November 20, 2016

A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay

I haven't read a light Christian romance in quite some time, and felt like I'm quite "over" the romance genre in general, but I'm glad I had the chance to review this one.  It isn't too heavy on the romance and is extremely light on the Christian aspect, although being from a Christian publisher does ensure no awkward surprises and  decent cover art.  A Portrait of Emily Price is 335 pages of 47 short chapters.  There are sixteen discussion questions at the end of the book that are helpful for thinking things through further, alone or with your book club.
In this novel by author Katherine Reay, Ms. Emily Price faces several trials and working through them changes the way she sees life.  Through losing her job, finding a calling, falling in love, relationship trials with family and language barriers, she continues to look for the good, to fix what she can, and grows up into the woman she was meant to be.  I found this story relatable, fun, and intriguing.  The leading man was a hopeless romantic and it was a true "love at first sight" story, but it was more than that.   His whole family was very real, and the reader may fall in love with them all...and want to fly to Italy or learn Italian before the book is over.
 There were literary and art references throughout - some I understood and some I did not, but it made me feel like this was an author who knows her stuff.  I have not yet read any other books by Reay, but will keep my eye out for more.  I would recommend this to anyone looking for a lighter read.  (I read it in a couple of weeks, while keeping up with some book discussions I am in.)

From the publisher:
Emily Price—fix-it girl extraordinaire and would-be artist—finds herself in Atlanta, repairing objects damaged in a house fire. As she works to restore the home and dreams of one family, she strives to keep the pieces of her own life in perfect order and secure her own happy ending—a gallery show of her own. There is no time for distractions, especially not the ultimate distraction of falling in love.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

November 8, 2016

Growing Up with Aspergers

Homeschooling my son, who has Aspergers Syndrome (officially now called Autism Spectrum Disorder), has been a challenge for 5 years now.  As he nears twelve years old, my thoughts turn from the daily challenges of holding his attention, keeping him calm and getting through some school subjects to thoughts of the future.  I wonder how he will be as an independent adult, and how long it will take to get there.  It scares me some days.

All the professionals we have seen have said that homeschooling is the best option for him - that he would be more anxious in school, or that he would have a harder time focusing, or be "left behind" as his skill set is rather uneven, which is not unusual for people with ASD (or ADHD).  I keep this thought in my mind as we have yet another argument about why NOW it is time for a lesson, when he wants to lay on his bed with his cat or hide in his closet.  (Both of which are fine things that I encourage when he gets overwhelmed, but at some point, book learning needs to happen.)
Taking a math tests in one of his comfort spaces
With the hormones surging and the physical growth occurring at this age (preteen), many children struggle with anger and insecurities.  It is so hard to know how much of what he is going through it normal and how much is him going completely overboard due to his anxieties and different way of seeing the world.  How much of his attitude is to be expected, and how much is possible side effects of the latest food, supplement or medication he has taken?  There are so many unknowns.

With all his growing up going on, he is losing his interest in childhood things, like bringing neighborhood kids over to jump on the trampoline or play imaginative games.  He is isolating himself more AND losing out on good physical activities.  I have to ask him to get outside at all, and going on a walk is "pure torture", you know.  This video is of my son and the child I babysit regularly, having some indoor physical fun!

I am going to have to try and find more grown up ways to get his movement in so that he can better regulate his mood and behaviors.  Most boys get interested in being muscular in the teen years, right?  I'm hoping to harness some of that. :)  We are also looking into hosting service dogs (when they are puppies).  This should encourage more outside time for all of us, and some added responsibilities.  Besides...puppies!  They are so cute, one can't help but smile and improve a mood.

We are also now able to go consistently to talk therapy (cognitive behavioral therapy) and holistic sensory therapy, as they are both local to us now.  I'm really hoping this helps him through the rough days.  And then there are good days, like today, when he did school without drama and got to take a trip with Daddy where this happened:

As your boys with special needs have entered the next phase of childhood, what changes did you have to make?  If you homeschool, what extra challenges are you facing during this time?

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop -- a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution  Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it's like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo! Want to join in on next month's Sensory Blog Hop? Click here!