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Socializing is a Bitch


The girl is alone on the porch and my son wants to go outside and play with her.  I say yes and he scrambles to get his sneakers on and runs outside.  He is making conversation with her and I am amazed.  I am elated that he even wants to go outside.  Those social skills groups are working miracles.  This good feeling was doomed to be short-lived, however.

She was waiting for two boys to arrive for a play date.  One of them comes and she is engaged with him.  My son tries to keep her attention and the bad habits flare up.  He raises his voice and cuts off the other boy from speaking.  I cringe.  The two exchange glances and smiles while my boy goes on and on about stuff that I don’t even know about.

I sit behind the slanted blinds, fingering the pages of a book, “The Autistic Brain-Thinking Across the Spectrum.” Naively I thought I was going to be able to read this, originally intending on keeping tabs on him since it was the first time I let him go outside by himself.  Now, I want to cry and I wonder why I let him out.  He leaves them to go and put the box of chalk away in the backyard (because I couldn’t take any more and called him inside).  He drops the box of chalk and tries to get them to come and help pick them up and I hear these two making inside remarks and gestures like an inside joke, “what’s wrong with him, what’s he trying to do?” They regarded him as a curiosity, but I don’t think they knew about the chalk he was trying to pick up.  Sigh.

The other boy comes and she jumps up and down squealing, “He’s here, he’s here….!”  My son tries to talk to the parents walking in, but my heart aches listening to him sound out of place with his voice raised, desperately trying to get their attention.  One talks with him briefly, that was nice.  His conversation was all over the place.

I’m proud of myself for not getting aggressive, but my voice sounds acerbic as I try to tell him that he cannot follow them upstairs.  He gets upset and I take him into my room and explain again.  I distract him with some rough and tumble and he laughs.  Still, he keeps verbalizing the statement, “They have a play date and they never invite me.”  The truth is that they have a pretty busy schedule and not around when we are.

Well, just something I had to write down.  Something I had to remember.  Each day is indeed to be taken as small, tiny baby steps.  I’m glad I felt comfortable letting him go outside without seeking to shadow him.  Hopefully, next time will be better. Hopefully, there will be a next time.

Light Peeks Through the Darkness


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Yeah.  I’ve got stuff to be grateful for.  If you read some of my recent posts, you know that I’m between a rock and a hard place trying to find a job.  The rock in the hard place is me.  The hard place is between two circumstances of life.  Job vs. Jobless.

JOB:  Trying to be short on the back story, we live without any income and without pubic assistance. It’s getting down to the point of not knowing if we can make the rent next month. Tight and Tough.  I need to find a job for money and possibly, if I can manage it, health benefits.

JOBLESS:  Being jobless would mean that I’d have all the time in the world to advocate for my son’s education. It’s been non-stop and has spilled over into the summer.  I thank God that I am not working… and feel guilty about it.

GRATEFUL:  I’m so grateful for the free time I have to do that advocating thing.  My boy has been thriving at his school and I feel so grateful for every single person at that school who works with him.  It seems that next year he will be pulled out of this school, and away from all the people he knows and who know him.  I’m so grateful that I have the luxury of being able to jump right on this thing and I’ve been talking to people, and wrote a letter to request they make an exception for him.  See, they decided to build another school in our area and needed to fill it up.  My son was not moved to this new school, but to a school in between OUR school and the new school.  I guess what it is, is that I don’t want to take that chance and risk all the progress we’ve made, and start over at a different school.  SO MANY changes for him to deal with, and so many people he will never see again.

It’s just too God damned much.  Also, we fought for things at that school like forming a social skills group, a Lunch Buddy group, both of which are designed to teach the kids appropriate social behavior and create scenarios where they have to interact with one another.  They’ve gotten older students in the school to help out with this.  It’s HIS community.  Also, we, the parents, have been able to successfully work with the professionals at the school.  We’ve been able to, I think, change how they see the autistic child.  We’ve seen progress in this area, and though they really need to finance this, they are actually suggesting/urging to their professionals to take workshops in autism.  That’s a big freaking step.  I’ve talked to them about how the kids get labeled and how they had, indeed, labeled an incident incorrectly because they were not familiar enough with what autism is.

They know that we are involved parents.  We care.  We volunteer.  We support them, take their advice, they listen to us and sometimes take our advice on how to handle our son.  I mean, it’s been working!  We’re a team!  Keep calm. Yeah, I know. So can you see how grateful I am that I am jump on this right away?  If I were working, I wouldn’t even know about this switching of schools until I got the letter right around a week before school starts.  I’m so grateful for the professionals at that school who have listened to me and have spoken to me.

Aside from the above, and of which I can go on and on, another thing I wouldn’t be able to do if I were working would be taking SPAN (Statewide Parent Advocacy Network) workshops.  I’ve been learning a lot about our rights and the laws.  I am still learning how to approach IEP meetings and interacting with the professionals at school in an effective way, a non-threatening way.  Anything having to do with advocacy for the special needs child.  Just being exposed and networking with the professionals and other mothers has given me more confidence than I ever thought I’d have.  I’m more assertive which surprises the heck out of me and I like it!  Another thing I’d really like to do is bring the awareness up to education of the school professionals and also the school body, the neurotypical kids. Ignorance breeds fear.  Fear breeds violence.

So yeah.  For right now, I can see some light in the darkness… and it’s pretty amazing.

Happy Birthday, Mommie Fail


This is Gabe at chuck e. cheese for his birthday in 2009.

Sometime last week my facebook status read:

Saturday is Gabe’s first birthday party (with other kids)…. We’re BOTH looking forward to it…

…and we were.  This was his very first social event amongst his own peers, some from school and some from the birthday girls’ other friends and family.  I was so, SO excited.  He talked about this party almost every day in the weeks leading up to the day.  He’d say that him and (I’ll say Helen) were going to do this, were going to do that, until I realized that he never mentioned anyone else.  So, I started to bring in the idea, “Honey, you know that there will be other kids there, right?”  “Remember Gabe, this is a party.  There will be other kids from your class there.  Helen will have her family there,” and so on.  He never gave me a hard time, never said he didn’t want to go, still talked about the party.

So, the party was held at Chuck E. Cheese.  Gabe loves to go there and has been there several times, enough times to be comfortable there.  We’ve been there mostly on weekdays, after school and the place is pretty tame.  We’ve also been there on weekends when the numbers of running, screaming kids multiply like nobody’s business.  Still, he never seemed to have a problem.  THIS day, however, there was a problem.  A BIG problem.  I could kick myself in the ASS because I let myself be lulled into the illusion of normalcy.

Mommie Fail:

On that day, Gabe started to say that he was going to sit near me.  He said that he was going to play the games that were near me.  I kinda did get the impression that he was getting nervous but I told him it would be okay and of COURSE I was going to be right there… which I WAS going to be right there.  How involved I was going to be in his activities I was going to leave up to him.  Then right as we pulled into the parking lot, he asked me if I had headphones.  Again, I saw a red flag and I chose to ignore it because, well, we never used headphones for him, but I knew that he used them a couple of times in school.  I just said, “You know we don’t have headphones.”  I don’t know.  I look back now as if I could have done something, but really, we would have still gone inside.  I kept telling myself that he was really excited and looking forward to this party.

Oh shit.  I know I shouldn’t beat myself up over this, but I should have known what it was going to be like inside this place, on a Saturday, at a birthday party for seven and eight year olds.  I was so looking forward to this being a normal, great milestone for my kid.  Okay, I will just list the conditions that awaited us.

  • A very busy Saturday.  There were kids running around, screaming and it was just too overwhelming, even for me.  I did mention that we’ve been to chuck e. cheese on Saturdays but this was crazy.
  • The reserved area for the party, nay several parties, was situated right in front of the stage and speakers, blasting music.  I mean, BLASTING.  This is something I did know.  I’ve seen parties there before.  Again, kick me.
  • Flashing lights and several monitors going at one time.  Again, I know this yet I didn’t think of it being an issue.

Any one of these is pretty annoying within itself, but I did not think of the effect on my son, let alone ALL of these at once.  I feel like such a horrible mother right now.  We’ve been getting really good, positive feedback from school and the social skills groups that I, plain and simple, let my guard down.  I let others, Gabe, and my desire for just a normal life interfere with protecting my son.  Monster Mom.  I was actually looking forward to his next birthday and the possibility of being asked for a party… AND thinking that chuck e. cheese was a good idea.  Oh Nooooo.

I found the table for the party and brought Gabe to at least show our faces and say, “happy birthday” to the little girl.  I spoke with the parents and they were really understanding about the whole thing.  I urged Gabe to say hello, but he was totally shut down at that point.  Sigh.  Attempting to teach manners through a sensory shut down?  Yeah right, hello?  Hello?  Then we left.  All he did manage to say was that he wanted to go to a “nice, quiet place,” so I took him out to the car and we sat there for a little while until he started talking more to me.

The blessing of children is that they will look into your soul and love and trust you no matter what.  He just said, “I told you, mom!”  Yes Hunny Bunny, you did.  I assumed he was talking about headphones because, really I could’ve used them, too.  I know that this is a learning moment for me and I am still soaking up that lesson.  People will say to learn and move on… and I will do that.  But part of that lesson is reflection.  Absorbing how my actions or non-actions affect those around me, especially when I make decisions regarding my precious boy.   It was our first such party and I guess that in the future I will need to do some research to scope out the situations…. Yeah, my kitchen will be my Situation Room where I plan my strategies.

My New Strategy

chuck e. cheese is not a good idea for Gabe’s next birthday…… period

Introductions, Please.


Okay, like I said yesterday, I am amazed every day by how much my little guy is learning and implementing.  Well, last night he hit me with another one.  So, every night the last thing we do is snuggle.  This used to be for extended periods of time that are now whittled down to just a couple of minutes, give or take, and we talk.  Sometimes it’s longer if we have lots to talk about and sometimes it’s literally just enough time to satisfy his need for snuggling.  Little Drake (my little nickname for him) has regularly been asking if his father will be in school on his social skills group night and every time I have to say yes.  This week Big Drake just has to hand in a paper and is free, so I said he was going to come.  LD got so excited and informed me that he was going to, and this gets tricky to relay here because he can’t express himself well yet and his exact words are nowhere what they should have been.  He basically expressed that he was going to introduce us as, “Mr. & Mrs. Dragon (insert surname, the real one here).  I definitely was NOT going to remind him that I’ve been there the whole time and have been speaking with the supervisor and interns on a weekly basis.  I just told him that I was looking forward to it.  His smile was bright and his eyes were big.

I’m just so proud of my little man!

His Name is TONY, Dad~!


First and foremost, this is amazing to me, and that I caught on to it.  This morning we were free to head on over to our diner for breakfast.  I say “our” diner because this is the one that DH has the school discount for.  He always goes there to, 1:  Support a local business, and 2: the school discount gets him 15-20% off the bill…. also, it’s very close to us and that’s a plus.

So we were there today, waiting for our breakfast and I sort of hear, on the peripheral, a conversation happening between the hostess and a man.  I don’t see them, but she calls him ‘Tony’ and all of a sudden Gabe pipes up (he must have been listening, too) and blurts out, “His name is Tony, Dad!”  He was so excited.  I still don’t really know who the guy is and just let it go and never turned around.  I mean, give those people their privacy, right?

So then later on the manager comes over and he says hello.  He always says hello.  Then Gabe says, “Hi, TONY, how are you?”…. and blah blah’s of other stuff he talks about, but then it just clicked that my little guy, who’s been talking to this manager like forever, but I guess without knowing his name, picks up on his name, then immediately uses it in a greeting.  How cool is that!  Now, this might seem trivial to most of you, or all of you; but it’s a pretty BIG damned thing for me. First, I feel so blessed to be able to actually see this in action and then put two and two together, myself.  Usually my boys are out together, but without me to  save some money here and there, but big guy wanted us all to eat out this morning.  Second, part of Gabe’s disability is that his social skills are/were practically non-existent.  I can’t wait to tell the supervisor of the social skills group… I think it’s working!  It’s so wonderful to see this progress in action and taking hold. This coming week is the last week, but then it starts up again when the summer semester at the school starts.  Gabe is also starting to hold the doors open for me and even gesturing with his hands and saying, “come right this way”…. LOL.

Oh, another biggie thing happened at breakfast.  Gabe made an actual egg sandwich all by himself…. what?  Up until now, he always refused a sandwich and has not had eggs in a very long time, since being a toddler.  Out of the blue, he orders an egg, then proceeds to make a sandwich with the toast that was served.  I suspect that he saw me modeling that behavior because I always get scrambled eggs and rye toast, then make a sandwich out of it, which I also did today.

Okay… I just wanted to write that down.   Every year he is making progress and it’s pretty exciting.

Oh hell, am I too “mothery” and not realizing that he’s growing up and can do a lot more than I thought?  I’ve been told that I baby my little guy and I try to keep that in mind, but there are still a lot of things I won’t let him do by himself.  I have no other children to know what is supposed to come next, and then I see all these new things… Just wondering.


(I preface this post with a note that this post was already published and linked to “a diary of a mom”, prematurely, through the quickie post feature at WordPress and still trying to get used to it.  This complete post is really an update. My apologies for any inconvenience.)

This is Autism Awareness Month and my boy is autistic.

I don’t say that to draw attention to my son being autistic. I write that to draw attention to Autism.

Lately, I’ve been seeing embryos of posts for myself that start with comments I make on other blogs.  Finally, I am writing one here that I’ve written for Jess at A diary of a mom, which I highly recommend reading, BTW.  Her post today is entitled, “Passed Right By – and Never Knew”, thoughts that we all must be thinking.

Long before autism, I believed that we are meant to turn our negative experiences into positives by sharing them to help others.  There is such a liberation, a burst of freedom when this clicks within our consciousness.  Just think about it.  For eons people have been asking themselves, “Why?”  Why does God let this happen to me.  I believe that I’ve found the answer.

“…sharing them to help others.”  What I left out is “sharing them to help others who share the same suffering.”  While everyone suffers uniquely in intensity and within our own circumstances, we so deeply share the hurt of our suffering.  I am reminded of this just this morning.  Our son has been very upset lately surrounding “school”.  At first, I thought it was the typical adjustment from spending a week off from school without the structure provided at school.  I could not get out of him why he was so upset or what had happened to cause it.  This morning he told me that “the kids don’t let me play…”  This was the only phrase that I could understand, yet it burned me to the core.  If you know any of my history, you know that I spent 1st grade through 8th grade without friends, among people who actively pushed me away.  This morning, my hurt was Gabe’s hurt… and visa versa.  I took him in my arms and generously administered copious skin on skin back rubs.  I told him that not everyone is going to be our friend.  I told him that he does have other, new friends at the social skills group he just got into.  I told him that Zach is his friend.  I couldn’t tell, but I hope that was a consolation to him.

Just found an article I wrote about the “Blessings of Pain,” hoping to elaborate more about what our personal pain can be elevated to.

My quoted comment above states that I discovered this little bit of wisdom “long before autism” and that is correct.  For my whole life, I was wondered why God would isolate me, it seemed, so deliberately.  I wondered why none of my teachers or school principal did anything to help or stop what was going at school, a catholic school, btw.  Just this week I confided this bit of my history to a counselor at Gabe’s school and she had an answer that made sense and I had never even tried to rationalize an answer for myself.  She said that the reason they didn’t do anything was because they were thinking that this experience would make me strong.  Well, I don’t doubt that, but it had also screwed me up emotionally and socially for most of my life and I still carry the baggage that can be seen at times, more than I would like.  It’s dirty baggage.  It’s smelly baggage.  It’s damaged baggage.  My old school is closing and I cannot say that I am sorry to see that happening.  Thirty years later, my old classmates want to have some kind of party to commemorate the school.  Since on facebook, they had gotten dinners and fundraisers started to save the school even before this.  Needless to say, I had no desire to participate in any of this.  My memories are damaged.  Distorted.

Counselor Lady told me something that I knew already.  She said that God would not have let Gabriel into our lives if we could not deal, if we could not handle a child as special as him.  Yes, I knew this.  I didn’t know it from the first day, but I learned it.  After continually, if even with humor, complaining about how my life was over because I had a kid in my mid forties, I learned that I would’ve made a horrible mother if I had a kid when I was biologically supposed to, in my twenties.  I know more and accept more about myself now than I did before and that is so damn important… to be as comfortable as you can be in your own skin… BEFORE having kids, and this applies to ANYONE, any mother, any parent out there.  Young parents teach their kids what they were taught from their own parents because that is all they know, quite frankly, and I had a mom who was a yeller, screamer and a hitter (and I’ll not say with what).  An older parent can teach more than that.  We can teach what we’ve learned from our own lives, from our own personal perspective and less from the strict perspective of our parents.  I am SO aware that I am more like my mom than I care to be.  With this knowledge, I am super sensitive about checking myself before I get to the “hitting” point.  I’ll not lie and say that I was always successful, but I can say that those episodes were stopped very quickly and I have been successful for over a year now.  Even at his young age, I made it a point to apologize and ask for forgiveness.

Somewhere in my thirties I came to the realization, s-l-o-w-l-y, that all my hurtful experiences could be made clean by using them to help other people going through the same pain that I went through.  God made me a talker and even though I spent the first part of my life largely in silence, when I started talking you’d be hardpressed to try and get me to stop.  It’s well known that if someone had an issue and needed emotional support, what is appreciated and helps the most is if someone could talk to that person who had experienced the same problem.  Other people try to help and say the same kind, yet superficial and irrelevant words; whereas others who have that specific empathy, offer so much more than that.  They offer their own experience, they offer their own pain up in an effort to heal the hurt of another.  Grace such as this not only can help that person, but the person who offers it.  We are indeed healed a little bit more by sharing the most darkest parts of ourselves.  When we can realize the poetic harmony this plays in our lives, we will never question again the “why’s” of a tragedy.  We will never doubt or blame our God (whatever the name) for making us suffer.  We can immerse ourselves, bath ourselves in the pain and emerge on the other side with something in our pockets for an emergency.  With such an arsenal, we now can find purpose in any part of our lives.  We can be the wounded healers (I did not coin that phrase.  It’s the name of a book, “The Wounded Healer”, written by Henri J.M. Nouwen, one of my very favorite writers, may God bless his soul.  He also said, “By giving words to these intimate experiences I can make my life available to others.”

We are put on this earth to interact with others.  There is no doubt about that.  Let’s love one another.  Let’s help one another.  Let there not be hate or violence against others.

Hey, just adding in here that I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please comment with any and all of them.  I welcome any and all comments… with spam, disrespect and filth being the exceptions.  Thanks!

Sensory Friendly Theater


 

 

This is Autism Awareness Month and my boy is autistic.

I don’t say that to draw attention to my son being autistic. I write that to draw attention to Autism.

Every post from now on in the month of April, I will start in this way, regardless of content.  I’ve not done much this year I guess because I’m not a good planner, so this is the least I can do.  I have blue shirts and blue nail polish and briefly I contemplated dying my hair blue; but ya know it has no effect if I don’t leave the house.  Sometimes I wonder if there are people out there who will read this and listen…. especially people with the power to change things.  We’ve had little victories here and there, but in general I am disheartened by the apathy of the education system.  It’s either that they don’t give a damn, or maybe they are in a comfort zone they fear to leave.  They have a system and this autism thing just throws a wrench into the works and screws them all up.  I can tell you that when our school decided to form a social skills group, it was on the fly and they don’t even know if they’re doing anything right yet.  I was told that they are creating it as they go along and while I’m glad that they are trying, I’m a little  a LOT worried about how successful their efforts will be.

Well, God will answer our prayers.  In my case, because I’m not good at praying, He sees into my heart and knows what I need even before I know and I trust that.  I received today in Gabe’s backpack, an envelope from his Speech teacher.  Inside was a press release from the Union County Office of Public Information, announcing a new Sensory Friendly Theater series of performances specially designed for children with autism and related disabilities at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, NJ.  The notice is entitled: “Union County Offers Theater Program for Children with Autism and Related Disabilities.”  This is what caught my eye:

The new series, which begins on June 10 with Tom Chapin and Friends, is designed according to guidelines that help to reduce disturbances for youngsters who experience heightened sensory sensitivity. The Performing Arts Center is committed to a creating a judgment-free zone with plenty of trained specialists who understand autism and similar disabilities.

A sports program for the autistic child, it is not; and I personally would LOVE such a sports program.  Seriously though, I wouldn’t care if this was a special program for making 10′ snowmen on a hot July afternoon.  I’m in a state of elation right now because these are exactly the types of considerations our kids absolutely need in order to benefit from their participation.  Adults who have training and understand autism (and similar disabilities) are absolutely essential for a successful program such as this.  There is a lot more to this notice, but I keep coming back to the above words:  “judgment-free zone, trained specialists, understand autism.”  The sad fact is that our school professionals are officially none of these things.  Let me just stop right here and say that this in no way diminishes the teaching abilities of these professionals.  I think, as teachers, we are very lucky to have who we have, however…..   My experience with school professionals working with my boy:  Compassionate, yes.  Patient, yes.  Accommodating, yes (so far).  But even our Special Ed teacher is not trained to understand autism.  Why is that?  Well, she got her degree way back in I don’t know what decade and has had no other education to bring her uptodate on Autism or any (similar disability)… umm that really, no, REALLY doesn’t sit right with me.  I think I can be fairly certain of that because I’ve asked whether she had training and I never received an affirmative answer or any qualifiable answer.  Soooo, what would you think?  I’ve advocated to the principal, political candidates for office who come to our door, and anyone who’d listen, and even at a town meeting that it’s imperrative that our teachers be educated to understand autism.  I feverently believe that it’s not just unfair to ask our children to be put into a classroom with adults who don’t understand them; but it’s also unfair to put teachers into that same room with the knowledge, tools and strategies to educate these kids and navigate the myriad of possible disruptions that can occur.  So you see, I have reason to feel disheartened.  Anyone who comes to this door will continue to get an earful and I suppose will regret knocking on our particular door…. oh well.  SO to get this news today gave me a little hope.

I’d also like to share with you the person responsible, Union County Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella.  I won’t replicate the whole announcement here, but here is a link at NJtoday.  If you’d like to call for information, here the number to call: 732-499-8226… OR here’s the link to Sensory Friendly Theater web page

A New Beginning….


I’ve been meaning to post for the longest time, so now here I am.  I am always trying to be witty and write about things that are interesting.  Well, that strategy bombed.  I guess my kind of blogging needs to be inspired and will aspire to be informative; and most important of all, be positive, though that doesn’t always prevail… hee hee.  SO.

Recent events have me overwhelmed, confused and muddled.  So I return to my keyboard in an effort to try to sort through it all.  I am inspired, but really need to get disciplined if I want to get to my goals… the goals that are starting to take shape in my mind.  So many things have been going on, but right now, for this post, I will blot all of them out except one.

On December 20, 2010, my son, Gabriel, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  That’s quite a mouthful for my mouth and my brain.  So much has changed from one moment to another.  I am suddenly confronted with life changing news (for a lack of a better word).  Now, I feel, I must truly live up to my moniker, “the DragonMommie”… mother bear, demon advocate.  I think that the most scariest thing is that now I need to be a proactive, very assertive, if not pushy advocate for my son who has special needs.

My whole life has been spent in the background, going along with others’ decisions.  Now, I need to step to the forefront and be the one making those decisions.  I’m seriously not sure I can do this.  BIG sigh.  I. am. so. scared….. for now.  When I read that over, I realize that I’ve always been right there to look out for Gabe and make sure that he’s cared for and safe, so where is the big difference between then and now?  The difference is that now I need to get an education and get it quick.  I need to become an expert in a whole new area with its own language, rules and laws.  I need to become an expert in researching all this new material and organize it in my head and on my laptop (no small task).  I need to learn the unspoken cues.  I need to learn the right words to use to be politically correct.  I want to be active, informed and I want to use my talents to benefit these kids.

What do I know right now?  I know that my son is not any different today than he was a month ago, two weeks ago, two days ago… yesterday.  He is still the same amazing, loving, affectionate, smart, funny little boy.  What we have now is additional information.  We can now give a name to the reason why he acts a little quirky sometimes.  He is growing and my husband and I are growing also.  We are growing as people and as parents every single day.  This was true before, but we are now getting a higher education in love and understanding.  We’re far from perfect parents, but I feel that with this added understanding will come not just tolerance, but acceptance for what we cannot change.  A determination to provide the highest quality of life that we can for our son.  I can say already that miraculously I have a lot more patience with undesirable behavior I previously perceived as being defiance.  As a mother, I am determined to learn as much as I can about what is really behind this behavior and how I can teach my son what is appropriate behavior and what is not.

What I know right now is that this condition, disorder, disease… whatever you want to call it, I realize can be such a blessing.  First and foremost, our son is a miraculous gift from God and there is meaning in everything He does.  We are now officially out of the realm of being a “typical” family.  So much can be missed when living a life, day after day, in the mainstream.  We are now blessed with a life where we are forced by these circumstances to a heightened sensitivity to what is going on with our child.  We are looking at every aspect of his life, with new eyes, eyes with a purpose.  We are enjoying the little things.  In an effort to gain understanding, we talk to him trying to see what makes for good social conversation.  We make sure we include him, age appropriately, in some decisions.  We give him choices.  Well, I know that a lot of parents out there are doing the same thing and I am not trying to be critical, but it’s so easy to just take over completely and dictate every single aspect of a child’s life.  My parents definitely did that and it was no fun and I came out of it with little to no self esteem or confidence.  It’s so important for a child to feel at least some control over his life, his body, etc. and it’s up to us, the parents, to allow that to happen… even if it’s just a choice between broccoli and string beans… an age appropriate choice.

I feel good.  I think I’ve been somewhat successful with this post.  I did not want to make it fancy with links and pictures.  I wanted to focus solely on my thoughts.   I’m sure future posts will have pictures and links because, well, that is my thing.  Next post will include some links and info.

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