If you have a child who has autism, it is not easy to get him involved in ordinary hobbies as these can be taxing for them. Even those who are on the mild end of the spectrum will have trouble due to their social, communication, and sensory problems. They also have a preference for repeating things they say or do, which makes it more difficult for them to work around these normal activities. This is the sad truth that family members face, which is why they tend to isolate their autistic member from the ‘normal’ ones so they can do other things.
However, this truth should not hinder parents and other loved ones to try new possibilities and should not be a reason to raise their hands up in surrender. Instead, they should seek for the best ways to learn from and with their autistic child.
Choosing The Proper Activities
“Many teens with autism – boys and girls alike – don’t pay close attention to the social examples and cues of their classmates and peers. As a result, many need help understanding that these behaviors are important.” –Stormi Pulver White, PsyD
There are a lot of means for individuals with autism and their loved ones to enjoy activities together. Sometimes, special accommodations are necessary, but in most cases, autism can either be beneficial or is no issue at all. To succeed, though, you must prefer a hobby and a location that spells comfort and is interesting to your child.
- Begin by observing the ways that your child plays – what he enjoys, if he asks questions or is curious about the activity he is doing, and if he chooses to play with you.
- Next, just stay beside him initially, and then slowly join in the activity. Instead of teaching him and throwing your ideas, follow your child’s lead. Don’t think about what’s appropriate or not or if your child is not doing it the right way. When you are dealing with an autistic child, prioritize on the communication and engagement aspect. Don’t give much relevance to whether he can follow instructions or not.
- Find more means to increase your child’s eagerness. How can you contribute to his pastime? Which activities will help him explore his surroundings and learn more about the world? If he enjoys puppet shows, she might like musicals. If he loves playing with blocks, would he perhaps be interested in playing a video game about blocks?
- Enjoy! Keep in mind that the point of building hobbies together is to establish connection and trust. If in any case the activities that you do stress both of you out, especially your child, decrease the frequency a little bit and find more creative ways to make it more fun and less stressful.
Great Hobbies You Can Start Doing Together
- Lego. These plastic building blocks have become a sensation all over the world. Not only is it challenging but it is fun and challenging as well. Find out what your child’s favorite characters are. There’s a Mine Craft Lego available, or maybe he wants just the colorful ones. Let him try playing alone, but still with you beside him. Ask him questions and eventually join in by helping him out with some complex structures that he wants to try. If he seems irritated that he isn’t able to achieve his goal, then try something simpler.
- Playing Train. Learning everything about trains is a favorite pastime for people in Europe – children and adults alike. But if you’re American, you can always introduce this to your child. Besides, who doesn’t want to play drive and ride? Let him watch Thomas, the train that’s loved by everybody on television. Together, learn about how trains began, the different parts of the train, and whatnot. Bring him to the museum to see the evolution of trains from then and now.
- Video Games. The addiction to video gaming is massive even for adults, and the world knows that. Because they come in varying levels of difficulty, your autistic child can enjoy choosing which level he is comfortable with. Right now, kids are so into Mine Craft, and maybe yours will love it too. With proper supervision, you and your child will learn to value patience, determination, and love for each other’s company.
- Hiking And Strolling. Your child, like most if not all individuals with autism, typically are not great team players. However, they have a lot of vigor and energy to release. If they belong to the ‘hyperactive’ category, then you can consider bringing him hiking or strolling with you. To be cautious, stroll around the neighborhood, maybe through the roads where you know people so he will feel at ease. Then you can progress to hiking in a mountain a few hours away from home. Enjoy sightseeing, bird watching, and stargazing. Of course, incorporate talking and laughing. “Whether you suffer from seasonal affective disorder or not, the evidence is strong that getting outside just for a little bit can be very helpful.” Andrea Bonior, PhD, clinical psychologist explains.
These are only some of the many activities that parents with autistic children have shared with us. If you and your child have learned hobbies other than the ones mentioned above, please do share your ideas and let other parents and families know. Remember, “Children today who demonstrate signs and symptoms of AS have the advantage that treatment is available early enough in their lives that they can learn adaptive behaviors that will help them in their interactions with others.” Sarah Swenson, MA, LMHC said.
As I contemplate on the movies that I’ve found memorable through the years (I am a sucker for repeating my most loved movies over and over), I wanted today to be more spiritual and inspirational, one that would move me emotionally so that I could write something profound. Among the movies I’ve watched were Forrest Gump, Patch Adams, and Life of Pi. But today, I don’t find them emotional enough to connect me to the supernatural, to God.
I’m trying to find a movie that has a divine quality in it, something that reflects how a person’s love and faith can save his loved one from experiencing the wraths of hell in their death. Then I remembered watching What Dreams May Come about ten or so years ago, and thinking about it just makes me feel emotional (and spiritually) motivated. Robin Williams just showed so much feeling in this movie, and yes, I was younger then but the idea of heaven and hell struck me. I guess in some way; it has influenced my way of thinking of doing a good deed every day because I couldn’t last a day of suffering in the fires of hell.
In A Nutshell
What Dreams May Come evolves around a man who dies tragically and tries to find his wife who, deeply depressed from the death of their children, committed suicide. Where do you ask did the man seek out for his wife? In the afterlife. Annie’s soul was in hell – confused, unhappy, but without remorse for killing herself.
Chris, on the other hand, managed to stay in heaven when he dies, which was a beautiful place, one that he and his wife had painted when they were still on earth. There, he met his children and reconnected with them. However, he couldn’t imagine living in heaven without the love of his life. To cut the story short, Chris’ (Robin Williams) attempts at pulling Annie from hell was a success, and they lived together as a family in heaven, in the place where they’ve always dreamed of going while they were still alive.
Depression And What It Can Do
The face of depression and loss depicted in the movie is just heartbreaking. It proves how an individual’s damaged mental, physical and emotional well-being can lead to many other tragic events, including suicide. Professionals have time and again encouraged parents who have lost their children to undergo some sort of therapy, whether as a couple or individually, to cope with the pain and avoid doing more harm than good. The death of a child causes the parents to be disillusioned and to experience spiritual crisis, questioning their faith and feeling that God has neglected them.
What It Meant To Me
After watching the movie again, I was repeatedly stirred by the thought of having to feel the happiness and beauty of heaven, and the fear and dread of being on fire eternally. But other than that, I realized how a person’s psychological makeup could help his loved one – and himself as well – to recover and redeem oneself from his mental, physical and emotional issues. Ultimately, one’s mental health can easily be affected by the story in that it causes an individual to change for the better, realizing that heaven is a happy and inspiring place, something that one can look forward to when he passes.
Most of the time, people love to judge stay-at-home moms. Whether it’s because of their personality or their lifestyle, there is a comment about them. What’s more is that some people ask about their “way of life” due to curiosity, these questions to them are highly insulting.
Let me start this post by sharing a quote from the famous Scottish novelist and playwright, J.M. Barrie: “The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story and writes another, and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.”
A lot of people enjoy keeping a journal for various reasons. Personally, I am a big fan of journaling. I find happiness in jotting down thoughts on a random basis. In fact, I always carry my journal or any notebook with me wherever I go. It can be comforting to have a paper to write on every time something exciting happens in my life.
There are hundreds of reasons why it is significant to own a journal. Let me share some advantages of having one:
It makes you feel more aware of your emotions.
“Journaling is great for enhancing self-awareness through helping us detect and track patterns of behavior, thoughts, and feelings.” Alison Stone, LCSW, said. The entries in the journal are usually free-flowing. As such, it gives you an opportunity to write anything that comes to your mind. It can be anything under the sun. Just keep on writing about the different emotions in your daily life until you see a pattern. The journal can help you know what usually makes you sad, what excites you or gives you joy.
It helps you process things.
One of the most crucial things that people do every single day is making decisions. Everyone has lots of options to choose from. This can be very confusing, especially if you want to take all the choices presented before you. When this happens, the best thing to do is to use a journal to help you in making a decision. Writing about your thoughts, on a regular basis, can guide you to make better choices in the future. The entries in the journal can be used as a reference.
It allows you to keep track of special moments.
A journal can also be used as a repository of all the beautiful events or special moments that take place in your life. “Some have found it valuable to keep journals and then go back and read them to see how far they have progressed.” says Kathy Hardie-Williams, NCC, LPC, LMFT. Feel free to doodle on its pages together with the essential details you want to remember. The illustrations will help you remember what exactly happened while you were writing in the journal. Keep in mind that the best time to journal is when you are happy.
It takes your stress away.
There are days when you may find yourself in a complete struggle of finding your happiness. A good example of this is when you get your heart broken. Nothing will ever ease the pain that you would feel during this time. However, writing about it in the journal can help you understand the situation more. It will help you see the bigger picture of the suffering or misfortune. The process of writing can be therapeutic too. “Happy people make healthier choices,” explains Scott Glassman, PsyD.
I started writing on my journals when I was still in high school. Until now, I still use journaling to help me process my emotions as well as to remind me of how fast feelings can change. There are times when I would read my old journal entries to remind myself of how far I’ve gotten.
Are you a book lover? Do you want to read more books this year? Is it difficult on your part to find the right novel to enjoy? If you answered yes to all these questions, then this article is perfect for you. I have compiled a list of the top books that you will surely love flipping through the pages this 2018:
by R.J. Palacio
This is the right book to read if you are the type of person who loves heart-warming stories. The main character is August Pullman who is a ten years old boy suffering from facial abnormalities. Because of this condition, he encounters difficulty in dealing with other people. He finds it challenging to make friends at school. It can be heartbreaking to realize how hard is life is and how he keeps up with it.
Discover how August survives his day-to-day life situations. You will be surprised at how amazing he is. It is a narrative, so you get to discover the internal dialogues and interactions that the main character has with the other people in his life.
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck
by Mark Manson
This book aims to inspire all readers to have a positive outlook on life. The self-help guide was written by a famous blogger in the United States. He presents the daily struggles that most people encounter in different situations and how to get over them. He will not tell you that the secret to a happy life is to keep thinking positive. Instead, he wants you to learn that sometimes, life can fuck you over, and it’s okay. The key is to live with it and keep on improving.
- Astrophysics for People in A Hurry
by Neil de Grasse Tyson
Everyone is always in a rush. It seems that the twenty-four hours we get every single day is entirely insufficient. Fortunately, there are many things that we can to do make the most of our time. Neil de Grasse Tyson has some tips and tricks for you in one of his famous books. It is surprising to discover that there are lots of ideas to be good at time management. This book is definitely worth your time!
- The Handmaid’s Tale
by Margaret Atwood
This is quite a dark novel that deals with the possibility of having a community that is controlled by tyrants. The main story revolves around the lives of women who are strictly pressured to follow whatever is instructed to them. These women are divided into different classes, namely the chaste, childless wives, housekeeping Marthas and reproductive handmaids. The book can be quite disturbing, but it is so beautifully written that it will spike your interest to finish it ‘til the end.
by Dan Brown
This book was published in the last quarter of 2017. It became a best seller instantly because a well-renowned author, Dan Brown, wrote it. Just like all his novels, this one also tries to stir controversy. One of the questions answered by this book is “Where do we come from?” Pay attention to details because the author took his time in researching for the book.
Make 2018 more fruitful by reading at least one, if not all, a book from the list above.
Writers don’t have all the ideas in their heads. They look for some source of inspiration in all the unexpected, sometimes weird, provocative, and awe-inspiring places.
Are you feeling down lately? Do you want to get over that feeling? There are a lot of things that you can do to cheer yourself up. One of which is resorting to the availability of songs coming from great artists all over the world. A recent study shows that listening to music can help a person improve his mood or brighten his day.
“Therapy doesn’t have to be talk-based; there are some modalities, like music therapy and art therapy, that can help you get those in tune with those emotions without having to cough them up verbally.” Hannah Goodman, LMHC said. With that, I have decided to compile a list of lovely songs to listen to during your gloomy days:
- Happy by Pharrell Williams
The beat of this song will inspire you to keep moving or dancing. This song reminds its listeners that one’s life can change when he knows how to find happiness on his own. You do not need to rely on someone or other people before you can get the pure bliss you deserve.
- Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles
This masterpiece is one of the classic songs from the world-renowned group called The Beatles. If you are having a rough day at the office, then make sure to look for this song on your phone and play it. You will surely smile with its sweet lyrics and lovely tune.
- Shake It Off by Taylor Swift
Sometimes, all it takes to become happy is to let go of all our inhibitions and reservations. This is the message of Taylor’s Swift song entitled “Shake It Off.” It reminds you of the significance of accepting one’s shortcomings. Always keep in mind that you do not need to get approval from the people around us. “Focus on yourself and your own happiness and do not compare yourself to others.” Marc Romano, PsyD said.
- Imagine by John Lennon
The song is precisely what you need if you want to believe that more good things are going to happen in your life. You will realize that the song is full of hope. It inspires you to keep going. This masterpiece was beautifully written by John Lennon himself. Since its first release, it has become a world favorite.
- All You Need is Love
This is another beautiful piece by The Beatles. The song tells us the importance of having love in our hearts. Based on the song, all you need is love. Somehow, it sends a reminder to all of us that life can be more beautiful, regardless of the circumstances present, as long as there is love.
- Ain’t No Mountain High by Marvin Gaye
When you are feeling alone and sad, listen to Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t No Mountain High.” It will make you think of all the great people you have in your life. This song will make you want to get in touch with your friends and family who are miles away from you. Remember, “People with a healthy self-esteem tend to view failure as an event. People with low self-esteem often view failure as fatal. This thought process pummels one’s self-esteem and overtime being a failure becomes their identity.” counselor Monte Drenner said.
The songs listed above are just six of the thousands of beautiful songs written by great artists around the world. Try to explore the different songs and find your favorites. Put your top songs in a folder or on a list so that you can listen to it anytime you want. Music can set your spirit free. Let the music heal your sorrow, grief or sadness. The best thing about listening to songs is that you can do it anytime you want.
One of the books that I love is The Secret, which was written by Rhonda Byrne. I was in high school when I received a copy from my mother. It was a gift for my 18th birthday celebration. At first, I was hesitant in reading the material because it was a non-fiction book. Surprisingly, it changed my life into something better and brighter. Reading good books is indeed helpful and therapeutic, according to www.raleighparentandchild.com/. There are so many lessons that I got from the book, and I would like to share these with you:
If you are trying to find activities to keep you occupied during your leisure time, then it is best to consider gardening. Gardening has many benefits: promotes relaxation, fitness and producing delicious and wholesome food. According to studies, planting and cultivation can strengthen muscles, joints, and bones, prevents falls and improve balance, decrease the incidence of lifestyle diseases and overall promotes long and healthy lives.
“In our busy, hectic world, we are rarely fully present, but gardening gives us the opportunity to connect with nature and experience mindfulness.” Marion Rodrigue, LMHC, NCC, said. Gardening is also considered to be total body work out since it will involve moving around, digging, planting, weeding and watering. Also, you will appreciate your energy expenditure through harvest and produce. Another benefit of gardening is achieving the more relaxed state of mind. It might be credited to the exposure of sunlight and activated of vitamin D as well as its effects on the cortisol level in the body.
It is undeniable how advantageous it is to have a garden, and the next question is how to start one when you don’t have any horticulture and agriculture background.
Decide what type of garden to grow
Some gardens are made to produce fruits and vegetables for the consumption of the family or community while others want to have a garden to beautify their property.
Pick a sunny spot
“Exposure to nature enhances the ability to cope with and heal from stress and recover from injury or illness more quickly,” says Dr. Carlene Taylor, LMHC, LPC, CPCS, NCC. Choose a location that has direct sunlight and access to the water source. Since synthetic fertilizers will not be used in this garden, it is essential that the soil is healthy and fertile as possible. Make sure to keep in mind that an organic garden will entail extra workload than a garden that uses fertilizers and pesticides. Tilling is also an essential process to break and loosen the soil, remove clods and rocks and to pull out stray weeds and grass.
Compost is the organic garden’s best friend
Compost is essential because it will serve as a fertilizer, mulch and weed preventer. It is possible to create a compost pile to get your fertilizer, or you can easily purchase some organic fertilizers in the stores. Since the natural garden will not have the benefit of synthetic fertilizers, the compost must be integrated deeply into the soil. This is done again by tilling the ground the second time. Dig about 6 to 10 inches from the surface. Then, spread about 2 to 4 inches of compost all over the whole garden. Make several passes to work it well.
Divide into beds
Divide your garden into beds, leaving full paths in between. One method to keep stray plants and weeds out of your garden is to cover the pathway with newspapers and straw.
Weeds and Pests
The tilling and the placement of compost may have disrupted the weed seeds, bacteria, and fungus in the soil; however, to further ensure that these elements won’t be a problem in the future. It is recommended to solarize the soil. It means heating the ground enough to kill weed seeds and soil-borne disease. It is often done by using heavy black plastic over the beds. It is advisable to leave the plastic for a few weeks or if possible, for months.
“The gardening experience also allows for experimentation in life and death, promotes teamwork, and a nonjudgmental environment for students learn; thereby starting the process of connection to nature and to others.” –Theresa Hasting, LMHC