Let’s Get to Flailin’…

Facebook has become a wonderful place for me to meet some really awesome folks, and most of the time, these lovelies have me in stitches with the things they post. I recently had the pleasure of viewing the Ryan Gosling, Hey Girl (Special Needs) edition, courtesy of Sunday Stilwell, and man! Is this stuff funny! Continue reading

Living with Alzheimer’s While Raising Autism

A medical diagnosis, of any kind, can be life-altering.  A life that once offered some measure of stability would now be forever changed.

In 2005, our family received two blows to our way of living.  That April, my son was diagnosed with autism, and a few months later, my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

What is very interesting about the two disorders is they both affect a person’s neurodevelopment; however, the affects are experienced at the opposite ends of a person’s life.  While autism affects the youth and how they interact with the world, Alzheimer’s typically affects the elderly (over 65) and, ultimately, their interaction with the world outside. Continue reading

Calming Autism.

You’re probably getting tired of me always plugging Twitter, but I can’t help myself!  The place rocks!

A couple of weeks ago, one of my Tweeps approached me to review an auditory calming system manufactured by his company, B-CalmSound.com!

I’m all for testing new gadgets, so I said, “Yes!”

At first glance, the system just looks like your average mp3 player, but it’s the sound tracks that deliver the gifts. Continue reading

A Very Special Sorority.

Although, I obtained my BA, I was never one for sororities.   However, life sure is funny because I now find myself part of a sorority I don’t remember joining yet I am very grateful for the sisterhood.

To You, My Sisters
By Maureen K. Higgins

Many of you I have never even met face to face, but I’ve searched you out every day. I’ve looked for you on the Internet, on playgrounds and in grocery stores. Continue reading

Going into Cyber Hibernation.

I haven’t been taking the time to smell the roses lately, and life is quickly passing me by.

Soon, my prince will be 8 years, and I don’t want to be left wandering where the years went.  I want to be the parent who can account for practically every blessed moment.

I have thoroughly enjoyed blogging, but I have also allowed this little activity to consume much of my time.  Although, I am an excellent mutli-tasker, I have let my online activities get the better of me. Continue reading

Homeschool H.E. Double Hockey Sticks!

Disclaimer: My son is homeschooled (son as in I only have one child).  I just found this video to be really funny since this is how most people in our society “see” homeschooling families. Thanks to @MrsChico for the heads up!

Indeed!

Update: I know this is Wordless Wednesday, but I wanted everyone to know that this picture is the logo of a great blog called, you guessed it, Autism is beautiful!

Knowing When to Let Go.

Folks who know me pretty well know that I’ve been “searching” for ways to be “at peace” with my yesterdays of many days gone by as well as “searching” for ways that will alleviate my “need-to-know-what-is-yet-to-come” … right now.

I cannot tell you how many books or CDs or podcasts or web bookmarks I have that offer up the information I seek.

I also cannot tell you why I have been unable to connect with this information that is so readily available to me. Continue reading

Do It to Give Back, Not to Get Rich.

I don’t know why eyebrows raise whenever I mention that a portion of my book’s proceeds benefit the Tulsa Autism Foundation.

Apparently, donating a portion of one’s royalty fundage isn’t something you hear a first-time author doing.  And from the looks of things, most well-established authors don’t partake in this little activity either.

Why is that? Continue reading

Lordy, Lordy! I’m No Longer 40!

Wow, 40 years have come and gone!  Where did the time go?

Although, I’ve only been 41 for a few days now, I feel as if I’ve reached a pivotal point in this journey called life.

Excuse me while I venture back in time…

January 8, 1968:  The world welcomed my birth with open arms.  Actually, my mother rejected me 3 times because she thought the nurses had switched me.  Looks like it doesn’t pay to be born a lighter shade of pale to a woman of color… in the 60s!  Thank goodness for persistence!  I guess the 3rd time truly was a charm. Continue reading

Head Thumpin’ for Hump Day!

Happy Holidays (or Not)!

Wishing you and yours a wonderful and safe holiday season! Or if you don’t celebrate the holidays, just, ummm, wishing you well!  :D

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The Bittersweet Ingredient In Chocolate.

Is this post about autism?  No, it isn’t.  Then again, I don’t always blog about autism.  Tonight’s post is about another topic of which I am very passionate about.  I’m an advocate… what can I say?

I like chocolate, but I don’t love chocolate.   I know a lot of people who can’t live without it; I think they call refer to themselves as “chocoholics”.

Most of us don’t always pay attention to how that tasty bar or little kiss came to be.  We don’t normally put a whole lot of thought into it because we don’t want to ruin the moment.

Some of you may only look as far as the label and that may very well be the extent of your concern.

Then again, some of you may look beyond it, and see the dirty little secret that most chocolate sellers don’t want you to know.

Man!  I feel like this post is about to turn into the sequel of The Da Vinci Code©. ;)

The following is an excerpt from a Global Exchange article.

In 2000, a report by the US State Department concluded that in recent years approximately 15,000 children aged 9 to 12 have been sold into forced labor on cotton, coffee and cocoa plantations in the north of the country. A June 15, 2001 document (PDF 850kb) released by the Geneva, Switzerland-based International Labor Organization (ILO) reported that trafficking in children is widespread in West Africa. (For ILO definitions of these labor violations, see ILO Convention 182 on Child Labor ILO Convention 29 on Forced Labor.)

These child laborers face arduous work, as cacao pods must be cut from high branches with long-handled machetes, split open, and their beans scooped out. Children who are involved in the worst labor abuses come from countries such as Mali, Burkina Faso, and Togo — nations that are even more destitute than the impoverished Ivory Coast. Parents in these countries sell their children to traffickers believing that they will find honest work once they arrive in Ivory Coast and then send their earnings home. But as soon as they are separated from their families, the young boys are made to work for little or nothing. The children work long and hard — they head into the fields at 6:00 in the morning and often do not finish until 6:30 at night.

I know folks have to make a living, and there was a time when I could be seen wolfin’ down a Snickers®, or a Three Musketeer®, or some other chocolate confection.

But those days are over, and I’ve since discovered that chocolate can still be sweet… sans child labor.

What’s keep folks from not being overly concerned with fair trade?  Sadly, its the price tag that’s usually a deterrent.

Is he worth it?

Are they?

How about him?

What?  No school for Semi?

Thankfully, there is a solution to this madness!!  Everybody deserves to be treated fairly, don’t you think?

Buy only Fair Trade Certified!

Fair Trade Overview

Fair Trade Certification empowers farmers and farm workers to lift themselves out of poverty by investing in their farms and communities, protecting the environment, and developing the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace.

Fair Trade is much more than a fair price!  Fair Trade principles include:

  • Fair price: Democratically organized farmer groups receive a guaranteed minimum floor price and an additional premium for certified organic products. Farmer organizations are also eligible for pre-harvest credit.
  • Fair labor conditions: Workers on Fair Trade farms enjoy freedom of association, safe working conditions, and living wages. Forced child labor is strictly prohibited.
  • Direct trade: With Fair Trade, importers purchase from Fair Trade producer groups as directly as possible, eliminating unnecessary middlemen and empowering farmers to develop the business capacity necessary to compete in the global marketplace.
  • Democratic and transparent organizations: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers decide democratically how to invest Fair Trade revenues.
  • Community development: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers invest Fair Trade premiums in social and business development projects like scholarship programs, quality improvement trainings, and organic certification.
  • Environmental sustainability: Harmful agrochemicals and GMOs are strictly prohibited in favor of environmentally sustainable farming methods that protect farmers’ health and preserve valuable ecosystems for future generations.

TransFair USA, a non-profit organization, is the only independent, third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the U.S. and one of 20 members of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO). TransFair’s rigorous audit system, which tracks products from farm to finished product, verifies industry compliance with Fair Trade criteria. TransFair allows U.S. companies to display the Fair Trade Certified label on products that meet strict Fair Trade standards.

Black & Giving Back… The Blog!

Yesterday, my Twitter friends learned of my decision to donate my tresses to Locks of Love, a public nonprofit that “helps disadvantaged children with medical hair loss.”

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This is a pic of my pony sans product (meaning my hair is chemical-free and store-bought product-free).  No sense being natural if you’re going to put crap in your locks, right???.

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I didn’t want to get cold feet, so, ummm, here’s a picture of it after I cut it off today.

Here's to you, Locks of Love!

Now, I know some you are out there laughin’ at my forehead or fivehead (as it was so graciously referred to during my youth) AND spottin’ your britches over my robe! {y’all are so messed up for laughin’ at me! :-)}

In between gasping for air, please remember that this was all for a worthy cause and my after photo should not be held against me.  {wink}

Man!  The stylist is going to be ripped to shreds when I walk in and ask her to “fix” the rest of my head!  I still have almost 8 inches of hair on the crown and sides!!!  Thank goodness, I left her something to play with.  {teehee}

On a serious note, I actually feel really, really good right now. I’m mean… really good!

I couldn’t help but notice, as I was cutting my hair, that I was overcome with an incredible sense that I was doin’-the-right-thing!

I don’t feel lighter from the reduced weight of my hair.  I actually feel overjoyed by the act of doing something good (donating my hair) for someone in need (to take from LOL‘s mission statement: I wanted to “return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss” by donating my ponytail in hopes that it will become a high “quality hair prosthetic to financially disadvantaged children.”).

Looks like it’s time for me to take a new mugshot since I done cut all my hair off.  {WOOT!}

If I said it once, I’ll say it again.

I just love how life rhymes!

And the Winners are…

Thank you from the bottom of my bottomless heart to EVERYONE who entered, tweeted, and blogged about my lil’ giveaway!  Words cannot fully express my gratitude.

The video you are about to view is unedited, meaning I did this on one take AND I enlisted the assistance of HRH (His Royal Hiney).  After all, this whole experience was made possible because of him.

Oh!  And don’t even think of judging me because he’s up so late!  {wink}

The books will be mailed on Monday because I have another giveaway at my signing tomorrow (WOOT!), and I want to be eco-friendly by making only 1 trip to the post office.

Thanks again!  This was an absolute blast!

P.S.  It only took me 11 hours to upload the video!  LOL  Hence, the lingo referring to tomorrow which is, of course, today!

La Dolce Vita!

Life is sweet!

Life is good!

Life rhymes!

Remember the post when I briefly mentioned my obsession, I mean, love for Ning?

Well, in addition to being a member of some pretty awesome autism sites, I am also a member of some pretty awesome author sites.  I guess I gotta thing for sites with “au” in ‘em.

One of the author sites is about book marketing!

I’m an author.  Whatdya expect?

One of the many cool things about being part of the Ning family is I have met some pretty incredible people (I’ve also met some pretty incredible people on Facebook and MySpace too! {wink})!

The friendship I’d really like to highlight today is Teresa Butler, author of Simon Says Share.

Teresa is one of the most gracious, amiable, big-hearted, good-natured, friendliest people I ever did meet… online, that is!

And folks!  Lemme tell ya, I’ve met a lot of people over the years, and she’s definitely in my Top 10!

I do hope to actually meet her someday.  Perhaps, at a conference or book signing or appearance on Oprah or Ellen?  {big wink}

Simons Says Share (Phylira 2008) is Teresa’s first published book, and I can’t wait to read it!

Simon Says is a series of books that talk about mannerisms, sharing and the courtesies we should use everyday, giving the reasons why we use them.  It will help to create a continuous dialog between parent and child, teacher and child and, most importantly, child and child. Future titles, including Simon Says Thank You and Simon Says Please will explain more about why these mannerisms are necessary and how they have a positive effect on our lives. “The book’s aim is to teach children to be courteous and respectful of others around them,” says Teresa, author and creator of the Simon Says series. Free Download of “Share”

The books are particularly valuable for small children, preschoolers and kindergartners, who will quickly absorb what is being taught. It might even reinforce manners among some adults.  Proper manners and courtesies are how we prosper in life, so why not teach our children how to prosper while they are young?

The book series will give adults the key to open a dialog with the children they read it to. The illustrations are eye-catching with vibrant colors, and the book is filled with characters that children can easily relate to.

We will donate money from our sales to the National Head Start Association, for every book sold, we will donate $1.00.


Before you head out, there’s someone else you need to know.  Know who I have to thank for the virtual intro?

You guessed it!  Teresa!

Marcello Milteer is also a children’s author & graphic artist of Karate Cat (CreateSpace 2008), and he is one cool cat (pun intended)!

Although, Marcello and I haven’t had a lot of online communication with one another, the exchanges we have had have been awesome!

My jaw drops every time I look at the illustrations in his book.  Man, this cat’s got some serious talent!

Karate Cat is about a bungling cat named Ronin, who daydreams about being a kung-fu warrior.  He has a secret dream of becoming a village hero using the discipline of martial arts.  There is only one problem, Ronin has low self-esteem.  Follow our young hero-in-training, as he travels down a path of adventure as he tries to overcome adversity and learns to become comfortable in his own skin, or in his case, fur!

Please support the local economy this holiday season by adding Teresa and Marcello’s books to your shopping list… in addition to In My Mind: The World through the Eyes of Autism! {wink}

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“December is National Buy A Book from A Black Author and Give It To Someone Not Black Month”

Okay.  I’ll admit this post has absolutely nothing to do with autism.
It’s just something I wanted to share with you.

The creator of this celebration is Carleen Brice, author of Orange Mint and Honey, and she is beyond brilliant.

The premise is to introduce people of lighter color to authors of, well, darker color.

We’ve all heard of Alice Walker, renowned author and poet probably best known to most by her book-turned-to-movie The Color Purple.

We’ve all heard of Terry McMillan, critically-acclaimed author probably best known for her books-turned-to movies Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back.

We’ve all heard of Toni Morrison, recipient of numerous awards, notably the Nobel Prize for Literature (1993) and the Pulizter Prize (1986 for Beloved which became a movie starring Oprah Winfrey & Danny Glover).

The question that needs to be pondered is have you read anything that was written by one of the many and talented up & coming black authors?

Y’know?  We lesser knowns?

Now, don’t get your panties and boxers are all in a bunch about this post or Carleen’s blog.  {wink}

Allow Carleen to explain the premise behind her blog in her own words.

White Readers Meet Black Authors

Your official invitation into the African American section of the bookstore!  A sometimes serious, sometimes light-hearted plea for EVERYBODY to give a black writer a try.

Notice she said EVERYBODY! {smile}

I thought the video was an absolute scream!  The script was hilarious as was the “acting”.  The vid is not meant to offend or belittle anyone in any way.

It is merely an attempt to introduce everybody to something new and… black.

OH MY GOSH! NOT SANTA?!?!?!?

With heavy heart I write this post.

Last night the fam and I headed over to Romano’s Macaroni Grill for some good eats.

As we sat in our booth, minding our business, we saw something that saddened us…

photo-0194You know the economy’s gone down the crapper when even Santa has to get a second job!

{teehee  Hope I made you smile.  This gentleman actually bleaches his beard every year for the holidays.  He also volunteers by donating & delivering gifts, dressed as Saint Nicholas, to children living in at risk communities in Tulsa!  We tipped him a fiver for letting us take his picture, and he told us he would put it towards his Christmas fund for the kiddos.  WOW!  The world truly does need more people like him in it.}

Over-Consumption Friday!

Black Friday is also known as Over-Consumption Friday.

We have become a world where the Christmas lists are endless, and no one is ever satisfied.

What happened? Where did we go wrong? How can we stop this vicious cycle before it’s too late?

Wall-E is an excellent example of what will happen to us if we keep over-consuming the way we are.

Here’s an excerpt from the Rolling Stones review:

First image: the Earth as a garbage dump, a future reduced to ruins. For the past 700 years, what’s left of humanity has been cruising the skies in a spaceship. Only a tiny robot, WALL-E (for Waste Allocation Load Lifter: Earth class), scoots around on urban terra firma compacting trash into piles that grow into skyscrapers.

BNL which stands for BUY n LARGE reminded me of Wal-Mart aka Wallie World ’cause it’s reminiscent of an amusement park where practically everything you want is at your disposal.

BNL is a conglomerate that sells everything at low prices.  Like Wallie World, their stores are ginormous and are located everywhere… making them the primary source for all of the over-consumption and increased waste.

The population, living “the life” on a spaceship called Axiom, has become incredibly lazy and morbidly obese.  Everyone rides around in hover chairs (doing anything like walking, brushing their teeth, working for themselves are all unfamiliars) and every desire is instantly fulfilled.

In one of the scenes, babies are learning their ABCs from a robot who says,

A is for Axiom.  Your home sweet home.

B is for BUY n LARGE.  Your very best friend.

It is true.  Companies are sadly targeting our young, making them a greedier generation than the ones before them.

Advertisements bypass adults because they know we’ll start “over”-calulating and “over”-analyzing, thereby, squishing and, if not most, Christmas dreams.

Now, don’t think me a dream killer because I’m not.

I’m just concerned about where all this over-consumerism will lead us.  It can’t be good, right?

I’m thankful my son doesn’t understand that 98% of the holiday commercials are geared towards him.

I am really, really really, really, really, really thankful for autism, especially, this time of year.  I don’t have to hear, “I WANT, I WANT, I WANT…” because his beautiful mind doesn’t work that way.

THANK YOU, GOD!!!!!

A couple of weeks ago, I watched a video produced by the organization, Commercial-Free Childhood.  Here’s what they have to say about this epidemic.

With virtually no government or public outcry, the multi-billion dollar youth marketing industry has been able to use the latest advances in psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience to transform American children into one of the most powerful and profitable consumer demographics in the world. American kids now influence an estimated $700 billion in annual spending, targeted virtually from birth with a relentless bombardment of sophisticated commercial appeals designed to sell everything from Hollywood merchandise and junk foods to iPods, cell phones, the family car and vacations. The result is that childhood itself has been commercialized. Drawing on the insights of experts, industry insiders, and children themselves, Consuming Kids traces the evolution and impact of this disturbing and unprecedented phenomenon, exposing the youth marketing industry’s controversial tactics and exploring the effect of hyper-consumerism on the actual lived experience of children.

Some parents have become completely blind to this problem.

Black Friday has become a holiday in itself.  That’s all we need is more stuff.

I never understood why my newborn son, or any newborn for that matter, needed the Hep B (a viral disease associated with risky lifestyle choices such as intravenous drug use or promiscuous sex) vaccine, and I guess I’ll never understand why preschoolers or any child needs violent toys, action figures, movies, etc.

Burger King Iron Man toy giveaways for preschoolers. Indiana Jones Lunchable, Dark Knight Cheerios. Violent PG-13 blockbusters are being marketed to young children.

Give the TVs, computers, iPods™, Game Boys™, PlayStations™, Wiis™ and whatever else is sucking the life out of them a much deserved rest.

It’s time we get our kids back, people!

Get them engaged in some FAMILY-POWERED fun!  Get outside or play board games (non-electronic)!

Tell the marketing companies, “NO MORE!”

**please keep the family of former Wal-Mart employee, Jdimytai Damour, in your prayers this holiday season.**

“Aspergers in Grey’s Anatomy: Rainman Returns”

Fellow blogger, Kari, wrote a post at Silicon Valley Moms Blog about the hit ABC show, Grey’s Anatomy and their extremely insulting portrayal of Aspergers Syndrome.

Kari very eloquently expressed her feelings about this new, and, thankfully, temporary character. Something I am unable to do at this moment in time.  The reason I am unable to eloquently express my feelings is because I am so incredibly ticked off right now, I can’t even think straight.

Here’s an excerpt from her post.

I had high hopes for Mary McDonnell’s three-episode-arc character Dr. Virginia Dixon on Grey’s Anatomy. I thought, “It will be great to see someone a little quirky take on the already strange social scene at Seattle Grace.” Unfortunately, when the episode aired, I was disappointed. Instead of a brilliant cardiac surgeon who happens to have Aspergers, Dr. Dixon is a very impaired Rainman-like stereotype of autism.

While the words I write about autism are read by a couple hundred people, and the words other parents may write about similar topics might be read by a few thousand people, Grey’s Anatomy has viewers in the millions.

Should you decide to venture online to witness ABC’s disparaging view of autism, bear in mind one thing…

Dr. Dixon is not autism, and autism is not Dr. Dixon!

Dr. Virginia Dixon reinforces the stereotype of autism that so many of us are trying to get away from.  We want the public perception of autistic spectrum disorders to become more realistic.

I couldn’t agree with you more, Kari!

Need Blog Traffic Steroids? Get on Alphainventions.com!

Sometime last week, I received a referrer notice on my stats page from this site, and I figured it was one of the gazilllion sites I had visited and posted my blog link.

Turns out, AlphaInventions.com is, what I believe to be, the next generation in site traffic.

Here’s how it works (in the creator’s own words):

If you update or publish your blog at the same time my visitors are browsing blogs in my site then my visitors will get a chance to see your blog in real-time. BAM! (the entire blog is in their face instantly) It’s not even annoying to watch.  Is it alpha addicts??

I also provide a link to your blog in case they want it to open your blog in a new window, or bookmark your blog . The links provides your title, and description to help my visitors get a better understanding on what your blog is about, and get more interested. Alphainventions.com is useful for wordpress.com , typepad.com, spaces.live.com, and blogger.com I love it, and want to grow it like a tree. Yahh!

To get more traffic from alphainventions.com just keep your blog updated . It’s so simple.

I feel like my blog is on steroids from all the traffic I’ve been getting!

Alphainventions.com is pure genius!

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Down Under’s Autism Misdiagnosis Dilemma.

Something’s amiss down under.

One news report spoke of over-diagnosis, now another speaks of misdiagnosis.

What is going on?

According to ABC Local Radio,

Experts say diagnosis of the condition in Australia is patchy, because doctors here don’t apply the internationally accepted diagnostic criteria. Some patients are diagnosed as autistic when they don’t have the disorder, others with all the symptoms are turned away.

Patchy is an understatement (no pun intended).

What is to become of those children who have autism but were turned away?

What is to become of those children who do not have autism but are receiving the benefits?

What an awful mess!

Politicians are blaming the doctors, and I’m sure the doctors are feigning ignorance.

It is shameful to think that there could actually be doctors out there who are merely diagnosing children simply because there may be more money in it for them.

Why aren’t Australia’s pediatricians following the internationally accepted classification system?

Brisbane paediatrician Dr Neil Wigg describes the process of diagnosing a child.

If I am suspicious that a child might have autism spectrum disorder, I work with clinical psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, a range of other people and when we then sit down and we do some quite specific assessments of children in order to be quite confident in the diagnosis.

Now that’s a lengthy and expensive process and that process is not available to all paediatricians and it’s certainly not available to all children in Queensland.

The new Autism Spectrum Disorder Initiative, a $190M package, will prevent access to early intervention treatments and services unless children have been properly diagnosed.

Hopefully, this initiative will make the diagnosis process more accessible and affordable to all pediatricians, since money seems to be the obvious issue here.

Oklahoma… Is it Failing its Children with Autism?

My son is one of the fortunate ones.

The Oklahoma Health Authority (aka SoonerCare) covers his twice weekly speech and occupational therapy sessions.  Who knows, they may even cover a third speech session.  We’ll see because it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Like I said, he’s one of the fortunate ones. But things aren’t going so well for other Oklahoman children who are also on the spectrum.

The Developmental Disabilities Division of our state’s Department of Human Services is about to let a pilot program expire “sooner than expected” due to the lack of behavioral specialists.

What does this mean exactly?

The program had offered a budget of $12,360 to spend on services.  As for the 30 families who were selected to participate?  They will be left, once again, to fend for themselves.

Michael McNutt of The Oklahoman reports,

Oklahoma lacks enough therapists and behavioral specialists to take care of the state’s autistic children, according to the preliminary findings of a pilot program.

“What we discovered was there are so few providers of those services to these families that the spending on the behavior therapies was pretty small,” said Jim Nicholson, director of the developmental disabilities division of the state Department of Human Services. “There’s a lack of service providers that had that kind of specialty training.

It’s sad to think that there doesn’t seem to be enough incentive (please read as “Ka-ching!” or “mucho dinero” or “dolla’, dolla’ bills, y’all”, or “cheddar”) to get the “skilled” practitioners to care for our children.

I guess for some folks, time is money, and they apparently don’t want to “spend” any more of it on our kids.

Someone needs to explain this to parents like Deborah Decker who stated,

“It just opened up a lot of avenues that we wouldn’t have had otherwise because it’s just so expensive,” said Decker, who developed a plan for her 6-year-old autistic son. “It was nice just to have that money to really do some intensive treatment with him.”

Someone needs to explain this to her son and others like him who were relying on this program to do more than it did.

Someone needs to explain this to the children who will continue to “fall behind” due to the lack of state-provided services.

Someone needs to explains this…

Explaining abuse to an autistic child.

The circus is in town this weekend, and my husband really wanted to take our son.

While fetchin’ dinner, he told me he saw a group of circus protestors, hanging out across the street of the BOK Center.

He told me they were holding signs that spoke of animal abuse…

If I hadn’t have transitioned to a holistic lifestyle, I wouldn’t be sitting in front of my PC right now, blogging about animal abuse and circuses.

But I did.

And here I am.

Fired up.

How do I explain this to my son?

He doesn’t always grasp the other things I try to explain to him.  But abuse, in all its forms, is something I am ill-prepared for.

How do I look into those amazingly big, brown eyes, and tell him that I’ll never take him to the circus?

That it will be a cold day in hotsville before I pay to see abused animals perform for my or his delight?

That the elephant isn’t trumpeting because she’s happy… she’s trumpeting because she’s been wounded by a bullhook meant to make her “heel” and she’s in pain?

That the lion isn’t wet from water… he’s drenched in sweat from being left in an unventilated boxcar?

That these aren’t ‘zoo’ animals who are loved… they’re animals, illegally captured in the wild, who have been abused from the moment they were stripped of their freedom?

It’s hard enough explaining abuse to a neuro-typical child… it’s even harder when your child is autistic, and cognition isn’t currently one of my son’s strengths.

So, tell me.

PLEASE.

How do I explain this to him?

(this video contains graphic content.  It is not meant for the weak.)

“Abuse is in the air… everywhere I look around!”

Come on, everyone. Won’t cha sing along with me???  I’m sure John Paul Young won’t mind if we change a word of the 70s hit, Love is in the air, will he?

Imagine this if you will…

  • You’re autistic.
  • You’ve been placed on a bus… heading off to school.
  • Your parents, who love you dearly, leave you in the loving care of your bus driver and bus monitor.
  • They, in turn, take that trust… and reject it.
  • They abandon you on a bus… for several hours.

Ladies and gentlemen, it has been confirmed.  The world has truly gone mad, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this isn’t not an isolated case!

Seems like October is the month where we’ll have to stop thinking about Halloween and start thinking about keeping our children out of school for fear that they’ll be tagged for what seems to be an annual event for abusing our children.

2007

2008

Is this going to be the norm when we leave our children in their care?

Is this what’s become of all the rallying we’ve done for better treatment of our children?

Is this what we have to look forward to?

Time outs… the new form of child abuse.

DES MOINES, Iowa – After failing to finish a reading assignment, 8-year-old Isabel Loeffler was sent to the school’s time-out room — a converted storage area under a staircase — where she was left alone for three hours. The autistic Iowa girl wet herself before she was finally allowed to leave. Appalled, her parents removed her from the school district and filed a lawsuit.

This is very disturbing.

Is this the direction our school’s are going?  Is this the treatment our children can expect to receive?

I’m not always going to be homeschooling my son.  One of these years, he’s going to have to return to “typical” school life.

However, this article leads me to wonder what that life will be like for him.

I don’t know if Isabel is considered high-functioning or not, but I do want to know how someone justified leaving her, alone, under a stairwell, for 3 hours because she failed to complete a reading assignment?

I also want to know if she hadn’t wet herself, how much longer would they have left her there?

I wonder who, within the school district, will be there to help her parents undo the damage that this disciplinary action caused?

With school budgets being hit hard, every fiscal year, the quality of administrators and educators seems to also be on the decline.

The population seems to be regressing to days of yore when autistic people (or any person with a ND) were institutionalized and left to rot.

No one seems to care about the scrutiny our children face on a daily basis.  With the No Child Left Behind law, I guess they feel they don’t have to.

But, abuse comes in many forms.

Sadly, time-outs are to education what black is to the fashion industry.

Denis Leary… doesn’t hate autism???

The people who are criticizing the “Autism Schmautism” chapter in my new book “Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid” clearly have not read it.

Or if they have, they missed the sections I thought made my feelings about autism very clear: that I not only support the current rational approaches to the diagnoses and treatment of real autism but have witnessed it firsthand while watching very dear old friends raise a functioning autistic child.

Okay, Denis.  You got me.  I didn’t read your book.  I saw the comment, put on my armor, and was prepared to battle… major battle!

Do I owe you an apology?  I’ll concede.  I do.  I should have done what I normally do, and that’s to get the facts BEFORE I react.

But you see, I wasn’t only reacting for myself.  I was reacting for my son who does not and would not understand that those few lines were “teasers” to something “meaningful”.

Does this mean that I will go out and buy your book?  Uh, nope!  Last time I checked, none of my tattoos were of the word, “stupid”.  Plus, I’m not much for books that call folks out, but I wish you the best in recovering your losses.

And as you can see, we (the autism community) don’t hold back when it comes to our children.  You only received a few letters/emails… this time.

Next time, you just might have hate mail coming to you by the truck loads.

You play nice, and we’ll do the same!

Again… my apologies and next time, don’t take any cheap shots at our children for publicity’s sake.  It’s not only cheap… it’s downright tacky.

P.S.  Looking forward to seeing your response to the comments posted on Age of Autism yesterday.  I got quite the giggle..  You really pissed off a lot of people, DL.  Hmmm… ever notice how your initials stand for something else?  Down low, perhaps?  Looks like that’s what you should have done with your autism comments… kept them on the DL.

Goodness.  Look at me about to get all militant again just when I said I was sorry.  My bad… or is it?

UPDATE (10/17/2008): Read your interview with Vanity Fair, DL!

I will refrain from telling you where you can go, how you can get there, and where you can stick your book… because I’m better than that!!!

You’ve taken a cheap shot at our kids and, you have the gall to call the supporters of the book, Obama Nation, “assholes”?!?!?

Do you really want to rumble with us????

Are you really that stupid????

Your move!

Voices for the Silent!

You are probably wondering about the meaning of the title.

I am an autism warrior.

I am a mother to a handsome, smart, funny, charming, affectionate young man… who has autism.

I am part of an amazing community who sees as part of its mission the promotion of tolerance, compassion, empathy, and understanding for a generation of people who are oftentimes, misunderstood and persecuted by ignorant, misinformed, ill-educated folks like Michael Savage, Amanda Peet, and Denis Leary. (click their names to read their remarks against the autism community)

I am an author who hopes that my work will inspire readers to learn more about the autism spectrum disorder.

I am an author who hopes that my work will encourage readers to be more compassionate, empathetic, and tolerant of others who seem “different” than themselves.

I am a blogger.

I blog for peace (because I know now that my son’s autism was not my fault).

I blog for answers (to questions I have on regarding how I can better assist my son in living, peacefully, in a neuro-typical and, sometimes, hateful world).

I blog to voice what he cannot (because he doesn’t quite know how to tell you that you’ve hurt his feelings).

I hope this discussion will encourage you to ask me about how my life has been impacted… by autism.

Thank you!

Adonya

Adonya Wong
Author/Autism Warrior

Support autism awareness & research.  Visit Tate Publishing today and purchase your copy of In My Mind!

(worldwide distribution is January 6, 2009!)


Denis Leary & His Blatant Hatred towards Autism

There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumb-ass kids can’t compete academically, so they throw money into the happy laps of shrinks . . . to get back diagnoses that help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons. I don’t give a [bleep] what these crackerjack whack jobs tell you – yer kid is NOT autistic. He’s just stupid. Or lazy. Or both.” – Denis Leary

The Autism Society of America responded: “For Mr. Leary to suggest that families or doctors conspire to falsely diagnose autism is ridiculous . . . [His] remarks reflect the same misconceptions of autism being caused by bad or unemotional parenting that were held over 50 years ago.

I don’t even know where to start.

Prior to reading his remarks, I actually liked Denis.  Yes, I know he’s crass and a bit hard on the ears, but his style was one I used to laugh at.  I think it was his New England accent and hard approach to life that made me laugh vs. whatever he was ranting about.  It’s been years since I’ve seen his comedy work, and it will be over my dead body before I see any of it again.

It’s obvious he needs the money.  Why else would he have said these hateful things about our children?  Only an ignorant, ill-educated, despicable person would say the things he said.

Denis, Michael Savage, and Amanda Peet must be having a grand laugh over this.  They’re not living with autism.  I”m sure they’re busting a gut at our children’s expense.

First, our kids are called “brats” then we’re called “parasites”.  Now, we’re “inattentive mothers and competitive dads”.

Remarks like these are twisted, contemptible, low.  Targeting children is despicable.

What’s pathetic is his publisher, Viking Penguin, wasted several trees and fed more crappy chemicals into our environment printing this filth.  They are promoters of hate speech.

To me, hate speech is any language that lends itself to the degradation of an individual, group, or community.  It also contributes to creating a climate of intolerance.

Age of Autism is correct in saying that Denis understands the power of the autism community.  But, I’m curious about one thing…

Does he know how truly powerful we are???

If he doesn’t… he’s about to find out, because he opened a can of worms that he should have steered clear of!

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