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Originally Posted Saturday, November 9, 2013

My Story like (4)edit

Autism Advocacy
August 2010 – Present
Upon discovering that my son had Autism in 2010, I began on a path of advocacy. Primarily, I remain abreast to laws, policies, procedures, budgeting & resources that help other educators, parents, and advocates learn to recognize and organize possible “red flags or characteristics” for/associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders, that I obtain through various sources. I ensure that parents understand their rights, services/assistance that are currently available to them & their families by providing various resources and conducting research where needed. I attend yearly IEP meetings currently for my child alone in addition to educating myself and remaining open-minded in my approach and expectations at all times. In 2011 I was afforded the opportunity via United Planning Organization (UPO) to attend the 38th Annual National Head Start Conference provided by the National Head Start Association (NHSA) in Kansas City, Missouri. During the conference I attended meetings that included but were not limited to topics such as: Social Competence and School Readiness, Prevalence of Classroom Difficulties, Talking with Parents about Autism and many more. In 2012, I obtained my CDA – Preschool Endorsement to further aide/assist in my advocacy. I provide Basic Life Skills training and coping techniques to parents and other advocates. I counsel parents and advocates, on defining “feasible and realistic” educational, social, career/work related goals/objectives. I also assist in revising goals and objectives, as well as routines as needed; ensuring that all activities are carefully planned as to consider each aspect of the child’s disability, especially, as it relates to sensory and touch issues. I also provide feedback or suggestions to educators, advocates and other parents = “the team” at Early Stages, Inc., United Planning Organization, and Eagle Academy Public Charter School regarding my experiences and thoughts on how services or resources can be improved or maintained.
Q:Most days I find myself…

Ecstatic and nervous!
Q:When did you know your child was on the Spectrum?

When I realized that based on my husband’s accounts of his older children’s (from two previous relationships) upbringing they were not as delayed as my son was in speech. Although my son was more advanced than they were with his motor skills. So in 2010 when he turned 4yrs old I took him in to be evaluated, already “assuming” there would be something “off or wrong” because of my knowledge of my Bipolar I & II Disorders and what impact that has on my offspring.
Q:What therapies (if any) work best for your child?

Speech Therapy primarily
Occupational Therapy secondary
Q:What are your biggest challenges or difficulties?

Getting him to “accept” reality of situations and relationships, the unexpected or uncomfortable
Q:What would you share with parents new to autism?

Put your faith in God (or your higher power)! Know that “God gives the hardest battles to the strongest soldiers!”
Do NOT and I repeat do NOT begin to look to your spouse, the doctors, the therapists, psychiatrists, or teachers as the “all knowing and all fixing” because you will fail, not only yourselves, but ultimately your child(ren) living with Autism (applicable developmental delays/conditions).
You have to have the faith of a mustard seed and the heart of David to persevere!
You have to be “honest” about your expectations and abilities.
You can NOT over compensate, when it comes to children with Autism.
You have to ALWAYS give them realistic perspectives to consider and give them realistic situations to endure. I.e., even when you have the money to get that snack pack or juice drink they really like “don’t buy it one time” and then sit them down and explain to them “that they won’t always get what they want” but they have to learn how to “control their feelings about it and to clarify their understanding of it”
Sometimes we subject ourselves to their unruly or rigid (consistent/routine) behavior, because we have allowed ourselves to feel powerless, when we are powerful and we allow our children to remain ignorant to their own realities and abilities!