Monthly Archives: March 2020

Learning from COVID-19

Conversations About Autism

The nation and the world are living a new reality. COVID-19 is spreading. People all over the world are in lockdown.

Yet, as I sit in my home practicing social distancing, I have been wondering what it is that I am to learn from this experience.

We can learn from everything if we take the time, can’t we? I firmly believe that. If we want to, if we adopt a mindset of learning rather than fear, we can grow from what we are experiencing. We can grow as individuals. We can, hopefully, grow as nations.

We live in a world where people and countries have become self-centered. A new world will come out of this experience. It can be better a better world or it can be worse. We are all in this together. The way we look at people will change. Finances will change. The way we view commodities…

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Virtual Meetings with Family and Friends

Conversations About Autism

Last Saturday, I was thrilled to attend a virtual WW (formerly Weight Watchers) workshop online. Normally, I would not broadcast to the world that I am a WW member, but these are not normal times.

Why was this such an exciting workshop? I learned something new, video conferencing. This is Post Number 2 about things to do during lockdown.

The WW workshop was attended by thirty-three people! It was such a good feeling to see and hear people that I pretty regularly see on Saturday mornings. I needed that feeling of normalcy.

I actually “attended” the meeting on my phone. During the workshop, we had some conversations about how the Zoom app works. On my screen, I could see a small image of myself and a full screen video of whoever was talking. Many of the participants were new to this process.

As we talked, we discovered that on the…

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How Will Quarantine Change Me?

Conversations About Autism

It is Sunday evening. Only three days since the morning the grocery store was over populated with at risk shoppers at 6:00 in the morning. If the virus gets me, I will blame that morning. That is the day I decided to stop going to public places.

Friday, just two days ago, my husband and I visited my mother-in-law, who is in her nineties. We didn’t hug her. We kept our appropriate social distance.

Friday is also the day my daughter said that she and her husband will stop visiting us. They pulled my sixteen-month old granddaughter from the daycare she attends three days each week. They don’t want us to watch her once a week any more, or the other grandparents. They will juggle their schedules, my daughter working from home now and her husband still working out in the scary world, so they can take turns watching and…

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Social Distancing and Keeping Active

Conversations About Autism

This is the first of a series of indeterminate number of posts of things to do during lock down. Haha.

Number 1 – Keep active.

In St. Louis, we have had lots of rain.

And more rain. These are pictures of some of the marshy places in my yard.

We have not had good days for walking outside.

Two nights ago, my husband asked me, from his recliner, if it was dry outside so he could take the dog for a walk in the subdivision. From my seat at the computer, I could see the wet patio but no water drops bouncing on the pavement. I gave him the all clear.

Oops. Apparently, it was drizzling a little when he left. By the time he got home he was drenched. He took the hair dryer to himself while I dried the dripping dog!

Wet has been the word in St…

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Grocery Shopping and Corona Virus

Conversations About Autism

Notice the line is down the Easter candy aisle. Oh boy.

I left the house at 5:50 this morning to go to the grocery store!

My supermarket, until early this week, was a 24-hour store. Supermarkets in my area have all adjusted their hours so my store is now only open from 6 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. to allow time for stockers to catch up.

Guess what time is reserved for at risk shoppers. Yep. The first hour of operation each day. My husband and I are both up there in the risk category. I’d like to say it’s mainly because we are over 60. (Full disclosure, my birthday was last week and I am now so close to 70 it’s upsetting…Maybe that’s partial disclosure.)

Age is not the thing that puts us most at risk, however. We both have compromised immune systems. And a few other things on the…

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Shoes for People with Autism

Conversations About Autism

All I can say is check out this article about sensory friendly shoes for children and adults.

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The Boy in the Woman’s Restroom

Conversations About Autism

Most women have probably walked into a public restroom at some point and seen a mother with a little boy. In today’s world, it is probably not safe to send a young boy alone into the men’s restroom.

What if the boy that mother had in tow were fourteen? What if an older teen boy were in the care of a young woman, not much older than him?

What would be the reaction of others?

About a year ago I was in the public women’s restroom at the mall and saw a woman who was probably in her twenties. She was with a young man in his late teens. She was helping him wash and dry his hands. We three were the only people in the restroom at the time.

I glanced up at the teen and immediately recognized him. I know that he is autistic and has other challenges.

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Speaking on Autism

Conversations About Autism

I’m a retired teacher, right? Talking in front of people is not a problem.

I spent twenty years talking in front of people. Well, groups of about twenty kids under nine. They were not always an easy audience. At the start of each year I also spoke to their collective parents.

Then I spent five years talking in front of sometimes hostile-ish, reluctant college seniors. I instructed them on how to teach math to elementary students. At least half of them hated math and/or didn’t understand it. Hence the occasional feeling of hostility because I expected them to do the math.

Now, I am preparing to talk in front a group of maybe thirty adults about autism and how to listen effectively to parents or grandparents of children with special needs.

April is Autism Awareness month and, this April, I will be speaking to a group of Stephen Ministers. Stephen…

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What is Autism Awareness?

Conversations About Autism

Where are we as a society today when it comes to autism awareness? What does the term mean or, more importantly, what does someone who is “aware” of autism do differently than someone who is not? These are questions I sometimes ask myself.

Parents of children with autism have told me that their child does not look different than other kids, so they are judged. We can see wheelchairs, white canes, and hearing aids that make it clear to an observant person that someone has a special need.

For the most part, we can’t see some tangible, concrete indicator that a person is on the spectrum.

I was raised in a time and place where everyone around me was what people then would have called “normal.” I remember that during the course of my nine years in elementary school, I met a friend’s acquaintance who was deaf. There must…

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