Tag Archives: “look at my eyes”

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

 

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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

hear say

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I’ve taken such a nice long break that I forgot my password.

I remembered it. <smile>

It has been good. I needed it. We all need it.

For me, vocalizing is not usually difficult or strained. Facial expressions too… I can’t hide them. Gosh I really can’t.

My husband. If you know him, you know expression is his world. He’s a talker…much, MUCH more than I am. It comes easy.

For William, every word is mainly work. Something for others to hear.

I see the wheels turning, the eyes shifting… I know there are thoughts, but many times it is silence I hear.

With two expressive parents, it must me in his genes somewhere. Trapped at times.

I can’t speak for him, not always the way he would like me to. His sister has, does, and will often. Those two.

My questions are not always the right questions.

But I do try…probing constantly to get a true depictive response from him.

But, those are words. Really, just words.

If I look closer, he speaks often.

Each raised eyebrow, pause, snicker, and hand gesture… speaks to me. It’s loud sometimes and yes, I do sometimes yearn for it to come in one easy box of simply uttered words.

Sometimes it does and I relish…pondering on it for days sometimes. Ok years.

His expressions. I’ve learned to live and breathe for. I’ve learned to hear him with passing hours of no words in sight. It’s all there.

It’s a different bird though and not easily caught.

In fact, I know I have missed it many times by waiting for words.

Don’t get so caught up in the words that you miss the expression.

Sometimes you just need to just shut up to watch the expression unravel. <smile>

You’ll hear so much more.

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

 

sway

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Everything starts with small steps. Everything is taught. Everything.

A few months ago, it occurred to me that I wanted William to learn how to slow dance. I’m not sure why I desired this to be.

Maybe because I thought he would like it. He didn’t…. not at first.

Maybe because I liked the idea of him being close. I did…. always and forever.

Who am I kidding, he is a scrumdiddlyumptious bar and any way I can be close to him, I’ll take it!

Maybe because most 8 year olds don’t slow dance with their mommies and I wanted us to accomplish something out of the norm. Something to call our own.

No time frames, no comparisons, no charts, no age-based norms to look to.     Just us.

But, like most tasks, it took a lot of work. I began to see the small steps seep through just as they always do. It is always work… for him, for me.

We started with the simple task of holding one hand and I had his other hand around my waist. This took about a week. He would flop on the floor like a fish when I would even utter the word “dance.” “No no no!” he would say. “No dance!”

It was new… William doesn’t like new. I kept going…. as his resistance towards the new doesn’t stop me nor does it control my emotions, at least not the way it used to.

Two weeks went by and the “fish flopping” decreased.   He began holding my hand and the arm around the waist was quite loose but it was a start.

Next came the swaying…many times we fell over. Did I mention he is almost 4 and a half feet tall? He’s very strong too (thanks to the monkey bars) so if he falls, I fall.

After the third week, the swaying softened up a bit. A few moments turned into a few longer moments.

A few times the mirror caught my eye and I could see us both standing there.

Quiet, perfectly engaged, and in the moment.

It happened.

Maybe one day he will want to dance with a young lady.

Until then, I will be standing there ready to be swayed.

Nothing can take that away… not even autism.

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

Special Thanks to Jewett Photography
DFW Photographers
http://www.jewettphotography.com

 

 

 

 

 

Aware.

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I am aware.

It is April…Autism Awareness month. As this month comes to a close I can’t help but ponder… What are you (the general public) aware of? You may be aware that people with autism exist in this world and exhibit many struggles.

Let’s get real. Unless you live in isolation with no exposure to the outside world, you’re aware.

But do you really get it?

I am aware… yep, I am certainly aware.

I am aware that the autism spectrum is “growing” and funding is shrinking.

I am aware that many caregivers receive barely there training and that many teachers receive “online training” (whatever that means).

I am aware that most parents (like me) continue to look for quality transitioning/adult services to only come up empty handed.

I am aware that 9 out of 10 adults with autism are either unemployed or underemployed, regardless of their IQ or education level.

I am aware that we are fooling ourselves if we think one month out of the year will help our definition of “awareness.”

I am aware that society has a wayyyyyys to go and so does William… and so do I.

I am aware that the White House failed to even muster up a flicker of blue for “light it up blue” and without support, we become the hamster wheel.

I am aware that silver bullet “cures” and empty promises trump what’s really important, which is to focus on the science of really helping kids with autism.

I am aware of how blessed William is to be receiving scientifically proven treatment methods and how the wait list for theses services continues to grow.

I am aware that the majority of the population is unaware.

I am aware. yes. But, I’ll never stop…

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

a Skipper Too

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William’s legs are long.  Like, really long.  He’s always looked the same.  To put it into perspective, at birth, he weighed in at 6 lbs and yet his length was 22.5 inches. Yep, I told you, long!  He almost never wears a pair with the “worn” look because they’re off and then it’s on with another new and longer pair.

But, as I look at these long gangly legs, I am reminded about so much more than pant purchasing woes.  Over the past 8 years, these legs have entered more therapeutic facility doors and have endured more therapy hours than one can even conceive.

With these legs, he has achieved more success than I hope to in a lifetime.

These legs never crawled as a baby and standing and walking were HUGE milestones in more ways than one.

At one point, I thought these legs would never be able to run…

The plethora of hours in occupational and physical therapy certainly helped these legs reach their goal.  In fact, the goal was surpassed by mastering the “light” jog.  As William grew more strong and mobile, the “jog” one day became a “run.”

Every year, the Fowler Four participates in a phenomenally fun and meaningful 5k race and every year I am reminded of these long gangly legs and how far they have taken him… how far they have taken, us.

I continue to be blessed by each step that is mastered, his legs, his strength, his ability to tolerate hours upon hours of hard therapy and academics.

Guess what???  You will never.  These long gangly legs can now skip. <smile>

What has been accomplished that you never thought possible?

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