Friday, May 31, 2013

Captain Picard on Violence Against Women and PTSD

For all those who loved Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard in STNG. This is what the man really stands for.....

Heather on her hug.

Big hullabaloo in NY because Captain Picard claimed apparently he had never eaten pizza til last week...seriously...  AHHHH... he clarified the pizza issue the other day.....this was the first time he ate pizza without a knife and fork....honestly he is so British.


h/t Upworthy

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mr. GS' Senior Thesis: A History of Antisemitism in the Arab and Moslem World

I think I found a way to upload Mr.GS' senior thesis to the internet. I actually uploaded it to my wordpress political blog, which allows for document uploads. I can now link to it. Yes there are easier ways to do this. Yes, I found a rather convoluted way I know.  But I think it works.


Proud momma,


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Team Tesla versus Team Edison

One of the more interesting aspects of parenting children with non-typical interests is the discussions that you have daily in your household. CM2 offhandedly mentioned to me that he happened to be on Team Tesla.  It was not part of any discussion we had been having or anything we were doing at the time. In fact, it was not part of the moment except for what was happening inside CM2's rather big brain. Fortunately, without missing a beat, I was able to join in his "personal discussion" for luckily, this was not the first time I had ever heard of how Nicola Tesla was cheated and maligned by Thomas Edison.

In truth, Tesla is somewhat of a folk hero of aspergean proportions. A genius who didn't quite get the schmoozing part of being an inventor. An individual who tended to annoy and alienate those who were best able to see to his financial well being. Tesla, I would say, is a cautionary tale told to the brilliant but socially clueless of today.

I also have to say that I am partial to Tesla because I rather enjoyed the SyFy show Sanctuary which prominently featured a character based upon Nicola Tesla.

Meanwhile, I mentioned how the next pet that we adopt, we should name that pet Tesla since we are on Team Tesla as opposed to Team Edison. It was a rather innocuous remark made with the best intentions. Well I have to say it began a search for truth and honesty by Mr. GS. Here is the email I just received:

Dear Elise Ronan,
    I have accidentally looked up articles that shows how your "Team Tesla" idea should be reexamined based on the information provided in them. The links are below and I expect you to look at them if you are open minded enough like any adult should be. Here are the links:

    Whatever opinion you have after reading these articles, I guess we can say that the Tesla vs Edison debate and the controversies surrounding it will always invite different opinions from whoever reads them for years to come. All we can do is read these and other articles and decide for ourselves what is the right course to take regarding your "Team Tesla" idea. Thank you for your time.

Mr. GS

Yes, I read all the links and can see the controversy does not always have a definitive answer.

I still want to name the next pet after Team Tesla.

I love how when he is serious my oldest refers to me by my proper name instead of "mom."

Mr. GS needs to start his masters program really really really soon.


Friday, May 24, 2013

MEMORIAL DAY 2013: Freedom is not Free

This weekend we honor those who gave their lives for this nation. It is fitting that we remember that Freedom is not free.

We sleep well at night because rough men (and women) stand ready to do violence in our name...George Orwell

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.

Our sons and daughters are still operating in fields of battle and could use some "loving" from home.

Go HERE to order any number of care packages from Soldier's Angels and remind these wonderful young people that they serve a grateful nation.

Or help those that have returned from fields of battle and need our support at Wounded Warrior Project.

Meanwhile the new Star Trek movie is dedicated to an organization that helps place veterans in positions where their skills will be happily utilized The Mission Continues.



May God bless them and keep them,
May he shine his countenance upon them,
May God grant us all PEACE.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Practicality: 21 is Easier than 10

Got an interesting email from a friend last night that mentioned how her daughter was 10 going on 21. I told her that 21 is easier than "10 going on 21"...promise.

Now having raised boys, I can honestly say that I have no idea what its like to raise girls. I wont even hazard a guess what its like. I know everyone likes to tell you that boys are easier than girls.....of course most of them have no boys or are blissfully unaware that the hard part of raising boys is that they don't talk to you about what ails them.

Yes I know that women complain that there are no manly men any more. Men cry and talk about their feelings on Dr. Phil, but that quite frankly isn't the message our young men truly are getting. Alpha males are still the epitome of who boys want to be and alpha males do not cry, talk about their feelings or exhibit any angst whatsoever. For all of Tony Stark's or Wolverine's introspection, the reality is that they are lauded for the historical maleness, the alpha male components of their characters.

Heck one of the biggest criticisms of the new Star Trek movie is that Spock cries. OK, Vulcans are not supposed to show emotion, but Spock is half human. The half he accepted by joining Star Fleet over the Vulcan Science Academy after the chairman of the VSA disrespected Spock's mother. So what is really wrong with Spock crying? Nothing. But there is quite the hullabaloo among Trekkies over this little change in the timeline. Vulcans are devoid of emotion. Very alpha male.

The inability of young males to discuss their feelings, or the societal prohibition that  its not manly to complain and its better to keep everything inside, is  the reason why suicide rates for adolescent boys are much higher than for girls. So most of the fights we actually had with the boys over the years is to try to get them to open-up about what was going on inside them. It's better today. Especially where Mr. Graduate Student (Mr. GS formerly CM1) is concerned. He is also 22 years old and is developing nicely into a young adult. Now, CM2 doesn't openly discuss his feelings, (sometimes we do have a meltdown over things he finds frustrating or overwhelming) but  I also know that if I don't get yelled at by CM2 at least once every few hours he is physically ill or engrossed in a video game. Well at least that is something.

Nonetheless, I found adolescence awful. It's not just the hormonally induced obnoxious behavior, but couple that with the aspergean inability to channel emotional changes and social interactions, you have a rather combustable mix at times. A rather over the top adolescent version of self-interest, self-importance, self-esteem issues and egocentrism run amok in a world that they simply don't understand.

Ten is the cusp of adolescence.  In today's world 10-year-olds carry cell phones, go on Facebook (well some of them), IM with their friends and shop at Abercrombie and Fitch (that store is a discussion for another day altogether). The girls are past sleep overs where they watch Disney movies and have moved on to Twilight and Vampire Diaries. The boys have gone from Harry Potter to the Avengers, Thor and Japanese Anime. Hard core competition kicks in at this stage too. Either in school where grades are becoming the way your children get channeled for middle school and beyond or hardcore sports competition begins (or in many children's realities they have to deal with all of the above). Every parent knows that a college sports scholarship, especially in these days of $50,000 a year tuition, is hard won and takes decades of practice to earn.

But 10-year-olds still feel like little kids at times, which in truth they are. But everything in society tells them that they need to grow up and grow up fast. It's scary. Its frightening. Its confusing beyond anything they have every dealt with. So they lash out. They lash out in not so good ways. Mostly they take it out on you..the full-time caregiver parent. The one who sets the rules and carries them out. The task master and guardian. The one who pulls them back from the brink even when they don't think they are going towards a cliff.

It's hard. This push and pull me relationship. It is the job of the adolescent to try to pull away from the parent. It is their job to try to become more independent and to try to spread their wings. It is the job of the adolescent to test the boundaries of life and to fight with their parents every inch of the way. And it is your, so important job, to try to stop them at every turn.

As the child grows into those very precarious adolescent years, it is your job to make certain that they learn the rules of life as an adult. They need to understand the who, what, where, when and why of every scenario they get themselves into. You need to teach them how to analyze their choices and how to make good productive choices in the end. And our society's culture fights you every step of the way. But this too they need to understand and to reason with. They need to understand that society is not always right and that peers are not always right and that teachers are not always right and yes, even you are not always right (heavens say it ain't so). They need to know that they can disagree with everyone and everything and you will always be there for them, support them and above all love them.

It gets better. At 22 Mr. GS is a doll. Does he have his moments? Of course, we all do. But he has matured and understands the role he plays in the world (well sort of). He has some kind of direction in his life and he knows, we are there for him no matter what.

CM2 at 19, well he is still quite a piece of work. Still testing the boundaries and trying to get away with crap. For aspergeans they say they are 1/3 years behind their peer counterparts for maturity. If that is so, then CM2 is more like a 16-year-old then a college junior. It makes sense with some of the attitude and meltdowns that he has had lately. Stress, anxiety and self-esteem issues were our biggest traumas this past semester. It was not easy. It is not easy when you are dealing with a legal aged adult child who still needs alot more supervision than his peers.

He knows he is different in that regard than his peers and he resents it in some ways.  No he doesn't resent the autism part. He revels in his autism.  In fact on twitter he has proudly exposed himself as an aspergean in his profile (Also characterized himself as Jewish too. No there is no self-esteem issue about who he is at all.) It is the parental supervision he resents.

He complained bitterly about me on twitter the other day. He can't understand how after blocking me I can still read his timeline...but momma has her ways...hehehehehehehe...and he does need to be watched. He had to learn not to give out too much identifiable information, fight with the wrong people or bring unwanted negative reactions to his profile. He learned to have positive interactions on line, well somewhat. But I had to go in and teach him after reading some of his earlier tweets. This too is a social learning skill that aspergeans need to know.

The truth of the matter is, that adolescence and the teen years are hard. It takes parental support, vigilance and determination to get your children through unscathed. Add in special needs and it can be overwhelming at times. I won't lie to you one bit. Like liberty, adolescence requires eternal vigilance on the part of the parent. I have no magic bullet. No true practical solutions for anyone except follow your instincts. If something tells you this is no good then it is. If something tells you to oversee what they are doing, find a way to do it. Passwords, computer histories and strict rights and wrongs are a must. Keep an eye on who their friends are and how they are brought up and what their perspectives in life happen to be. Don't be afraid to fight with your children. Set limits and boundaries even more strict than you ever did when they were little ones. In truth its not your children you don't trust. It is the world you don't trust. It is that one moment when their adolescent lapse in judgement could change the trajectory of their lives forever that you fear the most.

I read a great saying years ago about raising children: if your child doesn't tell you they "hate" you at least once a day, you are not doing your job as a parent well. I learned along time ago that before I can be my child's friend I need to be their parent. I have always followed that rule. It has worked well so far. In the meantime, I always keep my fingers crossed and a prayer in my heart too.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

When You Are Reminded That Life is Not Fair

I am not sure when I had decided that I wasn't allowed to be sad or have moments of angst when it came to the boys' autism. I think that years ago I simply decided that to do what needed to be done I had to go outside myself and deal with reality without being angry, sad or quite frankly jealous. I remember when I felt this huge weight lift off my shoulders when I no longer blamed God, hashem, yahweh, an almighty (pick your omnipresent wraith), but just came to realize that sometimes we are handed a deck of cards that we simply did not expect and that grownups deal with life as it hits you not as you fantasized about it.

So I got better. I didn't really sit and think about what could have been or what should have been, simply because that was not our life and it would not have helped either boy one iota. But this week those feelings of sadness came back. I think these feelings reemerge every time there is some kind of milestone in our lives that involve the boys. I am reminded that they do live outside the typical path that their peers follow.

It's not that their path is not a good one for the boys. It is simply their path as opposed to someone else's. But when they still are not comfortable participating in life's milestones I feel a loss for them. CM1 doesn't care to go to his graduation this weekend. He doesn't want to sit and listen to speeches, while people pontificate at him about his future. Honestly not going to the graduation itself doesn't bother me. He feels he has more school to go so it doesn't pay to go to celebrate. He's not really done.

Our compromise was that he had to buy a cap and gown and let me take pictures which he did. See post here.

But the sadness overcame me last night. Apparently CM1 was given some kind of honor or award (which one we don't know right now) at a special ceremony for graduating seniors. They keep it a secret at the boys' college until the awards are actually handed out, but we were given a kind-of-heads-up that he should be there. He in true fashion didn't want to go. It's because he doesn't understand how special these things are and concepts like "academic honors" simply do not matter to him. The sadness came when I saw the tweet from the college congratulating all those who received honors.

He doesn't understand no matter how many times we tell him that his is a great accomplishment, college in and of itself is something most people do not do or even aspire to. He doesn't see anything he has done over the past years as something special, but something necessary in order for him to accomplish what he truly wants out of life. He sees school as an initiation rite to gain entrance to the exclusive club of adulthood.

He also doesn't like accolades. It embarrasses him. He doesn't know how to process the emotions that come along with being held up as a positive example. He doesn't know how to process the emotions that come with being positively acknowledged. Oh he enjoys getting As, but its a private and personal thing. As long as it isn't held up to the world he is fine.

I used to think it was the overall sensory issue of things like graduation or ceremonies that kept CM1 away. But as I look back over the years its really about him feeling overwhelmed emotionally and not knowing how to deal with what wells up inside him. He couldn't handle his bar mitzvah party either. Everyone was in the greatroom having a fun time while the DJ partied away. Meanwhile, CM1 was in another room with hubby sitting by themselves, because he was too overwhelmed.

So I feel sad. Sad because my son, who has accomplished so much (so much that he isn't even aware of how unique he is in the realm of the world) can't enjoy his accomplishments or the public acknowledgement that comes with a job well done. My sadness reminds me of how I felt when CM1 was in the self-contained kindergarten class and as I went to visit him one day in school, I passed a typical kindergarten where the children were in circle, singing, clapping and laughing. Something that CM1 couldn't do at the time. I remember it took all my effort to not cry.

Don't also tell me that others have it worse. I'm not ignorant. But because there is tragedy in the world doesn't take away from the fact that my child can't enjoy simple milestones in his life. I remember, one day I was lamenting about CM1 not being able to drive to a neighbor, whose sons are the all American boys. She told me there are worse things than 17-year-olds who can't drive because of their epilepsy...shmuck really had no idea who she was talking to. Meanwhile, incidents like this is why I never talk to the general public about anything.

I wish CM1 would allow himself to be proud of his accomplishments. And yes he should understand that it is OK if the world wants to congratulate him on a job well done. And yes there should be some way for him to assimilate the emotions that come with public praise. Unfortunately so far we haven't found a way to help him with that issue. We keep working towards that goal.

I joke that he will be the first person in history to email the Nobel Prize Committee that he is too busy to come get his award and that they should just send him the certificate. However he will tell them, that he would be willing to fax in his acceptance speech for someone else to read. I say he lacks the venal nature of most human beings (well actually he does). I laugh and shrug it off and move on to the next issue at hand.

In the meantime I feel sad this morning on the day of his graduation. Not for myself but because I know what he is missing. I know how life is different for him and how hard things still are for him. I guess at some point I had this unrealistic vision that  life would get easier for him as he got older. That meeting life's challenges would come easier for him. On days like today I am reminded that for CM1, life will always be a bit of a struggle that others do not have to deal with.

Yes I know he is up to the task. But as his mother I know too it's just not fair.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The IRS, Obamacare and Abuse of Political Power: An Issue

There are new controversies surrounding Obamacare now that the IRS is mired in a political scandal. These emerging issues surround federal government control of medical/healthcare rights/information and the abuse of political power. The Wall Street Journal has an interesting insight into the problem:

Even as the politicized tax enforcement scandal expands, the Internal Revenue Service continues to expand its political powers thanks to the Affordable Care Act. A larger government always creates more openings for abuse, as Americans will learn when the IRS starts auditing their health care in addition to their 1040 next year.

Over the last decade or so the tax agency has stretched its portfolio and become an enforcer and decision-maker for government benefits and programs. Three years ago, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson, who operates within the IRS, presciently noted that ObamaCare is "the most extensive social benefit program the IRS has been asked to implement in recent history."

This March the IRS Inspector General reiterated that ObamaCare's 47 major changes to the revenue code "represent the largest set of tax law changes the IRS has had to implement in more than 20 years." Thus the IRS is playing Thelma to the Health and Human Service Department's Louise. The tax agency has requested funding for 1,954 full-time equivalent employees for its Affordable Care Act office in 2014.

Read the entire article HERE 

These are issues that need to be vigorously debated. If a Presidential Administration can use the power of the IRS to harass and malign its political opponents, then what does the IRS and HHS having life and death rights over these same political opponents mean? What if you object to the government's handling of a controversy and the first issue asked is not "how is your health" but "do you belong to the right political party?" This is how life was in the Soviet Union and still is  in totalitarian/oligarchical  nations.  Think this is a hysterical approach? Ask the people harassed by the IRS because they belong to conservative political groups or to pro-Israel groups that didn't follow in-lock-step with the President's view of the Middle East, or taught about the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights (it seems under these criteria my entire family is up the creek without a paddle) and then tell me it can't happen here.

Furthermore, an additional aspect of the controversy appeared yesterday. Apparently the IRS gave private tax information of conservatives to politically left-leaning groups during the Presidential campaign. The powers that be continually tell us that under Obamacare our health documents would be sacrosanct. After the recent revelations about IRS conduct, it is apparent that the inherent potential for abuse dangerously exists.

One of the biggest issues we have dealt with for the boys was making sure that their medical records and their privacy is maintained. We are still dealing with a society that is characterized by a terrible bigotry when it comes to learning and developmental disabilities, as well as a continuing ignorance about mental health issues. The leaking of private health information, by any political operative or "enemy,"  can doom an individual's future without that person even knowing about it.

Think I am being paranoid read this article from FORBES, "The IRS Raids 60 million Personal Healthcare Records." or "IRS faces class action lawsuit over theft of 60 million medical records."

There is a reason why so many of our Founding Fathers were anti-Federalists. The recent revelations of abuse, and potential for abuse, should put a chill into anyone who values their civil, legal privacy right to basically be left alone and be allowed the dignity of making their own healthcare decisions without government intrusion. Furthermore, my post from last year (below) asks some more questions about Obamacare that never have been answered. It seems, as usual in Washington DC, no one cares to tackle the hard questions.


I am not against many of the provisions in Obamacare. I am against the reality of the abuse it can generate. The following post was originally written when the country thought the Supreme Court would overturn Obamacare. Meanwhile, as we all know, the law was upheld, but this does not make the following underlying issues any less poignant.

And no I don't call it the Affordable Care Act. As anyone paying attention will tell you, the reality is that insurance premiums, because of Obamacare, are predicted to rise either 100-400% before full implementation of the law. There is nothing affordable about that.

Repost from June 2012

Overturning all of the Healthcare Bill…yes yes yes, state’s rights, overreach of the federal government..death panels and a preeminent HHS…yes I agree for the most part.

Meanwhile my almost 22-year-old will not be able to buy insurance for himself. He has multiple disabilities and epilepsy. He only goes to school part-time (part-time students cannot buy health insurance). He does not have a job where they offer health insurance. So instead of telling my son he is not growing up quick enough or telling us we didn’t raise him to be an adult, how about Congress actually taking a look at how screwed up the insurance industry is and doing something about it. (By the way, we never asked for government services for him beyond educational rights and do not plan to.)

It is a good thing, especially in today’s economy that 26-year-olds can stay on their parents insurance. It is a good thing that you cannot be denied because of pre-existing conditions..but how about a cap on what the insurance companies can charge you? What good is an offer of an insurance policy if the monthly cost is astronomical?

Do I want government telling me what to do or which doctor to go to? No I do not. But I do not like it when the insurance companies do it either.

Do I want a government social worker deciding my children’s future?…Absolutely not. That is why we never applied for government benefits for our son. (He has been told too often that he cannot do. He has been disrespected too often because of his disability. I will not allow others to decide his future.) But if you think that insurance companies don’t tell you what you can and cannot do for your disabled offspring you are wrong. When insurance won’t pay for a therapy and the support your child's needs, you need to figure out a way to afford it. Most in this world cannot. If you think this isn’t akin to a death panel you are mistaken.

So all of you out there who think overturning the entirely of the HealthCare Law will be some kind of victory, let me tell you it will be a fleeting victory…hopefully Congress will not play any games and pass a new law filled with everything that the average American liked about the HealthCare Law. But I doubt it. In Washington, we the taxpayer does not matter, it is party politics all the time.

Also, some more big question, if I as a taxpayer have to pay for public hospitals and noone can be turned away regardless of ability to pay (a good thing) why shouldn’t people have to carry health insurance? Why do I have to pay for someone else and their lifestyle and their poor decision-making? Why can’t health insurance be affordable for the average person? Why can’t you travel with your health insurance (yes use of the Commerce Clause can be employed to overturn this directive)? Why does some state legislature, who has been lobbied by the insurance industry, get to decide if  a medical procedure is appropriate for your child or not? Why do I have to pay for medical procedures I will never use? Why can’t I pick what I want in my plan instead of being given a fait accompli overarching plan by the insurance company via the state legislature? Somehow I do not think the founding father’s really thought about the healthcare monopoly when they compromised about state versus federal power in the Constitution.

Do I want socialized medicine? I have news for everyone we already have it here in the US in the guise of Medicaid and Medicare. How hard would it be to stretch these programs to include a progressive payment option for those who can’t buy insurance and believe you me, there are plenty who want insurance and keep getting denied (ask any person with a disability.)

What we don’t have is healthcare that keeps the average person in mind. The Constitution was written to ensure that government can not encroach upon our rights. But do we not also have a right not to die, to be treated with respect instead of contempt and to not give up our rights to corporations? I wonder how many in this world carrying on with their libertarian ideals and their holier than though attitudes toward healthcare ever had to decide on food versus medicine/therapy for your child (including adult children)?

Shame on all of you getting ready to open up that bottle of champagne.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Summer Volunteering Has Begun...Yippee

The boys' semester has ended and they are once again helping out at the Audubon Sanctuary. This week they are assisting in planting a "native" garden. And no, I am not helping with the planting. I will clean toilets but I don't do "dirt" (and yes I understand that in a post-apocalyptic world where we would have to grow our own food, I would go hungry)....

I do have to admit it is not going as smoothly as I would have hoped. In all truth, CM1 is just fine, asking for help and doing what he is supposed to albeit not truly happy to be digging so early in the morning. CM2 in his usual manner is being grumpy. This negative attitude that he started sometime his sophomore year is continuing and it is not pleasant. I do understand that it is the age. I just can't wait for him "to grow out of it" as they say....

This is one of those times when "autism meets typical adolescent growth and development." I remember when the special ed teachers at the high school thought it was funny that I can handle anything "autism" can throw at me but typical adolescent  nonsense sets me on edge. Like today.

I suppose that puts me in the category with most other parents. I just don't get adolescents. I remember when I was asked to do something I did it. I might not have been happy but I did it. I didn't sit there bitching and moaning and making myself miserable. I did it and got it over with. In truth I wonder at times, if it really is a cultural issue. Has society changed that much that our children are different then we were? Yes, I understand every generation feels that way.

Luckily the youngwoman who runs the Audubon program has a terrific instinct on how to use the boys and how to get them to enjoy what they are doing. Right now she redirected them into a different project associated with the new garden. She also isn't afraid to tell them to behave and to let them know that they are being socially inappropriate.

Also there is another woman who is working with them whom they know from last year and she understands them as well. It was just related to me that this woman has been trying to engage CM2 in small talk. He, as is his nature, was quite resistant. In fact she asked him did he know why she was trying to talk to him about little things. He said no. She explained to him when you work with people its nice to be able to converse with them. (Another much needed social skill) CM2 in his rather blunt way rejected her theory. (So I am told).

I honestly believe we lucked out in having the boys volunteer here. The people are kind and understanding. They, knowing the boys now for over a year, are not shy about correcting them and directing their behaviors. I suppose that is the crux of the matter isn't it. The place that you put your children should always be a learning experience of some kind or the other.

Actually as we have learned over the years, and as some studies have shown, the thing that does most aspergeans in when they enter the real work-a-day-world is the social deficits they deal with everyday. If you can get your children into a situation where the people around them understand that this issue is something to be worked on, not something to hold against them, and something to be guided so that they learn, you have found a really good situation.

Now of course this is a volunteer activity and I don't expect businesses to really spend too much time teaching social skills. Yes human resources will give instruction to people about appropriateness in the workplace, but they too go just so far. Everyone is usually allowed a whoopsidaisy as long as the activity in question is not criminal. Yet if by the time they do enter the workforce there is at least some modicum of understanding of "office social rules" then your aspergeans will be ahead of the game.

By the way, the youngwoman director told me that CM2's attitude is much better than last year. Well that's something and gives me a hope that there is a light at the end of the obnoxious behavior tunnel.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Never Give Up and Never Give In

Twenty years ago we were told that there were no guarantees for our oldest son. He was diagnosed with PDD-NOS. He was terribly speech delayed. He couldn't interact socially at age level. He had begun to have obsessions and meltdowns. He was hyperlexic (even though he did understand what he read.) He needed structure and security. He worried and perseverated. He didn't hug or kiss.

The way the doctors made it sound was that there was no future for our child. And almost every psychiatric and social work professional, when he was young, would reiterate the same scenario. Well needlesstosay, I fired every last one of them and found people who understood that CM1 was going to have a future. I found educational professionals who understood how bright my son is and found ways to access that intelligence. I found a village that knew my son was allowed to have a future even if the psychiatric literature said it was impossible.

CM1 will be graduating next Saturday from college. He will be receiving a bachelor of arts degree in history with a minor in holocaust studies. He has a 3.5 GPA. Even better yet, he has grown into a loving, caring, funny, kind youngman who likes to hug you when he is happy. He is thinking about his future and what he wants to do with his life. He is making plans and thinking about the world around him. He has opinions. He has goals. He is unafraid and fearless in the face of his future, sort of like most 22-year-olds.

i have to say that the nice aspect of these graduation robes is that those receiving bachelor degrees get to wear academic/scholar hoods. Unlike with graduate hoods the colors are not indicative of their major but only the school colors. I think it adds a nice extra bit of pomp and circumstance to the event.

CM1 does not want to go to his graduation ceremony. Not only does he not care to sit there for several hours listening to some stranger pontificate about his future, but he isn't done with school so he thinks graduation is a waste of time. I won't push him. It's not important to upset him. The accomplishment of college graduation is however something to be acknowledged and celebrated. We are going to celebrate with a special trip to his favorite restaurant. He already had that rather nice size glass of champagne when he finished his last exam. 

He begins his masters program in computer science this summer. 

Now CM1 did promise me that he would let me take pictures of him in his graduation regalia. Yeah, its a parent thing and one hell of a huge victory. A victory against the naysayers and the know-it-alls who would have pushed our son into another future. One where he had no voice in his life.

Having been involved in the autism community now for several decades, I am well aware of how lucky our sons happen to be. That the therapies and the drugs and the educational interventions really did work for them. 

But I think in the end, every child with autism is a clean slate. To make a decision about a person's future when they are 2,3, 13 or an adult is hubris at best and incompetence at its worst. No one has knowledge of the future and no one knows what will happen when it comes to science, therapy and supports. To disregard a person, to see the disability first and not the human being is quite frankly a sin before God

Every person with autism is entitled to every bit of help to be the best that they can be. In today's world we find that the old wives-tales about autistic individuals are ignorant and prejudicial. Being non-verbal is not an indication of lesser-intellect. Being overly sensitive to stimuli is not an indication of further mental health problems. Being obsessive and structure oriented does not mean they cannot function in the real world, even if they need help in some way. Being literal, not able to deal with sarcasm or abstract ideas does not mean the person cannot reason, think and analyze.

Never let anyone tell you that your child cannot accomplish a goal or accomplish something they enjoy. There are ways to give your child what they need and allow them to be all that they can be. There are ways to ensure that your child lives a happy life. 

Never give up and never give in...don't ever let anyone tell you your child can't. There is always a way that they can. I know for a fact that this is the truth, because my sons are the embodiment of that proof.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ignorance About Learning Disabilities Abound

The following from a  well-known blogger including my retorts. By the way I never got a response.

The hubby constantly tells me that we need to continue to protect the boys and not allow others to know their real names because there is still a terrible prejudice against those with learning disabilities in society. At times, I think he is being paranoid.

After yesterday on twitter I realize that he understands the venal and ignorant nature of the world alot better than I do. I suppose I give educated people too much credit.


Monday, May 6, 2013

So While I'm Home Doing Chores.....

This is where brilliant-computer-sis is spending her time....

Nope its not Vegas nor Epcot. It's the real deal.  I'm not really all that really I'm not....well OK maybe a little.

Does being a little bit jealous make me a bad sister? I am really glad for her that she's there. In truth she has this ongoing love affair with that city. When she's there she's in her true element. There she is truly happy.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Oh No He's Sick....

Yep this is our house at the moment...only I have no place to pretend to run off to...

He can't bend over because his sinuses hurt....

We also have no soup...

He isn't happy.....

But he still wants tacos for dinner because its Cinco de Mayo this weekend. You bet I have already started that margarita.

In the meantime, he is going to study Spanish this summer and has decided to start to calling me names in Spanish. Something about me being el stupido....I won't worry until he starts calling me a pendajo. But maybe he'll pay attention in class if he thinks he can pick on me and I can't tell......

So now he's a germ infested cranky adolescent swearing at me in Spanish who has to study for finals this weekend.......oh the joys of motherhood.