Saturday Morning Thoughts.

Good morning,

I’m sitting here munching stale gluten free chex oatmeal for breakfast because my doctor says my cholesterol is high and so…oatmeal.

Because… FIBER

I decided today is the day i get back to my blog and why not while I choke this stuff down?

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yummy.

It would be better if it weren’t over a year old.

Homeschool year 2015-2016 is DONE.

Paperwork is signed, sealed, and delivered.

Finito.

I have a month to our summer school session to rest on my laurels.  (love that saying, but i imagine my niece with that name being sat on and thats no good)

Except actually I don’t because I have more school planning, our wedding to put together, kids to manage and that green stuff to try to earn.

Weddings are much more complicated than they should be.  So far we have clothing,  flowers, wedding party people, musicians, photographer, cake and catering sorted.

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This leaves us with figuring out the ceremony, vows, what the musicians will actually play,  getting rings, printing programs, determining schedule day of, finishing booking hair and makeup, settling on what shots the photog (friend of the groom) will take, and countless endless other considerations most of which have fallen to me.  Mostly, to just me. It all involves talking to people, many of them strangers.

phone

If I had a time machine I would travel back in time to 8 months ago and whisper to my sleeping self “justice of the peaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace. thats what you waaaaant”

(no I would not warn a conscious me, because I know me,  I would have stolen the time machine from me and would still be sorting out the headache of endless paradox)

I’m happy and grateful that both Kevin (fiance guy i keep mentioning) and I will have family and friends to share the day with. It’s just…

sigh.

Anyway, my poor blog has just sat.

Drat.

I’ve been thinking about the blog, and what direction I should take it.

I question what the point of this blog actually is,

To reach people? – only a handful of people read it. I just don’t have the traffic save for some extremely popular autism posts.

To develop my writing skills?  eerrr well, thats been sucking lately huh?

and what it is actually about

autism? homeschooling? nature? randomness?

People come here for my autism tagged posts but my subscribers are mostly home-schoolers.  I’m preaching to the choir concerning home learning and I don’t think any of my ideas concerning autism acceptance are new or all that groundbreaking.

Is it an autism parenting blog?

I hesitate to describe our lives in too much detail because bloggers (no matter how positively) who focus on their children or loved ones autism or other various struggles, leave me with a bad taste. There are some well known bloggers out there that are all about neurodiversity, acceptance, positivity, etc, who I feel put WAY to much information on the web that is a disservice to their child. Often the children do have a say concerning it, but I question if they fully realize what they are consenting to. It is a difficult line.

This is why it is rare for me to relate a personal anecdote and why I will never blog about a tantrum or private conversation, or even specific incident concerning them.

 

so yeah, I dunno.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “HELP! My autistic child is Autistic!!!” advice post.

 

Primary advice – about advice


I cannot give the advice merely as an autistic adult.

Much of this advice is from years of being an autism parent, my education (both formal and informal) and being on the spectrum (pdd-nos). I cannot parse the three, you know?

I cannot parse it from my childhood experiences either.

I speak from a certain perspective shaped by all these experiences which I am positive people do not entirely share.  Obvious right?

The point is:

Everyone with advice speaks from their own perspective so its important to understand it will not fit your situation exactly.  (that whole theory of mind thing? I think it’s a human problem)  Neither can I ever place myself exactly in your shoes.

The thing to do, if you are feeling open minded is to take the advice that makes sense, even if it seems hard. Forget the rest. Do that with any advice you receive. Believe me. You will receive a ton of it, mostly unsolicited.

With that disclaimer in mind,

and since you’re here and still reading,

here is my advice:

 

For the parent:


Relax

I know when people first receive diagnosis for their child there is an urgency that sets in, if not panic. You want to make everything right again. Funny thing is, nothing was actually wrong.  Your child didn’t go from normal to autistic and can’t be changed back to something they never were.  They aren’t infected with a virus you can give them medicine for. Their brains have developed quite differently from the norm for whatever reason.

Ignore Curebies/wallet snatchers

Hords of people are going to be trying to sell you something to help make your baby “better” and if you are still in panic mode, your better judgment and money will depart…rapidly.

This might be really hard to accept but there is no CURE.  You cannot make your kid un-autistic  BUT they can grow and learn.

Forget the Martyr/warrior/saint complex.

You know the one I mean. Parents (mostly moms) give up their personal lives, relationships and common sense to focus on battling the evil autism dragon destroying their/their child’s life.

Don’t go there. If you are there

REIGN.

 IT.

IN.

That dragon is your FEAR.

I get it, I have my own fears and worries about their futures.


Disappointment is a dragon too.

We build mental models of how things will be, and oftentimes they are just fantasy.

Instead…

BE THEIR
ADVOCATE and PARENT

Calm down and THINK.

What is it I need to do to help them grow up to reach their potential?

AND

Take care of yourself

  • Eat, sleep, stay active
  • Take time for yourself, even if it’s just a little for your own hobbies and interests
  • Find respite care. I KNOW from experience this can be difficult.
  • If you ever feel like harming yourself or others, TELL SOMEONE.Go to the hospital. Go to a doctor.  Call a friend. Do Something! Don’t let it fester.


Educate yourself

In order to advocate for your child and teach your child to advocate for themselves, you need to educate yourself first.

  • Learn a wide variety of outlooks and therapies and once again, use what make sense for your situation.
  • Read the works of adult autistics. Sure there is Temple Grandin.  Also please try: Stephen Shore, The Loud Hands project,  Lynne Soroya, Karla’s ASD page,  etc.
  • Learn to understand what makes good/bad research so you can evaluate information. I highly recommend the blog “Left Brain/Right Brain.”

For your kid:

Importance of experiences vs. therapies

One reason special needs kids end up behind their peers is that they spend a great deal of time in therapy instead of having normal kid experiences. It is through our experiences that we form our view of the world.

Sure, therapy, especially speech and OT is essential. However do not let it take up every moment.

Your child needs time to be a kid.

You child NEEDS time to have experiences.

 

Patrick (6 pdd-nos)  and Tessa (4) check out the harbour view

I’m not talking about anything too out there in terms of planning. I mean the park, the zoo, the community, the store, holiday and seasonal celebrations, etc. This is where they will need to be once grown, not in a therapists office.

Your child ALSO needs DOWN TIME in order to develop into an individual and distress. This is just as if not more important than therapy.

Therapy, btw, shouldn’t be about normalization but acquiring skills. Work on academics and self help, skip the forced eye contact and rote social skills. Teach manners. Try having family/social time where social skills/manners can be used/observed in real time. (family dinner, family game night, clubs and activities your child is interested in)

Encourage interests/Respect

Whatever your child likes to do – run with it.

Let them spend their free time however they like.
(within the boundaries of your family’s values and wallet – of course)

Do not compare your child to other children.

Compare them to themselves-
How are they as compared to last year? Two years ago…

There will always be improvement.

 

For your family:

Spend time with your spouse/ partner or you will lose them.
Harsh perhaps, but I’ve been there.

If you do, don’t blame that mythical autism dragon. That dragon is named lack of communication and time spent on a relationship.

If you have other children:

There are bound to be things you can’t all do together because your autistic child cannot handle it for whatever reason.

Have a special time for those things.

(a two mile steep climb up a rocky hill so we can sit on a rock ledge, just isn’t going to be a family outing…ever)

Lastly- get to know them, know their challenges and strengths, communication style and personality. In doing so, you’ll better understand whats going to work and what doesn’t, what they do and do not need.

 

 

 

The Chameleons: women with autism (video share)

 

I love this video. I take exception however in the description of a “shallow” imagination. In my experience, we have very rich imaginations, and engage in imaginary play.  The difference is that is not as shared/social. I have also observed that imaginary play is delayed, and then continues past ages where that type of play is dropped.

 

The “Help! This autistic kid is aggressive!” Text Version

 

Morning.

WordPress tells me that I’ve been blogging here a year. 🙂

My post including flow chart titled “”Help! This autistic kid is aggressive” is my most popular post.

That is awesome.

However, it has a major problem.  It is inaccessible to people who have difficulties viewing images. The site hosting the flow chart does not have screen reader /alt text capability.  After requests for a more accessible version, I’ve decided to create a companion post that lays out the same questions  in text.

So here we go.

When I’m contacted for advice concerning an aggressive autistic child, I tend to ask this series of questions.Has this child been grabbed, physically forced to comply or in any way had physical boundaries violated? OR are you a disparaging jerk to the kid?

1.  Has this child been grabbed, physically forced to comply or in any way had physical boundaries violated? OR are you a disparaging jerk to the kid?

If Yes, it needs to stop, immediately. Honestly, people who violate boundaries shouldn’t be too surprised kids feel threatened/fight back , I know I did. If this happens at school there needs to be a change in personnel, and clear guidelines on what is and isn’t acceptable  If its at home, counseling is in  order. If its you and you feel angry, make sure the child is safe and  remove yourself from the situation. Walk away, calm down, seek help.

If not ,

2. Does the child have or realize they have the ability to walk away from, elect to avoid, or engage in calming stims to deal with stress?

If Yes, excellent. If not, CREATE THE ABILITY and teach the options. If this isn’t an issue, or problems remain, then,

3.  Is there a sensory friendly place within the environment where child can go to decompress?

If not, CREATE ONE. TEACH THE OPTION.

Send them there yourself if you recognize building stress. Try to help them recognize it themselves.  If that isn’t an issue, or doesn’t help then,

4. Does the child have significant down time in the day to do whatever they want even if it looks like “nothing”?

If they do not, make the time. This is important.  IF structured activities or therapy deny  a child this time, its necessary to re-evaluate your schedule.  If that isn’t an issue, or doesn’t help then,

5. Does the child have choices /options concerning food, dress, leisure, schedule?

If not, provide some. Be flexible.   If that isn’t an issue, or doesn’t help then,

6. Are you working on independence? Is the child given work that challenges but is achievable?

CONSIDER THIS. Frustration from either not being able to succeed, never having anything challenging, or lack of autonomy causes stress for any human being. EVERY person can work on skills towards greater independence, regardless of their impairments.

If that isn’t an issue, or doesn’t help then,

7. Are they hungry or overly tired?

Reader ischemgeek added that hunger plays a role in mood, and sometimes hunger signals are poorly read/go un-noticed.  Getting more to eat, adding a snack time, or rest, may be in order.

If that isn’t an issue, or doesn’t help then,

8. Are they feeling well?

It’s important  to have a professional assess the child’s health/nutrition. How we feel physically affects our mood. A full medical workup and dental care should come before psychiatric medications. (thank you to reader “Ekie” for this suggestion)

If that isn’t an issue, or doesn’t help then,

9. Record Carefully what is occurring before, during, and after incidents of aggression. Look for patterns, and possible triggers. Think about what could be avoidable, or approached differently and change accordingly.

This isn’t just the child, but everything in the environment: other people, location, lighting, sound, smell, room layout, what happened before, what happened after…the time of day…etc. If this only occurs with specific persons, or locations, that is telling. Beware of caregivers/professionals who want to lay blame on autism/child without  working through this list. Also, give changes time before saying it didn’t help.

Finally, if none of that helps,

10. Now may be a time to consider adding or adjusting medication.

I’m going to add this entire line of questions assumes that you have already tried communicating with the child as to what the problem is and either communication issues have prevented you from understanding or doing so just hasn’t helped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Assumptions Can Disable (importance of self efficacy)

While I do pay for tough jobs like yard work, I don’t believe in reward systems for getting kids to do the everyday chores that keep a house together and running. I don’t use stickers or candy, or allowance in exchange for housework.  Our family is a team and keeping a home together is a team effort. To me reward systems for basic work sends the message that “this isn’t really your job, this work is outside of you.”  Looking at a home as a team effort and having chores as an expected part of life in order to contribute to that team,  instills a work ethic and helps build self efficacy so very badly needed by our children, autistic and otherwise.

It helps with independence as well.

I once met a college aged girl who was clueless about doing laundry, and messaged me to ask how to fry an egg.  She explained that her mother wouldn’t let her anywhere near the stove. I know its easier, faster, and at times more pleasant for parents  to do chores themselves, but if independence is our end goal our children should know how to prepare food and be  familiar with how clean laundry ends up in their room.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still end up reminding people to do chores frequently, and sometimes things are not up to a level of cleanliness they would be if I just did it myself. However no one complains, and helping is a given around here.

Kids are capable of an amazing  amount of responsibility. (it doesn’t amaze me, but certainly often other people)

It is a disservice to assume that they cannot.  It can create a learned helplessness a lack of feeling of self efficacy.

SELF EFFICACY one of if not THE most important, more desired outcomes of childhood, far beyond academic attainment or self esteem.

One huge factor in its development is having an adult who believes in and challenges a child.

A very basic way to work on this is assigning chores.

The one kid most devoted to his chores is  my son Pete.

He’s the kid with the classic autism diagnosis.

You know what one of his major challenges is?

It’s not his difficulties in communication.

It’s not his “autistic” behaviors.

It’s not his sensory sensitivities.

It’s that people underestimate him.

Sure autism creates impairments, but people’s assumptions impair (disable) his abilities.

This was especially evident in school in terms of lack of challenging material, and an attitude that he was not mentally present.

Not being challenged put him further behind.

I try very hard not to assume that I know his limits.

Sometimes I fail at that.

Yesterday was the day we switch to summer schedule for visitation so the kids spend three days at Dads (Friday-Sunday)

I began to worry that not being able to do his Friday job was going to bring him stress/unhappiness. I thought “well, maybe I should ask him do it early? oh no, he wont understand why, would he mind if I did it instead? should I save the chore?” etc.

Yesterday afternoon I began getting people’s things together and asked Aidan and Bee to pack. I announced to no-one in particular that it was the start of our summer schedule.

Later Pete started his Thursday chore, making snack. He put his cupcakes in the oven, checked it off his chore list, and then asked to do Friday’s chore.

Of course he has heard me and seen the bags.

Of course he knew he wouldn’t be here today.

He solved the problem himself, because he is capable.

 

 

 

Reality tv, Freaks, Sifaka and Traumatic Haiku

Morning 🙂

Thank you for all the kind comments on my last post. I am thinking of scheduling another walk for next week.

Do you all watch reality tv? I don’t, so I wasn’t much use in this past week’s #filmdis discussion on the topic. I have seen snippets of them here and there and fighting and high drama seems to be a common element.

Another is novelty.

My son Aidan says that while our family may be novel we simply aren’t interesting or screamy.

We’d make for excruciatingly boring reality tv.

We’re on our month break for schooling before summer session starts. I’ve been planning out 9th grade for the eldest which will include microbiology, geometry, ancient rhetoric, world history, and creative writing.

I’ve also been working on putting finishing touches on my paper and my talk I’ll be presenting at a Sherlockian symposium in a little less that a month, as well as book on nature study. I want to announce more about that soon and am also contemplating setting up a site for more serious writing about media representation of invisible disability.  Right now I’m re-reading  “Pop Culture Freaks: Identity Mass Media and Society, and “How Fantasy Becomes Reality: Seeing through media influence.”

That’s what I’ve been doing.

It’s not particularly trend setting  or Kardashian-esque  I  know.

Other highlights this week:

This past Sunday we went to the Maryland zoo, which though only about 5 miles away, we’ve never been to before.

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I have mixed feelings about zoos and keeping wild animals in captivity, especially those  cognitively complex enough to have awareness. (to know, “this isn’t my home”, “this isn’t what my home should be like”, “I’m lonely”…etc)

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The sifaka lemurs seemed pretty content.

The leopard on the other hand…miserably pacing a small circle ( worn down into a groove), I felt for him.

Monday I organized the spare room into a study for myself.

I also gave “shiny armor” a new hairdo. Tessa was unappreciative.

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Tuesday I had to remove a very much alive and frightened mouse from my kitchen sink. I wrote a haiku, to commemorate the occasion:

“Not in my job description”

Twas in my sink
it is now relocated
cat is on notice

Wednesday we went to “Font Hill Wetlands Park” for our biweekly butterfly count.  However it was cooler and breezy and not one butterfly fluttered by.

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The paths were covered in helicopter seeds. Lily gathered up a few to bring home to use in the confetti cannon she made this week. We also gathered tadpoles for observation. They are loving lettuce and betta food.

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Today will be more writing, planning, and cleaning. Tonight starts our summer schedule where the kids will spend Friday-Sunday with their Dad.

Tomorrow is the autism positivity flash blog, which I hope to do something for.

And that’s it.

Hope everyone is doing well.

 

 

Review: How to Raise a Wild Child by Scott Sampson

wldchd

I love parts of this book.

As a child development grad, nature educator, and mom to six, I agree wholeheartedly that free play is where connection happens. Experiences and environment shape us. I also agree that technology can be a valuable tool to connecting with nature, in moderation. Sampson rightly asserts that we don’t have to know it all but we do need to MODEL a love for nature and inquisitiveness. He describes how important it is not to lead or quiz but ask open questions that further inquiry and communication.

There are excellent suggestions/ideas in this book that include
• Telling nature stories (parent and child telling) both personal, the written word, and of the Universe)
• Watching sunsets, having nature experiences with this child
• Journaling or recording nature with more modern means
• Importance of green and nature play spaces
• Following children’s leads in interests

Sampson mentions Anna Comstock my woman naturalist/educator hero.

How could a nature nut NOT geek out over all of that?

But then…
For a guy who obviously understands the nature of the universe he also falls into assumptions which fail to look at the world complexly, or acknowledge varying degrees of resources and flexibility.

For example, the author suggests that for connection to be made that DAILY free play time in nature is necessary.

What is that you say? You don’t have time with adult responsibilities to be out there with your kids every day? No worries! Mr. Sampson’s idea of free play is both unstructured AND unsupervised! Even for very young children!

In the introduction he blames technology, fear of stranger abduction, urbanization, and litigation for children’s lack of unstructured unsupervised time outdoors.
There ARE safety concerns outside abduction AND parents get reported to cps for ignoring them. Regardless of whether concerns are valid,
unsupervised roaming is no longer accepted by society.

On the flip side, many children in urban environments need MORE time with encouraging adults, not less.

It is entirely possible to have unstructured time that also includes supervision for safety’s sake.

Perhaps Sampson understands this as he goes on to make many suggestions where adult supervision IS present.
Yet even so,
time outside for free play in natural spaces is not something that is attainable daily for most parents, or teachers for many reasons, most of which are out of their control.
A teacher cannot say, “Screw teaching to the test! I’m taking these kids outside!” and expect to keep getting a paycheck.
A working parent (especially lower income without M-F 9-5 hours) often doesn’t have the resources in terms of time, or energy.

Another issue, is that like kids in nature book authors before him, there is a casual linking of children’s mental disorders to too much time indoors. Of course ADHD gets mentioned without any real understanding of the nature of the disorder. I would suggest, as a scientist, he have a good look at those “studies” and consider their small sample sizes and lack of follow up. I also wish he would go out to his nature spot have a good think about the danger of this irresponsible linking in terms of stigmatizing kids (and their caregivers) who live with childhood disorders.

(amazon star system – 3 stars)

This is not the mom you are looking for. Move along. (Baltimore Riots)

Morning,

Monday afternoon/evening as most of the world knows, there was rioting in Baltimore. It was kicked off by a group of teenagers.   Police officers, journalists, business owners and other bystanders were attacked. Buildings from businesses to a housing development for seniors were burned to the ground. Stores were looted. Cars were destroyed. Fire fighters were ambushed.

I want to thank everyone who tweeted/emailed notes enquiring about our safety.

We’re fine.

Our neighborhood has been quiet and we’ve been avoiding downtown/areas were incidents have been centered.

Monday night an online parenting magazine contacted me hoping I’d share what “families/moms are concerned about in Baltimore.”

I suspect its because the topic is trending.

I think I can speak for all mothers generally in that we want our children to be safe, to have opportunities, to  stay away from criminality.

We’d like justice as well.

However, I can’t speak for most Baltimore moms beyond that because, despite living here and being poor, I don’t share many of their concerns and struggles.

I’m white.

Really, really very WHITE.

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I blame the Danish DNA

The average Baltimore mom is single, poor, working class, and African American.

speak

(tweet from me: I’m a poor white disabled single mom living in Baltimore and never assume to know their (African American) struggle of speak for them)

Like Ms. Smith in the tweet below, I don’t think sharing in adversity as a minority makes me an honorary member of another.

virtually black

(tweet from Mere Smith concerning a quote from director Paris Barclay “I’m a back,gay mans, so I’m virtually a woman” Ms Smith says “Now try to imagine me saying I’m “virtually black” since I’m queer and a woman.”)

We are privileged in many respects.

I was home with my children.

 This is a privilege most moms here DO NOT have.

Most were working Monday.

Most moms have their kids in public school.

Older students take public transportation  to and from school.  They aren’t bussed. Shutting it down stranded everyone and left a crowd of cornered angry teenagers with no means home.

I DID NOT have to drive into what resembled a war zone, to look for my children.

Capture

(tweet picture of a van on a street with the words “i’m looking for my son” written on the back)

While I do worry, because of disability, my children will be seen by police as dangerous,

I have NEVER had to worry they will be judged so by the color of their skin.

I am just not the average Baltimore mom.

We are so far beyond the typical Baltimore family that

*throws up hands*

I can’t speak for them.

It would be ridiculous to try.

Outrage would be justifiable.

I’d be a hypocrite.

Why?

It would be like Autism Speaks, trying to speak for autistic people.

———-If you like what you read please follow (twitter, facebook, and email options in the sidebar to the right) Interested in helping us out? Click the patreon link in the top menu.————————————————————————————–

 

 

 

 

 

Face Blind Tortured Bunnies and Eidetic Supertramp

Memorization though tortured bunnies

When my oldest child was little and I was new to homeschooling, resources for non-Christian based homeschooling were few. I often bought religious themed curriculum plans and either modified, added to, or threw out entirely what seemed unnecessary, too shallow, or unhealthy.

One suggested method for training the memory was memorizing and reciting lines of scripture and famous speeches. Instead we learned poetry from the popular down to the obscure and sometimes strange.

Here is one of the strange ones.

I love it for its multisyllabic run of strange words and the notion that something must be artificially modified in order to be “safe.”

It sounds crazy, but how often do we attempt to alter natural states into something more acceptable? respectable?

(logical…cynical, vegetable. great. supertramp is my head. again. ohh well. theres worse I suppose)

While I think its a fun thing to have a few interesting bit of poetry in ones head, this is NOT really how we commit most things to memory at all.

Photographic Vocabulary and the Eidetic Reader

Memory is more about building connections via associations to things we already know.

My memory almost got me into trouble in high school.

After my first vocabulary test  I was kept after class  by my English teacher.

“You wrote your answers word for word from the my study sheet. Do you have a photographic memory?”

“Yes.”

(quite a bit of staring and silence followed)

“Prove it.” she said, and handed me a blank test form.

And so I sat with her hovering while I rewrote everything I had previously.

While I do  have an impeccable memory for things I have read, sometimes even remembering what the page looked like, I do not have a photographic memory. What is called photographic or eidetic, is in reality just good chunking and encoding.

Ever wonder how autistic people become seemingly expert in arcane subjects quite quickly? A determined focus and good encoding is the answer.

Think of it like google.

It’s not a perfect analogy, but lets run with it.

If you search for something using general terms, you retrieve a lot of garbage.  Using quotes and specific tags helps make results more accurate.  So too if you build upon knowledge with more and more specific knowledge, you can remember quite a bit of information, and the more specific the encoding the better the retrieval.

This is why, when raising children,  we must provide a rich enough environment that there are many different opportunities for making and expressing (very important) connections with things already learned.

This is real learning, not parlor trick recitation.

Knowing how to efficiently learn doesn’t make a person some super human recording machine.

I also have a memory problem.

I find myself continuously forgetting names (always) and faces. It has been my whole life, that I have a hard time remembering people, especially outside of context. My work around has been to talk to them about general things until hopefully something they say helps me remember them. The most embarrassing time was when I didn’t recognize my sons’ speech therapist at the grocery store, and she had to remind me.

I also have problems attending to spoken communication (music is an exception) with no visual component. I forget phone conversations. My mind, as something reminds of something else continuously, strays in conversations. I have trouble attending to lectures without numerous visual aids. I forget mundane things.   I was told after IQ testing/psych eval.  that I have an astounding working memory, but that I don’t attend well to incoming auditory or visual information especially in social contexts.

I can remember century old poetry and often forget I put the kettle on. I’ll get so absorbed I forget to eat.

I manage this via

  • keeping lists and a schedule
  • repeating back things said to confirm and writing down
  • avoiding phone convo. when I can help it
  • asking questions, focusing on interesting details when talking to others
  • mind mapping lectures and other projects
  • attending to tasks in the kitchen if I have a burner on

A priority I have is to teach ALL the children how to manage daily tasks via organizational tools. I don’t want them to have figure it out like did, through embarrassing trial and error.

The Autism Mommy Blogger Trap

Morning Minions!

Its cold, rainy, and dark today.

At least it isn’t icing or snowing.

Very soon, my autistic son Pete is turning  thirteen.

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Pete getting ready for the day, love that smile.

I do not often blog about Pete specifically beyond about his learning.

WHY? It’s a potential trope trap.

Autism mommy bloggers (and Dads) often fall into these trope categories when they blog about their children:

  •  THE BITCHING BLOG : child and/or autism as family destroying, suffering and creating suffering, Sainted mommy martyr shares every detail of what a monster junior is

 

  •  THE SAINTED BLOG : child is special, (kid and mom get to be saints) mom only talks abut how amazing junior is and shares their and their child’s continuous saint like insights about autism, life, the universe, everything!!

 

  • THE PITY BLOG: child as being a toddler in the body of an older person. Mom documents her child’s struggles. Its ohh, ohh so hard, but they can’t help it.  *sniff* It’s so inspiring.

 

  • THE WARRIOR BLOG! : child and family in a battle against time! Mom pats herself on the back for the child’s every single acheivement

These and other depictions DO NOT tend to portray the kid as a whole person.

There is often also major violation of a child’s privacy. Intimate day to day details are shared.

Sometimes parents also do this with typical children.  Often it is  obtain attention, to vent and get support or pity.

Parenting is hard.

I know that some people do not see issues with sharing personal information about others.

It is against my rules of engagement.

I feel that venting and ranting about private matters is something that should be done in private, with people who understand the situation not for the whole world to read. (acknowledge there are exceptions especially with abuse)

When I share about Pete or the other children I need to be careful not to fall into those categories or violate their privacy. Pete is exceptionally tricky, because language barriers keep me from knowing if I have his consent.

I ask myself,

How can I share without compromising privacy, giving a one sided view, or otherwise exploiting them?

I cannot share too much detail which leads to the possibility of his being perceived as less than a whole person. If I share only achievements and positivity,it puts me in the position of the sainted blogger.  I cannot see how I could avoid it.

Pete is not a toddler in a teenager’s body, a saint, a demon,or spiritually special.

He’s a thirteen year old autistic teenager.

He’s beginning puberty so it goes without saying, he’s a sweetheart and a turkey with developing individuality and self concept.

We have good days and not so good.

When people make snap judgments about my son based on shallow information, they miss out on understanding and knowing  a funny and complex guy.

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Recently Lego Creator kits have become very cool.

I wish I could share this young man with you more but I fail to see how I could avoid the trap.