Autism: C'hele's Story

August 15, 2016

Autism: After High School

Filed under: Aspberger Syndrome, Autism, Special Needs — C'hele @ 08:48

I apologize to my readers for being so disengaged from my writing. I had to. I’ve been so exhausted the last few years. As any parent of a child with a neurological disability knows, our kids will either make, or break us. I am happy to report that I am alive and well *chuckle*. So far. My daughter Michaela is now twenty-one. She successfully graduated from high school and even volunteered to do a thirteenth year (totally optional) to pick up important courses to help her when she goes to University/College. It’s been a long time since I wrote, so let me review my daughter’s labels: she has Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, a mixed receptive-expressive language disorder, an anxiety disorder and “other developmental disabilities.”

She left school with a reading level of grade seven. Her math level was at a grade six level. She never did learn any science or much of any other academic. She excelled in art, graphic arts, and physical education. At home, she excelled in Equestrian riding (for eleven years I might add). She also participated in an inclusive art exhibition here in Vancouver too. After high school she had to wait approximately a year to enroll in a special program at a University near us, aimed at teaching anyone with a cognitive/physical disability who wished or is able to learn, life skills how to find & keep jobs and complete four different work experience programs. She excelled and blossomed in this program. Here she saw the professor treat all students like human beings. The professor took her time with each student to make sure they always had a say when it came to “what they want to be when they grow up.” And so on.

Last May, this university was fighting to keep this program alive. This program was in three different universities until they were closed down in two universities but kept alive in one. The professor upon her request, asked for a meeting to convince the universities administration to keep and open more special needs programs. She was allowed to speak to the board of the University at one of their monthly meetings. She asked my daughter to speak along with her. Michaela has always melted down whenever she had to speak in front of a group. This time she shocked me: excited, she said YES. I had always taught her how important it is to teach others about disabilities, especially autism. TO BE PROACTIVE!   She was listening! Where once she cowered in fear whenever any adult or child bullied her. If she had to speak out for herself (which she didn’t), it took me years to educate her how valuable she and other autistic individuals really are to others and the world. That she is NOT stupid, she just views and perceives her world differently! Michaela understands now, how really important education is- not just for her, but for everyone else around her.

So the professor had only ten minutes to present. Caela had five. I was asked to come along in case Michaela experienced any difficulties or severe anxieties. What I witnessed……made me want to stand up in front of that crowd and say, “Do you see? Do you see?? What the right education can do positively for a person who has challenges!!??” Michaela stood up and said her piece in front of the mayor of the city, the Member of Parliament of the city, the President of the University along with his two vice-presidents and thirty other important people. Michaela’s last statement was this:

“You must. You must……protect and develop this program for people with intellectual and physical disabilities!! ESPECIALLY for Autistics. You know why? YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH US EVENTUALLY, BECAUSE WE’RE NOT GOING AWAY!”

Michaela nailed it. Everyone was shocked at her advocacy. They were suprised that she wanted to continue learning- upgrade some of her academics and eventually enroll in the Culinary Arts Program to become a Chef/Cook. She had impressed the MP of the city so much so, that he came right up to her and shook her hand, telling her how impressed he was with her speech. She received many congratulations that afternoon. Michaela’s last work experience was at the University itself in the Culinary Arts Program. This is not the norm in the program- all students are mostly “sent out” of the University to complete their four-week work experience.

Michaela shocked everyone within the Culinary Arts Program. The chef/teacher was highly impressed with her knowledge & confidence of the kitchen. When my daughter asked him as to how she was doing, he was abrupt: he told her he wants her in his program. He told her that he is impressed of her guiding others in the class whenever any of them needed any help. In the last week of her work experience training in the kitchen, Chef had asked my daughter to make something for him- anything. Caela took the request as a challenge and came home on a mission. She wanted to make something they’ve never had. Finnish food. So she came home went through my Finnish cookbook and decided to make bread. Not just any bread, but a sweet, coffee bread. We call it “Pulla.” So she went to school the next day and made four loaves. One for the students in the class, one for their little café to sell, one for the chef and one for home. Michaela tells me that the class had eaten the whole loaf within minutes. All the bread in the café was sold and in essence, her culinary baking project was a hit. Chef then gave Michaela a book on Kitchen Math to study over the summer to prepare for when she gets in the program. A big hint for Caela that she should enroll in the program and not give up. She was elated to be given a hundred dollar textbook for free and a promise that he would work hard to get her in the program. Her disability be damned. We were thrilled!!

She was in the kitchen doing her work experience at almost the same time she was invited to make her speech to the universities administration. After she gave her kick-ass speech, she coyly told her audience that she along with the other students in the kitchen prepared the Asian Indian lunch that day for them. She then said “please enjoy the naan bread that I cooked!” This was a huge surprise to them and to the esteemed South Asian exchange student who after her speech, told her he was more than looking forward to it!! Everyone just looked at each other surprised. I couldn’t help but shake my head in disappointment for their lack of knowledge regarding Autistic people.

It was the proudest day of my life.

My autistic daughter is fighting for her successes in life despite the odds and challenges. Temple Grandin has always been an inspiration for her and Caela wants to take up Temples fight to educate others and to be pro-active. We are just beginning. Just two days ago, Michaela and I visited the university to enquire about funding options and to get that in motion. The woman at the desk told Michaela she had “good news”. Michaela was formally accepted into the Culinary Arts Program and is now on the class list!!! We were told that Michaela would most likely go on the list next year! My daughter was extremely pleased but I was ecstatic! I kinda made a bit of a scene actually. At least the receptionist thought I was funny!

Parents. If you have a HFA, PDD/NOS, or Asperger’s child, do not THINK FOR A MOMENT that your child cannot make it. You know your child the very best- their strengths, weaknesses, and challenges. You most likely know their hopes, fears and dreams. This may not manifest fully until they are 15+. But work on this, shape it. Their passions and strengths may be the only thing that make them successful in life in order to avoid a life of poverty, struggle or homelessness. I knew my daughter had a talent in horses at eight years of age. I sat back, worked on her self-esteem and confidence and just observed. She was still young yet. She struggled throughout elementary/high school, trying to make sense of it all with teachers who “were gonna make them NOT autistic” or just simply just sat around with them in class doing virtually nothing. Like what the hell, “they’ll never amount to anything in life anyways!” (My daughter overheard this statement in class once).

Tell your students, your children not to give up. Ever. Teach them how to fight appropriately. They are not stupid. They are simply striving to make sense of the world, where people are constantly re-defining the meaning of what’s NORMAL. There is no normal, only uniqueness. Tell them to advocate to their teachers and to others respectfully when they are having social or difficulties. Let them know they have a voice- and to NOT be ashamed when they have to listen to their inner voice, to ask for advice, to use judgement and logic when making decisions. These children come to us to teach us lessons. To help others. To help us along our journey in life and to embrace compassion and empathy for others who struggle as well.

They DO NOT come to us to make us feel that there is something wrong with us. We are not responsible for bringing into the world a defective child with Autism!!! The responsible thing to do, is to embrace and to look forward to the hidden lessons these children came to teach us. What have you learned whilst raising a child with special needs? Are you a better or worse parent since your child came into the world? I tell my daughter all the time: “your soul picked me. Not the other way around.” I have not been cursed bringing a child like this into the world. It is tough. Stressful. Isolating, but it has also been incredibly rewarding.

But I’ve learned to be tough. Mentally and physically. I have more compassion and empathy for others. I have developed more patience and understanding. I have learned to use my voice. I have learned to develop tolerance towards self-centred, arrogant people. I have learned to be more authentic and more.

And it shows. I have given up a very good career as a dental assistant to become a trained ECE Educator and Special Ed. Assistant in autism. I have learned to turn the other check in this incredibly thankless & incredible stressful career because I fall in love with the soul of every child/student that I work with. I love it when their eyes light up when they have just finally figured out how to respond to a social difficulty or trusts me when sometimes I say, “just memorize it” the answer will come later, or when a problem is solved for them after years of trying to figure it out, or when they find their own confidence because they know that I believe in them and have their back. And so much more. Almost every day I go home with a smile on my face due to some minor or major success seen, or unseen by them but observed by me, telling me I did my job well. Administration be damned. I don’t want to talk about them, the very thought of them upsets me.

My daughter and I have succeeded through many obstacles and barriers. And it’s only the beginning.

It is time that Autistic people find their place in the world. Apples and bananas. We’re all in the end, in the same basket!

 

Advertisements

January 20, 2016

To Pray or Not Pray

Filed under: Uncategorized — C'hele @ 13:23

Some people feel like they have to pray to the Divine.

All I have to do is step outside my door into nature-

And listen to Her.

January 19, 2016

The Meeting~ In 200 words

Filed under: Uncategorized — C'hele @ 13:22

Suspiciously, the grey haze glided across the lake with some unknown mission. With ease, it slid up the mountain breaking up into many large fragments. Here and there, it lingered across the mountain side, chilling everything in its path. Puttering about the yard, the grey haze suddenly veiled me with a cold, fragrant mist of purity. Standing upright, I raise my arm and slowly wave my hand. Up and down my hand did flow, caressing the floating liquid that shrouded me. I observe the fine, minutely glittering particles as they stingingly kissed me with moistness. Closing my eyes, I allow the vapour to soundlessly lick my face leaving me with scarlet love-bites. Looking up, no egg shell blue sky could be seen. Then, observing more closely, I watch millions of miniscule water droplets frenzily dance with each other in the air, existing for the moment. The grey mist grew evermore darker, evermore dense. Soaked, my grounded feet start to trod back towards the house. Ascending the stairs towards the porch, I turn to take one last look behind me at the thick, now dense cloud cloaking the land. Cold, wet and flushed, I silently give Thanks for the spiritual intercourse.

July 29, 2015

In Exactly 231 Words!

Filed under: Uncategorized — C'hele @ 06:33

She observed how beautifully her diamond ring glittered and shone in the rose ambient lit room. The room itself was beautiful. The wood utilized within the room proved grounding as it blended with smooth, glistening stone work. It’s like dining in the forest she thought. Delicate lace adorned opened windows, and they trembled as the breeze gently entered, kissing everyone within with a smooth touch. The sounds of a soft harp could be heard, faintly bussing the ears with grace. Looking at the handsome man sitting across from her she could not help wonder….is the silence a blessing in disguise so as to not mar the beauty surrounding her? Dressed elegantly, he was not. Not like her. Awkward looking book ends they appeared. Forlornly, she ate the savory dish before her and not a word was spoken as they ate. Dessert, then coffee, still not a sound was heard or spoken. How could there be so much beauty surrounding her and yet avoid her as she sat in this beautiful room? The room was humming softly of voices in various notes yet no intelligent, melodic words were spoken at her table. Searing pain, emanated from her soul. Unexpectedly, the energy of beauty exposed the stale, ashen colour of death that sat with her at the table. Beauty in all of its tender kindness, kissed her passionately that only Spirit can gift.

July 6, 2015

Poetry ~ A Soft Evening

Filed under: Uncategorized — C'hele @ 16:48

Trees speak softly
As they frolic gently with the wind
The deep tones of chimes call out
Wanting to perform along with nature

The moon above is playing hide and seek
But the evening clouds don’t care
A warm, late evening breeze caresses
Kissing a cheek in passing

Not a twinkling star can be seen
Nor a creature stirs or crawls
It is quiet save for the whispering trees
The earth for now gratefully meditates in silence.

July 1, 2015

Autism and the Vaccine Link, My Opinion

I think most of us know that autism is caused by a gene that is passed from father to child. It is not uncommon for mom to carry this gene as well, though it’s rare. What bothers me is that people seem to think that autism is solely caused by vaccinations. I don’t believe this to be true. From all my readings and my eleven years of working for these individuals, the autism gene needs to be “awakened” and this is where vaccines come in. It also can be awakened though environmental factors too. We all know that vaccines are detrimental to a person’s health. Vaccines filled with aluminum salts, formaldehyde and mercury. They use these toxic substances because these substances remain permanently in the body. So, what better way to make the vaccine formulas stay in the body?

Unfortunately, vaccines cause all sorts health problems (immune system problems etc.). As much as it protects a body from particular deadly viruses, it’s never a guarantee either. My daughter was not vaccinated till FIVE years old. And I had to do it. She only had one dosage to shut people up (like school nurses) and she never got any more throughout her school life because I don’t like them. Caela was diagnosed at FOUR years of age at Sunnyhill Hospital. Her autism was triggered through what I’m sure was stress and anoxia damage during birth. She came out a blue colour. I had an extremely difficult labour with her- so bad, that they could not perform an epidural because my muscles were too tight and the anesthesiologist could not get the needle though the vertebrae. Michaela was born suddenly when she didn’t want to come out. It was crazy.

I read an article about a study Japan did some years back. They told parents not to vaccinate their babies/children until they were ready for school (five years old). They saw the rate of autistic children being born drop. Hmmmmm?

I read that a baby’s immune system is not FULLY DEVELOPED until three months of age. It was not mandatory when my daughter was born but I believe that babies now as early as one to two months receive their first vaccination shot. It might be different in different areas. I asked my doctor, “Do babies have a different, lesser amount given to them compared to adults? NO, I was told.

So what the hell? Babies who possibly carry the autism gene receiving adult dosages of lethal vaccinations before their immune system is fully developed?

Common sense to me. Temple Grandin talks in her book “Thinking in Pictures, My Life with autism” that, “Research during the last ten years confirms that autism, PDD, and Asperger’s all have a strong genetic basis. Craig Newschaffe, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, estimates that 60-90% of autism cases are genetic.” Temple goes on to mention “Researchers also confirm previous studies that show that relatives of people with autism will often have many milder autistic-like symptoms.”

My daughter’s father used to tell me, “It’s all in your head! There is nothing wrong with her! She’s just like me!!!!!”

After much nagging from me for him to get tested, he finally did so after many years of fighting. He came out with a diagnosis of high functioning autism, ADHD and Dyslexia. I have met many women throughout my career who talk about their husbands being difficult regarding their children being diagnosed with autism. Then they started seeing the quirky behaviour and the like in their husbands.

There is no doubt in my mind that all these things I’ve mentioned above, play a part in creating an autistic child. God Love them.

June 30, 2015

Love

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — C'hele @ 05:38

“I dream of a love so great that it transcends sexual love” I don’t remember where or who wrote this quote, but upon reading it, it has never left me. What would a love like this really look like? Is the human race even capable of comprehending such an idea let alone practise it? I don’t think so. In the year 2015, the human race has yet to scaffold and evolve to such an enlightened idea. I bet the real reason we have yet to meet any real loving, evolved species in the universe is because we are truly unbalanced as a species. Unpredictable, two-faced and fearful amongst other things. The human race is special though. We are capable of such compassion, such sensitivity. Our emotions can be a curse or a blessing. But we have yet to find any real identity. Perhaps that’s why humans resort to religion. We are told we are sheep (implying that we are not intelligent and cannot think for ourselves) and that we must follow those who claim they are enlightened and are a medium to some higher power. If only humans would realize “they are the higher power.” Fear is what keep humanity from advancing. If we were taught how to balance our body, mind and soul I believe we could really attain this great love. I’m not implying that the human race should be celibate. To the contrary- but we need to find balance within our minds and body and that can only be done if someone or something, teaches us how to find balance cognitively and physically. I suspect this is where meditation can be the start of this quest. Logic is our foundation, controlled emotions is what drives us but common sense should eventually rule. There would have to be a colossal amount of inner work, co-operation and understanding with others, before the mental/emotional work can be accomplished. We all need to be on the same page first.

(Joking) It is no wonder that more intelligent and enlightened universal species stay away from us. All we seem to attract is the lizards/reptilian species (and the like) because in all reality? The law of science says like attracts like (??). Have no idea if David Icke is right, but if he is, we are in some big, serious trouble. I’d rather stick to the topic of humanity/enlightened beings because David Ickes theories creep the crap out of me. The human race needs to find its own power instead of seeking it elsewhere. Don’t know what others believe, but instead of being referred to as sheep in a flock, I’d rather be a wolf in a wolf pack. So, in the long run, I’ll keep dreaming of a love so great that it would transcend sexual love.

June 27, 2015

Divine Saviours

Filed under: Uncategorized — C'hele @ 10:14

Knowing looks
Some hidden, unexplainable vibe
Much work and cooperation can be done
Without a single word even uttered

Hand in hand the multi-tasking goes
And a group of them can be lethal
Nature is a best friend and nurturer
The wolf a guide and totem

Respect is to be given
Along with compassion
And in return you’ll find solace and love
Pushing will only ignite fury

To scorn is to invite wrath, maybe even death
For hell has not known such ferocity
So let the hair flow, let the wind cleanse her soul and spirit!
For the Goddess reflects all- “we are the worlds saviours.”

Poetry

Filed under: Uncategorized — C'hele @ 07:47

The tornado of words swirl and attack
Fingers feel for the armour- its strong but still fragile.

The heart yearns for peace and serenity
The tornado however, becomes darker and more ominous

Give me strength my soul would cry!
But fate secretly decides to tease and play

There is no control.
Feeling the armour, it strains, it cracked ever so slightly

A warning of an impending and lethal breakage
A strike comes out from nowhere-

And pieces fall, showering the earth with broken dreams
A deep sleep then ensues,

Voices can be heard, but oh!
Let me remain in this deep and glorious sleep!!!

The foggy-ness covers me with a shroud….

Let me remain in the safety of the coma…..

———————————————————————-

June 26, 2015

The Mountains Call…

Filed under: Solitude — C'hele @ 14:39

Since my move into the Fraser Valley last September, I find myself in awe of the mountains that surround my new house. I have a killer view from my back yard of a lake. Forget the lake, I find myself always facing the mountains so I can gaze at the soft curves and folds they present- 360 degrees around my home. It’s quiet, but it used to be quieter in past times. Flocks of people come to visit in the summer to stay the local campsites and holiday trailer parks to escape the suburban life. I don’t like that very much. I like it quiet, dead quiet. It’s what I miss most when I used to live up Sunshine Coast what seemed eons ago. I was surprised at the amount of deciduous trees that share the blanket of cedars and fir trees along these majestic peaks. You don’t really notice them until fall. Then the lush, varied shades of green turn golden, reddish hues. I love the downtown life and the energy that the city brings. Suburban life is so lustreless and down-right numbing and I am so glad to be away from it. I have come to realize how very busy I have been since I moved into the valley. My mind and soul has been possessed by so much undesirable energy and exhaustion. I have forgotten how to embrace solitude. I am off work for the summer now. But slowing down is a figment of my imagination. Or is it, that I must reconnect and open my soul and spirit to the healing that only nature and solitude can bring? Yes. However, I have miserably forgotten how to walk this path.

Every summer, I try to read “Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. It’s a delightfully easy read that speaks directly to a woman’s heart. Men too, can learn from the wisdom she presents. In it, she talks about the crazy obligations that we/she face(s) and how to find ways to embrace solace and simplicity in life. Her wisdom addresses the craziness of life and how to separate loneliness from the healing that only solitude can bring. Lonely? No. Do I seek solace? Absolutely. So what is solace?

“The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone—that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.” ~ Nikola Tesla

“Be a loner, that gives you time to wonder, to search for the truth. Have Holy curiosity. Make your life worth living.” ~ Albert Einstein

The sun is setting now, it is dusk. The evening birds awaken, and voices retire in their private abodes. I sit here alone on my deck, staring at the wondrous, natural example of strength, beauty, and aloneness that surrounds me. A spark inside me ignites.

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.