Tag Archives: autism

Autism Awareness

autism_acronymAutism Awareness is one of several themes for the month of April.  Today, April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day.  It’s the specific day set aside that focuses on education, resources, information, help, and encouragement to those who are effected by autism.

This time last year I wrote about my sweet J!  As I reread that post this morning I realized that I had no reason to write another personal account about autism.  I still believe that their are blessings in having a child on the “spectrum”.  That post can be found here  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/04/02/autism-i-am-aware/

Today I asked my almost 11 year old, J , what was one thing that he would like the world to know about him.  His answer was, “My mom makes mistakes”!  And that is truth.  I’ve made thousands of mistakes concerning him and I’m sure there will be thousands more.  So many times it’s “trial and error” experimenting to figure out what strategies work with him regarding behavior, home schooling, relationships, therapies, and rules.  And some solutions are successful for only a short time before experimenting starts up again.

Wanting a little more insight about possible answers to my question.  I asked again, but to moms of autistic kids.  These are some of the replies to the question, “What is one thing you would like the world to be aware of about autism and your child?”

It’s so hard to narrow it down to one thing. There are so many things I wish the world would understand. I guess the biggest thing is he loves deeply and the things that come across as “weird” or “insensitive” or “immature” are just him trying to make sense of an incredibly confusing, overstimulating world that uses irony and sarcasm way too much. In reality, he is incredibly creative, intelligent, and empathetic beyond his years.

“Mine would be that my son is not trying to be a smartie pants or disrespectful most of the time. He mimics responses like a recorder.  Once we tell him what his remark means or comes across like, he wants to know what would be appropriate.  Staring off is not ignoring, it is the way he thinks.”

It is not a lack of discipline!”

“There is no box!”

“I think it is the simple fact that they want people to understand that they are just kids — yes they process things different, yes things that are not a big deal to some kids like tags on clothes is a huge deal to a kid on the spectrum, yes they have their quirks and their moments and their melt downs — however they are kids — they just want friends and not to be looked at like they are aliens and judged harshly —- they feel, they hurt, and they do not need your sympathy they just need your understanding.”

Below are some of my online picks for learning about autism and keeping up to date with current information.

I have a homeschool blogger friend, Sylvia, who shares many autism related articles including her lovely testimony of experiences with her daughter.  This link will take you to her blog’s search results for her autism articles.  http://www.faithfulmomof9.com/?s=autism&submit=Search

For better understanding of those labeled autistic, this is the most wonderful account I’ve ever seen!  http://nhne-pulse.org/carly-fleischmann-autistic-girl-who-used-computer-to-ask-for-help/

This animated video was made by a boy who has autism.  This is a great resource to share with our families and friends.  http://blog.theautismsite.com/hi-im-david-and-i-have-autism/

And in case you’re interested, this link takes you to an online autism assessment/screening  http://www.childbrain.com/pddassess.html

About autism… I’m “Still Learning Something New” daily!

betty jo

 

Happy 10th!

JoshuaWe are celebrating another birthday!  This time the celebration is for our J.  For a kid who has been asking about his next birthday for nearly a year, his expectations were plain and simple.  He did not want a party.  He did not want any visitors.  Though we did finally get him to agree to some party supplies, balloons, and such.  He did not want anyone to bake a cake.  However, he asked for a box of chocolate snack cakes.  He was excited that we took the day off of homeschooling.  He also was thrilled to be the one to plan the dinner menu,  fish sticks with mac and cheese and watermelon.

J asked for only one present, a video game, Ben 10 Alien Force, that we couldn’t find new, but thankfully we found a used one.  We also got him a lot of surprises to unwrap.  That was great for him, but I think it really was all about that game.  He’s been wanting it for months since he found a walk through of it on YouTube.

While all this no partying has been going on,  I’m remembering that night ten years ago, when he made his appearance into the world.  He didn’t cry.  Not At All.  He talked in what sounded like a Pentecostal prayer language.  It was a beautiful sound.  He was special.  Not in the sense that everyone is made special,  but more like special as in different and amazing.

Now that ten years have passed and many things have changed about J,  he still is the kind of special that is different and amazing.  If you would like to read more about him, you can on another post, Autism, I’m Aware   https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/04/02/autism-i-am-aware/

betty jo

 

Autism – I Am Aware

autism-awareness-dayHis head was a little bigger than my other babies.  His grip on my finger wasn’t tight.  As he reached the ages for certain milestone developments,(holding his head up without support, sitting, crawling, walking, speaking, etc), he wasn’t doing what baby experts said he should be doing.  He had digestive issues.  He would rarely make eye contact.  He did not seem to feel pain to the degree that others did.  Sometimes, he would get so frustrated he would bang his head.  Sometimes he would drift away as if he wasn’t even aware of whatever was going on around him.

You’re reading about my J9.  He is somewhere on that rather large autism spectrum.   He has no middle ground.   He is either joyful or mournful, hyper or asleep, loud or silent, all for something or completely against it.  If he is interested in something it is obsessive, and if he is not interested in something he will pay it no attention whatsoever.

I saw this posted on a social media  site today:

freedomThis describes my J9.  He does not care what anyone thinks of him.  He does not ever try to be popular or win approval.  J9 is mentally free.

J9 is quite charismatic, and others, even strangers are drawn to him. He gets more hugs from his siblings, father, and me than the rest of us put together.  His touch melts the heart.  His laughter brightens the darkest of days.

I read an article a couple of years ago in which the author said her autistic son “thought so far  outside of the box that he wasn’t even aware of a box to begin with”.  That too describes my J9.  For example, he sometimes cheers the sunset with the enthusiasm of a sports fan during a   championship game.

J9 is smart.  Really smart.  His computer skills are amazing and natural.  He learned phonics rules on his own and taught himself to read.  His memory is outstanding.  With homeschooling, he prefers to work independently.  When he includes himself in a discussion he wants to know what the Bible says about it, or what my mother would think about it (she passed away before he was born).  He is very interested in times and dates and is the most scheduled one in our home.

My J9 can also be funny though sometimes shocking.  E17 had some girlfriends over to spend the weekend.  J9 does not like to have company and was not happy about them staying  with us, but we assured him that they would be spending most of their time in his sister’s room and would sleep in there.  In fact he was still a little upset about that visit even after they left.  A co-worker, a young man, came home one evening with A21.  As he walked through the door, J9 started screaming, “You are not going to sleep with my sister!”  We were laughing so hard we couldn’t  even explain the situation to this young man.

As people all around the world become more aware of autism today, I hope someone will make sure they understand more than the disabilities and strangeness, I want others to be aware of the blessings of autism, too.  There are many.

betty jo