Thursday, April 16, 2009

Same Child, Different Day: The Unknown

Autism is an unknown. My good friend Heidi, whom I've mentioned before, has a great saying: "If you've seen one child with've seen --- one child with autism". No two are alike, yet its the differences that join them.

The chapter of Same Child, Different Day: One family's experiences during the first year after a child's autism diagnosis entitled "The Unknown" is similar to "Bedtime" in that it's a short by informative chapter. It talks about those differences and many more: like what causes our son's meltdowns, won't be what causes your child's. Yet, it's those meltdowns that make them so similar.

And the cause of autism is yet to be proven; which makes it difficult to find the right mix of therapies that will work for you and yours. But what works for you, though it will differ from us and the rest of the world, will be what works for you. It's as simple as that.

There's the connection: It's all these differences that bind us. And that's what this chapter tries to share.

If you'd like to read more of Same Child, Different Day, you can buy a copy (or several for your organization). Just click the PayPal link in the sidebar.

~ Jon

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"Same Child, Different Day" Goes Global

I'm very excited that Same Child, Different Day has reached around to the other side of the world. I was contacted recently by a group in South Africa asking about our little booklet. To our new-found friends, thanks for your support and welcome to Same Child, Different Day; if it helps even one family, then "Misson Accomplished". To all the rest who have supported us so far, I have to tell you that none of this would be possible without you!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Our New Web Page

Here's just a short note to ask you to please check out the new web page for Exceptional Parents of Exceptional Children (EPEC), or you can click here!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Jenny McCarthy...again!

Jenny McCarthy. Jenny McCarthy. Jenny McCarthy. I'm guilty to admit that if I keep hearing the name Jenny McCarthy every time a news or Hollywood outlet mentions autism, I'm going to have a melt-down of my own.

I promised when I started this blog, that it would only be about Same Child, Different Day and anything that promotes, supports or supplements it. And I swore to myself I this wouldn't be a rant blog. I've had bad luck with that in the past so let's just say, I'll try to make this the only one of it's kind.

Jenny McCarthy has a son with autism; granted and my prayers to her. And she's found what she believes is a treatment that seems to have cured him, in her eyes; hallelujah and praise God. If it's true, nothing aside from the same happening to my own child would make me happier. But, for all the reporting outlets to have dubbed her the end-all and know-all when it comes to autism is finally getting to me. She purports herself to be a self-appointed autism advocate for parents, but I don't recall asking her to be my self-righteous martyr.

First and foremost, there are countless fantastic families and individuals who have done as much if not more where the diagnosis has touched them. But you don't hear about them because, unlike Ms. McCarty, they don't have piles of cash, unlimited free time or the benefit of celebrity to thrust them into the limelight. On the contrary: many have given up jobs and homes, to move in with family and devote all their time and money into caring for their child, because their state, insurance company or community won't or simply can't help them otherwise.

Also, Ms. McCarty has found apparent success with her son's particular issues. However, as my good friend Heidi is fond of saying: if you've seen one kid with autism, you've seen one kid with autism. What works for Jenny McCarty didn't work in our specific situation, and it may or may not work for you. But the celebrity community-at-large has embraced Jenny, and have chosen to utilize her as a resource for all things autism. That's an unhealthy route to take, when you consider she does have a specific agenda she's pushing, and knowing that not all of those affected by autism share the same beliefs.

Yet, Jenny McCarthy is called upon time and time again to answer every question that could be asked regarding autism. I'm not claiming that any other person would be better versed on the subject, especially not a school-trained stranger not living the autism maze. But there are other families experiencing this condition, parents who don't hold a narrow-minded focus or agenda. It's the way of our society: popularity is the biggest factor we use in determining the most qualified authority. Just once I'd like to see the news media call on a regular family with a typical laundry list of daily tasks, a reasonable income and no axe to grind.

Anyhow, I said I wouldn't rant, and I don't want to get all irrational and thoughtless. And I surely don't want to invalidate the struggle I'm sure Jenny goes through on a daily basis. No matter the degree, autism is a challenging, life-changing diagnosis. I just wish society had chosen a more appropriate representative.

~ Jon

'Celebrate the Spectrum' Radio Interviews

April 1st marks the beginning of National Autism Awareness Month. Begun in the early 1970's by the Autism Society of America, the nation now recognizes April as a special opportunity for everyone to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community. Along with that, my own local support organization, Exceptional Parents of Exceptional Children (EPEC) is pleased to roll out 'Celebrate the Spectrum': a month-long series of events, activities and talks aimed at sharing our lives with our community.

To make folks aware of this month's activities, my EPEC co-chair (Heidi) and I set out on two radio interviews: one locally with our most popular radio station (Mix 98.1/WJJR) and a smaller, independent station in our queen city of Burlington (105.9/The Radiator). On separate occasions Heidi and I have both been on the program (The Next Frontier) with the host Anne Barbano, who also produced a wonderful video called "Living the Autism Maze" (check it out here).

To listen to our talk about 'Celebrate the Spectrum' and also how Heidi's National Guard duty affects her relationship with her son, please click on this link (interview). The page takes about a minute or so to load, so please be patient. Of course, I talk about Same Child, Different Day, too!

~ Jon