AUTISM IS FUNNY

SOME OF YOU MAY BE PUT OFF OR BAFFLED BY THE TITLE OF THIS FIRST BLOG. THOSE OF YOU WHO KNOW ME WELL WILL NOT BE. WHAT HAS GOTTEN ME THROUGH EVERYTHING TOUGH IN THIS CRAZY, COMPLICATED THING CALLED LIFE IS MY ABILITY TO LAUGH AND FIND HUMOR EVEN IN THE DARKEST OF TIMES. AUTISM IS SO MANY THINGS. IT IS HEART WRENCHING, EXHAUSTING, UNFAIR, COMPLEX AND FRUSTRATING. BUT IF YOU ASK ME, AUTISM IS ALSO BEAUTIFUL, CHARMING, SPECIAL AND YES, FUNNY. FUNNY IS MY SONS MORNING ROUTINE OF BURSTING IN MY ROOM AT 7AM TO SPUTTER OUT THE STATS OF EVERY MAJOR LEAGUE PLAYER WHO PLAYED THE PREVIOUS DAY BUT NEVER UTTERING THE WORDS GOOD MORNING (SOME MORNINGS ARE FUNNIER THAN OTHERS). FUNNY IS SEEING TWO ASD TEENAGERS HAVE A CONVERSATION ABOUT HOW AWESOME EUROPEAN HISTORY IS. FUNNY IS SOMEONE ASKING IF WE LIKE THEIR OUTFIT AND MY SONS FRIEND WHO HAS AUTISM TELLING HER HOW AWFUL IT IS AND THAT SHE SHOULD GO CHANGE. WE MUST FIND THE HUMOR IN EVERYTHING INCLUDING AUTISM TO GET THROUGH THIS LIFE. WE ALL TAKE THINGS TOO SERIOUSLY NOWADAYS. LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE (ALONG WITH XANAX).

 

TO MY COMMUNITY OF PARENTS OUT THERE STRUGGLING EACH AND EVERY DAY WITH THEIR CHILDREN, THEIR LIVES, THEIR MARRIAGE, THE SCHOOL DISTRICT AND THE LIST GOES ON. I HOPE WE CAN ALL FIND THE HUMOR IN THINGS WHERE WE ARE ABLE. LIFE IS HARD. LIFE WITH A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD IS HARDER. I PREVIOUSLY HELPED RUN A LOCAL AUTISM ORGANIZATION FOR THREE YEARS AND HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO EVERY SIDE OF THIS COMPLEX WORLD OF SPECIAL NEEDS PARENTING. I CAN SAY THE BEST PART, THE MAGIC PART, WAS WHEN THE PARENTS ALL HAD TIME AT AN EVENT, BE IT FIVE MINUTES OR TWO HOURS, TO SIT WITH EACH OTHER AND VENT. WE LAUGHED, SHARED CRAZY MOMENTS IN OUR LIVES THAT NO ONE THOUGHT WERE SO CRAZY AND ALWAYS LEFT FEELING UNBURDENED. I CALL IT THE WHIPLASH EFFECT AS THERE WAS SO MUCH HEAD NODDING THAT WE ALL LEFT WITH STIFF NECKS. NOWHERE ELSE IN OUR LIVES DO WE GET THAT UNDERSTANDING AND ACCEPTANCE. TO ME THAT IS A CRUCIAL PIECE TO SURVIVING TO FACE ANOTHER DAY.

 

THIS MAGIC APPLIES TO OUR KIDS AS WELL. THESE KIDS LIVE IN A WORLD THAT DOESN'T GET THEM, DOESN'T UNDERSTAND THEM AND OFTEN DOESN'T ACCEPT THEM. THE WORLD IS FILLED WITH JUDGEMENT. WHEN WE RAN SOCIAL GROUPS THE KIDS WOULD FEEL LIKE THEY HAD FOUND THEIR TRIBE. INSTEAD OF BEING BULLIED THEY FELT LIKE THE COOL KIDS. ONE MOMENT STANDS OUT IN MY MIND WHERE TEENAGER AGE 17 CAME UP TO ME AFTER A GROUP AND HUGGED ME AND TOLD ME SHE LOVED COMING BECAUSE SHE FELT LIKE SHE BELONGED THERE. THAT IS THE MAGIC OF IT ALL AND WHAT PROPELLED ME TO START THE FAMILY AUTISM NETWORK.

 

MY GOAL HERE IS TO CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THAT MOMENT TO HAPPEN OVER AND OVER FOR BOTH THE KIDS AND YOUNG ADULTS ON THE SPECTRUM AS WELL AS FOR THEIR PARENTS. WE ALL NEED THIS IN OUR LIFE. AS I WANT THIS BLOG TO REMAIN A LIGHTHEARTED ONE I WILL LEAVE YOU WITH A LITTLE LIST OF THOSE PEOPLE I THINK YOU WILL ALL FIND FAMILIAR...

 

1. WELL-MEANING WILOMENA: WILOMENA HAS ALL THE BEST INTENTIONS BUT THINKS WE ARE MORONS AND THAT SHE IS PRIVY TO SOME SECRET THERAPUTIC AUTISM AGENTS THAT WE AS ASD PARENTS HAVE NEVER HEARD OF OR ENCOUNTERED. “HAVE YOU TRIED THERAPY? ACUPUNCTURE? GLUTEN FREE DIET? I HEAR IT HELPS AUTISM. THANK GOODNESS FOR YOU WILOMENA BECAUSE THE ROCK I LIVE UNDER DOES NOT ALLOW ME TO BE EXPOSED TO ANY INFORMATION THAT EXISTS IN THE WORLD. I ACTUALLY ONCE ROLLED MY EYES SO HARD I COULD SEE WHO WAS STANDING BEHIND ME IN LINE.

2. PARENTING EXPERT PAUL: PAUL IS THE EXPERT ON ALL THINGS RELATED TO PARENTING A CHILD WITH AUTISM. YES IT'S TRUE PAUL DOES NOT HAVE A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD..OR ANY CHILDREN, BUT ALAS PAUL IS ALL KNOWING WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR CHILD. HIS ADVICE OFTEN COMES AS HE LEANS IN AND SPUTTERS A SENTENCE WITH THE WORDS "YOU KNOW..." AND THEN BESTOWS HIS WISDOM ON HOW YOU SHOULD RAISE YOUR CHILD AND CONTROL THEIR BEHAVIOR. THANK YOU PAUL, WHAT WOULD WE DO WITHOUT YOU.

3. TOUGH LOVE TONY: TONY GETS HIS PARENTING INSPIRATION FROM BINGE WATCHING MOMMIE DEAREST AND HIS TOUGH LOVE PHILOSOPHY IS JUST FULL OF LITTLE GEMS OF ADVICE. HIS NEW ALBUM INCLUDES ALL TIME FAVORITES SUCH AS "HE NEEDS ONE GOOD POP", "GIVE HIM TO ME I'LL STRAIGHTEN HIM OUT IN A DAY" AND THE OLD CLASSIC "I WOULDN'T PUT UP WITH THAT BEHAVIOR."

 

4. JUDGEMENTAL JUDY: JUDY IS EXTREMELY POLITE AS SHE PASSES JUDGEMENT IN HER MATCHING YOGA PANT AND MANICURE OUTFIT. HER SON "LITTLE TIMMY" IS OFTEN THE TOPIC OF CONVERSATION AS SHE LISTS HIS MANY ACHIEVEMENTS AND APPARENTLY HIS PENDING MEMBERSHIP TO MENSA. MEANWHILE YOU HAVE WITNESSED TIMMY STUFFING ROCKS IN HIS UNDERWEAR AND ATTACKING THE OTHER CHILDREN WITH BOOGER BOMBS. QUITE THE PRODIGY. SHE MAKES VERY PLEASANT CONVERSATION BUT SEEMS TO NEVER REALLY WANT PRINCE TIMMY TO BE FRIENDS WITH YOUR CHILD IN ANY MEANINGFUL WAY AND SEEMS TO THINK THE AUTISM MIGHT RUB OFF.

 

5. DENISE, QUEEN OF DENIAL: DENISE IS A LOVELY PERSON HOWEVER I HAVE SEEN LESS DENIAL AS I WATCH A PLAYBACK OF BILL CLINTON COMMENTING ON THOSE LATE NIGHT MEETINGS WITH MONICA LEWINSKY. HER CHILD IS CLEARLY ON THE SPECTRUM BUT SHE IS NOT EVEN CLOSE TO THE REALM OF REALITY IN FACING THIS FACT THAT THE REST OF US ARE ALL PAINFUL AWARE OF. SHE SEEMS TO MAKE EXCUSE AFTER EXCUSE FOR HIS STIMMING, SOCIAL ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTAL DELAYS WHERE THE REST OF US SEE A BRIGHTLY COLORED SIGN ON TOP OF HIS HEAD WITH AN ARROW POINTING DOWN THAT SAYS "AUTISM HERE". THE SAD REALITY IS THAT WE KNOW DENISE'S DENIAL WILL PREVENT HER CHILD FROM GETTING THE APPROPRIATE AND NEEDED SUPPORTS AND SERVICES

 

6. MAGIC WAND MATTHEW: MATTHEW IS VERY VISIBLE AT SCHOOL IEP MEETINGS. WE ALL HAVE COME ACROSS MATTHEW AND HIS MAGIC WAND. HIS SUPERPOWERS ALLOW HIM TO WAVE HIS WAND AT CSE MEETINGS AND MAGICALLY CURE YOUR CHILD OF AUTISM AND ALL OF HIS ISSUES. MATTHEW IS VERY SPECIAL IN THAT ALTHOUGH HE HAS NEVER MET YOUR CHILD, HE IS ALL KNOWING AND HIS KNOWLEDGE SURPASSES THAT OF COUNTLESS DOCTORS INCLUDING DEVELOPMENTAL PEDIATRICIANS, NEUROLOGISTS AND THERAPISTS. NOW IF ONLY MATTHEW COULD USE HIS POWERS FOR GOOD AND MAKE HIMSELF DISAPPEAR.

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