Friday, August 22, 2014

adventures and autism

I don't usually say too much about my son or autism,,,
well, at least I don't think I do, but today I wanted to share a bit of what it's like traveling with autism...

Travel is hard for my son. 
New things make him very anxious.
 But he did very well on our week away a little while ago. 

He panicked for a few days before,
 so much that we thought he had an infection or something,  as he spent his whole day in the bathroom and in tears off and on. After a quick trip to the lab for a  sample it turns out there was nothing wrong. I am still glad we had him tested other wise I would have spent the whole time wondering if he was sick.
 It's very hard to know, as he has a very high pain tolerance and he doesn't answer questions, not even with a yes or no usually.

 He says "no thank you" if he doesn't want something, but if you ask " does it hurt?" or "Do you have a belly ache?" He'll answer "YES.........or no".
 So like in a pet or a toddler, we use body language to understand most of his wants and needs. 

But after the first few hours at the cabin we rented in Hills Creek State Park in Pennsylvania, and once he saw most of his stuff had made the trip,  he calmed down and had a good time.

 We took along a hammock, which turned out to be a great idea. 

When he is nervous he likes to walk
 or ride.
Especially on vacation....
 He says simply "sad people walk" and so off we go.
We hiked all the trails around the lake and through the woods, at least 3 times a day.
  It's a beautiful park. The weather was too cold for swimming most days and the water was not wonderful for swimming either so mostly we hiked and relaxed and sat around the bonfire.
(we did find a wonderful fairy shop in Wellsboro that I'll show you next week... )
The wildlife was very comfortable with us and so I was able to get some good photos, except for the little junco that kept visiting us, he was just too quick.

We watched this guy fishing in the rain one afternoon....

Sparkling lilly pads
home to green water selkies,
grindylows and sprites

I didn't sketch at all while I was there.... 
I just felt like filling myself up... 
i didn't feel the need to spill it all out yet. 
But once I was home I made a few really quick sketches in my book from photos...

Jace gets nervous about coming home as well.
 He started to panic again as we packed our things. The look on his face when he tried to get me to take their kitchen table with us, was just too sad. He pulled at the table and looked at me, like 
"you can't possibly be leaving this!!!!!" 
But he managed to get in the car without it.
 And he seems to get better and better at dealing with things like this. 

You just can't help but think he is the sweetest child in the world,
 (honestly, it's not just me)
And as a few people have reminded me recently... 
it is so interesting to look at the world through his eyes. 
To see the different way his mind works and processes his world.
Smell and sound and texture take on new levels...
If it weren't so hard at times, I would think Autism was a grand adventure. 

So, I am reminding myself it IS an adventure, 
and learning with Jace has made us a better family,
 and me a better mom.

Our trip was all over way too quick,
 so now I will just start dreaming about next year.
And planning smaller adventures to take with Jace in the meantime...

I realize this post has less art than my usual ones so if you wanted to see a finished piece of art that I posted on monday, click on this photo....


  1. That's a lovely post about your son, thanks for sharing :)

    Your vacation photos are amazing! And I love the little bunny sketch too. Adorable :)

  2. Great post about your son! Looks like you had a nice time. I love that adorable little bunny

  3. what a heartwarming post. Your photos are wonderful-and as I live in PA I am going to look up this beautiful park. I love the shot of Jace in the hammock-he looks totally peaceful and I can almost imagine what he may be thinking. You're a good mom. Lovely sketches too!

  4. Beautiful post and thank you for sharing. Love your sketches. Happy PPF, Annette x

  5. Our children are born to teach us, this is truly the case here! I LOVE this post so much! Thank you for sharing your beautiful boy and all his wonderful quirks...and those beautiful photos of love and serenity! Great artwork as well!

    Hugs Giggles

  6. YaY Andrea! YaY Jace!
    I loved this post sooo much,
    your art is precious
    (and fun to see on my wall)
    but true stories....
    i gobble them up.
    next time you are in PA
    let me know, it's a big state, but i might be able to find you :)

  7. Thanks for sharing your trip and a bit about your son. Enjoyed the read and loved the photos.

  8. Such a lovely post! Maybe living with Jace is what helps you see all the wondrous little things you draw and paint. It is too easy to let those myriad of little things pass you by. A different perspective always helps...and you have a sweet set of eyes to watch. :)

  9. This is an absolutely wonderful post and I thank you for sharing. Jace is a handsome boy with some pretty spiffy tennis shoes. I am so glad you had this time to make memories. The photos are fabulous. This looks like a peaceful place. I really like your rabbit too.
    Blessings and hugs for both of you.

  10. Wonderful post! Love all of the peaceful photos from your special place - and the rabbit and lily sketch are great! Happy PPF!

  11. What a beautiful post. My son has spectrum autism--and is all grown up now. Life with a child who sees the world so entirely different than the rest of us, is an extraordinary, sometimes frustrating experience. I wouldn't trade those moments for anything. ((HUGS))

  12. Andrea,

    I saw this post earlier but wanted to wait til I could take the time and really read and experience it. It's a beautiful expression in words and images. . . and I am reminded of something I have been writing about a lot lately. Something I heard recently that rang instantly true to me. . . the it's the stories we tell about ourselves and our life that are, ultimately, the greatest determiner of our happiness in this life. I have known a few parents who have dealt with autism. All seem to have their own way of handling and coping with it but, at the heart of it, the ones who seem to have done the best are indeed the ones who view it and relate to it as an adventure. As am opportunity and experience that, yes, does come with a few drawbacks. . . but no more or less than any chosen or selected life. Just different. I love the way you've expressed it here within this post. . .