Monday, January 28, 2008

Labels Part Three

OK, I thought I was through talking about labels and then The Glassers said this:

"I am not trying to stamp out personality traits, but I am helping her to be more functional in the world so she has the chance to be her own person."

This is so well stated, I couldn't say it better.

Happy Monday everyone!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Labels Part Two

Wow, I had a lot of great comments on the "autistic" label. Here are my thoughts...

Sherri said, "As for the puzzle pieces I'm not so excited about it. I'm still in awe about the ease of learning in one area... and something that to me should be very simple to grasp... is so very difficult. Yet, the difficult is easy. HUH??" I'm right there with you... How can literature be so hard and geometry so easy??? BTW Sherri where are you? I wanted to visit your blog and the link I have doesn't work anymore!!!

Anonymous asked, "If you had a child that you believed was on the outskirts of the spectrum, would you go ahead and get the label/diagnosis?"

I could answer this question, but Sherri (who's blog I love but can't find) gave an excellent response, "The label is necessary for services and IEP's in school's. The eldest actually has Non-verbal learning disorder.You can't get treatment, speech, OT, IEP's etc... without the label. And just b/c at a young age it doesn't matter... it will when they get older and social skills, behaviour, language etc become an issue."

Katherine said, "Shouldn't it be ok for someone to 'be autistic'? If not, the problem isn't the label, it's the stereotype. Changing the label doesn't fight the stereotype, it only reinforces it. "

Of course its OK for someone to be on the spectrum. The problem is when they are defined by it as if one word sums up who they are... For example, Dr. Temple Grandin is a Professor, Bovine expert, excellent speaker, and she has autism or is autistic. See the difference?

Jen said, "I know that his diagnosis "label" is in his best interests for school and in later years, but when we have good stretches it makes it really hard to label him. I almost feel like he's "cured" even though I know better than that. Those are the days I get caught off guard."

I still get caught off guard too...

Laa said, "I actually prefer to describe my son as "autistic" rather than say he "has autism". The former is just an adjective to describe him, the latter sounds like a disease to me. He doesn't "have" anything, that's just the way he is!"

Interesting look on things, I'm going to have to think about that for awhile... This may be fodder for another post...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A child is more than a label

The diagnosis of autism can be devastating for a parent at first. You share the news and people respond like its a tragic life sentence. A child begins to be referred to as the "autistic" son, or the "autistic" classmate. As if "autistic" completely defined an individual. I have yet to meet two "autistic" people that are exactly alike. As a matter of fact, I have met many people on the spectrum who are quite happy just the way they are. Autism isn't a life sentence, it's just another part of what contributes to who someone is. While I'm at it, can I just say that I'm getting sick of autism being represented by a puzzle. As if people on the spectrum are a "mystery" or have "missing pieces."

I'll stop now, just some random thoughts by a frazzled mother, on a rainy day...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

Well it has been awhile since I wrote. Today I am sitting down with a nice cup of Peet's Sumatra and some free time. Wow, I don't get much of that lately. The house is clean, the laundry is done, and all my son wants for lunch is pizza since he learned pizza was the inspiration behind the game pacman. I've set my book project aside, it's too hard and I just can't make myself produce something if I am not 100% sure it will be helpful. So my notes are all put away, and if inspiration hits I'll be back at it.

My friend Katherine, visited Africa last year. I had no idea of the suffering the children there are facing. Recently I e-mailed a Dr. over there and she confirmed Katherine's stories. Disabled children are just abandoned in huts and left to starve to death. This is very disconcerting to my husband and I, so we are in the in assessment/gather information stage. We want to help so I'll let you know what we find out.