Makasha, using my childhood as an example, what can parents do considering there are some parents who know their children are special needs, but instead, they discipline their children (smacking their face, spanking them for every small thing they do wrong, though it's due to the disability), thinking the discipline will bring children to obedience?
Parents can only rear their children based on what they know and accept about them. In other words, if you know your child has cancer you will likely pursue medical attention. The same should be done when your child is diagnosed with a mental illness or learning disorder. You have to get the proper team in place to help your child.
One of the immediate things my son’s team worked on was helping me to decipher when his disability was causing him to be disobedient. Children with social disabilities should not be treated differently. It will cause problem in the home with the other children. Since every child is different, discipline should be customized to meet the child’s social, age and developmental levels while reinforcing the values you’re trying to instill. You can read my take on this here.
Why doesn't insurance pay for this (and why the school system calls these kids problem children)?
We’ve had the benefit of good insurance so I don’t know a lot about why insurance does not pay. In many cases, insurance don’t pay for care because the bill coding from doctor’s offices are inaccurate. In addition, some practitioners offer vague diagnosis which will also prevent payment.
Both autism and Asperger’s are covered by most insurance companies. However, certain treatments are not. Therefore, your medical provider should work with you on finding treatment options that are covered by your plan or work with you to help get an exception approved so that your insurance company will pay.
The school system is an entirely different scenario. As it is, the public school system was not created to be able to accommodate children with disabilities. For many years, children with disabilities were either sent to mental institutions—both private and public—or kept locked away from family and friends. In actuality, some people thought these children and adults were possessed by demonic forces. Thank God for modern medicine. Since the school system was not created to accommodate children with disabilities, they’ve had to play catch up in this arena.
I’ve never heard school officials refer to children on the spectrum as problem children. However, I have seen schools not equipped to meet a child’s needs and it creates a problem for the school, the parent and the child. Most counties have school choice programs for children with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). If the school does not have support, try another one that does. As parents we have to shoulder the bulk of the responsibility is ours when it comes to educating our children. If you have to wake up thirty minutes earlier to get your child to another school, do it. If you have to downsize your home/lifestyle to home school a child who cannot matriculate in the classroom due to violent outburst, social anxiety or the such, do it.
Too much responsibility is put on the public school system. Your child is your responsibility. Find a common ground or another ground to educate your child. There are options and sometimes you have to pay for them.
I would like to thank Makasha for chiming in on this. One thing she said when she was talking about the facts: Autism is oftentimes diagnosed along with OCD. I would take that a step further and say that if a child who's autistic (or "special needs") is being bullied (via physical, sexual abuse, etc.), PTSD will be discovered. That was the case with me (I was diagnosed with that in 2008).
I mentioned a little bit of discrimination in Part 1, let me pick it back up from there. A lot of people (including me) that I went to school with didn't know I was autistic. But I knew deep inside that I was different. So, I was an easy target in school (and part of my adult life) for being used and picked on. Many people discriminate against children & adults with "special needs" due to ignorance or to just being mean. I fully understand that the world is all about "self" and stepping on people to better themselves.
I'd like to take a moment and share with you with what goes on in an autistic mind (using myself as an example). Many people will be able to identify and some may not, and that's ok. With me, a thousand thoughts flood my mind (and it's been like that since I was in pre-school). In fact, the things that stick out to me the most are as follows:
1. Music, songs & when it was released (if you know me, I'm very good with dates and I can more & likely tell you what was going on in my life when I hear certain songs, the year it came out, what grade I was in, and who wrote/produced the song).
2. Books I read. If you're not careful, you might find me reciting a children's book called Make Way for Ducklings (from beginning to end).
3. Movie clips. I can tell you my favorite line from movies I watch.
I just mentioned a thousand thoughts, it's like that even as I'm typing this blog. One of those thoughts is that I'm going to forget to put something in this blogpost (smile). While I'm talking about the mental state, let me say this: for me, it's a struggle shutting my mind off at times. In fact, I've ran across a few blogs over the weekend that confirm that when we are in a quiet space, the mind picks up everything to think on (some good and some bad). What helps me is listening to classical at times & maybe some quiet worship to relax my mind. Reading helps (but it depends on what it is - sometimes what you read can appear in a dream or in your thoughts later when you really don't want to think about it).
Now let's talk about my life with Aspergers. But first, let me give you a statistic:
1 out of 5 autistic children are physically abused & 1 out of 6 autistic children are sexually abused.
I mentioned earlier when I posed a question to Makasha, that I was hit in the face quite often growing up (whether it was my parents or my uncle - same one who abused me). I can truly say, it made me rebellious and angry to some extent. But what I really want to focus on is this (and I'm going to fight tears saying this): in my life, I could do 5 things, but the one thing I would do wrong would be held against me for as long as I live. It would replay in my mind, or my parents would glorify my wrongs (people in social life would want to throw stones at me). Because I've been in trouble too many times, I am the type of person who seeks to make amends. Most of the time it's a dead end. Many of you who know me know that I apologize way too much. It's the conscience within me always doing something wrong, unintentionally hurting people that I so deeply love & respect. Like I said, my wrongs have been glorified growing up, so it's only natural to feel that way. In fact, it hurts more when I don't know that I hurt someone (or they just stop talking to me). Having been rejected as a result of my "special needs" state and abuse, I am thankful that I found stability in my faith. But at the same time, no man is on Gilligan's Island alone.
What troubles me so much is when a person is suffering, they receive a finger pointed at them, but when the person pointing a finger is going through, the world must stop for them. It's been said to "seek first to understand." I guess it's easier said than done. I know many of us with "special needs" want to be understood, but we have been conditioned to understand others first. That can explain why we are very caring people and others tend to scoff at us and treat us like CRAP! And that's what society does at times, look at us as troubled children or even a liability to the health care system.
One thing that stands out to me is an incident that happened at home. My uncle came to live with us and I foolishly believed him when he said that he taught The Commodores how to write songs. My mother was taking a college class and she told her classmates this. When she told me she did that (I was about 11), I felt so humiliated.
And this now leads into the next area I want to move to.
Aspergers & Depression
I can definitely speak on this first-hand. I don't like to see people hurt, but rejection for me is like taking my very life. In fact, my mind is happy about life and then when I feel rejected, my mind wants to escape life (this can even occur when I'm speaking or at a release party for my own book). There are some things in my own life, I can't even explain.
This morning, I ran across this link (and I ask that you check this out as you read this blog):
As I was reading, I saw myself in many of them (especially #3).
As I wind this blog down, let me say this: Suicide among kids with autism due to being bullied, and being sexually abused is increasing as the days progress. According to http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/827794 66%of adults with Aspergers have suicide ideation. Among adults with Aspergers, those with depression are 4x more likely to experience suicide thoughts.
So why am I saying this? People with "special needs" need love, care & protection. They need stability, and a feeling that they're not rejected. Many times, they feel that society has rejected them. In fact, I have found that those who are "special needs" (to include those with AD/HD), are very gifted in the creative arts.
Now, that I'm drained, you all be blessed today.
The Mayne Man