Posted in Autism, Down syndrome, Dual Diagnosis Down syndrome and autism, Uncategorized

Summer Break


Summer Break

Family vacation time in Texas with lots of fun, sun and elbow bumps. Need a Nick fix?  Scroll down to the archives, there are a ton of stories on a variety of topics.   I’d love to know what your favorite stories are!

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Posted in Autism, Down syndrome, Dual Diagnosis Down syndrome and autism

Blog #148~The Kindness of Strangers

Blog #148~The Kindness of Strangers

You’ve heard of the random acts of kindness from a stranger.  Someone picks up the tab of the car behind them in a Starbucks drive thru.  I’ve never been lucky enough to have my tall, mocha frappuccino paid for yet.  But over the weekend, something like this happened to Nick.  My son is 22 years old and has Down syndrome and autism.

nick hotdog shirt

On Saturday evening,  Nick went out to IHOP for dinner with his respite caregiver’s family.  Jodi and Kelsey said he was doing his usual antics; stimming, humming, laughing, doing elbow bumps and blowing snot rockets and wiping them on the booth.  (Or as we like to call it, spreading autism awareness).  There was a family behind them with two girls around the ages of 5 and 7 years old.  These girls were fascinated with Nick.  They watched his every move and were asking their dad  why he was acting that way.  Shortly after they left, the manager came over to their table and handed Jodi the tab.  He told them that the check had been paid for by the family with the two girls.

ihop check

Tears welled up in their eyes.  It was such a heartfelt moment of gratitude. There are so many bad things that happen around us every day.  The horrific tragedy this weekend in Orlando makes us all question what is happening to our society.  We tend to tend to forget that there are still good people in this world.  Thank you family with the two girls, who dined at the IHOP in Aurora, IL. Thank  you for reminding us that there are people in this world who have compassion and gracious hearts.

That’s what is in my noggin this week.


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Posted in Autism, Down syndrome, Dual Diagnosis Down syndrome and autism, Parenting Special Needs, Resources for Special Needs

Blog #147~A Father’s Perspective on Special Needs

Blog #147~A Father’s Perspective on Special Needs

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 19th!  As I did for Mother’s Day (Blog #144), this week features books written by fathers who have children with special needs.  My son Nick is 22 years old, he has Down syndrome and autism.  I am always searching for new information and gaining different perspectives.  If you are looking for a male/father perspective check out the book list below.  In addition, here are two dads that I recommend  following on Facebook.  Their websites are also included:

“Noah’s Dad” (Noah is 5 years old and has Down syndrome)

“Autism Daddy” (Kyle aka “The King” is 12 years old and has severe autism and is nonverbal). 

Books written by fathers who have children with special needs:

Austin, Paul: Beautiful Eyes: A Father Transformed (W.W. Norton, 2014).  A father reflects on his journey with his daughter with Down syndrome, beginning with her birth and ending with her life as a young adult living in a group home.

Daugerty, Paul: An Uncomplicated Life: A Father’s Memoir of His Exceptional Daughter (Harper Collins, 2015).  A father celebrates his daughter’s accomplishments, from childhood through college and impending marriage, and the joy she has brought to her family and those around her.

Book An Uncomplicated Life

Estreich, George:  The Shape of the Eye: Down Syndrome, Family and the Stories We Inherit (Southern Methodist University Press, 2011).  A poet reflects on the many influences of family after the birth of his daughter with Down syndrome.

Palmer, Greg: Adventures in the Mainstream: Coming of Age with Down Syndrome 2nd Edition (Bennett and Hastings Publishing, 2012).  Palmer’s memoir about his son’s transition from high school to the world of work, now updated with reflections on their family’s experiences since the original edition was first released.

Sagmiller, G.: Dakota’s Pride the Book: One Father’s Search for the Truth about Down Syndrome (The Gifted Learning Project, 2014). The book version of the documentary featuring questions and answers with professionals and parents of children with Down syndrome.

Taddei, S.R.: Room 47: Down Syndrome-A New Father’s Diary (Viera Press, 2012).  A father publishes reflections about his daughter with Down syndrome drawn from the journals he kept during her first year.

Thank you National Association for Down Syndrome (NADS) for the book list!

I hope these resources provide insight and inspiration from a father’s perspective. Cheers to you, Dads!  That’s what is in my noggin this week!


Nick and his Dad at Hawk’s Cay Resort….

Nick Kiss

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