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Showing posts from November, 2017

Smile, the Photographer Said

"Smile," the photographer kept directing me. "I am," I kept replying. "Look at the girls and smile." "I am. How could I not be smiling?" On the way home, our five-year-old foster daughter asked why Daddy can't smile. I smiled. Or so I thought. My wife finally explained, "If Daddy can't see his face, his brain thinks he's smiling but he isn't. He has to really work at it. It's called paralysis. The doctor broke Daddy, remember?" And in that moment, I had a flashback to an annual review meeting when a department chair said I didn't smile or seem happy and probably wasn't a good fit within the program. It was the start of a very rapid decline at that job. Everything I hate about being judged by social skills. My voice, my facial expressions, my gestures… so many things I try to control yet fail to control properly. When we tell autistics or other disabled people they need to "Be happy

Holiday Survival Mode

Holidays offer a number of challenges for individuals with sensory processing challenges. For me, the lights and sounds of the holidays can lead to migraines and tremors, along with a general sense of overload. Imagine being a child without the ability to escape the sights, sounds, smells, and touches of the holidays. Blinking lights (and often too many or too bright); sirens and party sounds; smells of baking, fireplaces, and fragrances; everyone seems to wants hugs and handshakes, if not kisses. It is an overwhelming holiday. We have two little ones with sensory processing issues and other special needs. I rarely write about them on the blog. I wanted to share that not only must we plan strategically for my special needs, but we must also plan for their needs as children. First, tell people about the sensory challenges. Eventually, I either have to leave a party or will have a stress meltdown. Telling people that crowded, loud spaces can be a problem might let hosts know tha