Sunday, January 24, 2016

I Belong

I belong in this world like everyone else. I have not always felt welcome. For years I was excluded from regular education. Not learning things was practically like death to my mind. I withered away in my own head. I became placated by stims and low expectations. Life grew comfortably boring. I grew to believe my life would never improve. Meaningless would be my life. I can’t begin to tell you how heavy my sorrow was. I wanted to die and be free of this hell.

I am not in hell anymore. I escaped by Mom’s help. Mom learned RPM (Rapid Prompting Method). She made sure I learned many things like my siblings. Mom learned to teach me like Soma (the creator of RPM). She practiced until we got academics down. Then she made a meaningful leap to ask me to express myself. It was really hard at first. I had many meltdowns because it was so hard to make my thoughts come to the forefront of my mind, which was used to being numb. I felt overwhelmed with emotion. Sometimes it was extreme happiness. Sometimes it was extreme sadness for being so trapped in a disobedient body. I would often bang my head out of anger and frustration. Meaning to my meltdowns was lamenting my autism for making my life so difficult to fit in.

My life gets better every day. Making peace with my autism has made me happier. I get meaningful education at school. Partnering with my school, I have been able to make a good transition from my old life at a special school to my new life at public school. My teachers believe in me. They help me feel so welcome and like I belong there. I have taught my teachers and classmates about autism. Helping them understand autism puts me at ease. My life is more meaningful now. I have been able to progress more. Learning is interesting and challenging. I am always looking for the most learning. Last year I advocated for myself to go to regular classes at my IEP meeting. The committee listened to me. This year I am taking regular science and social studies. I love being in these classes. I am making friends too. My world is so much more welcoming now that they can understand me. Making a more understanding world is my goal. Peace be with you.


Philip among the top achievers at Christian Service Brigade

Monday, January 11, 2016


Ms. A writes:

My 12 yr old autistic daughter has had a rough year. This summer she broke her foot at the pool. After starting school on crutches, she was hit by a door when another student pushed it open. This caused a concussion. She has really struggled with controlling meltdowns and other stress reactions. She is starting to feel better, and is attending a full day of school again. But has started damaging things at home after a meltdown. She has never done this before. She is usually a sweet and very helpful girl. I was hoping you might understand what she is feeling and offer some insight.

Hi Ms. A,
People like me may have severe reactions to trauma. In my life I have many fears related to past experiences. When I was little I once had a cold shower. I was so traumatized by the feeling of the cold water raining like hail on my body that I have not taken a shower since. I am still fearful someone might accidentally turn on the shower while I am in the tub. People need to know that autistics have intense memories of lots of things. Your daughter had 2 traumatic experiences in a short amount of time. I think your daughter is having her fears take control over her. She has had some big accidents happen to her body. This would cause me tremendous anxiety. I am paralyzed by fear when I remember something awful. People need to know mean sensations can come while thinking about a past bad experience. Mean sensations are like mighty attacks of war on my stomach or head. I sometimes feel like I might die. It is the worst feeling. Peace comes when I am left alone to rest until the feeling passes. Make your daughter understand she is loved and that you are not mad at her.

I can eventually lessen the effects of trauma. For example, when I was 9 I went to bike camp for the first time. I was doing well, but on the last day I fell. I did not want to go on a bike for years. But mom signed me up for bike camp again when I was 12. This time I could communicate. Being able to communicate has helped me not be as anxious to trace a trauma to my memory. I can peacefully process my feelings. With people knowing I am smart and capable, I can trust them to help me do something that makes me nervous. Now I love to ride my bike.

I wish you and your daughter the best.