It's All Okay

Just a mom blogging about life with an autistic child.

Location: Canada

I'm a stay at home mom with two boys. Patrick is my youngest and has ASD.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Hubby's been home

For the past week. 'Nuff said.

He left this morning so I'll be back to my regular bloggy self tomorrow. :)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Adding or Extinguishing

I hear a lot about extinguishing traits. From some parents it's all about getting rid of the autism and for autistic bloggers it seems to be about making sure we don't extinguish what is uniquely autism.

So I wonder. Do I add or do I extinguish?

Patrick never did flap. It's one of those things that everyone assumes your child will do. I've even been told that because he doesn't flap, he isn't autistic. But remembering back, Patrick did do this one thing. He used to tap his thumb and first finger together. Sometimes he would just be standing there tapping. We thought it was interesting of course. But in the same way his climbing was interesting, or his brother's latest drawing was interesting. It wasn't until years later that I realized this could be considered a repetative behaviour. Eventually he just stopped doing it...perhaps when his ability to communicate made life easier for him? I wonder if we'd had the diagnosis at a younger age if I would have been tempted to extinguish this?

Patrick's only speech at a young age was echolalia. Absolutely nothing came uniquely from him. So we took him to speech therapy, used some signs, made him use words for requests, etc. Interestingly enough, early on we decided not to try and decrease the echolalia. The result? The sum total of his speech increased. So now he does converse reasonably well, but he also still enjoys repeating things over and over. No conclusion, just an interesting observation. He certainly has a fantastic memory. I wonder how that will serve him in the future?

So, does a parent focus on extinguishing behaviours? I'm not referring to Self Injury here. But simple things that bring attention to your child for being different? Is there a cost to this? How do we decide what to keep and what to get rid of? Is it a value judgment?

My overall philosophy in this parenting journey has been to try and add to my children's abilities. It seems, to me anyway, that when positive things like communication, education, and safety are added to a child's life the need to extinguish behaviours diminishes.

No answers here. Just a lot of questions.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

If at first you don't succeed....

My boys love to play outside. Which is wonderful and healthy, of course. The problem is the stress that it causes inside my head. I have to keep track of Patrick at all times and on four acres of land that can be difficult. I'm ALWAYS worried about losing him.

Today we went outside. I have a very sore back and am tired because Patrick was up with a nosebleed last night. But they really wanted to go out and play in this beautiful weather we've been having. So, I said yes.

Out we go. I find myself a spot in semi-shade...completely aware that I'll be up and running within seconds....minutes....hmmmm, this is different. They're sticking together. They're playing where I can see them. They...they....I can't believe it. We can sit outside and enjoy the day together.

...try, try again!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Do I have to?

No, I havn't been ignoring my four? faithful readers. :) I've been having a lot of trouble getting into blogger, and I'm not sure but I think it might be my lovely dial up connection.

But I'm back! No please, hold the applause. *grin*

So, the title of this post. Do I have to?

Last week I was talking to a woman, a mom at my son's school, who it turns out works with autistic children. At one point in the conversation I started talking about autistic adults, and how much they've helped me. She made a comment a minute later about how nice it was to see a child "come out of that shell" or "join the real world". It made me mad. Damn mad. But ya know what? I just didn't feel like having that conversation on that particular day. I was already emotionally stretched thin. I had already tried to educate her on several other different topics, like eye contact and how autistic kids grow up and learn just as 'regular' kids do.

So I didn't say anything. Good mom, bad advocate? Do we always have to correct every misconception? Offer information on every subject?

In retrospect, I wish I had spoken. This is a woman who's working one on one with a little autistic girl (I'm assuming ABAish stuff) and I really really don't want her to think that this little girl is an empty shell, or lost in a different world.

She's right here in this world, just like you and me, and all of our children.