When We Need Autism Awareness – via Erin Polk

It’s World Autism Day but you probably won’t see me wearing blue today. I’m wearing whatever shirt I could grab in my sleep deprived state that I won’t mind will be covered in food, pee or blood or all three. I probably won’t have a light bulb that’s blue because we haven’t had time to shop these days or to take the time to screw in some light bulbs to let our neighbors we support autism awareness. I think they are pretty aware when they hear our son’s screams or rages in the driveway
April 2nd is not when I need autism awareness or to spread it. I need it when my child is in pain and decides that destroying his body is a better idea and he bashes his head into the floor.
I need it when my son has a new health mystery because he can’t tell us what’s wrong and he screams and hurts himself in pain.
I need it when he is up all night, throwing his Bipap off, having behaviors or just not wanting to sleep.
I need it when we are alone fighting for service for months on end. While he’s medically unwell and hurting himself and we have no help, no respite and no break of any kind.
This year we are in a hospital fighting for help for him. He is battling hypoxia and a host of issues and has to have two staff with him at all times and restraints on his bed. Are you aware that this is a reality of many of our children? They can’t tell us what’s wrong so everything has to be tested and thought about. Their behaviors can increase as a result of pain and sickness to levels you’ve never seen. I need autism awareness at these times too and hope for doctors who will understand and see more than just behavior.
We need autism awareness in those dark nights where our tears fall and we wonder how we will ever make it through another day and with no help. We need autism awareness when we have to put a UFC helmet on our kid to stop him from banging his head to the point of brain damage. We need autism awareness when we have to get gloves and other protective equipment to protect him from severely injuring himself.
Where is the awareness then? Are people aware of this kind of autism. Kreed is a blessing as himself, but his autism part is not. Kreed and autism are not one in the same. It keeps him from communicating and living even a semi normal life and instead he rips his body apart. Do you know what it’s like to watch your child literally rip his toe nails off with his teeth? Are you that kind of autism aware?

We accept our son for who he is and fight like hell to get him the right kind of help so he can relax and enjoy his life instead of being racked with pain, hurting and not in control of himself. We work like hell to have him live his life in his own way and do the things he wants. We advocate for him and give him all the tools necessary to be successful.

But the world is not aware. As families continue to have to fight for necessary services and often do this alone or have to fight he medical establishments for correct treatment or even schools to provide something as basic as a communication device so they may have a voice. When I don’t hear about these stories anymore, I will know the world is more aware. But one day isn’t going to do it. Not even close. This is why we document and share Kreed’s story. It’s real. It’s uncensored. It’s our truth our life.
And states need to wake up and add autism to the list of conditions for medical cannabis. We wouldn’t even know what to do if we hadn’t been able to try Kreed on cannabis. It relaxes his ravaged body. It stops his head banging. It stops his biting and hitting and hurting. It helps his medical conditions at the same time. So when 48 states deny families the opportunity to see what their child can do just by using a simple plant, we are not autism aware.
So no, we don’t light it up blue or wear other autism colors. Because we still sit in dark moments and working like hell to save our son and give him a better life. We work every day to make this happen and we spread awareness every single day of our life and turn the camera on to show every meltdown, every failure, and every triumph and amazing moment. That’s how this world will become more aware. When the world can see autism and not just hear about it. When the world can see what our kids are capable of when given the right supports and quit fighting us on giving the right supports, that’s when this world will be autism aware. But seeing blue and knowing we have a family with autism in it is not even close to enough or scratches the surface. People see the blue, nod and move on. They don’t “see” the effect it has on our son or our lives and therefore doesn’t make lighting it up blue or whatever color effective.
People need to start getting involved. Help a a family out. Remove roadblocks to care. Include our son in regular activities. Be aware that autism is a spectrum and affects kids differently. Be aware that all the kids have various ways they communicate. Send a mom an iTunes gift card and give their family the gift of a communication app if they don’t have one and give a child a voice. Volunteer at your local day programs and hang out with these awesome adults. Lobby your local businesses to hire more staff with autism so they have a chance at more independence. Be involved. That’s the only way this world will become more autism aware. Lighting it up blue does not help awareness, advocacy or acceptance. DOING something does.
These are our thoughts today. Our truth. Our life. We share it in the open, uncensored every single day so that people can see the realities of nonverbal autism with severe medical problems and then you can truly become aware and understand what would actually help and not just wondering what light it up blue does.

Fundraiser

Kreed has been hospitalized almost exclusively since early February. As a result he has needed both parents at home because it takes two people to help deal with Kreed and takes two people to manage the home and be at the hospital for him. Kreed has now suffered through devastating pain with peripheral neuropathy, tonic-clonic seizures with his heart stopping, discovering his rare metabolic disorder that has gone un-treated for 18 years and now a recurrent lung disease. At this point, we don’t know how long he will be in the hospital and then don’t know how long I will have to be out of work for. So many from Kreed’s World have offered to help, so I have set up a paypal account to receive donations. We are appreciative of anyone who can or would like to help.

To make a donation, please use PAYPAL and send to erinmpolk@gmail.com

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The Good Fight – Fighting Against Systematic Bullying

As some of you know, we have been in a legal fight with The Vanguard School in Colorado Springs for a couple of years now. Our 8 year old autistic son was expelled due to his disability. Today we found out that his federal case is a great precedent to parents and other attorneys.

At the COPAA** Conference in Philadelphia this year, attorneys from Maine made a presentation of the 40 most important federal district court decisions in the field in 2015. They listed our son’s case, Smith v. Cheyenne Mountain School District 12, 2015 WL 4979771 (D. Colo. Aug. 20, 2015) as number 22.

Yay! Fighting for your kid and not letting yourself be bullied by a school district DOES make a difference.

We also discovered that Robert’s case was cited by a federal court in San Diego, to overturn an ALJ’s decision that refused to uphold the “stay put” placement of a child in the school set forth in the child’s IEP.

This is a great victory for the parents and the child, not unlike the victory we achieved. Hopefully other school districts throughout the country will get the clue that they cannot continue to violate the stay-put clause.

Don’t be a victim of systematic bullying by school districts.

**The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates is a national American advocacy association of parents of children with disabilities, their attorneys, advocates, and others who support the educational and civil rights of children with disabilities.

 

Are You a Synesthete

synesthesia_by_silentreaper-d4itr1a

Four percent of the population, when seeing number five, also see color red. Or hear a C-sharp when seeing blue. Or even associate orange with Tuesdays. And among artists, the number goes to 20-25 percent! This neurologically-based condition is called synesthesia, in which people involuntarily link one sensory percept to another. The colors, sounds, numbers, etc. differ among people (for example, you might see five in red, while someone else sees it in orange), but the association never varies within a person (that is, if five for you is red, it will always be red). There is a surprising overall agreement among synesthetes, however.

The primary perspective of the cause of synesthesia is a mutation that causes defective pruning between areas of the brain that are ordinarily connected only sparsely. Therefore areas that are disconnected within a human brain retain certain connections in synesthetes, which causes unusual associations. The location of gene expression leads to two different types of synesthetes: If the gene is expressed in the fusiform gyrus, the brain area concerned with perception, a perceptual synesthesia results, in which people will actually perceive, for instance, a number five colored in red. If, however, the gene is expressed in the angular gyrus, the brain area involved in processing concepts, a conceptual synesthesia results, in which people will not physically see the color red when presented with a number five, but will nevertheless experience an association between the two concepts.

I must admit, I am a conceptual synesthete (but only for certain numbers). Two is a nice light cream color; three is bright green; four is beige with a bit of light brown; five is definitely blood red; seven is ice blue. Eight wants to be something, but it’s difficult… Nine is dark, almost black. I don’t physically see colors, but when numbers are colored in something other than my associations, it causes some distress. I also paint and am very sensitive to colors and sounds in general.

I also believe that even though perceptual synesthesia may be relatively rare, it does not mean that a subtler cross-sensory undercurrent is nonexistent. I would not be surprised if many creative individuals were conceptual synesthetes. They may not necessarily physically perceive the connections between the percepts, but nevertheless may exhibit the facility in linking seemingly unrelated realms in order to highlight a hidden deep similarity. For example, in a sample of normal university students, those who had higher scores on the remote associates task (which requires finding a common word that can be combined with each of the three problem words to form a common compound or a phrase: e.g., ‘shine, beam, struck;’ solution — ‘moon’) showed stronger associations between colors and pure tones than people with lower scores on the same test. Similarly, synesthetes outperformed controls on the remote associates test. In addition, examination of poetry of Poe, Swinburne, Shelley, Blake, and Keats revealed that they all employed synesthetic usage in their poetry. These findings indicate that cross-sensory linkages may be associated with creative thinking.

I would be glad to hear from synesthetes, as well as from individuals involved in creative pursuits. What are your experiences? How do you perceive the world? How do your experiences affect your daily life?

by Darya L. Zabelina M. S vis Psychology Today

An Experimental Autism Treatment Cost Me My Marriage

Are You a Fundamentalist Christian by Amber Davis

Top Ten Signs You’re a Fundamentalist Christian

10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

9 – You feel insulted and “dehumanized” when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the “atrocities” attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in “Exodus” and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in “Joshua” including women, children, and trees!

6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs — though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most “tolerant” and “loving.”

3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in “tongues” may be all the evidence you need to “prove” Christianity.

2 – You define 0.01% as a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian

 

© Copyright 2016. Amber Davis