Thursday, March 24, 2011



I am so excited about Autism Awareness month in April, that I just had to make sure everything was up to par. I have my own domain now! For new posts, click over to!

Thanks for checking in!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Don't miss out on a single part of Autism Awareness Month on Many Hats Mommy--it starts in 8 days! You'll want to read all Mom Mondays


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wednesday's Woman--Felice Gerwitz

Once again, my writing buddy gave me a recommendation--join this Yahoo! group and learn from folks in the industry. And once again, I listened. That is how I met today's Wednesday's Woman. Felice runs the fabulous online Special Needs Expo, among other things. I will let her tell you the rest. Here is Felice Gerwitz in her own words...
I am a homeschool mom (since 1986), have five children, two are adults and all have been homeschooled. I am an educator by trade with a degree in Elementary Education and certification in Specific Learning Disabilities. I am an author, speaker and owner of Media Angels, Inc., a publishing company, and I have been married to my best friend, Jeff for 31 years.

I am a mom, entrepreneur, and wear many hats as well. I began speaking to the homeschool groups in my area which grew to an invitation to a state convention, and the rest is history. I have been publishing myself and other authors since 1992 and 8 titles that were selected by Cathy Duffy as the “100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum". 

I began hosting online podcasts for authors after writing a book on Writing and Publishing which is approaching the two year mark (, and have a blog for aspiring authors ( I have a Mommy blog here ( Among the other books I publish are series such as The Truth Seekers Mystery Series ( that I wrote with my then homeschooled daughter, Christina who was 14 at the time; The Information in a Nutshell Series, and I publish Knowledge Box Central ( that consists of Lapbooks, Copywork and other fine products written by Cyndi Kinney.

I purchased the Ultimate Homeschool Expo in 2010 and have hosted a series of webinars. A Back to School Blast, Ultimate Homeschool Expo: Fall, Ultimate Special Needs Expo and now the Ultimate Homeschool Expo. Offering a webinar for the special needs community has perhaps been the biggest blessing in terms of helping, learning and sharing.

My strengths lie in my ability to teach others, and as an encourager to authors wanting to break into print. Whether it is education through hosting webinars, or in my writing through my curriculum, or the novels I have penned with my daughter, or teaching other moms at conferences whether in person or online. 

One thing I have learned is there is no perfect or best way if it does not fit into the goals and objectives for my family. I have learned that homeschooling is what we do, not who we are, and that has made life so much easier in regard to good friends who put their children in and out of school, or decide that homeschooling is not for them. 

In order to train my children to keep their eyes focused on the goal (which for our family is a Christian worldview and focus), I believe that looking at myself, my goals and not measuring my family (or personal) standards by others is what has kept me homeschooling for the length of time that I have. I know that I am available to help others in their learning process and for now I am very happy in my role as the host of the online expo series. 


The Countdown Continues

Just 9 days left until Autism Awareness Month begins on Many Hats Mommy! Subscribe below so you don't miss out on Super Kids Sunday!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Gluten Free Catchup

Before I start, I want to give a shout-out to my faithful follower from Royal Oak. I don't know who you are, but I see you in my stats every day, and you've been there for a long time. Thank you!

My Facebook followers will know this is catch-up week. I'm going to be getting you up-to-speed on things long-time followers are wondering about. Of course yesterday I started catch-up week by finishing the haircut story.

If you have been reading Many Hats Mommy for a while, you know my son is on a gluten-free/milk-free diet to calm some of his autism symptoms. You may also remember that back in January I decided to go gluten-free myself.

I'm sure some of you loyal readers (thanks, by the way!) are wondering, "So, has it made a difference for you?"

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It has.

At first I wasn't sure. Right before I made my decision, it seemed like some things, like whole wheat bread, twisted my tummy up like a pretzel. Other things, like noodles, didn't seem to bother me.

I will say it was much easier to make Dr. J go g-free because he was 3 1/2. I was 38! Thirty-eight years of eating gluten makes it a hard habit to break. Though I was probably 80% reduced already, that last 20% was hard to give up!

So some days I cheated. I never cheated on wheat bread, because I knew that clearly gave me problems. I'd cheat on a rare donut or some regular noodles, to save the g-free ones for Dr. J. Sometimes I was just so hungry I'd eat some "regular" crackers.

Do you know what? I thought it didn't matter, but then I realized I was feeling moody when I shouldn't. I realized my joint, neck, and shoulder pain had gotten better, until I cheated.

Goodbye, Gluten. We had a good 38 years together. Now it's time for me to be more aware of what helps my body. My resolve is strengthening. I even turned down a Burger King cheeseburger when I was EXTREMELY hungry! I am learning to act responsibly. Pass the brown rice spaghetti noodles, please.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Hair-Raising Experience, Part Two

First, if you did not read part one, you can click here to catch it. Now back to Dr. J's hair cut.

Are you familiar with those toy machines with big claws? You see them at grocery stores and restaurants. You put money in, and you hope you are smarter than the machine. You believe you will be one of the few to be successful at pulling out the toy you really want. I'm guessing there's also a part of you that knows you probably won't.

That's how I felt when Dr. J and I walked into the little barber shop. I had found the same place Daddy had taken him to last time. Inside was small, but quiet--no radio blaring overhead. Surely these were signs of good things to come!

We walked in, took off our jackets, signed in, and waited. Someone ten feet away turned on some clippers, and Dr. J jumped. "Oh, that surprised me!" he said. "Oh boy," I thought.
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When it was our turn, Dr. J happily walked back to the work area. As we approached, the nice lady put a booster seat/cushion up on the chair. She told Dr. J to climb up, which he started to do until he realized what he was climbing on. Something different. Before I had a chance to explain Dr. J's sensory issues or autism, the good karma was gone. He started shutting down.

I explained that Dr. J doesn't like surprises, so could she please move the chair slowly. I explained that Dr. J doesn't like his head touched or water sprayed on it, so I suggested spraying her hand and then running her hand over his head. As he was not cooperating, I explained that Dr. J was like the boy who has Aspergers on the TV show Parenthood. I explained, and I steeled myself.

I won't give you the play-by-play, drawn-out version of the story. Let's just say Dr. J put up a big fight. He sat in my lap, ducking his head, trying to get out, and yes, kicking, crying, yelling, etc. I am so thankful for our stylist's patience and calm. She did not yell at Dr. J (or me, for that matter). She did not give me condemning looks. She simply kept at it, working carefully and around my fingers grasping his head. She even told me what days she worked so Dr. J could return to a familiar face. I thanked her profusely for her patience.

Remember, this was a small place, and my child was making everyone in it uncomfortable. I'm guessing some of them wished we would just leave. I can't say I blame them. It's not pleasant to listen to a child screaming.

I had brought cash with me, the amount based on what my husband had told me the last cut cost. I double checked the price, and it was actually a bit less because of the time of day. I handed her my whole wad of cash, making sure she knew her tip was included. It was about a 70% tip. I considered it battle pay, remembering how Laura Shumaker mentioned in her book that she had done similar things.

I managed not to cry, and made it through the rest of the day. Of course Dr. J was off kilter for much of the rest of the day. He needed some space to regroup. He needed to be by himself.

Later in the day, it occurred to me. Perhaps it is more than just not wanting his head to be touched. Maybe he is actually frightened. You're probably thinking, "Really. You just figured that out." Well, when you're always watching for hyper-sensory issues, sometimes you forget about fear issues.

So, I sat with Dr. J and asked him. "Do you not like your hair cut because you're afraid?"


"What are you afraid of?" I prodded, hoping he wouldn't shut down.

"The scissors," came his simple reply.

"I'm sorry you're afraid of the scissors." And I held him. I held him to let him know I really was sorry, that I felt badly about his fear and pain. I held him to show him I loved him despite our morning ordeal. I held him to comfort my heart.

The next day I called the shop and asked to speak to the boss. When she got on the line, I shared with her how good the lady had been with my autistic son. I explained he had given her a run for her money, but she did not let him fluster her, and she treated us just like everyone else. I wanted her to know I appreciated her staff member. She thanked me and assured me she would pass on my phone call.

And that, dear readers, is how our hair cut experience went last Monday. I'm guessing it was repeated in various salons and homes around the world. I'm guessing many moms and dads were holding little boys and girls, trying to calm fears.

So, back to your fears. Maybe you don't like that scary tarantula picture I put on part one. Let's say you were forced to sit in a chair as tarantulas crawled on you. Would you do it again? I wouldn't.

Amazingly, these brave children will try again.


Friday, March 18, 2011

A Hair-Raising Experience, Part One

I am petrified of heights. So much so that sometimes I even get nervous coming down from the third floor of our apartment building! There are times when I'm up high near a railing or coming down a lot of open stairs that my legs start to feel rubbery, and I feel like I have to push myself against the wall or I unrealistically fear falling.

What are you afraid of? What makes your skin crawl or makes you stop in your tracks, not wanting to go farther? Is there something that you fear so much, it wouldn't matter if someone paid you money to do it?

Is it swimming? Fire? Closed-in spaces? Maybe certain bugs or animals make you freeze up. Maybe public speaking strikes terror in your soul.
Once I saw an episode of some stupid celebrity reality tv show. The celebrities were in the jungle, probably winning money for charity. In one particular challenge, they were divided into teams and had to race against each other to retrieve trinkets out of holes in a wall. However, there were things INSIDE the wall! Things like tarantulas, snakes, biting fish, etc.

As I watched some pull out bloody hands, I remember wondering, “Could I do that? Could I keep my hand in there?” I was pretty sure I couldn’t. Pretty sure I’d be pulling my hand out. Pretty sure the money just wouldn’t matter if a tarantula were crawling on my hand, or something was sucking my arm!

So, do you have it? Has your fear come to mind? I want you to think about it for a moment.

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For many children with autism, they have fears just like the rest of us. Except their fears don’t seem “normal.” Maybe they're afraid of the water in the bathroom. Or perhaps a lawn ornament pushes them over the edge. 

My son, Dr. J, does not like having his head touched. A year and a half ago I had to pin him to the examining table to let a doctor check his ears. It was horrific. He doesn’t like having his face washed--if he must, he’d prefer to do it. He doesn’t like having his hair combed or brushed and absolutely despises it getting wet. He’ll tolerate it getting washed in the bathtub, but will not let you wet it down with a comb or a washcloth.

Take that hate for having your head touched, and bring in the fact that at some point you need a hair cut! Add that many salons are noisy, unfamiliar, and large. Are you starting to see what happened last week?

Monday I had to take Dr. J to get his hair cut. The last cut was at a barber shop, because “big boys get to go to the barber. A barber cuts for only big boys and men!” Daddy took him and made a huge deal out of it. And was successful.

I was not so fortunate. I want you to think about your fears and come back Monday to see what happened. Not trying to be mean. Just trying to help you understand our kids. A lot of them live in fear and anxiety most of their days.

UPDATE: Click here to read part two.