Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Note to My Readers

Hello,

I have been writing this blog now for over three years. I have found my interactions with you, my dear readers, very supportive. I hope that I have been able to give you some ideas about what has helped us deal with our sons' autism spectrum disorders over the years.

The truth is, I have been finding that recently, I am merely writing the same thing over and over again. So I am taking somewhat of a hiatus. No, I am not going anywhere, but my posts are going to be spaced farther apart.

Perhaps this is due to the recent loss of my father. Yes, I am searching for a new direction for my own life and not just focusing solely on the boys. I have tried an alternative blog The Rediscovered Self, or reopened my political blog, Liberty's Spirit (after I had deleted the old blog of the same name) but unfortunately none of these have provided the outlet that I need. So I am going on my own version of a "vision quest." I will keep you updated.

However, if you do have any questions, or are looking for ideas on how to help your children, and can't seem to find them in what I have already written, please email me at asd2mom@live.com or tweet me @RaisingASDKids. I will get back to you with any ideas, or thoughts, I might have.

So thank you again my friends.

Take care.

Until next time,


Elise



Friday, September 28, 2012

When the "Intelligenstia" Really Are Not That Intelligent

I love the US Constitution. I love the first amendment, especially the provision for freedom of speech. No I do not adhere to the premise that there can be too much free speech, nor do I adhere to the premise of "fighting words" or "imminent threat of harm," which can curtail free speech.  You absolutely should not judge or modify your right to speak your mind simply because there is someone out there who will riot, and cause mayhem or even murder. To curtail your rights is to give into the "haters" in society who would use our freedoms to destroy our freedoms. I for one won't do that. What I do believe in though is to fight "fire with fire."

Example:

Many of you out there have heard of Anne Coulter-Agent provocateur of the extreme right wing of the Republican Party. This is a woman who thinks Joe McCarthy was simply misunderstood. You don't have to agree with her on any subject but no one can say that she isn't part of the intelligentsia or that she is stupid. So the question you need to ask yourself is, what the heck was the following tweet all about...(that's her tweet with my response from my political profile on twitter)






The best part though, was the response I received on my timeline. While many favorited or retweeted my response, the number of trolling and disgusting replies was sadly high. I consider many of the trolls simply unfortunate human beings, and I just block them. They had small accounts, definitely used to harass and malign or upset. Profiles that claim to be part of OWS, Anonymous, anarchists or defenders of Julian Assange.

But its the "Coulter groupies" that I do chastise. And in all honesty its really not that hard to get the best of them. Ask them if they would like their child bullied? Ask them if they like that someone they love is maligned? Ask them if they are so ignorant that they can only get their point across through insult? Tell them that they are the reason that children are bullied to death in this culture.

Oh they won't accept that. They demean you even more, because heaven forbid they or their icon did something wrong But I block them after I tell them off. In all honesty an on-going chat with someone like that doesn't amount to much. They are not children who do not know better, but adults probably quite the bullies themselves. (Bullying is a major epidemic not because children are taught not to bully but because their parents give them leave to bully.)

The reality is that in the world in which we live, bullying and hate seem to be more common place and more acceptable. I don't care what side of the political aisle you live on. I have been called names by democrats (unprintable really) and demeaned by republicans as well. Sadly the use of the #Rword actually seems mild in comparison to the nastiness in the world.

But in the end I refuse to give up and refuse to accept that the world cannot be a better place. I want a world with understanding and one with respect for all people. The problem is the more I see the world as it is today, I think we are going farther and farther away from that place of respect and understanding. We are going in the opposite direction. Sad really. But I know deep down inside that I need to keep fighting, all our children's future  (aspergean and NT) depends upon it.

Until next time,



Elise



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Practicality: You and Your Child Have A Right to Dream

The following post is in reaction to all the pundits and political profits who like to tell us that the greatness of the United States of America is over. That we as Americans need to be realistic that our century has passed. That we are on the end of our bell curve. That it is other people's time to lead. That we need to step out of the way. To that I say BULLSHIT. The American DREAM is alive and well. It is in the hearts of her people and the hearts of billions around the world who seek the freedoms and the right to dream as any American dreams of their future.

The naysayers and the "realism" crowd of American strength remind of those who would project our ASD children into dark corners and turn them into the outliers of society. The naysayers and "realism" crowd have no more dreams. Well I will not give up mine. Not as an American nor as an autism-warrior-parent. Dreamers always dream...

There is a Jewish song based upon a saying by Theodore Herzel, the founder of modern political Zionism..im tirztu aine zo agadah...."if you will it, it is no dream...." So I will it. My country will find its footing again and my children will have the future of their choice, not a future dictated to them by others.

******

Reality...I used to like that word. It meant you were level headed, down to earth and had your feet flat on the ground. But then you become the parent of a child on the autism spectrum and reality becomes something totally different. I am not talking about the day to day struggles and joys associated with raising ASD kids. I am talking about all those future plans you had for child from the moment that that pregnancy test assured you that "yep, you are pregnant." Sadly the moment you hear those little words, "your child has autism," your brain shuts down the dreams you had for your child and suddenly the world tells you, hey you need to be realistic about their future. You cannot dream anymore.

The first thing the doctors do is temper your hopes. They temper your dreams. They want you to be realistic as to your child's situation and outcome. They want you to give up. They want you to not fight. They tell you that the odds are against your child. I heard those words 16 years ago this month.

To that I say a big whopping BULLSHIT. For once you give up the right to dream for your child, your child has no real future. Dreaming about the future is what gives all of us hope, no matter who we are. Dreams are our fantasies. It is what drives us. It is what makes us human. It is why man went to the moon, and we seek cures for cancer. It is why we sing songs of peace in times of war. It is why we argue, fight, rail against each other. Not because we see no future, but because we want a better future for future generations.

No we don't have to agree, ever. Perhaps that is the American in me knowing that the best thing for the future is the arguments and the discussion and the ability to get up over and over again. To try again. To build again. To not give into failure. Dreams that we can always be better people is why humanity marches on. So why should it be different for our ASD children than for the rest of the world? Well not if I have anything to say about it.
 
I know somewhere in my brain these doctors words about "reality" registered. But my brain was saying my child was gong to have a future when I walked into that doctors office and he will have a future when I walk out. No one was going to take his future from him. It is up to me to make certain that it happens. You know you don't fight the fights that are easy, you fight the fights that are worth fighting.....

Doctors like to tell you to be realistic. Pat you on the head like you are a delusional child when you don't accept their prognosis. It is so important to find a doctor who is on your side or at least won't sabotage you and stand in your way. be an educated consumer. Your child's future depends upon it.

No I did not do anything for the boys alone. You can't. Yes I created for them their own village. This village exists to this day. Good therapists and support are essential. But if you aren't given the support GO out and find it. Demand it. Yes FIRE people if you have to. Embrace that INNER BITCH. You can do this. I know you can. Never give up and never give in...

We often wonder why things happen in our lives and what they truly mean. They say God doesn't give you more than you can handle. Personally I don't believe that, but I also think that we as human beings are capable of so much more than we ever give ourselves credit. We have the strength to do what needs to be done under the most dire of circumstances. Just remember along the way,  your child and you too, have the human right to dream.

*****

So CM1 has decided that now he doesn't want to go to law school. He wants to study computer science. I found a good program near our house for which he doesn't need an undergrad computer science degree. He wants to create games and animation. He wants to do computer forensics. He wants to use computer science to right the wrongs of society and fight the good fight. This is his DREAM. He has a right to it and you know what,  I am going to make certain that his dream becomes his reality.

The GRE accommodations request has been sent.

I dare anyone to stand in my children's (or the USA's) way......I double-dog dare them.


Until next time,


Elise







Friday, September 21, 2012

Songs of Our Life

Songs that remind me of my life...

Born in the Bronx....




I spent formative years in Memphis...



Grew up in New Jersey and went to college in the age of Bruce....



Back in New York....looking toward the next half of my century.....



The decades of my young adulthood were full of challenges no person dreams of or even thinks about when you embark on your life's journey. All I can hope is that I did my best for those around me. Not sure where the next decades will take me or take my family. I know that in the end my wishes for myself (and my family) all have changed. I once wanted money, recognition and fame. Today all I wish for is contentment and peace. OK money would be good too...yes I know money can't buy happiness, but it would buy peace of mind that the boys are taken care of....something to be said for that isn't there?

Until next time,


Elise


Thursday, September 20, 2012

UPDATE on the Law School Entrance Exam and Accommodations

We have had an on-going saga with the law school admission council as far as CM1's accommodations for the LSAT. Happily he were granted the accommodations that we asked for and honestly some we never even requested. We did request the testing center not five minutes from our house however. When CM1 was to take the test originally there didn't seem to be any problem with placement at this close site. In fact if he hadn't had a mess up with his credits (yeah my bad) and need some extra time to graduate he would have taken the LSAT last year. So the notion that they couldn't accommodate him at the "5 minute from our house testing center" never even came to mind, until today.

Last time I checked his account, which was last week, there didn't seem to be any site issue. Now we get in the mail a revamped ticket showing that they placed him at a center over an hour away from home. And of course the date for changing or challenging the test center passed before they sent him the new ticket. How convenient for them. When I called the LSAC they told me it is because the site we requested couldn't accommodated his needs...how bogus is that. They put him at the closest site that matches his needs they said. I told them sending him to site over an hour away from his home is not matching anything but adding to his issues. By adding to his issues it was a violation of his civil rights. There is no access when you find a way to make it impossible for a person to employ their accommodations.

How interesting that they were so happy to provide him with the accommodations, no one could really figure out why it was basically so easy for CM1 to get the accommodations. Lo and behold they decided to actually make it too difficult for him to take the test. The exam starts at 8:30 in the morning. That means if he were to go he would have to leave the house no later than 7 am. Make his way to a university that he has never been to and sit in a totally unfamiliar environment to take this exam.  Which by the way with the extended time would be a six hour exam. Can you imagine how tired and anxious he would be even before the start of the test.

It's not bad enough that if you do use accommodations they flag your test for the law schools and do not count your score in the percentages. In other words you have no official ranking to provide the law schools. In effect you are already taking the exam as a nonperson. So on top of this insult they turn you into a nonperson with no hope of realizing a descent score.

Funny when I called the law schools to find out about this discriminatory practice of flagging they told me that the LSAC organization required it. The LSAC organization told me that the law schools/American Bar Association required the flagging. Nothing like passing the buck..and you thought politicians flung around bullshit.

Yes, in the end he cannot take the exam so far away. Not sure it matters anyway. With the lack of law jobs and the entire industry changing CM1 is probably better off anyway. Hubby has said that for along time now that CM1 would be better off in a different field. (This is not your father's law field he would say.) Something more forward looking with less asshat involvement, hubby would recommend. Well now CM1 can do something more productive and fulfilling with his life. (He is looking at computer science and gaming at the moment, so who really knows.)

There is a reason that Shakespeare once wrote that the first thing society needs to do is " kill all the lawyers." The frakin' creeps in the field do ruin it for everyone else...don't they.

Yes I am thinking of contacting OCR. Not sure it will do any good. If the government actually took disability rights to heart, the problems with the LSAC, or in fact the problems nationwide in education for accessing disability rights, would  be moot today instead of getting worse.

You know I let down my guard for one lousy minute and the shoe dropped again.... DAMN


Until next time,



Elise



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Practicality: Helping Your Child Survive the Political Season

We are a political family. No, we are not ardent devoted followers of any one particular political doctrine, even though freedom of speech is up their as numero uno on our Bill of Rights chart. We do however, have frank, open and honest political discussions continually throughout our lives, months, weeks, days, hours and minutes. You might say, we are obsessed with politics in this family. And NO by no means do we all agree....There is one overriding theme, however, in our house and that is an attempt at rationality. OK that doesn't always work when dealing with politics and opinions but we give it a good old fashioned try.

When CM2 was in middle school like his brother he brought a newspaper with him every day to school to sit and read in the cafeteria. The boys got the reputation as the newspaper boys in school. In fact the principal used to ask them what newspaper they had brought with them on any particular day. CM1 he would read, discuss and move on with his day. CM2 on the other hand, could never let go the feelings of anxiety that the news stories would bring up.  CM2 instead of assimilating the news let it overwhelm him. In fact he became so maudlin, we had to ban him from newspapers and in fact he was not even allowed to watch the news. This went on for years. And yes this is when we pushed his interests in other directions (my gamer-man).

You always hear about the stories of the child that couldn't sleep because they were worried about nuclear war. Well CM2 was one of those children, except after 9/11 and living near NYC, it was fear of terrorism and the news certainly didn't help matters any. So as we have always done we took matters into our own hands.

The funny thing was that CM2 was relieved to be "allowed" to not care about the news. He was happy that it was not supposed to be part of his day and in fact would remind his brother if CM1 tried to put the news on the television when he was in the room, that he wasn't allowed to watch the news. We basically gave CM2 permission to be a child. Nice idea that....

Now CM2 did return to TV news, not so much newspapers more internet, when he entered highschool. I suppose as we watched him and he slept better we figured he could handle the topics and the conversation. Truth be told, current events were part and parcel of his schooling. And no it did not go well.

During the Presidential election in 2008 both boys became terribly frightened. Neither believed the democratic candidate. They didn't trust him, They truly felt that the world was going to end if he won. Well of course he did and CM2 spent days crying in school. He wasn't afraid as much as he was terrified the world was going to implode. He felt his world was going to change and not for the better.

We had to assure him that nothing really was going to change. That the President and even Congress has very little direct effect on your day-to-day life (yes, I was wrong, but I had to calm CM2 down). The question became how do you help a child get over the fear-mongering (from both sides) and let go of a loss or let reality set in if there is a win?

The truth is there is very little beyond your own reassurance that you can do for them especially as they age. At some point you cannot cut off the outside world. But you give them the tools that they need to take care of themselves. We told him that mom and dad would worry about the money and the future. His job was school. If he wanted to assure his future he should study hard, work hard and never ever think that he can rely on the government. Be self-sufficient that was what we taught him. Be self-reliant. That is what we taught him. Find a way to take your future in your own hands and then you are not dependent on anyone else to handle your day to day worries.

So he studied. He worked hard. He is figuring out what he wants to do with his life. Over the past four years his perspectives have changed and so has his politics. No he doesn't like the democrats but he doesn't like the republicans either. It is the fear-mongering and the bullshit. They are both liars. Both sides don't tell the truth. Both sides will do and say anything to get elected or reelected. I suppose you can say he is learning the true purpose of college and that is to be an iconoclast, challenge everything you thought you were and listen to the propaganda that you find in the classroom from your professors.

Hey hubby and I both lived through it. We, Reagan republicans,  had Howard Zinn for a professor in college. I have to say these courses were some of the best classes I ever sat through. Making you challenge yourself, who you are and where you are going is terrific. I just wish CM2 would do it without screaming, yelling and getting into knock-down drag-outs with his very fiscally and foreign affairs conservative brother. Problem is not the discussion, problem is the life or death scenario these discussions take on. (Social issues they wholeheartedly agree upon, its the rest that makes for a balagan.)

So we sit them down and reiterate the reality. Depend on yourselves. Do not depend on anyone else or any government or politician. Study hard. Work hard. Be self-reliant. Things are never as good as they say and things are never as bad (OK maybe they are, in fact they can be even worse, but that is another blog for a different day).

Think and do and question throughout the political season. Help your child put everything into real life perspectives. Independence of thought and mind and personality is what will get you through this political season. Don't listen when one side says their opponent will abandon those with autism or destroy the safety net, or the other side says you can balance the budget in the long run without raising taxes.

If they are old enough get them to do research on their own. Don't just take a candidates (or their PACS) word for the truth. Teach your child how smart and intelligent they are by helping them learn how to research the real issues and find the real truth. Give them the power to control that portion of their lives. No they cannot change the world, but they can be masters of their own fate. That will go along way in giving them security.

Yes, one side will lose in November. It is how our republic works. But maybe just maybe we will end up with a divided government so everyone will win. That is also a lesson we teach the boys...when there is divided government, they either have to compromise or no real laws get passed, which may be the best thing in the long run. But you need to prepare your child that their side just might lose. They may have to learn to live with a government that they did not want. No they can't go around crying for days on end. They need to pick themselves up and dust themselves off and take care of themselves. Prepare them for the day after the election and all will go fine.

Sadly though, CM2 has gone from being a frightened little boy to a cynical youngman. He just announced that he despises both candidates. That he doesn't care who wins because they are both huge piles of crap. He is thinking about not voting at all. His first Presidential election and he is so disgusted by the process that he wants nothing to do with it. Shame on both major parties for that. A plague on both their houses.



Until next time,



Elise


Monday, September 17, 2012

Help Your Child Celebrate CONSTITUTION DAY

Today is Constitution Day. Teach your child about how our system of government works and the government's responsibilities to WE the PEOPLE. We do not belong to the government, WE CREATE the government and it belongs to and serves us, or quite frankly we make ourselves a new one.










Until next time,



Elise




Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Jewish Days of Awe, Death of a Parent and a Conundrum of Conscience

Right now I am sitting in my parents house waiting for my mother to wake up. Tonight I will be going home to my own family. Leaving her all alone, except for her dog. Of course this would not be a big deal, or rather it would be a deal of some kind simply because she would be all alone, but tonight is the beginning of the Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashanah, so for me it is a bit of a bigger deal than usual. It has only been one month since my father died and this is the first big holiday to come along. So why am I leaving you ask?

Well its important that I go home and be with my family for the holiday. Not that we truly celebrate in a traditional sense, but it essential that the boys appreciate their heritage. I try to make a special meal and we do prayers at home. Hubby is picking up what we need today while I am traveling. And no, mom does not want to come back up north with me....We talk about guilt and we talk about reality. This is when the guilt kicks in and reality is tough to deal with. You don't have to tell me its ok or that my mother understands. She does and I know its OK. I am just venting my own guilt right now. See this guilt is not about my mother it is about me, all me, all the time and no one else.

But hey, I accompanied her to her colonoscopy, a simple check up that she needed. (If you are over 50 make sure you get yourself tested and if there is a history of colon cancer in your family do it sooner) I also got her to trade in her old car (14 years old) and get a new one that didn't seem like it would blow up any time soon. I was driving this olden car back from her doctors and I swear to God I only prayed we didn't burst into flames.

Upon arriving back to my parents house, thankfully in one piece, I immediately went on the internet and found car dealerships in the area. I told her we were gong to go look and see what they were going to give us for her car. Well I thought we would pick something out. They would do a credit check and a few days later they would have a car for her. Oh now, I was NOT going to let her leave that dealership without signing some papers for a new auto. UHAH I knew if I did not have her do that with me there and then, she would never go back and get a new car. Well six hours late after arriving at the dealership, she actually drove her new red sportscar home. (I guess some things are really "beshert." English translation, fated) And yes, lo and behold, they even gave us some money on her old car as a trade-in. I truly thought they were going to ask for payment to have it towed away. Honestly...the darn thing was scary.

I suppose I can leave with a bit of a clear conscience that she will not die in a firey car wreck or that her car will self combust in her garage, burning down her house. I can leave with the clear mind that she is safe in her vehicle. I can leave knowing that I will also be back in a few weeks time too.

Holidays are funny things. They are either joyous or thought provoking. Sometimes both. Jewish New Year is about reflection upon your life and what you can do to be a better person. We always ask the boys how they can do better in their lives and what that is and how they think they might accomplish their task ahead. Of course, they play along, but not totally sure that they think they need to change all that much. That is fine. At least they think about it and how we, as human beings, are not and never will be perfect. Our task is simply to try our best at being better.

No we don't go to synagogue. We resigned from our Temple years ago. We don't even pray beyond the few little prayers at home. We celebrate as a family in our own way as we have done for over a decade now. It makes us happy. I do not need to represent on any holiday. I do not need to dress up and make a show of it on any holiday. My thoughts are between me and God, if he in truth does exist.

It's funny really. We talk on Rosh Hashanah that God should write us in the Book of Life for a good year. I was trying to figure out what little blurb he wrote for my father last year that he should die in pain from unmanaged lung cancer. I wonder what the story was there, that my father wasn't entitled to some form of comfort in those last three months of his life. Personally I wonder what the hell is wrong with God anyway....

So not sure I care about the Book of Life right now or God or Rosh Hashanah truly beyond reminding my sons who they are and where they come from. I do feel disconnected from everyone but my family. I feel solitary and alone in many ways too. Unable to stop or have any bearing on a world I see spiraling out of control, with no one of any capacity really at the helm...When a parent dies you reevaluate so much of your life and I know for me it is just beginning....I wonder what will be in the year to come.....What frightens me is that I see dark clouds on the horizon...a gathering storm. There is nothing any Book of Life can do about that.

But we celebrate the seasons. We celebrate the milestones. We celebrate the joys and the beginning of new life. We celebrate because there will always be a future no matter what.

So to my Jewish and non-Jewish readers too: a Shanah Tovah Umetuka..may you have a Happy and Sweet New Year. May God write you in the Book of Life for a good and happy year.




Until next time,


Elise




Monday, September 10, 2012

Taglit-Birthright Trip to Israel for College Students with Aspergers


Aspergers Syndrome trip



Shorashim will once again be partnering with KOACH to offer a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip for Jewish 18 to 26 year olds with Aspergers Syndrome Winter 2012/2013.

This ten-day Israel adventure features a smaller group of participants and a high staff-to-participant ratio. Our specialized itinerary is created in partnership with experienced, specially trained staff and is carefully structured to be enjoyable and informative for this population. The program includes a multi-day mifgash (encounter) with Israeli peers, a less intense rhythm of the day than most other Taglit-Birthright Israel trips, visits to ancient and modern sites of interest and an incomparable Shabbat.
Check out this article by a 2010 participant http://jewishgeorgian.com/JGAMarApr11.pdf . Scroll to page 18!

To read about the 2008 trip: http://www.shorashim.org/newsletter/?p=129 and http://www.uscj.org/The_Highest_Example_7972.html
Trip Itinerary from Winter 2009/2010: Click here.

We look forward to another wonderful trip.

Go HERE to learn more.

And HERE.


Until next time,



Elise



Sunday, September 9, 2012

Practicality: Harnessing Those Obsessions

One aspect of autism that we all learn to live with is the fixation on one topic or idea. For CM1 when he was little his object of fascination was dinosaurs. In fact it even went so far that at 5 years old he would correct you if you mispronounced a Dino-name. He couldn't hold a conversation but woe be to you if you mispronounced "parasaurolophus."

I actually remember this incident very well. We were sitting in a restaurant with my father-in-law and CM1 became very agitated when his grandfather misspoke the Dino-name. Then in a very loud voice, CM1 corrected the pronunciation. Being a little taken aback by his grandsons' vociferous and adamant nature, my father-in-law in his way, let out a huge guffaw. We honestly thought at that time CM1 was going to end up a paleontologist. But things change.

From Dinosaur Timeline

CM1 found out about the world around him and decided that human rights and human liberties was what was important. He learned about the issues surrounding the justice system and learned that everyone doesn't enjoy the freedoms he does. He studied the holocaust and antisemitism and modern day Jew-hatred. He understood that some hatreds do not go away and that it is not your fault if there are haters out there. He learned you do not change who you are to please others. You teach the world to see you as a human being first and foremost (or atleast you learn how to protect yourself). Today he can't even name one dinosaur. But that is OK. His obsessions have changed. But not their intensity.

CM2 on the other hand, has had the same obsession since he was two-years-old. He has an ongoing love affair with the computer. At two he sat down, turned on the family computer and has never left its side since. If you have a computer question just ask him. If you can't program something just ask him. If there is a video or computer game you want to buy or understand just ask him. He is a gamer and a nerd and proud of both.

The issue for parents is what to do with your child's obsession? How do you get your child from talking about their favorite topics incessantly to turning that into a skill, a job and a profession? How do you channel their obsessions for the better? Actually you do it, like any parent does for their child. You figure out what they are good at and you put them on the right track.

When  your child is growing up, you give them all kinds of lessons from music, to art. to language, to sports. This is not just about becoming a rounded person, but about seeking out who they happen to be. Trying to garner what your child is good at. Figuring out where their talents lie is a large part of putting them on the right track.

The first step is the talent. What is your child good at? Are they good at writing? Are they good at drawing, acting or music? Are they good at sports or physical activity? Is your child good at math and science? Is your child good at logical thinking? Is your child good at film making and interpreting poetry? Is your child good at mechanics?

Once you understand where their talent lies, you can incorporate their obsessions into the mix. CM1 is good at research, writing and analyzing topics. He obsesses on the holocaust, human rights and liberties. He perseveres in the face of obstacles. Hence lawyer. CM2 is good at literary interpretation and thinking outside the box. He is creative and playful. He enjoys playacting. He obsesses about computers, and gameplay. Hence computer science and video game design.

Do the boys have issues to overcome if they are to accomplish their professional goals? Heck yeah. For CM1 his anxiety can ratchet itself up. He is still working on control and self-help. Does he have issues with small-talk and minutia of social interactions? Yes, but he is learning to work around that.  He is learning social convention. For CM2 is there alot of math involved in computer science? Yes there is. Does he have a math disability? Yes he does. Does it mean he gives up? No. It means he figures out a way to learn so that he can accomplish his goal. Yes it means tutors and therapists and accommodations in class. But so what?

When you harness your child's obsession it is not a one time shot, just like everything we do for our children. You figure out what they are good at and how that gels with the overriding topic of their lives. You figure out what stands in their way to accomplish their goal. Then you figure out how to help them surmount these issues, organize everything that they are and where they want and need  to go. Then you help them do it no matter how long it takes.

Remember don't let anyone tell you that you are done when your child is 18. That they should be able to figure it out at that age by themselves. Nonsense. If your child needs help at 18, 20, 30 or 40 it is your job to help them. Parenting is a lifelong endeavor. It is part of being a family. We help each other when that help is needed. My mother is there for me today if I need her and vice versa. If she could she would help me figure out what I want to be when I grow up too...I know, turning 52 later this month, this need for me to grow up and set a path for my life,  its getting old but she also puts up with my indecision and misdirection as well. That is also part of a parent's job.

Simply because you think your child will take one path, does not mean that is where they will end up. Part of our job is to help them on that journey, but also to not necessarily write the story for them. Stand by them and support them. Make sure society gives them their chance and their rightful opportunities. Help them see who they truly are and where they have a right to go. That is every parents responsibility and every child's right. Just because your child has an autism spectrum disorder doesn't mean that they give up that right to the life and profession that they want. It may just take them longer to figure it out, that is all.

Most importantly, don't let anyone ever tell you that your child can't. The overriding issue is how to help them reach the destiny of their choice. Not allowing others to stand in their way is step one.


Until next time,


Elise