Meeting Update

JOIN US!

We have a support group for moms in the Tulsa area!

Our group meets the first Thursday of every month from 7-9p.
We welcome all moms who are parenting children who have Asperger's Syndrome.
For locations and last minute updates about meetings, check here or (even better) check our Facebook page.
We are currently meeting in the back room at Mazzio's on 51st & Sheridan in Tulsa.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas Encouragement!

All,

First - we are meeting at Martin Regional Library 2601 S. Garnett, tonight from 6:30 - 8:30, we are in the process of looking for other locations as well, but for now, when you go in the entrance, turn left then head right to the end of the hall.  We are last room on the right! 

Second - Exciting effort to be involved in!  We are raising funds to begin the first program in Oklahoma for students with autism spectrum disorders as well as similar disabilities.  We can only do that with your help! Read further!

Greetings Supporters!

As you may know, we have been working diligently to have everything in place to get college programs started in Oklahoma for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities!  After 3+ years, we now have all the pieces in place!  

Here is a review of the past few months:
  • Featured Edie Cusack - nationally recognized Executive Director from College of Charleston/REACH program to speak at Tulsa and OKC events partnering with Sooner Success/SUCCESS for Life and sponsored by many wonderful organizations
  • House Resolution 1065 was enrolled in our state legislature after much work:  Click here for the document!  HR1065 Text
  • Presented to parent groups
  • Presented to various foundation representatives
  • Presented to representatives of OK State Regents for Higher Education 
  • Received confirmation from colleges of their interest in beginning a program
  • Submitted grant applications - a continuous effort - to foundations 

The most important focus we have right now directly relates to raising the start-up funding to begin a program in Oklahoma. Click on Goals for a refresher on the model program details!

What is the purpose of this email? Now is the time for our support base to step forward and show that this is an effort supported by many, and it IS important!
Foundations need to see evidence that this is not just a "wish" for one or two people.  They need to know individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities want the choice to attend college in Oklahoma, and know that the supports will be in place to allow them to go after their dreams and goals like anyone that wants to go to college.

We need your help!  Please DONATE NOW - by clicking on the DONATE button with your gift Our goal is $45,000 from our support base which will be key in raising the remainder from foundations.  A total of $375,000 is needed as 4 year start-up funding for the selected college or university to begin a program!

Please forward this email to family, friends, professionals and others that you know could support this effort.  The time is NOW.

WE CAN MAKE COLLEGE SUCCESS A REALITY FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH INTELLECTUAL OR DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES!


Last and most important!  I always post this every December because we need to remember that where we are with our kids is no surprise to God.  He will see us through, so hold that truth close this most precious of seasons!  Hope to see you TONIGHT!

Blessings,
Julie

Maybe God chose Mary because He knew she would be the one to fortify herself, to be embroiled in inner turmoil for the sake of this special child.  It wasn't easy raising the Son of God.  And Mary was the one who would sit at his bedside at night and look at this one who didn't look like a king and wonder "What am I supposed to do?"

"The Lord has blessed you and is with you.  Don't be afraid, Mary; God has shown you his grace."                        Luke 1:28, 30.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

New Location for November/December!

All!

We will be meeting at Martin Regional Library - 2601 S. Garnett Rd. at 6:30 for both November and December meetings so mark your calendars!!!  There will be October treats since we won't be at a restaurant, and after all, it is Halloween time, so sugar is never a bad thing! As you come in the door, turn left, and there will be a sign pointing you to the right room!

I heard a terrific talk on a biblical perspective of the current state of craziness in our countries politics right now.  The talk never mentioned a particular party or nominee, even in veiled terms, but stressed the importance of simply knowing how "your" candidate aligns with biblical teaching.  The whole point was where is your focus?
Is it a horizontal focus?  (Be about the same as everyone else)
                         Staying about the same as everyone else
                                              Not making too much of a stand
                                                                    Not digging in too much to know the issues at stake
Or is it a vertical focus?  (Focus on God)
                         Making sure you are focused on a higher purpose
                                               Making a stand as long as it is on solid ground
                                                                     Digging in to know about the subject

I thought that was a unique and refreshing way to look at things.  I thought immediately that is how we should be about our kids.  Even when "everybody else" thinks a certain way, or feels like that is as good as it's going to be, or gives advice that something inside tells you it's not quite right, but oh well...we need to stop and see where our focus is.  We can all get entrenched in "inertia".  That is simply being so used to something, even if it is not something that is the best for us or our kids, but the easiest thing - so we stay in the same routine.
So, take a look at some of those situations, habits or thoughts that are just simply inertia.  Pick a day to change that situation, habit or thought and take a step.  Especially where our kids are concerned, every day that goes by in inertia, is not something that moves them forward.  So, I encourage you to pick a day, pick the thing that may be holding you back and get those eyes up and focus on God, and he will help you take a step to move forward!
                Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all        your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.    Proverbs 3:5-6

Yes, I've talked about that scripture before and always point out the "make your paths straight" original text meaning is actually "remove obstacles".  So, there you go.  I'd like a few less obstacles, wouldn't you?

Blessings and don't forget to stay current with the college effort!
Lead Learn Live

See you at the library!
Julie

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

There are plans ahead!

As you may have heard from the Facebook page, we had too many issues with the night and the location to meet Thursday.  We are so sorry, but hang with us.  We will have another location for November!

I write this as I just got back home from presenting the college program to a parent group in Yukon. Before that a couple weeks ago, I presented at an OKC group.  Being in those groups which were new to me but amazing groups, reminded me again that we all need to keep on holding to the fact that YES - look to the future and YES - make plans that assume the BEST for your kids!!!  Over the past 2 groups -  I met and spoke with an amazing young man who plans to be a forensic scientist and live where there are mountains and who was just about driving age, as well as a 9 year old who can't communicate well YET - being raised by awesome grandparents who already planned that he would be going to college.  
For those of us with older kids, on some days, we could not imagine the future, let alone a future of promise for our kids on those rough days.  But we MUST imagine a future and plan for the best for our kids!  Whether that future for them may be cutting hair because your kiddo is constantly styling the dog or Barbie, or working at a daycare because your daughter loves to take care of dolls or being an audio engineer because your son constantly tinkers with anything electronic that has speakers...you MUST imagine that future, look for it and PLAN for it.  None of us know what the possibilities are for our kids, but I can tell you after speaking to amazing parents all over the state and now raising funding to start college programs, please NEVER sell your kids short.  God has a plan for them, and all we have to do is be a bit of a detective and help them find it!  So!  shake off those rough days, get a good nights sleep and go at it again Mom's.  You are awesome and your kids look to you to be their guide, whether they are able to verbalize that or not!!
Yes, I've given this scripture before, but hey!  It never gets old..and we all need reminding!

             "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the LORD, "plans to prosper and not to                     harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."         Jeremiah 29:11

Blessings, 
(and don't forget to keep checking Lead Learn Live for info on the college program effort!)
Julie
 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Purpose...Saddle Up!

Hey all you awesome Mom's out there!

I am so happy that we are meeting this week!  I have missed our group!

A couple reminders that your kids have a purpose, and it's up to you to help decipher it!
1) Are you feeling energized and joyous about a new year?  If so awesome!  If you are feeling anxious, nervous, edgy, cranky and eating comfort food - or not eating at all....well, that's normal for this time of year!  That's also what I have heard multiple times this past week from other Mom's.  Guess what?  YOU ARE AMAZING!  You are the engine that runs your kids care!  You are the master juggler of multiple, multi-tasking, uber tasking!  So, take a deep breath, look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are wonderful! 
Because:
No one knows your kid like you do.
That's it.  
We must be wise, to accept wise council, yes, but we must also trust your "gut" feel on certain things.  Sometimes no matter how much we might hear "this really is the best: situation, placement, process, etc. etc....sometimes, if we know down to our toes that it really is NOT the best (fill in the blank)...well then, we stand up and say (very politely, but firmly),  let's figure out another option, just to try, we need another option; and then work with whomever, to figure out another option...to try!  There always is another option.  I met a new friend today who was another awesome Mom.  We were recounting many of the therapies we had tried over the years (both our kids are teens), and that was a great reminder that there is always another thing to try, and we know our kids!  So - get out there and be your kids advocate - ok?  Remember, they were created for a purpose, and due to the unique brain that they have, they will just need more assistance in finding that purpose and we are the "more assistance"!

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
                                               Psalm 139:13-14

2)Speaking of purpose:  I am sharing what I put on the website a couple weeks ago.  We have great stuff happening regarding beginning the college programs in Oklahoma for our kids and other kids that need supports to be successful.  So, we need to get the word OUT!  Here you go!

We have been a little quiet lately, but that is going to change!

Lead Learn Live is sharing some exciting news!  
After over 3 years as a grass roots effort, and with the understanding it is up to US as parents, family members, professionals, educators, and supporters from every area in Oklahoma to get these programs into our state...we are happy to announce that we are now a fully functioning 501(c)(3) corporation!

As such, we have turned our full attention to approaching foundations to raise the seed funding necessary to get a program or program(s)!, into Oklahoma.  We are also getting ready to have a grass roots call to action to support these programs from those that want it for our kids! Foundations need to know there is support from the "base".  Meaning we as parents and supporters of all kinds need to invest in the effort so foundations can see that we are serious about these programs in Oklahoma!

So please stay tuned, urge your family, friends, etc to sign up on the website, like us on Facebook, and check out the website with the new Board of Directors and Advisory Board information!
There was a terrific song years ago that had a wonderful lyric, very appropriate for us now!:    "Saddle up your horses, we have a trail to blaze!"
                                    Thank you Steven Curtis Chapman for that line!

Blessings and see you Thursday!
Julie


Monday, August 8, 2016

Back to School Autism Spectrum 101

August.  
We love it so much for the continuing summer.
We don't love it so much, because it's back to school.
So what is our job as parents at this time of year?  Here are some thoughts for you!
Are your kids starting to act much more....well "spectrum-ish" right now?  That is normal and even with a now graduated kiddo, we still see that somewhat.  Our's may now tell us very clearly he had a nightmare that he was in school and all the teachers hated him :), rather than "act out", but that was a great reminder that the big transition that takes place for our kids to go back to this different schedule, still has an impact, no matter the age.
So since we didn't meet this month, and won't start back until next month.  Here's some reminders that you might think about as we go into "school mode" once again!
1)  Get your kiddo back into some sort of a schedule that sneakily makes them get acclimated to routine again.  This is for homeschoolers too!
2)  Whether they want to talk about it or not, start talking about school in the most positive terms in small "bites".
3)  Get to the school and walk them to their class (classes) while no one is there, every day, if the anxiety is high.  If you do this every day, particularly in the morning, chances are you will also meet the teacher setting up their classroom.  A very good thing.  Start doing a couple of fun worksheets at the times you will do your homeschooling...same concept!
4)  Carry your handy dandy "one sheet summary" about your kiddo with you and if you happen to run into the teacher, you can "just happen to have this with you".  Give it to them telling them what it is - NOT going over it - just telling them what it is and letting them have it.  If you homeschool, make your one sheet summary for you - so on the rough days, you will remember strengths and weaknesses when you will be too close to see it!
5) What is the one sheet summary?  It is a concise, easy to read version of who your kiddo is, at a glance.  It should contain:  Strengths (academics and personal), Challenges (academics and social) (never WEAKNESSES), "Stuff that helps" - which is a very short format for key accommodations that help with those challenges that you listed.  Make it graphic and easy to read with the headings easy to pick out.  It's basically an IEP in easy to read form that hits the high points in a positive way for the teacher that is weary of plowing through 10-15 page IEP's.
6)  Be extra patient, extra gentle but still firm about the need for school and telling your kiddos they are amazing and there are so many amazing things to learn!!

And remember...like always - your kids were created for a purpose and our job is to help them find that purpose, so saddle up!  Make it a year of promise!!

Proverbs 4:13  “Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.”

Blessings and see you in September!
Julie

Friday, April 29, 2016

No Meetings until September 2016

We will be taking a short break.
Enjoy your summer!
See you in September!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Asperger's, High Functioning Autism and College? Yes!

All,

I am going to depart a little bit from my typical posts for this month and next due to an exciting event we have coming up for both Tulsa and Oklahoma City!

As most of you know, I have been working for the past 3 years trying to bring College programs to Oklahoma for our kids and other kids with developmental or intellectual disabilites that are running in - wait for it....

        YES, 48 OTHER STATES - but NOT Oklahoma.    YET!

I started an organization called LeadLearnLive, which started as a grass roots effort and now is in the process of becoming a formal non-profit.

What have I been doing to get this done?  Here's a quick overview:

Traveled to South Carolina to see, meet and be AMAZED at these programs.
Spoken with Directors of these programs all over the country.
Spoken at multiple state meetings.
Spoken at multiple parent group meetings.
Spoken with multiple state agency representatives.
Had meetings at the Capital with certain supporting Representatives (Thank you Rep. Nelson and Rep. Strohm! - You are awesome!)
Had meetings at the Capital with Regent staff representatives.
Had meetings at the Regent Offices. (Thank you Vice Chancellor Sonobe, you are awesome!)
Presented at an Interim Session at the Capital.
Worked on a shell bill for this effort.
Spoken with multiple college and university staff and administration representatives.
Worked with schools to turn in an application for a Federal Grant for these programs. (which sadly, we were not selected for) (ECU and Conners State, you are AWESOME!)
Met HUNDREDS of incredible, amazing, tenacious, PEOPLE - the vast majority of them MOMS that know, hope and pray that there should be and will be something in place in our state for their kids that are ready for college, and for their kids - if they are younger - that want to go to college.

So importantly, and very early in this process, I was approached by Sooner Success who wanted to partner with me to get this done.  I could not do this without them - They are AMAZING! 

So what is the plan?  
1)  I will be having a Parent meeting for those interested in truly engaging and investing in this                journey of the non-profit we are in process of forming on March 24th in Tulsa. 
2)  The main event is April 22nd.  We are bringing in the Executive Director of what is very close to        the model program we are wanting to start in Oklahoma from the College of Charleston REACH        program.  She is absolutely AMAZING, and will be speaking in Tulsa and OKC. 
3)  We are approaching foundations and will be raising the seed money to get these programs started.

That is a VERY simplified overview of what is going on with this effort.  There will be specific information released on this blog, by email, facebook, LeadLearnLive.org and other avenues in the next week.

What does all this really come down to?  The same thing I say at every meeting, at every conversation involving our kids and to everyone who will listen:
      
      God created our kids for a purpose, and we have to do everything we can to help them                 find and fulfill that purpose! 

Not all of our kids want to, or would benefit from a college experience, (just like not all of us wanted to go to college) but for those that want to and can benefit from it -  they need that opportunity - and they need it in their home state.

We are going to do this - we need all of you that have this hope - to join in!

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.          Jeremiah 29:11

Blessings,

Julie




Wednesday, February 3, 2016

That's a problem!

Problems.  I don't care for them - do you?  They tend to derail my plans, always cost time, often money, and are never welcome.  
So, why on earth would we want to spend time on a blogsite reading something about them?
Because we all have them.
Because we all see them differently.
Because we all need to deal with them.
Because there may be another way to see them.

You may be in a great place right now.  All is well, second semester of school in a groove, no transition issues right now, no big looming problems coming up, therapists all smiley about your child's progress, future looking good.  Happiness...big contented sigh.

Or....you may be struggling right now.  School is an ongoing struggle, you flinch when the phone rings and then break out in hives when you see your schools number on your phone, you grit your teeth just to make it from meltdown to meltdown, therapists use those "encouraging" words like "shifting gears", "new plan", "take a step forward, and you always move backwards a little"...things like that.  Big Sigh...not so contented.

Either way you go, there will be problems that come and go in our lives.  The Bible is clear on that...it's really not an "if" you have problems/troubles...it is a "you will have them", statement (Jn 16:33).   I'm going to poach a bit from my Pastor, and give us something to think about in regards to this word we don't like:  "Problem".

There are those out there that talk a myth that you will not have problems if you are tight with God, or a good person, or doing the right things, etc. etc.  Note the myth word in that sentence.  That is a myth.  Just like the insanity that went with the early doctors that said Autism was caused from "refrigerator mothers", also a myth!

We will all have problems in this life, so what are we going to do with them? Here is a thought (this is where I poach from my Pastor!):
Use the problem as a growth opportunity.  
I know that sounds trite, and you may be thinking "that's easy for you to say...you don't know my situation".  And, I don't.  But we all deal with different things and if we let problems overtake us and we give up to despair, then the problem wins.  I'm not in favor of the bad ever winning.  Those that know me know I can be a tad competitive...so I don't like the bad to win!
What can problems do for us?  They can develop endurance, and build our character, yes.  I think that most of all, if we allow them to, they can create real faith, or strengthen our faith.
So, what could we do in times of trouble?  I'm taking wine and reckless behavior off the table, ok?!
How about turning to a friend we know who has a strong faith?
How about looking at some scripture?
How about allowing yourself to know you are terrifically, ferociously loved by God? 
How about trusting that there is a plan, even though it may look ugly right now?

Give it some thought.  We are dealing with the reality of graduation right now...all of our safe and scheduled world of school will be radically changing, and I don't know about your ASD kiddo, but big changes are not a happy thing.  I am trying to remind him of these very things as he deals with the problem of a radically changing life schedule.  

Mostly, let's remember to remind our kids that they were made for a purpose. God does not make mistakes.  No one else can do what is planned for them to do.  We just have to do a little bit more perhaps to help them find that purpose!

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people".                 Genesis 50:20

Blessings,
Julie


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Let's Talk Resolution!

Are you a "New Year's Resolution someone"?  You know... the kind that actually gives thought to, and attempts a resolution at the beginning the the new year  I have really never been such a gal.  I know my limitations well and one of those limitations is making and sticking with a resolution! HA!

But, in light of recent experiences with many Mom's and Dad's of kids with assorted disabilities, I have something for all of us to consider.  Dare I say it?  
MAKE A RESOLUTION!

The reason?  This resolution is something all of us need to do, that are reading this post now.  If you have ever come to the Mom's group (which is tomorrow night at 7 by the way...see facebook site!) you will have heard me say many times - and I try to say it every time...
God has a plan for your child, no matter what it seems like today, there is a plan, we just thave to help them a little more than most - perhaps - to find it!

Recently, I have spoken many times at conferences, meetings, etc. about bringing the college programs to Oklahoma for our kids and kids with similar disabilities.  Every single time, I have parents come up to me with their story at the end of each engagement.  These stories are wonderful, no matter how difficult sounding, because they are the very best fuel for the flame of getting some colleges engaged to start these programs for our kids and finding the donors to make that happen. (see LeadLearnLive.org for more info!)
My message is the same as what I said above.  It never changes because I know with every fiber of my being that it is true.  So!  I wold challenge us all to have a simple but powerful resolution which is this:

I will remind myself and my child as much as possible that God created them for a reason, that there is a plan for their life, unique for them, and I will do everything I can to help them figure that out, and never let them think less for themselves.

That's not so hard now, is it?  No diet, no exercise, no painful personal confrontations, no corrective surgery :).  You can do it, I know you can!  So start today - ok?  As odd as it sounds, this is very effective on the very worst of days, btw!  So if you want to put a resolution up on the bathroom mirror to remind you to do it...put the above up there instead, and while you are at it, you can put up:

"God created me for a reason, and He has a plan for my life, unique for me!"

                                                                     on your kids mirror as well!

"For I know the plans I have for you", says the Lord "plans to profit you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future".        Jeremiah 29:11

Happy New Year!
Blessings,
Julie