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Dog Training Resources
So in this series on service dogs, I wanted to pause a little in my own narrative and offer some of the great training resources I found out there. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I hope any of you stopping by might share any good finds with the rest of us as well in the comments. Again, the main point of this series is to help inspire others who could benefit from this sort of companion to roll up their sleeves and get to work on it. Sharing resources and experiences is a big part of what is needed to help each other out.
I have a friend who has a service cat, and a few years ago lost her first service cat, then has had to find and train a new companion. From her, I learned that clicker training is the way to go when working with your fledgling helper–and I also learned from her that not all beasties have it in them to become this sort of bestie. Choose carefully, think about your needs, and then keep in mind what sorts of issues will be deal breakers for you–before you start your training! Read more…
US Legal Requirements for Service Dogs
One of the things people frequently ask me (or in some cases try to dispute with me), are the legal requirements, rights, and certifications required for having a service animal that goes everywhere with you. I am constantly educating about this–sometimes I feel like a zoo exhibit! What appears below is my attempt to offer links and information to those of you who wonder if you might qualify for a service dog, and what needs to be done so that you can access the freedom this kind of help might offer you.
First, I’m going to explain the differences between a Service Dog, and Emotional Support Animal (ESA) and a Therapy Dog. Next I’m going to talk about what requirements need to be met for you to become a Service Dog handler, for both you and your dog. Then I will wrap up with what folks can ask you, legally, about your animal. Along the way I will provide links and references to the US federal law (the ADA or American’s with Disabilities Act) as administered by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Service Dog
I want to introduce you all to my constant companion, third child, and the best life partner I have ever had: Sedna St. Rila (here ever after known as Pup or Princess Fluffbutt). When a friend of mine had surprise(!) puppies, I honestly felt drawn to having one. I have cats, and wasn’t looking for a pup, but the cats are on the back side of their teens and not likely to be with me much longer. They do many things for me around the house, wake me up with the alarm, assure I get up, snuggle with me when I’m low, pester me to sanitize my surroundings and theirs–all of which is very useful for a beautiful rainbow like myself. Problem is, they aren’t big enough todemand I wake on time, stubborn enough to help me when I really need it, or allowed to go with me into the jaws of my daily life.
So, I started doing the research into getting and training a service dog. Guess what? I really could get help for some of the daily life things that were exhausting me. Maybe you can, too.
Touch Me…No! Don’t Touch Me.
The other day I had one of those life altering epiphanies, the kind that leave you sobbing for air and unable to stand. I do so enjoy weeping in public, but some days you just have to run with it and let the tears flow. Although, now that I have your attention, I do have to admit that they were really happy tears, this is actually a very good story–a story of empowerment and revolution and turning things around at last. I’m sharing it here, my friends, because it was one of those watershed moments where another piece of my ASD identity clicked solidly into place. I fervently wished I had only known then what I found out a few days ago–and so I share it to (I hope) shorten someone else’s journey.
Let me ask you first, if you’re on the spectrum, how are you with being touched?
‘Ausome’ Things – Autism Positivity Flashblog 2013
I could go on and on about superpowers and passions and things that are completely ‘ausome’ about being on the spectrum. We’re fascinating, mysterious, gifted, deficient, challenged and unique–all at once. Still, what I want to say about my own ausomeness today is not just about all the positives. My own writing in this space tends to be tilted to the positive, that’s an intentional choice to restore some sort of balance to our own ways of thinking about ourselves. I think the world tells us too often how wrong we are, how we need to adjust to fit in and seem ‘normal’. (If any of you ever come across a ‘normal’ person, I would very much like to shake their hand.)
Some days, the pressure to keep my blog posts positive or upbeat or optimistic is certainly a challenge. Then I saw this pic from Mama Be Good, for her participation in today’s Autism Positivity Flashblog (2013), and decided to jump off from here. Yes, there are days that I struggle with being positive: days that I feel the focus on my own acceptance is hollow, hard and as false as rainbow glitter farted from a flying unicorn’s backside. These are the bad days, the sad days, the days when I’ve likely taken things too far and forgotten to properly take care of myself. “Autism is not all rainbows.” I’ve heard this and similar comments from parents of autistic children, and less frequently from ASDies–usually ones who are overwhelmed and depressed.
No, autism isn’t all rainbows and glitter…
Coping and Strategies
Nobler to Suffer the Slings and Arrows of Diagnosis? Or not?
Say you’ve been “mostly dead” all day, and your true love is about to marry someone else. The situation looks hopeless, and you’re sure to get hurt in some way. But you have a lot of choices, so what are you going to do about it? If you’ve lived under a rock the last 25 years, you probably have no idea I’m referring to the turning point in the movie (and book), The Princess Bride. (If you haven’t seen it, do–or read it, in some ways the book is better than the movie.) Either way, take a look at this clip as it nicely frames what I have to say today about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and whether or not to pursue diagnosis.
This week I re-read Liane Holliday-Willey’s Safety Skills for Asperger Women: How to Save a Perfectly Good Female Life review – book information – Jessica Kingsley Publishers. It’s one of my favorite books on coping with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), because Liane doesn’t flinch from the sensitive issues, but talks about them in a straightforward way. She’s a little like the unflinching, factual lectures my middle school health teacher used to give: knowledgeable, honest and matter of fact–personable and putting you at ease even when the subject matter makes your knees shake.
Believe it or Not my
Brother has real Superpowers.
By: Devlin C. Bull
(as posted by her mom, 4asd, and edited by wakingcanary–thank you, Devlin for sharing this story of Awesomeness Syndrome!)
He is bigger than most kids his age, so when his school told my parents (and our parents told us) that he was being bullied, we were all very surprised–and a little confused.
He had stopped talking to anyone; he refused to talk about being bullied. Getting him to say anything or communicate in any way was almost impossible. He stopped talking about movies, video games, Pokémon cards–even his Yu-Gi-Oh cards.￼
click here for House Cleaning!
click here for Negative Thoughts are Like Banana in Your Hair
Autistic women are under-researched, under-diagnosed and thought by many to simply not exist. We tend to be diagnosed with anxiety issues or depression or bi-polar disorder when the root issue is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in some flavor. Our male counterparts will often act out when made uncomfortable, while many girls/women simply become silent and compliant.
This blog is an attempt to return voice to so many who have been made voiceless by our neurology–but also have been passed over frequently by the psych field, research and individual professionals. We are often silent, and if not completely silent, we are often unheard. This space is intended to allow spectrum women to voice themselves and be heard at last.
It’s all about quality of life. Here we’re going to talk about coping with ASD as a woman, advocating for yourself…but more than anything else, living authentically, honestly and well. It’s really all about being happy.
Currently, we have two authors, but are always looking for more–so be sure to fill out the contact form at the bottom if you would like to join in with a RAWR of your own. Don’t be shy, there’s help if you aren’t the best spehlar, or if you need a hand with proofreading or grammar junk.
About our Authors:
wakingcanary: I’m a middle-aged, over-educated mom on the spectrum. Recently diagnosed, I’m intent on removing all the social masks I created as a matter of survival (please don’t let them find out how weird I am!). It’s been quite a journey, and I’ve lost just about everything–relationships, career, 20 year marriage. Still, finding me has been the best, self-affirming gift that I have ever given myself. More than anything else, I want to help other women on this journey to find their authentic selves. If you can’t embrace her for all her gifts and faults today, then I want to embrace her for you–until you’re ready to do so.
4asd: My hope, by sharing so publicly with the world, is that someone will discover that spark needed to re-light their inner drive, force & determination. That flame you feel inside yourself may have been dimmed by life over the years. Let’s get it fired up! I hope you enjoy my RAWRs, and that you will help me hold onto my sanity by sharing your own personal stories.
Now, about you, dear reader:
If you are a woman with an ASD, please chime in! (Chime in if you aren’t an ASD woman, too.) Please comment and let me know we’re not alone. Want to do some writing? That would be so awesome! Drop us a line so we can chat–this blog was started just so we could meet each other.