As you all know today is April 2nd, World Autism Awareness day! The whole month of April is Autism Awareness month. What you may not know, when you have a child with Autism it is not just a day or a month that this is a concern.
As a parent of a child with High Functioning Autism I can tell you that it is an everyday battle. Weather it be talking to doctors, therapist or the school. Even talking to some family members who just don’t want to believe the fact that they can have a family member who is Autistic.
Autism is not catchy, it is not deadly and it is not something that people should shy away from. You should read up on it and see how loveable and caring our Autistic children really are. They are different in their own ways, but no different than you or I. Their brains work different than ours does but it doesn’t mean they are stupid or not worth getting to know.
Autistic children and adults are very smart, maybe not in everything but they all have their specialty. For example my daughter is great with math but when it comes to reading forget about it. We will work on this with her until the day she gets it. She gets 100% on her spelling tests but that is because like most Autistic people she has a photogenic memory, she looks at the words….has no clue what the words really are but her brain stores them in there and when it is test day she can spell them all correctly. She can read big words that most adults would have a problem with but she can not grasp the sight words that we use everyday. (the, if, and, is, who, what)
When you are out and about, don’t stare at a child that looks or acts differently than your own child. If there is a child having a break down, which most of you would think is a temper tantrum walk away and let the parent deal with it. They don’t like big crowds or people staring at them. They don’t like to be touched unless they are the ones who start to give you a hug.
I will tell you a story about the break down. We were in walmart one day and there were so many people in there, we barely made it in the door. My daughter laid on the floor and started crying. Well as a mother of an Autistic child I know what needs to be done, and it is not pick that child up and leave. I sat down on the floor next to her and comforted her. People walked by and made comments or stared at us. Please don’t do that it not only makes the child uncomfortable but it makes the parent upset. This momma actually told someone staring if they think they can do better with an Autistic break down then sit down and help instead of staring. That got her to walk away very quickly. Children act out in the stores but you never know if that child is acting out because they can not have the one toy they ask for or if it is a child who is having a break down. Please have compassion and just keep walking without the stares or comments.
My daughter is eight years old and I have done so much research on my own to learn more about Autism and what to do. I could most likely teach a class on Autism. When we had help coming into the house, I taught them about Autism because Alyssa was the first Autistic child they ever had. Then one day our family partner called me, her son was diagnosed with Autism and she asked for my help.
My daughter has had two stays in facilities because of her break downs, even an experienced parent can not always calm the break down and we need to call for help. The first time I felt awful like I could not care for my own child. I was reassured that I was doing the right thing and by doing it I was showing my strength to admit when I need help. She was placed 1 hour away from me and everyday I went to go see her. I brought her own food because I know what my child eats. I did wrong by her doing this. I should not have visited everyday and I should not have brought her own food. They really needed to see the real Alyssa and with mommy going above and beyond they could not do this. She was gone for twenty one days the first time.
It was expensive to go back and forth everyday and I didn’t care, it was so bad I skipped a month’s rent. Well the place that I lived brought me into court for one months rent. We went before the judge and I told him what was going on. He had no compassion, yes I know I should have paid the rent but I would have made it up the next month. He told me my child being placed in a home like that is not his problem and I should stop going to visit her and look for a new place to live. I had one month to move. As a mother I was not going to stop visiting my baby so I didn’t look for a place to go. I ended up storing my things at a friends house and staying with them until I could find a new place once she got home. Nice welcome home gift to her, we are moving and not even into our own place. That was a whole new break down but this time I was prepared and handled it.
The second time she was placed it was just down the street from me, I didn’t feel like a failure this time around, I knew it was the right thing to do. The place they put her in you could not send their foods and you could not visit everyday. They had visitation only a few hours on the weekends. It was the best thing for both of us. She was here for a little over a week, they got her medication set the right way and I have not had a problem since that I couldn’t handle on my own.
By looking at her or talking to her you would never know that she was Autistic, we have been praised for this by many doctors. We do not treat her any different than we would treat any other child. She still gets grounded and has rules and chores. She has come a long way since she was diagnosed.
She still has her habits that I don’t think we can ever break, she has a stress ball everywhere she goes…. home, school, her father’s, and she carries one with her at all times. We are trying to teach her to use the stress ball instead of twirling her hair and making huge knots that you can not get out. So that is another thing about Autistic children….. If you see a child in the stores or out and about and their hair looks awful or their clothes don’t match, please don’t think they are not taken care of, they pick what is comfortable to wear, they leave the house with nice hair and then they start twirling….. By the time they are done it looks like a rats nest. Us Autistic parents do the best we can to make sure they look good when we leave the house, the rest is in GODS hands as to what they do from the time we leave home until the time we get to where we are going.
I hope you have learned something about Autism with this blog post and I hope that you would google and learn a little more about it, you never know when you will run into an Autistic child or adult that is having a break down.by