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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Our website is back online!!!

A few weeks ago, our website domain was hijacked and our site suddenly went offline. Our webmaster, Casey, spent hours on the phone trying to sort out what had happened - after 3 weeks, the string of events was still "clear as mud", and we resigned ourselves to the fact that our domain name had been taken from us by dishonest means, and that it was unlikely we would ever get it back.

This was a big test of a key decision I made a few years ago, when negativity (caused by the multiple negative and stressful situations that are all too common when you work in the field of autism) was literally breaking down my spirit and my physical health and making it impossible for me to do my job. At that point, I made a conscious decision to step away from the arguments over philosophy and intervention, to subtract myself from toxic work environments and to purposely approach my work-life with positive energy (more like the optimistic young therapist I used to be). The whole idea for freely sharing information through a non-profit website came out of this period of time, and I found myself re-energized and able to jump back in ..... and then somebody stole my website.

I won't lie, I had a few bad days, wondering about the fairness of the world and the ethics of the people in it. I have to thank my friends and family for helping me to bump out of this angry and negative mindset: my husband who is sympathetic but also action-oriented (big guy for believing in multiple solutions to any given problem), my boys (and my lovely daughter-in-law) who use humour to highlight the absurdity of the mind-frames I get stuck in, my sister who was the first one to see the problem (and wins the prize for voluntary viewing of my blog and site!), and my yoga class who listened to my gripes but discouraged my more vengeful thoughts (breathe in, breathe out). Wow, this is starting to sound like an award speech. The point being that my buffer of friends and family were my support and shield when the outside world was less than kind. (more on this theme in my next post, which is on the complex topic of "bullying")

So, I chose a positive mindset again, and while I can't honestly say that all my thoughts of vengeance against the "wrong-doers" were completely gone, I relegated the more drastic (and darkly funny) ones to "stay in my thought bubble" (a piece of advice I commonly give to my ASD clients), while holding the legal ones in my back pocket. Casey and I made a new plan that involved walking away from the controversy and starting over with a new domain name - not my first choice, not what I considered to be the optimal choice, but definitely an available choice. It's amazing how freeing it can be to just choose to disengage from the negativity and set your head in a different direction.

.... and then, I don't know if it was the positive energy generated by that last "ohm" spoken by my yoga class, or maybe a cosmic reward for "getting the life lesson", or just one of those random events that sometimes fall out in your favour .... but, out of the blue Casey got a call that said we had the domain name back and could re-register and put our website back up .... so we crossed our fingers, held our breath and did just that ..... TA DA!!

drawing by Adam

We don't know how we lost it, we don't know how we got it back, but we're back online and we're not questioning our good fortune. Thanks to everyone (named and un-named) who lent a sympathetic shoulder ... we'll return the favour when you need it (because that's what friends are for).

... come visit us at  and take a look .... Sheila B

PS - In honour of the re-launch, we have added a whole new section called "Back to School" (in the academics section, look for the school bus icon) with suggestions for teachers and parents to help make the school experience more successful for ASD students (meant to be "user friendly" - read them one day & try them the next). Please share the website address with teachers and other professionals that you think might find it helpful. We look forward to hearing your feedback!

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