News Media Reports Parents Blame Asperger 4

In the news today, is the story of a twenty-one year old male from Armstrong County,  Pennsylvania who the media reports had a radical Islamist online persona and videos suggesting paramilitary training for terrorist activities. During his arrest last week he is alleged to have bitten two FBI agents and reached for a concealed weapon. The reason I am posting this is the media also reports that his parents are saying he has Asperger’s and offering this as a defense. It is unclear if this is just a defense for the biting or for everything.

Dec. 2010 086

We have a friend who is a weapons trainer for the military who let my son shoot this gun once, but my son normally only shoots air rifles. My son is not the one with the diagnosis, but I don’t know why anyone outside of the military would need the type of weapons involved in this case.

Below is the news article:

FBI finds another alleged home-grown jihadi in Pennsylvania « Hot Air.

Here we go again placing the blame on Asperger’s! I don’t know if anyone remembers, but when the Virginia Tech shooting happened the first response from his family came from an Aunt in Korea who said he had been diagnosed with autism as young boy. It upsets me that the news media jumps on this and runs with it, but they at least are somewhat reasonable in the article listed above. It is the comments that follow that are really the concern and especially the fact that everything gets so twisted the more the story is told.

I personally think whatever is going on with this young man, it is more than Asperger’s.  After the Virginia Tech shootings, we learned that he was a victim of horrific bullying in high school. Now I don’t know that even that caused him to become a shooter and I don’t know anything about the young man in today’s story other than what is in this article.

However, I do know that with understanding and support children can overcome bullying. I also know that Asperger’s does not make someone a terrorist or a shooter. What our children need is what every child needs an environment of tolerance, acceptance, understanding and support to manage challenges that sensory sensitivity and literal thinking can cause. They certainly do not need to be lumped into a group that implies they have no morals or ability to make their own rational decisions anymore than they need to be told that their Asperger’s is not relevant or it is just a made up diagnosis by over-reactive parents.

My child knows that Asperger’s is not a “get-out-of-jail-free” card and from reading other blogs, I know most parents of those on the spectrum agree with me. I want the media to stop blaming autism spectrum every time the diagnosis comes up in these cases. I want our society to change to a climate of helping those on the autism spectrum and anyone else who faces challenges. I want bullying to stop, even bullying by the news media.

Please try to find out exactly why this young man decided violence was the answer to his problems, but don’t blame his diagnosis of Asperger’s unless you have facts to support this. There are many people on the autism spectrum who have endured enough abuse in their lives without you feeding into it. Many have grown into amazing adults against all odds. Just look at Temple Grandin or better yet take the time to read some of the blogs listed under Special Peeps. There you will find some accomplished people who happen to also have a diagnosis that places them on the spectrum. You will also find parents who are working hard to raise responsible and caring children who have a diagnosis that places them on the spectrum.

And parents, if you have a troubled child with any diagnosis don’t blame the diagnosis. Get help for your child and be there to help them through whatever is causing them pain instead of blaming them. It is your job to turn them into the best adults they can be, so you don’t get a “get-out-of-jail-free” card either.

Aloha,

Sue

How I Would Spend My Last Hour 16

Pictures from my camera 016 - Copy

The tombstone is my parents’ whom I love and miss for they really were wonderful and I always knew they loved me.  I am so grateful to have been their daughter. 

No, it isn’t really my last hour and I’m not ill or planning anything stupid!  I’m just responding to a “bonus” prompt for a topic from Word Press today.  The prompt:

“If you only had an hour to live, what would you do with those 60 minutes?”

This one is so easy for me to answer as I’ve always loved Diamond Rio’s song, “One More Day.”  Click below to play the song:

YouTube – One More Day by Diamond Rio – The Last Time.

So yes, first I would pray for the time to go by slowly, and I would unplug all of the electronics in my house and turn off all the phones just like in the song.  I would gather my family around to hug them and tell them how wonderful they are and how they have each enriched my life.  I would remind my husband of the letter I wrote for our best friends to use in the event something happened to us on how to help our children and suggest that he use that as I would not want to waste time on another letter and I do things for all of them that he won’t remember when I am gone.  I would remind my daughter that she will receive a letter from me her senior year as it is already in a time capsule.  I wrote it when she was in kindergarten.  Then I would apologize to my son for failing to write a similar letter to him.  (I think I will do this soon as it is a good idea and maybe I’ll even write a love letter to my darling husband.)  I would also hug my dogs and remind them to take care of my family. 

Last but not least by any means, I would tell each of them that I have no regrets about anything because I’ve had the best life anyone could ever have because I shared it with each of them.  I’d tell them they should never feel guilty for anything they have ever said to me for I’ve always known how much I am loved.  Maybe, I’ll tell them tonight just for fun. 

Love your family members everyday because you really never know when it will be the last chance you have.  When you slip-up and yell or say something hurtful apologize and hug them.  Are you grateful for the life you have been given?  What would you do with your last hour?

Please Unite in the Aftermath of Arizona Shooting 12

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My hope is that our country will come together over this tragedy and maybe learn something about how words might influence people in a negative way. It would be nice if “the powers that be,” be they political leaders, journalist, or just commentators, would learn to set a better example and stop trying to bully each other.

How can we hope to get our children to stop bullying each other when so many adults speak and post without thinking of the consequences of their words? Did the politicians pull the trigger in Arizona? No, they did not, but do they need to learn the same lessons that our youth need to learn? Yes, they do. They need to learn kindness, respect, and tolerance of differences just like we want our children to learn.

I would love to see our country united instead of being so angry that we divide. Anger is a scary emotion that ultimately causes more harm unless it is redirected toward positive change. Look at the history of the world including more recent history in countries such as Rwanda and you’ll see the devastation that anger causes. Please let’s learn something from the bad examples instead of perpetuating them.

See the blog post below for a wonderful take on this:

Try Defying Gravity

I’m sending love and prayers to the victims of Saturday’s shooting and to their families. I hope and pray the adults in our country grow up and learn to set better examples. Leaders lead by example too! Is there hope for our country? I hope so and I honestly do have faith that there are more good people than bad, so let me know what you think.

Oh one more thing, a blogger over at Blog Her was among the victims, who thankfully survived the shooting, but please send her good wishes at the blog below:

The Burrow: Tough

Mahalo,

Sue

Lessons Learned From Riding Horses 14

I am grateful for the lessons Dad taught me while riding horses together when I was young. One obvious lesson was to get back on the horse when you fall off or are thrown. However, my dad used our horses to teach so many other lessons.

When I was around eight my Shetland pony bolted with me on his back with loose reins and my feet out of the stirrups. My dad did not panic instead he got within hearing range to shout these instructions, “Hold on tight, remain calm, and focus on grabbing the reins to slow down.”

When life seems out of control I’ve always referred back to this. I also learned something else valuable that day although at the time I did not realize it. Every time my dad and his horse got close my pony ran faster.

Finally, I had to yell to my father, “Stay back.”

When my pony realized my dad’s horse wasn’t close by, he did slow down. This allowed me to grab the reins and the stirrups.

What did this teach me you wonder?

It taught me that sometimes as parents we have to step back and let our children handle things themselves. This does not mean not being there, my dad wasn’t too far away after all. It is more about being supportive without stepping in which can be very hard as the parent I tell you. I think it is especially difficult when your child has any difference that makes life harder for them. Yet, even they have to be able to work some problems out for themselves.

I learned the lesson.

Yet, it is still hard to remember especially when I see one of my children hurting for some reason. They both are now old enough to ask when they need help and since one day I hope they will be on their own, I have to let them grab the reins themselves while being close enough by to offer advice.

How I sometimes wish life were as simple as it was when they were toddlers! Back then the greatest pains could be kissed away. And before you ask, yes, both of them allowed me to kiss away their pain then. “Oh those were the days my friend!”