Sunday, September 22, 2013

Society needs the cure!

I saw this on Facebook tonight.  This is exactly how I feel.  
My son doesn't need "curing" he does not have a disease or a disability, he is perfect the say he is.
It is the people who show no compassion, no understanding, no tolerance for those who are different that need the curing.  

I do not know who Josh is, but thank you Josh, I could never have said it better.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I love you just the way you are.......

I read a very sad update on a Facebook page today.  A Facebook page that is followed by over 2000 people, one that was set up by a mother of 3 children on the Spectrum.

The update was.............Miss 7 did fabulously at her mainstream birthday party yesterday! She looked and acted just like all the other girls........

I see so many parents only celebrate when their ASD child acts NT!  This has to stop!  Can you imagine what her daughter would feel, if she sat back and read that in a few years?  Her mother was happy because she ACTED LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.  Shouldn't you just be happy that your child coped with a noisy day, and had a lovely time.  Why is is better because she hid who she really was.

If parents don't start to celebrate the uniqueness and the loveliness of their child, just the way the way they are, what hope do we have in getting the rest of the work to accept our children?

Don't ever forget to say to you child, each and every day.......I love you just the way you are.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Big Move

As many of you know, we have taken some time away from Australia to fulfil our dream of living in New Zealand.

So far so good, we have reached one month of being away from home and Hadley has had a wonderful time - he is positively thriving in fact.  He has connected well with 2 boys so far and being the social little man he is,  I have managed to keep that side of things rolling.  One of his new friends is not only on the Spectrum but is home-schooled, double score!  We will be joining the homeschool community group here soon and then attend excursions and connect with more families and children that way.

What I have found amazing is Hadley's resilience to change.  None of this would have been possible had we not started homeschool.  We basically have no routine whatsoever and he is not fazed by this at all. Some days we do school work, but if the weather is fine, we hop in the car and go off on an adventure.  We have no routines at home time either, things change daily, but he copes just fine.  There is no anxiety, there is no stress at all.

Of course Hadley reads as much as ever.  His book shelf is quickly filling fast!  He has many books on New Zealand so is quickly becoming an expert in that area too.  He knows the names of most birds now by sight and can tell you all about them.  He finds delight in finding old New Zealand books on animals, shells and birds, hunting through garage sales with his father.

This life suits him.  Lovely fresh air, wonderful views, and new friends.  He is smiling all the time and walks around the house singing often.

He did miss his cat terribly (Felix the comfort cat) but now we have Ruby.  She came home from the SPCA with us.  Ruby is so very tolerant, as Hadley loves to rub his face on her soft fur.

Life is good.............

Friday, May 24, 2013

NDIS and Autism

I personally don't know enough about the NDIS to really make a comment, but unlike most parents with children on the Spectrum, we don't use therapies to help our son.  We don't use any government funding to change/help him.

We read, we listen to other adults on the Spectrum, we teach him respect and have manners and how to cope in life, but we don't change the essence of him. We don't stop him stimming or flapping, these are a part of him, these are his coping techniques, these are his happy signals. We don't force him to look people in the eye (well he pretty much does that anyway).

We are teaching him to keep thoughts in his head, but we still have a long way to go with that.  We are just teaching him to be nice to people and consider their feelings, even if you have a burning desire to say, I don't like you, or I have never seen you before in my life, why are you talking to me?  It is sometimes hard to keep a straight face when he does say exactly what he is thinking.  Tact does get you far in life, even us NTs have to learn that!

Anyway I digress.......I just read this wonderful blog post on the NDIS and wanted to share.....Amazing Adventures.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Our Rescue Kitten!

I just read this beautiful article about a 20 year old on the Spectrum and her Kitten (her rescue kitten) and it reminded me so much of my son and his Kitten (also known as Felix).

I have read somewhere that it is good for children on the Spectrum to have a pet.  We already have pets so I never thought about it too much, til my girls contacted me while we were away in Malaysia last year.  They said, cats are only $20 at the RSPCA, can we buy Hadley one?  I know he likes Manx Cats so said, of course, but only if it is a Manx (thinking I would be pretty safe).  Well yes, there was a Manx!  A male Manx that was aged around 2 years old!

We came home to a very shy, quiet cat, who was quite small.  Hadley fell instantly in love.  It was his responsibility to name him, feed him and love him.  Felix soon made himself right at home.  He loves tummy rubs and to be near you all day.  He is very vocal and Hadley knows exactly that he is saying.  Felix was not 2 however, he was still a kitten, he has grown much bigger now, is more vocal, and rules the roost in this house!

Hadley likes to call him Kitten.  He likes to say "I love my Kitten" a lot!  He loves to pat him when he is feeling anxious, and loves to rub his face in his soft fur.  Hadley has always loved the feeling of soft, furry things!  He also just loves him.  He feeds him and cares for him.  He takes responsibility for him and thinks about what he needs.

Hadley has also started thinking about others much more since he has had his Kitten.  He will ask us how our day has been, or if we would like a drink of water.  He has also started taking more  responsibility for himself, and being more independent.   Most of all though, Felix has become  Hadley's best friend and offers him love and comfort and the favour is generously returned.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Collectors

It is a fact that most people on the Spectrum like to collect, some call it a special interest.  I like to call it a talent, to be so dedicated and to stay on track.  I wish my concentration levels could allow me to collect something with ongoing dedication.

Here are Tony Attwood's thoughts on collecting and Asperger's  Both my Aspie boys don't entirely agree with his conclusions.  In fact, they don't agree with many things in his books.  Tony Attwood likes to generalise a lot!  Like us NTs, people on the Spectrum are all individual too.  In fact I know many NT people that are more avid collector's than my two boys (that is hubby and my son).  They put the boys to shame!

Hadley has agreed that he likes to collect knowledge, but unlike Tony Attwood's claim that this is on one specific subject, Hadley likes to collect knowledge on anything and everything.  He just likes to know as much as he can.  For an 8 year old, his knowledge is vast and often surprising.  Just this week he told me what NATO was, when I was not too sure.  He then proceeded to fill me in on the Cold War.  I was also talking to my 18yo about how progressive New Zealand was, in being the first country to give women the vote.  Hadley piped up with the exact year!  It was 1893 from memory, but I could be wrong, my mind doesn't seem to retain much!

Hubby did say, as a child, if it was collectable he was in!  He still loves to collect books, and loves all things Rugby, but certainly not much more than your average Kiwi!   He does find it hard to throw things away, but we have not reached "The Hoarders" status quite yet!

I guess this post is on generalising.  The so called experts (and you will hear me using that term a lot) loved to generalise about ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).  Note hat I dislike the term disorder immensely.  I remember when someone first suggested my son may have Aspergers,  I thought, no he can't because every single piece of information I could find said, those with Aspergers avoid eye contact.  Both my husband and son probably have better eye contact than I do!   My husband is also sporty, a marathon runner, sociable, has tact, has great people skills - according to experts, he shouldn't or couldn't have Aspergers, but he does!

It is like the saying - an Aspie cannot lie.  Oh yes they can, and some are very good at it!  If you ask my son, do I look fat, he will give you a straight answer.  Ask him if he did something that was wrong, he can very easily say no!  Can my husband lie - he is a man - need I say more?

While I say to parents, arm yourself, read as much as you can, take caution.  Most books written are very general and written for entry level parents - that is those who are just starting out.  You will find, that if you do connect with adults on the Spectrum, if you join groups that include people on the Spectrum, you will know so much more than someone that has decided to write a book on the subject, but does not live with AS every single day.

Learn - especially from those who life this life - but learn to sift through the facts and learn to trust yourself, your instincts and learn to let your child lead the way.  Learn to listen to what they want and need.  They do not have to be verbal for you to be able to listen.  Be instinctive and stop listening to experts who are in fact not quite as expert as they would have you believe.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Brilliance of Being Yourself

The brilliance of a boy with Autism who was simply allowed to be himself.
The key, according to his mother, was letting Jacob be himself - by helping him study the world with wide-eyed wonder instead of focusing on a list of things he couldn't do - and no he still cannot tie his shoe laces, but it doesn't seem to be stopping him!

Kristine Barnett noticed that her little boy - whom doctors tagged at Autistic - seemed to have a fascination with patterns.  So she took him out of his school's special ed program and let him study the things he is passionate about.  He is now on the way to winning a Nobel Prize.
Read More

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Difference not a Disorder.

I saw this posted several times today on Facebook.   The words "disorder" and "dealing with" and the things that stand out for me.  If parents don't get it, how will the rest of the world.

I don't consider my son or my husband to have a disorder, I don't "deal with Autism".  My son is who he is, he is different to the majority but he does not have a disorder or a disability and I don't deal with him, I love and cherish him.   I love him exactly the way he is.  He is blessed and we are blessed to be his parents.

Parents stop feeling sorry for yourselves and stop wasting time, enjoy every single precious moment with your child, and start looking at your life in a different way.  You will be surprised at the change in circumstances once you do.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Where to Start?

I guess the starting point is here.  I have finally decided to blog about our Spectrum journey.  I see a need for change and I cannot think of how to start except here. 

The link above is to my post on my work blog, when I first heard of our son's Asperger's diagnosis from his paediatrician.  When I read back now, I read in shock and embarrassment of how I felt then.  It was probably a natural reaction - well it was a natural reaction, as I often see he same reaction in other parents.  What I find distressing though, is that many parents to do not progress past this initial attitude and reaction.

I am a mother of 4 amazing children.   I know we all think our kids are amazing, but I feel truly blessed to share my lives with these four people.  They all make me proud every single day, they make me smile, they make me feel blessed.  My youngest has Asperger's Sydrome (AS) as does my husband.  

AS, which once brought tears to our lives, now brings joy, friendship, support, understanding and tolerance.  It makes us want to be better people and to make the world a better place.  

Life certainly has it challenges.  Life is not always rosy, but that is life, real life.  We now homeschool our son, at first reluctantly after accepting that the education system in its current form will never be accommodating enough for our boy to really thrive and reach his full potential, but now with great joy. Home schooling has swept me off my feet, and had I known, not only the true joy of spending every day with my son, but the joy of watching his beautiful smiling face, and true happiness as he thrives both socially and academically, I would have done it much earlier.

Our son is 8.  He is happy.  He is happy he has Aspergers, he fully embraces it.  He doesn't want to be like everyone else.  He loves the uniqueness of his being.  He is blessed with some lovely friends on the Spectrum who fully get him and understand him, and he also has some non-Spectrum friends who love him for who he is too.  Unlike my original post talking about changing him to fit in and pretending to be like everyone else, we embrace his uniqueness.  We do not take him to endless therapy, we let him be a child.  I did start with the therapy, it is what I was told to do, but the day my 7 year old came to me and said, "Why do you send me to these things Mummy?  Why are you trying to change me?  I like me, just the way I am",  was the day I vowed never to change a single beautiful thing about him.  

The so called professionals have it all wrong in my opinion.  My pead told us, take him to therapy, within 6 months no one will know he is on the Spectrum, he will act like everyone else.  I know this is a delayed reaction (almost 2 years) but I feel like marching into his office and setting him straight.  I want to tell him he is wrong and to stop advising confused parents to do this.   Sorry but I do!  How dare he think the best thing for my child is to pretend to be someone else!  

I am doubly blessed.  My husband also has Aspergers.  He can give me insight into my son's mind, he can help me understand him.  I would never presume to know what is best for my child.  I would never think it is ok for me to make a decision for someone on the Spectrum when it is something so foreign to me.  Our son and my husband help me to understand and they lead the way.  I am still shocked by how many non-Spectrum (NT) parents think they know what is best for their child.  This is often therapies to train their child be to NT and taking advice from so called professionals that learn through text books but don't live this life.  

The sooner we all come to accept every single person on this planet for who they are, and love them for being individual, the sooner the world will become a better place for us all. Sure my son will be paving the way for future generations, he is going to be doing the hard yards, but someone has to.  He is going to grow up being proud of who he is.  I know too many adults on the Spectrum who tell me how they spent so much energy fitting in and being someone else, that they have never really reached their true potential in life.

My son is going to reach his full potential.  School caused anxiety, so we removed the source, we do what we can to provide an environment to nurture him emotionally and academically.  He is self assured, he is happy and he has the most brilliant mind I have come across.  To him reading is like breathing, you cannot live without it.  He retains almost every single piece of information and can readily gain access to it it that full overflowing mind of his.  He never ceases to amaze me.  

I am truly confident that one day our boy will achieve great things.  He will be an inspiration to other children on the Spectrum and he will be amazing and happy.  He is blessed with the confidence and the ability to live outside the box, and without confines comes greatness.  That greatness may be simply that he is happy.  That is what we all want in life. 

I want to finish my first post by sharing something I found on Karla's ASD Page today.  I think it is one of the single most important things I have read as a parent to a child on the Spectrum. 

Karla's ASD Page
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