You Might Be An #Autism Parent If…

Borrowed from Autism Spectrum Disorder, Through My EyesFacebook Page. Have experienced the majority of these with my son.

  • Your 8 yr old has mastered every level of Lego Star Wars but can’t put on his own shirt w/out help.
  • You’re not sure who needs the padded helmet w/ faceguard more…your kid, or you.
  • You know its a bad day when you find all the trains lined up
  • You have more people that understand you in other states and countries than in your own neighborhood.
  • You have to communicate in sequences….i.e. first brush teeth, then bedtime.
  • You get so excited when your child masters a skill that he/she is a year or more delayed in!
  • You know *just* how much silence is too much silence. And then you run to check on them.
  • You use the phrase “use your words” repeatedly throughout the day
  • Your son is 8 years old but still pees on his pants at least once a week.
  • Your child makes up un-funny jokes in an attempt to understand humor, irony, and metaphor – unsuccessfully.
  • The school staff hates to see you coming! Because they know you’re not taking any crap when it comes to your kids!
  • You make up songs for almost anything because your kid responds better to it.
  • You have a heart attack when you see the school phone number on the caller i.d. Shit! What did he do now?
  • You’ve ever carried a screaming, flailing child out of a store & you knew it was for the best.
  • There are days you feel and look like a battered wife because your child had a major meltdown
  • You’re accused of being overly protective of your child, and overly sensitive to popular culture!
  • Your kid has the hardest time telling you the simplest of things, but can turn Legos into amazing things with no plans
  • Your child tells a joke over and over until somebody laughs
  • Every activity you do comes with a series of warnings approaching the end of the activity.
  • You can’t vacuum without a 15 minute warning announcement
  • You’re sometimes amazed at the sounds and faces your child can make in a day!
  • You have had someone say “maybe if you were more consistent….” and you want to gut punch them
  • It doesn’t matter how cold it is, your child WILL NOT go to sleep without the fan on in his room.
  • Anything “_____tard” is likely to not only offend, but infuriate you!
  • You start to realize the apple doesn’t fall far from the…hey is that a squirrel?
  • You really relate to ‘ Gerald Mc Boing Boing’
  • Your twitter friends understand you and your child better than your local friends
  • You know exactly what a pooptastrophe is and are happy beyond words when your child outgrows this behavior.
  • Everytime ANYONE comes to your house your child tries to hijack them to come play legos with him.
  • You have to think through EVERYTHING you need to say first so that your child doesn’t take something literally.
  • You sigh when other people tell you how their parents handled that when THEY were kids.
  • You’ve given a complete stranger a tongue lashing for suggesting your kid has a discipline problem
  • You’re used to strangers looking to you for translation because they couldn’t understand a word your kid said
  • You sometimes have to remind yourself there are a lot worse things that could happen to your child than autism.
  • You avoid public bathrooms because they are too loud and cause sensory overload.
  • People always question your child’s behaviour and the way you raise your child.
  • You see no problem with your child scooting around on the floor with his head down for hours making weird sounds
  • You’ve apologized to restaurant staff because your child said the place smelled bad and you had to leave.
  • There are lines and lines and LINES of small toys all over the place
  • You know your child was given dairy milk at school because he’s acting crazier than normal.
  • Your child refers to a friend as “The Third Boy” rather than by name even after a year.
  • You forget how delayed your child’s speech is until you hear a 4 yr old talk better than your 8 yr old
  • You still get nervous before an IEP no matter how many times you’ve had one.
  • You dont even blink an eye when seeing a child twirling and flapping in public
  • You have to buy your child’s favorite food in bulk quantities because anything else you buy will go uneaten.
  • You have the child locks on your car doors because your child has tried to jump out driving down the road.
  • Your 7 year old has designed 40 different versions of the Dominator from Storm Chasers
  • It makes you sick when other normal kids your child’s age make comments or stare during an inclusive sport
  • You feel like a stuck record when asking a kid to do a simple as “put your jacket on”
  • You think a meltdown is something that happens to a child, not a nuclear reactor.
  • You get pissed at parents of neurotypical kids because they call you selfish for NEEDING A BREAK
  • Your child lectures you on the dangers of speeding as you drive them to kindergarten
  • You can tell the difference between a meltdown and a temper tantrum even when nobody else can
  • You have to explain EVERY step in the process. i.e. 1.raise hand 2.WAIT to be called on 3.answer.
  • Your child has 3 time frames – Today, Tomorrow, and Later.
  • You’re afraid to put your child in sports because it could cause a sensory meltdown in public
  • You’ve ever cleaned poop off the walls of your apartment at 5am.
  • You plead with your child to be allowed to throw away the packaging
  • You’ve ever cried because a teacher “gets it”
  • You remarry and are super grateful that your spouse chose you and loves your child like his own.
  • You’ve ever wanted to strangle a neighbor kid for bullying your child but were too busy crying instead.
  • You’ve ever put special locks on your doors to keep your child from eloping.
  • The words, “he doesn’t look like he has Autism” make you roll your eyes.
  • You don’t even react to all the strange screeches, grunts, snorts, etc coming from your child.
  • You’ve got Meltdown Early Warning Radar
  • You want to cry when someone says, “He must be mild…”
  • You use the Nintendo or ipod as a muffling device when you know you’re going somewhere overstimulating
  • You consider friends you’ve only talked to on-line as some of your most trusted confidants
  • You know the name of every Thomas engine.
  • You’ve wanted to strangle a parent of a neurotypical child who says your child just needs some discipline.
  • Some days you don’t have much to say to “normal” parents.
  • There are three sets of rules on your fridge, including one your child made for the dog. (Rules are important!!)
  • You celebrate with a friend when her child eats two bites of pancakes!
  • You brace yourself for a tantrum when you inform your kid there’s an errand you forgot, and wasn’t on the list
  • You’ve left a full cart in the store and left because of a meltdown.
  • You consider twitter peeps you’ve never met, who have autistic children, some of your best friends.
  • Your child has beaten Lego Star Wars 3 times in the last year and he’s only 7.
  • You watch a movie via your child mimicking it back at you instead of watching it on TV.
  • You get excited when your child eats something more than chicken nuggets and pizza.
  • You still bear scars from your child’s last 3 meltdowns.
  • You carry earmuffs and sunglasses in your purse for your child at all times.
  • You get excited when your child swears because at least they said something.
  • You have to change the movie your child is watching 10 times in 5 minutes because he wants to watch something else.
  • You watch the same movie over and over again with your child and don’t complain.
  • You get both hit and hugged within 5 seconds of each other.
  • You can’t wait for your child to go to school after a hectic weekend but miss ‘em minutes after school starts.
  • You would trade everything you have to spend just half an hour in your child’s mind to know how and what they’re thinking.
  • You find yourself using your child’s therapeutic coping strategies for yourself.
  • Your blood boils every time you see a status update about an autistic child being bullied.
  • The definition of a clean house is now one that doesn’t have an overflowing trash can, dishes in the sink are rinsed, and laundry is at least in the hamper or in the basket.
  • Your friends fade as your life is consumed with many therapists, teachers, doctors, case managers, intervention specialists and these people have no clue you almost feel like they are your new best friends because you spend so much time around them and the subject of conversation is your children…
  • A ‘good day’ means no one’s in the hospital, no one from the school called, no one from the police department is standing on your lawn and everyone’s sitting in one room without a problem.
  • You might be an autism parent if someone walks into your house and asks if you live in a dangerous neighborhood and you say no… the window locks, gate locks and three types of door locks are to keep my kid in… not bad guys out.
  • Your blood boils and it touches a nerve whenever you hear a child with autism being called the ‘R’ word.
  • Sleep has become more of a luxury than routine.
  • You never dare touch or move any of the perfectly lined toys/items on the floor, not even by a millimeter because you know he/she will immediately recognize the difference.
  • If your child accomplishes something that may seem minor and trivial to others, but for you it’s a great milestone that calls for a huge celebration and victory dance.
  • You’re able to spot another child on the spectrum from a mile away.
  • You’ve come to the realization that no one else will ever truly get what being an Autism parent is like than another autism parent. ♥

To Diagnose or Not, That is the Question (#SpecialNeeds)

 

With the return to school, our kids have started with new teachers and potentially new classmates, so it’s our time once again to help the new teachers and classmates understand our special children. This year, I’ve been hearing more parents talk about whether or not to tell the school, teachers and friends about their child’s diagnosis or special needs. Personally, my belief is to tell…tell everyone! The more people who know about your child’s needs, the better they can help support you and your child.

 

My son is “fortunate” to have just one diagnosis: Autism. Although Autism is trying and testing some days, it’s a very simple and relatively understood diagnosis, and one that has a lot of supports in place in the school system, and the medical community. Don’t get me wrong, I need to stay on top of everything to ensure he gets the support he needs to succeed in school, and later in life.

 

Friends of mine are constantly searching for a diagnosis for their child and they are frustrated. Every new specialist they see offers a new diagnosis, which negates the diagnosis they received from the previous one. As a result, they can’t get the appropriate external support for their child.

 

I’ve heard others recently whose children are at the age of starting school and they have an Autism or Aspergers diagnosis for their child, and are really wrestling with whether or not to tell the school and the new teacher of the diagnosis. When they ask me, I give them a very simple answer: TELL THEM!

 

Others wrestle with whether to tell their own family and friends, fearing those friends and family will treat them and/or their child differently. My harsh opinion is to cut those friends and family. Being a parent is stressful enough, let alone a parent to a child with special needs. Having friends around who aren’t willing to understand your child isn’t helpful to anyone involved.

My Guest Post: #SupportGroups Needs, from a Parent’s Perspective

Posted today on SpecialNeeds.com:

Because I’m an extrovert to the core, I’m naturally a “joiner”. I’m part of Parents’ Council for both of my kids’ schools, Autism-related support groups, special needs-related support groups, moms groups, etc. As a result, my schedule can get pretty filled between those groups, appointments for my son, field trip chaperoning for my daughter, being taxi-driver to ensure my son gets to IBI, etc.  

I’ve seen groups that are well managed, others that are still growing, and others that have it so down pat that they are amazing! So, I thought I would compile a list of things I really like that groups put in place to help their members.

To communicate with your group:

  • have a Facebook group 
  • keep a current membership list (this will look different for any group as some have fee-based memberships, others are just attendance-related)
  • have an email distribution list…

Click here to view the entire post.

 

Discussion all parents need to have, no matter how awkward

My daughter and I were driving to pick up my son from IBI today, and we had one of those important discussions that all parents need to have with their children. Somehow we started talking about who she can talk to when she’s sad, happy, angry, etc. We started discussing who are safe grownups in her world to talk to about her emotions.

With my heart beating about a million times a second, I decided it was a great opportunity to chat about what to do if someone tries touching her privates (besides the fact that I will go more than “mama bear” if anyone ever hurts either of my kids!!!!), and who she can trust to tell or go to, if it ever happens.

At the end of the discussion, she knows that NO ONE is aloud to touch her private parts without her permission, EVER; and she has a list of grown ups she knows will listen to her and act on her behalf if, God-forbid, someone ever hurts her.

It was an awkward conversation to have but I think I was more awkward about it than she was, but it was extremely important.  As parents, we need to look for these opportunities and jump on them.  It wasn’t a long conversation but I hope that I have helped my 6 year old have some tools she can take with her for the rest of her life.

Don’t ever miss an opportunity like the one we had today, no matter how uncomfortable and awkward you feel. If we don’t prepare our children for the world, and stick up for them, no one will.

Thankful Thursday – 01/26

This last week has been, and continues to be, a really hard week. Unfortunately, a dear friend of mine and her family are going through the hardest challenge a parent ever has to deal with, and one where no parent ever wants to be.  So, this week, I’m thankful for:

  • My son and daughter
  • Our health
  • My friend and her family being surrounded by friends and family who love and support them
  • Prayer
  • My son’s Autism team

Please give your kids extra hugs and kisses today, and every day.