Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Long Road To Acceptance

There are people in my life who have never accepted that my son is a special needs child.  Four years.  We're talking about four years.

Recently I had a conversation with these people, and I mentioned that Jack was getting extra help with math.  Person Number 1 jumped right on this and didn't understand why Jack needed extra help in math.  No big deal in my mind, as he clearly never really got a good hold on the basic grade 1 concepts.  The basic opinion from Person Number 1 was that this is a pointless waste of time and resources because grade 2 math is just a review of grade 1 math anyway (it is not) and Jack doesn't need extra help.

Then I was asked if Jack has an I.E.P.  All my Spectrum Homegirls and Homeboys know that this means "Individual Education Plan."  In other words, a child with special needs can either have their curriculum modified to meet their needs, or accomodated.  In Jack's case, he mostly has his school program accomodated:   he gets a little extra time to complete tasks, he is given prompts to return his attention to the task at hand, and one of the smallest yet biggest things is that he has tasks reiterated.  He's a smart kid, but I learned a long time ago that if you want him to do something or figure something out, it simply has to be worded in a different way.

This year is the first time Jack has had a modification to his school program, and that is because he has a great teacher who saw that he was really struggling with basic math concepts.  Duh, I knew this.  It took ages last year to get him to understand 2+1, 3+1, 4+1, etc.  It was completely meaningless and abstract to him.  And really, really boring and tedious.  And probably highly irrelevant.  So, he's been getting extra help with math to grasp some of the most basic concepts that he never got in grade 1, so that his grade 2 math won't be such a mystery.  Well guess what, the kid understands what 2+2 equals now, among other things, and I was able to get him to understand that counting by 25's is just a pattern, so I think this is all great.

None of this is a big deal to me.  He's a healthy, charismatic  kid who is very intelligent, but his brain just finds a different path than mine.

However, when I told Person Number 1, that Jack does indeed have an I.E.P. in place. Person Number 1 was surprised and highly defensive.

"WHY does he have an IEP?"

"WHAT is his diagnosis?"

Me:  "Autism Spectrum Disorder."

"Is THIS the SCHOOL'S diagnosis???"

Me:  "No, a pediatrician's."

Person Number 2 seemed upset by this as well.

The basic gist of the conversation was that Person Number 1 had seen "real" kids with special needs, and Jack isn't one of THEM.  The underlying message is that Jack just needs a little more focus and discipline.

Do you know how tired of ignorance and arrogance I am?

These are people who neither live with, nor see him every day.  They see a boy who is mostly well behaved because he's out of the house.  They do not see his frustration at nearly everything, how badly he behaves every weekend since he was 2 1/2, how if he's really wound up and doesn't get his way, he digs his chin into our arms, punches, hits or tries to bite us, not to mention the verbal abuse.  They don't see that when he's watching his Wiggles dvd's, his sister is NEVER allowed to sing along or he will flip out.  If she won't stop trying to sing along, he will actually cry.

They don't see the BATTLE we have to get him to do a small homework assignment once a week; the panic, the tears, the screaming, the wailing, the pleading, the name-calling, the rage.  They don't see the little physical tics he gets when he's super nervous about something, like how he's flipped out lately about having to go for extra math help all the time, so yesterday he was flipping his head back slightly every few minutes.  Every day he asks me; "why do I always have to leave the room to do Math?" and everyday I explain to him, but he will ask me again later, guaranteed.

This is the child who during the first few weeks of school last year, was so nervous about the practice fire drills they do at the beginning of every school year that he nearly threw up one morning as we were waiting for the school bell to ring.   Or the time he threw up before the nursery school Halloween party, because it was different from the normal routine.  Or him lying in bed with dark circles under his eyes fretting about something.  Or me having conversations again and again that it's just not appropriate to copy what his friends say, and if he could only just learn to copy in his head nobody would get angry at him anymore.  Or how in nursery school I had to teach him that he could hug his family, but not hug his school friends, because that was NOT DONE in the preschool kid world.

Or this is the baby who I could never ever put down when he was awake, and he was furious at me until he finally learned to crawl and then he was happy for a while because he was on the road to complete independence.  The baby who SCREAMED when I breastfed him because maybe the milk wasn't letting down IMMEDIATELY, and he'd get himself in such a state that we had to put on this latin music cd I had and it would calm him down, and I'd be sitting there feeding him and shaking because he shattered my nerves.  Long days of not knowing what to do with a baby/toddler who never learned how to play with toys and was bored with EVERYTHING except Baby Einstein, and thank god for that, because it meant I could put a dvd on and he'd watch it twice in a row so I'd get nearly an hour's break.

It goes on:  the boy who never pointed at anything.  Fixated on his schedule and LOST IT if the schedule changed.  Was obsessed with the word Otoño (Spanish for "Autumn") and made us write pages and pages with this word in all different fonts and colours.  Became obsessed with the 20th Century Fox Intro to movies and made us all draw the logo with spotlights over and over and over again until we had stacks and stacks and stacks of 20th Century Fox art.  Never actually played with toys, but only made long lines with them, and if his baby sister crawled over and messed it up at all, it would be rage and devastation.  Hyper-sensitivity to smells and sounds.  Needs to go out in the hall while teachers pop a movie into the VCR or a dvd in, just in case the TV makes that static SPSHHHHHH sound that he has named 'the answer.'  He's terrified of  'the answer'.

So, is he a lunatic?  Absolutely not.  Is he intelligent?  Yes.  Do I joke around with him all the time?  Yes, he has an excellent sense of humour.  Does he look like all the other kids.  Yes, except I think he's handsomer ;)  Does anyone know he has a problem at first glance?  No, it usually takes a while to see that he is "different," and as he gets older and more reasonable, this becomes less and less apparent.  Does he still have social problems fitting in easily with other kids?  Absolutely.  Luckily it doesn't seem to bother him at this point.  Does he freak out all the time?  No.  We have lots of nice moments.  Do I have to quell his anxieties and fears A LOT, and intervene often in his tyrannical ways?  HELL YES.

So, I don't have a lot of patience, when people poo-poo the notion that Jack is a kid who needs extra help, or that whatever he has, it's not AUTISM, because he's not like those kids with AUTISM (ie; non-verbal, never making eye contact).  And yet, don't we know that the Spectrum is a puzzle in itself because it is so BROAD and kids on it are so varied in degrees of developmental/cognitive severity?  At any rate, this disrespects all that I have gone through.  I have done a lot of reading. I have figured a lot of things out on my own, because we have been on nothing but waiting lists from the start.  So I said f*ck it--I'll do it myself.

It doesn't just disrespect me, it disrespects JACK.  The idea that all he needs is a bit more discipline, and that he needs to smarten up a little is insulting to him and a slap in the face to all that he feels, and his struggles to reconcile a world filled with frustration and anxiety; a world in which he simply can't understand why everyone doesn't just know what's in his brain. Suck it up Jack, and be a man about things.

I felt compelled to write this because I know there are others out there who run into brick walls when in their daily struggles to gain acceptance and understanding.  A label is not the end of the world, or even the end of the road.  It does not mean a child is damaged and less.  It opens different doors if you let it.  Yes, it is hard to accept that your child is not like "everyone else's child," but that is a fallacy in itself.  Everyone has problems.  If we wanted, we could probably apply a label to every one of us.  Maybe I have some kind of post-traumatic stress disorder since my Mother died.  How about you?  Anxiety.  OCD.  Depression.  Anger.  What about all of us???

That frustration and anxiety I mentioned:  who would want to live that way, given a choice.  Isn't it our job to help a child who needs that strong hand to hold? In the end, people can say what they want.  I just keep on keepin' on.


  1. Hey, I hear you, loud and clear. So my comment on here is not an slight or a fix, or a " i know it all" because clearly I have no clue. BUT, I was wondering if you have researched 'excitotoxins' I wonder if they have a negative affect on his spectrum too?

    Not that, with all his eating specialties this would be easy to implement...I was just wondering if you had done some study on these and if you have seen any negative or positives effects from them related to Jack's reactions.

    Clearly after reading all of that, this is a highly sensitive, and multi-faceted issue.

    You are doing great. Your fuel filled post is an eye-opener to all of us ignorant people who need to hear what it is really like.

    Thanks for posting your rant!

  2. oh my gosh, karen, i've been in that same boat so many damn times! people who think that i'm just a naive woman who wants to create a problem in my child when what i really need is to be more compassionate or apply more discipline. they think that since i only have one child, i don't have any experience with children so i don't know what i'm dealing with. because i don't have younger siblings, i didn't babysit my way through jr high & high school, i wasn't a nanny & i didn't teach preschool. oh wait, yes, i did do all those things. i do know some things about children even if i could only have one of my own.
    you're right. it is insulting & demeaning when people insist that there's no autism in place here just because our kids often function well and talk really intelligently with adults. they don't live with our kids. they don't know what the hell they're talking about.
    brooke has never had an official diagnosis, but i rarely admit that to anyone. i'm sure she has it though and the fact that we don't have health ins & are too poor to take her to the doc for a diagnosis don't make it any less true. i'm a smart person who knows how to read & research and i spend every single f-ing day with her observing & adapting and accomodating her needs. needs that she wouldn't have if she weren't on the spectrum. it's a testament to my desire for knowledge and ways of helping that she's learned to cope and function so well in the world where most people see her.
    fuck em. they don't know what they're talking about.
    the end.

  3. karen and sherilin

    The scrutiny of other people, who, do not know what it is like, and being constantly being in the defensive about your child, how you raise your child must be a heavy burden.

    A mother knows when there is something amiss with their child.

    The only relation I can have is with Kayti and her brain injury. An injury that nobody can see.
    She looks normal and appears normal.

    She is not the same daughter I raised for 18 years.
    I can only relate, in the idea that trying to explain this to dr. at the begining....she is not acting normal, this is not normal, and them looking back minimizing her condition.

    Her behaviour, and stuggles do not show up on a CT scan, or MRI, there was no blood.

    BUT she is injured.

    So I can relate only a little, but I do feel the frustration, of trying to explain why kayti is the way she is.....even though she appears 'normal'.

  4. Our kiddos have a lot of similarities. Screaming fits when we'd sing or dance, breastfeeding HELL because it wasn't fast enough, etc, etc, etc.

    Mine is in first grade and is also struggling with understanding math concepts. Do you have any specific recommendations that helped yours with understanding??

    As for your frustration, I totally understand. It's the people that haven't had their precious child try to beat the crap out of them because they can't control their overwhelming emotions, that think they know so much, when in reality they know nothing.

    Hang in, sister, hang in.

  5. Oh Karen, that must be so frustrating to deal with people like that. You sound like such a wonderful mother! :)

  6. melissa, you've got it. it's the same thing. and even more clear for you since you knew the before version of your daughter and can obviously see the changes after.
    brooke has always had math issues too. she should have been doing 4the grade work this year, but she's still on 2nd grade math, so we're spending an exta year doing 3rd grade everything in hopes that she'll get caught up. it's impossible to move on to the harder stuff if they still don't get the beginning stuff. better to take extra time & have a solid foundation than rush through on the "normal" timetable and have none of it making sense, leading to constant frustration and angst.

  7. Melissa, thanks. I hadn't heard of 'excitotoxins' but now I gots me something new to google!

    You've made an interesting point about those "not in the know." Of course we're mostly going to be interested in what touches us directly, but I do wish more parents out there had more apathy when they see a child freaking out in a public place. We just don't know the background story.

  8. Sherilin, I love your comment so much I may just have to post it as a stand-alone.

    It hits the nail on the head, as you often put into words what I'm trying to express. Thank you for pinpointing the frustration that comes from this kind of closed-mindedness.

  9. Melissa, that's just it in a nutshell: who knows their child better than the mother??? I get so tired of anti-mother articles as well, and doctors who think moms are worry-wart sensationalists--too emotional to see the truth.

    I'm sorry about your daughter. I hope she's doing okay.

  10. Flannery, you're awesome.

    Thanks for your comment. First, what can I recommend with math? Colours, physical aids, toys, songs, whatever your child is interested in. I'm not trying to be too broad--seriously. In school they used "manipulatives" which meant they used physical, tangible objects to help count.

    I tried to use things Jack could relate to, ie; Jack, if Ringo left the Beatles, how many members would be left?

    Say for subtraction, ie; 10-6 , I would get Jack to on the side of the paper, focus on the first number and draw 10 vertical lines. Then have him scratch out 6 lines. Then count what's left.

    I think what really helps is repetition, repetition, repetition. However, I haven't yet figured out the hurdle of trying to get him to practice this stuff at home. He's a good one for putting things in their appropriate mental compartments. This means: "I'm at home, I don't have to do this crap. I'll play the game at school."

    Comforting to know you suffered the same little idiosyncracies.

  11. thanks Paula! I do try, I'll give me that, and that's saying a lot because for the rest of this domestic business I am HALF ASSED.

  12. That's what I think too, Sherilin, that it's good to take the time to make sure they 'get it.' The person I was talking to had so much disdain for this idea, like, what kind of stupid school would waste time making sure a kid new grade 1 math??? That was tantamount to getting extra help with the alphabet is what this person made it sound like.

  13. He's lucky to have a mom who understands.

    Have you ever read Elizabeth Moon novel, "The Speed of Dark" ?

  14. I had to inform those "in the know" two of my children were autistic. I have washed this T-shirt so many times, you cannot read it any more. (It used to say: If you knew it all, I would be quiet.)

    Since we already had a teenager who was autistic, I was ahead of the game in knowing where and how to get a diagnosis. Not that that would ever make the road easier to travel.

    My favorite was a school psychologist who had the chutzpah to tell me, "Well, he may not meet the 'educational' standard of autism." I promptly informed her being autistic was like being pregnant: You either are or you are not. Needless to say, when she met my non-verbal, constantly-stimming, ritualistic, toe-walking son...she gave me the silent treatment ever forward.

    If only all the do-gooders would follow her lead, a lot more would get accomplished.


  15. Well, it sucks that you had to deal with Person 1 and Person 2. I would like to say really mean things about them, but I don't know who they are, and maybe they're your FAMILY or something, so I will refrain from saying my true thoughts and just say that I hope they each get really nasty papercuts. That get infected.

    I'm surprised they didn't advise you to spank your son with a belt. Because, you know, autism CAN be beaten out of a child.

    You're doing great. Cooties to anyone who thinks otherwise.

  16. i had a well-intentioned dumbass try to pray the demons of autism out of my kid. guess who was handflapping & having a meltdown then? you guessed it, ME!
    feel free to post me. sometimes i'm afraid i'll drive away the people who come to read my page for giggles if i post too many tales of special needs girl. though, she's often the source of my giggles or even the reason i need them.
    also, i love that you have that toga pic in your room! we can totally be the hoot flapping besties running across the rocks with our cankles pounding and our luxurious locks flowing freely behind us like we hadn't a care in the world. or maybe we're running away from brooke & jack!

  17. Aww Karen I'm sitting over here reliving each aspect of my life and Alex's as I was reading. Our kids are so similar in some ways.

    And the thing is, no one knows what its like except us, the mom's--the one's who live with our kids 24/7. No one else sees the daily struggles and anxiety that goes on EVERY DAY, just to get out the door. God forbid one of the other kids go out the door first, I put a sock on the L foot first, there is too much grape jelly on the sandwich. Don't even get him started on the horror of strawberry jelly....

    And to have someone just assume because he looks "normal" he is normal, is a true test of your patience and a complete lack of respect for you and your son. I am sorry.

    This sounds a lot like my in-laws who still insist Autism is a myth and think Alex should come live with them for a few months so they can cure him. Over my dead body.

    Karen, I'm so with you on this and feel your pain for someone else's stupidity. Hugs lady, hugs.

  18. Hey Karen - great post! I love reading about your kids. As a mom, I feel your pain....

    I once had a parent send me an anonymous letter with advice to spank my daughter and she needed more discipline! Really??!! But I cried and cried about being judged.

    Why is there such a negative label attached to IEPs? I ask my student what it means if a kid has an IEP - they often say behaviour difficulties, learning difficulties (not the key negative words) - then say my son has a IEP for being gifted. He learns differently than others.

    Frustrating people would judge you for getting your son the services he needs and deserves!!

  19. Sorry you have to deal with people like that Karen. How frustrating for you and your son...

  20. i don't think i would invite 'thing one and thing two'over is hard enough to deal with kids all day when there are no special needs, God bless you karen for loving your kid for who he what is normal anyway?i think we should put the 'fun' back into 'disfunctional family'.

  21. Nice post Karen. I'm always a fan of RAW.

    BTW, just so happens that I have that book Laoch of Chicago mentioned. I haven't read it yet. I own it... You can read it first if you want. :)

    I'm always on your side.

    I don't need to deny any aspect about Jack. All of these "things" help make him the interesting little man he is. :)

    I like him JUST fine... with or without being on the spectrum.

    Your Sister

  22. Thank you Laoch. Apparently my sister is telling me she owns this book of which you speak. Interesting coincidence, no?

  23. Laoch, I just googled it. That is extremely interesting and very apt for my recent feelings. Thanks!

  24. Hi Red!
    I freaking love this: "If you knew it all, I would be quiet." That's wonderful. Let's all adopt that as our mantras everyone.

    What an inspiring comment you've left--thank you. So how are you doing in this crazy world of Autism?

  25. Grace my love, you go ahead and say whatever the fack you want about them :) It's just us friends in here.

    Yeah, I just keep doing what I'm doing, but because this issue keeps rearing its ugly head from time to time, I must, from time to time, become MAJORLY IRKED

  26. Sherilin, was that person my AUNT?? Ha ha ha...that's a whole other story I can't talk about on here. Bless her nutty, mostly harmless, born again soul...

    Anyhoo, how ridiculous. Brooke is wonderful. Look at how creative and interesting she is! Who else wore a tail for as long as she did, or makes her own videos????

    You're right about the running away--on all counts. Cankles away!

  27. Lizbeth, what you've described is the reason why Jack has been frightened off from pb&j sandwiches perhaps FOREVER. Once he hit a blob of actual fruit in the strawberry jam and well...forget about it.

    Yeah, I tell my hub all the time that Lizbeth and I live parallel lives :)

    You've hit it on the nose, by the way, about who it sounds like in your life.

    Just sayin...

  28. Holy crap Michelle! Someone actually sent you an anonymous letter?!? first of all, ANNOYING. Second, EFF OFF. Third, nothing like hiding behind anonymity to be a shit head.

    That's terrible.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with Jack's IEP. Sometimes I think it gives him more perks than other kids. I mean, he gets to do LESS math problems than the other kids. What's wrong with THAT???

  29. Yeah, I'm sorry I have to deal with people like that too, Jessica. Thanks for your support, woman!

  30. Thank you Paula H. You're so sweet. And you are so right it is freaking hard enough raising any kids!


  31. Aim, that's so funny that you have that book Laoch mentioned! Why do you have that book??? I don't remember you mentioning it...or maybe you did.

    Hey, can you come over and take my doritos off my hands. They're making me nutty.

    Anyhoo, I know you're on my side and that's just another reason why I wuv you. I always say AT LEAST I HAVE MY SISTER.

  32. Some comments on here reminded me of friends of ours where the wife one time told us that early in the marriage their husband was in an accident and though physically he was the same, with a lot of the same traits, his personality had shifted, so that effectively he had kind of become a different person. Obviously hard on the marriage.

    Karen, it's too bad you had to be hurt by those comments - the hurt is obvious from the tone of the rant. That sucks and I wish it could be erased.

    Tools are a good thing - use whatever you can find. If most of the kids are given a slotted screwdriver by the teacher, but Jack needs a Philips to get the screw in, it is always worth the time and energy to get the right tool. Sorry, I didn't know how else to say it without all the 'hangups' people have.

    Personally, I am 'label paranoid', meaning I fear that getting any label means getting slotted, pigeonholed, whatever, simply adding to the biases and lenses people use to pre-judge. No matter how much logic there is in using a label to 'open doors' as you say, I always fear the dark side of it.

    Also I have a therapist/ pyschologist cousin who told me that labels can have an opposite effect as intended, where people actually feel helpless, because they think they cannot do anything about their condition, so why bother to try.

    So, I am encouraged by the hope you've given with your tenacity, a teacher with the right tools at the right time, and a cool kid who uses some VERY cool gifts and talents (e.g. his artwork) while pushes through challenges with some encouragement.

  33. Wow. This hit close to home today. It made me all teary and I've had to walk away a few times before I could comment.

    I want a shirt that says "Walk a mile in my shoes". My son isn't on the spectrum, he has ADHD. We just added the H a month ago when we received his assessment results and also determined he has a few learning disabilities. All those years hearing that he's stubborn, doesn't want to work, immature... damn it.

    I haven't told the people closest to me yet. Because I know that like person 1 and person 2, I'm going to have to defend it, argue it and stand up for him. As his mom, it's my job to be his loudest advocate. And I've got to be okay with it before I can do that. So for now the school knows, medical folks know and with everyone else I stay quiet.

  34. I fear these 2 persons are closely related - I had those too. It is too sad when people have no compassion, nothing but their own ego needs. I'm glad you have so many friends.

    Jack is a terrific artist in the making, especially his black and white drawings. Age 7! And how he captures the community in making music together - just very moving and promising.

  35. Thanks Matt, you've brought up some very interesting things to ponder as well.

    Okay, so labels: yes, I think about this a lot. I have not told Jack yet that he has any kind of a label, nor will I until such a time arises that he can understand and not fear just what the hell it means, but maybe only use it as a "so THAT'S why I think and feel this way" kind of device. I don't want him to think he's any less than anyone else or any different.

    Does this mean I too hate the label? I don't think so. I'm approaching this now as "leave the worrying to me".

    I agree that it could pigeon-hole someone, but I think when teachers get to know Jack they just freak out over his art and think it's great.

  36. Lisa, don't feel alone in this, or that you're a bad person for needing to reach "acceptance" first. The thing is, I for one definitely, and probably every other Mom with a kid who's ever received any kind of "diagnosis" mourns. And grieves. And feels like the child once known is gone. And envies how the other kids in the class "are." And thinks "why me".

    That's why it's a long, hard road: because acceptance has to begin right at BASE CAMP 1 first of all.

    So, I was heartbroken and then I thought fuck that: the world keeps moving. Who is going to look out for my child? I am. And then I started reading whatever I could find.

    Okay, because I'm a closet freak on nutrition, what kind of eater is he? Does he take a multivitamin and an omega 3 supplement and some probiotics? Seriously: I think sometimes kids have worse problems because their bodies are not digesting and processing enough of what they need, and then the brain starves. No, I'm not judging your cooking. These three things are good for any kid. I'm a huge fan of Omega though. Huge.

    You can email me any time you know. My email's on my profile page.

    Oh, and who cares if you do or don't tell anyone just yet? It doesn't have to be broadcast to anyone and everyone if you don't want it to be, right?

    Well, now you can say HA to everyone who said those stupid things about him. But don't fault yourself. We mask our worries sometimes with things we don't necessarily want to say.

  37. Thanks Jeanne! I'm all excited that you checked out his art. I think it's awesome, of course, even without my motherly bias.

    It's disheartening the way some people are, but never surprising really, and as to proximity of relation, you would be correct.

  38. Lisa, google Dr Abram Hoffer. He's deceased now, but he was a Canadian doctor who advocated vitamin therapy over drugs for child behavioural and developmental illnesses, as well as schizophrenia. I find him fascinating.

  39. I haven't been commenting for a while, but this, this made me cry. How well said. I have an Uncle, 44, who if he'd just had some of what you have as his mother would maybe have had a different life. I think of all the times people took advantage of him, called him 'dummy' (no shit!) all because he "looked normal".But inside, his brain worked differently. His emotions were out of control due to sensitivity. And at that time, he didn't have "traditional" autism. Therefore, they missed everything and he fell through the cracks. Karen, you are on it. He's a damn lucky boy. Now if I could just turn back time for my Brad... Much love.

  40. I'm glad he has a great teacher (and a great mother). Hey, if you're okay with it--there's probably an app for beginning math skills. Math Tutor Lite is free.

  41. I'm glad that you got that out.
    We have our own struggles with John and I'm not quite sure that you've been with me long enough to know that. It hasn't been easy and I blame him for me losing my hair so early in life. ha!
    But still, like you, I love my boy to pieces.
    Take care.
    Great post!

  42. I am sure this post is only a brush stroke in a huge painting.
    I am very sad that person one and person two are not supportive.

  43. Oh man. That's rough, but you have the right attitude about it all - you've gotta keep truckin'!

    I volunteered in a program that dealt with special needs children, and primarily autistic kids. Autism has many faces. I think people just don't get that. I certainly didn't until I spent time with those kids.

    Ignorance is a hard thing to deal with.

  44. UGH!!! If Person 1 and 2 are friends I say dump them! I hate to be so cold about it but really these days who needs Judgy McJudgerson and Miss Righty Right Pants telling you about your OWN child!
    Seriously, there is nothing more frustrating then other people who think they know better! Not to mention, a true friend would never jump to such conclusions and make you have to defend yourself!
    I'm so sorry you have to deal with this! Alas, these stupid folks are everywhere.

  45. Thanks so much for your comment, Leanne. Your story of your uncle meant a lot to me. I think that, in a nutshell, is why some days I don't mind that Jack has this "label," even though I wish he did not--after all, I am only human. I would never ever want anyone to perceive Jack as troublesome, "bad," stupid, annoying or a weirdo. All we can do is our best. Anyway, who doesn't look back on their childhood without a good measure of regret and injustice?

  46. thanks dbs--I'd better write that down or I'm sure to forget!

  47. Hey Mark, thanks. I do know vaguely of your struggles with Johnny, but not in any detail because you've just kinda mentioned it a few times. Maybe we need some coffee talk!

  48. Steph, it's not a bad thing. It makes me question myself as well, which I appreciate since I would never want to fall into the realm of being too self-righteous or think I have all the answers.

    Thought-provoking is good. I regret anger always, but like working through anger to get to something better.

  49. Great point Vesta, and another point I was trying to address: so many facets to the spectrum. That's why it's frustrating and boggling.

  50. Tonya, like I said to Steph, I can actually look at these things in a positive light at times (shocking for me I s'pose), because I can re-evaluated myself. What am I doing wrong? Could I have had a better conversation? Could I have ended the conversation? Etc, etc.

  51. Apologies for being so punctual. Doing all I can. Homeschool for the two little ones has made oodles of difference. While I see the socialization bit of going "to" school, I see the learning bit of NOT going "to" school.

    Maybe, just maybe, staying home with me is how my non-verbal 6yo learned to count, out loud, in words we understand, to twenty. Speaks volumes to the agency who has yet to place us with a qualified speech path. But what would I know, eh?

    Tehe. Mantra. I love it. Promise to figure out how to make blogger work for me (Wordpress girl myself). Stop by any time you feel like a little escape. May even have a trick or two up my sleeve you can use.

    Hang in there. Remember, you are the professional...not those over-educated, underinformed, mal-adjusted know-(everything but)-it-alls. Red.


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