Monday, April 13, 2009

Autism Awareness

We've run into a new conflict with James. I have been very Autism "Aware" since Kristin and Ryan came into my life and have had it in my life before them. I started to absorb and learn. Why? I don't know why? My love for learning new things, I read things to understand them instead of turning the ignorant cheek. Slowly more children with PDD, High Functioning Autism or Aspbergers, and even one friend of my sisters who has an 8 year old son who was diagnosed at the age of three with Aspbergers but as he got older he started to develop more severe symptoms that was more signs of classic Autism. I remember one event where Chase was so lost and I felt as frustrated and lost as he did and very helpless. Most of the children in my life with ASD have been boys but one was a girl and she grew up next door to me. Those of you who've known me for the life of Bella's mommy Chat remember the issues I had with my first husband. Have to say I have never seen the light in his eyes like when he was a teacher for Aspbergers. These are the memories I have about Aspbergers.. When James my step son came into my life I was told he MAY have BiPolar. His mother said more so than his father. Soon after Rick and I got married James stopped taking his medications for Bipolar. Yet no symptoms of bipolar persisted through some HELLISH times dealing with two deployments between Rick and Rick's oldest son Alex. James had more break downs than bipolar symptoms. Which made me suspect Aspbergers... I asked his parents about his development and neither parent remembered anything significant. I know James didn't want to be branded with Bipolar but his biological mom never stopped with this and often brought it up. Toward the end of the deployment I knew that Rick and I needed help for James. 21 years old with little to no life skills. What he did know I helped teach him. I taught him how to cope. I pressured him into a job. So I decided all my hard work wasn't going to waste. I was going to sign up for Family therapy. So when Rick rejoined the family. I would already have programs in place to help if there was any PTSD symptoms, and as normal most Soldiers have issues rejoining a family and finding their place in the things that had developed since they were gone. I KNEW this would be a major problem for Rick. Within three appointments the therapist already suspected James of Aspbergers and brought it up to me. I jumped right on her band wagon. It took another session to let James know we were branding him with a new diagnosis and what the new diagnosis meant. Unfortunately James still doesn't like to be branded even with what I see as a BETTER diagnosis. He thinks having Aspbergers means your slower or dumber. I have tried to take this idea out of his head but he won't even talk about Aspbergers outside of therapy. April is Aspberger Awareness month and a lot of people have approached me lately about what Autism is. They are surprised as I am about the lack of knowledge with Autism that they have. At the end of March I was on the search for autism Awareness graphics for actually my graphics site and to make things for Myspace. Rick has to write a paper for school about something that effects him. Medical was one of his options. Since he has a lack of knowledge as do many people around me have about James condition. This really upsets James since he doesn't want to know about autism. He doesn't want to cope with Aspbergers. He doesn't want anything to do with it. This is a foreign concept to me. With every surgery I have had which is ALOT, with every diagnosis I have had I submerge myself in research and learn about it so its not foreign thing someone just put on my back. Its a way to see if the diagnosis really does match me, if the treatment is fitting or if there is something I can do differently, etc. I have done this since I was 12 years old. Can you learn to cope and help yourself with this condition without wanting to deal with the fact you have it in the first place? I haven't found a abundance of knowledge about support for Parents or those who are adults living with Aspbergers. Rick found this awesome workbook I think the worksheets can help James and us out a lot if he was willing.
I am proud of Rick for his willingness to learn and help James cope with his condition. He admittedly wants to learn more especially since we are faced with the chances of the new baby having Autism too.

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