Category Archives: Seth Says…

Words of wisdom or complete nonsense from Seth Fowler…

The Younger-Big Sister

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William and Margaret are the perfect Harry Potter and Hermione Granger

Seth Says…

Can you imagine being 5-years-old and being told that one day you’re going to take care of your older brother…and understanding what that means?

Looking back, maybe we shouldn’t have started telling Margaret (now 10-years-old) that, but we were just trying to be honest and to keep encouraging her to love her brother William (12-years-old).

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William wasn’t quite sure of what to think about Margaret at first

Recently in an interview with WORLD Magazine the reporter asked Margaret (we call her “Bubba”) for her thoughts and perspective.

“I mean, it’s not the easiest thing to understand and know what it really means when they say, ‘you’re going to take care of him (William),'” said Margaret.  “I guess I’ve never known any other way – and I’m okay with that.”

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Everyone always thinks this is the sweetest photo – in reality – William was trying to choke Bubba – trust me I was there and have the next photos to prove it

While only ten, she sure is mature beyond her years – and she’ll have to be forever.

Hopefully William and Margaret will continue to grow in their relationship and love for one another.  Sure they fight – she seems to get frustrated because he has a “different set of rules” from time-to-time…but she doesn’t realize how fortunate she really is in her situation — she gets A LOT of perks in her life.

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Even as they get older – they still enjoy being around one another – and that’s a relief!

She loves ballet.  She loves acting.  She loves her iPod Touch.  She loves talking to cousins on said iPhone.  She loves watching movies.  William isn’t into any of those things.

William got a trip with daddy to Disney World when he turned ten.  Bubba and daddy are going to NYC to see some shows!

Who knows what the future holds.  Melanie and I certainly want Margaret to experience the world and freedom that comes from leaving the home when the time is right.  The last thing we want is for her to feel a burden or obligation to be close to home while we are still around and able to manage William’s situation.

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What does the future hold?  Who knows.  But I do know that Margaret will ALWAYS love and care for her brother

But one day the younger sister will become caretaker…that makes me sad but grateful that God has created Margaret with such a soft heart for her brother.

To be continued…

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

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Adolescence or Autism?

 

Seth Says…

Wow has the time flown!  William is now 12-years-old (he’ll be A TEENAGER in two months) and you know what that means…

ADOLESCENCE!!!

Ready or not, here we go!

It’s not just puberty.  He’s been going through that for about a year or so now and WOW can he stink!  When did boys (and girls) get so stinky?

Fortunately he seems to have Melanie’s beautiful skin so very little acne might be in store for him…whew…don’t know if I’d want to subject anyone to the issues that I had (but yet still turned out pretty good).

We are dealing with a new stage where we are wondering if his behavior and actions are caused by the fact that he’s 5’2″ and 105 lbs or because he’s on the autism spectrum.

If you have any advice…feel free to share

Sometimes it’s Okay to Bop Your Sister?

Let me be clear – I’m not condoning bullying or violence between siblings.  I still have scars from where my big sis clawed me.  BUT – every once in a while a younger sibling might become a little annoying and “deserve” a little shove on the trampoline or bop on the head.

We’ve gone through some scary incidents of aggression – and that is a totally different thing – but yeah, Margaret (10) can be a little pest and “big brother” needs to put her in her place from time-to-time….and for that I say “okay!”

Where Did These Opinions Come From

I’ve always prided myself on my amazing dancing and singing abilities.  No one can come even close to my Sweet Caroline, by the legendary Neil Diamond, rendition and if Michael Jackson were around – he’d admit that he stole moves from Yours Truly!  Trust me 🙂

“Daddy no singing!”  No more singing!”  “Move please…move please”

HUH?  When did William develop such a distaste for quality entertainment?  How dare he?!  But I get it.  I actually like it.  William will tell me when he wants me to stop or move or leave the room.

Some might find it rude and annoying (and I do at times) but it’s also what a typical teenager would do…and that’s fine with me.

Living in Two Worlds Must Be Exhausting

In the end – the answer is probably both.  His behavior is influenced by his stage of life as well as his condition.  He’s still a sweet boy (most of the time) and I’m almost glad that we aren’t dealing with the drama and heart break that comes with being a teen.

The great thing is that regardless of the cause…we know that deep down he still loves his mommy and daddy – and that’s all we could ask for!

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

WORLD Magazine & the Fowler 4

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Seth & Melanie Fowler being interviewed by WORLD Magazine for upcoming podcast

Seth Says

In 2012, WORLD Magazine wrote an article on autism that featured our son, William.

Intense Isolation (2012) – World Magazine

After 6 years, WORLD reached out to us for an update on William and the rest of the Fowler 4.

On Sunday we had the privilege of sitting down with Katie Gaultney of WORLD to interview for an upcoming podcast regarding autism and William and other topics of interest. (we even made Katie cry!)

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Is there anything better than talking about topics you’re passionate about?  Look how serious Seth is!!!

It was a blast not only to have a microphone in your face (if you know me you’d know that there’s nothing more I enjoy doing than talking)  and giving Katie the update on the past 6 years but also to have William and Margaret (10-years-old now) talk and hopefully be featured as well.

I do not envy how Katie will whittle down 1 hour and 45 minutes, of us talking about a topic we are very passionate about, into a short podcast – but maybe they will make multiple podcasts or do whatever it takes to get the information out to the masses.

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Katie of WORLD had no idea of what she was getting in to – crying, long-winded speakers and Charley Bear (dog) that took special interest in her.

When the podcast is released I’ll be certain to let you know and will blast it to the masses – the more the better – maybe they’ll have us as regular guests!

Special thanks to WORLD, Susan Olasky and Katie Gaultney for taking interest in our cause and passion.  Let’s do it again

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

 

Buddies

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It took us a while – but we are buddies

Seth Says

If I’m being honest, I probably never thought my son, William, and I would be buddies.  After he was diagnosed I went into a depression and malaise regarding him and regarding what I anticipated the future with a child on the spectrum would look like.

Initially those anticipations proved to mostly be true…William and I would do things together but I never got the feeling that we were developing a relationship or bond or that either of us really craved being together.

William is still really quiet.  He has language but doesn’t initiate talking (unless he wants something badly enough) and he’s not one for having conversation.

That’s okay.  I get it.

What he can do (and does a lot) is respond to my questions.  He tells me when he wants something.  He tells me if he likes one thing or another.  He will answer in his own way – maybe not with words but with a hug or kiss or simply by not leaving the room immediately if I enter.

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In the last blog I mentioned his penchant for doing puzzles.  That has become something we do together.

We went a TCU vs Texas basketball game together earlier in 2018…that was something I never thought we’d do.  He’s never going to follow players and their matriculation through high school to college to the NBA like I did (and still do), but he enjoyed clapping, high-fiving, eating popcorn and other treats when we went to the game.

He still says, “Daddy stop singing…stop singing, stop singing” when I’m into a singing mood…and that annoys me.  He will still refuse to work on a puzzle together if he’s not in the mood.  He will still sit silently in the car if I don’t try and pull word out of him.

And that’s okay.

We are now buddies.

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

He’s Growing…YIKES!

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Seth Says…

When William was born he was a pretty skinny kid.  His first few years we would call him “Noodle” because he was this long and skinny child that had very little meat on his bones.

I was a pretty skinny kid growing up too.  I remember when I was in elementary school I had this great party trick where I could suck in my stomach and pretty much touch my backbone–okay not really but it was like something out of National Geographic Magazine.

Earlier this year I went on a trip with a few buddies.  When I got back I was giving William a bath and noticed he seemed thicker…heavier…meat-ier.  WHAT?  Could it be that “The Noodle” was growing?

Sure enough we took him for his check-up and the doctor said he was gaining weight at a pretty good clip.  “The Noodle” was becoming “The Gnocchi” apparently.

He’s getting taller…he’s getting thicker…he’s not a little boy anymore.

I can’t hoist him up so he can touch the ceiling anymore!  I can’t carry him up the stairs with ease as often as before.  My little dude is becoming a little man.

NEW TERRITORY!

Now I know that all parents go through the child becoming an adolescent and all that that includes…but to go through that plus autism?  Oh boy…this should be fun!

Not only how are we going to handle this–but how is William going to handle this?  Surely he’s dealing with things and emotions and changes and yet can’t explain them as a typical child could.

Once again the reminder that there’s not blue print for our situation.  We’ve said it over and over…every child on the spectrum is different.  What “works” or helps for one child might be totally different for the other.

So there’s not stock answer.  There’s no guide to refer to.  There’s no 1-800 hotline when crisis is happening.  Now what?

I’m so thankful for the few fathers out there I’ve met with sons on the spectrum–but many of their children are YOUNGER than mine.  So now what?

I guess we’ll find out…

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

When Autism Torpedos

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Seth Says…

Yesterday looked like it was going to be a good day.  We had a good breakfast.  William and I played an intense game of Memory while mommy and Margaret got dressed for church.

Church seemed to go well…he sat still and paid attention during the service and apparently did well with  his “Shepherd” so that’s always a good thing.

Yesterday evening we were invited by another family to be their guests at a local country club to swim.  This was going to be a good day!

William LOVES the water.  Gone are the days when he’d freak out in the water.  Gone are the days when our heads would constantly be on a swivel trying to pay attention to the person we were talking to but really (mostly) paying attention to where William was swimming.  Gone are the days when we have to explain to William how he needs to stand in line patiently and not cut in front of all the other children in the diving board line.

This was going to be a good day!

And it started out that way…William couldn’t wait to get in the pool.  He loves the water.  I think back to the early swim school he went through…then the times when he wouldn’t even get in the water…then the 1 hour I would drive him and Margaret and the $$$ that we would spend for private indoor swim lessons just to make sure he’d be semi-comfortable around pools.  Oh the memories…but they’re fading fast as I see him jump into the pool and splash around and go down the slide without hesitation and off the diving board like a pro.

I even chuckled to myself as I saw William swim up to a pack of older girls…maybe in their pre-teens!!!  He didn’t say anything but I could tell he wanted their attention.  He had no hesitation to just swim amongst them…not sure they even noticed him–BUT you know what–what they didn’t notice was that he had autism.

For a brief moment I saw a 9-year-old boy interested in little girls…there was some typical-ness there that gave me hope.

Then it happened…he lost a torpedo.

Last year William became fascinated with these little rubber torpedoes that zig-and-zag through the water.  He LOVES them.  He would toss them and dive for them over and over and over last year.  And this year would be no different.

He has accumulated four colored torpedoes since last year…two green, one orange and one purple.

One thing you have to understand about William’s “brand” of autism is that it comes with a pretty high level of OCD…the kid knows things that most people wouldn’t.  He knows when you got a haircut, new shoes, are driving a different direction to a location…he pays attention.

And sure enough, after we had swam and eaten and played with torpedoes…he was missing two of them!

“WHERE’S THE TORPEDO?!”…over and over and over…”DADDY…HELP YOU FIND TORPEDO…!”  Louder and louder and louder.

You see the angst on his face.  It’s like you just ran over his dog in front of him.

We’re talking about a freaking rubber $0.99 toy for crying out loud….

But it just continued…”TORPEDO…TORPEDO…TORPEDO!”

But it was no where to be found.  Didn’t matter what we did, what we said or who said it…the evening was O-V-E-R.

Our friends graciously sat there while we did our best to soothe him.  We tried our “tricks” and responses to distract or ignore…it didn’t work.

We left thinking, “well…we’ll never get invited back there again…”  But I know that’s not true.  Our friends are loving and understanding and they’ve seen this kind of stuff before and they still want to be around us.

It just SUCKS…I saw a 9-year-old boy try to flirt with girls…then I saw a 9-year-old boy completely fall apart and not able to recover because something in his world wasn’t orderly and understandable.

And I just hurt.

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

House of Cards – Autism Style

Stacking cards is a new opportunity for William to pass the time

Stacking cards is a new opportunity for William to pass the time

“Seth Says…”

Don’t worry…I’m not going to blog about Francis and Claire Underwood and tie that into the autism world…although that would be quite a blog huh?  Maybe we should get the show “House of Cards” to write a Bill that actually has some teeth to autism funding–wouldn’t that be an interesting plot!

But I digress

So this past weekend was the Fourth of July.  In the past, weekends have been very difficult for our family because it’s hot in Texas and we tend to run out of things to do–and when William runs out of things to do his behavior goes down the drain in a hurry.  I can’t speak for Melanie but I know I was a bit nervous about this extended weekend and how we were going to pass the time–and how we were going to keep William as occupied and happy as possible.

It just so happened that on July 3rd I had a little poker night at the casa…I stink at Texas Hold ‘Em but love playing…and so I had a few new stacks of playing cards lying around the house on the 4th of July.

After breakfast Melanie started playing with them and trying to build a house of cards with the playing cards while Margaret and I played a card game that she was making up on the fly (she always seems to be the winner of those games…hmmm)

William was stemming with  his brush and spoons and I could tell he was getting bored.

Then all of a sudden he took an interest in what Melanie was doing.  He wanted no part of the game Margaret and I were playing, but he became fascinated with Melanie stacking the cards and building a structure.

She offered William a stack of cards and PRESTO…he was hooked.  I don’t think he’s going to become a professional card stacker…but it was really cool to see him sitting there trying to stack the cards.  He’d get pretty frustrated when they would fall but we encouraged him to be gentle to the cards and keep trying.

He probably played with those cards for 30 minutes.  That might not sound like a lot but as a parent you know that’s a huge victory–the kid really doesn’t like to play with much.  He isn’t really into Legos or TV or games…he lines up cars, jumps on his mini-trampoline and taps on his favorite brush and spoons.

I don’t know if card stacking is going to be a new fixation for William but it was really cool to see him working at getting the cards just right and the excitement on his face when he would get one or two levels stacked.

So if you’re looking for something for your child to do…go spend $1.99 and buy a pack of cards and have fun!

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com