Autism · Dyslexia · Family · Homemaking · Homeschooling · Just For Fun

Not The Former Things Top 5 Most Asked Questions (and their answers!)

Over the course of the past few months, I have received so many messages from y’all.

I LOVE them.

I LOVE being able to connect with actual people.

I LOVE that you even care enough to comment, email and IM me.

Thank you so, so much!

In the interest of reaching out to the introverts (like myself), who might have the same questions but would feel tired just thinking about having to comment or send a message (again, like myself), I thought I would share the questions I am most frequently asked, and my responses.

Not The Former Things Top Five Most Asked

1. Why don’t you ever reference dads? You speak to mommas a lot, but there are a lot of dads out there with kids on the spectrum too.

I love that we have dads here and engaged on the site! In fact, one of my favorite guest posts came from a dad with a child on the spectrum. I write specifically to and for mommas for one simple reason. I am one. The only thing I feel remotely qualified to write about is my own experience. While I think dads might be able to relate, I would never want to assume that I know what it feels like to be a dad. I don’t. I do think more men should write about the experience of fatherhood in general, and a spectrum diagnosis in particular, but that is certainly not my strong suit.

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2. How did you and Mick meet?

Boy is this a long story! One day, I may do an entire post devoted to it. The short answer is, we met for the first time in fourth grade. We went through elementary and high school together, and then didn’t have any contact at all until 17 years later. We reconnected, and then one trip to Disneyland with the boys later, and we were all in love. God gives good gifts, y’all.

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3. How do you find the time to blog?

Good question.  The honest answer is I have no idea. Sometimes I get up super early. Sometimes my husband handles all the house stuff so I can stay in the writing groove. Sometimes a sweet friend watches the boys for a few hours so I can go to the coffee shop and actually think. Sometimes the boys are playing games on the iPad while I frantically type. (This explains why grammar is often questionable here on Not The Former Things. I can barely get the thoughts out, much less edit them without eight million interruptions!)

I have struggled, as the blog has grown (and the demands of my family have as well) to figure out a routine that is consistent. The good news is that God keeps showing me little snippets of time that I can use for this purpose.

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4. My family doesn’t homeschool. What do you think about public and private school?

We choose to homeschool because it is seems to be the best choice for our boys. I am perfectly comfortable with public school being the right choice for your family, or private school being your jam. I am not the homeschooler that thinks homeschooling is superior in every way. Not even a little. In fact of you have read any of my posts on homeschooling, you know that I used to make fun of homeschoolers (true story).

That being said, I do think homeschooling can be a very good option, particularly for kids with special learning needs. I write about our homeschooling life because #1 it is a huge part of how we spend our time, and #2 I want you to know that this is a viable choice. When my youngest son was diagnosed with his processing delay and profound dyslexia, I was told he would need to be in a public school ASAP, to get the services he needs. It was a huge amount of pressure, especially because I saw the success we were having at home –  being able to slow things down and work one on one. I am grateful that we got some additional opinions, and used outside resources to help in that time frame.

I know many of you do not homeschool. In fact, my posts about homeschooling are the least read, least commented on, least productive posts on the blog. I keep writing about it because I think it is an important part of how we live our lives around here. It gives you the full picture of who I am, and who we are. Nothing more and nothing less.

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5. Do you really believe that autism is a gift? (or another variation – Would you change it for your son if you could?)

This is a loaded question, and one that is difficult to answer. I try to share the good and the bad in every post for a reason. I think this is the nature of life, and more specifically, the nature of an autism spectrum diagnosis.

I believe that autism is absolutely a part of how my son is made. I believe that God does not make mistakes and has a plan for all of us – including my son. In that respect, autism is a gift. It is also a gift in that my son is so flippin’ smart. my brain hurts trying to keep up with him. There are many aspects of autism that I would qualify as a gift.

More importantly,  I believe that it is not up to me to pick and choose what I like and what I don’t like.

What I would not say is a gift, and what I would change all day long, are the sensory issues and anxiety my son experiences. These are a part of autism too – again, we take the good with the bad, even when it is so tough seeing your child suffer.

Many adults with autism say they would never choose to change it. Autism is a part of what makes them their unique selves. I think my son would agree. I think that means that this question is always more about me as his mom, than it is about him. He is fine. I am the one that needs to get on board, and let go of how I thought life would be for him.

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So, that’s that.

As I said before, thank you for caring enough to ask. Thank you for being here. Thank you for living this life alongside us (even if it is virtually).

I am honored and so very grateful to have this opportunity.

With so much love and respect,

Shawna


 

Not The Former Things Top Five Most Asked

Have more questions??? Leave them in a comment below, on Facebook, or in a private message.

6 thoughts on “Not The Former Things Top 5 Most Asked Questions (and their answers!)

  1. Hi! I just found your blog from your guest post on Simple Homeschool. I love your candor about depression and life not being perfect. I’m excited to read along your journey and super happy I’m able to jump right in and get to know you with this great post…I feel all caught up now!

  2. I’m glad to have found your blog. It is hard to find people who understand as you do. I’m a mom to an almost 18 year old son with aspergers (I think). I also have 6 younger kids and homeschool them all. My oldest has always struggled with sensory issues and gut pains the doctors couldn’t find a reason for. He has always been different than the other kids but I just thought of him as quirky and quiet until about 4 years ago when I started learning more about aspergers. His grandparents don’t think he has it and think if we stop coddling he will change. One counselor thinks he does have it, another thinks he is just shy because he doesn’t flap his hands or act that aspergerish. His doctor thinks he has an eating disorder and that we need to force him out of bed in the morning so he will sleep at night. I don’t know what to think. I pray and feel led to love and be consistent and take a day at a time. But I have no idea what to reasonably expect from him as he enters legal adult age. I listened to an Asperger experts parent panel and was discouraged to hear that all of th had kids in their 20s still living at home struggling to hold a part time job. One talked about letting her son give her a Christmas wish list and buying everything on it and giving him the reciepts just so he wouldn’t have the stress of worrying about what he was getting and having uncertainty. That sounds like enabling to me rather than helping them learn patience and how to deal with uncertainty. But maybe I’m expecting too much? He is so smart and capable, he performs in plays and builds computers. I just can’t get him out of bed consistently and he struggles socially and emotionally. He’s not showing signs of being prepared to leave home anytime soon. I doubt myself wondering if we have been too easy on him expecting too little or too hard on him expecting things he isn’t capable of right now. The next goals are a drivers license, GED, and a job. It is slow going.

    1. I am so glad you are here! Welcome.
      Yes to every single thing you wrote…I am so sorry you have struggled to find support and answers. I am praying for your family and your heart right this minute.

  3. A.H. I am just a bit ahead of you chronologically. My son is 26. We are looking at some of your experiences in the rearview mirror. I am 100% with you on the ‘enabling’ debate. Nobody knows the dynamics of being his mom like you do. Stay confident in your own instinct! You are the first person I have heard of with the ‘Christmas’ issue. It just made me think, who cares! If our kids don’t like surprises then so be it! Christmas 2016 will be Kaleb style for my son. He can keep the boxes in his room if he wants!

    One point I want to share that I just learned this year is… don’t underestimate your son’s motivation. Look for what it is. Use it. We have always had issues with hygeine. Fought over every shower. Then Kaleb’s aide suggested he try for a real job, stock shelves at grocery, whatever- but he had to begin taking daily showers, and fixing his own breakfast to prove he could handle it. He began that day & has kept up for three months now. We have applied for jobs, talked to managers, and no luck, but the point is he is growing up- in his time. My son sounds less functioning than yours, I can’t see Kaleb ever driving and he is non-verbal for the most part. But some of the struggles are the same.

    We are now attempting to clean up his diet, something that has overwhelmed me in the past. It is an interesting journey. I am reluctantly starting my own blog… http://www.horsefeathersfarm.net But as so many kids age out of the school system, I think we all need to reach out to each other. I really appreciate this site.

  4. I love your answer about homeschooling. The Bible tells us to raise up our child in the way he should go. What is right for one child may not be right for another child, even in the same family. At one point, I had a freshman in a state college after graduating from a Christian school, a senior in a Christian high school, a sophomore in high school home school, and a freshman in a public high school. They all experienced several years of each type of schooling. It was what was right for each them at that time in their life. You know which kid struggles the most (all are in the 30s now)? The one that spent the most time in home school. Go figure.

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