buy tramadol online

Sign Up Now

Join the Autism Community!

Forgot Your Password?

A new password will be created
and sent to your e-mail address.

Tuesday 21 Nov 2017

Advocacy: A Lifelong Activity – by Susan

My husband and I are parents of two handsome sons. Our oldest son Briki is almost 18. He has Asperger’s syndrome along with other disorders.He has passed all of his required graduation exams, which are very difficult, for high school. He has passed his learner’s permit exam to drive. He has chosen Latin to study for his high school diploma language requirement. Our youngest son Akim is 13. He has autistic disorder and other disorders. He is nonverbal, but he communicates well using his body and face language. He has been using the Dynavox M3 for over a year. His brother was his voice. We just bought him the Dynavox V. He is so proud and happy to have his own voice now that is distinct from his brother’s and Dad’s voices. He is learning to make and use sentences. He has turned into a teenager staying up late and blasting his music in the middle of the night!

All of this is a result of our hard work as parents and advocating for our children. This is where we are after many years of growing up together. We have endured tantrums, aggression, being treated badly by others in the community, our oldest son being teased and bullied in school, and many other sad experiences. We still worry for our children though because of my experiences. I grew up knowing that I was different. I was extremely shy. My peers treated me horribly. My life growing up was difficult and I still do not talk about it. I became a nurse and I had a successful nursing career in geriatrics. Nursing is a task oriented profession and interactions with others tend to become a rote script. After my children were diagnosed, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD at the age of 43.

Two years later, I went into a different area of nursing working in a collaborative school for children with disabilities. This environment turned out to be a terrible place for someone like myself to work. People were not always professional in their behavior. They would make derogatory comments about parents in front of their children or they would talk about students in front of the students. My own children attended school there so I would be uncomfortable and anxious with this behavior. In my mind, if you cannot facilitate communication for an individual who can express herself to enable her to feel more comfortable in the workplace then how can you do that for individuals with more severe communication issues.

Personally, I do not respond well to “neurotypical” people who do not follow the social rules and behave in an unpredictable manner when I am trying to express my concerns. I do not cope well with people being confrontational and aggressive. I am easily overwhelmed. I ended up quitting and my children now attend new schools. Because of this experience, we worry over how our children will be treated as adults when we are no longer there to advocate for them. The public and professional communities need to remember that autism does not end at the age of 22. We all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity throughout our lives.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.