Sunday, June 6, 2010

Just Some Random Questions

Just a few random questions thrown out for discussion.

1. Recently, in perusing the cyber world on autism issues, I am seeing more and more adults on the spectrum themselves, that say that using the phrases high functioning and neurotypical, are not appropriate, and even, offensive. Hmm...The reason stated is that if you are considered high functioning you are NOT autistic but have some other condition. The argument for neurotypical is that NO ONE is neurotypical. We all have anomalies, differences, however small. No one has the perfect brain. So, my question: so then, what are we supposed to say? Are there some new words out there that I am missing?

2. Does anyone have the beat on the pulse of actual autism statistics? How many people are affected? I see numbers all over the map! What is the most accurate? When people ask me, I'm kinda taking a guess.

3. I am a part-time homeschooling parent (well really, we tend more towards the unschooling). Just looking for words of inspiration I suppose. How do you maintain your energy? How do you keep things fresh for everyone?

Okay, I'll admit, these questions are kinda big, but they've been circling in my brain.

Kim, who poses gritty questions right HERE on Gritty City Woman.


  1. Regarding Question 3b: My son doesn't actually like fresh things. He's routine-oriented, so changing things up is actually making him work pretty hard to cope. He's past the stage of melting if we take a different route home or move his Legos, but he still prefers sameness.

    Keeping things fresh in our house is more a matter of degrees. For example, since he now eats pizza (no sauce), I offered him a garlic crescent roll with a little cheese (Not too scary!) and he ate it.

    I've had to change my definition of "fresh" for my son. As for my daughter, who is not on the Spectrum, she likes to try a little bit of everything and keeps the rest of us fresh!

    Not exactly inspirational words, just a word redefined.

  2. 1. That's a tricky one. I hear more and more that many people display soft signs of autism. I think we're all idiosyncratic, and those of us who can mask our stims or rituals aren't considered anything but neurotypical. I have two kids - one who has autism and one who doesn't. My daughter has been labeled neurotypical but there's nothing typical about her. She is every bit as amazing and marvelous as her brother (who has autism). Go with what feel good and right to you. I never use the word 'autistic' because I refuse to let autism define my son or our family. He has autism - it doesn't have him. As for my daughter, I call her by her name.

    2. Who really knows? The last I heard it was 1%. All I know is (in my house) it's 50%.

    3. I trust in the Lord, my family, and my friends. I am honest about my feelings of happiness, anger, rage, fear, and anything else. I ask for help whenever I need it, and I don't let myself feel like a failure (as often as possible). There are days that no matter what - - I just want to run away. It's a roller coaster ride.

  3. Oh, I like these comments! Schaeffer's love the response to #1. Superb. Terri, your redefined word works for me!


    I would like some more please.

  4. Ditto, Schaeffer Fam. I don't like Autistic. I say "has Autism" or "with Autism". I also have friends with Cancer. I never call them "cancerous".

    1- If we were kids today, my husband would have an ADHD dx and I'd be considered OCD/anxiety, etc. Everyone's got something. It's all semantics, too.

    2- Who freaking knows? is it 1 in 110? 1 in 91? 1 in 70 boys? I'm so "in it" and I spend most of my time in therapy centers, so it seems to me that everyone has it! Until I'm out at a park and everyone's staring at my little flapper spinning. Then, it seems like we're the only ones.

    3- We aren't ready to homeschool, but I have a feeling.... My bird is 5. Next year she'll do kindergarten in an inclusion program at a private school where she did pre-k this year. No clue how or where she'll fit in after that. Homeschooling might be our only option because I can't imagine she can sit in a classroom. Of course, that's a year+ away and who the heck knows what anything will be like? I'm still looking for that crystal ball, but can't find it anywhere! grrr!

  5. April Wells, parentJune 6, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    Years ago, a group of us parents had a discussion about autism, and the majority of us (parents) had either OCD, anxiety, depression, ADD, ADHD, or a combination of all. Now I hear they are doing studies on the relationship between autism and family members with OCD. Don't know if that puts us on the spectrum or not.

    For myself, I can tell you, I have GAD, depression and OCD. Lucky us.

    Oh yeah, and you're right, autism does suck.

  6. It's true that nobody is normal, because everyone is unique. Or you can take a statistical view and define neurotypical as the 'middle' 80% or 60%. That would be the 'norm'. Ha Ha.
    Or I could say that neurotypical is a label for anyone who functions in their comfort zone in the society in which they live.

    Which leads to the idea that a person could be considered normal in one culture and abnormal in another. I'm sure they could.

    Our children are defined and judged by their ability to function in their predominant culture, which is school.

    Now I could say that schools today are skewed toward suiting a particular type of child, which would be a different child than the schools of 100 years ago.

    Meh, it all comes down to what your current society/culture values.

  7. Ah, found it. This is what I think of society values and my neurologically interesting children:

    A FABLE?

    One time the animals had a school. The curriculum consisted of running, climbing, flying and swimming, and all the animals took all the subjects.

    The duck was good in swimming, better than his instructor, and he made passing grades in flying, but was practically hopeless in running. He was made to stay after school and drop his swimming class in order to practice running. He kept this up until he was only average in swimming. But, average is acceptable, so nobody worried about that but the duck.

    The eagle was considered a problem pupil and was disciplined severely. He beat all the others to the top of the tree in the climbing class, but he had used his own way of getting there.

    The rabbit started out at the top of his class in running, but had a nervous breakdown and had to drop out of school on account of so much makeup work in swimming.

    The squirrel led the climbing class, but his flying teacher made him start his flying lessons from the ground instead of the top of the tree, and he developed charley horses from overexertion at the takeoff and began getting C's in climbing and D's in running.

    The practical prairie dogs apprenticed their offsprings to a badger when the school authorities refused to add digging to the curriculum.

    At the end of the year, an eel that could swim well, run, climb, and fly a little was made valedictorian.

    --printed in The Instructor, April. 1968

  8. Dani G.: I love your comments, especially the first sentence. Makes total sense. A note on homeschool: I always had a gut feeling we'd end there and we did. And we weren't prepared in the least. You know, you may want to, as you can, start doing a little research. We ended up pulling my kid out of school as an emergency (long awful story) and then we were like, "okay, now what?"

    Hi April Wells. That's a very interesting comment. Where did you see news on the study? Curious.

    I have the depression stuff going on. Better now.

    My aunt, a long time educator, was helping me tutor my son in reading. She's a wonderful teacher and loves kids. When she first started, she was giving him stuff that I didn't think he could possibly do. I whispered, "Remember, he's got autism!" She whispered back, "Oh honey, don't we all? Now let me do my thing."

    And sure enough, he was reading words at age 7 (he's 11 now) that I thought he'd never get.

    Goes to show....

  9. @ Dani
    You never know. Speedy has found some wonderful teachers - like the one in 3rd grade who once said to me "I spend my day walking round the room and perching on desks. I cannot stay still, so why would I expect a class of 8 year olds to do it?"
    And the 6th grade teacher who was an athletic outdoors type - I swear she had the class outdoors half the day. Maths lessons under the trees, star-jumping the answers, running the geometry.
    Those were the wonderful years. We won't mention the 2nd grade teacher whose greatest praise was for those who sat quietly and coloured inside the lines. Speedy eventually became so frustrated he threw a pair of scissors at her and got suspended. Wish I could've thrown something sharper.

  10. The animal story was spot on.

    And in our school experience, my son DID have good teachers. Certain years. Third grade was a disaster. The beginning of 4th grade ended in multiple suspensions, so we pulled out. Time to stop the bleeding. Did the homeschool thing last year and some this year (my kiddo wanted to be in school part-time).Perfect? NOPE. School is always hard. I think for many of us.

  11. I was so anti label for so long and then found to my shock that my virulence in this regard limited people's understanding of my eldest's differences. He has been given a dx of Aspergers syndrome with an alphabet soup of other things. At nearly 24 he has not minded sharing his dx; he feels it gives others a better handle on him. In fact I have had more work with HIM on how a dx doesn't give one a blank check to just act inappropriately and have society give you a pass, but that is likely a post for another day! (g)
    He was in public school till mid way through grade 6 when we could tell things just couldn't get better and were day by day getting a whole lot worse. Like other posters, he wanted sameness. He still wants sameness. He has a small ability to tolerate new things but it still takes lots of coaching and prep. I have 3 other kids who are not on the spectrum and they more than make up for the sameness that Chet needs!

  12. MLB: Thanks for your 2 cents! It is what it is! You know, the reason I posed this question is that I saw someone get their hand slapped (gently, but still slapped). My thoughts? "Oh PLEASE! There are bigger issues here." I think we are all thinking similarly.

    Lee: Thanks for your comment. Parents like us have intense radar equipment that just KNOW what is going on with our kids. New things, in a school setting, take a LOT of work at home, don't they? I've been to this movie. I wish I just didn't see it over and over. Your note about using one's condition as a "blank check" would be an interesting post. You should do it! I know for my kiddo, now that he is 11, is a BIG issue.


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