1. Cindy
    March 12, 2018 @ 10:43 am

    Thank you… just thank you.
    I have a tear of recognition in my eye.
    Why do I try to change you , my perfect boy?
    So I can feel comfortable.

    Shame on me.


  2. Jennifer
    March 12, 2018 @ 10:47 am

    This is beautiful and heart-wrenching at the same time. Hang in there Jack, and keep up the good work, Carrie.


  3. Stephs Two Girls
    March 12, 2018 @ 11:35 am

    We can learn so much from our children x


  4. Marie
    March 12, 2018 @ 12:57 pm

    Jack is so lucky that you are his mom.


  5. GP
    March 12, 2018 @ 1:26 pm

    Looking back, I find that in our experience with my child’s anxiety, the cause of worsened anxiety has always been an imbalance between the pressure to comply with neurotypical expectations and to have time and space to be free to be herself, pursue her special interests, no matter how strange they seem to allistic individuals. Her special interests do not hurt anybody.

    We finally understood the urgent need to create that safe space for her at home. Her home and her family needed to be her truly safe space. If she does not want to eat green vegetables? So be it. If she wants to jump, squeal, gallop? So be it. If she does not want to participate in busy, noisy events- it is ok. We work around her. If she wants to watch a preschool TV show because the show’s utter peacefulness makes her happy? So be it. So what that she’s a teen.

    People told us not to. That she would lose gains; that things would get worse. Well, guess what? Since we created this comfort zone and then expanded it into her school environment, her anxiety diminished to almost none. And since her anxiety has been at bay, she has been growing, trying new foods, voluntarily leaving her former comfort zone, and staying calm during most frustrating situations. And she recently told us that she had outgrown her preschool TV show (although we did not mind the show).

    Of course, she was and always will be expected to be respectful and we are trying to nurture kindness, empathy, and tolerance. We are not talking about allowing behavior that would affect her or others adversely. We just respect that some of her interests and the way she experiences the world are different.

    When it comes to autism, imho, we have to make sure not to mistake anxiety as an unavoidable part of autism. Emotional, social, and academic growth will always be stunted during exacerbations of anxiety.

    We have to look for the triggers of anxiety, accommodate the person accordingly, and wait. Really, to anybody who is constantly urging their anxious children to achieve neurotypical expectations of being, regardless of good intentions, try to stop for a while. Just be. Be love and peace. And see what happens. What are a few months out of a whole life ahead? As long as any of the interests and behaviors are not harmful, why not let our kids be themselves for a while?

    And please, let us all ignore ignorant statements that put down families for starting their children on medications. Would these very same people prevent a diabetic child from taking insulin? Sometimes medications are needed. It is truly that simple.

    Our children’s brains are still developing. Their senses will mature, they tend to develop more effective filters, and with our help, they will develop coping strategies and find accommodations to allow them to live with existing challenges and to lead a happy life in a world that is not made for them.


    • Emily
      March 12, 2018 @ 9:46 pm

      This is so true!!


    • Patrice Rowbal
      March 18, 2018 @ 1:08 pm

      As much as I loved Carrie’s original post, I think I love this response even more. The world is a very stressful place for our kids. As long as they aren’t doing anything harmful to themselves or others, home should be the one place they can be free to be themselves. I didn’t always get that part right, or when I did, I didn’t know WHY it was right…..but looking back (my son is 21 years old, a junior in college, and has just been accepted to the PhD program of his choice–in Pharmacy) home, and the people in it, were safe.


  6. Joann D Carlson
    March 12, 2018 @ 2:16 pm

    When I take the time to read your posts, I gain even more knowledge into the world of autism. I had a hyperactive son. We adopted him. Years later we learned fetal alcohol syndrome was likely the cause. Similar to your world, we found ourselves having to make excuses or picking him up off of the ground after a bike crash, etc. One of my craziest memories was more than one call from a teacher saying “Bruce is running in the hall again”. I can remember saying “Ok, I am here, you are there, what would you like me to do?” We had two fabulous school teachers out of the first 4 years of school. The others not so much. I am thankful that they are no longer teaching today. When I see a mom struggle with a child in a store, I know that I am kinder than most because I recognize the symptoms. Thank you for your blog. I know it blesses many a parent.


    • Patrice Rowbal
      March 18, 2018 @ 1:16 pm

      Oh yes, this….I remember getting similar calls, especially in elementary school….”Um, your son is yodeling in the bathroom again.” He was a very anxious little guy, and would escape to the bathroom when overwhelmed or overstimulated.. And he would make sounds in the bathroom, because he liked the way they echoed. OK, we can have “a talk about that.” But what, exactly, would you like me to do at this moment?


  7. Susie vanderKooij
    March 13, 2018 @ 4:21 pm

    Oh Carrie, thank you for touching upon perhaps the most important part and most thought of point of Autism…I think about this everyday, should he do this? Why didn’t I make him do this? etc…Balance, acceptance, and let them Be….thank you!!!!!!!!!!!


  8. Joanna Fisher
    March 13, 2018 @ 9:20 pm

    I feel so badly for you, not only because Jack is Autistic but because of the guilt we all feel as parents hoping that we are doing the best for our children regardless of their issues. We must all do what we feel is best and not let society make those decisions for us and our families. If medication is what Jack needs have no feelings of guilt for giving it to him. If he had a physical ailment you would not think twice about it. I am 72 years old and suffered with very severe anxiety all my life. It ruled my every waking moment and robbed me of so many things I could have been successful at. Five years ago I finally gave in and began to see a psychologist and psychiatrist who recommended medication. It has changed my life for the better and my only regret is that I did not have this opportunity earlier in life. I will take whatever is left of my life and at least enjoy those years. Just do what YOU feel is best for Jack.


  9. Maggie Britton
    March 14, 2018 @ 12:16 pm

    Your column always gives me insights into a world that is new to me. I think it would be daunting to try to balance helping a son or daughter learn new skills with letting them be themselves. Your patience, humor, and creativity are such an inspiration. I think back to some of your columns and I chuckle. Others bring a tear to my eye. Your family is so lucky to have you!


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