Not much of anything

I know, I know. I haven’t been around, again. We have had a busy week. Ms. N (who deserves a whole post to herself) was on vacation last week, so I had less time than usual. Even with having the extra help, we had a good week.

On Thursday, Mr. Boogie, Boogie, and I loaded into the car for a mini road trip to Michigan Adventure. After seeing how much Boogie enjoyed the rides at the fair, we thought we would give it a shot. Things went perfectly. Boogie was in sensory heaven, with all the spinning, falling, fast moving rides. There weren’t a lot of people, and the weather was beautiful. We were able to get what they refer to as a “boarding pass”. From what I understand, this works in much the same way as the disney parks pass. If the line was long, Mr. Boogie would go and get a return time for that ride. Usually, the time was however long the line was taking to go through. We tried not to use the pass, as we do want Boogie to learn to wait in line, but there were a few times we did use it.

I think the best part of the day was when we walked by a giant rollercoaster—one of the ones where your feet dangle— and heard everyone screaming and laughing. Boogie looked at me and said, “I want to do that one next, Mom.” As a person who mainly likes kiddie rides, I am major screwed in a few years!

The rest of the week was taken up by birthday party planning (she is going to be 4!), swimmimg, movie watching, and playing.

And, as a side note, I have a few posts swimming around in my head, so hopefully I will get to them this week!

Autism is not the enemy

I have had this idea running, circling, evading my grasp for a while now. Every time I think I have “it”, I began to write and then I realize that the slippery little thought escaped once again.

I still haven’t fully caught it. But I think the time for letting it stew is well past. In the video the autism alliance made, I say, “I cried when we got the diagnosis. Hearing that your child has autism? That’s not something any parent wants to hear because you just know that things are going to be harder for your child.” I still stand by that statement. I don’t feel that I want to “beat” or “crush” or “kill” or “cure” autism. Autism is a part of my daughter. Everything she sees, everything she does, everything she is, is experienced through the lens of autism. I feel that it’s much the same as my one aunt, who has faith in God so strong that just being around her makes a person feel that they have strong faith, too. Everything my aunt experiences, everything she is, is viewed though the lens of her unshakable faith. Of course, faith is a choice, and autism is something you are born with (in my belief). Still, without her faith, my aunt would not be the aunt I know and love. Without autism, my daughter would not be the girl know and love.

I read, and hear comments from mothers and fathers that they would remove, cure, kill the autism in their child if they could. They say they hate autism but love their child. Often times, those in the autism world that think like I do condemn these mothers and fathers. I think what these parents really need is compassion. I think that perhaps they have experienced the case of “autism making life harder for their child”. I think that it is really society that is the enemy these parents need to fight. We, all of us, need to work together to educate society about autism.

We have been so blessed in our experiences with the public. Boogie has an awesome dentist, who listened as we educated her about how to handle Boogie. We have found doctors, teachers, babysitters, waitresses, cable guys, who have listened and then smiled easily at Boogie and have worked to create that positive interaction. We live in a smaller community, but we spend a lot of time in the larger cities surrounding where we are. When I first decided to join a gym in order to swim for exercise, I really didn’t know what I would do with Boogie. I took her with me, and just let her splash in the pool while I swam laps. Soon, she was having little conversations with other people who were swimmimg. And then I decided I wanted to take an actual water aerobics class. So I met with the girl who runs the child care center and who teaches the kid fit class. I talked about Boogie. I educated them on her behaviors, and how to respond. She has now been going three times a week for an hour. Boogie doesn’t love it, but she goes without complaint, and doesn’t have meltdowns while there.

I believe a lot of our positive experiences are because Mr. Boogie and I are willing to open up to people, to explain what Boogie needs. Because we are willing to educate people, they are willing to try. That’s not to say that we haven’t had bad experiences. I can vividly remember a time when I avoided taking Boogie anywhere. I didn’t know what she needed, yet, to be able to go out and handle a trip to the store. Melt-down after meltdown would occur, and from the outside, it could look very much like a toddler’s terrible tantrum. I couldn’t stand all the rude, nosy, stuck-up “helpful” people who would approach with their suggestions. But, I was also unwilling to stand up and educate these people.

I wonder how different the parents who hate autism would feel, if the public and people around them were educated. If they didn’t have to be afraid of the reactions they would get at the grocery store, or the waterpark. I wonder how different they would feel if people were able to show them compassion.
This is why we need to educate, and explain. This is why we need to stand up. Not just because we should be standing up for our kids, but because others in the autism community desperately need understanding.

20 follows?!?!

I check my email every morning. My game plan is always to get up with Mr. Boogie at 5:30, check email, write a blog post, and then relax and read my book. In reality, Boogie usually wakes me, I get her breakfast, let out the dogs, scan and delete email, chug coffee and then rush to make it to the gym in time for the “kid fit” class Boogie takes and the swim class I take. Whew. Holy mother of run on sentences! Anyways, the other morning as I was enjoying a cup of chocolate glazed donut coffee, I came across an email that informed me I had 20 followers! Wow. I wanted to thank you all for following me. I realize that a lot of bloggers have many more followers. I started blogging to give myself an outlet for everything that was happening in our lives. I hoped that my story might be able to help others out there who find themselves going through the same things. So, I hope you have enjoyed my posts thus far, maybe have had a laugh, learned something new, or not felt as alone in your struggles. Thank you, all 20 of you!