I’m Angry And You Are About To Get A Lecture About Spectrum Parents

Three times in as many days, I have read blogs written by parents whose children  have Autistic Spectrum Disorder or Autism.

Three times in as many days, I have been furiously horrified by the comments left by some readers.

It seems to me that a lot of folks, likely without intent (always the benefit of the doubt), are blaming the parents of ASD kids for their children’s issues or behaviors. I’ve read the subtle finger-pointing (It’s a DISCIPLINE problem!) to the overt (If you didn’t do this or that, your kid wouldn’t behave that way, YOU BAD PARENT!). It’s making me really angry.

As someone who has a family member who is somewhere on the spectrum (we know now. When he was a child, the diagnosis didn’t really exist), as someone who has friends with ASD kids and as someone who has trained professionally, and personally worked with children and adults on various levels of the spectrum, I have this to say.

It’s perfectly fine to wax on about how you would handle things if it was your kid, but guess what? Unless you’ve been there to live through a full on meltdown, you have no idea. When someone you love tries to hurt you or themselves, and that child has no control over what they are doing, when you as their caregiver have been down the same road so many times that you know all you can do is wait for the storm to blow itself out in a few hours (hopefully less than eight) how the HELL can you, as an observer, offer any advice? And how dare you pass judgement.

Fine, some of it is well-meaning. Suggesting diet things you’ve read, drugs, brain hemisphere balancing, sensory treatment, blah, blah, so on, is really not helpful because you know what? These parents have likely tried it all, including things you wouldn’t ever think of. Remember this: these are their children, their babies. Can you even imagine how painful it must be to watch your loved child struggle and obsess? To go from happy and functioning one moment to unreachable the next? It’s bad enough when your kid is typical.

Before you comment to these parents, know this. These blogs are being written to educate you and as an emotional release. These writers/parents are the bravest of the brave. They are letting you peek into a world of frustration and triumph, a rollercoaster world of highs and lows even they themselves don’t understand. Please, show some respect.

Have some empathy, some compassion. It’s hard enough being a parent. Harder still parenting a child who has special needs.

If you want to help, educate yourself. Learn. Acceptance and understanding come with knowledge. But don’t judge their parenting. Trust me, they’ve done that enough by themselves.

And always bear in mind; people on the spectrum, physically disabled, mentally challenged, wheelchair bound, brain injured, mentally ill, deaf, blind, mute, one-armed, one-legged, people with Tourette’s, Down Syndrome, PDD, ODD, FASD, dementia, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, are PEOPLE first.

We’re all here together. That’s never going to change. Be kind.

*drops keyboard, stalks off*

If My Son Survives Having Me As A Mother, He Can Survive Anything

It’s the new year. Thank God December is over is all I have to say. It was hellishly busy for me, as for us all, and I feel like it passed in a blur.

My son has hung on to his baby teeth like grim death. There is no rhyme or reason to when he loses them and they take their sweet time coming in and when they do, they are chew corn through a fence huge. He went from having the most gorgeous smile to looking like he’s visited some hillbilly home dentist that’s removed his normal, human teeth and replaced them with something he pulled out of a dead Beaver. It’s terrible. I open his mouth, have a look and  see dollar signs gleaming in some Orthodontist’s eye. And I mutter, “Oh! So ugly. My god, look at this!” He just grins, sticks his tongue through the gap and goes off to gnaw down a tree or something.

The first week of December he lost one of his teeth at school. He excitedly came home with it in a baggie lovingly provide by his teacher. The Tooth Fairy came that night. And with no warning (looseness), two weeks later he lost another.

At that time, the Tooth Fairy was tired. She was too busy at work and home, trying to get the stupid Christmas thing together and survive. And she forgot to come.

The next morning, my son ran to his room after breakfast and pulled the tooth in its baggie out from under his pillow. He showed me with a frown. “The Tooth Fairy didn’t come.”

Shit. “Well, honey, she’s probably really busy helping Santa out with things. I think they know each other.” His frown deepened a bit. “Or, Mom, maybe the cat got her when she came! He’d do that, you know.”

The cat got a steely eyed glare and I made the mental note. Tooth Fairy: 10 p.m. tonight.

And wouldn’t you know, I forgot AGAIN! This time when he woke, there was yelling. I heard from the bedroom “What the… Mom, she didn’t COME! What is wrong with her?”

Shit,shit,shit,shit,shit. “Well, Honey, maybe the cat did get her, I don’t know! Maybe ALL the kids are losing teeth right now and she’s really backed up because she’s short-staffed!” He left for school with the angry “what is this shit” look all over his face.

The guilt? I know it well. I made the mental note again. FUCKING TOOTH FAIRY! 10 FUCKING P.M.!

At 10:05, I remembered. And half asleep, I remembered that I had no cash. I frantically searched pockets, the bottom of my purse, hubby’s jeans. Nope. Nada.

And with a EUREKA that was heard around the world, I ran out to my car and searched under the floor mats, and Voila! I found four bucks.

The next morning, he came out of his room smiling. “Look! The Tooth Fairy came! She left me these coins and look! This one’s really dirty! It smells like coffee!” Off he went to school, happy.

And the Tooth Fairy? She and the cat now have a secret. And she always keeps coins in her car, safely hidden under the mat.

I really should win some sort of parenting award, shouldn’t I?

Happy New Year, my Ducks. I hope it is your best year ever. xxoo