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From autism to Botox, honest stories to help us lead a more impactful life. 🇻🇪 🇺🇸 For a weekly dose of inspiration:
Baby smiling
Photo by Daniel Thomas on Unsplash

My autistic son and I were out on an afternoon run, Diego a bit ahead of me when a car pulled over. “It’s Dawn and Victoria! You’re back from Idaho! I like your car. Make me more desserts,” Diego greeted them gleefully and as if it was the most unlikely thing that we’d bumped into friends who live on the very street where we were running.

“I’m gonna tell dad I saw Dawn and Victoria when we get home,” he announced as they drove off.

I wonder what English-speaking parents think of when they name their child Victoria, I thought…

Woman running in the woods
Photo by Fil Mazzarino on Unsplash

Much has been written about writer’s block: whether or not it’s a thing, how to prevent and overcome it, what it feels like, etc.

To my mind, the notion of writer’s block is vastly overblown by those who underestimate how draining writing is. I mean, as with any hard discipline, you can be entirely into it at times and other times hopelessly unmotivated — and everything in between.

You write because it’s what you do — your discipline. Being a runner or a pianist is no different. Or did you think runners are always pumped up to pound the road…

Image by Author: Diego (27, autistic) at his job training site. Published with permission

Hello Special Nation,

Why do you work?

Diego, my autistic son, makes it easy to understand why the purpose of work sometimes doesn’t involve “making a living,” as in paying the bills. It can mean way more than that, as you’ll read about here:

‘I Can’t Go. I Have Work’

Disability and Diego also loom large in my mind whenever I go out for a run. Read about it and other thoughts (silly and serious) that also comes to mind in my running space:

The Wondrous Things I Think about in My Running Space

Thanks infinitely for stopping by this magical Special Nation!


Man at work vacuuming
Image by Author: Diego at his coffee shop job; published with permission

My husband and I were going away on a trip and I asked our 27-year-old son, who’s autistic and intellectually disabled, if he’d like to come along. “I can’t go. I have work,” was Diego’s answer.

It’s not like he would forgo income or be fired if he missed a few days of his volunteer work at a nearby soup kitchen, or that the coffee shop where he’s learning job skills would need to find a substitute in his absence. In fact, not only does Diego not do paid work, he actually has an aide who helps him with his…

Girl digging in the sand
My sister Ana digs a hole to China, 1985. Family album image

In Paparo, the protagonist of our family life was always my father, and when I think of him during the first decade of my life, I see him in shorts and sandals, often shirtless, holding a machete in one hand and an OFF! can in the other. The former came in handy more often than you’d think, what with the brush that needed slashing and the coconut that had to be whacked and cut open. As for the OFF!, …

Photo by Igal Ness on Unsplash

I must begin by clarifying that I already promote Medium — for free! I do so when I forward articles (both mine and other writers’) to people I know, and when I post my stories on social media so my connections — and, hopefully, other folks in the virtual universe — may find them.

I also tell people, especially if they’re interested in writing and publishing, about what Medium is and all the content it offers.

Heck, I’ve even gifted a membership to a dear niece who wanted to read more than the three free articles allotted per month.


Diego and me: Two years ago

I’m thrilled to share these three links with you for your reading or listening pleasure, and in case you’d like to share with people (English or Spanish speaking!) who might benefit from the experience of a parent who’s gone through a lot of stuff already.

👓 Read- Dear Mother of an Autistic Child: There’s No Need to Panic… *

🎧 Listen- Dear Parent of an Autistic Child

🎧 Listen- Querida madre de un niño autista

All the best,


Photo by Jarritos Mexican Soda on Unsplash

On the last eve of our family reunion in Maine, we all went to the Lobster Pound for dinner. The restaurant has two essential things going for it: the food’s really good and it’s the only place in town that seats a party of 32 during high tourist season, this with no reservation.

We had to wait for our tables for about 20 minutes— the optimal amount of time for the little ones to run around and tire themselves out and for the adults to start thinking about what they’d order. …

Image credit: C. Rabellino. Published with Diego’s permission

Hi there fellow mom,

I too have an autistic child, except he’s not a child anymore. His name’s Diego and he’s 27.

You’ll go through various stages when it comes to how you view your child and his autism. I’ve been through every stage in the book so I thought I’d share how it’s gone for me, at least up to now. I hope knowing what to expect will save you some anguish.

You’ll obsess about scores and tests, and pray that the gaps between below average and average will narrow. One day, you’ll realize testing serves only one purpose…

people eating at a restaurant
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

It just came to me the other day— a bold, simple and effective solution to stop the arrival of undocumented immigrants and to get the millions living in the U.S. to return to their countries of origin: to detain, jail, or exile American citizens and legal immigrants who benefit from undocumented immigrant labor.

Here’s a limited list of such Americans and legal immigrants:

  • Those who hire undocumented immigrants to work in restaurants.
  • Those who frequent restaurants where undocumented immigrants work.
  • Those who hire undocumented people to work in meatpacking plants.
  • Those who eat meat processed in plants that use undocumented…

Daniella Mini

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