Friday, April 1, 2016

Autism

Welcome to day one of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Starting today, over a thousand bloggers are blogging daily throughout the month of April (except on Sundays), starting with A and devoting each consecutive day to another day of the alphabet.

My theme is "Days of our Lives".   It encompasses anything that touches my life, or those whom I love, and today, I blog about my brother in law.

Do you have a person with the developmental disability of autism in your life? I do.


April is National Autism Awareness Month.

Blogging about A for Autism is a natural for me.
For me, reminders of autism are everywhere - even in stores.  Even in purses.

I am the proud sister in law of a man in his 50's with autism, a developmental disability that impacts the ability of a person to interact socially and communicate with others.  Autism is a spectrum disorder - some individuals can live lives with less help than others.  Many never live up to their full potential, thanks to the barriers of society, although there is increasing hope that more can be employed in good jobs. 

I blogged about my brother in law last year for the A post and wanted to update you on what is going on in his life.

My brother in law has had a year that would have challenged many of us who are neurotypical (people who do not have autism).  He had spent his entire life with his mother, who is now in her late 80's.  She made the choice, long ago, to have "B", as I call my brother in law on my blog, stay with her.  Her health, these last couple of years, has been an issue which my brother in law has had to adjust to.

We (my spouse and I) worry about his future - a lot.

Last July, his mother needed surgery.  What was supposed to be several days in the hospital turned into about three weeks of hospitalization and rehab.  During this time, "B" lived without his mother, in their home, although he was able to visit her several times a week.  He was cared for by his sister during the week, and my spouse and I (we lived about 150 miles away at the time) on weekends.

In August, he and his mother moved up to where we live, into an apartment several miles from us.  They also have another brother, and sister in law, who live about 20 minutes from them.

In October, his mother had to be hospitalized again, and this time, between the hospital and rehab, she was gone for some five weeks.  This time, "B" made the choice to stay in the apartment, under our supervision.  It was an interesting experience, a learning experience, for all of us, and I will blog about it another time.

There was only one night, out of all those nights, where he asked to stay with us.

"B" has a long way to go and may never be able to live independently without a lot of support.  But he proved his strength this past year - and we are proud of him.

One thing I must admit is that my relationship with "B" is not that of pure love.  I do, however, want to fight for him and his right to enjoy life to the fullest of his abilities. For example, there is the inspiring story of the "first man diagnosed with autism" (not really true), who is still alive.

Do you love a person who interacts with the world in a different way?
Now that you have visited me, go visit others participating in this fun challenge, and enjoy viewpoints from all over the world.


41 comments:

  1. What a great post for A! As a primary school teacher, working with children with special educational needs here in the U.K., I have come into contact with those on the spectrum and how they develop coping mechanisms to live in a world they perceive very differently to the way we do is a testament to their strength. The understanding and acceptance from their peers is also very important in how successful they can be in mainstream school. Looking forward to following your blog throughout April :) Pempi - Stormy’s Sidekick
    Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

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    1. Thank you for visiting. One of my young cousins became, this past year, a school psychologist at a school in a suburb of New York City specializing in special needs, especially autism. I look forward to visiting your blog, too.

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  2. Autism is a tricky condition because it has so many different levels and seems to be completely different with every person diagnosed. I'm glad that B is gaining self-sufficiency and you're all coping x

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    1. Leanne, you are so right. Autism is a "spectrum" disorder; each individual is different. We are coping...but once my mother in law passes on, I know things may be different.

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  3. It's tough caring for people with special needs. I admire you.
    BellyBytes from
    Mumbai On A High

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    1. Please don't admire us...we are doing what needs to be done, and stumble enough...we are only human.

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  4. Beautiful post Alana. In our country, we are such a long way to go, that my heart aches. Thank you.

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    1. That is true in too many countries, Ls. It is sad. We can hope that changes in our lifetimes, and in "B"'s (because parts of our United States are pretty far behind, too.)

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  5. Too many of us fail to recognize that folks like B need that safety net, a support system that is bereft of major holes and kinks. because without some sort of assistance, they will be left without a prayer.

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    1. Absolutely true, Cerebrations. And we are fortunate that New York State is better than some. Maybe more than some.

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  6. I've known people with autism but we have no one in our family with any special needs to the degree you have.

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  7. 'B' is fortunate to have understanding and supportive siblings and you. These 'Days of Your Life' are so worthy of documentation, not only for your family history, but for the inspiration it will give others in similar situations. I know it is for me as I cope with a sibling's disability. Great start to the AtoZ Challenge.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

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  8. Very Nice Post... I am the AtoZ police [sort of] making sure you are still participating, if you are not let me know...

    Welcome in the letter "A"... thank you!
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2016]

    Stop over and find a free "SIX STRINGS: BLOGGING AtoZ CHALLENGE" Here: http://www.jmhdigital.com/

    HOLLYWOOD NUTS!
    You know you want to know if me or Hollywood... is Nuts?

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    1. Hi, Jeremy. I remember you from last year. Rest assured, I am in it for the long haul. Although, for a few days I am going to be without Internet, I do have some posts on automatic. Thank you for stopping by.

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  9. It sounds like your family has been through a year of challenges, and yet you still sound positive and hopeful. Good job. I hope you enjoy the A to Z challenge as well.
    @ScarlettBraden from
    Frankly Scarlett

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    1. Thank you for visiting my blog. We just have to go forward and hope that things improve.

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  10. I clicked the right post on that HUGE list of A-Z bloggers. I have two kids with Autism! I blog about them once in awhile and while it is a struggle at times, they are the best kids I could've asked for. I wish your family and B the best. <3
    -Katy Walker (thekatyblog.com)

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    1. I wish you the same - and I look forward to your A to Z contributions.

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  11. Such a good and important post Alana, it's difficult to care for children with special needs, yet it is very very important to be sensitive towards their needs and well being.
    Tina from The Sunny Side of Life

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    1. Exactly right, Tina - thank you.

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  12. My nephew has aspergers. They originally thought that he would never be able to hold a job and/or get a place, but now he's working. It's so wonderful to see him gaining his independence. This was fun to read. I'll come back again.

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    1. Amy, thank you. My son has had a good friend with Aspergers for some 10 years now. He drives and, after some false starts, holds down a job, and has had girlfriends. In other ways, he needs a lot of help. I am happy for your nephew and your family and his progress. Thank you for visiting, and I hope you find more to like in the coming days.

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  13. Mary and I have a friend whose daughter has Aspberger's syndrome, and evidently she's kind of a handful. What makes it worse is that his wife left him a few years ago and left him with the girl. I'm not sure if the daughter was why the wife left, but you have to admire a guy who stands by his family like that.

    Not exactly on topic, but I have a cousin-in-law whose twin brother has Down Syndrome, and everyone just loves him. I've never heard his sister complain about him; they've always treated him like any of his brothers and sisters. There's a place in Chicago that helps developmentally challenged adults live more or less normal lives, and he goes there every day. My family does a lot for the organization; they really do good work there.

    John Holton
    Blogging from A to Z Challenge Co-Host
    The Sound of One Hand Typing

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    1. John: I understand that the rate of divorce for married couples with a developmentally disabled child (or, for that matter, any disability) is much higher. I know someone, in fact, abandoned by her husband several years after giving birth to a son with Cerebral Palsy (and before then, he was physically there, but mentally and emotionally absent). I could write an entire blog about my brother in law, and, in fact, I've thought about it - except for it violating the privacy of my family with some of my rants, I might have done it.

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  14. My husband has done his Phd. in Autism and I have discussed a lot of stuff with him during our courtship. I know how brave your Brother in law is to cope up with the sudden situation and love to see how whole family supported. Family support is the best cure to everything in the world.
    Dropping from AtoZ Challenge.
    Elixired

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    1. You are so right about support. People in the field tell me how many of these individuals are abandoned by family.

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  15. An inspiring post. My sister's daughter, my niece, has autism. She is non- verbal. It's heartbreaking not to know how she feels. She now resides in a caring group home, which is a relief for my sister to know that if something should happen to her in the future, her daughter will be cared for.

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    1. I'm happy that your niece is in a good placement - this is also something that may be in "B"'s future.

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  16. I only encounter autistic individuals at work. I don't always know. Sometimes the aides will let me know, but in the end it doesn't really matter. It's better that neuroatypical individuals are more in the mainstream nowadays.

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    1. I sometimes wonder (special ed in "B"'s day was more warehousing than anything else) what B could have become with the modern education supports in place. The sad thing, too many times, is what happens when these individuals "age out" of the educational system.

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  17. Autism is another "Invisible Illness" in many cases. Glad you have family support. {{{hugs}}}

    @dSavannahCreate from
    dSavannahRambles
    #AtoZChallenge2016 theme: dSavannah Defects

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  18. Your relationship with B may not be one of pure love, but it sure looks like one of real respect. And sometimes, that's what's needed most. You fighting for him and trusting him to be able to do some things independently are important.

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    1. I do respect him. It's hard to know what he is thinking - but he is thinking, and feeling, and has something to give to our world.

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  19. I am glad you were able to move your brother-in-law close to you. I have a niece that has a form of autism, but she is highly functional.

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    1. Yes, autism is a "spectrum" - each individual different. Thank you for stopping by.

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  20. Beautiful post and I wonder how did I miss reading this yesterday. Yes, I have someone who is as dependent as B. She is close and is my husband's sister. I worry about her and I know in future, I will become her caregiver. I'm ready cos I know without me she will have no one. You post made me a bit emotional and it always hurts to see how people live such hard lives without even knowing about it.

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    1. Thank you for your beautiful comment, Parul. I wish you all the best. We both will need it.

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  21. Thanks for sharing about B. It's certainly been a challenging year for him and the entire family concerning your mother in law's health, as well. You are in my prayers. :) Have you ever heard of Curemark.com ? They are N.Y. based and involved with autism.

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    1. I haven't heard of Curemark - I will be checking them out. Thank you for the tip!

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  22. So good to know that B is doing well, Alana. He's blessed to have a supportive family in you all and I'm sure he is a blessing too, although sometimes these things work in ways we don't understand.

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