Monday, March 13, 2017

My Disobedient Body

My body is like a very disobedient toddler. My mind is like an impatient mother, wanting her unruly child to do what she says. Tonight my dad asked me to set the table for dinner. My mind knows where each person sits. I give myself the order to make plates go to each person. I plan to carry out the order from dad. However, my feeble body balks at this order. It wants to put all the plates on one end of the table and the cups on the other end. I end up looking like an idiot who can’t understand the concept that everyone is supposed to get their own place setting. I want my body disciplined to follow the rules. How do I get my body to cooperate? This is my biggest struggle.

Copyright 2017 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

My Vacation to Riviera Maya, Mexico

This past week I went to Riviera Maya, Mexico with my family. I had a lot of fun. I am part Mexican so it was nice to go see where some of my ancestors are from. I learned some Spanish. I could understand buenos dias, hola, gracias, de nada, and como esta. I tried to understand other words from context. I woke up each morning to bright sunshine and birds chirping quietly outside my window. It was a nice change from the cold.

In Mexico, we went to the beach everyday. We swam, waded in the waves, and made sand castles. My favorite thing was sitting where the water meets the shore and feeling the sand below me shift as the water goes in and back out. Getting lost in my senses at the beach is relaxing, like listening to music with a pleasing melody and predictable rhythm. I like the water and the way it shines a sparkling turquois blue. I can watch water all day.

Another thing we did was spending lots of time together as a family. It pleased me to do things together. We ate many great meals together. I liked the fresh fruit and pasta. Going to fancy restaurants was fun. We went to French, Brazilian, and Japanese restaurants. The Japanese one was entertaining. The chef put on a cooking show by lighting up his grill and juggling his cooking tools and our food.

We played and went to shows together. We played mini golf. I was more hitting the ball like a hockey player but it was still fun. We watched my cousin Tommy swim with a dolphin. I think I would have been tense if it were I in there. I am glad he got to do it. At night there were shows at the theater. We watched a circus one night. I liked the acrobats. Another night was a Mexican cultural show. I enjoyed the different dances and music. During the day I watched my brother and sister play beach soccer and water polo. Each day was good.

One day I went on an excursion with my parents and grandparents. We went to Chichenitza to visit the ancient ruins of a great Mayan civilization. No other place I have seen has been as well preserved for its age as the main temple. It was impressive. I saw different buildings with carvings of animals on them. I wondered what they meant. I learned the Mayans had a system of math and writing. I want to learn more about the Mayans. 

On the way back, we visited a town called Valladolid. I liked the town park with the central fountain, many places to sit, and colorful designs on the benches. 

After we also stopped for lunch at a picnic and went to a cenote. A cenote is an underground cave with a natural spring of fresh water. Some people went swimming. It was dark and too scary for me to swim. There were roots and stalactites hanging from above. The water was a midnight blue that looked deeper than the ocean. Mom and Dad swam but I sat this one out. When we got out I found a hammock to lay in. It was a relaxing end to a great day. I am glad I saw Chichenitza. It was the most interesting part of my trip to Mexico.

I had a great time in Mexico. I hope to return some day to learn more about the culture. I liked meeting the friendly people there. I am glad to learn Mexicans are a people of mathematical minds. I learned Mayans developed the concept of zero. They also came up with a logical numeric system. I wonder if I have Mayan relatives. Maybe that is why my dad’s side is so smart in math. I am proud of my Mexican heritage.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Buffalo RPM Presentation

This past Thursday I participated in the Buffalo RPM presentation. My mom and her friends started a nonprofit organization named Buffalo RPM to teach people in our area how to do RPM (Rapid Prompting Method). The group teaches people about RPM and a new way to look at autism. The talk my mom and her two partners made was perfect. They told about how RPM changed our lives for the better. They talked about changing the definition of autism. I liked how my mom wants people to stop making neurotypical assumptions about the mental capacity of autistic people based on their outward appearances. She said that we should define autism as a different way of sensing, moving, and interacting with the environment. We should seek to understand and find ways to teach and accommodate us in the best way we are able. The presenters showed that RPM helps people communicate by helping them learn and show what they know.

Hearing the presentation helped me see how neurotypical people view autism. They like to measure people to a normal standard. They don't want their child to be too different from how most people are. They probably think it is a burden to bear. I think if they would get to understand how we work and how to get to us, it would lift the burden from everyone. I think we would all be happier. God makes us different so we can't do everything ourselves. I think life is more interesting when we depend on one another and celebrate our differences.

Seeing people wanting to learn RPM is a pleasure to me. I loved seeing people watch the presentation. Mom did amazing telling my journey and showing how to do RPM. I am very proud of her. Learning to speak in public is now a goal of mine. I got my first gig introducing the group with Kaylie using our keyboards. Kaylie did great. She was so calm and made a powerful opening statement. She told the crowd that the hardest thing about autism is not being able to communicate and RPM gave her a voice. I was next but I got nervous and ran out of the room. But my mom got me and calmed me down enough for me to type that I was happy to see so many people wanting to learn RPM. I was so glad I did it. Everyone clapped and mom whispered good job. My dad was proud of me too. I celebrated my accomplishment with a prayer of alleluia to God as I made my way back to my dad. 

I want to help make the world a kinder place for people like me. Learning to advocate is really important. I will keep on speaking every chance I get. 

 Copyright 2017 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Too Fast- Poem on the Roaring 20s

This poem was a school assignment for Philip's social studies class at school.  The original assignment was to draw a picture freehand about the events of the Roaring 20's.  Because Philip cannot draw at this point, we changed it to a poem.  He got 100% on it!  -Lisa

Too Fast
By Philip Reyes

Roar goes the crowd at the big party.
Roar go the engines of a million Model T’s.
Roar go the horns of the Harlem Renaissance.
Will the world again rest from all the noise?

Roar goes the movies.
Roar goes the radio.
Roar goes the jazz club with dancers up all night long.
Will the world again sleep to rest from all its motion?

Roar go the flappers.
Roar go the lounges of speakeasies.
Roar goes the laughter of people having the time of their lives.
Will the world again care about more than selfish fun?

Roar go the cash registers.
Roar go the vacuums.
Roar goes the bull market with get rich dreams.
Will the world again care to give rather than take?

Roar go the politicians.
Roar goes the mob.
Roar go the schemes of men in power.
Will the world again value honesty and integrity?

Watch out you do not go too fast or get too proud.
It might all come crashing down.  

 Copyright 2017 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Gaining Self-Control

This year I was able to make progress in my self-control. I am now able to sit quietly for long periods of time. I sit through movies, concerts, and church much better. This Christmas break I watched Rogue One and La La Land. I enjoyed them. In school I can sit longer without having a break. I have become more used to sensations I could not handle in the past. I can now handle loud noises and resonant buildings. I am able to make my anxiety calm down so I can take part in more things. I listen to my rational mind telling me that I will be ok even though my body is tense or my heart is beating fast.

Last Tuesday I went to my high school orientation. I was nervous to go. I was meaning to make a good imitation of a neurotypical kid. I did not want to stand out. I tried to act cool. There were many people when I arrived at the auditorium for orientation. The band played music. Last year I would have freaked out at the number of people, the loud music, and the pressure to behave at my best. I probably would have tried to escape to avoid sensory overload and a meltdown. This time I was not bothered by the crowds like I used to be. I was able to sit quietly and listen to the talks. I even went around to different classrooms to learn about the different departments. I was saintly during each talk. I would like to take journalism and creative writing. Taking interesting courses is going to be awesome. I am excited for high school.

Learning to sit well is so important for success in school. I progress daily as I become more part of society. I am making peace with my difficult body by getting better at waiting for my mind to have a say on how I act. Naturally I can’t control certain reactions my body makes. I am a slave to impulses and obsessions. I struggle to use my mind to plan a different motor plan to counteract my body’s bad behaviors. Lately I am beginning to see my mind win more battles over my actions. I am learning from experience how to manage my unruly body better. Making my body peaceful is freeing me to be able to do a lot more. I am looking forward to going to high school next year.

Copyright 2017 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.