I have had the honour of being able to tell our story and journey of Autism twice at Niagara College in the past 2 weeks. The first time you can read about here.
The 2nd time I was able to go and speak, I was joining my fellow ASD moms, and lucky enough to also call them friends, Lucy and Darla once again. This time was a bit different than the first time; this time the questions were already given to us and we were almost like a panel answering the questions. Here is a bit how the 2nd time at Niagara College went for us and our story.
I was the last one to roll in; and getting ready, shipping Ben off to my mother in law, and driving to Welland takes a bit more time for me :)
When I arrived LB the teacher, was explaining to her class all the amazing course and seminars there are to experience around the world in regards to Autism. Then, she gave us the most beautiful introduction; and then it was game time.
Most of the students that were in this class, Darla and I already were able to speak too the week prior. So, for some it was a bit of a re-run, but what was different this time, was the questions we were able to answer. The questions were a nice addition as well, because we got to touch on topics Darla and I might have missed before. Here are some of what the questions included;
- What was the process of diagnosis and did you see it?
- Do you children have siblings? if not, was it because they had ASD?
- How is the school system?
- What is a day in your life like?
- What are weekend like?
- Any movie obsessions?
- What does the future hold?
This time, my breakdown came when we talked about siblings. Maddie is my life. As I have blogged about in the past, the compassion and utter love this little girl has for her brothers, you can't teach that, that is natural, she is mini-me. When I began to put this into words, and the guilt that we as parents suffer for the amount of time and energy our children with ASD take from us and from their typical siblings, it leaves you feeling so guilty as a parent. I expressed to the class how much I try to make times with mommy and Maddie so special, that I try and take her out alone with me; but in all honesty, her life in a way suffers because of our obligations with the other 2; especially with Owen in 25 hours per week of therapy at Bethesda.
What if you were to ask Maddie though? She would say she has the best mommy and daddy, and she loves her brothers so much. My hope for her is that she continues to grow up with that full and beautiful heart; then cue the ugly cry as I am telling this to the class. Thankfully once again, I looked up and I wasn't alone.
After hearing again about Darlas son, and Lucy's daughter; I loved my friends more. We all couldn't explain enough what our Support Group does for one another; how we have the most amazing friends in our lives, but having our ASD moms is different; there is just full acceptance and complete understanding. The class once again, had great questions, we shared tears again and of course, laughs. They listened and they were engaged, and I left feeling like they now knew us on a personal level; and would be honoured for them to meet my children, ASD or not.
This Friday, I have been invited back with some ASD moms and professionals (that I am friends with!) and we get to hear the students present their ASD presentations. I cannot wait; and what is in store for the future? As of last night, I have been invited to speak to a Special Education course class at Niagara College again next Semester. Have I found a new passion; hell yes.