A couple months ago as I tucked my daughter into bed she nonchalantly asked me, “Mom, am I autistic?” It caught me off guard because in our house the word autism is heard quite often, but we don’t label anyone. When my friends come over with their autistic children we don’t point it out, we just treat everyone with kindness and respect; label not needed. I simply said, “Yes, you are, you have a type of autism called Asperger’s Syndrome. You were diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and hypotonia when you were two.” To which she said, “Oh, is that why you work so hard on the magazine and write books about autism?” “YES! Yes, it is but not just for you but to help other parents because it took mommy a long time to get you help so I try to share what I have learned to help other parents,” I tried to explain. Then she said, “Is my brother autistic too? Is it why he has a hard time speaking?” My eyes started to tear at her realization and I said, “Yes, my love, your brother is autistic, too.” She said, “Does he have the same kind as me?” Again I was speechless for a good while. I thought about all the autistic adults that I hold in such high regard, that have taught me so much including the importance about not assigning functioning labels and how many have felt very strongly when the makers of the DSM-V changed everything. So I tried to explain to her that they stop diagnosing people with Asperger’s and PDD-NOS and all the others and now everyone is just diagnosed as having Autistic Spectrum Disorder. She turned to me and simply said, “Well, that was a dumb idea.” To which I burst out laughing.
This month’s issue is all about the important talks that you have to have with your children. Our cover story is done by the talented Cynthia Kim and explains several aspects of speaking to your child about more than just genitalia when it comes to puberty. Thankfully, our Life Coach Jaclyn Hunt was kind enough to answer all the scientific puberty questions and how to handle both the girl and boy talks about body changes. In addition to that we are excited to welcome M.Kelter to our team of writers who wrote about what he wishes he knew about friendship in hopes that we can help lay the groundwork for our children. Plus Kimberlee McCafferty shares her very own story of having the “autism talk” with her son. Also, we are proud to have Bill Wong, the only certified autistic OT, join our team here at Autism Parenting and can’t wait to share all of his great advice.
I would like to thank all of you that have had kind words and have shown your support during this past month. My first children’s book has been released Grace Figures Out School which is a book meant for all children to start the conversation about autism and treating everyone equally and respectfully. It touches on common struggles like sensory issues, and difficulty understanding figurative language. You can check it out here https://www.amazon.com/Grace-Figures-School-Leslie-Burby/dp/162902855X.
Also, the release of my second reference book, Early Signs of Autism, has been released at the beginning of this month in an effort to help parents decide whether or not to seek a diagnosis. It is a combination of my story and several months of research. Often parents find too much information leaving them overwhelmed and they don’t have the time to read a lengthy book, which is why I tried to provide an informative guide in under 60 pages. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=leslie%20burby&sprefix=lesli%2Caps&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aleslie%20burby
Alternatively if you would like to get these automatically delivered to you, you can get a subscription emailed to you by subscribing at https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/pdfsubscription/Kind Regards, Leslie A. Burby Editor-in-Chief
Issue 15 features:
- Beyond the Talk by Cynthia Kim
- If you could talk to your teen self about friendship by M. Kelter
- Benefits of Pinterest for Professionals and Parents by Bill Wong OTD, OTR/L
- Engaging the Community of a Child with Autism by Michael Cameron
- Autism in the News: A New Year and New Hope by Megan Kelly
- The Autism Talk by Kim McCafferty
- Book in the Spotlight: Autism and the World According to Matt by Liz Becker
- Q&A Section: Discussing puberty with your child by Jaclyn Hunt
- Bins and Pencil help by Leslie Burby
- How I Wish I Knew My Father had Asperger’s Syndrome by Dr. Mary Houser