I Have Asperger's

The unique perspective of the world through the eyes of a girl with Asperger's Syndrome

My Blog

A unique perspective of the world through the eyes of me, a girl with Asperger's Syndrome.

PLEASE feel free to leave comments and ask questions. 
(Note: While I realize that not everyone has a Facebook or a Twitter, these are the best ways of getting in contact with me.)

Please note:  I am available for presentations on autism awareness/advocacy and can be booked and hired by contacting me as mentioned.

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Looking Back: My First Radio Interview

Posted by Admin on July 30, 2015 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

After looking (or listening) back on my first autism interview EVER, it’s amazing to think just how much has changed.  I can remember the excitement of someone being interested in what I had to say for the very first time.  I can also remember being SO cautious about privacy that I specifically asked if I could remain somewhat anonymous (to the point that I went by my dog’s name, Sadie!)  Of course, by now I’ve been in the newspaper, on TV, all over the internet…secret’s out - my real name is Erin!

 

The next thing I remember is asking if I could have most of the interview questions ahead of time so that I was able to come up with most of the answers beforehand and follow the conversation more smoothly.  And it helped until there was an extra question thrown in on the air, and I got a little confused!  (I was obviously still new to the interviewing process!) 

 

And now I look back at the actual interview itself.  I realize that today I disagree with some of what I said then.  I start off the conversation stating that Asperger’s is a high-functioning form of autism.  Well, this part is true…until I say that people with Asperger’s have an easier time DEALING with the symptoms.  I want to make a statement now (that I failed to state back then) which is that I can ONLY speak for myself.  This is because everyone on the spectrum is SO different from each other….which is why it’s called the Autism Spectrum.  Also, while some symptoms of autism may be easier for me to deal with personally (such as my ability to speak out loud), there are other symptoms which may be more difficult simply because people forget that I have these difficulties.

 

The next question was about my hypersensitivities, and how I could ever feel comfortable with those feelings.  I agree in what I had said that some days are worse than others and that I’ve learned ways to cope and deal with the hypersensitivities. But I don’t think that I ever feel like an average or “typical” person.  (Honestly, I don’t even KNOW what a neuro-typical person feels like….I’m not neuro-typical!)  I think that “comfort” is different for each individual.  So perhaps I just settle for the most comfortable feeling I can get.

 

How do I cope with those moments when I need to stim in public?  Well, I might listen to music or go into a bathroom and stim…but usually I just need to call it a day or at least head home to chill for a bit.  I said in this interview that I just do it in public, but now I’m growing older and I recognize that not all stimming is appropriate.  So I have limits as to how long I can BE in public.  I’m currently working on finding ways to solve this issue.

 

The interview goes on, and I say that Asperger’s is not “autism”.  At this point in my life, I totally disagree with that statement.  I would personally say that Asperger’s is a form of autism. 

 

Do things get better as I get older? Again, I don’t think they get better on their own…I think I learn how to cope more.  That being said, maturity helps me to think differently as I learn from more experiences.

 

The last thing I must mention is about my dog.  My wonderful, best friend, forever and always.  (If you listen closely, you can hear her barking in the background towards the end of the interview!)  I’ve mentioned a few times in the interview that I love animals, and that they help me to get through each day.  My dog was no exception.  She unfortunately passed away just a little over a year after this interview took place.  I miss her terribly, but I do believe that she is with me, watching over me every day.

 

And a special thanks to Tim Abbott for taking the time to interview me and having me on his radio show, Technical Difficulties!

Listen to my first ever radio interview here:  https://archive.org/details/TechnicalDifficulties28

Lining Things Up

Posted by Admin on June 23, 2015 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)

When I was a young kid, I used to line up my stuffed animals and toys.  Nobody asked me why I did this, because I didn't do it all the time.  However, I actually had a journal of the patterns I would create so that I wouldn't forget them.  I had lines, but I also had circles, triangles, squares, etc.  To me, though, they weren't JUST about lining things up.  It was about order and rules. 

 

See, on the bus, we might have had assigned seating.  If we sat somewhere we weren't supposed to, we were told to go to our usual seat.  (Even if we DIDN'T have assigned seating...it was this unspoken social rule that people seemed to follow.)  We had assigned desks in the classrooms at school.  We had to line up to walk in the hallways.  At home, my family had specific places at the dinner table where we always sat.  We have our own rooms in the house.

 

Everything just seemed to have an order to it.  And if things were out of order, there was trouble.  So I would do the same thing with my toys and stuffed animals.  I would make these rules and put things in order for them.  I guess it was my way of processing this whole concept.

I Am Human

Posted by Admin on June 1, 2015 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

We are one.  All of us.  We are so much more alike than we think.

Maybe some of us have repetitive behaviors.  Maybe some of us are amazing at specific subjects.  Perhaps some of us are hypersensitive to things.  And maybe some of us are more this way than others.  But we are all still human.  We each have feelings.  We laugh, we cry, we live.  We each have a purpose.

It's truly NOT a black or white world.  It's a world full of COLOR.  DIFFERENT colors.

It's truly NOT an "autistic" or "neuro-typical" world.  It's a world full of PEOPLE.  DIFFERENT people.

And labels are supposed to help us understand each other better.  But they are not supposed to tear us apart.  Unfortunately, I think that's what is happening.

I am not JUST autistic, any more than a light-skinned person is JUST white.  I am not JUST a person with autism, any more than a person with dark skin is JUST black.  I am an individual who is a part of the autism SPECTRUM.  (A spectrum which I now understand everyone is a part of to some degree, just as any individual is part of a spectrum of colors.)

I am a human being.  Just like every one of you.

 

Worthless Woman

Posted by Admin on April 18, 2015 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (1)

Sometimes I feel like a worthless woman.

Just sitting around, getting nothing done.

I cry tears of shame, over work unimportant.

Then smile in public, and pretend to have fun.

 

Maybe I'm not meant to get anywhere.

Perhaps I shouldn't be aiming so high.

Seeing so many others shine brighter than stars.

And here I am, I just try to get by.

 

I don't have much money, but time is well spent.

It's not like I have any college degree.

I can't offer much....yet I give all I have.

In the end, that's what seems most important to me.

 

Sometimes I feel like a worthless woman.

I don't have much more than a penny to spare.

And yet, what I lack in financial values,

I make up for in all of the ways I can care.

 

Maybe I'm not such a worthless woman.

My kindness and love are what really count.

And if that's the way we measure our worth....

I believe that I have an endless amount.

Love Will Keep Us Together

Posted by Admin on February 25, 2015 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

I think I may know why the autism community can't get along. It's the same reason why we get along SO well at other times. And no, it's not because of autism.

 

I think the reason why the autism community - full of parents and people on the spectrum themselves - just can't seem to unite is because of love. The love for our children and the love for our friends. This love is so strong that, while it brings us together to find help for each other, it also tears us apart.

 

Parents have a love for their children (from what I've been told) that is stronger than any other kind of love. And that means that they would do anything for their children.

 

However, we are all human as well. And so what works well for one person may not work well for another. We have different opinions, different ideas, different goals. So, while some parents may think that a cure for autism is best for their children, other parents are going to think that people need to accept the way their children are. Some still want a balance somewhere in between. Then you have the people on the spectrum themselves. And each one has his or her own individual opinion to add.

 

Think of it as though you are in an empty room. One person enters. You can easily have a conversation with this person. Then a few more come in. It's getting harder to hear each other. But more people just keep piling into this room. Suddenly, you find you have to shout just to simply be heard.

 

This is the autism community. A "room" FULL of people who are SO passionate, yet still human. But that is okay.

 

We may never fully unite over our different opinions. In the end, though, I truly do think that love will keep us together.

Communication Books

Posted by Admin on January 16, 2015 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I just LOVE making these communication books to help others to communicate.  Each one is customized to the individual.  The book itself is durable and holds up to 240 picture cards.  The picture cards are laminated and have Velcro attached. 

While I would love to give these books away for free, I would go into debt due to the cost of material fees.  So that's all I charge for them: The cost of materials (and shipping/handling).  At just $45 per book (plus shipping/handling), you won't find a better price!  So please, if you are remotely interested in helping someone to communicate a little easier, leave a comment or message the Facebook page at

www.facebook.com/PictureCommunicationBooks



My Non-Verbal Day

Posted by Admin on January 4, 2015 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

“Goodnight, Benson! I love you, boy,” I had said to my hamster. It was the last thing I said out loud for the next 24 hours.

 

I decided to go non-verbal for a day. While I’m on the autism spectrum myself, I’ve always been verbal. I wanted to get a glimpse of what it might be like not to be able to speak, as some others on the spectrum experience. Of course, choosing not to talk isn’t exactly the same thing as being completely non-verbal. It was the closest I could think to get, however.

 

And I made it pretty easy on myself. I didn’t have to work. I didn’t have any important appointments or phone calls to make. I was thinking it would be a really simple Saturday. I was wrong.

 

Even before I went silent, I started to get nervous. I posted online:

 

“What if people think I'm being rude because I don't respond to them right away? (I plan to use an AAC app on my tablet to communicate.) Or what if I frustrate OTHERS because of this? I wonder if this is how some other people on the spectrum feel every day...”

 

For the first hour or so, I was fine. I was alone, so I didn’t really have to worry about too much. And I had social media. Then I saw a post online asking me how long I planned to stay silent for. The person told me that they hoped it wouldn’t be for very long! I posted again online:

 

“I've already had someone ask me how long I plan to do this for, saying they hope it's only for one day. It makes me realize how bad I would feel if I couldn't speak for longer. People WANT me to speak, but I'm not. And if this were real....it's not because I don't want to speak, but because I can't. I wasn't expecting to feel guilt for not speaking.”

 

Soon, all I could think about was talking. Turning on the TV would have just made me want to talk more. And listening to music would have made me want to sing along. So I went online and did post after post. But it was still really quiet. Finally, I shared:

 

“Just a few hours into my day of not speaking. I'm by myself, and I'm already getting frustrated. I miss making sound. I want to hear my own voice. Speaking has now turned into this kind of art-form, and it's as though I'm not allowed to create.” I hadn’t even left the house!

 

Finally, a friend came over to help me clean my room a little. They knew I wasn’t speaking for the day. And I knew it would still be difficult, but I didn’t realize just how hard it would be for me. Even through using text on my phone to communicate, I began to feel a bit hopeless. I couldn’t have much of an opinion about what was happening. We just WORKED. Finally, texted that I needed to stop soon. I was exhausted.

 

After we cleaned a bit, we went out to a new store together. The plan had been that I would drive, but driving to new places is a bit difficult for me. So, to my relief, my friend said that they would drive. Then I realized that they wouldn’t be able to read my texts while driving! So I brought out an app that would speak for me. (Known as an AAC or Augmentative and Alternative Communication.) It wasn’t perfect because it didn’t always pronounce things correctly. But it was all I really had. At one point, we were getting into the car and I wanted to use the app, but I couldn’t because it wasn’t loud enough and I wasn’t able to get my friend’s attention. So I just sat there.

 

The store was okay. I didn’t have to say anything and my friend did all of the work. But I was still feeling frustrated with not speaking to my friend. When I got home, I took a break and posted:

 

“Finished cleaning my room with a friend (used my phone to text simple statements). It was really hard! After that I went out to the store with her wearing this sign. I have learned that it's easier just not to say things sometimes. Yeah, I won't have a voice, but at least I won't be frustrated as much. It's such a feeling of hopelessness though.”

 

(The sign reads "NOT SPEAKING FOR AUTISM AWARENESS".)


And then:

 

“My non-verbal day isn't halfway over, and I already have 10x more respect for non-verbal people on the spectrum. Yes, my life is hard. But I can't imagine having to grow up this way and live it every day. I totally understand why many children use physical communication (grabbing, pulling, pushing, etc.). I know it's not acceptable, but it's a LOT easier than using an AAC. And when you are already frustrated, you want whatever is easiest.”

 

After my break, I headed over to my friend’s house. It was just too quiet at mine. I got there and watched some TV with them for a little bit. I had so many things I wanted to comment about for what we were watching, but I just couldn’t communicate them fast enough with the AAC or through texting. So I just sat quietly. I was really frustrated and getting depressed.

 

When we finished what we were watching, my friend and I decided to head out to the pet store. On the way, I said I was hungry and so we decided to stop and get some ice cream. Suddenly I was nervous again. Would I have to communicate with the cashier what I wanted to order? Nope! My friend knew what I wanted. PHEW!

 

We got to the pet store and began to look for what we needed. A worker came through the isle holding a heavy load of bags, and tried to get by. I wanted to excuse myself and apologize for being in the way, but I couldn’t even TRY. She just walked right by, excusing herself. We paid for our items and left.

 

Once back at my friend’s house, we decided to try and find a movie. I typed my suggestion into my app, but it wasn’t saying it clearly. My friend had some trouble understanding. Finally, I had to SHOW her what I had typed out. I was longing to speak again.

 

Sometime in the middle of the movie, we began to get hungry and started to work on dinner. My friend was making a pie from scratch. Her mom was going to make the dinner. My friend had to continuously turn the electric kitchen tools on and off so she could hear my app speaking. I felt like a nuisance. At least, I did until I smelled something burning. I frantically sniffed the air and began to type out the problem. Finally, her mom noticed the smell, too. We were just in time. The pie was okay.

 

Eventually, my friend’s mom decided she would buy dinner for us. But the catch was that I had to order my own meal! We went to a fast food restaurant and I had my order already typed in. My friend ordered and then stepped aside. I pressed the button on the app to make it talk, and it worked! Only, the cashier didn’t quite hear the end of it, and had to ask me what kind of drink I wanted a second time. I couldn’t just repeat the single word without having to type it out again. So I had to repeat the entire order. It worked. We got our dinner.

 

On the way back to my friend’s house, I noticed a kid crying while leaving a store with his parents. I wanted to make him laugh. I wanted to say things to him in a happy voice. But all I could do was stand there. And that’s when I realized yet another thing I wasn’t able to do. I couldn’t tell stories.

 

After dinner, I decided it was time for me to head home. I couldn’t wait to wake up the next day and be able to talk. I went to say goodnight to my hamster…and realized I couldn’t. I blew him a kiss and went to bed.

 

 

Comments

Posted by Admin on December 5, 2014 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

I usually like to respect everyone’s opinions, which is why I encourage comments.  I like to think I have an open mind and I made a decision that I wouldn’t censor any comments simply because I didn’t agree with what the poster said.  Unfortunately, when someone has Asperger’s like I do, this black and white thinking can get in the way, and I don’t easily recognize when someone has crossed the line between disagreeing and personally attacking or cyber-bullying.  

 

Recently, there have been some really hurtful comments that were posted to some of my blogs.  I left them up because of my “no censorship” rule but others are telling me that THEY are being offended when they read them.  So from here on, when someone posts ugly, hateful, offensive comments that don’t contribute anything of value to the topic, I will have to delete them because I want to have a site where people of any age can view the content without fear of being offended.  (There may be kids visiting this site that just don’t need to see stuff like that.)

 

My apologies if anyone was offended by these anonymous comments that I should have deleted sooner.  And to the people who posted them, you are welcome to disagree with me, but please do so in a civil way that won’t offend others.  That way, others may take your opinions more seriously, and you won’t feel that you have to hide behind an anonymous name.  Thank you.

Speak For Yourself!

Posted by Admin on November 8, 2014 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (5)

I'm getting tired of others speaking for me. Whether they are groups like Autism Speaks or individuals on the spectrum themselves like Carly Fleischmann or Temple Grandin. I have noticed that when many people (not all, but many) talk about autism, they tend to talk about everyone on the spectrum instead of just themselves or an individual. I've seen a lot of people say "This is how we feel." or "Treat us this way!" rather than saying "In my experience" or "I personally feel". The reason I've named specific people and a specific organization in this post is because I know that many people have strong opinions about them. But the issue is, they are ALL guilty of doing this. No one - not Autism Speaks, not Carly Fleischmann, not even Temple Grandin - can speak for me. I speak for myself, and only for myself. And I wish others would do the same.

Dealing With Bullies

Posted by Admin on August 11, 2014 at 6:10 AM Comments comments (2)

Bullies are difficult to handle when you are in school, and especially on the spectrum.  But I was able to find a way to get through it.  Basically, I had to remember that what they said or did that was mean wasn't important.  I kept telling myself not to sink to their level....but inside I would come up with hilarious comebacks to their taunting.  (NEVER said them out loud.)  Just knowing that I had the comebacks made me feel smart and stronger and I knew that what they said or did didn't matter.


Of course, sometimes I would think of the comebacks a bit too late, but they still made me smile.  One time, I was walking home from school, and a group of kids were walking near me.  One of them yelled out "Hey, those sandals make you look short!"  I ignored them, and they went off in their own direction.  A few minutes later (after they were gone, of course!) I realized how silly of a statement that had been.  I mean, I'm not the tallest person in the world, sure.  But I've also never worn high heels or any kind of shoe with a height.  So I couldn't help but to laugh out loud, wishing I could have asked them "How in the world do my sandals make me look SHORT?"


Another incident was when I was actually in school.  We were waiting for the class to start, and I was sitting near a friend of mine.  I had been learning a little bit of Sign Language, and so I had also shared some of the alphabet with my friends.  I don't even remember what the bully had said, but it didn't (and still doesn't) even matter.  Because I looked over at my friend, and she started to sign "La, la, la" as if she were not listening to the cruel words of the bully.  I began to smile and tried not to laugh out loud.  The bully had no idea what my friend was saying, and could only recognize the letter "L" in the language.  So they tried to be even meaner and responded "Yeah, 'LOSER' to you, too!"  This only made me smile more!  They had no idea, and they had just proven it!  Once again, we had outsmarted the bully and kept our emotional strength. 


No, these bullies' statements hadn't been exactly nice.  But when I realized how silly they were, it made me feel so much stronger and smarter.  Emotional strength and intelligence were my secret "weapons" when dealing with bullies.  I honestly don't think they realized what they were up against.  In the end, it was a battle they lost. 


Because I'm here now, stronger and smarter than ever.

The Autism Community

Posted by Admin on June 23, 2014 at 6:50 AM Comments comments (0)

This photo....this "word cloud", in my opinion, represents the autism community.  Or, at least, it represents the IDEAL autism community.  I asked a simple question to those I know in the autism community: Describe in ONE WORD what you are advocating for.  As you can see, some of the words seem to be polar opposites of each other.  What I love even more is that the word "acceptance" was placed right next to the word "cure".  Why do I love this?  Because I truly feel that it is the closest our community has been...symbolically.  See, not everyone in the autism community will be advocating for the same thing.  But that doesn't make them any less a part of the autism community!  However, if we begin to fight against each other, the words will separate.  We would no longer be a "word cloud".  We would no longer be a community.  What we need to do is agree to disagree.  No, we don't ALL want EVERYTHING described here.  In fact, I would be surprised if anyone wanted everything.  But the point is, everyone wants SOMETHING.  And it's important to respect that.  Let's come together and form a community.  Speak for yourself, respect others' opinions, and unite out of one main thing: autism.


#InMyOpinionFlashBlog2014

Posted by Admin on June 19, 2014 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (1)

A few weeks ago, I saw a blog post featured by The Autism Onion that caught my attention. It was titled “Speak For Yourself…”. And, as a self-advocate for my life on the autism spectrum, I was initially annoyed. I figured it would be yet another person talking about some organization that they disagreed with. Finally, I decided to read it. Boy had I been wrong! Instead, it talked about how too many advocates themselves were speaking for others.


This post started out by mentioning a few phrases I’ve seen used often in the autism community. One statement, I noticed, I had even used myself.

 

“I don’t suffer from autism, I enjoy every moment of it.”

 

And while I look back and can obviously say that it’s not ALWAYS true, that isn’t the point. The point is the fact that I forgot to add a few important words to my statement. I forgot to mention that I can’t speak for everyone. I can only speak for myself.


I can’t speak for anyone else but myself, just as no one else can (or should) speak for me. In my opinion, part of being an advocate should include respecting others’ opinions. Whether I agree with them or not. I don’t have to like someone else’s opinion, but I need to remember to agree to disagree.


That’s why, I’m hoping you will join me on Sunday, June 22, 2014 in a flash-blog about what YOU advocate for. Please remember NOT to speak for others (IE, try not to use words such as “*WE* feel” or “it makes *US* feel”, etc.) Rather, use the statement “In my opinion”. Make sure to include in the title of your blog post the hashtag #InMyOpinionFlashBlog2014

 

TEDx Talk The Natural Rhythm of Stimming

Posted by Admin on April 3, 2014 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (2)

Here is a video of my latest presentation!  Check it out!


You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.


Reading Update

Posted by Admin on February 13, 2014 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (4)

I think I've finally figured out my issue with reading....AND I am starting to read better again!  My issue is with my reading speed.  I really enjoy reading things quickly.  Sometimes, though I read it TOO quickly, and I miss words or even skip an entire line.  This is sort of like trying to have a conversation on a cell phone with REALLY bad reception.  I can read some of it, but without reading enough of the material I lose the context.  This makes me have to re-read it.  Over and over and over again.  However, if I read too slowly, I get bored and my mind begins to wander.  (I think this is where my ADHD plays a part in the issue.)  I'm reading every single word, but I'm not connecting them because these other thoughts are interrupting the connections.  It's as if I would read "See Jane run." as "See 'I need to email' Jane 'my Mom' run."  I'm trying to read the sentence, but I'm thinking about the fact that I need to email my Mom.  Instead, my brain tells me that Jane needs to email her Mom, and the word run is completely out of context.  

 

So, as you can see, I do not have dyslexia.  (At first I thought I did because I didn't know why the words were getting so mixed up in my head.)  The reading too fast also explains why I may read whole words out of order.  Instead of reading "See Jane run."  I may read "Jane run see." because I realize I've missed a word and I go back to read it (even though now it's out of order).

 

The solution?  When I start to notice that I'm not reading well, I need to slow myself down.  If it gets too slow, I carefully adjust the speed and focus in on the word I'm reading.  Then I think about the word I've read, form a picture of that word in my mind, and read the next word until I start to comprehend the text again.  Once I start to understand what I'm reading, I can speed up a bit more so that it doesn't get too boring.  

 

I'm still practicing this, but I was able to read a full chapter of an adult size novel on my own!  I haven't done that in a few years.

Vocal Stimming

Posted by Admin on January 22, 2014 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (1)

I think this blizzard has gotten to me.  I've noticed that I started some vocal stimming.  My vocal stimming usually consists of CONSTANTLY stating my thoughts out loud without thinking it through (even if they don't make sense).  It also usually includes a lot of scripting.  (Scripting is when you repeat things you've heard or seen, and it's often word for word.)  I can be alone or with others when I do this.  I didn't even realize that I had any vocal stims until about a month ago....but now that I know what it is, I realize that I've done it my whole life.  It helps me to process my thoughts better.  (Very similar to repeating a song that is stuck in your head until you get it out.)

Trash or Recycling

Posted by Admin on December 31, 2013 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (4)

While growing up, I remember many times where I would see a picture of a large bin with a person putting a piece of garbage into it.  Or I would see a picture of people separating items to their appropriate recycling containers.  I walk by trash cans every day.  I hear the trucks coming to collect it every week.  I know what to do with trash at these times.  

 

But when it comes to everyday life, I have no clue.  At least not right away...  

 

There are a couple of nearly empty boxes of stale cereal sitting on the kitchen shelf.   If that cereal was still edible, and I had enough for a full bowl, that would be the right place for it.  But time has passed and it no longer belongs there.  So at what point am I supposed to realize that it's time to get rid of those boxes?  When does that moment "click" and instead of pouring myself a bowl, I decide to throw away the crumbs and recycle the box?  It doesn't.  I put the box away.

 

There is a piece of candy that I find in my purse when I get home.  I unwrap it and eat it.  That's what you do with candy.  But wait....there's still something left over.  There's a wrapper that the candy was in.  I'm so engrossed in what I want to do next, that I can't process what I'm supposed to do with this leftover piece of plastic.  I either put it in my pocket or just completely drop it.  I don't want to hold onto it, but I just don't remember what I'm supposed to do.  I don't see it as garbage yet.  I see it as a piece of candy that I've eaten.  Or, perhaps I realize that there is another piece in my purse, and I might as well wait until I eat the other piece to figure out what I'm doing with these leftover remains.

 

This is how my mind works.  I have Asperger's.  I'm 24 years old, and I just finally started to realize when an item belongs in the trash or recycling.

Autism Awareness Duct Tape Bracelets 2014

Posted by Admin on December 27, 2013 at 12:00 PM Comments comments (5)

In 2012, I sold enough of these to buy an iPad and military grade screen protector and case for a class of kids with autism.

In 2013, I sold enough of them to provide a $1,200 scholarship for children with autism to attend a program at The Arc of Chester County, called ABBLE.

For the year of 2014, the money from the sales of these bracelets will continue to go towards the ABBLES program at The Arc of Chester County.

Please help me to sell more than ever this year!

I now have a PO box to collect orders for my Autism Awareness Duct Tape Bracelets and for the Autism Awareness Rainbow Loom Bracelets. Each one is handmade by myself. I have Aspergers. They are available by money order only in the US. They are $6 each ($3 goes to help people with Autism, and $3 helps to cover shipping and material fees, as well as to help sell more bracelets. Any leftover money will be donated as well.) Let me know if you are interested. Please remember to specify in your order which type of bracelet you are interested in! The Rainbow Loom Bracelets are one size fits all. The Duct Tape Bracelets come in Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large. (Most women fit a Small or Medium. Men tend to fit Large or Extra Large. They go on like a bangle bracelet.) To order, please follow these instructions EXACTLY (otherwise, it's difficult for me to process your order correctly):

PLEASE use a return address label and PRINT (neatly, I cannot read handwriting very well) your name and address as well as the number of each size bracelet that you would like of the duct tape bracelets (Example: 1 small bracelet and 2 large bracelets) and/or the number of rainbow loom bracelets. PLEASE SPECIFY WHICH BRACELETS YOU WOULD LIKE. Send this information, along with $6 per bracelet (Money Orders only, PLEASE SEE * FOR INFORMATION ABOUT INTERNATIONAL MONEY ORDERS!) to:


Erin Clemens

P.O. Box 1873

West Chester, PA 19380-0131


*I have BIG news everyone! I believe I can start selling these bracelets internationally! If you are interested in buying a bracelet outside of the US, please send $10 per bracelet via international money order. The money order MUST be cashable in the US and you MUST specifically verify this with whomever you're buying the money order from. Follow all other instructions. Thanks!


A better idea for measurements of the duct tape bracelets:

Small bracelets have an outside circumference of 9.5 inches or less

Medium bracelets have an outside circumference of more than 9.5 inches but no more than 10 inches.

Large bracelets have an outside circumference of between 10.25 inches and 10.75 inches.

Extra Large bracelets have an outside circumference of about 11 inches or more.

Again, my wrist size is about 6.5 to 7 inches around, and I fit well into a medium, while JUST fitting into a small.

BRAND NEW!!!!

Add an Autism Awareness Ribbon Rainbow Loom Charm to your Autism Awareness Rainbow Loom Bracelet for only $2 more when you purchase the bracelet!

PLEASE NOTE: Purchase of charm by itself (WITHOUT PURCHASE OF BRACELET) costs $5 in the USA and $9 internationally.


Reading

Posted by Admin on December 11, 2013 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (1)

I remember being a young child and seeing the Inquirer or the Times, and thinking to myself "How will I ever be able to read that?"  It looked so overwhelming with so much text, no pictures, and giant words that I couldn't understand.  I thought I would be stuck reading children's books forever.


I didn't understand the fact that it's okay to want to read children's books.  It's okay to enjoy pictures and not have an interest in tiny print.  What I didn't understand, what hadn't ever been taught to me at school, was that reading should not always be work.  That really, I should enjoy reading.  And if that meant reading more children's books than adult books, that's okay.  I got the impression from schools that listening to audio books was an activity which was frowned upon unless you couldn't see.


And so, with tears in my eyes, I would like to take a moment to be proud of the fact that I just read my first article from the New York Times.  (Okay, so I'm still reading it.)  And I'm enjoying it.  The amazing part is that I didn't even realize it was a PART of that paper until I looked to see who had published it.  I had just started reading.


I'd also like to take this moment to ask all schools to please allow children to read the books that they would like (appropriate ones, of course)!  Please never tell them "no" just because a book seems a bit lower for their level.  If they are struggling to enjoy a more difficult level, don't force them to continue, but HELP them to find a DIFFERENT book of that level they will enjoy.


I have never seen reading as fun.  I have always thought of it as work.  But not one teacher ever pointed out to me that it doesn't have to be work.


Now I understand.

 

What Airplane Safety Instructions Can Teach Us About Everyday Life

Posted by Admin on November 24, 2013 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (1)

If you have ever been on a plane before, you are probably very familiar with the instructions for using the oxygen mask in case of an emergency.  However, the importance is not just in the oxygen mask itself, but the ORDER in which the instructions are given.  Look carefully at this photo. 


 

The key is in step three.  "Put on your oxygen mask."  THEN step four "Assist the child with theirs." 

 

In life, there are times when we want to help others.  We care about them so much that we would rather help them than help ourselves.  But the importance in putting on our own oxygen mask first is the fact that, without helping ourselves, we can't help others. 

 

This concept applies to life in general.  Whether it's health, time, money - you name it, if you don't have enough for you, how can you continue to help others? 

 

Remember to put on your oxygen mask first.

 

Speaking

Posted by Admin on November 19, 2013 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (3)

For some reason, no matter how much I try to say that speaking can be physically difficult to do, people don't believe me.  So let me try using an example.  Not everyone will be able to relate to this, but my hope is that enough people will understand.


Some of you may have played the game "Scattergories" before.  If you haven't, run out and buy it or order it so that you can truly understand what this experience is like.  Trust me, it's the best example I could ever think of and it's the closest I can come to explaining this situation. Let me explain how this game works:


(From Wikipedia)  "The objective of the 2-to-6-player game is to score points by uniquely naming objects within a set of categories, given an initial letter, within a time limit."


So, say that the letter given is the letter "A".  The first category of the first set is "Fruit".  You would think that it's easy to just say "Apple" and move on.  Sometimes it IS that easy, which is why I am able to speak so well sometimes.  Other times, it's not quite so simple.  (Especially when you need to think of a word that is unique!)  Can you think of another fruit that starts with the letter "A"?  I hope you've already thought of it, because time's up!  By the way, that's just the first category in the set.  We haven't even gotten to the next 8 or 9 categories. 

If you think this is simple, I urge you to try the game for yourself.  It's not as easy as it seems.  And if you think it's difficult, then maybe you have a glimpse into my world.  It's not that I don't want to speak.  It's that I literally cannot.  It's not that I don't know what apples are.  (By the way, another fruit that starts with the letter "A" is an Apricot.)  It's not that I don't know what fruit is, or how to play the game itself.  It's that my brain doesn't process it well.  And when I'm under that much stress or I feel pressured in some way, I just can't speak.


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