Autism Reality

Hello and Welcome to Autism Reality

Conor on the Trail

Conor, My Buddy

I am starting this WordPress blog site to encourage reality based discussions of autism, autism research, causes, treatments, education, residential care and public policy. I encourage you to contact me or comment to offer your views and opinions. Profanity and harassment of anyone public or otherwise will not be permitted but open, candid, and honest dialogue will be encouraged. I expressly state my bias. My son, Conor, is autistic, profoundly autistic, and although I love HIM deeply, I do not love his autism which is a serious neurological disorder because of which Conor requires adult supervision on a 24/7 basis. Conor, and other autistic children, deserve evidence based treatment, education and … some day a cure for their autism.

June 3, 2007 Posted by | autism, autism challenges, autism diagnosis, Conor | Leave a comment

Conor and Dad Hit the Trail

Conor got his Dad out for some exercise on this beautiful Sunday afternoon.

On the walking trail, Conor munches on a favorite treat – orange peppers and takes a break on a comfy rock.

[Click on pics to enlarge]

May 6, 2007 Posted by | Autism Connections Fredericton, autism disorder, Conor, Joy of Conor, Nashwaaksis, walking trail | Leave a comment

Autism Reality – Joy and Broken Windows

Parents seeking to better the lives of their autistic children must overcome many obstacles including prejudice and ignorance of those who blame them for their children’s behaviour. Bettleheim’s twisted theories no longer prevail, at least not openly. But as a lawyer I have advocated for families whose parenting skills in raising their autistic children are questioned by family service and child welfare bureaucrats with no real experience or knowledge of autism or what it means to raise an autistic child. In the everyday world some strangers will still look on disapprovingly when your child engages in public tantrum or other “odd” behaviour.

A further obstacle arises from those who should know better, the few parents of autistic children and some high functioning autistic adults, who glorify autism; presenting it as a positive even superior aspect of the human condition. These “posautive”, or “neurodiversity” advocates react with outrage when other parents try to present the whole truth about autism. They reacted angrily, and shamefully, when parents in the Autism Every Day video told their stories. These brave and caring parents were accused of staging scenes for the video and mocked as engaged in self pity parties. All because they told the world the truth about their children’s autism.

Parents do not need self appointed internet autism experts from afar to tell them to find joy in their children. Nor do we need them to falsely tell the world that autism is all joy and wonder. It is not. Autism is a serious neurological disorder and the realities of life for autistic persons, particularly severely autistic persons, and their families can be hard. Parent advocates do not need sympathy or pity from the “posautive” crowd. Nor do we need their support. What would help is if they ceased creating a false picture of the reality of autism – as experienced by many autistic persons and their families.

The photos above portray the joy of living with my severely autistic son Conor, age 11 – a quiet moment with Nanny, some roughhousing fun time with Dad. But the third picture is that of a window broken by Conor this past Friday, broken with his hand as he rushed from one end of the house to the other. He cut his hand, though not seriously. The window was replaced (with car windshield type glass). But the fact remains that he could have hurt himself badly. And the fact remains that danger and injury are ever present realities that have to be contemplated much more frequently with our autistic son then with his brother who is not autistic. And it does become expensive repairing and replacing. My son’s life experiences and prospects are not the same as the high functioning internet essay writers. His will be a life being cared for by others. After I am deceased I will not be able to fight for him or otherwise ensure that his best interests are respected. Conor is a joy, a great and tremendous joy, to our family. That is why we fight for his best interests now against immovable bureaucracies and against the false pictures of autism painted by internet autism glorifiers who do my son no favours with their false pictures.

April 29, 2007 Posted by | autism awareness, autism disorder, autism every day, autism reality, Conor, high funcitioning autism, neurodiversity | 3 Comments

Conor and the Computer

Autism or no autism Conor is pretty handy with some of our entertainment technology. He is better than his dad at manipulating the DVD/VCR equipment and he loves to play on the computer. He will sit (usually quietly) for as much as an hour at a time playing on the PBS Kids site. In the photo above bottom you can see on the toolbar folder bookmarks for May & Mieguel, Big Birds, Dragon Tales and just the tail end of the Friends book mark. All these bookmarks were made by Conor without our involvement or instruction. He may well have been taught how to bookmark at school but it is still a boost for us to see him able to use this technology for his amusement.

April 17, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, autism entertainment, computer, Conor, PBS Kids | 1 Comment

Globe & Mail Review of Goody Bledsoe by Heather Doherty

Today was a day of excitement in the Doherty household as the Globe and Mail published its Spring Fiction Books issue and included for review Goody Bledsoe by Heather Doherty, mother of two fine boys, including a fellow named Conor who appears from time to time on this autism blog site. New Brunswick government officials who have been involved on the other end of my autism advocacy efforts over the past 8 years have been rumored to refer to me be a variety of names. Now, I guess I will simply be known as Heather Doherty’s Husband.

Some comments from the Globe & Mail review of Goody Bledsoe:

Goody Bledsoe and her little brother have been on her aunt and uncle’s New Brunswick farm just three days. In the face of Aunt Jackie’s drill-sergeant authority, it’s the pigs and Uncle Nathan who offer the warmer glimpse of a world that might be called home. By this point (20 pages in), there has already been ample cause for tears, none of them quite spilling.

The emotional control of Goody and her terminally ill mother is also their author’s containment. Sadness brims, but is held in check by Doherty’s ironies. I was hooked.

JIM BARTLEY, Globe and Mail, April 14, 2007

For anyone in the Fredericton area Heather will also be reading from Goody Bledsoe at the Nashwaaksis Public Libarary on April 19, 2007 beginning at 7 pm.

April 14, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, books, Conor, Globe and Mail, goody bledsoe, heather doherty, heather doherty writes, literature | 1 Comment

Autism Speaks at Conor’s House

Autism Speaks has done a terrific job in raising Autism Awareness and in emphasizing the need to take action to cure autism, to provide effective autism interventions and to raise funds for research into autism causes and cures.

At Conor’s house we do not wring our hands and agonize over the right metaphors to use while talking about autism issues. Our priorities are found in improving Conor’s ability to participate in and enjoy life to the fullest extentpossible. We find joy in Conor not in his autism and we seek not to “accept autism” but to provide Conor with evidence based treatment and education to overcome to the fullest extenet possible the deficits that autism brings. To date only ABA meets the evidence based standard but other evidence based interventions may emerge with research. And Autism Speaks is a driving force today in raising awareness and funds for that research.

At Conor’s house Autism Speaks and we are listening.

April 4, 2007 Posted by | autism awareness, autism disorder, autism speaks, autism treatment, Conor, intervention | 2 Comments

Conor Having a Ball, An ABA Therapy Ball

Conor’s ABA therapy does not involve the use of electric shocks, slaps on the wrist or any other type of aversive. ABA today is practiced with positive reinforcement which can take many forms – from praise to a favorite treat to playing with a toy. One of Conor’s favorite therapy props is a large ball. No therapy today but Conor doesn’t need anyone to show him how to have fun!!

March 17, 2007 Posted by | aba, Applied Behavior Analysis, autism, Conor, fun, therapy | 2 Comments

Conor’s St. Patrick’s Day Snow Fun

St. Patrick’s Day often brings a snow storm in our parts. This year was no exception with snow turning into freezing rain this morning. Conor wasn’t a bit fazed by the weather though and didn’t hesitate to head outdoors for some more snow fun.

March 17, 2007 Posted by | autism, Conor, funding, Saint Patrick's Day, snow | Leave a comment

Conor Adds It All Up – On the Walls

Conor loves his numbers and loves to add. In the pictures above he decided to exercise his adding pleasure on the walls of his room and the upstairs bathroom! His Mom, Heather, says that we will be getting a white board for his room today!

March 11, 2007 Posted by | autism, autism education, Conor, math, recreation | Leave a comment

Conor Relaxes at the Second Cup

Sunday morning for Conor often means hanging out with Dad and relaxing at the Second Cup in Kings Place, Fredericton. They have always been very kind to Conor – even when he has a melt down or tantrum moment. We usually grab a window table where Conor can watch the cars and buses when he is not examining the many sights inside the Second Cup with its colorful mugs, plants, wall hangings and other decorations. The music is usually very relaxing and Dad gets to have a coffee “fix” while hanging out with my buddy.

March 4, 2007 Posted by | autism, coffee, Conor, Fredericton, Kings Place, Second Cup | 1 Comment