Help for Parents (4)
With everything that is happening in today's world, many of us need to take a step back and look at life from a different perspective. In essence we need to 'change' our way of thinking. Hence I would like to share 10 insights to bring about a magical change in your life.
1 You are in control of your destiny. Only you can make your dreams come true. If you have not achieved your dreams up until today, and are still following the same routine you have been doing for the last few years, guess what — nothing will change. You have to change, do things differently, re-invent yourself, take responsibility and do things in a new way. Become acutely aware of everything around you and take responsibility for your own actions.
2. It is imperative that you set time aside every day to meditate on your dreams, desires and goals. By meditate, I mean quiet time where you reflect on your own life. It does not have to be an hour per day. It can even be ten minutes only. But you do need to give yourself time to 're-energise' and find your focus again.
3. Practice the Law of Giving. And by 'giving' I don't necessarily mean materialistic things. Meeting someone and quietly sending this person a blessing of love and health — but doing it consciously. Smiling at someone you never speak to at work. Offering comfort to somebody that seems down. And most of all — doing this from an 'unconditional love' point of view. In other words, do it without expecting anything in return.
4. Do not be disappointed by setbacks. Remember, the most successful people on earth have failed more than anybody else. The only difference is that they never saw the failure as bad or negative. They saw it as a learned lesson and stepping stone. It is through determination and never giving up, that we achieve our dreams.
5. Don't listen to people that put you down. If you believe in yourself, follow your heart and follow through. Do not hang out with negative people who try and break you down. Stick with the positive one who support you.
6. Respect is earned — remember that. Often you have to earn it by being hard. Never take the easy way out just to win a popularity contest. I much rather be respected than popular. No matter what you do in life, not everyone is going to like you. But, by doing what is right, rather than what is easy, even if someone doesn't like you — they WILL respect you.
7. Get out of the rat race and stop being conditioned by what society and the media expect from you. Even if you manage to win the rat race, remember, you are still a rat! You will only find inner happiness and peace if you are honest within yourself and life the life you are meant to live. The only way you will find that answer is through blocking out all the 'outside' influences and spending quite time alone looking within yourself. Think about it, the media will always try control your thinking and make you want to buy the latest craze. Why, because they are controlled by the governments who want you to buy everything and have debt. Because, if you have debt you have to work and pay taxes. The government needs your taxes to function. If you had no debt, and were content with the simple things in life and not run after money all day long — you would be free.
8. Find your passion again. Do you wake up excited and happy about the new day? Or do you wake up moaning? Think about it, what makes us loose our zest for life? Easy ... expectation! We do something because we expect something in return. When things don't go our way, we are completely disappointed and depressed. Practice unconditional love and do whatever you do because you really want to do it. It must be fun and make you feel good, without you wanting anything in return. Guest what, the laws of the universe are such that it will come back to you. However, because you had no expectations, it will just be so much greater when it does come back. Life is like a mirror — what you put in front of that mirror, is what reflects back on you. It's as easy as that.
9. The most precious asset you have is your own body — so look after it. Eat right, exercise and stay fit. Once your health is gone, that's it. Take care of your body.
10. Life is like a roll of toilet paper — the closer you get to the end, the quicker it goes! So enjoy every moment of it. learn to live in the now. If you are depressed and negative, it is because you are living in the past. If you are stressed and anxious, it's because you are living in the future. Think about this: NOTHING has ever happened in the past or the future. Anything that will happen in your life will happen NOW. You cannot do anything about, or change the past -it has happened, it is over. Yes your actions today can have an impact on your future. But right now you are living in the now. You do not know how long this 'now' will last. So why not make the most of it. By constantly living in the now, to the fullest, every yesterday WILL become a good memory and the future WILL be something you look forward to.
Source: WOLFGANG RIEBE
From the moment we arrived as nude babes, we watched with keen eyes and spent our entire lives learn¬ing about the world around us. We got used to how "things" worked - that north is up and south is down; what reality is and what constitutes fantasy; what common sense is and how to act reasonably and in a socially acceptable manner. We studied behavior and became masters of our own environments....
But what would happen if, with one foul swoop, that world of sense and sensibility is completely wiped out, and you find yourself stranded on a foreign planet where you don't understand the language and where down is up and the sun sets in the East...?
I am not an expert. I am not a doctor with a string of degrees.
I am a mother of two and my son has autism.
Please permit me to hit the pause button for a second and give you a quick peak down the rabbit hole into the strange, unknown, puzzling & dazzling world of my Simeon. Some of you will resonate exactly with what I am saying, and some might think I'm slightly bonkers with a taste for all things melodramatic. But from whichever camp you may hail, take the ride and immerse yourself for a moment in the land where the sun actually does set in the east and down is very much UP!
I always try to explain autism to people by saying that it's like two neighboring towns completely isolated from one another by radio silence. There are in fact telephone poles next to the road and little power boxes on those poles, but the wires are cut.
So, no one can call out and no one can phone in. So you're left with smoke signals, telegrams by horse and sometimes just pure guessing... getting it right sometimes and also at times, horribly wrong. I dote on Simeon by calling him my dark chocolate delight... and its true in more ways than one.
Here are some of the bitter dark chocolate moments:
• He has no sense of danger and has run in front of cars, escaped out of the house and has stood in a very busy road with no regard for his safety.
• He has climbed out of a second story window and nearly fallen out.
• He has climbed onto the roof of a friend's house.
• He has opened and climbed into the bottom drawer of a cupboard causing the whole cupboard to capsize and fall on top of him.
• He is completely unpredictable and even with constant supervision and neurotic double-checking, he still finds the smallest gap, loophole and chance to dash off and push the envelope to the hilt!
• He has erratic sleeping patterns and will wake up at 2am just randomly yelling & screaming but not because of any distress or fear - Just because he can!
• I spend EVERY day of my life wondering what he is thinking. Because he is non-verbal, there's no real way to truly know what he's experiencing or thinking, and no true way to express the full extent of his deep inner feelings. Obviously we sign and hug, but I still feel a void and a longing sadness every day. I went through a deep and dark depression - a grieving process, in fact - when Simeon was diag¬nosed... to bury the child I had expected in my mind, and to accept the vulnerable boy in front of me right now - needing my love and unconditional acceptance at his level. I had to completely readjust my expectations and divide all normal child milestones into an additional million steps and start celebrating micro-victories. I can't measure and compare him to any regular 5 year old; he's dancing to the beat of the unique and wackadoodle Dr.Seuss marching band playing in his head. I had to slow down and walk with him at his own pace.
• Sometimes I am scared of him because he has really hurt me in the past. Not with any malicious intent, but with total misplaced strength, and a misplaced cranium on a nose bridge, to name one.
• If there is any deviation from the daily routine, edriving route or sometimes for a complete nonsensi¬cal reason, he will have violent meltdowns and cry and scream so hysterically that it brings on a severe asthma attack. He will throw himself into walls in protest and bang his head.
What really makes me 'batshit-Brooklyn-mama-crazy' is when people say things like:
"Ag shame, what's wrong with him?" or " Don't worry, he doesn't look that bad or that autistic" or "Can you please control your child's behavior" or "He isn't really 'Special Needs' because he doesn't have an oxygen tank and a feeding tube going directly into his stomach! " Seriously??
But the worst is when idiotic people say absolutely nothing and I can see how, with their eyes, they reck¬lessly dispense their severe judgment & prejudice - thoughts written in capital letters in their eyes:
"My God, but you're a terrible mother!", "Wow, what a little monster you have!!"
This makes me profoundly sad. But then I just have to shake it off and somehow be the strong mom my son needs and deserves. Not because I feel strong, but because I don't have a choice.
Here are some of the sweeter dark chocolate moments:
• Simeon is one of the most loving and cuddly people I know! He climbs into your very person like a cat and walks figure 8's all across your body. He experiences your whole being with his whole being.
• He will be so sweet and attentive, when you expect it least, and completely take your breath away with his sensitivity and vulnerable approach.
• After years of coaxing and nagging and failing and then, trying again, he now has 6 spoken words in his repertoire. That is HUGE for him!
• He has an incredibly sharp sense of humour, and will turn the most goofy joke into an interactive game. He will even customise and share the little private joke that he knows YOU find funny.
• He has a hawk's eye for detail, and an insanely intelligent, creative mind.
• He had terrible balance and suffers from hypermobility, so he couldn't even run or balance on a stationary tricycle... Now we have to run to keep up with his amazing kick-bicycle prowess.
• It is a totally arresting moment, when he successfully makes eye contact with you and looks straight into your soul with those big Nutella eyes.
• He is starting to show some understanding of empathy and what it is to hurt someone's feelings or body with your actions.
• He is becoming more and more responsible and can do little things like wash his own hands, brush his teeth and hang up his coat.
• And when he signs "I LOVE YOU" at night when we say goodnight, he turns you into a sentimental ball of mush.
You see, that's the curious thing about dark chocolate... It's extremely brittle, and you have to keep it in your mouth for much, much longer than ordinary chocolate, but if you patiently let it linger beyond the initial dark & bitter twang of pure cacao, it will develop in taste, and suddenly - surrender to you, melting into a most beautiful & profound feeling of satisfaction.
My daughter, Jessica, turns 14 on the 1st of Jul 2013 - coming Monday! She was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in 2007, February and spent 2 years on the SNAP Program. She is now in Grade 6 in Jan Kriel School, Cape Town, and I am extremely proud of her progress.
My husband and I work like a United Front, just like Annalies (Director of SNAP) has taught us. We do the same thing, have the same responses in given situations, etc. towards the children. Jessica even helps with training Jonathan at home. She is on the "Parent Team" and has privileges that Jonathan does not yet have. She also has more responsibility. There are times at home, when the two are alone, that she needs to supervise Jonathan. I can leave them at home alone for 3-4 hours at a time. It was a task that took years, because before they were of course also too young, and too 'autistic' - if I may say that, as a parent - and too untrained.
On the first Tuesday of every month Annalies and Carol hosts a coffee evening at 7pm for the parents at SNAP.
Through this initiative we are providing a platform for parents to talk about their children, provide support and share new knowledge and developments in the field of autism.
4 June, 2 July, 6 August, 3 September, 1 October and 5 November