Archive for February, 2013


Today my wife showed me the top results of a Google search of autistic people should…the top results were :

     “Autistic people should be killed”

     “Autistic people should die”

     “Autistic people should exterminated”  and

     “Autistic people shouldn’t have kids”

And I have to ask WTF????

(I apologize in advance for any offense someone may take, just in case because  I see myself getting angry here).

First…I think that anyone writing articles like this have to be writing them out of sheer ignorance or a desire to get their fifteen minutes of fame. Everyone  is entitled to their opinion, as wrong and insane as it is. However, spewing hate and intolerance … in my opinion is akin to pouring gasoline on a person and then holding a match out to people passing by daring them to light a fire.

Now I will give you some more of my humble opinion. If the people writing those articles actually really knew anyone with autism, they’d never write another article again.  Now granted, I only have experience with people with Asperger’s Syndrome. But let me tell you something.

Did you know that people with Asperger’s cannot stand injustice? That they are LESS likely to break the law than ANYONE! Why? Because right is right and wrong is wrong and they are unencumbered by the annoying shades of gray that color the rest of the world’s perceptions. When NT’s look at a situation and analyze motives and perceptions and the like, Aspie’s look at the situation and say this is right…this is wrong…what is the problem?

Did you know that people with Asperger’s are amongst the most honest people you will EVER find? Why? They cannot abide a lie. Again, there goes that right is right and wrong is wrong thing. So guess what? Picking up a gun and killing a bunch of innocent people? Probably NOT going to happen. I don’t care what anyone says especially when they have no proof other than what the Internet said…or the news said…when both are colored by the input and opinions of people who’s opinion sway with whatever’s popular or the current flavor of the month.

So now that we’ve covered the ridiculousness of the autistic people should search results, let me give you more of my opinion on this matter.  And maybe just maybe this post will find its way into the top results for that particular search.

Autistic people should…be hired en masse by companies as researchers. Their ability to hyperfocus on something they’re working on could be completely invaluable. My wife, when she makes up her mind to learn something…LEARNS it…in it’s entirety. She will spend days, weeks, months whatever researching, learning, MASTERING what she set out to learn. (Not to mention REMEMBERING it). That company could be the company that finally finds the the cure for cancer.

Autistic people should…be given federal grants to attend college and higher learning for FREE. Give them the opportunity that some of these selfish kids who are granted financial aid in lieu of loans and go only to get that aid to buy their cars or buy their clothes with no intention of staying in school or paying back anything they are granted to society are given every day by the droves. Whereas Autistic/Aspie people can go to online schools, excel at it, get degrees (probably in record time), gain the credentials they need to gain professional acceptance and make a difference in the world.  

Autistic people should…be elected into public office, and higher office. They are more honest and have more intergrity than ANY of the elected officials, congressman and senators currently in office. And they would have the balls it took to do what is right for this country and for their constituents rather than for their own pockets.

Autistic people should…be given the acceptance in society that is so readily offered to others.  Black people, Hispanic people, White people, Gay people…all are offered the opportunity to BE themselves. Why can’t that same olive branch be extended to people on the autism spectrum? What makes them so different? I am tired of seeing the same destructive cycle repeated over and over throughout societies history. Can we PLEASE move on already?

Please everyone. What makes any person better than the other? Is it their breeding? Is it their race? Or should each person be judged by the strength and the integrity of their own actions? Or is that just too much to ask anymore?

Autistic people should…be treated like any other person. Why? Because they are people just like you and I. PERIOD.

I was reading a blog from Autism Daddy, who is one of my all time favorite bloggers (aside from my wife Aspiewriter of course). On his page he had a link to this post on Autism Parents & the Guilt Factor, which I thought was simply amazing. It was written by Jene Aviram of Natural Learning Concepts.  It is an excellent article that I think all parents and family members of people on the spectrum should read.

Autism Daddy made the point that this writers blog doesn’t seem to be widely circulated, and after reading this article I just thought I’d help in spreading the word around. I thoroughly enjoyed the article and hope you do too.

This paragraph especially got to me:

4. Acceptance
On asking adults with autism “What’s the single piece of advice you would give to parents of autism spectrum kids?” the answer is almost always a unanimous “Unconditional love and acceptance.” For just a moment, view your child’s perspective. Almost every action gets corrected. Almost every behavior is modified. Method of play is considered inappropriate. Self stimulatory behavior is often halted. Your child is constantly being told to think, talk and act in a way that is foreign to his inner nature. It can’t be easy to keep one’s self esteem intact. I certainly advocate teaching as many skills as possible to help your child function in life. However, it’s essential your child knows you believe he is perfect just the way he is. It’s simply unfortunate that others might have difficulty understanding him. Your child should intrinsically know the reason he’s learning new skills and altering his behavior is not because you want to change him, but because it will help others relate to him, grant him acceptance and allow him to lead a more productive life. The next time you feel guilty about not correcting your child’s behavior or mannerisms, remember that delighting in your child’s unique qualities is just as important as teaching appropriate actions.

I tend to yell at my oldest a lot. He automatically reaches the end of my patience from the word go. It’s not because I’m frustrated with him…it’s because I’m so frustrated with me…because I can’t teach him things that will help him NOT be teased, or NOT be ridiculed.

As a child I was never the one who fit in. I was the poor kid in second-hand clothing who had no idea what was going on in the world. Most of the time I didn’t have a TV, I wasn’t allowed to go to movies, trick or treat, go to parties (not that I was ever invited), participate in school activities or after school activities etc. etc. I hungered for acceptance, did things that I thought would get me that acceptance only to find out I was being used later on. I was the one everyone teased and who never fit in.

I never wanted my kids to have to go through that, and it was my job to teach them things to make sure that never happened. My kids however, are harder to teach. Every time I see my oldest, and try to teach him something, he doesn’t get it. Or can’t stop concentrating on the things he’s pondering to receive it. Our communication is blocked, not by language or understanding but by blocks I can’t understand or circumvent. My frustrations aren’t with him…it’s with my own failure. Luckily my kids still seem to love me. Sometimes those little acts of love they show me comfort and teach me much more than I think I’ve ever imparted to them.

This is why when I read this post I had to share it. If even one other person besides me gets something from it, it was worth it.

Tin Can Phone Line

I forget what it was about specifically, but my wife and I were driving Aspie Baby around in the van trying to get him to go to sleep and we were having a discussion. We were interpreting a passage of something, a list of conditions for something or other from a legal document.

Now at my job I read legal instruments/documents all day and have to interpret both their meaning and practical application. (No I’m not a lawyer or paralegal). So I have plenty of experience in this area and I knew I had a strong foundation to stand on and I knew that I knew what I was talking about.

My wife couldn’t see what I was talking about, nor could she bring herself to understand that the meaning behind the words could be different from the literal written word and what they seemed to say.

The argument went on, and I said well in this instance, it’s the interpretation of the court and/or judge that is going to make the deciding factor. Whatever the judge interprets it as meaning, will be the meaning, because unfortunately in our society, might makes right, and few people in this world are mightier than those men and women in black robes who sit behind their podiums and are given the power to determine what is right and what is wrong. (OK I’m a little opinionated in this area sue me).

My wife froze. She curled her knees into her chest (no mean feat while sitting in the passenger seat of a minivan), put her head to her knees and started rocking. She had an episode of voluntary mutism, where she couldn’t speak. Tears ran down her cheeks. She could only shake her or nod her head in answer to questions asked of her. I knew she wasn’t mad at me, but rather the injustice of the meaning behind my words. (But I still felt like crap, I just made my wife cry).

The document said this. It should mean this. But now I was telling her that the meaning rested entirely in how an outside party would interpret it. Well then how in the hell are other people supposed to be able to apply these words unilaterally across every situation? And how could they blame people who got the interpretation wrong when those people had no idea how a judge would interpret those words? It wasn’t fair.

I tried to look at it from her side. It made sense I suppose. But I had never questioned it like that before. And I knew that no matter what, in the end, the law is just something you have to try to obey and not break to the best of your ability. I never come close to a line where it might be up to someone elses interpretation to make a decision so it never mattered to me.

But my wife was frozen in the chair next to me. It boggled the mind. HOW could this have this effect?

As partners of Aspies, sometimes we have to ask ourselves; Are our partners getting it? Our words, the intention behind them? Can what we just said be interpreted any other way? Are they receiving the message we’re sending or is another all together different message being received?

Remember the game where a person gathered a host of people and started at one end of the room, whispered a message to them and had them whisper it to each other till they reached the other end of the room? By the time the message got across the room, it’s completely different than what was said originally.

Well this is no different. Every email, every text, every word we utter needs to be held up to a filter of will they get this? I’m NOT saying we have to treat them as 12 years olds and speak down to them. (Try that with my wife and see how long you last, I dare you). What I’m saying is when you are angry and you mutter a comment, can that comment do more damage than you think it ever could?

And to speak for the NT’s now…it can be very frustrating for us as well. Sometimes we can’t instantly understand how in the hell you got the message you did from the one we originally intended. It would never cross our minds that what we said or did could be interpreted any other way than the way we intended it. So no, we are not being deliberately insensitive and you may have to challenge yourself to stop and get further clarification of what we meant when we said/wrote something, because it may not be what you think it is.

I remember Jerry Seinfeld, in one of his stand up comedy routines said: “Men and women are never going to understand each other so I don’t even try. For example, I can’t understand how you can take boiling hot wax, pour it on your upper thighs, pull the hair out by it’s roots….and still be scared of a spider?!”

The point being that not being scared of the pain of getting a wax job and being scared of spiders makes no sense to him, the same way I’m betting some of you are saying that makes no sense, the two are not related or have anything to do with each other!

Remember we are both on opposite sides of something, seeing the same thing, but receiving different impressions of it.   But we are also supposed to be on each others side. So make sure your message is being received loud and clear, and make sure the message your hearing means what you think it does.

And remember one last thing everyone. No one can read anyone elses mind! So we don’t know that you didn’t receive the message we sent in the way we thought you would, and vice versa, they don’t know the meaning behind the message you sent!

Communication and patience. Remember we’re on the same side after all. Each others.

“They” were wrong.

This is an excellent post I found. Had to share it. Will comment more on it later.

Enjoy

Mark

I truly enjoyed this post. One I liked her stance on her kids privacy. I don’t agree with it 100%, but still I admire the points she made.  I admit to not thinking of this topic from her perspective before.

Two: I understand how the health care professionals got it all wrong. All those people examining her kids and completely ignoring what her concerns were. We have been through the exact same thing. One specialist even went so far as to tell my wife, it’s all in your head…your symptoms are made up!  And this was a specialist…(we have since come to find that a very well respected doctor in our community and him were good friends, to the point where the specialist gave the other doctor’s wife a horse! But when the doctor’s wife went to the specialist, she went for one visit and never went back because of the way she was treated by him.)

If you have suspicions, that what you or your kids are going through is autims related,  gather you facts! Do your own research! Go into that office armed forearmed with foreknowledge. I admit that I was beginning to lose hope of ever finding out why my wife had the issues she had. I had honestly NEVER heard of some of the things she was complaining of, like hearing the filaments in the lights or smelling the trash from outside when I couldn’t smell anything, or needed sunglasses everywhere.

I remember reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and thinking WOW this girl sounds like my wife and watching Bones and saying hey that reminds of you, when Dr. Brennan was interacting with Agent Boothe.

When she showed me her research on Aspergers Syndrome we KNEW…we had found it! Getting the healthcare profession on board was another chapter….but in the end she got the doctor that mattered most on her side. Now, knowing what we do about Asperger’s we can SEE it developing in our children. We can see their symptoms and how they are displayed and KNOW what they are.

Today we had a VERY encouraging pair of meetings, first with the teachers in his school, and second with the director of special/gifted services in the school district. The results, is that the school is starting the necessary steps to have my 8 year old evaluated and we started the process to have my 13 year old evaluated, and got information for some people in our area who sponsor evaluations for our 2 year old.

I am very encouraged. But for those of you who are still struggling in this area…gather all your research, and show it to your doctor. Go to your school board, (not the school, but rather find out where the faculty of your school districts are located and go directly to them yourself with your research).

Don’t take no for an answer. Keep perservering. It’s ok to have your doubts too…so make sure you’re convinced. If not, keep researching and either still your doubts or choose to keep looking. But don’t let anyone discourage you.

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