Faith, Love and Respect for ALL

Archive for April, 2013

3 More for the Dobrovits Family

On April 11th, I shared the next path in the amazing journey of the Dobrovits family. If you did not see the post, you can read it here.

As you can imagine, the cost of bringing the 3 new members of the family home, will be quite high. A wonderful friend of the family has created an auction page on FaceBook to help fundraising efforts for the Dobrovits’ adoption of Susan, Edmond and Lucy.

Carla's Children

Please help the Dobrovits family raise the funds they need to adopt their newest children, as quickly as possible. Once they bring them home, they can make sure their children receive the medical care necessary for them to thrive in life. Please help  Susan, Edmund and Lucy come home to the family who loves them, and cannot wait to hold them.

Please LIKE the page:  Auction-3 More for the Dobrovits Family and SHARE it with your friends. The Auction, which already has 60+ items, and is still growing,  will run from Sunday April 28th to Sunday May 5th.

A quote from one of Carla’s posts: “International Special Needs Adoption is not just “cute” or “sweet”… It is RESCUE and REDEMPTION!!! Thank you to everyone who is helping and praying for us!!!”

 

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Pirate Princess Clown

Just a cute little share…

Ms. L took this picture of Beth during their session today. Her imaginative play gets more creative and fun everyday. As her imagination grows, so does her vocabulary. Just one of the many reasons we LOVE Play-Based Therapy.

imaginitve play

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Pulling and Pushing for Peace

Not that it is anything new, but today was really bad with the girls’ sibling rivalry. They could not be anywhere near each other without meltdowns, or UFC style fighting. When they are in this kind of a mood, it is like a war-zone in our house, and I find myself constantly praying for peace, while trying to keep Henry calm.

Since I have been doing Home Therapy with my fun tools, we have discovered that the girls like to do my exercises too. My newest Home Therapy Tool is a measuring tape, which I use with the bar for their swing to simulate a pulley. I took one to work the pulley, and Henry took the other to work the resistance band. When they got too worried about what sister was doing, we switched. Although there were still some tears and yelling, it was a sensational way for them to work off some pent-up energy and aggression.

Once the pulling fun lost its peaceful effect, we took them shopping at Costco. Both girls love heavy-lifting and helping. So putting items in the cart at Costco makes them extremely happy. Anne is content to sit in the cart the entire time and watch the chaos that surrounds her. Beth on the other hand, wants to push the cart, but she settles for helping take stuff off the shelves; until after we check out, because it is not safe for her to be walking around there. Once we have the cart packed, then she gets to help push it out to the car; it is her favorite part of the trip, and she is always in a phenomenal mood afterwards.

When we got home there were still moments filled with sisterly angst, but the choo-choo-box-train quelled most of the unrest. They gave their animals rides in the train; they pushed each other, and even got rides from Daddy. It was a wonderful, mostly peaceful, way to end the day. They even enjoyed a bubble bath together, with no fighting, which is a rarity.

A picture of our day, creatively Pulling and Pushing for Peace:

Image

On a side note… Beth was so excited about the watermelons she helped Daddy pick out, carry and cut up; that she actually ate some and said it was delicious. This is HUGE, because she has always refused to taste it in the past. I am trying not to get too excited, but can’t help hoping this is a sign of good things to come, and perhaps her eating more healthy foods.

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Boo’s Bubble Brigade is Stepping Up For Autism

The last two years we have participated in the Chicago Autism Speaks Walk. In 2011 we walked with our former playgroup to support the organizer’s son. At that time we were unaware that Beth was Autistic; it would be another 2 months before we would even call Early Intervention for an evaluation. We were amazed by the 15,000+ people in attendance, and it was a wonderful feeling to part of something so monumental. We did the entire route, but were one of the last families to finish because our daughter required many breaks, and by the end of the walk she was so overwhelmed and out of sorts that we headed home; passing up the opportunity to join our friends at the cool party that was at the end of the walk.

In 2012, with a fresh diagnosis of Autistic Disorder for Beth, we supported the Walk Now For Autism Speaks campaign. We planned to walk with the playgroup again, this time supporting Beth and the other woman’s son. We did the fundraising, and even had team shirts made, but were unable attend the event due to inclement weather.

In 2013, to continue our efforts in promoting Autism Awareness, Acceptance and Action we have decided to participate in a walk supporting a local organization that assists Autistic individuals of ALL ages and ALL abilities reach their God-given potential. Here is an excerpt from the Little Friends About Us page, which describes this extraordinary organization:

“Little Friends has been serving children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities for over 40 years. Based in Naperville, Little Friends operates 11 dynamic programs that include three schools, vocational training programs, community-based residential services and the Little Friends Center for Autism”

This year, we will participate in Little Friends fifth annual Step Up for Autism walk on Sunday, June 23, 2013; which offers a fun-filled morning for families along the Riverwalk in downtown Naperville.

Having attended many seminars and trainings conducted by the staff of Little Friends, I am excited and proud to support fundraising efforts for this phenomenal organization. Even if I had not already been acquainted with many of their remarkable staff, the mission statement for Little Friends would have been enough to inspire us to support them. Here is their magnificent mission statement:

“It is the mission of Little Friends to empower children and adults with special challenges to live, learn, work and participate in the community. We believe everyone should have the opportunity for a rich, full life in their own community with meaningful work, their choice in living arrangements, an education, strong relationships, fun and laughter. Just like you and me.”

On June 23rd Boo’s Bubble Brigade, our team of family and friends, will spend an Au-Some morning helping to ensure the future availability of Little Friends outstanding services for Autistic individuals, their families and their community. We will Step Up, bubbles in hand, and help build a brighter future for everyone.

If you are in the Chicagoland area, please consider joining us, or creating your own team to Step Up For Autism. If you are not in the Chicagoland area, but would like to donate to this extraordinary organization, you can donate to Boo’s Bubble Brigade or make a General Donation to Little Friends. If you are inclined to pray, please keep this amazing organization and everyone they touch in your prayers. We pray they meet their fundraising goal of $175,000 in order to continue assisting Autistic individuals reach their God-given potential through nurturing programs, which promote Pride and Respect for ALL.

Boos Bubble Brigade Rainbow Heart Bubbles

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Home Therapy

Today was my first Physical Therapy session for the tendonitis/impingement in my shoulder. Thanks to Beth’s OT, I have a PT  who comes to the house, which is pretty cool for a SAHM who has difficulty scheduling time out of the house. The woman is wonderful and I really like her, plus she gives you an ultrasound massage at the end of the session. She said Friday we may try the Tens machine as well.

I found out today that Home Therapy equals Creativity. Since we don’t have any fancy machines, or exercise accessories, Ms. A found items in my house to use for our sessions. Here are my Home Therapy Tools:

JTP home therapy tools

There are several different stretches/exercises using the broom, which I must say are quite painful at the moment. The mandarin oranges are my 1lb weights for the arm exercises. The beach ball is used for a stretch that goes up the wall, and a pressure holding exercise. The angry bird is used to pass around my body in circles. The stretch resistant band is used for several arm exercises when hooked up to the handle of our patio door.  Many of the stretches/exercises are done in the chair, and others are done standing, using my Home Therapy Tools. There are also stretches and push ups using the wall, where my body weight is the Therapy Tool.

As I progress in therapy she would like me to buy some hand-weights, ankle-weights, higher resistant bands, and a pulley-contraption to really work on strengthening and loosening the shoulder. Until that time, I will be using my fun tools, and Henry will be keeping Anne at bay, because she wants to share the toys with mommy.  I am very thankful that Ms. A can see me while Beth is at school, because as long as we let Anne swing or blow/chase bubbles, I can do most of my session in peace.

I was quite sore by the end of our hour session, but the ultrasound massage alleviated some of the pain. Then I iced both shoulders, and now am feeling pretty good. I am hopeful the next 6 weeks will see me building strength in my shoulders and being pain-free a little bit more each day. Cheers to another facet of becoming a healthy parent for my energizer bunny girls, and being strong enough to carry them around when they need a little extra attention from mommy.

 

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Happy First Birthday Jest_Tu_Positive

Happy FIRST Birthday to Dorothy Stronglove and Jest_Tu_Positive. Today is one year since I started sharing Our Journey with the world through this Blog and its corresponding FaceBook page. It is hard to believe it has been a year already. I cannot believe that the blog has had over 7,200 views, across 73 countries, in that time. I also cannot believe that there are currently 419 people and 139 pages following us on FaceBook, in 27 different languages.  I am humbled and filled with pride all at the same time. I never dreamed that this adventure would become something so pivotal in Our Life, and reach so many people around the world.

The birth of Dorothy Stronglove and Jest_Tu_Positive was a way for me to combat all the negativity I was seeing and experiencing a year ago. It had only been 5 months since our eldest daughter’s diagnosis of Autistic Disorder, and we were struggling to find the right path for Our family.  Between the people in our life who were attacking me about Our choices, and the angry blogs/pages I was finding online, I was feeling overwhelmed, confused, angry and lonely. A former friend helped me see why I was feeling like I did not belong in most of the Autism groups. Her words that made the light bulb go on were: “You are obviously not ready for all that recovery entails…”  When I read those words, everything became clear. The pages/blogs I was following did not share my beliefs, and it left me feeling like an outsider. We do not believe our daughter needs to be recovered, cured, or fixed; we think she is exactly the person God intended her to be. I realized that I needed to find people/blogs/pages to surround myself with, who felt the same way. Although my former friend and I had to part ways, she was one of the people responsible for pointing me in the direction of Our current path, and for that I will always be grateful.

I figured the best way to find like-minded people was to put out there how I truly felt about everything. Thus Autism Proud began; while I was eager to share, I still wanted to protect my family’s privacy, which is why I write under a pen-name and use different names for the major stars in our life. Thankfully I had Marie supporting me, and proofreading my early posts; without her help Jest_Tu_Positive would never have come this far. Even with her edits and assistance, I look back at my early posts and they read as though I am defending Our views. Marie helped me take a lot of the negativity and anger out of my posts, by gently reminding me that for a person who was asking people not to judge others, I was doing just that. With her as my editor-in-chief, and all that I am learning in Al-Anon, my writing has evolved into something more positive and less argumentative/judgmental. Since starting Autism Proud I have found so many wonderful people/blogs/pages who feel the same way we do, and that has helped keep me on the positive side of the road as well. I will not say we agree on everything, because each person and their journey are unique, but I can say that I am learning to be a better me because of them, and I am extremely thankful to have found all these Au-Some people to share our journey.

Our journey is not always easy or simple; sometimes it is hard and more complicated than I ever imagined it could be. We walk in the bright sun some days, and others we are stumbling through the dark rain looking for shelter. Fortunately, most days are a happy medium between the two extremes, which makes for a colorful, Au-Some journey. We try not to take things for granted, and we strive to live in the moment, simply enjoying all the blessings we have in life. This past year Autism Proud has helped me grow as a person, wife and mother; you have all helped me become a better me, and I appreciate that more than words could ever express. I look to the next year with a child-like anticipation for all the wonderful possibilities.

In the coming year Jest_Tu_Positive will focus on Faith, Love, and Respect for ALL. I will attempt to promote unconditional acceptance of EVERYONE, regardless of ability. Most importantly I will be listening to Autistic Adults, to learn the best way to assist Beth in her journey. Autism Proud will cover all facets of our life, because although Autism and Al-Anon are big parts, there is much more to us than those two aspects.  I will never pretend to know what is best for someone else, or tell another family what they should or shouldn’t do. I can only share Our family’s beliefs and journey, in the hopes that it touches another person and helps them feel a little less overwhelmed, confused, angry, or lonely. I pray that we all enjoy the coming year and make new friends, while walking on the rainbow path of life.

Life Is Like A Rainbow ~ Bubble Heart

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Extraordinary Children of God

In November my friend lost her 2 year old son, when he was called home to Heaven. If you were not following us at that time, the post Sadness was published on November 28th, the day of Henry’s passing. In the almost six months that have passed since that day of immense loss, I have prayed for the Dobrovits family, and held a special place in my heart for them. I have witnessed the tremendous effect that Henry’s life continues to have on the world. I have sat in awe at the amazing grace and faith in which Carla and her family do everything in life.

Yesterday, my friend made a wonderful, joyous announcement. Their family has been called to adopt 3 siblings and provide them a Forever Home. These 3 children, will no longer reside in a orphanage; once the adoption is finalized, they will come home to live in a home filled with infinite, unconditional love. They will no longer be alone, because now they have a mother, father and seven siblings (6 here on earth and 1 angel in Heaven) to help them as they find their path in this world. 

Carla's Children

Please help bring Susan (10 years old), Edmond (3 years old), and Lucy (11months old with special needs) home to the Dobrovits family.

Carla and her family are an inspiration like none I have ever witnessed. In November, you all prayed for them as they mourned sweet Henry’s departure from the earth, when he joined our Father in Heaven. Now I ask that you please join me in praying for them, as they begin a new journey, to bring their newest 3 family members home. 

There are Angels among us, and Carla’s family is living proof of that, because the Dobrovits family are all extraordinary children of God.  Please share their story, so we can surround them in prayer and help them reach their fundraising goal, to bring their children home as soon as possible. You can follow their journey at Carla’s blog page: http://www.bringinghenryhome.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-next-chapter.html

 

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Support Hair-twirlers Unite to Bring Equality to Nevada

We are extremely blessed to be part of an all-inclusive school district, which treats Beth and all its Special Needs students like every other student in the district. Sadly, we are in the minority. Most parents have to fight to have their children receive the education they deserve, please support this family in their efforts to change the way Autistic children are treated in Nevada.

Hair-twirlers Unite

April is Autism Awareness Month, and today, April 2nd, is Autism Awareness Day. You might be aware already that my 5-year-old, Gage, was diagnosed as autistic at age 2.5. He wasn’t talking, wasn’t gesturing, wasn’t great at eye contact, and would sit in his room and look at books for hours. I googled “toddler not talking” and started to get worried when all kinds of autism links came up. Our pediatrician blew us off when we told him these things. “Wait until he is 3,” he said. “He is a late bloomer.” But I was afraid he was wrong. I called Gage in to early intervention when he was 26 months old to get him evaluated. A 4 month waiting list later, it turned out I wasn’t just a paranoid mom. I was right. It hurt to find out. All that Gordon and I knew about autism was Rainman, and…

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Autism and the Three A’s

One of my favorite concepts/tools in Al-Anon is the Three A’s (Awareness, Acceptance and Action). This excerpt from an Al-Anon Online Forum explains it perfectly:

“In dealing with a change, a problem, or a discovery, awareness is often followed by a period of acceptance before we can take action. This process is sometimes referred to as the “Three As”- Awareness, Acceptance, and Action. Coping with a new awareness can be extremely awkward, and most of us are eager to spare ourselves pain or discomfort. Yet, until we accept the reality with which we have been faced, we probably won’t be capable of taking effective action with confidence.”

I have been a Proud and Thankful member of Al-Anon for 1.5 years now. As I work my program to transform myself into the woman I want to be, I see so many ways to apply our program to Autism and the Special Needs world. In Al-Anon we learn to Love, Value, and Care for ourselves. Despite whatever we have faced in life, and how low our self-esteem may be, we learn that we Matter. Many of us who have been touched by the disease of Alcoholism, have extremely low self-esteem, and truly feel that we are broken and worthless.

I would not wish these horrible feelings of self-hate and self-doubt on anyone. For this reason, some of the verbiage and attitudes which surround the Special Needs Community fill me with immense sorrow. Often when we feel passionately about something we tend to Speak/Type before we Think. We do not stop to consider the ramifications of our words for our children, or others who have Autism. There are many Autistic children who hear, and even more Autistic teens and adults who read, on a DAILY basis that they need to be fixed, cured, recovered and even prevented in future generations. Can you fathom what that does to a person’s self-esteem? Can you even imagine how that must feel, and how that message affects Autistic people everywhere?

It is time for a new, more loving light to be shed on Autism. The verbiage and attitude with which we discuss our Autistic loved ones, is how the world will view them and their peers; therefore, we must be ever vigilant to make sure we are Honest, while also being Respectful. Please let us stand together as a community, embrace all facets of Autism, and create a brighter future filled with Respect and Appreciation for ALL individuals. Our way to do that is by applying the Three A’s to Autism.

Autism & The 3 A's

The background image is property of Lindsey Schultz, who graciously granted permission for use to Jest_Tu_Positive.

Autism Awareness – The first step is to make people aware of the Truths of Autism, and dispel many of the detrimental myths.
I am surprised by how many people we meet that have either no, or completely inaccurate  knowledge of Autism, and how it can affect a person’s neurological system. Some people ask questions and others simply walk away. There are so many teachable moments in a day, which we miss because many people don’t want to talk about Autism, and they treat it as something to be hidden away. Autism is certainly not easy, and for some it is much more difficult than others, but if we are open and honest about it, then society will see that it is an intricate part of our loved ones, and it should be spoken of freely with Pride. Next time you are out in public or you post online simply be honest, and share something about an Autistic person, from a place of Love and Respect. Put Autism in the spotlight EVERYDAY, not just on April 2nd or for the month of April, embrace it as a typical part of our life and be the change we want to see in the world.

Autism Acceptance – The second step is to promote Respect for ALL individuals, by showing the world how to embrace diversity and value Autistic people for their unique abilities.
We cannot tell others what to think about Autism, how to feel about Autism, or how to care for their Autistic loved ones. We cannot force society to interact with Autistic people in a Loving and Respectful manner. Autism is a vast Spectrum, which confuses many people since no two Autistic people are the same; therefore we must share Our Journeys and Experiences with others, so that people can truly understand that Different is NOT Less. Personally, we attempt to always conduct ourselves in a manner which we can be Proud of, and not judge those who possess a different outlook on life. When we do something that does not coincide with our values, we take responsibility and make amends. We strive to instill a sense of Faith, Love, Respect, Courage, and Compassion in our children. We Respect Our children and are realistic about their abilities. We love them unconditionally, and support them in every aspect of life; however, we also challenge them to step outside their comfort zone and explore the infinite possibilities in life. We do the best we can for Our family, and treat everyone we meet with the consideration we would appreciate; we attempt to be the change we want to see in the world.

Autism Action – The third step is to advocate for ALL people, especially those in the Autistic community, to be treated with Thoughtful Consideration at ALL times.
How people choose to take action will differ. We all have our own way of assisting our Autistic loved ones in reaching their God-given potential, while educating others on the best way to interact with them. There is no right or wrong way to take action, simply do what is best for your family, and the rest will follow. We should remember that the road to success is paved with Progress NOT Perfection. Personally, we are very involved in our Autistic daughter’s education and therapies, because communication between everyone in her life is essential to maintaining a healthy balance in her development. We also make sure that she has more than ample time to just be a kid, the sillier the better. We mainly concentrate on teaching both our children the basics of life, with our own Au-Some style. We work on all the areas other parents do, we simply approach those lessons differently some times. When we are presented with a teachable moment with someone who crosses our path, we take the opportunity to share parts of Our Journey. We attempt to emphasize the positives, of which there are many, when discussing Our Autistic Journey with people. We admit that our path can be difficult, and is often quite different than other roads traveled; however, we also experience numerous joys that others tend to miss along the way. Autism, like life, it is filled with the Good, the Bad and Everything in between; it can be an exhausting journey, but it is also extremely rewarding, which is why we always try to view Our Journey through Positive eyes and Thankful hearts. One Day at a Time, we attempt to be the change we want to see in the world.

 

Happy World Autism Day

 

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Autism Our Way – 2012 Autism Awareness Month

This was my very first, very long post here on the Autism Proud page, prior to starting the blog, I had shared this with family and friends on April 1st to kick off Autism Awareness Month. I am re-sharing today as we attempt to move from Autism Awareness to Autism Acceptance. My post for this year will be published tomorrow for Autism ACCEPTANCE Day.

Jest_Tu_Positive

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April is Autism Awareness Month. In honor of Autism Awareness and our extraordinary Autistic girl, I have decided to share some of my thoughts on the subject, by starting this blog.

Welcome to Our journey through the life of Autism, please come walk with us through the unknown door, down the untrodden path and through a world of possibilities. This blog will serve as my way of embracing our differences and attempting to show the bright side of Special Needs. I feel that beliefs/thoughts/treatments on Autism are as broad as the Spectrum itself. I typically choose not to discuss my Autistic views in cyber-space, because it is so hard to determine the tone of the cyber-word, and because I respect other’s opinions and choices on how to handle Autism Spectrum Disorder.

How we choose to handle Autism in our house, which is right for us, does not mean it is right for…

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