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Posts Tagged ‘speech’

Will is on the couch fidgeting in his peripheral vision with a piece of frayed green yarn, artfully and very deliberately coated in masking tape by my hands under Will’s nonverbal instructions. Julia is watching Madagascar 3 for the thousandth time, and Marty, my soon-to-be-ex-husband and the kids’ loving dad, is in the kitchen blessedly making coffee. And me? I am at my desk, thinking about the article that ran about my little family in this morning’s Independent Florida Alligator.

Will was around 3 in this picture, but it’s one of my all-time favorites.

The reporter, Colleen Wright, a UF sophomore, showed up last week at my garage sale, having heard that my goal was to raise money so I can move to California where, while I don’t expect to arrive into some kind of Oz filled with free speech therapy centers on every corner, there are most definitely a lot more options and available, affordable, accessible services for a child like my son, Will, who, at 7 and a half, is nonverbal (we always say “preverbal,” because we remain hopeful) and has autism, OCD, sensory integration dysfunction, and a host of chronic health challenges. Wright questioned me for an hour that morning, respectful and inquisitive, but clearly with no background in autism.  (more…)

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The first time I intentionally told a complete and total lie, I was four. My sister and I were playing in our brown-shag-carpeted family room in upstate New York, and we decided it would be a really, really good idea to play with the broom, which probably wasn’t the worst idea except that we were playing right near our mom’s Tiffany-style glass lampshade. Long story short, the incident ended with my mom running into the room and scanning the scene: broken lamp, shattered glass in the shag, a clammed up six-year-old, and one petrified four-year-old holding a broom twice her height behind her back. No blood at least, but still, not exactly what a mom wants to see.

To my mom’s credit, when we pointed our fingers at one another, claimed complete innocence, and disavowed any knowledge of either the lamp (which we’d just blamed one another for breaking) or the broom (which I was still holding), she didn’t laugh or scream, both of which would have been appropriate, even simultaneously. No, my mom was quiet at that moment, and that scared the daylights out of me. We knew that she knew. And she knew that we knew. And that guilt was enough to keep me from lying again for a long, long time.

These days, though, I seem to lie a lot, mostly by omission, and primarily because most people don’t really want to hear the honest answers to their daily questions. Autism doesn’t make for polite conversation. Plus, some days I’m so seriously jealous of these women and their normal lives and typical kids that I kind of hate them a little for complaining about the things I would give my left arm for.

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This week, I began guest blogging for Momnificent!, an outstanding site and business run by Family Success Specialist and Life Coach, Lori Radun. I’ll be posting about life as a special-needs parent on Lori’s blog once a month for now, and I’ll share links here.

Here’s an excerpt of this week’s post. Follow the link at the end to read the rest at Momnificent.com!

I Am Alice

When my son Will, my baby, my first-born, was diagnosed with autism at 22 months, I felt as if the ground had opened up and swallowed us whole. I felt we’d been shoved, head first, into this bottomless abyss and were in a slow-motion free fall that might never end. And then, on the other hand, I wasn’t sure I wanted it to end, wasn’t sure I wanted to know where rock bottom actually was, because surely this moment, this panic, this grief had to be rock bottom. Surely it couldn’t be worse. But in the days and weeks that followed, I found that it could be worse, and still we were in a free fall.

In those first months, pregnant with my daughter and reeling from Will’s diagnosis, floating from doctor’s offices to therapy centers to support groups, I watched the world move around me like Alice flying downward through the rabbit hole. How did we get here? Where IS here? How did I not know this whole alternate existence was right beneath my feet? When and how will we go home? Only Alice wasn’t 8 months pregnant with a two-year-old on her hip and she careened downward to Wonderland. And there was no chance I was going to suddenly wake up.

Eventually, and I really couldn’t tell you how long it took, I stopped falling. I started to find level ground. I gained my footing in this strange new landscape that had suddenly become my life. I realized I wasn’t actually in an abyss, hadn’t fallen down the rabbit hole, and actually could wake up from this nightmare to some degree. True, I couldn’t change the fact that Will has autism, but I could change one thing: how I responded to the situation.

READ THE REST AT MOMNIFICENT.COM!

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