Supporting Young Athletes with Autism

Last season, I signed up both boys for AYSO soccer and I volunteered to coach. I figured that if I volunteered, I could help support Wyatt in learning the sport and interacting with other children. Although he had fun, it wasn’t successful for Wyatt for many reasons. Sensory overload, not enough support from aides or volunteers, and competitive parents and children. I told myself, I wouldn’t sign Wyatt up for team sports moving forward.

A few months ago, a fellow Autism mommy sent me info on Spirit League, which is a organization for children with special needs that can participate in soccer, baseball, and basketball. I signed Wyatt up for baseball hopeful that he could experience a team sport and actually have fun. We had our first game on Saturday and we were blown away at how amazing it was.

Look at the picture below:


The people in the blue shirts are volunteers and every child has a volunteer. They stay with the child thru the whole game and teach them the game of baseball. The gentleman in the yellow shirt is the coach, who is also a volunteer.

The part that blew me away? The amount of support that each child received, whether standing on the field or hitting the ball. The parents were so excited that their child was playing a team support and most importantly every child had a huge smile on their face. Way to go Spirit League!



How to Teach Your Kids about Children with Autism

I was reading a post about a mom who encountered a child with Autism trying to integrate and learn how to play appropriately at a park with other children. The child with Autism hit her child and she wasn’t sure how to handle the situation. I appreciated her willingness to ask how to handle the situation and it showed compassion and empathy. The responses from other moms was heartbreaking. “I would tell my kid to stay away from kids like that” and “I would tell that mom to get her child under control.” However, there was a lot of moms who were compassionate and really just wanted to know how to teach their kids about other kids with Autism. Hence my blog today.

I am going to tell you what we told our son Tucker (5) when trying to explain to him why Wyatt acts differently then other kids and has Autism.

  • Autism is when a child has a hard time processing things and make take a little longer to respond or do something you want him to do. (I keep it very simple for kids to understand)
  • Wyatt can be very hyper and excited when playing with other kids and has a hard time with following rules or having boundaries and might stand to close to you. He might scream really loudly because he is very excited your playing with him and just doesn’t realize how loud he is.
  • When out in public, he can become overwhelmed with sounds and lights and has a hard time focusing. So if you ask him to stop doing something and he keeps doing it, it is because he mind is overwhelmed with noises. You might need to ask a few times to get their attention.
  • A child with Autism can have a hard time processing their words and being able to express themselves. For example, he might be upset because he really wants a turn on the slide but instead of telling you, he can get upset or scream.
  • Wyatt can be very physical and like to bounce of couches, or tackle you because it makes his body feel good. He doesn’t have a sense of where his body is so his body has to be always touching something and the more pressure he puts on his body, the better.
  • Some children with Autism don’t like to be touched at all and might get upset if you try and hug them or touch them.
  • Children with Autism don’t understand if you are happy, sad, laughing, or mad. So, if you are running around playing tag and touch them on the shoulder, he might think you are hitting him and not playing.

Most importantly that we tell our kids that children with Autism have feelings and being compassionate and empathetic towards them if key. That they work hard with therapists to work on their symptoms and they can be great friends.

I get asked a lot the best ways to teach their children about other kids with Autism, so I hope this blog helped. Remember that these are very general items and that every child with Autism is different.  I love it when parents or kids ask me about Wyatt to better understand him, so please reach out to the parents. We will tell you with pride, everything about our Wyatt.



Autism Awareness Month

Today is Autism Awareness Day and I couldn’t be more proud to be this guys mama. This year he started Kindergarten, learned to swim, played on a team sport, learned to drive a golf cart and a go cart, braved getting on a bike, learned how to read facial expressions and know how people feel, started giving hugs, started giving kisses, greets me at the door and asks how my day was. He has made friends all on his own, loves to crack jokes, bother his brother, and cuddle with mama and dada. He has learned how to be flexible and not have melt downs, he loves to be tickled, and his laugh is infectious. He earned his first award at school, and had his first “girlfriend.” He is so much more then a boy with Autism, he is a boy who is kicking Autism in the ass and doing everything the doctors told us he might never do. He has given our family so much pride and every accomplishment was achieved with his pure determination. I used to struggle with his diagnosis because I feared his future, know I embrace it because he won’t let anything get on his way. His path might be different, but the end result is what we make of it and the end result is determined by us. This boy is everything and has my heart. ❤️FullSizeRender

Autism and Physical Symtoms

A friend asked me the other day why Wyatt has Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy? (OT) They thought the symptoms of Autism were more behavioral based and didn’t realize there are also physical symptoms associated with Autism. I thought this was a great question and decided to explain more in this blog.

In previous blogs, I have discussed Sensory Seeking behavior vs. Sensory Avoiding behavior and how it effects people with Autism. I want to preface by saying that I am only speaking on Wyatt’s symptoms, as each child is different and experiences different symptoms. Wyatt is Sensory Seeking and can be described as very physical yet clumsy. He loves to run into the couch and tackle his brother; the pressure against his body makes his body feel grounded. If he is having a meltdown or upset, squeezing him tightly thru hugging, will calm him down.

The Proprioceptive System helps children to locate their body in space. Wyatt has a difficult time locating his body in space. What the heck does that mean? Basically, he doesn’t like any activity where his feet aren’t touching the ground. He will not let you hang him upside down, won’t do a somersault, or ride a bike. All of these activities are items that are taught in OT and PT.

The Vestibular System is located in the inner ear and responds to movement and gravity and effects sense of balance, coordination, and eye movement. Wyatt has low core strength and physical activities that come easily to other children, have to be taught to kids with Autism. Hopping on one foot, running without leaning forward, and catching balls are all activities that need to be taught thru OT and PT therapy.

Have you heard of Crossing the Middle Line? I had never until this year. It is Bilateral Coordination and it is the ability to use both sides of the body together in a coordinated way. For example, there is a glass of wine on the table and a person would choose to use their dominant hand to pick up the glass of wine, regardless of where it is on the table. (My friends will appreciate my example) They would use it to reach in front of them or cross over the middle of their body to grab the glass of wine. Wyatt will not do that. He will use each hand evenly and never cross over the middle of his body, hence “Crossing the Middle Line.” When writing he will flip the paper around or move his body to make it more comfortable. This affects his core strength, trunk rotations, and fine motor skills. This can be worked on thru OT and PT.

We decided that gymnastics would be a great way for Wyatt to have fun and work on all of these physical symptoms caused by Autism. First of all, he LOVES it! For us it is a win, win because he is having fun and getting therapy at the same time. Normally, learning these activities and mastering them can take a lot of time. However after 3 weeks of gymnastics Wyatt accomplished something he never had before. We went to Pump It Up and in the 2nd playroom is the “big jump” and Wyatt never did it the 4 previous times we were there. I am happy to report that he finally made the leap last weekend and we couldn’t be more proud!


There are other physical issues associated with Autism, like gut health and toxins but I will address that in another blog. The good news is one step at a time and one accomplishment at a time.

Thanks for reading and I would love it if you would share my blog.




I Don’t Have My Shit Together When it Comes to Me…..

As a mother, I spend the majority of my time taking care of everyone else. The picture shows a prescription on the left for a Mammogram dated 9/2016 and on the right is a prescription for lab work for my thyroid from seven months ago. Obviously neither has been done. I am also a year overdue for my teeth cleaning and has cancelled her cavity fillings appointment two different times. I finally got my hair done after someone commented that they like me as a brunette. Considering I am blonde, it went over as well as someone in my office telling me I looked tired, when I actually had slept thru the night.


Meanwhile, Tucker and Wyatt are signed up for OCGym, skateboarding lessons, T-Ball, and Camp James. They are well dressed, hair is combed, and relatively clean….depends on the time of day you see them. They make all of their doctor appointments and the paperwork is even filled out ahead of time. After searching 7 different ABA therapy companies for Wyatt, he is signed up and the 2 hours worth of paperwork completed. I even completed the additional 2 hours of paperwork for Wyatt’s school evaluation and yearly IEP meeting. Every therapy appointment is booked and attended. The bills are paid, stove repaired, and fence fixed. Property taxes are paid, yearly tax workbook is filled out and includes all the necessary paperwork is attached. At work, my budget has been submitted and approved, 500 page Business Plan is being worked on and every Action Item is submitted on time. The three business trips over the last two months, have been attended by me and successful. The one week work retreat I am hosting starting tomorrow is ready and am looking forward to working on our Business Plan.

Yet, I have my hair in a mom bun, no makeup on and I am pretty sure I didn’t shower. I am wearing the same outfit that I wore to dinner last night, because I was to tired to come up with a new outfit. I am pretty sure my nails have the remnants of a New Years Eve polish and quite frankly I think the last time I shaved my legs was because I was getting a pedicure. Why do we make ourselves the last priority? Why do we make sure everyone’s needs are meet before ours?

I think my biggest challenge as a full time working mom is TIME. I just don’t have it. People say, “you just need to schedule time.” When?? I am up at 7 am getting kids ready for school, then work from 8-5 pm and then home with kids doing our nightly routine. I don’t sit down until they go to bed and by them I am exhausted. This also include my husband helping with the kids. We then eat dinner and try to take a break before falling asleep. I used to read 100 pages a night of a good book, now I am pretty sure I am asleep before my head hits the pillow.

I hope you didn’t read this blog hoping I would have the answers…LOL

I would love to hear from other moms and dads, how do you make the time to take care of yourself? How do you carve out the time? What special things do you do to make yourself a priority?

Adulting is hard.



My Pregnancy and Delivery Story

My main purpose of starting my Blog was two fold. One, too help educate my family and friends about Autism and our story with Wyatt. Two, is to help me talk about our story and workshop my grief, feelings, both positive and negative, and to give me an outlet. I have had a few difficult blogs and this will be another one. However, I feel it is so important to tell my story and to help me move past my grief.

I was so busy with raising two infants, one with medical issues, that I didn’t realize how deeply effected I was at the birth of my twins. I had just gotten a call that my sister had delivered my niece Delilah and I ran to Hoag Hospital to finally meet my sweet niece. The room was filled with family and I walked over to Lindsay and Delilah and the second I saw her, I could feel panic and felt myself become flush and started having a hard time breathing. I felt weak and felt like I was going to faint and immediately started sobbing. Everybody was happy and celebrating and I could barely keep it together. I realized then that I had experienced a traumatic event and never healed properly.

After years of trying to get pregnant, Cullen and I started IVF. As we were going thru the process, we also found out that my stepfather, Bob was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer.  Pancreatic cancer is aggressive and brutal and I wouldn’t recommend it on my worst enemy. Within 6 months, Bob had been admitted to Hoag 18 different times and had lost over 100 lbs. This was incredibly difficult managing my stress and staying healthy for the babies. Bob told me that he was holding on so he could meet the boys because he was sick of being surrounded by so many women. 🙂 After 5 months it was clear he was suffering tremendously and couldn’t fight anymore. Bob passed away in March and my mourning period was placed on hold, in order to keep my babies healthy.

On May 13th around 4:00 am, my water broke. Granted I thought I peed myself so I went back to sleep only to be awoken again with another gush of fluid. I called the doctor and when I said I was almost at 33 weeks with twins, she told me to rush to Hoag Labor and Delivery and to not take my time. We were there within 15 minutes and I assumed they were going to send me home since I was so early in my pregnancy and naive since it was my first pregnancy. Since I was only 33 weeks, we didn’t have a bag packed or anything.

The doctor came in and said they were going to take some blood and check me out but that I would deliver soon since my water broke. She sent my husband home and told him to pack a bag and get whatever we needed to welcome our two babies home. They took my blood and ran some tests and I anxiously waited for the results. Within a few minutes, the door to my room opened and I saw a doctor come rushing in with nurses in tow, pushing a gurney. The doctor explained that my blood pressure was over 200 and they needed to rush me to the OR for an emergency C-Section as they were afraid I was going to have a stroke. Within 5 minutes, I was lying on the gurney looking at the 18 different doctors and specialist all standing by to help our babies. I started to panic and told the anesthesiologist that I was going to need a Xanax and he said I would be fine and he would walk me thru it. The door to the operating room opened and I saw my husbands panicked face. He rushed to my side while I tried to explain what was happening.

The doctor opened my stomach and was working on getting Baby A or Wyatt out and I could feel my pressure drop dramatically and became nauseous. They pulled Wyatt out and all I wanted to hear was crying. After a what felt like hours, he started crying. The doctor started working on Baby B or Tucker and I noticed my husband was looking over at Wyatt and his face turned white. I heard him ask if he was going to be ok? He wasn’t getting any response and later told me that Wyatt had stopped breathing and they had to resuscitate him numerous times. All I saw of Wyatt was him being held in the hands of someone running out of the OR. Tucker was next and they had to assist him with breathing as well and they also took him out of the OR and into the NICU immediately. My husband looked at me in a panic and I told him that I would be fine and to go with the babies. All of the sudden the room went from 18 to 4 and it was horrendous not knowing what was happening with my babies and not being able to see their faces.

My mom came in the recovery room and all I remember is that I couldn’t stop shaking and I desperately needed to know how Wyatt and Tucker were doing. A women came in with two pictures and said, “here are your babies.” Both had Oxygen masks on and tubes everywhere. It was not the delivery I had expected. Why couldn’t I see and hold my babies? Cullen came in with his parents and they he still looked pale and scared to death but all of them put on a happy smile and tried to reassure me.

My blood pressure was not stable and I wasn’t able to see my babies for over 48 hours. It was torture. The doctors had me on Dilated (painkiller similar to Heroin) and I think that was the only way I made it thru the 48 hours. 3 days after the delivery, I was able to visit them for the first time but still couldn’t hold them. They were both 3 lbs and had tubes everywhere. 5 days later, on my birthday, I was able to hold Wyatt and Tucker for the first time. Tucker was improving but Wyatt was still unstable. I made the nurses bring both boys to me and I placed them next to each other on my chest and sat still for hours. I swear to anyone that asks that this was the point that Wyatt started to improve; after he was reunited with me and his brother. I did this daily and after 4 weeks Tucker was allowed to come home. Wyatt had sleep apnea and a soft pallet and was transferred to CHOC. After 8 weeks he was discharged from the hospital with a heart and oxygen monitor and a feeding tube.

After a year of procedure and or surgeries with Wyatt, he was a healthy, happy little boy and we were overjoyed with his progress. Tucker kept growing and both boys are know in the 98th percentile after being in the 0 percentile for height and weight for months.

I am sitting here typing at my desk and I feel like after writing this blog, a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I feel grateful that I have two beautiful boys as so many families aren’t as lucky. My birth and delivery story wasn’t the story I had envisioned, but I wouldn’t change the story at all, as I have grown tremendously as a person. I had no idea how strong I was until this experience and I am proud of my family for taking it one step at a time. Most of all, I am proud of Wyatt for overcoming so many obstacles and reminding me to take one challenge at a time and hard work pays off.





Lack of Empathy and Compassion

We have entered a world where people can post whatever the want on message boards, Facebook posts, and blogs without any accountability or consequence. We have entered a world where people judge other people and don’t have any empathy for the people they judge. When my son was diagnosed with Autism, we entered a world where my husband and I have been accused of being lazy parents, parents who don’t enforce rules, and whose child is out of control due to our lack of parenting.

We have entered a world when a little boy with Autism is having a meltdown due to sensory overload in a parking lot and somebody videotapes it and posts in on Facebook. We have entered a world where instead of showing empathy and compassion for the parent or child there are comments about the child being retarded, should be beaten, the parents shouldn’t procreate, the child shouldn’t be let out of the house, the child is spoiled, the child will be the guy who kills kids in a school shooting, or my favorite, the parents are lazy and have no parenting skills.

We have entered a world where there have been numerous times I have come home in tears because my son was having a meltdown and people judged me as a bad parent because they were uneducated as to what Autism is. It took me a few years to not give a shit and realize that my number one focus was my son and if they weren’t educated about Autism then that was on them. What is scary is that with all the Autism Awareness and education, there are still people who lack understanding, empathy, and compassion.

Please see the attached photos, which are actual comments that were posted below the video of a child with Autism having a meltdown. In the post it states that the child has Autism, yet the comments show no empathy and compassion. They blame the parents even though they have never meet them or understand their struggles.

Now imagine that your child has Autism and you are reading these posts.

We live in a world were children are cruel and bullies are abundant and we wonder why? We live in a world with hate and school shootings and we wonder why? We live in a world where children commit suicide and we wonder why? We live in a world where people who love people of the same gender are killed solely based on their sexual preferences and we wonder why? We live in a world where people will riot and hurt others based on their political preference and we wonder why?

Everybody has issues and nobody is perfect. Why do we all try so hard to present this perfect image? Aren’t we creating more problems and issues trying to keep our problems and issues quiet?

I ask that as you wake up each morning and try and live a life not judging others and teach your children as well. I want to live in a world were we teach our children they don’t have to be perfect; not the best at sports or school but they always try their hardest. I want to be part of a world that teaches empathy and compassion. I want to live in a world where if a parent is struggling, we step up and help. I want to live in a world where we support and encourage each other. Help each other thru struggles and challenges. I want to live in a world where before you are able to post a comment on a message board, Facebook post, or blog, you ask yourself if you would say the same thing to your mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, or son.

Just my random thoughts for the day.

xx H