September 17, 2019


Posted in Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , at 1:16 pm by autismmommytherapist

I almost missed the email regarding overnight respite as I was rushing around on a busy Saturday. It was from Justin’s new camp, a haven for developmentally disabled adults and children not too far from where we live. It is both a day and overnight camp, with specific weekends and weeks allocated throughout the year for autistic individuals. Justin has successfully attended day camp there this summer, with another stint coming up during his second summer school hiatus coming up at the end of August.

My heart soared as I read the email, thinking of the potential opportunity for Justin to someday sleep over at the camp. I don’t know if he’ll be able to handle it, but I know if he does well his last three days this summer that we’ll be looking into a weekend this school year, a decision we will make as much for us as for him.

My boy needs to learn to sleep somewhere other than his own bed.

Back in the day when he was little Justin slept over my mom’s house, but at a certain point he stopped wanting to do that, and we stopped trying. He does sleep in a different bed when we go to Disney every other year, but that is with me in the bed next to him, so in my mind it doesn’t really count. The truth is someday he’ll be sleeping in a home that isn’t his parents’, and I really feel we’ll be doing him a disservice if we don’t try to give him other opportunities to get used to sleeping away from home.

I could tell you that I think he’ll enjoy it, but that would be a lie.

I’ve always pushed Justin to try new things, even when he initially seemed like he hated the activity. Call it mother’s intuition, but when he was little I just knew that eventually he would like the boardwalk, Great Adventure, and our backyard pool, and I kept trying to help him acclimate to those activities. Eventually, by pairing them with food (who doesn’t like that as a reinforcer!) and gradually lengthening our stays at these locations, Justin got to the point where he loved going out, would unceremoniously drop his shoes at my feet and look at me as if to say “Where are we going today Mom?”

I know that he’s grown to enjoy these outings both due to the lack of behaviors when we go out, and also to his smiles when we reach our destination. He’s always ready to go home however, back to the sanctuary of his room, his DVD player, and his forays on YouTube. I know in my heart if we drop him off at camp with a suitcase and his pillow he is going to want to go home at the end of the day, but I think it’s time we pushed him past his comfort zone and gave it a try.

Believe me, it’s pushing me past my comfort zone as well.

Justin is sixteen now, just five years away from the conclusion of his school entitlement ending and impending adulthood. As much as a part of me wants to keep him safely cocooned here forever to protect him, I know that’s ultimately not his life trajectory. He won’t like sleeping away from us, but he needs to practice doing it so it will be easier for him to transition out of our home someday to his new one.

It’s time for me to push him to do something he may not like in an effort to make his transition easier for him down the road.

So keep your fingers crossed both for him and for me (I don’t know who will be more nervous that weekend), because it’s time to stretch my boy’s limits and see if he can fly.

And let’s see if his mom can too.


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September 3, 2019

Help Yourself

Posted in Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , , at 6:42 am by autismmommytherapist

Two years ago this fall my husband and I watched in horror as our non-verbal sixteen-year-old son with severe autism and OCD fell prey to a mysterious malady that would eventually take eight doctors, as many diagnoses, and almost a year to figure out. To say Justin suffered would be an understatement; frankly the rest of his family suffered too just by witnessing his discomfort.

After a number of false diagnoses he was eventually diagnosed with tic disorder, and would have had a full Tourette’s diagnosis if he could speak. For treatment, we simply tripled a medication he was already taking. Although within a few weeks his symptoms, freezing up and being rendered immobile for up to an hour at a time, were dissipated, they’ve never fully receded, and never will. Finally last fall we saw some relief for him. No longer was it a struggle to get him out of bed, get him on the toilet, dress him, get him to eat, get him into the car, etc.

No longer was every single second with him excruciatingly difficult.

My husband and I were immensely relieved to see his improvement, and I’m grateful every day he’s doing better, that we have been able to resume most of his activities with him, and that he’s once again compliant in school.

But the truth is, things weren’t really over in September. Justin’s limited speech declined drastically. His self-help skills, so hard-won, deteriorated.

And worst of all to me, his joy seemed to have disappeared.

Over time, the light has begun to come back to my boy. He is once more affectionate, cracking up more and more over the sounds emanating from a treasured toy or a favorite DVD. He still needs a firm hand to get him to move around sometimes, but he generally is compliant, and the aggression that had resurfaced has mostly retreated. Given that he’s also a teenager and just might not show as much joy as he previously had (my tween is a perfect example) I think we’re on the right track with him, and this is his new normal.

I don’t like it. But I have to accept it.

One thing I will not let go of however is his self-help skills. For Justin’s entire life myself, his father, his therapists and his teachers have worked tirelessly to give him the tools of semi-independence, tools he will need to be successful in an after-21 program one day, and ultimately in a residential program. Over the course of many months we mastered potty training, eating more than one thing, sleeping (that one took years), and going out into the community. We are thankfully back on track with all of those skills, but Justin’s self-help activities have fallen by the wayside, and it’s time for me to man up, and get him back on track.

Fortunately I have help, as his school sends out their BCBAs (Board Certified Behavior Analysts) to do house calls (!). I am hopeful he will once again be dressing himself, brushing his teeth, showering somewhat independently, and my favorite, using a fork.

That last one has remained elusive; I’m hopeful the third time’s the charm.

The BCBA will be coming out to us in the fall, and I think I finally have the mental and physical energy to address these issues. To be perfectly honest with all of you, the tic disorder, and the havoc it wreaked on all of us for the better part of a year, sucked the life out of me. I had anticipated something might strike as he entered his teenage years, but I had no idea how difficult things would be, that this latest disorder would derail our family for a time.

The truth is, I needed time to recharge before I geared up for the self-help fight, and I’m glad for once I didn’t barrel through and take this on immediately. I’ve had to remind myself that he is years away from graduating from his school, years away from when his independence, or what he can acquire of independence, is of paramount importance. We have time.

This will take time.

And it’s so important as we address these hurdles that I have patience, that I refuse to mourn what we have lost and instead focus on what we will gain.

Wish us luck.


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July 1, 2019

Summer Dreams

Posted in Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism at 10:35 am by autismmommytherapist

Every morning this past week I pulled up bright and early to the Monmouth County Therapeutic Recreation Camp at the Dorbrook Recreation Area in Colts Neck with Justin in tow, bouncing back and forth in my backseat rocking out to the 80’s (my kid has good taste). Each morning this week I got him and all of his paraphernalia out of my car, and escorted him to an open field where people with disabilities of all ages, even some elderly, were doing calisthenics on their ample lawn, many with smiles on their faces. Every morning I passed Justin off to his wonderful side (provided through PerformCare), kissed him goodbye, and headed back to my car.

Each day my fingers were crossed.

This is the third year Justin has attended this camp. His first year went spectacularly, and he truly seemed to enjoy the activities. Last summer was much more of a challenge. He had a wonderful aide, but even with a one-on-one I had to pick him up early several days for behaviors, which wasn’t a surprise given how much he struggled last year. This year, after things got better for him last fall, was a throwback to his first year.

And I can’t tell you how grateful I am.

Truth be told if Justin couldn’t handle camp he’d be back in school in two weeks, but those two weeks would be somewhat challenging logistically. This year my youngest is in school the first week, but the second he’s not, hence the challenge. It is still really difficult for me to take both of them somewhere by myself, as Justin often wants to leave the venue early, and Zach does not. Plus to tell you the truth, bad weather precludes us going anywhere anyway, and at least at camp there are multiple diversions for Justin.

My boy lies to get out.

But there’s a bigger reason why I’m so grateful he’s had a great week, and I’m hopeful that his second camp will mirror this one. Justin is graduating in five years, and it is my greatest hope (honest to God) that my son will be able to handle a day program so he’s not stuck in the house with me for, well, decades.

Simply told, I am just not that fun anymore.

Justin is a creature of habit, however once he’s “done something once” it becomes part of his routine, and he is generally amenable to the activity or venue. Giving him the opportunity to try new things will be instrumental in helping him acclimate to a day program after fourteen years at his beloved school. He needs new experiences to help him handle what’s coming down the road. He also needs to have his own life, and not just be reliant on me to do things and have fun.

Amen to that.

So I am grateful we’re back to square one, and hopeful this new camp will work out too (they do sleepovers!) so please keep your fingers crossed for us.

And for all those autism families out there, remember once in a while to take a chance.

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June 17, 2019

Thank You to Veterans Memorial Middle School

Posted in AMT's Faves, Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , , at 11:25 am by autismmommytherapist

To Mrs. Stockhoff, Mrs. Caruso, Mrs. Reilly, Ms. Estelle, Ms. Bearse, Ms. Byrne, Ms. Clinton, and Ms. Berry at Veterans Memorial Middle School,


I’m writing this post to thank all of you for helping get Zach (and me) through his first year of middle school.

Honestly, I think the transition was harder for me than for him.

In general I’ve found middle school to be something that most students just hope to survive, but Zach actually loved sixth grade and can’t wait for next year.

He did beautifully this year, and this is in large part to your collective excellence and devotion to your craft. You guided him when he needed it; reined him in when he required it; and most importantly, made him feel valued, and that he had a voice.

When there were blips in the road you worked with him to conquer them, with professionalism and compassion. When he excelled, you were there to congratulate him.

You answered my sixty thousand questions promptly and respectfully. For that, I am truly appreciative.

I am so grateful he had all of you to instruct him this year. He came home every day enthusiastic about school, often quoting you when describing his day. He found your classes to be fun, informative, and challenging in a way that kept him engaged, not frustrated. Your instructions and deadlines were clear, your expectations fair. Your assignments were creative, and often thought-provoking. You encouraged him always to do his personal best, and fostered independence in his choices and actions whenever you could.

As a former educator of this age group, I can honestly say I was always impressed.

While all of these things were absolutely wonderful, what I appreciate the most about every teacher who crossed his path this year was how much you “got” my boy, and that you clearly liked him.

That means everything to him, and to me.

I’d just like to say a huge thank you to everyone who instructed him this year. I wish all of you could move up to seventh grade with him (fingers crossed!), but since that seems unlikely, my hope is that he finds the same creative, compassionate and excellent instructors in the years to come.

Thank you for all you do for our kids!

Kim McCafferty



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June 10, 2019

Someone Special Needs You Annual Walk

Posted in Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , , , at 2:04 pm by autismmommytherapist

Twelve years ago this fall, when my severely autistic boy was four, a flier came home from school in his backpack. I skimmed it and almost tossed it, as the thought of joining any kind of group a half hour away at that point in my life seemed pure folly. I had a four-year-old autistic son and an infant at home, and as much as I liked to do things with Justin and get him out into the community as often as possible, this seemed a bit out of my reach.

And yet, the group activities for autistic kids were held in the building behind my church, a venue I was confident I could find (half the battle for me). I put it on my “possible” list of things to do, and when the day approached, I drove out to Colts Neck on a Thursday night and hoped for the best.

Thus started my love affair with Someone Special Needs You.

For years Vince and Gina Scanelli held monthly events where autistic children could come, do crafts, eat, play, and feel free to be themselves. Justin generally behaved at these events where he was paired with a buddy (usually a lovely teenaged girl, which he enjoyed), giving me the opportunity to network with other parents. Sometimes there was a full-fledged carnival; most years trick-or-treating in the church’s graveyard; and Santa never failed to pay a visit. It was an hour I looked forward to every month, and I am certain Justin did too.

Over time SSNY expanded to include adults, and its focused shifted as well. Now there are only two nighttime events held annually (a full-fledged yummy Thanksgiving meal and a visit from St. Nick), but Vince and Gina use the money raised from fundraisers to plan wonderful events for autistic individuals and their families. Last summer they took thirty-seven autistic adults and children and forty-three caregivers to Hershey Park for a weekend, a wonderful trip particularly as some of the adults had not been on vacation for years. This past January over one hundred individuals were treated to Medieval Times for an evening (both of my kids actually enjoyed the event, a miracle!), and it was wonderful to see how excited they were to witness jousting and eat some really good chicken (it’s all about the food for me).

I’m writing this week to tell all of you about their annual fundraiser, a walk they traditionally hold in Spring Lake. This year it is Saturday June 15th from 9:30 to 12:00 at the intersection of Warren and 5th avenues (you will see everybody gathered, you can’t miss them!). My youngest son and I have attended almost every year and continue to support this organization and all the good work they do. Vince always puts the money to good use, and I am confident he will use this year’s take to fund yet another great trip or event for autistic adults and their families in the future.

The link to their website is here: My youngest and I will be there next week, hope to see you too!


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April 9, 2019

Take Care of Yourself

Posted in Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , at 10:54 am by autismmommytherapist

Every year during Autism Awareness Month I try to write about different themes, ranging from early diagnosis to adult life issues. It’s never a struggle to come up with topics (there’s always so much to write about), but one topic always finds its way into my writing, and it’s one dear to my heart.

No matter what stage you’re in with your child’s autism, make sure you take care of yourself.

There have been a number of times during the years with my two kids on the spectrum that I have not followed my own advice. After Justin was diagnosed at seventeen months I threw myself completely and utterly into his ABA program, and most of my needs were put on hold. When our second child, Zach, was also diagnosed, I again put my needs on hold and immersed myself in his daily program for the next year-and-a-half until he started pre-school. Periodically throughout the years we have gone through soul-sucking times with our oldest- sleep issues, eating issues, aggression issues, and most recently, discovering that he’d developed tic disorder.

If I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t taking my own advice during most of these periods.

I have learned over the years that when my kids are really suffering I am not very good at taking care of my needs, but I will say during this last difficult period with Justin I improved from past experiences. Fun was pretty much off the table, but I was able to make sure I slept, got to those doctor appointments, and at least took care of basic needs until we got a diagnosis and a treatment plan. I did better with this last crisis, and although I’m hoping for calmer waters as we move on the truth is autism issues are cyclical, and I’ll probably experience soul-sucking times again down the road.

But this time, I’m better equipped to deal with them.

It is so important to figure out what you need when your family is in crisis with your child, or even just going through incredibly difficult times. For me I’ve learned that sleeping and eating are essential (when my kids are suffering that is pretty much the only time in my entire life I forget to eat), and I try to simplify my life whenever possible so I can focus on them. I have learned over the years however that often this is not enough- that I need to focus on that fact that we will weather this crisis too, just as we have others in the past. It’s important for me mentally to remember how much we’ve conquered as a family- that we do have wonderful periods with the boys, and fun times will come back again (and one of my needs is definitely having fun).

And I’m proud to say we had some family fun just this past weekend with our youngest when we took him to Washington, DC, his parents old stomping grounds, for a weekend just about him (and a little bit about his parents too).

It literally takes a village for Jeff and I to get away for a weekend (no less than four adults were in attendance this past weekend to cover Justin during our 72 hour getaway), and it was a tremendous amount of work on everyone’s part. I literally started planning it three months ago so we could acquire the child care, and it was worth every minute of the planning I needed to do to make sure Justin’s needs were met and our other son had a fantastic trip. Our weekend gave me and my husband some time together out of our house, and gave us some important time with our youngest that made him the priority. One of my needs is making sure Zach has a great childhood, and this weekend I felt like we achieved even more memories toward this goal.

In addition, I got my DC fix too.

Wherever you are with your autistic child, try to take care of yourself too. As his or her parent you are the most important person in their life- if you’re happy, there’s a better chance they will be too.

And when you can, and this is so important, find your fun. Make a plan, put anxiety on hold if you can, and do something great for you. It’s important for your health and well-being- and both of those things are integral to the well-being of your child as well.

During Autism Awareness Month and beyond, remember to always take care of yourself too.


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March 11, 2019

Compassion at the Cinema

Posted in Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , at 11:43 am by autismmommytherapist

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take Justin to see the last of the “How to Train Your Dragon” movies at our local theater. This is a series we have both loved, as evidenced by the amount of times he has chosen to play the DVDs of the first two movies on his DVD player.

Here’s a secret- I love the franchise as much as he does.

Justin did spectacularly at the cinema, however there have been times in the past when attempting a movie was an epic fail. At times he has just been too loud for me to bring him to anything but the sensory showings, which have since been discontinued. Then there was a period of a few years where he’d leave as soon as the popcorn was finished.

Eventually there was a period where we’d never even make it past the previews.

The truth is (if you haven’t figured this out by now) that I am stubborn, and although we took some cinematic breaks, I always knew I’d give it another try. He is still loud sometimes. When he’s excited he bounces up and down in his chair.

And I can honestly tell you that this weekend nobody gave a damn.

Now that we can pick our seats (a Godsend!) I strategically choose the back row, end seats. Given how loud these movies are I usually only have to worry about the people just to the right or left of us as the people in front are too far away to be affected. This past Sunday I had the good fortune to sit next to a mom to whom I introduced myself, told her about Justin, explained about the possibility of bouncing and vocal utterances, and waited to see her response.

I got back a smile and a “No problem, it’s perfectly fine.”

To me, that’s just pure joy.

I will be honest and tell you that ten years ago I would have cared a great deal more about what someone thought of my son’s deep-voiced vocals. At this point he’s not much louder now than many of the toddlers who frequent these films, and I can rein him in when he really gets going. I will tell you however that having someone sit next to me who got it and truly didn’t care if my teen got excited watching a kid’s movie just put me at ease.

And given this life, I truly enjoy things that put me at ease.

With Autism Awareness month fast approaching, I am just so grateful that people “get it,” both for me as a “seasoned veteran,” but more for those families whose children have just been diagnosed or are dealing with extremely challenging situations. A kind word can make all the difference- understanding and acceptance can literally change a family’s day from negative to positive.

So thank you, stranger in a movie theater on a rainy Sunday. I hope people read about you and are inspired to mirror your compassion.

Thank you!


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March 1, 2019

Autism New Jersey Transition Conference

Posted in Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , , at 10:32 am by autismmommytherapist

This past Monday I had the good fortune to attend the Autism NJ Transition conference with a dear fellow autism-mom friend. I have to admit I wasn’t sure what to expect- would I be overwhelmed, or would most of the information be redundant since I’ve been watching a number of seminars from various organizations regarding this topic. I have to say at the end of the day I felt it had been a good investment of my money and time, in part due to the informed speakers (and in part due to the fabulous lunch buffet- food is important at these events). There was one huge reason to go however, and I encourage anyone with a child who’s fifteen or older to consider attending.

Honestly, just the vendors alone made it worth my time that day.

I don’t want to take away from the speakers who did a wonderful job both breaking down the mysteries and the intricacies of the DDD and explored long-term disability planning.The first workshop I attended truly explained the ins and outs of applying for DDD eligibility, both the timelines for applying and the different possible outcomes I could expect. The speakers also discussed the order in which I will have to apply for assistance for Justin and the measures I’ll have to take- first guardianship, then applying for SSI/Medicaid, then DDD eligibility. They also touched on the importance of a good support coordinator, and how crucial it is to check out possible daytime programs before committing my child to any of them. I also attended an excellent workshop on long-term disability planning, which confirmed that my husband and I have gone in the right direction in planning for Justin, and taught me some tips to keep in mind for future decisions.

Since I’m a planner, the two-and-a-half hours were well spent.

If I’m being perfectly honest however, the part of the event which made me feel incredibly optimistic about Justin’s future and dispelled a lot of my fears was meeting the vendors. In about five years I will start the process to select a support coordinator who will be instrumental in helping me acquire adult services for my son, including a day program, and perhaps even a few hours at a job site or volunteering. I felt like my friend and I met a number of people who cared passionately about what they do, and were eager to answer our questions. I will tell you that we soon streamlined our “opening bit” with all of them, first by telling them we lived in central Jersey in case they didn’t service our area, and also letting them know our boys were on the more severe end of the spectrum.

This saved us from wasting time with agencies who only worked with clients in the north or south or high-functioning adults, and allowed us to really focus on those who could work with our sons. One of the pieces of information we learned at the first workshop is that certain agencies are allowed to skip the final approval process with the DDD, this speeding up the onset of services as our sons aged out of their educational entitlement. I have heard that some families wait until up to six months after graduation for adult services to start, and I know I personally would like to fill that gap as soon as possible since my son likes to be out and about in the community.

We even met one support coordination agency who only permitted their employees to service clients within the county in which they lived so they would be on top of all the best opportunities for them, which I felt was a fantastic idea. I encountered one who already worked with my son’s school, and one so enthusiastic about what they do they’d emailed me thanking me for my time before the day even ended.

I enjoy that kind of service.

The other reason meeting the vendors was so great was that I got to talk to different agencies who handle day programs for autistic adults and other adults with disabilities, and had the opportunity to really get a feel for what a day in the adult world might look like for my son. I was able to talk to several who had facilities in our area, and was again struck by the enthusiasm with which they spoke about their jobs, their activities, and the adults with whom they worked. As I am convinced a daily program will be best for Justin, this put many of my “oh God the cliff is coming” fears to rest.

And yes, those fears are daunting- anything I can do to ameliorate them is fine by me.

All in all, I really recommend this conference for anyone whose child is approaching the age of twenty-one. It was both informative and reassuring to see how many different agencies are working in New Jersey to provide fulfilling lives for our kids who are aging into adulthood. I’ve saved every flier (and made notes, I’ll never remember all I learned five years from now), and I feel better prepared to meet the challenge of creating a safe, productive, and happy life for my son.

In the end, there’s nothing more important than that.


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January 3, 2019

Resolution Evolution

Posted in AMT's Faves, Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , , at 12:19 pm by autismmommytherapist

It’s only January 3rd, and I’m already wavering on my “reduce chocolate” resolution.

Maybe some things are for the best.

Generally I am a person who takes New Year’s Resolutions seriously. The holiday reminds me of my teaching days, when the end of August usually found me setting up my classroom, excited about a clean slate with my incoming students. Most of the time that enthusiasm, that drive to make this an even better year than the one before, lasted until June.

There were a few years however when my charges brought me to my knees by October.

I usually find my January resolutions last for at least a few months, sometimes longer. This is the first year in many, many years losing weight is not one of them (stress is a bitch but great for my BMI). I still have my resolutions for 2018 written on a scrap of paper on my desk, mostly for the boys. I had half a dozen for each, and got to three and two respectively for each kid.

Not a bad haul after all.

But this year I decided to change things up a bit. Most years I am very specific in my “improvement desires,” but this year I went old school.

My resolution for 2019 for this family, and for me, is just to be happy.

I know, it probably sounds like I’m slacking a bit (and maybe I am, but frankly the last two years have been hell, and I’m finding I don’t rebound as easily between disasters as I used to in my youth). So this year, I’m keeping it simple- bliss, in whatever form that takes for every member of my clan, is the goal.

And although I’m writing this for my brothers and sisters who have been in the autism game as long as I have, or much longer, I’m also writing this for my brethren who are just starting out, or any of you in crisis with your child.

Those of you who have just received a diagnosis for your child, or are realizing they will probably reside on the more severe end of the spectrum, or are just thinking about reaching out to Early Intervention to have your son evaluated, this is for you. If your kid is taller than you now and aggressive or self-injurious and you often contemplate how to get through the hour, not the day, this is for you.

No matter what is going on with your child, you have to take care of yourself, and find some “happy.”

For years, I didn’t do this. I threw myself headlong into being my eldest son’s ABA therapist when he was eighteen months old because Early Intervention barely exists in Virginia, and I kept up a grueling pace for two years before we moved back to NJ, no fun in sight. When my son has moved through what I call his “relentless cycles” of insomnia, aggression, extreme OCD, etc. I focused entirely on him, never thinking of my needs. Doctors visits got postponed; exercise was a thing of the past.

Fun, of any kind, was not on my radar.

I have people new to the autism journey ask me often if I could go back and change things, what would I alter. Aside from firing a few therapists a lot sooner than I did, I can honestly say the one big thing I would change is the fact I didn’t take care of myself, and allowed myself very few opportunities for respite.

That choice has affected my health, some friendships, and my overall outlook on life, which has generally been disgustingly positive.

I have vowed never to let that happen again.

So please, whatever is going on with your child at this moment, do whatever it takes to create some “happy” for yourself. Go beyond that daily run or that gynecologist exam- figure out what brings you joy, and move mountains to allow yourself those hours just for you. If a neighbor, friend, or relative has offered to babysit, take them up on it (even if it’s a disaster you’ll get out once!). Remember, your family and partner need a whole, happy, and healthy person in their lives- do whatever it takes to get there, and leave those other resolutions in the dust. They’ll be there waiting for you down the road, but you are the priority- you come first.

Do whatever it takes to find your happy.


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December 18, 2018

Dear Santa

Posted in Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , at 11:30 am by autismmommytherapist

Dear Santa,

Yes, I realize I’m a fifty-something-year-old woman writing to Santa, but it can never hurt to throw out your wishes to the universe, so here goes.

Hey, at this point when it comes to McCafferty clan happiness, I’ll try anything.

So Santa, just to be clear, I don’t hold you responsible for anything that’s transpired this year (and I’m grandfathering in 2017 too just for the hell of it), so don’t think I’m putting anything on you. It’s just that this family is in the mood for some change, so here’s my Christmas wish list. I hope you’re feeling generous, so here goes.


1) My youngest son actually loves middle school. Yes, I said loves. Let’s please keep it that way.

2) My eldest, despite a debilitating movement disorder that has plagued him for a year, is finally beginning to show glimpses of his former self, including all the glory of his drop dead smile and belly laughs. Truly grateful for this one and hoping these new developments remain (thank you!).

3) Despite my own fifty-something ailments, I am in good health, and my husband is too. Good health is a keeper!

4) Please bring me more patience to deal with my kids (and husband). Yes, I know this may be my “big gift” this year.

5) If you could, return some semblance of my failing memory to me. I’ll even take what I had at forty. I think I was “zippier” then (but I can’t remember).

6) Please let us go somewhere fun in 2019. The most excitement we had this year was multiple doctor visits to Philadelphia. Let’s step it up a bit.

7) Let awareness and kindness rule within the autism community, both in how we interact with autistic kids and adults, and how we parents interact with each other. Let’s extend that kindness request to the world at large.

8) This is a big one- please let my boys remain safe, happy and productive (had to get one more serious thing in here!).

Thanks Santa!

I want to take a moment to thank all of my readers- I truly appreciate the time you take to read about my family, and the uplifting comments you leave on the various places I post. My goal is to help as many people as I can, and it’s gratifying to know when I’ve reached someone. I hope all of you get everything you wish for on Santa’s list, and I wish for all of you a peaceful, safe and happy 2019!


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