Theory finds that individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome don’t lack empathy – in fact if anything they empathize too much

This is a great article – and I totally agree with it based on our own experiences with AS.

Seventh Voice

Art work by Aegis Mario S. Nevado Art work by Aegis Mario S. Nevado

“A ground-breaking theory suggests people with autism-spectrum disorders such as Asperger’s do not lack empathy – rather, they feel others’ emotions too intensely to cope.”

“People with Asperger’s syndrome, a high functioning form of autism, are often stereotyped as distant loners or robotic geeks. But what if what looks like coldness to the outside world is a response to being overwhelmed by emotion – an excess of empathy, not a lack of it?

This idea resonates with many people suffering from autism-spectrum disorders and their families. It also jibes with the “intense world” theory, a new way of thinking about the nature of autism.

As posited by Henry and Kamila Markram of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, the theory suggests that the fundamental problem in autism-spectrum disorders is not a social deficiency but, rather, a hypersensitivity to experience…

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Post Thanksgiving Recipe: Turkey Fried Rice

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I have a great recipe to share with you that is easily adaptable for most food allergy issues and picky eaters. Even if you don’t have kids, this is a great and tasty way to use up that last bit of possibly slightly dried out turkey sitting in your fridge.

A little background about my recipes: Princess A and I are severely lactose intolerant. No dairy for us. L Bell seems to have either an actual wheat allergy or gluten intolerance. All I know is that based on her issues, the pediatrician recommended I take her off of gluten, and within a few months, her appetite drastically improved as did her growth. The weird rashes and bumps on the backs of her arms also disappeared. SO – all that to say, most of my recipes will be dairy and gluten-free.

When I first entered the world of gluten and dairy free cooking, I came across lots of recipes that called for strange ingredients I had never heard of.  I was not interested in entirely restocking my pantry. I also tried several of these dairy and/or gluten alternatives only to find that they tasted weird and had strange textures. No thanks. I did find a few items that work great and are relatively easy to find. These will be included in my recipes. I then set out to find recipes that met our needs (including meeting the qualifications to enter the mouth of the queen of food texture, taste, and smell oversensitivity) and had normal ingredients. Things that are not beans should not taste like beans. Just saying.

Alrighty – the main event: THE RECIPE

The original recipe from which my adaptation comes is called Fried Rice Energy Bites from Super Healthy Kids and can be found here.

Here is how I make it:

First, I get my rice cooking in the rice cooker. I like to add a little onion and garlic powder to it so the rice comes out already flavored a little bit. Sometimes I use chicken broth instead of water to cook it. Do whatever works best for you. I’ve also used brown minute rice before and it turned out just fine.

Next, I add some Earth Balance (vegan buttery spread) or Olive Oil to a large skillet and heat on medium. Then I throw in some chopped up green bell pepper, garlic, zucchini, and squash and sauté it until it’s soft.

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The original recipe calls for adding 3 beat up eggs at this point. L Bell has a slight contact allergy to eggs, so I skip this step, but look forward to adding it back in when she hopefully outgrows this.

Next, I chop up the turkey (or chicken like in this picture) really well and add it to the mix along with two to three cups of well cooked and sticky brown rice. I usually add about a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil at this point to add some moisture and keep it from sticking to the skillet.

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Side note:  This little gadget is my best friend for all the fine chopping needed for this recipe.

pampered chef chopper

After mixing it all up, add the (gluten-free) soy sauce and stir it up really well. I also like to add some sea salt, because the amount of soy sauce my little ones can handle is very limited. The gluten-free variety does seem to be milder tasting  – I actually like it better than traditional soy sauce.

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Scoop into some bowls and enjoy! A little Asian-inspired flare is a nice change from all the Thanksgiving casserole madness.

P.S. No, I did not take a picture of every step because I think it’s annoying. Also, if you want to see how pretty the end product can be, check out the super healthy kids site mentioned earlier.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 cups cooked brown rice (make sure it’s soft and a bit sticky – add extra water in cooking if you need to)
  • 1 cup finely chopped cooked turkey (or chicken)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped ultra finely
  • 1 small yellow squash, chopped super finely
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper (any color)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Earth Balance (or butter)
  • 1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce (gluten-free tamari)
  • sea salt (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Add 2 tbsp. Earth Balance to skillet and heat on medium.
  2. Add zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, and garlic, and sauté until softened, about 8 minutes.
  3. Once vegetables are soft, break 3 eggs into a small bowl and whip to slightly combine.
  4. Pour eggs over vegetables, and move eggs while they cook.
  5. Add the rice and cooked turkey or chicken and stir again, adding olive oil as needed. Mix well.
  6. Add soy sauce and sea salt for seasoning and stir one last time.

Narnian Revelations: Follow is an Action Word

When I was a child, my dad read the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis in their entirety to me at least three times. I loved the books and still do. I have now begun to read them to Princess A. They’re a little over her head and I have to stop and explain a lot to her, but she is determined to continue reading them.

I’m not sure what good they’re doing Princess A at this point other than easily reaching our 20 minutes of reading to her a night quota; however, I am getting a great deal out of reading these books again and being reminded of the spiritual lessons C.S. Lewis has included in them. The one that struck me most recently, takes place in Prince Caspian.

Lucy, Edmund, Susan, and Peter along with a dwarf friend are trying to find their way to help out Prince Caspian who is battling his uncle for his rightful place as King of Narnia. The situation is dire, and they are trying to reach him as quickly as possible.

Along the journey, Lucy sees Aslan from a distance, but the others don’t see him and only partially believe her. She is convinced he wants them to follow him, but the rest of her siblings decide to take what looks like a better, easier path, which ultimately leads them straight to an enemy outpost.

After the group turns back, Aslan appears to Lucy again in the middle of the night and insists that she follow him, even if the others refuse to come with her. She comes to the realization that that is what she should have done the first time he appeared. Now that she has come to this realization and is willing to follow, she is also given the difficult task of waking up her older siblings in the middle of the night and trying to convince them to follow, too, even though they can’t see Aslan at the moment.

“It is a terrible thing to have to wake four people, all older than yourself and all very tired, for the purpose of telling them something they probably won’t believe and making them do something they certainly won’t like.”

Aslan acknowledges to Lucy that it will be hard for her, but then when she buries her face in his mane, she is given the strength to do what he has asked her to do. I love this picture. I don’t even need to explain it. Follow Him – even if no one else comes with you.

The question then must be asked, where are we to follow Him? To answer that, I will ask another question. Where did Jesus go? To whom did He minister? If the following is hard, the destination is probably harder. We all know the answer, we’ve just glossed over it and spent so much time and energy justifying our wealth and way of life that we don’t want to really think too hard about it.

You should know that I have also been reading Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity by Jen Hatmaker. I only recommend reading this book if you are actually ready for Jesus to wreck your comfortable Christianity. Where did Jesus go? To the least and the lowest and the outcasts of society. That’s who He hung out with, that’s who He ministered to, and that’s where He wants to lead us.

Matthew 25:31-46 is the famous passage where Jesus talks about separating the sheep from the goats. “For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not invite me in. I needed clothes and you did not clothe me. I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me…whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

I encourage you to read the entire passage with a fresh set of eyes. Lucy eyes. Then read everything else Jesus says in the four Gospels and see that He is continuously making this point over and over again in different ways.

This is real people, and I could be wrong, but I’m fairly certain it doesn’t mean that it’s ok for us to sit in our 6-figure homes collecting things and then come out twice a year to throw a little money at some poor people. Or just donate all our cast-off clothing that we were never going to wear again anyway. Just to let you know, I am totally preaching to myself because that’s me.

I was mulling these things over today in the car while driving (which was probably not the best choice, but when you have small children, in the car by yourself is your only think time). I was suddenly struck with a memory from the past that took on a whole new dimension and I saw it for what it was: a missed opportunity.

Upon the arrival of our first child, Princess A, the hospital where we gave birth had a couple of significantly larger recovery suites available for an extra $75 on a first-come first-served basis. As soon as possible after the baby was born, I sent my husband down with his wallet to snag one of the coveted rooms. We got one. It was nice – especially compared to the closets that masqueraded as regular rooms.

Shortly after moving into our new room, an interesting situation occurred.

Moving into the other suite right next to mine, was another new mom. Only she had not paid for that room. She was given it, to make room for the 2 – 4 person security detail accompanying her. She was a prisoner. My family and I monitored the situation with interest, and slight annoyance at the sometimes bored and loud-talking security persons who were required to sit outside her room 24/7. The nurses were clearly on edge about the whole thing, and worried about how offensive this must be to the other moms.

Then something happened that tugged at my heart. I saw this woman, who had delivered via cesarean, walking down the hall with a pillow pressed to her stomach, pushing one of the plastic rolling bins hospitals like to call bassinets with her baby in it. She had two security officers following her, and silent tears streaming down her face.

At that moment I saw her through the eyes of Jesus. She was broken and hurting. In just a few short days, she would be taken back to her jail cell, and her baby would be taken from her and placed in foster care. I don’t know what she did to land herself in jail. It doesn’t really matter. While I can applaud myself all day long for having compassion and seeing this woman through the eyes of Jesus, I don’t deserve the applause. Why? Because I did nothing about it. It did not even occur to me to do anything about it. That, folks, is sad and embarrassing.

What could I have done? I could have prayed for her to begin with. I don’t think I even did that. I could have asked permission to talk to her, but more importantly listen to her if she was willing to talk, and encourage her mom to mom. I could have shared the love of Jesus with her by letting her know someone cared.

It is entirely possible and even likely that I would not have been allowed to even approach her, or that she would not have wanted anything to do with me. It doesn’t matter, though, because I didn’t even try. Don’t try to tell me not to be so hard on myself. Yes, I had just had my first baby and was in some pain and trying to figure out the whole breastfeeding thing. I guarantee you that woman was in way more pain that I can even imagine.

How many other opportunities have passed us by that we didn’t even recognize? I have been slapped in the face with my own apathy. My new daily prayer is that another situation like that will not occur without compassion moving me to action of some sort. Follow is an action word. It’s time I started doing it. Will you join me in this prayer?

Thanks for reading. Melanie.

Princess A

 

 

When There Are No Words

Hello friends! Yes, I have decided to add my voice to the millions of other mommy bloggers out there. I would really like to be organized about this, perhaps to make up for the fact that my house seems to be in an eternal state of chaos. We’ll see how that goes. Keep watch for stuff about motherhood and parenting, a recipe of the month, and faith and ministry. For my inaugural post, I’m diving right in and sharing something I wrote and put together that comes from the deepest places of my mommy heart. Click the link below.

While I consider myself a “fringe” Spectrum mom because of the mildness of my child’s symptoms, I do get regular glimpses into what life with Autism is really like. I wrote this both for myself and all my mom friends dealing with Autism on a more regular basis than I do. Because sometimes, there are no words.

When There Are No Words

mommy and princess a