Let me make this clear – I’m not looking for a cure.

It seems that everywhere I look for resources on Autism one word keeps launching itself from webpages, books and well-meaning mouths: CURE.

Let me make this clear – I am not looking for a cure for my children’s Autism.

Are they getting therapy, yes. Are they getting tests done and making their doctor’s visits and getting all manner of things like hearing and vision checked out? you betcha. But it is not because I am looking to “cure” them of their Autism.

It is because I strive to make them the best people they can be.

Just like I give extra help for my daughter with Dyslexia. Just like I expose my other daughter to reading books that are higher than her grade level. And will be looking into speech therapies for my youngest daughter if her lisp persists. I am trying to give my children the tools to excel. To become the best people they are capable of. They do not need a cure. They need love and guidance individually tailored to their specific needs

By definition, Cure means to remedy that which is at fault

cure  (kyr)n.

1. Restoration of health; recovery from disease. My sons are not diseased.
2. A method or course of medical treatment used to restore health. My sons are both extremely health

4. Something that corrects or relieves a harmful or disturbing situation. My sons are not disturbed or harmful.

 

Are we talking semantics,  yeah, a bit but the fact of the matter is that even if my sons both develop into what social outlets describe as “normal”, they will still have Autism. They have just learned how to move through life closer to your acceptance level.

I get really annoyed when my sons display “Autistic behavior” and people want to make them stop. Especially when it’s not being harmful in any way other than to another individuals comfort. Because, let’s be really honest here, you don’t want to cure my sons, you want them to blend it, be “normal”, not interrupt you in public or make you uncomfortable in any way. YOU want to CURE my sons because you are not interested in acceptance. Or compassion. Or love.

You look at my son with disgust and contempt and put on a shining mask of caring that you hide behind as you search for your “cures” to stop your own selves from growing into true compassionate beings.

Will I stop helping my sons to be the best people they can be? No. But I also won’t force them to conform when there is no need other than to satisfy someone else.

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Some free podcasts!

This looks like a good series and it’s FREE!

 

Autism and Related Disorders

by Yale University

Course Description

The Yale Seminar on Autism and Related Disorders is the United States’ first undergraduate course of its kind. The class consists of a weekly seminar on diagnosis and assessment, etiology and treatment of children, adolescents and adults with autism and related disorders of socialization.

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewCourse?id=495056283&s=143441

Imagining

Max has finally begun imagining. For those of you with neuro-typical kids you get used to the animal or car sounds, the silly times they wear socks for gloves or parade around in mommy’s high heels. How they pretend to eat things they know aren’t real food or substitute plain square blocks for houses or trees. Most of the time you probably don’t even realize they are doing it, playing quietly with their stuffed toys or dolls while you read the paper or get caught up with a friend over the phone. You probably tell them to stop pretending at the dinner table or to put away that bed sheet because it is NOT a cape and just came out of the wash. So many of these little things go unnoticed or dismissed because they are normal.

But when it’s not there, when you try so hard only to have your child throw that stuffed doll back in your face or listen until you can hear the crickets outside waiting for the blessed sound of a rumbling truck to hum from your child’s lips, that’s when you start to worry.

At Max’s evaluation the doctor tried over and over for him accept, if not participate, in pretending a baby doll had a birthday party. She made a quite realistic cake out of playdough topped with a candle and sang to the baby, trying over and over again to get him to do that little simple thing we all take for granted every day,pretend.

But he wouldn’t or couldn’t and cried and screamed when he was presented with it. And I cried that this seemingly simple, normal thing was missing from my son. That was only in mid-November.

Six months later, Max has started to pretend. He started feeding his stuffed penguin, Ping, half a wooden peanut butter sandwich and even making eating noises. I jumped on the new skill and picked him up a play kitchen on clearance over the weekend along with a couple sets of wooden play food. Max loves it. He keeps coming back to it over and over.

 

It’s quite a miraculous thing, this pretending business. He’s opening up, growing, and I am so proud to see him making these steps that are gigantic for him. Having a child with Autism gives you the gift to appreciate these small advances that so many take for granted.

Its it just me?

Is it just me, or does Autism seem to be hitting the news more and more? Or maybe it just feels that way because I now have a keener eye looking for it? Like when you get a new car and suddenly you realize all the other people out there that drive the same one as you even if it’s a different color or year. And you feel excited to see someone else on the road driving something just like you but sometimes a little jealous theirs is in nicer shape or a little prideful because yours is.

Not that I’m equating Autism with cars. Well, not that much.

Has Autism been in the news more lately?

 

Stumbling.

 

Things thrown to the ground and forgotten.

Sometimes when we aren’t paying attention magic happens.

Sometimes when we’re busy moving on to the next thing we don’t notice what we’ve left behind.

But someone else stumbles upon it.

And it brightens there day.

Because they realize the perfection.

Of a silly banana peel.

And they smile as they clean up your mess.

Because even in the little things there is love.

Not enough credit.

This is a series of posts that I will be writing regarding our 6 day stay at Disney World in Florida. This is the first time we have gone on vacation in two years and it was emotional, inspiring and educational to say the very least. I hope you enjoy them.

Not Enough Credit.

I freely admit to planning for the very worst. I am ashamed to be honest. Guilt nags me even now, even after so very few of the disasters I predicted barely came to pass. I was worried. I fretted. I down and out internally freaked out for weeks before and every minute of every day we were gone. What was I thinking? He would never survive. It would all be too much, too overloud, overbright. I knew my own irritation with pushing through heavy crowds and magnified that a million thousand hundred fold imagining how Max would feel; Crowded, suffocated, trapped.

A week at Disney World with four neuro-typicals and a kid on the spectrum. What the hell was I thinking?

When I booked the trip way back in August I didn’t know I had an Autistic child. It had been nearly two years since we had had a vacation. We decided to cut down on holiday shopping, pay for it in advance and give our kids a great memory before we left Florida. It was a good plan and one I hadn’t wanted to break after the diagnosis came through. We all needed it and the kids had already been looking forward to it for months.

I kept the plans but started making new ones. I would reserve the right to head back to the hotel any time Max became overwhelmed. I’d sacrifice my vacation to give Max what he needed. We bought a new stroller, one where he could be higher up with a large canopy to block out as much as possible. I bought a carrier and practiced wearing him on my back, giving him another secure place to be if things got too much. I packed his own bowl and spoon. Food he was familiar with, his own toys and movies.

I had everything prepared for Meltdowns, Tantrums and Overwhelm. All the difficulties that I have experienced I projected them all happening every second of every minute of every day of our trip. I had very little hope things would go smoothly. And Max threw me for another loop.

Max, bacon and Pooh.

There are a hundred moments of every day where this little boy astounds me and I am ashamed to admit that it is because I don’t give him enough credit. He is so smart. You can see it in his milk chocolate eyes, the perception, the intelligence. He wants to be good, compliant, reasonable. And sometimes life just is overwhelming. This wasn’t one of those times.

Max on a "leash". The absolute best invention.

We transitioned on and off rides with a great deal of patience and ease, more even than the complaining, irritated adults that surrounded us. Waiting in line was a bit difficult as it was hard for him to understand that yes, the boat was right there but no, we couldn’t get on it. He agreed to wear the backpack harness and or ride in the back carrier, he used a true point to tell me which he wanted. He talked more while we were there, he said bus and pooh very clearly. He said “hoon” (balloon) over and over and at the appropriate times. We had a hard time understanding why we couldn’t just take whatever we saw that we wanted and did cry and scream at times.

But that is normal for any other three year old. THAT IS NORMAL!

Sometimes it’s hard for me to untangle the behaviors that are “Autism” and those that are “Three years old”. We were at theme parks for four days and he acted Normal.* Max is capable of so much. He is so smart and funny even if he doesn’t say a word about it. I need to remember that. I need to remember that even though he is different there is so much more to him than Autism.