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.


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