The Roads We Travel

A few days in a life journey.

Archive for the ‘Aspbergers’ Category

A Vegetable Video Game with a Special Message… Even If You Lose

My son is obsessed with Veggie Tales lately and I can’t complain too much — of all the things to be obsessed with at least he’s learning some great lessons. Of course, I want him to find interests that are more age appropriate, but in our house we take baby steps. So, we talk about balancing consumption with creativity. You can consume media, but make sure that you are creating more than consuming. That’s the goal anyway. He recently took a video game development class after school and came up with a Veggie Tales-inspired video game.

In the game, you are the asparagus with the yellow cap. The goal is to use your arrow keys to dodge the bouncing vegetables and stay out of their way. There’s also something that you’re supposed to pick up to move on to the next level. If you can do that through the first screen without losing all of your lives, then you’ll make it to level two…. I haven’t made it that far, so I can’t tell you what happens then. I can tell you that even if you lose on level one, there’s a special message for you. 🙂

You can click here to download the game. It’s kid-friendly. Enjoy!

Veggie Tales Inspired Game

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Written by Shara

October 20, 2015 at 8:05 pm

Hakuna Matata… No Worries, Life is Good

Today was nice and warm here in Los Angeles, Cali — somewhere around 86 degrees. A nice day for a dip in the pool … for the kids of course, I can’t be stuck with pool hair in the middle of the week.

just keep swimming

My son, the 11-year old joy of my life, loves to go to the pool. We had him in swim lessons at an early age, so while his front stroke isn’t the prettiest you’ll ever see, he is very comfortable in the water and that makes me more comfortable taking him to the pool.

I love to watch him splash about. Get in, climb out, jump back in. See, he’s figured out that the water feels warmer when you’ve been out of the pool for a little while. So, naturally he gets in and out of the pool, over and over again.

My son has Asperger’s, so we are still working on some of the social graces, like not wading too close to other people in the pool, managing the volume of his voice, stifling the loud grunting noises and wailing because the water is cold, and playing with — not just beside — his friend who also came along.

If it sounds like I’m running through a checklist, it’s because I am. I take notes when we are in social settings, so that I can know what we still need to work on and to recognize how much he’s really grown.

Listen, I don’t know what I’m doing. He’s my first child. I read books and articles, watch videos, go to lectures, talk with doctors, teachers and therapists, join online groups and more, just to educate myself and to do the best that I can for him.

Today, two 20-somethings (old enough to know better) were at the pool, snickering when my son came by snorting and grunting. They even had their cell phones out at the side of the pool and tried a few times to take inconspicuous pictures of my son, but they kept looking up and there I was watching them both like a hawk. They put the cell phones away, thankfully. I didn’t want to make a scene or be accusatory over something that maybe was an innocent misunderstanding, but I trust myself enough to know that these boys were up to no good. Having a laugh at my son’s expense.

It breaks my heart. They don’t know how far he’s come. They don’t see how much progress he’s made —  to even be in the water at all.

And my boy… my joy, he splashes around them completely oblivious of their ignorant snickers, malicious glances and hateful stares.

He’s happy! Life’s good. No worries, mom… hakuna matata.

So, I relaxed in my chair, still watching, but deciding to be a little more like him today.

Written by Shara

June 4, 2014 at 11:26 pm

And the Nominees Are…

This is very cool! I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award by one of my favorite bloggers, CandidKay. The Liebster award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers – that’s me! I have a set of rules to follow, including nominating 11 other blogs that meet the criteria, but honestly I couldn’t find that many with less than 200 that I’ve read or followed, but in the spirit of the award itself I still wanted to participate. So, here goes…

Here are the rules:

  • Post 11 random facts about me,
  • Answer the 11 questions posed by my nominator,
  • Nominate 11 other blogs, and
  • Ask the nominees 11 questions of my own.

Random Facts about Me

  • I was born and raised in the Washington, DC area, although both of my parents are originally from Trinidad & Tobago.
  • As a child, I took an acting class at a theater in DC one summer and fell in love with Improv, I have occasional thoughts of doing some kind of standup, but probably only for my family and friends.
  • I went to two colleges to get a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, first, St. Mary’s College of Maryland and then I transferred to finish up at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (Go Retrievers!).
  • I was a UCA cheerleading instructor in college, captain of my college cheer squad my senior year, and coached the team for a year after graduating.
  • I owned a dance and fitness studio for a little over 2 years, learned a lot, not going back. 🙂
  • I love murder mysteries, romance novels and spy movies/tv shows… it all started with my obsession with Scooby Doo as a child, I’m sure of it.
  • I love to travel, so far I’ve travel to about 12 different countries and looking forward to more once my children are a bit older.
  • I have a son who is amazingly creative, talented, funny and he also happens to have Aspergers.
  • I have a daughter who is a bit of a bossy pants, but I know she’s a mirror image of me … she’s a leader in training.  🙂
  • My favorite food is Curry Chicken and Roti, but if I can’t get my hands on that then any Italian dish will do.
  • I’m devoted to wine, but I know my limits… sometimes I push them, but not often.

Questions

1–What is your favorite journey?
I love to travel, so instead of answering this question figuratively, I will go the literal route.

One of my favorite journeys was my first trip outside of the United States as an adult. I was about 25. I went with my sister and a friend to Italy. We spent a week or so in Rome and Florence. This trip is memorable for so many reasons… it was my first time immersed in a new culture and language, my first introduction to prawns (WTH?!), my first taste of gelato, my first topless sunbathing experience (Oops!), and I could go on and on. What makes this my favorite journey though is that it opened me to the possibilities of life. At 25, I was reeling from a breakup with my college sweetheart and just into the second or third year of my career. I had no idea of what was possible, personally or professionally. Coming back from Italy made me feel like the world was just out there waiting to be discovered and if I wanted to live life to the fullest, then all I had to do was go and get it. I’ve carried this perspective with me since that trip and it has served me well.

2–Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Going forward… Allegedly. It’s like… Uh, Umm. You know?

Of course not all in one sentence, but you never know… you know?

3–What is your most treasured possession?
The first thought that came to mind was my children, but they aren’t truly possessions. Yes, they’re supposed to do what I say, when I say, but even that’s 50/50 – on a good day. So, I would probably say my Google account, since it holds many precious photos and memories of my children, family and friends. (Nerd… yes, that’s me!) Growing up, a lot of my “prized” possessions were taken away, sold or otherwise lost, which translates into me as an adult not placing much value on material possessions or things. I’m working really hard though on countering a limiting belief that “all good things go away.” Even if I can get over that limiting thought, I still think my most treasured possession would be memories.

4–What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
This is a hard question. I don’t think about it very often. I would have to say that the lowest depth of misery is probably not something I have ever experienced firsthand. I think it happens when someone loses faith in a higher power and hope for the future. Now saying that, my faith has certainly been tested, but even in those times I find it becomes stronger than ever. I have experienced misery, loss and despair, but having faith and hope for a better future keeps me from sinking to the lowest low. I pray it continues to be that way.

5–If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say as you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Welcome home. Well done.

6–What is your favorite virtue?
Love. I strive to build everything I say and do in life around the concept of love. Love for yourself, your family, your neighbors, your country, etc. God is love. A simple, but powerful thought. We honor God when we love one another and ourselves. When something I’m doing or saying doesn’t feel right, it’s usually because it isn’t coming from a place of love, maybe fear or hurt… and it does happen from time to time. I have to check myself regularly, and come back to love as my moral compass and guide for life and what I teach my children.

7–What is your favorite motto or saying?
Gosh, I have so many. My favorite one of late is

“What someone else thinks of you is not your business.”

When I get caught up in trying to over explain myself, my intentions, my actions– knowing that they are coming from a place of love and good– then I remind myself that I’m spending too much time trying to shape someone else’s perspective of my life. That’s too much. It’s not my job and it’s not my business. If I can answer that all important question truthfully to myself and know that what I’ve said or done comes from a place of love, then I have to just let it go and move on.

8–What is your pet peeve?
Intolerance. Hate.

9–What is your most irrational fear?
I actually have a few of these, but my MOST irrational fear is probably of bugs. For the most part, I can avoid them. I figure they have a place in this world too. It just shouldn’t be my home, car or office. Those places should be designated bug-free zones. If I want to see a bug, I’ll go camping. Right?!

If you asked me to prioritize the bills in my life right now, Terminix is at the top of the list. My husband tells a funny story about a time when I opened our front door to a huge fury spider staring up at me. Yes, I freaked and called for him. Later when he tells the story, he says I was calling his name like HE put it there or like it was HIS spider. I have no recollection of this tone of voice. All I know is that I’m going to need some daily prayers when these cicadas come out this summer. Lord help me!

10–On a typical Friday evening, we’ll find you . . . where and doing what?
At home. Working. Oh wait, that’s every evening. Friday is pizza night at our house and we also usually will do family game night or a movie with the kids, but nothing outrageous or overly entertaining. Anyone for a game of Minnie’s Bow-tique Bingo? Fun times!

11–Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by so many. Mostly they are women. Strong women, who have gone through tremendous battles in life, persevered, and overcame. My grandmother, Edna LeGendre inspires me. My mom. My sister. My girlfriends. Harriet Tubman (I know, random, but she does). Iyanla Vanzant. Oprah. I’m inspired by those who walk in faith and live their dream without apology or regret for who they are and what they were called to do. I’m fascinated by their stories.

My Nominations

This Is Me… Then

Love, Laundry, Family & Faith

CandidKay  (can I nominate you again? J)

Help4YourFamily

Counting Green Stars

Suburp

The True Power of Parenting

AlanDanzis.com

DestinationAha

Carrie Cariello

Cookiemomma’s Blog

11 Questions for Nominees

  • What inspires you?
  • Have you found your purpose in life? If so, please describe.
  • What is your favorite snack?
  • What is your favorite dish to cook?
  • Why did you start your blog/website?
  • PC or Mac?
  • What is currently your favorite television show or movie and why?
  • What’s the last joke you heard that made you laugh?
  • What the last thing that happened to make you cry?
  • Name three places (anywhere in the world, US or international) you have traveled to and the most important thing you learned from your experience there.
  • If you could travel on an all-expense paid vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you go as your first choice?

Written by Shara

May 16, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Fear of the Unknown

Newtown Angels

Today my heart is heavy. Today, I grieve with the rest of the country about a senseless tragedy that would take the lives of 20 beautiful and innocent children and six of their teachers and administrators.

Even through my tears, my heart is heavier still at the talk about Autism or Aspberger’s being the root cause of this violence.

People fear what they don’t know and what they don’t understand.

In the days, months and even years to come, our society will look for answers and work to create a profile of the person behind this tragedy in hopes of preventing another. The answers may lead us to find out that there was an Autism diagnosis, but let’s not allow that to become the center focus of this horrific event.

As mom to an Aspie child, I know first-hand the fear of the unknown. For almost eight years, we didn’t have a diagnosis other than a “developmental delay” and it was hard not knowing what we as a family were dealing with and the best ways to support my child. I was afraid. But that fear led me to search for answers to my questions and the more I read, the more I knew, the more I understood, but it doesn’t stop there.

I realized that the best way to know what challenges my child faces is to get to know my child for myself and not just through some book or video. Having an Aspberger’s diagnosis doesn’t mean that the playbook is written for my child or for anyone else. There are tools and techniques that certainly help to light the way, but just as with any child, you have to get to know your child and what their unique needs and interests are.

I also believe that a little common sense goes a long way. My child is very caring, compassionate and loving, as described by those who know him– not just me. He is being raised to value all life and help those in need.

Many children on the Autism spectrum have an obsession with something: a toy, a character, a movie, a subject matter. My son’s obsession is trains. Not guns and not violence. And while I’m not saying all guns are bad, I AM saying that we all need to be careful of what we introduce into our children’s lives, whether they have an Autism diagnosis or not.

As President Obama shared at the memorial service yesterday, “If there’s even one step we can take to save one child, or one parent, or one town from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora and Oak Creek and Newtown and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that, then surely we have an obligation to try.” And that obligation falls beyond the votes of our legislators and into our own homes.

May God bless the families of the lost and the community of Newtown, CT.

Written by Shara

December 17, 2012 at 7:12 pm