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Autism

Dear Black Son, I won’t turn my back on you.

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I was pretty poetic back then. I still am. I just have written that way in a while. Recently, I was looking over Justin’s Birthday’s over the years and I found his first Birthday Thank You Card. I was a new mom didn’t have much money so I needed to cut cost. I was very creative and always had ideas. So I decided to make the Thank you cards instead of buying them and having to mail them out. I created a Poem, took Justin’s sneaker and placed his sneaker print inside the card and gave them a picture of him. Everyone loved it. They couldn’t believe I wrote the card and came up with it. People thought my mom did it being that she’s so creative as well. But it was all my handy work. 😊

Check it out below.

Justin at his first birthday party. It was a cookout. He was teething. He never cried or fussed, he just grabbed the ice and calmed his gums.

His 1 year old pic. We took this at Sears Portrait Studio. They fell in love with his smile. He loved smiling and taking pictures back then. Now! I can forget about taking a picture.

The Thank You Card, The picture above went inside the Card

The Sneaker Print.

The Message! ❤️💙

BELIEVE IT!

I AM ONE NOW

FORGET ABOUT THE PAST

WHEN I WAS JUST A BABY

YOU THOUGHT I WAS

SO CUTE AND SWEET

I COULDN’T WAIT FOR

THOSE DAYS TO BE OVER

BECAUSE I JUST LOVE

TO GET INTO EVERYTHING

I USE TO HEAR

OOHS! AND AHHS!

NOW I HEAR

NO’s AND UH OH’S

YOU MAY NOT HAVE

SEEN ME IN ACTION

SO I LEFT MY PRINT

FOR YOU TO IN VISION

THE B E A UTIFUL

SOUNDS OF MY

MOMMY SCREAMING

Written by Keena White 2004

The card. I had Justin help me color it by holding his hand. I originally wanted to use his foot print but Justin wasn’t fond of soft textures. So, the original plan didn’t pan out however I think the back up one came out well.

Oh the memories.

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Autism

Justin’s 1st Birthday Thank You Card

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Some decisions are hard to make but when you make your finally decision. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing you made the decision for you.

Justin had a hard decision to make two weeks ago. He wanted to join Marching Band for his first year of High School. Yup! I now have a high school student. He missed several practices in July due to going home for the summer with his Dad. So August 14 was his first day of March Band Camp, it was a long day and boy oh boy, was he exhausted. He complained and I calmly listened and told him to think about things and give Marching Band a chance at least for the first week. He agreed, prepared for the next day and then got ready for bed.

I felt a little uneasy when I woke up in the morning. Couldn’t put my finger on exactly why I was feeling that way until both Justin and I walked out the door. You see, marching band practice is right in our backyard. Well his old school is, it’s so close it only takes Justin two minutes to get there. As I’m walking to the car, Justin is walking to practice, my mommy radar kicked in on high alert. I knew I had to remain calm because he was in a crisis and he needed help deciding what to do.

So I took a deep breath and asked him what’s wrong. He said ” I’m late and I don’t want to get in trouble”, he’s breathing really fast while he’s saying this. He’s also hiding so they can’t see him. I said okay, “what would you like to do?”, He said ” I want to go home, I don’t think I want to do this anymore.” I gave him a hug and told him to go home and relax and to not worry about things I’ll email the teacher. He thanked me about a millions times 😊.

I emailed the teacher letting her know about Justin’s feelings, she asked if we can meet and I agreed. Before we can meet the teacher Justin received so many text messages from his band mates. Some messages was nice and some not so nice. I was pissed because these messages was making Justin’s decision even harder to make. I’ll admit so of his mates were supportive while others were very mean.

When I mentioned this to the Marching Band Teacher it was passed off as just kids being kids. I get that but we need to teach our children to be supportive and to not make other children feel bad about making decisions for their future. After talking to his past Band Teacher and now his current teacher Justin decided to stay.

He made the decision on his own. I took his phone away so he can clearly think without the criticism or judgment. I listened to his feelings and reservations about being apart of marching band. He was happy with his decision and for now decided to only do it this school year.

I’m proud he made the best decision for him.

Autism

Making Decision

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I’ve decided to write Justin short letter picture quotes from me. I would like for it to be some thing that he can read throughout life to know my thinking process as his mom and to use it for encouragement when life gets the bear of him. Life wasn’t always easy for us and to this day we still have our moments. The world around us seem to be cruel and unfair to those of color. Some may not agree or thing so but it’s the truth.

As Justin watch the news he have questions that are only right for him to ask. Why are things so unfair for those who are black? Why are so many black people being murdered by cops? Why are black people judged so much when people of other races can do the same thing we do? The list of why’s continues. Some days I have straight forward answers while other days I don’t because I get frustrated having to explain to my son that life isn’t fair to people of color due to history. Some history isn’t told accurately while others is. I also explain to him that just because society is filled with greed, hate, and people’s need to control. We don’t stoop down to ignorance because we are better than what we are hated for.

Despite, what I say the world displays reasons why he should still question things and be mindful when he leaves the house, because life just isn’t fair to blacks no matter how free we are.

Happy Reading Justin.

Autism, Keena's Moments, Reflections

Dear Black Son

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Today, We decided to food shop, clean, relax, play games, go to the movies, and do lunch. Which won't be all in that order but it's going to take place today.

He's so much taller than I am. I miss him being my size or smaller. I'm glad he's back home. I've missed him being home. He came back a little anxious about school and friendships but we worked out his worries. I make sure I make it easy for him to come to me with anything he has going on in his mind. I try my best not to be his therapist but be his Mom with a lot of understanding.

He appreciates it. I'm glad my own personal and professional growth has changed me enough to be a better person for him.

He will always be one of my reasons why I do what I do. I love being his Mom 😊

The Emoji Movies was good. Go Check it out.

Autism

Mother & Son

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I can't believe in a years time Justin has grown to be my height all the way up to a few inches shy of his fathers height. The doctor did say that Justin would get taller but I thought I had some time being that boys stop growing at 19. Also, because Justin was my height, I knew it's going to take some time for him to get taller than me. It didn't dawn on me that it would happen in the matter of minutes. This time last year Justin was 5'3 1/2" now he is roughly 6'0. That's a lot of inches in one year. I swear I wanted to cry because it seemed like I was buying new clothes every other month. Thank God, his feet didn't grow much 😊.

Check out his growth. Justin with his Father.

Jan/Feb 2016 June 2017

Autism

Oh My He’s Growing Too Fast

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Years ago. Every summer I would plan a one or two week hide out or secret vacation for me and Justin. Sometimes I'd stay local and other times I went far. I wouldn't tell anyone where I was going. I would just go. I'd pack our things up and off we went to enjoy quiet time alone. I'd bring boat loads of books, snacks, and toys with me. I loved sitting in the sun to read. I made sure I wasn't as available but enough to be available if I was truly needed.

Taking time was my way of escaping our hectic daily routine. It was our get away from therapy, work, school work, and everyone. We needed these breaks because as I said before we had a hectic daily routine. Our day would began at 5am and end 9pm or 10pm.

I would awaken first because I knew getting Justin ready would take a great deal of time given his rituals of starring at the light and watching at least one of his shows repeatedly. He'd at least watch it 3 or 4 times by the time we left the house. It was also a struggle because of his sensory issue. Justin wasn't a fan of lotion or soft textures. So I would have to prepare myself for the screams and fighting he was about to do just because I needed to put lotion on him. I eventually became a pro because I started to get him dress while he was asleep and backwards, this way he didn't know what I was doing. It worked for a while.

Now it's time for breakfast. I never knew what he wanted to eat. So I would open the fridge and let him pick it. It was our way of communicating. Then I had to keep in mind after I made his food to leave the room. My little child did not want me to watch him eat or assist him with eating. If I stayed in the kitchen while he ate. The food would be all over the kitchen or he would have thrown it at me. So I'd leave right after making sure he was okay. After he finished eating he would come to me so I can cut the VCR on so that he can watch one of his shows. I'd put it on and take a few minutes to go over our day.

As mentioned, our days were long. While I was at work he was at school. Then after school and work, we had therapy. I say we because I learned just as much as he learned while in session. Justin had a therapy session every day after school. It was either, Speech, Occupational Therapy, or Play Therapy. We didn't live close to our appointments, so I'd have a lot of driving to do. Once the appointment was over, I'd have to drop Justin off home to my mom and then I was off to class. Yes, I said class. I was a full-time student for both my degrees. I don't know how I did it. I just did it. I'd go to class for about two to four hours depending on my schedule and what day of the week it was. Some days I'd have one class others I had two. I wouldn't get home until about 9 or 10 o'clock. Sometimes, Justin would be sleep and other times he would be wide awake. Justin needed to see me before going to bed. Seeing his face after a long day always made what I was doing for our future worth it.
This is why I planned get aways. I would plan them in the summer or right when I knew Justin was about to have a transition and I needed to prepare myself mentally for it. I hated transitions, Justin did too. I knew that the behaviors were coming. So I'd create the calm before the storm. It helped a great deal having that time alone right before things got out of hand. I liked to always be one step ahead. Even though one can never truly be one step ahead when dealing with unpredictable behaviors. I'm sure many parents can relate. During our time away. He played with his toys. We read books together. We put puzzles together. We went for walks. We went to the pool. It was a week with no electronics.

Which is why no one could get a hold of me. 😊
It was peaceful

I stopped our getaways when my family became concerned (My mom scolded me for going away and not saying anything 😔) and when Justin's Dad came back into the picture. I wish I hadn't because it stopped our mommy and son summer routine.

However, I plan to get it back. Starting this week. I will be using electronics here and there just so that I can post to the blog and get back on track with a few other things. Justin will be home on Sunday and I will be off for the next few weeks.

So we will have our time together 😍

Remember to always take time for you. There is nothing wrong with time alone. Just clear your head and get away.

Taking Time

Autism

Taking Time

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Autism

He Loves Who He Is 

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img_1185I post this imperfect picture to remind others that no one is perfect. Something I need to get through to myself as I struggle with my own imperfections that I wish were perfect. Lately in school Justin’s been coming home telling me kids call him weird. It’s been hurting his feelings as well as mine. After finally accepting his unique weirdness Justin befriended another “weird” kid.

He comes home and says 😳

 ” Mom I have a new friend, no one gets him but I do. People thinks he’s weird to. I like his weirdness. I get it.”

All I could do is smile. 😍

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Weirdness 

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Keena's Moments

It feels good to just sit. Yesterday was the first day I got to come home and do nothing. As soon as Justin got home we talked about his day. He’s a little nervous about a presentation today. So, I did a little talk therapy to help him feel better. I hope it worked.

These past two weeks has been two long paperwork field weeks. I had paperwork to complete for both jobs. I really enjoy what I do. I love teaching my students as well as provide counseling services to families of children with disabilities. I know first hand that raising a child with a disability is not easy. Sigh.

After coming home early Justin smiles at me and says “Would you like to go out with me to dinner? ” I smiled and said “Yes”. He always knows how to make me feel better.  We sat and talked about school, funny stuff that he likes to watch, and him wanting a new phone. It was good night. Just in case you are wondering we went to Friendlys. It’s located right down the street from our house. It’s one of Justin’s favorite places to eat. After the end of our date he says ” I know you spent money on our meals but we got to spend time and go out together. I know we go out on the weekends but it feels good to do it during the week”. Where do they get this kid? I’m so glad he chose me to be his mom.

Making time for things and those that matter is all that matters– Justin W.C.

Making Time 

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