Guest Post Friday: Sharon’s Story

Sharon is another one of those moms who has been in the trenches. Conner is older and an amazing young man. This woman isn’t satisfied to sit back and watch her child and his opportunities fade away. She is fighting to change a system that is outdated and needs a push to understand that kids like Conner need laws to protect them. She’s been to her home state capital and Washington DC. I’m proud to know her and fight for change along side of her.

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I have done my best to write a post that will live up to the great ones that are written by Em’s Journey and the many guest post she has generously been sharing. “What the positive side of Autism is to me”

I have been working for weeks preparing for April’s Autism Awareness-Autism Acceptance month. Sitting in meetings, interviews and social gatherings. Every time the discussion lends itself to the positive aspects of Autism my immediate thought is always the same….Conner.

It is impossible for me to discuss any positives about Autism without talking about my son. Conner is – My Positive. I could not understand why I was struggling to write articles and to come up with just the right thing to say at events and then it hit me. This voice inside of me that I cannot say was speaking quietly because it was screaming at me…it told me I write from my own life experiences. I speak from my own life experiences. I was trying to do something that I am not trained for. I was trying to tackle the question technically and in no shape or fashion am I a technical person. I am a business woman who started a new home staffing company 26 years ago and I am a single mom of a 21 year old son who is Autistic.

To me “Conner” is the positive of Autism for so many reasons. Conner has taught me to not only accept but respect all types of people. For a person who looks at life in black and white, logical and takes what is said literally he is the most giving, caring and open-minded person. How can he be both-yet he is? His outlook on life is refreshing. Books tell you that our children are not compassionate do not show empathy. Yet Conner is kind and thoughtful and gentle and so very helpful. His love is unconditional. Conner has more inner-strength and determination than any person I have ever met. He does not give up. He is my inspiration.

At 21 he is like a sponge willing and wanting to learn and try things. Don’t think that this means he learns instantly-as he does not. That his struggles are gone because they are not. That he does not get besieged by his surroundings at time, because he does. But that does not take away from all the amazing accomplishments he has achieved thus far and for the ones that are close to materializing. Conner’s communication skills have increased with his writing ability. For Conner it is easier to communicate by writing than it is to speak.

Getting older has made some things easier as he is learning to become more flexible and he is more willing to try new things. Getting older has also revealed at times autism traits that seem to stand out more now with his age. Conner loves to jump and stim especially when he is overly excited or stimulated. He will stop in the middle of the mall and start jumping with his hands in the air as happy as he can be. A 21 year old jumping in the mall stands out much more than a youth. What breaks my heart is when people make fun of him. I am so angry inside but I had to learn how to handle situations such as this with what is best for Conner. I jump with him for a minute or so and I take his hands smiling and this leads into us walking through the mall hand in hand continuing on our way.

I was the person who when I was in high school would not go outside to get the mail unless my hair was done and my make up was on. I was vain – I was a teenager. I was also shy and would never speak in crowds and was always worried about what would others think of me. And now, because of what I learned from my son, I jump in the mall or clap the loudest along with Conner in the Disney store so we can “save Tinker Bell”. I sat on the disgusting floor at the theatre until Conner could get himself to sit on my lap in a chair and then sit on a chair himself.

I have evolved for the better and it is because of Conner. Conner has his “safety place” which is home where he can jump and stim and make all the noises he wants-whenever he needs or wants. This has truly helped him in public but it has not stopped it completely. At Disney (Conner’s love) he jumps around and sings and dances and no one pays attention because they are doing it as well. Conner says “all of Disney is a magical place where me can be me” Conner can eat at any restaurant he can fly on a plane he is extremely well behaved. He always has a device with him (currently it is his IPhone) so that when the surroundings get too much, the noises that he hears that we sensor out yet for Conner gets intolerable, he puts in his ear plugs and listens to Disney music or watches a movie.

We pulled him from public school when his IEP’s only stated everything he would never accomplish. We were blessed and hired his kindergarten teacher who has homeschooled him since he was 12 years old. At school children said to him “here comes the dumb kids” teachers said to him “He will never”. We had our struggles and our pains and heart breaks but why I am bringing them up when this is a “Positive” blog is because this is reality.

This is real life and real life leads into and is part of all the positive things that we celebrate. In my case, this is all part of Conner. This is all part of US. I cannot say it enough. Conner is my gift-my heart. I would fight fire breathing dragons for Conner. I will jump in malls and speak in characters and listen to the same verse a hundred times. I will speak to crowds of people, advocate to Politicians and write FB blogs and all of this and so much more is all because of Conner- all of who Conner was-all of who Conner is now and all of who Conner will be in the future.

Help Conner and his Mom change a poorly written outdated parental support law for adults over 18. STAND BY ME is my promise to my son and to all of the young adults throughout the U.S. Help pass our bill called “Conner’s Law”

One-third of our fifty states have no laws on the books to continue parental support for severely disabled and special-needs adults over 18. In those states that do, many have loopholes such as what was opened in the state of Virginia.

Please sign our petition. Thank you to Em’s Journey for your support. We are honored that you asked us to write a guest post on your page.

http://www.change.org/petitions/conner-s-law

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Please check out the petition for Conner’s Law. I know Sharon thinks this piece has a negative undertone, but it’s the life they live. I applaud her for not sugarcoating it and keeping it real. In addition to that, she knows that Conner is the positive.

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Jenn

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