“Uniquely Human- A Different Way of Seeing Autism” Book Review

Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism

By Barry M Prizant PhD

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I set out to find answers on google and found nothing, but frustration. My son was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) in Fall of 2017. Although I knew the diagnosis was coming, I was still at a loss for what was yet to come.

“How do I make sure we are doing everything we can to make sure he succeeds?” This question was always afloat in my mind. January of 2018, Raylan started school in hopes to seek out the early intervention he was in dire need of. Shortly after, Raylan started school, a parent recommended this book to me. The parent raved about how it had made things so much clearer and helped them understand more. I was reluctant to really dive in and read it. I was still adjusting to my son’s new diagnosis, our life with IEP’s, and our other 3 children. I was not ready to read a book that would blatantly tell me something I already knew.

However, once I picked it up I could not put it down. I started to read it as a paperback. When we had to travel to IL, as I drove I listened to every single chapter by audiobooks. On the return trip, I listened to every single chapter a second time. I put book marks in my paperback and reread the sections I had book marked in the Audible book. This book changed my life, my thought process, and made me even more proud to be a mom of a child with Autism.

There’s one topic the author covers in this book which made me take a step back… as ever work with your child. The author mentions that we are the professionals when it comes to our children, that it is perfectly normal for us to stand up for them and say, “no” when we deem necessary. This was something I struggled with. I as a mama am an advocate for my kids. I will argue, stand up, and not back down until I am certain my kids are taken care of in the way that is right. When it came to Raylan’s, medical I would argue tooth and nail when I knew what was right and wrong. I fired a couple therapists! I was that mama who rattled everyone’s cage if I thought they were treating Raylan, wrong. Some people would say that is not OK, because doctors/therapist are the professionals, but not this author. And not I. In Uniquely Human, there is an entire chapter about parents being the professional when it comes to their children. This was affirming to me that all those times I didn’t back down, I was doing the right thing. Many things that the author wrote about in Uniquely Human, is incredibly eye opening and made complete sense to me. Raylan is indeed Uniquely Human. The title of this book was perfect!

While reading this book it was more than I ever could have expected. The author is well versed and knowledgeable in ASD, he writes from a professional as well as a personal viewpoint. He has a personal connection when he writes with individuals with ASD such as Temple Grandin. He shares stories of parents and teachers who work with ASD, making it easy for the reader to connect on a personal level. Many instances written about in the book, I have experienced myself.

If you have a child with Autism, are working with children that have Autism or you are just interested in learning about kids with Autism, I highly recommend this book. It was eye opening for me and I hope it will be for you.

– Mickey

Thankful for the Tribe

there are four of them and ONE of me!
“Oh you just have to….”, “Maybe you should…”, “You need to….”

Seriously just put a sock in it y’all

Wyatt is missing a sock, Raylan’s hair needs brushed, Jaydon probably didn’t shower today, Cheyenne is well a “fashion diva” as in nothing matches, and mama is about 3 liters and an IV drip shy of enough caffeine to keep up with it all.

Most days it is a struggle and I often feel like a failure. Over the last year I kept reaching out to my friend who also is a mama of four and hers are all boys. Like me she is an Autism mom. She had been dealing with it for a bit longer than I, so every-time I was lost or upset I reached out to Lena (lay-nuh) 😉 and asked for help or just for her to listen to me complain. She’d always tell me don’t waste my time on people who aren’t worth it, don’t listen to the negatives, or even that people think they know it all, but they don’t, and most of all find my tribe.

For a while I struggled and I tried, but everyone seemed to come up short, we just did not mesh well, they really didn’t understand life with multiples or a special needs kid. Life can be different and challenging with Autism, so finding other parents or even friends who aren’t parents that are open to learn or have first hand experience with autism can be grueling.

The year leading up to Raylan’s diagnosis was dreadful and heart wrenching at times. I felt incredibly alone, stressed out, and both mentally and physically exhausted. Raylan never slept and I had a newborn baby. There were days I just never thought I would make it through. Days when both boys would cry and I would sit with tears in my eyes too. I was constantly hearing everyone’s opinions and everyone’s advice. People can be real assholes you know. Telling me what to do, but no one was here to help me. Or telling me I use my kids for an excuse….

NEWS FLASH MY KIDS ARE MOST LIKELY ALWAYS MY EXCUSE, there are four of them and ONE of me!

“Oh you just have to….”, “Maybe you should…”, “You need to….”

Seriously just put a sock in it y’all! No one really knew exactly what to say or do they just wanted to fix my kids and my situation. No one really wanted to just be there, It wasn’t until I started to really focus on figuring out how to do life with 4 kids and one who is Autistic, that I shut everyone down. I became exhausted with opinions and eventually they just went in one ear and right out the other. I had to do what I thought was right for my kiddos. I had to find my tribe.

I have a lot of “support” on facebook, but not enough actual real life connections. That’s what a tribe is though. I needed real life relationships with people that either understand or wanna understand. You cannot build connections with people who don’t want to have a true connection and you cannot force friendships.

I wasn’t looking for just other moms who had four kids or even other moms who have special needs kids. I was looking for friends who get it. You know friends who if I call saying “I have no idea how I am supposed to make it today, Wyatt just painted my walls in finger paint made from crap. I haven’t showered in 3 days and I smell like a swamp creature!” Will return by saying ” I get it girl, it is OK we can reschedule” and truly mean it in the most sincere way. Friends who if I fall off the map for weeks at a time will not let me go alone. They will message me to make sure my kids have not suffocated me or that I haven’t fallen into a black hole. I needed true friends who weren’t trying to just fix me or my kids, but really stuck by my side even on the bad days.

Y’all, I cannot tell you how important having a true and tested tribe is. Now days friends and family are many behind a computer screen. A tribe though, is bonded with understanding and unconditional love. I am proud to say I have found my tribe this past year. Some of the people in my tribe haven’t even met one another, but have proven that if tested they will pull together if I need them too. I have moms in my tribe from Raylan’s school who really get it and haven’t even known me long, but have literally jumped with out hesitation to help me. I have members of my tribe who don’t even have kids, but if I tell them I need a moment or I am going to loose it, they are at my front door as soon as I hang up.

My tribe is made up of many people, from many walks of life, but they all support me and I will support them.

THEY CHALLENGE YOUTHEY BREAK YOU OPENTHEY UPLIFT YOUTHESE HEARTBEATS ARE YOUR PEOPLETHESE PEOPLE ARE YOUR TRIBE