Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all
And sweetest is the gale is heard; and sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm...
~Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Western Education...

After watching Obama's speech last night, the one thing that stuck out on my mind was his emphasis on Western Education.
The need for the West to surpass everyone by increasing our education status...by excelling in Math, Science and Engineering.
He also encouraged kids to get into teaching if they really want to change the world...I thought that was great.

In my world, in many of our world's we are just looking for acceptance.
We are looking for the tools to get through the day.
We are looking to heal ourselves and our future.

We need something with a little more substance.
We need someone to assure us that they are interested in healing the human soul, not just our pocketbooks.
I live in Orange County California, I see rich people every single day.
I mingle among them when I am standing in line at the grocery store, or on the treadmill next to me at the gym.

What I don't see enough of is people reaching out to each other.
I don't see enough people smiling or saying "excuse me" or "thank you".
I don't see people looking beyond their own nose to the person right next to them...
Another "fellow American"

There was a lot of mention in the President's speech about the Internet.
I found this interesting.

I say thank goodness for the Internet.
This allows people to connect on a level that is becoming apparently obsolete in public or in person.
It allows a superficial almost allowance to seek truth, acceptance, and platform to be heard.
I am obviously grateful for the internet so that I can write my blog, read other blogs and find myself feeling not so alone at the end of the day in my journey with Autism...
What I am not grateful for though is that it seems to be replacing real human interaction and action.

I read so many of my fellow blogger posts, and it just kills me that across the board we cannot find relief...
We cannot find support in our communities, in our schools, in our own circle of friends.
We are the pioneers of this disorder.
We must rise above the pain, the unbearable days, the lack of resources for our children and we must survive.

It is so important that we continue to find support and resources for Autism.
As most of us know it receives the least amount of money of all childhood diseases...yet it has the highest numbers. Obviously that makes NO sense.

I know I am preaching to the choir here.
I just wanted to pat you all on the back and say job well done.
You are the ones who are paving the way for future families and children.

In the mess of all that it can be, I hope you all know that it will get better.
If we can raise our children with Autism, then we can hope for a better tomorrow.
If we can still smile at the end of our helpless, lackluster, tantrum filled, head butted, pooped on, judged by others, weird looks, echoic cartoon conversation with no thank yous or hug days, then MY GOD ANYONE can find the hope in a better tomorrow :)

Western Education?
What about getting the Westerners to "like" each other first...and that means everyone.

I don't see Math helping out a lot in the issue of human compassion and acceptance...
BUT this is just my opinion.

I would just like to hear my son tell me he loves me and mean it...to have a normal conversation about anything...anything at all.
To be able to put my faith in others and know that if he was not in my care he wouldn't be judged or gave up on...that people would smile at him and mean it.
Way more than I would like to see him solve 2+2

Don't know why this rubbed me the wrong way so much, I just see so much human indignities and hurt every day that sometimes the logical answer to ME is not always the right one.
And let's not even get started on the topic of Autism and "logic"...
Maybe another day.

peace :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fairy tales

I wanted to share some of Kannon's ART with you all :)

I have found out that most children with Autism are very talented when it comes to drawing, especially if they are non verbal.

I like to think this is one of the ways they can express what's inside their souls to us...

It is also simply a way for them to communicate with us when they don't have the words.

I forget sometimes as an adult why I loved princess fairy tales so much as a child.
It was an escape, it was beautiful, everything was so magical...
Kannon, as I have mentioned before LOVES princesses, castles, etc.
It is one if his favorite things to draw.

Then as we grow up we somehow forget this magical world of fairy tales.
We forget how it feels to be a "princess" or a "hero"
We get too wrapped up in the daily grind, in finding ourselves.
Funny thing is I think along the way we actually tend to loose ourselves.
Subconsciously I believe this is one of the reasons we have children, so that we can be reminded of this magic that only a child can believe in...
So that we can put a bed sheet around our necks and run around with our paper towel roll swords and fight evil.

We are meant to feel like princesses, to fight like kings, to see beauty and innocence in all that is our world...
To realize there are bad people out there, but we will always triumph over them...
That we can live happily ever after :)

Just a thought,


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

my safe place

We all need "safe places" in our lives.
Not only physically, but emotionally.

One of my physical safe places is Target.
I can go there with Kannon without many safety issues, as he knows the layout of the store and I pretty much have his routine down as to where he will go in the store.
As other mothers know, these kiddos like routine, and they are almost methodical about their routes.
That being said, if I loose sight of Kannon for a minute, I know the general area of where he will be...and that is very comforting for me.
Some may be shaking their heads in disgust as to the fact that I will admit I loose sight of Kannon every now and then.
Walk a day in my shoes before passing judgement.

Most of the time I have a kung fu grip and eye on Kannon.
I know where he is at all times, and never take too long to look at something in a store, because I know I don't have that time...he will have run off.
As some know, it is damn near impossible to do any sort of grocery/shopping with these kiddos...so most of the time I only take him if I need a few things.

The other day I was checking out and Kannon was running in circles around me, then back and forth from me to the wall. The lady behind me in line was staring in obvious disapproval she even shook her head and sighed... I have learned not to care about such responses anymore.
In fact, I was so caught up in the simple beauty of Kannon being so happy that I just stood there and smiled at him.
No mother can resist their child's smile and laugh.
He stopped and saw that I was smiling, came up to me and kissed my chest then gave me a quick hug and took off full speed again.

These moments are so important in the public letting down their walls of ignorance.
They need to see the love.
They need to realize these kids are so diverse, yet still just kids who need love too.
Even if Kannon didn't stop to give me a kiss and hug, I hope the simple fact that I was smiling at my child and not yelling at him sent a message.
He wasn't hurting anyone...he wasn't running into people or causing anyone any inconveniences...so there was no need to stop him in my mind.

Most people look past these moments and simply just go straight to judgement.
They look at the hand flapping, head hitting, verbal ticks and yells, shoes on the wrong feet, pants on backwards and make their decision about "what's really going on"...
As a mother to Kannon I have to call their "bullshit", whether it be with words or my actions.
I prefer using actions.
He is a human being.
Not a circus act.

As I was walking out another lady stopped me who I hadn't noticed earlier.
She said "You have an adorable son, he obviously loves you"

Love is universal and undeniable when evident.

We all need our safe places.
Inside my children's love is my safest place of all...
We are all mothers at the end of the day.
It is not what defines us, but our love is powerful and what will change worlds...and hopefully break down walls.

peace :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

I couldn't resist writing on the day that celebrates one of the world's most influential humans :)
Also, I feel he stands for all that I think is beautiful and necessary for humankind to flourish.
So that being said, Happy Martin Luther King day.
It is pretty unbelievable the messages he had, the hope he felt for mankind, and the ability to communicate his genius so effectively.

I also saw a bumper sticker today that struck me as quite beautiful...
"Be the change that you want to see in the world"

I am jumping all over the place a bit, but I really feel that change is so good sometimes.
Sometimes, it is necessary to grow.
Sometimes, it can save your life.
Sometimes change can be the scariest thing in the world, yet bring such peace to the soul.

Change yourself, change your situation, your routine...
I remember when I was going through my really dark times in life it was all because of "change"

The difference that makes ALL the difference in having change be a positive thing is this...
When you choose to change, it will be a positive.
When life changes without you expecting it to is when it can really mess you up.
But, it will happen and sometimes whether you realize it or not life is changing because of you wanting change.

I'm not trying to go in circles here, just pointing out a perspective that I would've found helpful when I was going through everything in my past.

So, let your emotions guide you...
Life will consistently change on you, but maybe it is for reasons you intended it to.

Intend that you will be happy, that you will change your life for the highest good.
Know that you deserve happiness, success and peace...know that we are all here for a reason.

Listen to messages like MLK's.

"Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. "

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase. "

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. "
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

peace :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On the upside...Xmas in January?!

So, whether you may or may not know sometimes kiddos with Autism perseverate on things.

a. Uncontrollable repetition of a particular response, such as a word, phrase, or gesture, despite the absence or cessation of a stimulus, usually caused by brain injury or other organic disorder.
b. The tendency to continue or repeat an act or activity after the cessation of the original stimulus.

So, this being said Kannon believes with all his might and brain that it is still Christmas, and that Santa will be coming back any day now...with more presents.
He has re wrapped almost all the presents he received for Christmas along with most of the DVD's in the house and a few random books...he feels that if he can stay in the Christmas spirit and keep gifts around then the big buy should follow suit.
The upside is that he used up the remaining wrapping paper, so no need to wonder if I should keep it for next year or not...and there are little gifts laying all over the house, and who doesn't like to see gifts :)

The downside is trying to explain to him that Santa will not be coming anytime soon...especially since the concept of time is not something Kannon grasps quite yet.
Santa so far has been vacationing after working so hard...flying around to other parts of the world...and last but not least, Santa is sleeping for the next 6 or 7 months to recover from all his Christmas activities.

Kannon hasn't bought any of this, so we are still wrapping presents and keeping vigil for Santa.
It has been nice, I have received my CSI DVD set all over again, some dirty socks, a princess pop up book, and my old toothpaste box with legos inside (it did make for a nice rattling sound)

Like I've always said, Autism can be a wonderful gift...
I just never knew it to be in literal form until now :)


Friday, January 7, 2011

Black and White

Clearly there are differences with Kannon and other children.
Clearly these differences are obvious and sometimes painful to accept as a parent.
I wonder if Kannon sees the differences...if he feels them.
If it really matters in his journey...

It slapped me in the face today however after our first of many assessments we have to do for Kannon in order for him to attend public school.
Yes, when you have a child with "special needs" aka special education you must undergo a series of tests administered by the school psychologist, speech pathologist and education specialist. In total, he will have about 7-8 assessments/meetings with them lasting from 2-3 hours each session.

I went in with an open mind, hoping for the best.
I hoped that the last year of Kannon's hard work in therapy would help him to be able to understand these "tests" and for him to be able to sit still for the 2 hour session.
Needless to say, he did last the two hours, but did only about 20 minutes of real testing.

He cried and screamed for the rest of the time, hit me about 20 times, bit my arm and leg, and head butted me in front of the very nice education specialist...this is when I calmly stood up, asked for 5 minutes and went out to the breezeway and cried.
I put myself back together and went back in the room where Kannon had laid down on the floor in the corner and was crying covering his head...we decided to go for a walk at this point to calm him down...

I was sad, frustrated, and damn it that head butt really made my eyes sting.
I can't accept that after almost 3 years of intense therapy this is where we are.
Kannon could not point out a cow...he could not count to 3...and he could/would not write his name down.
Forget about being able to read...
The frustrating part is that I have seen him do all of this...even more.
He really is such a smart kid.
SO, we could not finish the testing for today, and will have to do it another day in hopes he will be able to complete the series of tests...for without a proper assessment Kannon won't be placed in the right classroom.

It is times like this when as I said earlier I feel a big slap in the face of where Kannon really is in the scheme of things.
The thing with Autism is that it tricks you.
One day will be full of promise, peace, and wonderful achievements...full of hugs, kisses and laughter.
The next will be one filled with tears, screams, bites and a blank faced child.
Then the next you will have a screaming, hitting fit followed by a 2 hour quite child sitting at the table coloring.
There is never consistency.
It is not black and white...in fact I can't even begin to label or define Autism and its behaviors.
There is no "this or that", there is no accurate chart or scale that could measure really anything involved with Autism...

We go for another walk outside after I called the meeting to an end...he clearly was not in any place to sit down for a minute longer, plus my head was hurting, no throbbing.
It was recess time so all the kids were out playing...and Kannon just stopped in his tracks.
He looked on at the kids running around laughing, screaming, chasing one another...
And then, as if major contemplation and happiness overcame his soul...he smiled.
A big toothy smile and continued to watch the kids.

In my mind I couldn't help put fantasize that he was imagining himself in their shoes...
Wanting to be a part of it all, seeing how great this environment could really be.
My heart tells me that's what he was thinking.

Then after a minute or so, he turned to me and said "movie please" and we left.

Every mother hopes their child will be happy and live a normal life...go to school, have friends, excel in studies, create wonderful things, explore the world, have a family of their own, be good people, etc...

I too hope these things for Kannon.
After moments like today, I just hope that Kannon is happy...that he can see beyond the black and white of it all...that there is many shades of grey that lead to color in his mind...in his world.

peace :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

opening new doors...

Happy New Years everyone!
I have never been one for New Years resolutions, but I do believe in feeling great about starting a whole new year...full of possibilities and hope :)

I also believe in second chances, and in hoping for wonderful things to come your way.
I also believe that people can change if they want to...change behaviors mostly.
We can change the way we feel about ourselves, and we can change how we react to situations and to challenges...change our behavior.
Changing behaviors is really the root of ABA therapy, which is what Kannon goes through every single day...so I must put my faith in this system.
I must believe that behaviors can be modified for the benefit of a better quality of life.

I once read that for us to move forward we must let go of beliefs, thoughts or anything that no longer serves your needs....your right to move forward in life.
It's almost like cleaning house, it always feels good to have a clean home.
I like cleaning my emotional "home", it feels good to let go of old things to make room for the new.
New possibilities, new hopes, new chances at changing our relationships with those in our lives...and all for the better.
There is always room to be better, even if you have done no wrong...we can always be better people.

We also must always remember why we are where we are, and that due to our own decisions we got there.
It holds us accountable, which is so important in life.
We are where we are because of our own decisions and actions...until we accept that we will restrict our own growth and momentum...again there is always room to be better :)

I find it exciting when I think of the possibilities for this lifetime...
One of the reasons I started this blog was to help those who felt alone, who felt outside of the "mainstream" of life due to Autism.
Ironically, I find it liberating to think out of the mainstream...
It allows emotional freedom, critical yet necessary introspection, and a sort of isolation that can allow growth unlike anything else.

Autism has absolutely opened up so many doors in my soul.
I hope you all find your inspiration that opens the doors in your soul...and that you enjoy the ride.

Happy 2011, I look forward to another year full of blogging my heart out to those of you who care enough to read...and listen.

peace :)