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

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 Ronan of the Day

Ronan James nursed forever. In fact, so long that Mama was able to give speech lessons using this incredible motivator!

“I want boobies, what?”

“I want boobies, pweese!”

He has never lost the love for the boob.

When The Loudon was born, Ronan looked on longingly as he nursed, but since Ro was done, he settled for a “reach in and grab a handful” approach.

Ever since, we have had an almost daily discussion on “privates” and what is appropriate touching or not.

He is very sneaky about it now, and it’s turned into a seemingly harmless hand or finger graze across the chest area!! lol

Mama doesn’t want to make too big a deal of it, because I don’t want him to get some sort of “boob aversion.”  I can just imagine that this would turn him into that pervy groping kid from Jr. High School that you avoided with all of your might, because he just couldn’t control himself around the melons that have been suddenly popping up everywhere!!

So, when he grabbed a handful the other day, Mama did the “privates talk” walk through.

Ro really pondered it for a bit, then he said wistfully…

“Mom.  When I grow up, I’m going to touch my wife’s boobs EVERY day.”

 

 

Watch out chesty ladies!  Here he comes!

Puberty is approaching.  And he’s a boob man.

AUTISM – ARE YOU VERBAL?

For years, we tossed around the word Autism.

 It didn’t fit, it fit, it labeled him, it didn’t, we cared, we didn’t.

We used to look at the faces that stared while he screamed.

We don’t even notice now.

AUTISM.

It was a word that held such power.

Now…it’s just a word…

And Ronan James is just fabulous.

How do you talk about autism?

He Don’t Look Like Anything’s “Wrong” With Him!

Recent | Most Answered | Most Useful | Needs Answers

 

This is an actual quote from a mother we ran into at a playground a few years ago. Ro grabbed her daughter’s sleeve to try to get her attention in order to ask her a question. The mom didn’t like this. I tried to explain autism and why he did what he did to her daughter, to which she replied with the above quote.

This always leaves me pondering…Does having a “normal” appearance affect our children negatively when it comes to understanding or acceptance of their behavior?

I often face this, because my child looks so “normal” and so, very often, others mistake his behavior as bratty, spoiled, fresh, etc., and I think it’s tough sometimes to not have an outward clue as to why my over-100-lb 9-year-old “beautiful” son is thrashing on the floor of Sports Authority after not being able to get yet another Beanie Baby. I can’t make him wear an autism awareness shirt 24/7, so what is the best way to deal with this besides saying I don’t care what others think (believe me, I don’t really care much now after almost 10 years of this) Curious as to what you all think though.

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