Autism is a trip this mom didn’t plan on, but she sure does love her tour guide. Recently I talked to the founder of the blog, Autism with a Side of Fries about her story! You can find her also on Facebook and Twitter.
Kerry: Can you tell us a little about how you first get involved with the autism community?
Mama Fry: Before I was an autism mom, I was an autism job coach and vocational instructor for years. I left my job to be a stay at home mother. Within less than a year, I was back in the autism circle when my own son started early intervention.
I am the accidental blogger. I am friends with a local radio DJ, Laurie Cataldo. She approached me and asked to write “A Day in the Life of an Autism Mom” as a guest blog post for the station’s website. It received amazing feedback. Another larger sister station shared it too. Then things became really crazy. I had people tracking me down on Facebook wanting to connect and many asked if I had a blog. So I figured that was a sign to start one.
What’s one of the main pieces of advice you’d give to a new autism family?
You must chill! Starting the autism journey is a long one. Parents have a gut reaction to attack, fix and clean up. Set it all right. It’s not that cut and dry. Also, throw out the milestones. Parents have to remember our kids will hit their own milestones. Not anyone else’s. You can’t compare your five year old to a neurotypical one. It’s incredibly easy to become overwhelmed and you have to almost embrace the fact that you will make just as many good choices for your kid as you do bad ones. Yep, you’ll do something that will be a real screw up but you learn from it.
What has been one of your favorite blogs you’ve written so far on “Autism with a Side of Fries?”
The blog is called “The Hill You Die Upon” which you can read here
Use of the “r” word as a slur and insult has no place in our world. None. I will never stop calling folks out on that. This post breaks down all the excuses that many people give when they are trying to explain why they can and why they are all wrong.
You have built quite the Facebook following! How has it been to see the response that your blog has been receiving?
I’m gobsmacked daily by the number. You’re looking at a woman that when I hit 100 “likes”, I was completely happy and felt I had made it. Now it’s over 45 thousand. I’m humbled daily by the responses on the page and the emails I receive. Anytime someone says that something I wrote helped them feel less alone means the world to me because just by them commenting that, I feel less alone too.
What is one goal that you hope for our families in the future?
More adult services! More vocational training. The transition to adulthood is coming and we are not fully prepared at all. I’m also very concerned about caregiver burnout. Respite services and support are not as plentiful as many think.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
You have to just try. Every day. Things could go well or go to hell in a handbasket. There’s no way of knowing till you try. Also, speak up! If you want more autism friendly events or businesses in your area, ask for them. Be the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. If you see one advertised, go to it. Show the business owner it’s worth doing. I get it is hard sometimes to get out with kids. Trust me, I get it. If we don’t use these services, they might start disappearing. They might figure “what’s the point?” If you find their accommodations need tweeking, tell them. They won’t know till we all say something.