Sunday, June 22, 2014

Embracing Changes Through #Autism - Helping Others and Myself

In the previous post, I mentioned that I have difficulty with change. Flexibility doesn't come easy for me but, I am working to become more flexible when things don't go my way. In an effort to provide a better role model for my children, I will be choosing to make changes in select areas of my life that I would normally consider off limits. This is where I announce, what I value, as a major change in my life. For anyone that has spent any time around me, you will most likely know how much I like my long hair.

It was last Friday morning and I had been trying to find the time to get the dead ends trimmed off of my for the summer. I was thinking that I could have three to five inches of my hair cut off and probably still have enough length to be able to pull it up in a clip. So, I grabbed the tape measure to see how long my blonde hair was before making any crazy decisions. I was surprised at how long I had let my hair grow. I remembered that my younger sister had donated her hair after letting it grow out. I decided to look up Locks of Love to find out what the requirements were to make a donation. 

It was a straight forward and an easy process to follow. I called the hair school to make sure that they would be able to help me with cutting my hair for the donation before going in. I printed the guidelines, the donation form and besides taking a plastic ziplock bag with me to protect the donation once it was cut. Vincent was kind enough to take pictures of this event for me.

I did my best not to think about how much hair I would be losing if I took the 10 inches required to make the donation to Locks of Love. I focused on how it would help a child in need and also give myself a fresh look for summer. It helped that I had the moral support of my two youngest sons as I made this change in my life. I truly believe that things happen for a reason and this came about at the right time.

My hair was getting so long that it was taking much more time and energy than I had to give these days. Having shorter hair was going to be better for me and take less time to take care of. I could sleep later because I would not have to get up as early in the morning to wash, dry and style my hair. If I'm able to get more sleep, I would definitely have more energy to do what I need to every day.

Having approximately 12 inches in length cut off of my hair was literally painless and I feel so much better that I was able to help a child through Locks of Love. I realize that this was my choice, and I don't expect everyone to do what I did but, I encourage you to check out their website. I hope to see and/or hear from anyone who would like to contact me. I'll be enjoying my new look and being able to spend more time with my family this summer!  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Embracing Change Teaches Flexibility In An #Autism Family's Routine

I have to admit that I am not an individual that readily accepts change, in anything. It takes a lot for me to be flexible when something doesn't go the way that I planned or expected it to go. I have also noticed that all four of my children, especially my youngest son whom has Autism, is prone to hang onto certain aspects of his life with a death grip. When it comes to change, we both prefer to walk away than to embrace change. In the next few weeks, I will be venturing out of my comfort zone in order to provide a better example for my special needs family. Be sure to watch for changes that I will be making in my own life. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Celebrating Three Year Anniversary of Starting My #Autism Blog!

     It's so exciting to look back and reflect upon everything that our special needs family has been able to accomplish over the last three years! We appreciate how everyone shows their support by following us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and of course, here on Nathan's Voice
     We will continue to provide a variety of informative posts to our readers. We also look forward to being able to share additional resources and personal stories by guest writers. Please contact me if you know of a resource that would benefit the #Autism community. Thank you!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Our Youngest Son Who Has #Autism Is Now Eleven Years Old!

Nathan is eleven years old and enjoying his summer. It is difficult to believe that so much time has gone by since he was born. It was 11 years ago yesterday that our youngest son, Nathan, came into our lives, and earlier than we expected! Between the numerous Braxton Hicks trips to the hospital (which we didn't want to ignore, especially with me being older), then the doctor actually having to administer Brethine to keep me from going into labor too early and having an amniocentesis four days earlier, we still weren't prepared for what lay ahead. Everything to do with my fourth pregnancy was different from the first three times. Our journey started out a little rough, escalated way beyond our imagination but, we are so glad to have been blessed by having him in our lives! 

It has been an experience that has actually made us better parents and has given other family members the chance to see a glimpse into the lives of a special needs family. Nathan is considered to have high functioning autism "HFA" but, when he was diagnosed with autism, they actually told us to look up Asperger's Syndrome. Nathan was very intelligent for being almost five years old but, he was challenged socially and behaviorally. Without even knowing it, they were asking us to "Think Differently" about our son's situation. I am thankful to have the support of family, friends and the community connections in which I have made over the years since Nathan's diagnosis. It makes a BIG difference when you realize that YOU are not alone!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The #Autism "Camp C.A.N.O.E" @CampFireHOK is Almost Here!!

You might be asking what Camp C.A.N.O.E. is? It's the NEW Autism Camp that was started in 2012 by Camp Fire Heart of Oklahoma at Camp DaKaNi. What makes me proud as a parent, and to be involved as a camp counselor during this wonderful day camp, is that Camp C.A.N.O.E. actually stands for "Children with Autism Need Outdoor Experiences"! What I love most is that Camp C.A.N.O.E. offers each of these children the chance to improve fine and gross motor skills, to increase their confidence, self-reliance, to help them to work with others as a team, to solve problems, to strengthen independent thinking, communication and social skills as they make friends...every parent's dream, or at least mine!!
The staff of Camp Fire Heart of Oklahoma at Camp DaKaNi have been preparing all year for the 2014 Camp C.A.N.O.E. This will be my third year to work as a camp counselor during Camp C.A.N.O.E. and along side many other awesome volunteers. We will enjoy exploring the thirty-three acres of Camp DaKaNi while learning or perfecting skills such as the zip line, archery, rock climbing, canoeing and fishing. We can't wait until Camp C.A.N.O.E. 2014!! If YOU have a child that might enjoy getting out of the house each day for a FUN-filled week, you will want to check this out before registration closes!

We are always looking for individuals, and companies that will allow their employees, to volunteer during Camp C.A.N.O.E. each year. If YOU are interested in volunteering, or know someone who might want to, please contact Penn Henthorn, the Camp Director, either by calling him at (405)254-2080 or by emailing for more information. 

You can follow me @MissMaryMackOKC and Camp DaKaNi @CampFireHOK for updates. I look forward to hearing from anyone that wants to give me a shout!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

There's Nothing Like Having a Recent "Flash Back To The Eighties" Experience Through a Summer #Autism Camp That Nathan Attended

Last week, Nathan aka "Nate" attended the most AWESOME Camp Noggin, while I worked as a Camp Counselor and Vincent was a Peer Mentor to the campers. We were all extremely happy to be back at Youth & Family Services in El Reno, especially since we had been displaced last year with the tornadoes that swept across Oklahoma. The children were excited to play on the new playground and see their friends from the year before. Everyone had been anticipating the annual Autism Camp Noggin for several months and none of us were disappointed with the wait!

The above is a snippet of Nate singing "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Freddie Mercury of Queen at Camp Noggin last week. He did a fantastic job learning the music tempo and the lyrics. We are so proud of him and our family is very thankful for activies like Camp Noggin so that children with Autism, like Nate, are able to have this wonderful experience!! 

Each child was given a chance to pose for pictures before the talent show and the awards ceremony. These are my guys, of course! They let their hair grow out so that they would have longer hair for the eighties rock theme of our camp. After the talent show and awards ceremony, we stopped to get them each a haircut on the way home. With shorter hair, they were able to enjoy the waterslide on the last day and not have the long hair in their eyes. It was an absolutely amazing week! My family is still reminiscing and can't wait until next year!!