Thursday, May 26, 2011

MEMORIAL DAY 2011

Freedom is not free...some pay the highest price.

We sleep well at night because rough men (and women) stand ready to do violence on our behalf.

Perhaps nothing speaks more eloquently to the sacrifice of the soldier than President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.



GOD BLESS THE USA

Until next time,


Elise

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mindblindness, Obstinancy, Aspies and Adolescence


Sometime you wonder whether your child will ever get the little nuances that are necessary in order to get through life. There are times when everything seems to be going quite well that I fool myself into thinking that hey…maybe just maybe some of the work is over, but then I am pulled back into reality. Yesterday was one such day. Luckily it happened at the psychiatrist’s office so I had some back up.

Collegeman has been finished with the spring semester of college for several weeks now so he is engrossed in his World of Warcraft, Nintendo games and has begun to obsess once again about world-wide genocide. When we left the house he had to carry everything that was important to him in his hands or wear a rather warm spring jacket and put everything in the pockets. I mentioned to him that we could put everything in a bag and that it would be easier to take everything along but he had none of it.

He was actually quite annoyed that we had to go to the doctors. Truthfully he was quite put out. He of course, wanted to do what he wanted to do, and didn’t like being interrupted. Honestly I can understand his disdain. He doesn’t like to be bothered with things he considers incidental when he has more important things to do, like leveling up on WoW. Now its not the he doesn’t know about responsibility. Heck the youngman earned straight A’s this last semester, so responsibility is anything but foreign to him. But when he is done with the world for a while he is done with the world. Just as he knew he needed to cocoon himself after his push to get through writing several papers in one day, he really does know that he needs time to regroup after each semester. Bu sometime you have to do what you have to do and one of those things is to see your doctors.

No he didn’t meltdown or have a hissy fit, but you could tell by his need to carry everything in his hand that he was not happy and that he was anxious for some reason about going to take time out to see the doctor. But he was not really even in a bad mood as we waited for HSB to leave school. (It was a joint appointment.) Meanwhile collegeman read his papers and played his games while we waited for HSB to appear.

It was when we got to the doctor’s office that things got really harried. Collegeman took everything in his hands and ran in the building. HSB who had decided that yesterday of all days, was the day he was not going to eat lunch, so we had stopped at a vending machine in the office building, trying to get him some cheesnips (it was about the healthiest food item in the machine). Unfortunately for some reason the machine wouldn’t take dollar bills and I had no change. Collegeman decided he just couldn’t wait for us to get finished so he ran into the doctor’s waiting room and banged on his door.

Now there happened to be another mother and her teenage son waiting to go into the doctor’s office. Apparently she told collegeman that he could go before them. Collegeman was overjoyed and waltzed right in. I called him back and the doctor even told him to wait his turn. Now collegeman did not understand any of that at all. He groused and bitched and complained the entire time that the other family was in their session.

“It was inappropriate what you did.” I tried to tell him. ”You don’t barge into someone else’s session.”  “You wait until your appointment time.” “You take turns.” “Everything isn’t about what you want at that moment.” “ It was rude.”

“But she said I could go in.” “I knocked.” “I wanted to go in and how is it rude when she said I could go?”

Needless to say this went on until we finally got into the doctor’s office. I told him that collegeman has been like this for weeks now. That he does not see any social situation correctly and is refusing to listen to anything I tell him. He is being quite difficult and not wanting to acknowledge that he did anything wrong.

The doctor called collegeman in right away and together we tried to explain to him what was wrong with the scenario. We tired to explain to him that the other mother saw him run in, all disheveled (remember he was carrying all his important objects of the moment in his hands at the time too), looking rather upset and thought there was probably an emergency. As a mother of a child who also needs to see a psychiatrist she most likely thought there was a trauma of some kind and wanted collegeman to get help ASAP.

Collegeman insisted I did not know that was what she thought. “You are not allowed to assume,” he kept saying. “You need hard facts,” he kept saying.

I tried to explain body language and appearance and how any other person might have assumed that there was a problem by the way he was acting. In fact the psychiatrist pointed out that he might not even realize that this was the way he was coming across. Collegeman of course argued with the doctor that that was not it at all. She was just having manners and that it was rude of him to not accept. Collegeman would not listen. He kept fighting with us for almost an hour.

The psychiatrist tried to point out to him that even if she did let him go in first, did she realize that collegeman’s appointment was for over an hour and that her son’s appointment was for 15 minutes. That even if she was being kind, the doctor tried to explain, it did not mean she thought she would have to wait for an hour for collegeman. “How do you know?” collegeman asked.

The psychiatrist tired to explain to collegeman that we as adults were reading body language and understand how other adults think and act. That we are able to read situations and how someone behaves to try to parcel out how they feel, what they are thinking and what emotional state they happen to be in. That is what people do. Everything is not about exact protocol and exact rules and regulations. (Of course for a person taught through hard and fast rules this is very confusing.)

We told him under the rules and regulations guise, he should wait for his appointment time. There was no reason to try to go earlier. We were over 30 minutes early and even if collegeman wanted to let the doctor know that we had arrived, he should wait until the appointment time and then knock on the door. That yes, knocking is very polite, but that doesn’t mean it excuses when you knock at inappropriate times. In a doctor’s office you have to wait your turn. Your appointment is not more important than someone else. That even if someone offers you his or her appointment you should not take it if you know you have a long appointment ahead of you.

I don’t think collegeman actually ever really understood why what happened was incorrect or why we are able to understand and assume things in the social situation that he can’t. I think he was very confused after the event and I think if he actually tried to make heads or tails out of it now it would just upset him. I did just ask him if he understood about yesterday. He got embarrassed and explained that it was the way he entered the room that confused the other mother and that it was inappropriate to go before them since there was no emergency. He did get really annoyed when I tried to get him to explain it so I did give him the words to use.

I know that he did not mean anything by what happened. It was collegeman acting in his aspergean way without understanding the social protocols and getting rather confused with the ones he already understands. Hubby said one time when we realized that collegeman didn’t understand a simple cliché, how confusing the world has to be for him. I had hoped by this age it would have started to come together for him. I guess he and we still have a lot of work ahead.

I feel bad for my son. Try as he did he really didn’t understand what he had done wrong for so long and he didn’t understand why I was upset at him. Truth be told I was more upset that he wasn’t listening and not for what he did. The psychiatrist said that considering that aspies are delayed emotionally he could be going through that rebellious period that teens go through when they don’t want to listen to their parents, especially their mothers. Problem is that this aspie needs his mother’s instruction in some situations and that he needs to accept that. However, I see some more challenges ahead and quite frankly I am glad that there are others who work with him, at least he will listen to them.

As an aside, we also talked about HSB and his propensity to lie about how much chocolate milk he drinks during the day. We are trying to get him to drink more water and less of the milk. We are trying to cut back on his unnecessary calories in the hopes that he looses some weight. He is not terribly overweight but it could become a problem if he doesn’t learn how to curb his calories, especially since the meds he takes has a propensity to put weight on him. I did make a bit of a joke out it, saying to the psychiatrist that lying to your parents is a typical adolescent event, and thankfully HSB is lying about drinking too much chocolate milk and not taking illegal and dangerous drugs. I did laugh at that, you do have to find the silverlining at times.

Meanwhile, hubby had to have a huge talk with HSB after gong to the movies this past weekend because he kept shushing the adults sitting near them during the movie. Honestly it does annoy me when other people talk or make noise during a movie. It is really rude on the other people’s part but it was not up to HSB to correct the world. Hubby kept telling him to stop trying to teach everyone. It is something he needs to stop. Not because there aren’t people out there who could use a lesson in manners, but because one day he could shush the wrong person and end up with a punch in the nose or heaven-forbid worse.

God it never ends…

Until next time,
Elise

Spread the Word to End the Word

It's called tolerance.



Until next time,

Elise

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May Happiness Project-Mindfulness-We Are The World

If I am not for myself who will be for me,
If I am only for myself, what am I? Rabbi Hillel


The Talmud, the Jewish book of law, tells us "to have saved one life is to have saved the world." 

Many of you who read this blog were either not born or were too young to remember the horrible famine in African that prompted this fundraising song. This was a phenomenon of its age...things have not really gotten all that much better in Africa, instead of dying of famine, most Africans will die of AIDS. It is reported that the average age expectancy in Africa is 35. If you wish to help go HERE for Bono's Project Red for AIDS support in Africa.



This song was updated after the earthquake in Haiti. It has been a year and things are actually worse for the people suffering after this natural disaster. Then of course there is the horror in Japan. Give HERE to the Red Cross to help these two nations.



As I have always said, everything is not about autism. It is how I have raised my boys. In Hebrew we call it tikkun olam...to repair the world. Here, Here

Tikkun Olam could be as simple as helping that old lady across the street, or as complicated as taking Palestinian children with cancer to a day on the ski slopes of the Golan Heights. There needs to be no grand gesture, even a simple thank you will sometimes suffice to make someone's day. A dear girlfriend of mine who lives in Atlanta posted on facebook that when she went to pick up her lunch at a fast food restaurant the guy in front of her had paid for her lunch. He said nothing. Asked for nothing. Did not even introduce himself (so no he was not trying to pick her up). Pay it forward we told her...of course it was unnecessary for she had already done the same for the person behind her.

In the meantime, our own nation is experiencing one of the worst seasons of tornado activity on record. So far over 350 people have died this spring. You can also give to the American Red Cross to help those in the midwest of the United States.



Pay it forward....mindfulness.

Until next time,



Elise

Friday, May 20, 2011

Political Correctness, Autism and Bullshit in General


This was one of those weeks where several events that are totally not connected actually came together to form the perfect storm. In truth these events started me thinking, yes I know a dangerous activity (ha ha), but thinking nonetheless. Yes it has to do with that esoteric political reality called political correctness. I found it in the autism community, the education community and of course the international community.

We are surrounded within society with the concept that somethings are not politically correct and that we are to adhere to these rules and regulations.  In the realm of the world of autism, it is to say that we would want a cure for our children. Would we give them that little pill that could take away their disability? Anyone who reads my blog knows that for me the answer is a resounding yes. For many in the self-advocacy world that is tantamount to treason and a reason to hold a parent up to ridicule. You don’t understand they say. Autism is not suffering they say. No, autism is not suffering perhaps for them, but there are untold numbers out there for whom autism is suffering, whether it is emotional or physical. There is such a huge spectrum of issues associated with autism that to decry how one person feels about autism and/or their children’s autism, is to take from them the right to decide their life’s choices. Here is an earlier post on this topic.

I am tired of being told to embrace my child’s autism. I don’t embrace it. It is what it is and is something that they have to learn to deal with, just like the fact that they cannot play major league baseball or become a concert pianist. Somethings in life are what they are. However, it does not mean you do not wish for something different; that things would not be a little easier for them. You know damn well that your child got a raw deal through no fault of their own. It does not mean you do not love your child because you want to do the nonpolitically correct thing and give them the damn pill.

Yes I know that to embrace their autism means for a lot of people to finally understand, after a lifetime of not knowing what was going on inside of them, who they truly happen to be. Why they react in ways that is nonconformist. Why they see things in a different light or analyze situations differently. I understand that. I get it. I really do.

But sometimes I think the idea that to embrace their autism people think that it is an excuse. Recently on the show Parenthood, Max used his aspergers as an excuse for inappropriate behavior when his cousin was hospitalized. Needless to say I did not like that episode. While the parents tried to teach Max about empathy,  as if our children lack empathy, he would not listen. The show made it seem that autistics are not capable of empathy and that it is just fine and dandy for the aspergers to be used as an excuse. While relatives on the show may understand about a child’s autism and the aunt on the show was very gracious indeed, autism should never be used to forgo reality. I know those who read this blog agree with me on this issue. It just had to be said again.

I also do not let my children use their aspergers as an excuse for anything. If they do not get a social situation they learn. If they cannot speak to someone appropriately they learn. If they need to be taught how to function within the parameters that society has laid out then they learn. While accommodations are necessary throughout their education lives, extended time, alternate location and use of a computer, life does not give anyone such accommodations. We are learning that now with the LSATs. What it means is that sometimes in life you really need to suck it up and get on with it and deal with what is and is not. Does it mean the world is unfair? You betcha. But guess what, life is unfair to a whole lot of people, whether its those in poverty, those living under oppressive governments, and those who quite frankly are dying of diseases that society has chosen to ignore. Life is not fair. Get over it and deal with what is. Fight the fight you have to fight, but stop bellyaching. Stop “woe is meing.” Fight the damn good fight. Just do it already.

I am also tired of those who have decided what you can and cannot believe and what you can and cannot say. I am tired of the people who have decided that if you do not follow their mantra of political reality then you are somehow evil and beyond contempt. Oh and I am not just talking about lefties, I am also talking about those on the right as well. Listen I have never called for the death of someone no matter who they happen to be, but I will assert my right to say what I please politically. I will also tell the truth as I see it, even if there are people in the world who look to shut me up because I tell the truth (I also don’t believe in cultural relativism (here, here, here, here,here, here) and that causes a lot of people real angst). I have never outwardly or even recognizably said anything racist, homophobic, misogynistic or quite frankly anti-anything, I am also not perfect. If someone calls me out on something I said or wrote I will discuss it. But you had better be prepared to discuss the issue appropriately and without diatribe or your opinion is worthless.

That pisses some people off. I find it interesting that I am even told by the politically correct crowd how and when I as a Jewish parent are entitled to think someone is an anti-Semite and how I am allowed to assert my children’s right of self-defense.I love it when I am called a hater because I call out those who propose hate.That somehow I cannot call out those on the left or the right who think my children have no right to stand up for what they believe. To you I say screw you. We are a proud family; proud of our American heritage and proud of our Jewish heritage, which includes being pro-Israel. If I see someone denying my children the right to life, liberty and happiness I will call you out. You don’t like it then you are the sadder and more ignorant for it. You can’t handle that fact that you have aligned yourself with morons of hate colored in political correct thought then that is your problem. (Educators, artists and scientists, can call for genocide against a sovereign nation, but if you stand up to them you are a McCarthyite and you, not they, need to be expelled from society. Some educators can espouse racist, antisemite political thought but they are immune from attack due to academic freedom and freedom of speech. But if you stand up to them you are assaulted, attacked and they attempt to destroy you denying you the same rights they espouse for themselves.)

I suppose my biggest problem with political correct thought is that when you think you are above everyone else in thought and deed you do not have to listen to anyone else’s ideas. You can go along your merry way and decide that you are a gift to humanity and no one but those that think like you are allowed to exist or have a say in government, education, science and the arts. You think that your way is the only way and that no other person in the world has an opinion of merit. We called that the Dark Ages of mankind here in the western world. We disposed of that type of thought with the era of enlightenment and with the concepts of a new democratic republic. Unfortunately I think in many respects we have returned to the dark ages of man. If you are on the right side of an issue as far as the politically correct are concerned, then you have merit. The other ideas are given short shrift and ignored, pilloried or worse your right to exist is even called into question.


So as I said there were many things that came together this past week. All having to do with the unpolitical correct answer to some politically correct questions.  Perhaps in some respect they all have something to do with each other. I think it’s the right to think, act and feel as you want and believe. I do believe that we are all good people of conscience (at least those who don’t think its just fine and dandy to send rockets into school buses, blow up pizza parlors, trains, or fly airplanes into buildings) who only want the best for our children and ourselves. We are people like all people on the face of the earth who just want a fair shake and to be honored and respected for the sole issue of being human beings. That’s all. That’s it in a nutshell.

Until next time,
Forever without a politically correct bone in my body,


Elise

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New York, New York

They released one of the original songs for next weeks Glee early. Being  a Bronx born baby I just couldn't resist.

If you are a fan of 1950s musicals you recognize the take off on "New York, New York" from On the Town with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. Watch the original clip HERE.

Now here's J-Z and Alicia Keys:




Glee...




Until next time,



Elise

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Imagination

Spoilers had warned that the recent episode of Glee would bring people to tears. Well of course they were right. I usually don't cry at musical drama, especially when it involves teenage angst and high school shenanigans, but once again Glee out did itself. In keeping with bringing the idea that the differently-abled are entitled to respect and to have their humanity appreciated, Glee took it to the final moments of life- a funeral. Mean-Sue's sister with downsyndrome passed away and Sue was unable to bring herself to prepare the funeral. Not because she didn't love her sister, but her grief was so overwhelming that she was basically emotionally paralyzed. Here the Glee Club stepped in and helped out. I think we need to remember that it is not just respect for their lives that people with disabilities need, but that as with all life, the lives of those with disabilities should be celebrated. Sometimes it does take a funeral to remind us of that.




Until next time,


Elise

Of Wolves, Water and the Wicked Witch of the West




No this blog is not what you are thinking. I am not about to compare the boys to an animal who lives in the wild. Actually I am about to compare the boys to our pets. OMG here she goes again, I can just hear some groans and some parents shaking their heads. Hey it’s not like I am injecting them with botox at the age of eight so they can get ahead start on self-esteem or whatever crap that California mother was spewing. (No I am not disparaging parents and especially mothers who live in California. Just pointing out which particular nutcase I was referring to.) I just happened to notice some issues that my dogs and the boys have in common.


Actually we have three dogs, a Wheaton terrier, a bichon and a labradoodle. The Wheaton, as supposed to be, was very hyper as a baby and did with training, learn to function and became a wonderful addition to the family. As with any animal you need to train and teach them how you want them to behave. If your animals do not behave it is your fault. The bichon I bought from a pet store, which means she came out of a puppy mill. She has always been a little skittish and just recently in her ninth year she does seem to be better and less afraid. I cannot even imagine the abuse she suffered that with all our love and care it took her so long to get over whatever trauma she suffered as an infant. The labradoodle well, is a labradoodle. We bought him because hubby wanted a big dog and we had heard that labradoodles don’t shed and he would fit right into our family. What people forgot to tell us was that they are also crazy. Oh no I am not being mean, he is really nuts. Not in a bad kind of way, but in an OCD, obsessive emotionally needy kind of way. (Just as an aside all our dogs tend to be very emotionally needy. The vet mentioned that to me, how all the dogs seem to like and seek out attention in that way. It really must be something in the water.) The labradoodle also does have a domineering personality (that’s the poodle in him) which we need to keep in check all the time. BTW did you know that poodles were actually bred as lion-hunting dogs by French royalty? I didn’t until after we bought dog number 3. Then of course it was too late and we needed to make it work. Lucky for him he is really cute. (Just to give you an idea about how nuts the labradoodle is, when the Obamas were trying to decide which kind of dog to get for the White House it was between a labradoodle and a Portuguese water hound. My mother happened to mention to me that I should find a way to contact the powers that be in Washington D.C. and warn them off a labradoodle. She had no desire to see the White House destroyed.)

Now how do the dogs and boys figure into this blog? Well let’s see…the dogs are so hyperactive as youngsters that they could have been said to be ADD. They need to have things done in a certain way (i.e. if the water isn’t fresh enough they won’t drink out of the bowl-I kid you not.), so there is your OCD and they really have never learned the proper social skills, so there is the ASPERGERS. It dawned on me that we have chosen animals that fit so well into our family that perhaps they picked up some of the habits of the humans in the household or quite frankly we were drawn to these animals because they resemble us. There is that old wives-tale that humans and their dog pets tend to start looking like each other after a few years so why not behaving alike as well?

So here we have some animals that have many issues. We have boys with many issues. They have all five been raised together and grew up together and form an odd sort of pack, with me as pack leader, much to the labradoodle’s chagrin. For him it is not for lack of trying to be the alpha dog. It was also not so easy to get him to stop trying to dominate the boys. There was quite a lot of punishment for him until he gave up; well it seems just for the time being. I am sure he is planning his coup d’état for sometime in the future. You can see it in how he looks at you like he is working things out.


Anyway apart from the ADD, OCD and the aspergers one other thing that the dogs and boys have in common is their fear of rain. I kid you not. I always find it interesting that the dogs, which are descendent of wolves, some of the fiercest and most prolific predators on the planet, should be loathe to go outside in the rain. But then again my dogs also like to sleep on kooshy beds and the bichon has a velvet pillow (we won’t go there either, the velvet pillow was hubby wanting to treat her like a girl. He also bought her a velvet pink doggie coat. Lucky for him he never had a human-girl-child. He would be totally hopeless and useless and wrapped around her finger. Believe you me he indulges his sons well enough.) These dogs have no interest in even scouting for food outside their bowl or what is on the human dinner plate. They have no desire to truly go beyond the confines of their happy little nest and quite frankly let everyone in the neighborhood know to not come any closer. (Another aside, the Wheaton terrier is an Irish sheep dog. The only dog in the neighborhood that he can’t stand is the English Spaniel. I do get a bit of a kick out of that one. Something ingrained perhaps.)

Well the idea that the dogs don’t like rain is quite amusing really. The boys don’t like rain either. Oh not because of the thunderstorms. That used to bother them when they were little but they are full grown now. It is the idea of getting wet that bothers them. But at the same token the boys have no problem with bathes. In fact they like to take long luxurious baths. (You should see my water bill.) But the boys do have a fear and a loathing of being out in the rain. Personally I never understood that. One of the things I have always loved is walking in the rain during a thunderstorm. Of course now I know that it was a stupid thing to do, with lightening and all, but when I was younger it was something that gave me undo pleasure.

However, the boys just hate rain. They fear it really. Collegeman at times carries an umbrella with him on extremely sunny days just in case it might, in some version of reality, rain during his day. I swear you would think that there was some genetic Englishman in his background with his love of umbrellas. HSB has issues with the rain, I think more because he is afraid to get all his electronic equipment wet. Yes I say equipment, that he carries with him wherever and whenever he goes anywhere. There is the iphone, the Nintendo handheld, and the PSP. He lives in fear that the rains will destroy his beloved electronic life.


Oh it’s not that you can’t replace it, but it is the loss of data that will ensue when and if that happens. The meltdowns and the proverbial excruciating transition into finally accepting a new phone, or gaming-system is tantamount to emotional trauma. I have to tell you it took over a week and a severe meltdown when we switched him from one iphone to another. He lost some of his data and that just sent him on a terrible spiral no matter what we did. I was also not being mean when we switched phones. He needed a different carrier for college, as his old phone carrier doesn’t really work at his new school so we decided to just go ahead and do it. There are times when you deal with your children and they are so functional and so typical in their everyday reality that you can forget that it is the little things that send them over the edge at times. We felt bad for him, but unfortunately it was something that had to be done. (You should have also seen the panic, when we had to get the PlayStation 3 fixed. He actually wrote a note to PlayStation that they were to fix the old one and not send a new one so he didn’t loose any data. Poor kid worried about it for weeks. We know now, to backup everything on the PlayStation 3 to a thumbdrive.)

Meanwhile, the boys and the dogs and the rain.  Wolves are supposed to like water and not fear the rain. Humans are supposed to like water and have rejoiced in its abundance and prayed for it in time of need. The only creature throughout history that had no use for water was the Wicked Witch of the West. I tell the boys not to worry so much about the rain, that they will not melt if they get wet. The dogs I warn them that if they don’t go outside to the bathroom they had better not poop in my house. Then they look at me like I am crazy. I can see the dogs just thinking how would you like to go outside in the rain to the bathroom? Oh yes, I do talk to my dogs like they are my children. The boys and hubby think I am crazy and make fun of me. But I swear the dogs understand everything and even know when they are “playing” me. (The labradoodle when he wants a treat won’t come in when I call him if I don’t promise him a snack. As soon as he hears that word “treat” he makes a beeline for that front door.) They constantly ask me if I truly expect an answer out of the dogs when I ask the dogs a question…. Of course I do not but you bet those dogs know what I mean and they behave better for awhile.


Anyway, there it is in a nutshell. The dogs, the boys and the total insanity of my household…aspergers, OCD, ADD and a fear that rain will melt you. The only difference is that some of the children who have this fear have four legs and fur. Of course with the boys and puberty it is not always easy to tell who is more hairy the boys or the dogs. Also not quite sure who is more spoiled, the boys or the dogs. I really think it’s the dogs.

Until next time,
Elise

Saturday, May 7, 2011

9/11, Justice and Closure

While we constantly think about how events affect our children on the spectrum we sometimes forget that all children are vulnerable to trauma and loss.

Last week I visited my dentist for my 6 month cleaning. His eldest child is at a college in Washington D.C. At the time of 9/11 this child would have been in elementary school. We can say that at so young an age, children may not really identify with world-wide events or even hold fast to memories. Unlike our aspies there is no OCD or anxiety disorder that causes trauma and that for the neurotypical time heals all wounds. Apparently not so.

My dentist told me that on Sunday night, he and his wife had gone to bed early. Well before any announcement by President Obama. They had no idea what had transpired. Suddenly at close to midnight, the phone range and it was their son.

"We got him," the college student yelled into the phone.

"Got who?" my bewildered dentist asked, just grateful that his son was fine but still trying to figure out why the boy was calling at such an ungodly hour.

"Osama bin Laden, " he replied. The young college student and his friends had actually been some of those young people in front of the White House celebrating that justice had finally come.

Well that definitely was the end of sleep for my friendly neighborhood dentist. He turned on the television as fast as he could and just could not get back to sleep. Together we marveled at how excited his son was and how much it meant to the boy and his friends that OBL had finally been dispatched.

I made an interesting observation that day too, when watching pictures of the celebrations from D.C. and Times Square. Most of those celebrating were the very young. Most could not have been more that young teens, if that old at the time of 9/11. Yet, this event shaped their young lives in ways we as adults,  may never have really thought about. We think that children can endure anything. That youth has a way of living through events and taking everything in their stride. Perhaps not.

I know for my own boys it took years to deal with the after effects of 9/11, but then again they are aspies, obsession and perseveration are a way of life for us. On that day of 9/11, the boys also did not know for hours if their father was alive or dead. That kind of scare can and does have a profound effect on a young life. Of course, for most of the children in the New York City area, 9/11 was a day that many will never truly forget. Perhaps that is why you had the celebrations in Times Square and in D.C., which has an abundance of NYC residents as students in their colleges. Perhaps that is the lesson that we learn here. Children no matter who they are and no matter their neurotypical status are more vulnerable and more susceptible to events than we understand. That for many the idea of "closure" is more of a necessity than we think.

Until next time,


Elise

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dreams

Glee did the Fleetwood Mac,  Rumors album this week. Boy did that bring back memories. Truth be told the album itself has significant meaning in my life, but the song Dreams has a more pertinent meaning for my children. We once again faced someone trying to stamp out the boys' dreams. It never really stops. Unfortunately this time it came from people we thought were part of his village of support.

The more I think about it the more upset I get over the testing that was done for collegeman a few weeks ago. Its not that they found anything that I didn't know about. What bothered me was their cavalier attitude that they know what is best for collegeman. That somehow the fact that hubby and I raised him doesn't fit into the picture. Our opinions of who he should be and what he could accomplish mean nothing.

They decided after testing him for 6 hours that  his dream of law school was beyond his reach, despite the fact that he is highly intelligent. They decided that his anxiety is too pronounced. They told me that he should follow his interest in history but shouldn't go full time for a graduate degree either. He should take a class, one at a time, as he works for a foundation doing research, because there are also just so many jobs out there for history researchers. In other words they decided that his future is not of his choosing. That he should sit in a basement somewhere, away from living people, dealing only with the dead because school causes him to become overwrought.

Oh and they also told me that the psychologist who works with collegeman agrees that law school would be too much for him. In the meantime, the papers I asked them to fill out so collegeman could apply for accommodations for the LSAT were not filled out as I requested. Yes, highly unprofessional. Needless to say the psychologist got a phone call from me that he is not going to forget for a long time.By the time we were done he claimed they misconstrued what he said and that they used it for their own devises and that he would take care of it.


I like this youngman, the psychologist very much. He has helped the boys and is very invested in their doing well. I think he may have his own concerns about collegeman's anxiety, but as I said to him that means you help him deal with the anxiety, not stick him in a basement and ruin his life, taking from him everything that he holds important. If you didn't know this about me before now, you really should know that you never tell either of my children that they cannot do something that they want to do. You find a way to help them reach their goal. The psychologist told me that I remind him of Temple Grandin's mother. You never say never to either one of us. OK, will definitely take that compliment any day.

It was funny because I said to him, its not like they are paraplegics who want to run the New York City marathon to be told they can't do something. The psychologist's response was, "truthfully there are ways that paraplegics can do just that too." Never underestimate the human will I say. I think classes on the human spirit need to be part of any psychology program. Why is it that so many in the psychology profession seem to lack any understanding of that element of the human heart.

He said he would talk to the director and take care of the problem. I texted him to see if he had a chance to talk to her. I never heard from either of them about this issue. I suppose she wasn't going to call me and do an act of contrition. I project that she will just change her attitude and have a talk with the testing therapist.  He texted me back that he thinks she gets it now. I did get a call today from the director that the papers for the LSAT requests are all filled out and I asked them to put it in the mail.

By the way, hubby was furious. He said that if we were other kinds of parents and took to heart what they said, we would have allowed them to turn collegeman's dreams upside down. Damn I wonder if they even care what an uproar they could cause in people's lives or do they think that they are just all knowing that they are infallible and can do no harm. You know I thought we were past that with the psychiatric world. Apparently we are not.

Yes, I am still pissed off. (Can you tell?) It's why this post took so long to write (the meeting was several weeks ago) and I still need to catch my breath when I think about how pompous the testing therapist happens to be. Six hours she spent with him and she decided who he is and who he is going to be for the rest of his life. Oh and by implication that hubby and I are morons and inadequate parents who have no idea what we are doing because we are obviously pushing him into a field that he cannot handle (according to this know-it-all). Besides the fact that we both went to prestigious law schools and hubby is a practicing attorney in NYC for almost 30 years, I guess we have no idea what it takes to make it in the legal profession. GOD IN HEAVEN.  Now I am waiting to see how she plans to tell me that HSB can't accomplish his goals too since we had her test him as well. (Did that before we received collegeman's results.) I also can't believe I paid a small fortune for this crap too.



I'll keep you updated. I wonder when it becomes time for us to say goodbye to the psychiatric field and just deal with things on our own. Now is probably not the time with all the upcoming stressors and transitions, but I think we are getting very close. I am starting to really have had enough.

Until next time,


Elise

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Last Holocaust Class-OBL-Justice



Today was collegeman's last Holocaust class of the semester. He wrote his final two papers on the Eichmann trial and the kafkaesque nature of the Holocaust. (For those who do not know who Adolf Eichmann was read here.) Actually they spent the last class talking about Osama Bin Laden. Apropos don't you think to end a class on the Holocaust with a discussion about extreme evil and the parceling out of justice. You bet collegeman had alot to say.



If anyone is interested Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, has put the tapes of the entire Eichmann Trial on You Tube. Find it here. Yes, I have watched some of it...

Ancestry.com has partnered with the United States Holocaust Museum to put online documents so that loved ones may try to find family. For many Jews in this country there is no way to search our ancestry, it has all gone up in smoke. Hopefully this new endeavor will help some of us search for our direct genealogy.

Now with much adieu and with the thanks of a grateful nation. May God Bless and Keep those amazing and brave young men of the Navy Seals. May God Bless and keep ALL those that defend our freedom and liberty.




By the way, here's Robin Williams' take on OBL at the pearly gates: 




Until next time,


Elise