Chronic Tonic at VOTS- Looking For Emotional Rescue

Well, it's been one helluva week, eh? Much like the rest of the country we watched in horror here at chez triv as the events of last Friday unfolded and our hearts ached as we thought of our own boys aged eight and nine at their own elementary schools nearby. Then somebody on one of the 24/7 news-o-rama stations said it--the shooter was on the spectrum and Cleetus hollered, "Oh, hell no!" and turned off the teevee. We don't know exactly what's coming, but we suspect and we don't want to hear it, no. It goes right up at the top of our joint "fuck that" list.

For those of you who don't know our younger son is on the spectrum. High functioning, but on there and we've had somewhat of a struggle this year. So, all of a sudden whatever rank speculation that may happen between the the talking heads would feel very personal and we couldn't take it. Just seeing that picture of that kid when he was young damn near killed me. Buttons buttoned to the top, shy eyes peeking from beneath that fringe of bangs and almost a smile...oh.

I can only talk about my kid. Yeah, he's different, he processes information differently than we do and he has trouble verbalizing his thoughts, but he's getting better at it. The thing I've noticed is that he's like a sponge, he soaks up information and stimuli very easily. So, I've made it my business to make sure that his world is full of kindness, sharing, empathy--love. This is something you'd do with any child in the course of raising them, but with a kid who misses the social cues? Oh, it's a production.

And we're lucky. From the time we first suspected the whole family has been Team Dan all the way. I've never had to attend a meeting without Cleetus by my side, my parents opened their house to a team of therapists coming through for several years, his older brother relentlessly pursued every play strategy that was suggested and over the last six years Dan has progressed. Yes, we've hit some bumps, but we've also had his diagnosis upgraded each time he's been seen by that fancy doctor who thought he'd never have original speech.

So, my kid had some trouble last year. His anxiety was getting in the way of his progress, it was looking like they wanted him medicated and they brought in the big guns to back that up. They brought in a psychiatrist to see him and then talk to us about our options...hmm. A lot of different medications. I told her I would take it under advisement. What I did was take the four weeks between school letting out and his summer program starting to work with my kid. And I kept working with him and by the time I met with his one on one towards the end of his summer program she told me it was like working with a different kid. She wondered if I had medicated him. I told her that I understood that medicating a kid might be easier than working through anxiety, but we weren't ready to take that step.

We met with his teacher in November, she was full of praise, but I think she would still like to see him medicated, just to "turn down the noise in his head." I struggle with this. Truly I do. I know what she's saying, but if he is progressing and not unhappy I can't see it. For now, I can't put an eight year old boy on the type of drugs they're talking. So, we go along, taking each day as it comes and working for the best outcome and only hoping that tomorrow's Dan is a little better than yesterday's.

Then a national tragedy happens and you think your heart is broken until they announce on the teevee that the shooter was on the spectrum and you find out it can break just a little more.

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oh honey ...

NY brit expat's picture

there is a large clumsy woman reaching through the computer to hold and rock you for as long as you need. No one knows what happened this week ... but the concentration on the kid being on the spectrum has done nothing but stigmatise those on the spectrum, create more misunderstanding and get good and supportive parents to question themselves. Please do not let the media and the talking heads make more victims of wonderful parents and kids that are trying so damn hard and suffering already from being on the spectrum.

All we can do for our children is to love them, support them and teach them that they are valued and wonderful people. You and your whole family have been there for your son ... I hear your pain, I wish that I could be there to hug you ... my heart breaks hearing you doubt yourself and your family! Sending you love!

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thanks, I felt hesitant to even

triv33's picture

write about this, but on the other hand I figured I'm not alone here. There's a whole lot of parents out there that heard that come over the airwaves and just realized in that moment that, yes, they could feel worse.

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I have been talking to people

NY brit expat's picture

all week about this meme that has been spread by the media and so many of them have children that have any number of problems; I found myself telling people over and over again that this is false and that rather than being perpetrators of violence children and adults that have problems like this are more likely to be victims in a very harsh world, that they are trying to avoid the real issues of what happened this week, that they should not doubt themselves or stop doing their excellent work of love and support for their children. This is bordering on evil to spread such a harsh lie that makes parents doubt themselves, doubt their efforts and most importantly doubt their children. All to avoid talking about a society founded upon violence which is armed to the teeth ... the truth seems to be seen as far more dangerous than demonising kids on the autism spectrum and the parents that are working so hard and loving them so much. There have been so many things that have infuriated me this week, but this is so pernicious and so dangerous for parents and children and yet that does not stop them from making claims like this ...

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This makes me grateful

geomoo's picture

that I have avoided almost all coverage of this.  I have other reactions, too, about the need to prevent any seeming evil from being seen as part of society.  Identifying scapegoats is one of the easiest and most common ways to pretend the problems of human nature can be contained without the need for taking personal responsibility for one's own contibution to violence.  Soldiers must be seen as clean and heroic at all costs.

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the bbc coverage has been atrocious

NY brit expat's picture

disaster porn at its worst at times. Simply horrific ... but they concentrated on gun control, the comments about mental illness and violence have gotten less airplay here (as they do not have to rely on these hateful memes as there is no NRA or delusions about the wonder of modern weaponry over here). They interviewed the local haircutter who had nothing to say at all, who had no information about the situation, and just kept babbling ... Although there was some fun when some gun lover was speaker to a bbc reporter who compared the 2nd amendment to slavery and the woman just didn't understand what he was getting at ... you know, it was in the constitution, but you changed it. You can change the constitution ... gasp! Of course, this is a question of changing interpretation rather than the constitution itself, but let's not get lost in this discussion ...

I have been talking with people on fb as so many were repeating the dangerous and violent austism spectrum argument and others have been worried and feeling guilty although they have done nothing but support their children. So an awful thing to do to people .... worrying if children on the spectrum will not have even more problems at school due to this awful, pernicious reporting and the intensity of people's ignorance determining policy at all levels.

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Ah, this helps clarify what I wanted to say

geomoo's picture

It has to do with the delusion that there can be a nation of violent heroes who only use violence to make the world better.  This requires the assumption that every time human nature reveals itself, there must be a reason found to avoid the conclusion that violent impulses are not controllable or able to be harnessed for only good.  It is not that his family and community culture glorified violence and made shooting weapons seem normal--it is that this young man was like the "bad apples" who are blamed for every war crime.  The problem is mental illness, not violent human nature, so that there is no need for soul-searching our cultural and personal relationship to violence.

I could imagine the "coverage" all too well.  I knew I would not be able to tolerate it.

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excellent link polgirl!

NY brit expat's picture

thank you for that, it is like the truth is being deliberately buried as it is contradicting some nasty meme that the media is trying desperately to sell.

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thanks! i ran across that today and it's...

poligirl's picture

got links to some of the articles... some folks out there are making the case that the media is stupid. not that it takes a lot to make it, but the damage they're doing is very bad. it's like they don't think things through in the hurry to get the story out. they don't care if it's correct or what the consequences of it are... sigh...

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