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.


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.

Stalen’s Way

He is vibrant happiness.

He is the smile of hope.

He is more than any diagnosis, challenge, barrier or obstacle.

In the face of a limit, he is the little boy who could.

I hope that he reminds people of the potential of love and infinite possibility.

That is Stalen’s Way

What’s in a smile?

For the longest time, I’ve always thought that a smile meant happiness. I mean isn’t that why we are told to smile for pictures, to show we are happy?

When you have a non-speaking child you learn to pay close attention to smiles and the communication behind them.

When Stalen is having a medical procedure he often smiles at me. His smile reassures me that despite what he is enduring he is okay.

When I see Stalen every morning and he smiles at me I know it is his way of greeting me with a “good morning”.

When I see Stalen for the first time after being away from him I know he’s smile says “welcome back, I missed you”

When I show Stalen something new, his smile tells me that he is interested, curious and wants to see more.

When I’m eating and Stalen smiles, I know he may want to try a bite or have a better look at my food.

When I’m struggling with something and Stalen shoots me a smile, I know it’s his way of being supportive and encouraging me to keep going.

When Stalen squeals and smiles, it’s a sign of pure unfiltered excitement.

It is music to my heart.

When I show him something and he smiles and raises an eyebrow, I know it’s his way of saying “you got to be kidding me”

When I ask him a question and he just smiles I know it’s his way of saying “your not going to like the answer to that”.

When he wraps his hands around my neck, looks straight into my eyes and smiles, I know that it’s his way of saying “I love you Mom”.

Stalen has taught me that a smile is so much more than happiness. It is just one of the unique ways that he communicates with me. We have our own form of communication, accepted and understood between our hearts. It is a symbol of hope for all to see and feel, you just need to listen with your eyes and heart…

What’s in a smile?

So much Power….hope, light, love and so many unspoken words felt by the heart.