We’re Going on Vacation? A Social Story

This is a social story I just created for the boys, to help them understand where we are going, and when we are coming home.  Vacations are not easy on the boys.  Dash is known to stay awake 24 hours/day for several days in a row.  He doesn’t seem to mind that, but his poor parents do!

I found a picture online of the hotel, which will help Sketch & Dash know when we finally arrive!

The particular hotel we will be staying at has a pool.  Sketch used to attempt to take all his clothes off  to swim in the giant bathtub, but as of last summer, he would not put on his swimsuit at all.  He doesn’t see why you would wear “shorts” without underwear!


Sketch doesn’t seem like to go on vacation at all. He wants to sleep in his own bed, in his own house. He usually does pretty well until it is time to sleep, then he is ready to leave and go home.

So, I have made sure to mention what days we will sleep in the hotel, and that we will sleep all night!

And, hopefully, being at the hotel with the kids Grandparents, Aunt & Uncle,  and Cousins near their age, will help Sketch relax and have a good time!

In the past, I would have used more pictures for the schedule piece of the story, but considering both boys are reading well, and they have the calendars memorized for years to come (lol, well, almost!) I decided to keep it short and just write it out.  I would have LOVED to have pictures of Mr. Incredible’s parents and his brothers’ family that we will be meeting there, but we don’t have any of the whole family!  We do have lots of video of them though, so hopefully Sketch understands who we are going to see when we get there.

Vacation for kids on the spectrum (and their families) is known to be hard because of all the breaks in routine and the jump into the unknown.

What ideas have you found to make it easier for everyone and more like a true vacation?

More Than We Can Imagine

“Mooooooommmmmyyyyyy!  Sit with me?” Sketch says as the sits down at the white board, purple crayon in hand.

“Oh no… He has plans for me, he’s going to make me do it again!” I think to myself, with detailed methods of escape forming in my  mind.

“Zero? Put it here?”  He points to the upper left hand corner of the board and quickly adds, “MOOOMMMY’s turn!”

All I see is all that empty white board space that I KNOW he is going to make me fill in with numbers from zero to as far as it fits…usually 120 or so, and I am filled with dread… How many times a day do I have to do this?

Boy, he is cute though, I gotta say.  Especially with his striped knit hat pulled down over his top eye lids so he has to look up at me from under the hat to see if I am doing what he says.

“Mommy’s turn!  Sit with me?”  He persists.

How could I say no to that adorable little guy…the things we do for our children!

While Sketch’s plans for me may be self-serving, and while they are at times dreaded by me, we have a promise from our Father:  Jeremiah 29:11 -14

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.”

It is a comfort to know that Gods plans for us are good:  to free us, for us to find Him, to give us hope & a future, and to prosper us. That is all good stuff, and in hard times, it is a promise to cling to and quite therapeutic to try and imagine what God may be bringing into our life through it.

But, check out this verse:  1 Cor 2:9

“9 However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—”

I always thought this verse was talking about heaven.  Only recently did I realize that it is also talking about the here and now…while we are in the midst of living life!

That hope & a future that Jeremiah talks about, those plans that He has for us, are so good that we can’t even imagine what He has in store for us.  Whatever we do imagine, His plan is bigger and better.  This is fuels the hope, and sparks the fire for the future!

So the next time the future seems bleak, or we are in a tough time, not knowing the direction we should go in, instead of giving way to fear, let’s remember that God is good, and he his plans are far beyond our wildest dreams.

Ephesians 3:20-21 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Fire Alarms, Maps, Telephone Poles, You and Me: The Beauty of Special Interests

The Beauty of Special Interests

Special interests are one of the “features” of ASD’s. When listed in the DSM, or other diagnostic tools, it seems to be noted with a negative connotation, but I am still not sure what is so negative about it. As a matter of fact, I am sure it is just the opposite!

Right now, Dash’s special interest is fire alarms.

Last year it was maps.

And before that, telephone poles!

There have actually been many other special interests such as puzzles (he was doing 100 piece puzzles by himself at the age of 2 3/4), K’nex, electricity, alternative energy…the list goes on!

It is especially fun to share a common special interest with a brother:


Who knows what the future will hold … Look at where Temple Grandin ended up with her special interest in cows!  Special Interests are an avenue for our children to show us how their minds work… it is a beautiful thing.

It’s is also truly amazing how much passion Dash (and Sketch, too) works up for these interests.  Dash would spend hours on his favorite topics, mastering them in a variety of ways.  For example, with maps, he not only memorized the local street map but the state, country and world maps.  He then branched off to google maps and would “drive” around through the states!  He even found his grandparents house!  Then he went on to states & capitals from there, and capitals of different countries… There is really no end to the discovery, the pursuit of a special interest.

You know, God has a special interest too: you and me!

He goes to extremes to know us. His passion for us has no end.  He even wrote an entire book on his pursuit of us… the Bible.

Happy Valentines Day!

My Little Engines that Keep on Goin’ / Empower Me

“Chug, chug, chug. Puff, puff, puff. Ding-dong, ding-dong. The little train rumbled over the tracks. She was a happy little train for she had such a jolly load to carry.  Her cars were filled full of good things for boys and girls.”

Sometimes my kids remind me of the Little Engine that Could (By Watty Piper).  If they have their mind set on something, they keep on trying until they get what they want.  “I think I can– I think I can–I think I can–I think I can… I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could.”!

With Dash, he often will set in his mind that we are going on some fun adventure, that has not been planned or discussed with us.  He will ask every couple minutes to go to the Apple Store, or the park.  If he doesn’t get the response he wants, he will create a schedule with times on it, just to make sure his parents understand!  He may even make extremely real-sounding announcements over his built-in intercom (voice), and make sounds that are very much like a timer going off!  The schedule would look something like:

9:00 Breakfast
9:30 Get Dressed
10:00 pack up snacks
10:30 Go to the Apple Store

With Sketch, he often will want some sort of snack, and he will try to get it by asking for it with one word and a cute expression. Eyebrows are raised and an excited look is on his face, when he says, “Goldfish?” a little more loudly than normal.  Usually, we will ignore this because we want him to be motivated to speak in sentences, not get away with the minimum.  So, after he says it a few times with no response, he will ask even more loudly and with more words, “Goldfish, please?”  and then later, “Mommy, Daddy!  Can I have Goldfish please?” He just keeps on trying (if he doesn’t get frustrated first) until he gets what he wants.

(I guess persevering and badgering are very similar…except, with badgering there is a lack of respect that goes along with it, making it a very unattractive behavior problem instead of a positive character trait!)

For my Princess Buttercup, well, she just didn’t give up trying to get a baby sister.  She has begged and begged at home for years.  It was ALL she wanted for Christmas or her Birthday.  Finally, exhausted from being asked so much for a baby, I told her we were probably NOT going to have any more babies! It just wasn’t going to happen. So if she really wants one, she’s just going to have to pray about it!  (oops!).

Apparently, she had been praying.  The Sunday School teachers said she’d been putting that in as a prayer request for 2 years!

This year, on her 8th birthday she tried again, “All I want for my birthday are the same things I always want: a baby sister, a doll house, and a dog!”

So, we decided to give her the doll house, sponsor a child who is a girl a little younger than her for her sister, and said no to the dog (Sketch is allergic!)

And, sure enough, her persevering paid off.  The day after her 8th birthday, God made it known to us that yes, in fact, we WERE going to have another baby.  We don’t know yet if it is a boy or girl, but the Sunday School teachers are without a doubt, that it is a girl for Tori!!!

Persevering is not always so easy though. I don’t know about you, but for me when the huge mountain comes and there are no larger trains to help me up it, I just want to give up.  Sometimes, where there is blow after blow & hurdle after hurdle set before me, I will get discouraged and stop trying. But when what we are fighting for is right, and is what God has set us out to do, we should not give up, no matter how bleak it looks.

It is a good thing that the Little Blue Engine did not give up.  If he had, then “all the little boys and girls on the other side of the mountain” would not have had their “wonderful toys to play with and the good food to eat.”  The Little Blue Engine kept on going because of the joy set before him:  the kids on the other side of the mountain.

Because of the joy set before Him, Jesus gave the ultimate example of perseverance.  He continued on even to death on the cross.  The joy set before Jesus, was you and me.

Hebrews 12:1-3

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

What an encouraging verse!  Let us “not grow weary and lose heart.”!  Keep on keeping on is how the VeggieTales defined perseverance… just keep on getting up we trip, or stumble on a hurdle, or fall down exhausted…

1 Cor 9: 24-27

24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.

This verse along with Hebrew 12, was the inspiration behind the poem I posted the other day, as a “downpayment” for this post.  To view the poem, click on the link: Empower Me

It’s Time to Vote!

I have been very curious about what kind of posts catch and maintain the readers attention, so I have created this poll!   Please take a moment to let me know what your preference is!

Empower Me, Revised

This is a mini post…a down payment on the one to come, about perseverance.  (Ironically, I haven’t been able to finish the one on perseverance…I guess procrastination will come after that!)

I wrote this poem years ago and recently tweaked it to reflect more of what I’ve learned along this journey.

I hope it encourages you!









Empower Me

Empower me, Oh holy God
To run the race, the one you called
To forget the past, made wiser from sin
To run to the finish line
Where life begins

Empower me while running the race
To go full force ahead and to rest in your grace
To keep my eyes focused, always on the goal
To win the greatest prize
One more precious than gold.

Empower me to train and gain
All the wisdom for running the race
To jump all the hurdles
And run at your pace
To strive and strain every day
To live and think, and learn and love
To wholeheartedly serve you
Oh Holy God!
And win the prize you’ve set above!

Empower me, Oh Holy God!

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