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"Fill your mind with light, happiness, hope, feelings of security and strength, and soon your life will reflect these qualities." ~Unknown

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"The Greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance!" ~Brian Tracy

All post and stories are the sole property of Velvet Over Steel aka Coreen Trost. I write and create post in order to help others, so share as you want. I just ask that you link back or give VOS credit. Some of the stories are going into a book in progress. Thank You ALL.. for your support and help!!
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." ~ John Quincy Adams

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hoping that Autism Awareness brings Compassion and Understanding

April is Autism Awareness month and this link Raising Autism Awareness gives lot of information.  My personal hope, from personal experiences raising a child with a diagnosis in the Autism Spectrum, is that autism awareness will give people the information they need to be more compassionate and understanding to both those with autism and those caring for them.

A blogging friend of mine and fellow Asperger parent has an awesome blog that feeds to mine. She recently responded to another blogger who, along with some of her followers, made fun of an autistic child and criticized the parenting of her caregiver.  My friend wrote an appropriate and informative response:  Snarky Ignorance and Autism Awareness.   I could not have responded any better.

Elise wrote what I have felt and experienced many times while raising my youngest son who has Asperger Syndrome.  Long before he had a correct diagnosis, and even afterwards, I experienced enormous criticism, judgement and even cruelty from people who did not know me or my son, let alone lived in my home, walked in my shoes or lived through our experiences. 

When we moved to Iowa my son and I were both hoping for a fresh start.  Unfortunately that didn't happen and we were very disappointed by that.  In fact it seemed to us that many, but not all of course, were more critical and judgemental.   They found nothing but fault with my son.  Not willing or open minded enough to understand, let alone find any compassion.  Unlike back home, where people looked at how far my son had come, instead of how far he still needed to go. 

Education wise, it was a fresh start for my son.  Even that though took time to overcome the excuses and preconceived attitudes from the previous school.  The current school would ask for records and high school credits and the previous school couldn't provide much more than attendance records.  There were no high school credits to transfer but there were lots of excuses for that and for not having given my son an education the last 3 years he was there. 

The reason my son didn't get an education at his previous school wasn't because they didn't know he had Asperger Syndrome, that answer had come 4 years eariler.  But because they refused to understand Asperger's and provide my son that understanding and the assistance his doctor recommended.  They judged both my parenting and the things he did, that he couldn't help. 

The anxiety and learning disabilities are real for these children and adults.  They do not choose to be different or even difficult.  Again Elise explains this all so well in her recent blog on Raising Asperger Kids.  I wish more people understood that we as autism  parents know what works and doesn't work for our children.  We are the ones that live with the set backs, melt downs, judgements and cruelty that our children experience.  We are doing the best that we can with what we have for our children and grandchildren. 

In many cases, such as the grandmother of the little girl in the blog post, and myself as a single parent, we are doing the best we can 'by ourselves' because others don't know how to deal with it, and have walked away.  The grandmother in the blog, should be commended for not giving up on her granddaughter and sending her away like so many adults do to these autistic children.  She is a hero in my book! 
a message for smockityfrocks
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  1. This heart rending blog was excellently written, my eldest son 4 yrs ago started work at a residence for the autisic adults, one year later he was diagnosed with cancer but carried on working in between the bouts of vomiting chemo gives one. The staff were excellent and when he had to have radiotherapy they were so kind, He is now in remission and has taken his "carer's diploma" for the autisic
    and will take his degree at University later this year. He loves his work, it is hard and the hours include sleeping over 2/3 times a week. During Christmas, Easter and other holidays he escorts them by train so they can go home for a while.You have my full admiration. People who criticise are ignorant to what some people have to endure.
    I myself was diagnosed as Epileptic some 25 yrs ago and I was made fun of, my motto was this "Epilepsy lives with me and not me with it"Luckily I am virtually free of the illness
    at the moment.Good luck to you and may you have the strength to stand up to these ignorant people. One never knows what is around the corner.

  2. Wow! And you said you have a lot to learn from me? Reverse that. I'm thrilled you found my blog and left a comment. I love making new blog buddies! :-)

  3. I have a friend who has a son with autism. She asked me to babysit once because they had an emergency situation arise and I'm embarassed to admit I was not in the least bit polite in telling her that I couldn't. Or rather, wouldn't. Yeah, I'm a pretty shitty friend!

    I know he can't help it but her son is beyond annoying. But I'm proud of my friend in that she tries to get him out and about in the community as much as possible, got him in t-ball and does all kinds of other things for and with him. She does a LOT for him and I can see all of the love she has for him.

    Sadly, as he's gotten older, he's gotten bigger and stronger. They sometimes have to restrain him and are now worried they may have to put him a group home. Hopefully it won't come to that.

  4. How thoughtless of someone to make fun of a child with autism. As a teacher, that makes me angry. Children learn from their parents. What kind of an example does that set?

    Thanks for the lovely post. Blessings sweet lady)))))))))

  5. Wonderful post Coreen! I am so happy for you that you are meeting other families with your day to day experiences with this disability! I know I can't ever offer a I know how you feel or what you have gone through, Because I don't! All I know from learning through you is it takes hard work and are such an awesome Mother!

  6. Wow...that is a powerful post. Honestly I did not know much about autism at all until about 4 years ago...and I still do not know that much. In the community I live in there are many autistic children and it has given me a good opportunity to teach my son about appropriate behavior. I am saddened that people..especially adults make fun of these kids.

  7. You are amazing. Seriously. I cannot believe the heartlessness of some people when it comes to children with disabilities. You are so strong. Keep it up.

  8. Thanks you again for referring to my blog. IT is just amazing and sad how similiar everyone's stories are. I hope that your son isfinally getting the education he deserves and that somewhere there are good people for you as well. HUGS

  9. Thanks for this post. I know parents who are on the same journey you are on. It's not an easy one, but educating others is an essential step.

  10. My son is on the Autism Spectrum and my goal has been to educate as many people as possible. Also to lend support to those traveling down the same path. Big hugs to you!

  11. You are truly a wonderful person. Ignorance is the often the main cause of how people react to these difficult situations. Thus, raising awareness is the best approach. Meantime, please forgive them for their behavior and inadequacies.

    I salute you! ^_^

  12. People can be so cruel even when they know better. Good for you for raising awareness. Hopefully it helps.

  13. Hi Coreen, Thanks for such a powerful blog. I'm glad the ones of you with children in like circumstances can talk to each other. Networking and learning from others is so important.

    Thank You for posting this very passionate blog post. Raising awareness is so important.

  14. My parents try to be understanding, but they still think that if my son is treated (disciplined) the way other children are, he would be fine. They understand that he is autistic, but they don't truly understand how that affects what he does.

  15. its a sad, busy disease that many people do not understand, this was very insightful and should be read by the people who go through this daily :)

  16. I can't even imagine judging a child with autism. It's difficult enough to help children without that issue succeed, austism really makes it even more challenging.

  17. To judge a child or caregiver or parent is sick. Great post. Sometimes people are just pathetic. And they should be ashamed of themselves. I wish you all the best.

  18. Terrific post! I agree, compassion and understanding are 2 things that go a long way for us parents with children on the spectrum. I do not understand why it is within our children's settings at school that these two things seem to be so hard to come by. Teachers, staff, administration, and other students could use some good "Autism Awareness" information! Hmmm... this sounds like an idea to put in my "things to do" file...

  19. Good idea LAA! Thank you everyone for your comments and esp. compassion!! HUGS!


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