Summer Activities List (Printable)

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We’ve started our summer holidays from school now so here’s my annual Summer Activities List, filled with free or low-cost activities for sunny and rainy days:

2015 Summer Activities

Each of the activities are ones that my daughter loves doing, and my son (who has Autism) will also do (not sure if he likes them all but the smiles are awesome!).

Like my Facebook Page and please share any photos of activities your family does throughout the summer. Would love to see great family-time this summer! I’ll also be including videos of us doing these activities too on my Youtube Channel too so be sure to subscribe there.

#WorldAutismAwarenessDay 2015

2nd Annual World Autism Awareness Day photo montage:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/I5_aw8XBdDI“>

Last year’s montage is available here: https://youtu.be/9V51KVuGAr4

My family’s journey: https://youtu.be/siP4DLOm-YU

Please leave any questions you have below. I will answer them as best I can. 🙂

Dear Mom Who Called My #Son With #Autism A Delinquent

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A mom (we’ll call “Mom 1”) came running into McDonald’s screaming something like “a big kid is on a little kid in the playplace”. Immediately, I got a pit in my stomach…that big kid was probably my 9 year old son, in the playplace with all the other little kids. All parents went running into the playroom to see what was happening. We all saw the little girl who was crying and her mom (we’ll call “Mom 2”) was understandably being protective of her, while all parents were trying to figure out what happened. I just *knew* that my son did something, completely innocently, that scared this little girl, probably trying to hug her but, because he’s big for his age and she was maybe 4 years old, I can totally understand her fear. They were both way up in the top of the playplace, where no one inside the McDonald’s could actually see what was happening. I do not deny that he probably scared her but the situation got out of control VERY quickly.

Both Mom #1 and Mom #2 started yelling at him so I told them to stop, that he has Autism and doesn’t understand the language they were using.

Mom #1 said “Autism? Well then you’re stupid for letting him be in here unattended, and you shouldn’t even let him out of the house. Why are you in public with him?”

I’m sorry…but what??!!

I told her that he’s a child and is allowed outside, plus we haven’t had problems in the almost 10 years we’ve been going to that McDonald’s location. I tried turning my attention to Mom #2 to see if her daughter was ok. Her daughter was scared but physically ok. Mom #2 was understandably angry and upset.

Mom #1 kept yelling obscenities at me and my son. She even started claiming the little girl had peed her pants…which she hadn’t.

I’ll admit that I yelled back at her to stop yelling because it wasn’t helping the situation.

My son was calmly standing beside me, waiting because he clearly didn’t understand what was happening. I took him out of the playplace, got his winter stuff on, had him sit down while I got my stuff on…and Mom #1 started telling other parents how he has Autism so he’s a delinquent; he’s pure violence; he needs to be locked up; etc. I said “Excuse me, but I’m right here, and you’re talking about my CHILD. Stop spreading lies about him and Autism”. She started yelling and telling me how horrible of a parent I am; how dare I bring him out in public; he needs to be thrown away. I’m not proud but I lost it and told her that it was time for her to leave because she wasn’t helping the situation. We left as soon as we collected our things. My daughter was upset for leaving so quickly. My son was oblivious to what had just happened. I was ticked off. The kids’ grandfather was confused and wanting to protect all of us, but also get us home as soon as possible.

On our way out, I was glad to see Mom #2 taking her daughter and the other kids they were with back into the Playplace. That helped me feel better that her daughter was ok.

A few hours later, I’ve had time to calm down and think about the situation, and I’ve decided I would like to thank her…So, kind Mom #1…thank you…

Thank you for making me realize that I still have a redheaded temper (it’s been YEARS since I’ve seen it).

Thank you for bringing out my mama bear.

Thank you for changing the focus from the little girl to you.

Thank you for not allowing me to talk to Mom #2 to ensure her child was ok (I could see the child was ok, but I still wanted to check in, and offer to pay for their meals, etc).

Thank you for escalating the situation to pure emotions so I couldn’t ask you what you actually saw, which would mean I can then teach my son not to do that, thereby stopping it from happening again…because let’s face it, that’s what needs to happen.

Thank you for insulting my son over and over again.

Thank you for bringing my parenting into question (which I just laugh off…my ex husband tried worse after we split)

Thank you for spreading lies about what Autism is and who children with Autism are.

Thank you for motivating me to finally sign up for crisis intervention, basic breakaway and joint locks training, in case I have to protect myself and/or my children in the future, even if that’s to subdue my ever-growing 9yo, who is the size of a 12yo, during meltdown. I’ve been putting off signing up for it, not wanting to face the reality that he’s getting too big for me to physically intervene in a meltdown (which we experienced about a month ago, for the first time in over a year) and, dear Mom #1, if all that over-stimulus had caused a meltdown for him, you aren’t the one who would need to help him through it for hours or days. I am because I’m his mom.

Thank you for making my daughter get upset because she witnessed her mom yelling at another mom for the first time in her life.

Thank you for making me cry out of anger and frustration when I got home.

Thank you for showing me how much more awareness is needed out there because Autism is NOT pure violence, nor does it mean he’s a killer like you were claiming.

So, Mom #1, thank you for being the biggest motivation I’ve had in a few years to continue furthering my education to become a Social Worker to officially help other parents because, sadly, this type of situation happens all the time.

Thank you for making me even stronger.

Meghan

How to keep up with the #clothing my #kids’ #outgrow

I’ve mentioned this tip a few times recently so I thought I would share…

How to keep up with the clothing my kids’ outgrow (which seems daily right now!)

Comment below with your tips of how you stay on top of the kids’ clothing.

#Autism #School Calendar & #ReportCards

My Kids Alternate Special Needs Report Cards

A bit late because I was sick for a week with step throat (stay tuned for the blog post about that!), but here’s my son’s Autism class’ calendar for February:

Son’s School Calendar Feb 2015

His class is an Autism-specific class offered through our school board. They follow a Monday through Friday schedule rather than a Day 1 through Day 5 schedule like the rest of the school does.

Report cards were also sent home last Thursday so I decided to film how my kids’ report cards are different from other report cards that go home. My daughter’s report card is the same structure as mainstream school because she’s in mainstream schooling, but has a couple of accommodations for her IEP (Individualized Education Plan). My son’s report card however is very different from mainstream school, seeing as he’s in an Autism-specific class.

My #Son’s #Autism-Specific #Class Schedule

We are fortunate that my son qualifies for a “contained classroom” that is Autism-specific, which includes a teacher and two Educational Assistants for the six children. His teacher is new this school year. She hasn’t taught an Autism-specific class before (apparently her role last year was teaching 200 students English at a different school) but her background is actually doing one-on-one ABA therapy with kids with Autism. Needless to say, that made me feel better at the beginning of the school year of her ability to teach my son and his five classmates, in this Autism-specific class. She also clearly loves her job too!

Each month, the teacher sends home a calendar of the activities for the month. It states the “days” the rest of the school is following for their schedule (Days 1 through 5) but thankfully, his teacher understands the importance of a predictable schedule. This is his schedule for January:

2015 January Schedule

We have joked every month until now that he’ll help for the cooking instruction but won’t eat it…but next week, they are making “pigs in a blanket”. He’ll eat those, but I have to let the teacher know that we call them “croissants”. But how cool is it that they have a therapy dog come in every week?!!

They even have a huge daily schedule posted in their classroom:

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Love it!

My Daughter’s #SecretSanta Gift

My daughter is part of a club at school called “The Junior V Club”…strangely, she doesn’t know what the “V” stands for, and she keeps forgetting to ask the teacher who runs the group. Basically, the group gets together as a safe place for the girls to talk and express their feelings. At the beginning of the school year, they decided to choose two “raise awareness projects” for the year. My daughter’s suggestions were Autism and anti-bullying. Mama Pride! My son’s Autism-specific class is at this school too, so the school population itself is quite aware of special needs.

My daughter told me on the weekend that the Junior V Club was doing a Secret Santa gift exchange, with the following guidelines: $5 limit and the gift needed to be made by the giver. So, my daughter asked if we could go to the dollar store to get craft supplies to make a gift. She found a coin bank in the shape of a house that she wanted to paint and decorate.

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Of course she wore her Santa hat to paint and decorate…

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She was so proud to take her gift to school yesterday, especially since she didn’t know the fellow club member very well. Apparently the new friend loved it.

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My daughter received two handpainted decorations for the tree. So cute!

My Kids’ First #Chiropractic Appt in Years (#Autism)

My daughter has been saying off and on for a couple of weeks now that when she has gym or Vumba (similar to Zumba) club at school that her foot hurts. Late last week, she was telling me daily that it was hurting so I made an appointment on Monday for her after school. We all went after her Christmas concert at school. She started getting a bit nervous because she couldn’t remember her last appointment (when she was a toddler) so my man and I both had our adjustments first.

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Seeing our adjustments, and “talking science” with our chiropractor made her feel comfortable so she had her adjustment done, and her ankles and feet felt better afterwards.

IMG_00007540Throughout our respective adjustments, my son was watching and I noticed he was paying VERY close attention to everything. After my daughter’s adjustments were done, he said “my turn”, walked over to the table and lay down. We were all shocked…our chiropractor looked at me and I asked him if it was ok. He said “absolutely” and started adjusting my son.

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My man and I kept looking at eachother in disbelief while my son was being adjusted. He INITIATED the adjustment! He was laying still! He was following the chiropractor’s directions! Three days later, and he’s still asking for Dr Paul. 🙂