Shh...Mum is Thinking

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

June 18th is Autistic Pride Day

Autistic Pride Day is just a few days away on June 18th. Anyone interested in finding out more can check out this site

I understand there are a few organised events in different parts of the world, but our family will be celebrating in much the same way we did last year: a simple picnic, weather permitting, casual conversation and a project to finish together. I like the idea of a low key family celebration; somehow it just seems fitting, and works so well for our little family.

Last year we talked with the children about some of the positive aspects of autism (original view point, ability to focus intensely on a project or interest, attention to detail and the ability to think independently from pressures of the ‘crowd’). The boys enjoyed learning about some of the famous people who are assumed or known to have autism and why it would have been a beneficial part of their lives and development. We also discussed some of the challenges these people often faced, and how it was useful to have the ability to stand strong in their beliefs and not be swayed by social pressures. Stubbornness isn’t always a bad thing ;-)

Our family had been through a particularly stressful period last year; it was at about this same point in the year that we made some major decisions and changes in our life. I think our APD celebration was in many ways part of the turning point for us—it gave us a chance to discuss with the children and between ourselves how we wanted to deal with different issues and reaffirmed our determination to raise our children with pride in their differences.

It was also a chance for us, as adults, to reassess how we deal with our own differences, and in some ways, I think this was the most important issue of all at that time. We started to discuss our own reactions to issues similar to what our child was dealing with and realised it would be impossible to raise a child to feel proud of traits that we are stressed about or ashamed of in ourselves. Learning to give ourselves a break when we need it, giving ourselves extra time to process information (“Hang on, son—shh—mum is thinking”) and looking for clarification when things around us aren’t making sense. Most importantly we’ve realised that we shouldn’t be so HARD ON OURSELVES, because it not only hurts us, but the children pick up on it, and eventually it will affect their own self image.

This year our APD celebration will be more relaxed and not so serious :-) We plan to spend time playing around with some of the different interests we have in our family. I think this will be fun, as we've all picked up a bit of interest in each others hobbies over time: everyone in our family can now name most native birds, insects and plants thanks to mum's interest...we all know a smidgeon about computers thanks to older son keeps us up to date on new computer games, graphics and the companies that create youngest is the car expert. I love the way we expand each others horizons, in these and so many other ways.

Hm. I meant to write something lite, this ended up so serious.

Here’s something to lighten things up again…sons and I were looking up native South American animals for a school project (a book). We came across this site while researching guinea pigs:

We hit the floor laughing over this one, it’s so cool to come across a funny site by surprise like that :-) It's kid safe, too…


At 7:46 AM, June 15, 2006, Blogger Jannalou said...


I knew as soon as I saw the link that it would be something I'd want, and I was right!

Oh, Princess would hate me for days - "You are so mean to me!"
Katty would probably try to eat the outfit - "Hmmm... I wonder if this tastes good?"
Napoleon would just look forlorn - "You've taken away my dignity, how could you? I'm a man, for goodness' sake!"


*goes to post link on a couple of guinea pig communities...*

At 5:38 PM, June 15, 2006, Blogger Mum is Thinking said...

Aren't they the funniest little things? The hat page just slays me, they're little faces are so droll.

I hope Princess, Katty and Napoleon don't end up hating me for passing on that link lol...

I'm thinking of buying guinea pigs for the children sometime...Our 2 pet rats have been adored, but I'm worried as they're almost 2 years old now, that's about the extent of their life span :( I'm so worried know...

I wish rats lived longer, they're such little sweethearts.

Bah. Now I'm all sniffley.

At 7:59 AM, June 18, 2006, Blogger Sharon said...

We're getting 2 guinea pigs on Tuesday from the animal shelter. I was at the pet shop today getting a hutch and all the food and stuff they will need, and my dad is building an ark/run. We can't wait!

At 5:15 AM, June 19, 2006, Blogger Mum is Thinking said...

I hope all goes well with the new additions to your family, Sharon, and we get a look at them sometime soon :-)


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