Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Autism Cuttables and a Free Printable That Might Just Make Your Life A Little Easier

Welcome to AuSumness where we get down to the nitty gritty when it comes to Autism.  We talk about the good, bad and the ugly all for the benefit of hopefully, helping our readers.

It seems most appropriate to write and or produce something geared towards Autism for April which is Autism Awareness month, though we believe everyday should be dedicated to this.

I'm in the middle of designing a collection dedicated to mental...issues?  I'm not sure what exactly sparked my Acute Anxiety Disorder, but that crap was heavy!  I might infer it was my kids and their Autism.  Having, let's face it, disabled kids is not easy at all.  Being a parent isn't easy.  The thought that my child will have to stay at home for the rest of his life is incredibly disheartening and a tough cookie to swallow.

 autism Cuttables

Not all parents of Autistic kids will tell you that they wished their kids didn't have Autism, but I will. When I see other kids playing like I used to play.  Doing sport, like I used to or just being involved in things outside of the home, I get sad.  I wonder if my kids will ever get married.  If they will ever drive a car.  Ya know, the things most people eventually get around to doing.  My youngest won't even get an elementary degree despite his relatively extraordinary intellect and well, that one really gets my gander.

 Autism Cuttables

So in this collection, soon to be released there will be a dominating palette of black, white and grey.  I'm thinking that is how a lot of us feel most of the time.  Those of us who are dealing with depression, anxiety, Autism and or any other mental issues.  There is also a splash of vivid blue, purple, orange, yellow...because there are also colorful moments in between the gloom and uncertainty.

Future kit, Optimism and Bit's N' Pieces Template

I get frustrated about a lot of things in regards to my kids and their Autism and it comes out a bit cheeky at times and when I post, I always try to put a funny or bright spin to it.  There is enough crap going on in the world to bring us down and it's crucial that we don't drown in all of the negativity.  We have to keep coming up for air and we certainly do NOT want to bring others down with us.

I've recently been contacted by Michael whose site, LittleDoggiesRule has a particular article about The Top Benefits Of Getting An Emotional Support Dog.  If you're already a pet lover, you might already be aware of how awesome dogs can be in regards pepping us up when we're feeling down.  I've also blogged about pets and Autism is that interested you, click here.


My anxiety was mega intense in its early stages and I'm totally going to blog about that experience and what I've done to over come it because anxiety is a huge part of Autism for the family and all of its members.  Our dog definitely helps us out at times and what I personally find best, is I force myself to get outside and take him for a walk which is essential for both of our well beings.


Let me show you some fun and cheeky cuttables I recently designed as well as share a free tool that might and will hopefully make your life a little bit easier.


 Autism Cuttables

I call the above example, whimsical because it's a bit playful and fun.

 Autism Cuttables

 Autism Cuttables

This example is a bit more grown up.  So often, when it comes to Autism it's done with kids in mind and since my kids are now teenagers, I wanted a more sophisticated version, too.

 Autism Cuttables

These are the more colorful cards that you can purchase in my shop, Kreative Design Studio.  Print them out in your best quality and on good paper.  Then cut them out and keep them in your wallets or purses until you need them. 

These cards came in very handy when my boys were small and I can still use them for my youngest, though not as much.  I've learned quickly that a dose of humility goes a very long way when it comes to Autism.

 Autism Cuttables

I've got a variety of cards for you to use depending on the situation or just how raw you want to get.  I always recommend being the example as much as possible.  Do not be surprised if someone gives them back to you or even throws them on the ground.  Just try to keep on smiling and whenever possible kill them with kindness or wit.  I often go over the top with mushy cheer and delight in perhaps what some might call a melodramatic performance and it's always shut them right up.

 autism Cuttables

You can use the cuttables for a variety of projects as you've seen.  Shirts, bags, notebooks, shoes, sneakers mugs, keychains, tumblers, backpacks...endless possibilities.  If you have a design request you can always contact me at: lmtroch@excite.com

In the bundle you will receive:

10 quotes in a whimsical font
10 quotes in the no nonsense font
1 poster on an 8x11 format saved in highest quality (double check your quality if you plan on enlarging it)
1 3x4 journal card in png format
1 8x11 page of cards with 3 different explanations (print as much as you like) in jpg format
Extra Bonus: puzzle heart, puzzle pieces in png format

All for just 5.99!


These cards are available for free.  I know how well they work in some tough situations.  Most people are more understanding once they know the situation.

 Autism Cuttables

You can check out my opinions throughout this blog.  There might be some helpful tips for you to try out as well.  Besides being a full time parent to two teens with Autism at opposite ends of the spectrum, I also have a Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Education, many years of teaching experience in various public and private education systems, a minor in psychology and I'm an avid reader in pursuit of making my family and my boy's lives as happy, fulfilling and healthy as possible.  I share anything that works or makes our lives easier.

If you are looking for more free tools, you can find stuff like this.  Some of my most popular posts are, "What NOT To Tell Parents With Autistic Children", "Tips For Feeding Sensory Disordered and Picky Eaters" and there's a lot more that might interest you.  We've also got a board on Pinterest and a group on FB.

 free printable
Thanks so much for stopping my AuSumness.  We hope you'll find our resources useful and that you'll consider purchasing our cuttables from the Kreative Design Studio.

Best of luck with your Autistic endeavors and experiences.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Shine the Light on Autism

Welcome to AuSumness.

I'd like to share another story with you in hopes of shedding a little light, insight and perhaps lift your soul.  Parents who have Autistic kids need all of the soul lifting they can get, right?

Recently, JJ started karate.  We are over the moon and we've never seen JJ so enthusiastic about sport.  10 visits in and he still is crazy about karate.  We're fortunate enough that one of the trainers is even educated with special needs courses.

I have one of those over enthusiastic, extremely happy to see someone they know, fervent wavers.  "Hi!"  JJ shouts.  Then he turns to me and explains how he knows this person, but didn't know their name.  He does this with just as much excitement.

As it often occurs, the person to whom JJ is addressing completely ignores him.  So, he tries again to get a wave or acknowledgement.  "Hi!  I know you from karate.  Hi!"  In the typical fashion, the child turns around grudgingly and gives the weakest of smiles and is quick to advert their attention back to anything, but my child.

JJ with less enthusiasm says, "She didn't say anything?" The sparkle now gone from his beautiful, now sad eyes, face still flush from the warm gym and night's exercises.  My heart sinks to it's familiar low place and I turn and give him a princesse's smile filled with warmth and Disney magic and say, "Oh, no.  She turned and smiled at you, JJ.  That's just another way to say hi.  It means the same thing."  Then I tightened my already loving grasp I had him in and kiss his forehead.



As we all know, the world can be a very cruel and cold place, but it can also be fun, loving and full of joy and generosity.  As in the example I just shared.  I reminded JJ of the bright side with a warm heartfelt explanation and loving cuddle and kiss. It is these perhaps more rare, but shining moments that we need to focus on and it is essential that we teach our children, through example to focus on these moments.

Equally important, we cannot let other's bad attitudes bring us down.  It's not always easy finding the silver lining, but it is always there.  I've begun making it a point, to enthusiastically greet people.  Especially, ones I don't know.  I started greeting people as if I've known them forever.  Offering a warm, heartfelt smile and the friendliest of friendly, "hello's".

The reactions have been mixed.  Mostly, I receive nothing in return.  Occasionally, I get a sideways glance with an incredulous look from the corner of an eye.  Rarely is a smile received, but even less rare is a look of matched enthusiasm!  A warm, almost relieving look of appreciation.  Their eyes tell me, "Thank you so much for acknowledging my existence."

I'll tell you what.  I will go through dozens of those not so positive reactions for just one of appreciation and thanks.  My heart will lift, as will their's and the world, if only for a moment will be in a good place, again.  I'll not let it bring me down if I'm ignored.  It will further encourage me.

I explained to JJ several times that everyone is different.  Not everyone is flowing with joy, happiness and delight.  Bummer, right?!  We should never let someone's darkness steal our light.  We don't wish to join them in their sad abyss.  We need not question why they are as they are.  We might feel a touch sad for THEM, but certainly feel no sorrow for ourselves.  Keep smiling.  Keep spreading the light.  Especially, in the darkest of storms.



Monday, September 3, 2018

Stop Taking It Personally and Autism

Welcome to AuSumness.

Just sharing a little Autism anecdote with perspective. 

JJ was helping with chores outside when he fell off of a retaining wall. (A common symptom of Autism is the inability to multi task and this does include walking, thinking, looking...all at the same time. Don't even ask why many Autistic peeps cannot ride a bike.). 

Knowing just how hemophobic JJ is, I quickly addressed the situation. Letting him know there was hardly any blood, he was helping me so wonderfully and that he certainly could have a sweet once I've cleaned and dressed the injury.

The power of diversion has proven helpful in many situations. 

Once his breathing was stable, tablet was in hand and he was comfortably relaxing on the couch,eyes fixed on his tiny screen, he said with indifference, "Mom, you're not always useless." 

After a few seconds of shock, I realized that this was actually a complement and thought worth sharing. 

So many discrepancies are caused by the inability to communicate in a way which is fully comprehended. So before presuming an assumption be certain that you've received the correct intension either with further thought or by nicely asking if the perceived assumption is indeed true or simply ask for a different explanation.



Communication is very difficult for a lot of people with Autism and when ya think about, it is for most everyone.  Hehehe...We all could start not taking everything people say so personally.  My oldest son often shouts at me.  It's difficult not shouting back and it does upset me.  Sometimes to tears, but when you look at it in it's rawest form, it's just misplaced anger. It certainly isn't right and it's not very nice, but I won't let it bother me.  

I sure as heck will let my son know that I do not appreciate being shouted at and as always will remind him how he reacts when someone shouts at him and how it makes him feel. It is very, very important to let people how their behavior makes your feel, but I recommend doing it nicely.

Thanks for stopping by AuSumness.  Scroll through our other useful entires like this one about thinking outside of the box with your Autistic kids, students or family :

http://au-sumness.blogspot.com/2017/03/a-different-way-of-thinking-and-autism.html

Here's an entry with a free printable that. might help kids deal with emotional meltdown:

http://au-sumness.blogspot.com/2017/02/autism-and-emotions-printable.html

And one of our most popular posts about socializing:

http://au-sumness.blogspot.com/2016/09/autism-and-socialising.html

Thank you for stopping by our blog and best of luck with your dealings with Autism.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Explicit Attention Taken For Lack of Regard and Autism


Happy Sunday, Lovely People.



I thought I might share a little more about our experience with Autism in hopes of enlightening you in a direction which may still harbor shadows. 

JJ is very, very clumsy as are many people dealing with symptoms of Autism. I would infer that it's due to the explicit attention to one thing (that most of us do naturally or even innately). 

When JJ is cruising down a path on his scooter he has little, what might appear to be regard, for others also on that path. Some might grumble and think it rude, that this child does not ride more thoughtfully when actually ALL of his thought is concentrated on riding that step. 

It is very much like a toddler who is just learning to walk. They are concentrating so much on their wonderfully moving legs, that they do not focus on where it is they are going. I've learned to be more patient of people who "appear" to be thoughtless in their juxtaposition to me and others and I hope you will, too. 

Keep in mind, we all have different ways of thinking and some of our brains are wired differently than others.  Either way, kindness is always the best response.  Especially, when it's difficult.  You just never know what those people's shoes have walked through.

This world could certainly use more patience, understanding and kindness.

Take our tips and apply them to your everyday life.  Be the example.

Thanks for checking out Ausumness!


Friday, March 9, 2018

I've Just Been Told Someone Has Autism, Now What?

Welcome to Ausumness.

It's been a long time since I've made an entry.

Things are going pretty well and I've started a new venture that is extremely time consuming.  Dividing my time has proven difficult.  I bet you've also bitten off more than you can chew a few times.

I can't, in my heart, stop with this blog.  Even if I only periodically make entries.  My goal is to inform, educate and support educators, care takers and parents who are involved with Autism or for those curious.

I'm sharing a recent post I made on Facebook, that got a lovely reception and apparently, helped a few friends.  There is nothing I love better than helping.  This is one tough battle to fight and no one should have to do it alone.  Read, search, find help, explore, TRY and you really will find answers.  Things really can get better.  You certainly CAN eliminate or reduce problematic symptoms in a variety of fashions at no cost.  Never, ever stop trying to make your life or the people in your life who have Autism easier, more enjoyable or at the very least, tolerable.


This is what I wrote:

"Do you ever wonder why people "warn" or rather "inform" you that their children or whomever have Autism? I was just thinking, how I often enlighten strangers that my children have Autism, but got to thinking what that might mean to someone who doesn't know how to respond to that. 

What it means for us is, have a little or at times, a lot of patience. Try not to stare or give discouraging looks because it will make things a lot worse. Do not judge any of us. (Leave the judging for the dude upstairs.) Give us space. Try to learn from the experience. If you hear something that displeases you, ignore it. Don't take it personally. Don't assume that they can think like you. Try to be sympathetic because you only have to deal with the situation temporarily while we have to deal with it a life time."

One of my friends responded to the post, grateful and explained that her son was having such terrible difficulty in school.  The teachers and students were mean to him.  I responded with this:

"I SO understand what you are going through. As a parent and teacher, I'm absolutely disgusted and frankly disturbed that teachers do not receive a LOT more "workshops" or education on how to deal with kids with special needs. I read, read, read. Even though my kids go to a special school, I had to "school" the staff. I go to meetings with an arsenal of information that is useful and essential for the TEACHER. I give them ammo to use, when things get tricky and share tips on how "not" to do things so that issues don't even arise. The good teachers, who realise that this is not a criticism, but a very useful tool are typically grateful and huge improvements are attained."

Think of things that work at home and they may also work at school.  By all means, do not assume the teacher has been properly instructed on how to deal with Autism.  Some teachers mean well and truly love their students, but do not have a clue about special needs.  Help and nurture them and they will do the same with your children.

I hope you've found this useful.  I've got a Pinterest board for Autism, where you might find more tips.  I have a very quiet group on FB if you are interested.  

Thanks for visiting Ausumness. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Teaching And Autism

Welcome to AuSumness.

When we're not talking about the awesome side of autism then we're looking for awesome ways to deal with the sometimes difficult symptoms of autism.

Today, we're going to start talking about teaching children with autism and we plan on bringing more and more tips to help teachers do their job to their best ability as well as provide links for further eduction.

Speaking of further education, through my own personal, professional experience.  I probably learned the most about "how" to teach after university, through further education classes whilst being a teacher.  It is crucial that we continue to read and research the best ways to teach our children and students.  It's also very important that we share our findings.  Especially, the ones with positive outcomes.

There are a lot of tools out there and we need to find and disperse them throughout the teaching community and to families where the methods will also work.  Let's start right here, today!

I'm dismayed at how little education college students receive about special needs students.  With the ever increasing rate of children diagnosed with autism and ADHD it should be mandatory that higher education establishments as well as all schools begin giving teachers and future teachers the tools necessary to successfully and professionally educate students with special needs. This is even more crucial when special need students are sitting in regular classes.

Would you give a $50 steak to someone who doesn't even know how to turn on a stove?


I saw a lot of beginning teachers struggle with children who didn't even have special needs or any kind of Individual Education Program.  The school staff should work together to see that all teachers have the basic knowledge of how to teach and how to deal with disruptive and difficult behaviour.  This would result in better performing teachers as well as less interruptions in the class, benefiting the class as well.

Higher education should definitely be in the forefront of equipping their students with the best tools to use in the classrooms or work environments.  How to effectively communicate and deal with difficult or different people.  These institutions should be the leading example.  So much research that is done throughout the world on education is being ignored or dismissed despite the positive outcomes.

Things like uniforms, separating the sexes, free time, meal time, school start time...so many schools are doing it all wrong.  We keep thinking we have to reinvent the wheel rather than look over the fence and see what our neighbours are doing that is working.  

What I'm also finding is that many of these skills will work with ALL people, not just those who fall on the spectrum.  We will all become better equipped to deal with day to day situations by learning how to deal with difficult or different behaviours.

If no one is holding your hand and guiding you, then take the reins and do it yourself!  There is a wealth of information out there.  It's literally right there at our finger tips.  When we find awesome stuff that works, we need to share it.  Share it with your friends and family.  Share it with your colleagues.

Let's make it our goal to educate ourself and those around us.  Let's share information when it's helpful.  Let's look into how our neighbours are doing it and see if it might work for us, too.  Let's show the world, through our example.

We'll be coming back to this subject very often.  Next time, we start sharing tips that work in the class as well as at home.

Thanks for giving AuSumness your time.  If you'd like to join our friendly group on Facebook, click here.

Best of luck!


Monday, March 27, 2017

Autism and Gaming

Welcome to AuSumness.

I've got some pretty awesome information for you today.  I'm giving a couple of tips that have helped this entire family tremendously.  I have touched on it before, but there are a few modifications and considerations that were not in the previous entries.

Check out my chore charts I've designed for both of my boys.  As you can see they are at totally different levels of capability due to their position on the spectrum with my oldest falling higher on the scale and my youngest, much lower even though they are only a year apart.




I know there are a lot of folks out there dealing with all of the gizmos of today.  My hubby included!  Hehehe...We have learned how to "use" their desire to play on these contraptions for all of our benefit.  I found myself, in the beginning, being too easy on my boys when it came to chores.  Then after further thought, knew no one would benefit by me not teaching them how to care for themselves, their pets and their surroundings.

Even though it is extremely difficult and sometimes we try chores that just don't work, we do keep expanding our duties list.  Duties!  Hehehe...We get grumbles.  We get shouted at, but for this, we keep it black and white.  If your chores are not finished, you do NOT play games.  THE END.  You cannot falter with this.  Especially, in the beginning.

Allow me to explain how this might possibly work in your household, too.  When a conversation is started about chores, it is highly possible that the child is not listening to begin with.  There will more than likely be a barrage of complaining and excuses.  Like a machine gun, for sure!  Hehehe...

With a written list of what needs to be, there need be no discussion or even talking for that matter.  In an earlier entry, I mentioned our usage of timers with the boys for playing games.  (They get an hour.)  When we first told them time was up, we'd get bombarded with swearing and attitude.  When the alarm goes off...nothing.  They finish up their level (that one took a while for them to figure out) and put their games in their proper place.  THE END.  We were totally stoked at this very easy solution.


Perhaps like your family member(s), ours don't really like being "told" what to do, but when it's written like my lists here, all I have to do is point or shoot a look in the direction where these hang in the living room.

You may want to experiment with what you put on the list.  I totally recommend starting off WAY small and WAY easy to ease them into the concept.  My kids would freak if there were more than two things on the list.  So, we started with one and it was really easy.  After a few months, you add and or change to more difficult chores depending on your child's capabilities.

Ya just have to give this one a try.  

A couple more things I'd like to throw in here.  Kids really shouldn't be playing games more than an hour a day for health reasons.  A lot of reasons and deep down, we all really know that.  I think one hour is not long at all, but I find one hour at a time ok.  On weekends they get more time, but only ever one hour in one sitting.  We really want them to understand that games are not healthy and are meant to be just fun.  They need to know they don't "need" games, but may enjoy them when they've earned that game time.

Here's another VERY important tip for you.  Keep all electronics out of the bedroom or at least make sure they are turned completely off.  Phones and hand held gadgets should be taken out of the room one hour before bed time and there should be no devices one hour before bed time.  It has to do with the release of serotonin (in the brain) and when the body is preparing to go to sleep.  You may want to try this yourself.  People sleep much better when there are no devices in the room.

I wanted to keep this short!  Hehehe...So much for that, but it is just so, so important and I know many of you are dealing with the gizmos.  Use them to all of your advantage.

Keep it black and white.  The chores are ALL finished, then they may game.  Not finished, no games. This leaves no room for arguing and less headaches.  No games before 8 am.  This way they stay in bed longer and get more sleep.  No games or devices one hour before bedtime.  

When you keep it simple and stick to your guns, there will be no war.  Hehehe...


 Free Gaming Chore Chart


I designed this chart a while back and you can download it for free by clicking on the image.

 free emotions help chart


If this is the first time you're visiting our blog, you may want to see this helpful chart as well.  We've got a few free printables throughout the blog.

Come join our group on Facebook and let's all try to figure out how we can improve our lives and make autism AuSum.