Saturday, March 18, 2017

About That Autism Conference ...

I am still processing the experience of being in a sizable audience and hearing parents talk about their lives with their autistic children, followed by Templin Grandin's mother and Temple Grandin herself.

Amazing and well-worth it, are the two thoughts that keep recurring for me. I laughed along with the speakers, because you have to laugh or your heart will break with some of the things you will have to deal with for your autistic kids ... and the rest of the world.

I kept crying too, more than I have in a while. Because so much just gets squeezed into a "don't think about it, just get through it" closet, papered over with "la-la-la-la's". I just kept leaking. But you know what? I had a lot of company. And it was dark. It was therapeutic. So there.

I had renewed appreciation for James' strengths, as well as his overall good health.

I felt more hopeful, among all the threats to my family from our current federal government, about the support and strength in numbers of parents and professionals dealing with autism and the resulting fall-outs.

I didn't feel alone. I was surrounded by others who had to fight for simple things for our kids and ourselves. Who found themselves cut off from friends and family members despite the best of everyone's intentions. Who could hear the weirdest stuff and just nod heads in solidarity.

It helped, to hear that autism tears families apart, as mine has. It still hurts, but it's being talked about. Confronting problems goes a long way to finding solutions and a measure of prevention. Hearing Temple Grandin's mother talk about her family ... well let's just say her story is so much more true than a certain former Playboy bunny's story and I appreciate Eustacia's sharing her story with us.

I felt a sense of accomplishment, in the simple act of following through on a long-standing wish to see and hear Temple Grandin in person. It was symbolic of breaking a depression of years of denial of simple things like driving 65 miles to visit my familiar stomping grounds because "gas is too expensive".

I picked up two books, feeding my inner Heroine Granger: A Thorn in My Pocket, by Eustacia Cutler, and The Loving Push,  by Debra Moore and Temple Grandin. They have helped me refocus to deal with some long-standing challenges. Hence working with the school for James' chart and his taking showers on his own.

I got to meet and talk briefly with three amazing women: Regina Stoops, Feda Almaliti, and Temple Grandin. Those encounters will be whole other posts.

This was a great boost, emotionally and logistically, to get me going again to tackle my current challenges. I sure am going to need it.

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