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.

Monday, June 23, 2008

CLASS OF 1978...

My 30 year High School Reunion is in 4 days. I am so excited.
I graduated from Pflugerville High School in 1978. I was 17 year old, and
the youngest person in the class.
The drinking age was 18 at the time and I was one of the only ones not
legal in my class. NO, it did not keep me from drinking.
I look forward to this reunion. We only had around 80 kids in my class.
I loved them all...for different reasons.

If I get a chance to tell them all something this weekend...
I would tell them this...

Thanks for being there..even though I never said it before.
Thanks for taking a girl who thought she was hideous....thanks to my sister...
and making her fit in where she never thought she would.
Thanks for not judging me when I was Anorexic, fat, a Kicker, A Smoker, or a
Thanks for being there, 30 years later, when my son was in the hospital.

If I had to go back 30 years in time, I would change a few thing.

I would not care if I was the smartest, funniest, cutest, or skinniest. I would not care
if I was the most popular or if the most popular guy in the world liked me the best ( I won in the long run, I have my husband)...I would be ME...that is pretty cool.

I hope to Hell I am teaching my children that is what is most important..
Being them...that is pretty COOL.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


The other day, I was questioned about a comment I made 4 years ago in a newspaper story they ran on our family. The reporter, Andrea Ball, spent the better part of 18 months working with our family. She got to know us, and she got to know us well....too well, Maybe.
Andrea wrote an amazing story. It was about our children and how they were 4 years ago. She was spot on with everything she said....4 years ago.

4 years later...some things have changed.

I NO LONGER look at Autism as a doom and gloom, mercury caused my children's autism, bleak kind of thing. I look at Autism as a miraculous event that has made me a better person.

I was questioned about a comment I made about wanting to sterilize Caitlin...yes, I still feel this way. Caitlin is a severely autistic young woman who should never have to make the decision on whether or not she should carry a child. Caitlin has no interest in boys, so the only reason she would get pregnant would be from result of rape. Hard to say, but true.

I was questioned about a comment I made about vaccinations causing my children's autism. We were being wooed by a local organization who were telling me about Mercury in the vaccinations and how they made my children's guts go bad and how it caused their brains to be infected with the Measles virus which caused their autism.....okay, I went with that for about 6 months. Then I got my brain back.

I was questioned about a comment I made about taking 2 with me when I died.....I, in no way, meant I am going to kill my 2 children because they are Autistic. I said, "They better never tell me that I am going to die, because I am taking 2 with me". I could not bear knowing I was going to die and not know what will happen to my 2 most severely affected children.

I will post the story at the end of this blog.....Andrea did a wonderful job. She became part of our family when she was here.....I hope she still considers us part of hers.

So, lately I have been bitter towards Message Boards...I am done with that now.
I had my little fit and am better. It just bugged me that a certain board member thought
it was okay to post a piece about my children. I am a mother after all...

So here, without further adieu, is the very long story Andrea Ball wrote.....
I call it a bathroom read....I also call it amazing...
But please remember, It was written 4 YEARS AGO...


Here is the video Kelly West did for us:


Saturday, June 21, 2008


It truly does amaze me how the people who spend the most time on Autism Message Boards
are the most critical of other parent's. We all have a common bond...children with Autism.
Some choose to be critical of others who don't do the biomedical approach....some choose to
criticize those who go the biomedical approach (and no, I do not mean GF/CF diets).
I was targeted by a mother of children with Autism on one such message board. She has been
nit-picking me for years. I find her rather redundant and really, really boring.
This person, along with her clonies, spend hours on the computer. What the heck are their
children doing? Playing with matches, perhaps?
These "parents" sure dole out alot of advice to me and other Neurodiverse thinking parents, but really..what kind of parent sits in front of a computer all day just to rag and bag on other
parent's who are going through the same thing.

I say this with all of the compassion I can muster, because frankly, I could care less about the
parent's of these precious children......I care about their precious children who are probably at their pants legs begging them for some attention and guidance....


Where are my kids, you might ask???
2 of our children are down the street playing with a friend at their house.
1 is upstairs playing with her High School Musical toys.
1 is asleep on the couch, he is very tired from waking up at 5:30 am.
1 is in her room on the computer and listening to her Ipod...she just helped me
with dinner, so I let her go back to her life.
1 is in her room being a 17 year old Autistic child who does not like the thunder
storm we are having.

All safe and sound. But, I did wait until almost 5:00 pm to return to the computer
after a quick computer check this morning.

Again, I will say to those who are so OCD that they are afraid they will miss
a fight or a chance to call someone a name...


I want to add something, since I have a "shy" person who wants to comment
ANONYMOUSLY..you know how much I love that???
I do spend 2 times a day catching up on the message boards....I blog about
Autism, I live Autism....I need to know what people think.

I get really angry when a few parent's on the boards, and they know who they
are, make a game out of putting down other parent's on these boards. It is way
beyond pathetic....

To my Anonymous fan...I know who you are...thanks for visiting me so much.
I am flattered.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Zzzzz, that is what I want to write after most of the posts
I read on Autism Message Boards. The same boring people, writing
the same boring things.
First...how very sad I am that my child has autism...boohoo for me, my life
is over. How very sad I am for your child(ren) that you are sad for them.
Second...We know you believe thimerosal causes Autism...okay, next subject.
Third...There is so much you can do with your children instead of them staring
at you typing on the computer. Really, they would enjoy some "quality" time with
Fourth...blaming failing marriages on Autism...guess what? Your marriage probably
would not have lasted anyway. Autism is just a very good excuse. Any marriage
takes work. Life ain't easy, but how boring would it be if it were.

Let us really bring Autism into the forefront...let us yell from the top of our lungs...

We do not have time to wallow in self pity in our home. We do not have time to
blame anyone or anything for our children being diagnosed. We do not have
time to focus on anything but our children who are so involved with being children, they
do not have time for much else.

I am just a mother raising 6 children to grow up and be the best people they can be..
I have a long road ahead of me, and so do my kids. But, by what they have proven to
me so far...my job will be a piece of cake.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

HUB BUB.....

I love being a part of the Autism Hub...it was one of my quests in life, so to speak.
Today, I was checking on the blogs and new blog writings. I was a bit taken back
that a blog member was on here...I had never noticed her being part of the Autism
Hub before.

Heck, who am I to say who can be part of the blog...but 4 years ago, a wonderful story
was written about my family...here is what one Autism Hub blog member wrote about us
4 years ago...

Lady, I Like My Cigar, Too, But Sometimes I Take It Out of My Mouth
Okay, so that headline was rude. I admit to it. But Groucho certainly had a point when he so aptly commented on one woman's prodigious reproductive skill. And I think there is a point here as well.First, a disclaimer. My heart goes out to this family. I am parenting two underage children, of which 50% are autistic, and it is hard. I simply cannot imagine how somebody - even a well-partnered and supported somebody - could survive with 5 autistic children (and one NT to spare).My question is WHY KEEP GOING? I understand that having only one child who is disabled is no reason not to try for another. But each time, they tried and "lost the statistics battle". I understand that "whoopses" happen. And I understand that they were pregnant with one when a second was diagnosed. But still... Maybe it is my personal prejudice against overpopulating the planet in general...combined with my first hand knowledge of what it is taking to get things in order for just ONE autistic child. *Shaking head*...I just don't understand. I simply hope that the resources truly are available, in both quality and quantity, to make these children's lives happy and healthy ones.AUTISTIC CONJECTURE OF THE DAYOne Family's Struggle With Autism - The Genetic FactorAug. 16, 2005 — Jeanette and Patrick O'Donnell were overjoyed by the arrival of their firstborn daughter, Caitlin Carole. But 2 1/2 years later, their baby girl still wasn't speaking. Then the O'Donnells received a frightening diagnosis: Caitlin was autistic. The O'Donnells thought that if the condition was genetic, they wouldn't have anymore children. But they say that doctors assured them autism was not passed down from the parents' genes. The young couple resumed their dream of having a big family. Along came Dierdre, Erin and Meaghan. They were a happy family, but then Erin stopped talking. Once again, doctors made the painful diagnosis: autism. "By the time Erin was diagnosed, we already had four [children]," Patrick said. And by that point, Jeanette was pregnant with their son, Patrick. Then the O'Donnells got an unplanned surprise, and little Kiernan came along. Each Child Affected DifferentlyOne by one, the O'Donnells were given the same dreaded diagnosis. All told, the they have six children under their roof in Austin, Texas. Five of them fall on the spectrum of disorders called autism — Meaghan is the only child who does not. Today, research shows a strong genetic component is at work with the disease. An estimated 1.5 million people suffer from autism, which the Autism Society of America describes as "a complex developmental disability that affects an individual in the areas of social interaction and communication." Autism affects each person differently and some have more severe complications than others. The O'Donnell children mirror the many distinct forms this complex disorder takes. Dr. David Amaral, of the MIND Institute in Sacramento, Calif., says that studying these differences could change the way doctors treat autism. "The benefit to the kids and to families will be that we'll be able to predict what will be the best treatment for a particular type of autism. Currently, we can't do that," he said. Caitlin, 14, and Kiernan, 4, the eldest and youngest, are the bookends of the O'Donnell family encyclopedia of autism. They display hallmarks of the condition — they walk on their toes, their bodies rock, arms flap, they often screech. Both are profoundly disturbed by certain environmental changes. Amaral said if you asked the children why they were upset or frightened by certain situations, they wouldn't have any insight into it. On the other end of the spectrum are Erin, 8, and Little Pat, 5, who can describe what they are feeling. Pat will hide his eyes from strangers, but says he does so because "he's nervous." Both Erin and Pat made dramatic turnarounds. "When I was about 3 years old, on my second day of school I started to speak," Erin said. But they still have strong reactions to sensory stimulation. While Erin is soothed by bubbles on her skin, Pat is terrorized by running water. And then there is Dierdre, the "quirky" one. She has a form of autism called Asperger's Syndrome. People with Asperger's will become obsessed with one particular subject. "They'll go on talking about a topic of interest to them and not take any cues from you that you're not interested," Amaral said. "You still have at the core this deficit of social function." Jeanette said it's painful for Dierdre to sit with the family and eat dinner. She prefers to eat alone, one item at a time. Children That Fit in the FamilyNo two O'Donnell children has an identical set of symptoms, but they all share one defining characteristic — a failure to have appropriate social interactions. All of the O'Donnell children have speech challenges, avoid eye contact and display little facial emotion. "It's not that they can't have any expression of emotion or attachment, it's just that it's very different," Amaral said. Today, all the children except Kiernan attend regular school; Caitlin is helped in school by an attendant. The O'Donnells say patience and a sense of humor get them through. "We laugh," Patrick said. "We have to laugh. If we don't laugh, we wouldn't be ourselves." And they have conviction that their children matter. "I'm very proud of what our children have accomplished," Patrick said. With their five distinct personalities, the O'Donnell children are a unique bridge to help researchers learn more about the mysterious world of autism. And each in their own singular way, they bring love and joy to a very special family. "We have children that are unique," Jeanette says. "We have children that fit in our family."
// posted by Susan @
11:56 PM 0 comments

I commented then about my reaction to a mother of a child with Autism commenting on my family and how ashamed I was then...my post was not published. I posted again today, when I realized that this mother was now a Hub member....
I shall wait and see what is allowed to be posted on the same blog post I tried to post to 4 years ago.....

We all are trying to raise our children...when we become judgmental..it changes us......

My children were all supposed to be here..for that I am thankful. Because someone does
not believe in having alot of children for whatever reason, don't judge. Heck, I could mention
how being a single parent is very selfish for a child...don't they deserve a father ( I really don't believe this, but there are many who do)....
Do you see where I am going? Please people...think before you hit the ENTER key.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Happy Father's Day to all of the amazing Dad's out there who are raising
some of the most amazing children.

To my husband...an amazing Father to our children...


Thanks for the long hours you work.
Thanks for the unconditional love you show us.
Thanks for not trying to "cure" or "recover" your awesome children.
Thanks for not complaining when you are too tired to help with homework,
or wake up early to drive one of them to school for a special project...

I am so very lucky.

Thanks to the other Father's out there who do this because they
want to, not because they have to.

Happy Father's Day.....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


My family was on Good Morning America in September of 2005. Our family was represented well and the producer involved was nothing short of wonderful.
They showed our family as it is...a family. They represented us as a typical family with only one thing different...we have 5 children with Autism.
At the time of the airing...we were the only DOCUMENTED family with 5 autistic children.

We have always felt blessed to have 6 children...even though 5 have Autism...
We have never been the "woe is me family" who rely on others to take care of our family.
My husband works 2 jobs and I work part-time. I OCCASIONALLY get a nap...I do joke about taking one (some people take me seriously...hahahaha).
I cook EVERY meal at home and am happy to do so in my wonderful kitchen. I love to cook.
Luckily, I now have 4 daughters and 1 son who love to help me in the kitchen.

Today is my anniversary, and my darling husband is out in this 98 degree heat umpiring his ass off. Happy Anniversay Patrick......I love you so much.

On Monday, Good Morning America showed the Neurodiverse side of Autism....I could not be happier. On television was Ari Ne'eman and Kristina Chew...2 great examples of Neurodiversity.
They represented my children and my family perfectly. Thanks guys.
Kristina and Ari were dead-on in their examples of why Neurodiversity is the way we should treat our Autistic children and how society should treat them too.

All I have to say is...IT IS ABOUT TIME.

I am sick of the Jenny McCarthy who cannot make up her mind whether her child is autistic or not.....reading about parent's who are chelating children to "cure" or "recover" them....praying dearly for a young boy who is about to get his second injection in Costa Rica for stem cells that we don't know where they come from....to parent's who just cannot fathom the idea of a non-perfect child.

I am thrilled to read about parent's who embrace not only their amazingly gifted children, but have the guts to show the world it is okay to be Autistic.....BRAVO to you....

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Dear John,
I would like to take this time to thank you. Tonight, I watched the movie HAIRSPRAY on HBO. I saw it in the movie theatre with my children when it was released. It made me smile then...and it really made me smile tonight. You see, my daughter, Erin, who really loves HAIRSPRAY, is in Germany. I miss her dearly. She knows every word to this movie. I think because she can relate to Tracy..the lead character. Erin is overweight, but man, this girl is ALL personality.
I also want to thank you for the last 30 + years of entertaining me and everyone else on this planet.
I know, you are a Scientologist...BIG FRIGGIN DEAL...
I know, you might or might not have an Autistic child...BIG FRIGGIN DEAL...

People accuse you of not admitting you have a child with Autism....that is your business. We DO NOT know what you do in your home to help your child. I know Jett is home-schooled. That is an endeavor in itself.

In the mid 1970's, I was introduced to you with he show "Welcome Back Kotter"...I was IN LOVE...
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER stole my heart. Then, OMG, URBAN COWBOY. I was already a cowgirl in the Rodeo Club at SWTSU and you made it all legitimate.
I stood by you through the 1980's. The critics said your movies were bad...I thought you were awesome.

I moved to NYC in 1987 to marry an Italian man...because of you. Instead, I met the most amazing IRISH man....I still want to thank you for that. Because of you, I moved to NYC....I met my husband there.

Through Welcome Back Kotter, Saturday Night Fever, Urban Cowboy, Staying Alive, Two of A Kind, Look Who's Talking, Pulp Fiction, Michael, Phenomenom, Primary Colors, A Civil Action, Wildhogs and Hairspray...just to name a few...thank you JOHN TRAVOLTA.

You have not only given me a lifetime of entertainment....but now, you are making one very musical, talented, animated Autistic child (ERIN) happy too.

And for that I say....THANK YOU...Dear John..

Saturday, June 07, 2008

SCHOOL IS OUT....The last 2 weeks of school are so very busy for us as a family. The end of the year activities are abundant and we try to help out as much as we can at all of the different schools.
Kiernan was in the hospital for a week in May and he is back to his "normal" self...he is abundant energy. Kiernan starts Summer School in 2 weeks, so I will be doing whatever is necessary to keep him in a routine. He craves a routine.
Meaghan graduated 4th grade and was selected for the Safety Patrol squad for next year...a very high honor for our school.
Erin graduated 5th grade with honor roll and she received the prestigious "Citizenship Award"..only given out to a handful of 5th graders who received all 4's all of the time on their
behaviors. She will be a middle-schooler next year.
Deirdre graduated 8th grader with honor roll. She will be going to high school next year and is so very excited.
Caitlin finished 10th grade with A's and B's. She is already enjoying not getting up for school.
She will have a recreational therapist, massage therapist and caregiver all Summer....so we have many plans for her.
Little Patrick finished out 2nd grade with high marks. He starts getting letter grades next year, so I will be excited to see his actual scores. This little man has gone to school since he was 3 years old and has never, ever had so much as a card change for behavior. I am so proud of him.

Erin and Meaghan left for Germany this morning. They were both selected to represent our Elementary school in our sister city in Germany. They will arrive early tomorrow morning. We packed for 12 days of travel. They were very excited and anxious. I just got a call from Meaghan in Dallas, and she seems so happy. I cannot wait to get the daily updates from their text messages.

Summers are very hot here in Texas. My mother has a pool as does our good friends. My children love the water...even Kiernan is able to swim. All of my children started swimming lessons before their first birthday.
We love to go bowling ALOT and play Putt-Putt golf.
We grill in the backyard and have friends over almost every weekend. More during the Summer months.
Our family has been truly blessed with many great people in our lives. They adore and love our children, just as we adore and love theirs.

I just thought I would catch you guys up on what is going on.....there is alot on my mind in the world of Autism...just need to gather my thoughts before I write about it.

Autism is a disorder, not a definition of my children.