Take a Walk in My Shoes First… Janet Smedile

The following is a post by a friend in regards to some tasteless jokes/status that have been circulating around Facebook.  It is with her permission that I am posting it here.  Sandy Moroney

After seeing some rather nasty posts and one-sided articles over the past two weeks about vaccines I am using my wall to rant a bit.

TRUTH – Many vaccinations contain neurotoxins in the form of preservatives and other such chemicals that are KNOWN to be harmful. The vaccination schedule is much more intensive than it used to be thus some infants / toddlers bodies / brains cannot handle it. Our Steve has a neurological condition that made him vulnerable from birth so I have researched this extensively. Many parents are choosing NOT to vaccinate their children. I understand why but I also have had to think about my child’s susceptibility to disease and the welfare of others. Here is what we did as parents: asked our doctor for preservative free vaccines and had the schedule be spread out. Our pediatrician was great about this. For the later vaccines Steve needed, the doctor did blood work to see if he already had immunity for some of the diseases and we vaccinated accordingly. It does not have to be an all or nothing issue. Also before anyone says that I don’t know about children with conditions thought to be caused or exacerbated by vaccinations or other environmental factors, I have worked with children with exceptional needs off and on since I was 19 as a teacher so I have taken the time to honestly look at this subject. For those of you who have not walked in my shoes – clean your own house before you try to clean mine. Sick of the bitching, sniping and whining on this subject – just like politics – go do something about it instead of posting stupid crap and inappropriate jokes about autism and other neurological disorders.

Smart Words, Please

There are still some groups of people, types of disorders, or general nuances that “OK” to make fun of, and Ridicule, all in the name of “It’s only a Joke”.

Mattie’s Sisters, Kath and Tina at Tina’s Graduation

I bring this up because lately, it seems, many are using the

ending “tard” with an explicative in front of it to make a joke or refer to someone or some thing that is beyond the obvious. And I wonder how many know what they are truly saying or inferring.

The Word “Retarded”, when used in it’s true and unbiased meaning, has never bothered me. It is when it is used to insult, or to demean, that it is unacceptable in my world. So to use it’s suffix with a swear in front of it, well, that could possibly be the worst. It is like adding insult to injury, almost literally. I am hoping that this new-ish word grouping will loose its popularity, as did the once accepted use of the word “gay” in the same instance, and become just a blip in our society’s misjudgment of each other.

As my Grandmother always told us when she heard someone cussing, “There is always a better word, Show them how Smart you are.”

Surviving Thanksgiving and Autism

The  Holiday Season officially begins with Thanksgiving.  The time of year, you can see the visible shudders of parents and grandparents of children with Autism.

While your child’s social awkwardness spotlighted, so is the ignorance of those not normally around an Autistic child.  Every cliche that has ever been said about Autism will be said over, and over again, during the Holidays.  Relatives seen only annually will have great expectations of the Autistic child from a year ago.  By now, the child should be speaking, toilet trained, reading, sitting quietly at the dinner table, etc.  And why aren’t they??  Don’t you have them in the right school or Program?  Well, you will be told, “Don’t Worry, My friend’s cousin’s daughter’s best friend’s son started talking magically at 13.”  There, You see!  Everything will be all right. Your child just needs  more time, that’s all.   It’s as if the more it is recited, the truer it becomes.  You will be given the names of books to read, websites to look at, and yes, the name Jenny McCarthy will come up, and how she “cured” her child.

What it comes down to is tolerance.  Not towards your child’s behavior, this time, but  towards those who truly do not understand, and perhaps only ever remotely try to, for a few days out of the  year.  It is brain numbing enough for them to endure Autism for Holiday season, or God forbid, year round.  The best way to deal with these people??  Nod, and say nothing.  Things are too hectic to truly teach them anything this time of year, and frankly, they really don’t want the specifics of all the ABA and Hippotherapy that your child is getting, nor do they want all the updated statistic regarding autism and it’s  diagnosis.

What they really want, deep down is to show, in their own awkward way, that they care.  Because, family is family.  So, just nod, pass the gravy and take a deep breath.  Soon enough, they will be gone, you will be doing the dishes, and life will be back to normal.  At Least, your kind of normal.

Autism Hint of The Week #2

Don’t wait in Waiting rooms.  Doctors Appointments, Dentist Exams, and other frequent visits that require a wait before being seen, can be a deal breaker for how well the actual visit goes, with an Autistic child.  Call ahead before you get to the office of the appointment, ask them if they are running on time, and tell them your child is Autistic and doesn’t wait well.  Ask them to take your cell number and call you when they are ready for you to be seen.  Assure them you will be right outside their door, and just want to keep your child calm and get the most from your visit.  I even have popped my head in my Pediatrician’s office to tell them “We’re here!” and then Mattie and I do laps in their nice big building, till they call me that the nurse is ready for us.  It NEVER hurts to ask for this kind of help, they would rather have your child calm than tantruming in their waiting room!!

Things I know because of Autism

Autism in the family can be a harsh teacher.

You acquire skills,  that never, in your wildest dreams did you think, you would ever need to know. Like how to defuse a potential tantrum, with calming gestures and a gentleness in your voice.  How to get a ten year old to take foul tasting meds, day after day. And the ever un-popular, how to change the diaper of an older child.

You are asked questions, that no one would ever ask a parent of a typical child.  How are you going to “handle” him, when he gets bigger?  Are going to put him in Residential Housing soon?  Why is he not potty trained yet?

You are expected to be an expert on Autism from the day the child is diagnosed. What causes autism?, someone will ask. Have you tried the Gluten-free diet yet? What medications do you recommend for autism? What Sensory issues does your child have?

You face a society, that does not know what to do with your child, or even you.  An outburst in the local Target store, can bring a drove of Security personal.  Neighbors will-and one did, call DMR or, God forbid, DSS to report you, because your child runs into their yard,(even though you are running as fast as you can behind them).  People openly stare at your child’s apparent lack of public behavior skills, until you say, quite loudly, “He has Autism, thanks for the concern!”.

So, what HAVE I learned from Autism?  That other people can say and act more rudely than my son ever will in public.  That no matter what the Doctor ever writes in his Evaluation, my son is still the same little boy he was before I read the report.  It’s just a piece of paper.  People will always stare, ask dumb questions, and invade our privacy, as if they have a right to.
But, most importantly, I have learned that, a little boy named Mattie has changed me, and my family, for the better.  Autism, or not.

It’s a dogs world

 

Let me start by saying: I LOVE dogs.    All kinds.  I’m not always so sure about their owners.  Yes, I said it.  Owners.  Not human parents.  And definitely  not Mommy and Daddy.  There are things about these owners that perplex me.  Like how can they drive safely with a dog in their lap??  What if they stop short?  Lovey Kins could fall right out the window- which is usually open in all weather conditions.  What if the dog starts acting up and causes the driver to lose control of the car?  Is this any less hazardous than  driving while talking on the cell phone?  And please do not bring your dog, no matter how cute and small, into ANY store other than the pet superstores that invite them.  I have actually spoken to a woman with her small dog riding in the top of the carriage in Wal-Mart.  “That is the SMALLEST  seeing eye dog I have ever seen!!” , I said with a big grin.   “Oh, she isn’t a seeing eye dog!”, her reply.  “Shame on you for sneaking her in then!”, I said, still with a big grin.  She blushed a deep crimson, and literately backed the carriage up and went hurriedly along.  See, it’s not  that I don’t WANT these dogs in stores.  But there is a discrimination going on here.  People look the at the bad judgments of dog owners, but GOD FORBID I want to bring my cat into Wal-Mart!  I think my Maine Coon, Kelso, would love it- all 22 lbs. of him.  I would put him in a harness.  I would even buy one of those little dog carriers to put him in.  I would dress him up in some dogie clothes, like a leather jacket.  And even give him a hat or some shades.  What ever it would take to make him more Dogie kingdom appropriate.  but, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.  Cats have a bad rap here in the States.  They smother babies in their cribs, and claw furniture in the spare moments they are not napping.  So I will continue to taunt dog owners that disrespect public etiquette, and change lanes when I see a poodle-Yorkie (porky??) with his small head hanging out the drivers side window, and wait for the day when all animals are created equal.   And they all are welcome  in Wal-Mart.