The World We Live In Today

Recently, I have came across a news story where a five year old boy with autism was labeled a Sex Offender after he hugged a fellow classmate.

The educators labeled the activity at the beginning of the school term as “sexual activities” consisting of hugging and kissing another child on the cheek.

At that age, regardless of ability to comprehend, a child on the spectrum has no clue that this is inappropriate.

Oftentimes, there are policies or politics that cause authoritians to rush to judgement without consiering all factors in the student’s treatment, as such the “Federal Privacy Clause” is oftentime used as a silencer as a method when parents ask what the punishment is for the other students involved in a act as a cover up.

“As such in this case it was disclosed that it will go in his record for the rest of his life that he is a sex offender.” As this child and many others that have autim that function very different than any child, let alone a five year old, it can leave a parent very confused on what to do.

“Who do you turn to for help when the school will not even listen to the child’s doctor when he explains the child’s difficulties in his comprehension of simple things such as boundaries?”

If we rewinded the clock 20 years ago, there would have been MANY things I have done (that I regret) that would have caused me to fall in this category. Therefore, I thank God that I have the freedoms that I have today.

As such, I feel that it my duty to make sure that I advocate the necessity of learning what allowed and not allowed in the feeling of touch and embracing. As such, I have learned later before embracing anyone or anything of the like to ask for consent to prevent complications, therefore to prevent any compromising issues that may arise.

Lastly, an individual should have the ability to have a relationship (as they age and understand) of course as they see fit, I am always a defender of that, however, the issue of gaining consent must be stressed to the maximum capability possible.

Spirituality

Throughout life I would say that I was spiritual. From the time I was a toddler until the time I was in the third grade, when I started acting out, I was the one to go to Sunday School and later Worship in the one church of our town because that is what my sister and I did. She was very active in the Youth Group and she had responsibilites with so as a family we attended alot of activities. Furthermore, I was in the Junior Choir for a few years.

However as I got older, for one reason or another, I got detatched away from the church, although I worshipped regularly. At the age of 14, we would have a change of pastors and also that would be the time that you could be confirmed and be a member of the church, although I was baptized when I was 10 because of one reason or another we had issues but realized the need for it to be done, as with my cousin and another family friend. Howver, I was experiencing symptoms that prohibited me from being confirmed from the church.

Years would go by through the hospitalizations and the residental treatment. Afer such, I ended up at a little country church on the mountain where I would read the bible on the week, and I even had my sixteenth birthday there.

However, I continued to have a disconnect with God.

In Senior High, we had club meetings during the day every other week. As such, it was  suggested that I join the Bible Club, and I did and was active in that by attending the annual See You At the Pole Servives, participating in missions donating bibles, you name it.

However,  I still had the disconnect.

I would graduate High School, attend trade school and be further away from God, however when I had trouble I knew he was there.

Years later, while that pastor was there when he before I left the church as a teenager would visit our house and I would go to church again, be confirmed and affirmed as a member of the United Methodist Church, of which I still am a member today.

However, I feel disconnected from a church itself.

It wasn’t until a few months ago that I would be provided a service in a home and I would talk to a professional about myself and he said words that I would never forget.

“Jesus Loves You”

I don’t know, but it called to me and he found online resources that met my needs and although I don’t feel comfortable attending a church body for one reason or another, I find peace in having a small spiritual area in my home and having morning devotions in the morning, even using a free bible from a thrift shop that was created for a camp that is easier for me to comprehend.

On days I am at the hospital gettting weighed or working out, I do those devotions in the hospital’s chapel, usually two days a week, to get that reconnect, also recently I went down to the river park and did devotions there.

I have felt spiritually connected in one way or another.

Last month the vocational program went to the local United Methodist Camp where they have a large steel cross that overlooks the county seat. This was a week after being medicated, the staff attending said you couldn’t wipe that smile off my face of how happy I felt overall.

For the moment, I am well spiritually and I will be satisfied overall

Book Review: Demystifying the Autistic Experience: A Humanistic Introduction for Parents, Caregivers and Educators (2002)

Around the time this book was written the author’s name was brought up in conversation as “the one who got it.” Little did I know of 17 years of molding into the man I have become, and a unique 50 cent book in a thrift shop, I would discover that the book would make me get it more.

I was in an interdisciplinary meeting at the time, it was stressful we were about one year out of the RTF, about one year near the completion of High School, yet I was still in services that I now know were at thw time were excessive and not a proper fit given the age. However, in this meeting, a gentleman who was a represntative of the County Mental Health Office, and now serves in a more indirect role of my employment had mentioned the gentleman. Myself and my parents were skeptic and it even brought emotions in the meeting very deeply. However we would move on. By the way that county representative is acknowledged in the book.

Fast forward to two days ago, when I was reading the book, it tells of what we as individuals on the spectrum feel and how we want what we want, and how we express what we express it in the way we do, even if it may seem odd to others, however it is the way it is.

He explains several things that make sense to me. Like the adrediline and cortisol and the necesity to exert energy regularly to relive it as well as the stimming along with the person centered language and the importance of treating an individual on the spectrum for who they are although we are unique in our very own way, to see the entirity of the person as a whole and to have them feel as they feel in their own special way.

Many who have heard of Mr. Stillman have heard of his Wizard of Oz Obsession. As he got older it would be precarious to explain this to a friend, however he was allowed to keep his obsession, in a secluded private place in the home. This being said, any individual has the right to enjoy whatever it is to enjoy. For those who “age out” of that thing to the point where it may seem inappropriate, it is best to find a private place of the home and let that indivual visit that obsesion from time to time. We have to keep in mind this was before the internet came into play, which has made individuals on the spectrum grow their intellect by leaps and bounds. My parents had a conputer given to us by my late uncle in 1998, not many had a computer at the time, I cannot tell you how grateful I am to my uncle for donating that to us. Nonetheless, it has made me mold into my techonoligicla capable self that I am today.

Sometimes, we need to take a break from the Internet and social media and be thankful for the goof old pleasaure of life like the outdoors, friends, family, etc. We are grateful for the advances of technology, however it is important to get active and stay active in many activies that human involvemnt can provide.

Lastly in his biographical chapter of the book, he gingerly discusses his sexuality a bit. While 17 years after this book was published, this was a very heated are to discuss about individuals on the spectrum, i felt it was a necessary component to the whole picuture because sometimes you have no idea what that person feels until you ask them and heck, they may not even know. Yes, the LGBTQ community has come leaps in bounds as a whole, however discrimination still happens, as such I feel there needs to be openess to this subject in both sides of the Autism Spectrum Communities, both in the I/DD field and Mental Health field. Professionals are afraid to ask, training is needed for each and every professional and yes there are views that a person may have, but they have to put them aside to see what makes the person happy. Because once the persons close to them leave, they many not be happy with societal norms and want to believe what they want. We have made policies and statements about this in the governmental communities, however we need to “stick to our guns” in this effect.

The book was one of the best books on the spectrum I have read in a while.

Autism Acceptance Month Day#18 – Autism and Sexuality

Today’s autism Acceptance Month subject deals with yet another touchy subject and is one that is more forthcoming than ever, Sexuality!

Believe it or not it is more common than you know that individuals on the spectrum like to explore sexuality, indeed there is yet another Community out there that signifies individuals on the LGBTQ realm and ASD as Twinabow, because they have two rainbows (ASD and Sexuality). This can be challenging at times as with uncertainty of the I individuals and societal norms are complex alone.

It is something that has to be discovered by the individual themselves. Oftentimes, the individual is pressed by caregivers into societal norms because their caregivers “think” that is what they want to pursue. Many think of sexuality as just same sex or transgender, there is more to that acronym than you think.

Let’s not forget the A , defining asexual as not relating to any sex at all and I, which means intersex, the fact of interchanging. There are also other terms that individuals identity as such as Pansexual and Bianary. While they are confusing, we must be open and accepting of the individuals preference, as long as they are safe in believing what their wishes are.

Yes, we know especially in minors that the ever evident bullying is present and this so called Twinabow will complicate the issue more. This is why as caregivers, allies, etc. we must advocate for what the individuals preference is. Now I must clarify that not all individuals on the spectrum will experience sexuality issues, in fact those on the lower end of the spectrum may have no clue what it is and just fine to be in their own little world, sometimes it is the best.

However, we must be evident that again it is the individuals choice of what course of sexuality, if any they wish to explore and as long as they are safe, then they should learn on their own terms.