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.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A HELPING HAND...

Caitlin, our 17 year old, and myself were sitting in the dentist's office on Tuesday
morning. Caitlin was waiting patiently to have her teeth cleaned and one filling.
I had my notepad and was taking notes about all of my children's improvements
and also, what they need to improve on.
Caitlin was reading my notes and she suddenly blurts out..."I HAVE AUTISM".
I said, "yes, you do".
She shook her head up and down.
I asked her if she was okay with that...??
She said, "yes".

When Caitlin transitioned from Early Intervention to Elementary School and
an Early Childhood program, we had no idea what to ask for or even what to
do. Alot of educators had no idea what to do with an Autistic child in 1994, much
less the parent's.

Our first ARD (Admission, Review and Dismissal) was an eye-opener in what
we could ask for and/or what we could get the school system to agree with in the
education of our amazingly gifted daughter.
Fortunately for us and Caitlin, it did not take them very long to figure out that
just because she was not verbal, she was smarter than most of the people in
these ARD's...which they quickly agreed.

As Caitlin grew up and progressed, the more ARD's we had to attend. Now,
we attend up to 12 ARD's a year.
This year we have a transition ARD for our 5th grader going into Middle School.
That one will be a piece of cake.

On Friday, I was approached by a mother of a child who will also be transitioning
into the same Middle School as Erin.....this mother seems nervous about her son
attending Middle School. It is quite a shocker to go to the Middle School...so intimidating
because it is so much bigger.

Summitt Elementary, where our children are in the 5th grade, is a nurturing and loving
environment. Sometimes, Middle School is not.

Fortunately, I love the Middle School our children attend. The faculty and staff saw
the greatness in both of my older children who have attended there. They speak
highly of our children.

I asked this mother, who is not so sure of her transition ARD, if she would like me
to attend with her. She said, "are you sure"? "aren't you very busy"?
Never too busy to help another parent...isn't that what it is all about?

Is it not our duty as parent's with children with autism to reach out and help those
parent's who come after us....????
To support and help them?

My friends are sometimes amazed that I will hand out my phone number and email address
to people who approach me in public. People who just want someone to help them or just
to listen to them about their child with Autism.
I must get 10 to 20 calls a week from parent's who have a child with Autism and just
want someone to listen who has been there.

There is alot of anger out in the world of Autism.
Parent's angry that they have a child with Autism.
Parent's angry at other parent's for trivial things such as diet and
other interventions.
Parent's angry at their spouses for not "helping" enough.
Parent's angry at their friends for not understanding the complications
there are to raising a child with Autism.

I stepped away from the anger a while ago....it was not a good place
to be. I stopped being angry at the Autism and decided to focus on
the good that my children possess....man, do they possess alot of good.

I am often asked, "how do you do it"?
My answer, "I just do".
My children did not ask to be born. I chose to have every one of these
wonderful people. It is my job, as their mother, to make sure they succeed
and are accepted in this world.
I am very lucky, they are great kids.
I have been far more blessed to be in their presence and I know other's feel
the same when they meet my children.

4 comments:

farmwifetwo said...

I have to admit when asked "How do you do it", I'm offended. B/c How do you not do it??

My latest lobby is to get some Provincial legislation changed - or atleast go around it - to get my son school speech services from a different program. This is not the school boards fault, this is legislation. If I don't say it's wrong and why to my MPP, how will they know?? They answer is always "No" unless you ask.

S.

Domestic Goddess said...

Very nicely written.
I can identify with this, because I am constantly asked how I do it. I only have two, but they are quite a handful (in other words, neither one of them stops moving for two seconds from dawn until dusk. That's how I keep my girlish figure!).
My standard answer is that this is normal for me, if there is such a thing. This is my normal life. This is what I've been given. It is up to me to make the best of it and do the best job I can, because I am not getting another life. I like this one very much, thank you. I wouldn't change it for anything. That's not to say that there aren't challenges, but who ever said life would be easy? Life is good...

matt said...

Honestly, I've never thought about it before, but it is possible that I have asked this question of a parent of a child with a disability. My apologies.

I actually ask it of every parent who has more children than me, finds time to pursue a hobby, keeps a clean house, etc. For me, it is about how I perceive my own parenting and life management skills and how impressed I am with any parent who seems to be managing their time and energy well--regardless of whether their child has a disability or not.

As domestic goddess suggests, there is no "normal life,"--just life. And to paraphrase farmwifetwo, how do you not do life?

Thanks for the education.

LAA and Family said...

I'm sure I probably have asked the "how do you do it?" question in the past also. Like you, Matt, this was directed to anyone who I thought did something better than me, but especially for Moms who had more children than me. Nowadays, I'm sure I get asked that more than I ask it!

It's wonderful that you are being helpful to other parents, Jeannette. I remember turning to all kinds of "professionals" for advice back in 2001 when my child was diagnosed. I finally found some good help from a teacher almost 2 years later. I wish so much that I had had a knowledgable parent to consult with back then!