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Archive for October, 2010

Stop Being Stupid!

Autism Awareness…  Aspergers Awareness…

I’ve written and spoken on this before. What good does hanging an awareness banner up if no one really knows what it is in the first place.

People need to be educated. The problem with that is they don’t think it’s important or relative to them, so why should they take the time to learn?

What most folks don’t understand is that it is likely they are guilty of bullying folks who are in the Autistic spectrum unaware. They are unaware because they do not recognize someone who is Autistic or has Aspergers and they just see the person as lazy, dump, slow, obstinate, rude, and so on rather than as someone who had a different mental capacity.

When you have been around people in the spectrum you can mentally see a box around their head keeping their thoughts limited to what fits the inside their box. However, if one is not accustomed to a spectrum person they simply misunderstand them.

If one is to “get through” to a spectrum person it is not going to be by anger or frustrated. Those actions cause the spectrum person to close off. Sometimes they can be reasoned with by soft detailed and orderly instructions that are practical based unless they have already formed their own orderly practical ideas.

Educating the public is important because Spectrum people are all around us in work place our children’s schools, everywhere. Think of that odd ball person you used to whisper about, or that kid you remember being bullied all the time. It’s likely they were in the spectrum. The “odd” adults are often the one who never received social training but were ignored and ill treated.

Autism vs. Aspergers…

Autism has had some exposure and when talking about either Autism or Aspergers people tend to think of the exposure Autism has had.  One example would be the movie Rain Man. Some folks think of children sitting cross legged and rocking back and forth and others of children holding their ears rocking or people who have amazing math skills and can tell you how many matches are left in the match box and so on, things that are more visual and obvious. Aspergers is high functioning Autism and cannot always be detected with such obvious observations.

People with Aspergers usually seem “normal” to an untrained eye. They use humor correctly; they are mathematically inclined but might not let you know right away, like the autistic they are of a very sensitive sweet nature…until…, they can hold down a decent conversation as long as it is on a subject of interest, and they have days that their spectrum just doesn’t show.

What adults fail to see in children is that their humor isn’t normal for their age. It is what some would call “dry” or “British” humor. So the adult sees them as normal while other children hear their advanced humor and think they are odd and either avoid them or bully them.  They can be taught to look one in  the eye which will through many off. Their sensitivities to sound and texture and such vary from person to person.  Their sweet nature will cause a problem when it disappears from frustration. The observing person will often write them off as mean and rude because they suddenly went off on them. When in actuality something didn’t fit into their “box” mentality and they didn’t know what to do with it causing irritation and agitation. They often display sudden agitation also from people showing aggression toward them. It is a sudden onset and may not be because of the immediate “threat” but rather from an accumulation of attacks.

Because of their stubborn way of thinking they are usually tagged at a young age as dumb and do not make friends that they can keep. This sometimes causes them to go into depression even at a very young age.

Besides bulling…

A sad misconception for many children in the spectrum is that they are demon possessed.

My experiences…

I have two girls and two boys in that order. My oldest girl and my oldest boy have Aspergers.  Due to moving around a lot it has been difficult to get a medical document stating that they officially have Aspergers.  While in Hawaii I had them tested. We moved before the diagnosis was complete. The doctor took me aside and said though he couldn’t officially tell me my children had Aspergers he wanted me to know that it was more than likely they were in the spectrum.  Getting a medical document is good but sadly it means little in the public school system. They have their own test and observations that need to be done in order to get help.

I was able to work with the public school councilor last school year and get social training for my daughter. It was an elementary school. It made a world of difference. She went from being terribly bullied everyday and not being able to hold on to friendships to being accepted. Though she needs more training she now has a confidence that I believe will last.

My son on the other hand hasn’t been so lucky. My son is still in elementary school. Last year I tried to get help for him as well. His education is suffering greatly due to his Aspergers.  KRESA , the people who run the special education, observed my son for an hour and decided he was perfectly normal. They saw him get in time out in gym class and have to stand facing the wall. While he was facing the wall he would look over at the other student who was doing the same thing and make faces at him. This caused both children to laugh and continue on.  For a child deeper in the Autistic spectrum that would be unusual, but for a child in the spectrum that was actually quite normal. If the KRESA person had done the research on Aspergers they would have known that kids with Aspergers are very social. Some lose their social ambition by adulthood due to repeated rejection.

My son was rejected from being in special education class the next year which is the year we are in now. There were other departments who could do testing but by the time that started it was too late in the year. I was promised it would start again this year. During the summer the school system had a lady meet my son twice a week to help him with his reading skills. My son was going into second grade, would have been third but was help back in kindergarten. He couldn’t read at all. By the time summer was over my son was reading small word and doing well. He is currently in second grade and not doing well.  I’ve had reports from the teacher and school councilor that he seems depressed.

My son is the quiet type and doesn’t confide in me or anyone very often. The other night he opened up and told me about the bullies at school. Sadly, he is the target. He didn’t tell his teacher cause he felt he could protect himself by blocking the hits with his arms. Naturally I was in the councilor’s office discussing this matter the next day.

I have dealt with my son and depression before. He had a friend who had a very confident nature and a great imagination. I do not blame the other child for my son’s actions. My son believed the boy when he said he had control of all elements and that he could do anything and so forth and so on.  My son would get so sad and tell me about all of the boy’s abilities and how he only had control over the fire element. This would actually depress him. Then to make things worse, the boy’s mother would tell my son things about her religion. She is a Christian and at first I didn’t mind because there are wonderful lessons in the Christian belief and I like for my children to be well educated. The problem may have been how she told her stories but I know the main problem was how my son assimilated the information.  He would get very depressed. I would try to gently find out why so I could help him. On one occasion he told me he was so very sad because Jesus was in his feet as he motioned toward his feet and that the rest of him was evil as he motioned over his body. His countenance was heart breaking. That was one example of what happened many times. I would assure him that it wasn’t true. I would tell him we all have good and evil in us and what we make strong is what we become, and so on. He would then come out of his depression and be back to the good natured boy I was accustomed to.

The behavior that scared me and continues to scare me is the aggression. I started to see it in my daughter but ever since she received social help and sense she found her passion in manga and aname she has been fine in that area.  She has her passion to go to when she is overloaded. She also finds comfort and courage in remembering famous people who were in the spectrum and went through what she is going through.  But my son hasn’t found his passion yet and the school system and the medical system have put him off continuously. I had to find a new med center for my kid’s receintly. Their old one was not only far away but didn’t handle spectrum testing.  I requested my kids be tested and I requested a psychologist for them. After some time went by I finally received an appointment for March 2011, it is currently Oct. 2010.

I have a five year old son who likely has ADHD. He is continually on the move and often very rude regardless of the consequences. It has always been an issue but one I could deal with till receintly. I am in the process of moving and when I get established I will be having him tested and educating myself in this area as well. My son with Aspergers is eight years old. He is a lean boy with hidden strength. He appears to be weaker than he is not just because of his leanness but also his mellow character. Combine an eight year old boy with Aspegers who is bullied everyday at school with a five year old ADHD boy who shares the same bed room and you have a recipe for disaster. I started seeing my son with Aspergers react aggressively toward his younger brother a while ago. I did tell KRESA and his school as well as the doctor.  I have had talks with my son about coming to me when his brother gets to him rather than lashing out at him. His lashing out is in the violent nature.  About two days ago his little brother grabbed his arm in an attempt to get him to play with him and hurt him. He slung his brothers body onto the couch and jumped on him and began hitting him repeatedly. It breaks my heart just writing this, it was a nightmare to see it. Of course I grabbed him off my younger son right away.

I was very angry at my son at first. But I know better and as I calmed down I understood he was in a rage and was out of control. Though I still had to deal with his behavior my anger switched from him to KRESA.  How could they have been so foolish and unlearned to have just observed him for one hour and made the judgment that he was normal? How could that person who did the observing call herself educated? Who gave her the certificate to qualify her for that job in the first place? What about the person who gave my son the appointment for next year? What part of my telling them my son had issues with aggression didn’t they get? When did aggression become something not to be immediately concerned about? Why isn’t he as important as my daughter?

I was talking to some acquaintances about Aspergers and my children. One of the ladies is a new acquaintance from Russia. The Russian woman told me she knew almost right away that my son and daughter were in the spectrum. I was shocked, not even professionals could pick that up from my experiences. She reminded me that in Russia she is a psychologist. I was still shocked. She then explained that she had worked with many children in the spectrum and when you are around them you recognize them easily. This I know to be true.  She also told us that in Russia they are required to study about all areas in depth.  I have to add the fun part about this conversation was that the woman who told me several months back that I made it all up was involved with the conversation and heard what was said. She too is from Russia and holds the other lady in great esteem for her respected occupation. That was not something I could have planned!

Though I try to be understanding of my children in the spectrum there are times it is just too much for me.  I am a single mom and I have no close friends where I live to turn to at any hour about anything. So I have made the decision to move closer to my very good and trusted friends in another state.  I need someone I can turn to when it is just too much for me. I do not want to be a mother who ignores the problems or one who ends up abusing. It is too easy to go those directions when handling all this alone.

I want to be clear that I do not solely blame Kalamazoo, MI for their lack of true Autism awareness. It was in Camden Ar. that the church we were in called United Fellowship House of Praise deemed my daughter demon possessed. Yes, I’m sorry to say, went through that too. If it was obvious to the church that there was something wrong why didn’t the public school pick anything up? Why did her teacher send complaining notes home every day and not have a clue there was a reason for her odd behavior? It was in Honolulu that my daughter was sent on to the next grade though all her grades were failing and then held back the next year. It was there she frustrated the teachers and was badly bullied by the kids and still no one had a clue. It was Honolulu that my son went to special ed. preschool for delayed speech and then sent to regular kindergarten where he upset the teacher daily and again when he repeated kindergarten with the same results.  How many flags do children in the spectrum need to hold up before someone recognizes their need for help?  I’m sorry to say but a million flags would still not be enough in most places.

I figured out my daughter and son had Aspergers through a psychologist and a councilor. I was in the process of getting divorced along with dealing with other heavy issues. The doctor prescribed me a psychologist. She mostly attempted to help me figure out what I would do and where I would go and how to afford it. However, when I told her about my husband she told me he sounded like he had Aspergers. She had receintly been reading about Aspergers and how Bill Gates has it and has been receiving social training and such.  Later while I was talking to my daughter’s councilor I told her a few things about my husband, not mentioning what the psychologist had said. She too told me he sounded like he had Aspergers.  This peaked my interest and I began researching Aspergers. Not only did my husband fit the description but my daughter and son fit it as well. It took a while for it all to sink in. Once it did I was able to relate it to my daughter. Some people think I shouldn’t tell my kids what they have, that it will hurt them or become a crutch. In my daughter case it made her feel better. Before she felt something was wrong with her, now she sees it as a gift. Though we do not have medical confirmation that lady Gaga is in the spectrum there are many of us involved with the spectrum that see the signs. Lady Gaga’s story matches the stories of the kids in the spectrum.  Gaga has been one of my daughter’s biggest inspirations. My daughter doesn’t want to be a pop star, but she does want to accomplish great notable things, mainly in the area of aname.  She remembers how Gaga was made fun of everyday at school and she thinks of where she is now.

My ex went through the bullying as a child and found his own way to deal with it. He decided at a very young age that he just didn’t need friends. Today he is almost forty and still sticks by that discussion. It helped keep back the mental pain and he feels it still does.  He believes his children in the spectrum are just like him so they are just fine like he is.

My point to all this is that you would see and understand the necessity of educating yourself as well as the masses about the Autism Spectrum.  There is so much information on the World Wide Web that there is no excuse to be ignorant.  Sharing my story wasn’t exactly easy, but I care about kids and I want the national abuse to stop.

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Flabbergasted!

From me to the kids daddy:

Sent: Friday, October 15, 2010 9:23 AM

Hey Preston,

Check out this dating site I saw on TV. http://www.trekpassions.com/
It’s for Trekkies. Too funny, but I guess it’s not a bad idea.

I know you would make more money if you continues work out there after
retirement but please consider a few things before you make up your
mind.

One is you will not be involved in a very important time of Hannah and
Kara’s life where daddy is needed most. Girls in their teens normally
only need mommy for a hug and cry once in a great while, other wise they
only listen to and respect daddy. Mommies in their eyes are usually just
another annoying hormonal person.

Your boys love to be with men and try to adopt any man around. If I end
up in a long term relationship that could be good but wither I do or not
they should be attached to their own dad.

As it is I am seriously considering moving closer to The Wildschuetz. It
is so hard to raise these children on my own with no breaks and no
friends. Last night Hannah was so incredably mean to me. I tried to
explain it to her and she just let me know how proud she was of herself
for messing up what we all were doing simply cause she didn’t see the
point. It meant nothing to her how her siblings or I felt. I couldn’t
tell her that her dad would talk to her and I couldn’t drop her off at a
friends house till I cooled of cause I have no close friends that I
would trust with her. So, I got extremely sick that night. My stomach
was in horrible pain that spread to my back and wouldn’t let me sleep.

Yes, you have always been gone except that one year in Hawaii. And all
those years have been very difficult. With the Turners I not only didn’t
really have their support but at least they’d rebuke me publicly if I
had a problem, that kept me strong in a very unhealthy way. Then when
you deployed in Hawaii I remember being so upset with you and telling
myself not to because it wasn’t your fault. So yeah, it’s always been
like this and it’s always been hard. Hannah is actually a good kid most
of the time, but Kyle is not. Levi and Kara are pretty good but like all
kids have their off days. It just all accumulates and I need help. I
actually think having four kids is nice when it’s not just one person
doing all the raising.

I hope you recall that kids respond to a masculine voice faster than to
a feminine. So for mom’s everything is like fifty percent more work or
more. I’m not gonna run out and find some dude to marry just to help
with the kids, that is silly and I am always afraid of ending up with an
abuser.

Remember when Elder turner talked you into being away from us so you
could make more money and you said you regretted it. You would regret it
again if you do it again. Your babies love you and need you. They have
good memories and will remember it if you chose to be away from them
longer than the military requires.

For now while you have no choice I am gonna look into homes in Spring
Field, Mo. I think kids should have happy parents and I find myself
frustrated and upset way to much. I don’t wanna be like that so moving
near friends who can help, seems to be the best option.

As far as you saying the only place you could get work would be Cali and
Norfolk I was wondering what kind of work were you talking about. You
have a lot of valuable skills so it seems odd you have so little
selection. Aslo if it came down to that I would consider moving near you
till the kids are grown. I have been so hoping you were not gonna turn
out to be one of those dads who decides to live far away so they don’t
have the day to day responsibilities of child rearing. I still am hoping
you are not like that. I hear about a lot of men who are, it’s so sad to
me, they don’t care about their kids emotional welfare. I really don’t
think you’re like that, I just think you may not have thought of some of
these points.

Ok, well, that’s some points to ponder.

Lori

____________________________________________________________________________________

The kids daddy reply to me;

Thu, October 14, 2010 11:22:57 PM

I’ll try to check out the site when I get a chance.

The average mid-west income is between $35-40K/year.  $2000/month child
support is $24k annual, leaving me with $11-16K/year to live on.  My
skill sets are ship specific, allowing me to start in the $50+ K range.
My knowledge in computers is not comprehensive enough to start at that
level since I don’t have the formal education, certificates or job
experience that would earn similar salaries.  I am looking at all
possibilities that will keep me near the kids, but with the economy in
the state that it is, I will take what I can so that the kids will be
taken care of.

Beyond that, I prefer to leave this conversation alone.  But I do
appreciate your concern.

Preston

____________________________________________________________

Update:

On Wednesday, January 26, 2011 07:24:06 am you wrote:
I’ve been lookin for stuff with your address on it and not finding anything
and I can’t find my index addresses. Sooo, would you please send me your
address. Also I need to know how to address it with your rank and stuff. I
have a letter for you from Kara I told her I would send. She really misses
you by the way.

I don’t know if i told you what happened at the dr. office last time when
we saw the psychologist for diagnosis. If i am repeating myself, well, it
happens. Hannah is as expected with Aspergers and she is doing well. Levi
is diagnosed with Autism not Aspergers. Kyle is ADHD, no surprise there
either. I had him see Kara cause I say she has symptoms of having siblings
with special needs. lol He noticed she has low level depression. He
recomended i help her get her own life or she will grow up to be a
“nurse”. In other words with ourt over doing it get her into activities
that her siblings are not in. Easier said than done but i am working on
it. Right now she is in a Christian cheer leading thing and she hates it.
This is the last week so it’s ok. She is recently now in Hip Hop at the Y
which is on Tue nights. I have to pay for it but it’s worth it. I can
still see her depression though now that he pointed it out to me. It’s
gonna take some time to get her spirits back up. Having siblings that
demand attention and not having daddy is a hard one to overcome but I will
keep trying. She may not want me to tell you this so please keep it under
wraps but she is having bladder issues. I have a Dr. Apt for her this
Thur, and will hopefully be getting a psyc apt for her again too. He was
concerned she wouldn’t want to talk to a shrink due to her age and didn’t
want to pressure her into it but she asked me about it so it’s good.
Well, gotta go.
Have a good day.
Lori

Here is his reply (I took the address out for this blog) Jan. 25, 2011:

Thanks for the update.  I hope that they are able to overcome their
difficulties.

Here’s my address:

Preston

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The Twin Towers of our mind

                                  *

Gone but not forgotten

Destroyed brought down to the ground

But the memory is still there

All hope is lost

People call it a fairy tale

And those who still believe

Must fight for their rights

To be free

What happened to childhood dreams

Why did they bomb the hell out of em

Why was it so important to destroy

To demolish what was so loved

The dreams included everyone

There was no particular color

No particular nationality

No particular religion

The childhood dreams

Included everybody

They flew a plane in

They used everyone on board

Those people didn’t know

Their minds were destroyed too

They took away the love

They took away the peace

They devastated the dreams

Everyone was affected

Cause what was to be was gone

But here I am

Still a dreamer

The kind that doesn’t give up

I will rebuild the mental twin towers

And invite anyone

Everywhere

To be a part of my living dream

My peace filled tower

No one will tell me I cannot do it

For I will block their evil attack

Bomb me shoot me hit me

Try to use me

I will become stronger

I will grow into many people

People with a twin tower mind

It’s not a building this time

We are stronger now

We bind together now

We will show you how!

by Lori Revels


                                            A pic I took in New York in 1989.

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