Public Washrooms

I want to share with you a great source of stress for me…..

public washrooms

My son Stalen is almost 8 years old, he is autistic and non-speaking. He also has several medical complexities. He requires assistance to go to the bathroom. He also has an ileostomy bag which has specific care and maintenance procedures. Public washrooms are also a great sensory challenge for him because of the noise of toilets flushing and hand dryers-another reason why he requires assistance.

The challenge with public washrooms are that many are not friendly or inclusive to a mother accompanying her 8 year old son. Most public washrooms are clearly labelled with signage and separated by sex.

What bathroom do we choose?

Do I just swiftly walk into the men’s washroom with him and hope for the best?

Do I put him through the humiliation-stares, glares, snickers and comments that taking him into the female washroom may warrant.

You may think that it’s no big deal but many people are cruel, confrontational, and think they have the right to police others especially if they think your “breaking the rules”.

Taking my son to the bathroom should not be an exercise in public shame and humiliation for us.

What will the future hold for us if/when he requires washroom assistance as a tall teenage boy and as a grown man?

I am so thankful for those places that offer a “family washroom” option or have come up with a creative way to make their washrooms more inclusive and accessible to individuals with a caregiver. We just need more inclusive washrooms.

I want to live in a world where everyone, (including individuals who require caregiver assistance) can go to the washroom with dignity, free from judgement and discrimination.

….I don’t think I’m asking for too much.


I am not ashamed of Autism

I will never be ashamed that my son is autistic. It’s one of the many parts of him that contribute to making him the amazing boy that I love and adore.

No one could ever take over the space in my heart that he fills with his spins, squeals, smiles, jokes and flaps. These things are mixed in amongst deep love, hope and faith.

There is no room for shame here.

I’m not ashamed of autism and you shouldn’t be either because it’s not about a diagnosis.

It’s about the person.

My son brings so much more to this world than autism. He is smart, funny, charming, handsome, witty, kind, brave, loving.

I would hate for anyone to miss out on the positive bright light that he shines because they are consumed by the negatives.

Don’t miss out on something that could be amazing just because it could also be difficult.

Autism may look hard and challenging on the outside.

But, HE lives it every day from within.

Why would I punish him with shame for a life circumstance that he has absolutely no control over?

I will always take my son into the community.
I will always encourage and support him.
I will always hope for progress for him.
I will always advocate for him.
I will always walk beside him.
I will always ensure that he is treated with respect and dignity because he is a human being and deserves to be treated as such.

I will always be his dance partner even when there is no music.

As I watch this bright, brave boy climb mountains and shatter nevers, I feel nothing but pride and gratitude because he’s mine and I am blessed beyond measure to be his Mama.

In the Community….

Stalen just stopped by Autism Connections Fredericton and donated $100 from the proceeds of his book ”Jokes Are For Everyone!”

Autism Connections Fredericton is one of our favorite places and they have provided so much support, encouragement, and programming to us over the years. They do amazing things in our community!!! ❤️

Stalen is waving hi from Oromocto & Surrounding Area Food Bank

Stalen stopped by and donated $100 to the Food Bank from the proceeds of his joke book, “Jokes Are For Everyone!”

The Oromocto & Surrounding Area Food Bank helps so many individuals and families in our community. Thank you for the important work that you do!

Stalen also donated $65 to sponsor a Christmas dinner for a local family from his book sales.

Way to go Stalen! Keep spreading your kindness in the community.

A reminder….

When Stalen was two years old he needed complete darkness in order to sleep. We had blackout curtains in his bedroom but it wasn’t enough. I took large dark coloured garbage bags and taped them over the windows. I had to do this in our bedroom as well because he often ended up in bed with us.

For over two years, we couldn’t lift the blind, open the window or let the light in.

I know so many of you will understand this….

We couldn’t risk messing up what we had in place because it was working.

When your child is struggling and you find something that works, you don’t allow anyone to mess with it. I would have fought anyone who tried to touch those windows and alter those garbage bags or how the curtains laid upon them.

At first the garbage bags were a dismal reminder that autism controlled every aspect of our lives. Stalen’s diagnosis was new and we were learning to navigate it all. As we settled in and found our groove, I realized that the garbage bags on the windows were a reminder that we were willing to do whatever it took for our son.

Now, almost 6 years post diagnosis we have no garbage bags on our windows. The light shines through. We have learned to ebb and flow, to live with autism. Time and experience have become two of our greatest allies.

Always remember….garbage bags on windows are temporary, it won’t be like that forever.

The current situation and how your feel at this precise moment, will not always be your situation and how you feel permanently.

The light will always find a way to break through the dark.

He Can!

When Stalen was diagnosed at 21 months old, I affirmed to give him a life full of rich experiences. I’m so proud of this joke book and what it has meant for him.

Over the last few months, it became a labour of love for us. This book is all Stalen! I have watched Stalen empowered as he made all the important decisions. He chose the cover design, the pictures, the color, which jokes we would use. He was in involved in every aspect. He struggle with his fine motor challenges to print his name on the very last page of the book. But, he was so determined and he did it!

It is determination.

It is ability.

It is hope.

It was made with love.

I hope that it will always remind him that he can do anything.

Autistics can have dreams, goals and successes! They can play musical instruments, be movie stars, be friends, paint pictures, do gymnastics, ride bicycles, make others smile one joke at a time, and anything else their heart desires.

Thank you all for your support-kind words of encouragement, purchasing copies, and shares.

Thank you all for helping to show him that



⚠️Now Available⚠️ on Amazon ‼️

“Jokes Are For Everyone”

Every Sunday, Stalen tells a joke with his communication device. He is 7, autistic and non-speaking and loves jokes. Each week he shows us that jokes are for everyone.

If you love to laugh then this book is for you!

Fun for kids of all ages and parents too.