Wednesday, July 21, 2010

SGW: A Rant from Special Needs MommyLand

Today we welcome the Stark. Raving. Mad. Mommy.  Her stuff is great.  That letter to Dora...  And the ones about not being able to make friends in Texas and how she's now resorted to the internet to make mommy friends...  Hilarious.  Her Facebook updates are super funny and her tweets will make you snort your beverages. 

Also, if you have a kiddo with Autism or Asperger's or know someone who does, you need to know about this blog.  Because of the awesomeness.

xo,
Kate & Lydia
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Do you have any idea how excited I am to be here? Kate and Lydia are my idols and I spend much of my free time stalking them reading and admiring their work. When my blog, stark. raving. mad. mommy., inched its way up to the Top 50 on Babble, I was excited because I was on the same page with Rants from Mommyland. Squee! I’m at a lunch table near the cool kids. Do you think they noticed my awesome new pegged jeans Op shirt jelly bracelets blog? OMG. I think Kate just looked at me. And made fun of my shoes.

Anyway, I need to tell you about my special region of Mommyland, which is known as either Special Needsville or Yes My Child Rides the Short Bus Dammit. Actually, my son is way too panicky to ride any bus. I have to drive him. We aspire to the short bus.

My four-year-old son has Asperger Syndrome. Asperger Syndrome is frequently referred to as “high functioning autism” or the “good” kind of autism. I am assuming that “high functioning” and “good” really mean “can kick George Lucas’ butt at Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga.”

Speaking of Little Dude’s encyclopedic knowledge of Star Wars, I must mention this: he is not Rain Man. While I love me some pre-crazy Tom Cruise, not every autistic person has savant skills. In fact, it turns out that Kim Peek, the dude on whom Rain Man was based, was not even autistic; he had a rare genetic disorder called FG Syndrome. So if y’all could stop asking me if I’m planning on taking Little Dude to Atlantic City to count cards for me, that would be awesome. It is not a witty 80s pop culture reference. It is annoying. (Besides, it was Las Vegas, not Atlantic City, Genius. I will go toe-to-toe with anyone on the 80s references.)

Okay? Excellent. It would also be uber-helpful if you could keep your thoughts on Little Dude’s non-potty-trained status to yourself. Yes, I know you can see the top of his size 6 diaper sticking out over his shorts. He has a habit of pulling up his Clone Wars shirt so that he can play with his belly button. It helps him relieve stress. You drink too much coffee / T-box / Pabst Blue Ribbon to relieve stress, so don’t judge.

So I know you can see the diaper. It doesn’t mean you can comment on it. Making my son feel ashamed is not going to help me get him potty-trained anytime sooner. It’s just going to piss me off. When you comment, loudly and incredulously, “he’s getting a little big for diapers,” I’m going to respond even more loudly, “and you’re getting a little big for those fake Apple Bottom jeans.” Because your tramp-stamped muffin top is wayyyy more unsightly than an Elmo diaper peeking over my son’s waistband. That’s right: You better check yo self before you wreck yo self.

Fortunately for me, having twins first helped prepare me for an onslaught of unwelcome comments. Taking twins out in public seems to encourage strangers to ask all kinds of discerning questions like “Are they natural?” (Latex, actually. But don’t they look life-like?) Strangers ask if I have done infertility treatments. Why, yes. Yes, I did. Now let’s discuss the most physically and emotionally wrenching period in your life. Speaking of periods, please tell me in detail about your menstrual history. Because that’s what you just asked me about, Einstein. You should really be either Oprah or my OB/GYN if you’re going to ask me about that. And since you’re neither, you can suck it.

I have also been asked, more than once and in front of my twins, which one is smarter, which one I think is prettier, and my all-time favorite, “which one is the evil twin?” My response: “I haven’t figured that out, but now both of them hate you so you should probably start sleeping with the lights on. Because they are smart and sneaky and you will never see it coming.”

Another topic upon which I have received unwanted comments is the food allergy situation. All four of my kids have allergies; I have spent the last nine years doing the food allergy equivalent of keeping Kosher. I wrote a whole post about a food demonstrator who said directly to my son, “Oooh, how terrible to be allergic to strawberries. ’Cause they’re so gooooooood.”

That reminds me: my son can hear you, you insensate muttonhead. In fact, you should know that when he is not making eye contact, he is listening intently. He’s looking you in the eyes? Go ahead and keep blathering. He’s imagining you being eaten by the Rancor. People with autism, my son included, are not oblivious to criticism and snide comments. Most of them simply lack the social skills required to slam you back. But I have mad skills in that department. And the next person who makes my son or his sisters feel uncomfortable is going to be crying into his or her pillow for a long, long time. I am stressed, tired, and out of patience with muttonheads and I will not hesitate to tear you down brick by brick until your ego is withered to the point of needing psychotherapy.

If you want to ask me about fertility treatment because you’ve been trying to get pregnant for the last year, will I tell you all about it? Yes. If you want to ask me about my son’s hand-flapping because you’ve noticed your child doing the same thing, will I explain it? Oh, even yesser. But if you want to make comments just so you can feel like your reproductive system, genetics, and toilet-training skills are superior to mine, I’ll have to square up.

Well, thanks for listening to me rant. I feel better now, don’t you? Awesome.

…………………………………….

stark. raving. mad. mommy. is the mother of four children, aged four to nine. She writes about parenting, insanity, and the Lego obsession known as Asperger Syndrome at www.starkravingmadmommy.com.




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51 comments:

  1. My little bro is autistic, and I will be reading some more of her blog, and telling my mom about it. I know there have been times that my mom has wanted to square up with people and their beyond unneccessary comments. After seeing the dedication, patience and sacrifices that my parents have shown over the last 15 years I have a complete and unyeilding respect for parents of special needs kids. Y'all are awsome and your kids are too.

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  2. My son has Sensory Processing Disorder and is on the autism spectrum, so this rant hit home with me a little more than usual.

    Allergic to strawberries - check.
    Hand flapping - check.
    Not toilet trained - check.
    Sick of unapologetic f**ktards being insensitive - double check.

    A huge thank you to all of you lovely ladies for this. SRMM? I *heart* U! :)

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  3. OMG - I am in soooo much Trouble. I have another blog to follow obsessively! My laundry will NEVER EVER get done again!!! Thank you, Stark raving mad mommy. This was an awesome post and I am now going to go lose about 4 hours of sleep tonight losing myself on your blog!!!

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  4. I'm so glad you're guest posting over here! Both of these blogs are on my top reads, and now it's like my two favorite worlds are colliding - it's a perfect Wednesday already!

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  5. I loved this post and will be checking out this blog! I love reading about the experiences of other moms of kids with special needs. My daughter has Down Syndrome and I got a good laugh from this post

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  6. Love this! Glad you keep your humor and edge to take down the stupids in the world! Awesome- I will never be able to get work down reading all these blogs.

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  7. I *heart* SRMM. Read her every day. When she shared that she would be posting here, of course I had to check it out! Love, love, love her. :) So glad other people recognized her awesomeness as well!

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  8. Amen! Amen! Amen! This is a must read for everyone....especially those with "normal" children.

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  9. I think I just fell in love with you! I too have twins and get those comments ALL. The. Time!

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  10. SRMM is awesome isnt she. she puts words to what others are thinking. as far as the potty training. so some its a scarey thing. my asd son wasnt fully day trained untill he was 5 and we are still struggling with night time. hang in there momma. and beat down anyone who make rude comments about your children. as my husband says dont mess with the momma bear!

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  11. I love you. All of you. I want to drink, cry, sway and sing Kum-bay-ya with you. Then I want to write "Muttonhead" in lipstick on the cars of people who say stupid things in front of little kids with you.

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  12. Marry me. Ok, really don't. But I think this is awesome.

    I have twin 4 year olds with serious delays and sensory issues. I've dealt with almost every single comment that you talked about, especially the potty training issue. Really, why do people suddenly decide that they have some sort of say in raising my children? Poopooheads.

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  13. I just found SRRM blog yesterday... luv it! My lil Aut Tot still wears diapers to. Well we know those questioning folks are idiots because anybody who has ever changed a caca diaper knows that every parent looks forward to the day of no diapers! Who the heck chooses to change Grown Man SH**, because thats what my sons smells like. Lets not forget the look and size! Plus the expense of it all! There is obviously a reason an older child is an diapers... ignorant people ugh!

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  14. I can relate on so many levels! I'm a speech therapist and worked at a special school for awhile and got to hear all the snitchy crap people said in front of the kids as if they were unemotional robots who could shut down so people could talk about them in front of them. My BFF lived next door to me for ten years until we outgrew our home and one of her twins is autistic and flaps his hands and had toilet training issues and all that, so anytime I was around, and someone said something, I'd square up for my pal (she now calls me "bulldog") because I'm too agravated and stove up to care what people think after they've made me open a can of "it's none of your dammed business".
    Oh, and I've had triplets, been through the whole interview process with people who think they can ask you personal questions about your sex life in front of your children and compare them right. freakin. in front of them.
    I'd love to have cyberlunch with you sometime and compare notes of how we can square up with all the pin heads who are "challenged" in the area of keeping their ignorant opinions to themselves.

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  15. Amen to that! I don't have any of these issues, but I am of the major option that people need to mind their own f'ing business and that you should never, ever, ever, comment on someone's child, weight, hairdo, or tattoos unless you are saying something nice. END. OF. STORY.

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  16. Great great post! As a mommy to a high spirited 4 year old and 2 year old twins who may or may not have cerebral palsy, I'm used to rude comments in public. Off to check out your blog!

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  17. I want to be your friend.:)

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  18. Ah, the birlliance of having brilliant guest blogger on brilliant blogs is that I get to find yet another brilliant blogger to read with out all the work of finding said brilliant blogger myself.

    Awesome.

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  19. Oh, you rant so awesome. (Sez the mom of a spectrum kiddo who is full-time in size 6 diapers. The kid, not the mom. I haven't fit a size 6 anything for a long time.)

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  20. SRMM rocks... can't get enough!

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  21. Well thanks, I didn't have enough blogs to follow already! Just kidding. Great post, and I will be following a new blog. I guess that means another cup of coffee for me each morning, and another cartoon for my daughter...so actually, seems like a win-win to me!

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  22. Love it! My 10-year-old has a PDD-NOS diagnosis which is extra fun since no one (not even the therapists or teachers) are quite sure what it is when I say it. Then I have to explain it to them which is a lot of fun. To everyone else I just tell them he's "on the spectrum" which is followed by blank stares since he's high functioning and they can't actively see his problems and generally just assume he's painfully shy. Usually this conversation has to take place due to his toileting issues and his desire to go to a party, play with a friend at their house, etc. He is still on a bathroom schedule at 10 and may be for years to come. Still in a pull-up at night and accidents are a constant fear during the day. I get so tired of people telling me that if he gets embarrassed or humiliated enough by an accident he will stop. No, actually, he has had more of his share of embarrassment in his life and it hasn't cured his sensory issues that cause the toileting problem. I also have a hard time being patient with the moms complaining that their 2 or 3 year old isn't potty trained yet. Takes everything I have to not scream at them that they can come back and complain in another 8 to 10 years. Thanks so much for this guest post. I'll be adding this blog to my favorites and reading faithfully!

    P.S. Best part? "The Lego obsession known as Asperger Syndrome" Awesome!

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  23. Most blogs related to autism are so serious, so it's nice for moms dealing with it to have a place to rant and laugh. I thought my son would never get out of diapers, but he did eventually!

    I thought you might like my blog post, Top 11 Reasons All Cats have Autism:

    http://howstheo.blogspot.com/2010/01/all-cats-are-autistic.html

    Shameless plug? Awesome.

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  24. Another amazing post! My twins are 20 months old and I can never get over the stupid comments that people make about them. Thanks for keeping my laughing and cherishing my journey through motherhood.

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  25. I needed this post so badly, Thank you! My 3 yr old son has delays (mostly speech) & my 2 yr old son is waiting on his diagnosis. Whatever you wanna call what he's got, who cares, he's awesome & I love the stuffens outta him! This is a terrible time for me, people don't understand what you're going through, they say stupid things all the time, some people don't believe you, some people think he just needs more discipline, some people just avoid you all together. It's good to feel like you're not alone & find laughter in all the things trying to defeat you, so thank you! I'll be checking out SRMM blog for sure! As Always, love you Kate & Lydia! And I am in a riot over that pic "Losing my mind one child at a time". Exactly!!! :P

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  26. Thank you for this much needed reality check - wow i wish some of you cool moms lived in my neighborhood! I sure hope I am never caught being suck to total f*tard. So many people SUCK don't they!

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  27. I recommended this to a friend whose son is going through the Aspergers diagnosis process and it made her both laugh and cry. I know that this is is light-hearted and fun, but I think that your blogs are so important too. You give a funny voice to what we are all feeling. And you provide a moment to sit down and have a belly laugh after an exhausting and often frustrating day with the little rugrats. I recommended you guys to my vast readership (heh):

    http://yoga-gal.blogspot.com/2010/07/yoga-gal-recommends-starkravingmadmommy.html

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  28. Awesome! My daughter has a raised birthmark on her head AND plays softball....guess how many questions a day she gets? (one last night, so this is raw for me)
    My rule, after living with these incessant insensitive comments (please don't think I think it is the same as yours, completely superficial comparatively) is this:
    I don't care if I see a kid with a bone sticking out of his arm walking down the street. I am pretty sure his parents know what is up and how to fix it and don't need me asking how it happened. THE END!!!!

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  29. I wish I could show this to some teachers/camp counselors I work with - I think far too often, when we haven't had experience working & interacting with students with abilities like your son, with Asperger Syndrome or Autism, we rely on what the Textbooks have "taught" us. We forget the child behind the different abilities, we focus too much on the definition, the expected capabilities & the expectancies of what they can accomplish on a day to day basis. We all know that kids have different abilities, but too often people forget, teachers included, that students with special needs have no different "different needs" than any other student.
    Adults asking stupid/insensitive questions bugs the schmidt out of me. It's never just a question, there is always some hidden judgment behind it, "I've noticed that my son's classmate Johnny does that thing with his hands. What's that about? Should I be concerned?" No. But your kid should be. Because Mommy/Daddy is kind of a douchebag, apparently!
    But I LOVE LOVE LOVE when kids ask questions about other kids, because they just.want.to.know. I love when my students ask why one kid needs things explained one more time, by himself, or why one student flaps their hands a lot, or why one student just doesn't like to play with everyone else at free time. It's never like when a parent asks, it's just purely inquisitive.

    I love your post. I'm sharing it with everyone I know.

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  30. I had to chuckle about the stares and comments over your son's size 6 diapers peeking out. My son is 2 1/2 and has been in size 6's for 9 months. People take one look at him and make assumptions- that he should be potty trained, that he should be speaking full sentences, possibly even reciting sonnets, and that there's "something wrong with him". For the record, he's just big for his age, but the way people make assumptions and comments about another person's child when it's not any of their business makes me want to square up.

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  31. You are not alone Stark. Raving. Mad. Mommy! My wonderful, autistic son was not completely potty trained until well after he was 4. Those douchebags need to butt the heck out. You are the only one who knows what is best for your child. The rest can go suck it! Potty training is always on the kids' time and NOT ours.

    @ the Bride: AMEN!

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  32. Stark. Raving. Mad. Mommy, you made ME flap my hands when I read your post because it is so flappin' fantastic.
    My four-year old is on the spectrum was rockin' his diapers until about a month ago so I hear ya, sista.
    I already read your blog (LOVE) so I was super excited to see your guest post here today. Frickin' awesome.
    That's it! I'm packing the car and coming down for a t-box jamboree.

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  33. *saying thru emotional hormonal tears* even yesser ... kate and lydia, thank you for introducing me to yet another woman who just GETS.IT. you have no idea how bad i needed this today.

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  34. I've got two kids. Both are on the spectrum. One on each end of the spectrum, really. The high-functioning one, whose appearance in public prompts comments from strangers (and sadly, family too) like, "if you just spank her, she'll stop that", is my first baby but the last one diagnosed. That gets me scowls from people in the ASD community. The baby is two years younger and is low-functioning; he's my baby, I should say, not A baby. He flaps and screams and squeals most of the day and garners looks of contempt for even appearing in public.
    So yeah, I needed this today too. THANKS!

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  35. You are the bomb-dot-com, stark raving mad sista!

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  36. My son is extreme failure to thrive. e eats 3x what a normal baby does and still doesn't grow. I love the people who ask me if I feed him. As a matter of fact I don't. I never realized that could be his problem. I haven't raised two other perfectly healthy children so I had no idea you needed to feed them. Thank you for saving me thousands in medical expenses.

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  37. awesome post. props to ya from a fellow food allergy mama!

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  38. Love, Love, LOVE you. Like, I wanna be your BFF. I have a just-turned-9-year-old on the spectrum, who was not potty-trained until he was 6, and even now has nighttime accidents. I've heard every comment in the book--everything from "Getting a bit big for diapers, isn't he?" to "What is he, a retard?" Stupid goat-faced f**kwits.

    I'm heading over to check out your blog, but I have to say that it's great to find another mommy who gets it.

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  39. I have a 14 year old daughter with PDD-NOS, I love that someone else finds their "special needs" kid awesome! Thanks, you help make my day great!

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  40. Apparently, I live under a rock- because this is the first time I've heard about either blog. Thanks for this post, it's exactly what a stressed out mother of 4 needed; after a very stressful day with her HFA son.

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  41. i have 3 kids with food allergies and i hate hearing, well what does he eat...dammit he eats food! Jeez! my oldest has sensory disorder and has insane meltdowns, and i have passed the point where i am patient with a-holes who tell me i am a bad parent, its not like he can help it! so glad to read a blog that i can identify with! bless you!

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  42. I just discovered SRMM and Rants from Mommyland today and I'm a fan for life. While I've been reading the archives, I've ignored my incessantly beeping dryer, burned the banana bread, and allowed the four-year-old to forage for his lunch. I have a six-year-old on the spectrum who also has sensory processing disorder and stereotyped movement disorder. He was reading (age 4) before he would poop on the toilet (age 6). So glad to find your links!

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  43. To all of my loving fellow moms of kiddos w/ Aspergers-

    My son was born at 27 1/2 weeks, and has Aspergers. Related? Prolly not. Prolly related more to our genetic(read:FUN wierd gene combos).

    Been where you are now. Teachers in pricey private school, sitting behind desk at teacher conference:"Do you think there is something 'different ' about your child?" DUH, yeah, ladies- hand flapping(btw: giving him the nickname "Birdy", is NOT helpful,/sensitive/shows your stupidity). Careful I'm close to full on wolverine mom-mode here.

    I will tell you: it gets better. Unfortunately, it's HS, where these kids get respect. Until then, be on the lookout for dummies. Especially dummies like schools which do not stop bullying immediately.

    My son is now a sophomore at a university their kids could not get into. Whoohoo! And, he is a joy to be with-funny, sweet kid. There are still issues, but the issues are not who he is.

    Hang in there and enjoy these kids. Twenty years ago, I was on my own. There is a great deal more known about Aspergers now.

    The best advice I got sixteen years ago was, that this is just a point on a scale of possible human "types". Normal? It's a setting on your dryer.

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  44. My favorite unhelpful comment came from family members who would say, "If I had a week with that kid, he'd know how to mind." As if they could cure ADHHHD in a week.

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  45. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

    My brother has Aspergers and ADHD and people always seem to assume all kinds of crap about him. He's so intelligent and well spoken -- just lacks social graces annnnd people can't seem to get enough of giving him crap or trash talking him. UGH.

    I wasn't sure if it was just my brother who is pays more attention when he is NOT looking at you -- nice to know he isn't the only one.

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  46. Being the parent of 2 kids on the spectrum (one classically autistic and one an aspie) and another kid where she just got wired wrong I understand completely where you are coming from. I now have a new role model. I get it and thank you so much for sharing it.

    Stupid blogger isn't linking back to my blog. I'm Jamie, aka Serial Mommy over at http://serialmommy.blogspot.com

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  47. Our youngest (nephew, legal guardianship,long story) is autistic. He's five and all his specialness (our family word, you can use it if you have a Special, otherwise NO) is mostly socially related and some gross motor. When he did his Kindergarden screening and they told me he was testing high intellectually, I cried. What job can you get where you can talk inappropriately loud and scream when there are any loud noises? My two BFF's have boys on the spectrum, so I knew we have a long road. I have, in the 8 months he's lived with us, alread dealt with the, "he doesn't look handicapped" stupidity and "why does he keep yelling?". I'm going to buy him a shirt that says, "Flapping=Happiness".

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  48. Just saw this post for the first time today, and can I just say... wow. My son is 9 and has Aspergers and I can TOTALLY relate to this line: "I am assuming that “high functioning” and “good” really mean “can kick George Lucas’ butt at Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga.”"
    The joy of having a child with Aspergers is that (for the most part) it's an invisible disability. They don't look any different - until the meltdown starts. And we get the sidelong looks from the other parents in the IKEA/Wal-Mart/Grocery Store. You know the ones I mean- the "that boy is FAR too big to be acting like a baby. He's a spoiled brat" looks.
    I saw a cartoon when he was about 5 that put it all in perspective. I almost wanted to print it out and make business cards out of it for when that happens. A picture of her and her son from the back, and printed on it "He's Autistic. What's your problem."
    It's tough, but the small things that other parents take for granted absolutely make my day :)

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  49. I JUST found this and I'm in LOVE! My 7 year old has Aspergers, Tourettes, and ADHD...and most of the sensory issues that go along with it. My almost 6 year old has ataxic cerebral palsy and a dairy allergy.

    I can relate to so much of this that I want to hug the lap top!

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