Autistic Teenpreneur Small Business

This blog is going to be a little different than my previous blogs. I’m going to be doing a short “interview” with Peyton  in this blog . He’s the star of this blog… And when I say star I mean the star!

First let me give you a little background. Peyton graduated from high school in June of this year. He did extremely well his senior year of high school, his dad and I were very proud of him.

We sat down with him, asked him what he wanted to do this year. We wanted him to be comfortable in whatever he did. We discussed several options.

I knew he wanted to do something with computers… He’s very fascinated with coding, and has taken some amazing coding classes. He wants to learn how to do apps, as well. However; what he wanted to really do with that skill set was really awesome to me.

Rather than me tell you… Here is my short “interview” with Peyton,  you can see it in his words!

1. If you could do anything, what would it be?

Be a Teenpreneur! 

I wanted  to start an online business for teens and adults, who feel like outsiders.

2. What do  you mean by outsiders?

People who don’t feel like they fit in, people who have autism, anxiety, GAD, ADHD, down syndrome and other special needs.

3. What are your goals for Team Awesomism? 

I wanted it  to be a supportive community. Where people can go find friends and support, but most of all where we connect and help each other when we’re going through rough times. The one thing you won’t find in our community is bullies. We won’t tolerate bullies

4.  What was your favorite part about building the website?

That I got to design it the way I wanted, and I learned a lot by actually doing it. I also really like that it talks about the community I’m trying to build.

5.  What do you want people to really know about Team Awesomism?

That it’s a Supportive Community! That we have all kinds of member benefits. We have a private Twitter account where only members can connect, a really awesome Flipboard magazine where your blogs, pictures, write ups and so much more will be highlighted and put out to the world! I’m really excited about the Flipboard  magazine because over 140 million people read Flipboard!

I want people to know that we are a supportive community that will be there when you go through rough times. That we will have all kinds of cool videos and other learning items to help people find their comfort zone’s and/ or help them with their comfort zones.

We are going to have experts like professional fisherman teach you how to fish better, and so so much more, I don’t want to give away too many secrets or people won’t join ha ha!

We decided to only charge the price of a cup of coffee …well maybe 2 cups, but isn’t that worth it to be a part of a supportive community?

Thanks Peyton!  I know how passionate he is about making this community work! And I as his mother and just as passionate to help him make it work.

We’d love your support! Check us out at and if you’re not ready to become a member yet please feel free to sign up for free email list so we can keep in contact now and then. We promise we won’t overload your email box.

As always, thanks for reading her blog and all your support! And Go Team Awesomism https://teamawesomism.com/

 

 

It’s Launch Day!

I’m sorry I’ve been so absent lately! I haven’t been putting out very many blogs… But I promise I have a very good reason.

Today Peyton and I are launching Team  Awesomism! We are super excited about this new project that we have started. It’s been months in the works… And a few delays in launching but we finally are ready! Yay!

I think one of the things I am proudest of is, when I started this blog a few years ago… My goal was not only to raise autism acceptance….. but to actually work to help turn autism into Awesomism….  I feel that Team Awesomism  is going to help further that goal.

One of the things that I love best about this project, is that is a joint project of mine and Peyton’s. I’m so proud of Peyton. He not only has helped me develop the project… But he did the website himself!

Peyton and I tossed around several ideas before we came up with the idea of Team Awesomism. We wanted to start a community to build each other up,and help each other. Our community is for those with anxiety, stress, autism, ADHD etc. etc. it’s a community designed to help others find their strengths, happy places, comfort zones etc. We are community where you are supported and accepted.

Team Awesomism is a bully Freezone… I say it all the time on social media… I’ve written blogs about it…but I wanted to  make even a stronger statement….,I’m on my last nerve with bullies!!!! Physical bullies, as well as verbal and mental bullies. We’ve become a society where if you don’t agree with someone, and /or you are “different” it’s acceptable to bully and name calling. 🤦‍♀️

This is unacceptable in every facet, but especially to those with special needs and those who suffer with stress and anxiety issues. Rather than just talk about it,because too often bullies refuse to see themselves as bullies… We decided to create a community to help others.

Team Awesomism isn’t just about being anti-bullying in fact it’s more about finding that happy place, comfort zone etc. so that you can deal with the negative things that are thrown at you!

This community is about actions, not just words. It’s about building together, helping each other, supporting each other and most of all being there for each other. We will be sharing each other’s strengths, and helping each other find their strengths and make them even stronger!

We’re all in this journey of life… At the same time, maybe not the same places… That’s the beauty of the Internet. We don’t have to be physically by each other, to be emotionally and mentally together.

I will be continuing my Awesomismmom blog, it will have some changes.. which will be coming at the end of September. Awesomismmom will be more about our journey as a family… Then just mine and Peyton’s journey!  Watch for the relaunch of AwesomismMom at the end of September!! 🎉

In the meantime please check out our new project Team Awesomism!! Take some time look around our website read our blog… And most of all please help us spread the word! Thank you so much for reading my blog and for all your support! https://teamawesomism.com/

 

Autism Redefined

We are honored to have an awesome  guest blogger  today! Samuel Moore-Sobel   You can check out his bio at the end of the blog. As always thanks for reading our blog!

 

Autism Redefined

“I want to have a girlfriend, but I don’t know if I can handle it.” 

Stunned, I turn to look at the teenage boy sitting beside me. Even though I have been asking him (let’s call him Dan) all night what was bothering him, he chooses to tell me this bit of news while we are passengers on a bus filled with teenagers, hurtling towards our intended destination. I, acting as one of the chaperones for this summer camp filled with countless adventures, have just spent the last several minutes attempting to ascertain the reason behind Dan’s distressed demeanor. Despite my repeated questions, he refused to utter even one word, choosing instead to continue sulking. His initial refusal to speak gave me cause for concern. Until his unexpected admission left me speechless. 

I have spent much of the past week making feeble attempts to engage Dan in conversation. He remains quiet much of the trip, keeping to himself even when he is standing by my side. I lob dozens of questions his direction throughout the week. Questions about school, his family, even his favorite video games. His response is nearly always the same – typically offering little more than a one-word answer. 

Dan was one of the deciding factors in my decision to spend a week serving as a chaperone for this summer camp. At first, Dan appeared reticent about attending. He acted as if he possessed a strong desire to go, but still retained worries over how the trip might unfold. He never said so, but I suspected his nervousness had something to do with the fact that he had never been away from home. Until he found a way to convince me to come along; which admittedly, didn’t take much convincing. 

“Don’t let him take 45 minute showers,” his mother tells me moments before our trip is to commence. She is nervous, really nervous, the kind of nervous only a mother gets when she fears for her child. Unsure of how he is going to react, she keeps shouting instructions even as we depart to board the bus. Playfully, she promises to send daily texts to check on Dan. Her sense of humor has hardly changed since we first met several years before. She was the first person to ever offer me a job, hiring me as a sixteen-year-old to be a counselor at a camp dedicated to serving children with special needs. My experience in this area allowing me to remain largely undaunted by the trip ahead.

For the most part, Dan loved camp. He spent plenty of time at the beach, his feet causing sand to fly high in the air as he ran towards the water. His tall frame helped him stand firm against the waves. Dan strikes an impressive figure at fifteen – broad-shouldered with dark skin, his athletic build gives off the distinct impression that he is ready to run at a moment’s notice. A young man with a curious nature, one look into his eyes reveals a desire to take on the world.

A random bystander would likely be unable to detect any evidence that Dan has autism, except for the nervousness he displays throughout the day.

“What time is dinner?”

“What time do I take my medication?’

I give the same response calmly each time he asks me these  questions, knowing full well the queries will be repeated within the hour. He keeps asking, as if the answer I just gave might change if the question is posed once again. I do not mind the incessant questions. After all, I like to ask a lot of questions, too.

The week unfolds nearly as designed, although a few speed bumps are encountered along the way. He becomes rather uncomfortable over the level of noise generated during certain activities. He shows me his discomfort by bringing his hands up to his ears while letting out a few loud noises of his own. This sign propels me to formulate an action plan, typically comprised of plotting a joint escape. We learn to adapt quickly to this new environment. For example, when students gather in the large hall each night for instruction, we nearly always sit outside the doors. Others advise me to force him to attend. I resolve to allow Dan some level of control over his surroundings, eager to grant him the space to make his own decisions. 

Hence why I allow him the time and space to process whatever it is that is bothering him during that bus ride which has never left my memory. After asking a few questions, I resolve to let him be. Within the blink of an eye, his mood changes. Finally ready to talk after what seems like an eternity, his thoughts and feelings come gushing out like an unexpected avalanche.

                “I like Judy,” he tells me quietly. “I just found out she has a boyfriend.” He proceeds to tell me how much he likes this girl, diving into a long list comprised of the typical qualities teenage boys find attractive about members of the opposite sex. His eyes light up as he talks, brimming with palpable excitement. 

                “Her boyfriend is better looking than me, though,” he tells me. “And, you know, I have autism.”

               Shocked, I quickly avert my eyes. Within a few seconds, I glance back towards him as casually as possible, making an ill-fated attempt to hide my internal struggle to piece together a suitable response. In the more than seven years I have known Dan, he has never offered any indication that he is aware of his diagnosis.

Before I can say a word, he picks up where he left off, articulating his desire to live a normal life. He expresses concern over whether or not he will be able to do his own laundry, or even one day own a home. He worries greatly over what his future holds. Yet most of all, he worries if he will ever find a girl to love.

                “Do you think I will ever get a girlfriend?”

                I pause for a few seconds, glancing around to see if anyone is listening to our conversation. Is there anyone else who can provide an adequate answer to this nearly impossible question? 

            I ponder the implications of the question at hand. Ultimately, no one is fully able to predict the future. Finding someone to love is far from a guarantee for any of us, no matter our socio-economic background, upbringing, physical or emotional makeup. Besides, does autism automatically preclude someone from building a life with a romantic partner?

           “It’s hard out there, even if you do not have autism,” I tell him.  

He asks if I have a girlfriend. “No,” I say, offering a few words concerning my own experience. How I failed to go on a first date before reaching my early twenties; and, how that one, along with each subsequent relationship, proved to be incredibly painful before reaching a predictable end. I tell him how the past makes me feel as if the prospect of ever finding someone to share my life with seemingly slips through my fingers ever more rapidly with each passing day.

I then revisit a story I assume his mother told him long ago. I point to the red facial scars under my nose, chin and across my neck. I tell him how I suffered second and third degree burns when I was his age, as I helped move boxes and furniture for a nearby resident; and, how ever since, a day has not gone by during which I wonder if I will ever find a girl who loves me – scars and all.

                “Wow! I always wondered about your scars! I just never asked…” he says, his voice trailing off as he turns back towards the window. His eyes remain trained on the landscape as the bus drives on, taking us farther into the night. I smile as I watch him, looking for signs of emotional turmoil. He seems calm now, as if my explanation has eased his mind.

            Years before, his mother had expressed a great deal of empathy after hearing my story. She argued it was easier for her son, since he was “expected” to be different. Yet the reality is that I can no more fully understand what it is like to have autism, just like those lacking personal experience with burn injuries cannot fully understand what it is like to suffer burns. Human nature is to compare suffering; but instead, we can choose to use our scars to empathize with those around us. 

For we all have scars, both physical and emotional. We all have things we would like to change about ourselves, alterations that would seemingly improve our chances of living out the future we envision. We can use our past experiences as a way to connect, through empathy and compassion, with the similarities in the ways our deep-seated worries coalesce with those held by fellow travelers.

I close my eyes to catch a few moments of rest. I immediately question whether I proffered the right response. Should I have assured him everything would be ok? Or made clear that his diagnosis did not preclude him from finding the girl of his dreams? Should I have affirmed his inner strength, the growth he has shown just in going on this trip? While I couldn’t guarantee my young friend that life would work out exactly the way he planned, I knew deep down that he is more than strong enough to handle whatever comes his way.

Before I can offer any of these sentiments, my eyes quickly open the moment another question hits my ear.

“What time will we get back?” 

    Samuel Moore-Sobel serves an internship in a congressional office on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. Photo by Alexis Glenn/Creative Services/George Mason University

Samuel Moore-Sobel is a security program manager and freelance writer. He is nearing publication of a memoir focusing on his experiences revolving around both trauma and recovery. He writes a column for the Blue Ridge Leader and has written numerous guest blog posts concerning his experience as a burn survivor. His work has been featured in Burn Support MagazineLoudoun NowRoanoke Star, and Mental Health Talk, among several other publications. Visit his website and blog, www.holdingontohopetoday.com. Follow him on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram @holdingontohopetoday.

Peyton and his cousin Sutton

I’m the youngest in my family, I was the third child… My brother and sister are 10 and 12 years older than me. When I was growing up that was referred to as a trailer.

I somewhat remember my brother being in the house, but I was only six when he went to college. I  remember my sister more. Both my siblings went to college and got married. So they never moved back into the house, except for during the summer.

My sister’s oldest boy, was in someway  more like a brother to me than a nephew because our closeness in age. When he had his son, I looked at him a more like my nephew, not my nephew’s  son.

My nephew sons name is Sutton , he’s adorable, funny and really smart. Of course I am a bit biased, but there you go!

He came over to our house this past Monday… To hang out with Peyton… in age they are nine years apart… But they get along so well.

They had such a great time together, it was so much fun to listen to them and watch them. They played Nerf guns, Minecraft, they tossed the baseball around, as well as a couple other fun things.

I really loved watching them play games where they ran around, as well as use their mind to figure out how to do things. Too many kids just want to sit and play video games all the time. So I love it when Peyton does physical exercise while playing.

He gets along really well with Sutton, and I love how patient Sutton is with him. If Peyton doesn’t understand what Sutton is telling him… he takes the time to explain it. That means a lot to me. Peyton is always very happy when he’s with Sutton, I love that I don’t have to worry about his feelings getting hurt.

Sutton is an only child, so it’s actually really cool to me they have each other. Even though Peyton has three older siblings, they are all out of the house. Since they are cousins, they also have that family connection, as well as a friendship.

I love that Peyton has people in his life that he learns different life lessons from. We all seem to teach him something different, but more important Peyton teaches all of us something…..….

It was adorable because a couple of times my sister asked Sutton if he was ready to go home… He wasn’t ready and Peyton wasn’t ready for him to go. They played their little hearts out, Peyton was exhausted Monday night.

Peyton and Sutton  may be cousins, but I think in their hearts they love each other like brothers… Being an older parent and having Peyton being younger and autistic, it warms my heart to know that he has people around him who really love him and will love him.

The boys have plans to do more things together… And that makes me really happy… Like I said earlier in my blog… I looked at my nephew Troy like a little brother, and I absolutely love it that my son and his son, love each other like brothers.

 

Bullies make me see Red

I know, I know everyone, well almost everyone, disdains bullies! Well, at least They SHOULD disdain bullies…..

Nowadays we hear a lot about bullies, everyone has a different definition of what a bully is. I’ve written several blogs about bullies.These blogs are based on my opinion and my definition of what I think a bully really is!

I think we can all agree, that certain people definitely fit the definition of bullies.  This blog is not about the “common definition” of bullies.

I am hypersensitive to bullies  because of Peyton. I’ve always been a mama bear to all of my kids, but I’m especially a helicopter Mama bear to Peyton!  I get extremely protective whenever I see an autistic child,teen or adult being bullied.

As I stated in previous blogs, we often hear it said that bullies are just terribly insecure people, and basically deflect not reflect on their insecurities. While I find this to be some what true, I think it goes deeper than that.

I think Bullies are insecure people, at least much of the time, but I also think many bullies  are narcissistic gaslighters. I also think that many bullies are truly unhappy in their own lives. So they invent fantasy lives, know they’re lying and then abuse other people because they’re angry that they’re not living that life!

Some of the biggest bullies that I’ve seen on social media, are also some of the biggest hypocrites. There have been times I’ve really wanted to call them out… But I also know that it’s a waste of time, because they generally don’t wanna listen anyway.

Being an autism activist, I thought long and hard about making my focal point bullying . After the story of the special-needs boy being tortured and bullied in Chicago and Facebook live, I knew I couldn’t be a bullying  activist.  That story touch me so deeply, that I still cry about it.

I decided that rather than be a bullying activist, I would actually offer comfort zones etc. for those who are  bullied. That’s a major focal point of our new project Team Awesomism. It’s to help those with autism, anxiety and stress find their comfort zones.

I have called a few bullies  out on Twitter, as well as blocked and reported some,and I don’t always mean to Twitter. There’s one thing that my husband has really taught me, don’t lower yourself to their level instead find solutions for those who are hurting.

Team Awesomism  was inspired by several things… One being finding solutions for those who are being bullied. Bullies are only bullies  because they feel like they have to have power over someone. What better way to empower someone, then help them find their inner strength and feel better about themselves?

We will be launching Team Awesomism  on September 15, which also happens to be Peyton’s  birthday! We are super excited about this project and can’t wait to share it with everyone!

In the meantime I ask this… Find commonality with everyone you come in contact with. It’s easy to find something to be angry or mean about… Just stop! If we treat others the way we want to be treated  as well as those we love… We’d have less hatred and more love. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, as well as their beliefs… If you make this a rule in your life… You’ll stop and think before you deflect and actually reflect!