Friday, December 16, 2011

Get to Know an Autistic Adult

I'm the one in the black dress at 1:00 on the video

Reminders from NT-land that I could do without

Yesterday, I received another e-mail newsletter from the regular ed. 2nd grade classroom from Bean's school.  I guess this is due to inclusion, but he is rarely in the regular ed room.  He is in a self contained, autism only classroom due to his level of need.

I am usually not one of those moms who gets upset about what other kids can do compared to her own.  I didn't cry when my boys were diagnosed, and I've never ever came even close to crying during an IEP meeting.  Why would I?  I remember when I did the Parents As Teachers program (early childhood program for babies and toddlers) part of that was regular Denver II screenings.  My boys failed, Beans totally. Bubby just screamed through most of it, lending me the 'most patient parent I've ever seen' moniker from the kids' pediatrician and the PAT lady.  I sat there quietly as they'd struggle to do tasks, or even act as if no one was even speaking to them at all.  I was told that I was the only parent she'd ever seen that did not intervene and try to do the tasks for them, or keep interrupting the tests by insisting my kids CAN do this or that task.

I insisted that if I were to sabotage the results in any way, then it would not be a true measure of their ability, and besides I had no stock in their developmental tests.  As far as I was concerned every child developed differently, and it was no reflection on them or me if they were behind.  I have no reason to live vicariously through what my kids do.  We are separate.  I guess, that if I had compared my kids to other kids more often, then I would have noticed their autism earlier, but that's neither here no there at this point.

My point is in this post, is that I can't help but feel a little irritated, and sad when I am reminded weekly of what others kids Bean's age are doing.  The regular 2nd grade has spelling lists.  I'm listening to his ABA therapy and they're working on holding a crayon correctly and coloring in the lines.  The regular 2nd grade had a food drive.  Ian has a goal of sorting items of food, clothes and now toys to different bins.  They remind the 2nd grade class to not chew gum in class.  My son chews electric cords, computer chairs, and obliterated my laptop cord by chewing on it.  Nothing can be left out in his reach, or he will eat it.  He has chewed up a good portion of Bubby's DS games, just because Bubby forgot to put it away and left it by his bed in the bedroom they share.

I know that it is customary to send special ed parents newsletters from regular ed classrooms, because most of those kids are somewhat included in those classes.  I have watched all the kids that Beans started with in preschool in his autism class learn to sign, use PECs, speak, get potty trained, use utensils, and yes, even somewhat get included into the regular class for their age.  In fleeting moments it makes me wonder what I've done wrong, but then I've met the other parents and know for a fact that they don't provide their child with more than I do with mine.

However, to end this post on a positive note, I have been told by most of the people that have worked with him,one on one workers, paras, teachers, ect.. that he is their favorite. He walks into any room and everyone throws a party for him. Even at home, everyone's is always happy to see him.  The other day I asked his teacher who is extra fond of him, so that I could be sure to include them on my treat basket list.  She came back with 11 names!  From the school nurse to the secretaries!  I followed him and his para into the school to leave the treats in the office last week.  Beans ran in like lightening and I could hear people calling him from the office where he rounded the corner with gusto and jumped on the secretary's lap hugs and tickles.  This is what they do everyday.  Then, on his way to the classroom he gets fives from all the kids in the hall, who know him by name.  He is a popular little guy! 

I guess, when I think of all the happiness he gives to others with his smiles and cute way of just being I have to admit the first part of this post doesn't seem like such a big deal.