🏊🏼‍♀️🌎

I’ve been in swimming for a long time. Lessons when I was 4 and lessons again when I was 8. Swim teams and swim meets.

Butterfly. Backstroke . Breaststroke. Freestyle. I’ve learned the strokes and the skills to compete.

I swim now because it’s something I still enjoy. It’s like going home. It makes me happy.

The pool I swim in is a lap pool. There are lanes that are divided with yard plastic ropes called lane lines. The water in the pool is COLD 🥶 at first but, the longer I swim the warmer it gets. (Movement warms you up 🏊🏼‍♀️)

I love bringing my arms through the water 🏊🏼‍♀️ As my arms are slicing through the water little bubbles are created and I can hear a WoOsH” sound. Like the sound of a splash but underwater.

With each stroke or pull through the water the tiny bubbles that this movement creates seemingly dance or jiggle from side to side. There are a bunch of these crystal clear little bubbles when I do flip turns too.

When I do flip turns I feel like mermaid. My feet are together on the wall and I’m using my power to propel myself from the wall. I love doing “ dolphin or butterfly kick because then I truly feel like mermaid. 🧜🏼‍♀️

When I bring my arms out ,around and back for the butterfly stroke there are times I truly feel like I’m floating above the water.

Being in the water is quiet. It’s a very serene feeling. I’ve used an underwater music player for longer swims. For the shorter swims time goes by quickly.

I like putting my face in the water. I like being underneath the surface of the water. I like watching the reflection of my hands pull through the water when I swim breaststroke. I like the reflection of my body in streamline position when I come out of a flip turn for backstroke.

Swimming is something that I’ve always had a passion for. ❤️ Swimming is like a fidget spinner for me. It is beneficial for me in so many ways. 😎🧠💪🏼

Autistic Pride Day

June 18th is Autistic Pride Day! June itself is a month to celebrate pride. While there are Autistic People who are LGBTQ ,  Today is about celebrating who we are as Autistic people!

We don’t always have pride 100% of the time. The world we live in can be scary, confusing and leave us feeling like outsiders. Today is a day to celebrate! Today is a day to celebrate and see the Talents, Ideas, and Traits we have that are important!

Not everyone has the ability that we do! Our Abilities and Insight give us strength that other people do not have! We are vital to society!

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social skills Conversation can be intimidating sometimes

As a person on the Autism Spectrum I am

1. Intelligent, Determined, and a Perfectionist.

2. I’m a deep thinker and I come up with creative ideas

3. I’m bit of animal and ecological empath. I love dogs and cats . They seem to have a trusting sense about me from the moment we meet. Even when shy.

4.  I have good attention to detail and I have a VERY good memory.

5. I’m a visual learner and I visualize / am visual thinker.  I’m gifted in the way I’m I express myself. 

6. I do Hyper focus on things. dating and relationships I’m also an out of the box thinker.  I’m a very creative person

7. I have rich imaginative skills

8. I’m someone who loves to learn I love learning about animals, science ( biology, anatomy, ) 

9. I’m someone who is creative Writing , Sketching ,Painting, Photography

I set goals for myself. I do have limitations but, there’s far more that I can do than what I can’t!

thinker

Goals ⭐️🌟⭐️

When you have something that you want to do you set a goal. When plan a party , the party is a Goal that you set. To get to the big goal of the party 🎉 you accomplish little things along the way. Creating invitations 📧✅ Decorating 🎈🎉 ✅ Baking a cake 🎂 ✅ are all things along the way that help you get to your Goal of the Party.

There are a couple different types of goals. Short Term Goals are goals that you make that you want to accomplish Now. This could be Today or in a few weeks.

Long term goals are goals that you accomplish in a few Months , A year , or in a couple of years .

Last spring I set the goal of running in a 5K. To get this goal I had to 1.Fuel my body by eating good 🍎🍓🥦🥬🍌🍳 2. I had to practice running. I started with shorter distances and worked my way up to longer distances. 3. I didn’t just do running I did some biggest loser exercise videos with weights and used an elliptical and went for walks. 4. I visualized ( I pictured ) myself running

The day came for the big race. My First 5K! Eating right, practicing, and cross training helped me a lot.

The way everyone gets to their goal is different. What works for one person may not work as well for someone else! That is okay!

Find what helps you get to the goal that you set.

There are many things that you can set goals for! I have set goals for many different aspects of my life. Photography,Blogging , Running , Swimming, Self advocacy , Art. These are all areas in which I have set goals.

Some of the things that I have done are create pages for my blog and photography page and creating a “linked in “ page . These pages help me to share my work and meet other entrepreneurs and people who may be interested in the work I do.

http://linkedin.com/in/kate-nelson-311b7718

https://www.facebook.com/Shespeaksherheart29-104367247846706/

https://www.facebook.com/KnelPhotos/

Setting both Short and long term goals are very helpful ways to make you happy over your success and make you want to work towards reaching future success.

When working towards goals things can be difficult, you might fail .

Don’t let that failure keep you from reaching your goal. Keep going! Sometimes taking a different path can get you to your goal. Taking a different path to get to your goal may be unexpected but, you can learn a lot from that route and reach your goal!

You can climb mountains!

A year ago yesterday was when we found my dad had esophageal cancer.

We were thrust into a new world.

We adapted easily because my Dad’s optimism was contagious.

Radiation and chemotherapy created unpleasant side effects. A hospital stay because of an emboli in the lung and surgery to remove the tumor in November were hills to climb.

A new diet and regaining strength followed the apex. Neither change was easy but, positivity and persistence never faltered.

A recovery, more chemotherapy and a pandemic. BIG changes in a year!

Celebrating the year. Bad but, outweighed by much good. You have climbed mountains!

Today we’re celebrating your persistence, positivity and strength!

We love you

Would we still be doing this?…

We have been washing and sanitizing our hands. We have been wiping down the mail with bleach wipes. We have been wearing masks when we can’t socially distance.

Would we still be doing this if my Dad wasn’t immunocompromised?

YES!

If it wasn’t my Dad there’s someone else that is immunocompromised. You do your part to slow the spread of illness.To keep other people safe.

It’s not pleasant not being able to get a haircut or go to the gym. It’s necessary !

I’ve gotten out for runs and bike rides during this time and it’s helped me to rediscover a joy and a peace that doesn’t come from a mobile device. 📱

A lot has changed! It’s frustrating, It’s depressing, It’s anger inducing, it creates anxiety.

There are some things that are still the same . There are new things that are maybe even a little better!

Stop! Look around you. See the sun ☀️. Smell the fragrant flowers 🌸 Feel the rain on your skin. 💧

Abc & 123

It’s the time of year where academic achievement is celebrated!

This year is different. Instead of welcoming friends & family into your home to celebrate, a parade of cars driven by family and friends who cheerfully honk their car horns and wave colorful posters has replaced gathering at a home.

There are some amazing stories of students who have persevered and have reached the success of graduation. Ready to start on the path of higher education or to work with the knowledge that they have obtained. 

Everyone’s story is different! 

 Success is important to celebrate.

Everyone has CAPABILITY!

It’s been 15 years since I’ve graduated!! I graduated with my class. I was extremely lucky to have a private school education in my Preschool  , jr high & high school years.

In Preschool my Best friend at the time was boy who I had grown up with. We ended up having to be put in different classes because, I was too comfortable being friends with him and wasn’t trying to make any new friends. ( FYI: There some autistic females who have more friends that are male AND that have a hard time making new friends because they get too comfortable with the close friendships they have)

kindergartenteach

When I was in kindergarten I started going to Public school. Public school had the teachers and the support I needed at the time. I had physical therapy and  occupational therapy which helped me to improve my fine & gross motor skills. These therapies were like games so they were kind of fun! I had some reading and math tutors that I saw at one of the the local colleges.

[We use fine motor skills to make small movements. These movements come so naturally to most people that we usually don’t think about them. Fine motor skills are complex, however. They involve the coordinated efforts of the brain and muscles, and they’re built on the gross motor skills that allow us to make bigger movements.]

 

As I got older I started getting help in Math and going to to speech classes. Math was  hard for me. It still is sometimes. I have a Learning Disability.  A Learning Disability is nothing to be ashamed of! When you have a Learning Disability you shouldn’t give up because something is hard you need to keep trying . You work at your own pace!  I also had speech & language classes that I went to. Speech & language helped me with learning better eye contact and different ways to start a conversation so that I could meet and talk to to new people.

When I was in Elementary school I was very shy. My classmates started answering questions for me. I had teachers who thought my parents were doing my homework for me. Little did they know that I was they who was doing the work. I could express myself. At home I was a totally different person. I talked at home! A lot! 

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I had teachers who could see this! They pushed me to reach my potential. They had faith in me. Were there teachers who before knowing the way I could express myself that doubted my potential? Possibly. The teachers that I had who had faith in me and saw my potential helped me to become a success 

I spent a lot of time with my classmates in class. I was pulled out of class in elementary school for Speech & language, Math, PT & OT.  I enjoyed English, Science, History, Music, Art, and PE classes  with my class.  I even went to summer science camp.

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When I started going to private school in Jr. High I had a teacher who came in to provide me the education support I needed in Math per my IEP (Individualized Education Plan) . Although Math was still a struggle towards the end of  my Jr. High years I made honor roll!

8thgrade

Going into high school it took me some time to adjust to the new structure of work. Through the help of a few teachers who helped me to make sense of math and me being able to focus I was able to make honor roll while juggling the extracurricular sport of swimming. I even got an award because I had made honor roll while doing a sport.

 

The path that I have taken is unique to me. My path has had it’s ups & downs and it’s twists & turns. I’ve struggled and I have effortlessly worked. I’ve had people who have believed in me and maybe even some that haven’t. 

I’m Capable!

&

I’m Successful!

 

The right fuel

Since I was in 5th grade I’ve weighed more than I should. I’ve been in the overweight range and even the obese range at over 200 lbs.

I had cyclical vomiting spells when I was younger. When I felt better I enjoyed eating again. Swimming on a team meant parties before swim meets with carbs and sweet treats. Precocious puberty and Polycystic ovarian syndrome have made my hormones quite out of whack. I loved carbs and sweets. Stress and negative emotions made finding comfort in food too easy I even thought for awhile that having autism spectrum meant that I couldn’t lose weight. I’m

I loved who I was on the inside. On the outside there were parts of me that I loved too!

In September of 2018 we found an elliptical for a reasonable price. I started exercising routinely and eating healthier. In 2019 I lost over 60 lbs. Autism spectrum doesn’t make me incapable of losing weight. This year has had a lot of “weight to it”. 1. My dad being diagnosed with cancer and having surgery 2. A pandemic with the Y being closed 3. Foods that are tempting.

I’ve made progress and I’m proud of it! I loved myself before but, I love myself and I love the goals that I have accomplished and the improvements that I have seen in my life.

2019 brought my first 5K , more muscle and running on a treadmill for the first time.

I’ve found ways to challenge myself during this pandemic. Bike rides and runs get me outside. A hawk , spring flowers and the river are some of the nice scenery I get to see!

I’m working on myself . I started a program called OPTAVIA. It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle.!I’m learning healthy habits .

I want to build more muscle. I want to develop healthier eating patterns. I’ve come a long way since 2018-2019 . Eating the right foods helps you to have the right energy to reach your goals. I like the I feel when I eat healthy foods.

I don’t know what has changed for me but, I’m glad It has. I look forward to the growth and change I will have from this journey.

Spring games 2018 vs Spring games 2019

Eyes & Ears, Learn & Work.

How do you learn best?

 

Do you learn from seeing an example?     Do you learn from hearing information?   Do you learn from Doing? (Taking the steps with the example that you have seen and the information that you have heard and creating a project or a picture.)

Do you use a pen & paper to write notes down in class?   Do you record what your teacher says so that you can listen to the audio (sound)? 

  • Seeing or Watching
  • Hearing or listening
  • Following the steps you see or hear to learn and create 

These are some of the ways we learn. What works best for you to learn may make learning harder for someone else.

Can you read a book listening to the television or to music?  Do you need it to be quiet for you to read a book? 

Having too much noise can be a big distraction when you are trying to pay attention!  You’re doing too many things at once.

Our Jobs and Our Schools        

Have accommodations (or help) that they must provide us with ( let us use) in order for us to work or learn to our full extent. ( The Best We Can Be)

 These accommodations are found in the ADA

**The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life.

In 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) was signed into law and became effective on January 1, 2009. The ADAAA made a number of significant changes to the definition of “disability.” The changes in the definition of disability in the ADAAA apply to all titles of the ADA, including Title I (employment practices of private employers with 15 or more employees, state and local governments, employment agencies, labor unions, agents of the employer and joint management labor committees); Title II (programs and activities of state and local government entities); and Title III (private entities that are considered places of public accommodation). **

Everyone learns differently!

You do not have to feel embarrassed , mad or sad because you need breaks when working or that you have to record the teachers lecture instead of writing down notes.

Accommodations help you to learn in the way that is best for you!

We are hard workers!

Accommodations help you but, You have to Work! Studying , Doing homework (and projects), Participating ( Answering questions) in class are all things you have to do. You are capable of learning a lot!

When you have a job (you work) some of the knowledge you have on subjects that you learned about in school may be needed.

Working also you teaches you new skills! ( You still learn!)

You may have accommodations that help you to work. A desk in a quiet space, an interpreter, instructions that are written out.

Accommodations help you to be a very efficient (awesome) Worker!

The takeaway?

Everyone learns in their own way!

Having support to help make you a better student or employee is a RIGHT of yours! It can be a big help too.

Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

Simply

Autism can make picking up on social cues hard. The tone of voice, body language, and facial expression

The reason I have the diagnosis of Aspergers is because when I met with the professional who diagnosed me I smiled when smiled at That was just one part of the criteria for the diagnosis that I met.

Autistic people can smile , frown , laugh, cry..

One of the stories about COVID 19 was about a doctor who realized that the mask he was wearing prevented patients from seeing his smile. He printed off a picture of himself that shows his smile.

For autistic patients and patients with other disabilities this picture is helpful! A friendly smile can really put someone at ease when their in a scary situation!

The eyes are the windows to the soul but they alone aren’t as effective as when combined with a smile.

In these difficult times a friendly smile or reassuring words that the lips speak are valuable!

Tomorrow not forgotten

On Sunday 4/5/2020’s episode of 60’s minutes there was a story that had a huge impact. It was a video project that was being  done with holocaust survivors/ Each story though living through the same event was unique to each person.

60 Minutes Holocaust survivor’s tell their stories

A few of the holocaust survivors who had recorded their stories and questions that they have answered have passed away. They live on thanks to technology and their stories continue to make an impact.

It’s hard for me to look into the future and have a clear vision of what it will look like for me.

After watching this story it really made me thing about the future.  Am I going to be the kind of person that someone will remember? Will people look at my blog posts and see someone who was part of a movement or had an effect on history? Will my words and experience  help someone in the future? How will things have changed? What will be the same?

  • Disability life
  • Being an autistic woman
  • self advocacy
  • My life
  • Cancer
  • Self quarantine,State Shutdown,Pandemic

I haven’t experienced as much of life or of the same extent as someone who is a holocaust survivor. 

I hope that their stories are not forgotten

 

My life is still unfolding

I hope that my words are lasting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

autism