Autism Reality

The Cat in the Hat is 50 Today

The Cat in the Hat is 50 today and its brilliant creator Theodor Geisel, Dr. Seuss, would be 103 tomorrow, were he still with us. Conor, like so many other children, loves his Dr. Seuss books. Happy Birthday Cat! Thank you Dr. Seuss.

March 1, 2007 Posted by | autism, Conor, Dr. Seuss, learning, reading, The Cat in the Hat | 2 Comments

Conor is 11 Today!!!

Conor is 11 today!!

They have been 11 years of struggle, fear, despair, hope, fun and pure unmitigated joy.

February 19, 2007 Posted by | autism, birthday, cake, Conor, Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham, happy, joy | 2 Comments

Conor’s Valentine Card for Mom and Dad

No Hallmark Valentine from Conor. He made his own for Mom and Dad!

February 14, 2007 Posted by | autism, Conor, valentine card | 1 Comment

Conor, Autism and ABA from Apple to Seuss

Conor was 2 1/2 years old and had NO effective speech; as in NO words at all with which to communicate. When he wanted something he would simply scream until we figured out what he wanted and provided it. An apple, one of his favorite foods, was always a good guess. Then I attended a lecture by Paul McDonnell, a clinical psychologist working with autistic children and professor emeritus (psychology). Paul described ABA and showed data charts and strategies for extinguishing problem behavior, teaching positive behaviors and elements of speech. That evening at home I tried ABA with Conor for the first time. When he screamed I showed him an apple but did not give it to him right away. I held the apple and kept repeating the first syllable until Conor, some 45 minutes later, finally said “ap”. After an hour and a half Conor was able to say apple.

Since then Conor has received ABA intervention from a number of therapists, but not the 40 hours a week, between the ages of 2 and 5. Nonetheless his vocabulary and understanding of language today while still limited compared to others his age is light years ahead of where it was when we first worked with that apple. Above is a picture of Conor, with his mother, at the edge of the picture listening, while Conor reads aloud from the Cat in the Hat Comes Back by Dr. Seuss. (Dr. Seuss is his favorite writer by far).

Conor’s diagnosis is Autism Disorder. His pediatrician’s commentary describes him as profoundly autistic which he is. But ABA has helped him,and me, immeasurably. It has opened the world for him as language and reading does for all once acquired to any extent. And it has allowed me to communicate with my buddy. Both are priceless gifts. I thank Paul McDonnell for his many efforts on educating parents of autistic children in New Brunswick, the therapists that have worked with Conor and Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas for his incredible gift to autistic children and their parents.

February 5, 2007 Posted by | aba, autism, Conor, Dr. Seuss, Lovaas, speech, therapy | 1 Comment

Conor and the Penny

Yesterday Conor was agitated and rubbing his nose. Because of a prior penny up the nose experience with Conor I checked but saw only a runny nose. He calmed down after wiping his nose clean and started watching some children’s shows on television. Later the nose rubbing resumed so I looked again and this time saw a shiny edge very far up his left nostril. I packed up immediately and headed off to the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital emergency desk with Conor. Things went very smoothly. The hospital staff registered and attended to him promptly and the doctor who attended and removed the coin was sure handed, quick and slick. The coin was out in a flash.

I was very proud of Conor yesterday. He remained calm throughout. We call hospital visits “hospital adventures” and he seemed to enjoy all the sights of the hospital at least for a short visit. Upon being told of the problem, and that Conor was seriously autistic, hospital staff asked if more people would be needed to hold him if necessary but I declined. More people might have just upset Conor and he has always been well behaved on hospital adventures. Afterwards we headed for Zellers at Conor’s request. Once there he went straight for the candy shelf and picked out a box of Scooby Doo candy. Dad was happy to pick up the tab and get Conor home with the Scooby Doo and no penny up the nose.

February 4, 2007 Posted by | autism, Conor, hospital, nose, penny | 3 Comments

The Joy of Conor

Because finding joy in Conor does not require struggle; Because the point is he is Conor, he is not his Autism; Because he does not comprehend what Autism is and can not offer his opinion about autism; Because Conor is a joy but his Autism is not; Because he rises in the morning and greets his family with a smile; Because he waits, faced pressed against the window, for his Dad every day and lifts his Dad’s spirits every day; Because despite his intellectual, communication and behavior problems he is worth it; Because, like any other child, he deserves to be educated to the fullest extent possible and to learn in the way that he learns best; Because it takes hard work and sacrifice, not accepting or singing the praises of Autism, a serious and debilitating disorder, to ensure Conor learns and develops to the best of his ability; Because the tremendous joy that he brings me every single day does not arise from his autism it arises from who he is and his Autism, a serious developmental disorder, will not be given credit for that great joy he shares with us every day.

January 28, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, Conor, education, family, joy | 7 Comments

Conor’s Snow Fun

The day after the big storm and Conor gets out to enjoy the snow – and gets Dad out there too!

January 20, 2007 Posted by | autism, Conor, Dad, family, snow | Leave a comment

Goody Bledsoe Signing By Heather Doherty

Conor’s mom, Heather Doherty, signing and reading from Goody Bledsoe at Westminster Books in Fredericton January 18 2007.

January 18, 2007 Posted by | bledsoe, book, Conor, doherty, literature, oberon press | 4 Comments