Posted in Autism, Down syndrome, Dual Diagnosis Down syndrome and autism, Fun Side of Nick

Blog #165~ Betty White on Staying Positive


Blog #165~ Betty White on Staying Positive

Betty White turned 95 last week, and beams with happiness and positivity!  She was interviewed by Katie Couric, who asked this American treasure, about the state of our country, and how divided it is.

Here is what Betty had to say……

“It’s not in the best place we’ve ever been, but I think that’s the time, to buckle down and really work positively as much as you can. Instead of saying, Oh this is terrible, oh he’s terrible, just think alright, there is nothing I can do about that right now. But I can do the best in my little circle.  So if I do that, maybe you’ll do your best, and we’ll get through.”

Katie Couric went on to state how hard it is for some people to be positive, with so much negativity with the barrage of politics and social media creating a toxic environment.  Betty, acknowledged this, and offered these thoughts…….  

So many people think negatively saying, you know what I hate, oh I hate this.  Instead of alright, I’ll get through this.  Then you start lifting up a bit.”


“If you start with, you know what I hate, you’re going to go right down the tubes” 

Betty White is a positive thinker, in her words a “cockeyed optimist” and attributes that to staying happy all 95 years of her life.  I thought about this interview, when the sun came out after countless foggy, gray days here in Chicago. Earlier, I took a power walk soaking in the sunny, blue skies and mild 55 degrees. I could feel the sunshine lifting my spirits.  Not everyday starts with sunshine, especially in January.  But my day ALWAYS start with a smile, (and usually a fart and giggle), from my son, Nick.  He is 22 years old and has a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism (DS-ASD).


It’s a great way to start each day.ūüôā  Nick’s smile is contagious, his attitude uplifting.  Anyone in Nick’s inner circle has witnessed his joy.  A treat at Culver’s brings on such happiness to big guy.  Nick does well finding pleasure in the simple things, being silly, and making people laugh. Yes, he has his moments of getting frustrated and upset like the rest of us.  But he shakes it off, I admire that.

Betty White and my son, Nick, have the right idea by entering each day with a positive attitude.  It will not only elevate your mood, but those around you.

It’s no wonder why Betty White looks and feels these way she does at age 95, with her words of wisdom…….. *Buckle down  *Think positive  *Do the best in your little circle *You got to get through this, one foot in front of the other.  

When the skies are grey, the temperatures are cold, and the world is divided maybe we should all focus on letting the sunshine come out in your heart and beam onto others. A positive spirit will ripple out of your own circle and expand to those around you.

That’s what is in my noggin this week. ūüôā



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Posted in Autism, Down syndrome, Dual Diagnosis Down syndrome and autism, Fun Side of Nick

Nick’s World Update

¬†Nick’s World Update

Have you settled into 2017 yet, after the busy holiday season?¬†¬†I’m so¬†happy to be back to share Nick’s world with you!¬† Nick is 22 years old, and has Down syndrome and autism.¬† Here are some of the highlights of Big Guy’s holiday fun.

We spent the holidays at home,¬†here in Chicago. Nick enjoyed seeing family.¬† He’s always happy to see his brother, Hank and share elbow bumps!


Kibbie¬†had a very “Meowy Christmas”¬†ūüôā


Nick was excited to get a new iPad mini.  The new Big Grip case for the iPad mini is called the Big Grip Tweener.  It is much slimmer, more age appropriate in design, and best of all still protects as well as the original Big Grip case.


Nick¬†relishes a nice reflective bag¬†almost as much,¬†as his new iPad mini ūüôā


Over the holidays, we entertained family and friends.  Nick is use to a certain schedule in the evenings.  It can be tricky to get him to stretch out the time, once the sun goes down. He was very patient and social during happy hour, and a leisurely dinner.  Inevitably, once the meal is over, he wastes no time.  He springs up, grabs his Little Debbie snack cakes and evening meds, then sets them on the kitchen island.  After dessert, he will beeline upstairs, strips off his clothes and is ready for a shower.


At the family gathering,¬† we tried stalling¬†him while the¬†desserts were being passed and the coffee was brewing.¬† I made the mistake of¬†setting the¬†Swiss Cake Rolls¬†and meds off¬†to the side for just¬†a few more minutes.¬† Nick would have no part of this, and let it be known.¬† He took his iPad mini and¬†did a huge karate chop right into the……


Nick was done!¬† We deflected the incident with an “uh-oh” comment and swiftly got his snack cakes¬†back, to avoid a meltdown.¬† Sometimes, you have to compromise on your holiday schedule, and respect your child’s need¬†to keep¬†a consistent routine.

After the holidays, Al and I went on¬†his company’s year in trip incentive¬†to Costa Rica.¬† Nick was in very good hands with his respite care giver, Jodi. There was a good amount of¬†logistics to do¬†when leaving your child with a caregiver.¬† We put together temporary custody, child care and medical authorization agreements along with a detailed schedule.¬† In addition,¬† I prepared a social story so that he could see the change in routine and his schedule.¬† Here it is in part, below.¬† Social stories help to give the blueprint for understanding schedules and what each day will bring.¬† For more on using visual schedules,¬†check out¬†my last post,¬†Blog #164~Why Use a¬†Visual Schedule?


Nick had so much fun with Jodi going out to eat and hanging out at home. His other respite care giver, Miss R. also took him out over the weekend. We are blessed to have such caring, capable, and patient women to take such great care of Nick.

Want more pictures and videos of Nick?  Check out our social media sites. Follow Nick: Facebook @Down syndrome With a Slice of Autism, Instagram  #nickdsautism, Twitter @ #tjunnerstall


All in all, the holidays and extended vacation afterwards went smoothly,  with only a dented pumpkin pie, and a few more attention seeking behaviors.  Most of these included higher incidences of dropping/ throwing things, turning water faucets on, and peeing on the floor next to the toilet.  Those behaviors are to be expected with busy holiday meal and house preparations,  a house full of company, and changes in routine.

Oh, one more thing, Nick managed to pull another fire alarm on ¬†Friday the 13th. That is,¬†the¬†ultimate attention seeking behavior!¬† Tally count is now at 43 pulls since third grade.¬†Hey, it’s Nick’s world, the rest of us are just trying to keep up.

Here’s to getting back to a regular routine and settling into 2017.¬† That’s what is in my noggin this week.