23 Top Life Skills

Autism SkillsWhile sorting papers from years ago.  15 to be exact.  I came across an interesting list.  Written when I realized Kirsten’s life was taking a different trajectory.  All those things I’d taken for granted were fading away.  All those dreams, those expectations, came into question.

What IS her future?  What do I WANT for her future??!

But MY child.  My CHILD.  Is still the same!  The same little girl I loved since the moment I laid eyes on her.  The same little girl I cheered on as she took her first steps… spoke her first words.  Such potential!  So bright!! 

And then… regression.    

Yes, things had changed.  But my goals hadn’t.  I still wanted her to have a successful life.  My responsibility, right??  To provide the knowledge and guidance needed to succeed.  I would do everything within my power to get her there.  Which brought another question…

What is needed for a successful life?

And that got right down to it.  The crux of the matter.    

If you’re an autism parent, I’m preaching to the choir here… but I’ll go ahead with it anyway.  You see, when you take away all the “givens” an entirely different list forms!  Am I right??!  Right! 

I can narrow down the writing of this list to one very well-defined moment.  The day after our first IEP meeting.  The school stated two goals.  “We will teach her her name and 3 colors” still rings in my head. 

They didn’t even discuss MY biggest concerns: tremendous anxiety, meltdowns, insomnia, no longer finding joy in life (seriously …smiles nonexistent!), loss of language, not connecting with people… and that’s the short list!  Aaaaand… she already knew her name and colors.  Ultimate IEP fail.  This list was me playing King of the Educational System for the day.  What would *I* focus on???

That’s it for today.  Yep.  Stopping mid-stream

I have more to say on the matter.  What I would add… take away.  Where we have succeeded.  Where we have failed.  What I wish I’d done differently.  But I’m saving that for another day.

Today, I want to hear your thoughts.  What would be on YOUR list?  At the most basic level – when it comes to character traits and education – what is needed to create a successful life?  Have some fun with it!

Can’t wait to hear from you :)

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6 Responses

  1. Tara Black says:

    I am with you both on the ‘how to express emotions’ better thing. Megan sort of picked up a ‘yelling in your face and scratching arm’ thing from one of the other girls in class last year…took most of the summer to get her to stop doing it…(most of the time)…I would love to hear..”Mom, I am mad at your for making me go to bed!” or whatever her version would be….(probably…Megan MAD…no bed!!!!) LOL
    Does anyone else have the issue of the third person speech…sometimes it seems as if Megan doesn’t totally understand an instruction without me using “Megan” instead of you… just curious…

    • Autism Makes Me Laugh | Tammy says:

      That’s totally it -> “Megan MAD… no bed!!!” :)

      It’s hard when they pick up bad habits, isn’t it? K still sometimes bites herself when angry – learned from another little guy 10+ years ago.

      The learning of some things… and the unlearning of others. Let’s get busy!

  2. Sam says:

    My son will be 5 in 7 days and what I have been focusing on is teaching him emotions. We have read “The Way I Feel ” probably a thousand times. I also make faces and he tells me what I am feeling. Sometimes he doesn’t want to do it but other times he is happy to engage with it. But most importantly to me we play and laugh

    • Autism Makes Me Laugh | Tammy says:


      Emotions are so important – and difficult to teach. “A thousand” reads is a great recommendation – I’ll have to look that one up! Definitely adding “have fun” to my list. So, so, so important!

  1. October 2, 2013

    […] Amazing how those three little words still affect me.  Nervous!  But I promised, so here it is. (promise found here)  Time to compare my goals set back when Kirsten was itty bitty, to […]