A Dad's Journey

Father of Autistic Twins Speaks Out

Browsing Posts published in August, 2016

I was visiting my boys high school this morning for Freshman Orientation.  One concern we have is how our son Sean will handle the cafeteria situation.  For kids with autism, it can be overwhelming.  Heck, I think the lunchroom was overwhelming for must of us growing up.

Here’s a feel good story about a Florida State wide receiver who decided he wasn’t going to have one little boy at a middle school eat all by himself:


For well over a decade, researchers have looked for a “smoking gun” to help explain the growing incidence figures for autism.  On that count, the jury is still out.  Many feel the spike is due to different labeling systems and the rate of autism has held steady.  Certainly, the whole vaccine theory has been discredited.

Here’s a more plausible theory, the incidence rise might track back to chemicals that were banned back in the 70’s.  Hold on, you might ask, if the chemicals have been banned for 40 years, shouldn’t the incidence rates go down?  Unfortunately, just because the chemicals were banned doesn’t mean they’re not still in the ecosystem.

The Drexel team found that children born after being exposed to the highest levels of organochlorine chemicals during their mother’s pregnancy were roughly 80% more likely to be diagnosed with autism when compared to individuals with the very lowest levels of these chemicals. 


I just read an article by Joel Stein that I largely agreed with, but I was taken aback by his description of Internet Trollers.  “Now the web is a sociopath with Asperger’s.”  Since Asperger’s is no longer a term to describe high functioning autism, it should read, “Now the web is a sociopath on the autistic spectrum.”

The phrase has been removed from the online version, but the print version includes the original description.

The article goes on to state that trollers are often normal people who simply get their “lulz” from disparaging folks on the net with relative anonymity.  But once you insert the noun “Aspergers” as the personification of all that is wrong with the Internet, you have perpetuated a negative, hateful myth.

Hey Joel, a little more journalistic integrity next time, a little less hyperbole and a little more thought about the impact of your definitions.  http://time.com/4457110/internet-trolls/

Troll Culture of Hate Time Magazine Cover

Son of a gun, all attempts at correcting the nighttime urination issue have failed miserably.

With the benefit of both hindsight and humility, I have come to the conclusion that I am trying to fix a problem by hacking at its symptoms.  Even if I got Michael motivated enough to actually leave his bedroom to use the bathroom properly, where will his next example of passive/aggressive resistance manifest?

It’s back to the drawing board, in this case, the augmentative communication drawing board.  Since I can’t seem to fix this via guile and technology, I will attempt reason.  Clearly, I am down to my last resort.

When my daughter Kate was only about 4, I can hear her watching TV and rooting very hard for a character to succeed.  This was punctuated with occasional chants of “This has got to work!”.  To my surprise, the character she was rooting so hard for was none other than Wile E. Coyote of Road Runner fame.  

Well I feel a bit like old Wile E, as I attempt to stop my son Michael from peeing on his bedroom floor.  My latest attempt is a security camera that uses Bluetooth to hook up to your cell phone.  It also has a two way microphone “Michael, don’t even think of peeing there!”.  Ouvis veezon VZ1 Wireless WiFi 720P HD Pan Tilt IP Camera (Day/Night Vision,2 Way Audio, SD Card Slot, Alarm, Mobile Android/iOS/iPhone/iPad/Tablet)


What could possibly go wrong?

My son Michael knows better but he keeps peeing on the floor of his bedroom.  I don’t know why he feels the need to relieve himself on his bedroom floor, maybe it’s out of laziness or maybe it’s because he’s literally pissed off at the world and this is his way of pissing back.   I have tried various tactics to stop/modify/change this behavior.  I’ve even tried a moisture alert alarm that I hoped would scare the crap out of him (hmm, poor choice of metaphors).  But nothing seems to work, other than constant monitoring.  If we keep sending him to the bathroom, he doesn’t have any ammo to inflect further harm.

Finally, out of complete desperation, I added the signage below.

michael sign


And did it work?

Well, he no longer pees here anymore.  He has moved to the front of the bed.  (Curses, foiled again!!!!)

For kids who are high functioning, this article speaks to programs that help to match their creativity with possible job careers.



Paul Horton of Detroit is an advocate for adults on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum. He administers two Facebook pages: It Doesn’t Always Get Better – For HFAs, to raise awareness of the struggles (and positives) of adults with autism, and The Creative Spectrum, focusing on creativity in the autistic spectrum.