Different – and normal – are in the eye of the beholder

What does it mean to be normal? What does it mean to be different? These are big questions in any discussion about autism or other disabilities. The term “disabilities” itself begs this question, since a disability is defined based on “normal”. I like what Kristin has to say on the matter (the emphasis is hers): […]

Take time to listen, and to learn their language

Open and clear communications is one of the most important things between parents and their kids, and a lot of parents spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to do this. Read just about any book on how to improve your communications skills and you will find that one of the most […]

Autistic kids – and their parents – deserve to have fun, too

Many parents of children diagnosed as autistic spend a large majority – sometimes all – of their “free” time trying to make their child “more normal” or “less autistic”, and not enough time on letting their child just be a kid. This is also true – maybe more so – at school, where the focus […]

Is there autism in heaven?

If there is indeed a heaven, and your autistic child goes there when he dies, will he still be autistic? Over the years I’ve come to believe that asking someone this question about autism in heaven is one of the best ways to understand how they view autism. Even better than asking them whether they […]

Enjoying the scenery on your autism detour

If parenting is indeed a journey (as I wrote yesterday), parenting an autistic child is a detour from the path that a parent’s journey normally takes. Several years ago I heard the following (I wish I could remember the source): A truly happy person enjoys the scenery on a detour. Would I have chosen this […]

Parenting is a journey, not a destination

Sometimes our kids surprise us. We try and try and try to get them to do something, understand something, say something. They go for a long time, apparently ignoring (avoiding?) all of our best attempts. Then, all of a sudden, when we aren’t really looking (or when we’ve kind of given up), they do it, […]

Perseveration, or perseverance? Obsession, or passion?

The distinction between “perseverate” and “persevere” is one that I have often wondered about. What I’ve come up with, in a nutshell, is this: perseverate is bad, keeping at something for no real purpose persevere is good, keeping at something in pursuit of a meaningful goal. Another way to look at it is that someone […]

Take the time to learn from your kids

I have had a lot of teachers throughout my life. Some taught me because they were paid to, some because they were supposed to, and some because they wanted to. Many of the best teachers in my life, though, had no idea that they were teaching me. (Or, perhaps more accurately, that I was learning […]

Make up your own mind about autism

Every now and then when I’m out with friends, or introducing myself to someone new, the topic of conversation winds its way around to autism. Sometimes the person knows someone who has an autistic child/niece/nephew/etc, or maybe they have an autistic child themselves. Since I am the parent of an autistic son they ask me […]

Autism Awareness Month 2011

Every year when April – otherwise known as Autism Awareness Month – rolls around, I ask myself, “Awareness? Awareness of what exactly?” In the past I have often forgotten my own advice and tried to find a “one-size-fits-all” answer to the question. (My advice: there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all for anything.) Some years […]