Jasan is 6 years old. He loves printers, elevators, and anything that rotates. With that in mind, his mother, Heidi, and grandmother Sherry are spending the morning with him at the TLC Laundromat in Crystal Lake.
"He's always loved washers and dryers, for some reason," Heidi says."Number one, it's mechanical. It spins. He's always loved spinning things, even when he was a little baby. I have a picture of him at his 1st birthday party, sitting in front of a fan. I didn't know he was autistic then."
Autism is a complicated brain disorder affecting about one in 68 children, according for the Centers for Disease Control. The cause is unknown, though genetics are definitely a factor. So is being male, like Jasan: five times more boys than girls develop autism.
Autism presents itself as a spectrum, ranging from severe, life-limiting disabilities — a quarter of people with autism are non-verbal — to those who display unusual-but-manageable quirks and mannerisms. Forty percent of people with autism have elevated intelligence...
To continue reading, click here.
My daughter is a high school Special Ed teacher whose class consists primarily of autistic students. Besides extraordinary patience and compassion, proven strategies and tactics are required to move these children forward. Obviously this family has the love and will, but perhaps Heidi and Sherry should seek professional assistance if they have not already. Thank you for highlighting this most challenging (and rewarding) reality.ReplyDelete
Barry, I commend your daughter for being one of those special humans that walk this earth. I have seen my son with teachers that aren't so great, and those that REALLY are! Please pass along my blog to her if she may be interested!Delete
Heidi, thank you for those kind words. I have already passed the info on to my precious daughter and I'm certain she will check it out.Delete
"Professional Assistance" definitely seems to be needed here. As bad as the situation is now it can only get worse as Jasan gets older and stronger. Certainly, Heidi's case is a hard one and I can sympathize with her reluctance to involve professionals in the care of her son, but without help Jasan is not very likely to become a sound engineer or anything like it.ReplyDelete
John, I believe you're right about the importance of early intervention. Poking around Heidi's website, the only mention of a therapist is when she meets Dr.Temple Grandin. It seems the main point of interest in her blog is the day to day frustrations and joys of raising an autistic child.Delete
He is in the special TLC program for autistic students that the Cary schools run, so I assume he has all the professional attention he needs. A lot of tangents had to be cut, and that was one of them. He isn't being raised in laundromats.Delete
Hello all, Jasan is receiving excellent assistance. He has been since the age of 2, when we started with early intervention. He now is in the autistic program within the Cary public school system. They are a great team that knows him very well and are able to meet him at his level. They have even helped guide me when I personally have needed some help with support. There is also a wonderful outlet in our area, Options and Advocacy of McHenry County. They have been wonderful with us.Delete
I appreciate the comments, as I agree in that therapy and help can make a huge difference!
Thank you for those of you that have visited the blog. Jasan is in a very LOVING environment.
Governor Rauner needs to read this.ReplyDelete
Yes! Agreed. :)Delete
I had a college roommate who worked for Bruno Bettleheim at the U. of Chicago's Orthogenic Institute. He didn't seem to like it much, and reading about Bettleheim some years later made me see why. He practiced an extreme form of tough love with patients and believed that autism was caused by a lack of maternal warmth, the now discredited "refrigerator mother" theory -- which certainly doesn't fit Heidi.ReplyDelete
A good read featuring a high functioning autistic teen who solves a crime is Mark Haddon's "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time."
If I remember that book correctly, it mentions Caesar's famous "...omnia gallia.." phrase and how it's almost always quoted incorrectly.Delete
The kid was a stickler for precise language. Among other compulsions.ReplyDelete
I'm in Special Ed and I've work with autistics for over 28 years. I completely sympathize and understand the many challenges Heidi and her son face. I'm sure he's receiving needed support in school, but it's very hard for families with autistic children to give the non-stop attention needed away from school. It may help to find objects/toys Jasan can spin and observe away from the laundromat, perhaps even a video of a spinning washing machine he can observe at home. I think it's wrong to force autistics to accept change and new sensations, but they can be encouraged to slowly accept these changes over time. We must find avenues that meet their hypersensitive needs without causing them visual or auditory pain.ReplyDelete
Bt the way, my own daughter is high functioning Aspergers and has many sensory problems of her own. She's also highly intelligent and in the top of her high school senior class. But, I haven't agreed to a formal diagnosis as to avoid the stigma that may follow her throughout her life and career, as Neil mentions.
You knew I was going to say that.