Tag Archives: parenting

Is There Really A Cure For Autism and Do We Want To Have It?

John Graduation 2016
John Graduation 2016

Our youngest John finally made it! He graduated high school with a bang. With over $400k in therapy since he was two years old, he was able to came out as a nonverbal child to a grade 12 graduate with a full diploma! Yes, we did it! WE DID IT! I feel like shouting these words over and over again. I am so proud and elated for his future that I sobbed like a baby. His soothing words of “It’s okay, Mama” had made all the difference in this world.

So, if I am asked today on whether I am interested about a cure for autism? Not anymore. At some point when he was two until he was like 6 or 7, I was hoping that someone brilliant will suddenly just come on national television announcing that they finally found the real cause of autism or have discovered some drugs that will untangle the brain of each and every child with autism in the universe. Yes, I had hoped before. In fact, I prayed a thousand times for it so my son can have more of everything.

But you see, year after year, I am given every reason to believe that John is perfect as he is. Amid all the struggles that all of us had went through, we were able to rise up the occasion and raised a sweet and thoughtful young man who sees more goodness and kindness in others more than he sees in himself.

Compassionate, this is the perfect word for my son John. He knows when I feel down and agitated. He knows when to give you a pat in the back without even you blurting any word of what’s bottling inside you. It’s like he can see through you and, without judgment or whatsoever, he simply understands. He recognizes his but never complains about them. He is aware of his frailties but smile head on even when the whole world is frowning upon him.

Enjoying his graduation cake
Enjoying his graduation cake

As an autism parent, I know there are others out there who are still trying to unravel their children’s condition. Some of them are, perhaps, hoping that a magic vial will be available soon to relieve them from the constant anxiety and frustrations often common in households with autism kids.

Trust me, the frustrations will always sneak up on you every now and then. It will haunt you and make you feel so down it feels like you will never stand tall and proud again. But it is up to you to let such feeling gnaw at your being. It is up to you to let others get into your skin. Your child, your most precious one maybe different from the rest but he is yours and yours alone. He is a gift that needs to be cherished.

So, if you ask me if I am interested in a cure. Stop it already! I may still not be satisfied in the success that John enjoyed today because I know he can do better in the future, I am confident in my skin that I have raised a good son—autism and all. There is no amount of cure that will change him. He is exceptional as he is and for that, I am forever thankful to the Heavens above.

How about you? What’s your autism story? Share your thoughts with us. Feel free also to visit our Facebook and Twitter pages. We’d love to hear from you.

Autism Burnout: Do You Have It?

when autism gets the best out of you

 Summer is finally here. With no school to distract the kids, many moms out there must have their hands full. Without a doubt, parenting is an extremely challenging experience. It’s a round-the-clock job with little or no time for vacation or relaxation. Add autism to the equation and you are certainly in for the long haul. Though, many autism moms have learned to adjust their sails for a smooth journey, there will always be that time of the year when things go awry leading to—burnout.

Burnout can get the best out of people. With a to-do-list that rivals that of an online Encarta, mommies (as well as daddies, too!) can easily succumb to the bittersweet temptation of exhaustion—beyond reasonable doubt. Things just simply came crashing down on you and the stress piles up like laundry on a soccer game week.

You feel drained, like all your energy is snapped out of you.

Wait, is it fibromyalgia? A bad case of guilt-tripping? What disease is this?

No! It’s just your inner self screaming for a few hours of nothingness, of not being needed, of being left alone, of being yourself.

Burnout is a tangible experience. It makes you feel exhausted, drained beyond relief. It makes things seem irritating and icky. You’re losing sleep. You feel like crying but no tears come out of your eyes. It’s a phase and you know it’s a phase but you’re just not up to anything.

When things do go crashing down for me, I pray. I ask for guidance, for enlightenment. I would rise before anyone else at home and leave my mind blank for a while as if in meditation but without the chanting and everything else. I feel the moment. I take in everything that’s within my surroundings as if harnessing all the energy I can get.

After an hour or so of simply engrossing myself in my aloneness, I think of all the good things that happened within the week. I let them envelope me in a fierce hug. I think of the depressing things and then, I let them be expelled from my system.

I look at my autism advocacy. I think about how far I’ve come. I contemplate on what more I can give for others, for awareness, for acceptance.

Yes, I talk to myself as if a separate entity. It’s a refreshing feeling to let loose of inhibitions and the guilt, of having no expectations, of the stressors gnawing at your being. When it feels like the world is crashing down, I seek out help without being too clingy.

I don’t ignore what I feel. Ignoring your feelings will bring you nowhere. When autism hits you straight in the gut, you embrace it. You feel it. You work around it!

Get outside and engage others. Have a good laugh. Go on a vacation together. Go on one, alone. What is something you love to do? Do just that! Who usually makes you happy or giddy with excitement? Call them. Hug them when they’re near. Let them know, you are here and sometimes, you need someone to tell yourself not to act too strong, that you also have a day’s pass to be weak and vulnerable.

Burnout from autism is a real deal. It doesn’t hurt to ask for help. Do not wait for things to blow out of proportion before you act on it. Get on with it—now!

Got any tips on how to handle burnout with autism? Write to me at pamela@livingautismnow.com. Your inputs will be greatly appreciated by autism parents across the globe. Check out our Facebook and Twitter for more updates.

Photo Credits: Keeper of the Home

FINALIST to the The 2015 USA Best Book Awards

Finalist of The 2015 USA Best Book Awards!

Christmas came early to John and our family. My book, Living Autism Day by Day: Daily Reflections and Strategies to Give You Hope and Courage, made it as a FINALIST to the The 2015 USA Best Book Awards (Parenting and Family)! http://www.usabooknews.com/2015awardannouncement.html
With this, I would like to send out my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who had made this happen.

Autism in itself is a huge challenge and your constant support truly touched me and my family particularly John. All my book’s awards, I offer them in gratitude to everyone who continually motivate me to go the mile in raising Autism awareness and acceptance.

This award is for you.

For those who wish to know about my book, you can check out my website for a sneak peek: http://livingautismnow.com/book/.

To order, simply go to http://livingautismnow.com/buy-now/. (for Amazon deliveries)

Once again, from the bottom of my heart—THANK YOU SO MUCH!

SpecialNeedsBookReview.com

“The Importance of Realizing You Are Not Alone”, this is what Pamela Bryson-Weaver hopes her book, Living Autism Day-by-Day: Daily Reflections and Strategies to Give You Hope and Courage will accomplish…  This book may be read all at once and then re-read day-by-day. The second time hopefully you will take the time to journal in your feelings as this has proven to be very therapeutic.

The entries address the world of autism and include some of the following:

  • practical advice
  • inspiring stories and quotes
  • household tips
  • humorous anecdotes
  • facts and statistics
  • hope and encouragement
  • strategies and tips on autistic child-care
  • insights for family, clients, and friends wanting to learn more about autism
  • treatments and research

Brenda Lee Ramsay

This book saved my family … I don’t believe I would have have been able to do that if I hadn’t understood. Your book is a must have. If they had a first aid book bag this be the first book. I impressed a few people that day. Even my self.

How to Become Your Own Child’s Autism Advocate

Autism numbers are rising. As several disorders on the spectrum are grouped collectively to fall under a single diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, the number of children and adults alike are also rising. Nonetheless, it remains a complex neurological disorder with equally complex diagnosis, causes, and therapies or treatments. The feeling of being a parent to one with ASD, however, remains the same. Overwhelmed, frightened, confused? These feelings are nothing new. It is normal to have apprehensions and more questions than answers.

Your child, however, needs you now more than ever—and the best way to help him or her is to widen your knowledge about autism and its eventual effect on your child.

So, what to do to become your own child’s autism advocate? Here are some ways how:

Enroll in Parenting Classes

Look up your local yellow pages for a nearby autism institute and research center. These institutions always provide parent- education classes, seminars, and symposium catered specifically for parents whose son or daughter is diagnosed with ASD. Some classes regularly meet on a weekly or twice-a-week basis for several weeks or months to teach you how to set realistic and doable short- and long-term goals. It has a set of curriculum to follow that allows parents to learn practical skills, techniques and strategies on how to go-about your child’s disorder and improve his/her skills. Some research centers also tackle collaborative initiatives with educators and professionals in a way of developing tactics for school and home.

Attend Community Outreach Programs

Another low-cost option in learning about autism and is by joining community-based training. Most programs initiated in communities are sponsored by experts in the field of autism. These programs usually follow the same core curriculum as that of institute-based classes. In some, groups engaging in open discussion and usually facilitated by parents to autism children provide lectures on ASD tapping awareness, life skills, social skills, and other specific aspects of autism. This parents’ forum are often considered the very tie that binds autism communities across regions providing valuable knowledge and support to families with members on the spectrum.

Online Tool Kits

The internet continually proves to be an indispensable part of raising autism awareness and in providing support to families dealing with ASD across nations. Free online tool kits are available for families in various websites. These kits usually provide important and relevant information on the disorder, treatment options, coping strategies and techniques, and goal-setting. Some websites, like Living Autism Now (www.livingautismnow.com), provides a portal that connects families to the best professional help and services in their localities. It also provides ample information and links to resources as well as a space dedicated to answering questions and for sharing experiences with others.

School-Based Programs

Primarily targeted to parents with school-age children, this program type usually deals on how parents and teachers can best met the educational needs of children with autism. The program usually consists of lectures, forums, seminars, open-discussion groups, and one-on-one engagement initiatives. Each school has its set of curriculum to follow, and to best gauge which will work best with your child is to check with its special education teacher or its guidance counselor.

Faith-Based Programs

Some religious communities have also set-up its own outreach program to aid in the growing need for autism awareness and acceptance. If you belong to a certain religious congregation, try checking with the local parish priest, catechists or lay ministers for any open discussion groups or counseling care. These programs often tap on providing families with emotional and spiritual support.

There are many resources available nowadays for you to choose from. As parents, we only want what is best for our children. Each autism case is unique. Finding one that will best suit your child and your expectations solely depend on your choices.

The Evolution of Autism—and Why Acceptance is of Utmost Importance

Long before Autism was named as it is by Leo Kanner, there were endless accounts of children (as well as adults) exhibiting symptoms of the disorder. They used to be tagged as “possessed by the devil” or as children born to “ice-cold” mothers. There was also a time that it was put under schizophrenia’s umbrella until Hans Asperger came along. Asperger’s Syndrome, however, is but the teeniest tip of the autism iceberg. Over the years, the spectrum of autism disorders has evolved far-and-wide leading to variations of medical and technological terms.

If we care to check autism and its symptoms, it is right to assume that it has been the same throughout history. It is only our perception of the disorder as well as the countless researches that have been published made us look at it as “evolving.” From the theory of genetics comes the unending debate on vaccines, environmental factors, vitamin deficiencies, and pregnancy complications as the likely causes of such. Studies on rats, horses, and what-have-we have also been discussed perfunctorily throughout the course of autism’s evolution. Of course, this also leads to numerous treatments and therapies, parents vs. doctors views, educational choices, discipline, and so on, and so forth. With the Internet’s open resource, it seems there is no end on this finger-pointing debacle.

Apart from learning the what-and-why’s of Autism, however, acceptance is the very key to open a door that will encapsulate all these so-called “discoveries.” Like all other disabilities, autism acceptance has a long way to go. With 1 in every 68 kids having the said disorder, an invisible mania has blanketed people across the globe. The fear is understandable knowing that there is no known cure, but can also be debilitating to families who are already living, as what others say, “the nightmare.” Well, we are not. The first few months (at times, years) can prove to be challenging. Like other’s lives, we also receive a lot of blessings and key learning. Pure gratitude and tolerance are just two virtues that autism brings. So is being able to embrace life’s intricacies.

Today, the endless debate on vaccines, therapies, and treatments are not helping either. For everyone to move forward, it is imperative that we accept autism’s full impact on affected people’s lives. Whether high or low functioning, autism cases are growing in numbers. Yes, finding the root cause is noble. For now, however, accepting these individuals as unique persons like atypical ones is more important. Lest you forget, AUTISM is not a disease. These kids and adults who live on the spectrum are different, but no less.

Laura Berger

If you’ve ever had questions about ASD’s or want to know how to help a friend, family or loved struggling with an autism spectrum disorder, this is THE resource that makes it simple and easy to navigate. Pamela gives clear advice and words of hope along with resources that will help you offer your families a balanced and loving life despite the diagnoses of ASD!

Kit

From the initial view of the cover, I quickly understood that this was a book which would demonstrate ways to put life back together and make life more solid. This book is certainly well written, containing numerous insights about life, for someone who has had to deal with the life-change of autism, and not. What a wonderful resource that people who deal with autism can turn to for inspiration and help toward the future.

I do know of life-change, after getting hit by a truck and laying in a coma for 37 days. Then, after awakening, having to learn to everything physical again (although, if my mind I know what to do, I had to retrain my body.) Then, 18 years later, getting hit by a truck, the second time, much of my body broken. In a large way, autism and brain injury are similar, so I see that this is a much needed book, even if you have not had to deal with either of these two areas.

Thank you Pamela, for bringing to us these words of hope. Many can learn from this wonderful book about making change work for us.

Frank Healy, HSAM

Pamela Bryson Weaver takes you right into the daily journey of raising an autistic child. You will feel her love, frustration, sadness, and joys throughout the year as you go through the days, as well as her determination to help her son and all autistic children. This is a must read for parents, counselors, child workers, and anyone who has contact with autistic children.