Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The New Gig and Other Adventures

My new job is going great! After a day of signing initial paperwork and working on training modules, I was assigned to a classroom of 6th grade boys. They definitely have their moments, as is to be expected, however I really enjoy working with them and I feel driven to bring out their potential.

The one thing that helped me to establish a connection with the boys right away is my love of video games! Their eyes widened as I told them about some of my favorites. I was impressed by the fact that a few of them were familiar with some of the games from before their time, such as early Sonic (of course) and Spyro the Dragon as well as Crash Bandicoot. The teacher told me that she was glad to see that I had this in common with them, as she didn't know anything about video games, herself.

This has also been an interesting week, because only my second week into my new position, we had not one, but TWO snow days in a row! Even in Buffalo, that's a rare occasion. I've been relaxing and doing what I'm about to get into next, which is upgrade my Galaxy S7 Edge to Nougat!

I discovered yesterday that a Nougat ROM with root had been developed for my device. Happy day! :) It was finally time to flash the new stock system image, and then reroot. Using Odin, I flashed the image. Today, I flashed the engineered boot .tar file which then enabled me to flash Superuser over adb (Android Debugging Bridge). For those of you who aren't geeks, this all basically means that I plugged my phone into my computer and worked some magic by typing in commands ;) phone was rooted! I then downloaded the ROM and flashed it using Flashfire. I must say I'm absolutely LOVING it! It runs smoother than it did on Marshmallow, and is debloated, so it doesn't have many of the unnecessary system apps.

Tomorrow, it's back to work for me. After a couple days of relaxation, and a new operating system, I'll be all refreshed and ready to go! I'm looking forward to seeing the kids again and hearing about their snow days. Then I'm off again on Friday as it's a float day, lol! :P I'm also picking up an overnight back at the group home later that night, and I'll get to see my peeps after having been away for a couple weeks. I'm looking forward to seeing them, too :) I can mark this down as a great week!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A New Journey

As I think about what's to come, I have feelings of excitement. I'm about to begin a new journey. Tomorrow I start my position as a Teacher's Aide.

Reflecting on the past two years at the group home, I can say they have been great. I've gotten to meet a group of awesome peeps, both the residents and the staff. I'm thankful that I'm able to stay as on-call status so I don't have to leave for good, and I can still see everyone! I've already picked up a couple shifts for the month.

Tomorrow morning when I wake up, I'll be ready to embark on my new adventure. I can't wait to meet the kids I'll be working with! I don't know what the age group will be just yet, as I had indicated I am open to working with any age based on my experience. I am also looking forward to meeting my coworkers. You can probably tell that meeting new people has always been an exciting part of entering a new workplace for me.

The next step of my journey will be working towards my certification to become a Behavior Technician. I will be completing a 40-hour online course. I plan to begin chipping away at it early on, and to complete it in a timely manner. I feel driven to work to my fullest potential!

I can't believe this day is finally almost here. A new chapter awaits!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Dear Mom and Dad

Dear Mom and Dad,

Throughout my life, you have done so much for me. So much to support me, so much to help me, and so much to push me to be the best version of myself. For this, I thank you.

When I struggled with learning how to do things as a young child, you were always there to show me how. Whenever I've come across a problem, you've always given me the best advice on how to tackle it. Whenever I need to be kept in check, you're there to wake me up.

Looking back as an undiagnosed autistic, there are a couple things I wish you would have done differently. I wish the fact that I'm developmentally young for my age would have been embraced in my earlier years. I was asked to act in a way that didn't come naturally to me. I wish you would have realized that I wasn't like, and didn't have to be just like, my peers. That everyone develops at their own rate, and that that's ok.

I wish you'd have understood the fact that I take a little longer to process things. That rather than becoming angry or impatient with me, you'd have given me the time I needed to process instructions. That you'd have clarified them for me when I needed it.

Now let's get back to what I feel you've done RIGHT. The above items are the only two things that really stand out that I would have liked for you to have handled differently. There are a lot of things I have you to thank for!

Once I first suspected I was autistic, you had your reservations at first. You thought that there was nothing "wrong" with me (when, after all, autism isn't a defect at all, but rather a different operating system). However, you were willing to LISTEN. The more I researched, the more I saw traits in myself, and the more I educated you an autism and how it related to me, you began to understand.

Finally, when the time came to complete questionnaires for my assessment, you were there. You completed them to the best of your knowledge, about what I was like early on as well as in the present. After having submitted them to my psychologist and going through a series of interview-style appointments, I had my answer! I was indeed autistic. You helped me find the answers I so desperately sought.

While I may have been a bit misunderstood in my early life, you still stuck by my side. You may have not known why I was a little different from my peers, yet you still encouraged me to succeed. To this day, you always help me when I need it. You now realize that I'm taking life at my own pace, and you let me live it on my terms - not society's. You no longer push me to act differently from how I feel - you let me be ME. When I'm confused or misunderstand instructions, you no longer become frustrated with me, but rather recognize that I just need a little time to process.

What you might not realize is that these things are HUGE to me. I can't express enough how thankful I am that you've taken the time to understand me. I can be myself and not feel like I'm doing anything wrong. I can be true to myself. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!


Sue :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

An Answer to a Question on Quora

I stumbled upon a the following question on Quora:

What are the biggest regrets that people with ADD/ADHD have?

I like the way my response turned out, so I'd like to share it! :)

My only real regret is the fact that I didn't start receiving help earlier. That said, I have faith that everything happens for a reason, and if that means not getting a diagnosis until I was 25, well, then that was exactly when it was meant to happen.

I often wonder what life would have been like had a been diagnosed in, say, preschool when my traits were first VERY obvious. I should add now that I'm also diagnosed with autism (Level I or formerly known as Asperger’s), OCD and anxiety. The latter two diagnoses also came at 25, and the autism one not until I was 31.

Now, although I endured some struggles, I managed to come out pretty successful. I have a Bachelor's in Social Work and three jobs in human services. I don't yet live on my own, however it doesn't bother me that I'm not yet ready. One thing at a time. Besides, this just gives me more time to work, make money, and take life at my own pace.
Had I been diagnosed earlier on, where would that leave me? Sure, I may have had an easier time with things, and known more about myself earlier on, however what if I just became another statistic? Another kid thrown into the special education program which is still in need of great reform today? I was in all mainstream classes, and demonstrated that I could handle them, given there were no diagnoses yet in sight. Had I been slapped with a label from the get go, perhaps my abilities would have been overshadowed by them (note: I don't like to look at my diagnoses as “labels” but rather “titles” as they have given me many answers at the times of diagnosis. However, in some cases, they are seen as only labels and people look for what they limit, rather than enable, in a person.) I've seen friends of mine go through the special education system. Friends who have outstanding levels of intellect and could easily have gotten a degree, however were set back because they were not awarded the same diploma as their peers. I feel that the system has failed them.

To reiterate my answer to the question, I feel that if there are any regrets I had, this may be the only one, but at the same time, I feel very fortunate to have gotten as far as I have. That combined with what I know know about myself, I now use to help others in similar situations :)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year! :)

Hope everyone enjoyed ringing in the new year! I can check this holiday season off as a good one :)

I should start with a summary of what I did for Christmas Eve and Christmas. On Christmas Eve, my family and I went to mass and then enjoyed a pot roast dinner at my brother's house. We watched It's A Wonderful Life and relaxed for a while before going home to get a good night's sleep.

On Christmas morning, we woke up and enjoyed basking in the glow of the Christmas tree until my brother arrived around 10. We then ate breakfast and opened presents. Santa was good to me this year! My "big" gift had been Google Home which I had gotten just before Thanksgiving, and I received several other goodies: a Sonic shirt, autism necklace, Celtic mood ring, cash, gift cards, and a chameleon light that changes colors to match its surroundings.

After relaxing for a while, it was time for the traditional dinner at my grandma's house. We nommed on a delicious turkey dinner, followed by presents. I got some more gift cards, a few stuffed animals and a Samsung wireless charger for my phone. Next were some of my grandma's cookies and chatting amongst us. I spent the night at my grandma's as is tradition :)

I then had the "mega uber crazy super busy week." Not only did I work my usual full-time job, but I also worked two days at my new part-time job in their vacation camp program. The day shifts were back to back with the overnights, so I was a bit of a zombie :P It was fun, though. We took the kids bowling on Friday, and they had a blast! Saturday morning, I came home and slept like a baby.

For New Year's Eve, we went to my grandma's for snacks and lobster tails before heading to my brother's for chili and more snacks. I made my traditional Lit'l Smokies sausages wrapped in crescent rolls (pigs in blankets). Before we knew it, it was time to count down and ring in the new year! We relaxed and talked for a while, and then I went back to my grandma's, where I am writing this now, to spend the night again.

So what will this year bring? Hopefully good things. I have a good feeling about it. Resolutions are something I don't make, as I know I'll only be setting myself up for failure. I'd rather just focus on one day at a time, and if I decide I want to make any goals, I'll do them on my own timeline and in my own way. All I know is that life is pretty darn good as I know it, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it! Here's to a great year! :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Of the many things in life I have to be thankful for, one that will always stand out is my autism diagnosis.

Imagine that you've spent your entire life being a little different from the rest. You try to click with others at a young age, but something just doesn't gel. You spend your teen years watching everyone else suddenly change and become interested in different things from you, and you can't wrap your head around it. You spend your 20s learning about yourself, yet there is still a missing piece.

Then you stumble upon autism. Not for the first time, as you've heard of it, and you THINK you know what it means. Then you are reintroduced  to the concept after several years, but this time it has a whole new meaning for you. It describes so many of the things you've experienced throughout your life. It sounds like YOU.

You then do a lot of research, only to find that the more you delve into the topic, the more of yourself you see in it all. After a few years, you schedule that fateful appointment. You're almost positive you're autistic, but there's still that tiny glimmer of a doubt: what if it isn't autism, after all? You've incorporated it as part of your identity by this point.

Next come the appointments. The questionnaires. The interview with the psychologist. Finally, the day arrives. The day that decides whether or not everything you've learned about yourself is on point. You brace yourself for the answer. Are you autistic, or not? Your psychologist reviews the information, and finally...alas! He tells you that you present as someone on the autism spectrum!

You feel a sense of validation. Your suspicions have been confirmed. Everything you've come to know as a part of who you are HAS indeed been a part of you all along. Congratulations! You're autistic and now you have an explanation for your differences and own unique operating system.

Two years ago, this moment that I will never forget happened. For that I will be forever thankful.

Friday, November 4, 2016

One of the Best Weeks Ever

Well, it's been a heck of a week. I don't remember the last time I was this busy, yet had so much fun! I'm very grateful to have reached my dream of being a part of the organization I have wanted to for so long!

Today I had my driving test, which consisted of pulling into 3 parking spots. Easy peasy. Then I attended a training on the data entry system the agency utilizes. I am already pretty familiar with it, as I use it at my relief position already.

Then came the best part of the day: I got to meet the kids I'll be working with! They were super nice, and most of them were really bubbly! There were about 6 in the after school program today, and are middle school age, save for one who is about 7. They seem like a happy and fun bunch :) The other staff were very welcoming, too.

I really feel at home where I'm at. It's great to be working with a community of people with whom I am a member of. It's a wonderful feeling being both on the spectrum myself as well as knowing I'm helping others like me. It's like I can see things from both perspectives, and it's really cool! I look forward to being a member of the team!