Room to Grow

As my son follows me around the kitchen, immediately fixing items that I move out of place, and as he monitors and resets all of our other shared spaces after we use them, I daydream about the new house we are planning. I am hoping this move, which will give our son more space and more control over that space, will calm his nerves. And mine.

My son’s new “apartment,” which will be connected to our house, will be a pretty sweet set-up. In a lot of ways, I’ve thought more about his house than ours, so it’s possible my husband and I will be living in a cardboard box next to our son’s home, I don’t know.

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A Sweet Treat

We were shocked by how fast he moved. 

As soon as he leapt off the couch, we knew exactly what he was doing. 

Really, we shouldn’t have been surprised. But my husband and I have these little moments every once in awhile, when we look at each other and go, “OK, yep, he gets it.”

This is what I mean by “strong receptive language.” It’s just hard to accurately describe the nuances of that on an intake form.

Sure, this young man has trouble with complex verbal instructions and sometimes has difficulty completing tasks that make no sense to him. 

But given the right motivation and goals that are meaningful to him, and he gets it.

So much more than anyone gives him credit for.

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Earlier in the day, I had taken him to a local bakery to pick up some cupcakes for a birthday dessert for myself :). He picked out a cookie for helping out, but he had to wait until after dinner for the cupcakes.  Read More

Toward Autonomy – WAAD 2017

This one stings a little bit.

This year’s theme at the United Nations for World Autism Awareness Day is “Toward Autonomy and Self-Determination.”

The Secretary-General encourages us to “all play a part in changing attitudes toward persons with autism and in recognizing their rights as citizens, who, like everyone else, are entitled to claim those rights and make decisions for their lives in accordance with their own will and preferences.”

It is a call to “ensure that all people can contribute as active members to peaceful and prosperous societies” and for everyone to “make available the necessary accommodations and support to persons with autism. With access to the support they need and choose, they will be empowered to face the key milestones in every person’s life, such as deciding where and with whom to live, whether to get married and establish a family, what type of work to pursue, and how to manage their personal finances.”

And here we are, preparing to demonstrate before our local superior court that our son is in need of our full legal guardianship, that he does not have the ability to make those key decisions about his life, and that we need to be granted the authority to make those decisions on his behalf. Read More

The Man He Was Aiming For

After a police-involved shooting, when you hear the spokesman say it was “accidental,” you might start to feel a little better. The victim wasn’t purposefully shot. It was an accident, a misunderstanding, and thankfully he survived. The policeman didn’t mean to shoot the guy while he had his hands up and was complying with their instructions and lying on the ground. Because shooting an unarmed man purposefully in that situation would be very, very bad.
But, for families like mine, this particular accidental shooting is still very, very bad.

Here’s the part that keeps me up at night (quoted from the CNN report below):

“Please be still … get down … lay on your stomach,” Kinsey says in the video.

The man beside him rocks back and forth.

Charles Kinsey, a behavioral therapist, was accidentally shot because the officer was aiming for Kinsey’s client. His autistic client, who could be my son. A 23-year-old non-verbal man, just six years older than my own, whose actions were misunderstood.

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