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SAHM of 3 wonderful kids, one brilliant one Asperger Syndrome. This is not a living shrine to his disorder, but rather a place to share & discuss the different challenges that came with it and other things about parenting & life in general.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What's Happening on Family Network TV

Family Network TV interviewed Dan Coulter, the creator of Coulter videos which are geared toward people with Asperger Syndrome. In this segment called "What's Happening," he introduces the audience to Asperger At Work DVD. It features adults with Asperger Syndrome in the job market and how they cope.

Delving into their relationship with their employers/supervisors showed us the unique perspective of grown Aspergan as well as the perspective of the others, besides their family members. It was fascinating to find these Aspergans incorporating their unique aspie traits to work in their favor in their particular jobs. As for the employers, it showed how each of them learned about the disorder and educated themselves in how to understand and work with Aspergans. They also talked about the benefits of hiring employees with Asperger Syndrome. 

On a personal note, I found it quite refreshing to see another side to Asperger. There are great literature/program/DVD that educate us of Asperger/Autism, but this was different. I've always focused on how to raise on instead of thinking about how one would turn out. I've personally enjoyed seeing successful Aspergans shown in such a positive light. As a parent of a Asperger teen, I often worry about what the life would hold for my son after he leaves my nest. Yes, all parents worry about their children whether or not they have Aspergers. But I have a unique challenge as you might understand. Sometimes, I stay up at night and try to imagine about my son as a grown up. This program brought me hope and a little peace of mind.

There are so many possibility for my son as well as the others. I'm glad that I could look toward his future with some positivity. I'm really looking forward to getting my own copy of the entire DVD set, so that I can view it with my son. Thanks to Mary for the wonderful interview and Family Network TV! 


Monday, March 28, 2011

Suspicious Mind

Is it me or is Will losing his skills he learned from therapy?

I was on my couch just dosing off, when Will's voice suddenly shocked me out of the daydream.
"Alec says he can go out today," he said with his face about 6 inches from mine. He came with no warning, no tapping on my shoulder, no clearing his throat. He just spoke directly into my ears. It was like we were in the middle of the conversation. Well, for him, we must have been.

"Will, you scared me," I snapped at him. He backed away and apologized. Then I repeated the same repetitive lecture that I've given him for days. I warned him that he should not encroach the personal space. To make it more vivid in his mind, I told him to keep everyone at an arm's length. I also told him to make a sound or look at someone in the eyes to clearly indicate that he was approaching that person. I don't know how to make it more clear, but I was met by his blank stare into thin air.

Yet again, he did not meet my eyes as I sat there giving him the one-sided speech. I gave in and gave him an okay for him to go out. But it prompted me to blog because I was overcome with the nagging suspicion that he was reverting back to his old habits. Everybody moved forward except for him.

Later that day, I dropped him off at the theater hoping he was really meeting his friends. I know that I sound paranoid and overly suspicious. But in my defense, I have my reasons. There were times when he was supposedly with his friends when he was reading his books at Borders. Books about disasters which was his obsession. Thankfully, he did meet his friends. I saw them with my own eyes.

I came home and took a good sweep of his room. I have given him a lot of room to be more independent and wasn't checking his room once a day. Boy, I was wrong. His closet was in disarray, his bags were just horrendous, and things were everywhere, to say the least. I would have left it alone too if I hadn't been too angry. His room only has a bed. There's nothing besides his bed and his closet. So there's no reason to be looking the way it did. I hate use the word regression, but that's the initial word that popped into my head.

He's doing great at school and has regular therapy. He's high-functioning, I tell others, but there's a reason. It's me. I'm behind calculating everything and every move. I count the times he takes a walk, I check his homework, I check his phone and email messages. I'm not paranoid; I'm suspicious. With or without his Asperger, he is a teenager. Every teenager lies and breaks rules. I should know; I was one of them. So, I'll go on lurking around his room, his school, or wherever he likes to hang out, with my spy glasses... because I'm a mom.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Coming out with Aspergers: Telling his friends

Will came to me one day that he told a few of his friends about being an Aspergian. He's fifteen, and he's old enough to understand his own condition. But he hit the wall when his friends couldn't understand the full depth of Asperger. So, he wanted to know how he can put in a easy to understand way. I was speechless.

First, I didn't know how to explain it without going into too much detail. Second, I know what the word "Autism" at any spectrum comes with negative perception. And frankly, I never thought about telling his friends about his condition. I was just glad he had any. It never occurred to me that he would want to explain it to anyone. 

As I stood there staring blankly at Will, my sister came to my rescue. She stepped in and gave a short, precise advice.
"Will, tell them this. You have a very high IQ, and you do well academically than most kids your age. The only downside of your genius is that you lag behind socially," she added. "Basically, you're smart enough to go to college, but you think like a middle school kid, okay?"

Well, we all smiled and left it at that. With all the mishaps in school, I was pleasantly surprised by most of his friends' reaction and their acceptance. One of his friends actually keep a tab on Will for me which is quite funny. It's so nice that kids are able to be more accepting than grownups. Later that week, some of his friends went to the counselor's office to get more information on Will's condition, so they could have a better understanding and relationship with him. It turned out to be a good day. Only if I could have more of these days!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Siblinghood" from Family Network TV

"Siblinghood" was one of the many programs featured on the Family Network TV(FNTV) website.  Family Network TV is a Web TV bringing the special needs community together with resources for their needs.

In this segment, we meet  the hosts Alex, Maggie,Evan, and Nick, all who have siblings with different special needs. They do a wonderful job interviewing Kelly, who has a disabled sibling, about her feelings.Kelly answered many questions that lingered in the minds of all parents who have children with special needs. She is very frank about how her brother influenced her decision to work with kids with special needs. She also wants to finish her studies to become a Special Education Teacher in the future.

I found her honesty very endearing because we all have dealt with awkward moments that comes with having someone disabled in the family as she does. She also touched on the subject of being/feeling left out by the family because so much energy that was focused on her brother. In her case, it brought her family closer together as she learned about patience and acceptance.

As a mother of three with the oldest one being Aspergan, I do wonder about how the two young ones will handle their brother's condition. Will they be as accepting or will they feel resentment? Those are questions that lurks in my mind as I brace for the day they're old enough to understand. Over all, I really enjoyed watching this episode and will watch the show regularly. There's still so much to learn, and I'm grateful for everything that is offered online.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Japanese Tragedy yet another obsession

An earth quake hit Japan a few days ago and brought tragedy to so many lives. As a resident of Hawaii, I was impacted by the threat of tsunami and was in fear through out the first night. Luckily, Hawaii was spared with little to no disaster, although a night of hourly siren rang through the entire island, keeping us wondering. Now that is done, I'm left with another little disaster of my own. But first, I must say that I do feel for the people of Japan and our hearts go out to them.

My beef is this. Every time there's disaster on the news, my son is right there reading about it. Everyone knows that obsession is one of the traits of Asperger, and I accept and work with that. Ever since he was a child, he had many, many obsessions. First, it was the trains, airplanes, reading, then ultimately, it was reading about airplane crashes. Now, it's about any disasters.

When the news broke about Japan, he started to watch the news. After I changed the channel, he moved on to internet, newspaper, email updates, and twitter to get the news. I catch him reading when I wake up or leave him alone for more than a minute. He hasn't displayed any of the traits for a while, but this one brought it all back.

He's 15 and home, but he'll be in college in a few years, away from me and my "protection." What if he finds another thing to obsess on? He's got all the time and the resources to devote on his needs. What do I do then? It makes me more than a bit uneasy about this media sensationalism. It's yet another hurdle for me and my son to overcome. Right now, I feel like yanking the electricity and burying ourselves in the sand. Thanks for listening to my rant:) Do you have any obsession you're dealing with? Okay, time to get back to my obsession, my son.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Be Different by John Elder Robison Book Review & Giveaway

I had the pleasure of being one of the first to read this book and gave it away last month.  After my dad, the last person skeptical of the disorder, loved the book, I decided to share it with another family. Also it is to celebrate the autism awareness month. This giveaway will end on April 30, 2011.

Leave a comment or share your story on this post. And/or you could follow me on twitter, that would be nice. I will pick one person from the comments and you will have the book in a week.  Be sure to leave your email for me to contact you if you win. This giveaway ends April 30, 2011. Good luck!

Make sure you check out S-O-S Best of Best Book Reviews and Giveaways http://tinyurl.com/3pzn135!

My Review of "Be Different"

Have you wondered what it really meant to be wired differently? I have read many books that gave me the physiological difference and explanations, but nothing had given me such great insight to the mind of an Aspergian than John Elder Robison's new book "Be Different." So here goes my review.

This book offers great, practical advice to parents, teachers, and care-givers of Asperger kids. For me, the memorable part came when he covered aspie's lack of empathy.
"Don't worry, he doesn't even notice," he heard people around him say. And this was his response.

"I may seem robotic and mechanical sometimes, but there is nothing mechanical or cold about my internal feelings...I am just as sensitive as anyone to snide remarks and criticism. I cried inside fifty years ago, and I still do today."

Well, that's where I cringed. Even though I understood that my son's lack of empathy didn't equal to not having feelings, I did the something to my son. I didn't mean to brush him aside or make him feel invisible; I was just too used to having him not pay any attention to me and what was happening around him. Now, I truly am sorry.

Besides teaching me many good lessons, this book actually left feeling good. I put it down with the better knowledge of Asperger and a little more understanding of my son. As he told through this book, embracing being Asperger doesn't mean you can't be positive.

Okay, let me take off my "blogger" hat and say what's really on my mind. Obviously, there's so much more in this book which can't all be mentioned. I just like to say that I LOVE reading, mostly fiction. But this book was the most delicious non-fiction I've ever read, well, if non-fiction could be delicious. So go and buy a copy or better yet win it here! It's worth your time, I promise:)

Parenthood Episode

I watched the much anticipated episode of "Parenthood" about a child with Asperger. And I must say, I wasn't too disappointed. Regardless of how it was being said, the fact that this disorder was being dealt on T.V. was amazingly satisfying.

In this episode, the father was portrayed as someone who couldn't come to terms with his son's disorder. His actions brought back the flurry of bad memories for me. When I told others about my son's disorder, I was confronted with arguments that his condition was a personality trait or a flaw. They strongly believed the kids are being labeled with a nonexistent disorder. Come on, we've all had one like that in our family or friends.

After a while, I found that you shouldn't waste your time on trying to convince them. But what I did tell them to keep that skepticism and the attitude to themselves in front of me or my son. Okay, back to the show. For me, the most touching part was the boy's question.
"Will I always have it?"
His parents' answer/reaction, I'm sure, was felt by all of us.

I never really sat down to have that conversation with my son when he was diagnosed at 10. I thought he was too young and didn't want him to think the diagnose was the end of the world. Perhaps I was wrong or too afraid.

But since the bullying incident, I had to go into more detail about the disorder. I gathered the information and got him to read more books. It has made a lot of difference because there were things he found he could relate to, and also found things he had overcome. He felt less insecure about having the disorder and had some discussions with some of his friends. 

Whatever qualms about how the topic is being handled in the show, or how the parents were portrayed, I am very happy it is being discussed on national T.V. at all!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Confession of a Young and the Clueless

It was almost sixteen years ago that I gave birth to my first child, Will. To be perfectly honest, the pregnancy came as a big surprise. I was still attending college and didn't graduate until after he was born. I was young and clueless about parenting or anything else that mattered. Only after having two more children after a 7-year break, that the word motherhood really opened my eyes. Until this day, I cringe at the thought of what I could have done for Will had I been more mature and eduated.

As he was growing up, I wasn't too concern about the milestones that pediatricians used because I didn't know any better. And I had my parents and others around me that every child is different and he would catch up in his own time. Boy, was I wrong!

To my painful journey to his diagnosis came when he was 10 and you can read about that in my previous post.

The point I'm trying to make here is that now there are so much information out there about Asperger and Autism. You don't have to be old and wise to seek the help you need. Please don't make the mistake I've made. Pay attention to your child and seek knowledge and help from anywhere you can get it.