SEARCH: Ambiguous Loss

Ambiguous Loss
by Emerian Rich

AMBIGIOUSLOSSAUTIS,

When you have a baby, your whole world changes. Everyone tells you this will happen when you’re pregnant and it’s one of life’s solid truths along with death and taxes. Still, no matter how you prepare for it, or think you’re ready, it always seems to catch you off guard.

My son was born happy and healthy, if a bit early, twelve years ago. Despite complications during and after pregnancy, we were pretty happy for about a year. We reveled in the new baby smell. We giggled at his baby bandito burrito shape. We even smiled when he pooed. Every parent on the planet can recount these cute stories, whether you want them to or not.

At about a year old we realized we needed to get our son checked out. Even though he was a happy, energy-filled cutie, with the exception of…continue reading the Spring 2018 issue of SEARCH Magazine.

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SEARCH: Our Food Story

Our Food Story
By Ashley Vrublevskiy

ASHLEYIn my early twenties, I ventured into the world of organic foods and slowly started making healthier choices for myself. I read book after book, loving all the information.

When I became pregnant with Zander, my first son, I vowed to only feed him organic, nutrient dense foods that nourished his body. When he got old enough to start expanding his food options beyond the mashed variety, we realized he was not on board with my food revolution ideas. I became desperate to get him to try new foods. This was the beginning of our long road of food battles. “He won’t even eat cookies! COOKIES!”

I remember saying to a friend to emphasize the severity of my then three-year-old’s eating restrictions. He truly only ate a handful of foods: pretzel sticks, squeezable baby food packs, raisins, and a few fruits, namely raspberries. My only saving grace was he absolutely loved soup. I made the most vegetable filled soups I could think of to be sure he would be getting some key nutrients in his diet. He would gag and refuse anything else. He wouldn’t touch a cookie, pizza, or pasta like most kids his age. I thought he was just picky, and if I kept trying, he would eventually eat more variety.

Around this time…read more in the Fall 2017 issue of SEARCH Magazine.

SEARCH: Your New Adventure

Your New Adventure
by Ashley Vrublevskiy

This is for all the parents just starting out in their journey through an autism or a similar diagnosis for their child. It’s what I wish I would have known before diving in head first into the journey of a lifetime. It’s scary and unknown. There’s no map, but I do know this. You can do it. So, here’s to your new adventure.

There are moments in your life that can immediately change who you are and who you will become. Mine came with that first person who said she was concerned that Zander had autism. Even though it was over four years ago, thinking back on it, I immediately begin to feel the sinking pit grow in my stomach and fill with anxiety. On that day, I honestly felt like I was unable to swallow, choking in a way on the words she spoke.

“Zander shows signs of autism, and I think we should get him evaluated.” My whole body felt instantly heavier as a thousand pounds of worry settled on my chest. I felt so many things in that moment: scared, angry, worried, sad, but oddly, and quite surprisingly to myself, I felt betrayed. I felt betrayed by all the mystical stories of motherhood and the “normal” I would have with my son. It felt like that beautiful dream had been snatched from my grasp by the word “autism” like a selfish thief of joy….continue reading the Summer issue of SEARCH Magazine.

SEARCH: Take Care of You

Take Care of You
by Ashley Vrublevskiy

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Even as the tides turn on societal definitions of gender specified parenting roles, I still tend to hear how much burden mothers hold in raising their children.

I’m sure there’s a biological and scientific reason for it, but whatever it is, as moms, we take on this added weight in how parenting affects our daily lives. Moms in particular need to pay special attention to our personal health and wellbeing. This is even more essential when you factor in the added difficulties in raising a special needs child.

Moms, this one is for you. I know all too well the immense pressure…continue reading the Spring issue of SEARCH Magazine.

SEARCH: What is it Really Like to Have a Child with Autism?

ashWhat is it Really Like to Have a Child with Autism?
by Ashley Vrublevskiy

“I really don’t know much about it,” she said. “What is it like having a child with autism?”

She was twenty-something, my age, even. I was getting a haircut by someone new, and since my children are a huge part of my life, autism always seems to come up. Usually, it’s following one of my least favorite questions or comments from well-meaning people. It’s always a little different version of the same thing: “Oh, what fun ages. Do they play well together?” or “I have a kiddo the same age. Isn’t it so much easier now that they are older?”, etc. I don’t blame them. This is a perfectly acceptable way to talk to most mothers. It just doesn’t work for me.

I found myself spewing a rehearsed version of life that sounded something like roses and butterflies. Simply put, “It’s tough, but worth it.”

Really, that’s not a lie. It truly is so worth it. I obviously absolutely adore my son, but honestly, there was a lot of gritty truth missing. It was all a bunch of fluff, because she couldn’t possibly begin to fathom what it’s really like, what a life like this truly entails. Maybe that’s unfair to assume, but unless you live this every day, you have no idea.

What I really wanted to say…read more in the Fall issue of SEARCH Magazine.

SEARCH: He is Brave, Autism Awareness

In the Summer Issue of SEARCH Magazine,
we explore autism awareness with Ashley Vrublevsky.
brave

He’s running. I’m chasing. The ocean is in view, and there is no stopping him. A few glances back reveal his enormous grin, his pure joy. High pitched squeals of delight escape his lungs. I have to keep a close distance, or we will both be taking a swim in the icy Pacific. There’s no fear in his eyes. No worry. No doubt. He sees what he wants, and he’s determined.

He is brave.

Every day since his birth I have questioned myself in one way or another. Since his diagnosis, I’ve been even harder on myself. Paralyzing doubt is not something I had ever had to experience. I was young and in love, graduating from one of the top business schools in the country, and had a year under my belt at a cushy government job. No complaints, right? Then my world opened up to the beautiful mess of motherhood. I learned what it really meant to love and live for the health and well-being of a tiny little person. This tiny little person has forever changed who I am and who I will become…” to read the full article, check out the free eCopy here.

SEARCH: Being Understood, Autism Awareness

In the Spring Issue of SEARCH Magazine,
we talk about Autism Awareness.
by Ashley Vrublevskiy

austApril is Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month. Even though we’ve had six years under our belts with our son Zander who has autism, I still don’t always feel confident or knowledgeable enough to properly explain what autism awareness or acceptance really is. I suppose it’s because every stage of this journey presents new challenges and new victories that can vary so widely for every individual child and family. That is what makes autism a spectrum. All I can do is speak from our personal experiences and shine a light on just one version of what autism means. My hope is it will help remind people to stop and take a second look into a person’s situation and try to understand before making judgements. All we want is to be understood, which is what acceptance means to us.

Parents of children with autism are presented with a unique situation. Often our children don’t have any outward appearances to clue people into the fact that they have special needs. Until you take a moment to really watch and observe would you see there may be certain quirks or mannerisms hinting at autism. The problem is, we are all busy. We all have our own agendas, needs, time-sensitivities, etc. That’s okay, but unfortunately, those preoccupations can often mean our children with autism come off as rude or seemingly undisciplined to uneducated or distracted people. Autistic children may have difficulty conforming to the ‘typically’ accepted behaviors of their peers, especially in new or busy places. These behaviors can be misleading to people who don’t know what autism is or how it can be manifested in a child. Ideally, we can choose to put aside our preconceived beliefs of how a child ‘should’ behave or ‘should’ speak/respond, and remember, we are all different and deserve to be accepted for who we are….” to read the full article, check out the free eCopy here.

5 Holiday Tips For Parents with Autistic Kids

5 Holiday Tips For Parents with Autistic Kids

by Ashley Vrublevskiy

photo“When my son Zander was just over a month old, we took a family trip to the beach in Oregon. I dipped his tiny toes in the sand for the first time as we breathed in the crisp, salty ocean air. The ocean called, and he was hooked, as was his momma. That’s when I started to daydream about future trips to the ocean with him. What beautiful, ethereal images danced in my head.

Zander was three when we got his diagnosis. Autism Spectrum Disorder, non-verbal, speech delay, sensory processing disorder. It all hit me like a truck, as it would any parent. I could have left it at that, labeled, but he is so much more than any label could ever describe…” to read the full article, download the free eCopy of SEARCH Magazine‘s Winter Issue.

SEARCH Magazine Walk for Autism Speaks

img003 (3)On May 16th, the SEARCH Magazine team joined hundreds of others walking for Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks is an autism advocacy organization in the United States that sponsors autism research and conducts awareness and outreach activities aimed at families, governments, and the public. Show your support for Autism Speaks, by walking in the next event.

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