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.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dear Autism....

Dear Autism,

When I first met you, it was over 40 years ago, when as an 11 year old girl, I babysat for the first child I ever was introduced to with you. A beautiful tow-headed little boy with no words and a smile that would melt my heart.
A few years later, when I was hired at a Residential Treatment Center while attending college, I met you again. This time, there were several young women, from their early teens to their mid-40's who taught me the meaning of loving and caring for a person with you.

Well then, Autism, you decided that I was a prime candidate for children with Autism. Yep, not one child, but 6 children, 5 with Autism.
I happily accepted the position of mothering these amazing children.
Through them, I have learned that you, Autism, are not as dreaded and horrible as those who write about you.

Caitlin, our oldest, has just turned 21 years old. She is in a program that teaches her work skills. She is smart and oh so very very funny.
Yep, she will need our care for the rest of our lives...and then she will need to be looked after by someone else after we are gone, but she will have the ability to earn a living and possibly live in a Group Home that will love her as much as we do.

Deirdre, our second, will be 18 in May. She is graduating this year in the top 1/3 of her very large class in her very large high school. She has applied to 5 very large universities throughout the United States and has already been accepted to a highly regarded university in the Northeast....I am so very proud....she even received the Dean's scholarship. She is majoring in Theater Arts and one day, mark my word, you will be sitting in a theater watching her movies. WOW is all we can say about this witty, loving and slightly sarcastic daughter of ours (the sarcasm comes from her parent's BTW) is the diagnosis of Asperger's is not a reason to give up on your child.

Erin, our third, turned 15 last year. Man, this young woman is smart. She is active in many extracurricular activities and has many friends. Including Deirdre, who is in the activities with her. To listen to them talk about Anime' or Writing club or NHS blows me away. This girl will go on to become something amazing...I just know it.

Meaghan, our fourth, is 14. She is what you people call Neurotypical....There is nothing about her that is like anyone else.
With her red hair and blue eyes against her pale skin..she catches the eye of many young boys. She has no interest, thank Goodness...right now, she wants to be the best cupcake maker EVER !! No doubt she will succeed.

Patrick, our fifth and first-born son. He is now 12 years old. What once was a child who was afraid to do anything without me, has become so independent. Not only is he on one baseball team, he was asked personally to join another due to his dedication to the team he was on, and his ability to remain calm when the other kids are acting up.
I was so worried when he went into Middle School (after losing his Special Education diagnosis with his school district. He has become a strong-willed little man. He still struggles with some things, but his determination will get him through anything.

And then, Autism, you gave us Kiernan. He is our soon-to-be 11 year old boy. He is our most affected with you.
That does not keep him from being the smartest, most charming child anyone has ever met.
Because he does not speak, you do not keep his feelings hidden. He shows everyone, in other ways, how smart he is and how loving of a young boy he is.
Kiernan continues to make straight A's in school and will be attending Middle School with his brother next year. Kiernan, like his oldest sister, will more than likely require continuous care himself. This is not an easy thing to talk about, but we must face his future with optimism and hope that there are people out there that will love him as much as we do.

Geesh, the year's have flown by.....

So, Autism, you have been twisted and formed by so many people who want you to be something you are not...

I, personally, am happy they are changing the DSM.
When this happens, we will lose 3 off of the spectrum. 2 who were diagnosed as severely autistic by the time they were 3 years old, and are now considered Aspergian's.

Our 3 who will lose their diagnosis with the new criteria will be fine out in this quirky little world of ours. They will all fit in and be amongst the Neurotypical with no one noticing one little bit.
You know why....
There is no such thing as "NEUROTYPICAL"...

We all have our quirks and funny little behaviors...how else do you think there are so many strange reality shows?

Yes, Autism, I have been away from the Autism forums for a while...I am much more sane in my world than their petty, bickering little area of life.
My children need me to mother them, not have my head in the computer trying to prove how "RIGHT" I am all of the time. I will leave the "Right-fighting" to those with the anger and the time to do so.

Yes, Autism, I have stepped away from my blog, so I can focus on my full-time job as a mother and my other full-time job in the travel industry I love so much.

Autism, you do not define my children, you are just a label put on them by doctors.
You are not their souls or most importantly, you are not their hearts. Those belong to them and to those around them that love them as much as we do.

You have taught me to be a more patient mother, to be calm when they are not, to fight for their educations, to teach them that some people are just not so nice (but that usually means they are so very unhappy themselves).
Through you, my children have taught me humility, compassion and the ability to not give up no matter what.

This may sound funny to some, but frankly, I do not care....

Thank you !!!


vicki said...

Love to all of you!!

farmwifetwo said...

To quote the OT coordinator long, long ago "a diagnosis is only to get services".

I too am looking forward to the change. There are those screaming that the ID will be kept off of it - a lie - it's nearly impossible to pass the IQ test unless you are "normal". I like the idea that nobody will assume any longer that those with autism cannot learn.

Those that want autism to be a "way of being" will be gone. Those with disabilities that need services will remain.

I too am losing one off the spectrum. He's 12. At 2.5 his dx was mild, non-verbal PDD. We were told he would always require care... sorry, he'll be just fine.

Rhonda Bond said...

Thank you from the bottom of my heart! If it would all fit on a T-shirt I would wear it =) This is Exactly how I feel!! There is no diagnoses nor Label that define my children. They are who they are and that's that!!! I could care less what the DSM or anyone else says. I don't care what they change - it doesn't change my children. Old Autism isn't a road block, but simply a map to know the best roads to GO FORWARD!!!! In my humble opinion The ones fooled in life are those that call themselves "neurotypical" LOL

afistfullofweeds* said...

I am so thrilled to see this post and that all of the kids are doing so well!! My son is 13 now and has the diagnosis of Aspergers. It is so much better as time goes along and I so agree with every single word you have spoken. Thank God there are people like us who love the babies!!!!

Laureen said...

What a great post. The part I liked the most is the following:

Our 3 who will lose their diagnosis with the new criteria will be fine out in this quirky little world of ours. They will all fit in and be amongst the Neurotypical with no one noticing one little bit.
You know why....
There is no such thing as "NEUROTYPICAL"...

I also loved this statement too.

Autism, you do not define my children, you are just a label put on them by doctors.
You are not their souls or most importantly, you are not their hearts. Those belong to them and to those around them that love them as much as we do.

I am so glad I found your post today.

God Bless you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful expression of a mother's love by beautiful you, the one and only Jeanette!

Kids Toolbox said...

This is great. You are a winner.

Steven Sutton said...

Wow..what a lovely post this are.I really enjoy reading it.

Christine at the Floortime Center said...

This is such a touching post, and so beautifully written.

Sencho said...

Wow what a lovely post. It touched my heart. I want to share another thing that touched my heart. This is the story of Brandon, once I was in the autism box, but nowadays he's not. This is a video of his journey. http://youtu.be/wcMgrKUqR9o

Allison D said...

Hello! I would love for your input on my design blog: http://designforautism.com/

I do believe these labels can stunt the emotional growth of those affected by autism, and a positive environment is needed to help them learn to become who they are meant to be.

Ania said...

Introducing Ruth, an Adult on the Autism Spectrum

October O Nine said...

Beautiful post! Miss your posting!


Anonymous said...

They must not be very severe as you thought. They probably had a very mild form of it since if they were as severe as you said, they would not be able to "thrive" or do anything all. They would be barely sapient.