Happy Birthday!

 

 I just realized something: when we were at her cousin’s birthday party yesterday, Isabella had no problem with a large crowd of people singing Happy Birthday and clapping and making noise.
Not a big deal, you say? Oh, yes, it is! Isabella is autistic. Many autistics have a problem with loud noises.
When Bells was about four years old, we were at another cousin’s birthday party. I was in the ladies’ room when I heard the birthday song start. I hurried to get out of there and my worst fear had come to life. One of my nieces was holding a bawling, scared Isabella. Guilt came over me for wanting to be alone to take care of business while, at the same time, I was so happy to have such wonderful family who loves and takes care of my precious granddaughter when I cannot.
So, you see, the fact that I was able to take for granted that Isabella was fine yesterday is big; very, very big. I am so thankful for her growth and for the people, family, friends, therapists, teachers, who have brought her to this point.
Most of all, I am thankful for a courageous little girl, now ten years old, who has worked so hard to be able to live in a world that can be very unfriendly. I am so blessed.
gail

A = April and Autism

Of course! Autism is part of our regular life as our ten year old granddaughter is autistic. We spend time with her nearly every day.

You will hear a lot of talk of “lighting it up blue for autism awareness.” May I ask that you don’t? Light it up blue, that is.

You see, this campaign was started by a group called Autism Speaks. The problem with this group is that it does not speak for our girl nor does it speak for autistics in general. The blue is representative of the fact that the majority of the people with autism are male. My girls prefers pink.

Notice I did not say “children” with autism. Children with autism grow up to be adults with autism. Autism Speaks doesn’t speak to that.

Also, Autism Speaks wants to “cure” autism.  Have they ever asked adult autistics if they want to be cured?  Where does their voice come in?

Jess over at A Diary of a Mom explains this so much better than I can. This blog post speaks specifically to the reasons why Autism Speaks no longer speaks for us.

Why don’t we light it up purple? Doesn’t blue plus pink = purple?

Blessings, gail

Jabuti

Precious Isabella is now in the third grade.  Although she is still in a contained autism classroom, she takes her specials and eats lunch with the general education children.

The third and fourth graders put on a wonderful play from a book called “Jabuti the Tortoise:  A Trickster Tale from the Amazon” by Gerald McDermott.   Their music teacher wrote the music and they spent three months learning to recite, play act, and dance.

It was delightful from the moment we arrived.  A number of children greeted Isabella; she is one of them.  This is such an answer to prayer!

When the children were on stage, Bells was just as engaged as the other children.  More so, actually, as she was waving to her mom throughout!

The reason we stay in a town with especially high rents is because Isabella gets a great education.  I wish this was true for all people on the spectrum.

Tragedy and Triumph

My eight year old granddaughter who has autism. She is the light of my life.

When a family first gets the diagnosis of autism, they often go through a mourning period. To help, there are wise writers like the author of Welcome to Holland, Emily Perl Kingsley.

This adventure has been difficult and delightful, tragic and triumphant, humbling and holy.

God gives us beauty from ashes. My beautiful girl will always triumph because she is wonderfully made, not a mistake, perfect in His eyes and mine.

treelightingbooboo

Awareness…nah

It’s that time again…Autism Awareness Month. Uh, I do believe that most of the people in the literate world are well aware of autism.

What we need to work on is acceptance and education.

One of my favorite autism bloggers, Jess Wilson of A Diary of a Mom, has taught me that age appropriate is just words. That is why I purchased a Baby Einstein Baby Neptune toy for my granddaughter who is eight years old. She loves it.

Jess has also taught me that wherever my girl is is just fine with me. She doesn’t have to fit in. She doesn’t have to fit a mold.

My Isabella is fun and smart and loving. She puts on a brave face all day long and, sometimes, cries at night to release all the tension she has from putting on that brave face. My girl is one of the strongest people I have ever met and I admire her grit. A

Accept people where they are at. Learn what they are all about.

A to Z Challenge!

Another A to Z Challenge! Participating this year will either push me over the edge or keep me sane as we are preparing to move.

A is for autism. Of course it is! April is Autism Awareness Month in the USA and April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day.

Frankly, I don’t know of anyone who isn’t aware of autism. I would like to change this to Autism Education Month. Do you know the difference between a tantrum and a “meltdown?” Here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClvnCyP3DLU

All people with autism are geniuses! From what I read, 10% of the general population has genius I.Q.’s. In the autism community, it is thought that 20% do. Not exactly everyone but a significant number.

People with autism don’t like to be touched. This is true for some but, for others, like my precious granddaughter, it is not. She loves to be held and to show and receive affection.

Don’t vaccinate your child! I don’t agree with this. Work with your pediatrician when it comes to a vaccination schedule. It doesn’t have to be done all at once. Some can be left out. You can have your child’s blood tested before boosters to see if they even need them.

Most importantly, learn the signs of autism:

No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter

No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months

No babbling by 12 months

No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months

No words by 16 months

No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months

Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age

Bless you and, hopefully, will see you tomorrow. gail

Unacceptable

When a person becomes a teacher, it ought to be because they love, I mean LOVE children and desire making a positive difference in the lives of their students.

When a person becomes a special needs teacher, this love and desire to make a difference in childrens’ lives needs to be multiplied several times over.

There is no greater trust that a parent can give than for a person to spend hours of time with their child. When a child doesn’t have the ability to communicate clearly, the trust factor has to be even greater.

It is with a heavy heart that I share this:

This is unacceptable. I believe it is time to have cameras in all special needs classrooms first and then in every classroom across the country. When I was in fourth, fifth and sixth grade, I had teachers who were abusive. This was in an academically talented situation. That is why I say cameras need to be in EVERY classroom.

Who will speak out for our precious, precious children?