I’m L, wife of an amazing guy and mom to 3 energetic and hilarious little munchkins. Our family is neurodiverse – our son, H*, (age 7.5) is autistic and our two daughters, L (age 5.5) and C (age 3.5) are developing typically. My husband is neurotypical and I have sensory processing differences and am currently exploring my own neurology.
*For their privacy, only initials will be used here. If you know us in real life, please remember not to put the kids’ full names in any comments. Thanks!
Our son has complex communication needs (CCN) and is mostly non-speaking. He uses a combination of words, signs/gestures, and an AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) device as his primary means of communication. His AAC device is an iPad locked into the communication app “Speak for Yourself”. He has been using this since age 3 and has blown everyone away with his ever-growing vocabulary and his ability to share his knowledge, passions, feelings, and sense of humor. He currently has about 2,500 words open and accesses many more than that. He has an intense love of carnivals, flowers, kaleidoscopes, and planets right now and is the most giggly and lovable little boy I know!
This blog will focus mainly on our family’s path through autistic advocacy, communication with AAC, respectful parenting, and ensuring that those in our son’s life treat him as the capable and intelligent person he is.
What is “neurodiversity”? Neurodiversity is the natural variation in human brains and minds.
The Neurodiversity Paradigm we embrace states that there is no single “correct” or “normal” type of neurology. Neurological differences, including autism, should be recognized and respected as valid forms of being, the same way that racial, ethnic, and cultural differences should be. These neurological differences should not be pathologized or framed as disorders or diseases needing to be cured. Instead, advocates believe that neurodivergent individuals should be accepted for who they are and provided with the supports they need to thrive.
We will not subscribe to any therapies or “behavior modification” programs that seek to change who our child is, seek to “fix” what they see as “broken”, or seek to make him “appear indistinguishable from his peers”. We will support him, love him, stim with him, respect his sensory needs, give him tools for communication, and ensure he has a full and robust education.