Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Vaccinations, Autism, Heartbreak and Perspective

(These three people are Autism. We are Autistic. We are not a tragedy as The founder of Autism Speaks says we are.)

I have a mixed view on vaccinations. There are a few vaccinations I believe in and a few vaccinations I strongly do not believe in. It depends on the vaccine, reason and propaganda behind it...But I do know ONE thing surrounding some vaccination beliefs that really bothers me. (Unfortunately, I have been guilty in the past of using this as an argument against vaccines.)

Some People believe vaccinations cause Autism. Whether true or untrue this belief creates fear OF Autistics. When my kids and I were first diagnosed I was upset at the shots because I thought they helped contribute to our state...but NOW (even if that is true which I highly doubt) I thank God for WHO we ARE. I LIKE being who I am, I LIKE being Autistic. It has it's share of hardships but so does being "normal" and I guess it bothers me that people live in fear… of being like ME... or my precious, beautiful children.

I am fine with the myriad of reasons to vaccinate or not vaccinate. But the Autistic argument is heartbreaking because even if it could be true (I'm not saying it is true, I'm not saying it isn't) ...why are we fearing this? Why do we think this purity of spirit is such a horrid thing? Yes, there are mean and cruel Autistics...it's rare considering population stats compared to how many mean and cruel "normal" people there are...but it does happen. We are all human after all. Yet, we focus on that and hear about these people and worry. Or we hear about the non verbal Autistics or those lacking in body control and we immediately think their life is horrid or not worth living. But if I have learned anything by reading all the posts from this Autistic Flash Blog, including posts from non verbal Autistics, it is that they still have a BRILLIANT, worthwhile, intelligent inner world...and computers are allowing that to be brought out. We live in an age where Autism is contributing to BETTER our human condition. Read about all the famous people who had Autism...the quality of our lives would be drastically different without them.

Autism is looking at Life sideways.  Autism is the "normal" brain and the autistic brain complimenting each other and becoming BEST BUDS We are not hurt by Autism, we are hurt by how people treat Autism and expect us to fit into their mould. We don't need a cure for the way our brain works...we just need a more understanding world...and help for the physical problems that can SOMETIMES accompany our wiring. Like THIS MOM " I don't blame Autism. I blame sensory issues. I blame her need to be perfect and her dislike of being wrong. I blame her impatience. I blame the world for wanting her to fit in with everyone else, instead of accepting her for who she is. I blame other people's lack of understanding or compassion. I blame myself for forgetting to give her that 5 minute warning before we transition to something else." We don't want a cure because to cure us would be to exterminate who we are. "Keep your cures, we'll keep our brains." I happen to like the way my brain works on most days:) LOL.

Next time vaccinations are brought up, maybe reconsider using the Autistic argument to speak against vaccines? It feels to me that it only furthers discrimination...there are many other valid reasons not to vaccinate, but living in fear of a beautifully innocent people group maybe should not be one of them? You can decide. I trust your judgement.

Thank you for being a part of my advocacy. A part of making the world a more understanding place for my children and all of these beautiful people.

This is by Samantha and SO good for Aspergirls. I would highly recommend for any who wish to understand women and autism to listen while doing chores or watch during downtime:

Friday, November 15, 2013

Autism Flash Blog "What Autism Means to Me"

*This post is in response to THIS and part of the flash blog recently in action.*

Autism became a part of our family's vocabulary when my son was four, followed by my diagnosis and my daughter's. Autism means innocent ways of perceiving the world. My children expect the best from people and they trust with sweet innocence until that trust is broken. Autism means deep feelings of joy and deep feelings of pain. This intensity is never boring and each day is adventure. Autism takes the mundane and creates interest.

The hidden brain of an Autistic is full of wonder. We need these brains to make our world go round, just like we need Nuerotypical brains. Without Autism we would not have many of these famous people speculated to have Autism/ Asperger's:

Perhaps it would help to hear opinions of those closest to me:

From my six year old son (as told to me), "Autism means really good stuff to me. Like they can be very happy sometimes and fun like a child."

From my eight year old son (told to me),"I think sometimes we have a hard time and people need to make it easier but there are a lot of things that are good about it. I'm smart. I don't know for sure how other people think but I feel I am a bit different in both good and bad ways and I like who I am."

My ten year old daughter, "Autism makes my mother witty, and she can be like us sometimes. I like to take care of her and she takes care of me. We bring much joy. She's actually good at speaking to people and teaching people even though at times she can be socially awkward if she doesn't get the jokes. She has learned to laugh at herself and makes others laugh too. I want to be like her and feel so lucky that I share Autism with her. She is more fun than most adults."

Recently I had a thirtieth birthday and friends wrote in to me with tributes (my bestie arranged many of them.) I had 17 friends/family write beautiful words...Does this sound like a life unfulfilled as "Autism Speaks" suggests Autistics are? Does it sound like I am living without hope or that my children fear for their future like "Autism Speaks" says they should? Does it sound like I have been burdensome even though I may have different needs? I think the words speak for themselves (copied and pasted as sent);

"My first memory of you was when you showed up at our door when we had first moved to town- you seemed so fresh, young and eager; childlike, even though you had a baby (childlike in a good way) - and I appreciated that visit more than you know - it made me feel welcomed, it gave me hope that I could forge a community (of some sort) here in this community that didn't seem easy to find one's place and that friendliness gave me encouragement to share myself. And then I saw you do this with others and I noticed this was a rare gift of drawing people out and making them feel comfortable and included.
Another memory that is not specific, but I remember (maybe multiple times) is your laugh - you are not shy to show when you think something is funny, even if someone else doesn't see the humour - I like this ability to be yourself and to see humour in unexpected places.
I also remember many of your Book Studies - Your love of books, reading and interesting facts/points, your love of sharing and getting people together to discuss deeper issues.  You often open/ed your home, which is another rare gift, to others and make your home a place people can be comfortable in."-Lisa

"I love talking to you and getting your perspective on different things and I think you're fun and easy to be around and I'm always worried that I'm making you uncomfortable with my eye contact and things like that haha! Do you remember any of the memories? You called me once and invited me to one of your book studies and I don't think I've ever spoken to you before. It really blessed me. To be invited to your gathering without even knowing me.  One of the biggest ways i feel loved is by Being understood and you give me that gift. Also you are similar to me in ways that make me feel not alone. You often give words to the way i am feeling when i cant put it into words.  "- Christine 

"I remember when I brought my son to an adult-oriented meeting, and how he fit in with your kids playing with them in their room, and that meant a lot to me, to enjoy adult conversation and still know that my son was enjoying a special play time, as well. You balance that well!
Thanks for all those memories of good times."- Miriam

"I hope you have a FANTASTIC day. I love you and miss you very much and I wanted to say that you inspire me a lot. I wish I could be more like you - you're so caring and genuine and graceful :) love, Atlanta" 

So many moments soo many memories.. yet I dont have one that just stands out.. I remember almost 9 years ago when we met we went through the whole book group era. Where you introduced me to a few different books and lots of different ladies from this town. That was cool. Than we moved on to the introduction of old musicals into my life. Until I met you the closet thing I had watched to an old musical was Grease. Because of you I can say "hey I watched that movie holiday Inn, singing in the rain, hello dolly". What fantastic movies.... although they wouldn't have been the same without you..
Than we moved on to internet research, medical conditions, food health, no plastic toys, vaccination info.. and I still remember sitting with the computer at night trying to find more info and knowing that the next morning I would probably have more info in my inbox sent from you.. that was really fun. We both could probably have passed for medical personal during those years.
Also through the phase of younger children deciphering between what was normal and what was not and reading books to try and get answers and learning different techniques at parenting...
Oh and than the shopping, online shopping or real shopping...soooo much fun.. I loved doing pier one with you that day we had a big city trip, it was before christmas and the store was beautiful.
A lot of these phases have come and gone.. and while some will still be ahead of us.. at the end of the day, chatting on the phone has been a big thing for us... I highly recommend it to anyone who doesn't have this because at the end of the day if I have spilled all my thoughts to you my quality of life is much better as is yours too I hope..
Anyways happy happy 30th...
Love sara" INTJ Bestie

"Yes, you're incredibly adorable. ;) And gorgeous. Are you really turning 30? Aside from the fact that you have three kids, I feel like you look like you're in your early 20's. Your voice is so full of youth and life too. I love it. Thank you for your support during my diagnosis and helping me discover Autism. So much love to you, my dear, wonderful, Aspie friend!- Rachel"

"Just a little note to say happy birthday, lady! Welcome to what everyone says is supposed to be an awesome decade :) I love you so much and wish I could be home to spoil you. You are such a wonderful, faithful friend and there's no one I trust as much as you. 
So much love. I miss you!
Keren x"

"You are so unique and precious."
Love, Cindy

I have Autism, and it's not how "Autism Speaks" portrays it. There is an array of gifts within the Autism community. We have our issues but so do "normal" people. Treat us with dignity and compassion because we will give much back in our own way.

From my mother:
"I can hardly believe one of my children is turning 30 today. She is a beautiful woman inside and out. I admire her for her perseverance into researching being an Aspie/Autistic, both for herself and her children, and her zeal for passing on that knowledge to others to offer support and encouragement. She is highly valued by those who know and love her. She has such a tender loving heart and is an inspiration to many, especially in the blog world. I love her sense of humour, her sensitivity and her tenacity. She is highly intelligent and creative. I am and always have been very proud of who she is. Happy birthday dear daughter."

Many people would say that I am not Autistic from this list of tributes, but I meet all the diagnostic criteria and I am Autistic. My mother did not know I was Autistic as a child but always said I was quirky, different and blunt. She trained me to follow social rules and forge friendships. I have been in therapy for 9 years to learn coping strategies for anxiety and meltdowns. Autism is more than a part of me. It enriches my life, yet at the same time, sometimes my day to day life is hard and I need support. But I think that is from the world I have to fit into and not because of the way my brain works. 

From my Neurotypical husband Philip;
"My wife is who she is... irreplaceable, sexy, funny, quirky, autistic, positive, never boring, passionate, strong willed, sensitive, joyous, intelligent, spunky, fun, deep, artistic, creative and perceptive. She is who she is with all these characteristics of her soul and mind. I would not attempt to change how she handles life or perceives the world as she teaches me so much. She is my partner and we balance each other out in our thought processes of life. Is it easy to live with her always? No. Is it easy to live with me always? No. We are who we are and each of us has our own set of gifts and strengths from the way our brains work. I love that our children also enrich my life with their intensity and differences. They challenge me to grow, to speak out truth, to think upon sensory needs and to make the world a better place."

Not everyone likes me. I am often described as "cold" or "too much" or many other unflattering names. I have to be very careful whom I choose to be friends with but luckily I live in the community I grew up in and have the benefit of support and care. Some despise me and some adore me. I tend to bring out extremes and that is ok. Autism means ME and I am valuable to the world, like every other person out there with any difference, belief or persona.

This is a great song for all those who feel Divergent from the culture:
This is by Samantha and SO good for Aspergirls. I would highly recommend for any who wish to understand women and autism to listen while doing chores or watch during downtime:

The Injustice of Autism Speaks

"Autism speaks" has continually misrepresented Autism. The organization claiming to be "for autism" spreads knowledge through biased individuals and misrepresents Autism with fear mongering. This breeds hate instead of acceptance. Check out these links for more information: http://www.autistichoya.com/2013/11/autism-speaks-and-representation.html http://www.autistichoya.com/2013/11/an-unholy-alliance-autism-speaks-and.html
  http://thisisautismflashblog.blogspot.ca/2013/11/about.html http://musingsofanaspie.com/2013/11/15/invisible/
"Last Monday, Autism Speaks told the world that autism is:

 . . . living in despair

 . . . fear of the future

 . . .exhausted, broken parents

. . . lost, helpless, burdensome children

. . .  a national emergency" (taken from this is autism blog found here: http://thisisautismflashblog.blogspot.ca/2013/11/about.html )

How ridiculous. This is NOT autism. Autism is my child perceiving the world around him with accurate intensity, my eldest empathetically sensing needs before they are met, and my childlike innocence that mixes with my life. If you are interested in social justice make a change. Don't support Autism Speaks.