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angelica unfiltered – episode 14

February 13, 2013


Me and Ang

Grand Rapids, Michigan – September 30, 2012


Angism: Last night, I received the following text from Angelica: Just read your blog.  I loved it.  As you wish.  

I replied: As you wish. :)

That was one of your best blogs, read her next text.  I knew Angie would appreciate yesterday’s link to 17 things The Princess Bride taught me about autism parenting.  I can’t even tell you how much her text messages meant to me.  I love getting feedback from Angelica, especially when I write about her and/or autism, but I usually ask her for feedback.  This was completely unsolicited, which meant she REALLY liked it.

How could she not?  Angelica doesn’t relate to things the same way most of us do.  Even when she enjoys a movie, she can’t relate to the characters because she is autistic.  I remember watching the movie “Temple Grandin” with Angelica.  Watching her watch the movie made me cry, because she saw similarities between herself and the main character.  So I knew Angelica would be thrilled to read the post by Bec Oakley linking autism to one of her favorite movies.  It opened her eyes to a unique way of relating to the familiar situations, characters, and plot lines.

I’ve read a few comments (elsewhere, not here) about how the Lessons from yesterday’s post can be applied to other aspects of life, not just with autism. While I agree with that, I also want readers to appreciate some of the specific autistic-related struggles the lessons address.

1. Affection doesn’t have to mean saying I love you.

Reading a story to someone who’s sick in bed, saying “as you wish” or playing rhyming games that annoy your boss. There are many more ways to show love than just those three little words.

Remember the episode about Angelica and affection?  We are blessed because Ang is vocal, but she still expresses love in her own special way.

7. Success means using the right moves for the terrain.

There is no definitive intervention for autism. The choices that other people make may not be the right ones for your family, and vice versa. And that’s OK. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel otherwise.

This is not only good for us as Ang’s family to remember but also for Angelica to remember… especially when it comes to trying something new.  Trial and error is extremely frustrating for her.

12. Sometimes words don’t mean what you think they mean.

If your kids are having trouble communicating, look beyond the words that they’re using. Thinking about the way the word is being said or the broader context can help you to recognize echolalia or find clues to the word’s intended meaning.

We’ve shared several episodes regarding Ang and the way she communicates.  See these examples: Episode 7, Episode 9, Episode 12

13. Wiggling a finger is worth celebrating.

Take time to enjoy even the smallest of accomplishments, for they were hard earned and are signs of bigger things to come.

In Angie’s case, wiggling her finger is her way of showing affection.  Consider yourself loved and blessed if she wiggles her finger at you.  (See Episode 8, referenced under lesson 1.)

15. When there’s no time to explain, use a summary.

Practice summing up their main challenges and needs so you can recite them quickly when you need to explain or get help in a hurry. “My son is autistic and finds loud noises frightening. Is there somewhere quiet we can wait?”

This is one we started working on right away, and it has made a HUGE difference for everyone, especially for Angelica.

17. It’s one heck of a story

Sure there’ll be laughs, adventure, pain and tears but at the heart of it all, it’s about love.

Yes it it!  See all the episodes below for further proof!

This is just a small example.  I could have done this for each of the 17 points made on the original post.  All 17 are wonderful things to remember in every aspect of our lives, but don’t let that diminish the beautiful and profound way they all relate to autism.

More from the Angelica Unfiltered Series:

Autism Awareness 2012

Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3

Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6

Episode 7, Episode 8, Episode 9

Episode 10.a, Episode 10.b, Episode 11,

Episode 13

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2013 10:59 pm

    Hello! My name is Bec and I’m the one who wrote 17 Things The Princess Bride Taught Me About Autism Parenting.

    I just can’t tell you how happy your post has made me, because there have been a LOT of comments from people saying that this could apply to anyone and that it’s not just about autism. I’m grateful and amazed that the post has been shared so widely, and that people are finding ways to apply the lessons that I learned to everyday life… but it very much IS about autism parenting. I think you have to live with autism to fully understand why, and that’s okay. But I wanted you to know just how much I appreciate those who actually get it in the way in which it was intended :)

    • February 25, 2013 9:49 pm

      Bec, I’m so glad you liked my post!!!! But I really can’t tell you how much I appreciated yours! My autistic sister, Angelica, told me that the first post I wrote linking to yours was my best ever. :) I know that compliment was really meant for you. My family (especially Ang) appreciated the Princess Bride references, and we ‘got’ it. ;)


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