Wednesday, November 23, 2011

You might be an autism parent if...

I recently joined Twitter at the behest of my mommy blogger friend Cari from Bubble Gum on My Shoe. You may recall her from the guest posts she did for me: Top 10 things you can go for a parent of a child with autism and The gum in my purse. She sent me a message on Twitter a day or two ago telling me to check out the #youmightbeanautismparentif thread. If you are not on Twitter, anything following a hashtag (#) is a keyword that denotes a stream of tweets under that topic. In this case the topic is: you might be an autism parent if…fill in the blank.

I got online and discovered something wonderful. She (@bubblegumcari) was right. It was amazing. It was a group of autism parents sharing little snippets of their life with autism. Some of it was freaking hilarious and some of it was utterly heartbreaking. I was quickly swept up in it and have since been participating in order to try to get it to trend on Twitter and give it the recognition it deserves. It’s been going since Sunday night, and new stuff keeps showing up all the time.

I would encourage you to check it out if you are already on Twitter. If you are not on Twitter, you might want to consider it as one more way to plug into a like-minded community who gets it. Don’t forget to follow me @CaffeineAutiMom! Once there, enter #youmightbeanautismparentif into your search box and you’ll see what I’m talking about.  

I have to tell you that it was fairly thrilling when one of my tweets got retweeted by none other than Holly Robinson Peete (@hollyrpeete)! When I saw her retweet on my feed, I think I might have squealed a little bit before I babbled about it to my husband. He seemed genuinely impressed that I made it to the big time. Yep. The big time, people. ;-)

Anyway, I thought I would share some of my own tweets as well as a few of my favorites from other people in the #youmightbeanautismparentif thread. There are so many that I can’t possibly credit everyone. I hope you enjoy!

Here are my tweets in the thread so far:

#youmightbeanautismparentif you consider an IEP meeting a date out with your husband. (This is the one that Holly Robinson Peete retweeted!)

#youmightbeanautismparentif the little triumphs and progress mean the most.

#youmightbeanautismparentif your favorite cartoon is Pink Panther because there is no dialog for your child to script. Thank you, Pink!

#youmightbeanautismparentif reading scientific papers and research studies has become a leisure activity.

#youmightbeanautismparentif you still observe "quiet time" only so you can have a little break in order to maintain your sanity.

#youmightbeanautismparent if you can whip up an amazing dinner free of gluten, dairy, and a whole host of other allergens.

#youmightbeanautismparentif your house looks like an occupational therapy clinic.

#youmightbeanautismparentif your kids say the darndest things because they use words they've memorized and don't know what they mean.

#youmightbeanautismparentif your child makes their own loud noise to drown out the quiet noise that they can't filter.

#youmightbeanautismparentif you feel like you have autism-induced OCD parenting skills - think 20 steps ahead, pre-teach, repeat, etc...

#youmightbeanautismparentif you know autism families who lost everything because insurance wouldn't pay for appropriate care and therapy.

#youmightbeanautismparentif your child is bullied and doesn't really understand it as kids being mean.

#youmightbeanautismparentif your child wears earmuffs or headphones in the summer.

#youmightbeanautismparentif your best friends in the world - the people who support you without question - are on Twitter and Facebook.

#youmightbeanautismparentif you stopped attending church regularly because it was just too much to handle.

#youmightbeanautismparentif you've turned into a medical, legal and educational expert since the diagnosis.

#youmightbeanautismparentif you've ever heard your child's screaming bouncing off the back walls of a big box store during a meltdown.

#youmightbeanautismparentif you have to leave the house with a sensory toolkit just to survive.

#youmightbeanautismparentif you hear perfectly scripted Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, and other cartoons all day long.

#youmightbeanautismparentif your child wandered and didn't respond when you called out their name as you drove by and didn't see them.

#youmightbeanautismparentif you've ever had toys thrown at your head while driving because you dared to go a different way to the store.

Here are some of my favorites from other Tweeps (the people I’m connected with on Twitter!):

#youmightbeanautismparentif you can talk about your child's perseveration as if it was your own, even if it never comes up

#youmightbeanautismparentif many of your strongest friendships are with people you've never met in real life.

#youmightbeanautismparentif you think this is the greatest hashtag EVER

#YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf you fear days off of school because it disrupts the routine.

#youmightbeanautismparentif you have to resist feeling smug if an NT child does something inappropriate & your child didn't

#Youmightbeanautismparentif Your child has NEVER bought a school lunch.........has always brought lunch from home.

#youmightbeanautismparentif you are fighting for autism insurance reform and to end discrimination.

#youmightbeanautismparentif you speak in acronyms GFCFSF, ASD, SPD, IEP, LRE, FAPE, ABA, ADOS, DAN, PDD-NOS, PT, OT, SLP

#youmightbeanautismparentif If you child can learn more from computers and television then they can from human interaction.

#YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf You celebrate the simple things, like a peaceful car ride or a full night's sleep.

#youmightbeanautismparentif if you’re unemployed and it’s not because of the economy.

#Youmightbeanautismparentif taking a shower equals 'me time'.

#youmightbeanautismparentif this hashtag shows you the whole purpose of #Twitter.

#youmightbeanautismparentif you use tag-team parenting with your spouse. Is my turn for a time out yet?

#youmightbeanautismparentif your child IS Amelia Bedelia.

#youmightbeanautismparentif you've read enough books on #autism that you could practically be a doctor yourself

#youmightbeanautismparentif You've had to explain to ignorant people that #autism is not contagious. (true story)

#youmightbeanautismparentif one moment, you feel completely alone & the next, you're a part of a large, passionate & supportive community.

#youmightbeanautismparentif you stop going to experts for help and realise you ARE the experts!

There is MUCH more than this on Twitter. I hope you can join us and be a part of the conversation! I can’t wait to see what else shows up in this thread. Follow me @CaffeineAutiMom! You can also click on the Twitter widget to the right of this post to get started.

P.S. If you're not into the whole Twitter thing, at least "Like" my blog on Facebook! :-) We have lots of fun over at Facebook, too!
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