Monday, October 13

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to leave Happy Birthday wishes for me yesterday. Your thoughtfulness made the day so much brighter.
Today is my friend Pea's birthday and she has invited everyone to her Birthday Tea Party. Let's join in the fun.

Pea, I hope you don't mind but I decided to wear a vintage dress to your lovely tea. This color is one of my favorites.
I found a matching hat and it is perfect. Once again in the vintage style.
And my boa, as instructed. hehe. I'm so glad you invited me to attend your lovely tea party.
Pea has everything ready. Look at the lovely cakes that she's made just for the occasion. Mmm! They are delicious. Try one.

And I brought along a vintage tea pot and some cups just in case you needed extras, Pea.

Wishing you a wonderful birthday, my friend. I hope your day is filled with love and laughter and that you have many, many more.
Today is Canadian Thanksgiving and I have much to be thankful for this year, as always. I would like to wish all of my Canadian friends a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you enjoy time with family and friends. Have a wonderful day!
Peggy, from Mission4Monday, invited me to join in her meme and to tell my readers about my Mission4Monday.

Twice a year, once in April, which is Autism Awareness Month in the US and in October, which is Autism Awareness Month in Canada, my mission is to promote knowledge of autism. As my regular readers will know, this is an issue close to my heart. My grandson, Brandon, is high functioning autistic.

Shutdowns and Autistic Children

Children who have been diagnossed with high functioning autism can experience what is known as shutdowns. These occur when the child is pressed to take part in social situation which make them feel uncomfortable. The high level of stress caused in such situations can cause the child to literally shutdown. Shutdowns can range in severity from mild unresponsiveness to sleep immobility, which signals a mediocre shutdown. A severe shutdown causes the child to become limp and possibly fall into a deep sleep for a period as short as ten minutes and as long as two hours or more. These shutdowns are always preceded by social stress and can become worse over time.

Shutdowns can cause high funtioning autistic children to regress in both academics and behavior. They may refuse to do tasks they formally accomplished with ease and behaviors that have disappeared may return. The child may also seem disoriented and have trouble remembering the task they were trying to master.

Research has shown that shutdowns are driven more by physiology than by learning. Shutdowns are not a behavior that the high functioning autistic child can control. The child may be highly motivated to complete a difficult task but when pressured, may refuse to continue and then go into shutdown mode.

Shutdowns are triggered by abnormal stress response, which only occurs when interacting with humans. There has been no evidence of shutdown when children are interacting with animals or playing with toys.

It is believed that high functioning autistic children have social phobia. Once indication of this is that they have difficulty making eye contact. These children are reluctant to engage in social activities and will avoid social situations at all costs.

Our family has first-hand knowledge of this with Brandon. We have taught him to make eye contact and he has improved in his ability to do so. However, there are times when he has extreme difficulty looking people in the eye.

Another thing Brandon doesn't feel comfortable with is being the center of attention. When we were at the Huntsville Railway last week, he was invited to be Assistant Conductor. Though he enjoyed wearing the hat, he told the man that he appreciated the offer, but he preferred not to take on the task. When, privately, I urged him to do so he said, "Grandma, you know I don't like being the center of attention." That said, I let the subject drop. I will not force him to participate in anything where he is not at ease.

Another example is when Brandon had to write his autobiography for a school project. He did so with enthusiasm, but when asked to read it in front of the class he absolutely refused. His teacher, who asked to have Brandon is his class this year, took Brandon into the hall and asked him why he refused. Brandon explained that his Asperger's Syndrome caused him to be very uncomfortable when he was the center of attention. This is where Brandon's Independent Educational Profile comes in. He was excused from reading his paper to the class.

Shutdowns are something that Brandon, as a high functioning autistic child, has never experienced. This is a blessing. Research has shown that shutdowns in developing children can cause pathological changes in the brain. In turn, these changes can cause developmental delays. Symptoms include learning disabilities, difficulty with language, rhythmic motor activity, such as rocking, extreme anxiety, further social withdrawl, fearfulness and extreme emotionality.

If you or someone you know has a high functioning autistic child, be sure they are aware that these children should not be pressured into social situations they are not comfortable with . The child should be allowed to progress at their own pace in order to avoid shutdowns caused by extreme emotional stress. Shutdowns cause regression and these children fight everyday to accomplish things that we do with ease.

And that is my Mission4Monday this week. Please spread the word about Autism Awareness and donate to Autism Research.
For more information on Autism, please visit these websites:

Autism Society of America

Have a great week and please do a random act of kindness. A smile can mean a lot to a lonely person. Take an elderly person or child for a walk to the park, help someone put their groceries into the car trunk or smile at someone who looks down. Kindess means so much and oftimes a smile can brighten someone's day.
~Blessings, Mary~


  1. a smile can definaly brighten ones day and so can a hug. Heres a big one for you my friend!

  2. Such sweetness Mary...blessings & birthday wishes again...have fun at Pea's tea precious!

    I'm so thankful that God led me to your site and you sharing about Autism! I was surprised that it was Autism Awareness Month & yet I had heard nothing until I ventured here. Thank you for pointing out when Canada has theirs & USA has theirs.
    I will make a mental note of it!

    I believe with so many now being affected with Autism that more people need to know more about it!
    You have added to my understanding!
    I read earlier another post you had with Candida & another with the spectrum. I remember when my grandson was 2 and stayed with me, that I was the one to point out that I believe he needs help & had symptoms of autism and sadly I was right but it helped him be diagnosed & treated sooner. I do not know as much as you share but I now will make a point of finding out more. He has made much progress but has difficulty acting out. This is such a great mission that you share in and letting others become aware. I need to post on my sidebar like you! Thanks for taking time to write something & linking! I was thinking you could just link something you already had but this was great to learn about their social interaction & shutdown. I'm so glad that Brandon is able to express & be aware of what he can do & what he feels comfortable doing! That is so great! God bless Brandon & you! Thank you again & happy thanksgiving!

  3. Such a fun post. I am so glad you joined the meme, autism is such a worthy cause my friend.

  4. This is one super party! Party hardy!!! And love the outfit you chose too Mary!!

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, I just saw all the wonderful things that you got from Pea for your birthday!! How wonderful!!! It looks all so festive. And great on your new entertainment center!!!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you. And have a super wonderful day today.

    Giant hugs.

  5. You sure dressed up real fine for Pea's party! Very nice! I have to ehad over there and wish her a happy one!

    Excellent information on Autism Mary! We all need to be aware of thses things and how we can help and things that we shouldn't do. Do you read ? She has an autistic daughter and talks about some of the stuggles that she has.
    See you at the party!

  6. Guess I need to proof read my comments! I'm always reversing letters! DUH!

  7. Mary: Happy Thanksgiving.

    Your blog has made me more aware of autism. I appreciate that. I like to understand things that affect people's lives.

  8. Your outfit for Pea's party is so adorable!
    I hope your Birthday was wonderful too!
    You do so good on informing us about Autism.Thanks for sharing and taking the time for all the research!! Hugs, Grams

  9. Happy Thanksgiving Mary.

    The student I work with hates being the center of attention. He had his first shut down this week, sure was a shock to me. Thank you so much for helping me to understand what happened to him.

    God bless.

  10. Happy Birthday my sweet friend!!! Thank-you for this post. You are wonderful with helping us understand and educate us about this . Hugs and Blessings...Mary

  11. This is a very informative post. This is a pretty big problem today or at least I have heard more about it lately than in years past. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Thank you so much for the birthday wishes dear Mary and I'm so glad to were able to come to my party! hehe You looked just lovely all dressed up for the occasion:-)

    It was so interesting to read more about Autism and how Brandon is affected by it. He is truly blessed to have a grandma that cares so deeply for him and has helped him get to where he is today!! xoxo

  13. I'm sure you and Pea had fun at the party... That was a very imformative post for today. I'm learning all the time!