meeting at the school today…

_meeting1

Yeah, not so sure about this day.. The meeting was incredibly awkward, I felt that the suspension was as much meant as a “wake-up call” for me as for Nemo. Which might be necessary for some parents, but I am kinda ‘all over it’ already, at least as much as I personally can be (because, you know : life). In brief, I felt judged and the whole ‘formalisation’ (reports, letters, behaviour contract) made me feel like it has more effect on administrative, and possible legal, follow-up (in case of what ?) than actually being efficient steps towards handling the situation (ie managing anxiety and anger).
Having had some really sad news the night before (re: life..), I really couldn’t say much at all.
But I told Nemo that I loved him, no matter what.

i’ll have to get back to this blog..

_Burnout

Ah.. it’s really not only parenting (although we are at the moment dealing with another suspension from school…). I haven’t been overly well lately (in.my.head. mostly) and although I have some comix prepared, didn’t really feel like posting. Or like anything, really, once I was done getting through the day. I have to remind myself how much I enjoy making the comics though, and also the feedback I get from you guys.

On parenting.

image

This is really just a side note on parenting in general. We are currently in the longest holidays if the year, it’s hot (remember, Australia),and I have limited budget for outings and stuff.
6 intense weeks, not every day is bliss… Why lie about it..?
I mean “autism parent” or not, apart from all the bliss, this parenting gig can be hard work, frustrating and incredibly frustrating… It’s all part of it. 🙂
That’s also why it’s so great!

Historical figures with autism

000history

I am never sure what to think of those statements or thesis where divers great figures of history are post mortem diagnosed with autism, or any other condition only known and researched during the last century. I am sure you have seen these and other examples, too. I mean, I believe that there was autism all throughout history, and I am not saying that some descriptions by other people of the time do not sound like at least autistic traits in some of the personalities. But without knowing their exact circumstances and what else could have caused similar behaviours, a post mortem diagnosis can only be speculation. Yes, I guess it feels good to point out these people (..all men?) as examples how greatness has been achieved in spite of – or was it because of – their autism, but although my son has a clear preference for science, at the moment, our main goal is really a happy life of acceptance and fulfilment rather than putting the pressure of outstanding achievement  or talent (in whatever) on my son.

Repeat after me: We are ALL different.

1oneperson

As I said before, I do not believe in this one “autism community”. It’s ok for me, though, there are different groups. What is not ok is that debates escalate online in flaming wars and attacks get way too personal for me to want to be involved in any discussions or ask even questions to understand what is actually going on?! I understand partly how anger and trauma can make people get more than just ‘passionate’ over whatever is discussed, but there should be no “enemies” in this debate – no one ‘in the trenches’. We are not fighting a war, are we!? We are living life with autism, all of us, in all our differences. Different lives.

Link to one parent blog from New Zealand on the subject (a blog I really recommend), another opinion from another parent here (US, a bigger blog, I believe). Also here an Update of the comment policies on “The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism” following some escalated comment threads on their facebook page.
I am really happy to know that I have autistic adults reading and liking my comics and words here and I am glad to say I read some excellent, down to earth and thoughtful Australian (ASD) parenting blogs too, on a regular basis (blogroll soon) So Peace, people, FFS! It’s kinda important. Happy New Year, also.

A little postcard from Australia!

00seasonsgreetings

Hello Everyone!
A bit paralysed by a heatwave that is hitting Queensland right now (the ‘White Christmases’ of my childhood really quite a distant dream…) I wish everybody a good holiday season. Whatever you celebrate, and how, and with who and most importantly where – all our best wishes for you and those that you love!
We will leave the ‘reflections on the year that was’ and ‘good resolutions for 2014’ to the news channels and social media outlets I think, but I do want to let you know that I feel really HONOURED that so many people are following my blog (80+ via wordpress! yee-haa!) , have commented (you know who you are !) and have shared posts (yesss!!) ! It’s a great encouragement and makes doing the comics even more fun!
Like almost everything in my life, this blog had a bit of a rocky start (bitstrips suddenly exploding via their apps and my computer being somewhat ‘unwell’ lately) but your reactions make me think that I am onto something and I really feel like I have made a few new friends!
So thank you for that, and keep in touch ! =)

The puzzle piece – symbol for Autism ?

0000newpuzzle

I have really changed my mind about the puzzle piece since I first saw it in the context of Autism.  I have read a few posts by autistic adults that clearly reject the symbolism. Read Autisticook’s post HERE, or other voices  here, or here, for example.
But even without any association with the ‘big blue puzzle’ organisation, so many parents are embracing the symbol : It is present on most autism websites or blogs You can buy themed autism jewellery everywhere. And have you seen how many parents are getting puzzle piece tattoos with names of their autistic kids ? (i think this one is unrelated though….)
It may be too late to throw it overboard for this generation, but if opinions of the autistic bloggers are anything to go by, our children may grow up resenting that we allowed to stick a symbol on them that reflects our NT view of deficiency, of mystery and problem to solve with regards to autism. The fact that others rather see diversity, uniqueness and the rainbow colours of the autism spectrum just makes it more obvious how ambiguous and puzzling (!) the graphic actually is.
So, I don’t know… Are there other graphics around that are more straightforward and positive ? Should we create one ? Or does it even matter? Do other conditions have a universal symbol like this, that goes beyond the colour of a ribbon or the graphic of one organisation? I would love to hear what you think!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

statlerwaldorf2

Oh, I know! Routines are good and reassuring. And I admit:  I am myself not always keen on surprises, schedule changes or new procedures…but things can also change for the better, right? And teaching ‘readiness for change’ is one of my big priorities with Nemo. Sometimes, the things that upset him seem so absurd? I mean he will still get his food in the ole’brown paper bag… All the internet orders do, is take the hassle out of the payment. And what’s with the weird luddite attitude from a boy who essentially wants to spend the whole day in front of some sort of screen?! So yeah, sometimes, he sounds like a grumpy old man.. or two.

No matter what you believe…

000krismas

I have got to say: I am really enjoying myself at home at the moment. We don’t have a great budget for presents (like, not at all..), but I have lots of ideas for Christmas craft. So many! I have a DIY advent calendar going for Nemo with little gifts and treats – and he makes a little collage for me everyday. I am gradually getting all my usual christmas deco up – and I made a few new things. Fun. We are not a religious family, and my little fact fiend has basically stopped believing in Santa the year after he first understood the concept.. But it’s all good. I believe that Christmas is what you make it. I have grown up with European Christmas Traditions and although it’s a bit odd to have Christmas in Summer now,  I enjoying passing that on, in my own way. And I think Nemo likes it, too. =)
So how are you and your family going ? – Are you doing “All the Christmas” ..?

Sh*t people say about autism–“it’s just a label”

Dec6bb

I believe that one way to be an advocate for my son, is to talk about his autism in a normal, unexcited way, and to all kinds of people. Without pressing it on them, without embarrassing my son but, when it fits in the conversation, you know, mention it. No big deal.
If people ask questions – great. If they don’t, ok – maybe next time.
But then, there are those people who have it all figured out : With or without Nemo present, several people have now commented that Autism is “just a label”! So what these people are saying is that a century of research, observations and experiences are…just humbug?! So it’s just a fashion; and the assessing specialists have just given some sort of fad label ?   0_o
If anything, I want my son to know that AUTISM IS REAL and AUTISM IS OK.  Those people I spoke to, didn’t mean to actually insult him, or me or the gazillion of people concerned by or researching autism. But people are stupid and will say sh*t about autism, I guess..