As most of you may know- tonight I attended the first of four sessions at Any Baby Can of San Antonio's Parent Training Series.
First, let me mention--- this class is offered completely free, with childcare, and dinner provided- regardless of income!! We love ABC!!!
On our way, I was talking to Aaden about being able to play with other children that are like him. His response, "They have crazy hair too?" Hmmm. maybe. haha
*Side note- I do not think his hair is crazy!! lol I love it.
That is about as far as we got with that conversation, because earlier when I started it, all he wanted to know were if there would be girls. What tha… when did that start mattering?
Once we got there, I signed the boys in, and since we were early, I sat in the child care facilities for a good bit waiting for class to start. Aaden made his rounds around the room, scoping everything out, then ran up to me and said, "Thank you so much, mom". Ok, sure, I'll take the credit for this amazing room full of all things possible. Brady, well he did his usual, found a truck and didn't care about anyone else around.
Class started, after filling out a few pre-course questionnaires and all that jazz the fun started. We learned about loads of other opportunities offered by Any Baby Can: Group Therapy Sessions, Individual Sessions, Parents Helping Parents, Potty Training, IEP Assistance,the list goes on. Once again- all offered free of charge.
We were introduced to the Psychologist that works along side ABC- he started with statistics, of course. Did you know the statistics you hear in the media are not accurate? The real numbers are a lot worse. 1 in 50 boys, born in the USA are within the Spectrum and 1 in 88 girls. Did you also know that in the US the average age for a diagnosis is 6 for Autism and 10 for Aspergers… which by that time, you have missed a HUGE window for intervention and help!?
Why is the US so far behind?!? In England, they are scanning for symptoms at 6 months!! Why? Because they know this is a neurological disorder that isn't going to just 'disappear'. These early years in our children lives are the most important, 'difference' or not.
He spoke about regular pediatricians calling us 'helicopter parent' and needing to let the child try to grow out of it. Or he is trying to test us or get his way. When they are playing it safe- and wrong- we are missing valuable time with our precious little one's development. YOU ARE YOUR CHILD'S ONLY ADVOCATE. The doctors see one slide of your life movie…
Why does it matter if there is something different going on with him/her? Will it change your love for your child? If it does, shame. on. you!!! You are the parent, you push for what you believe.
The rising numbers in Autism are one of the major reasons we need to raise awareness.
There is nothing worse than being in public and having an autistic break down… if you are on the outside of the parenting spectrum, imagine being stared at by 10000 eyes, all thinking you need to discipline your child, or spank him, or whatever else they think would help this neurological disorder they are so uneducated about. Then he said this: 'Why do I have to explain to the world, what I live thru'. The answer to that is we don't. But we choose to share because we want to raise awareness. Raise acceptance.
He spoke about why our parents and grandparents do not understand what Autism is and what it really means… I have to say- most of our parents and grandparents are extremely supportive, naturally they act like there is nothing wrong with Aaden- because he is so perfect when they are around. Well come live with us. LOL. He brought up a movie Elvis was in, Change of Habit, and said that is what our grandparents know of the Spectrum. To be honest, I have not seen the movie- so I'm just going to kind of leave it at that, and assume you can piece it together. Amendment after I watch ;) You're welcome.
He said in the 70's when you had a child on the Spectrum, 90% of the time Social Services would come knocking on your door to take your child- because obviously you could not control them. How petrifying. Do you know where these kids went??? To a side wing in a hospital--- kept away from the world, from society. They were rejects. They were 'warehouse kids' (if you must ask- yes, I am balling as I type).
I personally enjoyed him speaking of prevalent individuals that have vocalized their 'difference'. Whether it be Autism or Aspergers. These are the people that can change the way outsiders look at the disorder.
All in all, it was just amazing to sit there and giggle at small things he would throw in about our little ones- such as never wearing clothes. Or their favorite meal being chicken nuggets and fries from McDonald's. Seriously everyone laughed at that. So good to know we aren't the only one's who live at McD's. haha
My favorite of the night was when he said, "Autism changes you as a person, not for the better, not for the worse, it Redefines you". And it has. You look for joy differently.
Ours for instance was last week--- Aaden wrote his name, completely by himself!!!! He has been behind in class with his writing and letter recognition. His teacher told me she was positive the whole school heard them cheering for him after he finished. That is amazing to me.
My second favorite, and the one that will stick with me, "Behavior is a language, and we are the translators.' And let me tell you, learning a new language - that doesn't have a study guide, book, directions etc IS HARD.
Please please please raise awareness near you!!! Don't be the ones giving 'the look'. Don't be scared of there being something 'wrong' with your little one. Know there is help out there. Keep pushing for what your child deserves.
When I went to grab the boys- Aaden was sitting with 2 of the caregivers, both pretty teenage girls… who were completely swoon by him. Brady- still playing with the same truck. One of the girls that Aaden was hanging with said she knew Brady was Aaden's sibling because of how they would look at each other. My translation "look at each other with monster eyes". I don't think that's what she meant, but definitely what I pictured. As we all walked out of the child care facilities, you could easily point out which child in each family had the difference. They were screaming because they didn't want to leave. While this was so sad- I was proud to be right along side them. They are not alone- and either are we.
Amazingly enough, when I got into the car- 'Write Your Story' by Francesa Battistelli was playing on the radio. <3
In April we will be participating in Any Baby Can Walk for Autism. We will be walking to support Any Baby Can, to raise awareness, to celebrate growing as an Autism Community. If you are local- or anyone who plans to come into town, and would like to join us for the walk, you can register for our team, Aspie Aaden, here. If you are unable to walk and could like to purchase a t-shirt, contact me. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: (225) 505-8024. The shirts are $20/each. Available in sizes ranging from Youth Small to Adult 3 X-Large. They will be royal blue with white writing. Shirts are not necessary to participate in the walk.
I am so excited about next week's class!! The next 2 weeks we will be have an ABA come in and help us with home based strategies. Pumped up, let me tell you!!
Thank you for reading- and listening to me ramble. I hope you took something from this!!
Until next time…