured. Joy is hanging out with pals, even if that means we talk a little then we do our own thing for a while. Joy is just BEING with them.

I live for deep discussion and joyful silly banter. I love to empower others to share their thoughts as we don’t often get to do this with our peers.

I think sometimes parties are created as my peers and their parents so need to have that “typical” event. Love my pals who keep their parties simple and loose so everyone can participate as they wish and as they can.

I think it is essential to get clear about what your autistic family member or student truly wants. We want our parent to be happy because they do so much for us. Your suggestions of event ideas are thus lovely, but maybe not going to result in the party we want. Luckily my mom is always checking to ensure I am not people pleasing.

Let’s empower our peers to express their true wants and not people please to take care of their parent’s wants to give their kids a typical party. Who is that really about? Just saying.

Listening powerfully,
Jordyn

Can we care to include please?

Not all Communication Partners (CPs) are made the same. I have watched interactions in a number of settings and have some notes for CPs.

Are you there with your student to provide them partnership so they can participate in events for them? If you defensively say “yes” look again. Many times I see my peers being given opportunities to “speak” only when they are addressed. They deserve the respect of their CP to look for every opportunity to participate in conversation. CPs look at where your attention is during peer events and stay on task.

Let’s get real. I can make some actions that indicate I have something to say, but if my CP is otherwise engaged then they are missed. Luckily my main CP is very in tune with me and her job, so rarely is an opportunity missed.

How about we play the imagine game, so you get in our shoes for a minute. Imagine you have been invited to an outing with your pals. You can only “talk” or participate in activities with the support of a partner. No partner and your body wanders and stims. Joy is participating as “normally” as you can!

Would you want a CP that is on point or distracted by everything and everyone? Would you want to wait for someone to ask you a question or would you want to strike up conversation with your pals? Would you want to listen attentively to your pals or wander off stimming?

I know the job is a big one, but I implore you to look at yourself as CP and keep upping the level to which you disappear and are only an extension of your speller. Instead of wishing your student could participate more, get out of the way and cause it. Changing your own impulses may by challenging, but if we can do the work so can you.

Sorry to be so straight about this, but you didn’t do the work for your student to have a voice only when you think they should. Be a good partner and shift your habits. Let your speller’s voice be unleashed.

Respectfully,
Jordyn

P.S. To my peers, keep advocating for your voice!

Let’s be creative and Autastic!

I love that my peeps want to contribute to this blog I’ve created. Asking for submissions and allowing people’s self-expression an accepting and eager audience is so darn fulfilling.

I truly am inspired by this dude. Autastic Tom is the coolest and I hope you take his words to heart.

There is a huge misconception that many people have about autistics. That we absorb all kinds of factual information, but can’t, or don’t have the desire to express ourselves creatively or artistically. This is far from the truth, at least for me and the many autistics I know. Sure, it may be easier for many of us to spout out facts about our favorite subject than it is for us to write a poem, but that does not, by any means, indicate a lack of ability or desire. Acquiring the ability to express myself creatively has improved my life in many ways. Having a creative outlet is a way for me to convey my feelings and emotions in a healthy and appropriate way. Instead of letting them bottle up inside of me and burst out at an inappropriate time.

One of the ways I express myself creatively is through making videos. Over a year ago, I decided to start a YouTube channel, Autastic Tom. It has been a great way for me to deal with my emotions, all while advocating for myself and others with autism, and hopefully serving as a source of encouragement for autistics and their families. It is important, though, that people know that many hours of work go into making each video. This includes time spent brainstorming ideas, writing a script, planning and getting any needed supplies, practicing, filming and editing. Only the best clips are used in the final production. This is a long, tedious, and often difficult process, but it is one that I always feel is worth it. It is therapeutic for me to release my creative ideas and emotions, and also extremely rewarding when I am able to help others.

My most recent creative challenge for myself is to write an original piece of music. Playing music that I have heard before comes quite easily to me, but coming up with an original tune is a challenge. I encourage everyone, not just autistics, to challenge themselves creatively. It is a healthy practice for everyone. And for family, educators, and communication partners to be patient and encouraging, knowing that for anyone, difficulty or frustration with something rarely suggests a lack of desire. 

– Tom Pruyn

Check out this episode of Autastic Tom…

… now you get why he is the coolest! Subscribe and continue to enjoy his creativity and greatness. One day I will be this cool (wink).

Jordyn

Onward to Trusty Dads

Moms usually bear the initial responsibility to be a fluent Communication Partner [CP], with caring dad’s hunting and gathering for the family. But what son or daughter doesn’t want to a fluent relationship with their father (and siblings too)?

Joy is chatting with your family with no extra CP needed. Let’s look at some fun ways for family to develop fluency beyond doing sit down lesson!

Can’t say enough about how a dad sharing about stuff he loves and is motivated by lets good student have loving connection while Dad builds his skills. My crazy engineer Dad loves to talk geeky stuff like electricity, magnetics, calculating how to calculate the circumference of a circle, and goofy historical facts. Throw in some “known” questions (facts in his epistle), add some “semi-open” (like synonyms, rhyming words, or something from a list of factoids), and good dad is on his way while having low stress fun times with kiddo. Same goes for siblings or friends.

Family games are another opportunity. Playing Uno, Battleship, or Apples to Apples and likely some other games I haven’t played are a tight field of “semi-open” choices letting that partnership skill be built in a fun way. Confidence too!

Dad and I also play video games that are like a puzzle we navigate together. Where I have the motor control to move our man I do, where I don’t I tell Dad what I think he should do. I am getting better control with the Xbox slowly. This is another tight field of “semi-open” to practice with.

Reading stories together is another great option. Going a couple paragraphs then creating a really easy “known” questions lets partnership, trust, tolerance, and motor control be developed in a fun, easy, natural way.

Joy is building communication partnerships with family. Yes, formal lessons are the bread and butter of creating these. The above examples are the peanut butter and jam. You can’t have them without the bread though.

I hope these examples have sparked your creativity and out of the lesson box thinking to add more joy, variation, and opportunities to building familial communication partnerships.

Jordyn

(image: Photo 32969367 © Karenr – Dreamstime.com )

Let’s Talk Regulation and Communication

Before fluency caring Mom did not know a lot about my body impulses and how they fire all the time. She had an idea from talking to others on their own journey, but just didn’t understand my firing system fully yet. I fire impulsive scripts in my head constantly. The Wiggles, Baby Einstein, Blue’s Clues and Boohbah blew destructively through my opportunities to be purposefully in communication with her at the start.

Just one impulsive firing and off I went spelling a familiar word like “winter” when I meant “with”. Fully being fluent meant my body had to get that when we are together spelling it would not be able to just hijack my communication at every whim.

Learning this kind of control in a partnership is like baking a scrumptious chocolate cake. Good organic ingredients of: cool lessons, beautiful authentic calm, loving intentional prompting, and a dash of fun are combined. The body tastes that batter and craves more of it, as it gets more familiar with the peace associated with purposefully pointing to communicate my answers. But, it takes the consistent heat of the oven to have fluent conversational communication.

Chocolate cake baked to perfection changes the dynamics of life. A good loving baker knows that without the proper mix of ingredients and the consistent heat of the over, that cake won’t rise to its fully scrumptious and flaky potential.

Can’t say enough about how the baking process is individual. Different for each student, and with each of their partners.

For goodness sake, please don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s. Just get in the kitchen and create your perfect cake as a team.

Now I want cake,
Jordyn

image ID 143248400 © David Cabrera Navarro | Dreamstime.com