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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Autism reading, library trips and slips

I am a reader. Not to sound pretentious but most television programing shuts my brain down to the Terry Shiavo pull the plug stage! Most nights I have my nose stuck in a book. The library system I'm privy to isn't exactly a complete collection, if you get my meaning, BUT they have been good to me over the years. They were always able to get what I wanted. For the last six (seven in October) years I've had at least one squirmy little body protesting my choice of a playground for the mind vs.  playground for the body. So I've learned about requesting books online via the library website. I must admit I feel a bit guilty because this service has helped me turn the library staff into my very own personal shoppers. I still take the boys to the library, much to the chagrin of other patrons and quite a few library staff members (who I've repeatedly told about J's Autism, another topic for another time). Those trips are designed encourage their love of reading and for me to pick up the books I've reviewed and requested online. Much to my personal joy I recently found out how to request ILL (intra-library loans) online (without a phone call or a in person request, ah my inner Aspie sings). So I'm on a reading spree, getting books I've wanted for years and couldn't get my hands on!

Intra-library loans are loans of requested materials from nearby library systems that have your requested book or material and that are willing to loan the book out.


So I read yet another Autism book over the last few days, "All I can handle, I'm no mother Teresa" by Kim Stagliano (thanks to a online ILL). Even the foreword begins....another Autism book, and boy do I get that sentiment. When J was first diagnosed I went to library and checked approximately half of their (then) Autism related reading material (excluding fiction). Of course their Autism collection has exploded since then to reflect the ever growing need for Autism information due to exponential diagnosis rates.

After I slogged through the first year of J's diagnosis I slowed my reading down a bit. In part due to the absolute necessity for mental rest (I'll write another blog at some point about the panic attacks I was having then) and J being under the care of qualified DAN (Defeat Autism Now) doctor. I had him enrolled in a school for kids with Autism. So I felt the two main aspects of recovery, bio-medical treatment and education/therapeutic intervention, were covered. At that point I began to tread water instead of gasping for air while being pulled along in the rip current that is Autism. I was still just trying to make it through the daily routine, having food prepared (lots of SCD meal planning, cooking, shopping) transportation to and from the school, with little money to maintain a vehicle or gas to fill the tank, finding grants to cover the out of pocket cost of the private school, taking care of another "NT", but difficult child, and a few household moves along the way. In other words my reading/research momentum slowed to snails pace. Since I had consequently devoted the last year to Autism research I took a well deserved and much needed break from Autism books. I read only things that could take my mind away. I truly believe science fiction saved my sanity!

Thank You Terry Goodkind, for faith of
the fallen!
The reality is I still read Autism books, I'm just a bit keener in my pickings. I don't read many bio-medical books because I think many of the bio-medical books have the same common sense message, treat your child's physical symptoms of Autism as well as the other symptom's. I try to continue to educate myself and I will read bio-medical books that have topics I unfamiliar with or newly renowned books. I feel there are many bio-medical topics which I'm out of my depth on so I trust our DAN doctor to handle those topics. Being an Autism mommy means being a leader, and that's one task I'll gladly delegate.

A breech birth is but down vs. head down.
I still read first person accounts, to a degree. Another strange practice I learned via midwifery, surround yourself with positive images and ideas. I swear this isn't from when I read "the Secret"! While I was pregnant with my second child I told my midwife I was afraid of a breech birth, that I'd watched too many episodes of ER. She agreed with me saying "even Abby (on ER) had to have an emergency c-section". So with Autism, just like with my pregnancy I cut out all porn, birth-porn (that's what our childbirth instructor called it because its heightened and unrealistic compared to real life births) and Autism-porn. I love that phrase, birth-porn, to this day (I just coined the Autism one). I look at it this way, I will do whatever I can to help Jonathan but I've got to believe its possible. I know the reality of Autism, heck we live it everyday. I know the statistics. Watching, hearing and reading negative media reports won't help me recover my child, so I avoid them.

These days I just space out the Autism books so that I don't overwhelm myself. Sometimes though, I wonder why I read them at all? Reading that book didn't tell me anything I didn't already know about Autism. In fact, at many points in the book I openly wept at the obvious parallels between their lives and ours. Is Autism the horrific roadside collision I'm rubbernecking at?

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