Dont mourn for us

In 1993 I read 'Don't mourn for us' by Jim Sinclair (See appendix D). His article is addressed primarily to parents. Some parents react negatively to his article, yet all he is calling for is for us to change our perception of what autism means and asking us to stop showing our grief to our children. I wished I could have read this article before I began my search for a cure. It would have given me an insight into how it felt like for the non-verbal Alexander to experience an atmosphere filled...

Practical aspect

In 1993 I was introduced to the idea of a specially designed playroom, so I turned Alexander's bedroom into one. If your house is large enough and you can spare a room, I recommend you to do the same. I know of two parents who used a shed-like structure in the garden as a playroom. In this room, volunteers played with Alexander. There were several reasons behind the building of this special environment 1. It provided Alexander with a simplified and distraction-free environment - no TV, people...

Autism is not death

Granted, autism isn't what most parents expect or look forward to when they anticipate the arrival of a child. What they expect is a child who will be like them, who will share their world and relate to them without requiring intensive on-the-job training in alien contact. Even if their child has some disability other than autism, parents expect to be able to relate to that child on the terms that seem normal to them and in most cases, even allowing for the limitations of various disabilities,...

Are there any limitations to learningteaching

The only limitations to your child's unaided learning stem from the way in which he perceives the environment. The only limitations to your teaching stem from your understanding of his perception of the environment 1. You can guide him towards seeing the differences but cannot make him see it. 2. You can show him what you consider fun but you cannot make him have fun. Your child likes having fun but at times noise, heat or other factors stop him. 3. You can make him talk but you cannot make him...

Is a journey of understanding worth it

This question I believe is personal to you. Thus I can only answer it from my own perspective. Communication brought our family unit closer together. Emotions such as tiredness, exhaustion, depression, fear, frustration and pain have been laid to rest. One could say that we grew strong together. We realised one of life's paradoxes. We are all individuals, yet our unity and family wholeness stems from our love for each other, helping each other and enjoying our differences. The children stopped...

Cherishing Alexander

I lived to witness the tiredness and confusion described by Bexxy first hand in Alexander, with my other two non-autistic children suffering from it too. Between 1991 and 2000 Alexander transformed from non-verbal and exclusive into an interactive and verbal child as well as a mainstream student. I really thought that he was overcoming his autism (a myth) until once more our world fell apart. At the end of living in the 'rat race' for three years, towards the end of year six in junior school he...

A bridge built on perseverance

I told a doctor friend of mine that I had played with a child for six months before he spoke his first word. To that she replied, 'You must be patient.' Then again if she were the mother of that child she would find the patience and the will within herself to do the same. This is where autism must become more than a subject we study and love plays an indescribable part. Then, I told her that after he spoke this one word he plunged back into silence for another year. To that she said, 'It must...

Helpingyour child to compensate

For reasons stemming from CAPD combined with one or more of the following (missing link, e.g. the unlearned behaviour of knowing that we must use language a small verbal working memory difficulties recognising facial detail), your child could behave in any of a number of ways 1. If he is asking you to repeat your questions or verbal instruction (What did you say Say that again. What I did not hear you. I can't remember. I have to think), and if when asking for repetition you detect an...

Being a spatial thinker

I have been told I am very good at mathematical or verbal things, or alternatively that I am very bad at mathematical or verbal things. As if each is a category that cannot be divided. What I think is happening is that I am very good at spatial things, and that my spatial abilities (which are extremely pronounced) govern what I am good at within a broad category of ability. Spatial abilities are also not tied to any one sense, and are an internal way of functioning. Spatial thinking is a way of...

His sensory system fear of abandonment or lack of understanding concepts

If your child cries when he enters the room it could be because the room is too cold - experiment with the temperature the room is too dark or too bright - experiment with the amount of light entering the room the child is afraid that you are 'abandoning' him in the company of a person with whom he doesn't feel at ease. You can find out which one of those feelings is the overriding one. Long before the next person is due to enter the room, you tell your child that X is coming. Stick X's picture...

Nonresponsive to tickles

Some children hate being tickled, or run a mile when you just tell them of your intention to tickle them. I am a firm promoter of physical contact with your child. I am also well aware that some of our special children cannot cope with the sensation that a tickle leaves behind. Is there an alternative Yes. You need to experiment and find out what type of physical contact is most acceptable to your child. A gentle massage can feel just as rewarding as a tickle. A squeezing massage can replace...

Unnatural fear of abandonment

Verbal or physical reassurance is the answer to abandonment fears. For brief moments my adult autistic guests woke me up. I felt glad that they felt comfortable waking me up and that I could provide them with emotional support. Up to the age ofeight Alexander fell asleep only ifI kept him company. As soon as he fell asleep I left his bed. However, ifI left too soon he woke up and screamed. He needed two further hours before he could fall asleep again. His body language conveyed fear of being...

Letter from a loving mother

.I want to build a bridge -From my world into yours. Will you meet me half-way Maybe one day, Can it really be that simple To shower you in unconditional love -Not leave you to flounder, But inspire you to test the waters Of this alien land. From 'Open Your Eyes' by Treasa Granell In June 1998 we found out that our child, Pierce (aged two and a half), had autism. At the time, we were totally devastated. We were completely ignorant of what autism meant - believing only that he would live in his...

The bridge by Kalen Molten

On numerous occasions Kalen (Paradox) was invited to talk about her autistic experiences at parent support group meetings. If your support group wishes to contact her she may be reached via e-mail (the address is prickle softhome.net). This is how she describes her long-fought battle to make sense of our non-autistic demands unaided I am sitting at the side of a wide, fast flowing river. My back is to the water. I am minding my own business, watching the trees and forest creatures. Suddenly a...

Cartoons by Alexander Cowie

These cartoons are just a selection of the many that Alexander has drawn. I hope that your child will learn enough vocabulary to enable him to share a joke with you. Inspired by 'Scream If You Want To Go Faster' Inspired by 'Scream If You Want To Go Faster' autism. A way of being with which we can empathise even if we don't understand all its implications. Because I am a parent of a child diagnosed with autism I refused to think about my child's autism in terms of an illness or a disease a very...

How do we develop reasoning skills

We develop reasoning skills progressively and we use several forms of reasoning. A few examples of reasoning could be described as follows 1. Literal reasoning, we copy someone else's behaviour without thinking about the other person's reaction. One example that comes to mind is a child who will empty a full bottle of milk into the sink because he wants to please his parents. This was an action he had previously witnessed but did not understand that the milk which the previous person emptied...