Autism and Disabilities Functioning

Focused on helping functioning dysfunctional families with autism and other special needs

Tammy speaking ~ 

You may find yourself asking why does my child STILL have “tying shoes” as a need and as an IEP goal?  Recently someone came to me and asked me what I thought about her saying that she is sick and tired of her child’s IEP saying he has to learn to tie his shoes. She asked what I thought about her saying – “NO, that is not going to stay on my 15 year sons IEP. He is not going to tie his shoes.”  I actually laughed and said I completely understand, and I agree.  Your child does not need to know how to tie his shoes.  Years ago that was an important task because you could not purchase gym shoes that did not tie.  However, now you can buy adult shoes with velcro or you can do what we do with Scott.  Scott wants to wear Nike or whatever other brands he thinks look cool.  We like him to fit in when it is possible so we buy what he wants. Then we use a product to help him be independent in putting on and off his own shoes.  We remove the typical shoe laces and use a product designed to make tying shoes unnecessary.  I have included pictures of products that we have used but I do not endorse any one product.  Different products may work better for different people.  I am just showing some varieties that we have used. They all have worked with shoes he has had recently or in the past. The prices vary on the products as well.  NO your child does NOT have to learn to tie their shoes.  Be inventive and use other avenues for your child to learn to put shoes on and off on their own.  If you don’t have to focus on shoe tying your child’s occupational therapist can concentrate on other life skills that are important for your child to be as independent as possible.  I hope this was good information for you.  If you have other ideas or thoughts, feel free to share them with us.

Tammy speaking-  

As a parent of children with autism and other disabilities I always begin to worry about now.  Everything goes through your mind.  Who is the teacher? Where is the classroom?  What time will lunch be?

Your child is getting ready to enter the unknown.  Even if your child is going back to the same school as they attended the previous year, they probably have a new teacher and/or a new classroom.  It is uncommon for things not to change at all.  Even getting a new backpack is a change.  With that in mind, I’ve put together a few tried and true tips for you to consider trying.

My top 4 tips to assist you and your child in preparation of going back to school:

  1. Talk with your child about going back to school.  Have a calendar marked with BACK TO SCHOOL.  Do a visual countdown- have your child mark off each day with a X as you get closer to the date to go back to school.  This helps with anxiety.
  2. The required supply list.  Take your child with you to buy school supplies.  Make it fun to get the supplies.  This is a great time for your child to pick out the backpack or lunchbox of their choice.  This gives your child a little control over what they take to school.
  3. Will your child ride the school bus or will you drop your child off at school?  Do a trial trip.  If they ride the school bus walk to the area your child will get onto the bus in the morning.  If you drop your child off at school drive to the drop off area and have your child get out of the car there.  These test runs will show your child what to expect and lessen anxiety.
  4. Once you know what teacher and classroom your child will be in, call the school and request to bring your child in to walk the building to their classroom.  ONLY go where your child needs to go.  Do NOT go to visit past rooms or staff.  This visit is about this school year so it is best to focus on that.

Lets face it, our children are not the only ones who have anxiety about a new school year.  My point is that although these were developed for your children to have less anxiety they are also known to help parental anxiety as well.

Do you have any other tips for our readers?  Please share them in the comments.

Tammy speaking

Hello again! In my previous blog post I shared about my long time adventure towards publishing books.  My books will help those on this path of caring for someone with a disabily such as autism.  It is our intent to publish books that are more subject based with tools and tips to assist anyone on this journey.

Today I am going to share a few more subjects with you.  All feedback, questions, and thoughts are welcome.

  • Outings – How to deal with waiting for doctors, traveling in a car, and meetings.  How to help your loved one through the frustration of outings.  Tools and tips to help be proactive when taking any adventure.
  • Masturbation – Yes I said that.  Like it or not this is a part of life.  Many of our sensory seeking people have difficulty understanding this part of their life.  I have tips and tools to teach what is appropriate and what is not.  My experience in dealing with this will help me help others.
  • Holidays – For some families the word holiday or thoughts of the holidays are dreadful.  They’ve had ugly situations take place during the holidays..  I will share with you some of those issues and ways to handle them, as well as how to be proactive in doing so.

I am not writing a textbook.  I am choosing to write as if we are having a conversation.  Any of us can go buy a book that is done in a text book style.  I want caregivers to be comfortable reading what I write.  You won’t have to go research acronyms or fancy words.  I am talking to people to help them through tough times because I have been in their shoes.


Jessica here

Hello.  I just want to apologize for the extended period with no posts.  We went on vacation a few weeks ago and I have been struggling to get back into the routine of being home.  I am finally back on track and will start posting more regularly.  Hope everyone is having a great summer.

Tammy speaking

Hi everyone!  Thank you for visiting our new blog.  I want to share with you about what started all of this.  My husband and I parented children, now young adults, with abilities ranging from gifted through multiple disabilities including autism.  My work experience focuses has been autism and disabilities – I LOVE what I do.  I have been writing for several years about autism and other disabilities, how to help other parents, caregivers, and teachers.  I always thought that I would publish a book, however I’ve decided that people want to be able to seek advice on specific topics.  People want something in their hands that they can use right now.  I made the decision by talking to people who need advice and decided that I am going to publish books that are subject based.  The other perk is that it will be cost-effective for the people who need help.

So it is my intent to share with you 2-3 subjects at a time.  All feedback is welcome.  If there is something you think I should write about or share I want to know what it is.

  • It’s Okay – This has a focus on dealing with hearing the label, the disability, the unexpected path you are traveling on.  It is full of encouraging words and advice.
  • It’s Always Behavior – Hmmm, this might be about negative behaviors.  I know you’ll laugh when I say that this is my favorite subject to work with.  There are stories of situations and examples of help.  There are ideas of what you can do if something unexpected happens.

Well that is all I am sharing for today.  I appreciate and thank you for all feedback.

Jessica here

Hey y’all.  I’m Jessica, one of the administrators for our blog.  I am Tammy’s niece.  Tammy raised me from the time I was 5 years old so you may see me refer to her as mom.  I am #actuallyautistic.  I do not only bring the perspective of someone who is #actuallyautistic, I was raised in our home where others had autism and other disabilities.  I was a paraprofessional for two years working with students with autism and other disabilities, I have also worked with the elderly.  I am currently a single mom, attending college, and work providing home care to adults with disabilities.  It is my goal to bring the perspective of someone who is #actuallyautistic to the work that we are doing, as well as the perspective of someone who has helped care for other people with disabilities.

Tammy speaking

Hello I am Tammy Ratley.  I’ve parented children, now all young adults, with several different abilities and disabilities including autism.  However, I am not just another mom here to tell our story.  I am also an intervention specialist, principal of a school where all students have disabilities- mostly autism, a structured teaching consultant, a speaker and presenter, and a soon to be author! It is my hope that sharing my experiences will help others on their journey with autism and other disabilities.

“I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that.  Then I realized I was somebody.” – Lily Tomlin

Welcome to our blog!  This has been a long process but we are finally putting things together.

I want to introduce you to some of our family.  We are a classic functioning dysfunctional family with autism and disabilities.  Take a moment and look at our family.  Do you think you can “see” who has autism or disabilities?

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