Monday, October 1, 2012

Schooling them, Autism style yo!

Often in the morning I get a chance to have a good chin wag with cousin "D" as she commutes into her job.  These conversations are usually about what's going on in each other's lives, reality TV, my kiddo, and the occasional waltz down memory lane of some fuzzy hazy night in our 20's where I may or may not of fallen "up" the steps to her apartment after last call. (She has no proof!  None I say!)

 So thank her,blame her, buy her a beer for this next post. She inspired it.  She did ask a very legit question. 


Mad props for honesty.  Seriously folks.  What is it that we need to hear from people?  We all know what is helpful and what is well, NOT!  I know many of us have similar tales of woe and "Oh no she didn't!?!? Girl hold my earrings."   I also know some things are said in that gray area of "god damn what do I say here?" They mean well but FAIL like Wild E. Coyote falling off the cliff after the Roadrunner.

And I really had to think about it.  That's a damn good question she asked.  We're running around wanting awareness and acceptance.  OK, they're aware.  Now what? So here are a few things that sprung to my mind.  Feel free to add more.

I don't think I need a magically phrase as much as an attitude.  A response of action more than a declaration.  To quote that old hair band song, "More than Words".   (lighters up for the power ballad!)

Like when you see me struggling, "What can I do to help?" is always perfect.  I may play martyr here and say "Nothing".  Ask again. Smile.  Hold out a hand.

I tell you he's on the spectrum, feel free to share with me if autism or like disorders directly effect you or your family.   Not your co worker's hair stylist's nephew.  I'll talk shop with anyone.  But please, spare me proving your autism street cred.  Would you tell a cancer patient you knew that your mailman's daughter's boyfriend's cousin had cancer?  See how ridiculous that sounds?   But if you are looking for a great speech therapist or a good social story to explain getting ready for a trip to the doctors, let's chat!

Also, when I am struggling, this is not the time for a Frequently Asked Questions session  for me.   However, just chilling on a park bench while I'm watching my kid go on the slide for the hundredth time, go for it.  The only stupid questions are the ones not asked.  I don't expect anyone to be able to score a 100 on a autism fact test.  I have no red pen.  I won't take marks off. 

And as open as I am about autism, please pepper in a few questions or thoughts that are NOT autism related.  Ask me what my kid is into.  Talk to me about what your kid likes to do and I will do the same.  Ask about his school, his teachers etc...   (You will tell me he is seriously good looking because he is ridiculously good looking.  Not trying to brag here.  My kid is a handsome hunk.)  Talk about parks, stuff to do, movies you like etc... Anything.  We're a tired parent who is in need of adult conversation just as much as you. 

 I'm not solely defined by my son's autism.  Anymore than he is.  It's a part of us but not all of us.  We're a pretty cool duo and I must say, and a damn good time.

We even share fries. :-) 


  1. My sons favorite movie to watch is Rio. We love to sit and watch him laugh so hard he gets tears in his eyes. All times r good times no matter how difficult and trying those times r. Because I no in the end after we calm him and comfort him he looks at us and always says we can start fresh and new. Its always fresh and new. So here's to fresh and new.

  2. Love this!!! So glad I found you! My pet peeve is when people ask like they're interviewing you and it almost sounds like they're checking to make sure you're really in the Spectrum Club. Brings on flashbacks of sitting in kiddie psych offices and rattling off our concerns for the 8,149th time. Shudder. Girrrrrl. "Hold my earrings." bwahaha...LOVE IT.

    1. Yes I never really understood why the disbelief when you tell people. There are some who seem to doubt you. Like really? I would make this up why? Girl hold my earring and purse.

  3. I. Love. This.
    Once, after the "big reveal" (that moment when you inform the other person that your child has autism) the friend replied "Wow, you guys must be strong parents". I liked that! What a refreshing change from the usual "sorry to hear that" or them trying to prove autism cred (love that term lol). I just responded by saying "We sure do try!"

  4. I love your outlook and your writing style is brilliant - always raises a much needed smile :) Thanks!

  5. hi i just got a link to your blog from a facebook friend... i have a 14 year old its his birthday today , who has autism and GDD , OCD and who is such a great boy , but we do have meltdowns from time to time .. when things get broken lost misplaced ect fear of the doctor /dentist /and wont let anyone touch his feet ...

    It has always been hard with Andrew he does not sleep much so can sometimes be up round the clock with him , which can be hard but we always get there in the end

    Andrew loves all things that are negative he loves causalty,holby city and if someone is bleeding he think's this is all so funny and laughs his head off ... and he say silly man bleeding

    He loves game shows John Barrowman, dancing , He's a very happy boy with a great love for life
    15 weeks ago Andrew joined a club in Greenock Inverclyde called the U Matter club where he gets to meet friend's and dance play games and get to be social ...This has been a great help as Andrew can be a recluse to his own space/room ....
    it has taught Andrew how to act in a group of children like him and "helpers" who are not like him ... he has made great friends and just love's the club ...

    Andrew s favorite food is MacDonald's Burger king and he would have us there every night if i would allow it lol

  6. yes i also loved the girl hold my earrings lol but i have to agree that when some random person acts like they get it because their co workers hairstylist nephews brother has irks me i had a woman talk to me about my son and her nephew had autism..thats ok..she was cool! and i also agree about other topics like school , son also is not defined by his autism...well written blog, i like your thoughts on this :)

  7. "Girl, hold my earrings...."
    That is hysterical!

    I'm so glad others are more aware of the diagnoses & accepting of the traits... but to be honest, I expected some to be EMBRACING of my son regardless. It's a disappointment that still cuts deep.

    For a new friend's questions I choose to see 1st their heart, then the essence of the question -- even if it's not said with grace, tact or understanding. Everyone can learn those things in general, but not everyone chooses to embrace. And when those closest to you don't... well, ugh. I guess that's when you keep your earrings on, chin high & walk on over to someone who does get it. Not because autism is in their life first hand, but because YOU are.

    I agree - autism doesn't define our life (anymore!), but it definitely affects all of us -- and refines us, too! That's a good thing :)

    My son is 11, loves legos, star wars and long walks in circles on his trampoline.... and says his "mild autism" makes him super capable over "regular humans."

    LOVE your blog - just joined. Rock on.

  8. Excellent. And LOL @ "Girl hold my earrings!"

    Had to share on my page. I love it.

  9. Love your blog!! Glad I found it..............

  10. My youngest was diagnosed first, a few years later when her sister was diagnosed I told my best friend and she smiled, held out her arms for a hug and said "Congratulations".

    That moment stuck with me, the love, welcome and joy that the autism community brings.

  11. The one I hear most is that my son is so handsome. Like that's all he has going for him? The one I HATE hearing from strangers is that they are so smart! Seriously?

    1. I often hear "Oh he's getting so tall". Well yes, children tend to grow. I think some folks don't know what else to say.

  12. Loved it! I'm more the type to sulk and then tell a good friend all the snappy comebacks I could have said after the fact LOL. I personally love hearing compliments about my son being smart (He IS and by the way I think all kids are smart in their own way- it is a matter of finding out HOW that can be the challenge) What I am not a fan of is the "He's just being obnoxious, he doesn't have autism" comments.

  13. I laughed. I nodded. I completely agree.

    I have an adorable, loving, sweetheart of an autistic 4 year old. I love when I tell people he's autistic and their immediate reaction is "But he's so well-behaved and sweet". I know that's meant as a compliment, but I take it as an offense to the autistic community that some folks apparently think all autistic children violently tantrum 24/7!

  14. So glad to have found this and reading iam no longer Alone!!!

  15. Thank you for this post - i loved reading it! I love it when people just accept my son for who he is regardless of if he's having a good day or bad day and when they ask questions it is because they genuinely want to do what's best for him. Although we have made many really good friends with ASD and through homeschooling my son, i find it really sad that he only has one or two really good friends who have bothered to stay in touch with him since his diagnosis. I want to scream at them and say he is still the same child - why can't they understand that. all that changed was we got a reason to explain why he is the way he is. thanks again for a fab post. x

  16. Thanks for this post, what I need more than anything is to find other autism mums and dads to laugh with. Life is tough, really really hard and we go through such hardships and sometimes horrors with our darling kids that f we didn't laugh and joke and make fun of ourselves, our kids and our lives we'll end up sick, depressed, angry or god forbid dead. Laughter isn't a coping mechanisms so much as it is a survival tool in our house. Without laughter we'd never make it through a day. I invite you to come take a look Now would you like fries with that?

  17. What I like most, is the part about wanting to talk about more than just your kid's Autism. Yes, I can jabber on & on & on about my kid and his 10,000,000 quirks - BUT - I do care about other peoples' lives - and if I don't ask, it's not that I don't care. It's that my brain is a continual loop of things to do with my son & Autism & trying to make our lives simpler & happier & cheaper. But please, I want to hear about your life - just don't make it out to be too, too easy, okay?