Thoughts from Daddy
Finding out Piper would be on the spectrum was scary at first, you hope for the best but expect the worst. It’s hard not to focus on the negative side when all we see and remember of autism are the extremes. The future appeared difficult, “what if she never talks?” or, “how can she go to school?” After a while, we figured out that the most important thing is ensuring Piper feels happy and loved. What more does any parent want for their child? Once you come to that realisation then finding positives becomes easier.
A lot of the most creative, forward-thinking, innovative people throughout history would have been on the spectrum. They are able to use their mind in a different way to most, often with extreme focus. Experiencing the world around them from their own unique perspective, sometimes with heightened senses or cognitive ability that is difficult to deal with, they can create/discover/do amazing things. We just have to help them find their comfort zone so they can find their niche.
Meeting with the Ignorant
esterday was our meeting with myself, my husband, Autism NZ, & "Mary." Pipers educator "Sally" wanted to attend and seemed upset I didn't want her to. I explained that I wanted to see how "Mary" would react during this conversation and that if she attended this session I strongly believed that "Mary" would push all her buttons to the point where "Sally" would possibly out of anger quit right on the spot. I promised to tell "Sally" everything that was discussed and she needed to trust that I believed her, and that we've entered this discussion for Piper and for her. They were our main interest in this discussion and that anything she said to ruin her character or lie we would question.
I entered the meeting with an open mind trying to give "Mary" the benefit of the doubt. She had over a week to prepare for this discussion and already seeing how she reacts - I knew this face to face meeting would be nothing short of a CYA backpedaling and blame game since "Sally" wasn't present to defend herself.
Long 3 hour meeting short - This lady was a piece of work! All she did was lie and push blame on to "Sally" exactly like I knew she would. "Mary" took no blame for anything! Stating "I never used the words Crossroads, I don't even say things like that.. I mean what does that even mean?" The whole session was "Mary" trying to cover her butt and we all watched with disbelief as she dug her web of lies deeper and deeper. It was apparent she knew that her actions were not only illegal but discriminative. I was also appalled how she had blatent disregard for any such feelings for Sally - and had no problem blaming her for any and everything. So, I felt even worse for "Sally" especially because in New Zealand "Sally" couldn't venture on her own - as she has to stay with a company in order to receive the government subsidies that come to assist with the other children in her care. It was such a hassle to change companies and she loves each child she cares for.
Some things happened this morning which I won't discuss but, lets just say the lengths this lady was going through to try and cover herself and what she said to "Sally" left me no longer able to keep quiet about my thoughts to her. I needed her to know that all her crap she spouted yesterday I knew was BS and here were my reasons why. I just couldn't stand watching this woman anymore. (And to think she's been with this company for so long! APPALLING!)
Here is my email to her after our meeting:
Sent: Saturday, 1 June 2013 3:39 PM
Subject: Thank you for meeting with us
It was nice to finally meet you and thank you for agreeing to the discussion yesterday 31/05/2013. It was nice to have clarification that "COMPANY" would still place children with "Sally" even if she had Piper in her care. Also, I'm happy you were able to understand from Autism NZ that Piper shouldn't be segregated from others and placed in 1x1 care instead she needs to be with and around other children.
During our discussion you expressed you did not know much about Autism or understand it. In New Zealand around 1 in 80 children are diagnosed with Autism and if you think of the "undiagnosed" children the numbers are even higher. I'd hope it would be important to COMPANY to understand ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) as it is becoming more and more prevalent. It will also help your Educators and Nanny's become more efficient in their roles as they may recognise “undiagnosed” ASD behaviour in a child therefore able to better approach and care for the real needs of a child possibly on the spectrum. Autism New Zealand speaks to Home Educators, Nanny's, as well as daycares’, preschools, and various other organisations and places to discuss ASD. Should you or your staff ever truly want to understand more about it please do engage them. "Sally" has had discussions with Autism NZ as she has wanted to learn alongside us to help care for Piper in the best possible way she could.
In our discussion yesterday some of the points you stated were:
1) You stated "SALLY" expressed to you that it was too stressful for her to take on more children when her oldest child she cared for left for school because of Piper. It was this discussion you had with "SALLY" that lead to the discussion of the 'options' I had received.
My concerns were (and have been)
1) Having Autism NZ explain ASD and address any issues or concerns you may have with Piper in Sally’s care
2) Sally’s livelihood that she would not be punished for having Piper in her care and COMPANY would continue to place children with her.
Given that my concerns have been addressed from last night’s discussion I’d like to move on as its becoming uncomfortable watching the lengths you will go to cover your own bases and pass the blame. Clean slate. So, here are a few videos I mentioned in our meeting that I would send to you.
Please do watch these they are not too long and extremely interesting.
I hope you have a nice holiday weekend.
Understanding Autism - http://www.katiecouric.com/videos/temple-grandin/
Carly's voice - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNZVV4Ciccg
I once read that Autism is NOT a tragedy. Ignorance is the tragedy.
**UPDATE** So, things are now back to normal. Piper is still with "Sally" and "COMPANY" has no longer caused any more issues.
Piper's Mama 1 / Discrimination 0
We've been giving Piper a vitamin/mineral supplement and I have to say we've been amazing at how well its working. It probably helps that she's getting more vitamins since she is so picky about textures in food. Most of all the biggest improvement we've seen is she's trying to communicate. We're hoping she'll get there soon - but no doubt our little miracle will! We've been taking courses to learn how to try and push her to use speech or have a form of communication which should help ease the violent outburst and aggression when she's having a tantrum or becoming overwhelmed.
Here is her trying to say cooking!!! (This is Mothers Day - 2 days before my birthday)
What an amazing Mothers Day and Birthday Gift!! PS: You'll notice Piper grabbing Dan's face to make him look at her. This is from us making her look at us before we'll do anything for her. Working on that "Genuine Eye Contact" We're getting there!!! She's doing amazing!! But I find it hilarious that is how she now addresses us hahaha... I'll be working on my computer and she will come over and grab my face and make me look at her in the eye. OH I LOVE HER!!!! SMART BEAUTIFUL LITTLE GIRL!!
Erika & Dan Harvey
A blog about our journey through the spectrum with our daughter Piper. Enjoy and feel free to share with others.