Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Prioritizing Family Traditions

I've always been pretty into family traditions. But ever since losing my twins 9 months ago today, I have been much more into family traditions. Making memories that will last my daughters life time. She's an only child on  earth, but to all of us, her sisters are up in heaven, watching over all of us.

Family traditions don't have to be a big sh-bang  They can be as simple as a movie in your living room as a family once a week. Or pizza dinner on a certain day of the week. They can be seasonal or monthly or even weekly or daily! Traditions don't just mean least not in my books!

Some examples of family traditions for us include but are certainly NOT limited to:

  • daily bedtime stories of 2 books (sometimes more!)
  • yearly trips to College Royal (it'll be weird going this year though, because this will be the first none stroller year! So it'll be a new adventure!)
  • weekly Wednesday night homemade pizza (this is a newer tradition, that I started about a month or so ago...maybe a bit longer. Thursday is pizza day at my daughters school and since she can't have it, I make homemade pizza for dinner the night before and send some in her lunch the next day. Usually, I also have a couple of her friends over to enjoy a play date and pizza dinner on Wednesday too!)
  • Muffin baking! A couple times a month....usually every 2 weeks, I get in the kitchen and let my daughter bake muffins! I do the unsafe stuff and she does all the rest with some help when need be!
  • Holiday and special occasion baked treats and goody bags for her class! Everyone knows me for this and my "extravagance" with it! I don't go all out in my opinion but many parents think its over the top, but the kids love it and my daughter then gets to feel included and I KNOW she's getting SAFE treats to share with her friends! To me, that's the most important!
  • Family Meals!!!! I think this is by far one of the MOST crucial things, especially for my autistic daughters schedule. She does a LOT better on a schedule, obviously, but a big part of that is family meals. Although we have major struggles with getting her to sit, let alone eat, we still feel its an important part of family life! 
  • Each weekend picking some family activity to do! We are part of an Autism group, that thanks to their potentials program, we get to go out 3x a month to do activities! Monthly movies, swimming and indoor playground! If it weren't for them and their activities, I can honestly say, we wouldn't have those oppurtunities! So that's 3 weekends out of the month....2 Saturdays & 1 Sunday and then that other weekends, we pick something at home to do, or depending on the weather we will go outside for a fun activity! In the summer we spend a LOT of time at the pool in our subdivision! Thankfully it's free with our rent & it's open 6 days of the week! 
  • Family gatherings! At least once a year, we try to get my family together! My parents live close by, but my siblings don't. So once a year, minimum, we try to get together as a whole. Then twice a year, my sister takes my daughter for a weekend and once a year my parents take her camping, usually in my hometown, so she's close to my family & she gets to visit some of the extended family. 
  • Birthday!! My religion doesn't celebrate birthdays or holidays, my husbands an atheist, so he could care less. But our daughter is our miracle baby! I make a big deal out of her birthday, simply because, I feel that celebrating her life is IMPORTANT! She's had some rough journeys! Allergic reactions, repeated bouts of Rotavirus, the risk of not making it into the world, then her battle with autism, just to name a few! Each birthday to me, is another successful year of life! I make a big deal because of that! 
I could go on and on about different traditions, but I am sure you get the idea! I think that traditions are great, but more importantly I think keeping up with these traditions is crucial for autistic kids, making them a priority is, because it keeps things on a schedule and it gives them memories to look forward to! This may not work for all families that deal with Autism, but for my family, they are a big priority! The make a huge difference for us! 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Honouring Autism

I have been given the amazing honour, of not only convincing my daughters school (with her help of course!), to raise awareness for Autism during the month of April, wear blue shirts the day of April 3rd (I know April 2nd is World Autism Day, but that's the day that we come back from an Easter long weekend, so as a whole, parent council agreed to do it the day after, so that everyone can be given a reminder!), BUT I was honourably asked to give a speech on Autism to the whole school! And my daughter has been asked to make announcements in the week leading up to April about Autism and facts and anything she feels that people should know!

I feel so honoured that they asked me! I truly do! It's such a priviledge, to be able to do a short but hopefully informative presentation on Autism for the whole school & I am honestly hoping that many parents will come out to the assembly! The sad reality of it is, that in a school of LESS THEN 170 kids, 10 have diagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder. And my daughter is going through the diagnoses process again....this time with a doctor who realizes shes not "fine"! So, 11 kids out of less then 170! That's a large number!

My daughter is going to write some announcements to make, with a few simple little facts and some words she would like to say! My daughter will also be coming up in front of the school, while I do my presentation! She will be honouring Autism in a custom made autism outfit, that I will be making for her! I can't wait :)

I feel so honoured and so humbled to be able to do this. To not only have convinced the school to do it, but to be asked to take such a huge part! We're making history with our little school and for that I am so very grateful.

When I have done my presentation and speech, I will share it with all of you on the blog! I can't wait!