Read by Email

Keeping it real

My mom and I are writing a book about what I went through when I was little and when I was told I was on the autism spectrum. While we were working on it I was thinking about all the times that people have treated me differently because I am on the autism spectrum. Because I am not like them. I am not like their kids who are in lots of sports or have a hundred friends. Because I talk about the components of what creates galaxies. Because I talk about different kinds of fungi and how they could cure cancer.

I want to cure cancer for kids. I don't know why people talk about curing autism. I don't have a disease. I don't need a cure. God made me who I am, why would I want to cure that? Kids that are sick with cancer need a cure. That is who we should focus on.

Kids on the autism spectrum don't need a pill to cure it, we need love. We need empathy. We need you to know that we like who we are, why can't you?

My mom and dad never make me feel bad about my quirks. They love me, Logan. They don't want to cure me. They don't want me to feel weird around other people but if I do, they are not mad at me, they understand.

I want people to know that weird is awesome. It's great. It's fun.

It's OK to be weird.

I know when people don't like me right away. I can feel it. Sometimes it makes me sad but I know that God will bring friends to me who like me for all my weirdness.

I know sometimes people can't understand what I am saying. I can't help it. It's the roof of my mouth but I am going to get that fixed at the orthodontist.

Weird is awesome, so don't for get it!

I'm just keeping it real.

WARNING FROM LOGAN'S MOM:
If you don't have anything nice or positive to say to this fabulous twelve year old, keep it to yourself. If you come at my kid, you have me to deal with. And trust me, you don't want that.

What I Think About Moving

Cons:

Leaving friends

Leaving my best friend

Stressful

Feeling sad

Pros:

Making new friends

Visit new places

See new animals

Learn new history

Facetime my best friend



I am excited to meet new kids.

I met two new boys who knew what the cheese touch was and they fist bumped. Andrew has seen all of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies. I told him that my best friend Matthew knew them all too.

We picked Andrew up and his mom and they rode with us to the community center and we talked about Mindcraft, Lego's and robots.

I like our new house.

In our new dining room it feels like a greenhouse with all the plants and trees around us. It makes me want to relax.
I switched rooms. The other one is more young adult.

There are always cons with moving but I found more pros.  I'm a positive type of kid.

I say thank you God for bringing us here. He knows what is right for us.


me and my dad at the cool art museum


this science museum was my favorite


me and my mom exploring the woods. I was itching my nose and my mom thought it was funny.



I Did It


Yesterday our friends Matthew and Doreen invited us to go to the movies. Mom asked me if I would want to go and I said “YES!” I haven’t been to the movies in six years. I have very sensitive hearing. I was feeling brave and I knew I could do it. Mom brought my ear phones just in case I got too loud. I was feeling very excited. When the previews came on I was still feeling good. Some parts did hurt my ears but I was focusing on not letting it bother me. Eating popcorn and drinking my slushy helped my mind stay busy.
I am feeling more confident. I went up on stage last week when my mom was speaking to others about the Autism Spectrum and she read my blog post “What Autism Means to Me”. When my mom was crying I cried inside myself. I just wanted to be brave.
It is scary to try new things but I know I can do it and so do my mom and dad. They are brave so I am brave.
The Lorax was an awesome movie and I’m happy I got to see it with my best friend.

What Autism Means to Me


What Autism Means to Me
By Logan 

It is awesome to be different, it’s genetics. Our DNA makes us all different, that is what God wanted. Acceptance is a big word but really, it’s easy to do. Why would God place us all on the earth to be the same, I don’t want to be like everyone else. Why do some accept people in books and movies like Harry Potter, people who aren’t real but I’m real and you don’t accept me? I do awesome things, I’m a great friend, and I’m an awesome gamer and Nerf player.  We all have special powers, your powers aren’t any better than mine, they are just different.
I forgive the bullies who were mean to me. I forgive the grown-ups who were mean to my mom and dad. I think that they bully because something bad happened to them and I feel sad for them.

Any kid that is different just wants to be accepted, to be loved, to have a friend, to be who they are with all their quirks. It is not nice to have people make fun of you, tease you, bully you, laugh at you and to stare at you. If you have questions just ask me but don’t point and be mean.

If you accept God and Jesus why can’t you accept who He has created? He created me, He made me different and He made me awesome! I know sometimes I don’t always look people in the eyes or answer loud enough or know what to say but I love everyone and I am listening, sometimes I just need a minute to think or to know what to say. I am not being rude, I just need to think.  I want you to hug me but sometimes it makes me feel awkward just give me time and I will hug you back. I like high fives and fist bumps to show people that I love them.
I am not a number that the doctors put out, I am not just Autistic or a math genius, I am more than that; I am me, just call me Logan.  And watch me change the world.

What Box - Insight From The Eleven Year Old

You know that saying

"You think outside the box."

Can I just say that I really dislike that, as does Logan and here are his thoughts.

I don't live in a box, I don't school is a box, I don't want to be in a box. And I don't want to be around a box. Can't we just have ideas without being placed in a box? Can't I just be me? I am happy just being Logan Autism or not, homeschooled kid or not. Sometimes when I say something people say it's because I am thinking outside of the box and I should be happy because who I am, well who am I? I am an 11 year old kid with ideas, I love science and space. That box is invisible, it's not made of atoms or carbon, it does not exist so why are we putting ourselves and others in something that is not there? Like my mom tells me we blew that box up years ago, she's very smart. 

Awww *blushing*

Holy Insight Batman! Has Logan given you something to think about? Don't box yourself in and don't float around it either, kick it out the door and to the curb. Be you...Boxless!

bombs,cartoons,dissatisfied,emotions,errors,explosions,gestures,mistakes,people,problems,Screen Beans® 


PDD-NOS...So Many Letters, Not Enough Info

When Dr.L first presented this term to me in regards to Logan my response was

"Huh?"

Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) is a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), also called an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). PDD-NOS is one of three forms of Autism Spectrum Disorders. PDD-NOS is often called atypical autism. 

Still confused?

PDD-NOS is considered to be a "milder" form of Autism, sounds like a range for a Pepper or Salsa. I see it as a twinkle in the vast Autism Spectrum. I had the question asked to me who's son was recently diagnosed with PDD-NOS what it was exactly. Her doctor spoke to her in medical jargon and she needed the Mama version.

This is one of those diagnoses that stretches all over the Autism map. And sometimes it even isn't put on the Autism Spectrum, it holds it's own diagnosis. 

The two main components (if you will) are social functioning skills and communication skills. This diagnosis usually doesn't present itself until preschool age. Logan is always eager to communicate and form friendships with his peers just some times he doesn't know how to. He has become much more social since I began homeschooling and interacts beautifully with his friends but when we get out in to the public it changes. If he is feeling extremely uncomfortable his eye contact is out the window and he begins to speak very softly. When an adult is experiencing this they may be thinking 

What a disrespectful kid! 

These are scenarios that Phil and I immediately address, well not in the store but once we get in the car, we want to bring to his attention that he needs to try to make a conscious effort which we know is difficult but he needs to be aware of it. 

Behavior traits with PDD-NOS range from repetitiveness to restrictiveness.

When Logan gets stuck on one topic ie. Lord of the Rings, the universe, a specific television show or atoms we will hear about it 24/7 which can wear on a person and there are times when we attempt to divert the conversation in another direction. 

The next question I was asked was

Why isn't there a whole lot of information about PDD-NOS?

This is where us as parents need to step in and spread the awareness, share our experiences so others who have similar diagnoses or experiences don't feel alone. Logan always seems to have diagnoses that the doctor will say

This isn't common

or

He's an enigma

The three things I can share with you are this

Educate!
Educate!
Educate!
(did I mention educate?)

Educate yourself, educate others and educate the world!

I can't even tell you how many articles and books (Sensory Perceptual Issues in Autism and Asperger Syndrome: Different Sensory Experiences, Different Perceptual Worlds by Olga Bogdashina)  
 I have read, how many movies (Temple Grandin amazing!) or television shows I have watched. We are entering in our 5th year since his unofficial official diagnosis and every day I learn something new or Logan will have a fresh new physical quirk and we learn all about it and embrace it. I never use it as a crutch or excuse and I am that mother who pushes her child no matter what because I know he can do it and you know what when he does something as small but huge to us he thanks me for "making" him do it.

Autism Spectrum, PDD-NOS, Sensory Processing Disorder these are just pieces of him NOT the whole, not who he is. Each child is their own individual no matter what that diagnosis is. 

Like Logan says

Autism doesn't define me, just call me Logan 


 

Do you have any books or movies to recommend? Do you find there is limited information on PDD-NOS?
Thoughts?





Frog Legs Anyone?

In the words of my eleven year old

You are the most awesome mom and teacher ever!

after we dissected his first frog, well, his first anything courtesy of



I am always seeking new hands on curriculum or projects for Logan and since we are full engaged in to our habitat unit for science why not dissect a frog? We had to reassure our family frogs Mung Daal and Chowder that they were safe and weren't on the chopping block sort of speak I order the kit and POOF; a week later we have a frog to dissect!

The kid has mad scalpel skills, I was very impressed!

He went through each organ, observed and was very intense doing so. 

I have to admit I am not wanting anything meat wise to eat today so we plan on having pizza with friends for lunch ha!

Homeschooling Rocks!





Methods Blethods

To School or to Unschool,
that is the question?

Or is it?

Do you have to do one or the other?

Can you start out Traditional and change to Charlotte Mason? 

The answer is

You can choose what ever you want, that is the joy and beauty of homeschooling!

When I first started our homeschooling journey 3 years ago with timid disposition I stuck with what I recalled when he attended Good Shepherd. At the time Logan was very schedule orientated so I had every subject, every break and every test written out and scheduled for the week. I used a strict curriculum set and did not deviate from that. I was classified as Traditional.

Fast forward to present day

We are now more like Eclectic Schoolers/Unschoolers 


We use various online curriculum's, books, iPad apps, Kindle material, unit studies, timeline's and science kits. Every day life situations evolve in to a teaching/learning opportunity. My goal is this; I want my son to be knowledgeable of the real world and what it has to offer and for him to react in a moral, respectful and intelligent way. Now if that means I am allowing him to use a calculator for Algebra then so be it. He computes it all in his head anyway ha! 
Do I think that handwriting is top priority?
No, I don't.
We are advancing in technology daily and I want him to be able to be computer literate which he has been for some time, he loves anything tech based. When he goes to college they will be doing everything on a laptop or probably even an iPad not handwriting out 25 page papers.
Some people have *GASPED* at my lackadaisical attitude towards the above mentioned and that's alright. Again, that is the awesomeness of homeschooling.
Of course Logan does do his copywork and other writing assignments however, those are more for occupational therapy purposes then anything. Some days are tearful and others he is humming away happy as can be.


I am very aware that his learning style will continue to change as he gets older. Some aspects are still very scheduled and detail orientated but for the most part he has learned to "go with the flow" which is huge for my quirky kiddo. 

Middle school age is such a sensitive but yet volatile time in a child's life. They are influenced so easily and as parents we need to instill respect and an ethical compass. I see so many children Logan's age that have veered towards a very shaky environment without guidance from their parents or educators. They seek acceptance and approval from their peers; not acknowledging that there are consequences. 

I am so very thankful that Logan will have a different middle school experience than I had. Mine was filled with bad choices with the wrong people, with teachers who read out of a text books day in and day out, students shuffling from one part of the school to the other, girls punching other girls because she looked in the general direction of her boyfriend and boys smoking weed in the bathroom in between classes. 

Is that schooling?

I don't know what to call that.

I don't think you can break down every homeschool family in to a which method are you box. In some ways I think we are all of them mixed into a hodge podge of awesomeness.    

How to Make Friends - Logan Style


This is Logan's phrase of the century (thanks Regular Show) and him and his buddies say this to each other, British accent and all. When our homeschool group attended a field trip at our local Hardee's to learn about work ethics, responsibility, etc. there is always that open opportunity for new friendships; here is how my kid rolls.


Logan: Mom, I can't get these gloves off.
Matthew: *chewing*


Logan: *chewing*
Matthew: *chewing*

As they finished inhaling their food Logan began twisting on his seat, he swiveled right and possible new friend was throwing his items in the trash, Logan says

Ello Gov'nor

and then swivels to the other side. Possible new friend more then likely does not know what that means or why Logan just spoke to him in a British accent or called him Gov'nor but it must have intrigued him because


it began a conversation about Xbox, who has Xbox Live, what games, you know boy talk. 

Possible new friend and his mom are quite lovely and in the near future we will be having a Boy Xbox/Nerf Shindig. 

Though Logan's ways are quirky and interesting they definitely spark curiosity. And yes, I love capturing it all on photograph for I need visuals when telling the story to Phil. And as I am telling him about it in pops Logan 

Ello Gov'nor!



You Don't Look Like A Homeschool Mom

In my 3 years of homeschooling I have never had a conversation like this before:

Woman: You don't look like you are a homeschool mom.

Me: What do you mean?

Woman: Aren't homeschool moms simple looking?

*simple has two meanings so I needed clarification*

Me: When you say simple....

Woman: No make-up, skirts, hair in a bun or back, not like this."

She motions her finger up and down at me. And it dawned on me, she's describing Michelle Duggar! 
Now I don't dislike the Duggars but I am not a fan either, their show is a little too gushy for my taste but hey, they can afford and take care of their brood then whatever floats their procreating boat, who am I to judge but I don't know about this comparing homeschool mamas to Michelle Duggar.

Me: So because I am wearing jeans, a sweater, my hair is down and I have make-up on I don't fit the homeschool mom mold for you?

Woman: Well, yes, I guess,

She was becoming uncomfortable but she just kept digging and I let her; it's entertaining.

I thought homeschool moms were very religious, carry a Bible with them, wear crosses and don't wear labels, isn't that against who you are?

Me: Who do you think I am exactly? We just meant a few minutes ago and you have already made up your mind of who you think I am and who you think other homeschool mothers are and how they should dress and act; let me ask you this, are you a mother, do you have children and if so do they attend school?

Woman: I have two young kids, 15 months and 4 years old, my 4 year old goes to preschool.

Me: So your perception of homeschool is what you see in the news or on TLC who also show people eating paint as an addiction and women not knowing they are pregnant and squatting babies out in the toilet. Are you married?

Woman: Ugh, what does that matter?

Me: Are you?

Woman: No, we will someday.

Me: Unmarried mother of two living with her boyfriend, you don't look like someone like that.

At this point the blood has drained from her face as I motion my finger at her.

Me: Perception can be dangerous, be careful what you say to people because unlike Michelle Duggar I'm not that nice.

I am pretty sure she will NEVER do that again. I'm just here to educate those who have this vision of what homeschool families should look like. We all have our reasons for homeschooling, we all come from different walks of life and if you don't like how society labels you don't slap one on someone else because though I may not smack people with my Bible He has definitely armed me with quick wit and common sense which seems to be lacking now days. 

Has this ever happened to you? What was your response? Do you feel homeschool moms have a certain persona? 

Stachified Friday


Wouldn't it though?

If you are ever low, ever down
Turn that frown upside down


Slap on a stache or a silly face


And laugh yourself all over the place!

Never take life or yourself too seriously, just laugh!


Happy Friday my Peeps!



How I See Things - Logan's First Post


Homeschooling

I was going to talk about my public school experience but I’m not ready for that yet. Here is how I see homeschooling:

·         It is awesome

communications,emotions,gestures,hands up,happy,people,overhead,waving

·         Two thumbs up

iStockphoto,thumbs up,fingers,hands,gestures,symbols,signs,OK,all the best

·         Extreme

chemistry,chemists,experiments,laboratories,occupations,persons,science,scientific experiments,scientific research,scientists,test tubes,vials

·         No lines for the cafeteria

boys,dining,eating,food,kids,meals,meatballs,messy,gluttony,spaghetti


·         No bullying

boys,bullies,children,emotions,fists,frightened,gestures,kids,people,scared,shaking fist

·         School in my pajama’s rocks

cclothes,fashions,household,pajamas,comfortable,apparel

The friends I have made while homeschooling has been easier then when I was in other schools because they are more accepting. They don’t make fun of my physical quirks. People shouldn’t do that because everyone has quirks.

I don’t want to go back to school and my mom doesn’t want me to either. And she won’t let me she said. I do want to visit my old private school in Gulf Breeze someday; I really liked Good Shepherd because it was really small.

Homeschooling has made me better; I am more open with people and not scared to be me.

I hope you liked my first post!

It’s the Best Day Ever!

A Lesson on Compassion

When my son was little and continually ill I would ask God to please give us break, enough was enough but then another wave of illness or hospitalization would occur and the defeated emotions would take over.  Spending a great deal of time in the children’s hospital and with other parents was comforting; we gave each other support. As Logan would interact with the other children on our floor they spoke to one another as if they created their own special language.

Pre-homeschool life Logan attended a small private school, picture Little House on the Prairie, the children all got along, played well, embraced Logan’s quirks with open arms. However, there was one boy in particular who wasn’t so caring, borderline bully, later I had found out from his grandmother that he was bullied at the previous public school. That is why they enrolled him at the private school. He was quite a bit taller than all the other children so he was bullied for his height. Well, when he came to the private school he felt a little too empowered and started to immolate his bully predecessors.

The children were playing kickball and this young boy made a derogatory comment to a little girl in their class. She was such a sweet girl and cute as could be; she was born with only half of her left arm. Without even thinking twice Logan stepped in a told that boy to not say such mean things to his friend. The teacher heard what was going on and took immediate action. When I arrived in the afternoon to pick Logan up the teacher told me about the incident and how proud she was of Logan for defending the little girl; not too many boys in 1st grade would do that and especially for a girl.

I asked Logan about it in the car and his reply was this “She is my friend and I don’t like people picking on her because he said she was weird, she’s not, and there is nothing wrong with her!” Logan was quite upset about it. When the class made Christmas ornaments for the cities children’s hospital some of the kids were uneasy, they didn’t know what to expect. We sang carols in the hallway and when we finished Logan left the group and walked right into this boy’s hospital room. At first I didn’t know if he could do that and as I was going to get him his teacher whispered to me “Let him.” Logan stood right next to his bed, out stretched his hand to reveal his ornament “I made this for you, Merry Christmas.” The smile, the glow in this boy’s eyes it was as Logan had just handed him gold. He responded with such happiness “Thank you and Merry Christmas to you.”

Over the years I have been told by family, friends and complete strangers that my son is going to change the world, he’s an old soul, you can see his wisdom and innocence in his bright blue eyes. His empathy for people is astounding; it’s unyielding. Logan clings closely to his sacred relationship with God and Jesus. For him to be the age that he is at he still treads with what is written in the Bible, what is right and what is wrong. When he was extremely ill one time as an infant we saw this very large hand print on his back. We disclosed this to our pastor and he replied “I believe you son was touched by God.” At the time I didn’t know what that meant for Logan or if that were true. Could it be mistaken identity like the Virgin Mary in a slice of bread? Now I believe he was.

The trials and tribulations that my son has endured since birth would have left many bitter and discontent; not Logan. If anything it has infused more love, faith and forgiveness in his soul. No matter the severity of the bullying he encountered at his brief stay at that public school he said to me “I forgive them mommy for what they did to me, you need to forgive them too.” I cupped his face in my hands and could see his soul in those eyes grinning at me. A wave of peace came over me and I knew my son was exceptional but for him to forgive them when it was so gut wrenching for me. I told him I forgave them and then we prayed.


I used to think I was being punished or we were cursed or something when Logan was battling illness after illness but I see that it molded him in to such a phenomenal kid. He loves and accepts everyone even those who treated him poorly for being “different”. God blessed us with this faith filled child who exuberates joy and acceptance; we call him the “little kid whisperer” no matter where we are kids flock to him and they hug him and want to hold his hand, it is so adorable! Even though Logan has sensitivity to touch he never backs away, he reciprocates without hesitation.

Our pastor told us “His compassion is infectious; he will spread it over the world when he grows up.” I believe he has already begun.

Stache Test


This is a test from the Emergency Stache Station if this were an actual post you would need a box of Depends to continue on.

This is only a test!