Saturday, March 11, 2006

A good week, and a good quote

Despite the girls being sick this week, I'd have to chalk this up as a good week for homeschooling! We didn't leave the house until Friday, except to take Reece to the doctor, and we got everyone done that I had planned for us (funny how often those two traits coincide... staying home and getting all our work done! lol). I also got some general planning done for the rest of the year, and it's nice to see everything coming down to the home stretch! I can't even tell you how rewarding it is to actually be finishing things this year that we started! :)

Now, for the good quote! I am reading a really excellent book I picked up last weekend called "Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies, and Hope That Can Transform a Child's Life" by Lynn Keogel and Claire LaZebnik. Lynn Keogel is an expert in the field of autism, and was featured on one of those nanny shows (I'm not sure which one... I only watched it b/c it was about autism!). Claire LaZebnik is a mother of a boy with autism who is now 12 I believe.

I came across this quote last night and it really summed up a good deal of the confusion and frustration I feel sometimes:

"That's the thing about having a kid with autism - you never know when a bad habit is a normal part of growing up or something that has to be clamped down upon immediately. Okay, maybe that's not entirely accurate- I mean, some bad behaviors you do know for sure about, like head-banging or biting- but the weird little things, like making hand puppets in the air, lining shoes up in neat, obsessive rows, or sucking in your lower lip obsessively (all of which Andrew did) fall into the Will-someone-please-tell-us-if-this-is-okay-or-not? category.

When a typically developing kid picks her nose, you figure it's normal - you try to get her not to do it in front of other people, of course, but you don't read too much into it. When a kid with autism does it, it's self-stim. Or is it? Maybe you should cut her some slack. Then again, maybe you shouldn't. Everyone has bad habits now and then... but is THIS a bad habit or a symptom of the autism?

It's enough to make you crazy."

Oh my gosh! It's like she's reading my mind or something! That quote is from the mom of the boy with autism (Andrew). Reading quotes like that are so reassuring that at least part of what I'm experiencing is fairly typical! That the wonders and the doubts and the confusion might just be par for the course. I can handle that!

Now Lynn Keogel does go on to try to help clarify the differences between the stims to worry about and the other habits, and how to help decrease the negative effect of the stims. This is one of the few books I've found on autism that really give a number of clear suggestions for doing these things! I also like that she's divided the book into chapters based upon the behaviors in question, so I could skip to the first chapters that were most important to me for Austin (meltdowns and stims) and Reece (language and stims).

Anyway, I just thought I'd share what I've been reading! This is a truly excellent book!

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