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Posts Tagged ‘caring’

What is Autism? (ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder)

According to Google definitions Autism is; “a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.”

Aren’t labels bad?

They certainly can be, but, they don’t have to be.

Labels are part of our culture and communication. Without them companies would lose customers and groups members and finding your favorite book series would become very difficult.

Labels are a quick description and should be treated that way rather then looked at as the whole idea.

If a label is condescending, well then yes, it would be bad.

Some labels are just misunderstood. That is why things like dictionaries are so important. So we don’t all end up with different definitions of things and lose our ability to communicate. If there is doubt, look it up in the dictionary and then we can all get back on the same page.

In some places labels like Autism, Aspergers, ADHD, Bi-Polar, Manic Depression and so on get used negatively and people see them as bad and demeaning labels. But that isn’t how it should be. Labels like those are just descriptions of how someones brain is wired or of an illness someone has to face off and on or even on a regular basis.

If the person with such a label uses it to demean themselves or make excesses not to better themselves or sees it as a way out of doing things they should be doing, then the label is being used in a negative and even harmful way.

However, if the label is being used to understand ones self, better ones self, learn how to cope or over come or discover talents, if the label is being used to get the help they need in school, work and the community, then it’s a good thing. In many schools a child can not get an IEP or a 504 plan and so on without a descriptive label. Those sort of plans can open up all kinds of learning aid that can help the child catch up, get ahead and become a successful student which will matter later in life.

Should we be looking for a cure?

Some people would like the medical researchers to find a cure while other people are insulted by the very thought. Peoples opinions on this matter are often influenced by their own experiences. For instance someone with a child that has high functioning autism may feel proud of their child’s special talents and accomplishments which they may not have been capable of if they weren’t on the spectrum. While another parent may have a very low functioning autistic child who needs constant care and supervision and can not handle daily tasks in their own. These two types of parents will likely view autism very differently. Understanding and respecting that each person has their own perspective is important.

Where does Autism come from? Do immunizations cause it? Is it passed down in the genes?

It is 2015, researchers are still trying to understand Autism and where it comes from. Many folks believe it is genetic because they can trace it from one or both parents and on back.

There is no proof that immunizations cause Autism. The idea came from Dr. Andrew Wakefield who is now disbarred. He falsified documents and abused developmentally challenged children. Sadly his false claims were told to high profile people who then spread them and influenced a lot of people to not immunize their children as well as made people who already gave their children immunizations to feel unnecessarily guilty.

Some people believe it is the result of pollution and chemicals in the air, water and the products we use.

There are some folks who believe Autism is part of human evolution.

It is best to not pick what you want it to be from. It is human nature to need answers. Thankfully there are many researchers looking into this.

Why is the number of people with Autism growing?

Researchers are still trying to understand this and there are a lot of theories.

Some people believe it is because we now have a better understanding of Autism and can recognize it and diagnose it better then in the past. Years ago people were often called socially awkward or socially handicap and other names that may have really been Autistic traits. Sadly some were seen as dumb and bullied terribly because of being misunderstood.

Do both girls and boys have Autism?

Yes, both boys and girls can be on the spectrum. At this time studies show that it is more prevalent in boys then girls. But there is still much to learn about Autism.

It isn’t always Autism.

Many people with Autism have co-symptoms. A lot of folks see the co-symptoms as part of the Autism which is not always the case.

IQ and Talent

Most people in the spectrum have an average to high IQ but there are some exceptions and co-symptoms can make this very as well. If a person has an average or high IQ they may still be seen as less intelligent because of mental blocks that cause them to shut down or cause some learning disabilities. Children who are bullied often will likely have failing grades. This is not a sign of low intelligence, but of abuse.

Many people on the spectrum may appear to be genius in certain areas. Wither they were that way naturally or not it is often because of their obsession with the subject that they have become or appear so. Because they often obsess over certain things they tend to learn as much about the subject matter as they can and from every angel possible to them. Finding an Autistic persons obsession(s) can be very important to their well being and even survival. It gives them a sense of purpose and accomplishment and a way to regulate themselves instead of having a melt down. It is ones hope their obsession will translate into a career but it isn’t always the case.

Manga, Anime and other Fandoms

Not all people in the spectrum are into manga and anime. However, it is common. It isn’t surprising since many Japanese cartoons use extreme facial expressions making it a sort of “brain break” for people who have had to spend long hours trying to interpret what other people really mean.

Star Trek used to be, and for some people still is, another favorite due to Spock and other Vulcan’s who are very Autistic like and easier for Autistic people to relate to. More and more shows now days are including positive images of either Autistic people or Autistic like people.

Many people on the spectrum like to attend manga, anime and comic cons, (conventions). Again it can be a brain break for many people on the spectrum. They can dress up as their favorite character and play act along with other people who do not judge them or expect then to “act normal”.

Can you tell if a person is Autistic by looking at them? Do Autistic people have feelings?

People with Autism do not usually look any different then the average person.

Some people with Autism do appear outwardly to have something like Autism due to lifelong habits. For instance, if they have sinus problems, like any child they may tend to leave their mouth open in order to be able to breath well. If not taught other wise they may continue this habit into adult hood making them look odd to other people. This can actually happen to anyone, not just Autistic people. Many Autistic people rely on their own logic which will often over rule other peoples ideas in their own mind. So, if looking odd in order to breath better or move about, etc, is more logical to them then the outward appearance might not matter in that regard. All Autistic people are different and have their own personality so there is no pat answer for such things.

Sometime you can recognize an Autistic person by their ticks, melt downs, what stimulates or over stimulates them and so on. But, it isn’t a good idea to assume ’till you learn more about that person because there are other things that a person can have that have similar traits. Melt downs are a common occurrence for children with autism. Many parents have been judged as bad parents and many kids have been labeled demon possessed due to melt downs and what others see as odd behavior. Common problems for Autistic people are florescent lights, certain noises, crowds, and other things that cause over stimulation. Because many Autistic people do not know how to properly express themselves or are not allowed to they will invert and withdraw or they may start screaming, wave their hands, spin circles, rock and many other things to try to regulate themselves. Once they are in a melt down it is very difficult to communicate with them, they are mentally shut off. Punishing them, hurting them and so on doesn’t translate into help, but even more stimulation and makes the matter worse.

They normally do not naturally read facial language and body language and they usually do not get hints. It is common for them to not use facial or body language and they are often very blunt and forthright with no verbal filter. Because of these things they are often misunderstood and misjudged. Some people may see them as psychopaths because they can appear to not have emotions. However, that is far from the truth. They usually express their emotions differently then the average person and often find what others see as funny as not funny and what others see as serious as not serious due to their different perspective on life. They usually feel as deeply as anyone else, just in different areas then the average person.

Many Autistic people can learn to emulate facial and body language. They can also learn what is and isn’t appropriate in our society. If they desire to fit in, they can excel at this. Some Autistic folks have done so well at this that they seem to have phased out of Autism or overcome it. However, it is still something they have to deal with mentally while the typical person doesn’t have to even think about it. So while they are in the public they are likely mentally working harder then most the people around them.

The Spectrum (ASD) and Mental Illness

There is a full spectrum of people with Autism which is one of the reasons they are all different. The outer edge of the spectrum used to be called and still is called in many places, Aspergers. On the inside edge of the spectrum there is high functioning Autism and as you get closer to the center of the spectrum there is low functioning, etc. Then there is the co-symptoms adding even more angles to each individual.

Many people do not consider Autism as a mental illness. However, many folks with autism can relate to people who have mental illnesses because they often face similar issues both mentally and socially. Plus, some people with Autism have mental illness co-symptoms.

Therapists, School Counselors and IEP’s

It is good for a person on the spectrum to have a therapist or someone who they can talk to and get their frustrations out as well as learn coping techniques and social skills. However, therapist, like everyone else, are all different. One therapist may relate to a certain type of person but not to another type. Some people find a helpful therapist right away while for others it may take a while.

School councilors are often very helpful to students. It is wise to introduce your child to their school councilor and help them become comfortable with talking to them and visiting them when they need help and do not know where else to go.

Getting the school to give your child an IEP (individualized education program) can make a huge difference in their educational success. IEP’s can open the door to many resources they would not other wise be able to use as well as options for how and where they take tests, where they can go to regulate themselves, and so on. Plus is causes the teachers and staff to communicate with the parent(s) or guardian(s) and keeps everyone responsible for any actions the school staff may take.

Support Groups and Resources

While people in the Autism spectrum may all be different, they usually have some things in common that can cause them to relate and understand each other better. This is also true for parents, guardians, family and friends of people in the spectrum. It is good for both the person in the spectrum as well as those around them to have people around who understand what they are going though, people who can relate to the frustrations as well as the joys without prejudice.

You may find there are many resources in your area. While searching online can help it can also be frustrating. Often the local Autism support group will have resource contact information making finding such things less stressful. Some people qualify for state and government aid. You may want to contact your local Social Security office and ask them for information on help they may provide as well as resources they recommend.

Being a friend to an Autistic person.

People in the spectrum need friends and a social life like anyone else. Some of them may have even shut down and given up on making friends in order to protect themselves from being mentally hurt.

Knowing that someone has Autism sometimes helps but people in general should be given a chance and not hastily judged. You just never know what a person may be going through and what they have had to deal with as well as how their brain works and interprets what is around them.

Though Autistic people are all different there are things you can assume until otherwise notified. Don’t crowed them and enter their personal space and don’t touch them without permission even if it is a kind gesture like a hug. Some Autistic people loved to be cuddled and hugged, but many do not! Do not hint around, say what you mean to say plainly. Do not expect them to read your facial or body language and vocal ques. Many Autistic people have a wonderful sense of humor, but it may not be like yours and they may not “get” your humor. Be ready to be offended at first and challenge yourself to get over it. Many people on the spectrum say what they are thinking and do not mean to cause harm. In a way, they do what so many people say they wished people would do, they are honest and forthright. Sometimes it’s okay to tell them what they said hurt your feelings so they can learn more about you. But give them time because if it isn’t logical it may be difficult for them to grasp. While Autistic people often have a reputation for not lying, don’t assume either way. They are human just like you can can learn to lie just like anyone else. But, just like anyone else, give them a chance!

If an Autistic person is having a melt down, give them their space. Don’t try to fix them. While children may not know what to use to regulate themselves, an older child or adult likely will and may just need time in order to do so. If they need to be alone, respect their need.

Trying to change an Autistic person, or really anyone, is an unnecessary stress on both of you. As long as what they are doing or what they are obsessed with is not causing anyone harm, learn to accept it, appreciate it and be happy for your friend. As a parent you may need to help your child learn what is socially acceptable in order to get good grades, not lose a friend and get and keep a job. But beyond that Autistic people are individuals and should be encouraged to be true to themselves and who they are, accepting their differences and appreciating their unique way of thinking. The odd character and way of thinking of many people in our past and present have contributed greatly to how we live today and the technology we use. Without their different way of thinking we wouldn’t be nearly as advanced as we are today.

Bullying

Sadly many Autistic people are bullied. It often happens to them as children, but it can follow them into adulthood.

Like any child some will become introverted and shy away from people while others will fight back by becoming bullies themselves. Neither is a good reaction. Ignoring the fact that a child is being bullied will not fix the problem and it will not make the problem go away. Even if it doesn’t seem like the child is really being bullied, if it is true in their mind, it still needs to be dealt with.

Once the child gets older they will have established habits making it more difficult to help them. It’s possible, but not easy and will depend on wither they want help or not.

It is wise to involve the school councilor and the child’s therapist to help the child learn ways to overcome bullying and thrive around their peers. Their obsession can also help. Having something they love to look forward to and to use to help calm and regulate them is very helpful. Another helpful thing to do is to look up famous people who have overcome bullying and are now successful. You will find there are a lot of famous people who also are in the spectrum. Seeing examples of people who made it through the tough times can give a child incite to a better future and a wonderful sense of hope.

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This article was written by Lorenakoran.

I am not a licensed professional. I’m a mother of four, two of my children are in the spectrum.

I encourage you to learn more about Autism by researching from time to time since there is still more to be discovered and understood. Please remember to be skeptical of new information and take the time to research it and it’s sources before accepting it as truth and sharing it with others.

I invite you to be a part of my FaceBook community dedicated to encouraging people in the spectrum as well as their families, friends and supporters. It is called Autism Rises Above, the web address is; https://www.facebook.com/autismrisesabove.

Please fell free to share this article and add links to your own local ASD support groups at the bottom clearly marked as yours, but do not remove my name and link or change anything I have written.

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Last night while driving with three of my kids to the video store I found myself talking about the mental abuse I went through most my life. I’ve never really labeled it that way before. It’s so easy to be misunderstood, but sometimes that’s life!

What sparked it was my twelve year old son being concerned for my health. I have irritable bowel syndrome and am often in discomfort. I had a stressful week and stress is a big IBS trigger. It’s not always about food.

My son wanted to know what caused it. So far no one has pin pointed the cause of IBS, but many have speculated it stems from stress.

So I told him about how I was never allowed to express myself, I learned to hold everything in. I told him about as a child I was shy and quite and by the time I started coming out of my shell my mom would take personal offence if I ever expressed negative feelings. My dad was more subtle with it, he knew how to put a guilt trip on you before you ever knew what was happening.

I told my son about how at the age of about nineteen I finally barfed my feeling out in front of several people. I was on a church trip and I got extremely sick and ended up breaking down emotionally. The church leader saw tears in my eyes which normally would embarrass me terribly and insisted I talk. One of the church ladies coaxed me and before I knew it I was virtually vomiting mass amounts of mental pain I had unknowingly held in for many year.

This all happened in a van caravan along the side of the highway from Chicago to Mississippi. My mom was in the van behind us but got an earful from the church leader because much of what I spilled out was about my parents. I had never “exposed” them before. I didn’t know how to say anything bad or negative about my parents. So this was quite a shock to her. She got very upset with me and brought it up off and on for years as if I had abused her.

My son then talked about how it was good the church leader and church lady helped me get that stuff out.

I then told him that it was good but sadly that was the last time it would happen. From then on I was under their wing and I was not allowed to be myself and express myself any longer with out rebuke and retaliation. Even in regard to other church members. I was often reprimanded for not standing up for myself. But, if I did, the people I stood up to would complain to the church leader and then he would rebuke me harshly usually saying I had meanness in me and use what I did as an example for many sermons there after. If you look up brain washing this is a common technique, btw.

I then told my son that I have been out of all that for about five or six years now and that while I have healed myself mentally and emotionally, physically it can take a while. I really believe holding in stress all those years is a big contributing factor to my current IBS condition. I told him I have improved, but I have a ways to go.

After hearing the initial story he let me know this was the first he ever know of this part of my past. I explained, and was thankfully backed up by my daughters, that I had indeed talked about it in front of him many times but he likely was to young to understand. I was happy he understood that.

He told me that if he had a time machine he would go back in time and fix all that for me. I just love it when my children show empathy, it’s lovely and heart touching. I mentioned I appreciated his empathy and he asked what that was so the girls and I told him. Then I mentioned something about him being empathetic and he thought I insulted him. After all empathetic has the sound of pathetic in it. We had a good laugh over that.

He wanted to help me heal mentally so I assured him I had. He seemed to be trying to find a way to help me. I thought it was really awesome that he was taking such a mature view of it all.

I told him that when I first got out of all that stuff I desperately wished for a time machine. I wanted so badly to go back and change things. But over time I found I knew so much more then ever before and I could relate to and help people cause I understood them due to my own past experiences. I realized that if time machines were real, I could never change anything. I value what I have learned and who I have become.

After securing in his mind that I have changed and I do now express myself and am mentally doing well he moved on to my health.

I let him know I was working on it. That it would take time. He then moved on to the issue of exercise… Oh dear! lol I admitted I was doing pretty bad with that at this time. He wanted to set up a schedule for me to go to the YMCA every day while him and his siblings were at school. There was actually a time I did that. I loved it! I wanted to work with his ideas but lately I have had an appointment for one of the four kids and or myself almost every weekday. When I finally have no appointments I am plum wore out. I don’t really mind the busyness, it’s just really hard to fit exercise in to it. I told him I am looking for a free or low priced working tread mill. I really believe at this time in my life that would benefit me and the kids as well. It is a subject that has been on my mind lately.

Levi’s autism causes him to be behind sometimes. But like many autistic kids, once he gets it he’s got it better then most and he’s got it forever. Often autistic kids are misunderstood as not having feelings. They do indeed have feelings but usually express them differently and have reasons other then the norm that cause them to become emotional. Because they have a need to understand things logically when they do become emotional they often do so from a very deep place inside of themselves.  I really enjoyed watching his sweetness last night. He was sensitive but not sad, just compassionate and wanted to be a part of helping his mom.

He told me after the conversation was about over what he does. He said when he wants to cry, it doesn’t mater where he is or who is around, he cries! And when he wants to yell, he yells and so on. This sort of behavior is often what gets autistic kids bullied. It’s difficult because as their parents we don’t want to change their realness, but, we do want to protect them. It’s a constant balancing act and is never a pat answer. He then told me that if I want to cry and other people don’t want me to that I should cry extra hard and loud. I love it!

my son and I

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Well, at least it’s kind of here. I am still learning to navigate Weebly and make my own free web site. There’s a lot more work to be done. But you can still check it out and get involved.

aparently fandom 1poster with web address

aParently Fandom is a new community, or at least it will be a community soon I hope, for parents of children in fandoms. It’s not just for parents really, it’s for anyone who knows someone in fandoms and loves that someone and wants to support them.  It’s also for parents who don’t quite understand and are frustrated, scared and even embarrassed to come and learn more and share and get rid of fears and help their child go on with life as well as go on with life themselves.  It’s also for the people in the fandoms. Who better understands what a fandom kid is thinking then a fandom person themselves. You can’t expect your folks or loved ones to read your mind, sorry!  But you can (nicely) let us know how you feel and why you do what you do and what you’re thinking.

 

Never assume you are the only one who is going through what you are going through. Every one needs someone to understand.

 

The person or persons in your life that are into fandoms may not just be children it can be teens and adults as well.

 

So, I could call it a support group but that’s so overused. I think something like “encouraging group” or “inspirational group” or “the world isn’t actually ending group” or something less used like that.

 

My daughters helped me come up with the name aParently Fandom for the group. Obviously it had to have the word Fandom in it but we got aParently by playing with the words “apparently” and “a patently”.

 

How do you know if your loved one is in a fandom?

Are they obsessed over anything?

Do they talk about and go to or at least try to go to cons? (A con stands for convention. Think of Comic Con and you might get the idea.)

Do they cos play or at least try to or really want to? (Cos play stands for costume play where the person dresses up like characters from their favorite show or game.)

Do they watch the same show over and over and sing all the songs and talk of nothing else and find a way to relate everything to that show?

Do they write fan fiction? (Fan fiction is where fans of the show write their own stories using the show characters and ideas. I’m not sure how that all works legally but many shows love it and encourage it.)

Do they purchase or try to purchase figures, shirts and other fan paraphernalia often?

Do they order or try to order various wigs?

Do they purchase or try to purchase various costumes and or items to make costumes with.

Do they have to have every movie and episode or game of a certain sort and if they think they are gonna get it they become crazed with happiness?

Do all or most of their friends  like the same exact show or shows or game or games? (If they don’t have any friends yet usually attending a con will solve that issue.)

 

aparently fandom hannahs design

 

I’m sure there are many more tale tale signs. I’ll have to dedicate a page to this later on the website. For now if you want to join the aParently Fandom community please click on –     aParently Fandom

 

See you there!

PS! If you are into fandoms please remember to let your folks and friends know about aParently Fandom and get them involved. Please & Thank You!

 

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Just when you think you made a friend
poem by Lori K Hobbs-Revels (11-2-12)

                                 *

Just when you think you made a friend
a tragedy strikes
and they didn’t call to tell you
they had a victory
and they didn’t let you know
it happened all so fast

Just when you think you made a friend
you ask them why
they answer you weren’t needed
their friends helped them out enough
you ask why
they didn’t know you were interested

Just when you think you made a friend
they can’t stay for coffee or tea
they are in a hurry
they have to leave
they didn’t come to stay
so they will be on their way

Just when you think you made a friend
you realize you are the one who’s new
why should anyone really trust you
why should they call, why should they care
they’re your friend, you’re just not theirs
So here you sit, hands feeling bare

So goes the lot
of those who move
from place to place
and spot to spot

             *

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All the more reason I am thankful for and appreciate my true friends, the kind that stay with you through thick and thin, the kind that are honest but not judgmental, the kind that not only lend a helping hand and a listening ear but also accept yours.

I think of my friends like Shirley and Sabrina, Kim and Jeannie though they live far away I can count on them. Even some friends I have only met on FaceBook have become real friends and I hope someday to see them in person. But wither I get to or not, we are here for each other.

There are some I haven’t named so please don’t be offended. That would not be my point at all.

My point here is really about how friendship isn’t just about giving but also receiving. One may see themselves as a friend and offer love and help when needed, but it’s not a true friendship until that person can ask for and receive love and help in return. It shows trust and trust is so very important in a good relationship.

Pics are from google search.

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