When I think about my son's future—and that includes his future without me, seeing as autistic kids, like most kids, tend to outlive their parents—there are three things I desperately want for him:
1) I want Leo to be known and loved in his community. 2) I want Leo to be understood and accepted for who he is. 3) I want Leo's personal wishes respected.
Every time I hear Coldplay's song "Clocks," I cry. It's a conditioned reaction; a rocket back to 2003, when "Clocks" was ever-present on the radio, my son had just been diagnosed with autism, and all anyone would tell me was that my life was going to be a shitstorm of misery—and so was his. I cry when I hear "Clocks" because I'm instantly wracked with that phantom hopelessness and depression. I cry because the system that was supposed to support and protect my son looked at us quizzically and shrugged....more
Brenda Rothman is a refreshing source of compassion and practical advice in the autism parenting online world. I frequently check in with her blog, Mama Be Good, for ideas about fostering healthy family relationships, encouraging understanding, and nurturing both parent and child.
The first thing I noticed on arriving at the Autism Awareness, Care, and Training (AACT) school in Accra, Ghana was how much it reminded me of my son's autism school here in California. Both are places of peace, calm, and competence plus the occasional whoop, shout, or "eeeee," while students and staff radiate not just positivity but confidence. This is because students are encouraged to learn to the best of their abilities, and are appreciated for exactly who they are. AACT is a remarkable place. ...more
Let's be honest: The winter holiday season can really suck for Autistic people like my son Leo. Leo does not appreciate it when weekly school routines suddenly disappear, and are replaced by random social occasions with loud music, flashing lights, and people who don't even try to understand autism. When the holidays arrive, Leo generally shifts to coping rather than functioning mode, and holiday meltdowns are not uncommon -- not just for my son, but for Autistic people of all ages.
This is my autistic son Leo, my husband, and me, right around the time Leo was being evaluated for autism. And, just to hedge our bets on the Original Sin matter, being baptized.
Obviously, we were miserable. Can't you tell by the way Leo is laughing?
Some members of the autism parenting communities are having a hard time making a critical distinction right now, so let me be clear: Just because you understand how difficult parenting can be does not mean you understand why someone would kill their autistic child. Those two subjects need to be separated by a brick wall.
Why someone needs a disabled parking pass is none of your damn business, just so you know. Folks don't have the passes if they don't need them, and as they go through an official process of applications and approvals to get that pass, your opinion is irrelevant -- even if you can’t tell what the person’s disability is. ...more