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I Am a Real Person, Sitting Here, Reading the Comments

Shanell Mouland | Posted 04.01.2015 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

I spent hours reading the thoughts of perfect strangers on my parenting skills, lifestyle, education, physical appearance and morals.

Somebody Living With Autism Wants You To Read This

Shanell Mouland | Posted 03.27.2015 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

Do you understand that these children are good and innocent and put forth herculean effort to exist in a world where people like you make the rules?

Dear Teacher

Shanell Mouland | Posted 03.23.2015 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

Do you know how many doctors' appointments and autism therapy sessions she has sat through, watching everyone in the room fawn and flitter around her sister, Kate?

But She Can Talk?

Shanell Mouland | Posted 03.11.2015 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

She talks pretty much non-stop. Sometimes, it drives me crazy and I feel immediately guilty for thinking that, because some of you have yet to hear the sound of your child's voice -- some of you might never hear that sound.

Animals Relaxing Wrong

Shanell Mouland | Posted 04.26.2015 | Green
Shanell Mouland

I recently began noticing that my daughter's autism service dog, Oakley, relaxes in some pretty odd positions

She Isn't Ignoring You; She Has Autism

Shanell Mouland | Posted 04.22.2015 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

Your words will scatter when they enter her brain, and that brain will resist her commands to organize them. Her brain will "wiggle," as she puts it, to the point where she must jump and spin to ease the discomfort.

In Your Own Time, Baby

Shanell Mouland | Posted 04.19.2015 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

I told you how happy I was for you. What an occasion it was. I made excuses to let you go and then I cried. Kate hadn't spoken yet. Hadn't uttered a sound.

Understanding Autism: The Frank Gehry Connection

Shanell Mouland | Posted 04.19.2015 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

While I don't deny there are many dark days in the world of autism, I am slowing learning to appreciate it for its asymmetry. Much like Gehry's work, which has been described as "ill-formed, misshapen and undeveloped," autism is often misrepresented and misunderstood.

These Diapers Are Bullsh*t, Aren't They?

Shanell Mouland | Posted 03.28.2015 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

You are in the diaper aisle. The far end where they keep the biggest diapers. The frown on your face tells me you are discouraged that they stopped at size six. Your boy can barely squeeze into them and they are useless through the night. I only recently left the diaper aisle myself.

A Letter to my Daughter From an Autism Sibling Who's Been There

Shanell Mouland | Posted 03.01.2015 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

Grace received this letter just days ago. Be ready, because it punches you right in the feels. Amy, a volunteer with National Service Dogs, has been following our story, and she's taken a special interest in little Grace. She understands Grace, you see, in a way, even I can't.

Dear Oakley: An Autism Service Dog Answers Your Questions

Shanell Mouland | Posted 02.11.2015 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

Dear Oakley, Why should you be allowed in public and in schools? What if my child is allergic to you? What then? Are Kate's needs more important than my child's needs?

Our Instagram-Filtered Double Life

Shanell Mouland | Posted 11.29.2014 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

First, the scene: An apple orchard. Piles of children tripping over the apples discarded on the ground by piles of other children. Grumpy dads and iPhone-wielding moms taking pictures to prove their children do seasonally appropriate activities in seasonally appropriate attire.

Dear Autism Service Dog

Shanell Mouland | Posted 11.24.2014 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

Can you stand tall and proud as you lead your girl around the grocery store? Are you ready to drive beside her in the van as we make our way to countless therapies and appointments? Are you ready to meet your girl?

That's Mine!Playing Autism Style

Shanell Mouland | Posted 11.23.2014 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

Kate reaches the carriage before me. Two possible scenarios run through my mind. Either she will immediately remove the toy from the baby's hands while screaming, "That's mine!" at the tiny infant. Or she will emancipate that baby from the carriage itself.

A Letter To To The Doctor Who Diagnosed My Daughter

Shanell Mouland | Posted 11.11.2014 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

How many people were crushed inside that room? How many times did a parent stare at the barren threads of this offensively antiquated carpet to avoid crying in front of you? How many succeeded?

Why It Meant The World To Me To See My Daughter Cry

Shanell Mouland | Posted 09.09.2014 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

The tears you shed that day made me smile, not because I wanted to see you sad, but because I can see that Kate means everything to you and that means everything to me.

Our Little Girl With Autism, And Her Changing World

Shanell Mouland | Posted 09.07.2014 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

She's getting so big. Every time I look at her I can't believe she's ours. This little turtle-loving doll, that gives so much more love to the world than she could ever take, is our girl.

Why This Is One Of My Favorite Photos Ever

Shanell Mouland | Posted 07.29.2014 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

If you had asked me what Kate's greatest sensory discomfort was, I would have said it was related to her hair. Until today, she did not let us brush her hair and a proper haircut was out of the question. Then something changed.

Verbal Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means

Shanell Mouland | Posted 07.13.2014 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

I don't mind the questions, I really don't. I just want to clarify a few things.

10 Things A Little Girl With Autism Has To Get Off Her Chest

Shanell Mouland | Posted 06.18.2014 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

My meltdowns are far worse for me than they are for you.

A Little Girl Answers Your Questions About Autism

Shanell Mouland | Posted 06.09.2014 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

Dear Concerned, Rather than looking critically at the number of diagnoses surrounding us, use that analytical mind of yours and do some serious autism research for me.