Apr 30, 2013

Blogging for Autism Awareness Wrap-up

So....here we are then end of 

And I am so sad to see it go.

This month flew by for me.

I hope you all enjoyed reading each post
as much as I did.

In case you missed any of them,
here they are for your reading pleasure.

I have to say...that I have learned a lot this month.

I have learned that there are GOOD PEOPLE in the World.

I have learned that having guest posters on your blog is a 
(Honestly, I thought this would be easy, even though several friends
warned me that it would be a lot of work.  Melissa, Stephanie and Tami,
YOU WERE RIGHT, I bow to your wisdom)

I have learned that I can get a post and pictures
 on my blog, no matter how it
comes to me, Google Docs, Microsoft Work,
 Microsoft Word, TypePad, email, HTML code,
I have it down pat now..so
if you ever want to guest post,
please contact me, I got this now. And I can do this at 8 pm
or 1:30 am..no problem

I have learned that with great work, comes great reward.

I have learned to put aside MY feelings, for the Greater Good.

I have learned that the world beats to it's own drum,
and I have no rhythm.

I have learned that while I know a lot about handling MY Autistic Child,
in the grand picture.that is all I know, how to handle MY child.

I have learned that dedicating an entire month of my life
  to bringing Autism Awareness, is not enough.
Autism is 365 day a year job, and while I don't want to turn this 
blog into a Autism Awareness blog, I think a little Autism Awareness
will be popping up from time to time.

I have learned that "Girls are Weird" or so my son told me, as night after night
he found me at my computer, in tears, over yet ANOTHER touching
Autism Awareness Post.

I have learned to Say NO to cookie requests for this month, even to 
loyal customers, the only cookies I did this month were Autism Cookies and 
10 dozen cookies for my Collin's Prom (which he did not even go to, but he
helped decorate, for 10 hours, in a a loud crowded gym, so I 
will count that as a victory).

I have learned that even after making more puzzle cookie then I could 
count this month, the sight of a puzzle cookie still makes me smile.

To all the guest blogger,


You are the ones that made this a
Huge Success!

Thank you for taking the time out of your
busy schedules to help me.

Thank you for the amazing projects you did.

Thank you for the time you took to research your posts.

Thank you for sharing heartfelt stories.

Thank you for supporting my dream of
having a post a day about Autism Awareness.

Thank you for caring.

Thank you for helping spread the word.


Thank you to all the readers of these blog posts.

I have gotten great feedback, kind and supportive comments,
touching emails, and have made many new friends.

Thank you for taking the time each day, to read these posts.

Thank you for sharing these posts with friends and family.


I leave you with one of the many
Autism Awareness Cookies I made this month,
but will be back later this week,
with a post about all the cookies I did this month.

Until next time,


Apr 29, 2013

Cue Card Cookies by Suzy Social Worker

Hi!! I am Marci from Suzy Social Worker by day Betty Crocker by Night. I am so flattered and honored to have been asked to participate in The Cookie Puzzle’s Autism Awareness Month. I have read through some amazing posts. Some have even made me cry. I have known about Autism for a while, but from a different point of view. I am a social worker and formally was a therapist. I may not be able to quote statistics to you about Autism, but I can tell you that I have learned a lot just by being a part of these families lives for a short period of time.


I remember when I worked with my very first client- a young boy- with Autism. He had an Autism spectrum disorder called Asperger’s. He was not what I had expected. I was a young clinician- just starting my career in mental health as a community based therapist. I wish I could claim that I had a tremendous impact on this young man, but I cannot. I do know that I learned a great deal from him and continued to learn a great deal from other clients with Autism throughout the years. Some of the most challenging experiences I had as a therapist were with children with Autism, but they were also some of the most rewarding experiences ever. I continued to work in the mental health arena for over a decade. In that time, I learned a great deal about Autism. I also learned that I really don’t know that much at all about Autism. Every child is different, every family is different and as a therapist I always had to think creatively.

I remember with one family I worked with- I always say family because even though the child was my client- I truly worked with the whole family. I worked with Mom to come up with a behavior plan and also worked on flashcards to use with the client. I thought that I was being so creative and original. Little did I know that flashcards and “cue” cards can be an important component of Autism therapy. Since working with that family, I have learned much more about the treatment approaches. I am not a trained therapist in any behavioral approach for Autism. I worked with some clients throughout the years who have had Autism spectrum disorders. I am not an expert in Autism or the treatment of Autism. I have just been fortunate enough to experience how special they truly are in my behavioral health work.

I really tried to think creatively about doing an Autism Awareness Post. I had thought about doing a cookie puzzle piece cookie, but decided that I would be a rebel and do something different. So, instead I made cookie flashcards. Flashcards can be a component of therapy or treatment with a child with Autism, but I have learned that flashcards or “cue” cards can be an amazing tool with any kid. Cue cards can be incorporated into a chore chart. Cue cards can be placed on the mirror to remind a kid of the morning bathroom routine and cue cards can be used as visual reminder for many daily tasks and learning.

Here are a few cue cards I made.

Although, I no longer work in behavioral health I will never forget my memories from my clients and therapy. I know more about dinosaurs from one young boy I worked with than I ever thought that I would know. I also can say I held a hissing cockroach in my hand- just for one second- and a tarantula. That young boy loved insects and bugs and could recite amazing facts about them. And kudos to his Mom for allowing him to have a “pet” cockroach and tarantula.

Since I made cookie Cue cards I also made a few more cookies. They are simple- but sometimes simple is ok. I chose just a few key words to place on cookies that can impact a child or family’s experience with Autism. We can all help out in one of these areas. We may love a child with Autism. We may work on research for Autism. We may advocate for Autism. We may work on technology that impacts Autism. We may support a family with Autism. We may do therapy with a client with Autism. We can all do something.

Thanks again Kim for allowing me to participate in such an amazing project.

Apr 28, 2013

A Square Peg in a Round Hole by In the Heart of Happy

Hi, you can usually find me over at In the Heart of Happy and She Bakes but today, I am playing at The Cookie Puzzle
As you may know, April is Autism Awareness Month and I am both thrilled and honored to be writing this guest post for The Cookie Puzzle as she promotes knowledge of what Autism is and is not.

Autism touches my life in a special way and I thought long and hard about how I wanted to interpret the theme in cookies and in what I wanted to say about it.

By now, you have heard about what defines Autism and Autistic Spectrum Disorders. You have been presented with statistics and some wonderful personal stories of people that deal with life that is way more colorful than most.

I like a lot of color in my world.

I am the mother of a child that was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder at the age of 4. Her official diagnosis was PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified) and it came after many, many testing sessions with a multi-faceted team of pediatric medical specialists at our local Children's Hospital.

According to the Wikipedia description of PDD-NOS which (I am assuming that you will take the time to read this article) states that this particular population shows some characteristics of Autism, but not all and often milder.

It was an interesting journey to take with this amazing child, but it was also so difficult. I mean, I was a first time mother that had to circumnavigate the maze that is the pediatric community. Holla' if you feel me....

I can honestly say though...I never thought of that diagnosis as an impairment. Here was this incredibly intelligent, gorgeous child who was deeply immersed in her surroundings and had a difficult time communicating. She attended a special language immersion program at the hospital three days a week. She had an IEP even before she was in Kindergarten. By the time she was in first grade, she was the only child in our school system to have both a Special Education designation AND be qualified for the gifted program.

She modeled after excellence and life was so much better for her...because of early intervention, she was thriving and growing.

There are still communicative difficulties that she deals with to this day, but she's gonna be fine. As a family, we chose to not limit her by ever considering her to be disabled. She was always treated as if she was perfectly normal because in our eyes, she is.

I have also come to realize that she comes from a long, distinguished line of women who can be diagnosed with the same disorder....

Myself included.

Her Grandmother, definitely.

And most likely my Grandmother, her Great Grandmother.

I took the test of AQ (Autism Quotient) and I scored well within the range of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

When I was growing up, there was only a problem if it was severe as far as pediatricians were concerned.

A Square Peg trying to fit into a Circle.

I will bet you know several people that could fit the same description as a "Square Peg". You couldn't put your finger on it, but they were always a little different...

Yep, that's her...that's me...and that's definitely my mother. (I do love you, Mom)
So, let's say YEAH for those that don't fit in, the paradoxes, the brilliant minds... the ones that are a little different than all the rest. Admit it, we make life more interesting and create really awesome stuff.

This is Home Girl and I'm not a cookie blog....I swear.

Apr 27, 2013

Autism Awareness Cookies by Cristin's Cookies {Guest Post}

Thank you Kimmie for inviting me to participate in your Autism Awareness project. This is a huge undertaking and I'm so honored to be a part of it. You've always been an inspiration to me in how you raise your son and you adapt so easily to accommodate his needs and all your efforts in helping him to become the young man he is today. Thank you for helping us all to learn about Autism.

My name is Cristin of Cristin's Cookies and I have OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I like NEED my projects completed, even if it's 4am and I'm beyond exhausted. I like things to be put away in the same spot. When hubby can't figure out to put the butter in the butter drawer of the refrigerator, it wreaks havoc with my brain. If there is an empty hanger in my closet, then I know my sister has stolen something of mine. In almost every case, I'd rather get something checked off my to do list than do something fun because that IS my kind of fun. I never lose anything because everything in my little world has a place. Are you getting the picture? Think of Sheldon of The Big Bang Theory. I relate to him. Pathetic, but true.

Why do I share this most uncomfortable, most embarrassing side of me? Because I imagine that it may resemble parts of Autism. The truth of the matter is that before I got to know Kimmie, I knew NOTHING about Autism. Last year when I donated my princess cookies for Cookies for iPads, I still knew nothing about Autism. But in getting to know Kimmie this past year, I've learned a little about Autism and how it has effected her son, Collin.

I labored over what kind of cookies to make for this project. I knew it should include a puzzle since that is the symbol for Autism, but Kimmie's puzzle cookies are always so perfect that it felt a little daunting. I'm generally pretty good about doing my own thing and not comparing, so I decided to get out of my own way and make puzzle cookies for Autism Awareness.

The biggest thing I've learned is that Autism is not the same for everyone that has it. My friend, Kristina, posted a picture on Facebook the other day and it pretty much summed it up for me. 
From reading the posts of Kimmie's guest bloggers, I learned that it is much more common for boys to have Autism than girls. Don't I feel silly for sending princess cookies for the fundraiser last year! So I made boy mouse with a puzzle piece cookies

 and girl mouse with a puzzle piece cookies

 and I saw this image on Google and just had to make it into a cookie for Autism Awareness

 and then I made a group of puzzle pieces similar to Kimmie's logo.

 and then I bagged the cookies with a fun rainbow puzzle piece cookie tag. I also shared the cookie tags for your use too. You can download the puzzle cookie tags and personalize them for your own use. Download HERE.

You know what is really weird? Last night when I was finishing up these cookies, I was listening to a movie in the background. It was "Adam". In the movie the boy said he has Asperger's Syndrome. My head popped up in surprise. Weird timing right?

In the movie the girl said in passing to the boy that she couldn't see the stars out her window because the apartment windows were so dirty. The next night, she found him outside a high-rise apartment washing the windows! When she asked what he was doing, he simply said that she had said the windows were dirty. Literal to a fault.
 After I finished all my cookies, my reward was that my little granddaughter Abigail came over to play today!

Apr 26, 2013

Welcome to Holland Cookies by Jill FCS

How awesome is Kim for turning over her baby — her blog — to 29 cookie artists? Brave, Kim, very brave! I am Jill, from Jill FCS, and am honored to participate in Autism Awareness Month.

Inspiration is all around us and it comes in all forms, from famous artists to amazing kiddos, from published authors to dedicated parents, from remarkable world leaders to thoughtful neighbors.

We are lucky, we have wonderful neighbors. They are the kind of neighbors that smile and wave ... the kind that shout a cheerful greeting on a beautiful spring day ... those kind of neighbors ... the unassuming, nice kind.

One of our neighbors is blessed with a beautiful daughter, aptly named Bella, who happens to be autistic. I asked Bella’s Dad for ideas on what direction to take this post. He thoughtfully responded with the following story, written by Emily Perl Kingsley. Needless to say, Bella and her parents inspire me.

Welcome to Holland
©1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability — to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this ...

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills ... and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandt's.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away ... because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss.

But ... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Apr 25, 2013

Once Upon a Time There Was A Tangram by Laura's Cookies

Hello Everyone!  I'm Laura from LaurasCookies, and I want to thank Kim for allowing me to do a guest post in honor of Autism Month on her blog. I 'met' Kim a couple of years ago when we were both part of the same cookie swap.  And through her, I 'virtually' met her son Collin, and learned a little more about autism and about the people and families whose lives have been changed by it.  As I pondered what to share with you today, I tried to imagine what it must be like to be inside Collin's world and, through reading on some autism sites, and knowing a little bit about Collin's life through Kim, I created a short story and some cookies to go along with it.  I hope you will enjoy!


Once upon a time there was a jumble of pieces which would become a person.

Each shape was meant to do something different and special.  Some pieces would be muscles, some would be circulatory, some would be skeletal and some would be brain function.

The day arrived for the little one to be born and there was excitement in the house.

But after the young one was born, others notice that there were some things about him that seemed to work differently. Things like showing less attention to social stimuli, smiling and looking at others less often, and even responding less to his own name.  This made them notice, and watch:

As he grew, the little person often felt like he was running to catch up…

Sometimes he felt like he was swimming in deep water…

Or sailing alone on a big sea…

But he was becoming the person he should be.  A person with his own talents and gifts, and a big loving heart.  Even though he experienced the world a little differently from others, he learned he was unique, special and valuable.  He spread his wings:

And hopped along…

Being the best HIM, ever!

The End.  Or maybe not…

A word about these cookies:
These cookie pictures use “Tangrams.” Tangrams are a Chinese puzzle made by cutting a square into five triangles, a square, and a rhomboid which are capable of being recombined into many different figures. 

The upper two pictures show different geometric patterns and a tangram shape.  I searched ‘tangram’ on the Internet, printed out patterns, and then hand-cut them with a sharp knife on chilled vanilla sugar cookie dough (bottom two pictures.)  Once these were baked, I iced them with bright colored Royal Icing and they were ready to use!  My family had a fun time creating the different shapes used in this story.
I want to thank Kim , for the opportunity to research and understand autism a little better through her invitation to do a guest blog.  If you are interested in finding out more about autism, here are a few sites where you can find out further information:  

·         Austism Society of America Foundation: http://www.autism-society.org/
·         Autism Foundation: http://www.autism-society.org/
·         The Autism Research Foundation: http://theautismresearchfoundation.org/
·         The Center for Autism: http://www.thecenterforautism.org/autismfoundation
·         American Autism Foundation: http://www.americanautismfoundation.org/About_AAFI.html
·         National Autism Association: http://nationalautismassociation.org/

Thank you Kim and Collin, for helping me learn, and for inspiring me by sharing your lives!

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