Blog

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Adoption

Any man can be a father, but it takes someone truly special to be a dad. A dad extends his hands, time and heart to love the child through anything. The bond between my husband, Josh and my autistic adult son, Skyler is like nothing I’ve ever seen. Many people jokingly call Josh “the Skyler…
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Family

In life, you are presented with two types of family – the one you’re born into and the one you build. My entire childhood was plagued with abuse and trauma, so as an adult, all I desperately wanted was to break that cycle and create a ‘normal’ and loving family of my own. One that…
Read More Family
Iq Test

Proving Your Worth

Today was a tough day. In fact, one I’ve somehow been able to avoid for 17 years. My nonverbal, severely autistic adult son had to undergo an IQ test / Psychological Assessment in order to ‘prove’ his continued need for services provided by the Medicaid waiver. Because we all know kids outgrow autism and don’t…
Read More Proving Your Worth
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Beauty in the Journey

I have a confession to make… I lack the ability to sit still and am a hoarder of all things pertaining to my kids. Whether it’s the adorable creations crafted by their own little hands or papers pertaining to each of their individual experiences with education (IEPs, report cards, therapy notes, A+ essays, science projects,…
Read More Beauty in the Journey
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Waving the White Flag

At the risk of receiving a boatload of backlash for being negative, I’m going to be completely honest. While I make every effort to share the good and difficult parts about being a lifelong caregiver to my adult son with severe, nonverbal autism, sometimes the tough times stick around longer than I’d like and make…
Read More Waving the White Flag
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The Voice Of A Sibling

Much of my life and the majority of my social media posts revolve around managing the unpredictability of severe, nonverbal autism and its impact on Skyler’s life. As his full-time parent caregiver and the parent of a neurotypical child as well, I feel it’s important to also share how this extremely challenging diagnosis affects the…
Read More The Voice Of A Sibling
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Aging Out

The days are growing shorter as that dreaded time draws near, His age dictates there’s no longer a need, so services and programming abruptly disappear. At the moment of diagnosis, I was told all the things my son would never do, “But look at him now,” I scream aloud, “Your predictions were so untrue.” He…
Read More Aging Out
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Where Do You See Yourself

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? It’s a question I’ve been asked more than a dozen times throughout my life in various situations – post college graduation and job interviews are among the most common scenarios. Back then, I would answer confidently, sharing the goals and visions I had set for…
Read More Where Do You See Yourself
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Purposeful Motherhood

While I don’t envision that God is in heaven playing a random game of Duck, Duck, Goose as His way of selecting how children and their future parents will be matched, I do believe God perfectly places people, specifically children, into our lives quite purposefully. Maybe I was specifically chosen for my parents as a…
Read More Purposeful Motherhood
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The Special Guest

I welcome every opportunity I’m given to share our family’s autism journey and speak about all of ways in which Skyler amazes me. However, this past weekend, speaking at the autism conference felt significantly more important than any other talks I’ve given. My emotionally charged words and examples of Skyler’s courage and resilience were directed…
Read More The Special Guest
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Party of Three

This is us. A forever, inseparable party of three. Weekends spent in perpetual motion, trying to keep our 20-year-old, autistic, nonverbal son entertained. Always on repeat, his mind and body requiring the same regimented plan for the day. Awakened at dawn due to urine-soaked bedding followed by a quick shower and demand for his favorite…
Read More Party of Three
Iq Test

Proving Your Worth

Today was a tough day. In fact, one I’ve somehow been able to avoid for 17 years. My nonverbal, severely autistic adult son had to undergo an IQ test / Psychological Assessment in order to ‘prove’ his continued need for services provided by the Medicaid waiver. Because we all know kids outgrow autism and don’t…
Read More Proving Your Worth
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Beauty in the Journey

I have a confession to make… I lack the ability to sit still and am a hoarder of all things pertaining to my kids. Whether it’s the adorable creations crafted by their own little hands or papers pertaining to each of their individual experiences with education (IEPs, report cards, therapy notes, A+ essays, science projects,…
Read More Beauty in the Journey
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Aging Out

The days are growing shorter as that dreaded time draws near, His age dictates there’s no longer a need, so services and programming abruptly disappear. At the moment of diagnosis, I was told all the things my son would never do, “But look at him now,” I scream aloud, “Your predictions were so untrue.” He…
Read More Aging Out
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Where Do You See Yourself

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? It’s a question I’ve been asked more than a dozen times throughout my life in various situations – post college graduation and job interviews are among the most common scenarios. Back then, I would answer confidently, sharing the goals and visions I had set for…
Read More Where Do You See Yourself
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Party of Three

This is us. A forever, inseparable party of three. Weekends spent in perpetual motion, trying to keep our 20-year-old, autistic, nonverbal son entertained. Always on repeat, his mind and body requiring the same regimented plan for the day. Awakened at dawn due to urine-soaked bedding followed by a quick shower and demand for his favorite…
Read More Party of Three
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The Hug of My Life

Twenty years… That’s how long I’ve waited for a simple hug from my son. You see, my 20-year-old son Skyler is on the severe end of the autism spectrum, is non-speaking, has global motor difficulties and suffers from Crohn’s disease. Frequently people ask me how I know that Skyler loves me or appreciates the great…
Read More The Hug of My Life
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Just Keep Trying

Routines are an essential part of life for many on the spectrum and my son Skyler definitely demands consistency. I’ve spent this entire weekend parenting solo and essentially filling as Joshua Hellmann (aka Skyler’s favorite person) doing all the special things they normally do together while Josh is out of town running the Cleveland Marathon….
Read More Just Keep Trying
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What is your plan?

My son Skyler is on the severe end of the autism spectrum, is non-verbal and suffers from Crohn’s disease. He is one week away from turning 20-years-old and I’m not prepared. I recently sat down with Skyler’s case manager, who I absolutely adore, for our annual meeting to discuss the waiver service options and hours…
Read More What is your plan?
Dismissed And Underestimated

Dismissed and Underestimated

My 19-year-old son has Ulcerative Colitis, non-verbal autism, complex needs and global motor difficulties. He has been dismissed, underestimated and deemed incapable his entire life by those who are trained to support, teach and encourage his growth and development. I attended a meeting at his autism center yesterday with the understanding we would be discussing…
Read More Dismissed and Underestimated
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Aging out of the system

My 19-year-old son has Ulcerative Colitis, non-verbal autism, complex needs and global motor difficulties. That description is getting harder to repeat … not because of the various diagnoses but based on the heavily uncertain future for adults on the spectrum, the sheer mention of his age sends me into panic. With the holidays now a…
Read More Aging out of the system
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Emotional Future

Yesterday was one of the hardest and most emotional days I’ve had in many months. For those who have read my book and follow me socially, you know that I don’t sugarcoat any parts of our life, but I try my hardest to always identify the silver lining and remain hopeful in most situations. But…
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Hold My Hand

    It’s a fair question and one I’ve asked myself hundreds of times. What is he trying to tell me?  Even though I’m not always confident I’ve interpreted his outward displays correctly, I do my best to understand and help. As frustrating as it can be for both of us, I appreciate that Skyler…
Read More Hold My Hand
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Adoption

Any man can be a father, but it takes someone truly special to be a dad. A dad extends his hands, time and heart to love the child through anything. The bond between my husband, Josh and my autistic adult son, Skyler is like nothing I’ve ever seen. Many people jokingly call Josh “the Skyler…
Read More Adoption
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Family

In life, you are presented with two types of family – the one you’re born into and the one you build. My entire childhood was plagued with abuse and trauma, so as an adult, all I desperately wanted was to break that cycle and create a ‘normal’ and loving family of my own. One that…
Read More Family
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The Voice Of A Sibling

Much of my life and the majority of my social media posts revolve around managing the unpredictability of severe, nonverbal autism and its impact on Skyler’s life. As his full-time parent caregiver and the parent of a neurotypical child as well, I feel it’s important to also share how this extremely challenging diagnosis affects the…
Read More The Voice Of A Sibling
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Purposeful Motherhood

While I don’t envision that God is in heaven playing a random game of Duck, Duck, Goose as His way of selecting how children and their future parents will be matched, I do believe God perfectly places people, specifically children, into our lives quite purposefully. Maybe I was specifically chosen for my parents as a…
Read More Purposeful Motherhood
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Muffins with Mom

What an honor it was to spend the morning with Skyler. I truly can’t believe that 13 years have past between my first and what was likely my last “muffins with mom.” So many emotions are going through my mind as I look at the photos of then and now… Age 7 – Skyler was…
Read More Muffins with Mom
Sky And Mom

Just Keep Trying

Routines are an essential part of life for many on the spectrum and my son Skyler definitely demands consistency. I’ve spent this entire weekend parenting solo and essentially filling as Joshua Hellmann (aka Skyler’s favorite person) doing all the special things they normally do together while Josh is out of town running the Cleveland Marathon….
Read More Just Keep Trying
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A Beautiful Mind

Understanding the inner workings of the body and mind is extremely difficult, but as the parent caregiver of a non-speaking young adult diagnosed with autism and Ulcerative Colitis, I feel like the last 19 years have been an endless game of charades. Although there are plentiful books on the subject, the early phase of motherhood…
Read More A Beautiful Mind
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I’m Tired

I’m in a funk – a particularly dark head space that is centered around jealousy. I would normally suffer in silence and be ashamed to openly admit my truth, but I think it’s important to be honest and share because I suspect I’m not alone. We’ve come so far in many ways with Skyler’s communication…
Read More I’m Tired
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Celebrating Motherhood

The Mother’s Day holiday is one of my favorite days of the year.  I genuinely enjoy celebrating being the mother of two incredible kids more than my birthday, Christmas and Valentine’s Day combined. Like many little girls who played house with their dolls as children, I often depicted the ‘perfect’ mother as I imagined her…
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Can We Really Have It All?

It’s tough to admit, but mom guilt is an unfair reality of parenting. I’m certain that I inflict much of it upon myself along with self-doubt and countless “I’m sorry” replies for situations I shouldn’t be apologizing for. Spending the better part of my adulthood trying to be everything for everyone is a tough cross to…
Read More Can We Really Have It All?
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I Grant Myself Permission

I used to think it was selfish to want time away from everything and everyone.  How could I possibly justify dropping my responsibilities as a wife, mother of a special-needs child and employee for 30 minutes or an hour to refresh and recharge. The internal battles and justifications of why I couldn’t and shouldn’t break…
Read More I Grant Myself Permission
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Purposeful Motherhood

While I don’t envision that God is in heaven playing a random game of Duck, Duck, Goose as His way of selecting how children and their future parents will be matched, I do believe God perfectly places people, specifically children, into our lives quite purposefully. Maybe I was specifically chosen for my parents as a…
Read More Purposeful Motherhood
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The Special Guest

I welcome every opportunity I’m given to share our family’s autism journey and speak about all of ways in which Skyler amazes me. However, this past weekend, speaking at the autism conference felt significantly more important than any other talks I’ve given. My emotionally charged words and examples of Skyler’s courage and resilience were directed…
Read More The Special Guest
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Enjoy Today

I’ve envisioned this moment many times over the years. What it would feel like to experience the high school graduation of my youngest child, Kendall, having not had the opportunity to enjoy this same moment with her older brother, Skyler two years earlier. Would I be overly emotional at the ceremony? Proud and elated for…
Read More Enjoy Today
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Presuming Competence

It takes a lot to fire me up and anger me to the point I lose sleep over a nasty remark or unsolicited comment about my parenting. But, when I received the below message regarding Spelling to Communicate (S2C), I threw my phone and screamed a few choice words in the air: “As a parent…
Read More Presuming Competence
Letting Go

Letting Go

Letting go is hard! Particularly when being in complete control is my love language! You see, as much as I hope, pray & dream for my nonverbal, autistic 19-year-old son to be even minimally independent, caring for and managing his every need is all both of us have ever known. I know he is capable…
Read More Letting Go
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I’m Fine

I’m fine. Such a conditioned response I’ve used for the entirety of my life no matter the situation. Served cold food that tastes dreadful – my response to the waiter when asked about my meal is always the same, “it’s fine, thank you.” Someone terribly hurts my feelings or I’m physically injured due to no…
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How Do You Do It?

I’m often asked by friends and acquaintances, “How do you do it all?” This statement usually comes after someone has observed me when I’m out and about with my two kids in tow, likely trying to redirect Skyler from reaching out to pull someone’s beautiful, long hair or smacking the arm of a passerby. What…
Read More How Do You Do It?
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Cherish Every Moment

Whether currently, or at one time or another in our lives, I think most of us have experienced the feeling of not having control in a situation, or not knowing what to do, or what is the best decision to make.  Perhaps you’ve felt helpless, emotionally overwhelmed or as if you just couldn’t stand one…
Read More Cherish Every Moment
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Autoimmune and Gastrointestinal Disorders Are Part of Our Autism Journey

From as far back as I can recall, Skyler has experienced digestion issues, painful eczema, skin tearing and severe constipation, which was repeatedly dismissed by ‘experts’ as “just a part of autism” and we were given band-aid treatment options.  Throughout the last 6-8 months, we’ve added horrible acne, significant weight loss and increased aggression to…
Read More Autoimmune and Gastrointestinal Disorders Are Part of Our Autism Journey
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Autism Is Not Always to Blame

From as far back as I can remember, Skyler has always expressed himself by using his hands. The most common of his ‘gestures’ is open hand smacking of walls, cupboards, doors, counters, people, etc.  Basically, if he could reach it, he would hit it. Hair pulling was his second favorite method of contact.  Oddly enough,…
Read More Autism Is Not Always to Blame
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Waving the White Flag

At the risk of receiving a boatload of backlash for being negative, I’m going to be completely honest. While I make every effort to share the good and difficult parts about being a lifelong caregiver to my adult son with severe, nonverbal autism, sometimes the tough times stick around longer than I’d like and make…
Read More Waving the White Flag
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Aging Out

The days are growing shorter as that dreaded time draws near, His age dictates there’s no longer a need, so services and programming abruptly disappear. At the moment of diagnosis, I was told all the things my son would never do, “But look at him now,” I scream aloud, “Your predictions were so untrue.” He…
Read More Aging Out
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Where Do You See Yourself

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? It’s a question I’ve been asked more than a dozen times throughout my life in various situations – post college graduation and job interviews are among the most common scenarios. Back then, I would answer confidently, sharing the goals and visions I had set for…
Read More Where Do You See Yourself
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The Special Guest

I welcome every opportunity I’m given to share our family’s autism journey and speak about all of ways in which Skyler amazes me. However, this past weekend, speaking at the autism conference felt significantly more important than any other talks I’ve given. My emotionally charged words and examples of Skyler’s courage and resilience were directed…
Read More The Special Guest
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Inclusion

One of the most overwhelming concerns a special needs family faces is the fear of isolation from our communities. We must always weigh the decision whether venturing out will be worth the anxiety or misunderstandings and judgement from onlookers should our child be triggered and their behaviors become troublesome. While I’m a big believer in…
Read More Inclusion

Other Publications Featuring Laurie’s Writing

Other Publications Featuring Laurie’s Writing