October 28, 2013

Disability Fairs and Support

Two of my co-workers have Autistic sons and both of their sons are in my son's class. (On another interesting note, Hubby's co-worker's son is also in our class. Hmmmm. Makes you wonder about the IT sector a little!)

Anyway, I am open about my Autism and SPD with the female co-worker. We'll call her Nikki. Last week, our fine city's annual disability fair was held at a location right next to our office, so went together over our lunch break.

While we have slightly different approaches to parenting our sons, for the most part we agree on a lot of things. So it was fun to go up to different exhibitors together and run miles away from others. 

Everything was good and we were picking up pamphlets happily until we came upon the Autism Speaks table. We look at each other and say, "oh gods, no! Get away!" and scamper over to another table. But I stop her and say, "do you think I should go talk to them? Just ask them why they don't have any Autistics on their board?"

"No, Kelly! Don't do it! Don't get yourself all worked up! We don't have a lot of time!"


"No..." and then she adds, "you know, I don't notice your Autism much, but at times like these, that's when it comes out!" and we laughed about it. Yes, I am stubborn and opinionated. 

But she has the tact and calmness to keep me calm and convince me now is not the time. I figure I might go back after work without her.

So we continue along, meeting companies. Then we see hyperbaric oxygen chamber therapy. I had warned her about it since they were there last year. You know, they have this study, which was made by their clinic, which showed no real significant long term improvement, but they continue to make money off parents grasping at straws for a treatment. Run, run, run! Ooouf, some sort of magnetic ionic something or other machine? What? Who? Woo?

And then there was the dolphin swim, which costs like, 5 million dollars. I have no doubt swimming with dolphins could be fun. It's something I always wanted to do as a kid. I had a "dolphin encounter experience" as an adult while on vacation in the Bahamas and yes, it was cool. But I've also since learned more about not using wild animals for our benefit and I don't think it's fair to keep them in captivity. I also don't think people should feel like they need to spend thousands of dollars on it. But hey, it's not my money.

On the plus side, I found some very cool OT swings I could outfit my home with and I also found an OT for myself! It's also really nice to go to an event like this with someone and run from the same exhibitors. 
On the way out, I thought to talk to Autism Speaks again and Nikki talked me down again. I did not go back after work. I wasn't in the mood to argue.

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