I am Kath, mom to 11-year-old “Jewel,” who is autistic. We live in Orange County, Calif. Jewel is polite and commanding, thus the note and the name of this blog.

Her story is her story, and my job is to give her roots with wings and not live her life. There are things I have learned in the last eight years and continue to learn that I want to share, because the more we all know, the better.

I am an extremely practical person, and so the posts will lean heavily toward tips and strategies; please, please share your own! I believe strongly in planning and “front-loading,” and a lot of what I write won’t be just about autism … avoiding crowds and overwhelming situations is a universal pursuit, especially here in Southern California.

I also am quite sarcastic, a trait that is lost on my daughter, so I will warn of my sharp tongue, especially when talking about school and community members who choose not to understand or educate themselves.

The rules are simple: no offensive comments — intolerance based on sex, race, gender, disability, age and/or choices in pets will not be tolerated. Also, Jewel is not keen as a tween to be identified by her real name and proudly came up with her alias. If you know us in real life, please respect our anonymity and do not use our last names/names or her real name. Thank you.