Thursday, November 21, 2013


I’m calling G because we are at a big, kid-filled birthday party and the dj is playing “Gangnam Style,” which he loves. He calls his version of the song and dance “Gengar Style,” after a naughty, levitating Shadow Type Pokemon called Gengar.* He’s way out on the playground with some kids he doesn’t know and, between calls to him to come boogie with me, I hear those loud “eeeeeh” noises that he makes sometimes because he likes them -- and other times because he’s socially overwhelmed. I hurry over and he’s progressed to shouting unintelligible sounds and making faces in the general direction of a play structure. Some younger kids are cowering and glowering nearby.

“What happened?” I ask, pulling him away as fast as I can.

“A girl threatened me.”


“She told me she was going to beat me up!”

“That little girl with the sour face, who is much, much smaller than you?”

“Yes.” (G tends not to pay attention to his own size or age relative to others.)

I sigh, hug him. “She couldn’t, honey.”

“But she said she had beat up a 15 year old!”

“But baby, that’s not true. She’s a little girl.”

We pause. He’s probably taking in the fact that here again someone has lied and he has been unaware of that possibility.

“Well…Why?” I continue.

“Why what?”

“Why do you think that happened?”

Another pause.

“Because she said I was ‘in her face?’”

“Were you?”


“Were you trying to threaten her?”


The playground is a place where family and friends who know G in his home or social comfort zone often suddenly realize the extent of his social challenges.  Putting his face right in someone else’s face is one way he tries to connect, because he really does want to connect - so very much! He’s still figuring out other ways to do so, and in the meantime doesn’t seem to have integrated extensive advice against face-in-face.

I try to seize the teachable moment: “How do you think she felt when you got in her personal space, you know, ‘in her face’?”


“I don’t think so…try again.”


“Try again. Angry and mad are pretty much the same.”


“Yes. So I bet that’s why she threatened you, don’tcha think?”

He nods.

“And G, did you notice all those kids were much younger than you?”

"Not really.”

“They probably thought you were being a bully, G. Which of course you weren’t.”

G is the most gentle person I know, but he’s a really big dude with no idea of his own size or the impression it might give. 

I sigh. Again. “Oh sweety, I know you’d never want to scare anyone. But you have to try to think about whether other kids are bigger or smaller than you and what they might think you mean in your actions and words, okay? Do you think you can remember this next time?”

“I don’t know,” G says, shrugging.

By the time we reach the party shed, the song has ended. G goes in and sits back in a corner alone, looking perplexed. Eventually, some extra cupcake frosting comforts and cheers him up.

Sometimes G is served well by his unique neurology. His omnipresent honesty, truly original creativity, staunch reliability, deep loyalty and lack of regard for conventional measures of success or “coolness” are just a few traits that come to mind in this regard. I know he takes satisfaction in living by what he deems right and good. Those of us who “get” him celebrate his living by his own lights as well. Nevertheless, even these arguably superb qualities are not necessarily ones that lead to mainstream social acceptance!

Of course there’s neurologically-rooted stuff to work on too, like developing the tools to navigate playground dynamics, many of which are analogous to adult social milieus. It just sometimes seems the neurotypical world currently remains more inclined to marginalize both G’s particular gifts and his challenges than to celebrate or accommodate them.

Suppose G – because, as things stand, it’ll be on him to do so - takes a very long time to adapt here, what is the adult equivalent of frosting?

Oh yeah. Frosting. **

Full Spectrum Mama

* OMG I Just found this site:
Please, nobody show G – I will never see him again!

** We have a hunch that Pumpkin Pie may work, too and are going to find out next week! Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!!!

Monday, November 18, 2013


I wrote this for the Flash Blog. "This is Autism" @

This is autism for our family:

A - ALL different
U - Untypical
T - Talk to US about it!
I - Integrity
S - Special Interests (or...Seals [and Pokemon, and plants, and animals...])
M - My son, me, our faMily, our coMMunity...

Full Spectrum Mama

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


You know what? I started a whole heartfelt response to Autism Speaks' terror mongering, homogenizing "Call to Action," along with everybody and her mother.

Then, while I was bounding around, naked, hemorrhaging some of the 2.3 million dollars - each - it apparently takes to raise me and my son, I found, via my friend One Quarter Mama (,  a response that will be hard to top:

Hopping and snacking -- hope you are too, ya deviants,

Full Spectrum Mama

Thursday, November 7, 2013


The other day, à propos nothing so far as I could tell, Z told me, “Maybe when I grow up, I’ll go to a place in Africa...”

She paused.

(Somehow, I expected her to talk next about how she wanted to do some kind of volunteer work there, as we’ve been trying to figure out something like that to do together as a family in our community -- and we also have family involved in such endeavors locally and abroad. Accordingly, during her pause, I began to formulate a speech about the notions of needy people and starving children in Africa as part truth/part stereotype, explaining how there are also people in various regions of Africa living in the middle classes and above, just like here.

I would add how there are starving people here in the United States, too, and in our own state and town.

The people at that wedding we recently attended were mostly from Africa, I would point out momentarily, and as you can see they have what they need just like us and are in many cases better off: they can travel here, whereas we couldn’t right now afford to take a big trip like that…

But no.)

“…and get diamonds,” she continued.

(Well, there are other reasons to go to Africa, as well! Like making bridges between countries, learning about new cultures…

We need to be very careful with our priorities, my daughter, always honoring living beings above things, even valuable things. {I do so worry about Z’s attachment disorder making her always feel she is lacking something. After all, she herself was severely undernourished when she first came home.})

“…and gold.”

(Also, I might mention, Africa is not a country. It’s many nations, all with different politics, cultures, populations…)

“…Lots of diamonds!”

“Yep,” I replied.

Well…Good! Somebody in this family needs to be on the practical end of the Finance Spectrum.

Full Spectrum Mama

Friday, November 1, 2013


Full Spectrum Mama’s help meet, Guest Writer and Troubleshooter, Partial/incomplete Monochrome Persona (PiMP) has asked that she announce a call for submissions of COMPLAINTS.

During the months of November and December, Full Spectrum Mama will be accepting entries for PiMP’s annual anniversary guest post, “Second Anniversary Lists IV: The Complaint Department,” to be published in late January 2014.  Please email any and all COMPLAINTS to

Guidelines for acceptable COMPLAINTS are loose. Simply put, COMPLAINTS must be…acceptable. Please see for previous examples. Please note that COMPLAINTS needn’t be limited to parenting, differences, adoption, attachment disorders, autism, asperger’s, etc., since a Vast Spectrum of COMPLAINTS in their myriad forms may be complained, whined, and sometimes shared, by a Spectrum of individuals.

For multiple or multifaceted COMPLAINTS, list form is highly encouraged.

COMPLAINTS will be posted anonymously and may be edited for clarity or acceptability.

The Complaint Department will respond to acceptable COMPLAINTS in an appropriate fashion.

You may remember that PiMP’s day job is with The Complaint Department. PiMP cautions you that this solicitation on PiMP’s behalf does NOT indicate that The Complaint Department is in fact open.

Full Spectrum Mama

P.S. You can also email COMMENTS to this same email. Readers’ inability to comment is a very common, as yet unresolved COMPLAINT  L