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May 19, 2005


Rose Neal
Hi! My name is rosie my son levi is autistic.Hes 8 years old,he doesn't use thetoilet (he's terrified of it) and hes completely non-verbal.I am a single mother of 3 he has 2 year old twin brother &sister,so you can imagine how my days go,I am also a full time student and I have a job.My final project in this class is to make a commercial,I chose to do it on Autism Awareness and was wondering if There is some way to get permission to use the image on thispage as part of that project,if so please feel free to e-mail me you so much for your time and I applaud you on your belief in this ongoing puzzle they call autism.
Hi Jean, I stumbled across your blog and this older post. I hope you don't mind me commenting on an old post! :) I really feel for you because my 13 year old boy is a high functioning autistic child. He also has a hard time making friends because of his delayed social skills and habit of rattling on and on about things that only interest him. I am just startled by how similar your experience has been to mine and how similar our kid's likes are (Nathan LOVES pokemon and plays a mean game of chess). And as far as parents educating themselves and their children, it also doesn't hurt to just ASK us about our child's disability! We'll appreciate you more for it than bite you! I hope that things have improved for your son Daniel since this post! Regards, Sandee
After reading your description of Daniel, I have no doubt that a boy that was in our youth group at church has some kind of undiagnosed autism. He is now a junior in high school. Sad, isn't it, that parents would let a child go that long without seeking help? I do not deal directly with any of the issues you live with. However, THIS I know. When our children hurt, we hurt worse. If only we could wrap them up and protect them from the hurts of society. IF only. I'm sending my good thoughts your way. Good luck.
Jean, I wanted to clarify my post. You did ignore her, for very good reasons and it was probably the wisest course condsidering your righteous anger and hurt. I don't think you owe her an apology at all. I think she owes Daniel and you and Dan an apology. Since this woman was cruel enough to knowingly hurt Daniel by excluding him, it would probably take divine intervention for her to get it, but you will feel better for explaining your anger, Daniel's hurt, and who knows, maybe some of your sincere remarks will get through. So speak your mind, and keep on being the great mother I know you are for all your boys. Benne
How very painful. I'm glad Daniel has such a caring mom to look out after him.
Oh Jean, your post just breaks my heart, especially because I've met Daniel and know what a sweet child he is. Give him a hug from me.
Don't apologize. She owes you one. You ought to just print out this blog entry and mail it to her. She's the one with bad social skills, and she has no excuse. Wait'll her kids get picked on at their new home for just being new kids. Then maybe she'll get a clue. Hugs chica. You're doing good.
Wow! I don't think you owe this woman an apology but maybe an explanation as to why you were mad. And that is only in the hopes that it will reach her at some point and some level. People can be so stupid in their fear of differences or maybe it is just being self-centered. I don't know, but it brought tears of anger to my eyes reading about it and I can only imagine how it is for you. Take care, Tori
Oh, Jean, I'm so sorry. Perhaps you do need to talk to the mother. When you ignored her at the bus stop all you did was do the same thing to her that was done to Daniel. I wonder how she felt? Might make it easier to explain to her how Daniel felt being excluded (pointedly, in my opinion.) When I first read your page today, I went from anger to tears and wished I was there with you. Children will be children, but they also emulate the behaviour of adults and parents. Remember "Children Learn What They Live"? You may not be able to make any difference with this thoughtless mother but it's worth a shot, I think. Maybe the best thing would be to write a note to your neighbor. That way, you can present your feelings calmly and she will have the opportunity to absorb what you have to say without making excuses. I would ask her to read it to her kids too. Children are never too young to be taught kindness and compassion. God bless you and your family, Jean.
Karen M
Hi Jean, As somebody with Asperger's myself, I can tell you that there *is* something worse than seeing your child suffer because of it. I am disgusted at the behavior of the "birthday boy"'s mother; there is absolutely no excuse. None at all. Perhaps she can be educated...but I'm not sure if that will help. The good news is that social skills can be learned. Reading social cues can be learned. Daniel seems like a lovely little boy, and one that is eager to join the rest of the world. I'd talk to a behavior specialist at his school for some suggestions. I wish you and Daniel all the best. Karen
I can't even imagine what you and Daniel are going through, but I know that even the petty little hurts my 12 year old daughter has break my heart. You are right, though, it isn't the kids. The adults need to step up to the plate here and teach their children compassion for others, even those who are a little different than they are. How else will this world be a better place if we don't teach our kids to love? Daniel is such a handsome child. I know he must bring a lot of love into your life.
Sigh. Jean, I can't imagine what you and Daniel must be going Owen is lower on the spectrum--he doesn't seem to care that other people find him or his behaviors "weird". A blessing and a curse. I do think you should try to educate the other parents. But if you don't have the energy, I would understand that too. You do just have one month left...if all you do is get through it, you got through it. Hang in there. I can't wait till our NY meetup.
Jean, Your son is a beautiful child! We have several children with so-called "disabilities" in our church, and it is touching to see how kindly the other children treat them. Keep searching for a more inclusive group--it may not be in your neighborhood, unfortunately! Our neighbor children are, for the most part, inconsiderate heathens! I say "so called disabilities" because I so wholeheartedly believe that there is a special place on this earth for each of us, all with varying talents and abilities...for instance, I can not draw one whit, yet I have a daughter who is an extremely gifted artist. However, she lacks other skills I possess. So, we all have certain disabilities, and yes, some are more clearly evident than others. I don't mean to diminish the reality of the challenges you face. However, your neighbors are very obviously kindness-disabled!!! Please know that there will be many people who will be able to appreciate your sweet Daniel's many gifts and talents, yet some will not. It sounds like you are doing everything you can to help him shine his own light. If you are the praying sort, pray for your neighbors, and know that I will pray for a special friend for Daniel. If you are not the praying sort, I mean no offense; just know that the very best wishes are sent your way!! Kind regards, Suz
Jean, what Mia said is true (all the others, too, actually). I won't say that Daniel's life won't be affected by the shunning by peers and tacit support of it by adults but I will tell you that Daniel can and will go on to have a healthy, happy, and whole life anyway. A lot of us have survived Lord of the Flies childhoods and gone on to triumph. I'll tell you one thing, Daniel has the inestimable advantage of loving and supportive parents. From the (ex-) kid's point of view you cannot imagine what that means.. I send you both many, many hugs...
I know how hard it is! Jackson is 11. This last year in school he has been coming home asking me if he is weird. He's starting to notice that a lot of the other kids exclude him. Some even to the point of getting up to change tables when he sits down. Sometimes talking to the parents makes things worse, not better. Either the parent doesn't understand, or they force their child to include him and then the child resents it and makes things even more difficult for Jack. As he's been noticing it I talk to him about it a lot. Being in a big area helps because he has found a few people who are always his friend, not just when no one else is around. I've explained to him why people act the way that they do, and that it is better when there are more people around so that you can choose the ones you want to be with. He'll be in middle school next year with 1100 students in his grade. He's really looking forward to it. I don't know how old your son is, but I hope this might give you some ideas to help him learn to cope I'm sorry this is so long. Jackson and I will be praying for you.
Jean, just remember that even being so called "normal" still doesn't mean that you are not excluded. You can be excluded for being just a little bit differnt. If you wear glasses or like to read or beat the boys at their own sports you will be excluded. But these moithers have no excuse. The military preaches tolerences but you and I know that it is only talk. Give Daniel a hug. Things will get better. Slowly but they will. His brothers will help. I would still go and talk to that mother even though they are about to go back stateside. Maybe something will sink in.
My heart is breaking for both you and Daniel. When you said he considers anyone who talks to him for more than 30 minutes his best friend, I got all teary eyed. I can tell you right now that Daniel would fit in perfectly in our neighborhood. Both of my boys and several of our neighbor boys (ages 6-8) spend hours playing (and talking about) gameboy, pokemon, star wars, etc. Please move here! My son Joseph likes sports okay, but he is not a fanatic about it. He's eight and already feeling peer pressure from the boys at school who are obsessed with sports. I think it's ridiculous. Like I tell him, everyone has different interests and passions. We don't judge or criticise a person because they aren't a cookie-cutter clone of ourselves. Puh-lease! And, I would definitely be angry at your neighbors. Totally unacceptable for parents to model that kind of behavior. Hugs from NC, Jean and Daniel!
Bookish Wendy
Jean, I am a sibling of a brother much like Daniel. We're adults now and we still deal with issues like this. It's hard on all members of the family when a child is "different." I too would encourage you to communicate with the mothers in your area. They may come across another "Daniel" someday. I personally think one of the best things you can do for Daniel is try to give him some tools to deal with the rejection. Unfortunately we didn't catch my brother early enough in life and he is having a hard time dealing with these feelings and relationships as an adult. Although, come to think of it...I'm not sure any of us have any idea what those tools are to give?
Let me just pick up my head and wipe away my tears of saddness... I know EXACTLY what you are feeling, I feel it every day of my life. Great, hear comes the tears again... I too have a son, Calvin, that is six years old this June who has Cerebral Palsy. His condition is very mild, but his communication is limited and his motor control is pretty good but not perfect. Calvin, looks like a very regular little boy, but to socity he's not. We too, live in a neighborhood where there are 4 boys his age. Calvin also, never gets invited to b-day parties and is always left wondering why he cannot play on the jumper or go hit the pinata that the other childeren are enjoying--as he looks out the window watching's soooo heart breaking. The boys have been over our house a few times to play with my step daughter whom comes to visit from PA. in the summer time. The thing is...they only play with his toys and not him. One time he had an accendent in his pants and unfortunately the neighborhood boys found out about it and Calvin had to here all the horrible comments, wisper and snickers the children made! I didn't take it lightly--but thats another LONG story. All I can say is, parents, PLEASE educate, educate, educate... I can go on for pages, but I must get going the my daughters are getting hungry for lunch. Keep you head high and be strong for your son, as I know you probly are.
Jean--It makes me so sad to read this. Daniel looks so sweet and gentle, I can only imagine how hard this must be for you. I'll keep you guys in my prayers!
Daniel is such a beautiful boy! I feel so much for you and him. It's not right that he's shunned by other kids, but in my opinion, as in yours, very little of the fault lies with those kids, and much of it on their parents. Now I just want to give you and Daniel a great big hug.
Hi Jean. I hurt for you and for Daniel. He's so beautiful - going to be such a handsome man! He is and will be wonderful, just the way he is. And some girl .. woman is going to love him and appreciate every bit of him, just the way he is. May I suggest you write a letter to the other mom, then go over and ask if you may read it to her? You will have the opportunity to say exactly what you mean without getting sidetracked. If she won't let you read it yourself, just leave it with her.
So sorry to hear about all of the difficulties you've been having. It definately sounds like some kind of conversation with the parents may help clear the air a little bit. I can't see where any parent should have let the party exclude Daniel. Maybe talking with them would help them to understand a bit more. Hope it gets better for you.
Jean...I wish I could reach across cyberspace and give you and Daniel a hug. Well...a cyberhug is probably what Daniel would like best anyway. I just said a prayer for peace and comfort for you and your family. (I know you are Catholic....) and that the Holy Spirit would guide you and guard you so that you can be the best Mom and advocate for your child. (Romans 8:28)
Oh Jean, I'm so sorry!!! I think you are right about talking to the parents. I think the kids are just following the parents example.

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