Hello, so I am going to have to make this short as I am writting this last minute, I had hoped to have something nice long, elegant and elaborate written, but sadly other obligations have gotten in my way this year. Some of the reason is also indecision. What did I want to write about?
Part of me wanted to write about autism service dogs, real autism service dogs, dogs who are trained task. Maybe tell you a bit about how when your an adult with autism it is nearly impossible to find an proper program that will train a service dog for you. Or how most autism service dogs are cross trained as a service dog for someone with autism is trained tasks to help deal with the sensory issues and sensory process challenged that come with autism. I thought about telling you how most programs only train for children with autism and how these program not only use but promote a dangerous practice known as tethering, then I thought about explaining how this puts both the child and dog in harms way. I thought about telling you how many programs are scams and many more are just poorly informed well meaning programs who train cookie cutter service dogs for autism often with tasks that are weak at best such as deep pressure, if they train tasks at all but will sell their service dogs on the emotional benifit. I thought about ranting how we deserve better than this and need to stand up for reform not just for the adults but for the kids and for our families who shouldn't be taken advantage of or put in harms way.
I also consider telling you about how I have read a lot in the news lately about the need for services for kids and how few of them there are and that's true! However what everyone over looks os there is even less and basically nothing for adults over 22!!!! How today there are hundreds of autistic adults struggling without the services they need. I thought about how this too was something important I wanted to talk about.
I also wanted to talk about communication. I wanted to tell you verbal speech isn't the same as having few or no daily struggle and challenges, how autistics who are verbal still may need substantial support through out their lives. How being able to speak and even do so well can often hide the fact you can't communicate. Because often times people who are fully verbal still can't communicate. It is one thing to talk about a special interest but a whole new thing to get the words "I'm hungry," "I'm hurt," or be able toe press even more complex needs, thoughts and emotions. I wanted to tell you that individuals who can speak often loose the ability at times and they aren't being bad or trying to get attention or whatever. Their brain has shut off their ability to communicate it's something that happens. It is important to realize this isn't their fault and to be patient . Offer additional supports or just give them time and space.
I want to tell you about acceptance and how it isn't given up. I want to tell you acceptance is about embracing the whole person autism and all and loving them! Acceptance is saying yes you are autistic your brain works differently and instead of trying to change you into someone else we are going to take you by the hand and together we will find your strengths and build on them and we will help you find ways to cope and manage with the proper supports in the areas in which you struggle because acceptance isn't about given up and not trying. When you truly manage to embrace and find acceptance it becomes a road to progress, growth and development! It's setting goals and not given up working with what you have instead of trying to be something your not and that is the best thing in the world you can do for yourself or your child.
I wanted to talk about functioning labels and tell you why they don't work and how they only hurt autistics. I want to tell you no one fits perfectly into these labels and they only get in the way of progress by causing people to put limitations on a child causing people to not really want to put effort into them or cause them to be written off instead of never giving up and working towards helping them build their strength. They also cause people to be over looked in their challenged and supports they need causing individuals to have to struggle daily because they can't get needed supports because people see them As a useless label of high functioning and assume they must be fine since they seem high functioning to them
Lastly though I wanted To tell you about AAC! Aac stands for alternative augmentative communication. They are methods of communication such as PECs (picture exchange communication), Sign language and things such as type to speak or symbol communication apps for the iPad like proloquo2go or taptotalk. When it comes to AAC I want you to know this, AAC is for EVERYONE not just those who can't speak, but for those who are verbal but may lose the ability or those who are verbal and need help with word retrieval or just plain feel better communicating via AAC. I want you to know that everyone has the right to communicate in the method in which they prefer and feel is best for them. There is so much focus on getting verbal when our focus should be on providing communication as soon as possible! It is never to early or to late to introduce AAC! It is important to model AAC too. communication is key! So providing communication option as soon as possible is massively important! OH! And and don't rule out iPads if your child isn't responding to pecs or ASL! For many of us the iPads are a lot more intuitive! most importantly presume competence
Anyways these were only a few things and very very abbreviated sorry this years entry is short and messy but it's Halloween night and I am exhausted thank you for reading this