ASAN STATEMENT ON MEDIA COVERAGE OF CT TRAGEDY

Here’s The Autistic Self Advocacy Network’s statement on the tragedy in CT.  It says everything necessary to dispel the ignorance of linking disabled individuals with violent acts.

 

http://autisticadvocacy.org/2012/12/asan-statement-on-media-reports-regarding-newton-ct-shooting/

 

 

THOUGHTS ON TRAGEDY

After a day of gut-wrenching news coverage, I went to bed only to be jerked awake several times with nightmares.  Most of them involved me not being able to find my boys in various situations.  I woke from them screaming, heart racing, and sweating, with a soul-searing panic that I never want to feel again.  I cannot ever imagine what intense agony and ruin these parents and families feel.  It’s unfathomable and so unbelievably wrong.

After a long consideration on whether or not I should keep what happened from my kids (ages 7 and 10), my little guy heard a snippet of news coverage on the car radio before I could switch the channel.  “Mom, what happened in Connecticut?”  Ugh.  How do you explain this to a precocious child who worries WAY too much anyway?  I ended up with an explanation that gave him simple facts, trying to soften the anxiety with the idea that this is something that is a freak occurrence and it will not happen to him.  Then came the million and one questions.  Why?  What was wrong with the boy?  How could he shoot kids?  How did he get in the school?  Will this happen at my school?  Will someone shoot me?

What a sad world that we live in when your child needs to ask these questions.

I limited any TV/news coverage but we still all shed tears and talked about it most of the night.

Now, we are left panicking about 3 large and looming concerns that have all of us “up in arms” so to speak:   Gun control, managing mental illness, and security for our schools.

To sum up my thoughts, and I am just one person, but anyway…

Guns:  I never want a weapon in my home that can kill dozens of people in the blink of an eye with the push of one finger.  I wish I had specific solutions on how to balance the right to protect oneself  with the right to have an environment that is safe from the danger of these types of weapons.  I wish with all of my heart that we could all work together to come to a reasonable conclusion to keep our children safe.  From what I am reading today, it seems unlikely, and it’s sad, very sad.

Managing mental illness:  I wish the media would stop trying to slap certain diagnoses of mental illness/neurological conditions on persons who commit horrific crimes. Of course these people are sick.  Nobody who is mentally healthy would do anything like that.  It is, however, hurtful and irresponsible to link a specific diagnosis, like schizophrenia, autism, Asperger’s, etc., to a criminal without knowing for a fact what that person was diagnosed with and without understanding the nature of these illnesses and reporting about that.  It does a great disservice to the many persons who suffer immensely with these conditions and it’s completely unfair to malign a whole group of individuals by linking their diagnosis to a sick person who has planned a mass murder.

I do not know what the shooter suffered from, but many outlets are stating that he was autistic or had Asperger’s.  The same thing happened with the CO murderer.  To throw out these terms and link horrific crimes to people who they label as “somewhere on the autism spectrum” and then not follow it up with the fact that people with autism have no more likelihood of committing a violent crime like this as you or I or anyone else.  I have also been hearing that “people with autism lack empathy” and this could not be further from the truth.  Say that to me when you see my child cry because he feels “devastated that the kids got hurt and had to go to Heaven.”  Most people on the spectrum have trouble expressing their feelings of empathy but this doesn’t mean that they don’t FEEL empathy.  The challenge comes with showing their feelings in a way that others understand.  And again, individuals with autism have no higher incidence of exhibiting planned violent behavior like this.  I am very worried for my child when our society ignorantly links his neurological condition with insane mass murder.

Obviously, this person didn’t get the proper care that he needed, and I have no instant solutions for this issue either, but something has to give when it comes to figuring out why so many young men are violently ill and not getting the proper treatment before they resort to something unimaginable.

Safety in schools:  The other day, I had to run to the middle school to pick up a paper.  It was like Fort Knox getting in there.  I had to ring a buzzer and explain my situation, stop at a kiosk and scan my license, type in personal information, and take a picture of myself for a printed name badge, and then I had to sign out with the machine on my way out.  I laughed so hard at this and joked that they might as well do a full-body scan.  Little did I know that today I would be grateful for that sign-in process and even wish for more intense processes when it comes to entering our children’s schools.  I sincerely hope that we will take safety for our schools much more seriously.  I am all for one entrance with metal detectors and an officer on duty at all times.  It sounds extreme but I will happily get frisked and not give a second thought to “my rights” when it comes to safety for my children.  We have to make this happen.  No child or parent should fear a school day.

My thoughts and my heart are with those in CT.  I am so, so sorry for their loss and pain.   Click below for ways to help.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/14/connecticut-elementary-school-shooting-how-to-help_n_2302760.html

Video: Temple Grandin, The World Needs All Kinds of Minds | Autism Support Network

 

Video: Temple Grandin, the world needs all kinds of minds | Autism Support Network.

For the love of God! When will this child sleep?! **A Repost From Way Back! Because His Butt Still Don’t Sleep!**

The first night he was born, the nurses kept bringing Ronan into my room.

“He won’t stop crying.  Sorry, hon.  Maybe you should try to nurse him again.”

This went on only every ten minutes or so, until I just said, “Oh, alright already!  Just sleep in my bed with me!”

Thus began a new circle of life for Mami, parent of “The Baby Who Never Sleeps.”

Ditties (the nickname for my boobies), sleep.  Remove ditties, wake up.  Ditties, sleep.  Remove ditties, wake up…and on and on and on.  This lovely cycle was broken up by intermittent hours of filming infant Ronan with one of those old clunky cassette video recorders propped up on the couch at various times in the a.m., when only bats, owls, and other nocturnal animals roam the earth.

I began to look like one of them.  My eyes were black-rimmed.  I was in a zombie-like daze, walking into walls and forgetting proper hygiene (like actually washing myself), and I was obsessed with finding ways to get him to actually sleep without being attached to the ditty.

The Ferber Method = cry until vomit, then cry more.  Never stop crying.  Vomit.  Cry.

Daddy walking and rocking, then slipping Ronan quietly into his crib = bolting upright in 0.001 second flat.  Screaming. Vomiting.

The No Cry Sleep Solution = Ha Ha Ha Ha, yeah right.

For two years, I just caved and gave the ditty.  I learned how to sleep like a fugitive in an escape tunnel, one arm had to curl around the top of his head.  Ditty had to be fully accessible.  Pillows were aplenty, and positioned just so, to support my frozen frame.  As long as I didn’t move – at all – Ronan would sleep, nurse, sleep, nurse, and maybe some nights, he wouldn’t wake up for his 4-hour a.m. stretch.

When I finally decided to wean him (at over 2 years old – that’s another post in itself), a new cycle began in the life of Mami.

It was called, “The Child Who Never Sleeps”

Snuggle with Ronan in his bed until he falls asleep.  Wrench your body out from under his digging feet at 1 cm per hour.  Finally get out of the bed.  Lay in your own bed.  Roll over to finally sleep and immediately see a small figure hovering over you.

Walk back into child’s room.  Repeat.  4 nights out of the week, shoot footage of owl child awake with brand new fancy digital camcorder.

Flash 5 years forward, and I am still walking Nosferatu back and forth to his bed.  Still a zombie.

Everything from melatonin, vigorous exercise, magnesium, joint compression, and a trillion other things have been tried.

I have pretty much resigned myself to the idea of being an old, crabby, gray zombie.  Then we’ll call him …

“The Man Who Never Sleeps”

Feel free to send me your suggestions, please, for the love of GOD!

sleep.jpg

P.S. Don’t let this picture fool you!  I tried to trick him up by putting his little brother beside him to snuggle…maybe they’ll find comfort cuddling each other, and he won’t come looking for me!

Yeah, right.  5 minutes after I took this picture, he was hovering over me…THE CHILD WHO NEVER SLEEPS!!!!!

Scientists Identify Potential Biomarker to Help Diagnose Autism

Hmm, is this the same test we did years ago through the “quack” lab?  I have to go look that up…

http://www.washington.edu/news/articles/scientists-identify-potential-biomarker-to-help-diagnose-autism

Ronan Art of the Day

My boo is doing some really cool digital art lately…

He entitled this “Squeaky Ball”

He’s cool.

THE SHAWL…THE DAMN SHAWL AGAIN

Every time I think I am going through a ridiculously rough period in life, I have to break out the big guns.  Tonight, my friends, I will be reading this for the umpteenth time…

Read it and weep only when you are having a REALLY bad night.  You’ll be reminded of what crappy life circumstances truly are.

And then, maybe you will slap yo’self in the face, like Mama do, for all your poor-me whining.

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