What to tell your school districts about autism and violence

Dear Readers,

My friend Jill, who writes at Yeah. Good Times. has given all of us a tremendous gift.  In response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, she has written a brilliant letter explaining autism to her local school district and she has invited us to share it.

Jill’s entire post can be found here.

In the meantime, I feel so passionately about distributing this information to every teacher, counselor, parent, family, human being that I’m re-posting the entire letter below (with permission from Jill of course!)

Please, please, please share this.  Don’t do it for my Alex, don’t do it just for your kid or neighbor or student.  Do it for ALL kids everywhere.  Because every step toward greater understanding is a step toward peace.

Thanks for reading,

Cathy K.

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Dear (school) community:

There has been much discussion online and in the news about the connection between the Connecticut school shooting and the fact that the shooter may have been diagnosed with autism.  As our families and our community discuss this issue and try to find a reason for this heartbreaking tragedy, I feel that it is very important to remember the following:

There is no connection between planned, violent behavior and an autism spectrum diagnosis of any kind.

Autism is not a mental illness; it is a developmental disability.  Many autistic people may have emotional regulation problems, which are impulsive expressions of frustration and anger, that are immediate and disorganized.  They may lash out with threatening statements or behaviors, but these behaviors are impulsive reactions, they are not deliberate or organized plans.  Once the situation has been diffused, the behaviors will stop.

What happened in Connecticut required methodical planning of a deliberate and tremendously violent act; this is not typical behavior of an autistic person.

Right now we are all struggling to find a reason why this kind of atrocity would happen, and we can speculate about the mental state of the shooter; about gun control laws; about the current state of our country’s mental health system, or about whatever else might help us make some sense out of this.

Please know, and please tell your children, that even if the shooter was autistic, autism is not the explanation for this tragedy.

If anybody has any questions about autism, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you very much for your time,

Your name here

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Par-Tay!!

autism home rescue 081720121

Today’s the online launch party for “Be Like Buddy!”

Go on over there now (click here or on the picture above)

to join the celebration & get your free stuff!

Be Like Buddy!

autism home rescue 081720121Ohmigosh have I got news for you! 

You all know how I love finding good autism resources to share, right?  Well stay tuned for more information on my latest discovery:

Be Like Buddy!

 

Created by the father of a child with autism, the “Be Like Buddy” educational videos and resources are right on target. 

I mean…  RIGHT.  ON.   

As in– the guy who put the videos together knows autism.  The website creators know autism.  The folks who made the educational materials know autism.  The entire team– plus the absolutely adorable and loveable puppet named Buddy who stars in the videos– really understand and connect with families like mine– and YOURS too!

Stay tuned to Autism Home Rescue for more info next week on how YOU can get absolutely free  resources for autism parents, educators & professionals this month at the online launch party for Be Like Buddy”

In the meantime, please go to the Be Like Buddy” facebook page and Like them to make sure you stay in the loop! 

And while you’re on Facebook, dear loyal readers, please Like Autism Home Rescue’s facebook page too!  (see the handy dandy button to the right on this page!)

for all mothers in less-than-ideal relationship situations

Some days I just feel compelled to throw out an entry in what I call my “required reading” category.  Today’s topic:

D.O.M.E.S.T.I.C   V.I.O.L.E.N.C.E

Big, bad, ugly words.  We like to think that those words don’t apply to us or to people we love because big, bad, ugly things happen in other families, right?  It feels better to believe– on this side of things– that we are somehow protected from crazy or impossible situations that we see happen to other people out there in the world.  If we thought “that could happen to us” every time we watched the news, then we’d be too fearful and anxious to survive daily life.  Makes sense to me.

Still, there are many, many people around us who are in difficult, destructive or dangerous situations.  Some are aware of their circumstances, their resources and their options.  But many are not. 

Because I am a woman and a mother, I’ve decided to address this post specifically to other women like me.  But domestic violence can happen to anyone, male or female, single or married, gay or straight.  Please be aware that although I’m writing woman-to-woman here in the interest of simple readability, whatever situation you– or your loved ones– may find yourself in, there are resources for you too. 

Here’s the truth about domestic violence in the United States: 

One in four women in the U.S. will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.  It takes the average woman 7 times to leave an abusive situation.  Domestic violence affects women from all walks of life, all education levels, all socioeconomic backgrounds, all races, religions and sexual orientations.  It affects parents of typical kids and parents of kids with special needs. 

See:  The National Coalition on Domestic Violence (NCADV) fact sheet here.

Domestic violence is not just physical.  When one person exerts control over another, when someone is  threatened or harrassed or isolated from friends, when one person in a relationship controls all the money in the bank account, for example, or won’t let the other person leave the house when they want to, that’s domestic violence too.  Just because nobody physically harmed you, doesn’t mean harm hasn’t been done.

See:  Information from NCADV on psychological abuse here.

 

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Over the years, both personally and professionally, I have encountered many helpful mantras for coping with less-than-ideal relationship situations.  I share some of them with you here in the hopes that if you find yourself needing encouragement or wanting to help a loved one, something may resonate with you and encourage positive outcomes.
 
  • In healthy relationships, people don’t get punished for being who they are.
  • Just because someone yells and screams or makes statements in a loud, authoritative voice, it doesn’t mean they are right or that they are telling the truth.
  • Just because someone says, “This is the way it is!” does not mean it has to be that way.
  • When someone is being mean or abusive and telling you it is your fault they are angry, it is not your fault.  No matter what you do, you cannot control their behavior or reactions.  Even if you do “everything right” they may still be angry because their anger has to do with *them* not with *you*
  • Children are smart.  They know who really loves them, who has it together and who doesn’t.  No matter what someone else tells them about you, if you take a deep breath and focus on being the best parent you can be (and not feeding into the negativity coming from an abusive person), your kids will know what’s true.
 
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If you suspect a child or teenager is being abused or mistreated, call 1-800-4-A-CHILD or go to the Child Help website.

To find domestic violence resources (including shelters if you are in danger or support groups if you are concerned) in your state, click here or visit the Feminist Majority Foundation.

If you are seeking LGBT resources for domestic violence, click here for the Rainbow DV page devoted to information, links and support groups.

Local hospitals or women’s centers often have free counseling and/or support groups for women who have been victims of domestic violence.

Other helpful websites:

Eve Foundation: Ending Violence Everywhere

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) will connect you to safety resources in your area.

If you or someone you love is in a less-than-ideal relationship situation, there is hope for things to get better.  Please reach out for help, you are not alone.

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