The Stories We Shared

On March 24, the editors issued this invitation: TPGA would like to share an autism perspective: yours. As members of the autism community, we know that awareness is only a first step. Increased awareness brings opportunities to share our experiences and strive for what people with autism deserve: understanding, and acceptance. …Please send us a short essay on one thing you want readers to know about autism — as it relates to you. Share what you’ve experienced or witnessed. Tell readers about a formative experience; something joyful, or a brief moment of despair. Share your hopes, dreams, past, or future. Anecdotes laced with humor — however dark though not mean-spirited — are especially appreciated. We published 22 stories, vignettes, and interviews. Six personal stories from people with autism Corina Lynn Becker, Why I Am Wearing Black For this young adult with autism, April “is month of reflection, of remembrance. It…

The “A” Word

Kim Dull www.modernparentonline.com (Coming Soon!) I’m a mom to three kids. I have a daughter, who’s almost seven. (I was going to refer to her here as Princess BossyMcBossypants since she thinks she’s in charge of the household, but that seemed a little excessive. So we’ll go with Princess.) I have a son, who’s five and a half (heretofore referred to as Monkey Man). And I have another son, who’s almost four (let’s call him Bubs). Princess is what you’d call “neurotypical,” or “typically developing.” In other words, she’s a normal stubborn, bossy, temperamental, yet ultimately very sweet and caring little girl. Bubs has some slight developmental delays. He receives therapy for speech, fine motor, and social concerns. But we’ve been very lucky that he’s pretty much caught up with his peers thanks to early intervention and the services provided by our local school system. But this story is about…

An Interview with Carol Greenburg, Autism Women’s Network Regional Director

I met Carol Greenburg last summer at the BlogHer conference in New York. Her confidence, humor, and commentary made her instantly appealing, but her kindness, fierce intelligence, and advocacy skills make knowing her both a luxury and a necessity. She is the executive director of Brooklyn Special Needs Consulting, and serves as the East Coast Regional Director of the Autism Women’s Network. She joined the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism’s editorial board in January, where she adds her depth of knowledge as an advocate, parent of a special needs child, and an adult on the spectrum. ~Jennifer I’ve joked with you before that you really “have it all.” You’re an adult with Asperger’s syndrome, the mother of an autistic child, and an advocate in the autism community. Do you have trouble switching hats? Do you compartmentalize?  I try to compartmentalize. I think that’s the only way to really do it.…

My Fight

Spectrummy Mummy SpectrummyMummy.wordpress.com Pudding hates DIY stores. The ceilings are too high, the lights too bright, the smells too noxious, the noises too loud, the people too many; we just can’t go there with her. It is unbearable, and nothing makes it better.  So we just avoid going, easy as that. So most often Spectrummy Daddy goes alone, but this time he was ill, and though my Mondays are crammed, there was no putting it off.  Pudding was in school for the morning, so I took Cubby right after his music class.  He is more sensitive than she is, so I wasn’t sure how he’d do, but apart from a lot of questions about the various noises, he did okay.  Phew. I only had a brief amount of time before I had to collect Pudding to take her to speech therapy, so I found a sales associate to ask where…

Little Songbird

Kris Robin Today we went by the dress store to pick up my daughter Emily’s pageant dress. I had chosen a dress shop close to where we lived, though to call it a shop would have been a bit of a stretch. It was a storage building attached to the side of a trailer. Off to the side stood the Woodrow Wedding Chapel – yet another storage building where happy couples could walk down the aisle after renting a wedding dress. An orange tabby was asleep on a bale of hay by the front door. A little girl’s white dress was draped over the bushes in the sunshine. It really didn’t look like the place to rent a pageant dress, but I had been lucky enough to find one for Emily there last week. With shoes, however, I had no luck anywhere. I had to wonder at my rotten luck…

April Is Autism Story Sharing Month on TPGA

April is Autism Awareness month. And every day during the month of April, TPGA would like to share an autism perspective: yours. As members of the autism community, we know that awareness is only a first step. Increased awareness brings opportunities to share our experiences and strive for what people with autism deserve: understanding, and acceptance. If you’d like to participate, please send us a short essay on one thing you want readers to know about autism — as it relates to you.  Share what you’ve experienced or witnessed. Tell readers about a formative experience; something joyful, or a brief moment of despair. Share your hopes, dreams, past, or future. Anecdotes laced with humor — however dark though not mean-spirited — are especially appreciated. You are welcome to submit a previously published item, or one you’d like to republish elsewhere. And if you feel self-conscious about your writing, please know…

Parenthood: Telling Your Child about Asperger’s

How do you tell your child he has autism? Or, how do you tell your child he has autism when perhaps you are just hearing the information for the first time too? We asked some questions on our TPGA online community page and got some great answers. We also asked whether our community would be watching NBC’s, Parenthood last week when the topic was a featured story. A young boy, Max (Max Burkholder) discovers he has Asperger’s when he hears his father Adam (Peter Krause) yelling at his Uncle Crosby. Adam shouts “Get it through your thick skull, your nephew has Asperger’s!” Looking down from the stairs, Max says, “I have Asperger’s? What is…Asperger’s?” Stunned, the adults were speechless. In the storyline, the parents, Adam and Kristina (Monica Potter) have apparently known for a while that their son has Asperger’s but decided he was too young to be told about…

Profound Lessons from Asperger’s Syndrome

Sam Keller www.scrappysam.com It was the night of the Volunteer Appreciation Dinner at our church. As the pastor’s wife, I am generally required to attend these sorts of things with the unspoken expectation to always smile, be nice, and glow with the joy of the Lord, even if I have to, dare I say … fake it. I was running late that evening, overwrought with juggling three kids, sports practice, and a cranky baby. My plastered-on smile thinly hid tears of frustration leaking out my nose. As I stood and perused the room full of familiar faces, the tension in my spirit only clogged my throat more. I felt like an intruder interrupting a play in the second act. The crowd was engaged in conversation and gaiety and I felt like I was barging in with a bag full of awkward. I stood on the outside, trying to find the…

Cycles of Grief and Parenting a Child With Special Needs

Jennifer Minnelli, M.S., CCC-SLP  www.autismsphere.com The grief process, for a parent coming to terms with having a child with special needs, differs from the grief process that one might undergo with the death of a close family member. At a certain point, with a death, there is the finality of the headstone, and the cold absence of that dearly beloved person. However, with a child with special needs, parents and siblings can cycle through the different parts of the loss, depending on what is going on developmentally with the child, and what is going on within the family or the community. Here are some examples of the Stages of Grief (Kübler-Ross) married with my own personal self-talk: Denial: “This is not my child. She can do what you’re asking, under the right conditions. No way is my child in the same developmental category as that. I completely disagree with the…

hardworkingman001-1618249

For the 85% of Us Who Can’t Work

Clay http://cometscorner-clay.blogspot.com I can’t say I’m surprised to learn that most autistics have a great deal of difficulty getting, and maintaining a job for more than six months. I believe it, because I know just how hard it has been for me. I saddled myself with a wife and two kids before I even got out of the Navy, and for quite a while, the subject of my wife getting a job wasn’t even discussed, because our generation wasn’t much into that. Instead, I took whatever job I could get, starting as a low paid parts clerk, until I accepted my stepfather’s offer of helping me get a job at an iron ore mine, (which paid much more). After I recovered from a huge accident, I returned and worked there for another three years. They gave me some hard and nasty jobs for awhile, such as wrestling with 55 gallon…