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“UP~ABOVE”

I always picked Australia.It was my answer ~ EVERY TIME! You know the question…”If you could go to any country in the world where would YOU go?” I don’t know if it was my little girl love of Koala Bears or what? As I got older I kind of lost sight of that worldly desire of mine. Life kicks in, bills come and go.Life evolves…children are born. Realizing YOUR DREAM is not possible…your mind convinces yourself…”Heck, I never wanted to go DOWN UNDER anyway!

Well guess what? Now that I’m all grown-up …I realize I don’t want to go “Down Under” at all. I want to go UP ABOVE! Australia is SO ENLIGHTENED about the spectrum! I think they need a new nick name!! AWESOME AUTISM ATTITUDE LAND !! Yesterday I was fortunate enough to view a news story from an Australian morning show! Megzz Megan Hammond provided it to me on facebook! She is an amazing woman who was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in her mid-twenties!

She has an extremely interesting group called My life with Asperger”s From the title of her book. http://www.femail.com.au./my-life-with-aspergers.htm I highly recommend you check-out and join her group! She really is a phenomonal individual! Not only does she share something so personal and informative to the world. She is constantly POSTING AMAZING PHOTOS!! Truly…you will not be dissappointed! Thanks Megzz…YOU ROCK!

So now, back to this” bone I have to pick” with OUR American MEDIA!! Please watch the attached News CLIP . http://today.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=1040518 What struck me most about this “news story” was that it was just that! A NEWS STORY! Meant to TEACH for HELPING purposes. Not a “feel good” story with an antecdote or two. Sure that would be fine for a print piece or in a longer profile piece. However, those stories are few and far between in the U.S.! Seems, we save all the “anecdotal /feel good” stories over here for Autism “Awareness” APRIL. Why would they TEACH and HELP?! Oh yes…you might not make ratings with THAT brand of T.V.!

Ridiculous! Autism is not a sound bite for the nightly news. It is a way of life for over a million people…and counting. What will … serve OUR Community is effective dialogue, and practical solutions! Amazingly that is exactly what you see when you look at this story! Reporter Lisa is well prepared with an informative script and visual graphics helping to make her points. Very clear, very cohesive! Sally Thibault the mother/author featured in this story is an amazing woman! By all means check into her book as well! www.davidsgift.com.au

WORLDS of information!! C’MON people can we please take a look at the FOREST…through the trees?!! Let’s get with the program over here on our side of the pond!! Let’s look at AUTISM from a whole new perspective. It is crucial that we do this! There are more and more of us everyday and we thrive on GOOD information! So we need to take a lesson here on what is important! We need to rise to this occassion as our Australian neighbors have so rightly done! When it comes to our MIND-SET regarding Autism and Asperger Syndrome …let’s take a lesson from our friends “DOWN~UNDER.” Open our eyes and our hearts and rise…”UP~ABOVE!!

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4 Responses to ““UP~ABOVE””

  1. Rachel says:

    Wow ~ She seems like such an interesting girl ~ Way to go! Thanks for Sharing

  2. Hey there, was just on the net looking for few information and came upon your website. I am impressed by the content that you have on this website. It denotes how well you understand this topic. Bookmarked this page, will return for further. You, my friend, ROCK!!!

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  3. Donna says:

    I came across your website while doing my daily search for Asperger’s related articles (Asperger’s son, 15yo). I know this article was written in 2010 but I am loathe to let this one slip by without comment just in case someone has delusions of grandeur and thinks moving to Australia with an Asperger’s child is the way to go.

    I’m afraid you may be suffering a little from the dreaded “grass-is-always-greener-itis”.

    I am an American who has been living in Australia for the past 12 years and we are so far behind the rest of the world in diagnosis, treatment and education of Aspeger’s Syndrome it would sicken you.

    It took my husband and I, from the moment we self-diagnosed our son’s Aspergers to the moment we were able to get into the clinical psych’s office to get the formal diagnosis, approx 2 1/2 years. By the time we received our “acceptance letter” from the Department of Disability Services months later we had missed out on all early intervention. Of course, had we gone through the private system and not the public one we would have spent $3,000 but had a diagnosis in 3 months. (Public health cover is a wonderful thing but it has its issues.)

    Unfortunately early intervention is the only government funded therapy they offer in Oz. Once your child hits school age you’re on your own. We were the first ones to ever have an IEP at our primary school and, as his parents, we weren’t allowed to take part in putting it together. We were told our signature was the only thing needed from us and any opinions we had were “frosting on the cake”. Yeah. I’m frosting.

    And now the schools. You have no idea. The Australian culture on the whole is very much a “boys will be boys” society. Bullying is absolutely rampant and teachers are very much of the mind that some bullying is needed to turn a boy into a “real man”. Physical abuse, the type that sends kids to jail in the states, is a slap on the wrist here. If I hear one more time from a school that, “in reality the bullies need more support and positive reinforcement from the schools than the bullied student does”, I’m going to lose my nut.

    Oh, and the curriculum. My son won’t be allowed to go straight to University from High School no matter what his grades are because in order to do that you need to be able to take a level 2CD High School English class in which our son will be expected to dissect Shakespear and Cormac McCarthy at length. LOLOLOL. Seriously, they must be joking. God forbid they should let him do that with one of his University level biology books or his beloved Transformers novels.

    And because the Schools refuse to alter the curriculum for Asperger’s students, our son will never get a grade higher than a C (equivalent). For anything. He will get the same grade for Art that he does for English because they won’t let him draw his beloved animals instead of an old guy on a bench. This is my son’s deviant art page…http://quinnhart.deviantart.com/ These are hand drawn and he doesn’t realise how talented he is because the school won’t/can’t reward him in any way, including grades. Real boost to his self-esteem…(insert sarcasm sign here)

    Look I could go on and on. I could tell you how there are absolutely no school based interventions for Asperger’s students. Plenty for classic Autism and intellectual disabilities, but nothing for our guy. I couldn’t even get the school to designate a place for my son to go to when the classroom gets too noisy. They wanted to make him sit in the hallway. Nothing says “bully me” quite like seeing the quirky kid in school sitting alone in the hall.

    And this was the school that had the first “High functioning Autism Programme” in our state. Which, by the way, only lasted for years 8, 9 and10 because their goal was to have all the AS students “functioning normally” by year 11. So all interventions ceased at the end of year 10. 100%. Nil. Null. Over and out. You can’t make this stuff up, folks.

    I could tell you about the relentless bullying. And I’m not talking about sticks and stones here. My son has been physically touched in abusive ways more than my sanity can bear. Once even by a teacher. The lack of Teacher education “Oh, everyone is getting diagnosed with Autism these days, why should I treat your kid any differently?” (I kid you not) The appalling curriculum. (Apparently computers are a passing phase, hand writing pages and pages of essays is the wave of the future, particularly if you have Asperger’s ’cause the head teacher read it in an article somewhere??!!)

    One word.

    Homeschool.

    It was one of the first things out psych said to us, that he believes all Asperger’s students in Australia should be home schooled. We thought, “Nah, our boy is so high functioning and the teachers will understand.” HAHAHAHAHAHahaha, oh lordy, I’m tearing up, my side hurts….(I digress)

    If you think this attitude doesn’t spill out into the general public, I’ve got a real nice bridge to sell you.

    I created a Facebook page for Asperger’s awareness… https://www.facebook.com/groups/18621523232/ (785 members, feel free to join in and see what Australian parents are saying) and the latest issue was from a poor mum who, when she complained about the staff laughing at her son who was making Autism related noises, was told by the manager that perhaps bringing her son to the restaurant was a bad idea.

    I wrote to Subway Australia myself on behalf of the group and their response basically stated that we should all stop talking about it because the staff who laughed at the boy felt bad enough and that there was “no intent by staff to upset the customer or their family”. The letter was from the “Franchisee Services Coordinator” and there was no mention of an apology and she certainly made it clear there was no wrong-doing by the staff in any way, shape or form.

    I wonder if she really thinks the staff didn’t laugh out loud at that family. Hey, maybe I should try to sell her that bridge we’ve been discussing…

    Anyway…there it is, all tattered and torn. Your fantasy of some utopian country waiting with open arms for the worlds Aspergian masses to seek refuge, up in smoke. I actually feel a twang of guilt. Australia is a beautiful country. Picture perfect in fact. I do get to see kangaroos often and have yet to die from the plethora of poisonous fauna. Australians are indeed a warm and friendly people. Armed with a wicked sense of humor and laid-back lifestyle, a good time is never too far away.

    Just don’t behave any differently than your average, neuro-typical, Australian. They don’t like it so much…

  4. kelly says:

    Wow Donna! Thankyou so much! I wrote this 2 yrs ago after just joining the on-line world a bright eyed and admittedly naive blogger….I am much more aware of the conditions you have enlightened us about here. I see the International community as a bit more up to speed on what Autism is…yet, the acceptance with many is still soO horribly stymied!! God bless you and your families struggles down under with your Aspie and the intolerable situations you have been placed in. I truly hope and believe this decade alot will move in our favor as the world realizes that Autistic traits are human traits just amplified & magnified. Sadly, the people least likely to accept our different population are those that need change and introspection into their own hearts and minds the most!! Autism teaches people what is most important and that is deep acceptance of difference.

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