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Autism Awareness

Bead Lovers Korner: Autism Awareness

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Autism Awareness

Autism Awareness Carlo Biagi European Bead

When I woke up today, I didn't plan on doing a blog post on Austism Awareness, ADHD, Bipolar or any other medical condition. However, today is World Autism Awareness Day and not only do I have a Puzzle Bead that symbolizes Autism Awareness, but the whole subject brings up years of memories and personal experience raising children with disorders that people do not understand.

Autism Awareness, ADHD Awareness

Autism Awareness and ADHD or any sort of "developmental disorder" awareness is not just for parents but also for educators and other people in society. Speaking from the viewpoint of the parent I can tell you that if you suspect your child is different, learn all you can, because Doctors have knowledge but in many cases they don't know anymore than you do. So educate yourself on everything.

The same goes for teachers. Regular education teachers are not as well equipped to deal with these types of children, and they are people just like anyone else and can become annoyed or judge a child without getting to the root of the problem.

The sobering fact is that most people don't know a thing about any of these disorders and are highly judgmental toward the child and the parents. So next time you see a child throwing a fit in public, running around in circles or knocking things over, don't judge the parent or the child, say a prayer for them instead because you don't know what they might be going through.

Struggling through Daily Life

If you are struggling through daily life with a child who has Autism, ADHD, etc. let me tell you that the road is rough, but you will get through it. Always remind yourself of a few things:

  1. God gave you this child because you are strong enough to handle it
  2. Take it one day at a time and stay in the present
  3. Don't look too far ahead and don't look back too much either, it is all overwhelming
  4. Try to find a support group or person to confide in and bounce off your frustrations
  5. Try to take time for yourself whenever you can, you need renewal of energy. It is very easy to become secluded and home-bound because simply going to dinner or to the grocery store is too much of a traumatic event. Try not to let that happen, and also realize that the child, even with his or her disorder, still needs to learn to behave in public.

I suppose I could write a book, if I thought it would help anyone. I had one boy diagnosed ADHD, one diagnosed mild ADD, and a stepson with ADHD, Bipolar, ODD, etc. We went through a whole host of experiences:

  • To medicate or not medicate
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Special Testing
  • Special Schools and Teachers
  • Charts and schedules, reward systems
  • Food Allergies?
  • Child Care
  • Bad Teachers and Good Teachers
  • Defining Good and Bad
  • Suspended Again
  • Love and Hate
  • How to Punish
  • Daily Frustrations, don't give up
  • What does insurance cover?
  • Law Enforcement (yes police too)
  • Keeping your marriage together

(haha, these could be the chapters in my book!)

I am sure I could think up a lot more.... but one of the most valuable things I had was prayer and knowing that each day was a new day. That gave me the inner strength to keep on going. In the end we all made it, but going through all of the above was a daily challenge, it gives you an entirely different perspective on life and society.

The most rewarding day of my life was seeing my sons graduate from High School, no one really knew how hard it was to get to that moment. But I did.

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At April 2, 2013 at 10:09 AM , Blogger Maria Moreno said...

OMG thank you so much for writing and posting this! I have to admit I skipped a few parts because it is a very emotional topic for me since my brother was diagnosed, and growing up with his diagnosis was very difficult. I know what you went through and I applaud you.
I know that the day my brother graduated was very rewarding for my mother and I, his school let him speak (it was a small private school) and the tears of joy that we shed that day made our long and tough journey worth it!
I will share your blog and hope you have an amazing World Autism Awareness Day! <3

At April 2, 2013 at 11:09 AM , Blogger Gari Anne said...

Thank you so much for your comment, it is an emotional topic and so happy for your brother and your family making it to graduation too! It is my hope that someone will read this and be encouraged by our words!

At April 5, 2013 at 8:43 AM , Blogger Sue Mongeon said...

Gari, another very poignant piece. Thank you. I am going to post this on my personal FB page, since there are many in my family and acquaintances who can benefit from this. I do not know if anyone knows the pain of these issues quite like a mother does. The sense of protection a mother feels toward her children is so strong, and the agony, grief and powerlessness can also seems to overwhelm. I am so very glad that these issues are now being talked about. As a mom and grandmother who has seen this struggle up-close-and-personal, I would love to see no child ridiculed, rejected or mistreated for the hand they have simply been dealt in life. Learning all we can to help those we love is mandatory!

At April 5, 2013 at 5:28 PM , Blogger Gari Anne said...

Thank you so much for your comments, and I do hope what I have said benefits anyone who reads it. I remember how alone I felt back then, not too many people who understood. My heart goes out to anyone going through this!!


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