Monday, September 17, 2007

Oprah
Just a quick post here... still feel cruddy... so I'm gonna post this, plug the kids into a movie (I know it's bad... but I'm really not in the mood for playdoh and finger paint), and then curl up in a ball and rest!
Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 18th Oprah is having a show on autism. The show will probably be a little on the dramatic side (Oprah usually is, in my opinion), but hopefully there will be some good information on the show. If you get a chance to watch, I hope you will. Maybe you're thinking that you don't have a child with autism or you don't know anyone with autism. Well, chances are that could change. You see, 1 out of every 166 (or 150 depending on the numbers you read) kids in the USA is autistic. And the numbers are climbing.
I think one of the hardest things (notice I didn't say the hardest) about having a child with autism is the lack of understanding in others. Look at this face:
There is no physical way of telling that Little Bug has autism. It's that way with most autistic kids. They look "normal" (whatever THAT means). So, when he goes into sensory overload (his senses are bombarded by too many things at once, and he can't process all the information) in the store and has a meltdown people think he's a brat. They stare and you can see it in their faces "Why can't you control your child?".
I found this on one of the websites I was looking at today... thought it was a good description of what it might be like to have sensory issues...
Picture yourself visiting a strange country, where the rules for “normal” behavior are all different from what’s acceptable back home, but nobody will explain to you exactly how or why.
The people around you routinely break into laughter, or collapse in sobs, for no reason you can grasp. Except for these outbursts, their faces are as impassive as masks. When someone approaches you, you can never predict whether they’re about to deliver an angry lecture or give you a hug.
And just when you think you’ve started to detect some pattern to this ongoing madness, the landscape suddenly erupts into bright, flashing lights or high-pitched sounds that pierce your nervous system like a dentist’s drill—so thoroughly breaking your concentration that you have to begin solving the mystery again from scratch.
This “strange country” is our everyday world, as it appears to someone with the developmental disorder known as autism.
(I believe this description was written by a woman with autism named Temple Grandin)
So, if you are unfamiliar with autism, I encourage you to watch the show or check out any of the links above.
Whew! Who knew that getting on and off my soapbox would be so tiring? I'm off to medicate and sleep as much as the kids will let me...

9 comments:

Yvonne said...

Beautifully written, Melissa. I know exactly how you feel about the lack of understanding in others being the hardest. Loved that quote from Temple Grandin. I've read stuff she has written before.

I will be sure and watch Oprah tomorrow. Thank you, and I sure hope you feel better soon.

Holly said...

I know where you're coming from. "Sensory Overload" is a common phrase at our house. My youngest has SPD and it's so hard when people don't understand and don't try to understand.

I hope you feel better. And don't feel bad for putting the kids in front of a movie! On days like this, it's definitely ok!

Dedee said...

Sometimes movies are a must.

Thanks for the info. I'll watch if I can. I'm not a big Oprah fan, but this I might watch.

Kimberly said...

I know a frightening number of families with autistic children. I feel the need to learn more about it, thanks for the heads up.

And feel better!

Summer said...

I know what you mean about the lack of understanding in stranger's faces when the child throws a tantrum.
I don't know if Obi-Wan has autism or not (it has been suggested he does) but I know there is something going on.
We are playing the waiting game right now on getting him in to see a nueropsychologist (at the suggestion of our speech therapist).
I hate not knowing what's going on with my little boy.

Summer said...

I know what you mean about the lack of understanding in stranger's faces when the child throws a tantrum.
I don't know if Obi-Wan has autism or not (it has been suggested he does) but I know there is something going on.
We are playing the waiting game right now on getting him in to see a nueropsychologist (at the suggestion of our speech therapist).
I hate not knowing what's going on with my little boy.

diana said...

that description of what it's like to be autistic is very eye-opening. i've worked, to a small degree, with autistic kids. i'll be honest; it's hard work. but there's also reward and a special satisfaction of knowing a kid in a way that most people will never know. they want to look beyond that "weird" kid to the easy and "normal" ones. it's their loss.

i'll be watching oprah. i've seen other specials on the subject and they've been very informative. i'd like to know why experts think autism is on the rise. those numbers are scary.

hope you feel better real soon.

Nancy Face said...

I know of two little boys with autism, and I appreciate the information you've shared. I'll plan on watching Oprah tomorrow to learn some more. Feel better soon!

Little Bug has such a cute face!

so grateful to be Mormon! said...

hi melissa: wow, that description was good. sorry you have to go through this, mostly sorry for how outsiders looking in make you sometimes feel.

blessings to you and your fam,
kathleen

ps. hope you feel better than snotty tomorrow.