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Chalking It Up with Cool Cats!

So energized from an amazing weekend at the Ventura Harbor! The Ventura Art and Street painting Festival that happens the 2nd weekend in September is becoming a favorite here at AutismHWY! It was our 3rd year participating in Ventura’s magnificent  8 year event. Fabulous people, Fabulous ART and the always fabulous California coastline. Truly a winning combination. Thank you to the organizers, sponsors and volunteers once again for putting on this great show!IMG_2726
Every year I participate in this event I have a mission to showcase the artwork created by an Autistic artist. In the past we have highlighted Nora Blansett HERE and Nele M. known as Tashi HERE
Beautiful Artists and ART! That’s what it is all about. This year I asked our colorful tour de force friend and Art Partner MaryEllen Szper of Flying Frog.com If we could take a crack at her colorful cat design!
Maryellen creates amazing Art all over her community of Cedar Key Florida. If you pass through there please stop at her amazing yard…Art studio/shop and make a purchase!
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Page 2 Maryellen Szper Bio FINAL

You will find an abundance of generosity at each and every street painting party you stumble across! The energy felt is the heartfelt pulse of humanity that unfolds before your senses. Colorful, loving vibrations embedded into our planet. When we love the earth with our heART the EARTH loves us back. This art form IS truly transformative…ask anyone that has chalked a square anywhere! A feeling every community CAN easily replicate because our planet is brimming with talented people with amazing ways of expressing who they are and what they feel. It’s the essence of who we all are and it attracts people of any age at any stage! LOOK we even made the Ventura County Star Newspaper! What a gift!
Here is Maryellen’s original ‘Cool Cat’ design…
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And what emerged from the Ventura Harbor embankment…

GOOD~STUFF!!

GOOD~STUFF!!

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My favorite Cool cat!

Here I am with Wyatt my favorite Cool cat!

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We are all here to CO~CREATE. Just…Chalk that up to the Universe!

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Red, White, Purple and Blue

Over the last 6 years my non-speaking very vocal Autistic son has intermittently communicated some excruciating pain to me and to those within view of our lives moments. For some people I am sure it is quite astonishing for others possibly it is seen as horrifying. We have had all kinds of reactions and have had police and fire called out to check on “things” on several of these difficult occasions. My son’s pain is not pretty and or restrained for anyone. He let’s it all fly and that is exactly what his system dictates he do. Release the current pain with a large output of utter distraction. His own “Autistic Mosh Pit.”
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A very human thing to do.

 

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Non Speaking is not silent. Silence is not golden. Words are not always necessary. Things we should all be well aware of in 2016. Wyatt is always communicating to me and I am always receiving that communication. Watching, feeling, absorbing what I can see and sense.  He has always communicated through his musculature from the time he was a very small boy. Never having the verbal skills to say NO (written about here) he has used the stiffening of his muscles to “show me” NO. It was the cutest thing to see a boy walk away shaking his stiff little knee in a resolved NO. Reading the signals loud and clear are what Autistic people are telegraphing to the people in their world and there are so many ways for non Autistics to fully listen. Unexpected and valid ways to hear golden truths.

 

When my son is happy and comfortable he is what one could call ’loose as a goose’…when he is in pain (hidden or discernable)…he tightens and stiffens and it becomes visibly clear that something is not flowing smoothly and he needs help. Comforting and supporting him through self injurious (pain management) is not easy. It is also not hard (when I myself and others do not ‘make it hard.’) It is necessary and it is indeed my job. A job I take seriously. A job that has zero to do with ME. I perform this job matter of factly in full focus to get it right for Wyatt, efficiently and respectfully. To honor and validate his pain and his full-on need to express it without asking him to restrain himself for the benefit of others. In those moments I am only worried about Wyatt’s benefit. What will help him?

 

Parents need to come to terms with the facts that make up their ‘loved ones system’ and what it needs to flow smoothly. Be it; deep pressure techniques, meridian and cranium tapping, massage, breathing pattern focusing, exercise, thought mantras, cool water drinking and pouring, Magnesium (Epsom salt) soaks infused with eucalyptus or lavender, Melatonin, Meat…whatever is needed for re-booting. If you are ‘tuned in’ to your loved one and read the many writings and books written by first hand experiencers (Autistic people) you feel confident that YOU will be able to help someone in situations you have been led to believe: YOU would never understand. DARE to do what needs to be done wherever and whenever needed without concerning yourselves with what other’s may perceive or believe. You have one interest and that is the best interest of your loved one communicating to you their moments of intense pain.

 

This year’s 4th of July  Monday included one of these explosive moments for my son and I.  Autistic people do not enjoy senseless loud bangs and booms for days on end…(fyi)

While we were out in the community and in the car on our infinite AutismHWY  Wy became extremely upset and needed his deep pressured tapping. Yes, it was a bit scary in the vehicle but, keeping calm, controlled and in focus are key. Above all understanding what is happening helps you to not assign fear and or panic, to a situation it need not be. Fear and panic are like gasoline and fire every time! After making it back home safely…we continued the ‘comfort work’ of de-escalating the painful situation through continued tapping, verbal validation and assurance, massage and cool water. After the painful system offenders subsided, self injury was assessed and addressed and from there we went on with our holiday.

 

Later, I spoke to Wyatt about how other people in the world do not understand his pain, YET. That we are at ‘high risk’ while out in the community when these painful and vulnerable moments occur. At risk of someone misinterpreting what is happening. At risk of real danger and confinement from officials in control. Officials in control without knowledge of the realities of Autism. He sobered intensely during this emotionally charged conversation I was so aware of his maturity and complete innerstanding.

Upon reading this some might say, ” how awful”…when I say, “How awesome.” My son has taught me how to help him regulate his irregularities without words. I have reached out to my Autistic friends and acquaintances to deeper levels and layers of understanding that Wyatt cannot impart to me currently.

 

If you ‘Google’ Autistics Speaking, you have to wait 30 seconds for: About 1,140,000 results!!

 

Please do not look for  those seeking to be your “gurus” in order to do what you as a parent know needs to be done. Reach out and place 100% full focus on your Autistic loved one and 0% focus on what others think and feel about Autism. 100%~0% I love that ratio!

 

After our fire-cracker of a day we decided to go deep with the inner-work and leapt into some Art therapy. Something Wyatt doesn’t always enjoy but, as you will see in the pictures he attended to it ‘his-way’ which is peripherally. With his side focus he placed the tape and paint exactly where he wanted to… He was very intent on taking our red white and blue color frame to PURPLE. I praised his color blending techniques using our countries red and blue, clashing it into purple. I find it very profound especially when all weekend I was thinking of America in a state of Red, White and Purple…bruised, battered, self injured and needing a fresh NEW self regulated re-boot! So intuitive my youngest son.  When all was said and done and the tape came off. He revealed his one of a kind piece of ART. This unplanned and amazing Star!!
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A one of a kind unplanned and amazing STAR! Hmmm….Yes, EXACTLY !!

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Out in Front of and Behind the Veil

Last weekend we took the Ventura Hwy toward the sunshine!! The Ventura Art and Street Painting Festival was happening at their beautiful Harbor and I was a featured artist!!  WOW.  I am an Artist yet,  have always been shy about “labeling” myself as one.  My own labeling issue in a way. IMG_0846

 

My brother Kevin and my son Wyatt climbed into our road van (which also serves as our back-up hotel & event: chill zone.) Wyatt does enjoy traveling up and down the California coast and we’ve done it successfully pretty much every year of his life. Wyatt doesn’t truly enjoy Art and needs a soft spot to land while I attend to my artistic callings, so the van is essential.  Chalk and street art has become a fun hobby of mine over the last 10 years and as everyone knows is now a huge part of AutismHWY.com’s mission!! To celebrate our differences and to learn through our similarities artfully. Next year’s 5th AutismHWY.com Chalk Festival will be April 18th 2015. Chalk Art truly is infectious take a look!

 

The mission has been to encourage understanding through Information, Acceptance and Art. When I have the time to street paint myself, I create Autism Acceptance designs or I re-create designs crafted by Artists on the Spectrum. This trip I had chosen an exquisite design by Artist Nora Blansett. Nora’s work is also featured in the Art of Autism book I love so dearly. I really loved her explaination of the beautiful design I set out to share in Ventura and we printed this flyer to share with interested Art Festival attendees!

noraflyer  Saturday we arrived early afternoon and I began to set up the piece…IMG_0860Wyatt decided he was not interested in sitting and watching the process, so my brother and he went for a nice stroll and some lunch. Later to return to the “chill zone” of the Van. Being in Ventura on this weekend was a blessing as we were in a record breaking heat wave at home (90 miles away) coming in at 30 degrees hotter than the warm high 70′s at the harbor. After 4 hrs. of chalking I was ready to pack it up for the day making my way to the “chill-van.” My brother called me with a 911 voice and I could hear that the zone was no longer chill. As I weaved my way back, packing all of my supplies and etc. I realized that our Van was the focus of many people. Surrounded by the fire department the paramedics, patrol cars and major looky loos. Wyatt’s discomfort and self injurious aggressive communication had been in full force. People were either mad at my brother and didn’t know what was happening or just hovering as if they were at a crime scene waiting for answers. I wonder just how many cell phones called us in and what exactly they reported was happening?  This shows me just how little is known about my son’s condition and how we need to have an open dialogue about the way some Autistic people experience and cope with debilitating pain, anger and frustration.  IMG_0862Within a few minutes of my arrival and conversation with “Ventura’s finest emergency services” Wyatt de-escalated and everyone moved along. We checked into our wonderful hotel room and walked to a fantastic patio dinner. Wyatt had a restful night and awoke in a general good mood. We went back to the “scene of the crime” for day two of the Art event. Wyatt had a moment or two of hanging out with me before he again decided he wasn’t up for completion of the piece.IMG_0870So once again my ‘right hand uncle’ and Wyatt moved their chairs over to a shady berm at the edge of the harbor parking area. Another picnic lunch and “day at the beach” right? No, not exactly. After a little while I heard my boy and his painful scream. So I darted over to him quickly and began supporting him calmly. He was escalating rapidly and when he is past a certain point you can only move forward with it. The harbor patrol rolled up and stayed near by hesitantly as I explained to Wyatt I was there for him and supported him through his hard-core pain management. What I do not do is downplay his pain by telling him to get over it. I honor it calmly with firmness and resolve while keeping us both safe. If bruises happen, they happen. Again people just don’t know what to do…some stare, some glare. Some offer tokens or candy thinking this will distract Wyatt from his pain. Ahhh if it were only that simple. Truth be told stickers and mints aren’t his thing on a great day!red flag1red flags

 

I do appreciate people’s heartfelt concern.  The concern I can live without is tainted with judgement, fear and worse. When someone is raising their red-flags as my son will do, ask if you can call anyone for help, offer some cool water and allow the person space. Please do not judge and/ or insert yourself as if you are a CSI on the crime scene. Involving yourself uninvited will only inflame the situation. Understand that Autistic people can feel intense, sharp pain…physically and emotionally that can and will trigger, loudly.  Self injurious actions will help the person to cope with that pain and trying to restrain and stop this; is dangerous. It is a fact of life for many Autistics and their families. Finding the things that work to alleviate pain and frustration is the name of the game. Keeping a person feeling emotionally understood and safe is essential. Finding sensory comfort combinations will help relieve stress. If you feel frustrated just imagine how the aggressive communicator feels. Common sense strategies work miracles. Don’t sign your common sense over when it comes to Autism and aggression. Reach out to those that feel this pain, and have to cope in particular ways that you do not understand.  Ask questions, pay close attention and learn what is going on before you snap in judgement or snap and commit an irreversible action

 

The Harbor Patrol man named Hummer was very kind to Wyatt and I. Perhaps, Wyatt’s out loud expressions the day before had softened everyone’s edge. He admitted he had never seen anything like it and stood calm and clear as  once again Wyatt de-escalated with NO VEIL.  My brother brought the Van over to that shady berm and we were allowed access to park in the fire zone while Wyatt relaxed and I returned to hurriedly finished Nora’s amazing VEIL!

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We can all start understanding, accepting and loving each other WITH all of our differences.

Allow people to be who they are behind a veil or loudly with out one.

Embrace the knowledge that we are all loving and sensitive souls just trying to navigate the waters in this age of excess.

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