From time to time, I’ve had a few readers email asking me where to obtain/locate certain items/sites mentioned in my blog posts. So, it occurred to me to do a “Favorite Things” post with links. Tragically, I am not Oprah and cannot afford to surprise you all by having these items magically appear under the seat in which you are now sitting. I am not an Amazon Associate or affiliated with any of these products, nor will I be receiving any sort of compensation or blog promotion for them (other than my shameless linking to my own posts).
Favorite Autism Jewelry: This is the first thing I was given following the realization that my son was on the spectrum. My friend Christy presented this to me after taking me to lunch and giving me the low down on Things to Come as a special needs parent. I wear it every day. If you look up the phrase “Love Life, Be Brave” online, you can find it on all sorts of stuff besides rings.
This is a little necklace I wear every day now. My dad gave it to me for Christmas. It is fairly small, but already connected me to a couple of people who recognized the significance of it. Autism puzzle jewelry is a conversation starter — especially working with curious middle schoolers. They are quite fascinated hearing about teacher’s real lives, and it provides an opportunity to provide a little autism awareness when asked about it.
Favorite Autism Fiction: The Curious Incident of the Boy in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon. I read it years ago. It rang true to me. And I still recall the young man’s horror, sense of duty, courage, and fear. Highly recommended.
Favorite Book to Recommend to Parents of Newly Diagnosed Kids: What I Wish I’d Known About Raising a Child with Autism by Bobbi Sheahan. It’s very informative, yet it feels like the author is holding your hand in a moment of crisis. Bobbi Sheahan is force to be reckoned with in autism awareness — especially in the area of helping parents.
Favorite Gift: This is a gift given to me by a reader, Laurie Coleman, a few weeks ago. It is a Scentsy candle for Autism Speaks. She had an extra one left in her stock and sweetly sent it to me — without once even asking for a review, good word, or inclusion into any post like this. My husband has become addicted to it. The scents last a long time. And I happen to think it is a really pretty way to make your house smell nice. I’m not sure whether or not this Autism Speaks candle warmer is still available. But they are really nice, and you might want to check with her anyway or look at a few others.
Favorite Book by an Actual Person with Autism: Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin. She has been a hero of mine for many years. I think it is awfully ironic how drawn I was to her story – many years before I even had my ASD son. This is compelling and wise reading. If you haven’t read this, do yourself a favor and get a copy. It is an autism classic and a behind the scenes peek into a fascinating autistic perspective. I know there are other awesome autistic individuals besides Temple Grandin, but a hero is always a hero.
Favorite Autism Youtube Video: It is a young autistic man named Alexander who explains what autism means to him. I love this. It’s insightful, and it made me smile.
Favorite Program for Special Needs in My Local Area: It is Camp I Am Special, located in Jacksonville, FL. I know two autistic kids who have attended it for years. Their parents recommend it highly — and it is the only autism-free break they get each year. There are many such camps and summer activities geared toward autistic and special needs kids throughout the United States and probably other countries. Share your local one and its link below, and I will do a compiled listing of them here on my site. Unless, of course, one of you already has a link to such a list…
Favorite Toy I Bought My Autistic Child: a little indoor trampoline. The one I bought is currently unavailable, but this one looks almost identical. It’s sturdy, and he knows how to play with it. I compared a lot of these before picking this one. It had the best reviews. It’s been wonderful for our house. And, if you could see the daily squeals of delight each day, you would understand why.
Favorite Autism Parenting Blogs: There are entirely too many wonderful autism-related blogs out there. And entirely too many bloggers whom I really like and admire. But these are a few that I return to most frequently. Their voices are unique, heartfelt, and sometimes controversial. But I learn from them. I know that there are many autism parent blogs I’m leaving out here. Forgive me, but I simply don’t have enough room.
Adventures in Extreme Parenthood - by Sunday Stillwell, mother to two boys on the more severe end of the spectrum. She is who inspired me to “put myself out there”. She tackles her challenges head-on with humor and style.
Autism Daddy - by an anonymous dad of an 8-year-old boy with severe autism. I love his willingness to tackle controversial issues without alienating people who disagree.
Lost and Tired - by Rob Gorski. This blog is a labor of love by a dad with three boys on the autism spectrum. He is a passionate advocate for his kids and clearly adores his family. Some of his posts will rip your heart out. I love that he also shares great apps for Android – a device often ignored by autism app reviews.
Favorite New Blog by an Actual Person with Autism - The Third Glance - by “E” – an autistic PH.D student. It’s a new blog, so there isn’t a lot of content yet, but I like E’s writing and perspective. I’m looking forward to reading more.
Favorite Autism Quote: “I know of nobody who is purely autistic, or purely neurotypical. Even God has some autistic moments, which is why the planets spin.”
— Jerry Newport (Your Life is Not a Label: A Guide to Living Fully with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome)
Favorite Autism Inspiration: If you have been in the autism community for long, you already know it. But it’s a classic for a reason. It’s that good. It’s “Welcome to Holland” by Emily Perl Kingsley. If you haven’t read it, do. If you have, read it again.
Favorite Autism T-Shirt: I don’t have one of these, but I really want one. I love the touch of whimsy. Someone who counts themselves among my family and friends should buy me one of these. You know who you are. Size 2x please.
The Coolest Thing Ever Invented for Special Needs Kids (With a Really Long Waiting List): The Nickel Bed Tent. This was invented by a mother of an autistic child who could not be contained safely in his bed at night. Check it out. We’re getting one. They are a small company, however, and do have a waiting list.
Favorite Autism Websites: I purposely did not include wonderful organizations such as First Signs, The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism, and Autism Speaks because I am planning to feature them in a Resources page I’m working on. The following are a couple of sites that those starting out in the online autism community might not know about yet:
Autisable – I like Autisable because of the variety of posts featured from bloggers I’ve never even heard of. And, because posts are submitted and put through a selection process, readers get to read posts that focus on the issue at hand – autism. Most autism blogs I’ve come across end up being journals of the everyday lives of their bloggers with varying concentrations of autism related postings thrown in. Which is fine, of course. A blog is whatever its blogger wants it to be. But there are really only so many people you can follow and have any kind of life whatsoever. (Except for mine, of course. You should always follow mine.) Autisable allows me to read some interesting posts that focus on autism alone.
Future Horizons - Yes, it’s a publisher rather than a traditional information site. However, these folks have the kinds of books you can’t find at Barnes and Noble. They specialize in autism publishing, DVDs, and conferences. There’s a lot here on a lot of topics.
My Favorite Autistic Person’s Picture -When He Was a Baby- There’s really no reason to share this other than my shameless pride at having given birth to this little guy. And who would blame me? Admit it. You just went, “Awww!”
So, what are some of your Favorite (Autism-Related) Things?