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  • Writer's pictureKatie Vahey Gaebler

On community connectedness

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

I’ve been reflecting this week on a variety of topics, waffling on the subject of my next blog post. I’m interested in writing on so many things that encompass our family life, because really, autism touches every corner of our world. I feel I have so much to say, what we do, how we live, how we perceive and value and experience the world around us. Sorting through where to start has been one of my bigger challenges here.

Foremost topics I would like to write about involve the ebb and flow of school enrollment, and the parental view of being involved in special education. I plan to discuss managing internal rife and autism manifested behaviors with physical activity, specifically Bryson’s new formal involvement with rock climbing and my 8-year (and counting) regular yoga practice. As well, what are our definitions of self-care, such as bath rituals and bed-time strategies, and how I talk about the importance of sleep and “looking professional” with my boys. We have a value of healthy eating, how we define that (there’s no particular “diet” in our house), and what meals have hooked my super picky eaters. Recently, I’m diving head first into media portals and commentary on autism, and I’d like to share my perspective on books, blogs, and movies/tv that delve into the subject. I plan to reflect on having been a full time working mom, within an industry that wasn’t as forward projecting as it may appear particularly on the matter of working mothers, and what it has meant for to need to take on a new identity staying home to be with my kids. I want to provide insight and interviews from the therapists and resources that have been most helpful for us, particularly what we can access in the Denver area. Really, there is so much to say.

And today my thoughts lead to the connectedness of all these things. Yes these themes are connected in that they are all from my family. But today that theme resonates with me so much more, as our church service theme today was connectedness. There is so much overlap and shared experience with being apart of any community, that connectedness necessitates that we are all essentially one.

When I was working in a traditional environment, under a lot of pressure with practically no schedule flexibility, I worked with so many people during the week I couldn’t handle leaving my house on the weekends. Our church attendance, which had been in ebb and flow since we first came to this community 3 years before, had for a while totally waned. When we started out, we enjoyed being there, made some friends, but as responsibilities piles and Bryson grew really difficult, we found it too challenging to leave our house on time on Sunday mornings. Leaving my weekday job has held the benefit of releasing the pressure on the weekends to prepare entirely for the week ahead. Since I’m not in a work community, I’ve made it a priority to aim to participate in a family oriented community, and this church is a wonderful group. There is modern day (political) commentary that speaks to who we are socially and morally, and they are accepting and engaging with my children, for everything they are. This is a community I consider our family proud to belong among. I have waffled throughout my adult life among various types of communities, unsure of my belonging and spinning on my heals to try something else. But with this this community I want to commit my connectedness, practice the value of being connected with a community, and support my children in growing up connected here.

My musings in this blog are by no means a commentary on right or wrong. There are plenty of opinions in the world about the roots of autism and how to manage it. I’m here simply to share what works for my family. Part of what has worked so far is perseverance, luck, and asking the right questions to the right people at the right time to connect to supportive resources. If I can use this blog to highlight the resources that have worked for us, that’s my way of showing my connectedness among my community. If what I have to share can inspire another family to consider lifestyle strategies can work for them, it’s my privilege to provide that source.

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