Posted on

LOVE HAS NO LIMITS series!

Our presence in our relatives’ lives exerts a variety of influences…

The majority is positive as we all learn to handle, address, enjoy, discover, try to understand the diagnosis of autism and its nuances.

Our move to Tennessee has brought forth intense emotions and the reaffirmation that changes keep life vibrant – even when the challenges remain.

My brother is an example of facing the music and finding delight in life and all the love we have towards each other. He opened the doors to his life to us… wanting to be a part of Thomais’ growth and positive influences. As the days pass, the reaffirmation that the love of family has no limits is clearer than ever.

Charlie is an innate artist. Even at this stage of his life where his vision can be problematic (he does not distinguish colors!!).

And Thomais’ pace, flow, way of doing things inspire him to create a series of paintings called

LOVE HAS NO LIMITS!

Ballerinas move and flow in a space and the movement produces hearts.

This is how we decide to go about life.

We’ll move.

We’ll flow.

We’ll keep producing hearts and loving without limits.

 

  • Commissions are accepted – to inquire email: autismhappykingdom@gmail.com

Posted on

AUTISM AND MARRIAGE (PARENT PERSPECTIVE)

By Yadira V. Calderon and S.A.

I was too innocent or dumb to realize what happens on TV and the theater does not always happen in real life.

Disney, Hollywood and social media have distorted my perception of real life.

The princess marrying the prince after he rescues her and living happily ever after is not true for many.

I’ve shared my thoughts with a friend and we stress the fact that highlighting the delusion of living a Disney life is VERY different from the perceptions of what represents a good stable marriage. Yes, what many consider the obvious… that world of smiles, comprehension, agreement, dreams being fulfilled, knowing that it takes a lot of work, full support at all times and commitment.

We both agreed, those who do not have a good understanding of the commitment of marriage – with all its possible definitions – may resort to the fairy tale world presented by Disney, Hollywood movies and social media. And we have seen how resilience is not sought and their lives are full of stress, they are in debt and they are never happy with the simple things life can offer.

On the other hand after living in 6 countries and traveling to another 27, I  met many couples who live the ups and downs of marriage, parenting, never ending love, commitment, responsibility, full support.

I always asked:

“How do you do it?”

They answered:

“We made the decision to be together. To be there for each other. No matter what.”

I  told them: “My respect. Keep us inspired. Your story is just like most Disney movies, but real.”

I am relieved I experienced this marvel. I consider this a feat and it should be admired and respected. I got an introduction to the basic tools that may be needed to have a successful marriage.

I could not say anything else. I did not grow up with a mom and a dad raising us. I did not grow up witnessing a husband and a wife making it happen, being at ease with each other, even in the midst of an argument.

Yes, I had discovered that stable couples also have arguments. They have the maturity to confront the situation. Handle the differences. Respect each other’s opinion. Just get along.

And I did not have the opportunity to experience this…

Now… let’s move forward. Let’s add key elements to the princess and prince story…

It’s time to spice this up!!

We all know a couple has strengths and weaknesses.

The problem is… both insist on not accepting the good and the bad of the relationship. For many reasons, their weaknesses become the priority in what is supposed to be a partnership. They keep comparing their life to the Disney movies. Plus, now they have children.

The water in the pot begins to boil because unlike the Disney or Hollywood movies, their children have special needs.

And they quickly discover…

Their children are not accepted by the majority of the population.

Their children are not integrated in schools.

Their children are not considered worthy of an education.

Their children are bullied.

Their children add stress to the marriage.

Their children are not cared for by both parents.

One or both parents do not accept the children with special needs.

One of the parents becomes abusive towards the partner or the children.

One of the parents wants to keep living the single life.

One of the parents rejects the commitment and responsibility.

One of the parents ignores the needs of the family.

One of the parents seeks sex, comfort and care outside of the marriage.

One of the parents leaves.

One of the parents ignores whatever good examples of stable marriages he/she may have witnessed growing up and insists on living life like Disney, Hollywood or social media dictate.

In some families, the parents decide to stay together, live separate lives and present a “united” front for the children and society while experiencing horrendous moments – harmful for all.

What I’ve described above is happening in countless households raising children with special needs.

This is happening in all socio-economic groups. Money and race do not guarantee marriage stability.

Not even age can provide assurance that a couple will remain together.

No doubt, there are many families that have both mom and dad caring for and living life regardless of the challenges presented by the diagnosis.  But in the world I live in, these are becoming less and less.

These are difficult times we live in.

These are times where common sense does not prevail.

I have not seen one single family succeeding in reuniting after going through therapy.

I do not have answers to this dilemma.

I read the scientific research and I find it unrealistic, not fitting the unwritten equation of what life is about in a household raising/caring for a child/teen/adult with severe autism, with behavior crisis, aggressive, wearing diapers (teen and adults), not being capable of handling social situations, sick, with organ failure, not having access to a variety of services that could provide some respite and worse, not having the financial resources to pay for respite.

And we all know, there aren’t enough organizations or funds that could actually support the high numbers of families needing help.

What to do?

Join me and break loose your dependence on Disney, Hollywood and social media.

Shatter their myth of marriage…

Demand shows and movies that will provide answers…

Shows that will make you say…

“Wow, that’s exactly how I’ve lived it. It’s been tough. I’m surviving. Others have it easier or tougher than I do.”

How can you help?

Let’s keep the dialogue open.

Let’s support each other.

Help us create TV or movies that are relatable, realistic, at times crude, not distorted…

I had many questions and I organized a parent panel –

Special Needs and Marriage (a parent perspective)

Read the useful posts in the link above.

 

Art by Thomais Moshopoulos –  Weddings of Love – 2018

My daughter is living the consequences of our family separating six years ago. It has not been easy.

She can now express how she feels about it. Her art always tells me what she wants and how damaging Disney and Hollywood can be — it is not always like this!!  But, I remain calm.

I explain to her the basics of relationships. She’s 10 after all and she has tons to learn. I believe in keeping her safe, loved and exposed to a variety of experiences that will in the future help her make wise decisions.

I’ll keep trying.

Posted on

TOP 40 THINGS ABOUT THOMAIS

Yes, cognition, learning, sharing, demonstrating knowledge acquired, remembering, writing about it, understanding her place in society, acknowledging likes and dislikes… and being funny!

These are all a reality now.

I, the parent, did not ask for this exercise. She started it by herself. She did not ask me what to write. She’s been surprising me all over again.

I know my daughter but to realize she knows herself is priceless.

How did she achieve this? By exposing her to a variety of experiences. By allowing her to fail. By not allowing autism and its challenges to dictate what will occur at home or in the community.

In less than 2 hrs, she wrote 17 facts about herself.

Some highlights:

  1.  Thomais was born in Greece.
  2. Thomais is a loud farter plus a belcher.
  3. Thomais can weigh up to 82, 83 or 84 pounds.
  4. Thomais loves animals of all kind.
  5. Thomais always wants to go to Scotland to see the Loch Ness Monster.
  6. Thomais is a good dancer and twerker.
  7. Thomais loves to sing her favorite songs – Better when I’m dancing; Roar; Stitches; Nothing holding me back; Poker Face; When I’m gone; I can see a rainbow; Bad romance; Diamonds; Waka-Waka
  8. Thomais is the best prankster.
  9. Thomais loves to watch videos about the three Cunard Queens – Queen  Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth (all cruise ships)
  10. Thomais loves to talk about the R.M.S. Titanic over and over (headaching to everyone)
  11. Thomais loves to eat green beans, broccoli, banana, apple, chicken with  bone, white rice, macaroni, ice cream, whip cream – with chocolate chips, chocolate chips, M&M’s.
  12. Thomais hates to eat burger, egg plant, zucchini, meat balls.
  13. Thomais met Dakota Fakota Fanning in NYC.
  14. Thomais is Shawn Mendes #1 FAN!!
  15. Thomais sometimes says ain’t when she’s singing.
  16. Thomais mom is sometimes so BOSSY!
  17. Thomais hates homework.
  18. Thomais really misses her dad.
  19. Thomais has lots of BFF’s — E, G, L, M and K
  20. Thomais dad is funny, fund and kind. Her mom is over protective, bossy and sometimes nice.

 

She’s 10. Presently, the world is all about her.

I keep reminding her others must be included.

This is a great activity for any kid.

It is an opportunity to keep the conversation going and avoid surprises.

More soon. Enjoy!

Posted on

When I was 15! – LinkedIN

LinkedIn celebrated its 15th anniversary… Congrats…

They requested people write what they dreamed, thought about when they were 15.

I shared these thoughts!

 

#LinkedIn

#WhenIWas15

Posted on

Interview with The Teen Magazine

So thankful for the opportunity.

Read here — Interview with The Teen Magazine –

An eye opener because my words in some circles of the autism world have caused controversy.

We are a very divided community for many reasons. I do not agree with the divisiveness and my messages will never have the intention to divide.

I am very clear that our experience is very particular. The results  and our experience are all based on the initial message received when Thomais was diagnosed.

One of the main reasons we are divided is because I received a very positive message.

Plus, the first time I ever heard about autism around 1998 – it was an eye opener.

I was in front of Temple Grandin (at a Poultry Processing industry trade show in Atlanta), listening to her passion and dedication seeking ways to make the slaughtering process more humane.

I was told I’d meet her and she had autism.

I said: “What is that”.

They said… “wait and see”…

All I saw was a more than capable individual, brilliant, being a professional.

And that was my first impression.

Years passed and it is now 2018 – I have a daughter on the autism spectrum.

I was told in June 2011, when she turned 3, that autism is medical.  Two developmental pediatricians told me I needed to address the medical issues and my daughter will come back.

I know many families are not being told the same — they are being told that’s how their child is going to be and not lead a productive life or they’ll never say I love you or they will have to be institutionalized.

I must note, prior to the diagnosis – Thomais was developing like any other child, growing, smiling, eye contact, repeating everything in 3 languages. That changed drastically December 2010.

I am sharing our story because our message is a valid one. I am not the only one receiving the same message.

This was Thomais’ reality April 2012… one of many behavior crisis’ that could last 2 hours.

Lo and behold… After many steps, sacrifices, sleepless nights and the support of many… Thomais has autism but she no longer lives a life where the diagnosis controls the day to day. She is a girl in every sense of the word. She is fun. She is bossy. She expresses her emotions. She is learning. She is discovering the good and the tough.

April 2018 – Latest video — I have autism… Accept me!

 Also, I worked in three middle schools and I interact with countless families whose children have every single characteristic of the spectrum.  I have been in both circumstances — a place where my child who was sick all the time, who could not function socially, I wondered why is this happening, how long will this last…
and a place where my child is living life, learning how to function socially and we can say, we seek quality of life.
Magic is not at play here.
Questions? Just contact me – autismhappykingdom@gmail.com

I insist… Divided we shall not remain…

What advice do you have for families surviving autism?
1. Go through mourning, punch a wall or stomp your feet. Stop mourning!
2. Talk to others who are going through the same. Do an initial comparison of what your child can or cannot do.
3. Read a lot, so much research is available. It takes time, so you must have to make the time. The more you read, the easier it can be to decided which path to follow.
4. Ask yourself: Do I love my child? Why do I love my child? How can love guide this process? How can I accept this new reality?
5. Create your tribe, yes, that group of people or that person you can go to and vent. Stay away from negative thinkers or those who do not know a bit about your reality.
6. Your days should become a play session. Make your child laugh. Allow your child to make you laugh.
7. Be patient– the biggest test ever!
8. Decide if you want to be a parent or an individual. If you can’t be a parent, em-brace what it means and do not wait to seek help as soon as possible.
9. Own every experience with your child (or children). Do not blame others, make a plan for every outing and be flexible!
By: Yadira V. Calderón, Autism: The Happy Kingdom