A Father Was Getting Prepared To Defend His Autistic Son, Until The Man In Front Spoke Up

Kindness Blog

Do you know the value of kindness?

Here’s a story of how one Dad saw, and felt, the value of a few well chosen, gentle words of support.

He Was Getting Prepared To Defend His Autistic Son, Until The Man In Front Said This.

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What have you learnt as a child?


If a child lives with criticism
He learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility
He learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule
He learns to be shy.

If a child lives with tolerance
He learns to be patient.

If a child lives with encouragement
He learns confidence.

If a child lives with praise
He learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness
He learns justice.

If a child lives with security
He learns faith.

If a child lives with approval
He learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship
He learns to find love in the world.. !

What have you learnt as a child?


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The Life of a Caregiver

Unless you are a caregiver you can not comprehend the resolve, the will, the energy and time and patience needed to provide quality care. You’re concentrating on the person requiring and wishing to be cared for and rarely consider yourself. When you do it is then that you may realise how your own health is deteriorating and who then cares for you.

Life is strange, isn’t it?

I have to wonder sometimes at its fairness – how some of us get to stay relatively healthy while we watch our loved-ones fall apart.

Some believe it’s all predestined: were those who are put into the role of caregiver always meant to be one? Were they somehow chosen? I’ve heard it said that people who have ended up caring for others may be challenged by a higher power… that they are, by divine intervention, simply the person for the job. Some are able to make their own choice to work in the service of those who are less fortunate, or who are sick, some have no choice other than the choice to run away.

I’m a great believer that everything happens for a reason, though not necessarily in a mystical sense. Good and bad must always have a balance. The weights tip back and…

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I’m a Mean Mom and I Don’t Bluff

Original post from Blog Her

‘…………By mom.me

“If you aren’t going to hold these toys, I’m putting them in the trash.”

No attention was paid toward my words. I repeated, slowly, firmly and a lot louder: “If you aren’t going to hold these toys, I’m putting them in the trash.”

She heard me. She heard me every time. No attention toward my words again — for the fifth time in 5 minutes. (I know because she’d look at me dead in the eye and then deliberately turn away, purposefully neglecting to react.)

Image: Puuikibeach
Image: Puuikibeach

So, I went over and dropped said toys into the trash. Without blinking. Done.

Too mean?

My almost 5-year-old girl stared at me in shock and then started wailing.

“I warned you five times. You didn’t listen. You know I don’t bluff.”

More wailing. Now louder. Tears flying out of her face.

Strangers stood and stared with shock and awe. Right there in the middle of McDonald’s. (It was raining outside and I wanted greasy fries OK? Don’t judge.)

Even my famous friend seemed a bit surprised. (TV viewers in Los Angeles might recognize her.) “Did you guys see that?” she told her own kids in a warning tone. (For the record, this particular friend always seems to have it figured out in the dealing-with-kids department.)

We’d made a quick pit stop after a fun playdate. Everyone was getting along, playing, going bonkers with their new cheap Happy Meal toys, but my almost-5-year-old had amped her not-listening skills up extra high that day.

In the what-drives-me-crazy category of mom life, “not listening” tops the list. You want to really get at me? Don’t listen to me. (Now you know.) Yes, I know she’s under 5 years old. I know that kids that age can tend to act additionally immature when playing with kids younger than they are (we were surrounded by 3-year-olds). I know that most young kids rarely willingly listen to anyone at any time. I know I’m a tough mother.

But based on my daughter’s other actions and habits, I also know she is smart, capable and mature enough to start learning how to pay attention and listen to authority. Because I’ll be damned if I’m going to send a kid to kindergarten who doesn’t know how to listen and respect authority. (Call me jaded: My mom and sister are veteran teachers and you’d be horrified to hear stories they’ve told me about how some deadbeat parents have created their own kids’ behavior issues prior to beginning school, and how they then expect teachers to pick up the slack and make up for lost time. But that’s another blog post.)

If I don’t start teaching my daughter to pay attention now, teaching her later how to hop on the listening train might be a bigger struggle than necessary. Teach ’em young. Teach ’em early. Teach ’em often. Teach ’em now. Because it might not work as quickly as we’d imagined it to work in our heads if we opt to do it later.

But that’s just me. (And I don’t bluff.)

“I. WANT. MY. TOY. MOMMY!!!” She was screaming, crying, wailing, sniffling, begging all through the restaurant, through our goodbyes to our friends and out the restaurant and into the car. I loaded both my girls in.

The snot was dripping now. I gave her a tissue.

“I’m sorry about your toy, but I warned you five times. Next time you need to stop and remember to listen, OK?”

I buckled everyone up, shut the car door and started walking around my vehicle to get to the driver’s side. I suddenly started feeling bad. Was I being too harsh? She’s not even 5 yet. I looked up and noticed a sweet-looking twentysomething girl running out of the restaurant toward me with a big brown to-go bag.

“I got some more toys for your girls.” The same toys I’d just trashed.

This was the moment of truth: Stick by my choice or cave.

I stuck by my choice. I smiled, thanked her for her thoughtfulness and explained that we didn’t need new toys. I got in my car and we drove home. My girl wailed and complained the whole way home (a 45-minute drive).

A part of me still felt like crap. Stay strong. This is parenting.

A few hours later, she stopped talking about the incident and was fine. We had a heart-to-heart about why things happened the way they did that day. She understood. We hugged. Who knows if I was right on or all wrong? Yeah, I felt mean when it was going down, but I also felt consistent, firm and effective after the dust had settled. I’d warned her, and I’d followed through with my actions. It’s parenting. It’s not always nice.

And if that’s mean, then acting like a bitch sounds good to me.

(For the record: Yes, my daughter’s listening skills snapped into shape after this incident. Whoever said McDonald’s toys were a waste of money never put them in the trash.)

Originally published at Mom.Me  ………….’

Don’t leave kids alone in the car — but confronting strangers about it is risky, too

Original post from Salon


As summer heats up, so do the stories of children left in danger

(Credit: Maria Sbytova via Shutterstock)
(Credit: Maria Sbytova via Shutterstock)

It’s June, which means that unfortunately, we’re in for an uptick in harrowing stories involving children left alone in cars. So before we get one more moment into the most sweltering time of year, can we please ask with parents to think very carefully before making that quick run and deciding to let your kid go on hanging out in the back seat? Can we please beg you to do whatever you need to remember your child is back there? But can we also plead with local news outlets not to turn this into yet another summer of hysteria over nonexistent “trends”?

 Already going viral this week is the video that Kentucky man Mark Herrmann shot — and then posted on Facebook — of a young boy left alone in back seat of a car at the parking lot of a freight store. As WCPO, which originally ran the story, notes, “The truck’s key is in the ignition, the vehicle’s engine is running, the windows are down and the child is buckled into a safety seat.” In the original video, which has since become unavailable on Facebook, Herrmann asks the boy if he’s okay, and later confronts the child’s father, saying, “You know if I was a bad guy, I probably could have just drove off with this.” The father then replies that he would have then given him “Two in the back of the head, no disrespect.” The video has attracted news stories and massive social media attention around the country, and police say they are investigating the incident. But local police Captain Tom Grau also cautions, “Call police and give us the information. Let us handle talking with the subject.”
 The stranger danger that Herrmann implies is of course not the only potential threat to children alone in cars. Tuesday, police reported that an 18 month-old Florida baby had died after being left alone all day in a car while her mother, a fourth grade teacher, was at work. The mother reportedly told investigators that “she arrived at school between 7:00 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. and forgot her child was in the backseat.” Last month, also in Florida, a 16-month-old girl died after her father, an Assistant Public Defender, reportedly forgot to drop the child off at daycare. And last year, in a harrowing story that is still unfolding, George father Justin Ross Harris claimed to have forgotten his 22-month-old son Cooper in the back of the car when he went to work — but evidence suggested that what Harris said was a “tragic accident” was suspicious. He is currently on trial for murder.

The consequences of a split second decision, or a moment of forgetfulness, can be life changing. Children can suffer, sometimes fatally, and even if nothing goes wrong, parents can find themselves in serious legal trouble. As a thorough and smart 2009 feature Washington Post by Gene Weingarten explains, “a combination of stress, emotion, lack of sleep and change in routine” can lead to a “perfect storm” of conditions for a parent to do what most of us would consider unthinkable — forget our own child. And all of these stories are disturbing in different ways. But last year, a USA Today report noted that the number of children who die of overheating in cars appears to be on the decline. And sure enough, according to a report by Jan Null, of the Department of Meteorology & Climate Science at San Jose State University, the number of children who died of car related heatstroke last year was a relatively low 30. But it still happens and it still can be avoided. So don’t worry about “trends” of parental neglect. But remember to not leave the car without your child too.

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of “Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream.” Follow her on Twitter: @embeedub.  ……….’

Day After the Prom and a Short Story


I am awaiting the return of my 18 year old to let me know how her prom evening went. I have not seen her yet, but I think she will be back in a couple of hours. She has been out with her boyfriend an his family today.

He is a good kid and I am glad that she found someone who always treats her with respect . He is intelligent and kind. The other day, he was waiting for her while she was fussing about not finding the right clothes.

She was in her room and came out every few minutes in a different outfit. He would say she looked great and then she would say “Oh no yuck. This outfit won’t  work”

It was funny but she was very frustrated and upset. He said nice things about each thing she came out in. She was annoyed that she…

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Why we (and my mum) are so glad the world is waking up to what autism is

Original post from The Guardian


‘One of the common misconceptions surrounding autism is the difference between a temper tantrum and a meltdown, a ‘loud, uncontrollable emotional outburst resulting from neurological overload’.’ Photograph: Getty
‘One of the common misconceptions surrounding autism is the difference between a temper tantrum and a meltdown, a ‘loud, uncontrollable emotional outburst resulting from neurological overload’.’ Photograph: Getty

My first few years on this beautiful Earth were somewhat less than beautiful. I had been diagnosed with autism. One of the common misconceptions surrounding autism is the difference between a temper tantrum and a meltdown, a “loud, uncontrollable emotional outburst resulting from neurological overload”. My childhood was full of these. And I mean full. Multiple times, every day, the slightest thing would set me off and I would become so incredibly angry and violent – destroying any possessions within reach and even those that weren’t – that it might have looked to an outside like Bruce Banner hulking out.

And there was nothing my mum could do about it, because she had absolutely no idea what was causing it. She just had to try to calm me down as best she could, or, failing that, restrain me so I could not cause any damage to things – or people.

It makes me extremely sad to admit that there were multiple bruises, bite marks and tears, and yet nobody knew what was wrong. We saw numerous specialists and consultants who gave wildly differing opinions. We had observations at home several times, and one specialist involved told my mum in no uncertain terms that it was, basically, all her fault. She lacked “consistency”. He was of the belief that when a child doesn’t learn to obey you should simply continue on as you were, because they would learn from consistency and eventually come around. My mum was also told that she should send me into care, for the sake of my sister. Not until I was nine did we get a diagnosis that made actual sense.

I was diagnosed with what was at the time called “pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified” (PDD-NOS), otherwise known as atypical autism. In 2013, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) replaced the four previously separate diagnoses of autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, PDD-NOS, and childhood disintegrative disorder, with one single condition: autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

This change was made because it is a very complex disorder, and often patients do not fit into neat little subsections. Some patients, like me, have more extreme symptoms characteristic of one subsection, and less extreme ones relating to another. ASD treats the whole thing as a spectrum disorder, making it easier to diagnose and give advice on a case-by-case basis. You may sometimes hear people joke that “everyone is on the autism spectrum” to some degree, and while that is not strictly true, many are. And that why it’s so important to make all the information we have on this disorder available – to help parents, teachers, and friends.

The Guardian recently published an article about a study which is investigating whether parental training can improve the course of ASD in children. This article made both me and my mum extremely happy. She said that it would show that she had been right all those years ago, to continue to try to find different ways of dealing with my behaviours when all the “experts” were telling her to just continue with the same thing, day after day, despite the fact that it clearly wasn’t working.

And although the study is still going on, I for one can vouch for the fact that parents who learn to adapt and respond to ASD behaviour can help tremendously. I am no longer prone to extreme violent outbursts (there are times when I still get very angry, and to my shame may still threaten violence if I am unbelievably worked up, but haven’t damaged anything or hurt anyone in years.) These days, I depend on daily routine, and can get very agitated if things have to be rearranged, but I am hoping that will also improve, although I have accepted this as a part of my life.

What I want people who are reading this to realise – whether they are on the spectrum or they know someone who is – is that they should never, ever give up hope. I’m not saying you can have a perfectly ordinary life, free from all your symptoms. What I am saying is that your symptoms won’t necessarily be as bad in the future as they are at present, and one day you might be able to manage them really quite well. Never give up hope.  ………..’

Daily Checkup: Autism spectrum disorder cuts across racial, ethnic and socioeconomic lines, says Dr. Alexander Kolevzon of Mount Sinai

Original post from Daily News


Dr. Alexander Kolevzon is the clinical director of the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai. He sees patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) from age 12 months through adulthood.

The Specialist

As the clinical director of theSeaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai, Dr. Alexander Kolevzon sees patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) from age 12 months through adulthood. April is Autism Awareness Month.


When the updated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM) was published almost two years ago, this fifth edition again changed how autism was defined. “Autism spectrum disorder is now an umbrella term we use to describe a set of complex neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by social and communication deficits and repetitive behaviors,” says Kolevzon. “The changes in the DSM-5 criteria allowed us to shift the emphasis away from distinguishing between different subtypes of autism and instead to focus on important features like level of language, cognitive functioning, and need for support.”

While the prevalence of ASD is increasing, it’s still not entirely clear exactly how common autism it is. “Each time the Center for Disease Control (CDC) does a monitoring study, the rate of autism goes up — the latest numbers show that 1 in every 68 children born falls on the autism spectrum,” says Kolevzon. “However, the number may be significantly lower — studies that use gold standard diagnostic procedures and observe children directly find rates closer to 1 in 150 children.”

Researchers continue to discover more and more genes that cause ASD, and to date, at least 100 have been identified. There are also a group of risk factors associated with ASD. “Risk factors include very low birth weight, preterm birth, older parental age, and exposure to several toxins during pregnancy,” says Kolevzon. “We think of ASD as mainly genetic in origin but additional factors may act on the genes to increase risk. These factors contribute but they don’t cause ASD in and of themselves.”

ASD is prevalent in all different populations. “ASD crosses racial, ethnic and socioeconomic lines,” says Kolevzon. “There is, however, a much higher prevalence in boys, who are four to five times more likely to be affected than girls.”

Because ASD is primarily a genetic disorder, infants are born with it. “Symptoms unfold over the first year or two of life, but there may be clear signs as early as 12 months,” says Kolevzon. “By 2 years old, children can be reliably diagnosed.”


There is a cluster of warnings signs that parents can look for in their child’s first year of life. “The early symptoms include things like not responding to name, poor eye contact, and lack of joint attention,” says Kolevzon. “Joint attention is when the child uses gestures and gaze to share attention in something of interest to them. The child may point to something to show their parent, like a bird in the sky, and will then watch to see that their parent is following their point, completing a triangle of attention.”

Children on the autism spectrum also demonstrate social deficits. “They have impairments in imaginary or pretend play, less interest in other children, and significant difficulty with reciprocal play as they get older,” says Kolevzon. “There are also language deficits with delays in achieving phrase speech, which is the ability to put at least three words together in a spontaneous and meaningful way.”

Repetitive behaviors are also criteria for diagnosing autism. “Even before 1 year old, you can see repetitive motions like hand-flapping, toe-walking, or rocking,” says Kolevzon. “As children grow older, they may also form restricted interests and routines like in their eating habits. These routines can be soothing, but sometimes they aren’t compatible with life.” Another important change in the DSM-5 criteria for ASD is the addition of atypical reactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory stimuli in the environment, such as light, sound or textures.


The first step toward getting treatment is getting the proper diagnosis. “As recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, all kids should be screened for ASD at age 18 months and 24 months,” says Kolevzon. “This screening should be done with a specific ASD tool like the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers. If there are red flags, the next step is a gold-standard evaluation for ASD, which consists of direct observation of the child and an in-depth parent interview done by specialists.”

Once the diagnosis of ASD is confirmed, “intervention may combine speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and applied behavioral analysis (i.e., ABA),” says Kolevzon. “ABA teaches children skills using positive reinforcements. It is now well accepted that the earlier and more intensively you intervene, the more robust the gains.”

Awareness about ASD and available treatment options have improved tremendously over the past few decades. “There have been a lot of cultural shifts and the services available for families are dramatically better,” says Kolevzon. “It used to be that ASD felt like an even more devastating diagnosis. Now there are many things we can do, and parents can focus their energies. The interventions we have today can lead to real improvements.”


Genetic research into autism is paying off. “So far, we’ve discovered 100 different genes and several pathways these genes impact,” says Kolevzon. “That’s crucial because once we know the cause of a specific case of ASD, we can work to develop targeted treatments that might be able to reverse the problem.”


While it’s incumbent on doctors to administer a specific screening tool for ASD to all toddlers, parents should push to make sure this happen. Ask, “Can my child get a specific ASD screening?” and if there is any cause for concern, “Can you refer us to a specialist?” If your child is diagnosed with ASD, then ask, “What kind of interventions are appropriate for our child?”and “What kind of resources are available in our community?” All children with suspected ASD should also receive genetic testing using chromosomal microarray. “Thankfully, now there are a number of different resources to get children support for their needs,” says Kolevzon. “Parents aren’t helpless — families should be empowered to develop clinical skills so every interaction with their child can be potentially therapeutic.”


Get informed.

Start your search with reliable online sources, like Autism Speaks (autismspeaks.org), the Autism Science Foundation (autismsciencefoundation.org), and Seaver Autism Center at Mount Sinai (seavercenter.org).

Know the symptoms.

All parents can keep an eye out for language deficits, the inability to form joint attention, and lack of response to name.

Genetic testing.

In some cases, genetic testing can help guide the child’s treatment.

Talk to your doctor about whether genetic testing is appropriate for your child.

Get support for the whole family.

“ASD affects the whole family, so it’s important to get support for parents and siblings as well,” says Kolevzon.

Intervene early.

Don’t take a wait and see approach — early intervention is crucial for progress.


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