Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wrinkles in Our Lives

I was having a discussion the other day with my oldest son. He remarked something about Autism being so traumatic for our family. It surprised me and made me think if it was worse for him as the oldest child. I mean worse than it was for me as the parent.

Well later I called him to talk about it. Of course his first remark was that I didn't remember. You know how it is if you have childre above say pre-teen. You're don't know anything or you forgot. It gets better when your children hit their twenties but... Anyway I digress.

My oldest is a son and he is 29 years old and I forgot. It took awhile to get to it but I finally got it through to him that every child is traumatic in some way and at some time. I see all of those things as wrinkles that change our lives. Sometimes change our lives dramatically but all children have wrinkles.

Once he understood that we agreed on what the diagnosis of Autism was like in our lives. I got the impression he thought it was the turning point in our life. He had the idea I didn't think it was important.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Autism Services: What Parents Need to Know About the History

It is only in recent history that there has been such a thing as Autism Services or any services for people with disabilities. Understanding the history is important for parents to know how far services have come. It also keeps them from getting discouraged when Autism Services seem to go so slow.

In the distant past a baby or a young child with a disability was left by the side of the road. Many children died. The lucky ones were picked up by couples who could not have children Other children were picked up to be slaves or workers.

Some families kept their loved ones in cellars or attics. They also used cages. As bad as this sounds many times these families loved the person. It was necessary to use these measures so people could work.

Some where in the early 1900’s people started to realize people with disabilities could learn and do things. At that point schools still did not accept children with disabilities. You might find people with disabilities working with parents in the kitchens or fields. Sometimes they were still kept locked up.

In roughly the 1960’s parents started to organize schools in the attics or cellars. Because it was considered a statement on the family’s genetics many families still kept their children at home.

Some parents had organized advocacy organizations like the ARC’s. They went door to door and literally begged people to tell them about the family members that were essentially hidden.

Armed with some hard numbers these early parent advocates went to the federal legislature for our children. They convinced legislators that our children could learn and deserved to learn. This led to the early laws that insisted children with disabilities be included in schools.

At about the same time those same parents were advocating for other services for our children. This was the period we saw large institutions built for our children. Many parents were told that their entire family would be damaged by keeping a child with a disability at home.

Institutions were state of the art services at that time though. We owe a serious debt of gratitude for these parents. As with everything the culture and the beliefs of parents changed.

Many parents wondered why their child could not receive some if not most of these same services at home. Parents in general believed they could pay rent, utilities, and raise their children. They just needed a little help. This has led to the services many families receive for their child with Autism or other disabilities in their home.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Uncomfortable Autism

Many times therapies and education for a child with Autism seem to be aimed at making them more “normal”-what ever normal is. I guess it had never occurred to me before. After talking to other families with a member with Autism I became aware of this.

The current topic at our house is my 21 year old daughter’s desire to get her own apartment. I suspect, no wait I know, the reason is to have ‘alone’ time with her boyfriend.

This seems on the surface to be more than typical for anyone who is 21. What is strange is my part in thins. I am essentially having to advocate for them. I’m her mother. Although myself and all five of my children are pretty open and plain in our discussions, I have never had to be this involved.

It feels strange. I asked the provider we work with about the people they serve. They mentioned that the only once which are intimate is a married couple. So that brings up another thought. Does that mean most people with disabilities are not intimate???? WHY???

Hmmmmm. Uncomfortable again.

Related Posts:

Autism Social Skills: Finding a Spouse

Monday, April 19, 2010

Parenting a Child with Autism

I am greatly amused and delighted to read other parents blogs about their child with Autism. One of the blogs I found is so great. The parent of a boy with and a boy without Autism writes it. Not all of his posts are about his children. He writes of other topics too. Thank goodness. At times people think all we parents think about it Autism. It’s not.

The latest article (or at least the latest one I have gotten to read) was about being the parent of a child with Autism. It was wonderful. Like this parent I am a parent first. Two of my children just happen to be on the Autism Spectrum, but I am a parent. I am posting the link:

I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Autism Parent

I was called an Autism Parent the other day. I had never heard that term before. I mean I have heard Autistic Child but never Autism Parent. The first thing that went through my mind was ‘What about people first language?’

In case you don’t know People First Language is the concept that you talk about the person first and then the disability. Like you should say ‘…child with Autism.’ It is considered polite. After all you would not say the eye glasses lady would you?

Anyway that brought to mind a whole conversation I had about our Autistic Cat. One of my friends said ‘You mean your cat with Autism?’ Of course my smart response was ‘Do animals have the right to expect animal first language? I don’t think so.’

After the Autism Parent description I might have to rethink the whole Autistic Cat business though.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Aspergers, Engineers, Cheating, and Lying

I read an article the other day about cheating. It proposed that engineers cheat less because that profession is more likely to have a person with Aspergers. The article also proposed that engineers cheat less because people with Aspergers lie less. Supposedly this is because people with Aspergers have a harder time lying.

I have a couple thoughts about this. Well questions really. Does that mean people in other careers that have more people with Aspergers are also less likely to cheat and lie? Does engineering really have anything to do with this?

And do you agree that people with Aspergers are less likely to lie at all? I tend to think they may not be as good at it. I am not so sure that means they are less likely to lie but are more likely to get caught. As a matter of fact I am pretty sure about that since I live with a teenager with Aspergers.

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Differences in Dealing with High Functioning Autism

There are several important differences to dealing with high functioning Autism in children. The differences are because children with this type of Autism are very intelligent and fast.

They know about the differences in the world and are not happy about it. They many times know if a situation is fair or not. Unfortunately they also will deal with their frustration on another level.

This is what leads to what some parents call difficult behaviors. It is important to remember that difficult behaviors are a form of communication.

As quickly as a parent can develop effective techniques and consequences for this child, they figure out a different way to get what they want. This means the average parent must constantly be on the look out for new strategies.

This is done by lots of reading, experimenting with your child, and networking with other parents. The alert parent will always be on the look out for the next obsession to use as a reward. They will know which item is their child’s favorite to calm them down.

A child with high functioning Autism will bring out every creative streak or dribble in a parent. Although this might not seem attractive now, this child will make you stronger as time goes on.

Many people do not realize or believe what a joy a child with Autism can be to raise. The child can be loving and a delight to have a discussion with. The child can bring a whole different climate to a family. Siblings are more kind and sensitive human beings. Everyday people do not realize the talent necessary to raise a child with autism either.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

We went to the school for the 17 year old to drop out. Going to try adult education and social security. I'm not happy but not sure what else to do.... Aspergers is so difficult in such a different way than Autism. Yes I know they are part of a spectrum and all that. The problems are just so different. And the decisions that need to be made so much more difficult. It's not black and white the way it was with my older daughter...
Just venting today....

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Social Skills

My 17 year old with Aspergers is a wonderful child. When I feel bad she shelps me. She is kind and caring.

She melted down at the movies. She had spend one night at the friend's house by herself. They wanted to go to a movie. Well the friend had a friend come over.

I knew it was trouble. Whenever there are three of them she seems to have trouble. It doesn't matter whether it is her friend or her friend's friend. What was I going to do though?

If I insisted she stay home, it would be another fight. And of course I am the meany. Not that I care about having to be the one to put on the breaks, but she has to see herself sometimes.

So there I was at midnight, going to get her.