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Saturday, 21 April 2012

Stop it.....that HURTS!

     "Sticks and stones can break my bones,
      But names can never harm me."

     I was taught that, almost religiously at junior school. It didn't matter what somebody said to you or about you, because it's just words. 

     Some decades later, I have a new twist on the rhyme:

     "Sticks and stones can break my bones,
       But words can really bloody hurt me."

     Through no fault of mine - at least as far as I can see - I am the victim of what I can only call a smear campaign. Now I thought that was the exclusive domain of politicians and the like, but no. I have joined the gang! I'm a fully paid-up member. I can see that you are impressed. No? Me neither.

     I do not regard myself as being a terribly good person in the same way that I do not regard myself as being a very bad person. I am just me. With the same feelings and emotions as everyone else.

     Yet, because I have a child who can sometimes talk to me as if I were filth, and who doesn't attend school because I feel it is better for her to be educated in an environment where she isn't filled with disabling anxiety, and who cannot comply with even the smallest demand sometimes; I have been ridiculed and accused of cruelty and even mildly threatened by someone who doesn't even know me!  

     How in the name of God does that work?!

     This person has made outrageous assumptions based on one encounter with Daisy and various conversations with another person with whom we are mutually acquainted.

     I am not about to "name and shame", not my style. Nor am I going to call this other person names, not because I don't want to, but because I have a bad back and find it impossible to stoop to such a pathetic level as theirs.

     Why do the ignorant people of this world feel that it is their right to try and destroy other people's lives? I have done this wait, I can't keep calling them "this person", we are in a flower bed....Hmm....irritating unwanted unwelcome plant.....thistle? nettle? BINDWEED!

     I have done Bindweed no harm that I know of. Yet it has systematically dripped poison into the Head Gardener's ear and spread malicious lies about me to all and sundry. People I might actually meet. People who now have Bindweed's opinion of me in their heads which may in time cause conflict as I am NOT the person Bindweed has made me out to be, which should be obvious within the first minutes of meeting me! Which shows Bindweed to be a trouble-maker and me just a normal everyday person. I'm not a saint, I'm not a demon from the pit either. I'm just me. I am not trying to be something I am not. I am just trying to be.

     If it weren't so damaging, I would be flattered. Bindweed's feelings towards me are so strong, they have to try and destroy everything I hold dear. That's a powerful emotion. Utterly negative and totally wrong, admittedly but still powerful.

     As any gardener knows, unwanted pests are not always easy to get rid of. Especially pests that don't know when to curl up and die.

     I am trying to get through to Daisy that it isn't OK to hurt people's feelings. Working with her to understand that the things that she says might have an effect on someone elses' feelings. In good and bad ways. Bad things you say hurt people. Inside. Where you can't see it. I do this because Daisy doesn't have the ability to "hold her tongue". Indeed, if I told her to do that, she would. Literally. I have to do this because Daisy is autistic. She doesn't have the understanding built in to her brain. It needs to be lodged there and she needs to be reminded that it's there. Things that NT people take for granted are not a "given" to those of us dealing with autism. 

     I have often been told that having an autistic child is "a gift from God". I have issues with the whole God thing, as people know, but if God is giving out gifts I would have to say that the real gift is being NT. Knowing when to speak and when to shut the hell up, understanding when someone is hurt or happy because it shows in their face and body language, realising that words hurt. THAT is a "gift from God", yet it is taken for granted and abused by every single one of us on a daily basis. Without a thought for the consequences. Or, worse, to deliberately cause a set of consequences that will damage someone else. Daisy simply doesn't understand consequences, if you put a scenario to her she usually cannot comprehend it. Even a simple one will cause puzzlement at best and deep distress at worst. But us NT people, those of us who belong to the "normal" club, we hold that power in our hands and hearts and we misuse it every day. We have the ability to "hold our tongue" and we do not. 

     Give me a black and white ultra literal autistic person any day.

     "Sticks and stones may break my bones,
       But words should be chosen wisely ."





Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Don't Do That.....Your Child Will Develop Autism!

    I have read 2 articles today regarding "How To Give Your Child Autism". Not only does the content irritate me intensely, but the reports contain no clear facts or real supportive evidence. 

     Article 1 is a "proper" report from (where else) America, which boldly claims that being obese and pregnant causes your child to develop autism.

     If that weren't bad enough; the second thing I read declared that losing weight during pregnancy, because of chronic morning sickness, causes your child to develop autism.


     I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

     Isn't it difficult enough being a parent to an autistic child without being admonished for either being too fat or too ill during pregnancy? The "too fat" I can understand - although not the autism link - but "too ill"???? How on earth did we get to that point???

     I am stunned by the tenuous connection to the morning sickness, it's not as if women elect to spend 9 months being horrendously ill. It's not a life choice. My own mother was desperately ill while pregnant with my older sister, this was at the time when doctors were prescribing Thalidomide to help ease the sickness. I actually have to stop and think about the very narrow escape that they both had. Life for them could have been so very, very different had she been prescribed it, and I probably would not be here as the youngest child of the 2 of us. Incidentally, both myself and my sister are NT.

     Personally, as I cannot speak for anyone else other than from an anecdotal perspective, I suffered not even a bout of the hiccups during my entire pregnancy. Yet my daughter was born with autism. 

     The "proper" report regarding obesity just fills me with horror, if I am to be honest. Several friends who have children approximately the same age as Daisy have all dismissed the article as, um, "nonsense" as none of them were horribly overweight or even overweight at all when pregnant with their autistic children. For myself, as someone who has struggled with weight issues for years, I can honestly say that I was certainly not overweight and most probably underweight throughout the whole 9 months. It took me 10 days to get back into the size 6 jeans I was wearing before pregnancy. Not something to be proud of, but it's true. Yet, my daughter was born with autism.

     Here in the UK back in the days before and after Daisy was born, there was a huge scandal brewing. Children were being vaccinated against Measles, Mumps and Rubella, all potentially horrible diseases which I whole-heartedly agree MUST be wiped out and vaccination IS the right way to do this. HOWEVER, I do not agree that a very small child should be subjected to the almost continuous rounds of vaccines containing Diptheria, polio, whooping cough, mumps, measles, rubella and any others that I have probably missed. How is such a tiny system supposed to cope with all these horrors? Surely there is a better way to keep these awful diseases (any one of which has the potential to kill you) away? Sadly, I do not know the answer to this, and I will always advocate vaccination, but does it really have to be in such a short time frame?

     Anyway, back to the scandal. A doctor here in the UK was claiming that the Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine (MMR) was causing autism and bowel problems in the children who had received the vaccine. This eventually gained massive news coverage to the point where the then Prime Minister and his wife were questioned as to whether they had had their baby son vaccinated with the MMR. They refused to answer, claiming that it was a personal matter and not for the public domain, which added more fuel to the fire as most people speculated that they hadn't vaccinated him. I made a measured decision to *protect* Daisy from autism and had her vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella individually and at a price as the NHS would not offer any other form of vaccine other than MMR. My GP was very cross with me, and tried to both bully and emotionally blackmail me into giving her the MMR. It failed. I wasn't prepared to *give* my baby autism. The doctor who started the scandal has since been utterly discredited. Yet, my daughter was born with autism.

     I cannot help but hope that this blame mentality will eventually stop. I deeply dislike the use of the word "develop" in the articles I read. It makes me  smile though when you consider that autism is a developmental disorder. How does a developmental disorder develop? Maybe the "doctors" should study that! 

     I can fully understand why a parent of a newly diagnosed child would want to blame something, but I can't help thinking of all those overweight mothers who believe that because they are fat their child will be autistic. Or those mothers (like my own) who spent 9 months feeling so ill and are now waiting for their child to "develop" autism. So very unfair.

     It is my personal belief that autism is caused by a gene. It just hasn't been identified fully yet. There is a reason that Asperger's runs in families after all......

     I do not believe that I was chosen by God to be the parent of an autistic child.

     I was not too fat when pregnant.

     I did not have chronic morning sickness.

     I do not believe that MMR vaccinations cause autism.

     My pregnancy was completely normal.

     Daisy's birth weight was fine.

     Labour with Daisy was uneventful and there was NO medicinal intervention or assistance.

     Yet, my daughter was born with autism.

     Daisy is autistic because she is genetically programmed to be. 


     Nobody wants their child to be programmed to be different, but they are. 

     People have GOT to stop blaming the nearest thing to hand and start channelling that energy into positive articles and research. Then, maybe society and the media will start to accept autistic people and the fact that they are different, and begin to build a future where autistic people are allowed to be autistic people and autism itself is not the bogeyman!