Sunday, August 28, 2011

10 Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew

By Ellen Notbohm
  1.  I am a child with autism. I am not "autistic." My autism is one aspect of my total character. It does not define me as a person. Are you a person with thoughts, feelings and many talents, or are you just fat (overweight), myopic (wear glasses) or klutzy (uncoordinated, not good at sports)?
  2. My sensory perceptions are disordered. This means the ordinary sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches of everyday life that you may not even notice can be downright painful for me. The very environment in which I have to live often seems hostile. I may appear withdrawn or belligerent to you, but I am really just trying to defend myself.
  3. Please remember to distinguish between won't (I choose not to) and can't (I'm not able to). Receptive and expressive language are both difficult for me. It isn't that I don't listen to instructions. It's that I can't understand you. When you call to me from across the room, this is what I hear: "*&^%$#@, Billy. #$%^*&^%$&*" Instead, come speak directly to me in plain words: "Please put your book in your desk, Billy. It's time to go to lunch." This tells me what you want me to do and what is going to happen next. Now it's much easier for me to comply.
  4. I am a concrete thinker. I interpret language literally. It's very confusing for me when you say, "Hold your horses, cowboy!" when what you really mean is "Please stop running." Don't tell me something is a "piece of cake" when there is no dessert in sight and what you really mean is, "This will be easy for you to do." When you say, "It's pouring cats and dogs," I see pets coming out of a pitcher. Please just tell me, "It's raining very hard." Idioms, puns, nuances, double entendres and sarcasm are lost on me.
  5. Be patient with my limited vocabulary. It's hard for me to tell you what I need when I don't know the words to describe my feelings. I may be hungry, frustrated, frightened or confused, but right now those words are beyond my ability to express. Be alert for body language, withdrawal, agitation, or other signs that something is wrong.  There's a flip side to this: I may sound like a little professor or a movie star, rattling off words or whole scripts well beyond my developmental age. These are messages I have memorized from the world around me to compensate for my language deficits, because I know I am expected to respond when spoken to. They may come from books, television or the speech of other people. It's called echolalia. I don't necessarily understand the context or the terminology I'm using, I just know it gets me off the hook for coming up with a reply.
  6. Because language is so difficult for me, I am very visually oriented. Show me how to do something rather than just telling me. And please be prepared to show me many times. Lots of patient repetition helps me learn. A visual schedule is extremely helpful as I move through my day. Like your day planner, it relieves me of the stress of having to remember what comes next, makes for smooth transitions between activities, and helps me manage my time and meet your expectations.
  7. Focus and build on what I can do rather than what I can't do. Like any other human, I can't learn in an environment where I'm constantly made to feel that I'm not good enough or that I need fixing. Trying anything new when I am almost sure to be met with criticism, however constructive, becomes something to be avoided. Look for my strengths and you'll find them. There's more than one right way to do most things.
  8. Help me with social interactions. It may look like I don't want to play with the other kids on the playground, but sometimes it's just that I simply don't know how to start a conversation or enter a play situation. If you can encourage other children to invite me to join them at kickball or shooting baskets, I may be delighted to be included.
  9. Try to identify what triggers my meltdowns. This is termed "the antecedent." Meltdowns, blowups, tantrums or whatever you want to call them are even more horrid for me than they are for you. They occur because one or more of my senses has gone into overload. If you can figure out why my meltdowns occur, they can be prevented.
  10. If you are a family member, please love me unconditionally. Banish thoughts such as, "If he would just ..." and "Why can't she ...?" You didn't fulfill every last expectation your parents had for you, and you wouldn't like being constantly reminded of it. I didn't choose to have autism. Remember that it's happening to me, not you. Without your support, my chances of successful, self-reliant adulthood are slim. With your support and guidance, the possibilities are broader than you might think. I promise you I'm worth it. It all comes down to three words: Patience. Patience. Patience. Work to view my autism as a different ability rather than a disability. Look past what you may see as limitations and see the gifts autism has given me. I may not be good at eye contact or conversation, but have you noticed I don't lie, cheat at games, tattle on my classmates, or pass judgment on other people? You are my foundation. Think through some of those societal rules, and if they don't make sense for me, let them go. Be my advocate, be my friend, and we'll see just how far I can go.

Press Release - Autism: Understanding The Puzzle



From the Author...About the Book
By Sharla R Jordan
The book, Autism: Understanding The Puzzle, gives you clear and simple explanations of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Whether you are new to, or have had years of experience in helping someone with autism, this will help you better understand the puzzle.
As the mother of six boys, four of whom are on the autism spectrum, I wanted to understand autism—what it was and how to help my sons. However, I could not find a book that would explain things in a simple way or that was short enough that I felt I had time to read it. I was already overwhelmed with the demands of my sons’ challenges, and I didn’t have time to read a lengthy, complicated book or do extensive research on the Internet.
This is the book I wish I’d had when my boys were first diagnosed—the handbook I wanted when I needed a quick question answered. It is the resource I wished I’d had to share with my family and friends when they were trying to understand or help.
Here, I share information that has helped our family and given us hope through hard times. I also touch on a few of my personal experiences and share insightful comments from other parents.
Autism Understanding the Puzzle does not address every aspect of autism and its complexities. It covers general information and provides resources for further study.

Click Here for Book Reviews


For an autographed copy of the book 
click The Book
   

The Book is also available on Amazon.com

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sibling Shop

Saturday, October 15 · 10:00am - 2:00pm Early Bird Tuition is $5 (before 09/30/11).


PRIMARY CHILDRENS SIB DAY


A workshop for brothers and sisters ages 5 to 17 who have a sibling with a chronic medical condition or disability. This workshop provides a place where children can express themselves, learn from others and explore new ways to cope.

Register online at www.primarychildrens.org/sibs
Regular Tuition is $10.
Registration closes 10/10/11.
Space is limited and pre-registration is required.