What is Normal?

Posted by: Admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: Autism 101

June
28

chopsticks eating-handsWhen we lived in New York City, we had friends from Bangladesh who invited us over for dinner. When we arrived at their apartment, we expected to be seated at a table and be served food. They both had PhDs from US universities and worked on Wall Street. It took us by surprise when we were seated on the floor in order to eat. We were given no silverware and were expected to eat with our hands. This was very unusual for us. I politely asked for a fork and knife, to which they smiled and obliged. To me, sitting on the floor eating with my hands is very unusual. However, to them, I was the peculiar one who requested a fork in order to eat. Neither one of our ways is the “right” way to eat. We simply learned different customs when we grew up, and to both of us, our unusual ways are “normal.”

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Fulfilled Wishes!

Posted by: Admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: Uncategorized

December
27

wishesAs the New Year approaches, I would like to extend a special wish to each and every one of our extended autism family. It is customary on New Year to wish you a year filled with health and happiness but this year I want to add another wish. May you have the strength to overcome your fears. Over the years, I have found that it is our fears that hold us back and stand in the way of our success and therefore our happiness.

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What is the Point?

Posted by: Admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: Autism 101, School

September
19

learning styleMany people have asked me what is the point of teaching Ethan or any child with special needs Algebra, Geometry, or Biology. They seem to imply that these kids will never amount to much and will never use these skill, so why teach them and especially why teach the nonverbal kids?

Ethan is allergic to casein (dairy) and gluten (wheat, barley etc.) When he eats dairy his behavior changes to the point where “there is nobody home” and his sleep pattern is disrupted to where he only sleeps 2-3 hours a night. He gets bloated and gassy and has extreme stomachaches and headaches and cycles between diarrhea and constipation.

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Unintended consequences.

Posted by: Admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: Life Skills, School

September
6

fridge fruit1A few years ago, we used to wake in the morning and find an empty and clean fridge and freezer. Ethan used to wake up in the middle of the night and take everything out of the fridge and freezer, put the food on the counter and make sure the fridge and freezer were clean. We struggled for months before we finally realized that the school had been teaching Ethan to clean the fridge at school and Ethan was just doing his homework.

Just last week another parent told me a similar story and that was the impetus for this article about the unintended consequences of our actions especially with children who have OCD tendencies.

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The Dark Side of Compliance.

Posted by: Admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: Autism 101, Life Skills

August
29

compliance and choiceFrom a very young age our kids with special needs are taught to be compliant and to listen to the “adult” as adults know better. Behavior therapy even encourages us to reinforce this behavior with a reward system so that our kids learn to be compliant and obedient. After all, the professional teach us parents that “it is a prerequisite to be compliant” before you can learn.

Many of our kids, especially the nonverbal ones, spend a minimum of 10 – 18 years being told what to do, how to behave and always listen to the adult teacher or a behavior therapist who is teaching them usually using behavioral techniques.

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Autistic Feng Shui – better known as OCD

Posted by: Admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: Autism 101

July
25

lemonsEvery few months Ethan’s OCD kicks in and he has to rearrange things according to the autistic feng shui 🙂 . There is no rhyme or reason but things that used to be OK now bother him and he has to move them so that there is “order” in his life. Sometimes it has been paintings on the wall, other times sofas and chairs. Over the years we have learned that if he is in the “OCD zone” where he is sweating and so worked up, there is no negotiating and the only thing that calms him down is to allow him to express his “inner designer” and move them. Once he has moved things, he quickly calms down and things go back to normal. The only time we will not allow him to do what he wants is if it is dangerous and then the only alternative is to remove him from the environment until he calms down.

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The Power of Choice!

Posted by: Admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: Autism 101, Medical

June
26

restraining no stimming webJust last night at 10:30pm, which is normally Ethan’s bed time, we decided that since it’s the summer holidays we would give him a choice of whether he wanted to continue listening to music or go to sleep. Ethan was quick to type that he wanted “music” and so we let him stay up. All of a sudden it seemed as if Ethan got his second wind and he was so excited and giggling with joy. He had used his power of choice and was celebrating. This is just one example of how we treat Ethan. He always has a choice.

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