Monday, September 30, 2013

Autism Answer: "We either all live in our own worlds, or nobody does."~ Lynette Louise aka THE BRAIN BROAD

My mom (Lynette Louise aka The Brain Broad) was asked in an interview about autistic people living in "their own worlds". Her response was, "We either all live in our own worlds, or nobody does." I appreciate the importance of this statement, and can't help but giggle at how I came to truly understand the weight of it's truth!

My husband had been complaining about the skinniness of one of Hollywood's starlets and I was agreeing with my usual "I know that everyone should be their healthiest selves, and some people are naturally skinny, so I don't want to lump them in with the women starving themselves to look like someone they aren't" rhetoric, when I heard myself add, "besides, men prefer women with a little meat on them." Case closed. 

But then I had an epiphany. The men in my world had preferred women with a little meat on them because I have a little (and sometimes a little more!) meat on me. Huh! 

And then suddenly, for a brief moment, I truly understood how different this world behaves for each and every one of us, especially the ones with brain disorders like my mom and brothers. 

Can you imagine if you were seeing sound as colors (some of you probably have!) all of your life, and so as a little child decided to knock on a wall over and over because of the beautiful shade of blue it produced? Can you imagine how confused you would have felt when people who obviously loved you also slapped your hand or yelled every time you tried to share that beautiful sight with them? You are certain that they can see what you're seeing, because we all assume that everyone is seeing the same world we are. The confusion might have made you pull away, or knock even harder. But you were never in you own world. Just trying to share things you can see that others can't, in this world. 

I believe a reason it's so important to keep in mind that our autistic brothers, parents, children or selves are not in their own world is because it empowers us to respect that they are dealing with challenges we can't see, while reminding us not to give the challenges so much control that we allow ourselves--or them--to pull away and not try to engage with the world together. 

When I ask my autistic brother to pass me the pepper, and he reaches for almost everything BUT, I don't know if it's because the orange pen beside it is creating such a painful shine that he just can't see the spice, or if his intention tremor is making the task nearly impossible, or if he's just bored and this is a game for him. I don't know. 

But I do know that he can do it, and if I'm in the mood to be a good sister I won't yell impatiently or give up and get it myself. I will keep asking him to figure out a way to engage with this world, because let's be absolutely honest, this is where we all live. And I want him to learn to be comfortable here, because I love my brother. 

And it just so happens, I love my world!

Hugs, smiles and love!!!
Autism Answers

Silly Update: Back when I believed all men liked women with a little meat on them, I ate cookies accordingly. Now that I know it's more of a personal preference thing, I still get to eat cookies! Because my hubby's personal preference is me!! tee hee!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Autism Answer: My Beautiful Boobs!

Alright ladies! Let's talk about body image! 

When I was younger I used to wear sweaters in the summer to cover up my body. My mom would tell me my body was so cute, but she was my mom so I didn't believe her! I heard that my boobs were perky & perfect from--- well, guys I assumed were saying that so they could cop a feel! Years later I had four babies and everything on my body became stretch marked and flabby and saggy, especially my boobs! So, although I was too busy to worry about hiding my body anymore and got comfortable with just throwing on whatever was nearest to me, I quickly decided that my looks were plain and simply no good, and that my boobs should never be seen, even by my hubby! Had I learned nothing? 

Had autism taught me nothing??

Everyone can be beautiful!! When I look at Dar (my brother that is still autistic) I don't wonder if we should find a way to get rid of his stretch marks. Looking at my youngest brother Rye (who is no longer on the spectrum, but definitely still socially strange!) I don't sit there thinking he should go to a gym and work on his pecs. Nope! And when I meet a woman who has had to lose her breasts to cancer, I don't look at her and think that she's ugly or deformed. 

It's the woman's journey and strength I see. I see how amazing my brothers are and how hard they work. I think about making the right choices and not getting in the way of their healing. I hope and hope and hope that Dar's language will get clear enough to be understood by everyone, every time! 

I see the most beautiful people in the world!

And it's not because they do these things even though they have special needs. Some of what they choose to work on is because of disabilities or unbalanced brains or disease, but it's their willingness to work and love and try and share their experiences that make them beautiful!

Autism has shown me that everyone can be beautiful! Funny how often we have a hard time letting the lessons make us feel good about ourselves. Oops! If everyone can be beautiful, then so can I! Beauty has nothing to do with stretch marks or flab, and everything to do with moving forward, carrying kind confidence, and being our best! 

So I will see me as beautiful today. Me and my saggy, stretch marked boobs! 

Hugs, Smiles and Love!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Autism Answer: How we do Homework: Our Personal Preferences and Working Style!

Last night I watched my fifteen year old son (Shay) shove our coffee table to the side of the room and lay on the floor, throwing one leg up on the couch. He had already put a record on his record player and, while The Temptations sang Ain't no Justice, gathered a small pile of unfinished work that he'd found shoved in his backpack. I watched him take up space in the middle of the floor, going through his papers, working quietly and comfortably. 

This morning at 5:30 AM I heard my thirteen year old son (Declyn) get out of bed and warm up his chicken leftovers from last nights supper. Rummaging through the fridge he found a bit of Ozarka Sparkling Spring Water, grabbed that and his plate of food, and headed back to the room where he sleeps. He sat sipping and eating while he finished working on his journal entry and a bit of algebra homework. Afterwards, he put his dishes in the sink and played a little XBox. That's when I got out of bed and put on the coffee.

While I was roaming around and struggling to rouse his brother, he got dressed and brushed his teeth. Put his shoes on and went outside to jump on the trampoline and play with the dogs. *Playing with the dogs is Declyn's favorite way to wake up his social side. School, with all of it's social opportunities and challenges, is often exhausting for my two youngest boys. Spending time playing outside with the dogs is one of the ways Declyn has found to step into the social world comfortably!*

Right now, as I work on my computer, I have the radio in the other room tuned to my favorite rock station. It's quiet enough not to distract me, and loud enough that I'll recognize any awesome songs that come on and make me want to dance! That way I am encouraged to get off my butt every so often to move my body and feed my music-lovin'-soul!

My boys have all discovered different ways that they enjoy working. Not one way is better than the other, and none of our ways work for us always! As we grow and change, so does the way we work. 

I love to make suggestions. I point out to my fifteen year old that if he were a bit more organized, he wouldn't be finding unfinished school work partying at the bottom of his wild backpack, crying for attention at the last minute! And I remind my youngest son that getting his homework done in the evening would allow him to sleep in. Also, video games in the morning?? Seriously? It just feels... wrong!

And when my own work is slipping, I give myself all kinds of pep talks over coffee!! I get new habits or re-visit old ones.

At the end of the day, we all have our own ways we like to work and play. It's important to encourage getting it done, while allowing for personalized preferences and styles. 

Even if that means stepping over your six foot tall fifteen year old son while he's sprawled out on the living room floor, listening to 70's Soul!!

Hugs, smiles and love!!!!

For any of you who also like to work while listening to 70's soul... here's my son's favorite!!
Now, get to work!! Tee hee!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Autism Answer: Goofy Gratitude!

I have a habit of appreciating things out loud. I'm pretty sure it all started when my mom taught us teenage girls the importance of explaining and exampling things with clarity for my brothers, who all landed somewhere on the spectrum of autism. 

I know my habit got much more pronounced when I became a mom. It then grew to an almost ridiculous degree when my two youngest sons displayed different, but many, symptoms of autism!

Together my boys and I enjoy pointing out and giving gratitude to the many, many, MANY gifts that just keep revealing themselves in our lives!!

Today I dropped my mom off at the airport in Dallas, and on the drive home was singing to myself as I navigated in, through and around morning traffic and construction. Always when I would think perhaps I had lost my way, a road sign would appear promising that I had only to go a little bit further till my next exit.

And always, without fail, when these road signs appeared I would look at them and exclaim,"Thank-you!" Then I would look up at the sky, around at the world, and toward my fellow travelers and say again and again: Thank-you!

It occurred to me that I may seem silly. It occurred to me that perhaps I appear to be a smiley, dopey, lunatic thanking the world for just being there while I drive. But it also occurred to me that I am grateful and do appreciate it!

And that whatever I may appear to be, is nowhere near as important or true as what I am.

And I am grateful!! 

Goofily and honestly and truthfully grateful!!!

Thank-you for letting me share, friends! I am forever filled with goofy gratitude!!

Hugs, smiles and love!!!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Autism Answer: Share your Love Loud!

My oldest son and his girlfriend were shopping at the 99 Cent Store when an older woman came up to them. 

"You are a beautiful couple,"she said honestly,"and I see so much love. I remember what it was like when my husband and I were a young couple. Love was large but the money was tight. Here," she said offering them a twenty dollar bill,"you just shared some of your love with me. Now, I want to share some of my money with you." The kids were speechless and appreciative--and truthfully, very broke! They thanked the woman, and she in turn thanked them.

This happened on their one year anniversary as they were trying to celebrate by buying picnic food with the change in their pockets. Instead, they were able to buy a picnic feast paid for by the love they share; with each other and the world!

This is not an uncommon thing, either. I have been approached numerous times by people who wanted to offer me the gift of compliments, cash and food, always because they've enjoyed watching me with my sons or seeing my smile. One older gentleman walked up to me a few years ago and said,"Ma'm. I want ta thank ya. Watching the way you is with your boys, the way you let 'em talk and you listen like they matter, has made me act different with my own grand-kids an' it's been good.  Especially the way you is with that big boy o'yours. I can see he's a bit different, but you never seem to be embarrassed or nothin'. You just teach him and love him, and it looks precious. I'm not trying to be weird, I just hadda thank ya." 

So be sure to share your love loud! It promises to make beautiful things happen, whether or not you see it. And in sharing it, you absolutely always get to feel it!!

Hugs, smiles and love!!

The beautiful couple!!
Jory and Ashley!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Autism Answer: ONE: It's not your Fault. TWO: What can you do different?

I wrote this article with a focus on sex abuse survivors. 

However, the idea that we are often afraid to learn from accidents or traumatic events where we really aren't to blame, but did play a a role, is universally problematic. Traveling down the "what could I do differently" path often reveals harmful choices we ourselves made that may have encouraged a disaster, or put us in the path of one. 

As parents we have to get comfortable knowing that the way we played, or didn't play, with our children is part of who they are becoming now. We must be willing to look at some of the rules we made, or didn't make, that may have been accidentally harmful to our children, because at one point we just didn't know better.

I see a willingness to look at our own part to play, even when it really wasn't our fault, as strong, brave and powerfully important. 

If you choose to read the article I wrote, please keep that point in mind. It's not about sexual abuse so much as it's about being open to learning from ourselves, even if it means seeing what we could have done different. 

Especially then!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

Us teens enjoying some sun.
Man, that was long ago!! 

ONE: It’s not your Fault
TWO: What you can do Different

When a child is molested or an adult is raped they are told—rightfully!—that it’s not their fault. 

However, it is far less common to then point out what they could do different so that it’s less likely to happen again. It’s in this place that many of us survivors of sexual abuse are let down and harm ourselves even further. Because if it isn’t our fault, but there are no steps we can take to avoid it happening again, then the world is dangerous and unpredictable. And it has chosen to hurt us specifically. 

My step-dad (who we all called dad) molested me when I was twelve. I knew it wasn’t my fault, and I knew that if I told my mom she would not only believe me but would also make it stop. But I also felt like telling my mom would mean ruining our family, and that a strong woman could keep her mouth shut. I mention this because no matter how sincerely you tell a victim that they are not to blame, they’ll find something to feel responsible for—so it’s important to give them more. After my dad came into my room a second time I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle life in our home if I didn’t tell my mom. Plus, by then I’d started to see all of the other things he was doing inappropriately, even outside of the midnight molesting. It took some time and an unlikely opening (my mom told me I needed to keep my room cleaner and so I yelled at her, “Well maybe if someone would stop sneaking into my room at night to touch me, I would!”) but I did disclose the happening, and she did believe me. She also made it stop and we spent years learning about the cycle of abuse. 

After telling my mom our lives did change. For my mom it meant taking care of eight kids (six adopted, four on the spectrum of autism) by herself, but with a freedom to learn and teach and become who she’d always wanted to be. Life was much better, but also harder. Learning what you could have done differently is important, but it hurts. Because before you knew, you made dangerous choices. My molestation wasn’t my fault, and it also wasn’t my mom’s fault, but we both could have made choices that would have kept it from happening. 

This is what we are afraid to tell victims, because it sounds dangerously like blame. But it’s not blame, it’s knowledge and power. And if we care enough about victims then we need to be strong enough to listen, believe, and then let them hate us while we reveal what habits they can change to stay safe. In truth it is the victim themselves who will have to discover their own habits that need changing, but a friendly push in that direction is often needed. And potentially lifesaving. 

Think of it like this. You’re on your way to the mall and stopped at a red light. The light turns green, you go, and some distracted dork runs the red and hits you. The accident was not your fault, but you’d be a fool not to change a habit. From now on you’ll hopefully look and assess before going through the green, even though it should be perfectly safe. Likely you’ll also start wondering if it was your fault—were you thinking about that purse you want to buy or the hot guy that works in the shoe department? Regardless, it was not your fault, but there are things you can do different. 

When I was twelve, all I had to do was tell my mom about my step-dad’s lingering fingers when I was saying goodnight and he never would have actually molested me. This is an absolute truth, because my mom would have kicked him out. And if my mom had taken the steps to learn why she had been raped, molested and beaten as a younger woman, she never would have married my step-dad in the first place. This is an absolute truth. 

So if you are a victim, if you know a victim (or even an abuser, but that’s for another post!) please speak up and out. Don’t blame, but don’t ever be afraid to see what can be done different! 

The world is full of all types of kind and cruel, and though it isn’t your place to judge which is which in the lives of others, it is your place to judge for yourself. It is your right to keep yourself safe. You are your most important responsibility. Love yourself, respect yourself and take care of yourself. Almost always that means to learn from yourself.  

It’s not your fault. Now discover what you can do different and take control of your healing. Take control of your happiness. 

It happened, so give it a reason.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Autism Answer: My mom, the Stubbornly Hot Chick!!

Sometimes I call my mom (Lynette Louise aka The Brain Broad) a "stubbornly hot chick". It makes me giggle to myself, and is a perfect label for her! I would love to share with you how apt the phrase is. 

When my mom was a little girl she wanted to be the super mommy of no less than twelve kids, be a movie star and teach the world about fairness and love. Life kind of interrupted those well laid plans. 

A still birth, hysterectomy, abusive husband to begin with. She struck back with adoption, a safe house for abused women and stand-up comedy. There were two teenage homeless girls who became my sisters. Then their families decided to step in and try to beat my mom down again. Teachers who couldn't understand my mom's consistent insistence that her disabled boys deserved creativity and caring joined the fight. My mom stepped in the ring with love, a belief in miracles, special diets, and a willingness to see people as doing their best with what they know. 

There were some along the way who encouraged her and were amazed by her as well. So she kept going. She held our hands tight as we traveled North America performing, learning and living a life full of wonder and love. She believed in our dreams and always went after her own. She has eight kids, not twelve. She isn't famous yet but has been in movies, hosted a cooking show and her international reality series FIX IT IN FIVE with LYNETTE LOUISE aka THE BRAIN BROAD is playing and popular on The Autism Channel. She has performed her one woman comedy show CRAZY TO SANE around the world and has released two CD's. She is the author of two amazing books. She hosts a podcast and interviews moms, professionals, celebrities and more. She travels the globe as a therapist teaching, speaking and working intimately with families of autism and other disabilities. From addiction to Parkinson's to Tourette's to depression and so much more! She examples and teaches how small attitudinal shifts, along with some creativity and a little neurofeedback, can change a life and reveal its beauty. 

She is beautiful. No matter what life throws at her, no matter how the world tries to beat her down or beg her to stop speaking her truth, she is stubbornly beautiful. And when the woman she sees in the mirror doesn't look like the vivacious, full of life and silliness woman that she is inside, she gets a little bit of work done! 

She is a stubbornly hot chick who has affected hundreds of lives with her beauty and love already, and I'm certain she will stubbornly gift hundreds more! 

So--like my mom!-- make your plans, go after your goals and if you are forever willing to adjust and re-think, you will get there! And if the picture you have of yourself in the future is some well- adjusted hot chick (or dude!) know that following your dreams makes it so! (Also, the odd buff and puff can be done along the way, if you're so inclined!)

Hugs, smiles and love!!!
Autism Answers

Lynette Louise aka THE BRAIN BROAD
Neurofeedback expert, play therapist, brainiac, singer, songwriter, mom extraordinaire,
and Stubbornly Hot Chick!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Autism Answer: Uniquely Qualified!

When my oldest son very first started kindergarten, I used to let him go to school with marker all over his face. He has always been very creative and imaginative. Plus, we were pretty broke and had few toys, so allowing him to color on us and himself was a fun way to encourage his pretend play! 

His teacher (who I saw as an expert because she had been teaching for years, and I was a young mom) took me aside one day and said sweetly,"I love the way you let Jory express himself, but the other students aren't allowed to do that in their homes so it's probably better if your son came to school without all the unique face paint." 

Aaaaaahhhhhhh.... don't let our kids be their individual selves.... I'm a slow learner but thanks to my son's kindergarten teacher, I eventually got it. ~BTW: Please note that the teacher hadn't said anything horrible, I had chosen to learn the wrong lesson! My fault, not hers!~

By the time Jory was older, and a few of his brothers were school aged as well, I was exhausted and nervous and confused and lacking any self-confidence as I busted my butt trying to make sure my kids behaved and appeared like everyone else. You know, normal. 

Well, I have four brothers who were autistic, my youngest boys have many traits of autism and my mom is a global autism therapist Lynette Louise aka THE BRAIN BROAD. Growing-up in our house was always crazy and forever fun! But during those few years while I was trying so hard to make us appear 'normal', we kinda lost the fun part. 

However, it wasn't too long before I chose to see the importance of being your unique self, while also being comfortable in the world. 

Armed with this understanding I relaxed and allowed all of us to be a little bit nutty! I also included a fork-full of fitting in, a huge portion of individuality and delicious additions of sharing, learning and dream chasing! 

There are many moms and dads struggling to encourage individuality while teaching social skills, language, etc.... I am by no means alone in this! However, having four brothers who were once on the spectrum (and I'm talking everywhere on that spectrum!) and a mom who travels the world teaching and helping families of autism with humor, honesty, respect and love, made me uniquely qualified to find the fun balance between encouraging the unique and different while teaching and believing in their ability to be comfortable in the world. 

And you know what is also true? You are uniquely qualified too!!!

Hugs, smiles and love!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Autism Answer: Sexy Daydreams (or My Life is Awesome!)

My brother and I were driving and trying to find a song on the radio full of joy. We couldn't. So, I wrote this one for us!

Dar (my brother) is autistic, and his most consistent obsession is a love of schmaltzy tunes. As we were desperately searching the airwaves for something appropriately cheesy I couldn't help but notice that most of the lyrics in most of the songs were kinda lacking in anything I could truly celebrate. So....

I shut off the radio and wrote this! My brother loved it! Well... either that or he thought it was ridiculous. He was laughing the whole time. I decided to think he was happy about my song! 

Later on that day I sang it for my boys, and they loved it! I sang it for my mom and my sister, they found it fun! When I sang it for my niece she said,"That's awesome Aunt T! It's so much like you. It's your Character Song!"

I loved that so much! So now I think of it as my character song!!

Here I am, singing the song in my mom's living-room where I do a large part of my living. I'm no singer or songwriter... but I like it!!! Enjoy!

I feel sort-of silly sharing this, yet I feel it's kind of important too. Very often we forget to celebrate the everyday things. The fabulous family moments and morning coffees. Our loves and passions, our personalities and differences. And when we do celebrate, it tends to be in passing, as though they are only little things. But in truth, they are THE things! They are what all the work and chasing after success and hoping for world change is about!

I love all kinds of music--the intense and deep, the sexually charged, the lyrically stirring--but I also love the idea of more music that celebrates family and everyday magic. 

So rather than just talk about it and wish someone more talented than me would do it--and because my son has written a song that I really want him to sing and share with the world, so I figured I'd better example how easy it is to just do it!--I went ahead and pulled out my digital camera and sang my song!!

It's a little reminder to myself, my children and anyone else interested in remembering: Be the person you feel good being, unapologetically and with joy! Don't wait until it's easy or fashionable, just be! Allow others that same gift and celebrate with passion!

And, if your so inclined, a little ditty!

For more--and better!!--songs/music videos that you can celebrate, please check out my mom's music videos!! My mom is Lynette Louise aka THE BRAIN BROAD--an international mental health therapist who specializes in autism. She is fantastical!!! And her music is freaking awesome!! 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Autism Answer: A Lovely Kind of Crying!

I was crying a tiny bit today while driving home after dropping my boys off at school. 

It was a lovely kind of cry! 

Last night Shay--who has an obsession with going through closets, drawers, storage spaces, bottom-of-the heap suitcases and such--found an old unlabeled CD and we wondered what was on it. He needed to get some sleep (ha! That's funny....) so I promised we'd check it out in the morning. 

On the way to school he admitted,"I listened to it after you went to bed. It's a bunch of Jory's music mixes! Put it on number 2!" So, we listened to one of my oldest son's mixes as we drove, singing and bouncing like popcorn! We felt excited and overly emotional remembering Jory's first tries at editing. Mixing music together was how he discovered a passion! And we had such fun remembering! 

After dropping my two youngest boys off I decided to skip back to song #1... see what we had there. Well, here's where the crying comes in!

It was a mix of P!NK songs Jory had made me for my birthday a few years ago. He knew I loved P!NK, and so he carefully chose my favorites and mixed them together with a story line. Ending beautifully on "You're Effing Perfect" and then adding a piece of "So what, I'm a Rock Star".... today I chose to think he was telling me I'm perfect to him, and that I'll be okay when they have all grown up and left, because I'm a rock star. 

So, I sang with my gut, and I cried happy tears! I cried because my boys are growing up beautifully! I cried because they are finding their passions! I cried because I have to let them leave and become their own kind of rock stars! I cried because they really love me!

I don't cry very often, but when I do... I choose to love it!!

There are so many reasons I could have chosen a sad cry, we all have those reasons and can choose them. But I rarely do.

Autism has taught me the life skill of simply seeing beauty in every struggle. It's not always obvious, but it's always there.

"Welcome to my silly life."~P!NK

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

I thought it would be fun to share this video here, as an example of just how much my boys and I love experiencing music together! And you'll notice that we're singing a P!NK song!! Hugs!!!!

"It's not about doing things really well, it's about doing them with all of your heart!" ~Me

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Autism Answer: Loving the Lessons Everywhere!

Alright parents, let's admit it. We've all messed up, and more than once! We've hollered, we've cried, we've smacked and pinched and wanted to run away. We've tried to justify, we've drowned in guilt, we've hoped and wished and hated and tried. 

We've been perfectly human. Just like our kids. 

Admittedly, we are the grown-ups here. So it is our job to example forgiving ourselves, apologizing and making different choices, better-for-now choices. And this is a freaking beautiful thing! Our kids get to see what it means to mess up, apologize and learn from our mistakes! We get to show them and chat with them about how it's okay to be different, to want to give up, to want to run away. We get to show them what it means to get back up and try again, and again, and again!

My brother, Dar, was very low functioning for all of my childhood and much of my adult life. My mom insisted he understood what was going on around him and could learn skills, while professionals and his behaviors said otherwise. I chose to believe the professionals, and my behaviors spoke with loud clarity. Dar heard my non-belief, even when I lied with my words to make mom happy. Now, Dar is thirty-two and has come farther than anyone--besides my mom!--could have dreamed! So I believe in him now, with extra loud clarity! He has heard me apologize, seen me change and grow, and seen his nephews--my boys--change and grow because of it. Because of him!

A few days ago I was kind of cranky and tired. Shay, my fifteen year old son, was asking me weird questions over and over. On a different day I would have answered his questions while guiding the conversation with intention and curiosity, until we both learned a thing or two. That day, I just said,"Shay, can you please stop being so weird?" Oops! His response was a cool and calm,"No." Then we laughed together, I apologized and we discussed what it is to have comfortable conversation. It was wonderful! I got to show my son what it is to mess up, apologize, mean it, and move on! And, I was no longer cranky!

Not only is it okay to be human, and okay to make mistakes when we're parenting. It's absolutely wonderful!!

I'm loving the lessons everywhere!!!
Hugs, smiles and love!!!!
Autism Answers

My wonderfully weird son, Shay and I.
Man, I love my boys!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Autism Answer: Celebrity Status and Autism!

“Hello and thank-you for calling Ghostbusters.” No matter who says those words, I hear them in that awesome voice and picture that little woman with the sassy attitude, Annie Potts. Without question, she has celebrity status. We know her face, recognize her voice and marvel at her range. Ghostbusters, Pretty in Pink, Designing Women, countless TV shows and TV movies, along with stage shows and documentaries… not to mention Bo-Peep in Toy Story… my generation grew up knowing her and feeling comfortable as soon as she was on screen or we heard her voice.

It’s not surprising to me that she is my mom’s guest for the most recent episode of her podcast A NEW SPIN ON AUTISM: ANSWERS! My mom has celebrity status as well. Lynette Louise aka THE BRAIN BROAD (my mom) was the black sheep in her family and in her small Canadian town. Growing-up with undiagnosed autism has a way of making a person stand-out and challenge those around them to know how to act and feel. Later, as the single mother of eight children—six who were adopted; of which four had autism—she stood out still. In schools where she fought for her children’s rights—our rights, and in neighborhoods where neighbors felt intimidated and confused by our challenges, she forever stood out. And now as an international mental health therapist who also writes, speaks and teaches, always with an eye on honest answers and transparency. Even when those answers may be unpopular or controversial, and when transparency leaves her vulnerable and open to judgment, she wears her celebrity status with intention.

And that is one of the topics Annie Potts and Lynette Louise aka THE BRAIN BROAD discuss on the show. The topic of what to do with your celebrity status—whether it’s something you went after purposely or something that was bestowed upon you by the nature of who you are—and how to use it wisely and with intention. How to use it to learn about yourself and the world openly, exampling for others a kind of actionable kindness that on-lookers can feel good emulating and you can feel good implementing.
This episode of A NEW SPIN ON AUTISM: ANSWERS will no doubt be fabulous and fun. However, it will not be unique in style to Lynette’s other episodes. Celebrities of all sorts have chatted with Lynette candidly while she played with the topic of the day. Whether the topic was single-mom autism dating (with Patti Stanger) or actors targeting autism with (Johnathon Schaech), or movement for brain health (with Anat Banial), or Phineas and Ferb (with Martin Olsen) or lucky to have an autism diagnosis (with Donna Williams) always Lynette and her guest discover actionable autism and parenting answers. Which, according to Lynette, “Proves that no matter what your interests, work, culture or age, there are always answers you can find in your personal passions, and in the passions of others, that will apply to your life. Answers that you can use to gain skills and go after dreams. This is important because it opens people up to learning from each other and, ultimately, accepting each other as well.”

Tune in now! The show can be found here: ANEW SPIN ON AUTISM: ANSWERS . You can also find it on iTunes and Lynette’s own websites, and  Lynette Louise and Annie Potts will explore ideas and share insights that are rarely shared elsewhere. And I can pretty much promise that whatever they reveal will be applicable to your life!

And you’ll also enjoy listening to that awesome and familiar voice so many of us have grown-up adoring!

"Welcome to Ghostbusters...."
Annie Potts as Janine!