Friday, August 25, 2017

Taking Off In Flight

Some of us gain independence in our teens, others of us in our 20's.

For my autistic brother in law Bil, it may not be until his late 50's.  For others with developmental disabilities, it may be never.

Bil may never have the ability to fly totally on his own wings, but we will applaud his attempts at independence, no matter how low or how high he may be able to fly.

This coming Monday, he will take another step.

When Bil moved up to this area with his elderly mother some two years ago, he was not at all independent.  He had depended on his mother his whole life.  But, a day program he started to attend changed all that.

He used to watch the same political shows as his mother.  But then, he changed his orientation.  He went from one political party to the one his mother did not support.

If you asked him to do something, he sometimes asked "why?" Not out of disrespect, but he was starting to think things through.

And, he lived on his own (with support) for several weeks while his mother was in rehab after a hospitalization.  He chose that.  The only night he wanted to stay with us was when there were thunderstorms, something he is highly frightened of.

Now, Bil has the chance to live apart from his mother for the first time.  Monday, he will tour the apartment he and others are being considered for.

We are excited for Bil, even as people like Bil, people with autism, face budget cuts and worse.

We will not stop fighting for him, even as those who hate continue their demonstrations. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Threat

Up to now, I've devoted this blog to my autistic brother in law, "Bil".  But, starting today, I may take this blog in a different direction.

Because "it" doesn't happen overnight.

 By "it", I mean tyranny.  Nazi Germany did not go from zero to mass murder of millions overnight.  And, in some scary ways, people enabled the tyrants by not speaking out before it was too late. One day, they no longer could.

I grew up knowing people whose families had been wiped out.  Now, that generation is almost completely gone.  In the next few years, they will be gone.

It is up to us to speak out. What happened Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia can happen anywhere in this country.

I have to wonder, if that car hadn't plowed into that crowd in Charlottesville, how many fewer people may not have woken up and take notice.  As it is, a 32 year old woman is dead and 19 others are injured.

History has much to teach us, dear readers, if we only pay attention.

And why should I do this on a blog devoted to someone with autism?

You may have heard of a condition called Asperger Syndrome, a " developmental disorder characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests."  Some in Bil's life says he has this syndrome.

Have you ever wondered who it was named after?  Because it was named after someone.

Hans Asperger, who died in 1980, was an Austrian pediatrician.  Part of his life was lived during the Nazi era.  You may be interested in his history.

There is some evidence (not conclusive, I must add) that Asperger may have been sympathetic to the Nazis.  On the other hand, others claim he went along with a philosophy he found abhorrent to save the children he was treating.  Like so much in historical study, the story is complicated.

One thing that is not disputed that Nazis held periodic campaigns to eradicate people with disabilities. Bil would have been on his hit list.  

I wonder if those sympathetic to the alt right who have autistic family members  know about this part of the Nazi philosophy, and, if it would matter to them in the midst of their hatred.

If you have anyone in your family who is developmentally disabled, this fight against those who did these terrorist acts in Charlottesville is your fight.  You can not stand by and ignore what is happening in our country.

So, do I continue to write mild posts about my brother in law and his future?  Or do I take this blog in a new direction?

Friday, August 11, 2017

A Sight for Sore Eyes

A sight for sore eyes can be a person or a place.

For Bil's journey to independence as someone with a developmental disability, it may be an apartment he may be looking at next week.  We don't know for sure if he will be able to view it but he will definitely interview for it.  He's one of several candidates for the opening.

It's in the village where he and his mother now live.  He would have a roommate but his own bedroom.

It would be the first time he's ever lived apart from his mother.

For us, his siblings and in laws, it's a sight for sore eyes because he has been on a housing list for so many years. It's taken so much work to arrive at this time, this place.   It will mean that Bil has a place to live, a shelter, a room to call his own, even if something happens to his mother.  And, the time is fast approaching where his mother (who wants him with her) will no longer be able to care for herself without outside help.

By the end of this week, we will know more.  Right now, they are giving us few details.

But we hope the wait is almost over.

Join Sanch Vee and other bloggers at #FridayReflections, where...well, we reflect.  The prompt for today "A sight for sore eyes".

Friday, August 4, 2017

Buckle Up for Safety

My autistic brother in law, when he first came up to this area to live, would not buckle up if he was in the back seat.

It seemed that my mother in law, because the state law did not require her to be buckled up if she was a back seat passenger, wouldn't buckle up.  My brother in law decided, rather quickly, that he wouldn't buckle up, either.

On the other hand, I am strict about any back seat passengers being belted up.  My son, if he hadn't been buckled in, would almost have certainly have died in a car crash when he was young.  I remember how obsessed the emergency room crew seemed to be about if he had been buckled in.  The bruises and outline of the shoulder belt proved he had been buckled in.

In the same crash, my husband and I were also buckled in, and we only suffered bruises.

It was a little bit of a struggle to get my brother in law to accept the back seat belting in, but we insist on it (since my mother in law always rides in the front now, her belting in is not an issue as she obeys the law.)  It's worth the struggle, now that videos show what happens if a back seat passenger isn't belted in.

Oh, about the seat belt laws - each state in the United States has its own laws.

Remember the old jingle?  Buckle up for safety.  Buckle up. Show the world you care. Even if you have autism.