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Autism, Quacks and Cops

Friday, April 23, 2010

We thought we had this parenting thing down. We’ve blended families, adopted infants, adopted older kids and dealt with foster kids from all types of horrible situations. We’ve experienced fetal alcohol effects, cocaine babies, mentally, physically and sexually abused kids. We thought that we had encountered just about everything a parent could and were doing pretty well. Well not so fast Cowgirl!

Our 17 yr old son has autism, high functioning autism at that. You may think “well that’s a good thing” and I know that it is. However, being the horrible parent that I am, there have days when these thoughts from out of the blue pierce my soul. Ok now, here comes the bad mom part, there are times that I’ve secretly wondered that if he had to have autism why he had to be one of the ones that can talk. That’s a terrible confession for a mom to make. But this kid has talked non-stop for 17 years!

When Joshua was born Jeff and I were in the delivery room with the 15 yr old birth mother and her mom. Ya know how sometimes you just have a gut feeling? From the minute I first held him I knew something was wrong. I’m not really sure what it was, but he was different from our other babies.

I took him from doctor to doctor. I was told by one that if I didn’t want the baby that he would take him. If I had I been a first time mom that would have freaked me out. We checked Dr. Pompous Ass off of our list. The next doctor told us that Joshua was too smart for us. Another doctor said that we needed parenting classes. Ok, so I’m getting a little more pissed each time. There’s something wrong with my child and no one will help.

His younger years are a blur of doctors, screeching, poking rabbits with pencils, running…..everywhere on his tippy toes and climbing on everything.  Finally when he was seven we got the diagnosis of autism. Everything made sense! I wasn’t crazy, all those quack doctors were. And boy did I let them know! Had someone diagnosed him earlier he could have gotten into therapy at an early age and maybe, just maybe we could have avoided some issues and he would have had a better life.

Besides having to deal with misinformed “I know better than you do” doctors, I had my husband trying his best to encourage me. “Give it just six more months things will be better” he said almost weekly. When Joshua was about 2 ½ my husband told me again give it six more months. I freaked. I’d been carrying this screaming baby around on my back for 2 ½ years! I was tired and I was frustrated. He screamed, he cried, he ran around like a wild child. We couldn’t take him out to dinner, we couldn’t take him anywhere. The only time he was quiet was when he was in that backpack or asleep, and he didn’t sleep much which meant I didn’t sleep much.

Things got better after the diagnosis, well, sorta. Our kids would laugh about “when Joshua attacks”. When he was a little thing, for no apparent reason, he’d get pissed and leap up off of the floor and in one fell swoop take down whoever the real or imagined offender was. That was bearable when he was smaller, but when he got bigger and stronger, oh buddy we were in for a challenge. Police. Ambulances. Hospitals. More stupid doctors. I just knew we’d end up on an episode of COPS.

I think we’re past that now. We changed his meds, took him off Concerta, changed our tactics with him and found an incredible doctor. She’s calm with him, and reassuring to me. She’s an advocate for him in school and is just an amazing woman. She’s helped change our lives.

Tonight Joshua asked me to help him on his blog. He only can access his blog account, A Sensative Poet, on his iPod touch since he’s not allowed to use the computers here (he takes them apart and all kinds of stuff). I took a picture of him to put in his profile. We tweaked it a little bit and I read some of what he wrote. For a kid that has no idea what homework is his writing is amazing. He writes poems, stories and songs. He draws and his favorite class in school is culinary.

Tonight I was proud of my son. He’s a good boy that really does try to do the right thing, just this little thing called autism, and a bit of teenage rebellion get in the way. Days like today I think that he’ll be ok. Then there are days like last fall when my then 16 yr old took his bed apart to carve swords out of the wood that make me wonder if either of us will survive.


karyn allen,  April 23, 2010 at 6:17 PM  

Oh Teri- he is so sweet- I know it is a challenge- just remember that God will never give you more than you can handle......his words are amazing!

The Bipolar Diva April 23, 2010 at 11:36 PM  

Thanks Karyn! Somedays I'm not sure I can make it through the day with him and then I feel horrible about tuning him out. Jeff's really been working with him on everything and he seems to be responding pretty well.
I was thinking tonight that if he was so challenging for me to raise, how much more challenging would he have been for a 15 yr old to raise?
He's doing so much better lately!

Tiffany April 24, 2010 at 7:09 AM  

good lord you have gorgeous children!

Toni July 22, 2010 at 12:26 PM  

First- thank you for stopping by my blog!! Second- I am in love with your place, and I plan on commenting up a storm, but unfortunately don't have the time at this second. However, I saw this post linked on the bottom of one of your more recent posts and had to read it.

Your son sounds like mine (only ten years older). The part where you say the minute you held that baby you knew something was wrong- I have lived that. People tried to tell me it was first time mother stuff. He may have been my first biological child- but I had raised four kids already. I had some idea of what was normal. From minute one- he wasn't.

I would love to know more about Joshua. What I can expect as my son ages. That is my biggest fear. Him growing older and how we will handle it. Because at almost seven- he his a handful.

I will be back tonight, because you have really drawn me in. Thanks!

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