Monday, March 29, 2010

Are you ready................

I've been neglecting my blog duties.


Can't help it, y'all! The sun is shining... there are weeds to be pulled and worms to be had.

Luke thinks worms are cute. And I think Luke is pretty cute. So we dig for worms together.

Today is Monday, which means that in just a few short days, World Autism Awareness Day will be upon us.

Did you know that there are only 3 "world" days recognized by the UN? Autism being one of them? Kinda cool. Sorta. I mean, sucks that we NEED a day but kinda cool that autism is one of only 3.

Anyway, I digress. Are you ready?

Autism Speaks is sponsoring a "Light it up Blue" campaign. (You may have noticed the ginormous sidebar?) The EMPIRE STATE BUILDING is going to be lit up blue on April 1. Wow. That's a lot of lightbulbs. I bought ONE lightbulb. I'll be lighting up my house blue, will you?

What about your autism gear? Got a tshirt? No? Well, you should have ordered one from my etsy store! Nonetheless WEAR BLUE on Friday if you have nothing else!!!!

Got your jewelry?

Got your pins?

Got your shoes? NO? That's cuz I made these... they are one of a kind my friends. But admit they are awesome!

Here's the thing. I don't care how you do it. But show your AUTISM PRIDE on Friday. THIS FRIDAY, April 2. Go to the dollar store and buy a puzzle. Tape said puzzle pieces to a tshirt. Just show your support. Show your pride. Please. Take a sharpie and write on a tshirt, "I love someone with autism." or............ "I support someone with autism." or............. "I support someone who loves someone with autism." I mean, whatever. Do your thing.

Because WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY is so that we can all stand together... because we are SO not alone.

Oh, did I mention how I'll be spending World Autism Awareness Day?

With Temple Grandin.

Go me!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Temple Grandin changed my life

I've read about Temple.

I've even read a few things written by Temple.

But somehow, watching the movie.............the visual representation of what Temple, or a person like Temple (autistic) lives through...........


I thought I had this thing knocked.

Not a chance.

HBO, I commend you. Thank you for airing a major television event on the topic of autism.
Mick Jackson (director), I commend you. Your vision, Temple's vision...the way you brought it to life, the way you brought it home -- without words.
Claire Daines, I cannot wait to watch you win your emmy, although it will not even begin to give you the accolades you deserve. For you this may have been "just a role," or perhaps even "just a paycheck," but........what you showed us.........was nothing short of a miracle.

I cannot stop thinking about this movie. There's a scene where Temple first walks into her new bedroom and the camera zooms in on the ceiling fan, then back to Temple where the visual stimulation of the blades going round and round is obviously sending her into a state of panic. But then the volume goes up.......every swish of the blades going around and around and around is like a jackhammer in her head. It's everything, EVERYTHING, EVERY.THING she can do to keep it together. It's like you can see the internal struggle she's having with herself, "it's just a fan, it's going to be ok, calm down, down freak out, it's just a fan." (Kudos again to Ms. Daines for communicating all of that with body language and eyes.......... like most autistic folks can ONLY do)

It's ............ a ceiling fan.

Do YOU even NOTICE a ceiling fan when you walk into the room? I know I don't. It's just there.... but for people living with autism........... it can be like a jackhammer.

Think about being in a room with a jackhammer. For 5 seconds. For 5 hours. Or better yet ALL NIGHT.

How would YOU feel?

Wait, how would you feel if you couldn't communicate to anyone how much it was upsetting you?

Yeah, I'd throw a bloody temper tantrum too.

Just think for a moment about a ceiling fan even BOTHERING you. That in itself is a stretch. But now think about NOT HAVING THE ABILITY TO SAY, "Hey, can you turn that jackhammer off? It's driving me crazy."

There's another scene, and I'll hack the heck out of trying to paraphrase it, where Temple is talking to her mother (played brilliantly by Julia Ormond) and she's saying, "You know how people communicate with their eyes? I'll never understand that." Here's what I want Claire Daines to know........... as an actor, you communicated SO MUCH of what Temple was feeling with YOUR eyes. Sometimes I think the mark of a TRUE gifted actor is not in what they say or how they deliver their lines, but it what they don't say. In what they silently express. Claire, you nailed it. I was uncomfortable the entire time I watched that movie. I was tense, I was scared, I was uptight........because you made me feel what Temple was feeling.

And I didn't like it.

If you haven't seen the Temple movie, SEE IT. Because guess what folks? 1 in 91 kids are being diagnosed with autism. Time to start accepting autism as "the new norm." Or at least a BIG part of "the new norm." Watching this movie will HELP YOU understand what autism is.

My son Luke is 6 years old. He was diagnosed at age 2. I've lived with the ups and downs for 4 years. I've been working with groups like Autism Speaks non stop for over 2 years. I've read countless books about autism... COUNTLESS. I've spent HOURS doing research online. I've talked to hundreds of parents who tell me about their kiddos and yet...........

I had no idea.

Because even though Luke is verbal, he still can't tell me what it's like. And I have no doubt that what Temple experiences and what other autistic people experience are different. But just getting a GLIMPSE into the world, into the mind of autism opened my eyes even more.

But this, as a mother..........was by far, what caused the waterworks to start: Temple's mother was dropping her off at a boarding school and suddenly had second thoughts about leaving Temple there.

Prof. Carlock: I know it's difficult when as parents we want our children to be everything we hope for them to be, and if they're not, we think it's our fault, and that there's never ever anybody out there who understands what we're going through. And it makes you feel alone, right? Mrs. Grandin, I'm not an admissions person. I just teach science. But I feel that this school might be the right place for your daughter. I'd love to have her here.

Mrs. Grandin: The doctors wanted me to institutionalize her. And I don't know, just dumping her at a boarding school, it just feels like another way to give her up.

Carlock: But it's not. It's just the first step in getting her out into the world. And I know you saw the children making fun of her, and you want to protect her.

Mrs. Grandin: Yes, of course I do.

Carlock: What parent doesn't want to? But at some point, she's going to hit life head on. Trust me, we know how different she is.

Mrs. Grandin: Different, not less.

Carlock: Different. But not less.

'Nuf said.