We have always tried to make the Christmas season a special one for our son, Angel. Last year, his fascination with Christmas trees and Christmas lights began. However, trees and lights are where his fascination with Christmas ends. As a parent of an only child who is on the autism spectrum, I have conditioned myself to understand that our celebrations will be different. … [Read more...]
What Everybody Ought to Know About Wandering and Autism
Whenever an individual with autism wanders and goes missing, the autism community rallies around that family. We do what we can to get the word out and we do it with an urgency that screams, I KNOW WHAT IS AT STAKE! Despite your support for families affected by wandering, it will not hit home for you until it happens to you. When you have shared the flyers and sent out your … [Read more...]
Can We Get Rid of Autism?
Would you take autism away from your child if you could? This question has been circulating online and every time I read it, I have the same response: Why ask about something that can’t be done? Last time I checked, there was no cure for autism. I do not have the ability to take autism away from my six-year old son, Angel, so asking me this question is pointless and not very … [Read more...]
Leveling the Playing Field for Our Children with Autism
Parenting a child with autism is not easy. We struggle daily to level the playing field for our children. Honestly, we have no choice but to stay in fight mode and this can be overwhelming. The moment you let your guard down, something could slip through the cracks. So I worry. I worry because I know that there are callous people in this world. They do not give two hoots … [Read more...]
Autism: Moving Beyond Awareness to Acceptance
I have mixed feelings about autism awareness month. I am glad for the attention that autism gets during April but by the time May comes there is a cloud of neglect that is cast over the autism community. What society needs to realize is that for families of individuals with autism, we are aware of it every single day. We are aware of the challenges that come with raising a … [Read more...]
7 Things Every Parent Needs to Know About Autism
You’ve probably heard this statistic by now: 1 in 68 children have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released this statistic from their most recent report just in time for April, which is Autism Awareness Month. The report, Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years made headlines across the country. The report … [Read more...]
How I’m Raising the Bar for My Autistic Son
I have a confession to make. I have been holding my son back. Angel will be seven this year and there is so much that he can do. He can do more than I thought, more than I imagined. Of course, I did not realize this before because I never gave him a chance. I told myself he is autistic. He needs me. I need to do these things for him. Then, I would get a note from school about … [Read more...]
What’s the Big Deal about Calling Someone Retarded? I’ll Tell You..
Many of us grew up hearing the saying: Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. You know what? Words can hurt. Hurtful words can chip away at a person’s self esteem until there is nothing left. Retarded is a word that marginalizes the special needs community. Retarded is a word that cuts and it cuts deep. So what is the big deal? Why do we need a … [Read more...]
Teaching Your Children How to Interact with Autistic Children
Have you ever seen a group of children playing tag on the playground and noticed one child repeatedly going down the slide? He probably wanted to play with the other children but he did not know how. If this sounds familiar, you may have just seen a child who is on the autism spectrum. Autism has been called an invisible disability and it is. When you look at my son, you will … [Read more...]
Mourning Avonte Oquendo: We Will Never Forget You!
The news of Avonte Oquendo’s death came in a text from a dear friend on a cold Tuesday afternoon. “It was Avonte,” she wrote. My body went numb. No! It could not be. Avonte’s parents sent him to school on October 4th 2013 and they expected him to come home to them. They trusted the Riverview School and the New York City Department of Education to look after him. They put … [Read more...]
Autism Awareness in 2014: 10 Facts You Need to Know about Autism
I ran into my six-year old son's former daycare provider the other day. During our conversation, I told her that he had been diagnosed with autism. As soon as she heard the word autism her facial expression changed. It conveyed shock and sadness. Then she held on to both of my hands and said, “I am so sorry.” Her expression told me that she truly believed that an autism … [Read more...]
Autism Is Not Contagious!
Picture this: I am standing on the train platform with my six-year old son, Angel. It is cold. Too cold for November. Angel is munching on Doritos as we wait for the next train. All of a sudden, he turns around and looks at one of the ads on the platform wall and yells: “BLUE"! The lady sitting next to him jumps. She is startled. I understand. But, what she does next, I do not … [Read more...]