Before you go skimming past the story Rachel and her sister have shared with us today, I want to share with you an article that may make you pay more attention to this condition: Rise in Autism
Now I'll turn over the blog post to Rachel Firasek, author of one of today's giveaways! Look at that great cover! Take it away, Rachel.
I remember a two-year-old toddler running around my legs. Screaming or laughing, either way we loved him. I remember holding him tight and rocking him to sleep when no one else could. My nephew was a bright and healthy boy that we never saw enough.
My brother is military and his wife and sons are the world to him. I’ll never forget the day they both tried to convince me that something wasn’t quite “right” with that sweet child. As he aged, they would visit and he became more agitated. His moods more disturbed and his speech non-existent, they began to have him tested for behavioral disorders.
I remember thinking, “No. He just needs some discipline in his life”—not necessarily corporal just consistent—but each parent has their own way of dealing with things. It’s taken me many years of maturity to see more than my side of things.
The funny thing about learning and maturing is that although my brother, his wife, and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on parenting, I always feel that those boys know that they are loved when in my home. Regardless of when my nephew is having problems, which he doesn’t have too many “melt downs” when he’s at my home, I fight the urge to snatch him up and shake a finger in his face because I do realize that his parents are trained in dealing with his needs.
Now that he’s older and the effects of his disorder are more pronounced, I’m finding that it’s time for a new way of thinking. I’m sad that I didn’t offer more support to my brother and his wife when they needed it most, but I hope that they’ve always known that I’ve always loved my nephews.
It’s very difficult standing on the outside looking in. You don’t see the day-to-day hardships—the tantrums, the “melt-downs”, the sleep disorders, or any of the other problems that crop up with this disorder. It seems that each time they visit, the rules change. For every road they cross, a new broken-bridge pops up. I asked my sister-in-law to spare a few words about this disorder and to give us the other side of the story. The inside looking out and here is what she shared with me.
“When you have a child with autism, the entire family system is affected. The family dynamics change— in good ways and in bad. Things once so simple, like a quick trip to the grocery store for milk, can become a nightmare. Many times, families start to feel very isolated and alone. Friends aren't sure how to deal with things and aren't sure how to help and often stay away. Even going to family members for holidays can be difficult when well meaning, but ill-informed members show little compassion and understanding.
What the entire family needs is for family members and friends to educate themselves. Education is key because it takes away the fear that so many feel because they simply do not understand our kiddos. There are so many misconceptions out there about our kids! What looks like misbehavior, might be the only way our child can communicate, or they may be telling us that something in their environment is causing them discomfort. Our Kiddos really aren't that different from any other kids. They are loving and need the same things all kids need. What you can do is reach out to your friends and family members because what they need more than anything is support, unconditional love, and understanding.”
Inspired and challenged by my own son's diagnosis of autism, I return to school receiving my masters in psychology. In wanting to understand my son's behavior, I was lead to the field of Applied Behavior Analysis where I am currently fulfilling the requirements to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. I work one on one with a range of children on the autism spectrum providing in home ABA therapy.---Jenifer Stone
While digging through www.autism-society.org I found this fact that struck tears in my eyes for our race, “Fastest-growing developmental disability; 1,148% growth rate.” I don’t know about you, but when I see a number that size, I’m instantly struck with shock. It’s only a matter of time, and breeding, before someone close to you will have to suffer through this disorder or watch their child suffer. We have to get involved and as my sister-in-law stated, “Get Educated.” I’m very happy I’ve been given this opportunity to help with such a worthwhile cause and, hopefully, I’ve helped you understand both sides of the story.
Today's charity spotlight:
Autism Research Institute <~~~~Donation LINK
Romance Author Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy’s Paranormal Romance Love Tattoo
Author Rachel Firasek is giving away a signed print copy of Piper’s Fury.
Quilting Genius Helen from Cute and Cuddly Quilts is giving away a free small quilt
Fibromyalgia Winners: (After Blogger mess up, I'm still missing some posts. I'm going to delay the announcement for a few days and allow people to continue to post there.)