Monday, July 28, 2008

July 28, 2008...the media

Radio people...what a pain. A couple of those talk radio guys have been yacking about Autism and have made some comments that haven't gone over too big in the Autism community. Up til this point, I've remained silent, waiting to see what happens. I'm sitting here now listening to one of the guys...he has a really big mouth and tonight, his show is supposed to be all about Autism and the comments that he made...we'll see.

I know that many have been waiting for me to respond to his earlier comments. Last week, I wrote a letter to the editor at the Cincinnati Enquirer. It doesn't look like it's gonna get printed so I'll share it here:

Dear Editor,

As a broadcaster and a mother of a child with Autism, I am very saddened by the recent comments made by 2 of my fellow broadcasters, one national, one local. It's apparent to me that all the hard work that families living with Autism have done to raise awareness and understanding of the disorder have fallen on some deaf ears. I know that as a united, passionate group, we will continue to tell everyone about our beautiful children and what they have to offer the world.

I have chosen to surround myself and my son with loving, accepting and non-judgmental people. I know that our community has more people in that category than not and I feel very blessed to live here. Those not in that category are missing out. Children and adults on the Autism spectrum are amazing, brilliant people. They simply see and experience the world differently than we "neurotypicals".

Many think that Autism is a behavioral disorder. It's not. It is a relational, social interaction disorder and the behaviors that we see are a symptom of that. They don't understand our world, it makes no sense to them and is often frightening and unsettling. Regardless of what you may see, they are always doing the best that they can, as are their parents.

Instead of judging families with ASD, it would be a wonderful world if others would show some compassion, love and understanding. Instead of complaining to the the manager or the flight attendant, try showing some concern and offering help. It would mean the world to us moms if during a "meltdown" someone would say "can I help?" instead of "that kid just needs a good spanking". You would be amazed how much quicker and easier the situation would diffuse itself when that attitude is applied.

People with Autism have sixth, seventh and eigth senses (maybe more). They know when someone in the vacinity is uncomfortable, frustrated or agitated and that only causes them to fall deeper into their Autistic tendencies. By showing acceptance and understanding, not only will you help the parents and the situation, but you will help a child who desperately needs to want to be a part of our world. And who wants to be a part of a world where everybody's grumpy, nasty and self-centered? I can sometimes understand why our kids love their world of Autism, they can create the exact kind of world they want to live in.

We don't know what causes Autism and it looks like it's gonna be awhile before that's figured out. Autism is nobody's fault but all of our responsibility. People can pretend it doesn't exist and try to exclude Autism families from a "normal" life wih "normal" activities but that can't last forever. With 1 in 150 children being diagnosed and over 3000 families in the Tri-State doing the best that they can, if Autism hasn't touched you directly yet, it will. Especially when this large population of kids reaches 18 and they become taxpayer's responsibility.

So in the meantime, let's create a community and a world where we respect parents and love the children that need a lot of help. Be the person you would hope your neighbors would be if you found yourself in the position of being the parent of a child who is frightened, confused and overwhelmed.

And ASD parents, let's remember the people around us who do care and choose to support us, there are many of them. As for those who have a problem, remember, it's their problem because they choose to make it one.

As for my fellow broadcasters, I hope in the future that you do your research before making irresponsible and hurtful comments about something you obviously know very little about. We have a huge responsibility every day when we sit in front of that microphone, please consider what you want to do with that responsibility...use it to help or to hurt. For the sake of our sweet, innocent, beautiful children, please make the right choice.

jenn jordan
"Jeff and Jenn"
Mornings on Q102

Meanwhile back at the ranch...Jakob's doing great. I've gotten some wonderful volunteers who are quick learners and they're just fabulous. I always knew they were out there and all I had to do was ask. Im so glad I put out those flyers and posted it on this blog! I still could use a couple more, so if you know anybody...

Jakob's speech is getting clearer every day. It's so much fun and he's so funny. He loves words like "woah" and "uh oh". "Oh no", "oh boy", "ouch" and "stop thief" are pretty big too.

For the love...these old, cranky farts on talk radio...it's difficult to brag about my kid while listening to this crap...I'll be back...can't wait to write about walking on fire...

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