Friday, January 29, 2016

3 Great Autism Posts You Have to Read

1. ASD Cribs! Or, Lifestyles of the Stressed and Shameless

This blog post is hilarious. It is so refreshing to read an autistic blog that makes you laugh. The author, Mel invites you into her house and takes you on a tour.

One snippet of this blog made me lol: "Here is Big Bro's room. He has a slide-latch on his door, but as you can see, the boy used an overturned wastebasket from the bathroom as a step-stool so he could unlock it and get in. How clever!"

From  nudity to the lock on the backyard gate, you'll be smiling and saying, "Oh yeah. That's my house, too!"

2. Am I Spoiling My Child or Accommodating His Special Needs?

Shawna, the author of this blog, writes eloquently of the doubts and shame she feels as she waits for the behavioral therapist's words:  The image I have of myself, is that I am the mom who spoils her kids. It comes from being accused... of being the mom who spoils her kids."

Shawna writes of her sense of relief when the therapist validates her as a mom: 
"You are accommodating him so that he can interact with and engage in the world ... That is not spoiling him. That is helping him. That is being his mom."

3. Dear Mom of a Child with High Functioning Autism

This is a blog post which is written from the heart. The author, Erika, covers the emotions we autism moms feel; we know after reading her post that we are not alone. I was tearing up as I read Erika's post, and I  did something I usually don't: I left a comment.

"Sometimes you catch yourself watching other kids your child’s age and secretly wish your child was like them. Then you feel bad for even thinking that and quickly remind yourself just how much you love your child."

Read these 3 posts. You won't be sorry!

Monday, January 25, 2016

5 things I'm ashamed of as an autism mom

Is shame a natural feeling for all autism parents?

I hope other parents of children with autism can relate! I hate to think I'm the only one who feels these things.

1. I sometimes do my son's homework.

 There are days that I can't deal with the stress of making my son do his homework. The anger, the whining! And that's just me!

No, really, after a long workday, checking in on my elderly father and  then coming home to do housework and cook supper, I sometimes have no patience left.

I know it is setting a bad example and I'm encouraging the bad behavior, but at the time I'm too exhausted to care.

2. I often feel like giving up.

Parenting is hard work. I thought raising two daughters was work, but nothing compares to raising a special needs child. The appointments, the planning of social outings, school work, the simple daily routines - it can be overwhelming. 

The mornings are when my son is at his worst - hyperactive and mouthy - I dread them. Will he ever outgrow this?

3. I dread what the future holds for my son.

My son is high functioning so there is hope for his future - right? But what will he do or become when he has so few social skills or interests?

I had high hopes for my girls, now adults and neurotypical. I  can't see a very bright future for my boy. No medical degree, no advanced degrees at all. I don't believe even a community college will be an option. I'm a laborer and I wanted better for my kids.

4. I get way too angry way too often.

When I walk through my door and I'm greeted by a big mess - every cupboard open, toys and food scattered everywhere, and just general mayhem -  I start the nagging. Then comes the annoyance, followed by yelling.

I know the yelling makes things worse, but at times that is the only thing that gets my son's attention.
My son now looks closely at my face when he sees me. Is angry, psycho mom here or normal calm mom? Alas, much of his behavior is reflective of mine.

5.  I am too sensitive to other people's opinions.

I am way less sensitive than I used to be, but make a smart comment about how too many kids don't get the discipline - insert whipping - that they deserve, and I'll see red. When his teacher told me my son would do better if he stopped daydreaming, I had to bite my tongue.

 I  do no longer feel the need to say, "But he's autistic!" every time someone questions his behavior.

I  do love my son!

Lest you think I don't love my son, be assured I do! I love him with all my heart and soul, with a fierceness and protectiveness only a parent can know.

For all the problems we face together, the pride I feel when looking at how far my son has come makes  me glad to be his mom. Even if I'm not perfect myself.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Is my son an autism savant?

According to The estimated prevalence of savant abilities in autism is 10%.
In the neurotypical community, savant ability is seen in less than 1% of the population.

Since my son picked up his first crayon, I have been amazed by his talent. He doesn't draw just a ship, he draws the Titanic, complete with smokestacks, rails, wires,  lifeboats, etc. He attention to detail is amazing.

My son drew this at age six

Several local businesses have his artwork displayed and he is known in his school as a "great artist."

Last summer we attended a family function at which there was an old piano. Liam went to the keyboard and started picking out the theme music to "Luigi's Mansion." I was shocked!

Wondering if he had an unexplored talent, I bought him a keyboard for Christmas. Ten hours later he was playing this video:

My son is way behind his classmates in reading, comprehension and speech. He has an average math ability. But for every area in which he has a deficit, another area - such as artistic ability and attention to detail is magnified. I'm sure it is because of the way his brain developed while in the womb.

My nephew, who is more socially delayed than my son, has always been a wiz with numbers and facts. He always wanted to know how deep a lake was, how long a ship was, etc. He excelled in math in school.

The National Institute has an interesting article on autism savants. It covers the history of autism savants, and goes into more detail about the savant abilities.  NIH

I'd like to hear from other parents of autistic children, Does your child display any savant abilities?