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.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Living With Purpose

A Reader writes:

Hi Philip,
I am writing to you because today I was just with my 11 year old grandson who was visibly so upset and then everything came out: he has no friends, crying because he hates school and already worried about the next year when he just go out. He makes statements like he doesn't know why he is alive and then when he gets upset is mad at himself for getting upset then says he doesn't like himself. I am heart broken and wondering if you ever have these feelings. I'm so upset as I write you I am in tears.  My heart aches for him and I always just try and listen.  Please if you could write me back and let me know how you feel at times.  Thank you.

To ___,

I have had feelings like your grandson too. You are a good grandmother to write for advice. He should know he is loved no matter how he feels. I have made peace with my autism by living with purpose. Day to day I teach people about autism in my writing. Your grandson can find his mission too. God makes a plan for every person. He saves our lives to be used for good. Can he make his interests become his mission? I make use of my autism. That is why I am happy as I am.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

On Occupational Therapy

AM writes:
I have a question.  I am an OT.  I work with several young ones like yourself. I have talked to parents about RPM, but they continue on a different path.  What can I do within my treatment session that will benefit these kiddos the best? Thank you in advance for your answer.

To AM,

I am day-to-day looking for solutions to my problem of finding my body in space. I want to act appropriately. I am naturally an awkward person. I move when I am supposed to be still. I freeze when I am supposed to move. I can’t get my body to move right. I have brain-body disconnect. It is meaningful when my brain and body cooperate.

I would like an OT to day-to-day come up with a plan for me. I want good skills that help me do things around the house and at school. I want to be able to pick out my own clothes and dress myself. I want people to think I am helpful. I pay attention to another person who needs help. I want my body to be motivated to help. My mind wishes to help. But my body rebels like a naughty child. I may want to be a man but my manner is like a child. Bearing my body is the hardest thing. I love my autistic thoughts but not my motor problems.

An OT can help by understanding our sensory needs. I cannot feel my body in space. I think an OT can make me learn to find my body in space by exercise, more weight training, and practicing muscle memory. Bike riding was learned this way. Bike riding is now my favorite thing to do. I lament very useless things done in OT. No benefit came to me from swinging or being brushed on my skin. It was a waste of time. I am glad I don’t have to do that anymore. I want to learn important skills with an OT. Reading a book on my own, writing words, drawing pictures, typing independently, and managing my self care are things an OT ought to work on to help me.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Starting RPM and the Problem of Automatic Movement

TF asks:

Is it normal for there to be a lot of frustration when starting RPM?  My son tried to spell something on the board tonight but I could only get some of it out of him.  He said, "no one ever noticed."  Now he's in bed screaming.  I keep trying to comfort him but it's just not working.

To TF,

I want to talk about starting RPM. When I first started, I got frustrated because I wanted to be able to do it well right away. But I was unable to get my body to cooperate. I talked the answers in my head. But my very carefully made answers could not be expressed. I had to practice every day. I tended to go to an automatic motion. I went to make a motion to spell my answer but my finger would get distracted. I needed a prompt to get me out of my automatic responses. I am truthfully trying to do my best to get my words out without getting distracted. It is hard for me. I can’t get myself out of my automatic rhythms sometimes. My body can feel like it has a mind that is not in control of it. I may know exactly how I want to move, but my body has a set of commands it follows that I did not order. I am coaching myself constantly to carry out the right instructions. I am daily fighting the impulses that make my body automatically move without the planning from my thinking mind. It is very tiring and a part of my life always. No one can fully understand unless they are autistic too.