Autism and a Human Need to Connect

I have heard and read many things that make it seem as if humans with Autism don't have a need to connect with other humans. It breaks my heart. I know from experience that this is untrue. I see my sons interact, and I see a deep emotional connection between two little boys who are, very much, on the Spectrum. At first glance, the photo I have chosen for this post just looks like twins sleeping next to each other. This is fairly common for twins. It is a beautiful thing to witness. As their mother, I see much more in the photo.       Our situation is very unique. Having twins with Autism is special. I have been able to experience Autism from two points of view. The dynamic my twins have is fascinating. They are almost always together in proximity, yet they have never played together. They tend to play alone, next to each other.  It used to really bother me that they didn't seem to notice one another. I would try to get them to play together, but they wouldn't engage.…

My Village

I have been a Mom for a little over 4 years. I have learned a lot, in that time, about who is important and who is not. And, let me tell you, these important people are different people than I expected they would be before becoming a Mom. Honestly, I look back at how I thought my life would be and I laugh because I was so naive to the realities of parenting. It's embarrassing!!! I had no clue!!! I have to give myself a break because having twins with Autism is a situation that most could never imagine themselves managing. It's a situation that has required elimination of some, and the under-whelmingly permanent inclusion of constant uncertainty about who would come next. We were lost when it came down to who could be trusted to be a positive and understanding part of this Autism lifestyle. It's hard for me to make friends with families who do not intimately understand Autism. As a special-needs mom, I have severe time constraints leaving me little opportunity to conn…

Dare to Compare

A few weeks ago my family and I went on a trip to Southern California to escape the frigid winter. It was the best trip we've ever taken together. It was also the first vacation we had been on since finding out about the twins' Autism. We had been on two other vacations with the boys before this one. Neither of those trips were a walk in the park.  I am not saying that this last trip was easy, by any stretch of the imagination, but it was completely manageable. This is all I could have asked for because manageable is a huge improvement over the hell we have endured in past years. It was also a great measurement of how far we have come as a family since being properly introduced to the world of Autism. It allowed me to take a mindful look at how wonderfully the boys are doing. We are working together super well these days. It's taken an enormous amount of  hard work to get us to this place. Not only do we seem to have it together, but we actually have it together. Th…

Taking the Long Way

One of the hardest things to do, as a special-needs mom of twins, is to remember to slow down and have patience. It is super easy to rush through life in a attempt to, simply, get through each day. Every night as my head hits my pillow, I am thankful that I made it through another day.  There are always a million things that need to be done. The list never gets shorter and the days never get longer.  I have learned, the hard way, that taking shortcuts leads to more work when your kids have autism. This is a difficult lesson to learn as a first-time parent. The amount of effort that it takes to slow down enough to accommodate my boys is excruciating at times. The long way is, often, our only option. This is time consuming and exhausting, but absolutely necessary for my children's future. 
     I fought this at first. I like to be in control, but eventually I had to give in and admit that the way I was doing things was making my life hard. I had to slow down in order to move forwar…

Seeking Sensorial Satisfaction

Before I found out that my twins had Autism, at 2 and a half, I was told that they had sensory seeking behaviors. I didn't have any experience with sensory needs. I definitely needed to do some research to to understand what I was being told by the boys' pediatricians. We were soon referred to Occupational Therapy (OT). This was the first step we took in the early intervention process. The boys were about 1 year old at this point. We didn't attend OT for very long. I couldn't see any benefit to the therapy, and I didn't see any point in continuing. Looking back, I feel like I made the right decision for my family because it was so hard to get to the appointments. There were more drawbacks than benefits so, we stopped going.
     I can't even count the hours I have spent researching what it means to have issues with sensory processing. We didn't have an official diagnosis, so my research was all over the place. Eventually an early intervention therapis…

Poop as a Sensory Experience

There are so many joys to having children, but let's not overlook the daily horrors that parents really face. The reality is that parenting has some pretty dark aspects. One of my least favorite, of these aspects, is managing the poop situation. Having twins means that there is a lot of poop in my life, all of the time. It started on the day that they were born, and it is seemingly never ending. I know that this is a natural human function, and I totally expected to deal with poop as a parent. What I didn't anticipate is that poop would literally take over my life.   
     It happens at the most inopportune times, and often in unthinkable places. Kids poop and they need to be cleaned up. The task can become daunting for any parent. This is one part of being a mom that I have struggled with from the beginning due to the quantity of changes that the twins required each day. It was tough, yet manageable when I got used to it. I always changed and cleaned my babies wheneve…

What if you couldn't Speak?

Have you ever considered what your life would be like if you couldn't speak? I had never pondered this until my twin boys were both diagnosed with Autism. At that time I didn't know much about the challenges that a person with Autism experiences. I just knew that my kids were not speaking yet. They were 2, so I figured that they were just late talkers. No big deal. I was in denial about the idea that my sons may never speak. It didn't seem real at first. It took me a long time to accept. As I researched this aspect of Autism, I found that 1 in 68 children will be diagnosed with Autism, and one-third of those children will be nonverbal (NIH). I was floored by this information.       As time passed, I became more and more aware of the challenges that my sons were going to face. I also became aware of how this piece of the Autism puzzle fit into my life as their mother. I was going to need to learn to communicate with my children.  I had not heard either one of the boys call…