A couple of days ago I met a woman that said she didn’t know anyone else that had an autistic child. I immediately gave her the A.B.L.G.O website information as I wouldn’t want anyone to feel they are alone and without friends that can relate to their experiences with their loved ones on the spectrum. Through good and not so good times we can all stand together as we all have the same desired outcome for our loved ones…great childhoods and bright futures. We can all benefit from each others experiences and gain knowledge from story swapping. A.B.L.G.O is fortunate to have such a great group of followers and supporters and so from me to you I want to extend a big hug and let you know that you have a friend to stand with you on the spectrum.
Things can be tough sometimes as parents/caregivers of children with autism. However, despite the challenges that we face with our kids we must stay planted in the belief that our love, support, advocacy and tireless efforts are worth it to give them great childhoods and bright futures. Remember…our loved ones are touched by autism not held by it.
As the new school year is well under way, parents from all over the world are talking to their child’s teacher about the best way to teach their children. While this can be a quite a process don’t look over the fact that your child has a right to a quality education. Parents of special needs children have the legal right to what is called an IEP in the U.S., U.K and Canada and an ORS(Ongoing Resourcing Scheme) in New Zealand.
IEP stands for Individual Education Program and is done annually as your child progresses from year to year. This is a wonderful tool parents can use to sit down with teachers and school administrators to discuss education goals for their child. For instance, if your child requires speech therapy you can implement a goal where your child learns to speak in full sentences or if your child is learning to write you can implement a goal that they be taught to write their name. Sitting down with the IEP team, which by the way you are a part of , also gives you the chance to explain your child’s behavior. I know a lot of parents deal with meltdowns with children that are autistic and this is a constant concern for them. At an IEP meeting you can explain to the teachers and other staff that work with your child the most effective way to calm your child. You can tell them when a meltdown is most likely to happen and signs to look for. Having this kind of input gives you, the parent, lots of control and a sense of comfort because you know what your child is working on.
Remember this is your legal right and not a gift from the school. For more information on the IEP process in the United States visit the U.S. Department of Education website. Other countries should refer to their Department of Education website. Our children can and will have bright futures with a quality education plan set in place, so lets make sure they have one.
So life throws us curve balls sometimes. I walked everyday, ate lots of vegetables and never ever missed one my prenatal doctors appointments. The result, I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy that just happens to be autistic. Am I less thrilled to have him? ABSOLUTELY NOT. The fact is that my son being autistic is just one label that fits him. His other labels include, happy, playful, funny, cute, quick learner, athletic and the list goes on and on.
It’s important that we not focus so much on what our children lack that we forget about all the great traits they possess. If you were going house hunting and found a house that was the perfect size, color, price and location you wouldn’t consider it any less great if you didn’t like the door knobs that were on the closets. You would work on the issues that needed adjusting and be thrilled about your work. The big picture is all the work that we do with our children now is so well worth the bright futures they have ahead of them.
I am so saddened by the news of Robin William’s passing; so much in fact that I can’t stand to watch coverage of it on the news. Images of him always smiling and looking happy keep rotating in my head. The reality is we never know what someone is going through and how they feel when they’re alone with their thoughts.
We all have dark moments. Being parents of special needs kids presents it’s own set of challenges. However, we always rise to meet our challenges head on and the progress our children make on a daily basis is a testimony to that. So I guess my point is, it’s not if we have a dark moment that matters as much as what we do in it. Hurting ourselves should never be an option. I want ” Autism But Life Goes On” to be a place that we gather, swap thoughts, swap ideas, laugh and console each other. If you ever want to talk offline contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So today started off like every other day usually does . I got up, fixed Christian breakfast, made the beds, picked out Christian and I something to wear, took too long to shower(as usual), instructed Christian on how to brush his hair(he usually focuses on one side of his head), rushed out the house to get to a meeting a half an hour later than I planned and took Christian to my mom’s house. Like I said, the day started out like it usually does. The meeting went extremely well despite running over 2 hours and I left the office feeling pretty good.
As I pulled out the parking lot I started making a list in my head of the items I needed to pick up from the grocery store and tried to pin point exactly what time we’d be getting home. I had just missed the green light when I looked to my right and saw the nail shop that I go to in my spare time(whatever that is). I made the very conscious decision to stop and get a manicure and get my toe nails polished. As I stood staring at the wall with all the nail polishes lined up on it I felt myself breathe. This was completely unplanned….and I was thrilled.
More times than not when I stop to do something for myself it’s kind of random. Random or not we’ve got to make time for ourselves as parents/care takers. Not to say that we would take care of our children any less, but being happy with ourselves might make it a lot easier.
As parents we live for our kids. We eat, sleep and breath kids. Think about it, we watch their television shows, eat the foods they like and hang out at the places they like to hang out. Seriously,not so long ago I found myself preferring cartoons over movies with real people in them.
Being a parent is the most important job we’ll have but we can’t forget about ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with have a little “me time.” As a matter of fact, a lack there of can lead to crankiness, being moody or just being too emotional. NEWS FLASH….WE’RE NOT ROBOTS. If we don’t take care of ourselves we can’t do a very good job of taking care of someone else.
I took my own advice yesterday and went to a networking event. There was music, food, story swapping and a peace of mind. Going to that event reminded me that I don’t have to give up my life to give my son a good one.
At the Boss Network event