About the Author

This blog is for everyone. For parents of a child with autism, for brothers and sisters, for neighbors, for Pastors, for friends, for aunts and uncles, for grandparents, for teachers, for coaches, for administrators – for anyone who has, who will, or who may come into contact with someone who is on the spectrum.  One could make an argument that we are all on the spectrum, but it’s simply a matter of how many of us can ‘deal’ with our quirks.  Some folks just need a little extra love.

From – Day #1 – The Journey…

My son is not disabled. He is differently abled. By my standards, perfectly abled. These mini-stories and resources are an ode to him. I chose 366 days as a theme because of leap year.  What a strange, unexplainable occurrence just like autism itself.  Leap year isn’t wrong, we still ‘count’ it.  But it’s just different. A child with autism isn’t wrong, just different. They have a little extra something…just like an extra day in the year.

I commit right now, one story or resource every day.  No matter how busy or tired I am…because this boy that is my heart, my tear, my pep, my breath – he deserves it.

I am the Director of Internships and an Instructor at the University of Northern Iowa.  I earned my B.A. and M.A. from the University of Northern Iowa.  More importantly, I am the mother to two children.  Estelle, age 10, a patient, loving, understanding sister to Tucker. Tucker, age 12, has an Autism Spectrum Disorder; originally identified as Sensory Processing Disorder.

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I am a community volunteer, speaker, and tireless advocate for helping others understand ASD.

My husband, Matt, joins me at our ‘Crazy Acre’ in Shell Rock, Iowa.  Our house is full of love and laughter as we navigate the perilous world of a blended family with his children: Alex, Katie, and Madison.

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His love, support, and encouragement was the impetus for this blog (and, of course, Tucker).  After much prodding from him I took years of journaling and notes and decided to really begin writing.  He convinced me that I had a great story to tell- not only entertaining – but inspiring.  Writing was always a first love, and he gave me the confidence to ‘put it out there.’

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Together, we face the world together.  We’re rarely found without the other, it’s a bit sickening, really…

My favorite phrase?, ‘My son is not disabled.  He is differently abled, by my standards I say perfectly abled.’

His favorite phrase?  “Living right never gets old, so I’ll never grow old with you by my side.”

For more information or questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at nicholekea@gmail.com

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20 thoughts on “About the Author

  1. I have a beautiful 12 year old daughter that has cognitive issues. There has never been a diagnosis for her problems but the colander post really hit home. Noelle has been in speech therapy since she was 3 and although she is much better no one truly gets her problem. Teachers know that she has accommodations but don’t really get it. I may have to use your experiment at our next ARD meeting. Thank you so much for sharing.

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    • Melanie,

      Please do! I’m working on a video of it that I presented to a classroom. I see your email here – just comment back if you would like me to send it to you when I’m done editing. Many blessings to you and Noelle – we are VERY blessed to have worked with amazing teachers. We’ve honestly only had one who didn’t get it…and that was BEYOND frustrating. Keep on, keeping on mama – that is all you can do, and that is enough!

      Nikki

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      • Nikki I am school social worker in MI who is compassionate and compelled to help others understand ASD. I would LOVE to watch your video and be able to show it to classrooms. OH this could be good.

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      • Awesome! I have you email above – once I finish it I will figure out a way to share it/send it to you. You could even watch and simply recreate – it’s easy peasy! Thanks so much for reaching out – if I can be of ANY help to you..please don’t hesitate to contact me!

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  2. So glad I found your blog! I have a 13 year old son who was originally diagnosed with Sensory Integration, now we know it is Asperger’s. His interests are Nerf guns, playing Clash of Clans on his iPad, Legos, and cars! It still amazes me how fast he can build a model! He’s AMAZING!

    I am an elementary school teacher, married, and have 2 other younger sons (8 & 4). Loved today’s article…it has always bothered me that my son doesn’t have close friends or get invited to kids’ houses or parties. I always find myself asking who he sits with at lunch, and if he wants to go to school events (when I already know the answer). I find it odd that his best friends are his younger cousins and grandmothers. But you know what? He loves his family! And those are the people that will ALWAYS be there for him (and of course, God)! It’s all coming into perspective and your blogged helped me with that – thank you so much for sharing! I will be visiting often! =)

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    • THat brought me to tears – Tucker and he would be best buds – I’m sure of it. For them, best buds might mean sitting beside each other while doing the same thing but never really interacting…lol…

      Please, please feel free to share my blog with others that interact with your son (and other teachers of course). I have found that people who share with grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc. have really great luck. Please feel free to contact me at anytime – you’re certainly not alone!!!!
      Nikki

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  3. Greetings from Texas!
    Your blog touches so close to home. Our son, Kaleb, is 12 and was diagnosed with PDD when he was 3. We have not had him tested since but I would say aspberger’s would be a better diagnosis for him now. He is very intelligent, sweet and loving boy. But really doesn’t have any friends, although he knows a lot of kids his age. We haven’t told him that he is different in any way, until reading your blog I never really thought about it. Kind of the “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it” attitude. But now I’m thinking it might help him not feel as isolated as he does if he can understand how he is wired differently. Out of curiously, how old was Tucker when you told him and how did you tell him? I am eager to read all your blogs and wish you, Tucker and your family the best of luck in all y’all do!

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  4. Hi Nikki I am a bus attendant who work with mentally challenged/disabled children and I am very interested in seeing that video because I think it might help me to understand a little more about my children even though I work with them for a very long time I still would like to learn more. thank you so much ceil garcia

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    • Well…I’ve had so many people ask me not to that I feel like readers are now a part of my family. I’d hate for Tucker to graduate and none of you would know about it. I”ll most likely keep writing when inspired…but just not every day! Thank you so much for following…please forward on to other parents/teachers that you think would be helped. Not for me…but for them. The more ‘real’ stories we can share the more people can really begin to understand the spectrum.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I really love your blog! Such an insightful and personal journey and extremely inspiring. I am a student speech and language therapist from England amd I look forward to reading more of your blog. Please check out my page and follow if you want to! Thanks

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  6. Hi Nikki,

    My name is Susan and I am the content manager of Clapway.com, a US based online publication. I came across your blog and really enjoy the content you have on your site. We would like to discuss a potential collaboration with you. Would you be able to talk to us on Thursday via Skype? If so, I am available at content@clapway.com.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Best,

    Susan Xu
    Content Manager at Clapway
    195 Plymouth St #6/17
    Brooklyn, NY 11201
    sx@clapway.com

    Like

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