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TINDERELLA – A FREE E-BOOK!

Yes, a FREE e-book!

Get it here

Thomais learned to read like her peers in the period from March 2016-March 2017.

An incredible tutor made it happen… Mrs. K will remain in our hearts and lives for eternity…

Her patience, dedication and willingness to teach and learn from Thomais is unequaled.

Thomais’s autism behaviors challenged the process and everyone persevered.

Thomais’s dyslexia never hindered the process. On the contrary, Mrs. K’s multisensory methods, knowledge of a variety of existing interventions guided the process. Above all, a love for teaching.

 

Enjoy one of Thomais’s creations as she continues to express her emotions, curiosity and above all, her inventiveness.

Share the book. Please comment!

Contact: autismhappykingdom@gmail.com

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A diagnosis does not give anyone the right to insult others…

I will highlight and cheer for those who treat us with respect. Always! It is so important to give feedback and communicate with those who respect your needs, strengths and weaknesses.

I will also highlight those who do not respect the fact we are members of this immense planet and for one reason or another, seek special treatment.

What happened? Another learning experience at the park…

Kids all over, screaming, having fun, little groups here and there. My kid is by herself. Sometimes I can tell she’s fine with this reality. Other times she’s not and she goes out there and asks, do you want to play with me. My heart melts every time I hear her… 3-6yrs ago, she could not do this! Now she can. Now she has power. Now she has the tools to engage, socialize and learn from others, while they also learn with her.

She approaches this  group of kids… They all know each other. A couple of them were receptive to her request. Others ignored her – she does not like this! One flat out rejected her and began to make weird noises towards her. Of course, this bothers her and I remind Thomais — just ignore him. But she can’t!!

No one likes to feel rejected. In her case, as with many, instead of focusing on those who showed receptiveness to her request. She focused on the rejection. I let her be at this point. She has to learn to figure this out and I will not always be around.

She started to make noises at him as well and called him a bully. I laughed because I welcomed this original approach (that she can do now!) and she was being a kid.

It all turned messy when the boy decided to call her an idiot. Oh no I thought. And her reaction was pure emotion, sadness and she ran away from the group. She screamed: “No one had ever called me an idiot. Why did he do this mom?”

I reminded her: “You are not that. You are an incredible young girl. You are loving. You are fun. Go talk to his mom.”

Before she reaches the mom, his sisters start screaming… “He cannot help himself. He has a heart condition. He always does this!”

I am livid… A young boy with a disability who has not been taught to respect others and is being allowed by the adults in his family to say whatever he thinks. And his relatives are protecting his actions under the premise of lack of control and a heart condition.

I tell the girls. Excuse me, understand something; he has a disability but that does not give him the right to treat others like he just did. That is wrong. The girls kept insisting his heart condition is responsible for this.

I said no, that is not true. My daughter has autism and I teach her to treat others with respect. We do not use her autism as an excuse to cover up the challenges and many times, the lack of  filter in what she may say.

By now, Thomais reached the mom. She told her. The mom did nothing.

Thomais returns to the group and the girls made the effort to talk to her and include her in the brief game. I thanked the girls for their efforts. I reminded Thomais, let’s move on, look the girls want to play with you.

The young boy who insulted her stopped saying the insulting disrespectful word after I asked him to do so.

My heart is still heavy remembering her face, her disappointment and once in a while when OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) tries to take control of the day, she brings up that event.

I will continue to remind her — we all have challenges, we all have super positive traits, we must always be respectful of the differences. It will be very boring if we were all the same. You are a person, you have a heart and a soul  — autism does not rule your existence, please remember that.

My wish… That other parents of children with a diagnosis share similar messages, regardless of the challenges. Our kids’ apparent limitations cannot stop them from being amazing beings and it cannot be an excuse to mistreat others. None of us should accept that.

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Learning about Raffles!

Greatest experience ever…  another one!

To see my daughter being a kid and learning the big lessons in life

Enjoy her creation, words, illustrations and expression of emotions…

Video here: Raffles Really Really Stink by Thomais

Individuals in the spectrum are very literal

Explaining the concept of a raffle takes many efforts, subtleties and the classic be ready for the unexpected survival skill we parents – diagnosis or not – utilize quite efficiently…

At 9yrs old this became a fun experience, drawing it made it easier to handle…
Bottom line: Emotions shared and unwillingly comprehending she did not win and she has to deal with it…
A big plus… no behavior crisis, no torture for no one…
We continue… Enjoy!

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Proud of me!

My daughter is 9 years old.

My daughter has autism.

My daughter is proud of who she is.

As a parent I could not be more at peace, relieved, proud and accomplished.

This sentiment, being aware of it, is instilled at home. My day as a parent could have been as challenging as it can be, as complicated as it could get… yet, I’ll always make the choice to guarantee my daughter will hear from me, I am proud of her.

The source of pride is love which supercedes all confrontations with reality I may face. Yes, that unconditional love parenting promotes.

The source of pride is prioritizing what we are and how my actions will influence and/or impress my daughter.

I invite every parent to put aside – for a minute – all worries, source of pressure, frustrations we all face as we raise or care for our child/adult with a diagnosis. Say it with my daughter, say it with me – I am proud of me.

Do not miss the opportunity to communicate this powerful idea, thought with your loved ones.

Let me know how it goes!

 

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Hollywood can’t handle talent with a diagnosis!

Now I understand why Hollywood, Netflix, HBO, ABC, CBS, NBC, Disney, Nickelodeon, Broadway, etc. will not hire actors with a diagnosis, with obvious or mild challenges.

Video: Trolls and Friends  The Musical, Dunedin Community Center, FL

In an attempt to entertain, the writing may reflect some of the realities faced by an individual who is considered to have limitations. But a trained actor is the one hired to perform the role of someone they have no knowledge of, they cannot relate to, many times, they don’t even respect who they are. This trained actor pretends to have a diagnosis and pretends to make others laugh or cry. Decent writing and marketing may save the show. This is pathetic, ridiculous and short sighted.

Continue reading Hollywood can’t handle talent with a diagnosis!

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AUTISM REALITIES

We know all about autism awareness.

We want action. Life with autism is 365 days, 24/7…

These are various posts  I shared in social media. They reflect the reality of many families. For many it’s been the same or worse for 10+ years. The media rarely reports on these matters.

Do share!

Continue reading AUTISM REALITIES

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WEDU PBS Autism Broadcast: Yadira Calderon Is A Featured Guest!

I thank everyone who is making these opportunities possible.

Town Hall — my intervention, segments from Autism and Employability parent panel —   min. 23:28 – 29:04 and min. 48:38 – 49:14

Webcast – min. 4:04 – 4:39

 

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Volunteer work in the Happy Kingdom!

Yes, at 8/9 years old doing volunteer work is extremely important.

But wait, at this age kids should be in parks, riding bikes, some may say playing computer games is part of being a kid these days. But T. and her friend S. were taken to the Thrift Store, part of the Homeless Empowerment Program in Clearwater.

T. and S. know each other. They play great together. They leave each other alone. They drive each other crazy. They are kids learning about life. They are kids and in most instances, they’d be regarded as one of the bunch. It is wonderful and as parents, we are so proud.

The kids wondered why did we have to volunteer. We explained in simple terms – We want to give back and be thankful for everything that is good in our lives because others are not as fortunate. Explanation accepted.

While volunteering, reality is more than obvious and we moms start realizing that 10 years from now our kids would not survive 5-10 min in any job. We were not there to play and personal interests confirmed how much work was to be done (sorting clothes and placing them on hangers). Once the personal interests were no longer thrilling and the realization that actual work is expected, this is when our duty as parents became really fun. Looking for entertaining explanations to keep them focused was a live rendition of every reason we’ve heard moms say for hundreds of years. Let’s sort by color, by specific item, do this number of items and we’ll do this,  we have so many minutes left, that’s enough I need you here right now. And you can imagine the rest.

Continue reading Volunteer work in the Happy Kingdom!

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#Autismisnotscary at the Women’s March!

As a parent, I realize I must constantly open more doors to assist the process of understanding what life can be about…  With a diagnosis like autism, on any given day, it can be so challenging to help your offspring understand the meaning of different situations we can witness. Today was a breeze. Today was all about being connected and wanting to be a part of the world.

Our presence at the Women’s March in St. Pete FL was so enriching, exciting.

Our sign said:

REMEMBER:  AUTISM IS NOT SCARY!

WE NEED MORE +MEDIA COVERAGE

My daughter was all ready to ask for pictures, to raise her megaphone voice and say it – Autism is not scary!

Continue reading #Autismisnotscary at the Women’s March!

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I am an educated woman, I earn minimum wage and I get food stamps . Here’s why.

by Yadira V. Calderon

I am obsessed with traveling, discovering and understanding life. I became the editor of a trade publication for the baking industry and visited most Spanish speaking countries. I did Logistics for the cement industry. I taught American Government in China. Everywhere I went, as a tourist or as a professional, I sought the opportunity to interact with families, experience commitment and going beyond the expectations to achieve that goal. I saw my education and curiosity as the means to an end.

Six years ago everything was about to change and I did not know it. The drive, the push, the non-stop urge to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro or ride the Trans-Siberian train all became futile and senseless when my daughter regressed into autism from one day to the next. December 2010 forever changed my life and perspective.

Continue reading I am an educated woman, I earn minimum wage and I get food stamps . Here’s why.