Wednesday, March 30, 2011
As I think I've said before, my family is activley involved in the "Autism Speaks" fundraiser walk, where we raise money and get sponsered for walking every year. We have walked in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. There are a couple of major fundraisers we organize every year gather money to donate to the organization which have been very helpful. The first big one we created was a dance/gathering down in Mass at the local John Alden Club that alot of my family members have been members of for a while. Generally we charge ten dollars a ticket or two for fifteen dollars. The DJ and bartender have always been friends to the family who don't charge us for their services. I have become close with the owners of the local pizza places and sub shops in the area, and they have come to expect me around the end of the summer requesting a food donation. At the dance itself we always create a 50/50 raffle but on multiple occassions the winner donates all the money right back to Autism Speaks. It's always impressed me how many people show up and how many donate their time or supplies to help us raise money. There has also often been a company that shows their support by doubling the money we raise and adding it to the donations. The second major event we construct is a car wash usually around July, and although it tends to be less productive than the dance we do raise a significant amount of money.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
It sure is frusterating to be the parent or babysitter in a situation where the child is throwing themselves onto the floor full force and crying, kicking, and screaming. What gets even more tense and uncomfortable is if this fiasco is happening in a public place. Whats even a step above this level of frusteration is if you are a severley autistic child throwing the tantrum! I personally can't even imagine how that must feel. To have all these feelings, needs, wants, and thoughts with no way to successfully communicate them to the adults surrounding you and caring for you. Almost as if you are experiencing pain, exhaustion, or frusteration and your mouth stops working. You can't make it form the way it should in order to create the words you need. As if someone has duct taped your mouth shut or stolen the words straight out of your mind. A major trait of autism is the lack of both communication and social skills in order to express what they are feeling or thinking to those around them. My brother still isn't able to form any words to tell us how we can help or soothe him. With the average child, when they throw fits most of the time the adult is aware of the cause of the behavior. My step-mom and I attempted to supervise my not-so-little-little-brother in a mall in the Boston area once. He is taller than her and stronger than me so when he threw himself to the ground crying there wasn't much either one of us could do. It took three grown men to assist us. While it was embarassing and upsetting for us, what he went through was much worse. Even after the twenty minute battle to sooth him, to this day we are still unaware of what triggered the outburst. We never for sure find out what is causing a severly autsistic child to get as worked up as they do during those temper tantrums.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Over spring break I went to visit my little brother in the asisted living he stays in. He is getting so strong and powerful over his single mother that it was getting too dangerous for him to stay with her. While he was living with her, he was also lacking any sort of development, even in regular every day tasks. Since he's been in this home, constantly one on one with a trained teacher he's made constant progress. He's learned to dress himself (although its a minor skill for most, its a major step with a severley retarted child with autism) and brush his teeth. Although they seem like small stepping stones that, it has taken him 12 years to be able to do them. He still hasn't been able to verbally communicate with other people, but progress is progress and it felt good to see him taking these steps. Before he was placed into the new living enviornment, he was constantly throwing full on temper tantrums in public. It took the assistance of three grown men to help get him in the car after one of these violent fits and he still continued to thrash and scream. These tantrums have slowed almost to a complete stop. Over all the visit to see him and meet the teachers he has been working with was a complete success!