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Topic: OT - for all the other moms with autistic kids

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Subject: OT - for all the other moms with autistic kids
Date Posted: 3/28/2010 6:07 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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I just finished Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin and it is a MUST READ. Finally someone has written an autistic child who feels love. 

Date Posted: 3/28/2010 8:01 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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yeah my library has this one! I'm interested in reading about autism from time to time since a coworker has a son who deals with it. I wonder if his wife would like it though she's more fluent with spanish plus not sure she even has time to take a shower let alone read...I really feel for her.she struggles so much trying to do everything she thinks might help.

Date Posted: 3/28/2010 9:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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It's written for middle-grade readers so might not be too difficult for her.

Date Posted: 3/29/2010 12:04 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
Posts: 5,498
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Thanks Willa.  I'll check it out.  My son just turned 18 and I know he feels love.  But I wonder if its because I've always told him I love him and showered him with it?

Date Posted: 3/29/2010 12:27 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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Could be... we certainly shower our son with love and hugs and kisses.  When he was a baby, he was resistant to being held and I was very tentative with him, but his dad just went ahead and insisted on holding him and playing with him anyway and it worked.  I vaguely remember when I read the memoir by Temple Grandin's mother that she had a somewhat similar experience... her instinct was to pull away from her daughter.

I do try to respect his wishes about his body, but thankfully he is very into affection. This is one of the hidden benefits of a child who matures more slowly than others... I doubt most of the other kids his age are still all about the hugging and kissing.

Date Posted: 3/29/2010 4:54 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
Posts: 5,498
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I agree.  Eddie tells me he loves me all the time, whereas my stepkids rarely say it to their dad.

Date Posted: 4/10/2010 8:12 PM ET
Member Since: 6/18/2005
Posts: 30
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I apologize in advance for any misinformation below, as I'm sure there are 2 people on this thread who know more. :-P

Growing up, my parents bought and ran the equivalent of a boarding home for the mental ill and retarded.  From 6 grade on until I left for college, I had exposure to adults with mental retardation, mental illness, some minor/major diablities (blind, cerbal palsy) and some eldery on a weekly basis.  They were mobile but our home cooked all thier meals and did thier laundry and made sure they stayed out trouble. :)

Some of the happiest and most affectionate people I have ever met generally had the diagnosis of mental retardation in our home.  (Seriously, give them a bit of love, food, and shelter and there was nothing more that they wanted... ) Mental illiness was much tricker -- those behaviors required much more attention and medication.  Some of those were plain mean, although they had a bit more intellegence in the IQ sense. 

Based on that experience, it appears to me that autism has become a "catch all" diagnosis.  Anything from low IQs to severe behavior problems are being thrown under that umbrella.   Quite literally no one uses those diagnosis  of mental retardation/illness anymore.  I've seen graphs more than once showing the parellel  drop in retardation and rise in autism diagnosis.  (By the way, if you had heard the headline a while back about record cases of autism dianosis, it is part because of the lack of other diagnosis for children with out of the mainstream behaviors or development.)

I can see how if you pulled out a medical reference on "classic" autism (which I *think* is generally a sort of idiot savant, to use an extremely old term) you're going to write about a kid lacking connections to the social world around them .  What is being diagnosed today appears to be much wider range of behaviors/issues. I'm not surprised it's hard to find writing that matches what you're experiencing as autism.  

I kinda wish we'd go back to the older terms or at least come up with some new ones that aren't all "autism".   In my mind, it now only conveys that the person in question probably needs help with living at some level...what kind of challenges they and their family are experiencing are not relayed at all in the modern terminology.



Last Edited on: 4/10/10 8:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/10/2010 9:40 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
Posts: 5,498
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Autism and mental retardation are two separate entities.  Some people with autism also have MR, some do not.  Autism is much more than an inability to relate socially or having behavior issues.  It is essentially a brain that is missing the right connections.  An easily understood analogy might be trying to play a 33 vinyl record at 45 speed.  Sure it will play, but you don't hear it the way it was meant to be heard.  

I understand the point you are trying to make but to a parent who has dealt with this 24/7 for 18 years - I can't agree with you.  Autism is a broad spectrum disorder.  BROAD being the relavent point.  But its NOT mental retardation and its certainly not idiot savantism, a term so offensive to me that I believe I would physically harm someone who said it about my son.  Also hearing the term " retard".  People with mental disabilities are still people, above all else. My son may never go to college to drive a car but he is smarter than me in some ways.  If people can allow themselves to see past outdated and offensive stereotypes, this world might be an easier place for them and for their parents.


I'm not trying to bait you Amy or say that your experiences within the community are wrong, but I think that there is a big difference in being the parent of  a child with autism, as opposed to being "exposed" to adults with disabilities.

Date Posted: 4/10/2010 10:46 PM ET
Member Since: 2/1/2008
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Thanks for the information about the book Willa.  As a former special ed teacher who currently works with adults with developmental disabilities, including both autism in it's many forms AND the many and varied forms of MR (with all the various other assorted conditions thrown in) I have found it very frustrating in the past to relay to people that Autism and MR are not single finite conditions.  There are as many types of both disorders as there are people with them.  I have found it easier to tell my staff to just focus on the individual and what they need rather than trying to focus on what the label says they should need. 

Of course that is easier said than done.  And of course, it is somewhat easier dealing with adults who have had the "labels" for years.  When the individual is a child in need of services, in many cases it is impossible to get those services without first having a diagnosis.  But I do agree with one of Amy's observations, that in many cases, individuals with some form of developmental disability can be happier (at least outwardly) because they see life differently and often in it's more stripped down version.  It can be very humbling working with these men and women and realizing that they are just happy you are in their lives and appreciate you for being there, not for the money you make or the car you drive.  That is one of the things that has kept me in this field for over 12 years (when I could be making 3 times as much as a teacher).

Anyway, that is just my rambling opinion (after a very long week at work preparing for our upcoming state inspection!)

Date Posted: 4/10/2010 11:29 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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Totally agree with you, Shari. My son's diagnosis has nothing to do with his intelligence, which as it happens is very high.  But he suffers from serious impairments in his ability to communicate, interact and self-regulate, as well as from sensory-related problems and anxiety. 

Mental retardation is still listed as one of only a few qualifying conditions at the Regional Center that serves my son, so I seriously doubt that no one uses it as a diagnosis anymore.  If mental retardation rates are lowering, I suspect it may have more to do with the fact that improved screening methods have resulted in far more terminations of children with Down Syndrome.  I have a friend whose daughter has Downs and I know she is concerned that her child may wind up in a world with very few peers.

Date Posted: 5/14/2010 7:29 PM ET
Member Since: 11/25/2007
Posts: 773
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~ I agree with everything that Sherri said above about autisim and MR.  ( I do not like or use the term Mental Retardation )

Im not trying to bait anyone either..just giving my opinion.

My 19 year old Son is mildly Autistic.  That just means ( to me ) that he IS Autistic, however, he is high functioning in alot of things...

( in some things he is not )  ~ he is non-verbal.  And Im sure that not being able to speak,  except using his own words/language is

very hard for him, ( and that does lead to some Behavior problems sometimes ) he get frustrated in not being able to tell us what he wants.

There are many Joys of working with and living with a Special Needs child.  smiley