Growing Up Special

Thoughts, ramblings, and encouragement from a special need sibling to the world

Ten Things, Part 9 April 30, 2011

This series of posts on “Ten Things” is based on the article “Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew.”

Try to identify what triggers my meltdowns.

I mentioned in part 2 how a simple trip to the grocery store can turn into a nightmare experience. Understanding that Alyssa does not (usually!) have tantrums because she just decided she wanted to be difficult makes it easier to deal with the tantrums when they come.

It does not meant that there is a magic pill of wisdom or patience. But knowing that a tantrum is probably brought on by external circumstances helps me to try to work with Alyssa.

For example, when she freaks out because we’re not going to the library when we said we would, it helps to know that it is not just because she wants to get her way. Her mind processes things slowly and very deliberately. If she was told one thing would happen and it fails to materialize, her brain just doesn’t understand how to adjust to the new information. There are so many little things that we take for granted that simply don’t connect in her mind.

And even though those connections may be difficult to make… she’s still beautiful.


Ten Things, Part 8 April 28, 2011

I will get through all ten eventually… I promise!

This series of posts on “Ten Things” is based on the article “Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew.”

Please help me with social interactions.

It’s hard to estimate the life-changing power of kindness and the immense force of rejection. Perhaps better than anyone, special needs families know the strength of just caring.

It hurts to see a little girl who simply wants to be included shut out from the group from those who don’t care enough to make an effort. It makes one ache to see little boys and girls (who truly don’t know better) teasing an older special needs boy… thinking they’re just having fun.

On the other hand, it is pure bliss to see someone who cares enough to try. It doesn’t have to be perfect or easy or even fun. All it takes is try.

So next time you see someone with special needs… don’t ignore them. Don’t try to avoid making eye contact. Don’t patronize them. Look them in the eye and treat them for who they are: a beautiful reflection of God. And know that your simple act could mean the world.


Clarification April 27, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — brittanyk1 @ 10:14 pm

So… I just realized that the title of my last post could be misleading. In saying “What is she thinking,” I was referring to Alyssa, not my mom. 🙂


What is she thinking?

Filed under: Life,Stories — brittanyk1 @ 4:29 pm
Tags: ,

So apparently, my mom just left two kids and a dog at a gas station somewhere between Kansas and Colorado. And didn’t notice for close to 20 minutes. Now, I know what you’re thinking. How does someone NOT notice two kids and a dog are missing??

But before you think she’s a completely clueless mother, there are a few factors that come into play. 1. She was on the phone to me (and totally freaked out when she realized they weren’t there)! 2. They never told her they were getting out of the car. 3. Alyssa, who apparently noticed that the kids were on the other side of the gas station, never said a word. Normally, if someone is running behind and hasn’t gotten in the car, she’ll say “Don’t forget —!” or something like that.

Not this time.

I can’t help but wonder what on earth she was thinking?

“Yes! I finally get rid of those annoying kids.”

“I guess Mom must be really sick of them too!”

“Wait. Why are we turning around?”

“Oh, I guess we’re going back! Wasn’t that a great joke???”

I guess we’ll never know what goes through her mind. 😀


CELEBRATE April 22, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — brittanyk1 @ 9:36 pm

Well, this is not related to special needs at all, but…

I just found out how to ensure spaces appear between each of my paragraphs!!! (For some reason, it didn’t work to just add extra spaces).

Anyway, just wanted to randomly celebrate that fact and let you all know that (hopefully!) future posts will be easier to read as a result. 🙂


Ten Things, Part 7

This series of posts on “Ten Things” is based on the article “Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew.

”Please focus and build on what I can do rather than what I can’t do.”

Alyssa is a unique individual with gifts and talents that no one else has.  Just like every other child or adult with special needs.

Of Alyssa’s many gifts (laughter, unconditional love, a great memory, etc), there is one story I love the most.

We were visiting a new church in Kansas.  As always, Alyssa sat and colored pictures during the entire service.  It was (and still is) her practice to design all sorts of pictures to give out after church.  Well, this particular day was no exception.  The problem was, we did not know one single person at this church.

That didn’t stop Alyssa, though!  After the service ended, she made a beeline for the corner of the building about as far away as she could get from where we were sitting.  She found some lady, a complete stranger, gave her all the pictures she had colored, and gave her a huge hug.  By the time we had found her, this stranger was in tears.  She was practically bawling and just kept saying “You have no idea how much I needed this today.  No idea.  No idea.”

It was a beautiful picture of one of Alyssa’s gifts… one I’ve never seen exhibited by anyone else.  She has an uncanny ability to find those who are hurting and minister to their soul without ever speaking a word.

And that is one special gift.


Ten Things, Part 6 April 21, 2011

This series of posts on “Ten Things” is based on the article “Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew.”

“Because language is so difficult for me, I am very visually oriented.  Please show me how to do something rather than just telling me.” 

With Alyssa, as with many special needs kids, if you start spilling out a stream of words, you’ll see her eyes slowly go blank.  Too many words and she won’t have any idea what you’re talking about.

It’s also hard for her to understand several directions unless you show her.  You can’t say “Go take a shower, brush your teeth, get dressed, and eat breakfast.”  But something that has helped a lot in the past is an idea one of Alyssa’s teachers implemented many years ago (and something recommended in this article).  We take pictures of everything she does to get ready in the morning and make a picture book for her. That way, after some practice, she can follow the pictures to know what it is she needs to do each morning.  It’s just one way we can visually demonstrate things for her rather than speaking words that often go over her head.