Tag Archive | communication

One is silver and the other’s gold.


I’ve been a silent observer of life and its many fascinating facets since the moment I was given eyes to see. One of the most intriguing, and I must admit confusing, aspects of it all is friendship, at least for myself. I’ve come to the conclusion having a small, if not very small, close-knit group of like-minded, yet diverse friends is a satisfying and healthy alternative to the dramatic realm of all that comes with maintaining a rather large grouping of friends.

I’m not what you would call a social butterfly, I’m not even a social caterpillar. I’ll stay right here in my cozy little cocoon thank you. It’s not that I don’t desire friendship or that I shun it when it is offered, I simply don’t seem to fit into many of the molds people think friends should fit into. I don’t care to talk on the phone, I don’t care to go shopping and I don’t care to go out with anyone but my husband or an occasional date with one of my kids.

Many of the women I meet have younger children, my days of parks and play dates have passed. My children face challenges a lot of people either cannot or do not want to understand. Being an autism mother sets you apart from the crowd much of the time. I don’t mind, they say good friends are hard to find, and they are, especially when your life is filled with the trials and triumphs that come along with having special needs children.

Throughout my life I haven’t had many friends, just a select few, including my mother, the best friend I could have ever hoped for. The treasured few friends I have in this life are far in distance, but close in heart. I have mostly memories and mementos I treasure, remembrances of the friends I have been blessed with in this life. Truthfully, I’ve always kind liked it that way. I never thought I needed anything more.

I wasn’t looking when new friendship found its way to me, I was hesitant at first to open myself up to a group of new people, I will forever be thankful I did. Before I met them I used the internet for research, for fun and distraction, now, it is my lifeline to old friends and new.

Like I said, being a mother with special needs children makes for difficult connections sometimes. I found myself in an online group, an autism support group. I thought if anything, I could help others who were following the same path I had traveled since my children were born. I never expected to find support or encouragement for myself, I only wished to give it.

What I found was unexpected and amazing. They embraced me and drew me in, we became a family as we pointed and clicked our way forward. I will never have words enough to thank them for being there for me when I didn’t know I needed them to be. That was years ago, they are still there for me as I am for them. It’s a different kind of friendship, we don’t hang out or have weekend barbeques. We don’t power walk at the mall or go for coffee in the afternoons, but we are always a click away from each other. In recent months, I have found myself immersed with and surrounded by another bastion of new characters I think safe to call my friends.

For me, this beautiful, distant connection is perfect. I am not like most women. I do believe friendship is a wonderful thing, in moderation.

I am not one of those women who have a phone directory filled with names and numbers of people I like, don’t like, tolerate, get the good gossip from, always asking for favors or any of the other unknown reasons women flock together for. I’d blame it on my years of being a military wife, seeing people come and go in and out of our lives, but I know it has nothing to do with that. I was like this even as a small child. I wasn’t anti-social, I just preferred my books. I would rather sit down and write a story than go out and ride bikes on most days.

I’ve always held tight to my beliefs and stood strong on my convictions and that hasn’t changed, but it has changed the people who choose to stay in my life. I have high standards when it comes to the people I allow in. I’m not referring to social status, financial brackets, looks, background, race or religion. I am talking about character and I have found a lot of people just don’t have any.

I want friends who are not afraid to disagree with me and still stand beside me regardless of our differences. I want friends who will give as much as they receive and I want friends who will accept me for who I am just as I would accept them. I want real friendships, friends who do not pretend to be one person in front of me and then another in front of someone else.

It seems to me, through observation, people tend to change ever so slightly (some not so slightly) when in the company of varying friends. I find it odd to watch the dynamics which take place within large groups of friends. Too often I see underlying jealousy or subtle sabotage taking place. I see heartache and desperation when one is wronged and the others are left not knowing which side to cling to. It’s all a bit too much for me.

I do not easily open up and trust, when I do, it is wholeheartedly. I have been hurt because of this, but I have also been blessed with the purest of friendships because of it. I don’t know when or where my next friend will cross my path, I do not know if it will be a forever friendship or a wonderful passing gift. I am not in a hurry to welcome new people into my heart, but if someone comes along who can measure up to those who have come before her, I will with open arms. She will have big shoes to fill for they have been well-worn by angels.

Crystal R. Cook

Product Promises, Broken iPad & a Blessing


My dear friend Cindie recently had what could have been a terrible, awful, and heartbreaking incident happen with her sons iPad mini, BUT, Walmart did something wonderful, something another company could have easily, and perhaps should have done themselves.

Cindie’s son is an adorable 9-year-old boy who dropped his iPad, breaking it. Now I know some of you might be thinking, why does a 9-year-old have his own iPad? Or something along those lines; the difference between Cindie’s son and an arguably overindulged 9-year-old with an expensive piece of technology is this, he is autistic.

This particular little boy uses his iPad to communicate, it is his voice. Like any responsible parent, Cindie did her best to protect her sons ability to communicate with the world. She purchased a protective case she was led to believe was pretty much indestructible.

Problem is, the case itself does fulfill the indestructible portion of its claims, but not so much the protective part. It fell short in its ability to protect what it was meant to protect, leaving Cindie and her son with an intact case on a broken iPad.

I realize we can’t blame a product for its hype or effectiveness, well, we can, but reality is, things happen and sometimes we just have to suck it up. I understand Cindie’s frustration with the product in question, I also understand that companies do not have to go out of their way to help us out when something goes wrong, but they can. Some do. Especially in circumstances like the one I’m sharing.

Thankfully, a company did step up, it wasn’t the one she’d expected.

The following is the message which prompted me add my own two cents worth of words . . .

PLEASE SHARE! From a note I wrote . . . I never write things, but I feel very strongly about this. 

iPad smashed — The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 

The Bad — My 9 year old son dropped and shattered his iPad mini at school. It had a Griffin Survivor case on it. My husband called Griifin and talked to customer service, and to their supervisor and to their supervisor (you get the picture). Well there is nothing they can do for us “But if the case is broken we will replace it.” 

WHAT!!!! The case is not broken. The iPad it was supposed to protect is. http://store.griffintechnology.com/survivor-case-for-ipad-m… 

The Good — Our local Walmart in Coventry, RI, upon hearing that R needed a new voice, has donated one to him! Yay Walmart! http://www.walmart.com/store/2283/

The Ugly —I’m feeling really ugly, mad, and hateful towards Griffin Technologies. Military tested! And it broke! Now I totally support our military, but, yeah, ummm Griffin you dropped the ball. How’s about Autism Tested?

That last bit there is a pretty good idea, I propose ALL products be autism tested as the new standard of durability!

Kudos to Walmart for extending such compassion.

I’d love to hear your suggestions, experiences, and advice in regard to what you feel is the best protective cases on the market, I’m sure Cindie would as well . . .

Crystal R. Cook

Wilson Wisdom – Autism, spoken VS written word, & anxiety.


When Autistics speak, we need to listen . . .

Being autistic, it is sometimes hard for me to put my feelings into words using my voice, but with the written word I can say things much easier since I can see what I say and correct anything that I misspoke before anyone else can see it. Sometimes things that are bothering me I won’t talk about because I can’t put it into spoken words, if I try to, my point either comes off as not as I intended or it is misinterpreted because of the words I used.

To put it in a way easier to understand, when I speak it’s like a game of Scrabble, but instead of letter tiles I have word tiles, if some of the words I need are not available and I have to use similar words to get my point across it can lead to confusion. When I write I have access to all the tiles at once and it’s simple for my thoughts to come out, I still make mistakes, but not as much.

If I feel anxious I tend to deal with it on my own and tell no one since it is even harder to say what I need and I only bring it up when it is either resolved or when I really can’t do it on my own and I need someone else to help me.

When it comes to autism, the people around those with autism need to be vigilant about the mental state of the autistic person. With me, I can handle most things on my own and have an understanding of how my anxiety works (Some forms of my own anxiety require me to let it run its course when none of the other methods I have learned to use work or make it worse) but others may not have this understanding and cannot get through without help, mine comes from years of having to deal with it and with the help of my Mom (Crystal Cook) teaching me methods and helping me through them.

Some younger autistics have not yet learned to put such information to use so it is up to those around them to notice these moments of anxiety and help them through it, if you’re close to someone with autism I am sure you know the signs, I would list some, but not everyones signals are the same. For me personally it is just an anxious feeling or the feeling of dread or just full on confusion, each one has its own type of “Cure” and sometimes I just have to wait it out. If a person hasn’t figured them out on their own it is up to you to teach them to identify and conquer them.

For the past week I have had an anxious feeling that have been growing little by little each day. I believe it is cause by a mixture of changes happening around me and some just regular random anxiety that comes with the disorder I have. I have done every one of my usual “Cures” (Including talking to my Mom) and none of them have worked, that leaves letting it continue running its course and try again later if it continues to long.

Remember what I have said about keeping an eye on an Autistics anxiety tells, if you don’t help them discover them and learn how to conquer them they might never learn on their own.

Wilson Cook