Posts Categorized: Julie Cole

Finding Autism Support For Parents

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It has been 10 years since my son was diagnosed with autism at the age of three.

Back in those days, you got your diagnosis and you were sent on your way to deal with it. Very little information regarding treatment, agencies, education or help of any kind was provided. It was pretty much a “Yes, your son has autism… don’t hit yourself with the door on the way out” kind of an approach.

I didn’t even know where to get started. Keep in mind – this was long before social media. Finding autism support and connecting with other families was not a click away. Even in those early days, I learned quickly that my very best resource was other parents. I stand by that today. And with so many kids affected, there are more and more parents with experience that you can turn to. For example:

  • Other Moms. You can find moms everywhere. School is a great place to start. If you can find moms with a child on the spectrum who are attending the school your child will be attending, connect with them.  They can give you the ins and outs of the special education resources available, how to negotiate support for your child, which teachers are best to deal with and basically how to work the system in the best possible way for your child. Going to school is a big move for our kids (and us!) so connecting with school moms prior to school enrollment is key.
  • Support groups. I wandered into an autism support group and truly found my people. But you have to find the right group. Some groups are for parents to share in their concerns and maybe have a little cry and get support that way. My support group suited me because we were a group about action. The facilitator was fierce – we were all there because we wanted the best outcomes for our kids and we left with actual tasks to report back on at the next meeting. There was no “There, there, everything will be OK.” And that was fine with me. Make sure your autism support group has the same goals as you do to get the most out of it.
  • Online groups. There are countless Facebook groups, Yahoo groups and online communities. What I would have done for that resource 10 years ago!  These groups are a great place to have discussions, ask questions and get answers. And who isn’t blogging these days? There are amazing blogs written by parents of children with autism who share their journeys. Find some you connect with and you have instant community.

You don’t have to do this alone. We are here waiting to help you. Find us.

Other related posts by Julie Cole:

Nice Things You Say That Annoy Me

This is Lovely, But….

Helping Not-So-Social Kids Make Friends
About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six. Getting geared up for hockey finals? Be sure to grab your Hockey Label Combo today!


Are My Kids Materialistic Enough?

Fancy clothes? Nah… who needs them. Or shoes, for that matter. Just not a priority around these parts.

Throughout my parenting journey, I’ve generally put value on experiences rather than stuff. I’m not fussed about having fancy furniture or cars, mostly because I’m simply not interested. Those things don’t excite me.

My friends often laugh at my lack of interest over things like a new house or new car. When it was time to buy outdoor furniture, my neighbour picked it out. When I needed new furniture for the family room, my mom and sister did the shopping and I just sent along my credit card for them to buy what they liked.

I don’t make a big deal about a broken dish or such things. Hey, it’s only “stuff”, right? Some of this lack of interest has rubbed off on my children. While my kids have certain fashion “looks” that they like (mostly defined as “comfy”), they have never asked for a certain brand or label of clothing.

While we were away for March break, a friend tried to surprise me by attempting to get some stains out of a couple of the bedroom carpets. Surprise me, she did! It turns out she used bleach as part of her cleaning concoction and as a result, I have multiple patches of bleached carpet throughout two bedrooms. My sister popped over for a visit the night we returned, so I gave her a tour of the damage.

While showing my sister around, I guess I expressed some unusual concern about the bleaching event, because my daughter pulled me aside and shared that she felt I wasn’t acting like my usual self. She reminded me that it was an accident and it’s only carpet and she and her sisters don’t mind that their carpet is splotchy.

Her sentiment impressed me and I liked that she placed so little value on the carpet. But then I thought to myself, “Hold on! I’m going to have to replace these carpets. And I’m the one who paid for them. They ARE of value”.

So it made me question – what have I been teaching my kids without realizing it? Have I raised my kids to be so un-materialistic that they don’t understand the value of anything? (Or should I not worry, because they’re not irresponsible with their belongings, so they’re clearly not too far gone?)

How much value do your children place in “things”? Has your attitude around material possessions been passed down to your kiddos? Do you have any tips on how to teach kids about money and value?


About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole



Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six. Getting geared up for hockey finals? Be sure to grab your Hockey Label Combo today!

Kids are NOT Mean

After his goal. This is what support looks like.

There’s a general statement I often hear about kids, usually when there has been an incident of bullying or unkind behavior. That statement is “kids are so mean”. I cringe every time I hear it because:

a)      It’s not true

b)      Generalizations don’t serve anyone well and usually end up making me feel twitchy.

Unlike the bullying stories you often hear, I recently had an experience with my 14-year-old son that left me completely overwhelmed with how kind and supportive teenage boys can be.

He was out of town with his hockey team participating in a tournament.  I worried that it might be a bit awkward socially, since the boys on the team didn’t know each other very well heading into the tournament.  I was sure to send Daddy-o and son off with the Xbox and a load of junkie drinks and chips. That way, my kid’s room would be the “cool” place for them to hang out. When you’re raising a child with autism, you are always thinking about setting him up for success socially.

Daddy-o was giving me e-mail updates throughout the second game of the tournament, and what I was reading brought me to my knees. Here’s what happened:

  • My kid got his first goal of the season. The bench cleared and his team went crazy congratulating him. In fact, our coach had to let the other coach know that it was his first goal and that they weren’t in fact rubbing it in that they had gotten so far ahead;
  • Then my kid scored a second goal. More hysteria ensues. With one minute of play left, our coach was sending out the last lineup of players. One of the boys getting sent onto the ice asked coach if Mack could go out in his place so that he’d have a shot at getting a hat trick. Yes, a teammate gave up his own ice time for my son.
  • After the game, his teammates decided he should be the tournament captain. A white “C” made of hockey tape was applied to his jersey, and he was given the game puck.

So you see why I don’t believe that kids are mean. We can’t forget about the coaches either. Any coach who can create an environment of support and peer encouragement for a bunch of testosterony 14-year-old boys has clearly worked some magic.


About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six. Getting into the excitement of hockey right now? Be sure to grab your Hockey Label Combo today!

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