Raising an Autistic Child

I’m currently updating my first published book, an autobiography as a mother with an autistic child. My son, Benjamin, was non-verbal as a small child and was later identified as having High-Functioning Autism. He is now a published author and speaks at churches and schools about his experience growing up with autism. You can still get a copy of the first edition but some of the links in the resources are outdated. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction of the book.

Raising Benjamin Frog--A Mother's Journey with her Autistic Son, by Lynne Collier
Raising Benjamin Frog–A Mother’s Journey with her Autistic Son, by Lynne Collier

 

Where do you go to, My Sunshine? 

“You have the most beautiful blue eyes, my handsome baby boy. Why can’t I see you behind them? Where do you go when your eyes wander away from me?

I hold you in my arms and stroke your tiny face, run my fingers through the yellow strands falling across your brow and I search for a glimpse of soul connection, but you are nowhere to be found.

If I let go of your small hand you’ll run away or you’ll walk in an endless straight line and not care where you’re going. You won’t see the people on the path in front of you or the tree that blocks your way. You won’t run excited to play with the other children on the swings because they’re not there in your world.

We walk by the lake. I point at the birds, gracefully gliding, skimming over the lapping waves. A young puppy barks and, for an instant, I see a puzzled frown on your tiny forehead, then it’s gone.

I show you the delicate, colourful blue petals of the Forget-Me-Not and we stop for a while to listen to the rustling of the birch. But you walk where I walk and stop when I stop only because I hold on tightly to your little fingers so you don’t slide down the bank and disappear. You have no response to these wonders around you.

I tell you how God made all these things. How He loves you and created you as part of His masterpiece too. How you have a purpose in this life and how I’ll do my best as your Mummy to help you find that purpose He has planned for you. But you don’t seem to hear a word. You just stare into the distance.

We walk back on the path and I sing to you “Forever Young.” You don’t sing along or dance in circles around me giggling. But oh how I love you my Sunshine.

Where do you go to, my sweet baby boy, when your eyes wander away from me and you’re lost in your autistic world.”

Buy the First Edition

Get updates on the second edition and other work 

For a closer look at autism from Benjamin’s perspective and to see what he’s up to now, visit his blog benjaminfrog.wordpress.com

https://benjaminfrog.wordpress.com/about/
Benjamin T. Collier/Author & Speaker
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Happy Valentines/Whatever Day

I wish all of you a very happy day today, be it Valentines Day, Love Day or Tuesday. I don’t for one moment profess to be an expert at any of the above (well, Tuesday I could handle, I guess), so I’m going to hand you over to the experts:

What Is Love?

For the Christ followers out there, here’re a few scripture verses from 1 Corinthians:  (not only for weddings!)

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a New International Version (NIV)

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails.

Just a recap; this was written by Paul to the church at Corinth and is for all believers to remind them that Christ taught us to love one another. It’s a beautiful passage but it refers to the love of all people, not just romantic love. However, I still think it goes well with a couple starting a life together, don’t you?

 

For The Lovers

I’ve met this amazing speaker in person and had the privilege of taking a few of her classes at a writer’s conference. She’s a straight-talking Christian woman who doesn’t mince words. So if you’re looking for that little something extra today, well here’s Sheila’s award-winning book.

The Good Girls Guide To Great Sex book

http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/
The Good Girl’s Guide To Great Sex

 

The Single Life

And, if you’re single and you’re wondering where that leaves you, here’s an honest post by a single guy on how he feels about being single in a church full of mostly couples.

The Single Christian blog post

https://benjaminfrog.wordpress.com/about/
Benjamin T. Collier/Author

 

Autistic Love 

If you landed on my blog looking for articles on Autism I have a super blog for you. Ben speaks about growing up on the autism spectrum and, yes -love in the autistic world.

Autistic Love blog post

 

So there you are, dear friends. I hope I found something for everyone. May the Lord bless you today and always.

‘Til next time, know you are loved by the One who created you.

Lynne

Now Available for Speaking Engagements

I’m the promotional assistant for this young man so I’m very proud of his accomplishments (and also because I’m his mum).

Benjamin T. Collier's Blog

DSC03052_crop_cropFor the past two years I’ve been speaking at schools and public events about my life on the Autism Spectrum and what it was like developing from lower to higher-functioning autism. I’ve found myself in a rare position of being able to communicate and inform teachers and parents about what that experience has been like from an inside perspective. Although it wasn’t until recently that I began advertising my speaking more openly.

So far I’ve spoken on a daytime talk show, at schools, at a church, and at autism-related events.  It’s been a very fulfilling experience to be able to share my experiences and help others to understand the condition.

If you are looking for someone who can talk about autism with inside experience, click on the link Schedule a Speaking Event to look over my information for doing speaking engagements. Or if you know anyone who might be interested…

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Guest Post by Sally Meadows

Today I’m very happy to introduce you all to a fellow author, Sally Meadows. It’s an honour to share some of her story with you.

Sally Meadows Author Headshot

 

Sally Meadows is a two-time national award nominated Christian singer/songwriter, author, and speaker from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Sally is guest blogging today via a question-and-answer session to tell us a little bit about her creative journey as well as her children’s picture book The Two Trees (2015), about a boy on the autism spectrum.

 

Here’s a big question to kick us off: What is your Kingdom purpose?

 

Wow, that is a big question, and one worthy of each of us to consider! First and foremost, this life has certainly been an interesting journey for me! It seems that my Kingdom purpose has shifted as often as my career has changed. (I’ve been a scientific editor, children’s entertainer, teacher, university outreach educator, and engineering technical editor.) But if I can identify one common ministry thread it would have to be that I have a heart for those who are often overlooked or undervalued by society: children (especially gifted and/or differently abled), differently abled young adults, Aboriginal youth, and immigrants. I am a strong believer in helping those in these underserved demographics discover and grow in their gifts to reach their full potential.

Since I left the corporate world in 2013 to work full time on my writing, music, and speaking ministry, my Kingdom purpose has focussed on encouraging people of all ages (with a special interest in women 40 and up) to passionately pursue God’s call on their lives. I would like my own life to be a testimony as to how God can do amazing things—He has a special purpose and plan for each one of us—by giving my life fully over to Him. My blog, “Butterfly’d: Unfurling Glory in An (Extra)Ordinary Life”, is all about inspiring others to unfurl God’s glory in their own lives.

 

What is a typical week like for you?

 

As an author, speaker, and musician (sometimes all at once!) I am involved in widely diverse projects, so I don’t really have a typical week; it really depends on what’s going on at any given time of year and can be seasonally related. April is Autism Awareness Month and is one of the peak times for me to travel to schools around the province doing author readings of my children’s book The Two Trees. At this particular time, I am also working on a new children’s book manuscript as well as a couple of inspirational short stories for adults. Finally, I have a new partnership with a fellow singer/songwriter and we are already in the studio recording our first single! Never a dull moment here!

 

Tell us about your book The Two Trees; what motivated you to write it?

Thetwotreescover

The Two Trees is the story of two brothers: Jaxon, who is the younger brother and narrates the story, and Syd, who is on the autism spectrum. The story shares in narrative form the challenges families that include a child on the autism spectrum face on a daily basis. Its primary purpose is to raise autism awareness while giving a voice to siblings, whose needs may often be overlooked. My initial motivation to write the book was to help parents identify characteristics of being on the autism spectrum that may be masked by giftedness (such as we see in the character Syd). The book’s purpose has grown from there; it is now used across the country in classrooms and clinical practices, and by autism specialists, social workers, counsellors, universities, and more as a resource to open up discussions and educate. As for motivation, I have family members who are on the spectrum, and as a former teacher, have taught children with autism who have widely variable abilities. So I have seen first-hand the challenges—and successes—of families that include a child on the autism spectrum.

One thing I have done lately is to donate books (The Two Trees) to two autism organizations offering for them to receive 100% of the profits. Also, from now until the end of August (at least), $5 from every The Two Trees book sold on my website will go to various autism organizations. (I wanted to give back because they were so supportive during the launch of the book.)

 

What is your The Two Trees presentation like?

 

I start with a reading of the book (about 8 minutes long), have a brief discussion about specific topics including autism, bullying, and the importance of being a good friend (5-10 minutes depending on the audience), then the kids have about 40 minutes to do hands-on activities themed to the book.  These activities are keyed to things that appear in the book including dinosaurs, rocks and minerals, trees, bullying versus being a good friend, and more. The Two Trees was written for ages 5-9 but the presentation is certainly suitable for families and the general public. I have done presentations at schools, libraries, museums, and autism events. I am grateful that I (and the venues) receive funding from the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild (SWG) to do these presentations, although organizations can also book me outright. For details about my presentation, please go to: http://sallymeadows.com/speaking.

 

Can you do a presentation outside of your province?

 

Absolutely! I travel across Canada for various events, so if you are interested in having me come and speak at your school, autism event, or other venue, I would be happy to let you know if/when I will be in your area. Although SWG funding is not available for out-of-province venues, I would be happy to discuss terms for a visit.

 

Your website indicates that your book The Two Trees can be used for fundraising. Can you tell me about that?

 

This is of primary interest to autism organizations, but really any group that has a vested interest in raising autism awareness (i.e. an elementary school) can take part in this. Basically, I will provide The Two Trees to your organization at wholesale cost and you can resell them at a profit. Here is the link for more information: http://sallymeadows.com/fundraising.

 

Where can we learn more about/contact you?

Website: http://sallymeadows.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SallyMeadowsMusic

Facebook Page for The Two Trees: https://www.facebook.com/thetwotrees

Email: sally@sallymeadows.com

Twitter: @SallyMeadows

Phone: 1-306-229-7757

 

Thank you so much, Lynne, for the opportunity to share about my book The Two Trees during this Autism Awareness month!

I’m very happy to have you visit with me and my readers today, Sally. May God bless you in your work as you inspire us to live out our purpose and passions. Sally can also be found on the ChristianAuthors‘ bookstore website, where we both promote our work.    Lynne

Before you Watch the new Star Wars Movie – Recommended Viewing Order

Before you Watch the new Star Wars Movie – Recommended Viewing Order

Star Wars-pixabay1084773_640

The new Star Wars movie is released tomorrow! Who’s just going crazy waiting?

If you want to catch up on the story so far – or you’re an absolute newcomer to the hype – Benjamin Collier, one of our authors at ChristianAuthors.ca, has come up with suggestions of which order to watch the previous movies so the new one makes sense. Here’s his take on it:

“I hear a number of people are being introduced to the previous Star Wars movies for the first time, in preparation for the release of the new movie, and that some aren’t sure in what order to view the films. So as a longtime Star Wars geek I’d like to offer my two cents. I can’t explain the reasons why without saying possible spoilers, but if anyone wants to ask they can [comment below].
Because in my mind the story of the first six films are essentially the story of a certain character, there is a particular order to view the movies in order to get the full effect of that character’s journey. And it goes in this order: Episode 4 (A New Hope), Episode 1 (The Phantom Menace), Episode 5 (The Empire Strikes Back), Episode 2 (Attack of the Clones), Episode 3 (Revenge of the Sith), Episode 6 (Return of the Jedi).
There’s a simpler version that involves less jumping back and forth between timelines, which goes like this: Episodes 4 and 5, then 1 and 2 and 3, then 6. So the first two classic movies, then the entire prequel trilogy, then Episode 6. It’s not what I consider ideal, but it’s less complicated to remember.
There are other orders that can work, but I strongly recommend episodes 4 and 5 before episodes 2 and 3, and then saving Episode 6 for last. I feel Episode 6 is the necessary way to end the experience.
There is also the option of only watching the classic trilogy (Episodes 4,5,6) and not bothering with the prequels at all, which many fans will recommend. Since I don’t know what sort of material the new film deals with, I’m not sure if some basic knowledge of the prequels is necessary. I at least find them entertaining even if not of the same quality.”
 
– Benjamin T. Collier, guest blogger.
Did you find this post helpful?
You can comment below and I’ll pass them along to Benjamin, or you can ask him a question and I’ll post his reply below.

Finding Love in Unexpected Places

Finding Love in Unexpected Places

Ben and new friend. using as blog post for HACwC scavenger hunt

Ben with a new friend at the Toronto Zoo

Dancing on the Bus, a short story I wrote about finding love in unexpected places, was accepted to be included in a recently published book called, Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon, the third in a series of short stories and poems.

My story is about being accepted and loved as a child, by total strangers. Later, as a mother, I saw that same love and acceptance for my own children. (Side note here; the picture is of my son from the story, showing love and acceptance to another child he met that day for the frist time. Paying love forward never fails).

On Nov 27th, 2015, I will be one of the hosts for the Virtual Book Launch of Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon. If you read this post in time and can join us, the launch is from 12-11pm, Ontario time. I will be ‘live’ from 8.30-9.

Secret Word for the scavenger hunt is: FAILS

Lynne

PS – Although the launch has passed, you can still view it on Facebook using this link.

NaNoWriMo Day 15 – Half Way!

NaNoWriMo Day 15 – Half Way!

 

Chocolate.  yanin-vismistananda2
The Movie ‘Chocolate’

 

Day 15 I just wrote my first fight scene ever! My antagonist is a female and this was her first fight too. I called upon a friend who’s in the security business to give me some tips on weapons and such. Thank you, my friend – free book when I publish it! I must say it felt good to unleash the inner superhero. And I have two more fights to choreograph with my mighty pen. I’m at the halfway mark and feeling pretty good. On a personal note, I enlisted my son’s help prepping the garden shed for Fall. It was full of stuff we don’t need and I have a vision of a tidy garden shed to work in and store my garden art. So we loaded up the pick-up truck ready for the tip – or dump – depending on where you live. He also helped me choreograph the fight scene ‘cos he’s good at that too. I haven’t quite caught up on my word count, but I’m confident I will. If you’re novelling along with me this month, keep it up. We can do this! (Apparently, by Grammarly standards, ‘novelling’ isn’t a real word – my bad).Word count to date 21,110. Have a good sleep.

Lynne