I vaguley remember the time my parents took ME mushroom hunting, while I do enjoy mother nature, I am not one to stay in the actual woods long. Call it a fear of bugs, mice and snakes, I'm not sure. However, my son Frankie LOVES all things naturey (no not a dictionary word, but more of a TOTH word). So I had called my Dad and asked if he was going mushroom hunting this year. He wasn't sure, as in the past few years he had not found very many and was very discouraged. Well I was bummed because I knew Frank would LOVE to get to go into "the jungle" (what he used to call the woods when he was little) and spend the day just wandering around.
I had told my friend Barb about this. She goes mushroom hunting every year. She has been on a hot streak! She went out the other day and found over 600 mushrooms! Now I do not enjoy mushrooms, store bought or wild. While some in my house do, they do not care for the Morells so I did not know much about hunting for them. What I learned is, over 600 is a HUGE amount, that usually is a total for like a whole season! She said she wished she had Frankie with her cuz she thought he would really enjoy it! She decided to go again the next day and offered to take him! I was soooo excited for him! At first, he said he did not want to go if I did not go, but we discussed it and he finally got so excited to go, he decided he would be fine. He informed me the next day he had a dream that Barb was trying to kill him in the woods and he had to find a deer to jump on and get away, but that he knew that would NEVER really happen! lol The next day, they originally were going to go back to the same place and I was going to take Frankie there, but then Barb called and said they decided to go some place else, and had me drop him off at her mom's house.
O.K., I'm going to be completely honest, no matter the ridicule, because they were no longer going to be right near our house, I will now (after the fact) admit, to being a little nervous. I totally trust Barb with him, but it was supposed to rain, and I kept picturing him getting hit by lighteing! O.K. ,laugh all you want, but this is how my warped brain works. HOWEVER Frankie was a little nervous too, (he had the stomach squrmies) so I played it cool. He asked me "now how long have you known Barb?" I told him atleast 5-6 yrs, he said, "it took you 12 years before you trusted Dad to take me somewhere!" lol, ok, well he was younger then.....and besides, I am working on cutting those strings, AND I DID let him go and told him I was fine with it EVEN though I had "squirmies" in my stomach also as I drove away. Ofcourse I also was driving on a side of town I was not familiar with, so it could have been that as well! lol
O.K., back to the mushroom hunting. I thought about calling about 15 mins into it, but decided I would not be that kind of parent. I also thought about sending a camera and saying please take a picture of his first mushroom hunting trip, but again, didn't want to be that parent either. Luckily Barb knows me well enough, that she took pictures with her camera without me even haing to ask! She also let him call me (again, this is why I love Barb, she knows and accepts my quirks and works with them, OTHERS could take note! lol ) about 15 mins into the hunting! lol They had found a bunch already and he was having a WONDERFUL time. Well that news finally let the squirmies go away and I was able to calm down. He also called me a couple more times, much to my heart's joy! lol
They ended up finding over 700 mushrooms! She let Frankie keep the ones he found (3 3/4 pounds, and since we don't like them, he was able to sell them (@ $20 a pound) (Grandad sold 2 bags for him at work) which he was able to add to the $ they are saving up to go to South Carolina. So overall he had a Great Day, and wonderful memories were made. Barb was able to tell me lots of funny Frankie stories, that I will not embarass him with by puting on here but you can bet I WILL be putting them in his memory box! lol
So, Frankie's teacher from school last year, asked if he would be willing and come talk to her class this month since April is Autism Awareness month. He worked and worked on what he wanted to say and how he wanted to say it. I did help him fine tune a few minor details and change some of the "scientific facts into language the kids would understand, but the rest is all him in his Frankie style. I hope anyone reading this enjoys it as much as I did.
The Facts about Autism
By Frankie Toth
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports approximately 9 kids out of every 1,000 children in the United States are diagnosed with ASD. The number of people diagnosed with autism has increased dramatically since the 1980s, partly due to changes in how they diagnose Autism; the question of whether there are more people becoming Autistic or if they just have gotten better at recognizing it is still not sure.
A lot of people don’t know much about Autism. You might think, “it’s just a disorder of the brain that makes kids weird, right?” Well no, there’s more to it. See, Autism is a disorder of neural development, which means it’s a disorder of the nervous system and some parts of the brain. This can lead to impaired social interaction (when someone may behave different than most kids) and impaired communication (when someone talks different or communicates different). It also causes restricted and repetitive behavior, like playing the same game over and over or watching the same show over and over. For instance, I used to growl when I got mad instead of yelling. I used to smack my ears over and over when I was upset. Now you might think this sounds weird and is funny, but some people really have these problems. It’s not a laughing matter. Autism also alters how the nerve cells connect and organize, so in certain situations, they might freak out, and start yelling and pacing or rocking back and forth. And here’s one thing some people never expected. There’s more than one type of autism! Classical autism, Asperger syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), (also the type I have), Rett syndrome, and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.
Someone with Autism may not understand a joke you told, or understand if someone tries to change the subject. They may not handle a change in schedule well, and there for you may see them get very upset if there is an unexpected change in the daily routine. They might be obsessed with an object, like a train or something as simple as a pencil sharpener. They may notice little things that other kids do not see, due to their intense focus on things.
A lot of people with this disorder are able to do a lot of “normal” things, but are different in other things that may seem “weird or strange” to everyone else. Some may be extremely smart, but have trouble understanding social rules such as personal space. So they may stand really close to you or do not want you very close to them. They may say something that seems really rude, but do not understand that they should not have said that. I personally had a hard time controlling my emotions, and would get extremely upset over things someone else might be able to blow off, or forget about. I would cry and then be embarrassed for crying, but could not control it.
Another myth about Autism is they get it when they’re born. Not so. It develops gradually, and the first signs can be found during the first three years of life. In my case, my parents noticed I was not talking when I should have been. When I did talk, I was only repeating things I had heard on TV. Such as if I was asked if I liked something, I might have replied “good morning sun”.
At this time, there is no cure. There are ways to cope with it, and to help Autistic people learn how to live WITH it. It also helps to bring awareness to others, so they can understand. Most people also don’t have faith in others with autism, believing that they won’t be successful in life. But people with my condition, or anyone who has one of the ASD, can be successful. Some seek for a cure, while others accept it as a part of who they are.
Also, everyone with autism could, or less likely could not, have SID or Sensory Integration Disorder. SID is a disorder that gives the brain inability to organize some sensory information. One effect SID has is that you can’t screen out nonessential information, like a distant airplane or heater. For example, you probably don’t notice a fan running, but I would. You might not be able to hear you fridge running, but I could. I like to think of it as having super senses, in my part hearing. One example of SID is that someone, a little girl for instance, could hear someone unwrap and eat a candy bar in the room next door, but can’t hear someone call her name in the same room. SID also could make oneself lack flexibility, be explosive, and be difficult with translation. Now, all or most of these syndromes could mean you have SID, but just a few of them could mean something else entirely different.
For me, Autism has been both a blessing and a curse. See, people treat me like any other kid, and that includes teasing and bullying. I look like any other normal kid, and that’s what makes autism a very dangerous thing. Others with some different disability, like Down syndrome, look different than others, and people know that they have to treat them differently. We autistics blend in so well, you could be sitting by someone with autism, and not know it. We taste, feel, see, and hear differently than other people. I don’t like some foods like potato salad because of its texture and taste. I growl like a dog because it’s my emotional reaction to some things, like frustration and annoyance. Some people think we’re freaks because of this, but we’re not really. Like wolves and hyenas, people with autism are just misunderstood. I know Rosa Parks says its bully proof, but it isn’t. People made fun of me, and others just because of what we did. This is why we must be careful about what we say to others. I knew someone who used to go here. He acted what we would call weird, and most people stayed away from him, including me. We would groan when he was our partner, and rejoice when he wasn’t. I didn’t know how sorry I would be until it was too late. I thought I was the one who had it bad, but who knows what he had to go through. He might cry at home because nobody wanted to sit by him, or because people treat him poorly. These things can lead to dire consequences, like depressions or suicide. You might think I’m stretching it a little, but it’s true. That poor boy’s case proves how people can mistreat autistics. I don’t know whether he was autistic, normal, or if he has an entirely different disorder, but still, he is a human being. We should be nicer to others, autistic or not, because you won’t know the consequences, like emotional scars or worse, until it’s too late.
Now, look at yourselves and each other. Now look at me. We are all so complex organisms’ right? I presume everyone knows something about evolution, and how we evolved from monkeys. I don’t believe that, and maybe by the time I’m done you won’t either. I mean, how could evolution make a human with perfectly functioning organs, a very complex language system, and cities with skyscrapers so large they tower over everything else in the area? The answer is simple: God. God also made your parents, which in term made you, and He also make autism and the other ADSs. He made everything, and only an organized and creative Creator could make everything around us. If evolutionists were right, we could all be dead. Why; because what makes evolution work is one genetic mistake after another. They believe nature makes mistake after mistake after mistake, until she gets on right and moves along. Well a whole species could go extinct by the time nature “gets it right”. Evolution is nothing more than taking God out of the picture. It is true that animals adapt, but every animal that has a genetic disorder would die without human help. We humans are the only creatures on this earth that can survive with a “mistake”. Remember what I said about some people looking for a cure, and others accepting it? I believe they who accept autism are right. Autism is a quality that God gives you, and we should accept it until we find a cure. I believe with all my heart that autism is a blessing from God that makes us different. It can be useless one way, but valuable in another way. God has a reason for everything, and He knows what He’s doing. Any questions?
At PetSmart the other day, a couple came in with their little girl dog. She was licking and sniffing all over Frankie and Gracie said, "Wow Frankie, I never saw a girl so interested in you!"
Grace: "mom, why is iguana illegal? Me: frowning at her "what?!"....then it hits me " you mean marijuana?" Grace: "ya marijuana..."
Grace: we love the chilli at the school cafeteria! it comes from the milk factory! * strange look from mom and dad* Grace: ya the same people that deliver the milk deliver the chilli!
Gracie: "mom can i go downstairs and get on the computer?" Mom: "Ask your dad" Gracie: (exasperated) "Why can't i just be a free american and do what i want!" Mom: "go ask your dad if your allowed to be a free american"
"have you ever heard of tornado alley? it's where alot of tornados go alot, not many people live on that street anymore"
So I just wiped my face down with witch-hazel and frankie walked up and kissed me on the cheek, I said ewe! Witch hazel, he sputters and says I'm not sure that's good for you, I said its all natural, and in all his frankie wisdom, he sarcastically said, ya, so is poison ivy!
From Frankie; Mom is like a bloodclot in the flow of life. Get her in a crowd and she stops it up. **This came after i evidently took too long after church talking to another lady....
*queen bee was located on the window sill INSIDE the house, dad sprays with hairspray, then picks up with spoon and takes to the toilet to dispose of it. Frankie: now that's what i call a royal flush!
"i can't believe they didnt' let me see the animals! they know that i love animals! why wouldn't they let me see the animals?!"