#Autism isn’t a disability, it’s the “ability” to see and experience the world differently!

Originally Posted Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Jr writes about Oceanographers


This reads: Oceanographers put a tag on the whale. The fish swim in the Ocean. Food chain like searching for food and animals.

I have created an “incentive package” for Jr and he’s only 7 years old. I created an incentive package for him approximately two years ago, however it’s recently been enforced consistently. The incentive package was not my “original” idea. The idea actually stems from my bittersweet upbringing under my caring, yet hypocritical and tyrannical paternal grandmother Lola.

As you can see Jr’s handwriting is “barely legible” in respect to the fact that you can barely make out the word, because of how close together they’ve been written. I actually had to “trace” his words to darken them, otherwise you would not be able to read it.
Despite the closeness of his words, based on what he’s written you can “comprehend” that he “understands” the lesson the teacher taught.
However, trying to organize it and then repeat it, verbatim, is where at times he (and other children) have difficulty. We must identify this weakness; but we must be careful not to break their stride. Say things like: it would be best if you said it this way…. or to make your point easier to understand why not try saying/writing it this way…
When it comes to children with Autism (or any developmental delay) you must be thankful for all their achievements! You must empower them through not only encouragement, but “incentives.”
You must not be afraid to educate them on their diagnosis. It’s essential to their independence.
My son Jr “knows” that I have Bipolar Disorders I & II and that he has Autism.
He understands that Bipolar for Mommy is when Mommy get’s upset and sometimes scream at people or is crying or needs to relax. He understands that Mommy like him, is “different” but I’m not better or worst than other Mommies; I’m just different. He doesn’t understand completely, but he does understand that he sees, hears, writes and does things differently than other children. Not better, not worse, just different.
Lola was a Cancer woman who had a way with her words and her looks. She took “nothing less” than what she believed to be the best when it came down to education and work ethic.
At seven years old I had “chores and an allowance.” So “getting a job at 16” was basically “a no brainer!”
I did ALL the dishes of the occupants in our home; I did ALL the laundry of the occupants in our home; I picked her paper daily at 5 no later than 5:30am; turned on the kettle with the water in it for her coffee and set out her pill container, all, before preparing myself for school.
I’d watch food that she was preparing and store it accordingly; I’d have to clean the house when she didn’t want to, or just couldn’t due to her aging.
During many of my father’s absences  (due to excessive crack/cocaine abuse and promiscuity) I became her confidant and assistant, therefore given the power to assist her in making and maintaining decisions concerning our home. I was compensated for financially for my work, but I’ve been spiritually immeasurably compensated for ALL my work. I still haven’t revealed all I did, but that will come out later in another post.
Due to Lola’s tyrannical behavior and the fact that I was a “busy body” it worked in both of our favors.
Even the days that I “hated” her for the work that she was having me to do; I appreciated the experience I was gaining, the joy I felt “seeing” what I’d done manifest, the looks on the faces of those who benefited and the compensation I received was like “ice cream” with my cake!
I always get the cake! ;o)  I “learned work ethic and financial independence” at seven. I didn’t learn “financial stability” though and that’s something that I’m on a path of “maintaining” because attaining it is nothing; maintaining it is difficult at times.
The incentive package includes, but is not limited to: a meal from McDonalds (because his father is a disabled Sous Chef . So we eat great healthy meals at home daily, therefore McDonalds is a treat); going to a movie theatre or renting a movie via Vudu or Redbox of his choice; spending the night out with his Great Aunt and I; adding to his toy or book collection; allowing additional “happy/surprise food” like shrimps, his fruit snacks, his popsicles, etc…
The money that Jr receives comes in addition to those treats, because I’m teaching him work ethic. I want him to “realistically” understand that Mommy and Daddy won’t be around forever and waiting until he’s of working age, to me is “ignorant and can be detrimental” because of the conditions that our children have.
I believe the earlier and more prepared they are; the better their lives will be and that’s less stress we live and deal with. Jr understands that he has to “work” to receive “money.” He understands that he has to “pay for” the things he wants, because Mommy and Daddy will pay for what he needs. (we still buy him pretty much everything) Jr spends his “earned” money on the aforementioned incentives.
Jr enjoys his incentives and he actually works towards his goals based on the incentive he wants or expects to receive. This his father and I are ever so grateful for!
I do understand that all children with Autism or other developmental delays aren’t the same and can’t be expected to progress the same way or at the same rate. However, I know from my experience that a “little pushing” goes a long way!
I pray that you all keep God (or your higher power) 1st. I pray that you all remain optimistic and resilient. This is not a disability, just the “ability” to see and experience the world differently!