Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Autism Blog Hop

Annual Autism Awareness Giveaway Hop
April 11th to 17th

Hosted by: 





April is Autism Awareness Month.  To help spread the word about Autism we are hosting a giveaway hop.

There are one hundred blogs participating, and about seventy five are hosting giveaways.  You will find lots of variety among the prizes. 


I know the causes and treatment of autism can bring controversy.  However, the point of this blog hop is simply to make people more aware about the subject by sharing information and experiences.  


For More Information about Austism: 


My son was diagnosed with Asperger's when he was four (he is now twelve). Asperger's is a high functioning form of Autism. I knew at a very young age that he was different than other kids. He had quirks, and very strong likes and dislikes that went against the norm.


  • Rules, routines, boundaries, and logic kept him happy. (Still do). 
  • He wouldn't look you in the eye. (He is a lot better with this now). 
  • He would only speak to certain people. We never figured out why he chose those he did, and at the age of two when he spoke it was in full sentences, he could hold a full conversation. (He has a high IQ - tested in the 98th percentile, and is in the "smart kid" programs at school).  
  • He was uncomfortable with too much noise, or florescent lighting (it was too bright and it made noise - he can hear things others can't).
  • Food was, and will always be an issue with him. He only eats fourteen things at last count. Certain smells and textures make him unable to process most food as edible to him. 
  • His clothing needed to be just right, or he would have a bad day. (This has improved for the most part). He used to only wear cotton twill with elastic waist bands. It took us ten years to get him in denim, good thing because cotton twill elastic bands don't translate into larger sizes. But now he only wears denim jeans. 
  • My son will never be one for small talk, especially if he doesn't like you. Why should he? It makes perfect sense to him. He doesn't understand formalities, some body language, or facial expressions. And figure of speech is lost on him. He's getting there though. He might not get it, but he understands that's how other people operate.  
  • He's had a full body stim since he could walk. I think he will always stim. He pretty much holds it together during the day and stims in the evenings. I pray for understanding friends and girlfriends along the way that might encounter this different behavior, and let him be who he is.

Before he was diagnosed people would judge, and people would call me overprotective, but I knew my son, and I knew what he needed. I knew deep in my bones, that I had to be an advocate for him, and I didn't care what anyone had to say about it. Doctors would tell me I needed to put my foot down as the parent and force him to eat what we ate. I refused, I could tell there was something more to it than a stubborn child testing me. He would power puke if he ate anything that he wasn't prepared for, or if he grabbed and ate certain foods by mistake. His brain wouldn't allow it for whatever reason. 

After he was diagnosed we could never get any kind of help or assistance from: the school, the city, the state, or the military (my husband was active duty at the time). We were told he was too old, he needed to be diagnosed sooner, and that he was far too smart for help anyway. A child who earns A's & B's in all the major subjects with no attitude problems is fine. Yet he struggled (and still does) with reading, writing and spelling. Just because it wasn't a major subject it didn't matter. My argument? Don't you need all of those to be successful in the other subjects, or how about just in everyday life? No one helped. The school turned down a couple of our requests for an IEP or a 504 plan. 

Not knowing what else to do we sat our son down at the young age of five, and explained to him that he was different, and why, and what it meant. We also explained that we were unable to get him any assistance. As we spoke to him I saw what looked like relief flood his face. He was probably thinking; "Thank God there is a reason why I am the way I am". From that point on I noticed a difference in him, it was almost immediate. I could see him try to deal with things on his own. It was fascinating to watch. 

No two people are the same. My son, the Aspie, for all intents and purposes looks like a "normal" child. Herein lies our problem, when he is having a bad day, shutting down, or having a meltdown, he does it quietly. More internally. He won't speak. I know this, but the average person doesn't, because he appears "normal" to the outsider. I still hear stuff from people about his picky eating, how I should force him to eat what I eat. I won't, because that's just plain mean. It obviously causes him a great deal to be around certain food, why would I force it on him? It's inconvenient and annoying at meal time. But he is old enough now, if he doesn't like what we eat, he can pop chicken nuggets in the toaster oven. Oh, but they have to be Tyson brand chicken nuggets!




My current work in progress is the next installment of my novel, The Keeper, it's told from the view point of a quirky teenage boy. I don't label him as having any specific type of PDD (persuasive developmental disorder), but it's implied. I was going to use my son as a model for him, but decided against it. I made the character's PDD vague so maybe others could relate, or learn that some people are different for a reason, and we should treat them the same as the next guy.


For this blog hop I would like to offer a giveaway to one lucky winner- The prize package consists of ONE autism pin (show below), ONE autism bookmark (shown below), and ONE digital copy of my novel, The Keeper. Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.






The morning of her sixteenth birthday, Billie feels blessed despite the reoccurring nightmare that wakes her. Loving parents, a caring boyfriend, and great friends surround her until an heirloom necklace throws her into a world she never imagined.


“Gifted” with supernatural powers and an unexpected destiny as the Keeper, Billie and a mysterious boy from her past must work together to find answers. But, as they begin to discover feelings for one another, he disappears leaving her to fight evil alone. Her life spirals out of control. She breaks up with her boyfriend, Tony, and alienates her best friends Arianna and Jocelyn to protect them from the truth.


As dark forces pursue her, Billie longs to run away from it all, yet a need to do what’s right compels her to face the future as the keeper of more than her own fortune.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway






22 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing - He is very lucky to have you as his advocate...

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  2. I am a mother of a son on the spectrum. And I know trying to look into their futures can be stressful. Expecially with an new statistic that 90% of adults on the spectrum are unemployed! We need awareness now more than ever because these amazing kids have so much to offer. There is a poem by G.H. Groberg, "The Race" that I can't help but be reminded of for us moms, and our awesome kids! Google it, it's inspiring.

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  3. I too, am the mother of an (older) aspie. I can say, the texture thing with food does get better. Fruit in yogurt used to drive my son crazy when he was younger, now he loves it.
    Honestly, I remember how stressful school was. Now,my son is done with that, there are other worries (on my part) about his future. I really wish there were more support services out there for him.

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    1. Hi, Debbie! You are the giveaway winner! Congrats! I will be in touch via email. And I sure do hope the texture thing smooths out with my son!

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  4. Just because you have this disease doesn't make you any less of a person than someone else without the disease.

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  5. My son has Aspergers and we went through and is still going through some of those things and he is 20. He still only eats certain things. We let him eat what he wants and he lets us know if he wants something in particular made. The last year or so turkey meatloaf is one of his favorites. He never would eat it before.

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    1. I hope my son branches out with his food. Nuggets and PB&J are his major meals right now. =)

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  6. That everyone is perfectly beautiful the way they are :D

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  7. To just be you. He is very lucky to have you. My son has DiGeorge. I don't know a lot about autism, but I know a lot about DiGeorge. You are doing a great job! Sent a friend request via GR.
    Kendra

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    1. Thanks! I am not familiar with DiGeorge. I will have to google it now though =) See you on GR!

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  8. In the words of my grandma, "Keep lookin' up!"

    -Rachael Henzman

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  9. My advice to my your son is the same I give my own, Just be who you are.

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  10. Be proud of who you are. You could almost be talking about my grandson. He was diagnosed with Aspergers about when he was 7. He is a brilliant boy but he does not do well with reading comprehension. He can read a paragraph about Timmy and Judy going fishing with grandpa and after he's read it you can ask him what it was about and he will always say he doesn't know. But, he can read a paragraph about PBS showing a program on all the active volcanoes around the world and what they are called and where they are and he can tell you all about it. When he goes to the library he usually always picks out science books, he loves books with facts and data, not stories.

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    1. Ah, yes. The narrow range of interests...I could blog on that alone. My son was very into NASCAR for most of his life, then he moved on to Pokemon, and now Football. He always has a subject he obsesses over. Aspie's are truly special people, and they bring so much to our lives!

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  11. My son will be 18 next month, and was diagnosed with AS at the age of 10. We were able to get him services through the school district by hiring educational advocates to challenge the special ed department. It was the best $900 I ever spent. If any of you can possibly afford to hire one, there would be a greater chance that your child would receive services. In CA, there is a little-known state agency called the "Regional Center" that assists people with Autism. Aspies don't always qualify because they are so high functioning, but it's worth looking into -- particularly if your child is younger than 18. Also, there is a wonderful research institute in Oceanside, CA called TERI, which specifically helps people with Autism. They even have schools available for Autistic people on all points of the spectrum. We were able to get our school district to pay for this non-public school for our son because they did not have a program that met his needs. Although I doubt any of you moms live in this neck of the woods, I would certainly look into contacting TERI to see if they know of any organizations or programs available wherever you live. So often resources for our kids (and adults) are not widely known about.

    And, Natalie, you sound like a very wise mom to not force your son into situations that are painful for him.

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  12. We found an educational advocate for our third try at the school, and she broke her foot that day and couldn't make it. We were out of town when it was scheduled so none of us showed up for the meeting and they marked us as "no shows/no call". It looked really bad.

    Thank you for posting AntKathy! :)

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