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.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


While going through some old files, on the computer that was in our old house, I came across this story Deirdre wrote in 2006. Remember, as you read this, Deirdre is 13 and has Asperger's. I have Deirdre's permission to share this story with you...
She was 12 when this was written...

I am the second oldest of six children. Four of my siblings have some form of Autism. With so much activity in our home, I have to overcome many obstacles.
Autism has always been in our home, since the day I was born. In our home, Autism is the normal. I have learned to understand the many different behaviors that come with Autism. We do not have a boring home. We have a home full of love and acceptance.
I have always felt accepting of my brothers and sisters. Each of them are unique and interesting individuals. Two of my siblings are severely autistic and do not fully understand the concept of my space. I have a hard time with that. I like my alone time and they do not understand that.
Two of my siblings are mildly autistic. They are equivalent to annoying 2-year-old children. I do not have much patience with them, but I do try hard. Sometimes, I get very annoyed with them when they feel the need to get into my personal body space.
Our home is a happy home. My mother and father are loving and care very much for each of us. We feel safe and secure. We know that each morning they will be there when we wake up. We also know they will be there each night to tuck us into bed. I feel very lucky to have such a large, loving family.
In our large family, alone time is very hard to come by. I have to sneak away into my sisters room to find alone time. I can lock the door and no one can bother me. I find time to be alone and listen to my music and go on the computer. I find time to do my homework. This is time I really need to gather my thoughts.
I get some activities that are all mine. I have choir, orchestra, and my Confirmation classes. This is the time that I get to spend on me. My family gets to see me when I have concerts. They seem to be very proud of my accomplishments.
The only changes I have to make is the ability to be able to find my time alone. I think I have managed to do this most of the time. I do not expect that will be a common occurrence in our home, but I do the best I can.
My Mom and Dad try to keep our home as "normal" as possible. They work very hard to make our family as typical as it can be. Autism in a home can be disruptive. I have never felt that, because it has always been what is around me. I would not know any different.
Last year, I found myself failing math. I was very upset. I struggled with the problems. My mother and father discussed, with my math teacher, and decided that I would stay in the program. I worked very hard and finished the year with a low B average. I remember feeling so proud that I could take an F and make a B. I knew I was capable and I proved it.
The first report card of this year was all A's. I have proven to myself and to my family that it is possible to overcome the obstacles of our home to make good grades. I hope to continue to make higher grades. I love to learn. I am hoping to learn so much more.
I do not know if I would change anything. I do not know how my life would be if I did not have Autism in my family. I would assume our home would not be much different. I imagine my parent's would treat us all the same no matter if we had Autism or not.
Since this has always been a part of my life, I do not know how I would be if all of my siblings were what is considered normal. I do not know if I would change them if that was possible. My sisters and brothers are all unique in their own way. They each bring a special quality to our home. I hope that I can say the same about me.
I try to include my siblings in everything I do. I try to bring them into conversations, play and everyday life. I hope that I have made an impact in their lives and they can depend on me for important occurrences in their lives. I hope they know that no matter what, I will be there for them.
My parent's have raised all of us to know that they will always be there no matter what. They have taught each of us that we are individuals and we are to always do our best. My parent's have made each of their children know they can achieve anything we want to achieve.
I hope to continue and grow and overcome all of the obstacles that occur in my life. I know with what I have faced so far, I should not have any trouble with this goal. I know, through living and growing up in my home, that all I will want to do in my life is possible.
Deirdre O'Donnell

I read this this for the first time, as I was typing it for the blog.....
I am speechless...and that does not happen very often.


Molly said...

Bottom line:The best thing ANY parent can do is accept their child for who they are and who they'll become. Kids can totally tell when you love them for who they are and not who you want them to be. It's funny, parents who are like this come by it naturally, if you ask them they say "of course I love them, they're my child!". We need more parents like that because every child should feel loved for who they are!! Props to you and the hub, Deirdre's work shows what she's been taught some pretty important values. You have a wonderfully articulate girl there! A future writer perhaps?

r.b. said...

I grew up with 9 brothers and sisters in a 4 bedroom house. I understand Deirdre's need for alone time!