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Dribbles and Grits to Crumpets and Bollocks: No, Not Autism, Anything But That!

No, Not Autism, Anything But That!

Yesterday, my friend's child has been officially diagnosed Aspergers. So I thought I'd blog about what I'd tell a random stranger about it right after the diagnosis, and some things I'd like to tell my friend that's just WAY too long for a Facebook comment. Asperger's Syndrome. It's actually a highly contagious disease of the ass that you catch from eating too many hamburgers. I'm kidding. haha. Feels that way though, doesn't it? Like shit, of all things my kid could have... Calm down, it's okay. Of all the things your kid could have, like cancer, autism spectrum isn't too bad. If God told me I had to pick a diagnosis to have, any diagnosis, from clinical depression to ADHD, I'd prefer autism spectrum. It's gotten more negative hype than it deserves, and it's often very misunderstood. Sometimes I'm not sure to classify it more as a personality, SOMETIMES. The best part is, it is not a death sentence. Autism is NOT going to kill you or your child. It's probably just going to drive you crazy, but that's your child's job anyway. Now stock up on some hair dye because you are probably going to need it, with all the gray hairs you are about to form.



First, to get it out of the way, things you definitely need to know... Rainman, his character was based on a schizophrenic person who was misdiagnosed with autism at the time the movie was made. Rainman is nothing like autism. Also, autistic kids are usually not violent, despite the destruction of a meltdown. If you see an autistic kid who is violent, there's something else going on with that kid as well.

Before you totally dive into a pool of self pity over the diagnosis, okay maybe you can take a day or two and bask in the pool of self pity with a cocktail, preferably a warm location in your mind, but at some point, for your best interest, you're going to have to snap out of it. Until then, don't let people's ignorance remind you that this is happening to your kid and not you because this hits you harder than anyone in the equation. From my personal experience, it's a thousand times easier to have Asperger's than to raise a kid who has Asperger's. You totally have every right to that pool of self pity for a long minute, on a regular basis.

The diagnosis... Kudos. Bonus points. This is good news and I'll tell you why. Your kid had autism probably since the moment you plopped him out of your vagina. Doing nothing, ignoring it... you are asking for a very shitty time. Lots of drama. The diagnosis is a small step for mankind, but a giant leap in moving forward for you and your family.

Of all the treatment options for autism, it's general knowledge in the autism community, meaning if someone doesn't know this and is a doctor, you probably want to find a new doctor for this, early intervention is the best. The sooner you get a diagnosis and start working with it, the better off you  and your child are.

But now what? What the hell are you supposed to do now? Everyone talks about how early intervention is key. What they don't talk about is what early intervention is. That's because nobody knows. They only know that dealing with it, the earlier the better. Because nobody knows, there's a lot of trial and error involved, so the sooner you start that process, the better.

Reading this blog is the next step. Actually, reading everything you can on the subject is the next step. This is the diagnosis you almost have to Google, no matter how much your doctor hates it when his patients Google their health. The best resources I have found on the subject are mom bloggers of a child on the spectrum and adults with autism. You are in luck with this blog because I'm both. This is a path that is not paved, but many of us out here have cleared some of the debris for you already.

My next suggestion for you is find an autistic community. Locally, there should be something where many people with autism and kids on the spectrum meet, if anything to raise funds for autism. If you are in a small town, it still may exist and is just something, remarkably, not many know about yet (as you would think in a small town, everyone knows everything about everyone). Many of the government programs regarding autism and the shrinks probably have some information on it. Second, online. There's a bunch of forums, as well as Facebook groups, on the subject. There are Facebook pages. I suggest this not only for the information you can get, but also a support system who can empathize... so you know you aren't alone. There's peace in knowing you are not alone on this. Sometimes you will need to vent, and you need a shoulder (even if it's a cyber virtual one) to lean on and cry. All kids drive their parents crazy, but with autism, EVERYTHING is heightened, even the crazy your kids drive you to.

After you get to know autism, remember your kid is not those things. Your kid is still your kid. He/She is still an individual. Not everything about autism will pertain to your child. With that in mind, you are going to have to make an honest effort to assess your child, and by honest, I mean don't exaggerate. Don't see things that aren't there. Don't ignore things that are there. The best bet, this part, completely detach your emotions for a minute. Get out whatever you need to vent out before doing this and then set the emotions to the side. Assess your child's behaviors. Write a list. What are things WE (you and your child) need to work on? Really choose your battles wisely. Let your child have his autism when you can. But DO work on things that are interfering with the day, or will some day interfere with the day or your child's success.

It's the most beautiful thing I've ever scrubbed off my wall!

A lot of things are a gray area too. My kid was obsessed with drawing on the walls. Still is. I allowed it at first, like walls are walls. They already have paint on them. I already drew them white. Like what is some crayon and marker going to do? She obviously finds this to be a nice outlet. Well, then my walls looked horrid. I spent lots of time scrubbing them (tones muscle at least). They still look awful. I can live with it, but I didn't really account for people being dumb. I've had a woman tell me she's amazed I don't get roaches and rats because of the walls. Yes, crayon obviously attracts roaches. A lot of people were that way, no matter how clean my house was, they found it disgusting because of the walls. So now, we don't draw on the walls. She still does anyway because she's on the spectrum and she's Scorpio and my daughter who takes after me, and she does what she wants to do regardless of the world being against her, and some day I will find this level of determination a very great quality about her, but until that day comes, I just yell at her, "Stop drawing on the walls, You know you aren't allowed to," then I scrub it, and sometimes I take a picture before scrubbing it off because she really is talented. It helps to recruit other adults to tell her as well because half the battle is winning over credibility. We have improved on this one issue. See how this shit manifests itself?

You should do this often. It's almost like a meeting with yourself. You create objectives, you create a plan, you implement the plan, and you come back and monitor results. If you do this on a regular basis and are halfway decent with it, you will definitely be MANAGING your child's autism. That's the goal. There is no "cure." There is no magic pill. There is no magic therapy. YOU will have to do most of the work. MANAGING is key. This is the easy way.

Remember, your goal is to help give your child the upbringing he needs to survive on his own while maintaining as much peace in your house as possible and to function as a family unit. This is something everyone should be doing with their children. Nothing changes except the intensity and need for it.

Now I know it's easy to think, "Well he has autism, what meds are available?" Don't. You don't give meds for autism. You give meds on things like, "Well his anxiety is out of hand, and we've tried this and that and this and that, and it's getting worse, let's give him something to curve that anxiety..." Meds are a last resort to deal with a specific issue. On the hyperactive issue, some with autism are under active and some are over active. Usually, in most cases of autism, meds used to treat ADHD will make them even more hyper, unless they have ADHD. Some meds available are not extreme brain meds, for instance, many on the spectrum have sleep issues, and many have, like my child, done very well using Melatonin to help with that. Of course, you discuss meds with the doctor, and my suggestion is to discuss them with more than one healthcare professional. The prescribing shrink, the pediatrician, the pharmacist, and non-prescribing psychological authorities are all great people to discuss pharmacotherapy options with. Do not start medicine you don't know much about. Google that shit before administering it.

Real Talk Part: Now is the time to remove negative influences... None of this may pertain to you at all. I hope it doesn't. But if it does...

Because you are going to be the biggest influence on your child, start with yourself. You may not feel this way this early on, but if you start to... I've seen it before in several situations... Remember there is no magic pill. Most people who have tried that route first in hopes to solve their problem or lighten their load usually end up making the situation more difficult on them, some to a point where they send their child elsewhere. You can't ignore this. You can't pawn it off on the shrinks or a pill. If you really don't want to deal with it, you are better off finding a family member who will and letting them take charge for a while. I'm not sure of the thought process to lead them there, but I can assume it can happen to the best of us. Some people make autism harder on the kid than themselves and it shows. Don't expect your kid to fix his own problems. Many do once they are adults, but a kid? If you can't figure it out, what makes you think he will? This task was appointed to you, Frodo of the Shire. If you do not find a way, no one will.

Also, remove any abusive factor to your situation, physical and emotional. Abuse is hard on any child, but remember, autism heightens everything. If you are with an abusive man, get rid of him. If you might be abusive, get help. If you have any psychological issue that you can see leading you a state of being emotionally or physically abusive, get help now. If your child has already been abused, let the shrinks know within reason. Put your ego on hold and inform the team helping you with your child. You don't have to tell all. You can keep it down to telling them what they need to know, but tell them what they need to know. Everything with autism is heightened. Hurt is heightened. But also so is the response to that pain. When cornered, when snap time comes, that fight response is also heightened. This is the situation where people can get hurt.

Keeping the spirit in mind, the concept that everything with autism is heightened, look around your child's life. Who is in that life? What negative influences can you identify becoming problematic, or is already problematic? What is the ideal paradigm of an environment for your child? Are you there? You got to remove the rotten apples from your barrel before it starts to stink. The longer you keep it there, the stinkier and gooier it is to remove them, and the more apples that get ruined as a result. Of course this is something we all should do anyway, but nothing like autism to put a fire under our ass to do it.


Remember, your child is still your child. The person qualities does not change. He is still a child. He will still do kid things. He will still want hugs. He will still want love. And if there is any "cure" to autism, it is LOVE.  

Labels: , , ,

Dribbles and Grits to Crumpets and Bollocks: No, Not Autism, Anything But That!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

No, Not Autism, Anything But That!

Yesterday, my friend's child has been officially diagnosed Aspergers. So I thought I'd blog about what I'd tell a random stranger about it right after the diagnosis, and some things I'd like to tell my friend that's just WAY too long for a Facebook comment. Asperger's Syndrome. It's actually a highly contagious disease of the ass that you catch from eating too many hamburgers. I'm kidding. haha. Feels that way though, doesn't it? Like shit, of all things my kid could have... Calm down, it's okay. Of all the things your kid could have, like cancer, autism spectrum isn't too bad. If God told me I had to pick a diagnosis to have, any diagnosis, from clinical depression to ADHD, I'd prefer autism spectrum. It's gotten more negative hype than it deserves, and it's often very misunderstood. Sometimes I'm not sure to classify it more as a personality, SOMETIMES. The best part is, it is not a death sentence. Autism is NOT going to kill you or your child. It's probably just going to drive you crazy, but that's your child's job anyway. Now stock up on some hair dye because you are probably going to need it, with all the gray hairs you are about to form.



First, to get it out of the way, things you definitely need to know... Rainman, his character was based on a schizophrenic person who was misdiagnosed with autism at the time the movie was made. Rainman is nothing like autism. Also, autistic kids are usually not violent, despite the destruction of a meltdown. If you see an autistic kid who is violent, there's something else going on with that kid as well.

Before you totally dive into a pool of self pity over the diagnosis, okay maybe you can take a day or two and bask in the pool of self pity with a cocktail, preferably a warm location in your mind, but at some point, for your best interest, you're going to have to snap out of it. Until then, don't let people's ignorance remind you that this is happening to your kid and not you because this hits you harder than anyone in the equation. From my personal experience, it's a thousand times easier to have Asperger's than to raise a kid who has Asperger's. You totally have every right to that pool of self pity for a long minute, on a regular basis.

The diagnosis... Kudos. Bonus points. This is good news and I'll tell you why. Your kid had autism probably since the moment you plopped him out of your vagina. Doing nothing, ignoring it... you are asking for a very shitty time. Lots of drama. The diagnosis is a small step for mankind, but a giant leap in moving forward for you and your family.

Of all the treatment options for autism, it's general knowledge in the autism community, meaning if someone doesn't know this and is a doctor, you probably want to find a new doctor for this, early intervention is the best. The sooner you get a diagnosis and start working with it, the better off you  and your child are.

But now what? What the hell are you supposed to do now? Everyone talks about how early intervention is key. What they don't talk about is what early intervention is. That's because nobody knows. They only know that dealing with it, the earlier the better. Because nobody knows, there's a lot of trial and error involved, so the sooner you start that process, the better.

Reading this blog is the next step. Actually, reading everything you can on the subject is the next step. This is the diagnosis you almost have to Google, no matter how much your doctor hates it when his patients Google their health. The best resources I have found on the subject are mom bloggers of a child on the spectrum and adults with autism. You are in luck with this blog because I'm both. This is a path that is not paved, but many of us out here have cleared some of the debris for you already.

My next suggestion for you is find an autistic community. Locally, there should be something where many people with autism and kids on the spectrum meet, if anything to raise funds for autism. If you are in a small town, it still may exist and is just something, remarkably, not many know about yet (as you would think in a small town, everyone knows everything about everyone). Many of the government programs regarding autism and the shrinks probably have some information on it. Second, online. There's a bunch of forums, as well as Facebook groups, on the subject. There are Facebook pages. I suggest this not only for the information you can get, but also a support system who can empathize... so you know you aren't alone. There's peace in knowing you are not alone on this. Sometimes you will need to vent, and you need a shoulder (even if it's a cyber virtual one) to lean on and cry. All kids drive their parents crazy, but with autism, EVERYTHING is heightened, even the crazy your kids drive you to.

After you get to know autism, remember your kid is not those things. Your kid is still your kid. He/She is still an individual. Not everything about autism will pertain to your child. With that in mind, you are going to have to make an honest effort to assess your child, and by honest, I mean don't exaggerate. Don't see things that aren't there. Don't ignore things that are there. The best bet, this part, completely detach your emotions for a minute. Get out whatever you need to vent out before doing this and then set the emotions to the side. Assess your child's behaviors. Write a list. What are things WE (you and your child) need to work on? Really choose your battles wisely. Let your child have his autism when you can. But DO work on things that are interfering with the day, or will some day interfere with the day or your child's success.

It's the most beautiful thing I've ever scrubbed off my wall!

A lot of things are a gray area too. My kid was obsessed with drawing on the walls. Still is. I allowed it at first, like walls are walls. They already have paint on them. I already drew them white. Like what is some crayon and marker going to do? She obviously finds this to be a nice outlet. Well, then my walls looked horrid. I spent lots of time scrubbing them (tones muscle at least). They still look awful. I can live with it, but I didn't really account for people being dumb. I've had a woman tell me she's amazed I don't get roaches and rats because of the walls. Yes, crayon obviously attracts roaches. A lot of people were that way, no matter how clean my house was, they found it disgusting because of the walls. So now, we don't draw on the walls. She still does anyway because she's on the spectrum and she's Scorpio and my daughter who takes after me, and she does what she wants to do regardless of the world being against her, and some day I will find this level of determination a very great quality about her, but until that day comes, I just yell at her, "Stop drawing on the walls, You know you aren't allowed to," then I scrub it, and sometimes I take a picture before scrubbing it off because she really is talented. It helps to recruit other adults to tell her as well because half the battle is winning over credibility. We have improved on this one issue. See how this shit manifests itself?

You should do this often. It's almost like a meeting with yourself. You create objectives, you create a plan, you implement the plan, and you come back and monitor results. If you do this on a regular basis and are halfway decent with it, you will definitely be MANAGING your child's autism. That's the goal. There is no "cure." There is no magic pill. There is no magic therapy. YOU will have to do most of the work. MANAGING is key. This is the easy way.

Remember, your goal is to help give your child the upbringing he needs to survive on his own while maintaining as much peace in your house as possible and to function as a family unit. This is something everyone should be doing with their children. Nothing changes except the intensity and need for it.

Now I know it's easy to think, "Well he has autism, what meds are available?" Don't. You don't give meds for autism. You give meds on things like, "Well his anxiety is out of hand, and we've tried this and that and this and that, and it's getting worse, let's give him something to curve that anxiety..." Meds are a last resort to deal with a specific issue. On the hyperactive issue, some with autism are under active and some are over active. Usually, in most cases of autism, meds used to treat ADHD will make them even more hyper, unless they have ADHD. Some meds available are not extreme brain meds, for instance, many on the spectrum have sleep issues, and many have, like my child, done very well using Melatonin to help with that. Of course, you discuss meds with the doctor, and my suggestion is to discuss them with more than one healthcare professional. The prescribing shrink, the pediatrician, the pharmacist, and non-prescribing psychological authorities are all great people to discuss pharmacotherapy options with. Do not start medicine you don't know much about. Google that shit before administering it.

Real Talk Part: Now is the time to remove negative influences... None of this may pertain to you at all. I hope it doesn't. But if it does...

Because you are going to be the biggest influence on your child, start with yourself. You may not feel this way this early on, but if you start to... I've seen it before in several situations... Remember there is no magic pill. Most people who have tried that route first in hopes to solve their problem or lighten their load usually end up making the situation more difficult on them, some to a point where they send their child elsewhere. You can't ignore this. You can't pawn it off on the shrinks or a pill. If you really don't want to deal with it, you are better off finding a family member who will and letting them take charge for a while. I'm not sure of the thought process to lead them there, but I can assume it can happen to the best of us. Some people make autism harder on the kid than themselves and it shows. Don't expect your kid to fix his own problems. Many do once they are adults, but a kid? If you can't figure it out, what makes you think he will? This task was appointed to you, Frodo of the Shire. If you do not find a way, no one will.

Also, remove any abusive factor to your situation, physical and emotional. Abuse is hard on any child, but remember, autism heightens everything. If you are with an abusive man, get rid of him. If you might be abusive, get help. If you have any psychological issue that you can see leading you a state of being emotionally or physically abusive, get help now. If your child has already been abused, let the shrinks know within reason. Put your ego on hold and inform the team helping you with your child. You don't have to tell all. You can keep it down to telling them what they need to know, but tell them what they need to know. Everything with autism is heightened. Hurt is heightened. But also so is the response to that pain. When cornered, when snap time comes, that fight response is also heightened. This is the situation where people can get hurt.

Keeping the spirit in mind, the concept that everything with autism is heightened, look around your child's life. Who is in that life? What negative influences can you identify becoming problematic, or is already problematic? What is the ideal paradigm of an environment for your child? Are you there? You got to remove the rotten apples from your barrel before it starts to stink. The longer you keep it there, the stinkier and gooier it is to remove them, and the more apples that get ruined as a result. Of course this is something we all should do anyway, but nothing like autism to put a fire under our ass to do it.


Remember, your child is still your child. The person qualities does not change. He is still a child. He will still do kid things. He will still want hugs. He will still want love. And if there is any "cure" to autism, it is LOVE.  

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