Autistic Parents & Parenting
This website describes my journeys: my faith, the births of my three children, early motherhood, my various health problems and my recent diagnosis with Asperger's Syndrome (a form of autism). It is not professional advice, but I love to write and I love to share what I have learned.
We started talking to him as a baby. I remember when he didn't even understand language, I would rock him and sing him these long songs about my life, about his life, about the sad things of the day. I sang about his small beginnings and big differences made small. Our conversations have merely deepened and expanded. There isn't anything I have yet to reveal to him in the usual sense of the term. I could be wrong. I'm sure he'll let me know...
Autiemom Speaks Out was created as place to put my essays on autism, parenting, and "parenting while autistic." As a self-diagnosed Aspie raising two autistic children and one neurotypical child, my focus these days has been on the peculiar challenges and joys of autistic parents raising autistic children. There are wonderful autism self-advocacy sites with a deemphasis on parenting, and there are thousands of curbie sites for parents, but there is next to nothing out there specifically for autieparents, from what I have found. I guess you could call me an autiemom on a mission.
A mailing list for parents of autistic children who are themselves on the autistic spectrum, as well as neurologically typical parents who are equally devoted to appreciating and respect their autistic child's uniqueness. This group will not promote ABA, although there may be aspects of ABA that have helped some autistic children. We will not promote drugging children into compliance. We will not discuss ways of curing our autistic children to make them "indistiguishable." Strange quack remedies will not be discussed seriously here; anti-vaccination speeches will not be tolerated. Discussion of nutrition and health, as well as education and related therapies, is welcome.
The study reported here tests a prediction that autism should occur more often in families of individuals whose occupation requires advanced folk physics but with no requirement of good folk psychology. Physics, engineering, and mathematics are paradigm examples of such occupations. Students in Cambridge University, studying one of these 3 subjects, were screened for cases of autism in their families. Relative to a control group of students studying literature, autism occurred significantly more often in families of students in the fields of physics, engineering, and mathematics.
Australia-based information resource
I am an autistic person whose father is autistic, who has considered becoming a parent myself, and who has been dismayed at how little positive information there is out there about autistic parenthood in general and at the way people like my father have been portrayed. Autism does not mean being unloving and selfish and inflicting lifelong harm on those around you. I dedicate this site to my father and those like him, neither refrigerators nor monsters.
The 14 adults described above have a total of 54 children. Twenty-seven (5O %) are autistic, 23 are nonautistic full siblings, and four are nonautistic half-siblings. Each of the 27 autistic children had been completely evaluated as part of the UCLA Registry for Genetic Studies in Autism or the UCLA-University of Utah Epidemiologic Survey of Utah by previously published methods. They differ as a group in some interesting respects from the total Utah Epidemiologic Survey population. Their mean IQ (64) is higher than the mean IQ (43) of the 26 subjects (11%) in the Utah survey who had rare diseases known to affect the CNS. Also, their mean IQ is higher than the mean IQ (58) of the entire 233 patients in the survey. Finally, the sex ratio of these 27 subjects (1.89) is lower than the ratio of 3.75 foEd in the entire Utah sample. Diagnosing possible autism in adults, as well as in children, has implications for changing research strategies. Improving ascertainment may strengthen the hypothesis that there is a familial form of autism. Genetic counseling, which is now limited to telling parents that the sibling risk estimate is 2% to 4% and that the overall occurrence risk estimate is 8%, will also most likely be increased.
Most of this site deals with Asperger Syndrome, generally considered to be on the autism spectrum. This is because I would not be me were I not autistic; to come to know me, one must come to know autism.
American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Volume XXVII, pp. 715-724 (1957)
Sadly the original author of this site died on 12th July 1997 aged 63. I am maintaining this site as a tribute to a remarkable woman, who lived life to the full and left this world with so much still to do. Mary's sudden and unexpected death, after a short illnesss, was received with shock and astonishment by all who new her, it seemed as if she had always been there and that she would go on for ever championing the rights of disabled people, and helping them in many ways. Few people realised how disabled Mary was, least of all Mary herself.
Minna wrote that she is a 36 yr old single mother, with high functioning autism. mother to Mika, (12 yr old boy "labelled" with aspergers syndrome, ADHD, SID, Dyslexia) and Michelle (9 1/2 yr old girl "labelled" with Aspergers Syndrome, SID), rain-dog the husky, and Jasper the Samoyed. On October 1, 2002, she described their early unschooling, and below is a report after their first year, so the children might have had birthdays since the first bio note above.
I have not always or at all times been close to my father, but now he and I talk a fair bit. We have a lot in common. He does not have the expectations of me that most non-autistic parents have of their autistic children, or for that matter their non-autistic children. And neither of us expects the other to be something they're not. He affectionately refers to me as his little hermit, or a chip off the old blockhead. Call it autism or anything else; this is just who we are and I like it. Of all the members of my family, he is the one who seems to most intuitively understand where I'm coming from. This wouldn't be there if he were someone else. So I'd like to thank him for being who he is -- mountain man, autistic, and all.
My Mom was different from other moms. Like most parents, she did what she thought was best for us. But because things were harder for her, she went out of her way to do things that a normal parent wouldn't have considered possible at that time. She would take us to the beach or some other activity just about every day that we were free from school, just to keep us busy. I have so many wonderful memories of recreational activities my Mom got us involved in, because it was easier for her than just interacting with us at home. Beaches, Boonie Stomps, T-ball and Girl Scouts, my Mom was the original Soccer Mom, a generation before the term had been invented. For any autistic parents out there, this is a great strategy to spend time with your children without actually having to talk to them!
My mum was a great mum, despite not cooking and driving. She kept a really neat house, loved us uncontionally but never showed affection outwardly. We sensed that she loved us by what she did for us not what she said. She cared for us and our needs implicitly. If any kids, teachers or instutions dared to threaten us, mum went in like a terrier. I remember us getting out of trouble so she didn't have to come to school. It was always the same. No excuses, abuse us and she was abused and that wasn't on. She defended her kids and that was that. It was over the top and then over. Same rigmarole despite the issue.
The present results, and these anecdotes, suggest that autism and AS may constitute a particular cognitive style, rather than an impairment... The style seems to involve deficits in mindreading in the presence of superior processing of local information.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my thankfulness to my mother, who did not seek intervention for my autistic traits. All in all, my mother did a great job of raising a strange kid. Before I knew I was autistic, I used to think she did a rather mediocre job, but as I have learned about the things parents do to their autistic children, I have become very appreciative that my mother accepted my weirdness and did not try to make me into a normal child
The more our kids make sense to all of us, not just to those of us who live the life ourselves, the better we can advocate for them. The better we can educate the larger society and work to make it less inflexible about the social, sensory-environmental, and economic conventions that, often as much as anything intrinsic to our kids, render them disabled, the better the quality of life we can help our kids achieve, both now and once they are on their own as adults without us.
Although I don't feel I live in 'my own little world' like the autistic stereotype, I do often feel like my experience and perception are a world apart from the usual.
Opinions expressed by the authors of pages to which this site links do not necessarily reflect this site developer's opinions.
In other words: Sublime or ridiculous? You decide!
Copyright © 2004-2008, Kathleen Seidel. All rights reserved.
This page was last updated on 5 November 2008, 3:48 pm
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