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, March 16, 2008

THE SANITY OF AUTISM...

I have often been asked how we keep sane in our house with so many children, let alone so many children with Autism....
The only thing I can remember was after I had Deirdre, our second child, I was overwhelmed. I thought, "what was I thinking...2 children are hard". Now, keep in mind, Caitlin was just newly diagnosed with Autism and had all of the behaviors that come with Autism.
When I became pregnant with Erin, I thought man, this will be hard. But, after Erin was born, everything sort of fell into place. She fit into our family perfectly.
Erin was 6 months old when I found out we were pregnant with Meaghan....what the heck, I thought, Erin doesn't sleep anyways.
Meaghan was born and was perfect in every way...she did not fuss, cry or give us an ounce of trouble.
13 months later, we found out we were going to have Patrick...he had a 10% survival chance and I was put on bedrest. I prayed every night to let me carry this pregnancy to term. I still thank Go for giving me Patrick...he is the smartest little boy and loves his Mommy so much.
Patrick was 6 months old and I found out I was having twins...Yes...TWINS. After 2 months, the second twin was not progressing in the uterus and was eventually reabsorbed. So here came Kiernan.
I have never, ever regretted having our children. Even through all of the behavior issues, learning difficulties, therapies, doctors appointments and school meetings....these children were meant to be here...in THIS FAMILY.

We do not treat our children with Autism any different than we treat our child without Autism. We have never let Autism be an excuse for them to not succeed and behave. Our children are children first and foremost.
On any given day, you will find more than 6 children in our home...parent's trust us to watch their children and we are honored to have their children in our home. The parent's of these children have raised them to be non-judgemental and loving. We are honored to be their friends and have their children be our children's friends.

So, after a very long 9 days of Spring Break...school resumes tomorrow....
I will do a Happy Dance in the morning and then begin the task of cleaning all 7 bedrooms.
I love cleaning this house....it reminds me of the love in our community and why we are so blessed to have been given this house.

I have decided this week to remove myself from commenting on some message boards on 2 forums....I find the bickering and the hatefulness that goes on there disturbing in so many ways. I find there is a "pack" of parent's who survive by bleeding the life-blood out of parent's who do not think the way they do about Autism (hating it) and reject any possibility of addressing their children's positive sides with Autism.
Trust me, when they succeed and get rid of the "sane" side of Autism, or the accepting side of Autism, they will feed upon each other....you have been warned.

Right now, I need to keep the Sanity that is my home....I need to continue to spread positive awareness about Autism. I need to keep hope alive in parent's who are inundated with negatives about how their children's lives will be with Autism.....
I need to show them children with Autism are vital and important...they do not need to be "fixed" or "cured"...these children need to feel they are perfect in the eyes of the people they love so much.
How sad some do not....

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think that you have a very healthy attitude about life in general and after having visited some other blogs about autism I find your positive outlook refreshing. I was shocked by how hate-filled and venomous some of the comments were and I applaud your decision to avoid that kind of atmosphere; life's too short. Thanks for providing a place to comment that feels safe.

Marie

Anonymous said...

Don't let me delay you from spreading positive awareness about feces smearing and illiteracy for autistic kids.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Jeanette:

Staying away from forums is probably a good idea, definitely too much internet = not good.

Yes, you do spread positive awareness about autism. In fact, it's so overwhelmingly positive, that if I had no first hand knowledge of autism, and if my kids were all typical, I would almost feel cheated for not having the autism experience :):).
I mean- it's formative and all, and my son has certainly come a long way, but autism sure can stink at times.
I'm wondering if you have a posting bias, or if you really feel so peaches-and-cream about autism on a day to day basis.
Most PARENTS I've ever talked to, even the most "positive" ones, would still admit that autism can on occasion have a negative side.

Lillian

Anonymous said...

Being positive is not necessarily the same thing as being unrealistic--sure, life isn't always great but why should people be judged for having a certain attitude? When you look at what people write to each other on blogs it is nice to come to a site where you don't normally get slammed.

Autism Reality NB said...

If your children do not need treatment that's great. I hope you understand though that there are actually autistic children who do need treatment for whom ABA has been a well documented form of learning and a means of preventing serious self injury.

If you have no respect for the experiences of millions of parents who seek treatment for their autistic children then you may want to speak with professionals who provide tertiary level care for autistic children who cause themselves serious head injuries or starve themselves to death before denigrating treatment generally. Or you may want to actually visit a residential care facility for autistic adults, or at least read about their challenges before mocking those who seek to help their autistic loved ones.

For many parents it is not about whether we as parents feel positively about our children's autism disorder it is about helping our children overcome serious deficits. Feeling good yourself, by itself, will not necessarily help all your children in the long run.

Here is another little surprise for you. Those of us who seek to treat and help our children also love our children. We can feel good about our children without falling into the trap of loving their autism disorders. There are reasons autism disorder is called a "disorder".

You have determined that your children will do better without any treatment. I wish you and your children every success.

Mom26children said...

Anonymous #1,
3 of our children have smeared feces in the past...one still occasionally does that..
Sorry, I do not feel the need to "dwell" on this behavior. Their other behaviors make up for that.
Also, I give them something else to smear, like shaving cream...obviously they are needing to feel the pressure they get from smearing.
Jeanette

Mom26children said...

Lillian,
I have no "posting bias"...I really do have a positive look at Autism.
Did I always? NO.
I was angry and bitter all the time...I found that was not a good place to be.
Once I got rid of the anger, my children began to blossom in ways I would have never believed.
Just saying what works in our home...
Jeanette

Mom26children said...

autistic reality nb,
Actually, I work with adults with Autism...don't need to visit a residential facility...I used to work at one.
What I write in my blog is what I have learned to work. My children have come from the worst Autism has to offer and are thriving. Obviously, something we are doing is working.
I am not a proponent of ABA....sorry.
You are reading my blogs incorrectly. I DO NOT mock anyone. I am thoroughly pissed right now of how parent's are being treated on various message boards forums...namely AW an AS. Pro-biomed parent's have called me a child abuser, neglectful parent and worse, just for not chelating or feeding a GFCF diet.
There is no reason a more positive point of view about Autism should not be presented. My 13 year old daughter agrees...and she is very vocal about Acceptance.
I will be sure to visit your blog...

Jeanette

Anonymous said...

Mom26children said...
Anonymous #1,
3 of our children have smeared feces in the past...one still occasionally does that..
Sorry, I do not feel the need to "dwell" on this behavior. Their other behaviors make up for that.
Also, I give them something else to smear, like shaving cream...obviously they are needing to feel the pressure they get from smearing.
Jeanette

So, you accomodate aberrant behavior. When they start drinking and smashing up cars, will you buy them cocaine so they won't drink alcohol?

lastcrazyhorn said...

Anonymous (the last one) - that is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Are you even hearing the words coming through your fingers?

That said, mom26children, you keep on doing what you're doing. You are validated by the smiles on your children's faces and by those of us with 2 ounces of sense to rub together.

lastcrazyhorn said...

or even more 2 ounces . . .

Random Mom said...

Ah, the anonymous haters appear when you post something positive. Gee, what a surprise.
Ya know, I've never understood the need to dwell on fecal smearing as the absolute worst thing a parent could go through. Funny thing, a lot of so-called normal kids do it as well, but that's okay, because they're normal, right?

Lillian-
I don't see why you find Jeanette's attitude and outlook to be so unusual for a parent of autistic kids. I talk to Jeanette frequently, and I never hear her snap at her kids, or threaten them, or lose her cool. Maybe if you had more than two kids, you would understand. There is something liberating in having a large family. You get a mini-community in your own home, and you can choose to stress out over all the chaos and work, or you can kick back and enjoy the show.
Our homes are never perfectly tidy, and never ever quiet. To me, it's absolute heaven, especially with little autie boy in the thick of it. He gets so excited at times that he has to jump up and down, literally. I've often said that he had no chance to withdraw, and I really believe that.