We knew that putting ourselves out there for the world to see today would have its good and bad points. That's OK, we're tough, we DO have SIX Autistic children we deal with EVERY day. We can handle 'just plain mean people' that have no idea as to what they are talking about and feel they must offer us advice.
When you've gone though the heart-wrenching discoveries, over two years, of finding out that one by one each child has some level of Autism. Then trying to find out what exactly Autism is. Is there someone... anyone that we can turn to, who has some answers. Trying to keep a job when you have to help you wife who has fibromyalgia and NEEDS at least two naps a day, then getting calls from school that your kids are having yet another meltdown in class. Then start to get some help from the state only to have one of those workers report a conversation. Those comments of frustration get your children removed from your home by the state. Doing EVERYTHING the judge says to get the children back. Two weeks without your children feeling like 2 years. Coming to realize that the state being involved in your life will actually get services and much quicker then usual. Then after 11 months to finally be free from the judicial system and feel human again.
Walk in our shoes for a week and most of you would have either lost your mind, be getting a divorce or maybe worse. We have 3 main reasons to get the word out about our family.
1) increase the awareness and understanding of Autism.
2) from our example (we know we're not perfect) that it can give hope to other parents struggling with their marriage and children.
3) jump start our efforts to create our AutismBites Foundation. The goal is to help put funds directly into parents hands for whatever, without a lot of red tape and hoops to jump through.
There have been many assumptions about who and what we are that have been posted in the comments of the GMA website, I'd like to address some of those. Some are just plain ignorant and stupid, I'll skip those considering the source.
"After the first few clearly had delays, wouldn't one assume the best decision for the family would be to stop reproducing?" "Six! What were they thinking?" "You've had 3 children with developmental problems and yet you KEEP HAVING BABIES. BRILLANT!"
--- ALL the children were born BEFORE we found out about the Autism. Besides that we prayed to know how many children to have. Until Mary, number six, our answer was we were not a complete family. GOD knew that these special children needed parents that would care for them. We were the ones he's trusted, not to people like these who would have aborted or abandoned them. They are our blessings from GOD.
"I don't feel sorry for the parents, I feel sorry for the children whose parents are idiots. Gambling on having normal children happens every day. Making more when you know what will happen is nothing more than Munchosen (its spelled Munchausen, spell checkers work wonders!) syndrome...I hope these parents get neutered." --- OK, that was mean. Uh, let's see... what can I say? I hope you get a lobotomy, soon!
"My argument is that yes this family has a problem that they don't care if they burden the world with their self inflicted problem." --- We DO care, see the 3 reasons above.
"PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT AGE YOUR KIDS WERE WHEN YOU STARTED NOTICING SIGNS OF AUTISM IN EACH CHILD." --- Bobby (8th grade)-halfway through 5th grade the teacher called us in for a conference, suspected mild Aspergers, his diagnoses-Oct 2006. Emma (9) and Nephi (8)-kindergarten and 1st grade, just really rambunctious, their diagnoses-Oct 2006. Sarah (6) pre-school teachers felt she was Autistic at 3 1/2, diagnoses-Nov 2006. Ammon (4) after sister Sarah's pre-school teacher's observations we were concerned as he acted a lot like Sarah, got an appointment, diagnoses-May 2006. Mary (3) thought she was the only one that didn't have it, PDD-NOS diagnoses-Dec 2006.
"Even professional educators didn't didn't catch the oldest child's autism until he was 11 years old. If there was a family that was prone to childhood diabetes and they didn't realize it until their oldest was 11, you wouldn't be exhibiting your stupidity by blaming the parents who are working at a tougher job than you'll ever face with more compassion and intelligence than you'll ever have. The morons here are the ones who can't get past their own prejudiced opinions." --- Very well said!!
"The earth's population is a big factor in today's environmental crisis. These are ignorant, irresponsible adults who have created a problem for themselves and all of us." --- What a bunch of liberal crapola, where is all the compassion for the underprivileged you spew.
"Early intervention is key for an autistic child to meet their full potential. Many can live independently as adults if they receive treatment. We as a society will pay one way or another. I would rather pay through tax dollars for early intervention therapies and treatments so they have a chance to grow up and live independently, instead of long-term adult living care also paid by tax dollars." --- Another, VERY well said!
"Don't let them be "typecast" into total isolation in schools" --- Sarah goes to an Autism school in the morning and regular kindergarten in the afternoons. We'll mainstream them as much as possible as long as they are getting an education they need and not just supervision.
"I can tell you that it was a big reason for why I am not as judgemental and more accepting of those not as perfect as some of apparently think you are, especially about something of which you know nothing." --- Ditto!
"my first question is what were the parents eating, their diets? are they loaded with hydrogenated oils, processe(d) foods? are they living near a toxic dump?" --- We grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, MN, going to the state fair and having cheese curds and things on a stick.
"I'm sorry but I don't see anywhere in the article that the family is wanting you to feel sorry for them. They said they are blessed. Which means they are happy. So quit with all the judgemental comments. It's just displaying what a pathetic, mean and jealous people you are." --- Call this one another DITTO!
"I think they should both be sterilized." --- After number six Robin's tubes were tied. This was still BEFORE we knew any had Autism.
"If they were a normal family, outside of Utah, they would only have one or two autistic children." "... they're from Utah. They had to keep having children to please the mormon church." "Raise your hand if you knew they were Utah mormons by the second sentence of the article. They had to keep having children to please their church."
--- John is from California, Robin is from Minnesota. The first 4 children were born in Minnesota (blows that prejudice theory out of the water), the last two were born in Utah (a great place to raise a family, you guys stay out). MANY, MANY 'mormon' families have a couple of kids, they are not 'in trouble' and feel the 'displeasure' from our church. We are encouraged, but not commanded to have children. It is for each couple to seek their Heaven Father's guidance as to what their family is to be. We did and six was what we have, the Autism challenge came later.
Well, I could go on and on but this gets across our main points. Someone else said we are seeking help, donations, look at us, poor me, blah, blah, blah (so nice to have my own blog and say what I want!). When the People magazine article came out people emailed us asking how to send something. My sister-in-law/webmaster suggested that we put up a 'PayPal' donation box. There is a choice for either our family or the AutismBites Foundation we are starting. One thing I had hoped they would not put on the editing floor was when I said, "We're not begging for help here or seeking money. If we can be some portion of inspiration to other Autistic parents, great.
If you don't like our t-shirts that help deal with the public, fine don't buy one. Don't like our website (still a work in progress) or us, go away.
Life is choices, choose to like us and come back to this blog and participate with us in our journey on this earth. If you are mean spirited and your life stinks and you want others to feel as miserable as you... don't come back. Bother someone else. Life is too short to stress over things you cannot change or disagree with.
But, to you who have discovered our family and take encouragement or hope from our experiences... come back often. Comment often and let us see if we can all make this world a better place.
Thanks for your comments and support: parkersmommy007, lilspos2, loveeq2u, JoeliMcC, clbwebb, moose809, KRHSCN, floweringangel, michaelr02, ChristineCade, charity23us, eowyn_of_ithilien, Debra S, nancyroop, mapicepla, HappyTeacher05, Lanie Rae, lindalaytonsmith, HazelEyesLookinAtYou, bobandmoni, kada22105, WebNewsReader, momofautisticchildren23, sassymama1973, if I missed you we love you too!