5.29.2013

What I'm thinking about these days

An insight into me (my good friend calls this "the magic of me" when referring to herself and I think that's quite a nice term)- I usually take in more information than my poor brain can process, leaving me overwhelmed and in a crazy mumbling- to-myself state. Which isn't good, for anyone involved.

So, since you're stuck there reading this page, I will unload some of the stuff that's been clogging up my neural pathways as of late. Maybe we can even make sense of some of it together.

I've read few interesting things these past couple of weeks, from various points of view (dare I say conflicting even?) which made me pause, reflect and evaluate my values and perspectives once again. As an aside, when I started blogging I was slightly bemused by how many other autism blogs had "journey" somewhere in the title or description. Now I see that in fact it is a journey, with changing landscapes and new discoveries to be made all the time. A journey into the unknown and with no tour guide to lead the way. But for the sake of accurate record-keeping I think it is valid to include the conundrums as well, as they provide a snapshot of where on the journey I am now.

Good points made;

  • On judgement
  • On being Carly'd (this was particularly relevant to me. I have been Carly'd and Temple Grandin'ed to bits. Temple Grandin is very inspirational obviously but it's akin to chatting up a neurotypical 3 year old boy's mom- "ah, boy, eh? Have you heard of Clint Eastwood? He was once a boy too").
  • On elopement (and judgement)

If you haven't yet read any of those eloquent entries I'd recommend you do. Given the (deserved) response they received, I can say that they touched a nerve within the population of autistic parents. The gist of all these voices (but don't rely on my gist, read them all if you haven't already) is- parents of autistic children want the best for their kids, just like parents of neurotypical kids; we don't want endless advice, constant judgement or inspirational stories of "autistic kids who made it". Sometimes we do things differently, we often wish we didn't have to, but ultimately we will go to any lengths to keep our children safe, not out of need to control, but out of love.

Also a good point;

On presuming competence. Reading this blog, I am inspired for a different reason. This lady chronicles her journey (there's that word again) raising Emma, a girl who can seemingly be considered "low-functioning" (not unlike how Sophie might be seen) but like Sophie with a lot of gifts to offer. Her blog is more reflective and introspective, and makes me think a lot of how I view Sophie, focusing on presuming she "can" and not assuming she "can't" and giving her tools she needs to succeed. Success of course can be measured in many ways. The running theme of the blog is how her daughter's autism affects the author and the separation that must be made between the mother and daughter. The daughter is a sentient being not an extension of the mother. I think it's worthwhile to pause and reflect on that thought for a bit- it is often tempting to project our own feelings onto our kids. We have to be able to own them and distinguish them as our own. We might feel lost, scared, overwhelmed or hopeless even. We shouldn't assume our kids do as well. Something for me to think about as Sophie grows.

The books

I mentioned I bought "the Spark" and found it inspiring. But not because of the boy-genius part. That part was certainly interesting, in a way all biographies of extraordinary people are interesting (to me anyway). What I was most inspired by was the mom, not unlike me in many ways. I too have several children close in age, ran a home daycare and aspire to follow my children's natural talents. But I was amazed at her perseverance. Whereas I, when Sophie was diagnosed and my youngest was born held off on my daycare (save for one older child after school), she continued! And her baby was significantly sick for the first year of his life. She also ran an autism playgroup, an idea which my husband and I kicked around often. Why didn't pursue? Excuses. Good ones I thought, but obviously not good enough. If she could run a home daycare with a sick baby in the sling (my sling baby is healthy, thank goodness) and autistic toddler and find time to do a therapy group, perhaps our dreams of having a not-for-profit sensory gym in our community are attainable as well. So what did the book give me? The ability to dream big again and that is a good thing.

Understanding autism though Rapid Prompt Method. I'm still reading this one so maybe will write a bit more about it when I'm done. For now I will say intriguing, will probably try some of her techniques in the future (won't hurt right?). She seems to have an accurate description of autism and the way if affects sensory processing, based on my own observations at least.

There, I feel better now. A moment in time, Sophie's mom on this stop of the great autism trip. I'd love to know where your journey is taking you these days!

They have their own things to worry about

 

6 comments:

  1. I love what you said about Clint Eastwood. Temple Grandin is an amazing person, but she really has nothing at all to do with Janey. Presuming competence is something I need to think much more about. It is not my natural way of thinking, and I realize that isn't just with Janey and autism, but with everyone, including myself. I hope you write more of these digest type of posts. I don't read a lot of autism blogs, except yours and a few others, because I get too upset by them often, and that's another thing I need to work on, and your reading suggestions help. Thanks!

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    1. I might do it from time to time,but knowing me I have a tendency to over-analyze and then I'd be sitting here worrying if I included everyone or if someone said something profound and I left them out.. Issues I know, lol. I know what you mean about being afraid to read some but there are lots that really are quite good out there.
      Presuming competence is a journey all in itself. It is not a finished product by any means. It is every time I rush in to do something for Sophie, coddling or babying her, not acting age-appropriate, stepping back and saying "hey.. She got this! Step back mama". She's 3 mind you, so I mean like picking up a spoon or a cup of water, or picking her up instead of encouraging to walk. Even relying on stroller too much. Those kind of things.

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  2. I think it is a great idea to reflect and to put your thoughts on paper (or blog as the case may be!). Yep..... Step back mama, this is something that we all need to remember! :)
    You already know where my journey is taking me! :-)

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    1. I'm in a reflective mood these days. Seems like the more I know, the less I know, lol. I learn a lot from you as well!

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  3. I want to say thank you very much for linking to my blog...and of course saying that you liked my post. It is most sweet of you. Autism and parenting are both just awesome journeys that change everything from the inside out. We're all on this ride together!!! You cracked me up with that Clint Eastwood comment.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Christine! Your post hit the spot. I wanted my readers to be able to read it too :)

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