hammer and nail_web

First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who took the time to express their opinion and support here -- as well as those of you who took the time to contact Disney.

I'm playing phone tag with someone in their offices now, but I feel much more confident that our concerns about bullying within the park are being taken seriously. I promise you that I will report back here after I've managed to connect with my new contact there. Your support means the world to my whole family!

You may have noticed a few new changes we've been making around LifeIsASpectrum. For a while, I've wanted a way to share blog posts from some of my favorite writers, websites with great learning tools, and significant resources for parents of kids on the spectrum.

I've started a new sidebar where I can highlight a few of those recommendations from time to time. If you have a suggestion, please feel free to shoot me an email or post a link in the comments section of this blog. I love finding new blogs, education sites and special needs resources.

I've updated "Billy's Story," to include the progress we've made over the last year since I started this blog. There probably isn't much that's new for those of you who kindly stop by here regularly, but I know that that link is the first start for a lot of folks finding me for the first time, and I wanted them to see how far we've come. It was uplifting, actually, to summarize all the breakthroughs. Looking at it in black and white helped me realize how much we have to celebrate!

Also, I have a new Life is A Spectrum page on Facebook. Now you no longer have to "friend" me and get inundated with my family photos in order to get updates about the blog and share stories about from the spectrum ... though if you're already my Facebook friend, you aren't allowed to un-friend me. I'm too fragile for that.

So please bear with us as we continue to make changes over the next few weeks. If you find any bugs, don't hesitate to let me know (Thank you, Wendy, for spotting the one with the sidebar!), and I'll pass them on to my in-house IT guy (Dave).

And now, for a scene through the eyes of the spectrum, because I couldn't just leave you after having done nothing but a bunch of housekeeping:


It's grey and very very foggy and damp outside. I'm holding Billy by his hand, walking him to school, which is just around the corner. I flat-ironed my hair the night before, and now I can feel the frizz creeping back in. I literally turn up my collar to the cold and damp, a la Simon & Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence." Yeah, I'm in that kind of mood.

Suddenly, Billy stops.

I turn to look at him. He's staring around him in wonder. He's waving his hands around him, like he's trying to grab the wisps of fog.

BILLY: Mama ... what a BEAUTIFUL day!


And then I look around me, and you know what? He's right. On the "beautiful day" spectrum, this one is right up there. Foggy and weird-lighted and grey and ... beautiful.

I hope your day is beautiful too.

Reader Comments

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I've been out of the loop for a few days! I love the new sidebar and I'm so glad to hear the mouse is taking time to understand the root of the Disney issue.

Thanks for featuring me in your sidebar, but I hope you know that you have to keep it there forever because my ego is also fragile.

I hope that it is cloudy and rainy when I get down there! I'm bad in the heat....

I'm so glad you're making headway with Disney, Amanda. It's people like you who ensure Disney is a positive experience for everyone. Ever child deserves a happy and safe environment.

I love the updates on your blog! Nicely done, friend!

Hugs to your Billy and his talent for seeing the beauty around him. Happy weekend!

Beautiful Day

You know what? Billy is right. It is a beautiful day.

Tooting my own Horn

Hi Amanda,

I just wanted to drop you a note that i have linked to your blog from mine. While i do mentioned Autism from time to time, it is more of a journey journal than anything. But since i am linking to your blog i wanted to let you know.

I think you are doing a great thing blogging about your dealings and what you have learned/are learning. Thank you for taking the time to blog.

~ john
aka 'samurai'

P.S. @ Cheryl re:hating Disney

It was probably me, a retweet of my tweets, or a tweet from my blog, that you saw on Twitter. I didn't intend it to sound that angry and I'm sorry if I came across that way. I don't HATE Disney. (I don't LOVE them either. I think they have slidden considerably downhill and Walt would be shocked!) It just happened to be Disney that was involved in this unfortunate incident and I felt that they needed to be made aware that people expect better from them. I also felt, and still do, that they owed Billy and his family more of an apology than they have yet been given. But I would have "kicked up a fuss" no matter where this had happened ... not just Disney. Beth

Beautiful Day!

Thank you! I needed that reminder to see the beauty in the fog instead of always wishing it would clear away!

Total 12 comments

A parent's day is full of perfectly ordinary moments. For us, we were relaxed on the couch on a Sunday afternoon. My three-year-old son, Billy, kept demanding that we blow on his tummy, a favorite game. Then suddenly, he requested, “Blow on Mama's tummy!”

I dutifully pulled my shirt up a few inches to expose my abs – or where they used to be before two children. Delighted, he blew on my stomach a couple of seconds ... then stopped. He stood up, pulled my shirt back into place and shook his head. He explained sadly, “This tummy is too big,” before slowly walking away.

Did I get on the phone and call my mom? Record this moment in my son's baby book? Well, eventually. But thanks to a new website,, I can share this instantly classic piece of family history with a wide network of appreciative moms and dads.

SquirtBlurt is the brainchild of co-founder Sundy Aimee Visbal, a mom of two young children, and her two friends, Jeremy Self and John Malloy. “The idea came to us because our kids are at that age when they say really funny, precious things, and we wanted a place where we can share what our children are saying and read what others had to share,” said Visbal.

Visbal points out that while almost everyone has Facebook and Twitter accounts, those networks aren't always the appropriate place to chuckle over your kids' gutbustingly funny turns of phrase. Are the single co-workers in your Facebook network really going to appreciate what your son had to say about potty training? Will old college chums “get it” when you post your three-year-old's hilarious versions of nursery rhymes?

“My kids will say something really funny and then five minutes later I’ve forgotten what it was they said,” she explained. “ is a unique site that focuses on those cute and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny things children say.”

The process is simple: Create a free user profile -- a process that takes about a minute. Within another minute, you'll be “blurting,” typing in your favorite anecdotes and sharing them with SquirtBlurt's network of fellow parents. Once your blurt is live, others on the network can vote on its hilarity, mark it as a favorite, or make a comment.

“Hot blurts” make it to a highlighted spot on the home page, and parents with the funniest blurts can find themselves on the “Monthly” or “Daily Leaders” board. If you decide you do want to share your blurts with your Facebook friends or Twitter tweeps, a built-in click-and-share button makes the process seamless.

I should warn you, though: SquirtBlurt is highly addictive. I log on to share my kids' blurts, and find myself unable to stop reading others. Yasmin, age four, describes Little Miss Muffet, sitting on her tuffet, “eating her curtains away...” Mateo, age 7, tells his mom: “I'm a god.” Three-year-old Elizabeth informs her parents that she's “having a rough day” at 8 o'clock in the morning.

Our kids grow up too quickly. In a world that's frequently too cynical and jaded, lets us freeze those priceless moments of kid wisdom and for a few minutes look at the world through the innocent eyes of a child.

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