ASD · Autism · Autism Awareness · Autism Spectrum · Family · repost · Tips

Coping with the holidays – A Repost

5 tips

This is re-post from December 2014.  My advice for parents surviving the holidays with ASD. 

Now that the Holidays have arrived, how are you handling it?  Becoming stressed?  I can totally relate. The holidays may be stressful for everyone, but it can be even more overwhelming with families on the Autism Spectrum. i.e. Sensory overload, routines,etc. Here is something to ease your mind.

I have written for you 5 simple tips to get you through the holidays and actually enjoy them with your family.  I hope.

1. Don’t Over Do it.

It’s okay to say “no” to all the invites for holiday parties and gatherings.  Your child will be much happier and more comfortable celebrating in a place where he feels comfortable. If you are attending a gathering with friends or family, you may kindly excuse yourself and leave.  If you have to take two cars, do it! If they are accepting of the situation normally folks will not feel offended if you need to exit the house because your child has had a meltdown.

2. Plan Ahead (Prep, prep, and more prep.)

Definitely, have a plan in place. If you are traveling by any form of transportation and visiting friends or family, prepare activities for your child.  Have a familiar bag full of activities ready to go.  Also have a designated quiet spot for your child to escape to when it gets too much of you happen to be staying elsewhere. Write Social Stories for visits to i.e. “The Trip to Grandma’s House.” If you are flying contact the airlines and ask what their accommodations for passengers with Autism are.

3. Maintain the Routine.

Try to keep your child’s routine as normal as possible, this will make it less stressful for everyone involved.

4. Make Gift Giving and Shopping Simple.

I cannot stress this enough. Make this process simple. Prepare ahead, only spend a minimal amount of time initially, and then gradually increase the time you spend in the mall or store. Your child’s sensory expectations will change and probably heighten while you’re in the store. Make gift giving fun and simple! Frustration can increase when given too many choices.   Don’t make it difficult on yourself.  Basically think simplicity. If your son is like mine, he doesn’t know about writing a list. Gift buying might become more difficult for you as it comes closer to Christmas.  Stick with simple gifts!

5. Relax

I know it is easier said than done but if you are anxious, stressed and anxiety ridden, your child will sense that something isn’t quite right. They are wonderful at picking up ques. So take your own “time out” and enjoy the holidays!

Stim Soup Copyright 2015

Please share!



Welcome back to Stim Soup and the new School Year. My gift to you.

Welcome to Stim Soup.  I am Karen and  a Mom who decided to start Stim Soup.  I have two older boys.  One in college and the other who has Autism, just began his last year of Middle School.  I have switched a few things around and made it a little more broad with my topics.  Not just strictly all Autism 24/7.  We all need breaks from time to time.

I have been sick, that’s probably why I needed a break.  I decided I would re-post my series on Autism terms for those who need some help. These especially come in handy for the new school year.

This is part one of eight parts.  I will re- post one every week.


Stim Soup Series: What’s In the Soup? Part One

If you can’t wait every week. Here are the links to the other parts.

Stim Soup Series: What’s In the Soup? Part 2Stim Soup Series: What’s In the Soup? Part 3, Stim Soup Series: What’s In the Soup? Part 4Stim Soup Series: What’s In the Soup? Part 5, Stim Soup Series: What’s In the Soup? Part 6, Stim Soup Series: What’s In the Soup? Part 7, Stim Soup Series: What’s In the Soup? Part 8

Feel free to share  with everyone!

ASD · Autism · Autism Spectrum · Newly Diagnosed · Parents

New to the World of Autism? Part Two

Question Two: Where do I begin?

 Your child recently has been given the diagnosis, and you have been able to at least grab hold of the situation, but you are unsure of really where to begin.

 If you aren’t sure, grab a cup of coffee, tea or what ever your pleasure.  Sometimes wine can help but make sure you wait for that in the evenings. 🙂 Begin by sitting down at your computer and just Google away.  Google terms, “Autism” and (your state).  See what pops up on the screen. Usually that can get you to a good starting place.  Don’t Google too much or you might suffer from information overload.

Do your research:  I highly recommend this.  Depending on how old your child is it can be frustrating or satisfying. From my experience, at the time my son was diagnosed I didn’t have the resources to do much of anything.

I spoke with my child’s pediatrician and he was able to give me a referral to my Area Regional Center and that’s what got the ball rolling. With this referral I knew this meant he might be qualified for services. Fair warning though, the process can be quite daunting.  There are a few steps you have will go through to be qualified;  Required written documentation, assessments, interview and orientation.

Things I discovered through this process:

1. Paper Pusher Extraordinaire: 

You will accumulate an incredible amount of paperwork.  If you are organized I envy you, because I am not in the least. The skill of organization will come in handy through your journey.

 2. Be Patient:

 I can’t emphasize this enough.  During the entire process you will be doing a lot of “hurry up and wait.” Don’t be discouraged by this and throw in the towel.  The outcome is well worth the wait 100 times over. You will acquire a vast amount of patience over the years.

 3. Ask a lot of Questions:

Before my child was diagnosed, I was not one for asking questions.  Now seven years later, I question every single issue that arises.  If you are not sure, always ask. It is your child and you have every right as a parent. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Stay tuned for the third question in part three: What is Autism Exactly?


ASD · Autism · Tips

New to the World of Autism? Part One

You have recently been told that your child has been diagnosed with Autism. Most of the time our reactions are disbelief, shock, and sometimes depression combined with being isolated from the outside world.  I won’t put it lightly…receiving the news stinks and it weighs heavy on your head night and day.  Who do you talk to now? What do you do? First of all ask yourself this question:

Question One: How Am I Doing?

 Are you down and just really depressed? Follow these tips:

 Self Care:

Take the time for yourself, listen to music, meditate, try to sleep when you can, hide in the bathroom, take up a new hobby, look at your life and just laugh at it. You will survive. 🙂

 Social Media & Facebook:

There are hundreds of personal Facebook Autism support pages out there.  I highly encourage you to head on over, check them out and like their pages. Try and develop a connection with a community that “Gets it.” Just knowing there are families, individuals, and services out there will give you a sense of well-being and help you cope. 

When my son was diagnosed over 7 years ago there wasn’t the presence of Autism as it is today. It much easier to connect these days. 

 Make the connection with Me>>

Facebook: You can like and follow my pages for the latest on my website. 
Twitter: follow me on twitter
Stim Soup:  A website just for you.

 Support groups:

There are wonderful meet ups just to chat, have coffee and a time or too have guest speakers. These groups can be based on the age of your children. If you cannot find a connection in your part of town where you live, my suggestion is to start one! 

 Social Groups:

These aren’t as numerous, these groups may have social outings with activities for children. Meet up groups for example.

But personally I am not much of social person, but once in a while I find it comforting to know that there is someone out there (parent or otherwise) who totally “gets it!”  That is such a nice feeling. 

 Stayed tuned for the next two parts of this article.

Part 2: Where Do I Begin?

Part 3: What is Autism Exactly?



Autism · Speech and Language · TEACCH · What's In the Soup Series

Stim Soup Series: What’s in the Soup? Part Eight Final



I apologize for the long delay, I have been busy getting the website together. That’s in another post!

This is the final post on the Stim Soup Series, “What’s In the Soup?” Part Eight. After pawing through notes and deciding on what would be relevant, I felt these last terms would be the most helpful.

For the sake of those reading this series for the first time, my explanations on the terms are to the point.  Nothing intense about it. I figured there is no sense in writing long-winded definitions. As a new parent to the Autism community that is not what you are searching for.  You are seeking answers and would rather forgo the stuff in between.

  1. Sensory Integration Therapy

  2. Speech Language Pathology


Sensory integration therapy – The therapy improves daily function in children with autism. Symptoms often include a difficult time processing sensory information such as textures, sounds, smells, tastes, and light. Referred to as Sensory Processing Disorder. These difficulties can make ordinary situations feel overwhelming. They can interfere with daily function. Largely used by occupational therapists, uses play activities to change how the brain reacts to touch, sound, sight and movement.

Speech Language Pathology – Autism can affect speech, language development, and social communication in many ways. Speech Therapy can benefit persons with Autism. Kids may babble, be non-verbal, have various communication challenges and can help with any issues in Speech and Language.

TEACCH– Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication handicapped Children. Founded by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The primary aim of TEACCH is to help to prepare people with autism to live or work more effectively at home, at school and in the community.

I truly hope you as a Parent/Guardian have found this eight-part series to be informative.  It is meant as a starting point of a long journey in Autism.  As a mother of a 12-year-old with Autism, I have been on this road for quite a while now.  The road has been bumpy, long, and quite the learning adventure. But the road will always go on and some day you might see the end. But for the time being I can at least help smooth out the bumps in the road and guide in you your search for spoonful’s of information.  A little bit at a time.

If you have not read my other parts of this series, please take the time to do so.  I am hoping the series will answer some of the most common questions regarding Autism.

As throughout the series, all topics are to the point and just to get your feet wet.  It is not meant to overwhelm you. My purpose is to take the confusion out of an already vast expansion of the disorder we know as Autism.

Keep in mind these terms are only the tip of the iceberg.  There are many, many more and I will be expanding on many of the terms and including several other ones as well.  Autism Spectrum Disorder is very broad and includes many aspects so stay tuned!

One final note:  I will be making this Series into a PDF document for you to download on the new Stim Soup website.  Free for to you to print out on to use at your first IEP meeting and impress the heck out of them with your knowledge. Or print it out just for reference.


Autism · Fragile X Syndrome · Gross Motor Skills · Hypotonia

Stim Soup Series: What’s in the Soup? Part Five


Hi! Welcome to part five of the Series on the ABC’s of Autism.  I am hoping to educate parents/caregivers in a very simplistic way.  Life is already complicated and it does not have to be. I am here to help.  This is the goal here.

Fragile X Syndrome:

A genetic disorder in which one part of the X chromosome has a defect. It can cause cognitive issues, some physical aspects, development delays in speech, motor skills, hyperactivity, and most of these characteristic occurs in Autism as well. Fragile X can occur in about 15-33% of individuals diagnosed with Autism. Fragile X can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. I will write in-depth on Fragile X on later post. But I wanted just to give you a simple explanation for now.  Remember our goal here is to keep it simple.

Gross Motor Skills:

Gross Motor involves the large muscles such as the arms, the legs, and the trunk of the body that enable such functions as walking, kicking, sitting upright, lifting, and throwing a ball. It’s important for major body movement such as walking, balance, coordination, jumping and reaching. Core strength is important for Gross motor development and sometimes with Autism the developing core strength (upper body support) is weak and lacking muscle tone. This is might affect their ability to use their fine motor skills as well, such as writing.


Poor muscle tone.  A condition that can impair both Fine and Gross Motor movements. Many with Autism can have Hypotonia.  It can be managed by Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy.  I will go more in-depth later on Therapies, but this is a good start.

Next time I will talk about:

  • IEP – Individualized Educational Plan (this will be crucial to your children’s education)
  • OT – Occupational Therapy
  • PDD-NOS – Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified

I hope you are benefiting from this series please comment.   Please click here for part four.  If you are just new to the series, please read Part one.

Thank you and take care.