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Welcome to my 5th Annual World Autism Awareness Day Diary!

April 2nd, as you might have guessed from my title, is World Autism Awareness Day.  You might notice people around you wearing a little more light blue than you are used to seeing, although Spring has sprung in some parts of the country, so the baby blue could just be in response to warmer weather.

More likely, though, is that more and more of you are directly affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder, or someone you know is.

I write a bit about autism here at Daily Kos, mostly because my almost thirteen year old daughter has severe autism and I tend to think about her and autism in general more than is normal or healthy, but I love my girl and want her to be as healthy and happy as she can possibly be.

Here are my former World Autism Awareness diaries, if you are interested:

World Autism Awareness diary 2009
World Autism Awareness diary 2010
World Autism Awareness diary 2011
World Autism Awareness diary 2012

I also have a website about my daughter, who is a gifted artist.  Some of her work is displayed there, and there is also a blog I write about life with autism in the house.  Here's a link if you're interested:

EllieCastellanos.com

For your enjoyment, here's one of her latest creations:

Enough of that!  Onto the diary!

Living with a child on the spectrum, and living on the spectrum itself, is living in a parallel universe to the rest of humanity.

Your autism, or your child's autism, have to be taken into consideration 24 hours a day.  Where can we eat?  Who can we have over?  How will we get to school?  What activities can we do?

These questions aren't unique to autistic people, of course, everyone has to answer these questions.  I suppose it's the answers that separate out the parallel universes.

As an example, I'll take eating out and activities.  My Ellie actually loves to eat out and has a healthy and varied appetite, thank goodness, knock wood.  What she doesn't like are waiting for a table and small children.

We avoid small children like the plague, no offense to any small children out there.  They tend to be noisy, unpredictable, and they cry a lot.  Ellie does NOT enjoy their company.  So, do we huddle up inside our house and never venture forth?  No.  We adapt.  We like to eat out at odd, off hours.  Most places are pretty empty at 2:30 in the afternoon, which is perfect for us.  We eat at virtually any restaurant we like, just never at dinner time.

As to activities, Ellie's needs have to be taken into consideration.  There a few activities that she loves and are easy to accomplish.  She loves to swim, we do that a lot.  Texas has some of the most gorgeous swimming in the US, I might venture.  So we spend a lot of time at swimming holes and rivers and we virtually live at Barton Springs in the summer.  As I mentioned before, she likes to eat out, so we do that from time to time as well.

We love road trips.  We love to camp.  Ellie does not love these things per se.  We don't let it stop us.  Ellie does love being in the car, and she loves tents.  So we hit the road or pitch the tent, and we let Ellie be herself.  We don't make her get out of the car and wander around Fort Davis National Historic Site in Texas (amazing) or visit the old town hall in Lincoln County, NM where Billy the Kid shot a sheriff and made a legendary escape (also really cool).  We let her stay in the car, happily drawing on her ipad.  Some might think that, "She's going to have to learn to live in the real world at some point, so you should practice getting her out of the car or tent and into society."  I might think that you sound just like the administrators at Ellie's school and isn't that tiresome, but of course I acknowledge the point.  I'm a big fan of baby steps.  We'll get there, we just take our time.  Plus, you need to remember that there is a whole family here, not just Ellie.  We need vacations.  Desperately.  So we find ways that we can all enjoy ourselves.

We also took this road trip in December, which is not a peak road trip time.  It was pretty great, because we had most of our stops all to ourselves, and Ellie barely had to face a single toddler.

What does this mean to families dealing with autism, and how does all this blathering relate to the diary title?

It means that while we manage to make the best of things and have a pretty good time as a family, we suffer from a lot of social isolation, most of it self imposed of necessity.  When we meet families with cool parents but small children, my husband and I tend to make subtle eye contact and we know we won't be hanging out with them much.

My daughter has always wanted to have a sleepover party for her birthday.  I don't know if you've ever seen more than three ten year old girls in a confined space but it tends to get very loud.  It can't happen in this house, at least not while Ellie is in it.  

Explaining to people for the umpteenth time who Ellie is, what's going on, yes, she's ok, or no, I don't know why she's upset gets very tiring after a while.  As we both get older, I tend to make the effort less.  That leads to social isolation, and I know I'm not the only one out there.

I don't say all this to complain, really.  As I said we generally make the best of things and we're lucky to have a tight family unit that don't mind doing things together, but I know that there are a lot of people out there affected by autism and that most of them suffer from social isolation.

Is there an answer?  That's a tough one.  One answer I've found for myself is joining my local SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Committee).  These are some of the most dedicated parents I've ever met, and it's a great combination of support group, educational venue and action group.  If there is one in your district I recommend going to join it tout suite.  

If you're thinking to yourself, "There's a family in the neighborhood with an autistic kid and they tend to keep to themselves a lot, is there anything I can do?", I don't have a great answer for you.  Maybe people in the comments can toss out a few ideas, but I might just say be friendly when you see them, and ask how their kid is doing even if you don't see them much.

And please don't assume that if you don't see the kid much they are locked in a basement all day.  Ellie is kind of selectively agoraphobic and doesn't like spending time in the neighborhood, but she gets out plenty.  As I said, we just have to pick our times and places carefully.

So, on this World Autism Awareness Day, make sure on your way to get the mail to give an enthusiastic hello to that woman in the neighborhood with an autistic child.  She might be a little taken aback or wonder why this strange guy is shouting hello to her in such an enthusiastic way, but if you keep at it you might be doing your part to chip away at her social isolation.

I kid.  Social isolation for anyone with disabilities is a serious issue.  Be kind.  Look out for your neighbors.  If you feel up to it, make overtures of friendship.

And fight like hell for Medicare and educational budgets in your area.

Happy World Autism Awareness Day, everyone!

Originally posted to coquiero on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 07:49 AM PDT.

Also republished by Parenting on the Autism Spectrum, KosAbility, and Community Spotlight.

Poll

I know someone who is affected by autism in the following ways:

24%25 votes
3%4 votes
6%7 votes
20%21 votes
2%3 votes
6%7 votes
1%2 votes
15%16 votes
15%16 votes

| 101 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  About the poll (16+ / 0-)

    I deliberately asked about classical autism and Asperger's separately because I believe these are two very distinct disorders.  I know I am at odds with the most recent DSM, and I understand why they combined the diagnosis, but I think it's a mistake.

    When I hear about how autism diagnosis is on the rise, but not autism, I always want to know how the numbers break down by severity.  I recognize that this is subjective and difficult to do, but I think it's valuable information.  

    So my poll reflects this.

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 07:57:49 AM PDT

    •  We have an Aspie son and I think you are spot on. (19+ / 0-)

      Yes, Asperger's is part of the autism spectrum, but the desire/ability to communicate and socialize that most Aspies have sets them apart.

      One of the most difficult aspects of any Autism Spectrum Disorder is the lack of a one-size-fits-all description of what it actually is.  It doesn't help when the "experts" can't even agree what is and isn't autism, or whether or not to distinguish different types of autism from each other.  

      When I try to describe autism to others, I tell them to imagine having dinner at a large, all-you-can-eat buffet, with autism traits being the dishes.  Every person with autism has different things on their plate after going through the buffet. Some people might only have a few things on their plate, but they have waaay too much of those things.  No two "meals" are going to be the same at all...but everyone can agree that they are having dinner.

      Great, great diary.  

         

      Metaphors be with you.

      by koosah on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 08:59:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have Asperger's. (4+ / 0-)

      Definitely the "milder" of the two, and yes, I agree it is quite distinct from "classical" autism. I would venture that those with "classical" autism have more issues regarding sensory processing -- they get overwhelmed by light or noise or other stimuli -- whereas those with Asperger's (myself included) tend to be fine with most sensory stimuli but just have very little/no intuitive sense for social interaction.

      What really intrigued me, after reading the poll, is that there are 8 other "Aspies" on the site who read this diary alone! Step out and say hi, if you're comfortable doing so waves

      "We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." (Joni Mitchell)

      by Eowyn9 on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 07:56:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I get the sense there are quite a few Aspie's (8+ / 0-)

        here on DKos.  There are a few who diary about it, others who mention it in comments.

        I want to meet the two who identified themselves as having classical autism!  Gives me hope that someday my daughter will be blogging away like her Mama.

        I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

        by coquiero on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 08:14:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I have been "out" for a while (8+ / 0-)

        Never even heard of Asperger's until April 2007. I read an article about smart bullied kids with this "Asperger's Syndrome" thing. I clicked on the hotlink, and

        Epiphany!

        I went on to confirm this clinically, for my own knowledge of why I am the way I am. No more depression from not knowing why I am so fucked up in the head and not like anyone else in the world different. I am as I am to be.

        And now, I am able to use my Aspie superpowers for good, not just introspection.

        Just your average every day Autistic hillbilly/biker/activist/union steward with an engineering degree.

        by Mentatmark on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 06:31:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I found out in about 1998. I was a big fan of (7+ / 0-)

          the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould. One night I tuned into a CBC Radio 2 broadcast where a researcher was presenting a paper at a Glenn Gould forum. The premise of the paper was that Glenn Gould had had Asperger's.

          He listed one sign of AS (that Gould had demonstrated) and I was like "Hey, that sounds like me!"
          Then he listed a second and I was like "Wait, that ALSO sounds like me..."

          By the time he got to #10 or so, I was pretty certain. Never got it clinically confirmed, since I mostly come across as neurotypical now -- it would need to be someone who really knows me well and remembers me as a kid, when I was a lot more "blantantly" Aspie.

          "We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." (Joni Mitchell)

          by Eowyn9 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 06:38:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  This is the best thing I've read all day (6+ / 0-)
          And now, I am able to use my Aspie superpowers for good, not just introspection.
          Here's a small aside.  My son is not on the spectrum but something has always troubled him.  I could never figure out what it was, but he has always struggled in school and been very uncoordinated.  I mean very.

          I had him tested for ADHD, visual or auditory processing issues, but nothing really added up.

          I think he has Sensory Integration Disorder.  I'm trying to get an OT to evaluate him now, but it's the first thing I've found that makes me go, "YES!  That's him!"

          If I could find a way to help him, to explain, as you so eloquently say, why he is so, not fucked up in the head but different, I think we would both be so much happier and more importantly get him through high school without flunking out.

          I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

          by coquiero on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 06:58:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Hey :) (waves) (4+ / 0-)

        It's not really as simple as all that, though. I have an Asperger's diagnosis because I didn't have a speech/language delay.

        But my issues are very much more on the sensory side than the social side. I have major issues with sound/touch. (I'm currently hiding in my room because my roommate appears to be eating everything in the house, and I can't deal with the sound.)

        I do have some social issues, but they're mostly harmless. I'm sort of oblivious to certain things, and I come off as really shy because I just tend not to interact at all unless I have something to say.

        But I don't have the 'typical' Aspie social presentation, if that means anything at all; I don't talk a lot, for instance. And I'm fairly good at following most social conventions once they're explained to me in language I understand. The Internet is a wonderful thing.

        "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

        by kyril on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 11:37:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Classic" autism (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero

      is a label I've never seen before. My son is on the spectrum, and his diagnosis is complex and challenging. Originally thought to be a classic case of Aspergers, he is now placed in the high functioning area of the autism spectrum. Efforts to paint these special individuals with a broad brush and give them simplistic labels is an exercise in futility. I sincerely wish you the best in what will surely be a challenging few years while your daughter endures the added stress of puberty! My daughter is not on the spectrum, and having to deal with what a friend calls "a hormonicidal maniac" was plenty difficult :)

  •  The Lady That Lives Behind Me (14+ / 0-)

    has a child with Autism. She gets along with me well. Better than most. See I am somewhat off, or as a kid I was told so. ACD. I am not saying I can understand what she thinks, but I know and she knows I have thoughts that are not what "normal" people think. Any time she sees me she has this huge smile on her face.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 08:11:39 AM PDT

  •  A parallel universe is the way I describe my (14+ / 0-)

    family's experience with autism too.  Adapting to what my daughter can handle has been our m.o. since she was born.  Trying to meet the divergent needs of the rest of the siblings is exhausting at times and the isolation can be brutal.  Thanks for this diary.

    You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Foundmyvoice on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 08:11:54 AM PDT

  •  I not only am on the spectrum (12+ / 0-)

    but I have a father who is, and my eldest son is, and I birthed a son who has classical autism.

    There's something genetic happening here.

    When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 09:12:43 AM PDT

  •  This is a fantastic diary, coquiero. Thank you (16+ / 0-)

    for sharing it with us.

    As I noted above, I have an Aspie son (who will turn 10 tomorrow!).  So many stories I could tell about the isolation we feel at times.

    Last week was Spring Break. Before the break, my sister-in-law invited my son to come to her house for a weekend. I shared with some other parents (of neurotypical kids) that this would be only the fourth time in his life that my son had been away from both of us.  They were flabbergasted and assumed that we are "overprotective" of him and "careful" about who we allow him to go overnight with, because of his Asperger's.  

    That is true...we are careful...but you don't have to be extra careful when no one ever offers, do you?  We actually have a large family and several friends, but the only person who has ever invited him to spend an overnight with them is this one aunt.      

    He has autism, not Ebola.  That's the part no one "gets."  

    Metaphors be with you.

    by koosah on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 09:13:52 AM PDT

    •  This made me guffaw out loud (13+ / 0-)
      He has autism, not Ebola
      My daughter is actually the easiest person to get along with in the world, but you have to speak her language.

      Not many people do.  And while I totally agree with you, I understand why people get worked up around her.  It's easy to misread her.

      What blows me away is that my own family (who admittedly don't see her that much) don't know if she is angry or happy.  They can't distinguish the sounds.

      It really is a foreign language.

      Different for Asperger's, I know, but still some of the same issues.  You have to relax and watch them for awhile, see what makes them tick, and what sets them off.

      Just chill out and get to know them, and you'll get along fine.

      Instead we get "What was that?  What does that mean?  Is she ok?  Does she want this?  Does she want that?  What can I do? OHMYGOD!"

      It's well meaning so you can only love them for wanting to help, but I just want to yell, "Chill the f*ck out!"

      I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

      by coquiero on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 09:25:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish my parents had worked with me (16+ / 0-)

    but I was forced (and to a certain degree still am living back at home again) into some social situations I do not enjoy, but I learned very early that a meltdown would get me a beating. So while things could have been better - I am able to tolerate situations that could cause difficulty for other autistic people - for a while.  I remove myself when I can - go to the car, read - listen to music, etc.

    I meltdown at home afterwards in my room privately.  I am perfectly content in quiet and in my room, though it still bothers my parents I am not "more social" and "normal" - but there's nothing wrong with me, I'm just different.

    Sounds like you are working hard to make sure she has an awesome childhood, and that is great.

    And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

    by Mortifyd on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 09:21:59 AM PDT

    •  I am so sorry this happened to you (7+ / 0-)
      but I learned very early that a meltdown would get me a beating.
      That's just awful. That's like beating a blind person for bumping into something.
      •  eh, it doesn't now so I have made peace (6+ / 0-)

        My parents are not... complex people and live in another world where physical punishment was not only the norm, but the preferred method of dealing with anything they didn't understand.  

        We were a southern military family and back in the day - well, things were different.  They had me, the quiet weird kid - and they were told I would "outgrow" my autism, so no accommodations were made for me at all - and a younger brother with type I diabetes - so they focused on him because his illness was something physical they understood and wasn't their fault.  

        This put me in the "healthy kid" box and my issues simply didn't exist - I was just being a pain in the ass as far as they were concerned.  It might have been different if I wasn't as high functioning as I am - but I am. So they saw my stresses and outbursts as misbehaviour and attention seeking rather than part and parcel of having an autistic child.

        And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

        by Mortifyd on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 10:47:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Our son has Asperger's. He's more social than (12+ / 0-)

    many Aspie kids his age (13), particularly in that he is aware of his own limitations, they frustrate him, and he tries as hard as he can to be as social as he can.... but there are definite limits to what he can do.  At school he tries to sit with other guys at lunch, and can sometimes find a group where he can eat "with" them (though he's not really "in" with them).  Most days, though, he likes to take his lunch to homeroom, where a couple of teachers (including his intervention specialist; he is mainstreamed with the aid of an intervention specialist) are eating and catching up on work; he sits with them, chats with them.  So much more comfortable and manageable than the loud, frenetic, boisterous, unpredictable lunchroom.  Some days he takes his lunch secretly to the library (we're told) and reads a book among the stacks while he eats; that's one of his favorite situations to be in, alone and reading.

    One of the hardest parts is that his condition makes it hard for him to socialize outside school.  He's not involved with team sports, and doesn't have a gang or a group of buddiess.  He's always been a one-on-one guy, very thoughtful and intense and cautious.  Can't stand being around large groups of screaming, wildly dancing, excited kids (or grownups for that matter).  

    It took us a long time to decide that for his upcoming bar mitzvah, a kids' party like the ones that the rest of his cohort have been having, will simply not work.  Our son never has a good time at those parties, calls us up and begs us to take him home early.  It was so difficult for me to have to accept that this was yet another manifestation of his Asperger's in his reality as he lives it.  But there we are.  So he won't have a party.  Instead, we'll take him to Europe and the three of us will travel for a couple of weeks.  

    You comment "we have to pick our times and places carefully," and that pretty much sums up our son's conscious strategy to try to maximize his limited social abilities.  He is old enough, and has had enough success mainstreaming, to know his limitations and to avoid as far as possible bumping up against them in such a way that might cause freakouts or desperation.  But in fact, along with this knowledge comes sadness for him.  A sense of isolation.  It breaks my heart.  And yet I have fierce respect for his courage in the face of it.

    I love the website you made for Ellie's art work.  God bless you and Ellie and your family.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 10:22:34 AM PDT

  •  Thank you. (11+ / 0-)

    We live on a very different planet than most others.  The numbers are just getting higher yet I still feel very isolated from other parents/people because most... most people live very petty, pessimistic lives.  I don't "get" their "problems" like how their day is RUINED because of some lame ass manicure appt had to be canceled.  What? Really?  Gee, you don't have a young autistic adult living with you do you?

    I find "normal" society to be completely fucked up.  True many of us know there is no such thing as "normal" but most in our society try to cling on to this insane notion of normalcy.  Which I think makes them completely batshit crazy.  .  

    My main fear for my son is our police department or any "security/authority" types.  Ours has has a habit of killing people who are disabled or appear different.  My son has had a few nasty close calls with the transit "cops" here.  Two piece suit, on his way to work at the hockey rink and he gets yelled at for all of his ID.  

    He's still grappling with the whole Adam Lanza commentary.  He reads sports news and somehow caught that story when they first described the shooter as being autistic.  It has... no other way to put this... scared him to death that people would even think he could do harm to anyone's baby or child.  He had to talk with a grief counselor at his program the following Monday for that.  As did many of his classmates.  I still think CNN and Faux News should be held to the fire over that one...  

    Our society has a long way to go...  maybe we should have a race to find a cure for the people around us who have no heart or tolerance.

    I love my son.  He's my hero.  Every day is a day that he meets challenges and personal demons head on.  Every damn day.  

    Every day here is Autism Awareness Day.  Always will be.

    (((Coquiero)))
     

    "Love One Another" ~ George Harrison

    by Damnit Janet on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 10:42:11 AM PDT

    •  I worry about police (5+ / 0-)

      Because being stopped etc is a triggering experience for me. And I know that it's very possible that i can die in their "care" because they not only don't understand - but don't have to.  

      Add to that my Mum is rather manipulative and threatens me with 911 when I disagree with her over pretty much anything.  (I will call 911 and have them take you to the hospital rather than admit I'm goading you into a meltdown!) Total FOX viewer as well, so I think on some level she believes I'm potentially dangerous - and we have a ton of guns I have zero interest in here in the house.  I fully expect if she follows through with it I will die, no matter how much I cooperate.

      I got stopped on the way here by border patrol and state police (both in Texas) having been reported as a "terrorist" because I'm Jewish and usually wore solid white kippas.  I don't anymore - as a result.  BP actually pulled my belongings out of the car (including the cat) and put me in a very loud confusing room to wait while they tore my shit up.  

      I was lucky in the fact that one of the officers has an autistic child and helped me.  He explained what was happening, put the cat carrier where I could see it and put me in a corner where I could calm down and maintain myself until we could go.

      I don't know what would have happened if he hadn't have been there and able to spot I was ramping up for a meltdown.

      And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

      by Mortifyd on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 02:03:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The only good thing about the increase in autism (6+ / 0-)

        spectrum disorders: More people are aware of autism and how it affects those who have it. They are also more likely to be compassionate towards those they recognize it in, especially if it's a similar symptom to one their relative or friend has.

        Once upon a time it was a rare disorder few knew about, that isn't the case any longer. In some ways that's working for us.

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 03:02:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I made a card for my daughter to keep (7+ / 0-)

        in her wallet, explaining that she is autistic, and showing all her emergency contact numbers. In an upsetting situation like being stopped by police, she might not be able to communicate verbally, but I think she would be able to remember to pull out this card to show them.

      •  Your mom threatens you with the police? (6+ / 0-)

        That's very bad on her part.  Threats never work.  Love and understand with a bit of empathy and lots of hard work does much better.

        Stress doesn't suit my son well at all either.  He tends to lose his voice and then his arms flail around.  Not a good situation with a transit cop screaming spittle at your face demanding your student id because you have a student transit pass.  

        I wish the "cops" around here would "protect and serve" our disabled citizens.  But I'm afraid they are our biggest fear.  Cops that is.  

        Oh yes, there's a few good ones.  But not much so here where I live.  Most are just a brute squad with impunity to beat and kill.

        Stay safe.

        "Love One Another" ~ George Harrison

        by Damnit Janet on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 07:48:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We need more education for police (5+ / 0-)

          I don't think, at least I really hope, that most cops aren't bad guys (said as the daughter of a retired cop), but they do tend to be reactionary.

          I think if they had more training and/or exposure to recognizing special needs as differentiated from non-compliant people of other sorts, life would improve for all of us.

          You probably have already tried this, but have you ever contacted someone higher up in the transit authority to talk about introducing your son around as an educational tool for them, but also a way of defusing hotheaded situations?

          I live across the street from a member of the sheriff's department, and she says you can register your kid here with the police as someone who is non-verbal (I know that doesn't apply to your son, but it does to my daughter).

          I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

          by coquiero on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 08:05:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  my parents see autism as a failure on their part (4+ / 0-)

          rather than simply how I work.  My younger brother has been diabetic since infancy, so he was the focus and I was sort of left to myself to manage as best I could.  I spent a lot of childhood "on restriction" in my room - which in many ways was very good for me - but I have to control my environment to thrive - and this is not my environment - it's theirs.

          Now that I am living back with them temporarily - I was diagnosed with mild schizophrenia, unrelated to my autism - they still  have me mentally boxed as "the healthy one" and don't have any real understanding or skills to cope with what I need in order to function as well as I could in my own environment.  They are older people and FOXbots, so their information is... iffy at best to begin with.

          I came from Oregon to Louisiana - and I'm terrified of the local police just on principle.  I do not expect them to understand, I do not expect my parents to help me should they become involved and I expect to get shot.

          And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

          by Mortifyd on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 08:53:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Nail, meet head (5+ / 0-)
      I find "normal" society to be completely fucked up.
      Me, too.  I sometimes feel bad for these people, wandering through their normal lives, not realizing why, though they have "everything", they are still so very unhappy.

      I know why I'm unhappy (sometimes) and it makes me appreciate every happy millisecond in my life.  I cherish those milliseconds, and they get me through the blue periods.

      I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

      by coquiero on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 07:11:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My favorite sentence (9+ / 0-)

    "I might think that you sound just like the administrators at Ellie's school and isn't that tiresome"

    I have a kid with Auditory Processing Disorder - fewer challenges than Autism for sure, but do I ever get tired of all of the advice from well-meaning clueless people. My favorite are parents who have kids that have won award after award throughout school and always been the teachers' favorites, who will advise me that I'm giving my son too much help, because "kids need to experience failure and learn to cope with it."

    Um, maybe your kid needs more experience with failure. Mine's had plenty, thanks. He could use a little more experience with success and awards.

    •  My personal favorite (8+ / 0-)

      Me:  "My daughter will never work in a store.  Why do insist on focusing her vocation training in that direction?"

      Them:  "Don't underestimate her like that!  You never know what might happen!"

      To me, that's like telling the parents of a blind kid that she could be a pilot someday if they just believe in her!

      Being realistic about a disability is not the same as squashing someone's hopes and dreams.

      Giving her vocational training that might be actually useful to her seems like the more sensible path.  Call me crazy.

      I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

      by coquiero on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 11:16:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's my favorite, too (9+ / 0-)

        "I might think that you sound just like the administrators at Ellie's school and isn't that tiresome"

        We dealt with a school psychologist, a school occupational therapist and a state-funded counselor before we found an occupational therapist who identified my son's learning disability, nodded all the way through our description of all his challenges, cited similar cases and started us on a plan to help him out. I cried.

        The school psychologist insisted that he pick up a pen and write so his writing could be evaluated. I told him this kid will avoid a pen whenever and wherever possible (his has visual perception challenges, possibly dysgraphia). He kept telling us my son just needed to practice. Most people don't turn red, sweat and tremble during a writing exercise and then melt down when pushed. He talks like a college term paper, but writes like a five year-old. He needs accommodation, not practice.

        •  This is why I have my son (8+ / 0-)

          doing short answer questions by hand, while allowing him to type longer answers in the computer instead, or he dictates to me and I write it. I don't want him to forget how to write from disuse (and he would if I didn't make him write anything), because sometimes you have to write something. I want him to be able to write if he has to. But I recognize that writing things by hand is a lot harder for him, and so make accommodations on longer answers.  That way he has some practice with both, but doesn't feel overwhelmed because he knows he has options besides hand writing everything.

          For example, for history last week we studied the Third Battle of Ypres during WWI. One of the questions was: What natural event affected the battle? How?

          His answer: Rain. It made it hard to cross the battle field. Tanks got stuck.

          Short, effective, and correct. It didn't need a full essay answer. That much hand writing he can handle. We do his biology questions in a computer file because there he gives longer essay type answers.

          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

          by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 03:10:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I've taught special education for 30 years... (8+ / 0-)

          At this moment I am actually taking a break as I work on an IEP. (Kos helps me clear my head sometimes...what can I say??) I read this diary and comments, and I just had to say something....

          I too have heard countless school psychologists, specialists, and other teachers try to make the case that the child "Should be challenged and expected to meet societal expectations". That sounds like a fine idea until you realize the reality of what is being asked from some people who live "On the spectrum"

          I have worked for my entire career with people who live with autism. Over the years I  have gotten a reputation of being quite good with students who have behavior  issues. In fact, my County Office of Education had me serve as the "Behavior Management Specialist" for the special education department for 3 years.

          I bring this up because one of  the reasons I was "good" with students who regularly demonstrated problem behavior is over the years I realized one very important thing: PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO THEIR AUTISM. That is, they have certain ingrained characteristics that make them different, not wrong. The author of the diary has a child who does not like to eat around small children. Rather than forcing her to learn to accept eating around small children, they have developed perfectly appropriate coping skills.

           It is no sin to avoid situations which give us difficulty.  When a family member has autism, the whole family is living "On the spectrum" to a very real extent. One very important key to having a happy, successful family is to identify coping strategies for difficult situations, and not just challenge and  insult the person with autism as "Someone who has to grow".

          Ok..I could say more, but I gotta get  back to writing an IEP now. Thanks to the author for putting her thoughts here for us to see.

          •  Getting people to understand (7+ / 0-)

            that "different, not wrong" notion is tough. I like your approach. We need more people out there like you.

            •  I always termed it "Picking my battles" (7+ / 0-)

              Sure, I could have made him wear socks when he was 4 years old, but at what cost? We live in Florida, it's not like it's 10 degrees outside, even in the winter. Why should I put my whole family through hell just to get him to wear socks?? I would much rather expend that energy teaching him new skills, enjoying time together, even cleaning than fighting with him all day over socks. Now not running into the street, that is something we fought with him over. Not running outside naked was another one. But just because head start felt he should be wearing socks was no reason for all of us to be miserable.

              "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

              by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 04:52:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I remember you from another diary, teacherbill (6+ / 0-)

            about my daughter's troubles in middle school.  You had such a helpful perspective.

            I got her out of that class with that particular teacher who engaged in constant power struggles with my daughter, driving her to distraction and some epic meltdowns.

            When I accused the teacher of being incompetent, she took it very personally (imagine that, still it had to be said), which made it difficult to work with her.  She became extremely evasive and I had to do some serious sleuthwork to find out that she was not in compliance with the IEP.

            I told the school, "Get her in line, get a new teacher in there, get me into another classroom with a teacher I can live with, or we go to court."

            They got my daughter another classroom, with a much better teacher.  It wasn't an ideal solution, but it was a solution I could live with.  

            So, in conclusion, yes, teachers of children with autism need to respect who they are.  If you don't, everyone in that classroom with suffer, including the teacher.

            I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

            by coquiero on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 05:21:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for sharing (7+ / 0-)

    I have a niece (who will turn 18 this year) who is fairly severely autistic.  My sister has raised her pretty much on her own.  First, her husband was in the Navy and gone for long stretches of time.  Later on, he had a couple of affairs, moved out and back in a few times, and now they are permanently separated (not divorced, mainly for insurance reasons).  They have a mostly amicable relationship and he does spend time with my niece, but the bulk of the care giving has always fallen on my sister.

    Like your daughter, my niece does not like certain sounds, and that includes the sound of a child crying or fussing.  It is very upsetting to her.  Other sounds bother her as well, such as leaves blowing in the wind.  When it gets windy, she becomes anxious and easily upset.  Some music is fine, but other music will set her off.  To the average person on the street, they just see this young woman freaking out and they don't know why.  They often give my sister a strange or dirty look, as if to say, "why don't you control that child?"

    I'm glad you have a strong family unit, and the flexibility to weave your daughter's needs in with the rest of the family's needs.  My niece does love to go to the beach, and so does my sister.  That's always a fun outing for the both of them.  My niece enjoys horseback riding lessons, and jumping on the mini trampoline in her back yard.  

    When my niece was younger, I often hoped that there would be some breakthrough or new treatment that would help her become less severely autistic.  I don't believe that's going to happen now.  

  •  There's some good advice (8+ / 0-)

    in this diary for all parents and caretakers of kids. We should all be so open to letting our kids be who they need to be and back off on the pressure for them to succeed in ways we think they should. And listen. Young kids especially (and often even adults) don't have the tools to be specific about  what they need, what bothers them, so they act out - it takes patience to figure out what that acting out means and respond appropriately.

    And there's plain old taking it easy and moving at a family pace - based on the make up of your family.

    We have one family member who may be on the spectrum - navigating all the B.S. to figure out what's going and get what we need. We have to constantly remind ourselves that he processes information differently, sees the world differently, responds differently. It's subtle, but it is often difficult to deal with.

    Thanks for posting this diary - it's lovely.

  •  My autistic son is 17 now (8+ / 0-)

    He'll be 18 in June, but has another year of high school yet. We started him a year late because he just couldn't sit even in an ESE classroom at 5, instead he spent that year in a full day behavioral therapy program.

    He's in an odd spot on the spectrum, his symptoms coincide more with Aspergers than classical Autism, but because he has a 2.5 year speech and language delay they wouldn't classify him as Aspergers.

    We have spent many many years mostly isolated socially. Most of our social interaction has been online, because there, we can be ourselves, we can interact with adults doing things we like (like gaming) without having to worry about if our son can handle the situation or trying to find the (nearly impossible) sitter for him. We have always had one or two friends who would come over from time to time, and we had one couple we used to go visit when we lived in their area. They had no kids, one of them was a nurse, and they had lots of pets which our son enjoyed interacting with (including a squirrel and a ferret).

    As a teen he has decided he feels more comfortable interacting online. He's had a few kids he talks to in the neighborhood over the years, but no one really close. His close friends are online. But through them he's finally come to understand what a friendship should be, instead of kids using his disability against him.

    I too have had people tell me we should get out more; though I noticed those same people NEVER offered to babysit so we could. I refuse to force him into situations of failure, so mostly we stay home. He had enough of that in public school. At this point he'd like to find a part time job, so far he hasn't had any luck finding anything, but maybe now that we have moved something will open up.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 12:08:10 PM PDT

  •  We rarely had autism until it became possible for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, worldlotus

    People to become totally heavy metal poisoned. And some of that is from vaccines that contain mercury or formaldehyde to  young children. (Formaldehyde replaced the mercury in many vaccines, once the word on mercury got out. It is only a tiny smidge less dangerous than mercury.)

    Some of that poisoning  is from the ubiquitous nature of  modern day life. Even people who try to live "organically" can be down wind from a smelter or some other industrial process that knocks the health out of people.

    And scientists involved in sorting these things out have found out that "down wind" can and will some times  encompass a huge swath of miles and miles of nothing but miles. A friend of mine who was living near a refinery town close to Galveston TX was telling me that some environmental scientists were saying the air and its heavy metal polluting factors from those refineries often ended up a thousand miles away!

    I hope some day we have sorted this all out, so that fewer families will have to deal with all that having an autistic child encompasses. But as right now, American scientists are compromised by the new "Corporate Scientific Methods" that usually exonerate whatever is going on, the future for real health is being lost to America's citizenry.

    These compromises in the research labs are so extensive  that officials in foreign nations no longer allow American scientific peer reviewed papers to be used as part of their examinations of modern day matters. This tells me that  for us still living here in the USA, the day when we can have a healthy standard of living is very far away.

    When scientists in this country are unfamiliar with International protocols for science research, and their supervisors steer them away from those protocols, you know we are in for a bad time.

    Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

    by Truedelphi on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 12:36:08 PM PDT

    •  I'll be honest (8+ / 0-)

      I used to worry about the heavy metal thing.

      Problem is, the whole unregulated industry which has sprung up to service the families and parents who are worried about this kind of thing is even worse than the pharmaceutical industry.

      It's a very dodgy business with no oversight.

      I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

      by coquiero on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 12:49:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We had autism all the time. We just didn't (8+ / 0-)

      call it that.

      •  That's what I think. I've been diagnosed (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coquiero, FG, Mortifyd, FloridaSNMOM

        with a mild mood swing disorder,
        similar to bi-polar, but milder.

        I've not been diagnosed,
        yet,
        with Asperger's,
        or any other autism spectrum disorder.

        However.

        I'm clearly an unusual man.

        I see myself as something of an idiot/savant.

        (I know, that's the old, non PC term for autism)

        I simply don't have good social skills,
        I try,
        but I often say things that are not considered appropriate
        by most folks;
        for example,
        I work in retail,
        and I have a bad habit of blurting out
        nearly my whole life story,
        as a way of making a connection
        between myself and my customer,
        regarding a household item
        the customer is looking at.
        ("I bought one of those,
        and my wife likes it,
        and I'm a widower,
        happily remarried,
        so it's my new bride who likes it......")

        Not exactly appropriate.

        So that's my idiot side.

        My savant side,
        my unusual ability,
        is that I'm good at analyzing things.

        So,
        as I analyze myself,
        and recall that most of my childhood memories
        are memories of time alone,
        other than school and Boy Scouts.

        Seems obvious to me,
        I'm somewhere in the autism spectrum,
        maybe Asperger's.

        I see myself a little in the Rain Man,
        a lot in Monk,
        and a lot in the lead character in Matchstick Men,
        played by Nicholas Cage.

        So,
        seems to me,
        there's not more kids with autism spectrum,
        just more kids diagnosed as such.

        Seems to me.

        Bringing a child into the world at this point in history is a crime, the crime of child endangerment.

        by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 09:48:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  our bodies MAKE formaldehyde (8+ / 0-)

      in concentrations higher than used in vaccines - and the vaccine autism "connection" has been debunked multiple times. Seriously, this needs to stop.  We don't need a cure, thanks.  We just need help sometimes navigating whatever the hell the rest of you consider "normal" because it's weird to us.

      We definitely "had" autism before - but it wasn't called that.  Generations of my family have been on the spectrum on both sides, well before vaccines were common - they were largely functional people, but clearly different in how they saw and interacted with the world.  My father, his father and many of his siblings, my mum's sister, several great aunts, cousins and uncles - and those are just the ones I interacted with personally - it goes back much farther than that in stories and recollections of older relatives.  There is a genetic component much more likely than an environmental one.

      They were just odd. Different. Their own person. Beat of a different drummer and all that - and if they were too much to manage then they were institutionalised.

      And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

      by Mortifyd on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 01:47:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I didn't know how to vote. (6+ / 0-)

    My grandson has been identified with some kind of autism spectrum disorder. He'll be four in ten days. He qualifies for a special pre-school provided by his local school district. It seems to be helping him with speech. He doesn't really seem to have too many problems.

    I found the HBO movie, Temple Grandin, inspirational. It's available from Netflix.

  •  My youngest son (7+ / 0-)

    Is autistic, MR (or whatever they call it these days), ADHD, non verbal and some other things. We suffer from isolation also. He is very gregarious and enjoys a good joke, he also speaks in sign language. His meltdowns can be epic. I've had to drag him off the beach after he ran down and tackled a small girl, with her Dad hot on my heels demanding to know WTF? I really couldn't stop to discuss it with him. We gave up on restaurants because it all had to happen NOW. School was a total disaster so we put him in a private one for sped kids. We are lucky to be self employed and have time to advocate. We have also found some really great professionals. Most of the neighbors keep their distance, which is better than answering their incessant questions. Every day is a challenge. What I wish is that society would catch up these these kids. Autism isn;t going away.

    •  This gives me heart palpatations (7+ / 0-)
      I've had to drag him off the beach after he ran down and tackled a small girl, with her Dad hot on my heels demanding to know WTF? I really couldn't stop to discuss it with him.
      It's the most awful feeling when your child hurts another and you are powerless to do anything about it.  My daughter knocked a little girl down waiting in line to get into a water park.  The girl fell back and hit her head on a metal railing.  It is a memory that brings back very bad feelings.

      The lesson I learned is try not to make her wait in lines if at all possible.  It was her only way of telling us, "This line is making me supremely uncomfortable and I can't take it anymore."

      Of course the mother of the little girl didn't see it that way, and I can't say I blame her.  I would have been livid, too, if it had been me.

      I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

      by coquiero on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 06:06:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I like her figures. (6+ / 0-)

    I make beads. Lots and lots of Doctor Who beads.  It takes me a loooong time to decide to bake them, even longer to string them for sale or gifts.  Sometimes I remake them several times before I'm satisfied, over a period of time.

    Right now I have a pile of Oods on a stick. (aliens from Doctor Who - very friendly beings with noodly tentacle mouths) Partly to keep them out of the way and organised (OCD) and partly because "Oods on a stick" amuses me greatly.

    /random

    And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

    by Mortifyd on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 08:01:05 PM PDT

  •  One of my new coworkers is the mom of an (6+ / 0-)

    autistic son.  She mentioned that it was the start of Autism Awareness month and today is Light It Up Blue day to bring more attention to it.  So our whole office wore blue, posed in the front window and posted it to our facebook page with links to more info.

    We've only worked together for a bit over a month, but I've learned a lot about it from her.

  •  My dear coquiero, This diary brings up some things (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, FloridaSNMOM

    I'm dealing with.

    I'm a newlywed,
    (I think you remember the death of my first wife, Pam,
    from The Grieving Room,
    which you co-founded.)

    And my new bride, Tonia,
    is an unusual woman,
    and I'm an unusual man.

    I think this has resulted in social isolation for us,
    and I think my first wife, Pam, and I
    were also socially isolated.

    I say "I think,"
    because I've lived my whole life this way,
    and I'm truly not certain what it's like
    to be not socially isolated.

    I'm actually not joking;
    I wonder if someone could show me his or her appointment calendar,
    with social events on it,
    even if those events include lunch with co-workers
    who make it a lively, social lunch.

    Myself, and my first wife, and my second wife,
    none of us fit in well,
    none of us have ever made it a habit to socialize.

    If I understand what that even means.

    We have always kept our social interactions to just family,
    and maybe a rare close friend.

    No bars, clubs, very few parties,
    only parties involving close family,
    on special occasions,
    such as after a wedding.

    Our odd behavior,
    that makes it hard to get out and mingle:

    I ramble on in an inappropriate way,
    as explained in another comment upthread.

    And my new bride, Tonia, explodes with anger
    at the oddest times,
    such as if I fail to understand something she said.

    Tonia is a genius,
    and she catches on very quickly to things;
    I have OCD,
    so I want to explain things to others,
    and have things explained to me,
    in such a way that a slow learning child would understand.

    This is not a good combination.

    So,
    any time Tonia and I simply spend a solid hour or two
    together,
    we have troubles;
    she wants me to stay quiet if I'm driving,
    no chit chat.

    It's as if both of us are special needs children.

    Outings are not practical for us.

    We love to eat out,
    but that's minimal talking,
    minimal interaction with others.

    She gets along great with others,
    so do I;
    but she sometimes doesn't like what I say in public,
    and she's right,
    I've put my foot in my mouth once or twice.

    So,
    socially isolated?

    What's that?

    Rather,
    what's life like for those who aren't?

    I wouldn't know,
    I've never had a social life.

    I'm not even sure what it is,
    or if I'd even like it.

    Probably not.

    Friends who aren't family or very close friends
    are shallow friends,
    and why do I need shallow friends?

    Thanks for the dairy.

    Bringing a child into the world at this point in history is a crime, the crime of child endangerment.

    by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 10:43:08 PM PDT

    •  Hello bj3 (4+ / 0-)

      Of course I remember you from the Grieving Room, good to see you again.

      It's a funny point about not knowing what we're missing sometimes, but I look around me at other families who all seem to do the same things and be in the same places and yes, sometimes have parties that we're not invited to.

      But as you wisely point out, part of that is my choice.  I can't blame it all on Ellie.  

      Many parents of children on the spectrum have their own issues, which can increase social isolation all on its own.  I don't think I'm on the spectrum, but looking back I've always been a little different, a little socially awkward.  And I describe my husband as a grumpy bear.  He's a wonderful, kind man but a total grump, all bark and no bite.

      They're the kind of personalities that lend themselves well to a few close friends rather than part of a big crowd of friends.

      Your comments remind me of the husband of a friend of mine, who is French.  Even though I consider us good friends, and we've spent time together over the years, shared meals, even stayed at each other's homes, he said at dinner one time that he didn't consider us friends, but acquaintances.  I was a little shocked, but I think it's just how the French see things.

      Like you said, if you're not family or very close friends, then you're not very close so why bother?  

      I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

      by coquiero on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 04:44:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you so much for your reply. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coquiero

        The friendships we have here at Daily Kos
        are another example that sometimes makes me wonder,
        who do I count as good friends,
        close friends?

        I suppose I truly cannot answer that.

        Rather,
        I will give and take whatever emotional comfort
        we can exchange here,
        and set aside any question
        of how truly close we are.

        We are as close as we feel in our best moments,
        interacting here.

        Do you agree?

        Bringing a child into the world at this point in history is a crime, the crime of child endangerment.

        by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 12:28:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  We don't socialize much (5+ / 0-)

    and when we do, it's usually with other families on the spectrum or people we already know who are socially tolerant. It's just too exhausting for me to have to deal with the common neurotypical attitudes toward benign weirdness.

    A few years ago we had dinner with two other couples who also have autistic spectrum kids. As we sat there around the dinner table, I mentioned what a relief it was to be somewhere I could feel completely comfortable that no matter what my daughter might do, no one there would so much as blink. The other parents all exploded with laughter. Yup. And then each proceeded to share a story about a social situation where their child had done something that made a NT uncomfortable. Silly stuff, like not making eye contact when talking, drinking a dish of soy sauce, etc.

    I spend so much time with my daughter teaching her about being considerate of other people's feelings, developing tact, not pointing out things about other people that might make them uncomfortable. How come there are so many NT people out there who haven't learned these lessons yet? Or maybe they think these social rules don't apply to them when they are dealing with autistic people?

    It's a frustrating double standard.  You have incidents like the one described in this essay:

    http://www.dallasnews.com/...

    This made me think about an experience we had at a restaurant a few weeks ago. We were seated, and then we couldn't help but notice that the woman who was seated at the table just next to us was mooning us. She was wearing those low rise jeans, her shirt was hiked up, and "visible butt crack" simply doesn't describe the situation. This was a 3/4 moon, at least.  

    I don't particularly want to eat my meal having to look at someone else's rear end, but it never occurred to me to say anything to that woman. That would have been rude.

    If more neurotypicals improved their social skills, socializing would be more comfortable for autistic people.

    •  A bunch of people sent me that essay (5+ / 0-)

      because I talk about just that kind of stuff in my blog a lot.

      Even simple stuff, like staring.  When did parents stop teaching their kids that it's rude to stare?

      My kids know better, but apparently people are too worried about little Johnny's baseball record too teach them basic manners.

      You are so right about the world in general needing social skills lessons.

      I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

      by coquiero on Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 08:09:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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