HI my name is Savanna and I am the mother of a 3.5 year old with autism. I recently started selling Origami Owl to help to cover costs of his needs as I have to stay home with him (his anxiety is too bad for childcare although he is in the special needs preschool class at an elementary in Hanover).
Hello, Internet! Cole here. This month, at the request of my beloved matriarch, I’ve decided to try an interesting exercise: I’m going to respond to random questions. Hopefully, my responses will provide insight as to how my brain works; if not, they should at least prove entertaining.
I would like to introduce you to my son who is funny, goofy, sweet, loving and kind who happens to have a lifelong, life threatening medical condition known as Hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is a condition where the brain produces too much spinal fluid and without the aid of a shunt that is surgically placed in his brain, for the sole purpose of siphoning the excess fluid, he would die. There isn’t a cure and only treatment options for his condition. Because of the placement of the shunt, Casey has side effects which include Hypertonia, a form of cerebral palsy, and intellectual disabilities.
Casey has had 2 brain surgeries. One when he was 9 days old after being induced 4 weeks early by a caesarian section and the second surgery 8 ½ years later due to shunt failure. He has also had bilateral feet surgery to help correct and straighten his feet. Because of Casey’s hypotonia (low muscle tone), he has had physical therapy since he was 6 months old and has used assistive devices so he could walk.
I Read a Book
Hello, Internet! Cole here. Recently, I read a book called Population: One. It was about the author, Tyler McNamer, and his life experiences with Autism. In my opinion, the book needed a bit of work. I didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t without its share of noticeable problems. Naturally, I’m going to write my thoughts about the book in this article; otherwise, I would have just been wasting words with the other sentences in the article.
The Start Of 2017: Happy New Year! Again!
Hello, Internet! Cole here. Once again, one number on the date has superseded the other, and that means it’s time for a new article to lead in the New Year. Because I have no shame, I’ll be reusing the format from last year – after all, the more things change, the more pennies saved in the bush, or so they say. As usual, I will look back on what happened in my life in 2016 and forward to what I hope to make happen in 2017.
I got a lot of things done in 2016. For example, I somehow managed to turn 16 without putting any thought into planning for a car. I also began my sophomore year of high school, which has been engaging thus far. At times, I traveled outside of my comfort zone as well – I saw my robotics team win at the Worlds level of competition, watched (and reviewed) a few decent plays, and survived a work camp while improving someone’s life. Most importantly, I managed to work in many hours of spare time before the trials of adulthood.
This year, I hope to include as much additional spare time as I can. That’s going to be a tall order because I’ll enter junior year this fall, but I think I’ll manage a few moments of peace somehow. I might also try – and probably fail – to get a driver’s license; I‘ll need to be able to drive in the future, but right now I don’t see the point of it, as transportation is usually readily available for me. (I’m also worried about the health of others.) I also plan to improve my programming skills; in particular, I want to make a game with a good friend of mine before the year is up.
In conclusion, 2016 was a year. No, it was much, much more than just a year; it was a year in which things happened that may affect the things that happen this year. Unless we wipe ourselves out, this year should be very much the same, and with luck I’ll be able to make it better than last year.s Thanks for reading, Internet, and I’ll be seeing ya!
As parents, we all have that “so called” guilt with parenting. It comes naturally once the baby is conceived and when the test comes back “pregnant”. You run through your head of all the drinks and unsafe pregnancy foods you consumed before you found out. Then once the baby is here and you go back to work, it springs into full fledge Mom Guilt. I am sure stay at home moms experience this same kind of guilt in different way, but I can only speak to being a working mom.
I know I usually try for a Monday Moment, but this happened on Monday and I never got to share it.
Our son loves music, he does not care what style, it seems to make him feel free and he may also break out in a dance.
Goods and Bads of Autism
Hello, Internet! Cole here. Recently, I realized that perhaps it would be prudent to discuss my Asperger’s more thoroughly, since that is the main subject of the blog. I haven’t really talked about Autism very much for a variety of reasons, instead focusing on things like 11-page stories about bees. This month, though, I’d like to bring things back on track a bit. I discussed my condition a bit about a year ago when I first started this “sub-blog”; now, I plan on fleshing things out a little more.
November 2016: An Unfortunate Loss
Hello, Internet. Cole here. On the ninth of this month, something alarming happened – something that could greatly change our nation for better or for worse. Depending on who one asks, this event is either a symbol of America’s triumph or its demise. Regardless of opinion, however, many can agree that the repercussions of this event are going to be serious. Since serious things are no fun, however, I’m not going to talk about it. Instead, I’m going to talk about my robotics team’s latest competition, Rumble of the Roads. (Hopefully I’m less likely to be swamped with half of America’s hate this way.)
This competition deserves some introduction, since it wasn’t a normal robotics competition. We were – and currently are – off-season; this means that FIRST isn’t directly hosting any major competitions. Thus, this was much smaller-scale than anything like Worlds. Fewer points were scored overall, and there were only 30 teams, including ourselves. Our own entry into the event was pretty shaky: we were invited by the leaders at the last minute after a large number of teams unexpectedly cancelled. As a result, only 12-16 members attended the event – mostly veterans like myself.
Despite this smaller scale of competition, I still had a good time. The ride there was pretty long, so I passed the time by staring out the window and listening to music. Once there, most of my time was spent alternating between watching from the stands and trying to help the team in the pit. Our robot wasn’t performing well; it often stopped during matches, and it handled very poorly. We were having a lot of technical issues that we couldn’t quite understand – more on that later – so I found myself drawn to the pit on more than one occasion. At lunch, a team member went out and brought us Chick-Fil-A. The food was a bit salty, but adequate.
After the qualifying matches ended, things got… interesting. We discovered that our gearbox, an integral part of our drive train, had one of its axles bent. This was why we couldn’t move properly. In order to even come close to fixing it, we had to take an entire side-plate off of the robot, which put us way behind schedule and caused us to miss our alliance’s first qualifying match. Some members of Triple Helix, another team on our alliance, eventually came and helped us try to fix it. In the end, though, we made only marginal progress and had to send the robot out to the next match at below-average quality. We did… surprisingly well in said match, but it wasn’t enough; the opposing alliance won the quarterfinals, and we were out of the competition proper.
Most of the team, including myself, left after that – it being a relatively minor competition, after all, we had little reason to stay. A few people remained for their own reasons, though, and it ultimately paid off; we ended up winning the Captain’s Award, which is, according to my coach, on par with the Chairman’s Award, and those people got to carry the thing back to PCS.
This excursion could have gone better, to be honest. We were given very short notice on account of being a replacement for another team, and our robot was already battered a bit from a pretty difficult season… the whole scenario sort of lent itself to disaster. I don’t really mind, though – after all, the things that go wrong are more memorable than the things that don’t. Even though we lost, I was satisfied by the competition. Besides, we won an award anyway. Thanks for reading, Internet, and I’ll be seeing ya!
Cole is our young adult monthly contributor. He is an incredible asset to all of us. He is in the IT program in Henrico County, has Asperger’s and is also an animal whisperer.
Helping persons with disabilities transition from high school to the work world
When Lindsay “Drew” Miller was ready to graduate from high school, he and his mom Janet struggled to find the right daytime program. Although he is visually impaired and uses a walker, Drew is always willing to try new tasks. But it wasn’t until he joined the Greater Richmond ARC that he had the chance to develop his job skills at by answering phones; assembling boxes; and shredding paper.