Stories of Grandpa

Saturday, dad and I traded songs via youtube.  He showed me who put the overalls in mrs ___ chowder.  We also listened to Nellie Jack and my blue heaven.  Dad talked about how his dad would come out of his bedroom dancing and singing these two songs.  My dad was emotional as he remembered this. He said Grandpa must have been a romantic.  Other men didn’t want to get married, but he always wanted a family.  Dad said he did too.

I replied that’s what I always wanted as well.

What a gift my father gave to me.  To share and to be vulnerable. And to be emotional.

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Adult Supervision

 

John Elder Robison, author of Look Me In The Eyes, talked about his Asperger’s syndrome going un-diagnosed until adulthood. A great book and in it he talks about the adults being the only ones that interacted with him due to his social skills.
People with autism can be challenging. However, as adults, we can handle it. When behaviors get on our nerves, we need to be the ones that keep them from isolation.
Their behaviors are not a choice to be naughty. They can be organic and they can be learned. They may make comments that are insensitive because they cannot predict how it will be taken.
Those behaviors do not need to be ignored. Depending on the person with autism, they may be thankful that you took the time to explain to them how to be social or why something may be off-putting.

Some problematic behaviors just have to be ignored. However, we need to make sure the person behind those behaviors are also not ignored. You do not know how important you might be to someone without positive relationships. We want people with autism to have friendships. Caring adults may be the only thing keeping them from loneliness.

 

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Know the child

The one thing that bugged me the most at my sons IEPs were the experts that liked to spout information about autism. He needs this as children with autism are low toned. It’s important that you have a lot of knowledge when working with autism. We need experts.
However, it does not help that much in making decisions. In deciding what is best for the child in question. Because every child is different, you need to know the child.
Teachers are taught to respect and include parents in planning meetings. I think they still often fall short. Educators have studied disabilities and accomodations. However, parents are vital because they know the child the best.
Professionals, I think, do not look to the parents for information enough. Research and such is great for guidance, but for every generalization made (yes by me included), there are just as many exceptions.

I know this because at my son’s IEP, I saw how the professionals talked. They did not know that I had that same information. I did not confront them, but I did not need to. They were able to get my child’s educational needs met.
However, at times they missed the mark. The last few years, he did not need an IEP, but frankly, I wanted the school district to get that special education monies.

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Advocate- Special Education

Advocate

You are your child’s advocate in any level of planning meetings, the professionals do want good things for your child. But it is within the framework of what is best for themselves and their institution.
My son required quite extensive interventions when he was younger. In home therapy, early childhood, speech, OT, etc. We were so blessed that he made so much progress that his needs fell away. At one point, the only thing addressed on the iep was speech and he did not really need that. It was clear that they wanted to keep him in special education to keep that special education money.
Sometimes, it works the opposite. Professionals want to do what will save money and manpower by not giving your child what they need.
Sometimes the plan they want to enact is simply not a good one for your child. Even if they begin to cringe when they see you, you have a strong voice in the plan. If they are not working in the BEST interests of your child, there is a process and ways to fix that.

Everyone is The Same

“I am different not less.” – Temple Grandin

People with mental illness and people with a disability are no different from anyone else. They do the same thing everyone else does. It is only that life and chemistry makes their actions extreme. A person may hear voices. You may not, but you do have an internal monologue that talks to you. There are many people in a mental hospital that cut themselves. Many people do not. But they do self-destructive things. Everyone thinks of suicide. Because of depression. Chemical imbalances make that desire stronger.
Children with autism may twirl their fingers. It is self-stimulation. A way to calm down. If everyone took note, they would see something they do similar things. Hair twirling. Pen cap chewing. Beard stroking. A child with autism may become violent. People have violent tendencies. Because they know of social conventions, they suppress it. A child with autism may hit a teacher. His or her reactions are extreme, but everyone has physically fought with a sibling (maybe at age 2). But they are in school, they know that is not social correct to hit a teacher. That they will get in trouble.
It is difficult, but everyone needs to learn that mental illness is just that. An illness. We don’t make fun of a person with cancer. We do not shun them or think them as weird. Mental illness is not the person’s fault.

How Dare They

Interactions with people are a difficult, complex thing. However, we do it pretty well. Before we say something, we consider how we would take that comment. Cause and effect teaches us that this comment will make someone feel good and this comment will make someone mad.

A person with autism has trouble with this. They say what is one their mind because they cannot predict how someone else thinks (to generalize). They do not see social constructs.

. Otherwise you leave them in the dark of what is wrong. Focus on helping them not make the mistake with someone else.

Autism- Adult Supervision

John Elder Robison, author of Look Me In The Eyes, talked about his Asperger’s syndrome going undiagnosed. A great book and in it he talks about the adults being the only ones that interacted with him due to his social skills.

He gives great anecdotes about how hard it was to interact with him.

People with autism can be challenging. However, as adults, we can handle it. When behaviors get on our nerves, we need to be the ones that keep them from isolation.

Their behaviors are not a choice to be naughty. They can be organic and they can be learned. They may make comments that are insensitive because they cannot predict how it will be taken.

Those behaviors may need to be ignored. However, we need to make sure the person behind those behaviors are also not ignored.

People with autism can do or say things that are annoying. At times they may drive peers away and sometimes they do not know how to engage with peers, but want to. They gravitate towards the adults they know because adults know the importance of being kind.

You do not know how important you might be to someone without positive relationships.

Mother’s Day Post Too Late

The United States foreign policy needs to mimic an effective force. A mother. When they are not causing trouble, the mother remains quiet. When a child comes to them, they are loving. They pour on the love and support. But if the child disobeys and gets into a fight with someone else, mom goes apeshit. She wants you to regret acting out and she makes sure that you do.

Then if the child gets into a fight and it is not his fault, watch out. She will protect that child and make the other child pay.

But children act out. So she puts them on a timeout, and if that doesn’t work, the mother may back him into a corner with a big spoon until the child acts the same way. Then a little later, if that child comes and needs something, she opens her arms wide. She tries to make everything all better. Then she is back to nurturing. Helping the child to grow and succeed.

She wants the child to succeed. She also wants a little thanks. She most likely won’t get it. Yet she continues to help and encourage. She shows by example even though there is nothing in it for her.

As long as you don’t mess with her. As long as you don’t fuck up big time. Because she never rests. She has eyes on that child (and in the back of her head, ie. drones). She will help that child to be self-sufficient and good. But even after that child has grown up, watch out. She believes you are not so old that you can’t be bent over and given a spanking.

Even then, you still respect mom. Because she makes the best meals at Thanksgiving. You try not to attack another person and threaten them with nuclear annihilation.

How to Be an Indian in the 21st Century

This is my review for Louis Clark’s chapbook How to Be an Indian in the 21st Century. This is from the Wisconsin Historical Press.

“The story Mr. Clark tells is fascinating. It’s his story of growing up Native American in Wisconsin and facing racism, discrimination, and a difficult childhood. Don’t worry though, Mr. Clark also focuses on humor and love. He reminds me of a priest our church had that told a homily and broke out into song to punctuate his points. Mr. Clark does that with his poetry.”

In full disclosure, I know Mr. Clark. I interviewed him for my YouTube Channel show AuthorShowcase of Oshkosh. Besides being a great guy and family man, he has many stories to tell (he tells many in this book). So I am biased. Yet I think you will find this to be a great book. He weaves poetry in the story of his life and as he tell us, he does it to the real beat of the pow wow drum.

Autism-Sensory Overload

Sensory Overload-

Everyone can get frustrated at noise or lights. People with autism are especially sensitive to it. Your mind has the ability to filter out an extraneous sound or a slight flicker to a light. However, a person with autism may not. It may be a trigger for them and it may not be obvious to neuro-typical person.

I have read experiences with kids where they are screaming and crying and it turns out they are upset about a machine in the other room or the flicker of lights. Most often, I think that they are responding to internal stimuli or that it is a behavioral response. They are trying to gain or avoid something. yet it is something to consider.

People with autism may not have a mind that can filter out what is important. They put as much attention to the electric fan going as the sound of your voice. The chair is as important as your face. They take in sensory input and cannot prioritize.

That is why they cannot identify social cues.