About Me

I am the proud mother of 6 children. 5 of our children have autism. We do not feel our world has ended, but just begun. We do not chelate, intervene biochemically, give shots of any kind, practice ABA, etc. We treat them as we treat any humanbeing. We treat them with kindness and respect and expect the same from them. They are exceptional children.

Blog Archive

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Defining AUTISM

I have children whom happen to have the neurological disorder called Autism. Autism does not define my children. My children all have unique personalities. They each define themselves:

Caitlin-15-beautiful, artistic, intelligent, caring.
Deirdre-12-pretty, smart, quirky, sensitive.
Erin-10-lovely, happy, bright, emotional.
Meaghan-8-gorgeous, girly, giggly, ornery.
Patrick-6-handsome, feisty, bull-headed, sweet.
Kiernan-5-precious, active, funny, loving.

See, not once did I mention autistic.

In our home, autism is not the defining factor in our children's lives.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Now For The Truth.....

I just read the new blog written by the un-named, very angry father of an autistic son. In this new blog, written today, this father has written a very long "speech" about how no child with severe autism can grow up and do "normal" things or in fact "be safe"...
I need to set the record straight on my blog. I promise not to make it as long as his blog. It gets redundant.
Our oldest, Caitlin, is 15 years old. When she was 2 1/2 she screamed, rocked, jumped, flapped, and buzzed. She smeared feces, shampoo, hand cream, toothpaste, etc all over the house. She was non-verbal and very hyperactive.
Today, Caitlin is fully inclusioned in regular 9th grade with a full-time attendant. She no longer smears anything. She does like to draw and is quite a wonderful artist...I will share this on another date...
Caitlin started speaking between 8 and 9 years of age. She has been potty trained since the age of a 6 years old. She has NEVER had an accident in her pants or in the bed. Caitlin also can hold a conversation, answer questions, and let her needs be met. She can wait outside for the bus without me worrying about her running into the street. She knows not to get into the car of someone she does not know.
And guess what????

ALL of this was done WITHOUT chelation....not one drop of ointment on her body...not one IV in her vein....not one suppository up her butt.

Caitlin is going to be capable of living on her own by the time she is 21, if I will allow her to go. I really would love to keep her around. I enjoy my daughter and all she has to offer us. She is funny, quirky, moody and loveable...you know, your typical 15 year old...but, with SEVERE AUTISM....

2 of our other children have come out of severe autism and now have the diagnosis PDD-NOS. They did this WITHOUT chelation.

Our youngest still is very much autistic, BUT I have no doubt he too will become as wonderful as our other children.. There is no reason for me not to feel this way, because I look at proof in our home every day that he will excel in life...


Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I will admit that I do read John Best, Jr's blog-Hating Autism. When I started to get into blogging, I typed in Autism Blogs in Google and his was one of many blogs that came up. I read alot of pro-chelation, pro-biomedical, pro-Yasko protocol, etc. I also read most of the NT blogs, because I can relate best with the NT crowd.
I also read comments on all the blogs. I like to read what other's think about what I just read.
On Hating Autism's blog, in the comment section, on several occasions my name Mom26children is brought up by one ANONYMOUS person. I don't take much on the comments of this person, because I don't know who it is.
I feel if I annoy this person so much, they would show up using their REAL name and approach me in a more mature manner. But, since this person is intent on mocking me and trying to put me down with people who also don't know me, there is nothing I can do.
BUT, I would like to reassure this ANONYMOUS that in no time have I ever placed a comment on Hating Autism. If I did, I would use my real name Jeanette or Mom26children.
I have nothing to HIDE....I don't think I can say the same for you.

Also, I must comment about John Best, Jr. I do not think he is a bad person. I do not think he is a bad father. When I read how he writes about his son, I picture a father who adores his son. A father who is justified for being proud of his son at succeeding in riding a bicycle. I just do not agree with some of his bullying tactics with people who do not agree with him.
I know people who have met him...they tell me he is nice. Maybe one day, we will also be priveleged to see that side of him.
Maybe one day, he will not compare me or Soapbox Mom to "crack addicts who dropped out of Grammar school"......

Monday, October 23, 2006

If Only....

I read many autism parent's forums. It is my right as the parent of many autistics.
The majority of parent's on these forums want reassurance that they themselves are doing the right thing. They want to be patted on the back for having bad thoughts about their children or even never wanting the children to begin with.
If only I had never had children I would be on a cruise ship with a hunk name Jacque....sorry, my fantasy....
My point being this...even people I meet with "normal" children want to get away. They do not like the responsiblities given when it comes to having children. It just so happens that our jobs are a wee bit harder because are children are autistic.
SO there in lies the guilt....

Guess what????
No one likes all the responsiblity. Your so-called friends, the ones with normal kids, they want to get away also.
So next time you get into you "Calgon take me away bath" (as if), just close your eyes and think of Jacque...
Damn, that was me again.....Sorry

Low-Dose Birth Control...Or, Don't Hate Me Because I'm Fertile....


If you can look at the pictures taken by H. Darr Beiser, with USA Today, you will understand why I am not concerned why the fact that my low-dose birth control did not work. Every one of these precious children were born to a husband and wife who wanted each and every one of them.
What newspaper articles and television shows did not mention is the fact that we miscarried one child before Erin and Kiernan was originally a twin. Losing both of those unborn children was very hard on our family. I would have loved to have 8 children.
I feel badly for women who have a hard time conceiving. How sad it must be to fight a body that does not want to carry a child. I would be a surrogate mother in a heartbeat...but Kiernan was a c-section and they advised us against any more children.
My husband then went under the knife and that is taken care of-snip snip.....
My husband is very involved in all the children. He has gone to every doctor and dentist appointment from day one. He took these precious children to all of their therapy appointments. I stayed home with my daycare or the other children. He is a hands-on daddy and very proud of his large family.
We don't require alot of extras to be happy in this house. We are so happy just to sit around and play board games on a Saturday.
We are accepted in our community and church. We are complemented often on the behaviors of our children. Our children have come a long way....they have gone from screaming out-0f-control babies and toddlers to charming and well-behaved children. With the exception of Kiernan...he still loves to scream in the grocery store.

Back to the low-dose bc in question....I was on the low-dose, because I was breast-feeding my little lovelies. I could not breast feed and take a higher dose pill.
Fortunately, my husband or myself are very fertile. Otherwise, I would not have my wonderful children.
The fact that the majority are autistic bothers some people....oh well....I cannot please everyone, nor would I want to. If you are so unhappy in your life, I am sorry. Please do not bring me into that abyss.

So, as you look through the slide show of my children...remember each one was wanted and each one is loved for the individual they are.....

Saturday, October 21, 2006

AOD-Autism Obsessive Disorder...

It has come to my attention that there is a new disorder on the rise...AOD-Autism Obsessive Disorder.
Since everyone on the forums likes labels, I thought this would intrigue you guys. I mean, really, when asked what diagnosis your child has all you need to answer is autism...not autistic with OCD, ADHD, ADD, Bipolar....etc.
Also, for goodness sakes, how do you care for your children when you post so much each day on 2 or 3 different forums? I am baffled about how the children are even cared for?
I have tracked a few this weekend, and believe me, I am stunned. For almost 2 years one mother has been posting over 3 times a day. That is obsessive. Then the same mother and several of her cohorts pick and whine about the comments made by certain Accepting people...be it parent's or educators.
I would also like to bring to the attention of one AOD parent...who shall remain nameless....my 2 children have gotten better since the newspaper report in the USA Today was written over 18 months ago. It is called growth. Kids do it, even without spending all of your money on biomedical crap.
I do not know if AOD has a cure or even if you can recover. I don't believe it can happen. I think you people are so absorbed into your children's autism that you cannot dig out of the hole. I feel badly for you, but mostly I feel badly for your children. How much are they missing out on?
Hey, Maybe Buttar has a cream...or you can sit in an HBOT chamber...or sit while you have an IVIG...or better yet
Just let it GO.....

My First Experience With Autism

My first experience with autism was not with the birth of our oldest child. It was years before 1991.
My first experience was in 1982. I was needing to get extra money, as being in college, beer cost alot of money and George Strait was costing more and more to see.
I went for an interview at The San Marcos Treatment Center. It was a part of The Brown School's system. They were basically a place for very wealthy people to send their handicapped or emotionally disabled children. Also, if you're state could not find appropriate schooling for your child, they would send them to The San Marcos Treatment Center.
The first dorm I worked on was an all-female dorm. There were older women in 2 rooms (32 to 70 years old), middle-aged women in 2 rooms (18 to 30 years old)_, teenagers in 1 room (11 to 16 years old) and young girls (4 to 10 years old) in the last room.
The majority of the younger girls were labeled Autistic. They were heavily medicated to calm their behaviors. I remember nurses visits 3 times a day for most of the residents. My first one-to-one was a 15 year old autistic girl from Chicago. The second was 16 years and autistic from Chicago also. Not related, by the way.
Our oldest daughter, Caitlin, is exactly like Kim. Jumping, flapping, and defiant at times. I loved Kim. She was a joy to work with.
The older ladies were most definitely autistic. That would make Martha, if she is still alive, in her late 80's or early 90's. Janet would be in her early 80's. Caroline would be in her 80's. Anne would be in her early 60's. They were not labeled autistic, because the label they got by their doctor's were retarded....but believe me, they had all of the autistic characteristics.
So there goes the ever popular question of "Where are the 75 year old autistics?"....Easy answer....they are dead, institutionalized, or heavily medicated. These women and men were not treated the same as they are now. They were not educated like they would be required to be now. They sat in a room and waited for their meds, meals and therapists.
This Brown School's was a very nice place. The residents were taken good care of. They were the lucky ones. They had people who were well-paid, for the time, and cared for them. I know, of all the people that I cared for, I loved them all.

Now that we have autistic children, I have to be thankful for my job at The San Marcos Treatment Center. That job taught me patience, kindness, acceptance and love of what is deemed by others to be abnormal. I wish I could find these people and let them know the lessons they taught me. I hope they are still being well-cared for and loved. I hope wherever they are, they are safe and happy.

I must edit this post, because I wrote it all wrong....

My first experience with autism was when I was 11 years old and hired to babysit a neighbors children. The little girl was 6 and the little boy was 3. The little boy was autistic.
I cannot believe that I totally forgot about this little boy. He was non-verbal and scream most of the night. I did not mind babysitting him, but it was a challenge for a 11 year old girl.
That was in 1971. This child would be around 38 years old now....I wonder where he is?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Not Your Typical Day...

I woke up this morning and Kiernan was right beside me...soaking wet. Yes, he had wet the bed and decided to crawl in next to me...now my bed is wet. So, I got up and changed his diaper. We came downstairs and I started our regular morning routine.
2 of the children had appointments with the neurologist this morning. Their bi-annual checkup.
I started making coffee and breakfast for the family.
Kiernan was in a very feisty mood. He went directly into the bathroom, and through the toilet paper into the toilet. I removed him and cleaned the water up. Next stop for Kiernan was the kitchen refrigerator. He is fascinated with the water spout. My husband cleaned that up.
I could not find the insurance forms for the girls and we were running late. I had to sign report cards and get them in the backpacks. I got the lunches packed.
As I turn around, I caught Kiernan spilling my coffee onto the carpeting. He loves to see things spill. I throw a towel over the spill..I will deal with that later. But, Kiernan was very pleased with what he had accomplished.
The kids were stressing because, God forbid, we were 5 minutes behind schedule.
We load up in the Tahoe and suddenly my husband stops. "We don't have any steering"...what..."I said, I cannot turn the steering wheel"....
After 5 more minutes of sitting there, the kids start panicking. 5 minutes before the school bell rings. My kids are never, ever TARDY.
We walk in the house, just to get our thoughts together. Kiernan grabs his backpack and begins his walk to school. We only live 5 blocks, so he was headed in the right direction.
Austin finally got a cold front and it was a very cool 63 degrees and windy. Kiernan loves the wind.
As we are walking to school, Patrick and Erin are visibly upset. They have never been tardy and are sure they will be in trouble. Patrick and I are reassuring them they will be okay. Meaghan is complaining because she is missing Art class. We assure her she will be able to go.
We get to school, Patrick, myself, Erin, Meaghan, Little Patrick, and Kiernan...all in a row. The principal says, "What's wrong?". I explained car trouble. She laughs and stated she thought it was something bad since we were all together.
So, thanks to a broken alternator belt, we had a rough start to school. The day has since calmed down. I now have a turkey in the oven so the kids will be happy when they come home from school. They love when I make turkey. It smells like Thanksgiving to them....and believe it or not....they have alot to be Thankful for.

Oh, and one more note....report cards.
Meaghan got 5 A's and 1 B-honor roll
Erin got 4 A's and 2 B's-honor roll
The boys are graded differently..they don't give letter grades until 3rd grade.
Patrick got all 3's and 4's.
Kiernan got all 1's and some 2's....he has come so far in 2 years.
We are so proud of them all....

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Autism Rainbow....

I have always thought we had a unique family. We are who we are....
We have 6 children. 5 of them autistic. That is not bragging rights, just what we are.
I received a call from a mother the other day, who wanted to come and meet me. She just got the diagnosis of Autism for her son. I told her she was welcome, but she probably wouldn't like what I had to say. She said that she would take the chance.
In walks this very pretty lady. She looked sad. We started talking. I explained our family to her. She could not believe what she was hearing. She was so mad her son had autism she was blind with anger...her words, not mine.
She stayed longer than she had planned, because she wanted to meet my children....
As they came off the bus, I introduced the first four:
1. This is Kiernan....our hardest one to handle as of today. Fully autistic and very active. He has the face of an angel, but is so sly and devilish. We adore this child.
2. This is Patrick...he is very shy. He does not handle noise or clothing well. He is the smartest 6 year old I know. He loves hugs and loves his friends. He is all boy.
3. This is Erin. She has come so far in such a short 9 years. This child went from severely autistic to an honor roll student. She went from screaming to happy. She is so joyous.
4. This is Meaghan. She is our angel. This child loves her autistic siblings, but sure lets us know when she needs our attention. She will be famous someday...I am sure of it.
The kids sat and talked with this woman for about a half and hour until Deirdre's bus pulled up. In walks Deirdre...
5. This is Deirdre. She is a typical 12 year old girl. She thinks her father and I are the dumbest people on the planet Earth. Oh well, she is probably not that far off. This Asperger's child has gotten through all of her quirks and has made a load of friends. My hat is off to Deirdre.
Deirdre started to answer this ladies questions. Deirdre is so analytical. She kind of stunned the woman with her intelligence. I was very proud.
Now Caitlin arrives home in all of her thunder:
6. Who's this? Caitlin asks...This is my friend. Caitlin says,"nice shirt"..the lady says thank you. Not bad for a child who did not notice anyone just 5 short years ago. Caitlin got her snack and retreated to her room...

I went on to explain to this parent of a newly diagnosed autistic child that her world did not just end. It just became different.
All the doctor did was add a label to the child she already has. Do not look differently at this child because of it. Just realize that it does not change who he/she is. You still have the child you gave birth to, they just now have a label. And most important, the label does not define the child.

When this lady left she gave me a great big hug. She said to me, you know what your family is? I was waiting.....
She said, "Your family is the family with the Autism Rainbow..."

I like that...I think I will keep it.

The Acceptance Around Us..

Today, I had my monthly lunch with Meaghan, our 8 year-old. We have lunch anytime the menu says ENCHILADAS....I love them.
We pick a seat out in the hallway, so we can speak to people as they pass. And believe me, alot of people pass.
I know every teacher at our school...and Mary Hutka (she was Caitlin's amazing 2nd grade teacher) this is a shout out to you....and I must say I like them all. Some I love, but I like all of them.
Any way, I was sitting there with Meaghan and the PE teacher came out and was having her class run laps back and forth on a track in the hall. I asked Meaghan if she wanted to eat in the library, in case it got too loud. Meaghan declined, she wanted to watch the 5th graders run back and forth.
There were 4 groups of 4 runners. The first group went...nothing spectacular. The second group...the same. The third group had a young lady who ran longer than any girl or boy. Then came the fourth group.
Now, up to this point, it was pretty quiet. No screaming, no cheering, just counting laps.
All of a sudden, with the fourth group, came these yells of encouragement...GO ZOEY, GO ZOEY, YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!
Here comes Zoey, a little girl who uses a walker due to Cerebral Palsy. Running her little heart out. She would lift her feet up when she approached the line and scoot to the line. She would stop, turn her walker around, and off she went. She went until she could not go any further.
What impressed me even more than the AMAZING Zoey, was the fact the children all stopped to cheer her on. The fact that when she was finished, they made sure she was okay. They helped her get water, and all gave her a hug or a High 5.
This is the school all of my children have attended. All 6 of them have been there or are going there. This is a school who does not tolerate bullying, name-calling, or non-acceptance of any kind.
We have bi-polar students, Cerebral Palsy students, ADHD students, a student with Tourette's Syndrome and of course, the Autistic students (most of which are ours). These children are all inclusioned when they reach the age of 4 or older.
Our children get invited to all the birthday parties, sleepovers, Christmas, Easter and Halloween parties. They have always been accepted. I believe we owe the fact the parent's accepting all of the children is because the school accepts them also.
The special education team at Summitt Elementary is first-class. These people make sure the children excel. They are not allowed to "just get by"..they are made to learn and grow into wonderful young pre-teens.
If you don't believe me, just ask all that witnessed the race of a lifetime today...just ask the Amazing ZOEY......

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Public Assistance....

I have taken the time to read a few statements this weekend, that some kind soul was trying to share with me....thinking I might get offended...The person that sent them to me does not think kindly of my Accepting Attitude towards my children....
They are trying to egg me on....Guess what? It didn't...
But then, I thought about it for a while....
Do I owe this person an explanation of why my family accepts funding from MHMR (Mental Health and Mental Retardation) for Respite and SSI for a couple of our children????
Then I thought, why the heck not. Maybe that will shut them up about me for once and for all....I doubt it....I think soon they will start a fan club about my family. They do seem OBSESSED....

Okay, in 1994, when Caitlin was diagnosed, my husband worked and I ran an in-home daycare. We had a visit from Any Baby Can, a local support group. They assessed our situation and told us about respite help and SSI. The respite help had a 7 year wait list. So we applied for SSI. Unbeknowst to us, we got an appointment. We went downtown and filled out forms and answered questions. 2 weeks later, we were given an appointment with a speech therapist to evaluate Caitlin for SSI. I guess we passed. 6 weeks later we received a retro check and Medicaid...boy was that a lifesaver. Her medical bills were enormous.
Deirdre was born in 1994 and she was not diagnosed until 2004. She has never received any supplemental income of any kind. We feel she will succeed fine and not need services in the future.
Erin was diagnosed in 1998 and we put her on the waitlists and applied for SSI. Again, she qualified and started receiving MHMR and SSI.
Meaghan received no services or funding.
Patrick was diagnosed in 2002. He started receiving SSI and MHMR services at that time. There is now no waitlist for services in Travis County for In-home and Family Support. That is what we get.
Kiernan was diagnosed the same day as Patrick in 2002. He also receives SSI and receives more services than Patrick. He is much more delayed and has a more severe form of autism.

Now, the reason we still receive services is that WE QUALIFY for them. WE do not cheat or lie to get these services. We fill out forms...we go to every evaluation....we open our home up once a month to be observed and make sure we are using the funds appropriately. We have no problems with that.

To be Accepting of Autism does not in any way mean that we do not think we have autistic children. We know they are autistic. Accepting our autistic children is just that ACCEPTING. I wish you people would get that.
We know our children are autistic. We have been told by more than one professional. We have been through the wringer. We will be scrutinized all of our existence as long as we have these amazing children.

So, please refrain, if that is possible, from trying to drag my wonderful family through the mud. And, if you are ever in Austin, Tx...give me a call. You are welcome to come meet us for yourselves. You will probably leave with a smile on your face and a better appreciation of what acceptance is...and maybe you will quit negating our efforts for doing so.

I can DREAM, can't I ??????

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Still Great GEORGE STRAIT...

I got the rare moment of alonedom yesterday for one hour...no friends, no family, no children, no school....
I listened to George Strait's new CD....all I can say is I love George Strait. He took a gloomy day for me and made me smile.
I just found out that my best friend, a woman who has helped me more than she will ever know, has terminal cancer. I was feeling very blue. How can this happen to such a joyous person. Her husband is devastated.

So, in went George Strait...immediately I was uplifted.

You see, I go way back with George. My first year in college, I was a young 17 year old girl, unaware of what was to become of my life. I signed up as an Agriculture Education major. One of my classes was Surveying.
The other surveying class was the hour in front of ours. One day out walked George Strait. He was 10 years older than us. He had gone to the army and returned to SWTSU to complete his Agriculture degree. He played local bars for money and we usually got in for $1.00...if we were lucky, it was ladies night and we got free beer.
George was just one of the student's during the day, but at night, he was a local Superstar. He played Cheatham Street Warehouse, Bigger Than Dallas, Gruene Hall, The Cheyenne Social Club....I told you, I was a groupie.
We would crowd 10 in a car to go see him in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Austin, Killeen, Waco, and Gruene, Tx.....we loved George.
As he became more popular, we had to dig deeper in our pockets to see him. But dig we did...and I remember when his first album came out. San Marcos, Tx could not have been prouder.
Eventually, more albums came out, and he moved on to bigger and more expensive venues. The only way I can enjoy him now is through is CD's, radio and his rare video appearance.....but that is okay with me.
He has remained part of my family. I moved to NYC, and George came with me. I moved back to Austin, and George moved to.
Now that I am married with children..they have all learned to be quiet when George is on the radio or on the television. They know that 3 nights of the year when I get the television are the CMT awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards.

If I walked up to George Strait, he would have not a clue who I am...I would have to remind him that I took pictures for the Rodeo club while he played on the stage. He used to stop and pose as a picture was being taken. He was a courteous and polite man. He was a true cowboy in every sense of the word. And I am happy to see that he has stayed true to his roots.
My hat is off to you George......

Friday, October 13, 2006

Biomedical Interventions...

People have assumed that I am against anything Biomedical. That is simply not true... I am against doing these procedures to someone who does not have the voice or the ability to say no. I am against using children as guineau pigs for DAN! Doctors and other medical quacks.
Now, if you as a parent, an adult so to speak, wants to shove a suppository up your butt, feel free. If you want to smear smelly cream on your body, go for it. If you want to put a hood over your head for HBOT, be my guest. If you want to sit in front of a person and be berated with ABA, have at it. If you want to hook yourself up to an IVIG, more power to ya.
I am just against the fact that these innocent children are being subjected to these regimens on the fact that parent's think they will be cured or recovered. Use whatever phrase you want....I do not care.

Our children do all the things regular children do. All but the oldest and youngest have good friends, ride bikes, play at the playground, have sleepovers, ya know...things kids are supposed to do growing up.
Many children spend alot of time at our home. Parent's have no problem in doing so. They know their children are well-cared for and treated well in our home.
Our children are well-respected at school and known as the O'Donnell children. Not the autistic O'Donnell children.

I have been questioned on the fact that we used Occupational Therapies, Physical Therapies and Speech for our children.
That is true...we use OT because they could not use a spoon or grasp a pencil. They needed the deep brushing to calm them down. They needed deep pressure through massage to make them calm. They loved the swinging on the big swing, it seemed to make them come together in their minds. They do not require this anymore. They are now able to calm down with few prompts to take a deep breath.....it works wonders for them.
The PT was for Caitlin and Erin only. They never crawled and had some issues with walking.
Speech for all but one of our children. Although Deirdre spoke very early, she was hard to understand. The others did not get words until later in their little lives. Kiernan is still non-verbal...his speech teacher is using the AudioVox with him....he loves it.
We were blessed with amazing therapists who seemed to really love our children. We have had the same speech therapist for 12 years. We had the same OT for 8 years. She went through all of our children.
These are interventions, yes, but they do not tout to cure autism. They are used to help our children succeed in areas they were not successful in. IT WORKS FOR OUR FAMILY.

I do not see the fascination with our family from a select few. If you visited our house, it really is quite boring. Right now, at this moment, little Patrick is waiting for me to get off of our computer. Kiernan is watching his Wiggles video. Meaghan is singing One Tin Soldier. Caitlin is in her room. Erin is watching Country Music Television with her father. Deirdre is in her room listening to The Beatles-her newest obsession. Later, we are going to a birthday party. Meaghan is going to a sleep-over and Erin is going with the Scouts to gaze at the stars this evening.
This is what works for our family. NORMALCY.....

And on a final note for the evening...our youngest, Kiernan, who has been trying to master a spoon for a long time, finally succeeded. He now can hold a spoon and eat like a big boy. This is a major hurdle for this child. We are so proud of him...I cannot wait to tell his teacher on Monday. She has been working so hard with him on this.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Accepting Autism...

In our home, accepting our autistic children was never an option...it was a given. From the day each of them were born, we have watched them all grow and become very delightful children.
We became their biggest fans and advocates when they needed us to be. We became extremely good at scheduling therapies and doctors appointments. Our children have been lucky to have the same speech and occupational therapists for years. They know us and they know our children.
Lately, I have become saddened by what I read on Autism forums and support groups. I have decided not to visit them anymore. The people who try to debate with the biomedical community are often berated and ridiculed. Certain members of these boards, and they know who they are, are so stuck in curing their children, they do not want to even converse about the options.
Since leaving these groups, my head has become clearer. I am not bogged down by negativity and hatefullness.
I have found a support group for persons who accept their children. I found positive people. I found people who truly love their children for whom they are and find their quirks part of who they are meant to be.
I have found mothers and fathers of all ages, with autistic children, who have determined the options to "cure" their children are far to dangerous than is necessary. These are people who have researched chelation, HBOT, IVIG, etc. For these parent's, the risk far outweighs the uncertainty.
In our homes, we have children who are getting better every day. Going to school, making friends, riding bicycles, participating in sports, etc.
In our home this is being done even with the labels of Autism.
This is being done even without chemical interventions.

I realize the naysayers are blogging that I am a lazy mother. They believe me to do nothing to help my children. That my ego is as big as Soapbox Moms....and for that I say Thank You....
To be compared to mothers such as Soapbox Mom is a compliment. I know how hard she works at keeping a happy family. I know her son has progressed and she and her family should get most of the credit for that.

You see, we live in the REAL WORLD. A world where you do not have to be labeled Normal to survive. A world that we hope will accept our children as much as we do. We can take our children out in public and not worry about their behaviors. We can take our children to birthday parties and stores without putting a label on them for all to see. Because we don't look at our children as Autistic children. We look at them as Our children.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

You People Scare ME....

I do not care who takes offense to this blog..This is strictly for me.
You parent's...and I use the word loosely....SCARE ME.
You guys take your small, precious children and put them in a HBOT chamber. You have no idea how to do this, but HELL, if it CURES Autism, what the HECK????.
I am totally shocked what I read on the Autism Parent's Forums. I really am.

Let us try this:
Wake up in the morning.
Hug and Kiss your child Good Morning (please try to hold back the disappointment that they are autistic)
Let them dress themselves or help them dress
Feed them breakfast
Take them to school
Kiss them goodbye
When you greet them after school, hug them again
Help them with their homework, if they have any
Let them play
Feed them dinner
Let them bathe or bathe them
Get Them Dressed for bed
Snack if necessary
Read a Bedtime Story
Say prayer...if you believe
Kiss and Hug them Goodnight....

And start all over again....

Is that so Friggin Hard?????

I read on one sight where a mother is doing HBOT on her 1 year old child. ONE YEAR OLD...now wants to know if she should start B12 shots. ONE YEAR OLD. I was hoping someone with at little sanity would write back that they believe it is too young to do this to such a small child....Oh, but No. They write back "THE SOONER THE BETTER"....

Why on earth would you take a precious little soul and succumb them to the atrocities you do??? Then you second guess each other about the proper protocol...
I hope you can live with the results in a few years and I really hope your children can forgive you for the unneccesary treatments you give or have given them....
I hope it is worth it !!

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Question...

I got asked THE question today...the one that everyone asks me. Some people ask it to be smart asses. Some people ask it because they do not understand how anyone could do this....
The question is...Would you have had so many children if you knew they would be autistic?
My answer, without blinking, is ABSOLUTELY, WITHOUT A DOUBT !

I do not take offense to this question. I do not hesitate to answer it. I feel it is my obligation to do so.

I later found out the reason behind the question.
A teacher at the school my children attend, recently had a grandson. He is the light of her life. She finds he is very stiff when held. She finds he is not focused on his surroundings. She is worried.
This wonderful teacher has taught 3 of my children. I would put her right up there with a Saint. She cries every year at the annual Kindergarten circus...she loves these children.
She was curious about mine, because she is concerned about her own family.

Life is so full of surprises. That is what makes it so exciting. No person knows what life is going to bring them. Your life could change tomorrow at the blink of an eye. You must take each day and cherish it to it's fullest, no matter what kind of day you have.
My family has been through a lot. We have seen our house almost foreclosed on. We have come very close to bankruptcy. We have had to pay medical bills where we did not know how we could pay them.
I believe we have a Guardian Angel.

After our story was in USA Today, I read the blog written by a mother of an autistic child. She chastised me for having so many kids and so many after the diagnosis of autism. Of course, this was to her friends. She had no idea that I would ever read her comments. She told her fan base that we must be very selfish and how could we bring so many autistic children in this world. Children who would never know love or be able to give anything back to this world.....
Of course, me, with my big mouth and ego, wrote to this blog.
I wrote this....Shame on you for your words. You, the mother of an autistic child..You, who have never met or have heard of me before this story. There is no reason to pity my family. We are a very strong unit. We are thriving, no matter what anyone else wants to think....

When the USA Today story was being written, we opened our house to a reporter and a photographer. The photographer spent 2 days in our home. He was here for at least 14 hours. He was a lovely man. His name is H. Darr Beiser.
The last day he followed us to school, to show our morning routine. He kept up with us. Not an easy task. I gave him a hug goodbye in front of the school. I thought we would never see him again.
He showed up at my house later that day. His flight back to DC wasn't until the afternoon. He asked me if he could film me and tape me. I was happy to.
When he finished, he sat in front of me. He shook my hand and wouldn't let go. He said to me that he felt priveleged to be in our home. That he felt he was given an important job. He told me that he had never been around so much love before. Tears filled his eyes, and then they filled mine. I then knew that the job I am doing as a parent is good and I am doing a good job.
If you ever get to see the pictures on USA Today's site, you can see the way he captured us that he truly got us...and that is all that matters.

So, back to the QUESTION.....
ABSOLUTELY....Without a Doubt !!!!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006


I really do believe in Karma. I believe if you treat others well. I have seen too many incidences of people being negative toward others and "bad" things happen to them. I know, You can know call me "Earl"...I will not take any offense.
Now, back to my post.
I volunteer at school every day that I am able. This week I have been home with a sick 9 year old, so not a stich of volunteer work was done. I do feel just a wee bit guilty. But, my children always come first.
I do not get into the gossip at school, and believe me, there is alot of gossip. Who is pregnant? Who is fat? Who is divorcing? Who is having an affair? Who gives a crap????? Not me....
I stay in my little "volunteer" mode and carry on.
I am the center of alot of this gossip, I hear. That is okay....some people are really bored.
One of my friends gets really annoyed when they talk about me. She gets very defensive and lets me know she will defend me. I reassure her that whatever they say is not of any importance. These people have such little lives, they need to include me....they must really be bored.
It is really hard for people to watch a mother of 6 get things done. They have a hard enough time with 1 or 2 children. They cannot function without their Wellbutrin or whatever antidepressant they take..there are so many.
I have been asked so many times what I am on....I can honestly say, NOTHING. I do not feel the need to medicate. I can honestly say I have never been so depressed that I cannot find a way out of it. I am sorry for those who cannot. That must be horrible.
I relate to others with large families, because our stories are very similar. We raise many people to grow up to be honest, hard-working, stable, funny, quirky, assets to our society. We allow these people to be who they need to be in order to get through life. I think we all have done a Hell of a good job.....Soapbox Mom....I am talking to you.
I hope we have taught them to treat people as they would like to be treated. I hope we have taught them not to hold their hands out to get help, but to try their hardest on their own...it can be done.
I think other people focus too much time on how others are doing than realizing what they have is pretty damn good. Instead of looking in my window, open your eyes and look at your own lives. What you will find might amaze you....

Autistic Tendencies...

When our first child was diagnosed, the doctor was relunctant to give the Autism diagnosis. It wasn't so easy to get 12 years ago. Not like now. It seems that anyone can have the diagnosis now.
Anyhow, We got the "Your daughter has Autistic Tendencies...."
I remember walking to the car, with husband and daughter in tow. What did he just tell us? Was she autistic or not?
We came back 2 weeks later, with all test results in hand. Blood, EEG, EKG, MRI, etc. It was decided, Caitlin had Autism. Well, thank God we had a label. We always knew she had something, but now we had a LABEL.
Now what? What do we do?
Every Saturday was spent at the big library downtown. We checked out every book ever written on autism, not many I might add. I always say that "we read too much".. We started believing everything we read.
We read to change the diet, to give nutrients, to try to stop her buzzing, flapping, and jumping.
Basically, we were told to stop everything that made her AUTISTIC.

After many months of these crazy alternatives, we decided to let Caitlin be Caitlin. I know, crazy idea, but that is what we decided.

Guess what?
No really, guess what?

We got a much calmer child. We got a child that was so tired of being poked and prodded. We got a child who responded to hugs and kisses. We got a child who loved going to school. Who thrived while being taught by amazing teachers.
We got a much more stable home life. We got a happier and healthier child.
Caitlin's focus was much better at school when we just let her be.

Caitlin's flapping and buzzing are what is her. And at the ripe old age of 15, she still does it. It is what is her.

I do not understand why that is something that should be taken away from her. It is what calms her down and lets her function in our society.

All of our autistic children have some form of stimming. Some are more pronounced than others. Some are so subtle, you probably wouldn't notice. Sometimes, it is so loud, you cannot help but join in.

I just wonder that if every person had the ability to buzz and flap to control their behavior, would we have less road rage? Would we have less abuse to each other as humans? If we all took the time to flap and buzz, would we not then have the ability to drown out what bothers us in this world? Next time you get angry at the driver in front of you, you know the one yacking on his/her cell phone, just roll down your window and buzz.....Next time you get upset at the teller at the bank, (you know the one doing her job) just stand in line and flap and buzz......
Next time you read of another child that is not allowed to be autistic, stand up and flap and buzz........I know I will......

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


It is amazing..in the last 12 years, since our first child was diagnosed with autism, we have never seen regressions. Only improvements.
How is that so????How is that so, with the knowledge the Biomedical Community is writing about Recoveries??? That one must regress in order to progress.
Our first child, who is 15, was non-verbal until the age of 9..she is now verbal and attending high school---AMAZING. Never once did she regress or show any decline in improvement. She was diagnosed by a neurologist at the age of 2 1/2.
Our second child, who is 12-Aspergers-No decline-only progression---AMAZING. She was not diagnosed until the age of 9, by a neurologist.
Our third child, who is 9, was non-verbal until 4..now she is verbal and 4th grade with straight A's...no attendant and no regressions ever...AMAZING. She was diagnosed by a neurologist at 18 months.
Our fourth child, age 8...NT...she is just pure AMAZING.
Our fifth child, who is 6, non-verbal until the age of 3 1/2 (for some reason that matters)..now 1st grade straight A's...no regressions ever....AMAZING. He was diagnosed at the age of 15 months by a neurologist.
Our sixth child, who is 5-still non-verbal. This child has come so far in 3 years of regular education....can write and spell any word you want. No regressions, only progressions...AMAZING. He was diagnosed at the age of 1 year by the neurologist.

I believe the autistic child can improve without any chemical interventions.... Save your money...save your sanity.....

We have had autism in our house since 1991...none of our children have regressed in any point of their lives. They have only excelled and become better people.. I thank all of those involved in their lives.
I thank all of those who let them be themselves.

Our Autistic children will become Autistic adults. They will be productive and continue to learn new things and to progress in their lives.
They will grow up to be AMAZING people-
and that my friends, we have no doubt about.

To My Sisters and Brothers...

I have been given permission, by one 8 year old family member, to post this poem she wrote for me to put on my blog.....

When I get home every day
I think about things.
I particularly think
About why my sisters and my brothers
Have Autism
And Aspergers as well.
That they can fit into this world,
And have friends like me
who does not judge them.

Why I am the only one who doesn't have it?

I still think that is Fine.....

Meaghan-To my Brothers and Sisters

You see, this is a child who is compassionate to all of the children around her that no one else takes the time or energy to accept. This is a child who has learned, from living in our family, that different is Fine.
This is a little 8-year-old girl who wants to take what she has learned and talk to others about it. I told her we could do that.
To let other siblings of autistic children know that it is okay to have autism and still belong to a family.
Meaghan still has her own activities, as they all do.
She has Girl Scouts, dance class, Sunday School, sleepovers, birthday parties, etc.
She is popular and well-liked by all: Friends, parent's, teacher's, etc.
We are so proud to have raised such a caring, smart, and loving child.
I hope we have done her proud...

I know she has made us much more than that....

Monday, October 02, 2006

Now I Am Neglectful...

It has been brought to my attention, because I will not negate myself to reading a certain blog, that I am now being mentioned as a Neglectful Mother...
Okay, now we have drawn the line.
I will admit to alot of things.
I will admit to:
1. being a bad friend.
2. loving Deal or No Deal a wee bit too much.
3. hating soap operas.
4. spending too much time volunteering at school-during school hours.
5. watching Dr. Phil.

But, I will never, ever admit to being a neglectful mother...

I ask these people:
Would I be neglectful if....
I stayed up all night because my daughter cannot sleep with a runny nose?
I held my son's hand as he confronted a bully before school started...they made nice in case you were wondering?
I fix 4 different meals every night because my children have different tastes and sensory diversions?
I spent 2 hours with an ABC board, because my son loves to spell out words?
I boast because these lovely kids can live in our world without needing to change a Damn thing about them??????

I do not spend alot of time on the computer...I blog daily, it is my diary.
For those of you who like it, thank you.
For those of you who don't, who cares?????

I wonder why people need to negate me to make themselves feel better? I wonder why parent's who disagree with me seem to want to call me names? Is your life so small and do you feel so badly about your child or children that you need to try to make me feel bad?
Believe me, that will not happen.....

After our first child was diagnosed many years ago (12, to be exact), my husband and I made the decision that she would be treated as if we had a " normal" child. We put her in regular school, and thank goodness they allowed this.
After 2, 3, 4 and 5 autistic children, the school accepted them. Partly due, excuse my bragging, to the fact that my husband and myself were always available for any problems and/or praise. We have and always will be hands-on parents.
We are involved with every aspect of their education. We expect our children to do well in school....guess what? They do!
It is not so hard.
If you treat a person like a person...they behave that way.

Just because we do not believe that hating autism is the "way to go" way...does not mean we care or neglect our children in any way.

I will be called alot of things in my life,
I will face alot more challenges than those that have come before me.
But, One thing I will never, ever be is
A Neglectful Mom....

And for the record:
How is my agreeing with Soapbox Mom any different from the people who agree with Mr. Best?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Pissing People Off.....

Just ask my husband...I have a real problem of pissing people off. I don't mean to, but there goes my mouth, opened wide, and telling them what I think.
I just don't have time to beat around the bush...
So...here it goes...I am about to piss alot of people off....

I am so tired of reading how we parent's of autistic children who have decided to "accept" our children are demeaned by Biomedical FANATICS. And yes, you are fanatics. You idolize your doctors, for example, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Dr. Buttar, Dr. Krigsman, Dr. McCandless, Dr. Jepson, etc, etc, etc....
You brag about all of the interventions you inject, ingest and insist your children take. You talk about how much money you spend and how far you have to travel. You boast about the fact that your child regresses when the metals are extracted (whatever!!!) from their bodies. You tell everyone who will listen how you cannot tell any difference now, but are sure it will be worth it in the long run.....
These people are put on such high pedestals, there noses are constantly bleeding.
And forget about ABA, HBOT, Chelation, B12 shots, yadda, yadda, yadda....
Do you have any clue how much time we get to spend with our children as human beings and not as guinea pigs for medical science...or for some doctor to get fame or notoriety to "cure" autism? Do you know how wonderful our children are thriving in our communities and in our schools and not having one chemical injested in them? Do you realize how happy our marriages are because we do not fight about the cost of these interventions and where the Hell we are going to get the money to pay for them?
Do you really think you love your children any more because you want to "cure" them, or because you spend endless amounts of time and energy to change their behaviors?
The time, energy and money you put into the doctors and therapists pockets is wasted. You will see no more improvement in your children than we have seen in ours in the last 12 years.
Instead of putting tee shirts on your children that read "I am not bad, I have autism" they should read" I am not bad, I have been injected with enough chemicals to alter my behavior"....
I have a bridge in NYC that I would like to show you????

I told you, I am good at pissing people off.....

A Better Friend...

I have never been a great friend. I was always pretty self-absorbed. Then I got married and devoted alot of time to that. Next came 6 children in 10 years. More devotion to the family...less for friends.
Then came the autism diagnosis times 5...that took alot of time.
Don't get me wrong, I always have had alot of friends. People who I find different things in common with. None of my friends are alike...all unique. Most of them don't know each other, or don't like each other....but, they all like me (isn't that what counts?).
On April 1, of this year, my best friend died. She had a stroke in the middle of the night and never woke up. She left behind a husband and 4 children (the youngest being autistic). This devastated me...this made me rethink everything.
Then, on July 3, of this year...my very good friend tells me she has ALS. Now, this is a 42 year old mother of a 7 year old son. She has a devoted husband and she is an equally devoted mother and wife.
With this diagnosis, I have decided to become a better friend. Not just with her, but with all my friends.
I want these friends of mine to know I love them and adore them. That I am glad they chose me to be in their lives. That they enough of me and my family to include me in their world.
Friday morning, I woke up and got my children off to school. I headed back home at 8 am and started dough for a Challah bread (my friend Nancy is Jewish and with a sick mother, would not have time to buy one before Yom Kippur). I returned to school at 8:30 am (after getting Caitlin on the bus) to watch Kiernan in the circus-he was the STRONG MAN---very funny By the way.
At 9:30 am I punched down the dough for a second rising. I put up some dishes and laundry.
At 10:30 am I braided and baked the Challah bread.
I delivered the bread to Nancy, by foot, at 11 am.....
I then walked directly over to my friends house, the one with ALS...she was getting a IVIG treatment in home...she had been sick all night.
I sat with her while she received this IV....she got desperately ill and had to be taken to the hospital....
I felt helpless.
What would a good friend do?

I ran, not walked, back to school and talked to the school counselor....it helped.

Yesterday, they let my friend come home ( I cannot name her because of confidentiality-no one but me and another friend knows)...she sounded 1000% better....so good in fact, she has asked me to bake her my oatmeal cookies she loves so much....
I will gladly do this for her....
I would do anything for her...