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  • Monday, April 23, 2018 10:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Contributed by: Kristen Jeter

    Deficient/Deficiency is defined as “the quality or state of being defective or of lacking some necessary quality or element” by the Merriam Webster dictionary.

    On its own it is a harmless word. When used to describe children with autism, by a friend, well that’s more than hurtful.

    And I was angry! As a single mom to twins, who happened to both have an ASD diagnosis I’ve been angry before, I’ve been insulted before. And I’ve been lucky enough to be supported by most of my friends and family. I always tell my girls to try and find the good in a situation. So, instead of continuing to be angry with my former friend, I decided this was a great opportunity. After all, April is Autism Awareness month! So here are 5 DO’s and DON’Ts for supporting those who have a child on the spectrum.

     1. DO: Be Supportive!: It’s easy...take the time to make a phone call, invite them over to your house, be a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. Celebrate the great achievements! Support the success!

    DON’T: Be Critcal!: If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all...is a good rule of thumb! If you find yourself feeling the need to lecture, then STOP! We want to feel support from those closest to us!

     2. DO: Learn more and educate yourself!: Go to a therapy session, speak with a BCBA, contact those in your local Autism community. The more you learn and understand about Autism, the better!

    DON’T: Think research makes you an expert!: With technology at our fingertips it’s easy to get caught up. There are lots of articles, peer reviewed journals, etc. out there. There’s no better way to learn than in person, from those of us who live it. Remember we are the expert, advocate, and therapist for our own children! Ask what you should focus on, or how you can help!

     3. DO: Use kind, socially accepted language!: Treat others the way that you would want to be treated. Speaking in a kind, loving and supportive way is best! Person first language is a great example of this! “Your child who has Autism” as opposed to “Your Autistic child”.

    DON’T: Use discriminatory/derogatory language!: There are many words that are offensive. Words have power and they have meaning. Choose yours with tact and consideration!

     4. DO: Teach your children acceptance and understanding as well!: When we teach our children the true meaning of this, they turn into young teens/adults who are understanding and compassionate. They turn into people who will one day ask my child to prom, give them the job or be a friend!

    DONT: Let your child be the bully!: It happens so often. It’s not just kids being kids! By starting conversations now, you can help your children understand the importance of accepting those with differences! How would you feel if it was your child getting pushed on the playground, made fun of on the internet or mocked in the classroom?

     5. DO: BELIEVE and EMPATHIZE!: Be kind! Be patient! Be supportive! Put the “able” before the “disable”! Things will be challenging sometimes and that’s ok. There will also be amazingly profound and wonderful moments too! This is a journey and belief is a powerful thing. Having someone believe in you makes a difference!

    DONT: DOUBT or JUDGE!: Whether it’s doubting a person, an entire family, or judging a therapy style, food choice, or vaccination schedule...doubt and judgements should be left at the door! Just as you make the decisions for your children, we make the ones for ours. While everyone is entitled to their opinions, we need positive support, not doubt and judgements.

    Autism is the best thing that has ever happened to me. If we are going to use words to describe my twins, deficient would not be one of them! Words that I use to describe them are...inspiring, brave, joyful, intelligent, strong, and incredible! They aren’t lacking anything. They aren’t defective. They are perfect! Autism is a part of that. It has positively impacted not only my life, but the lives of those closest to us and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  • Wednesday, March 28, 2018 12:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week's blog is contributed by Tammy Vice.

    "Home is where the heart is." - Edward Coke

    When Rudy and I first married, we lived in a 874 square foot shotgun house in south Alabama.  We spent most weekends sprucing up, and patching up, things.  We were so proud of that little place.  Only a few months after we were married, we learned we were expecting our first baby.  Thirteen weeks later, on the day the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded, I miscarried.  As I laid on the couch, watching the news, I remember thinking how quickly life can change for any one of us.  We hurt.  We cried.  And slowly we went back to rebuilding our lives.

    The following year would bring news that we were expecting again.  We spent a great amount of time and love, getting the nursery just right.  I stapled a flannel sheet, with brightly colored ABC's, over one of the paneled walls.   I thought it was genius.  Rudy wasn't so sure, but it grew on him.  Speaking of growing... When I was eight months along,  I was getting tired of hauling our clothes, and me, to the laundromat.  I talked Rudy into investing in our first washer and dryer.  That same day, I had a craving for Popeye's fried chicken.  He told me we really needed to think about our budget.  I cried.  We had Popeye's chicken for dinner that night.  Poor Rudy.  Looking back now, I realize he was just feeling the weight of his responsibility for our growing family.  He was, and will always be, a keeper. ❤  Allison was born in September, one week after our second anniversary.  She filled up that little old house, and our hearts.

    Pictured below; Allison with Mamaw on our front porch, and Allison trying to get back to the front porch.

    Soon, we were busting at the seams.  My mom and dad deeded us a couple of acres in the country.  We started out there in a new double wide mobile home.  We were really moving up in the world.    Rudy and I were both working hard.  Allison was enjoying her school, and doing well.  Just as I thought we had this parenting thing down, along came Morgan, and life got interesting.  Dad was now truly outnumbered.

    Pictured below; Life inside the double wide

    In 1995, we were excited to finally be building our dream house on the property.  We moved in with Mamaw and Papaw; Rudy, myself, one opinionated princess, one busy toddler, and a sweet dog named Barney, who had issues.  Thank you mom and dad!  It was a beautiful house, worth all the wait and preparation;  Four bedrooms, two baths, walk-in closets, a fire place, bricked in flower beds, and SPACE, Glorious SPACE.  Did I mention walk-in closets?  All of our boxes were checked.

    The thing is, a house is just sticks, bricks, and mortar.  A home is where a family lives and loves.  Every member matters.  After a short time in the new house, Morgan was diagnosed with autism.  We learned there was a strong parent support network in another state, Autism Tennessee.  Also, Vanderbilt University was doing research there, which was promising.  We said a prayer, and put our house up for sale.  In 1999, we found ourselves back in a little old house in Tennessee.  Although I still dream about walk in closets sometimes, I know we're right where we belong.

    Pictured below; Home Sweet Home


    Until Next Time,

    Know The Hope!

  • Monday, March 26, 2018 12:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    David Weekley Homes is giving back to our community with a donation of Joki swings to 12 families and minor drywall repairs to 5 families. We anticipate an overwhelming response to this generous offer. All interested families must complete an application to be considered. You must be an Autism Tennessee member to apply. Click on the link above for the application.

     Good luck!

    David Weekley Drywall Repair Application.pdf

    David Weekley Swing Application.pdf


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