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Separation

Jan 27, 2017 - 0 comments

Well, my husband and I are getting a divorce. We've been together for 11 years and it didn't work out. I wish it had, but it didn't. We still have a lot to figure out, but meanwhile we are just roommates. We've been living this way for a long time, but now we are being honest about it. It's bitter sweet. It's nice to admit the truth, but it's weird being without him after such a long marriage.

And now I've heard it all

Mar 22, 2013 - 5 comments

I just met with a social worker to figure out what options Emma has for funding and I got a discussion about autism I never thought I would have. She told me that autism is not genetic at all and is caused by the environment. In particular she meant the widespread use of electronics in our daily lives is producing toxic chemicals that are causing our children to have developmental disorders. She also mentioned that one city in MN reports a high number of autistic children and that there must be some sort of hidden toxic waste dumped in the city somewhere. You have got to be kidding me. Can we say conspiracy theory? I am just stunned. How on earth do you respond to that?

Misunderstandings Concerning Autism

Dec 21, 2012 - 0 comments

The recent events at Sandhook have opened my eyes to the gross misunderstanding our nation has about autism and what needs to be done about. During terrible times like this we naturally look for someone or something to blame. It is so easy to place blame on that which we do not understand. For many people autistic persons are very scary. It seems only logical that we blame Adam's cruel actions on his developmental disability. And yet, us special parents are absolutely horrified that anyone would even insinuate this connection publicly. The autism community has worked so hard to fight this prejudice. Autism does not cause violence. If anything, autistic people are more likely to be bullied and ridiculed by average people. When the news outlets say stuff like this it takes away attention from the abuse that happens to people with autism.

Do I believe that Adam was raised in a way that set him up for success? No, it doesn't look like it. I don't believe we can truly blame anyone for this act, except Adam, but I do not think that he was in a good situation. It is a great indication that schools and parents need more help and education on how to raise and teach a developmentally disabled child. They are not beyond our reach, they are just lost. Conventional methods don't work so we must think outside of the box when we interact with someone who is different.

It is incredibly amazing how my daughter learns. I spend a lot of time talking to someone who seems like they aren't communicating back to me. I tell her stories and explain things to her and she just stares off into the distance or runs away to investigate something. Other times she focuses in on one thing I said or pointed out to her and is absolutely fascinated by it. She doesn't express how much she appreciates children her own age very well, but I know that she loves to have friends. It might be easier as an autistic person to stay isolated, but it is very important to keep pushing someone out of their shell. Even if it doesn't look like it is doing much. Clearly when we don't take care of these needs the possibility of something terrible happening increases. Often people with developmental disabilities end up on the street..or worse. Nothing is set in stone though. So there is no way to know 100% for sure what type of personality Adam would have had given a different type of upbringing. Just remember in the aftermath of this terrible situation that when you have met one child with autism, you have met ONE child with autism. If you see a parent struggling reach out to help. Don't sit and judge. It's not easy and we need all the resources we can get. I also want to say that it is very hard for me to think about the precious babies that were taken away so young. My own daughter is in kindergarten and my life would be so sad without her.

There is no longer an Asperger diagnosis

Dec 21, 2012 - 1 comments

A few weeks ago my daughter's occupational therapist told me that the Asperger diagnosis was going to be taken out of the DSM. People with Asperger's would be diagnosed as autistic from now on. My gut reaction to this news was similar to how many people are reacting: why? and please don't do this. The more I understand why the more I agree with the decision to take away this dx. Before I had a daughter with autism I thought that autism was a devastating diagnosis. I simply did not know enough about the condition to understand just how complicated it is. From my understanding it was a terrible thing. Now that I know more I know that autism does not mean your life is over. I think that many people are resistant to the autism dx over the asperger because autism is generally considered more debilitating. I don't believe that it has to be this way. Given the right circumstances an autistic person can become a highly valued member of society. But, just as any person given neglect and abuse, may possibly turn into a sad, dangerous person.

The main reason I support the decision to take away the Asperger dx is that more people can get help. It is incredibly difficult to get a private insurance company to cover autism therapy, let alone asperger therapy. It is a daily fight for some special parents to get schools to take their child's condition seriously. I really do believe that this will give more developmentally delayed/disabled people a chance. The worst thing we can do as a society is overlook/ignore a child who needs extra help. It happens too often. I am very thankful that my daughter attends a school with a special ed room in the building. She can acclimate to the regular classroom as slowly or quickly as she wants. She is met at her level, while still being challenged. We moved to this school district because we knew they would take care of her.

I don't think that parents and families should be afraid of an autism dx, but welcome it. I used to be scared of it, but it has helped my daughter so much. I no longer need to have long discussions about what is wrong with my daughter, but what we CAN DO to help her. I feel like she is actually going somewhere. She is making progress. The one question that haunts me is "what causes autism?" I will most likely never know, but still I wonder. I wish I knew, but I try not to think about it. I'm not a scientist and it is one question I cannot answer.