Posted in Autism, Doctor Who, Family, Parenting, Political, Uncategorized

Sharks Do Get Cancer

1life11It amazes me how certain myths stick while others don’t.

We used to believe:

  • Sharks don’t get cancer (they do, anyone volunteering to put on their sunscreen?)
  • Bananas grow on trees (no, they’re berries that grow on the world’s largest perennial herb plant).
  • We only have 5 senses.
  • Need 8 glasses of water a day.
  • Ulcers were caused by stress or eating acidy foods. Nope, a nasty bacteria, Helicobacter pylori.
  • Tomatoes are veggies, actually, fruit.
  • Chastity belts were for chastity, actually, puritans wanted people to be Masters of their Domain (yeah, I had a Seinfeld flashback).

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  • Humans use 10% of our brain. My son worried his brain couldn’t hold too much information. I explained his brain is like the TARDIS from Doctor Who (looks like an old blue police box, but inside is unlimited space and astonishing things). Now my son fills his head with as much information as possible.
  • Salted water boils faster.
  • Lemmings run off cliffs to kill themselves, actually they go into the sea to swim to mating area – come on, there’s no one you’d jump and swim for?
  • Poinsettias are poison, no, but why is anyone eating Poinsettias anyway?
  • Milk increases mucus.
  • Shouldn’t swim after you eat.
  • Humans and dinosaurs existed during the same time period (except in Jurassic Park, of course).
  • Dieting myths, endless dieting myths.
  • People with Epilepsy were possessed by demons.
    Just because you believe something doesn’t mean you have to keep believing it.
    Free speech is important, too bad it can also be hurtful or deadly.

The news pumps out stories of measles and other outbreaks; the anti-vaccine and pro-vaccine contingents battle on.
Vaccinated and unvaccinated children get Autism.
Millions get vaccinated and don’t have Autism.
What about genetics? Environmental agents? Epigenetics? Infectious processes? Autoimmume? I don’t know the answer, maybe it’s the Perfect Storm etiology, a predisposition in conjunction with various components.
Or maybe they’re just different or a vanguard of human evolution.

1funny87Calling other parents names and berating them for vaccinating their children isn’t going to find a cause or a cure or help them live good lives. Autism was once known as Childhood Schizophrenia. Now we know better and have broader definitions, better awareness, resources, and statistics.  Jenny McCarthy said her son was a Crystal Child, then had Landau-Kleffner Syndrome (a seizure disorder with symptoms similar to Autism). That didn’t sell, so she jumped on the Autism train and rode it all the way to stardom, sort of. Mass hysteria that would make the Salem Witch Trials blush has swept the world, based on one discredited study. McCarthy has since backed off, having made a fortune, but the damage is done.

The myth has outgrown its origins.

If you want me to believe something, don’t use  insults, anecdotal evidence, anger, flawed logic, catastrophic hyperbole, and endless drama. If your point is valid you could debate or even argue it, in a rational and respectful manner. I also don’t understand having a mock funeral when your child is diagnosed with Autism. If only people could unite to help our children, use all that energy, time, money, and passion to promote tolerance, acceptance, support, love, and hope, imagine how much better the world would be.

If you believe, you don’t have to belittle.

“Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.”~Edward R. Murrow

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Posted in Autism, Books, Parenting, Televison, Uncategorized

All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome

Sometimes simple and straightforward are best.1cats1

All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome by Kathy Hoopmann (Jessica Kingsley Publishers) explains Asperger’s Syndrome perfectly. And it has adorable pictures of cats being adorable.

This delightful and deceptively minimal book is the first book you should read if someone you love is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (also called Aspergers Syndrome, or Asperger Syndrome, or Asperger’s, or Aspergers).sheldon6

The only downside? Like Sheldon Cooper (played so brilliantly by Jim Parsons) on The Big Bang Theory, it makes it sound much cuter than it usually is; for those who have it and those who love them. Or Sherlock Holmes (take your pick, the most recent, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller) which makes it seem exciting…Or all the other examples of Aspergian or High-Functioning Autism on TV, in movies or books.

The truth, it’s difficult, frustrating, wonderful, sad, amazing, and confusing…for all concerned.

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IM000556.JPGThere are many great books I would recommend, but these are quite helpful, informative and above all, accessible.
Borrow them from a friend, library, or Autism association; or purchase them in store or online.

The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome – Dr. Tony Attwood; Inside Asperger’s Looking Out – Kathy Hoopmann; An Asperger Dictionary of Everyday Expressions – Ian Stuart-Hamilton; Kids in the Syndrome Mix – Martin L Kutscher, MD; The Oasis Guide to Asperger Syndrome – Patricia Romanowski Bashe & Barbara L. Kirby (Harmony Books); The Autism Discussion Page on the Core Challenges of Autism – Bill Nason (Jessica Kingsley Publishers)1cats10The Everything Parent’s Guide to Children with Asperger’s Syndrome – William Stillman (Adams Media)
The Asperger’s Answer Book – Susan Ashley, Ph.D. (Sourcebooks, Inc.)
Empowered Autism Parenting – William Stillman (Jossey-Bass)
The Fabric of Autism – Judith Bluestone (Sapphire Enterprises, LLC)
How To Teach Life Skills to Kids with Autism or Asperger’s – Jennifer McIlwee Myers (Future Horizons)
Quirky, Yes Hopeless, No – Cynthia La Brie Norall, Ph.D w/ Beth Wagner Brust (St. Martin’s Griffin)1cats9

Thank goodness for Jessica Kingsley Publishers, I don’t know what I would have done without them.

If your child, spouse, friend, or yourself is diagnosed – don’t panic!

HHgttg don't panic
1cats3Media, doom and gloomers, people holding mock funerals for their children when they’re diagnosed, etc., even those who wish to help can intentionally or unintentionally scare you.
Don’t get caught up in the conflict people, people that love to make everything a drama.
Don’t hyper-focus on people ‘understanding’, including your family or friends, how could they understand? Just hope they’re supportive.
Focus on helping the person you love.
They’re still the same person, you just have a diagnosis that will aid you and others, to help them.
Helping the person you love find the skills and resources is taxing enough without adding fuss.

It’s also important to remember Autism isn’t a straight road, there are many, many twists and turns, ups and downs.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ~Confusius

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My son has Asperger’s and several medical conditions, but is doing better than anyone would have predicted.
Yet when a setback comes along, a medical procedure; other anxiety-provoking situations, people, challenges; illness, or something that is overwhelming I have to remember, it may seem like one step forward, two back, but he still took that one step forward.

But it’s still been a long few days.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” ~Mary Anne Radmacher

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Posted in Autism, Canada, Family, Internet, Parenting, Uncategorized

15 Things I’m Aware of on World Autism Awareness Day

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1. April is Autism Awareness Month.

2. April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day.

3. Today and all through April there will be more talk, more posts, more ads, more stuff sold, more people arguing about what caused Autism and still the numbers of children with Autism will rise.

4. For me everyday is Autism day. My son is brilliant, funny, clever, handsome, and amazing; he also happens to have Autism.

5. Children are being diagnosed with Autism in record numbers. Businesses, charities, celebrities, etc. are making record profits off the fears and vulnerabilities of parents.

6. Governments may say they’re aware and are doing a lot, but in truth, they just aren’t doing nearly enough.

7. Some parents hold mock funerals when their child is diagnosed with Autism. Is it just me or is that super creepy?

8. There are opautism13en doubters, closet doubters, haters, blamers, whiners, name-callers, bullies, accusers…the list goes on. None of that makes my child better.

9. The many voices for Autism, from whispers of hope to screams of anger to cries of despair can be heard throughout the world, not just today, but everyday.

10. There are plenty of theories and things people blame for Autism, yet to date, no single cause has been proven.

11. My child has Asperger’s Syndrome, he’s on the Autism Spectrum. He doesn’t need saving. He needs to be happy. Live up to his amazing potential. In that way, he’s the same as every other child.

12. Finding out my son had Autism didn’t change anything, I loved him just as much as ever.

13. Some people see my son as someone to be pitied, or mocked, or bullied, or judged, or labelled, or ignored. If some people took off their intolerance goggles they’d see who people really are.autism9

14. Autism used to terrify me, now I see that’s it’s different, not bad or scary or less, just different. Who ever said different was awful? Neurodiversity Now!!!

15. When something or someone is hurting our children we could easily be angry, sad, frustrated, depressed, look for reasons, excuses or someone to blame. Instead we need to focus on helping our children and finding the real cause.

So on this day and others, remember, Autism is just a word, the real story is in each child and who they really are.autism5