Friday, August 5, 2011

I'm Doing This for My Son & For all Children Growing up with Autism

Welcome Back Everybody, This week I lost 2 more pounds so  I am down to 242! We did raise a little money this week, between donations and shirt sales we brought in $55 this week. I just found out that our cost per shirt was a little less so once we sell this entire run we will make an additional $90 more than we thought!

I am sure there are many of you reading this blog for the first time wondering why I am going through all this trouble. My son has been my inspiration. When he was born in 2005, he was already behind the eight-ball. My son was a "super preemie." he was born 3 full months early and he weighed just over 2 pounds. My wife and I were terrified and 10 weeks later, we were relieved because he could come home. "It" was over. Really it had just begun. Mikey was a good and happy baby, but we started to notice around 9 months or so that he wasn't making the progress that a baby should. Now our Daughter was ahead of the curve of everything so we didn't want to unfairly compare them. But it became obvious that something  was "different." Lots of Doctor visits, school visits and educators later, they told us he had a speech delay, and then that he had "sensory integration disorder," then he was PDD NOS, and finally he was diagnosed with Autism. Boy, that's a relief now we can work to help him.
To put it bluntly, that is an uphill fight. The school system wants to help, but the bureaucracy of it and their lack of funds puts them in the unfortunate position that they will do as little as possible to help your child unless you yell and scream for more services. When you do yell and scream their are several services that can really benefit your child, but because they are expensive and would cost the school system money, they flat out refuse to do them. They will site "free & appropriate" public education and typically the law is on their side. We consulted with THE BEST lawyer in Baltimore for this kind of case and he told us that there is only a 15% success rate for parents that "file for due process" against their respective school system. Ask yourself how that must feel?You know exactly what your child needs to give them the best chance to succeed, but the school wont provide it and you as a parent can spend Thousands of dollars each year, just to level the playing field for your Autistic child.
And then there is the typical daily activities, like going to the store. How many times have you been at a grocery store or a department store and seen a child having an absolute meltdown and thought to yourself "wow, that is one bad kid!" or you thought "what terrible parents." I can tell you, I AM that parent and that is my son. He is not a bad kid and I am not a bad parent. Sometimes you have to go to the store and sometimes your autistic child just cannot be soothed, for a whole host of reasons.

So I am incredibly grateful for everything that Pathfinders for Autism does for families like mine. Now when I take my son to one of their events, I am in an environment where, if Mikey has a tantrum I don't have dozens of accusatory eyes staring at me, telling me I am a bad parent, Instead I am surrounded by people who look at me and say " I understand."

Thank you for reading today, please share this blog with your friends and please donate, remember $10 can go a long way.

Together, we can do great things!


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