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Autism and The “Celebrity” Circle

This post is in response to an email I received from a friend!

I’ve been asked about my thoughts regarding the passing of John Travolta’s beloved first born, Jett, and I believe I was asked because there is broad speculation that he “had” autism.

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Apologizing for Autism.

I am working on being a parent who educates first and reacts second.

Too often, I read or hear about a parent apologizing for their child’s disability/disorder, and I just want to jump on the nearest plane, fly to their town, and lay the smackdown on the person that messed with their child.

Of course, it is only minutes later when I remember that this approach has and will continue to get us, the disabled community absolutely nowhere.

But I do wonder why parents feel the need to apologize, especially to people who are rude, condescending, and ignorant.

I mean who really should be “apologizing”?

The special needs child who may not understand that certain behavior could be deemed inappropriate and/or disruptive or the adult who is oblivious to the fact that they are not interacting with a neurotypical (NT) child?

Or…

Are apologies even warranted?

Another thing I think too much about is discipline.

As parents to special needs children, are we not to discipline them?  Is there some other way to teach them that for every action there is a reaction?

Wednesdays are double therapy days for my son.  While waiting for him to finish with speech, I noticed another mother disciplining her son.  In order to get his attention, she used the “pull ‘im by the ear” trick from days of yore.

This scene reminded my husband of a famous painting where a child is being disciplined in this manner.  Unfortunately, the artist escapes him, and good ol’ Google ain’t turnin’ up any leads.

Anyhoo, what made the scene interesting was the fact that this little tot has Downs Syndrome.

Now, some would say that this type of discipline could be construed as being cruel because a special needs child does not comprehend right from wrong at the same level as a neurotypical child… or do they?

Case in point… last night, I discovered my prince having a grand old time on his computer.  The problem with this was he didn’t ask permission to use it.

He was advised to shut it down, and I explained the situation to him using words I felt he could best process and sent him to his room to read.

Minutes later, I looked towards the back room, and what do you think I discovered… again?

You guessed it!

Although, the room’s light wasn’t on, the computer WAS.

Yes, my friends, HRH made a very calculated move!  He opted to return to his beloved computer, and by not turning on the light, I was not immediately aware of this felony {wink}.

Sneaky, very sneaky… and oh so appropriate behavior for a child his age and a behavior often observed by parents of NT children.

Now, I’m not old school when it comes to discipline as I have childhood flashbacks that’ll last me this lifetime and beyond {wink}.

I don’t spank my son or wash his mouth with soap or put him in corners or timeout.  I do, however, change the tone of my voice when speaking to him where it is quite obvious that something is awry.

Should parents start educating as a means of defense vs. lashing out or apologizing?

And…

Do we really need to discipline our children differently simply because they’re considered special needs?

Some Mothers Chosen by God.

By Erma Bombeck


Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit.

This year, nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen?

Somehow, I visualize God hovering over earth selecting His instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

“Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron saint, Matthew.

“Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron saint, Cecelia.

“Rudledge, Carrie, twins. Patron saint…give her Gerard, He’s used to profanity.”

Finally, He passes a name to an angel and smiles, “Give her a handicapped child.”

The angel is curious. “Why this one, God? She’s so happy.”

“Exactly,” smiles God. “Could I give a handicapped child a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel.”

“But has she patience?” asks the angel.

“I don’t want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she’ll handle it.

“I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has his own world and that’s not going to be easy.”

“But Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.”

God smiles. “No matter. I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness.”

The angel gasps, “Selfishness? Is that a virtue?”

God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she’ll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child who is less than perfect. She doesn’t realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a “spoken word.” She will never consider a “step” ordinary. When her child says “Momma” for the first time, she will be present at a miracle and know it! When she describes a tree or sunset to her blind child, she will see it as few people ever see my creations.

“I will permit her to see clearly the things I see….ignorance, cruelty, prejudice… and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side.”

“And what about her patron saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in mid-air.

God smiles. “A mirror will suffice.”

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