Monday, February 20, 2012

Julie Clark's Author Page on Facebook

Over the weekend, I unveiled my author page on Facebook (Click HERE for "Julie Clark's Official Author Page on Facebook.") Are you wondering, why is she starting another Facebook page when she already has the Asperger's in PINK Facebook fan page? Well, I asked myself the same thing for months, which is why it's taken a while to create the "Julie Clark, Author" FB page. I mean, I'm known to be "queen" of taking on more than any sane person should, but, really, even I have my limits. Really.

My pictures always come out crooked.
I absolutely love the Asperger's in PINK Facebook page! The "fans" (is there another term for that?) are the best, and the way everyone feels free to share with each other is amazing. And it's staying right where it is, fulfilling it's purpose. But, there are times when I want to convey something that might not be the best fit on that page. It could be anything from a link to a topic to throw out there. But there are other reasons, too. Like last year, I will be the featured guest on several fronts, and an author page is a natural place to plop them. It's also a great place to talk about new works, and to talk to you, too.

I'd be honored if you'd stop by, and if you like the page, please "like" it, too!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Self-Advocacy Project

As school in the States marks it’s halfway point for many of us, it’s already time to start thinking about the next school year.  Really. As we all know, preparing for school doesn’t happen in a matter of minutes, unless we’re talking oversleeping an alarm clock.

Is your child about to enter a new school? Will this be the first year your child has a “plan” in place? Or is college on the horizon? This is the time to start looking ahead for next year. You have over a semester’s worth of school under your belt. What’s working? What isn’t? Where will your child be? The same school? Homeschooled? A jump to middle or high school? Or moving, altogether?

If your child is young, self-advocacy is a bit harder to encourage, but it can be done. For kids nearing the end of middle school, now is the time to prepare them for high school, letting them know you will be working together to help them self-advocate, to “speak up for themselves”. Once high school hits, students are expected to wean off mom and dad and spread their wings. Sure, levels of independency will vary, but the expectation is there, just the same.

It’s a lot to take in, isn’t it? And I’m only one mom. Sure, Kristina is doing very well, especially considering where we’ve come from, and you all know I’m willing to help as I can, and I will. But, self-advocacy is one area where we need more voices to come forward and share so that other families, other students, will have the best shot at growth they possibly can.

I need you. Each and every one of you who has an interest in this topic.

Who do I need?

  • Parents who’ve “been there, done that” (whether your child has graduated from high school, or not quite yet - of both girls AND boys!), I’d love your tips. With an eye toward the day when your child walks across the graduation stage, tell us what worked, and what you wish you knew.
  • Parents who are just starting this journey, I’d love your questions. No question is “silly, stupid, asked too many times,” etc.!
  • Those on the Autism Spectrum who have been there, and would love for someone to listen to what YOU have to say!
  • Teachers and other professionals who would like to provide their perspective.

Why am I asking for this? 
I am planning a blog (or blog series, depending on how many would like to participate) regarding self-advocacy.

What else do I need?  
Your permission. Here’s some fine print. (Gotta “love” fine print, right?) By commenting on this blog post or the Asperger's in PINK Facebook page, you are giving your permission to freely, without compensation, use your tips on this blog, which will be tweeted, shared, etc. I will not use your name, unless you specifically tell me it is ok (for your own privacy). So, if you’d like proper credit, just let me know, ok? No problem!

How should you provide tips? 
Either leave a comment below (stating whether or not it is ok to reference you by name, initials, etc.), comment on my Facebook page, or email me directly. And, yes, comments are screened before hand, which is why yours do not automatically appear. You can "thank" the spambots for that. *sigh*

Questions? Leave them below!

Can I pass this on to my friends, family, etc., for their input? Sure!

I believe we learn and grow best when we choose to listen, truly listen to each other, with open minds. And to gather tips to help others, we need to work together to make it the best list out there!

Ready? Go!

More fine print: By contributing to this project, you agree that any and all of your tips, questions, suggestions, etc., left as a comment on this specific blog post, under specific Facebook status updates on the "Asperger's in PINK" page, and via email to Julie are able to be used freely, without compensation of any kind. Your name, screen name, etc., will only be used with your expressed written consent, and your contact information will not be disclosed nor shared.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Join Me for a Tweetchat on Monday!

Join me Monday morning, February 13th, at 9am EST on Twitter for a tweetchat! I will be the special guest of The Coffee Klatch, and we will be talking Aspies, teens, and transitioning to high school. Bring your questions, and lets have some fun!

To join the Tweetchat chat room, go to Sign in - put TCK in the hashtag box, then click Authorize App - that’s it! Easy!

No time? That's ok! Be sure to check out The Coffee Klatch. They are an amazing resource for everyone whose lives are touched by special needs.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Of Size and School

A recent chat on my book's Facebook page was a great reminder that one size does not fit all. Not only that, but just like us, what may fit when we are ten will likely no longer fit when we are 25. And what fits at 25 will no longer fit when you are my age.

Unless you have some incredible genes that allow you to wear skinny jeans into eternity.

(Like a certain relative of mine whose gene pool I share. She got the glamorous end of it, while I ended up with deep and wide. Pass the swimdress...)


But I'm not talking about clothing, here, or "sighing". I'm talking about another "s" word: School.

One thing I strive for in life is to open my mind and see how others think, while realizing that my experiences do not reflect all experiences. And I'm sure you do the same. This is especially relevant when talking about school, isn't it?

Let's talk school size for a moment. There are very strong opinions on the subject when it comes to the size of the school relative to the success of someone on the autism spectrum. For many, many people, it's all boiled down to these two simple equations:
  • The smaller the school = the greater the chance of success
  • The larger the school = more struggles.
But, these equations are flawed. In talking with many parents AND educators (yes, I put a big, fat emphasis on "and" - too many times we parents leave these guys out of the discussion, don't we?) experiences differ greatly. Speaking from our personal experiences, a smaller elementary school was very difficult, on the whole, while a much larger middle school (and consequent high school) were much better fits. So much so, my daughter has blossomed into a "social Aspie". It's unreal. But, in listening to other moms, it's also real that smaller schools are the key to their child's successes. And then there are moms (and dads - let's not leave these guys out!) who choose to homeschool, instead, and never look back.

There are lots of reasons for this, and it will take more time than I have room today, but, as with most things in life, I'm certain there is more than one answer. Sometimes, larger is better from a sheer statistical point of view. The greater the pool of students, the greater the chance someone on the autism spectrum will find someone who accepts them for who they are. It just makes sense. But for those with severe navigational issues, the larger the school, well, you can see where this is headed... Late to class. Wrong classroom. You get the picture.

Are you looking ahead at school, wondering about size? Worried that it's too big? Too small? Stressed out over which one will be "just right"? It's good to talk with others, and learn from their experiences. But, when all is said and done, the "right" answer will be a very personal one. And as long you and your family have peace with that, and your child continues to grow, succeed and bloom, that's all that matters!