Living With Autism
If you are a person whose life has been touched by anyone living with autism, you should read this review. If you are curious about what it is like for people living with autism, or Asperger’s Syndrome, you should read this review. Many of you may know my 10 year old son Henry has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is classified as “high functioning autism”. As a parent, the label of “high functioning” is relative. “High functioning” means the child can read, write, speak and live a relatively “normal” life. Um…yeah…you try living this life and then tell me about “high functioning” and “normal”. Here is just a small sampling of how autism has affected Henry:
- Henry has OCD big time. If something is not perfect in his mind, we will get a meltdown. We were late to school several mornings because Henry’s socks were not the exact same height on his legs or one of his shoelaces wasn’t tied exactly as the other.
- Henry has sensory processing disorder which means many things that we may not notice, disturb those with SPD. When shirts still had tags, it felt like sandpaper on Henry’s neck. When he was 2-3 he liked wearing Caitlin’s bathing suits because their tight fit made him feel safe. Loud noises are a huge problem, so we can’t go to amusement parks, etc. We try not to take him to the store because it is a sensory overload to the point that he just cries because it is too much.
- Textures are a big issue as far as food goes. Henry will not try anything new. He eats mashed potatoes, yogurt, grapes, French fries and pasta. He also likes fruit and carrots from a can, not heated. Nothing can be really heated because it “burns” his tongue.
- Henry has a VERY short fuse, which makes going to public school or mixing with groups of kids nearly impossible. Here is an example: When Henry was in the 2nd grade and still in public school, a boy took an eraser from the treasure box right before dismissal for the day. Henry told the boy he should put it back and the boy said no. Henry tries to take it and put it back but the boy resisted and Henry ended up having a huge meltdown in the classroom. When we were told Henry was “not disabled enough” and the school would not provide accommodations for him, we pulled him out of school.
- With autism, many kids don’t know their own strength and have little or no impulse control. Our doctor said it was like a a computer program that periodically have a glitch. Henry cannot connect the dots of chains of events as you or I may. There is a huge delay between what is going on and what the consequence will be. If Henry is playing ball and the ball goes into the road, he is only focused on getting the ball. It is almost like he has blinders on. It never occurs to him that a car may come and he could be hurt. I have had more bruises than I can count from his anger when I was the person he wanted to take it out on.
- Parenting Henry is like the movie Groundhog Day, in which whatever we tell him today, we are most likely going to need to repeat tomorrow and the next day and the next. It can be extremely exhausting and frustrating. You just learn to live with it!
Children With Aspergers Syndrome
Motesem “Moe” Mansur is a man who knows firsthand what children with Aspergers Syndrome go through. Can you imagine what it must be like to be different from everyone else, but you cannot figure out how to fit in? It is incredibly frustrating for all involved. Moe experienced prejudice, judgements and isolation for much of his childhood. Moe was harassed and abused at the hands of virtually everyone, including kids at school, and his neighbors. Kids are so cruel and when a child exhibits actions that are not understood, they will tease mercilessly, which is what Henry faced as well. He was laughed at, picked on, pushed, hit, and pushed away by his teachers as a “child with anti-social behavior and socialization problems”..well duh!! After attempting suicide in 2009, Moe decided to turn his pain into something good and decided to become an advocate to those with autism. In his illustrations and writing, Moe has created a world filled with good and bad people and the loveable main character; Gloves, a boy with autism who hopes one day to speak. This character travels through the City of Wistmore is book one in a series Moe plans to write. All the magnificent illustration are done my Moe himself and they are truly spectacular. Gloves is the emulation of Moe in the story and the story follows gloves as he travels through Wistmore where he encounters many obstacles and people who are mean, cruel, abusive and just plain nasty. Can Gloves overcome all these villains and learn to love himself as he is? You will have to get your copy of The City of Wistmore: Book One to find out!
One reader will win an autographed copy of The City of Wistmore: Book One ($7.99), by Motesem “Moe” Mansur.