Friday, June 27, 2014

Autism Answer: This Moment

I'm sitting here with multiple tabs open on my computer, trying to organize my thoughts and get some work done that's been piling up. My mind is swirling with "things-to-do" while I'm attempting to catch and corral them into an organized list that'll help me be efficient, effective and--hopefully!--creative and true.

Behind me my youngest son is singing to himself, improvising and creating lyrics. He's mixing the sounds of R&B with rap and adding a dash of rock. He's singing all about himself and his hopes and his feelings. His song is full of questions, confidence, love, and social challenges.

A little farther behind me and two rooms over my other son sleeps. He was up all night thinking about his future and looking into the possibility of making more and different friends. He was also thinking about his brothers--the ones that live far away--and wondering how to accept the consistent nature of their physical far away-ness without always feeling so lonely for them.

I'm writing, my son is singing, my other son is dreaming. 

This moment we are all creating, and while we do it together we also do it separately, with a deep personal nature. One that compliments each other but comes from deep within ourselves. From a place where we can only be alone.

This moment is beautiful. This moment is real.

This moment is my life.

All of life exists in moments. Go ahead and describe them to yourself and your loved ones with honesty and intention. 

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Autism Answer: It's worth it.

My son couldn't sleep last night because of a powerful pain in his ear, possibly another ear infection-- which is quite common with autism. Both the ear infections and the not sleeping!

So, I ran to the grocery store for a few items and cooked up a batch of garlic, olive oil, and coconut oil. I poured a little in his ears while he finally slept. I also rubbed some on his skin and behind his ears throughout the day. Now he feels waaaayyyyy better. Not completely better, but way better. 

But first he told me that if I loved him as much as I say I do, I'd have rushed him to the doctor for emergency care and "real medicine". 

As I explained to him that it's because I love him so much that I insist on cooking up a batch of nature's offerings, foods and medicine given to us by Mother Nature, or God, or The Universe-- whatever you feel comfortable with--I was remembering a time from my own childhood when my mom stayed up all night with me as I vomited and cried in pain. I remembered how she wiped my brow and sang me songs and pulled my hair back every time I wretched and groaned. I relived how she listened to me scream and yell at her, insisting that she didn't love me or she'd rush me to the emergency room. Her patience came back to me as I recalled how she explained lovingly her reasons for staying home, while the younger me was too inexperienced to believe her and insisted I was dying and she didn't care.

I thought about how much I love my son and for a moment I was a little girl again, only this time I brought my experience with me and allowed myself to feel my mom's love. Along with her uncertainty and the hope-I'm-making-the-right-choice nervousness that comes hand in hand with parenting.

These moments, these beautiful and important moments, remind me to trust my love and instincts when parenting my sometimes unbelieving and ungrateful children.

Because always, and after very little time, they become believing and grateful.

Only ten minutes ago my son gave me an unsolicited hug and thanked me for understanding his pain and helping him through it.

I let him in on the truth. I did it for me, because of my love for him.

And it was worth it.

It's always worth it!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)


PS: If you're interested in making the garlic oil I referred to, here's a great post I found at Creative Christian Mama with ear health tips and an even better recipe than the one I use. I've never used mullein but, according to my sister, it'll help ease the pain. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Autism Answer: Your Personal "News Feed"

I was startled this morning when I looked at my Facebook news feed. It seemed that overnight my friends had all become adolescent boys! 

Posts and jokes rife with immature attempts at shocking folks for a laugh lunged at me from my computer screen. Celebrity pics and gossip strutted proudly, while young attempts to make a point with in your face imagery and language stood begging for attention and comments. There was a noticeable lack of my usual news feed celebrations, photos of nature, and love-the-earth type links.

Quite quickly I realized I had found myself in a world of my son's making, that I was accidentally immersed in his news feed and friends, his Facebook family. 

I was mostly relieved--both to know that my friends hadn't drastically changed, and to know with certainty that I'm glad to no longer be adolescent!

It was a nice reminder too. We tend to create our own personal news feeds wherever we go. We choose how we focus and where we focus, we surround ourselves (mostly) with people and places of our choosing. Heck, our search engines are even kind enough to suggest links that they've "learned" we will be most interested in! It's convenient and kind, but also a small sort of lie.

I don't mind this at all, but I find it fantastically important to remember it! It's easy to feel certain that the world is what you see, and to forget the beautiful truth that the world is so much more than that.

There is power in this knowledge. If you find that the world is combative, perhaps step away and look at your habits and choices. If the world seems hyper focused on material things or physical appearance, once again... have a look at your own personal news feed. And know that if you are unhappy with what you see, you can change it!!!

Of course, there is the potential to fool yourself about the world as well. This barely concerns me, because I have a belief system that grows truth and manifests our world directly from thought... however, even without this I would easily understand that knowing the personal nature and choosing of my news feed--and surrounding myself with folks who are vastly different from me--will keep me from becoming a complacent citizen. In all honesty, I became far more of an advocate for the things I love once I purposefully chose to insist on being surrounded by only them.

At home I've been able to create a personal news feed for my family, by highlighting and sharing and "liking" with purpose. I'm not fooled into thinking every home is like ours, I know well that what we think is common, funny, or right is personal to us and possibly the opposite to our neighbor's and the news feed they would create.

But that doesn't mean I shouldn't create with intention! Just that I should remember it's a world born of my creating and to be open to the reality of other different and popular worlds! 

When I remember this truth, that what's taken for granted and assumed in my personal news feed is likely very different from a new friend's, I'm forever patient and happy to explain and share what I know--about autism, organic farming, mixed race relationships, parenting, teenagers, sex abuse, and so much more!! I'm also more than happy to learn what it is that they know and believe about the world that they are immersed in.

Being startled by my son's news feed this morning was a lovely reminder. 

Now, I'm off to peer pressure him into finding friends who post more links about loving trees and less pics about smoking pot.

Tee hee!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Autism Answer: What I Learned First, And What Came Later

Hello there, stranger. 


I see you staring at my son as he towers over me and squishes my cheeks over and over while I browse the organic produce. I see you wondering why I allow him to kiss me on the lips in public and feel your judgement when I don't reprimand him for wearing the attitude that the two of you are equals, rather than him a sixteen year old boy and you an adult. When I don't teach that the labels "boy" and "adult" deserve different treatment. 

I see it and I feel it, and I respond in my own way. 

If it feels appropriate, I'll explain my reasons. If you ask outright about us I'm more than happy to tell you. I love to share and discover reasons! And if my son begins to squirm from the weight of your misinformation or misunderstanding or difference of opinion I'll explain to him. Maybe loud enough for you to hear if I feel that will help.

You see, I learned early that allowing my loved ones to be themselves is more important than teaching them to be who you expect. My brothers were all on the autism spectrum, and if my mom taught me or them to act only as expected then we would have all died of depression and self loathing by now. Instead she taught us to explore our interests and passions, and to do so with such comfort that we are able to share who we are to those who may be curious. 

She taught us to be so comfortable with any strangeness that is truly us that we can't help but want you to be comfortable too! Rather than feel compelled to shove our difference in your face with anger or "I dare you to say something" attitude, we live and love and be ourselves comfortably. Because I learned early and first the importance of that.

I'll admit that I learned the value of fitting in and learning to care about the expectations of others a little bit later--and it's true that there is value! With a willingness to hear the views of the many and to consider the comfort of the masses I have been able to teach my loved ones to keep an open mind and a flexible nature. Also, we've discovered tips and tricks for sharing our own passions more clearly and to a bigger audience. That is a lovely thing!

So, I learned caring about discovering my unique self, and encouraging those I love to discover their unique selves, first. Later I learned to care also about your unique needs and ideas. 

The two go well together, most of the time. And when I struggle to see how the pieces fit--our unique selves and your unique needs and ideas--I'll always choose accepting myself and my loved ones first, over worrying about you. Not only because myself and my loved ones are more my responsibility, but because I am unable to guess correctly the expectations of you, a kindly stranger staring as my son purses his lips and makes animal sounds in the produce section.

I see you staring as my son towers over me and squishes my cheeks, and I respond in my own way. I hope you're open to my style of communication, and are truly curious rather than assumptive. Communication--every kind of communication--is understood best that way. 

I learned exploring unique and personal passions first, and finding how they fit with society later.

Want to know a secret?

I think, honestly, that's the best order!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Autism Answer: My Youngest Sons, and Words

My youngest son writes some of the most insightful essays for school. Over the years teachers have consistently commented, emailed, and red penned in the margins of his schoolwork surprised and inspired encouragement. 

The other day I asked him what he hoped to get out of his writing. His response was,"I want to change people's minds."

For a guy who loves his zombie XBox games and war movies, it's nice to know he's got a talent and confidence with the truest weapon and influence of all.


Declyn Capturing Words
And Changing Minds
Another Story:

Shay Sleeping Once Words Have Uncovered Answers
And Are Quieted 
On the drive to school one morning Shay told me that during the night, while he tried to sleep, he was having an argument with himself about the day's biology test.

"Well, at least it's biology which isn't as hard as algebra,"one side of him said.

"What are you talking about? Biology is like a mix of algebra and science... so it's harder than algebra," his other side retorted.

"Ya, but biology is all about stories. The stories make it easier to learn, and more fun too," explained the first side.

"Dude, algebra is stories too. You just have to pay attention differently to them," the second side argued somewhat cheekily.

"I know that. What I'm saying," the first side explained with patience,"is that today's biology test will be easier for me than yesterday's algebra test because I like biology better. It's my style of stories."

That was when Shay's voices got quiet and he was able to fall asleep.

Apparently his second side was smart enough to know you just can't argue with personal preferences and story styles!!! 

Hugs, smiles, and love!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Autism Answer: I Ate The Last Hot Dog

I grabbed a package of hot dogs for supper last night. We're kinda low of funds till payday so I can't quite pull off anything healthier than that, but my boys were thrilled! They love when I can't pull off healthy!

Anyway, I didn't want to eat any supper because my boys are growing and I'm not. I chose to finish off a container of almonds. Declyn, however, insisted I have a hot dog. 

"No thanks, hun. I don't really like them." I insisted.

He was trying to be sly and asking me things like,"But when you do eat them you like mustard, right? But not really much ketchup, right? I mean... when you do eat them, I'm not talking about today."

We were sitting in the dark watching a movie, so it was easy for me to hide my knowing smile. And of course he did eventually hand me one of his hot dogs and claimed,"I made it exactly how you like it. So now, you have to eat it! Anyway, I'm full!"

This is my family. Always seeing the bigger picture in small moments. 

Today he doesn't remember the taste or feel of the hot dogs he did or didn't have, he remembers the feeling of caring and sharing with me. 

Sometimes accepting your son's last hot dog is the kindest thing you can do!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

Declyn and Shay
roasting hot dogs.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Autism Answer: Rubber Boots and a Dream

My darling Tyran.

When he was tiny he would look up at me with daring determination, wearing rubber boots and a Robin costume, and promise, "I'm going to be a character when I grow up."

Nothing comes naturally for him, and so every skill had to be fought for. Every talent practiced and practiced and practiced until it was entirely his own. Wait... one thing comes natural. An intensity and purpose to be what he wants to be.

Then one night he stood on stage in front of a sold out audience and preformed an important role in The Great Gatsby with his peers.

Another night he performed as Aladdin, a starring role, on stage in front of a sold out audience. My sister and her daughters overheard a couple of teen girls whispering before the curtain went up,"I can't wait to see Tyran with his shirt off!" 

On a different day he performed with his peers on camera, a short film in an anti-bullying campaign. The photo shoot for that was done just in time for him to get to a dress rehearsal for a dance performance he was in.

And on and on and on and on..... 

I wasn't there for any of these shows, because to follow his dreams he had to leave.

But I also was there. In the freedom I gave him to discover his talent, in the support I gave him while we talked about his dreams, in the comfort I pretended to have when he went one thousand miles away to make his future his own. And in my heart I know he felt my pride, love, and support.

Dreams do come true. 

And they are best lived when we go after them with patience, a willingness to follow them though they require change, and open eyes that see them when they are played out. 

Congratulations, Tyran!!! 

I love you and am soooooooo proud of you. 
And I really, really, really miss you!!!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)