Thursday, October 13, 2016

What is a bully?

My fifteen-year-old son, Tate, is a freshman in High School. Tate has autism. To my knowledge Tate has never had to deal with peer who is a bully. I have a theory or two about the why(s) behind that and you can read about all of that here: A Successful Buddy Program

It is hard for some to believe that Tate does not have a problem with bullies. Many people have told me that bullying is just something their children with autism have to live with. I have had a few people suggest to me that Tate is likely being bullied for his differences, but is either unable to recognize it himself and complain, or that I am just too out-of-touch to know. It really is hard for some people to understand that we seem to have done what is considered "the impossible." There simply are no bullies in Tate's life.

Because the month of October is bullying prevention month, I decided to talk to my two special needs kids about bullying. I asked Tate if he knew what a bully is. He said, "a bully is someone who is mean to kids." I walked away and came back a bit later to ask him to go a bit more into depth about what a bully is. This time he said, "a bully picks on kids." So I asked him what a bully looks like. He told me a bully looks like a big kid who is really mean. I asked him if a little kid could ever be a bully and he said, "yes." I asked him if a grown up could be a bully. He again answered, "yes." So I asked him if he knew any bullies. He exclaimed, "no!" 

I wanted to explain some things about bullying to Tate and his younger sister, and that is best done with visuals for my two literal kids. The following is what I came up with... 

Let me know if I got it right. Are there things here you would change or add? Find me on Facebook at Quirks and Chaos

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

If you give a mom an Autism Speaks gift card...

It's no secret that a large majority of my followers are following because they saw one of my posts on the Autism Speaks site. So I do not have to explain to you readers who they are and what they do. 

Autism Speaks has been really good to me and to Tate. Most recently, a representative of the online shop ( sent us some merchandise to review. Knowing Tate as they do, there was a hoodie in the box. If you have followed us long at all you will know Tate puts a hoodie on in September and doesn't take it off until the end of May. He is a connoisseur of hoodies. He loved the Autism Speaks hoodie. It just so happened it came the evening before his birthday and he wore it on his birthday, proudly. 

I was asked to choose some things to review or blog about and was excited. I was excited, but it still took me two or three days to look at everything the shop had to offer. It was because I kept getting called away. The kids needed me. The phone rang. I had appointments. And one thing kept leading to another. 

And because of my love of the picture book series by Laura Numeroff, I was reminded of the mouse who is so distracted by everything around him, as I was trying to place that order! I decided to cartoon what it is like for a busy mom to shop online sometimes. 

Use this link to go to the Autism Speaks shop. If you place an order or buy a loved one a gift card, let them know that Lisa and Tate from Quirks and Chaos sent you.

And I'd love to hear what you liked best in the shop!

Monday, October 3, 2016

What Does ADHD Mean?

What does ADHD mean?

If you Google ADHD, you will learn that the acronym stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and you will read about distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

If you go to a medical professional for answers, chances are you will be given pamphlets, and told of medications that might help.

Educators and friends might tell you that ADHD is way over-diagnosed, and often a parent’s made-up excuse for a child who is undisciplined at home.

The best place to go for a true understanding of ADHD is into the home of a family who lives with it. My twelve-year-old daughter has ADHD. I’d like to tell you what ADHD is like for us.

For my daughter, ADHD means waking up in the morning with no desire to linger in bed or stretch and rub her eyes. ADHD means waking up in the morning and jumping out of bed, eyes wide open, and ready to run a race. ADHD means she believes everyone in the house should also be up and ready to run beside her. ADHD does not believe in sleeping in.

ADHD means she might forget to take her pajamas off before she pulls her clothes on. Or she might remember to pull the pajamas off and forget to put the clothes on.

ADHD means not being able to sit still long enough to eat a bowl of cereal, tie her shoes, or even go to the bathroom.

ADHD means she strives to fill every moment with noise and movement. If she runs out of things to say, then she will sing, bark, moo, or even cluck like a chicken. There is no room for calm or silence.

ADHD means playing too rough, spilling things, breaking things, knocking things over, and constant apologies. But then repeating what she just apologized for.

ADHD means never knowing what page the teacher is on, and wondering how the other kids always seem to know.

ADHD means she asks half a dozen questions in rapid succession but never waits for an answer, because she cannot stop her mind from wandering from one topic to the next.

ADHD means she forgets to bring her homework home every single night.

ADHD means she is often distracted from the task at hand by things the rest of us do not even notice: a squeaky chair, a dripping faucet, the flicker of a light, a voice in the hall, a movement across the room, or a dog barking outside.

ADHD means that other kids avoid her because she is a lot of work to be around.

For me, ADHD has meant constant interruptions, visual schedules and reminders, going over the rules repeatedly, hoping this time she will remember, while knowing she probably will not. 

ADHD has meant I have to model a quiet voice and talk often about volume. ADHD does not believe in whispering.

ADHD has meant pulling the car over to put my child back into her seatbelt, holding on tight to her hand when we go out in public, and constant reminders about safety.

ADHD has meant awkward explanations to family, friends, and acquaintances for my daughter’s behavior.

ADHD has meant medications that were hard to afford, but even harder NOT to afford. And getting those meds into her mouth as soon as possible in the morning.

ADHD has meant dreading the first hour of the day and watching the clock, waiting for the meds to kick in. Then, indescribable relief when they do, because my daughter is going to be able to organize her thoughts, have real conversations, follow multistep instructions, and learn for the next few hours. And there will be bouts of quiet. Oh how I used to take quiet for granted. 

ADHD has meant meetings with teachers and requests for help and understanding. And apologies.

ADHD has meant losing my patience over and over again, and having tremendous feelings of guilt for not being more understanding. 

ADHD has meant lots of giggles, silly misunderstandings, fun games, made up words, a huge imagination that never stops, hugs and back rubs.

ADHD has meant learning to parent differently, realizing that no amount of discipline can fix ADHD. ADHD has helped me to find buckets and buckets of perseverance and compassion I had no idea I had. ADHD means I work harder and longer, knowing that she is worth it all. 

                                (By the way, Riley is a doll.)

If you liked this post, you might also like to read what it is like to go shopping with my little girl. The Air Freshener Incident