11 Things We Can’t Do Without Over a Three-Day Weekend

11 Things

With the three-day weekend upon those of us in the U.S. and the U.K., we thought it would be fun to reach out to some of our contributors and ask them what is the one thing they absolutely couldn’t do without over an extra-long weekend. There seemed to be some common themes among the answers, including java and electronics. Here are the 10 items chosen, plus 1 bonus. What would you have picked?

  1. WiFi/Internet Access

As Kate from Awenesty of Autism perfectly stated, “If the WiFi goes out, then I’m going out too (for wine, margarita, etc.)… If the WiFi stops working, then so do I. Here is my resignation letter.”

Seriously. It doesn’t make us bad parents. It just helps us stay good ones.

Furthermore, as Angela from Two Brothers One Journey says, the Internet lets her “communicate with other autism parents and know that I am not alone.” After all, that’s the whole reason we started AutismAwareness.com.

  1. Fully Charged iPads

This goes for all electronic devices, including television in the house and MP3 players, with working Bluetooth if needed and headphones if preferred. If you go out and forget to charge the iPad first? Let’s just say: You’re on your own. That’s a whole lot of trouble about to go down.

  1. Well-Stocked Food and Drink Supply

As explained by Michelle from A Slice of Autism, “Long weekends for us means I can’t just nip out to the shops as my little man doesn’t cope with shopping.” Because her husband usually has to work on bank holidays, “if I don’t have the essentials it can be tricky in the house for three days with no food or coffee!”

Which leads into…

  1. Coffee

While Ger at It’s Me Ethan admits that coffee may be the reason for many of the daily vicious cycles, including both feeling tired AND not being able to sleep well, she still believes that coffee is a habit that “many of us parents are unwilling to break!”

Personally, we agree (taking large sip of our twice-heated third cup of coffee of the day).

  1. Headache Medicine

Paracetemol/Tylenol, Advil, whatever. This needs no explanation, especially when the coffee stops working.

  1. Other Adults

Parents of both neurotypical kids and those with autism know how important it is to have the company of adult friends once in a while. Once in a short while. Because sometimes it helps to have confirmation that you’re NOT going crazy. Even when you feel like you are. Trust us, you’re not. Well, maybe just a little…

  1. Good Weather

Having the ability to venture outside will give you a sense of freedom. Even if you never open the door and actually enjoy it. But at least it gives you choices. You know, in case that well-stocked food supply runs dry and you have to make a break for it.

  1. Sense of Humor

Amanda from the Little Puddins blog told us, “For whatever the reason, my children usually decide on long weekends to throw tantrums and give out and do the most inexplicable things. A healthy dose of humor will always see you through.”

This is an impressive and necessary trait for most of us. But especially for you, on a three-day weekend. When you haven’t had a chance to make a cup of coffee and somebody’s already decided that their favorite snacks that you’ve smartly stocked up on are no longer foods that they eat.

  1. Comfortable Pants

We don’t dress up on three-day weekends. Even if adult friends drop by. Yoga pants or sweats are the new power suit—haven’t you heard?

  1. Wine

Amanda from Little Puddins points out that, “if your sense of humour is lacking, a nice LARGE glass of wine when your children are asleep (hopefully) will always make your day not seem so bad.” Or whisky. Or other drink of choice.

  1. Wet Wipes

This one’s a bonus, by way of Ger from It’s Me Ethan who writes, “I cannot even explain how valuable they are when you have three boys; it’s all fine until no one knows what that brown stain is.” Truer words have never been spoken.

(Try to) Enjoy your weekend!

Special thanks to:

Director John Asher’s PO – A Movie About Autism

Have you seen this movie trailer?

You have to!

Hollywood Producer /Director John Asher just wrapped the filming of his latest movie called PO. A story around a Dad who loses his wife to Cancer, and left as a single working dad solely responsible for raising his sixth grade son with Autism.

This preview is nothing short of incredible and screening at festivals now.

Starring Christopher David Gorman (Covert Affairs), Julian Feder (Community), and Kaitlin Doubleday (Catch Me If You Can/Empire).

Visit the movie’s Facebook page or official website.

Can. Not. Wait.

When It’s Hard for Your Child to Make Friends

Unhappy Child

His name was George. He was always a mess. His shirt was perpetually untucked and his hair was always all askew. He had the bad habit of picking his nose chronically and, like his fairytale predecessor “Georgie Porgie,” he did actually chase the girls to kiss them. He had no friends that I remember.

I went to grade school with George, and had forgotten about him for years, until I started worrying about my own child. You see, my daughter is totally unlike me socially. I tend to be relatively shy at first, especially in crowds. I prefer to hang back and assess a room, judging who to approach to strike up a conversation. My son is just like me in this behavior. My daughter is not. She’s more like George.

She tends to just jump right into any situation, talking. It’s been her approach to life since she could move on her own. Her toddler years found me on constant alert, as she explored the world around her with no sense of danger or self-preservation. This led to many stories we laugh about now, but I’m pretty sure my hair started going grey during those years. As stressful as it was, she had a zest for life that I couldn’t help but marvel at and admire. It was a joy to just watch her.

Before she was even in kindergarten, I guessed that the school years wouldn’t be easy ones for her. With the over-emphasis on core curriculum and testing, there’s little room for creativity and play. And kids like my daughter thrive on both imagination and movement. The early years of grade school were hard ones for her, as a kid who had what I call “ants-in-the-pants-itis.” It was hard for her to focus when her body wasn’t in motion. She loved to just shout out answers instead of waiting to be called on, and had no problem telling the other students they were wrong when they were.

As the wife and daughter of teachers, I empathized with her teachers and did my best to talk to her about what was, and what was not, acceptable. Not only in a classroom setting, but in any social setting as well. But as the mother of a child who obviously learned differently, I also wanted to protect her sense of self and hated the idea of having anybody trying to hammer down my square child into a round hole.

She learned gradually and, by fifth grade, had mastered classroom etiquette while bringing home good grades. Social etiquette, and especially interaction with her peers, however, was nowhere near as successful. Girls can be cruel, and especially pre-teen girls. Although she’d talk about her friends, she didn’t seem to be invited to many parties or sleepovers or even casual get-togethers. And I knew these were happening, because I’d see the photos that these girls’ moms were posting on social media.

I was never a cruel child and I have no memories of ever being mean to George. But I know that I didn’t go out of my way to be kind to him either. Yet here I sit, yearning for kids to be kind to my child. My child who can be loud, who loves to sing to herself, and whose hair is so very often a mess. And you know what?

I wonder if George’s mom’s heart broke too.

– By an Anonymous Mom.

Jane Wants a Boyfriend

We have seen the topic of Autism featured more prominently on television and in films over the past few years than in the nearly three decades since “Rain Man.” And that, of course, is a great thing, as the exposure forces society to become aware of autism and then more accepting of all individuals on the spectrum.

First, there was the news last year about Sesame Street and its new character Julia–a Muppet with autism. Then there was the airing of “The A Word” the past few month in the U.K. Before it went off the air, “Parenthood” featured a child with Asperger’s and limited social skills hitting the awkward and difficult teenage years.

Now we’ve just seen the trailer for “Jane Wants a Boyfriend,” a movie that centers on an adult with autism. The film, as described by The New York Times’ critic Andy Webster, “examines autism in the context of sisterly ties and intimate relationships.” Check out the trailer below.

We Salute You, Officer Purdy

In March, we profiled a police officer in Waukesha, Minnesota, who reacted appropriately and compassionately when he realized that the teenager who was “getting physical” in a local Target store had autism. Police departments from Minnesota to New Jersey and throughout the U.S. are being trained to become better educated on mental health issues, disabilities, and autism, helping them better respond to situations involving people with special needs.

Officer Purdy - Source Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD

Just this past weekend, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in North Carolina posted a photo to its Facebook page showing an officer sitting down in a parking lot to talk to a teenager who was also sitting on the ground. The social media post explained that the policeman, Officer Tim Purdy, had been sent on a call involving a young student from a local high school. The boy, who has autism, had walked out of school and was believed to be suicidal. He had also displayed violent behaviors in the past, so the officers needed to be on alert.

When Officer Purdy, who has been named his department’s Officer of the Month in the past, saw the high schooler sitting on the ground, he sat down next to him. This put him on the student’s level instead of standing over him, threateningly. He talked to the young man, and even had him laughing at one point, establishing a sense of friendship and trust. This connection between the two then allowed the policemen to get the high schooler the help he needed.

As always, we’d like to see these type of stories become commonplace and not make the news because of their rarity. Until they are, however, we’ll keep sharing them so that other police departments, and people in general, catch on. Respond with caring and compassion, not force.

This 6-Year-Old Boy Reads to Shelter Dogs

There have been news stories about kids practicing and honing their reading skills by reading to dogs. They are, after all, a pretty non-judgmental audience. There have also been news stories about kids reading to shelter dogs to help both socialize the dogs and keep them calm and relaxed in the stressful environment of a noisy kennel. We love all of these stories, but our favorite kid reading to shelter dogs is this one.

Every Thursday afternoon at Carson Animal Shelter in Los Angeles County, a 6-year-old boy comes in with a mat and a picture book and patiently reads to a pitbull named Pirate. The kennels are noisy, as the dogs no doubt vie for the attention of any human that comes by, but that doesn’t deter Jacob Tumalan. Although his reading isn’t perfect, he perseveres even through all the noise.

Jacob was diagnosed with autism when he was just 2 years old, after he lost many of his verbal skills. His aunt, Lisa Ferranti, and her daughter Lindsey volunteer at the animal shelter, where Lindsey started the reading program, “Rescue Readers.” About a year ago, they brought Jacob with them and noticed the bond he seemed to share with the animals.

“Jacob is so calming,” his aunt told NBC Los Angeles. “He walks through and he’s not yelling or banging on the cages. He comes with a book and his mat and sets it up, and the dogs just listen.”

Jacob’s mom, Katherine Tumalan, noted that Jacob has always liked books but struggled to read. After reading to the dogs for six months, he now reads at a third-grade reading level. And the relationship isn’t only one-sided: “If I read to the dogs they will come out of their cages and find homes,” Jacob said. “They have to find new homes because they are alone.”

Like Jacob, many of the animals simply need a little patience and love.

For all the Autism Moms and Grandmoms

This little bear was bright.

Happy Mothers Day

What Mother’s Day means to me…

— A guest post by Annie Ayoub, an Autism mom

This picture was taken almost 2 years ago, and I treasure it, because it was really the last time that my two children really bonded together, and one of the few moments they really ever played with each other at all. Not because they hate each other, but because my son has Autism, and with Joseph getting older, and going through puberty, he has become more physically aggressive to his sister and others!

On many occasions my daughter has said to me, “I wish my brother was a regular kid, so I know what it feels like to have a sibling”. I try to explain to her that it is a very tough time for her brother right now, but he loves her very much, and even though he does not show it, just give him some time and one day you will see it again…..


So Mother’s Day to me does not mean flowers, gifts or expensive jewelry. None of that really matters.

It’s the family bond, the love you see between siblings, and knowing how tough it is for my daughter to have always been the “big sister” per se. For many years, I have explained to her that she is an inspiration to so many others as young as she is, and she will grow up to be so much more empathetic and appreciative to others, because of her experiences.

As a special-needs mom, I tell all the moms out there who have “typical” children… enjoy watching them playing ball outside, board games, riding bikes together, or even teasing and fighting with each other, because I never really experienced those things with my kids. I look back at this picture and reminisce, but truly believe in my heart that one day, down the road, that bond that once was between the two of them, even though they didn’t really play much with each other will be back….

So in life, I always appreciate what I have, because I know there is someone out there that has it worse, so folks, just think about it the next time you see your children playing or fighting together, just enjoy every moment of it, because some may never get the opportunity to see and experience just that….

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Great Moms out there and God bless!!❤️💐

To Autism Moms on Mother’s Day

Mothers Day

I remember my first Mother’s Day when I was pregnant with Trenton, my oldest son with severe autism. I had dreams that one day he would make me a homemade card and tell me how I am the best mother in the world. I envisioned him being a young man one day treating his Momma like royalty on Mother’s Day. You know, all those things that moms like to hear and get from their children.

I’m not sure any of that will ever happen with him. However, it doesn’t make Mother’s Day any less special. Even though my motherhood experience turned out much different than what I thought, it doesn’t make me any less of a mother. In fact, it makes me that much better of a mom.

Autism moms are special. We go on the least amount of sleep daily and still battle all of the challenges autism brings to our home daily. I am sure if anyone asks an autism mom what they want for Mother’s Day, many of them would say a nap.

Autism moms know the pain of seeing their child struggle to make friends and to fit in.

Autism moms are more than just mothers.

Mommy PhotoWe are advocates, educators, cheerleaders, therapists, warriors, and much more. Most of the time we are battling our roles in life while losing friends and struggling ourselves to find where we fit in because autism has totally changed our life.

Autism moms and special needs mothers in general may just be the hardest-working mothers in this world. Yet, we are raising children who are unable to show us their appreciation. I am here to tell you that, even if your children can’t express it, I know they love us and appreciate everything we do for them.

If you are like me, Mother’s Day will be no different than any other normal day. I will still be up by 3 a.m. to start our day. I will battle a meltdown or two because he is unable to tell me what he wants. I will struggle with his hyperactivity and impulsive behavior every minute of the day and it will leave me completely exhausted by 8 a.m. I will watch his repetitive behaviors all day long. I will answer the same question over and over from my high-functioning child. I will keep on managing autism like I do every day.

While the world sees the glamorous side of Mother’s Day on TV and everywhere else you turn, we know all too well that many mothers don’t get to enjoy that side. I am very blessed to be a mother and to share this day honoring all the hard-working mothers in the world. However, it still doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt even if it’s just a little bit.

So, to all the autism moms out there this Mother’s Day, hold your head high. We have been given one of the most difficult task that a mother can be given. We may not hear our child say, “Happy Mother’s Day,” ever. We may not get the luxury of sleeping in and waking up to a breakfast made by our children. However, we are a member of the strongest group of women this day and age. We are Autism Moms.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Angela and her family reside in Terre Haute, Indiana, where they moved to get more help for her son with severe autism. She was born and raised in a small town in southern Illinois where her love for animals and helping others blossomed.

She enjoys sharing the honest and real side of autism through her writing. Her writing may not apply to every family with a child with autism, but it is sure to apply to the families raising children on the severe end of the spectrum.

Read more of Angela’s journey on her website or Facebook page.


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