Monday, August 22, 2016

Making Friends

J writes:

Phillip, how do you makes friends? My grandson is 11 and has no friends and is dreading going back to school because kids are mean to him and tease him.  It's heart breaking. Any hints?

To J,
Learning to make friends is hard. Is he interested in anything in particular? Maybe he can make a friend who has the same interests. Talking on-line is also a good way to let a person in your life in a less menacing way. Because you don’t have to worry about eye contact, social manners, and time to respond on-line, it is easier for me to interact on-line. Making friends face-to-face is easier with other autistics that understand. It gets easier with lots of time hanging out. I love having friends. Meaningful memories come from being with my friends. I get lots of practice making friends because my mom and her friends get us kids together. I love that meaningful friends can make my life more fun. Good luck to your grandson this school year. May he find a good friend.


Me and some of my RPM Friends in Buffalo

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

My Time in Maryland (ICI Conference)

Me and Diego

Two weeks ago I attended ICI in Maryland. ICI means Institute on Communication and Inclusion. Making learning about autistic means to inclusion pleases me. I met Diego, his mom Edlyn, and his helper. It was fun hanging out. One of my favorite days was when I got to type with Michael and Camille. We typed about the ABCs of inclusion. Inclusion is so important. Elizabeth cared about our group and loved what we wrote. I am pleased she wanted to talk with me and held my keyboard even though she never met me before. She had confidence in me and her ability to talk with me.

Me and Elizabeth (practicing independence)

Good meaningful lectures peacefully made me take note of what I would like to achieve too, like doing a talk. I would also like the ability to type more independently. Lots of time and practice needs to be invested to get good. Part of my learning was getting to practice more stressful environments. I want to get better at sitting quietly and not being disruptive. I get mad at myself for being too noisy when stressed. Peace often escapes me in crowds and loud places. I was managing as best I could. Life day to day can be unpredictable. Sometimes I am in more control of my body. Other days I can hardly feel my body. It is the worst feeling to feel weightless. I hate being practically disembodied. It becomes a nightmare. Stimming helps feel my body again.

Part of a big drum circle

On day 1 I could not stay calm. I needed to stim badly to feel my body. Help came from Casey. She gave me a massage and sang to me. Casey saved my day. I sat more calmly after that. On day 2 I had my best day. I loved that I could participate and meet new friends. Making friends was the best part of the conference. I will remember talking to Diego, Michael, Camille, and Elizabeth as the highlight of the week.

Michael, Camille, and Me

ABC's of Inclusion
by Philip, Michael, and Camille

Actual inclusion opens doors.
Be patient with us. 
Caring people make it successful.    
Don't give up.
Excellent expectations. 
Friends, need I say more?    
Give us lots of patient encouragement.
Hear us when we spell. 
In day, talking to friends opens my world.      
Just like typically functioning,need support.
Keep believing in us. 
Learn challenging subjects. 
Must be proud.
No baby talk. 
Open hearts please us.       
Praise our achievements as they are yours as well.
Question your assumptions. 
Remember we are just like you.
Spelling is our way out.
Treat us with respect.  
Understand totally intelligent and eager to learn.
Voices must be heard.      
Wait for us to finish our thoughts. 
Xylophone can't make open words and it still is in the orchestra.
You are needed for our success. 
Zero tolerance for non believers.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

My Friends

Meeting my friends in Canada

Friends and acquaintances are people who make life interesting, fun, and less lonely. I am getting together with more friends lately. But socializing is hard for me. I am very shy. I want to be more outgoing and friendly. Learning to face my fears of embarrassment is hard. I make impulsive moves practically all the time. Learning to control my body to do things purposely is so much work and energy consuming. I care to keep facing my social anxiety so I can have friends.

Friends care for each other. Making friends is life-making by giving me other people to learn from and really care about.  Life would be boring without people to hang out with. I am going to teach myself to be less shy so I can enjoy meaningful friendships. I like when I can talk with my friends. I love peaceful conversations. Beautiful, cool, autistic people make my life delightful. I have practice being social now. Making friends is now a possibility. I hope to be a good friend too.

Last weekend I went to Canada to meet new friends. Meeting Fox, Brayden, and Ryan was pretty special. I got to meet other kids who do RPM and blog. My friend Kaylie was there too. At one time, we all sat in a circle talking to each other on our letterboards and iPads. It was awesome. I never thought I would be a part of a big group of friends. I am meaning to keep these friendships. I hope to get together with them again soon.

I was happy hiking with Fox and his family. We peacefully hiked a trail down to the creek. The creek was cool. I waded my feet. Fox went in all the way. We hiked back. I got to walk on big fallen logs. My day was almost perfect. I only wish my dad was there, but he was home sick that day.

I am happy I now have friends. Making friends is hard work but making friends is worthwhile. My life is much better with friends.

My friends' blogs: 

Hear Me Speak Without A Voice- Now My Wants Are Being Heard by Kaylie

Fox Talks With Letters by Fox

Life With A Boy Named Brayden by Brayden

I Am In My Head by Ryan

Copyright 2016 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 9, 2016


Meltdowns cause me a lot of problems. Meltdowns occur when I can no longer meet the demands made on me. A meltdown can be very terrifying. I cannot control myself at all when I have a meltdown. Anticipating meltdowns often keeps me from participating in life as much as I want.

When I was in Canada last week I had a meltdown while going on a hike. I love nature and walking. But this time there were many people. I had to keep up with the big group. My mom kept yelling to hurry up and we might get lost if we didn’t stay together. I made an effort to make my body keep up. I badly wanted to press on. I lagged behind though. Making it worse was the bugs and heat. I tried to later rest but mom was impatient to go. Peace drained out of me. My walk was no longer enjoyable. I could no longer meet my mom’s demands. I began to lose control of my body. I could not breathe. I fell in the road queasy and completely unable to function. My family began yelling for me to get up but I could not, even though I wanted to. I was very paralyzed. Mom tried to lift me but paralysis left me hanging from her arms like dead weight. I meant to make my body move but the more it did not. Mom dragged me to the side of the road. All I could do was lie there until someone could pick me up and take me to a place where I could regain my feeling of wellbeing. Reconnecting to the world after a meltdown happens when I can meet peace and quiet. Making more demands on me makes it much harder for me to recover.

Practicing my ability to withstand more stressful situations and remain calm is a goal. I can try to let myself participate more and not be blocked by anticipating the worst. Peaceful memories live in my mind of times I have participated. I naturally mean to participate but I cannot do it easily. I mean to make fears less and make more good memories.

Copyright 2016 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.