I will be typing my blog in different shades of blue to represent that Autism is truly a Spectrum disorder, covering a wide range of severity.
Today I honor my amazing two sons, Justin and Ryan Krejcha and all children, teenagers and adults who are on the Autism Spectrum, either diagnosed, awaiting diagnosis or still undiagnosed. I pray for you, your family and friends. I pray for self-acceptance and love. I pray for your health issues to be addressed. I pray for the Autism Community as a whole to work together and not against each other.
Because Autism impacts each life differently and there are so many different kind of co-morbidities that appear along with autism, it is often very difficult to explain the condition to someone who does not understand autism but wants to be supportive and help.
Today, I also advocate for myself, an adult woman with Asperger's Syndrome, a high functioning form of Autism. When I grew up, there was not a common name for this lifelong condition and it was not until 2009, when I was attending the Autism Society of America Annual Conference in St. Charles, IL that I came to the realization and more importantly, the acceptance that not only am I the parent of two boys on the spectrum, but I am on the Autism Spectrum myself.
Autism presents differently in men and boys than it does in women and girls and as such, a lot of women in this world are either undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or diagnosed with a possible comorbidity such as Obsessive Compusive Disorder, Social Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar Disorder or even an eating disorder.
I blogged yesterday that in honor of April being Autism Awareness month, I was going to create a new blog post at http://www.aspierations.blogspot.com/ for every day in April 2010. I intend to keep that promise.
Here are pictures of my two boys! On the top is Justin with Asperger's Syndrome who is now 10 1/2. On the bottom is Ryan with an Autism Spectrum diagnosis who is now 3 and will be 4 in late May.
Our boys look alike at this age but their autism presents very differently.
These are just TWO of the many faces of Autism
This month I will be writing about the following topics at the Aspierations blog and how they relate or possibly can relate to Autism / Asperger's. Please let me say in advance that I am not a doctor. I will be referring to various websites and I will be sharing my own experiences as both a parent and adult with autism.
** The many faces of Autism - Truly A Spectrum Disorder with Many Levels of Severity -- All need to be accepted, loved and understood!
** Teaching Self-Acceptance, Self-Reliance and Empowerment
** The cycles of Grief after the Diagnosis -- These continue throughout life
** Sensory Integration Disorder / Sensory Processing Issues - Many children and adults with autism have sensory issues. It could be sensitivity to light, taste, sound or touch. It could be having trouble recognizing where one's body is in relation to space and time.
In our family, ALL OF THE ABOVE come into play but it is different with all 3 of us on the spectrum. Often our needs are conflicting (i.e. one NEEDS sound and another NEEDS quiet; one NEEDS spinning and another feels nausea just watching)
** IEPS / School - Individualized Education Plan and how you can be an advocate for your children
** Safety - What may seem like common sense is not often perceived the same by an autistic child. Our youngest son will be still and calm one moment and then bolt off with bullet speed the next.
** Coming of Age / The Birds & The Bees
** Bullying / Transitions
** Depression / Anxiety / Mood Swings
** Food Issues / Nutrition - Taste, Texture, Smell, Quality, Quantity
** PICA - eating non-food objects (Our youngest son does this and it is a source of daily challenge as we try and keep him safe and nutritionally balanced)
** Forming Friendship and Bonds as a child and an adult
** Advocacy -- Becoming an advocate for yourself and your child
** Adult Relationships - Dating / Marriage
** Women and Autism -- There are some amazing advocacy groups on the web and a lot of intelligent, creative female bloggers on the Autism Spectrum that I look forward to sharing with you.
** Whatever else I can think of that I would like to add...
Please feel free to share my blog with friends, family members, people on the spectrum, educators, politicians, media, social marketing buzz gurus.. anyone who you think might be gain some value by reading the writings of a Mom on the spectrum with two boys on the spectrum.
I invite you to check out the blog of my loving and supportive neurotypical (but not without quirks) husband, John Krejcha who writes the Life And Times of John Krejcha. He is an amazing advocate for Dads of children on the spectrum and regularly attends a support group in Portland, Oregon for Spouses / Parents of those with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome.
I also invite you to Ask An Aspie or Ask an Aspie's Husband! Feel free in the comments section to ask us any questions you like, either about my own life with Asperger's Syndrome or parenting 2 boys on the spectrum and we will do our best (if it's not TOO embarrassing) to answer you on this blog this month.
Happy World Autism Awareness Day! May the month of April 2010 be an outstanding one for raising Awareness and Acceptance for the Cause!
I'd love to hear your comments and questions! Please let me know how you found this blog and let me know what you think! Feel free to pass it along!
Aspierations - Come As You Are, Let Your Light Shine