Archive for July, 2009

Autism 151

July 31, 2009

So in keeping with the positive vibes I was trying to get flowing in my last post, I thought I’d give a shout-out to a website that I think has a great idea.

The website is called Autism 151. Their tagline is “150 Stories. One Community of Hope.” They encourage visitors to the site to upload a short video or a picture to tell the story of someone they love with autism. But the goal isn’t to talk about how hard life is for those with autism or their families. Instead they’re focusing on the positive aspects…the great strides these kids & adults are making….the unique and wonderful qualities they have.

A friend of mine pointed me towards this website and I’ve posted a couple of short videos on there. One is an excerpt of our “Surprised by Autism” show. The other is the video we created for the “What Kind of Word Do You Want?” website. It’s been fun to see over the months how many people have been adding their own touching stories to this website.

So if you have a positive story to tell, visit their website. If you’re in the mood for an uplifting story, head over there. We could all use a dose of what Autism 151 is offering.

Maybe we’re not all that different

July 29, 2009

I guess I’ve done a REALLY bad job at keeping up with this blog. You probably don’t want to hear excuses, but here’s a few anyway….I’ve been busy, I’m usually sleepy when I have the chance to write one, I can’t think of any ideas, etc.

Actually the last excuse is not all that far off. I’ve been kind of struggling lately to figure out the purpose of this blog. Does it exist for me to offer pearls of wisdom? Hope for other parents? A place for me to vent? A forum to tell cute and/or funny stories?

I suppose this blog can serve any of those purposes. I just can’t seem to figure out what direction I should keep this thing going in. I don’t want it to just be a forum for me to spout off if I’ve had a bad day. I’m sure there’s plenty other blogs where you can read that type of thing. I also fear that someday our son will read these writings and I don’t want him to ever think that he made our lives difficult or anything. It’s quite the opposite. He’s such a beautiful blessing. So Josiah if you’re reading this in the year 2021 or something, please know that you’re the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Ok, so now that we’ve cleared some of that up, I thought a good post for today would be to talk about something that’s been on my mind a lot lately. It’s how our 3 year old son with autism really isn’t all that much different than a 3 year old without autism.

It’s so easy to put every one of Josiah’s actions under a microscope and just assume every behavior is a result of autism. Maybe he’ll throw a short tantrum about something or we just get the feeling he’s not listening to us. Time and time again though we’ll share stories of what he’s doing with other family members and they’ll usually say, “You know, you used to do the same things at his age too. That’s what all 3 year olds do.”

Since he’s our only child it’s easy to forget that 3 year olds sometimes do things that make us parents scratch our heads. I was in Target with our son a few months ago and he threw a bit of a tantrum and kept laying on the floor making it difficult to pick him up. I felt like all eyes were on me and that everyone must think I’m a bad parent and everyone must see all his autistic behaviors. Now that time has passed I realize that if people were looking at us, all they saw was a 3 year old being a 3 year old who didn’t care to shop at Target anymore. I doubt they were passing judgment down on me either. If they’ve had a kid that age, they probably just thought, “Hey man, I’ve been there before!”

There are so many things about Josiah’s life that I could list now that aren’t really any different than a ‘typical’ 3 year old. He loves ice cream. He never leaves his stuffed duck or special blanket out of his sight. He loves going to the park and could spend all day on the swings and slides. He loves music. He gets a kick out of Elmo. He lights up when his Mommy or Daddy are in the room. He likes to look at pictures of monkeys. He likes to hear his Grandparents voices on the phone. He loves to splash around in the bath. He likes to get wet in the sprinklers on a hot day. He likes to have a song or two sung to him before bedtime. He would prefer a donut to something more nutritious for breakfast.

Ok, you get the point. So much of what we deal with is really what any boy his age would be into. Sure there are some lapses in vocabulary, imagination, etc. But we’re seeing progress all the time in those areas. Sometimes the progress may not be as swift as we thought it would be, but it’s steady progress nonetheless. I for one, am trying my hardest to focus on all the wonderful qualities my son has. I could live my life right now thinking about all the things other parents are doing with their kids. But you know what, with just a few differences here and there, we are getting to do those things with Josiah. We’re all unique and have quirks. Why is it ok for me to have my quirks (and believe me I do!) and not for our kids with autism to have them? Sure, we need to help them to grow. But I worry that we’re all losing sight of the big picture that these kids have a lot to give right now.

So maybe that’s more of the direction this blog needs to take. More positivity. More pointing out what my child and other kids with autism are doing. They don’t need our pity. I don’t need your pity. All we need is some good vibes and I think we’ll all be just fine.