Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Same Child, Different Day and 'Celebrate the Spectrum'

This booklet has proven to be a worthy resource in more than one way. For example, I was given the offer to speak in front of an autism support group because of the info I present in Same Child, Different Day. However, that turned into co-chairing that same group; Rutland, Vermont's 'Exceptional Parents of Exceptional Children' (EPEC).

And EPEC was once a small, little-known group until I had the good fortune to meet Heidi Corcoran Wener. Once we put our heads together, we were able to quickly turn what was formerly a monthly support group into the area's leading source for autism information and personal knowledge. And April will kick off "Celebrate the Spectrum", a month-long series of activities and events for folks living with autism, their families and the community-at-large.

"Celebrate the Spectrum" itself began life as merely a book reading, and has now turned into almost two dozen activities, presentations, events and celebrations of everything autism. If we could make Rutland, VT the premier go-to location for autism events (I say I'd like to make Rutland the Sturgis of Autism), then what a response from a little 50-page booklet.

The reading of Same Child, Different Day will still be the signature event of "Celebrate the Spectrum", but how exciting that it has grown to be so much larger than itself! And all in a few short months.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bed Time (Dread Time)

The shortest chapter in the booklet Same Child, Different Day deals with bedtime; a time of the day we have affectionately referred to as dread-time. Though it's the shortest chapter, it deals with what for us has become the most frustrating part of the day.

The chapter offers some suggestions and insight, and shares an anecdote aptly titled Dread Time. I even talk about melatonin, a product that we have had success with in getting Nolan to sleep, though your results will most likely be different. We always recommend you speak with your medical professionals before undertaking any medicine or supplement. And just a note: the melatonin helps him get to sleep, but does not necessarily keep him that way!

~ Jon

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Now, About Those Lifestyle Changes

It's been some time since I've posted; I have been working on a few projects to promote Same Child, Different Day, and the Blog got overlooked. Back to it for you...

And for you, the next chapter in the booklet is titled "Now, About Those Lifestyle Changes"; it's no coincidence that this is the longest chapter in the guide. In this section I try to describe to you the scope of what we mean when we say "same child, different day". But I could only begin to give you a feeing for what you can come to expect. Your 'different days' will not mirror ours and to bequite honest, they won't mimic each other from one to the next.

As a matter of fact, the days of certainty and predictability will be replaced by unexpected adventure and learning. I feel confident when I say that I can think of no neuro-typical family who experiences or learns from their days quite as much as that of an autistic child. Just try to keep in mind that anything you are experiencing barely scratches the skin of what your youngster is going through.

In this chapter I also introduce the signature anecdote, simply titled "The Mall Incident". It vividly shares the often times embarrassing public meltdown, and provides a snapshot of what it's like to be on display for the world.

That's not to say you should shutter out the world, nor willingly hide behind walls. The stares and comments are aggravating, but you and your youngster with autism have the same restaurant, mall and hotel privilages as anyone not on the spectrum. Though convincing yourself of that will be harder that trying to enlighten strangers; even when their ignorance about autism may seem unbelievable.

Most frustrating and surprising though, can be the reaction toward your child from the very people who should be helping him. Even trained health professionals can be callous and insensitive. I share a story of one such encounter when we visited the office of Nolan's eye doctor. One staff member made us rethink a follow-up visit to that particular clinic.

To lessen the daily burden however, a short list of helpful tips is included in this section. Most of them are common sense and you may do many of them anyhow. But if not, (or even if you look at this list as a tiny reminder), we hope they'll prepare you a little better and make each day a little less different.