Fact Checking

Guess who’s back….back again. Jack’s mom back….tell a friend.

(Crowd sings) GUESS WHO’S BACK! GUESS WHO’S BACK! GUESS WHO’S BACK! GUESS WHO’S BACK! GUESS WHO’S BACK! GUESS WHO’S BACK!

(Dancing in like I still got it from 2004….whaaaat whaaat!)

Happy Tuesday, y’all. Tuesday….sigh. What a lame day. Definitely not like a Wednesday (Hey, Mike! Guess what day it is?), but not near as lame as Monday. Just kinda….ya know, Tuesday. So blah.

Anywho….I’ve had literally hundreds of messages asking “When are you going to do another blog post?” “I seriously can’t sleep until I read another one of your posts!” And I’m all like, “Hey, you guys I have like a full-time job, and like…my own family, and like… have like so much to do. Ya know?” Yeah just, kidding. Only two people have asked me to write again so HEY TWO FAITHFUL FOLLOWERS (and one who isn’t even my own mother) this post is FOR YOU!

Recently I saw a post on one of my friend’s pages about invisible disabilities and for some reason I never thought about autism as one. I have this sixth sense…I can sense autism in children, like literally pick them out in a crowd…..seriously, someone should hire me. I pick up on many “things” someone else would never think twice about. So, I thought I’d do a little autism factoid check….not to belittle anyone…..more or less to teach and inform (cause you know I’m a teacher and all). Chances are you already know someone with autism…1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism and that number is closer to 1 in 42 boys being diagnosed with autism. (Factoid #1)

Factoid #2: (I consider this to be the most important) If you’ve met one person with autism, then you’ve met one person with autism. OK, that has even been made into a meme, people…so that is like totally research based. For real though, this is the point: People with autism are completely different! Hence why they call it a SPECTRUM disorder! (Insert an Oprah A-HA moment right here) Not all children with autism line things up, not all children with autism are non-verbal, and not all children with autism say incredibly inappropriate things at the most embarrassing moments….only my child does that. (I kid. I kid.) And here is a quick manners lesson….don’t EVER tell someone their child doesn’t “look” like they have autism. Yeah, not even the slightest bit OK. Autism has no physical characteristics. So, technically it is an invisible disability.

Moving on….I went off on Factoid #2….clearly. Apologies.

Factoid #3: My sweet cousin said it best in her comment to my first blog post (she’s my other faithful follower…HI SHESH!) She said, “I know now that everything from my feelings, body language, and tone of voice has to change when speaking to anyone with autism.” Nailed it. (Fist pound) People with autism have a very difficult time reading facial expressions and body language. So, if you are angry and using a harsh tone of voice and they laugh at you, THEY ARE NOT BEING DEFIANT. Children with autism are too often labeled as behavior problems when it is the people around them not being able to really understand what is going on in their little minds. You MUST talk calmly, do NOT try to force eye contact (they hate most eye contact) and don’t expect them to answer immediately. Sometimes they need time to process…they aren’t ignoring you….just processing.

Factoid #4: Obsessions. This has been a tough one for us. When Jack gets obsessed with something we are talking ob-sess-ed. Like has to know every single detail, has to own every single item, and will talk about it non-stop…..like, for real non-stop. Let’s go over all the obsessions he has had since age 3…..Angry Birds, My Little Ponies (he was a Brony, don’t judge), Angry Birds GO! (totally different from the original Angry Birds…rolls eyes), Minecraft, Animal Jam, and we are currently on Pokemon and Roblox. He finds it very difficult to have a two-sided conversation. It makes him incredibly uncomfortable, so he talks about all he knows….his obsession. And he talks, and talks, and talks. He doesn’t realize the other person stopped talking or isn’t responding or maybe isn’t even there anymore! Lots of kids on the spectrum have obsessions. It is kind of autism thing, but again not ALWAYS….refer to Factoid #2!

Factoid #5: He is NOT like Rain Man, yes….people have actually asked that. He has a photographic memory….but no, he’s not like Rain Man, geez. However, he can seriously see something once and remember it or hear it once and repeat it. Repeating is great when you ask him “What did I just say?” NOT SO GREAT when driving in traffic and you accidentally yell a curse word and say “DO NOT REPEAT THAT!” and the parrot in the backseat says it over, and over, and over and then says it again at school and his teacher calls you. Doh. Best parent EVER!

Well, folks…that is a lot of information to take in and process so I’m going to give you a chance to soak it all in. Just please don’t go back and judge my grammar. I teach 1st grade, not high school. All of my college friends know I only speak country grammar anyway!

Much love, Jack’s Mom