Behind starburst eyes

#HAWMC Day 7: Why I write about Autism

#HAWMC Day 7: Why I write about Autism. Tell us why you write. How long have you been writing? What impact has it made on your life? Write for 15-20 minutes without stopping.


I write because if more people understand Autism than there will be less times that parents are ostracised and called out for their supposed flaws as parents. (Such as this)

I want to help show the parents of children that have just been diagnosed the beauty and wonder of parenting that still awaits them! I really am “Happy in Holland” and I don’t wish for different children. Instead I get my butt researching and thinking and planning on how to best help them to have a life they define as happy.  I’m going to repeat that, because I think that right there is a huge issue. I want them to have a life they define as happy. Nowhere do I say I want them to create the life I deem as happy, because it’s not about me, it’s about them. Just as my life isn’t about what my parents deem as a happy life, it’s about what my spirit says is personally fulfilling, and my children deserve the same right to choose their own happiness, as does every other person on this planet!

I write to help other parents see that they don’t need to feel helpless in their childrearing of Autistic kids; they can research and plan and create methods and ways to enrich their children’s lives and help them to access their fullest potential all without demeaning, or shaming them or their natural neuro-pathways. Such as ensuring their cortisol levels are decreased through regular physical activities so they have less overloading and meltdowns. Or making behavioural therapy plans while their waiting for ABA, or creating a sensory room, or finding ways such as massage or the creation of “nests” to make going to sleep easier for them.

I write about my sons’ health, about their “condition” because I want the world to understand the path they walk in this life. I want to share the beauty and wonder they bring to me, and to so many people around them. I want for others to see that yeah they’re different, but it’s beautiful and special and amazing and so incredible. I write about Autism because too many negative stereotypes exist and I can’t change them without shining a light on what Autism really is. What Autism really means and why neurodiversity desperately needs to be accepted by our society.

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9 Years Ago

9 years ago today my entire world changed as my eldest son drew his first breath.

To try and capture the awe I have felt all these years watching him grow, watching the changes in him is as difficult as capturing the sun’s warmth in words. It alters everything, gives new life and vision to the world and so did my son’s birth for me.

I changed the day he was born, in ways that I am still learning, and realizing. He painted flames across my belly, they look like they encircle my belly button and rise up to my heart. Each one is a mark from the precious moments I carried his body within my own, safe from the world, wrapped within my body, cradled by my energy, and lulled by my heart that from then on would beat because of him. He (and his siblings) are my world.

His birth was beautiful, I was surrounded by love, peace and support from the womenfolk closest to my heart. My mother held her first grandchild moments after he was born. My best friend since childhood was there with me throughout the entire thing, just as we’d been together through many major changes in our lives. A dear friend of my mother and I sang songs of welcome to my son and you could physically feel her joy emanating from her very being. As she held him I finally rested after 2 days of labor, wrapped in my own mother’s arms as she offered her own strength to me. A gift I have called upon many a times since that day to help guide me through the waters of motherhood.

Already I see the foreshadowings of the man he’ll be, it whispers from the crook of his smile sometimes, it glints in his eyes as he watches over his brother playing in the fading golden light of early evening, it floats upon his shoulders as stands up for what his heart and mind say are the right choices. He is a good boy, and he’s on this way to becoming a good man. The last 9 years have passed ever so fast, and I know the next 9 will as well. So I shall do my best to stay firmly planted within each moment with him, to relish in the now as the now is so precious in part due to it’s very fleeting nature.

Happy Birthday C, you’re my dude, always and forever    


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Workshop: Informing The Village

Informing the VillageMy workshop “Informing the Village: A How To Guide On Informing Others About Your Child’s Autism” is in 10 days! I can’t wait to help other parents learn various ways to talk about their child’s diagnosis, and what it means specifically for their child with the different people in their child’s life. I’m really excited about it. I’ve gotten all of the handouts and samples ready to go!

It’s being hosted by Lindsay Asperger Autism Support and is being held at the Loblaw’s Community Room (located upstairs) at 400 Kent Street Lindsay Ontario.

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Autism is NOT a death sentence

Just over a month ago C and I made cookies for his home school group at the YMCA to help promote Autism Acceptance. With how positive of a reaction we received from them I asked one of the people who helps to coordinate the Orientation for Parents of Children Recently Diagnosed with Autism at Grandview Children’s Center if they would be interested in having some at their next orientation. She spoke with the her colleagues and they said yes. So today I went and got more business cards for the packages I’ll be dropping off Saturday morning. I’m happy that they said yes to them as I feel they do have a positive message to them. So often I hear of parents being absolutely desolate about their child’s diagnosis, and I think our perception as a society needs to change about that.

Last year on C’s 8th birthday his father and I were not with him. The night before, I called everyone that was supposed to come and told them that we had to post-pone his birthday party. Why? He’d done NOTHING wrong. We had to cancel his party and leave him with his Nana because we had a funeral to attend. A close friend’s 23 month old daughter had passed away. Now that was something to be absolutely desolate about. Her’s is a place that will forever be empty at their table, the memories of that beautiful precious little girl are what her parents get to hold instead of her. That is a truly devastating loss. One that those two parents must bear.

But to perceive a diagnosis of Autism as the same level of tragedy as the loss those parents deal with every single day is in my mind an insult to both the little girl who will never have a second birthday, as well as to the child diagnosed! It is NOT a tragedy that one’s child has been diagnosed with Autism, it is not something they will die from. Will there be some areas of their lives that are more challenging because of how their neuro-pathways work? Yes. But that’s what parents are for, to help their children to thrive to the best of the child’s abilities. Now I understand that some people would argue that a child classified as “Classic Autism” or as “Low-Functioning” does not have the same level of abilities to function as a child that is classified as “High-Functioning” I’m not arguing levels of abilities, but I am arguing that Autism is not a death sentence and should not be approached as one.  Yes there will be times that are hard for both parent and child. There will be times when as a parent you might not be sure how best to help your child. There will be times when they are judged negatively by others, when your parenting choices will be called into question by others, but all of those statements are true for parenting of any child!!!

To mourn the loss of the child you thought you had, the one that won’t _______ because they have Autism is unfair to your child. They are still the same child as they were prior to a diagnosis. They still have feelings, thoughts, dreams, wishes, fears, hopes just like any other child. Will they need different kinds of help or parenting than you originally thought you’d have to provide when you learnt you were going to become a parent, perhaps yes. But our job as parents is NOT to dictate what they need, but to observe them and their ways of communication to understand what each unique child needs us to provide them with and help them with.

These children can and do go on to lead lives that are happy and fulfilling for them, perhaps it’s not your definition of happiness and that’s okay because it’s not your life, it’s theirs. As long as your child is alive, and happy what on earth do you have to mourn???


Happy in Holland ;-)



I read the poem “Welcome to Holland” by Emily Perl Kingsley again this evening and no matter how often I’ve read it, I can’t get over being offended by the overall tone and especially this part of it:

“And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.”

It offends me because the entire tone of it (to me at least) is that having a special needs child is a tragedy. Something to mourn and cry about, NOT because your worried about how the rest of the world will treat your child, NOT because your sad for your child’s sake at certain things they may not be able to do and you worry that they will hurt emotionally because of not being able to do whatever it is that they cannot.

If the tone had been more about the strength needed to help your child as they go through countless trials and tribulations I would not be upset at all, as I do understand that neuro-typical or special needs, it rips at one’s heart worse than a rusty knife to watch your child hurt.

No instead the tone I get is “Poor me, I wanted a trophy to show off, to brag about and I am too close-minded and or shallow to see just how lucky I am to have been blessed with the momentous honor of guiding this individual into adulthood and watching as I help them to flourish as the person they were meant to become.”

I understand that the poem does try to say that eventually you will see that Holland has lovely things of it’s own and that it’s not all bad that your there while everyone else is in Italy:

“But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.”

I feel that if you honestly believed that it was simply just a different place than you would not carry around a significant loss and it’s accompanying pain for the rest of your life as the poem states.

For the last almost 8 years (or 6 if your counting from when I first realized he wasn’t neuro-typical) have I grieved and said “Yes that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.” Has the pain of that been with me all of these years because I’ve suffered a significant loss because parenting C is “different from parenting a child without special needs”? The answer is emphatically “NO!”

Neither of my boys is a doll for me to manipulate into being “just so” and then parade around bragging about and acting as if their achievements were all because of me, or even worse my own through some unhealthy by-proxy mindset. I accept that a lot of what a child is like is based on their environment which of course includes my influence quite heavily at this stage of their lives. However, I also acknowledge that they are their own unique individuals and that no matter what they will chose to be who they are meant to be in the end.

They are amazing incredible human beings and I cherish every moment with them. I have not, do not, and will not feel as if I’ve lost a dream just because they are not a carbon copy of some societal ideal of who they should be. No child should have to deal with their own parents secretly (or Gods forbid not secretly) mourning at the loss of some supposed perfect ideal of who they should be. For neuro-typical or not each person is unique and should be honored for the person they are, and what they contribute to the world by being themselves.

So no, I do not carry around a huge disappointment in my heart, instead I rejoice in allowing all of my children to be exactly who they are. I understand that happy isn’t found in some cookie cutter recipe of life. Being married with 2.5 kids, a 9-5 job, and a mortgage is not the secret list one must go by to obtain happiness. There are actually a myriad of ways, paths, and choices that can contribute to a happy, personally satisfying life, and each person’s version of a “happy, personally satisfying life” is anywhere from slightly different to vastly different from someone else’s. But that in part is what is so fantastic about our current day and age. We CAN choose different lifestyles! We can choose to have children biologically, through adoption, surrogacy, fostering, or not at all. We can choose to work in countless types of jobs or careers, in numerous fields in all different types of environments with different levels of responsibilities. We can choose how much or how little “formal education” we attend. We can live in a house with a mortgage, or an apartment, a condo, an RV, a houseboat, or out of a tent as we back back across a country. And those are just some of the choices we get to chose nowadays.

So yes, unequivocally yes I would have had each of my children exactly as they are had I of known ahead of time how my life with them was going to play out. I don’t regret having them, and I don’t mourn the fact that they are not neurotypical. I know they are capable of having happy, personally satisfying lives and that is ALL any parent should want for their children no matter what their personal version of “happy” looks like.

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