Monday, January 15, 2007

My Kids Are the Coolest

The weather around here has been abnormally cold, so we've spent a lot of time indoors. I took the boys to the McDonald's Playplace so they could climb and run around a bit without risking hypothermia.

While we were there, both boys played with all the children, and had a great time. My ASD son was extra special. He played with a little girl who couldn't seem to get anyone to play with her. He had a LEGO creature with him and he would take it apart and reassemble it in odd ways then act like the creature. He managed to make her laugh, and even got a couple of the other kids to come over and play with them both.

Sometimes they overwhelm me with the goodness in their hearts.

Friday, January 12, 2007

A Bad Memory

Today's post at NTs are Weird blog brought back a very painful memory for me. It was certainly not as severe, but it was an extremely painful life lesson, a scar that threatens to rip open at times.

Late in 5th grade, we moved from a suburb of a fairly large city to a small town. A very small, nearly non-existent town. It was beautiful, and I got the one thing I had wanted for years: a horse.

My first day of school I walked into class after registration to find my new teacher disciplining her class by making them copy pages out of the dictionary. I came in well after the incident had occurred, and I'm sure most of the students had no part in it, but I, along with everyone else, was forced to participate in this punishment. I knew then that things were going to be very different.

Previously, due to my good behavior and excellent grades, I had gotten on well with many of my teachers, and had been the pet of my previous 5th grade teacher. Yes, I had a few social difficulties, but I had done nothing too weird, and I was always willing to help.

It was a small school, and there was only one class for each grade. She was the only 5th grade teacher. I believe it was the next year (I am not positive) she became one of the teachers for the junior high / middle school students. We had different teachers for our subjects, and shared the same school with the elementary students. I don't remember which class she was teaching, but she seemed to develop an intense dislike for me that year.

If a student was not doing well, the teachers would send home notices to the parents and have a parent-teacher conference. That year (remember, I had never gotten into trouble for anything and had always carried an A average) I was called to the front of the class and handed one of these notices. She filled it out and announced the contents to everyone in the class. She gave me C minuses straight across (achievement, behavior and effort).

I took it home in shock. Half the class found it hysterically funny as I certainly was not a problem student and the other half seemed to be in shock with me.

Then came the conference. The teacher, in front of my mother, lied about me, belittled me, screamed at me, and my mother did nothing. Nothing. In fact, she turned on me, questioning me, the daughter who had never knowingly lied to her. I sat there sobbing, denying everything, asked the teacher to show my mother my work to show that it was good (the teacher refused, having destroyed it to prevent me from proving the lies), and my mother did not help me. She did not question a thing the teacher said, and she did nothing about the fact that I was being abused in front of her. I went home miserable, and my mother began to think that everything I had ever told her was a lie. Our relationship was never the same.

Now, certainly, this is nothing compared to the horrifying physical, mental and emotional abuse and neglect suffered by millions of children. But it doesn't change the fact that it left a huge scar on my soul, and caused the development of the extreme cynicism and lack of trust that are a large part of my personality.

It's impossible to forget something like that. And while I may have let it go enough for it to be considered forgiven, I lost my faith in my parents forever.

Robert Redford Is Making Me Angry

I know, I know. He doesn't really run the Sundance Festival anymore, but the announcement that I say yesterday that the movie "Autism Every Day" would be screened on January 21 at this year's festival has made me so angry it's ruining all my lovely memories of him in movies.

This is the letter I sent:

To Whom It May Concern:

I was incredibly upset to find out yesterday that Sundance would be screening "Autism Every Day" at this year's film festival.

The film (I can't call it a documentary as the slant of the bias shown is so great) seems to delight in portraying worst case scenarios, and mothers who have self-traumatized themselves with the guilt of bearing an imperfect child to the point that they openly discuss the murder of their autistic children and/or suicide, one of them in front of her child.

Autism Speaks rejects the growing evidence of medical studies that autism is genetic and/or congenital and not "curable." It is a physical condition that can be treated, as of now, with love, time, attention and kindness. It is not a condition that can be treated by chelation or HBOT or injections or any of the other therapies claimed as cures by the many quacks willing to prey on desperate parents.

It seems that many of the parents of autistic children do not want to accept that they might simply carry genetic material that has resulted in the birth of a child with autism, even though many of these parents, if properly tested, would themselves be diagnosed ASD.

This film is conscienceless and cruel, a lie and abuse, and may have even resulted in the murder of autistic children by their parents who had seen this film. The view of parents who murder their disabled children as doing a kindness to the child is despicable and horrifying, and has resulted in many of the parents who have been prosecuted for these murders receiving light sentences, some no more than probation, as if the selfishness and cruelty of their decision were acceptable and courageous.

I understand the frustrations of a parent with an autistic child, especially one that seems uncommunicative and withdrawn, and with other socially unacceptable behaviors, but to support this film does a disservice to the majority of ASD people in our society who make, and have made, good lives for themselves and others, full, complete, often exceptional lives. There have been many geniuses who have shown many symptoms of ASD, and who have contributed profoundly in both scientific and societal fields.

I would suggest that if you want to view some real films by and about autistics you go to YouTube and look up Posautive. Why don't you show some of these films during the festival? We would like to be heard.

[signed by Persephone]

Sunday, January 7, 2007

In the Car Tonight

On the way home, my NT son starts acting out a scene from a cartoon we've seen (The Adventures of Billy and Mandy). It's a cartoon about two kids who force Death to be their friend. Billy is extremely stupid. Anyway, my son starts copying Billy, saying, "They'll kill us all. Kill us all. Kill us all," in a drawn-out wail.

My ASD son says casually, "That wasn't my original plan, but, okay." We all started laughing.

Saturday, January 6, 2007


I love intelligent snarkiness. I believe in poking the complacent. But I have to be careful. Some people don't get it. Some only get it enough to be offended. Right now, I have to go back to the school and pull my son out of the clutches of the special education instructor.

When I first brought up my son's needs, while he was still in second grade, his teacher immediately arranged a meeting with the principal, the special education instructor, herself and us, his parents. The special education instructor had never heard of Asperger's. As we described his differences, his gifts and his needs, she attempted to force his behaviors into the boxes she knew about. None of these were related to anything ASD.

But we came out of the meeting, after making extremely clear our unhappiness with the SPB lack of knowledge and cooperation, with an agreed list of some simple things his teachers could do for the future to help him out, such as: he performs much better when he has a schedule laying out the time to be spent on each section (once he's in junior high, this won't be as important, as he will be changing classes for each section), letting him turn in homework done on the computer (instead of handwritten), earplugs for music class, giving him a few minutes to himself if he starts to melt down. Small things that can make a huge difference.

Well, the next year everything changed. The SPB apparently took a seminar on Asperger's because she was suddenly very interested in being part of our son's education. We agreed that he could go for some physical therapy once a week to help his small motor coordination. That was all we agreed to; it was the only reason we agreed to an ISP. But the therapy didn't happen that year or the next. If the school couldn't afford it, then they should have told us. They never did. We would have made other arrangements. But the real problem is that, this year, without our knowledge, the SPB began pulling him from class daily for "homework assistance." Bulls**t. She sent an ISP at the beginning of the school year. We didn't agree to it, beyond agreeing to physical therapy, and put this in writing. We didn't find out about the homework assistance for months.

When we did find out, we asked our son if he wanted to see the SPB for the homework assistance. He didn't seem to care either way. We let it go, and again requested, in writing, the physical therapy. Nothing has changed. The semester is ending. We've decided that he will no longer be under an ISP. We can arrange physical therapy through our health insurance.

As to the title, the SPB is completely clueless when it comes to snark. She doesn't get it. And anyone who doesn't get it should not be anywhere near my son, who understands snark, irony, puns, and the power of language (including the all-powerful pause). He could cut her into pieces and she would spend the entire conversation shifting each of his comments into a different box, to be assembled as his disability. Can you tell I hate her? She doesn't listen to anyone, at least not anyone without a doctorate. We're just bugs to be crushed on her way to getting her funding and filing her reports.

So, this must end. It will end.

Friday, January 5, 2007


Stimming has been brought up quite a bit. My favorite bit of stimming while on the computer? Scrolling through a large document, letting the text roll past my eyes. I find this very soothing, especially on a busy, stressful day.

I do find myself waggling my fingers a bit when I'm kicking my brain into "computer mode." My son briefly taps his fingers on his head when he's seriously working something out. I think of it as shifting and engaging the clutch as I gear up.

Yes, I'm very mechanical. I love machines. Love learning how they work. Love making them work. I'm really good at doing beta testing on software and hardware as I will put the test item through its paces. I've killed computers. I've killed programs. But I was supposed to.

If anyone has a weird request, they usually ask for me first, because even if I don't know a way to do something, I'll try everything I can to get the requested result.

My son's dearest toys have been his LEGO sets. But this year he kept looking at video cameras. So I got him a compact digital video recorder. He announced last night that if he doesn't get into NASA, he's going to be a movie director. I could handle being the mother of the next Steven Spielberg.

From comments at Autism Diva part 1

This is part of a huge comment I made at Autism Diva, which resulted in my actually starting to blog on the subject:

Anecdotal: I realized I had a gluten intolerance long before I ever heard of Asperger's. My son and I have not been officially diagnosed, but we meet a good proportion of the criteria for a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome. He also has a gluten intolerance. We're also both part Irish. My gluten intolerance did not show up until I was twelve, my son's until he was ten.We don't seem to have any problems with dairy.My family physician and his pediatrician have approached the problem this way: if cutting the item out of the diet ends the unpleasant symptoms, then you're probably allergic or intolerant. Doing a biopsy may make it official, but it's a dangerous procedure just to make a definitive diagnosis when the problem will be treated in the same way after the diagnosis as it was before.

There's an incredibly high rate of gluten intolerance and celiac disease among the Irish. Why? It's probably related to the low levels of wheat in the diet of the Irish. Even when Ireland was basically a wheat factory for England, nearly all the crop was exported by the English landholders. That's why the Irish became so dependent on the potato. It's quite possible that a higher level of wheat in the diet would either have resulted in a better adaptation, or simply killed off the segment of the population that could not digest the gluten.

Is there a higher level of ASD among the Irish? I don't know. They seem to have a higher rate of eccentricity, insanity, genius and misery. Autism? Asperger's? Maybe.

Or maybe it just happens that the gluten intolerance makes us a little bit off mentally.

What I have found is that nearly any type of vegetable protein causes problems for me. This includes MSG, that lovely soy protein derivative. This also means I won't be a vegetarian unless it's forced on me, as gluten and soy are huge parts of many vegetarian diets.

Maybe this way I can avoid being a real autistic (as determined by David Kirby) by not having diarrhea pouring down my legs. Wow. I didn't know it was so simple.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Beauty and the Geek

I love this show. I'm totally on the side of the geeks, but a few of the girls always turn out to be able to get past their usual persona and grow a bit, along with the geeks. However, the sooner Cecille is gone the better. Unfortunately, Nate could go all the way. I would hate to see him out because of her. Cecille is the biggest bag of ballast on the show. If Tori had teamed up with Nate, she'd probably still be on the show.

OMG, wasn't Sheree awesome?!

Okay, so what does this have to do with ASD? Duh! Look at these guys! They're all very intelligent and most of them show obvious behaviors associated with autism/Asperger's. But look how well they've done. Maybe not socially, which NTs consider to be the most or second most important area of success. Look at these guys. Every one of them will succeed in their chosen fields, maybe even make some huge new discovery and, sooner or later, they'll probably all get married (for life), have kids and pass on their excellent genes.

The girls? Not so good an outlook. Sheree will succeed. She will succeed because she knows there's more out there than how she looks on Saturday night. The others, well, we'll see how things unfold.

First Post. Woo hoo?

Wow, after commenting at Autism Diva, she kindly handed out my blog address, so now I must actually blog. FYI, I do have a blog at livejournal that I haven't updated in two months. (I've been sick and several other problems have been weighing down on me, including the holidays.) That blog is more of current events, especially spiritual and civil rights commentary.

This one will be about every day life for an Asperger's adult with an Asperger's son and typical son.

As to the URL, that refers to me, oh, most definitely me, especially as my family is originally from the South. While I may not be "right," I'm a hell of a lot better than those who *may* be.