Wednesday, August 12, 2015

If I Homeschool Does My Child Qualify For In Home Services?

A common question I get is from Parents who have for one reason or another decided to Homeschool their child and they want to know if their child can still receive therapies (OT, SLP, PT, ABA) from the school district. The Answer is YES! By law (under IDEA) that is your legal right and the school district has to meet that need even if it means bringing your child up to the school for the said therapies.

As a side note, if there is a subject you aren't confident in teaching your child or an extra curricular activity you would like your child to participate in, the school district is also required to meet that need.

Here is the link for the information outlining the specifics of this law/situation:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Why Special Needs Parents Are Better For It!

Today I watched as a thread unfolded on my FB feed. A group of women were discussing their annoyance of neighborhood children being up too early in the morning (7:30 am) and being "allowed" to play outside as they road their bikes down the street singing "Let it goooooo!" "Where were their parents?!" One shouted. "I would never let my kids do that!" Another added.

As I pondered this, I realized that I am  *genuinely* grateful that Heavenly Father gave our family 2 Autistic children. (I know, you're probably falling out of your chairs right now! Who could be thankful for such a thing?!) Every day He teaches me the ways in which Autism molds David and I into better people. Special Needs Parents have a level of patience, understanding for others, for life occurrences and trials that I'm finding other people just don't have or takes them a lifetime to learn. We see a screaming kid at the grocery store, in Sacrament meeting, on our ONE date night a month - a smile is flashed to the parent and I never find myself thinking "I wish that Parent would quiet their kid so I can get back to my life!" (see how silly that sounds?) Our hearts just don't veer in that direction, ever. They don't sweat the small stuff in life, trials are handled with a bit of grace, they have greater patience, they're more forgiving, they appreciate small milestones, they don't judge rowdy children, they're always ready to serve despite their full plates, are not easily offended, strive to see the good in every person - they're amazing!

When people tell me "Oh goodness, 2 Autistic kids?! I could never do that." Sometimes I want to tell them, "Yes you would if you had to and you would be better for it!" David brought up one of my favorite stories today that we have of Joseph Smith. On one occasion he was found wrestling, running and playing with some of the young kids from his Congregation. He was flashed looks and remarks over it. People thought "He should be more serious being the Prophet and all!" That following Sunday he found that some had made the choice to permanently leave the Church because of it. The story was shared in the context that sometimes we just need to relax in life. It's been a great lesson to me in this journey. Especially as I'm changing the diaper of an almost 6 year old, she's screaming out her window until 11pm (all of the Primary songs her little heart can muster) and I know that all of my neighbors can hear her. Or when she's whimpering and banging her head on the wall because I turned on the blender or she's screaming in the hallway of our church building because she just can't squeeze out another minute of composure. It's in those moments that I realize just what Autism and Heavenly Father are doing for our family. They're making me a better person. They're teaching me Christlike love, patience, endurance, strength, Consecration and Grace.

I always tell Primary workers, friends and family that Phoenix and Leah will teach them more about themselves and Heavenly Father than they will about Autism.

My kids will be outside bright and early at 7am enjoying their summer vacation! Wear those capes proud! You deserve it!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Moving Forward

One of the things I love about the Autism community is that I can disappear due to life, reappear and you're still right here for me. Thank you for being wonderful and always here.

So much has happened since I last wrote. Life has been happening. We were in Missouri for almost 3 years getting the help for our kiddos that they so desperately needed. There came a point when we finally felt like we were on our feet with this whole Autism thing, that we knew what we were doing. My husband was offered a promotion within his company and they paid for our move to Idaho. It's so beautiful here. The services however are lacking, as well as the education on Autism. We've been here for 5 months and I started to witness changes in Leah. She was regressing. I felt like I was watching a little bit of her slip away each day. It broke my heart. Following a very compelling Spiritual experience, David and I made the prayerful choice to pull her from her school. I felt so much peace follow this decision. Now we are homeschooling her (a post to come on this, soon) with an amazing curriculum and once again, she's blossoming like the beautiful flower that she is.

Phoenix is in a different school than Leah was and with an amazing teacher. We live in an incredibly small town where everyone knows everyone. The staff and Parents seem to have rallied around our little guy and they root for his success every day.

We ran out of his medicine shortly after we arrived here and we were in the process of getting their insurance switched over. It's been such a long time (about 3 years) since we have seen Phoenix off of his medicine. During the excruciatingly long weeks that followed, Phoenix had his 3 year Academic Evaluation (required for children who have an IEP). The meeting was this morning and I asked David if he would go in my place. I knew what his Team of Therapists and Teachers would say and I didn't feel that I could sit through it dry eyed. As I lay in bed last night and read my Draft Copy of their evaluation and looked over all of his scores, I was reminded of his struggles. I was reminded that my bright and sweet boy has Autism. There was no medication to mask it this time. With out his medicine, he scored in the moderate to severe range of Autism, again. His Teacher pulled me aside last week and told me that it broke her heart to watch him and that he looked as if he were in pain. He quite literally has no control over his body without it. At one point he even told me that he was sorry. Sorry that he was knocking things over, running into walls, screaming at others, having melt downs for no apparent reason and hitting things with his limbs (unintentionally). It's a painful thing for a mother to watch. It's ADHD x 100 (the clinical diagnosis is Impulsivity Control Disorder which he was diagnosed with in addition to his Autism). We were able to fill his medicine this week and that first night after we had put his siblings to bed, he curled up to me on the couch and said, "I feel better." He looked at me with his big beautiful blue eyes and in that moment we both knew what he was saying.

Purging Your Life 
It's been a year since I've written here. I can feel that I'm not the same person. The things that once mattered to me no longer do. This past year I have felt Heavenly Father pulling, pushing and stretching me beyond what I thought was imaginable. The only thing that seems to matter to me now is my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I have stopped worrying about appeasing others and only focus on making Him happy. Repenting more, showing more gratitude, spending less time on the computer and more with my family, shutting the noise out of my life so that I can better hear that still small voice.

While this isn't something I would generally share, it was a turning point in our Journey. The last time I spoke to one of my Sister-in-laws was almost a year ago. She told me that my children were a mistake and that her and her girlfriend (partner) didn't feel Phoenix and Leah had Autism (they hadn't seen them since they were babies and they felt they have more experience/credentials at diagnosing Autism than the Thompson Center - the #2 Autism Research Center in the Country... [sarcasm]). As I listened, by this time I had worked closely with 100's of Autism families and with every sentence that escaped their mouths it became more and more apparent to me how uneducated they were on Autism. Genuinely so uneducated on it, something that runs so rampant in their own family. That night David and I sat down and had a heartfelt conversation that lasted about 3 hours and we made a united tough choice. We couldn't seem to wrap our heads around what kind of person (Adult) would say something so awful and truly ugly about a 4 and 5 year old with Special Needs that couldn't defend themselves. At one point we even said how badly we wished we could see her face if she were to see Leah for the first time since she was age 1. (Leah's Autism is very obvious within the first minute of meeting her, even to a stranger who knows nothing of Autism. She rocks back and forth/spins in circles, hums, stares off to the side and has limited communication.) We knew that those things really weren't important though and that that was the wrong Spirit to find ourselves in. It was that night that we decided to permanently prune the dead, fruitless branches from our lives. It's been the choice that has brought the most peace but also was the most hard to make. No one ever wants to cut family relationships. This experience has taught us to surround our children with friends and family that adore and think the world of them. Family and friends that see their struggles and do all they can to help in building them up. This is the environment that has brought us the most happiness. Life is too short and the needs of our children too great to surround them with anything less than that.

I'm trying harder to utilize the Atonement every day. I've learned so personally that it's not just for things that I do wrong but also for the wrong that has been done to me. I'm grateful for a loving Savior and Heavenly Father that I know know's my name. For a Heavenly Father that I know is mindful of my family. For a Heavenly Father that hears the deepest, earnest Prayers of my heart. The Spirit (Holy Ghost) is teaching me what is most important in my life. It's my Husband and my Children. It's not the clothes we wear, how big our home is, what kind of car we drive or how much income we bring in. It's our sweet little family.

Thank you for supporting us in this journey.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

An Open Letter To My Daughter's About Prince Charming

For my little Leah and sweetheart Selena:

Yes, I've seen it. The sharing of the more-than-he-can-afford engagement ring photos. The wedding photos with matching colors. The extravagant and perfectly choreographed wedding receptions. I've seen them all. I love you enough to tell you what you won't find being shared on social media. I love you enough to tell you about the real Prince Charming:

He may not pull up on a white horse. It might be a beat up old black Honda Civic.

It may not be the proposal talked about in the movies. Instead it might be in his beat up old car when he looks at you and says "You know I love you, right? So, will you marry me?"

He may not pull out a little blue box from Tiffany's. In fact, he may not have a ring for you at all until a week after you marry.

The real Prince Charming will hold you tight as you cry away the loss of a pregnancy.

He may not be Mr. Twinkle Toes on the dance floor. It actually might even resemble something of a drowning cat.

He will tell you how great dinner tasted when you've burned everything your first year of marriage learning how to cook.

He might climb in the shower with you when you're pregnant because he worries about you falling.

He might leave his dirty laundry all over the house for you to pick up.

He may snore so loud at night that you're actually concerned he might suck up his pillow and maybe even yours too.

Prince Charming might have gas so bad that you have vowed to never feed that man chili again. Ever. Seriously, you've thrown out all of the beans in your house.

He might have what's called "Daddy-olepsy" When his bum hits the couch he's out. 

Happily Ever After may come in a tiny package covered in Peanut Butter that calls you "mom"

Prince Charming  might get up early with the kiddos while he lets you sleep off a restless night that entailed soothing a teething baby.

Happily Ever After might be spending your Friday nights in your yoga pants with your family watching a G rated movie drinking apple juice on the couch.

Happily Ever After might come in piles of laundry that need to be washed and folded.

The real Prince Charming will cheer you through every minute of  a 16 hour delivery.

The real Prince Charming will whisper to his new daughter "You have your mother's smile" when he thinks you aren't listening.

He might tell you how great it is to be growing old with you while his hair line is receding and you're lathering on that wrinkle cream!

He will end most nights with an "I love you" or an "I missed you today"

This is a real Prince Charming. This is your Daddy.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Jamberry Nails Giveaway Officially Open!


WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED Saturday, Oct. 19th @ 10am central. If you do not check back Saturday, a new winner will be picked.

For more information head over to my FB Page @

Friday, May 17, 2013

It Could've Been Us - An Outpouring of Love For Those That Have Been Lost

Yes! Only a week later and finally done! as I kicked the last empty moving box into the garage. Glanced at the clock, it was 11pm. If I hurried I might be able to take a shower, wash off the stench of unpacking and still be able to catch a few hours of sleep before the kids woke up for school. I quickly hopped in and out and did one last check around the house to make sure the doors were locked and baby gates were positioned before climbing in bed next to my husband. Finally... I thought, as I drifted off. The bright red numbers staring back at me, 11:30.

The beating on the front door jolted me out of my sleep. Heart racing, I glanced at the clock, 1am. Dressed in the first thing we could find, we fumbled our way to the front door to find a Police Officer waiting for us.

"Can we help you Officer?" my husband asked, half conscious.

"Do you have a son?" asked the Officer.

Why was he asking about our son? My heart began to pick up pace as I turned around to glance around the living room. Everything looked in order, nothing out of place. Just before returning my gaze to the Officer, something caught my eye, a cracked door. Bolting my way through the living room and hurdling over the baby gate like an Olympic track star I threw open the door to my sons room.

"David! David! Where is he?! He's gone! Phoenix is gone!" I screamed as I yanked back the blankets from his bed.

Struggling to catch my breath and control my thoughts from depicting horrible scenarios, I felt the hot tears rush down my face as I threw open the door to the bathroom, "Phoenix?!?!" My daughters room, "Phoenix?!?!" I screamed once more, hoping to hear his little voice say something, anything. I stumbled back to the living room, my legs feeling heavier with each step. I forced the words out of my mouth again "He's gone." My husband not yet having grasped what was going on...

"Ma'am can you tell me what your son looks like?"

The room spinning as I tried to answer, "He has Autism. My son has Autism, we just moved here. He's only 3 and a 1/2. There's a creek near by. He doesn't know anyone, Red hair. Red hair, blue eyes. Here..." as I ripped a photo from my purse and shoved it into the Officers chest. I could hear the rain beating off his uniform as he looked at the photo.

"Sounds about right" he said, as he turned around and made a gesture to his Police Car.

Before I could push him out of the way to get a clear look, I heard a familiar voice, "Mommy!" Running up from behind the Officer was Phoenix, pj's soaked and barefoot.

"I played on the slide! My pj's are wet, I need new pj's. I need new pj's! They're wet, they're wet. I'm wet, mom."

I yanked him into the house and squeezed him tighter than I had ever squeezed him in his life. I closed my eyes and breathed in his smell of sweat and rain.

"How did you know, how did you know to come here?" I asked the two Officers, as I wiped my cheeks.

"Your house was the only one on the street with the door open. When we got him in the car, we knew something wasn't right. My nephew has Autism. Sorry Ma'am, I'm Officer Smith." as he reached out and extended his hand.

"Smith?" I asked as I stared blankly at his hand.

"Yes. Officer Joseph Smith."

I knew Heavenly Father had been watching over my son that night.

* * *

Autism is something real and very much alive in our society. 49% of children with Autism attempt to elope from a safe environment, a rate nearly 4 times higher than their unaffected siblings. See link from Child Mind Institute. At some point, 49% of Autism families will experience the reality of their child wandering off. It's *NOT* a lack of parental supervision. In our case we had dead bolts locked, child locks on the door knobs and baby gates up. My Son made it past all of these things and did so while everyone in the house was sleeping. For a week my son had been asking me to go to the park that was 4 houses down from our house. I kept telling him that we would go later, when we were done unpacking. 

Fortunately for us, a woman was driving by the park at 1 am. She barely caught a glimpse of my son in the dark playing on the slide in the rain. She immediately pulled over, grabbed my son and pulled him into her mini van and called the Police. There aren't many days that I haven't thought of this incident that took place 3 years ago (he's almost 6 now [2014]). There are people out there that would have you believe that these incidences you hear of are due to a lack of good parenting. I share this with you to tell you that it's not case. These kiddos/adults sometimes have the desire to leave their environment, it becomes a sudden urge for them. Some might say "All children have that desire." The difference here is that YOUR children will grow out of it, ours wont. Now we have deadbolts on the tops of all of our doors and alarms on all of the doors and windows. We keep them on all day and night.

Instead of casting premature judgements, ask yourself what you can do to help. With the skyrocketing Autism rates, everyone knows someone with Autism. Keep your eyes peeled for un attended children, be aware of your pools. If you have a neighbor with a child that has Autism, ask them if there is anything you should be aware of. And for the love of all that is good, start showing these families some support.

My heart goes out to these families. The Autism community is here to support you. ~Ashlie

Friday, April 12, 2013


**VONDA MINOR!!! You are the awesome WINNER!!!**

 ***If winner does not contact me via email ( by Monday, April 22nd, A NEW WINNER WILL BE PICKED!***

TO ENTER: Leave comment with your name and tell me who it's for! Don't be embarrassed to say it's for yourself! Ha ha ha!

Pick ONE lego flash drive of your choice. (Batman, Buzz Lightyear, Darth Vader, Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Spongebob Squarepants, Storm Trooper, Woody)

Store and share photos, videos, documents and music on a portable, easy to carry flash drive featuring these awesome characters!!!

Card Capacity: 4 GB

Compatible with Windows 7, 8, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac OS 10+ and Linux; Hi-Speed USB 2.0 port required for high speed transfer.

USB dust cap included with flash drive.

Giveaway Sponsored By: