When my severely autistic son was high school age, the local public school system offered him a placement at the high school. I remember feeling the swell of hope in my throat as I met with the administrators. Nat ... at the high school, one of the best in the country!
Up until then, Nat had attended private autism programs most of his school career because there were no district-based programs for him. Born in 1989, Nat was at the beginning of the huge autism wave that was to come. His childhood had been very lonely, with few options. I had been swallowing down dreams of inclusion for my firstborn for so many years.
Lynn U. Berman
Senior Manager, Media Relations
Gayle Murphy is a single mother who lives in Castleknock with her severely autistic 11 year old son Luca. She cares for him, alone, 24 hours a day and he hasn't had any intervention or therapy of any kind since last summer. Listen to her story.
Gayle says it’s been more than two years since he received appropriate or effective education from the State. He was given day service in a government supported respite centre, but the programme did not work out and Luca stopped attending in May of last year.
Since then, without proper intervention, Luca has developed problem behaviours - self harming and wetting himself.
I went to meet with Gayle in their home to get a sense of the reality of life when caring for a person with autism.
Autism Charity Shine put Gayle in contact with a voluntary advocacy officer - Geraldine - who occasionally helps out.
Geraldine kindly agreed to help look after Luca for the duration of this interview, but even so, you'll hear how challenging Luca's behaviour can be.
Gayle started out talking about how their day so far had been...
It's Adventure Girl back for another blog entry. Today I survived the last day of Disney magic at the Magic Kingdom theme park. We had a buffet breakfast at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa but I made a mess with it. I absolutely don't like it when things get too loud, NOT A GOOD MOVE! That's because I'm not the only one on the autism spectrum in the room.
I got to meet the characters at every theme park I went to. The things that I learned during my trip were to try new things and to deal with having many ups and downs. I'll try to be resilient more often. Before we left the park we were on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride which got delayed. I know how to be flexible and tried my best not to get upset.
After packing up we ate dinner and saw a jazz musician at a local bar. Did any one like the Celebrate Today Parade?
As we get ready for tomorrow I know I'll be sad about leaving Florida, but happy to see my mom in frigid NYC at the airport.
I can't wait to find out what the next trip will be because I'm going to miss all the rides I went on during my weeklong vacation. Here comes the plane ride back home. I hope my story will help other families of those with special needs both mentally, physically and emotionally. Until next time, au revoir mon ami!
Melanie, aka Adventure Girl XOXO