Writer, Parent Coach, Speaker. Inspiring change and empowering every family living with autism.
I am a writer, parent coach and public speaker.
I write about life with my youngest son who has classic autism at www.speakingautism.ca I am also founder of www.AutismAtWork.ca where I provide resources to help young adults transition into the workplace.
I am a certified life coach providing consulting services to special needs parents on many issues such as: moving forward after the diagnosis, divorce with a special needs child, dynamics of a blended family, special education, life skills strategies, transition into the workplace, aging out of the school system and much more.
I have over 16 years’ experience with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
My passion is inspiring change and empowering every family living with autism.
You can follow me on twitter @speaking_autism and Facebook: Speaking Autism
Blended families don't feel in unison or in sync right off the bat; it's not something that happens overnight. It takes patience, love, understanding, compromising and time. In our case, it took us a few years before we felt in sync, like a real authentic family. Having a child on the autism spectrum made this journey even more delicate.
Raising a child is hard, and raising a child with special needs has even greater challenges that often leave parents feeling fatigued and depleted. Yet every day we find renewed energy and we continue to push forward and advocate for our children who cannot advocate for themselves. So when I tell you "I'm fine," it can mean a lot of things.
When my son was a toddler, I remember a few events that I declined to attend simply because it was too complicated -- I just didn't have it in me. Looking back at the earlier years, I realize just how little people new about my son and his autism. I think our experience would have been different had others been more aware.
The challenges parents face raising a child with autism is amplified a thousand times over. We often don't know what to do or how to help our child. But even with all the challenges, autism isn't what causes a couple to divorce.
Entering into the workforce is a milestone in one's life; a rite of passage that is often identified as the beginning of their journey into adulthood. But for so many young adults with autism, this transition can be the most difficult and stressful time in their lives. Here are 10 tips to help young adults with autism transition into the workforce.
This is another prime example how the rights of special needs children continues to be violated by the same people that are in a position to protect them. The abuser doesn't see these children as whole. They see them as deficient, less than and certainly not worthy of respect and dignity. This principal didn't see them as whole human beings. She saw them as "animals." What message is the school district sending when they fire the person that has reported the abuse?
As important as research is, I truly don't believe this should be the number one priority when discussing how to improve the lives of people with autism. How is research helping the autistic individuals living in our society today? The ones that are stigmatized for who they are; the children who are on waiting lists for government funded therapy that unfortunately never comes and whose parents are forced to go privately, depleting finances at an astounding rate. They are not part of an incomplete puzzle. They are here, they are whole and they are deserving of equal opportunities.
Clearly Dr. Shepherd-Look's comments demonstrate how her degree in psychology does little to help her understand autistic children. Perhaps she should speak to autistic people before making such inaccurate, misinformed, misguided and completely ridiculous remarks about the mitigated bonding between mother and child.
Parents of special needs children will often tell you that we worry about the future of our children when we are no longer here to protect them. I am no exception. My son is 15 years old and he is autistic. I worry every day for his future.
There are the horrific stories of parents who have harmed their autistic children for reasons beyond my comprehension. We as a society must learn to respect and accept differences. There is no dignity in dehumanizing autistic people by stigmatization and inaccurate assumptions.
The assumptions of others have always been and continue to be to this day, our worst enemy, especially for my son. Assumptions are always the prelude to judgments; judgments that are always made without knowing his story, his achievements and more importantly, his thoughts.
The 41st Quebec general election is scheduled for Monday April 7, 2014. A new PQ majority government would mean a possible referendum for Quebec separation from Canada in the near future. Yes, I know, we've been down this road before, only now, I have an autistic child who can only speak English. The dynamics have suddenly changed for me. Don't get me wrong, I love this province, I just don't like what's it's become over the last two years but most importantly, it's the uncertainty, the unknown that scares me the most. My son risks being silenced in a province that could, in the future, choose not to recognize his language
My autistic son wasn't born because God was pissed off at America. My son was born because he was meant to be born, just as he is. My son was born so that I could learn how to be a better human being. He was born so he could teach me how to communicate without words. He was born so that I could learn how to listen with my heart and see things through touch.
The thought of teaching my son Emilio to say "I'm sorry" in an effort to build and develop more empathy never crossed my mind. That's the reality of raising children with non-verbal autism; their parents are concentrating on having eye contact with their child; they are working on communication skills so they can verbalize their basic needs like "I want water".
I don't ever want my son growing up thinking that he is a burden to his family or to society. I don't want him to think that his autism is the evil in him. Because every time Autism Speaks uses negative words to describe autism, these same words are attacking human beings living with autism.
In reality, you need to be extremely rich in order to try all the possible interventions that claim to have had children recover from autism. Biomedical treatment such as chelation, which is the process of removing toxic metals from the body and hyperbaric oxygen treatment are some examples of costly alternative medicine that most insurance companies do not pay for.
There is a vast difference between supervising typical children versus special needs kids. Every day I send my son to school I pray that all goes well and I pray for his safe return home. It's an awful feeling knowing that your child wouldn't be able to tell you if something bad happened to them.
We live in a province where language is a huge issue. I can't even begin to tell you how many times people have said to me "Oh your son doesn't speak French?! Do you realize you live in Quebec"? Really, thank you kindly for pointing that out. Do YOU realize my son is autistic and for the first five years of his life barely spoke?
What gets me so upset is the dehumanization of an autistic child when they are put in a cage or dungeon-like living quarters and treated worse than you would treat a dog. While I do sympathize with parents who have to handle a child with violent behaviour, I will never understand how a parent can murder their own child.
I feel so terrible about something that I did last week. I didn't do it intentionally, believe me. In fact, I didn't even realize how bad my action was until just a few days ago. I am so very sorry for being selfish and thinking only of my son and not realizing how dangerous my actions were by allowing him to bring this granola bar with peanuts to school.