Autism: C'hele's Story

August 29, 2008

The Longing

Filed under: Poetry — C'hele @ 22:36

Only a smattering of memories from my childhood flash into my mind like a camera. My body moves accordingly when I’m told what to do but my mind is fossilized. Like a corpse raised from the dead, I find myself yet again a slave to this dismal existence. Grey thoughts and grey pictures cover over my soul like a blanket, smothering so many details of the past.

“You don’t remember much of your childhood do you?” I‘ve been asked.

No. Never wanted to.

Looking up into a clear, glittering, deep vault at night,

Sitting amidst a large field secreted by tall, hypnotic grasses,

Walking by the river’s edge allowing its movement to speak freely.

Feeling the earth’s very heart beat beneath my unshod den feet,

I allow the fragrance of the earth to intoxicate and soothe my Spirit.

Watching the clouds magically transform into messages meant just for me,

I cannot deny the deep connection I feel to the whole.

Only these memories and many like them, have the ability to lift a corner of the grey blanket and allow the kaleidoscope of hues to peek out. The longing I feel is too great so regretfully, I replace the heavy grey blanket back over my soul smothering the raging river of emotions like a dam.

My memory has improved as an adult but not without creating deep scars upon my mournful heart. The deep longing bears testament to a stranger standing outside in the cold, looking within at the once familiar yet vague recollections of more compassionate existence.

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Autism, Adolescence and High School

Filed under: Aspberger Syndrome, Autism, Special Needs — C'hele @ 21:00
My daughter turned thirteen this past July. She is currently undergoing a massive transition in her life: she will be entering grade eight and high school. The municipality which we live in, underwent a large change a few years ago- it removed middle schools (grades eight to ten). That obviously means that Michaela will be going to the same high school for the next four years and she has turned into a basket case about this. In all honesty, I have too. In all fairness, I am relieved as it means that we would not have to otherwise prepare for two transitions (primary to middle school and middle school to secondary school). The month of September is going to be pure hell not to mention a write-off. For those who don’t know, my daughter is diagnosed with Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome, an anxiety disorder, ADHD, and additional developmental disabilities due to anoxia damage at birth. All of her educational life, Michaela has not known a full-time regular classroom. Michaela has always been integrated in a regular classroom for 1-2 hours the most and has otherwise been in a resource room. Michaela has always been bussed to and from school. Michaela has always had an educational assistant by her side.

This summer, I have had talks with the Special Needs Coordinator of the municipality and she had informed me that Michaela will no longer be bussed to and from school. She will now have to walk. This is impossible I told her. Now that we have moved, high school is a few miles away from us. The school I originally wanted Caela to attend, would have been only a few blocks away but the program is unsuitable for her as it’s a completely modified program for lower cognitively challenged students. So, the co-ordinator tells me that Michaela will have to take REGULAR TRANSIT to and from school. Then she makes me feel bad that I have not been TEACHING HER! You cannot imagine my outrage. The very idea of Caela taking regular transit made me and still makes me ill. Then she tells me THAT ITS TIME that I hire a life-skills worker to work with Caela on this in order to prepare her for next year. Yeah. It would have been nice at least to have a little forewarning regarding this matter. Also its not what she is telling me, its “how” she’s telling me this information. You know, it shouldn’t be a problem since autistic kids learn NEW ROUTINES so quickly not to mention easily (major sarcasm here). I was fortunate to secure the bus for this year only. I had to strongly insist on it. As the old saying goes, the parent who hollers the loudest, gets results first.

The next blow: Michaela will now not be having any additional support in school with an educational assistant due to 66 EA layoffs in the district. Michaela has not known education without the support of an educational assistant. She needs the support.

This particular program that Michaela is now enrolled in, is a career preparation program. Its not a fully modified program however, they‘re going to have to do it for her. A lot of good this program will be- as Michaela suffers enormously from impulsivity issues and has very poor organizational skills.

I’ve been recently informed that the B.C. government has raised the IQ level to 70. This means many special needs individuals will be denied government assistance when they finish high school. The outrage I feel is enormous. The government is well aware that high functioning autistic individuals can be brilliant and intelligent but they are enormously challenged when it comes to life and organizational skills. Without the necessary support, most fail miserably in this department and so many end up on the streets, hooked on drugs and or alcohol.

See below this post for the link to the story regarding the BC government changing the IQ level for special needs individuals.

Currently, my daughter sits just under the 70 IQ percentile. She was just re-assessed before the end of this past June and her psychologist could not stress enough how important it is, to make sure that Michaela be re-tested again before she leaves high school. The psychologist warned me that it is possible that if the government refuses to lower IQ level, Michaela will most likely be denied receiving her disability pension cheque when she becomes 19. I cannot emphasize enough, how important this disability cheque will be to my daughter when she becomes an adult.

My daughter will most likely receive the necessary training at high school that will prepare her for employment. Most individuals who receive this training, hold only part-time employment as most are unable to secure full time due to their cognitive challenges. The additional disability pension assists with paying the bills. Like so many others who suffer from cognitive or neurological challenges, Michaela will not be able to keep full time employment due to her short term memory issues, distractibility, impulsivity issues and poor organizational skills. Unless by some miracle she is able to retrain her mind. Due to her “so-called high IQ” she is now deemed intelligent enough to support herself and live on her own independently. What the government conveniently ignores is that there are many forms of intelligence. Academics is just one of them. What about the other intelligences?

I have to admit, despite all these challenges, it will be interesting to see how Michaela will cope or do when thrust out there on her own in high school. As much I hate to promote this tough love stance, the documented paperwork will be invaluable and in the long run and it will assist her when she becomes an adult.

It will kill me as a parent, to let my special needs child to be put in this position in order to help her in the future. On the other hand, it is important to allow these children opportunities to prove themselves.  Despite all my training and experience I too, need to remind myself of this fact.

I will be for sure, sharing her pain and anxiety for the next long while. Here is the website I wrote about:

 

 

 http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/story.html?id=834f0a78-0de3-488a-a3b7-5b01fe8d20c7

I’ve been having difficulties with this computer and the above link.  Should you not be able to access this link, you can view the article on the Autism Community Training Website  http://www.actcommunity.net/.  The article is on the right hand side of the page. 

 

August 22, 2008

Loving Energy

Filed under: Poetry — C'hele @ 08:25
My Beloved-

You know, it is inevitable.

Our hearts have been there and done that before.

Yes, it is inevitable.

Not even the Gods-

Would dare mess with destiny.

Oh, yes. We could give them some show.

We have the opportunity to

Show the world what rapture truly looks like-

Without, even, touching.

Yes.

Wonderful things happen-

When soul mates finally meet.

For when love decides to express itself,

Its like the sun’s rays permeating a clear, cool, crystal.

The whole world then, becomes intoxicated with brilliant colours.

 

August 21, 2008

Divine Patience

Filed under: Poetry — C'hele @ 21:15
Is patience such a bad thing?

Not at all.

It even enlightens the essence of a yearning blossom,

As it waits in anticipation for the sun to drink the moistness off its petals.

Only then, is it allowed to rise-

Unburdened in order to fully unfold to the magnificence of Universal love.

 

August 20, 2008

Freedom and Enlightenment

Filed under: Poetry — C'hele @ 23:31
Ahhhh,
This is what true freedom feels like.

I have learned my lesson,

And learned it well.

My face is crooked to the sun,

My spirit is energized by its radiance.

No longer will I have to seek-

The nakedness of my being needs no-one.

Not anymore.

I now stand comforted by my aloneness.

No longer will I become embarrassed

As I approach my prime years with acceptance.

But right now,

I sit in the moment

Enlightened by pure thought of it all.

 

 

 

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