Life Skills : Nutrition

During our upcoming Awesomism Quilt tour, we plan to travel around the country and talk to different organizations about many issues facing the autism community, including the low employment rate for autistic adults. (See our Sponsorship tab above if you would like to help us). Going hand-in-hand with employment skills are different Life Skills. For instance the ability to dress, clean and fix your own meals, of course depending on the level of autonomy that the autistic individual is capable of.

We have emphasized to Peyton the importance of good, balanced nutrition. We have also taught him a few basic cooking skills and most importantly, the ability to follow directions when preparing a meal. He usually fixes his own breakfast, anything from a bowl of cereal, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, pancakes or even French Toast. For lunch, he makes his own sandwich, sometimes grilled cheese, grilled ham and cheese etc… He tries to mix it up. And tho Lynne or myself usually prepares dinner, we make sure that he has a balanced meal with at least one veggie. 

Once, while making something on the stove for breakfast, he melted the food cover for the microwave. This provided us the opportunity to enforce some important safety cautions, such as making sure there is nothing flammable on or near the stove. Now, he always checks that there is nothing that could catch on fire while cooking. We still have a big concern about his cooking when we are out, so he will usually just prepare something in the microwave if we are not around.

Work with your awesomism child to see what level of cooking they can attain. If microwaving  is the limit that you and they feel comfortable, then get healthy foods to keep in the freezer. Some may really take to cooking and discover a hidden talent and possible employment future. Look on YouTube for recipes and cooking videos. The ability to look up and learn things from Youtube is a great skill in itself and can teach them many Life Skills that you may not have the time (let’s face….patience) to teach.

A good understanding of life’s basics is a great start to securing your child’s future.

Lining up Shopping Carts!

Everytime I go to a store that has shopping carts, I get so frustrated. Too many people just don’t take the time to push the carts into the outside corrals. They shove the cart and wherever and however it lands…so be it! I always try to at least somewhat fix them, or I have to admit, stand there until I have them completely organized. I do this for several reasons. One is to try to make the job easier for the poor guys and girls who have to do this in heat, cold, rain, sleet, snow etc…. Also, because I am always hoping someone is watching and realizes that they too can do a good deed by just helping arrange the carts better! Being out in the elements can be tough and by organizing them, it allows them to get back inside quicker. I know in the scope of all the bad things happening in the world, this may seem so insignificant, but I am firm believer in if we take care the little things….tackling the bigger ones become easier!

I often think about the quote by Aesop ” No Act of Kindness, however small, is ever Wasted” if we really live by this, imagine how much of a kinder world we would have! You never know who may be touched or helped by “a small act of kindness”  If someone is having a bad day, offering an encouraging word, may just be the thing they need. Being kind doesn’t cost anything, but being mean can and may have many negative consequences. I decided years ago one of my “small acts of kindness” was going to be, organizing shopping carts. It’s almost become an obsession of mine : ) I especially am driven in tough weather conditions, as I see it as my little way to help the cart people, not have to be in the elements as long.

It’s almost ironic in some ways to me that years ago I picked this as one of my “acts of kindness” Now that I am an autism campaigner…..I know some of the people who work the carts at stores, are those with special needs, including autism. Several large grocery chains are awesome about hiring autistic teens and adults, and this is one of the jobs they give them. I have actually over the years been “fixing” the cart corrals when the person has come outside and seen me. Most often they thank me and that makes my day. I realize there are times and situations that may not allow someone to put their cart in the corral properly, but more times than not we can.

My purpose for writing this blog isn’t to lecture you about how to bring your shopping cart back to the corral….but to have us all stop and think how our everyday activities allow us an opportunity to do an act of kindness. As an autism campaigner I am especially passionate about doing whatever I can to help make life easier for autistic kids and adults, especially those who are working at retail stores. Next time you are at your big box store, grocery store etc….and you see a grocery cart in the middle of the lot…look at it as an act of kindness. After all if start with the little stuff, the big stuff becomes easier!