Looking back at the struggles and finding peace with the successes

Forward: Many years after childbirth the memory of the pain subsides and the first embrace of your child remains strong. You don’t forget the pain…but the thrill of your child’s arrival occupies the majority of your feelings.

The same has occurred with the maturing of my autistic son Sam. I found this brief blog (below) that I had written when he was still in early grade school. The feelings were still fresh and I thought I would re-post as many will relate to the raw feelings that have seemed to fade and the years roll on.

A doctor once told me, “With aspergers and high functioning autism, it gets easier for them, socially, as they age.” I have found this to be true!

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The story of Sam cannot be told with just a list of positive aspects. It is their lifetime of physical and mental struggle that you work to overcome for your child. Such is the daily journey of my son…one that my husband, youngest son and I take with him daily as he lives with a form of autism titled Aspergers.

Succeeding in Life on the Spectrum the “I’mpossible Dream”

Autistically Speaking with Alex Hale

Autism is real and like many others with the diagnosis, my son, Alex Hale, is succeeding in life on the Spectrum. His two songs “Into the Light” and “Walk a Mile” share his thoughts and emotions on the journey of an Autistic Individual, and assert that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It has been a long journey since his official diagnosis at the age of 6 years old.

There were signs of awkward behaviors, however his pediatrician initially suggested that we didn’t look for “trouble”. Once diagnosed we were in a state of awe rather than shock. We had assumed he would be diagnosed with ADHD or something of that nature. Immediately Alex’s dad and I started asking questions, reading up on Autism/Aspergers and looking for answers and methods to keep Alex mainstream.

Alex is high – functioning and as he says in his advocacy speaking engagements, you may not guess by looking at him, or meeting him initially, but spend a little bit of time with him and you will see that his social skills are a little different.

The issue behind Autism as a “trend setting” diagnosis

I recently read an article about Autism, as I do many that pop onto my radar via social media. I don’t often agree with everything I read, just as you may not agree with everything I write. Heck, maybe you are upset I even suggested Asperger’s was Autism. I am simply using the term because today many different disorders are considered to be on the spectrum, not because of my personal opinion about it. That aside, the article was focused on the large increase of children considered to be “on the spectrum”. This is isn’t the first time I have seen ASD painted like some new up and coming trend that had far too many people jumping on the bandwagon. Is the awareness and the number of diagnosed cases greater than before? Yes. Does that make it the cool new thing that any parent wishes for and would do anything to have to face? NO!  Look, we all love our kids unconditionally and every person has their own set of strengths and struggles. With that said it’s time to clear up a few things about “Autism Parents” and the idea of a trend setting diagnosis:

Child just Diagnosed with Aspergers?

I’m Here to Say it’ll be Alright.

11012954_10204462766751207_2317137543922936014_nI’m pretty sure those of you who have discovered that your child has high-functioning autism went into some kind of state of shock when you found out about the diagnosis. My own mother felt the room spinning when they suggested the possibility of me having high-functioning autism.

But, at the same time, she also experienced a feeling of relief for finally having a diagnosis that explained the foreign behaviors.

It’s okay to feel shocked when the diagnosis comes in. It can be a lot to take in, but I can assure you that there is nothing to worry about. In fact, I’d consider the diagnosis to be a stepping stone towards a journey.

Now, some of you may be worried after getting the diagnosis that your child may not be able to drive, or to find a romantic love interest. Take a look at me; I have Aspergers and I’m driving to and from college every Monday through Thursday with no hitch, and I’ve even had some girlfriends in recent times.

Of course, there are going to be rough patches throughout the journey, but that’s what makes the journey all the more interesting. Because, let’s face it, normal is boring.

In conclusion, there’s no need to treat the diagnosis as a lethal disease, and I see no reason for the child not to know about their high-functioning autism. Take the time to explain what it is, and make sure they understand that high-functioning autism is far from anything even close to a disease.

By Samuel Allen

Paralysis By Analysis

Becoming a parent means that you have a lot of extra things to worry about. All kids are unique and need help in their own areas, but what happens when you find out that your child needs more help than most? What goes through your mind as a doctor tells you that your child has a developmental delay of any kind? What will having Autism Spectrum Disorder mean for your son/daughter? Why do you grieve at first like you lost a child that is sitting right in front of you?

What If copy

Fear and worry can often be more limiting to you than something that seems limiting to your child. If you are the parent of a child with ASD, it can be incredibly overwhelming in the beginning. There are lots of decisions to be made right away. After all, time is of the essence and you may feel like you already lost some before your child had the diagnosis.