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Archive for November, 2011

What kind of parent am I?

I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and she changed my entire life. I know in the bottom of my heart that my husband and I can handle a child, but it is a daunting task. I spend the free two seconds that I have to write about my new life so I can reflect by reading it back to myself… so until next time!

It has been two years. I haven’t had a free moment since I gave birth. My daughter has been acting incredibly strange lately. She sits in a corner, rocks back and forth, hasn’t spoken a word since she was born, plus she has no interest in spending time with me, her father, or any of the other kids in play group. One of the other mothers told me to take her to a doctor because she isn’t normal. Did I do something wrong? Did I cause her to not be normal? Oh no…I don’t know if I would be able to live with myself. I made an appointment with the pediatrician for tomorrow morning and I am absolutely terrified of what he’s going to say. I followed all the baby books and listened to as much advice as I could retain.

What kind of parent am I that my child isn’t normal? What did I do wrong? I’ve heard of those refrigerator moms who were cold and distant from their kids. I pray that I didn’t completely screw up my kid. I don’t think I did but maybe I could have done more, maybe I could have been more “there”.

I think this process shows how many fears a parent can have with such an undetermined end. Autism is kind of an open ended diagnosis and there isn’t really a definitive answer to how to solve the problem and how to deal. I wish this was a hard topic to write about, but because of all the parenting passages I’ve read, including the passages for this week, I know how many problems parents have during the diagnosis process. There is an obvious learning curve that parents with autism have to learn on top of learning how to be a parent in general. The refrigerator mom passage really struck me because I didn’t realize how much someone could blame themselves for their children’s issues. And regardless of whether or not it is true, a parent will convince themselves that they are the cause of their children’s misfortunes. If I had more time to express this mother I would try to expand on how she learned about autism, how she altered her living styles and practices to fit her daughter’s needs and how to help other mothers realize that this disorder has nothing to do with parenting style.

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Songs of the Gorilla Nation

Identity is something that not even I can comprehend. How do we explain to the world who we are when we we may not even know the answer. Defining ourselves is a daunting and confusing process, but doing it with Asperger’s seems impossible.

Dawn Prince-Hughes discusses how she doesn’t like change. She didn’t like when her family moved away, or when she would change grades in elementary school. She needed everything to stay the same, and that is one of the main reasons why she got along with the gorilla population. They were just like her.

So when an identity is constantly changing as you get older and more knowledgeable, it is no wonder why Dawn had such a difficult time identifying with a specific group of people. Having an Autistic Identity may explain why someone does the things they do, or behaves the way they do. But, as Dawn discussed, she didn’t get the explanation when kids were mocking or bullying her. She didn’t know that she could identify with an entire population while she was being yelled at by teachers and failing out of school. Whether this would have benefitted her or not is irrelevant. She would have had the privilege of knowing she wasn’t a freak or a loser because she couldn’t perform like the other kids.

In part one of this book, she starts explaining how she comes to the realization that she’s a lesbian. She identifies with aspects of being a lesbian, but I’m not sure if she fully understands what that means. At the end of part one she starts discussing how she feels like a machine, that her sexuality is defined by others, and not how she feels. She wants to talk about philosophy and what interests her and she wants to share more than just sex with someone, but she doesn’t get anything like that from the women she’s with in return. Simply because a football jock in high school asked her if she was gay, she from then on identified as that simply because she related to certain aspects of being gay.

One if the issues I had with this book is that it started to make me realize that regardless of whether or not a person has autistic tendencies is independent from their sexuality. I’m not sure that some neurotypical people know why they identify as being gay or straight. They may identify with certain aspects of what is known about being gay, and that may  be enough; just like what Dawn did after she realized she could be gay. I identify with being straight because of what I’ve been told are aspects of being straight, so that makes me straight, right?

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