Soup Du Jour! Judging a Book by its Cover!

All My Readers,

As a Chicken Soup co-author I’m always looking for your stories to share with everyone else.  Not too long ago I did a “call out” to my members asking for heartwarming stories and was overwhelmed with over 2500 submissions.  I know you will enjoy hearing from others so I am going to be sharing them with you on a weekly basis.  Here is the eighth one from Caroline Washington!


Judging a Book by its Cover
(By Caroline Washington)

 

That saying was told to me as a child, but it’s a saying some of us have forgotten. When I go out with my son in public most people automatically assume that I am a bad mother because Uriah has tantrums in public. My son is a normal little boy in so many ways, but I know that my Child has Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Uriah was diagnosed with Autism in June of 2000. As a mother, I felt guilty because I thought it was caused by something I had done. Of course, now I realize that I couldn’t have done anything to control the Autism. Yet, that doesn’t stop the hurt that I feel. With Autism, I find myself struggling to keep my child’s life as normal and stress-free as possible.

 Like many, I had never heard of this disorder before 2000. It took a neurological doctor to explain that it is a developmental disability. Uriah’s mind works like a two and half year olds. He has little or no speech, he tantrums a lot, which has led to a behavioral problem. As a mother, I want him to experience the same things other kids do, but I find it hard to do so. Not because the kids aren’t accepting of his Autism, but because of the adults. I guess they feel that if Uriah plays with their kids in the park, then their kids might become “special” too! Things like that have not stopped me from taking Uriah out, I just explain to them that Uriah’s brain works a little different from everybody else’s.

In December of 2000, I decided to leave my job to care for him full-time. It hasn’t been easy going from a two income household down to one. I guess, in my mind, there was going to be a system set up to help me financially. I quickly discovered there wasn’t. In the beginning, Uriah had qualified for SSI disability, but when my husband received a raise at work he was cut off.

My son is now in a public school program for special needs children and I keep being told he could use extra speech and occupational therapy, something my husband’s insurance does not cover. I find myself working with flash cards and the like at home, hoping this will help until his Autism Waiver is approved. (I have been told this can take up to seven years). I never regret that Uriah is here, because I realize that my son gives me a purpose.

My life’s joy is to help Uriah succeed in whatever he wants to do now and in the future, and to let other people know that when they see a child acting out in the store or whatever, don’t just assume it’s bad parenting. It just maybe a special child acting out…and they cannot help themselves. That’s why it’s not good to Judge a Book by its Cover.

Soup Du Jour! Patience Really is a Virtue!

All My Readers,

As a Chicken Soup co-author I’m always looking for your stories to share with everyone else.  Not too long ago I did a “call out” to my members asking for heartwarming stories and was overwhelmed with over 2500 submissions.  I know you will enjoy hearing from others so I am going to be sharing them with you on a weekly basis.  Here is the seventh one from Matt McLain!


Patience Really is a Virtue
(By Matt McLain)

 

As parents of a special needs child, we hear the word, “patience” every day and sometimes even more. But, have you ever really stopped to focus on just what that word means when dealing with the day-to-day struggles of caring for your special needs child?

As a father of a child with Autism, it took me quite some time to really figure out the importance of exercising patience with my son.

Lately, I have noticed when my son goes into a tantrum or outburst, instead of becoming frustrated and going from 0-60 in mere seconds…exercising patience is really, as they say, a virtue. If I step back and count to ten and calmly ask him to show me what is wrong, or show me what he needs, he will calm down much quicker and proceed to communicate with me the best way he can. I have to remember, it is just as frustrating for him to not be able to communicate with me as it is for me to be able to understand his outbursts and communication struggles.

Exercising patience aids in opening up a communication doorway and, in my opinion, strengthens the bond between you and your special someone. I believe our children have a unique and intelligent understanding of the world around them, and we, as parents, just need to be more patient to further understand what they perceive as normal, every day.

So the next time you feel frustrated or hear someone say, “be patient,” really stop and give it a try; it just may be the key to unlocking some of the mysteries behind the communication barriers with special needs children…and maybe even relieve some of the stress you deal with every day.

Matt McLain
Owner – Ready, Set, Bloom, LLC.
www.myreadysetbloom.com

Soup Du Jour! The Lack of Fairness in Life!

All My Readers,

As a Chicken Soup co-author I’m always looking for your stories to share with everyone else.  Not too long ago I did a “call out” to my members asking for heartwarming stories and was overwhelmed with over 2500 submissions.  I know you will enjoy hearing from others so I am going to be sharing them with you on a weekly basis.  Here is the sixth one from Monica Johns!

The Lack of Fairness in Life is a Good Lesson to Learn but a Tough One to Understand
(By Monica Johns)

 

The soccer ball is coming fast down the grassy field.  The boys are all trying to defend it by kicking the ball away.  My 11 yr old HFA and asperger son is on this defensive team.  He is ready and kicks the ball out from between the offensive players’ legs.  What a save right? 

My autistic sons’ stories don’t generally end that simple.  For some reason a “but” appears after each moment in time and in this case there is no disappointment.

But – then the offensive boy calls my son a name.  It doesn’t matter what the name is.  My son no longer cares about the soccer ball. He heads straight for the player and pushes him to the ground.  Of course this is not permitted in a soccer game and he gets carded and sent out.  His frustration level is high now and he can’t calm down. He runs away to get all of the emotion out of his body/head and later calmly returns. 

Everyone is wondering what happened. 

 It is tough for our special needs children to be involved in team sports.  Team sports should be a rewarding and fun time.  I have spoken to many parents that don’t involve their special needs kids in team activities anymore.  It just became too difficult.  I am sad about this.  For one, it is such a good way to get the exercise and high level of physical activity our kids need.  Secondly, being part of a team typically enhances friendships because they have this sport in common and enjoy it together.  Generally our special needs kids are lacking in friendships due to the inability to understand the complex relationship in being and having a friend or at the other end of the spectrum because they are the ones being teased, taunted and bullied. 

As my son grows older in age, his maturity grows at a much slower rate than the other boys on his team.  He has asked that we not tell the others that he is autistic because most team players do not understand autism and don’t want to be educated on it.  Now at the soccer games, I am fearful that he will act out and/or say something inappropriate.  He will outcast himself as he has done so many times before unbeknownst to himself.  We attempt to explain to him these non-existent social rules.  He listens and says that he understands but as soon as he steps onto the field, they are forgotten or missed.  He loves this game and he is a good player. In the end all he wants from the game is a friend – but the playing field is not fair just like in life.  The lack of fairness in life is a good lesson to learn but a tough one to understand especially for those with special needs.

Soup Du Jour! Autism Is Definitely Not For Wimps!

All My Readers,

As a Chicken Soup co-author I’m always looking for your stories to share with everyone else.  Not too long ago I did a “call out” to my members asking for heartwarming stories and was overwhelmed with over 2500 submissions.  I know you will enjoy hearing from others so I am going to be sharing them with you on a weekly basis.  Here is the fifth one from Nancy Bernotaitis!

Autism Is Definitely Not for Wimps

(By Nancy Bernotaitis)

I’ve heard it said that parenthood is not for wimps.  If that’s true, then parenting a child with autism is definitely not for wimps.  

With two fairly well-adjusted kids and a marriage intact, I thought I was pretty good at the mommy thing.  Then God threw us a curveball.  Remember everything you’ve learned about being a mom?  Well, throw it out the window because it won’t work.  Your special child will not care how his behavior affects anyone else, if “everyone in the store is looking” at him, or if he should be ashamed of himself.  He’s not.  Being the parent of a special needs child is going to challenge your imagination, creativity, and patience more than you ever thought possible.  You will be forced to look at the world through his eyes and figure out how he thinks, how he sees the world, before you can begin to figure out why he does the things he does.  Then you’ll have to adapt your way of doing things to accommodate that. 

For instance, when we began toilet training our youngest, we would sit him on the toilet backwards, which required complete undressing from the waist down, to be sure his aim was on target.  After a year of this, we decided it was time for him to stand up like all the other boys.   Our older son had made this transition on his own so we figured it was just natural.  Lesson #1, almost nothing comes natural to our special kids.  When we tried to stand him in front of the toilet, he would scream bloody-murder until we gave in, mostly out of fear, and quickly placed him on the toilet backwards.  So I analyzed the situation, looking at it from his point of view.  He obviously did not understand what we were asking of him.  I then took a piece of construction paper, traced around his feet, stuck it to the floor in front of the toilet with contact paper, and waited for nature to call.  When it did, I walked him into the bathroom, stepped onto the outlines with my own feet, and then backed up.  I, literally, saw the lightbulb go on over his head and heard an audible *ding*.  He then stepped into the outline of his own feet and tinkled in the toilet.  Problem solved!  It was a miracle! 

Nothing in my life before I had a special needs child prepared me for the life I have now.  It’s stressful, chaotic, frustrating, and challenging beyond belief.  When I was the mother of two typical kids, I was arrogant, I’ll admit it.  I breezed through the day kissing boo-boos and packing lunches like Mary Poppins.  Then I fell down the rabbit hole.  It’s as if everything has been magnified.  It’s 100 times harder than parenting a typical child but when joy comes, it’s overwhelming.  I get sad when I realize that parents of typical kids just have the typical milestones to reach.  Nothing spectacular, everyone does it eventually.  They rarely get to feel that they’ve witnessed a miracle.  With autism, there is no roadmap so everything is a surprise, everything is huge, everything is a gift.   Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my typical children as they reached each and every milestone, but with this last one I get to witness a miracle every single day.

About the author:  Nancy Bernotaitis is the mother of three children, two “typicals” and one diagnosed with autism.  She provides in-home childcare specializing in special needs.  Nancy currently volunteers as President of the Dayton Chapter of the Autism Society of America and sits on several committees including the Miami Valley Autism Coalition, the Ohio Autism Coalition, and the Parent Advisory Council.  She lives in Dayton, Ohio with her husband of 20 years, her 3 kids, an autism service dog, and 3 cats.

Contact Info

Toll Free: 1-866-9AUTISM (928-8476)

New York Office: 244 5th Avenue New York, NY 10001 Fax: 1-780-416-4330,

Canadian Office: 11007 Jaspar Ave Edmonton, Alberta T5K 0K6

Copyright 2017 © All Rights Reserved

1 in
45

Diagnosed with Autism

Over
100

Autism Diagnosis a Day

Costs
238

Billion per Year

Boys are
4

Times More at Risk