Behind starburst eyes

Dear Mental Health Professionals:

dsvm cover

I am aware that the DSVM (all editions since the 3rd) include Autism as a mental illness/disorder. However, just because they are included does not make the mental health field correct in their assessment of Autism as a disorder. It is included because Western society has a serious lack of acceptance of anything different. All things different should be treated and minimized to the greatest degree possible, is often the misguided thinking with Autism and many other neurodiversities.

The Ontario government has released a statement that they are pledging $333 million dollars towards treatment, but that the maximum age for treatments of IBI will decrease to 5 years old. This is said to be because the greatest chance for changing these children is until they are 5 years old. After that, it becomes harder to help change their behaviors to mirror neurotypical behaviors.

Autism is looked upon as something to correct, or at least to help intervene as much as possible and push towards encouraging the person to act as neurotypical as possible. I’d like to ask you why this is? I’d like to ask you why someone has to behave the way you do for you to see value within them? I’d like to ask you why biodiversity in the world is a plus, but neurodiveristy within humankind is not? I’d like to ask you why someone has to live in a predetermined manner for it to be the right way to live? I’d like to ask  you what is so bad about allowing someone else to live their version of a happy life, even, especially if it’s not the same definition of happy as yours? I’d like to ask you what will it take for you to see that my sons do not have a disorder, they have a different neurological structure. What are the words you need to hear to understand that their value is not to be based upon how well they can become chameleons in society, but that their value is based upon the person they truly are when they stop trying to fit into your rigid, substandard predetermined cookie cutter shape of humanity…The Autistic Person they always have been and always will be does not need to be fixed, they just need to be loved, respected and appreciated for who they are, just like every other living creature on this biologically diverse planet.

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Goodbye Toddlerhood

stock-illustration-58367370-cute-children-cartoon-waving-handMy youngest turned 4 this past week and with her latest birthday I now officially no longer have any toddlers. My youngest is now classified as a “preschooler”. The day she was born the doctor came to see me once I’d woken up and told me I could not have anymore children. He cautioned me that I’d barely made it through having her and warned me that if I became pregnant again I would not live through the next labour. Since she had been an emergency c-section because I was hemorrhaging so badly her and I both were lucky to have lived, I believed him completely. My husband and I took steps to ensure she was our last. I worried at the time that I might feel a loss from not being able to have any more children. I worried that since I had not made the choice, that I would be angry or even bitter as time went on.

I have had moments where I am a bit wistful for the baby stage, for the moments when they are so new and your learning their cries, coos and scent. But overall, I have been at peace with the fact she was will always be my youngest. As I watch her get bigger, develop into the person she is, I am thrilled and in awe. As much as I am certain that any other children I might have had would have been amazing individuals as well, I feel a deep sense of contentment with no longer having any in the baby or toddler stages.

I’m excited to now have two in the preschooler stage, in addition to a teen, and two tweens. (My eldest step-daughter became a teen in February) I’m looking forward to all of the adventures that I get to have with them as they continue to grow into the persons they are meant to become. While I adored each of their baby and toddler stages, I’m waving a happy farewell to that stage of parenting as I leap into the next one with them.

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Unwind your anger printable activity

I found this on pinterest and I really liked it for Mr.C who sometimes struggles to “let go” of his anger.

I am excited to release a new activity page to accompany my newest book Ursula Unwinds Her Anger . The book teaches children mindfulness and relaxation skills such as deep breathing and noticing fe…

Source: Unwind your anger printable activity

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How to guides for daily living

It might seem obvious to many how to do every day living activities. For example, the steps needed prior to cooking a meal such as washing our hands, getting all the ingredients ready or ensuring there is enough time for the recipe in question. But at one point when we were children, those steps weren’t obvious. And even for some that are older, those steps may still not be readily apparent.

There have been many recent studies showing a direct correlation between competency with daily living skills and overall happiness. Which really only makes sense. If you don’t have the skills to navigate the small day to day stuff, than you’re going to be upset and frustrated more than not. No one would rate their life a happy one overall if each day is filled with stress, anxiety and a lack of how to get their basic needs met.

Which is how the chart below (and several others) were thought of, and subsequently taped up around our house. So far I’ve seen a great improvement in my eldest’s sense of pride with himself as he sets out to do a task and successfully completes it without having to ask anyone for help. Yes, he may look at the charts I’ve posted, but in the end he did the activity on his own, and you can see the sense of accomplishment this gives him.

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Stay where you’re at, and I’ll comes where your to

Years ago when I first heard “stay where you’re at, and I’ll comes where your to” it took me a minute to get it. I haven’t heard it in awhile, but it’s been stuck in my head lately. What if we all did that? What if we all just met those in our lives exactly where they are (mentally, and emotionally) without exception, without reserve or conditions? So often without meaning to do so, we put conditions upon our acceptance of others (I’m NOT talking about accepting abuse, or anything of that sort.) But what if instead of thinking of how the people in our lives should do x, y, or z, why not just accept that they aren’t doing said things and accept them as is? Why is it so hard for us as a society to accept one another as is?

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I recently went through an unexpected neurological reaction to a medication. My husband was my lifeline during it, he just kept accepting me. He kept coming to where I was and doing his best to accept the whirlwind of horror that was my mind during that time. And I know there are lots of partners that would do that, but there are also a lot that wouldn’t. His ability to accept people where their at is actually part of why I fell in love with him to begin with. I watched him with Mr.C, I watched how he would meet him where he was at with so many different things and while some of them he would slowly lead him towards the growth that needed to happen, he’d meet him first and walk with him during it. I watched not just his complete acceptance of my nieces, (okay fine I’ll share them, “our nieces”.) but his unhesitating meeting them where they were, as they were. I watched how happy Joy was with him because of this. And I know how much I needed it from him during my reaction.

But I don’t think I needed it from him JUST then, I think we all need it, always. We need to know that we’re not just accepted, but embraced as we are, for who we are. That we matter enough, and have value as the human beings we are, without being changed, without being altered. AS IS.

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Steps to repair my incisional hernia:

Step 1 : Actually GO to Shouldice Hospital for assessment and book a surgery date. DONE!

Step 2: Take what they say seriously and learn how to implement the keto diet they want me to use to lose the *gulp* 51 pounds they say I need to lose prior to my surgery date. STARTED!

Step 3: Design a workout routine based on the doctor’s recommendations to compliment the keto diet for optimal health and weight loss. UP NEXT!

I am of course absolutely terrified of having the surgery, but I know that I will be able to do this. In part because I have an awesome family and great friends. Not only are they supportive, but they’re very intelligent and well-versed in many areas. Plus I’m not shy to ask they share their knowledge with me and so they send me epic links to sites filled with yummy keto recipes, and awesome work-out ideas.

Funny part of the exam:
“Um, your blood pressure is REALLY high, is that normal for you?”
I glance at the reading: 174/119
“Nope, but I’m freaking out on the inside about the idea of surgery”
I’m instructed to focus on something within the room and take some deep breathes. We re-do my blood pressure, it drops drastically. The nurse sighs with relief and writes the second reading down lol.

 

 

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Why we need to talk about their diagnosis/s

I don’t want him to feel different is an amazing article that clearly shows many of the different reasons why I am so strongly against NOT talking to my children about their diagnosis/s. By being open about them I feel it allows them a safe space to talk about it, and about anything to do with it. I don’t want them googling instead, that is a big problem to me due to all the misinformation out there. I don’t claim to know everything about their diagnosis/s, but you can bet your last dollar if I don’t know it, I know how to access reliable information as opposed to craptastic fad “fixes”.

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The Mythical “Everything”

I started a contract position with a local company 3 weeks ago. I’ve been struggling since I started, in small part due to the work itself, but mostly due to trying to find the time in the day to accomplish “the everything” It’s right before Yule so of course I’m already in “go overboard” mode, add in  spending 8-9 hours each day at work right now and it’s a recipe for disaster.

Logically I knew that, and I tried to be gentle with myself. I would say things to my husband or mom such as “it’s okay if I don’t get everything done” or “I am aware that no one can do the everything and I won’t make myself sick trying” Only I was lying to them and myself every time I said it.

A fellow homeschooling mom tried to gently remind me I needed to give myself Grace as well. That I have an amazing son (she only knows my eldest boy) and that I need to be kind to myself as well.

Yet despite all that, I went home early from work yesterday because a migraine hit that I couldn’t shake no matter what I did. I’m not surprised, really I ‘m just surprised it waited as long as it did to hit. I typically get them from stress and spreading myself too thin. A way for my body to remind me I need to slow down and breathe sometimes too.

So I have spent this morning cuddling with the wee ones while we watch pbs kids, because sitting with them and being truly present with them is also part of the everything.

Now that doesn’t mean I won’t try to attempt to accomplish the mythical everything, cause honestly I know I still will, it’s part of who I am to push myself as far as I can and do as much as possible each and every single day. BUT I will try and balance personal care within my day…a little…sometimes…maybe…

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Another autistic youth killed by a parent. And, No, Channel 11 Atlanta, it’s not a “mercy killing”

Left Brain Right Brain

Dustin Hicks was an autistic youth. A teen. Someone who faced very significant challenges and needed a great deal of support. But someone who needed to be respected and valued as a person.

Dustin Hicks was murdered by his mother. News stories are reporting that he was shot in the head. The exact motives are at present unclear since the mother killed herself shortly afterwards.

A TV station in Atlanta reports the story as Dawsonville mother shoots disabled son, self in possible mercy killing.

No. There is no mercy in murder. Just because someone is disabled doesn’t mean someone can justify or downplay murder.

No. Just no.

Our children are our responsibility, not our property. We do not get to kill our children and downplay it because they are disabled and call it mercy.

I can’t go on.


By Matt Carey

note: I corrected a mispelling in the…

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It’s Amazing You’re Here At All

Autistic Academic

I tell my students I’m autistic.

Usually, I remember to mention it during the first-day introductions, but even when I forget, they tend to figure it out by the third class, if they’re listening to me at all.  The use of the first person plural when I talk about autistic writers tends to give it away.

I mentioned my autism to one of my students last week, in a conversation about how I got into disability studies.  Student’s reaction: “Wow, so it’s amazing you’re here at all.”

I thought, “Yes, but not for the reasons you think.”

Being autistic, in and of itself, doesn’t make it “amazing” that I’m teaching.  That’s unremarkable, really.   The professoriate has always had more than its fair share of autistic teachers, I’m guessing, and there would probably be a fair number more of us if alternate communication means and assorted other accommodations were easier…

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