It's been a great year. So I just wanted to share some of my favorite posts of the year in fragments. So if you're new here or if you've been reading for a while and haven't had a chance to read everything - I would love for you to check out some of the posts below. Maybe share it with a friend. And as always - comments are always nice too :)
January A Very Merry Unbirthday: The Boy is great one on one. A room full of kids - whether he likes them or not, is extremely difficult for him. His birthday should be enjoyable - not stressful and definitely not an ABA session in socialization.
We never did take him to where I thought about going. Maybe this year...
February Dear Dr. Oz: An open letter to Dr. Oz in response to his show on Autism. He got it all wrong. Not only was it incredibly disappointing but it also made me angry. My son has not been “robbed” of an emotional foundation...My son is not “broken” so let’s not try to “fix” him.
March The R-Word: If you are looking for a New Year resolution, look no furthur. Take the PLEDGE. "Retard" is one word we can do without in 2012.
I can't tell you how often I hear the word - retard. By friends, family and even - surprisingly - many therapists and special education teachers. Thrown out casually and often without any real offense. It's become part of every day vocabulary, a slang term. I never say anything when I hear the word. I don't correct people, even though it offends me. Consider this a warning. I'm tired of hearing it.
April We'll Pass on The Cure: Diseases need to be cured. Autism needs to be understood. We need to understand that life doesn't always run on an exact timeline. Not every achievement or milestone needs to happen for every person at the same time. We need to understand that different is not always a bad thing. Different doesn't need to be feared or cured.
May My Mother as Abuela: My mother and The Boy have a very special relationship. As a grandmother, my mother treats The Boy completely different than how she treated us.
I often come home and find my mother reading to my son, in a quiet patient voice; a voice that I don’t recall hearing as a child. There is a small part of me that feels jealous, almost slighted because my mother never read to me.
June Questions are Welcome. Staring is Not: The Boy is at the age where autism is becoming more and more obvious. It's not like when he was 2 or 3 or even 4 when it was easily disguised. He's 5 1/2 and he's different and there's no calling it anything else. He is my son and he goes where we go. We shouldn't have to hide him from society, because his behaviors make others uncomfortable.
I wrote this post for parents of "typical" kids after I attended a BBQ. Instead of staring or looking away - please try to include us. I have a great one if you are unsure of what to say.
July Three Words I Don't Often Hear: The Boy doesn't say "I love you" often, but when he does - I savor that moment. So many parents take those three words for granted. Some parents, wrapped up in their own chaotic day to day, ignore these declarations of love. Me? I have to cherish each and every time because I'll never know when, where or why I'll hear them next.
August Just one of those days: One of my many posts on lack of sleep bursting into tears for no reason other than sheer exhaustion. And in spite of my crappy day - waking up late, missing trains and getting caught in a torrential downpour with no umbrella or boots - I still manage to find joy in the little things.
September Building a Dream School: There is not a single school in The Bronx dedicated for children like The Boy. It has become my dream to create a non-profit organization and build one. That's the 2012 goal.
October Walking Up The Down Escalator: It's tough to see our kids struggling to achieve the things that come so naturally to other children. And there are moments where I wonder - will he ever get it? And then I have to remind myself that all kids go at a different pace.
November Making Peace with Autism: The moment a parent hears: Your child has autism. Your world will change. And you can either let the diagnosis destroy you or you can make peace with it. Making peace with autism doesn't come easily, it's a process. But once you make peace with autism and accept your child as autistic everything else kind of just falls into place.
December El Que Diran: The El Que Diran is the unspoken belief in Latin-American culture that every person’s actions in society are subject to the scrutiny and criticism of every person they know. When you have a child with an invisable disability the critcism goes to a whole other level. And friends, family and strangers will all have a say about your child and your parenting technique (or lack thereof). In the years, since The Boy's diagnosis, I've heard so much. I've learned to ignore most of it.
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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.