A strict need for accuracy

The other child (now 45) learned communication skills too. She learned them the hard way and on her own and is less equipped to deal with the demands of other people. We became friends after we met on the Autism5 channel in 1998. Gaining her trust was a long journey and I made many mistakes. Eventually she trusted me enough to share her past social experiences. Throughout the years her behaviour was considered obnoxious, emotionally disturbed and she was eventually diagnosed as schizophrenic....

Does an autistic person want to be cured

I think that the issue of wanting to be cured differs from person to person, but I have found that most do not wish to be cured. For an autistic person to be 'cured' would mean becoming a person unlike himself or herself. The very thought of curing translates in my mind as me being unacceptable as who I am. That society wishes to change what is uniquely me for their own comfort with little regard to the identity of the person or people that they speak of. Personally, I feel that this way of...

What do we have to accept

Whilst the autistic style of learning cannot merge with non-autistics and vice versa, the two realities can converge through meaningful interaction and shared understandings. Each person can become a better communicator and each person can become more accepting. Just like Feather said, 'Autistic or not this world is screaming for acceptance.' For as long as I believed it to be my fault that Alexander was autistic and that for some unknown reason I was being punished, it was difficult for me to...

Cherishing your child

Open your heart to your child and figure out for yourself what your child would want you to provide for him, so the communication bridge between your parallel worlds grows solid and long lasting. This book is dedicated to all the people who wish to befriend and feel the joy of friendship when fathering, mothering or befriending an autistic person. It is also dedicated to Alexander and my friends' efforts towards making themselves understood. Just as there are Oscars for best performances, I...

Making things different

Some of us were led to believe that 'repetitive play' symbolises our child's lack of imagination. You might have been advised to make things different for him each time with the aim of expanding his imagination. As a consequence you might interrupt his repetitive play with one toy by replacing that toy with another, or you might be trying to stop him from spinning or flapping his arms, etc. Making 'things' different every time with your hidden aim of expanding his imagination confuses him and...

Am lonely as I want to be able to talk but have a hard time

There isn't much to say other than autism doesn't cause the emotion of loneliness. An autistic person becomes lonely and depressed because of conduct towards them. Don't we become lonely because we feel unaccepted and misunderstood Why shouldn't they One year after Feather and I had that conversation I received the following note from her. I want her note to bring you hope and to feel that inner peace is within your child's reach. Remember how she said that she could not 'feel' the love Her...

Let your childs behaviour teach you about his needs

If during interactive or just protective moments your efforts are directed towards helping your child within the parameters2 of his reality, dictated by his sensory system and his ability to make sense of what you want from him, he will learn at his own pace how to adjust to a larger reality. As for 'getting' everything right, I did not do 'everything right' and I know of no one who was always right. My advice is not to worry if you misinterpret what your child wanted. You can amend and...

Is my child aloof or is he feeling lonely

After I had read and re-read Alexander's medical report I felt the world caving in on me. I still did not know what autism meant and what I could do to help my son. The report only highlighted what I already knew about my child's behaviour. In essence that was he did not talk, he was silent, he screamed and he did not play. I wanted to understand why. During those days I was unable to find information from autistic adults. I remember thinking, 'Where is the adult population of autistics ' I...

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...

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...