Saturday, April 1, 2017

Autism Acceptance is a human right, so please stop with blue awareness.

I know that we have just started the month of April. For many of us who live and breath Autism 365 days a year, this month is supposed to be Autism Awareness Month. During this month the sea of the "Light it Up Blue" light bulbs will be present at every turn. While most of us are grateful for the acknowledgement, many us are just happy when that acknowledgement presents itself during the rest of the year instead of just April. A lot of us are hardened to the fact that a vast majority of the population still has no idea what autism actually is or what it is like to have it or love someone who has it. Every year we all sit back and watch people go nuts with painting the world blue. This year, however, I am not inclined to do so. It comes down to two factors. The current political climate and Autism Speaks.

Let's start with the first one. I honestly thought it was a joke when I read in my international news that the White House was going to "Light it up Blue" for World Autism Day. Seriously, I did. Now lately I have been trying my damnedest to keep my mouth shut when it comes to this administration, but a very audible *Snort* came out of my person when I read that this morning. APRIL FOOLS! I am for the life of me trying to wrap my brain around why this current Administration wants to light the White House up blue when they have just spent the majority of the POTUS's first 100 days in office trying their hardest to get rid of just about everything an autistic child ( who will someday grow into an adult) will need to succeed. Education, Medicaid or Medicare, Social Security, housing, or how about just resources. Education. For many of us parents, we were shocked when the woman who hadn't a clue to what IDEA or FAPE was, got the job of Secretary of Education. SHOCKED. A woman who is not qualified to even enter a public school, let alone run one, is now in charge for the education of our special needs students. Oh yes they are very aware, so much so that the POTUS calls it " The Autism"and or " The Horrible thing". Medical. The appeal of ACA. Now listen I get that it wasn't prefect, even Canada's healthcare system isn't prefect, but at least it gave people something, rather than nothing. For those kids who needed things like ABA, speech, or OT,  when they either couldn't get it school or they need extra, ACA covered that, again not prefect, but it was something. To successfully appeal it, and  not having anything to replace it, is a very dangerous road to be on. So let's talk about the replacement, AHCA or American Health Care Act. What does that mean for people who have autism. In 2014, Medicaid spent approximately $151.8 billion on support services for seniors and people with disabilities — 53 percent of which was spent to keep those receiving support in their own homes rather than in nursing homes or institutions. So when there was the implication that Medicaid was going to be more state run with less funding under this new Healthcare act, a lot of us wondered just what that meant for people with disabilities. A good number of us will have grown children, that some might need group homes or some might be working those minimum waged jobs, who then will not have the government's support nor anything else. A lot of us were made to wonder just what will happen to our children, when things like Medicaid and Social Security aren't going to be there to help our grown children when we have long since passed on. Now I get that the average parent might not worry about those things, but this one does. I do have a child who has an Intellectual Disability, one that even with the best foundation, will still need help as an adult to live his life. These are just a few things that this Administration has done to try and erase my hopes for my autistic children's futures. I don't think I need to make note about the POTUS' making fun of disabled persons. And before I get the "Well Obama did it too..", yes he did. Once and he apologized for it. I have yet to see an apology from this administration for mocking a disabled person or calling a deaf woman"Retarded". Again very laughable that the White House is going to be 'promoting" Autism Awareness. It's very tone deaf. At least if you are going to do that, have some education about what Autism is and what the rates mean, so you don't have to ask a special educator that question during a sit down meeting with teachers.

On to Autism Speaks. Listen I get that they are a nationally organization that is supposed to be at the forefront on Autism and everything that has to do with Autism. Since my daughter, who will be 12 soon, was diagnosed with Autism, I have learned very quickly that Autism Speaks doesn't speak for myself, my daughter or my son. While they promote their "Light it up Blue" Campaign, the whole "people need to be aware", most of us who have read the rhetoric and have found that they, themselves have yet to fully accepted it. Finding a cure is what most of it states. While Autism presents with some interesting twists and turns to one's life, it isn't something that defines that person. Autism is part of that person. There is a lot of people who are on the fence about their feelings concerning Autism Speaks. Some will say that the organization does great work in spreading awareness during the month of April, which undeniably does, but the question has to be asked is Does it promote Acceptance? For most autistic adults, acceptance is something they want. I mean doesn't everyone want that? To be seen as we truly are, without judgement? So when you have an organization that promotes the struggle and the pain Autism causes, you aren't really accepting it. The other issue with Autism Speaks, is the leadership. Some have pointed out that there really isn't much leadership with people who have Autism. It would be like if there was a group that promoted Women's health, but was run solely by men. See what I did there? Just like the other big organizations that promote "Awareness", one needs to take a step back and really look at what exactly is being promoted and how does it benefit those it's supposed to.

April has always been a mixed bag for me. This year, especially, I feel the Autism community has been hit hard. It isn't even just the Autism Community, but those who are unique. So while I am amused by the White House's choice to "Light it up Blue" despite all the challenges they have brought forth for us and whole " Be Aware of this and Be Aware of that" campaigns, I urge you all to take a stand. If you have loved ones who are on the spectrum or you are on the spectrum yourself, please pay attention to what the government is doing, with regards to your rights. As for April is Autism Awareness Month, we are all aware, but are we all accepting? Are you going to support local autism organizations, instead of the big money making ones? Are you going to accept that the child sitting at the table next to you in a restaurant who is stimming away because the lights are too bright, is just trying to self regulate or is it going to be the reason you are rude to their parents? Or are you going to mock the adult that stand before you having a hard time asking a question? It has always been about Acceptance, as the world is already aware.
     

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

If you Care, voice your concerns.

Ok. I am going to be brutally honest here. I honestly don't care what flippin' side you are on because at this point forward, it isn't going to be Republican vs Democrat.

As I sit back and watch the hearings going on for our "New" cabinet, it truly saddens me watching these people who have no business sitting in the seat they are sitting in answering questions they refuse to answer in front of people who will decide whether or not they get the nomination. I think the only person, who's hearing actually went well was Mathis. I can't in good conscience sit and watch another hearing without screaming at my PC or TV in a fit of rage.

Look, I have one concern when it comes to the politics this country. Its my children. They are American citizens and deserve so much better from the people who claim they care. I honestly don't care if you all get tired of my posts about what is happening in Washington. Since I have already lost a few because of my outrage, I don't care. To each their own. Mazel. Anyone who has children can't sit there and think that any of what is going to is going to beneficial to their lives.
So far the Republican controlled Senate and Congress has voted to take away health care. Awesome guys. Truly. See that is just the tip of the iceburg. Now as I sit back and watch these hearings,it just makes me angry. More and more Angry.

For anyone that had a child with an IEP, the nominee for Education Secretary is a dangerous person. Let's look at the voucher program that she has supported. Vouchers that don't support special needs children. She supports programs that make a student sign away their legal rights in order to be accepted into that program. IDEA or Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which is a federal law that federally mandates that children with disabilities are entitled to proper, quality education within schools. In other words, special education, which is one of the reasons an IEP is a legal document. So if you thought your children's school wasn't holding up their end of an IEP, you can take them to court. IDEA is what protects our children. Ms DeVos has no idea what IDEA is. She thinks that states should have the right to mandate their own laws concerning education. Now as I have said before, not all states are equal when it comes to education. That line of thinking is very dangerous to every child with special needs who is getting an education. It blows my mind that she would think that is ok. She herself was never educated in a public school, nor has any one of her children, but wait, she did mentor in a public school. *rolls eyes* That is like someone telling a special needs parent that they completely understand our hardships because they read a book about it once. But yet if you bring any of this up to those who thought Trump and this cabinet would be good for the country, we get told off and called a bunch of unsavory names.

I guess what I ask is this, if you care an ounce about either my children or other children who are special needs, show that you care. Hold this government responsible, every single time something like this goes down. If you care about your children's education, please take a look at DeVos' hearing. It is quite shocking to how little she knows about this country's education and if she gets the nomination, then you better be prepared for a lot of angry posts and call to action by this person. I will not stand by and let my children's education go down the same road their healthcare did.

If you don't like what you see when you watch or hear about DeVos, you can call the members of the HELP committee every day to ask for their NO vote on Betsy DeVos.

Alexander, Lamar (TN),Chairman
Phone: (202) 224-4944
Enzi, Michael B. (WY)
Phone: (202) 224-3424
Burr, Richard (NC)
(202) 224-3154
Isakson, Johnny (GA)
(202) 224 - 3643
Paul, Rand (KY)
202-224-4343
Collins, Susan M. (ME)
(202) 224 - 2523
Cassidy, Bill (LA)
(202) 224-5824
Young, Todd (IN)
(202) 224 - 5623
Hatch, Orrin G. (UT)
(202) 224-5251
Roberts, Pat (KS)
202-224-4774
Murkowski, Lisa (AK)
(202)-224-6665
Scott, Tim (SC)
(202) 224-6121
Murray, Patty (WA), Ranking Member
(202) 224-2621
Sanders, Bernard (VT)
(202) 224-5141
Casey, Robert P. (PA)
(202) 224-6324
Franken, Al (MN)
(202) 224-5641
Bennet, Michael F. (CO)
202-224-5852
Whitehouse, Sheldon (RI)
(202) 224-2921
Baldwin, Tammy (WI)
(202) 224-5653
Murphy, Christopher (CT)
(202) 224-4041
Warren, Elizabeth (MA)
(202) 224-4543
Kaine, Tim (VA)
(202) 224-4024
Hassan, Margaret Wood (NH)
(202) 224-3324
Oh and I didn't know that public schools had a Grizzly Bear issue enough to warrant guns in schools.

Friday, December 30, 2016

The No Good, Horrible really bad year. 2016

I think it is safe to say that 2016 wasn't stellar for anyone. Annus Horribilis. If there was a picture that emulated just how 2016 was for the world, I think a dumpster fire would be appropriate. The sad part is 2016 started out like every other year, with potential and as it progressed, it just got worse and worse. Now I bet there are some out there that would say, "Hey this was one of our better years". I am not one of those people. Cheers to the ones who came out of 2016 feeling good about it. Again I am not one of those people.

2016 saw a lot for everyone.

On a global scale we saw just how cruel the world is to its own people. The people of Syria, being the prime example of that. Now I am not going to get into it with people about how the world has treated and helped the people of Syria. Like any place that is experiencing War and Violence, naturally the innocents caught up in that, would like to leave. I know I would. It is a very a sad reality for those people who have to go to bed every night, worrying about whether or not they will make it through tomorrow. What is even worse, is the world turning these people away from a better life. Many of us sat in the comfort of our houses and watched the horrors unfold in a land far away from us. We watched people struggle and fight for their lives. People just like ourselves. Ordinary people just trying to live their lives as best they could. Now there are countries that pledged to help those in this war zone out, which was heartwarming to see. Sadly it was not the country that I call home. As an Immigrant myself, I did what I could to help with the effort to bring comfort to those wanting a better life. Although, I couldn't do much, I tried with small donations to organizations that helped refugees and their families. It was what I could do with I had. If I could do more I would. As this year has proven, is that small acts of kindness go a long way.

2016 was a violent year, as it brought the mass shootings in Orlando, California just to name a few. It brought Police brutality into the spotlight. Not to mention the other terrorist acts happening around the world.

Even in our own country, we saw how people were forced to fight for their right to clean water, either in Flint or in Standing Rock.CLEAN WATER! Something that all Americans should have.Civilities. How hard is it a concept that if you have a right, then others should have that same right?
  
I will touch upon politics, as politics has influenced a lot of the socialistic views on a lot of things that I hold dear. If you have followed my blog, I am humanist. I firmly believe that everyone deserves respect. I don't care where you are from, who you worship, what colour your skin is, what your sexuality is or what your gender is. If you are in need of help, I will lend you a hand. The only time I will treat you differently, is how you treat me. Now with that being said, the politics of this country have proven to me that a lot of the things that I have held very dear, have come into discussions that have sparked blatant racism, sexism and bigotry. People that I have known for years and loved and respected once, have made bold statements because of which side of politics they are on. Supported one person over another, regardless of comments made. For me, the Leader of a Nation is a role model. Someone our youth can look up to. Now I get that scandal and controversy has riddled this country's political arena, there hasn't been a standout party, which is sad. I will say that it wouldn't matter what side our politicians are on, if you choose to promote hate and discontent only to wake up the already ongoing issues you have with things like race, sex and religion, then being the Leader of the Free World shouldn't be the position you have. I will state, that I am neither left or right when it comes to politics in this country. I support a party that understands my values as a human being. So far there isn't a party in the country that has my vote. The sad truth about this year's political shit show is that is has torn family and friends apart. It has opened up doors that I don't think a lot of people wanted open. Some times I think those doors need to be opened, for you to see people for who they really are. This year's election dumpster fire has also proven just how much people don't really care about research. Things like the science behind Climate Change, thrown out the window by people who can't look at the scientific facts. Medical Science forgotten when dealing with stem cell research. It even comes down the ignorance of people when talking about Autism. Again medical science. All this by just watching the Presidential Debates. 2016, the Year of Political Scandal and Stupidity for this country. Don't get me started on the POTUS-Elect making fun of a disabled reporter.

2016 was the year we saw a lot of childhood idols pass away. From the Musical talents of Prince and David Bowie to the formidable Carrie Fisher. There was a lot of backlash concerning the deaths of so many celebrities. "Why should we care about celebrity deaths?" Here is why we should.For some of us, those people where idols. People that carried us through times that were tough. Whether it be George Michael coming to terms with his own sexuality so very publicly, that helped others do the same or Carrie Fisher being so candid about having a mental illness, thus making the stigma that Mental illness was something to be talked about instead of being ignored. The passing of Gene Wilder was one that was felt. He was a person who was funny on the outside, but on the inside mourned the death of his wife Gilda. Not to mention his iconic role of Willy Wonka ( everyone agrees that his Willy was always the best one) was one that stuck with a lot of us who grew up remembering him in that role, as it brought joy to some who needed it. A lot of those who died this year, whether they liked it or not, had their struggles out on display for all the world to gawk at. Faced with that reality, a lot them owned up to it. Made sure that others who were in the same situations had someone going through the same thing, as to say "You are not alone." So when the ones who reminded us that they are just humans too that they too had  problems us ordinary folks could relate to, their deaths come as a shock. 2016, The Year of Death.

On a personal note,  I am glad to say goodbye to 2016. It has not been kind to myself and family. We saw the ending of my husband's outstanding Naval career, while we celebrated it and honored it in true Navy fashion, the transition from military to civilian life, was a bit rough. For now we have settled in and managing. 2016 presented me with the most challenging parenting choices I have ever had to make. How do I protect my children from those who take advantage of them? As a special needs parent, I have always done my best to safe guard my children and in trust other people to do the same. This was the year when that trust was broken. There is nothing so exhausting then trying to fight to ensure your children's safety when a system has worked against you. It doesn't matter how many hours you log in at a Lawyer's office, in the school or sitting in a therapist office, when the system is against you as you try so desperately to make your children's well being is unharmed only to be told nothing can be done, you go to a place that is dark. SO very dark. This year is the first year in a very long time, that I have been to that place inside myself. I don't like it. Contemplating how to fix things and make things right, so my children don't have to feel the pain they do.  This year has tested my strength.Old wounds have been reopened, it is much harder to close them again. From finally going back to work, only to have to leave to be there for my family.

The good thing about 2016 is the people. This year I have met people who have been genuine friends. People who will be there for support when I need it. It has also shown me the true nature of others. Ones that I thought were there but now aren't. I don't have to waste my time on them.

So I bid Adieu to 2016. When midnight strikes on the 1st, I will toast to surviving the colossal dumpster fire of 2016. I will look forward to what 2017 brings. There is still going to be some baggage from 2016 to sort out, but hopefully I can do it with more of a clearer outlook. I always wish the very best to everyone.I hope that 2017 brings hope to those who need it. I hope it brings happiness when there was none, but most importantly I hope it brings love. Just a whole lot of love. As I think we all need it.  Robert Burns really did say it best, Auld Lang Syne.

Best Wishes,
Andrea





Wednesday, December 7, 2016

On Melancholy Hill.

I write this more of myself, but if people can relate to it, then awesome.

 I try to be as open as I can about the struggles that I have, knowing that there are others out there who are worse off than I. Maybe because I am an empathetic person that I don't see my own issues as bad as others, that I try to escape mine to try and help someone else. I don't know, but I know that it is time that I sat down an really looked at myself. Sometimes trying to escape yourself isn't always the best.

For those who have been following me since I started writing, know that I struggle with depression and it's friend anxiety. I am a medicated person and a person that does therapy on a regular basis. I have never been ashamed to tell people that. Most people negate Mental illness as something that should be shamed or hidden or that it is a sign of weakness. That stigma really needs to go away.

I am not going to lie and not say that 2016 has been a tough one, because it has. Honest to god truth. For me it has been a struggle just to come up for air. It doesn't matter how much medication has been given me or the hours logged in at a therapist's office or even the amount of fresh air I intake to the music I listen to. Right now I have found myself on top of Melancholy Hill. Every once in a while, I try to climb down, only to climb back up and sit back down.

Life with special needs children has always presented itself with challenges, but it's when even those challenges look easy compared to what life throws at you. This past year has tested me in more ways then I would like to admit. The tail end of this year, honestly I could have done without. So many painful situations that I don't think anyone should have to be put in. Especially when it involves family members. As much as I try to plaster a smile on my face and carry on that everything is honky dory, the truth is I am dying inside. So many times I would love to just to have a moment and let it all out, so there are no misconceptions, no judgement, just acceptance of a person going through something painful.Not giving a fuck about what the outside world thinks.  Maybe I need that in order to heal. I can't do that as I don't know what the implications of that would do to people I love. In time, maybe I can do that, but not right now. I can talk about some stuff with people who are safe. The ones who understand, that don't judge. But even with that those people, it is sometimes hard to fully take the guard down.

 I know this year is far from being done and that the fight is far from over. It has opened up wounds that were just barely stitched to begin with. I am slowly and painfully trying to stitch them back up as best I can.

I will state that I don't write for sympathy or attention. I write because it is an outlet for me. Sometimes getting thoughts down, helps me process things. I write also, to encourage others who are struggling, maybe with the same things as me or similar, that its ok to feel the way you do. We all visit Melancholy Hill. Sometimes we stay longer than we want to admit, but in the end hopefully the climbing down will not be stressful and daunting. Sometimes we need someone to encourage you to take that first step down and sometimes it takes us a couple of tries to do that. My hope is that if you are going through something painful, know that you are not the only one. You are loved and you are supported, no matter how tall the ladder down is. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Was it really worth it in the end?

Yup its been awhile and as always real life is the culprit. There have been so many things to comment on in the past month, but its trying to find the right words to say. As many of you will know that I write from the heart. SO here goes.

I don't post a lot of politics on my page, well I try not to. It is one of the many things that can get a person's  blood boiling. I know I have posted some things in the past, which resulted in a shit show, but for the past couple of days, it has been very hard for me to just sit back and not say anything, especially after being called so many wonderful names like the ever so popular "Libertard"

This election from it's beginning started out as a circus, then a farce and in the last couple of weeks of it, a harsh reality. So many angry people. So many people demanding a change to a corrupt system. People who had every right to be angry at the flawed system. Yet when it came time to decide who was going to be a champion for our angry voices, both parties let us down. I am not going to get into which side was more right than the other, but I will say that we were presented with two people that no one wanted.

Through out the months before the election, I like many other people, sat and watched this calamity unfold. Many people were shocked at the behavior of one and the scandal of another. This election lit fire to the skepticism a lot people had with Washington and it's corruption on both sides, but it also opened up the doors to issues this country has tried to sweep under the rug. Those doors were Racism, Bigotry and Sexism, not to mention the treatment of disabled persons by a Presidential Candidate. We sat as the media manipulated it's audience. Whether it be to focus on the speeches of one candidate or not provide enough coverage to another nominee. In the end, I believe the American people lost.

The fear mongering, the corruption and the very bold statements pitted family and friends against each other. Adamant that their respective candidate was the right one to lead this nation. We saw people pull out the race card, the bigot card and even sexism card. For me, its very sad that in 2016 all of those things are still an issue. We can sit here and actually talk about the real politics of this election, but I fear that the important stuff, like climate change, government spending and the general welfare of the people where overshadowed by remarks made by one particular candidate and the corruption of another. This was an election literally was which one is worse than the other or who could we tolerate more for the next 4 years.

So last Wednesday, we all woke up to the realization, that despite the person who's disparaging remarks made us all wake up, won. They won over a person who's email troubles and the looming corruption shadow was something they couldn't shake. There were some that were very much upset ( it happens every election) and there were some who were very happy. In the days that followed, questions were asked. Questions that came from the youth, who watched all of this unfold, who were confused. Some were uncertain on how to accept this. Some who knew just how to accept this.

With all this bullshit aside, on a personal level, it was very hard for me to watch the outcome of this shit show, for many reasons. Like most parents, I am passionate that my children grow up in a world that accepting and decent.Void of mocking and embarrassment simply because they are different. As a person, its was hard to hear remarks about my gender, my nationality and my religion coming from people who are supposed to be running our country. And for those things, it makes me fearful. I didn't support either Candidate, not that it is anyone's business, but I feel that its important for me to state that. I was one of those many people stuck in the middle.

It saddens me that I see people at war with one another, but I strongly have to state that those who supported the racism, sexism and bigotry in the last couple of years of this election, I hold you responsible for the candidate you put into office. Every mistake, every gaffe its on you. So when it comes time for blame, and there will be, it will be on you. It takes a decent person to see this country doesn't need it's racism, sexism and bigotry aired out like dirty laundry. Or in a sad way, it does. Now we all know what many of you stand for. I get that not every republican is a racist, or sexist or a bigot, but the man you supported is. You have to ask yourself where was the line drawn for you to ignore his comments? If you truly respect my family, then when it comes time for you to add your voice because something negative is going to affect my family because of your choice, I want to hear you. I want you to be just as angry as I am that there is an injustice happening. If you were above the horrible rhetoric, then donate to places like Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty Law Centre and any number of LGBTQ organizations. I hope it was worth it in the end. I hope he proves all of us wrong, but you will have to excuse me if I am a bit skeptical.

I would be lying to myself  and you if I said that I could shake off a lot of what is happening in response the election. It hurts my heart to see the world at odds with itself. I don't like the violence or the ransacking for establishments as a way to get a point across. Its not my style. I do believe in the power of a peaceful protest for a common purpose. Connecting with your Congressperson or Senator is another way to be heard when things are upsetting.  

I will close out this post out with a conversation I had with my 12 year old, a child that is very globally aware, on the morning after the election.

" Mom, who won the election?"
" Trump"
" What is going to happen to all of my friends, who are Muslim or immigrants?Are they going to be taken away? Are you?"
" No, son we aren't going anywhere. Where did you get the idea that we would go away?"
" Trump doesn't like immigrants or people who are Muslim. I listened on of his speeches"
" He can't send us away."
" Is now going to be ok for people to make fun of my brother and sister, because the President does it?"
"No, its never ok for anyone to make fun of someone because they are different."

To be honest I don't care if this loses me people who follow me on Facebook. If anything I have said offends you, then you know where the unlike button is. I am very tired of the complacency. I do that every day trying to advocate for my children against people who don't want them in today's society. I can ask people to be respectful about the opinions of others, but I know that doesn't always happen.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Walking around in a World that doesn't understand you.

I am watching my son play. He is in his own little world. He is spinning, laughing at something he found funny, talking to who ever is listening, most likely its his buds, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Elmo and Thomas. He is happy. In his mind, life couldn't be better than this. Outside of his reality, however, it is a different story. Its cruel and harsh. Demanding and judgemental. Its a world that he only visits periods at a time,then goes back to his world of laughter, hugs and the characters who understand him the most. What he doesn't know is he is walking in a world that doesn't understand him.

Just as he is experiencing the world around him, the world experiences him. Some will be compassionate and some will not. Some will not understand and some will. To him, all those who have had the pleasure of meeting him, whether or not on a personal level, are just faces. Some he will know and they will get the gift of his smile, but most are just as random as the events of his day. Except for the people who know him, most people will not understand that. Rather than being compassionate, he will face ignorance his whole life.

Many people have this misconception that neurological disorders end when a child who has been diagnosed with one becomes an adult. My son will always have Fragile X. He will always have Autism. He will always have Sensory Processing Disorder. None of that will ever go away. As a parent, I can help him adapt. I can help him understand himself better, so he can function as best he can in the world that doesn't understand him.

Through services like ABA, Occupational Therapy, Speech and special education, he can learn more about himself and ways he can experience the world on his level and comfort, so it is enjoyable to him, not anyone else. People seem to think that the services that are provided for our children are designed to make them more socially accepted. No my friends, it is not. Those services are not for society's benefit. They are for the benefit of the person who needs them. It is for the person who needs to feel comfortable with the outside world. Not for you to cast your judgemental eyes towards them as they navigate through public. Nor are the services there to better equip them as they listen to the whispers said about them when they have no control over what is happening to their bodies.

Sadly, there isn't a day that doesn't go by where we don't get the ignorance. Whether it be while we are standing on the sidewalk waiting for the school bus to come or in the grocery store. Thanks to his innocence, he doesn't notice a lot of what is going on, in time that might change. Or it might not. I, as his parent, am fully aware of the possibility that I might have a child who will be a young man, who cognitively will be a little boy.

He will always be my little boy however old he is. As he grows, I will always be that little boy's champion. I will watch him walk in around in a world that doesn't understand him. As he walks, I will be right behind him, advocating his right  to walk around. Whether or not, the world understands him or not, he has a right to walk along side his brother and sister and with the rest of humanity.

Right now? He is content within his own mind to walk with people who respect him. Today, they are Elmo, Thomas, Charlie and Snoopy. Today he is walking around in a world that has love, laughter, dancing, hugs and smiles. I am ok with that. I will continue to make sure his path in the world that doesn't understand is full of laughter, dancing, hugs, smiles and most importantly, Love. One small step at a time.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

I'll have a slice of Compassion with a side of Understanding.

Ignorance is every where, I have learned. I could write an open letter daily to everyone we encounter on a daily basis who gives us a dirty look or snide remark, but I don't have enough time in a day or the energy to do it. So let this be my open letter to all the ignorant people we have to deal with on a daily basis. You all suck. Nothing as simple as just that. You all suck. You suck at being a compassionate person. You suck at seeing past someone's disability. You suck at accepting that someone just might be different from you. You just flat out suck. You especially suck when you make a parent feel like the absolute crap with your ignorant behavior.

Now I get that maybe being sat in a family restaurant next to a family with a special needs child might not be ideal for you. Hell, I get it. We can be loud with our verbal stimming and we also might be distracting with our movements, but that doesn't give you the right to be an asshole. As it has been proven, giving special needs parents or care givers dirty looks or staring at the obvious is not going to help the situation, nor is it going to even cure the person either. Not in the history of anything has being rude and ignorant been a cure for anything that afflicts a person. EVER.

I know that I can't help the opinions of others. People are going think what they want. Pass judgement as they please. As much as I try to brush the ignorance off, it still pains me as I see how society reacts to my children. It down right angers me every single time. It angers me every time someone gives me parenting advice when they don't know my situation. It angers me every single time I get " You need to keep your son at home as he is disruptive". It angers me that people are still out there doing this stuff, when there is so much information to educate oneself, but yet I am the lazy parent who can't control my children in public and they can't even read up on what Autism is. I don't expect miracles, but I do expect compassion. Compassion, like common sense, isn't a flower that grows in everyone's garden, I get that. I am allowed to be angry and annoyed.

We went to a local pizza joint this evening to boost the spirits of our children, after a rough couple of months. While the staff of this establishment were great, the guests however were not. You see, our youngest can be a bit loud when he is verbally stimming. He loves pizza and this place is one of our favorites. And of course this place has ceiling fans, which he also loves. So there is a lot of stuff going on, that would make him stim. I knew as soon as we sat down that the two older women across from us would take issue with Little Man as I sat down one of them already had a scowl on her face. I thought to myself " Ok here we go. Just brush it off" Every single time he got excited about the ceiling fans her head would whip around and just rudely stare at him, I stared right back at this woman. It got to the point where they requested to be moved as my son was too loud for them. This is a crowded pizza place on a Saturday night. As they walked by she made the point to stop and just look at my son in disgust. I told her " Sorry his autism ruined your evening, I'll get that fixed", watching her stomp off to a different part of the restaurant. And of course was we are leaving, he gets super excited about the ceiling fans in the main dinning room and again gets loud, watching pretty much the whole room, including those two women, turn and just stare at my family, made my heart sink. Sometimes its very hard to brush things off, especially when you have a room full of people silently judging your child. Some of the looks were that of sympathy. Some were curiosity and some where just rude. 

I am not ashamed of my children. They can't help being who they are. I am ashamed of people who know better. Grown ups. People who can sit down and educate themselves. People who know what the word acceptance means. I refuse to keep my children out of society because other people don't know how to react to them. That is not my problem. My problem is when your reaction affects myself and my children. And I have every right to put you in your place.

To those two older women and everyone else who feels the need to make myself and my children bad about themselves, I hope you never have to experience adversity. I hope that no one treats you differently because they don't like some aspect of yourself. An aspect that you can't help having. If you have the unfortunate experience of being treated differently, then I hope you learn from it. I hope that you will grow as person, if you don't then you are going to have a garden full of weeds and not a garden full of different, beautiful flora that awaken your soul.