Posts Tagged ‘Humor’

by Shannon Penrod

Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe I’m crabbier than usual.  Maybe people are ruder. Or maybe my son has just improved to the point where it doesn’t occur to people that my son has Autism, but lately random people have been saying things to and about my son that just irk me. Image

First, it was the woman in a museum gift shop who sarcastically asked my son how old he was because we was playing with a toy that is meant for a much younger child. She then turned to me, rolled her eyes and said, “Really, Mom, how about some age appropriate toys?”  I didn’t snidely inform her that ages on toys are tied to development and all children do not develop at the same rate, nor should they be made to feel bad about that.  To be honest, I kind of froze.  I was so busy watching my son to see if he was going to get the sarcasm or understand what she was saying and be offended.

He didn’t, but it was because he and the nuerotypical friend he was with were having such a good time playing with the toys, they didn’t care. By the way, the nuerotypical boy, same age, didn’t pick up on the sarcasm either.   Still, I couldn’t just let it go, so when the boys were out of earshot I quietly took the woman’s supervisor aside and explained why she shouldn’t be making blanket assumptions about children’s abilities and interests. My comments were well received and I left feeling like the woman would be more aware before commenting again.

Then I went to see a new Dr. the other day.  I picked up my son from school and scurried him into the car to get there on time.  I checked his token economy chart to see that he had done a great job in school for the day.  His focus was great, he didn’t need prompting and he stayed on task all day.  It was time for him to get a break and a reward.  In the waiting room of the Drs. office I handed him my phone and told him he could have some uninterrupted game time.  He had earned it.  Then I grabbed a magazine for myself and in doing so the entire magazine rack came off the wall and spilled 3 magazines on the floor.  My son looked up and went right back to playing.  Along comes the nurse to help me pick up the magazines and she starts in on the full sarcasm assault of my son.   

“Way to be aware.”  She says to him. 

Oh man.  Really?  Because the irony here is that she is the one who is not being very aware.  Yes.  In an ideal world, my son would have jumped up and helped me.  And believe me there are times when he does.  But he’s just spent 6 and half hours being aware at school.  His brain is on a much-needed vacation.  And instead of giving him a clear direction and saying, “Gee, I’ll bet your mom would really appreciate some help!”  She decides to be passive aggressive and throw some sarcasm his way.  Now he’s supposed to stop doing the thing he finds rewarding, listen to her, detect sarcasm, take stock of his behavior, notice what he did wrong and then change it.  That’s a lot to ask of any 10-year-old boy playing a video game after a long day at school, but for one with ASD it’s the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest.  Both my son and I ignored her. 

In my head though I started the conversation where I would say to her: 

It’s possible that everything isn’t what you think it is.  Maybe the kid you think is rude has been fighting for two years to make eye contact with you, not because he wants to be able to make eye contact with you, but because he’s been told it’s important to you.

Maybe the child who is having a tantrum isn’t spoiled but has no other means of communicating their needs. 

Maybe that parent that you think hasn’t disciplined their child is exhausted from fighting to get their child life changing services. 

Maybe, just maybe, you don’t know everything about anything. 

Maybe you should think before you decide to speak.

Maybe you should take a stroll in a pair of shoes other than your own and open your eyes to the challenges that face many individuals.  

I wanted to say it, but I didn’t.

Perhaps what I should have said to her was what she said to my son. “Way to be aware!”

Shannon Penrod is the Host of Autism Live an interactive, online video podcast that provides news, resources and support for parents, practitioners and teachers working with children with ASD as well as individuals on the Autism Spectrum.  Her son was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2. Visit www.autism-live.com to view the show and interact with Shannon and her guests.


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By Shannon Penrod

My whole life I have wondered why we have not already had a female president, now at the age of 48, in between hot flashes, I suddenly get it.  I wouldn’t put me in charge of the free world right now either.  I thought PMS was bad.  No one told me that menopause comes with UMS – Ugly Mood Swings.  Thank goodness I’m too tired to yell at all the people I would like to yell at.  My exhaustion is God’s little gift to humanity.

Everybody tells me it will be over before I know it.  This is not helpful.  The truth is, I started perimenopause over a decade ago.  Then I gave birth to my son at 40.  I remember the doctor handing me my baby and congratulating me on the fact that I had just set my menopause back 10 years.  Did I mention he was a man? He smiled at me in that patronising way that says, “I have no idea what I’m talking about but I’m still going to charge you as much as if I did.”

I don’t even like the word menopause.  Pause? There’s no pause!  The meno is supposed to stop!  That’s supposed to be the good thing that comes out of this, RIGHT?  Now if they wanted to call it MENTALpause, that would make sense!  All of a sudden I can’t remember anything.  Now I know why my mother walked into rooms and said, “I don’t remember what I came in here for.”  It was MENTALpause!

I feel like I’m on that ride at the amusement park that your friend talks you into getting on even though you can’t visually see what the ride actually does…I have no idea whether I’m about to flipped upside down or if I’ve already survived the worst of it.

My ancient cardiologist doesn’t refer to it as menopause…he calls it “The Seasons”.  He says to me, “Oh, you’re experiencing the seasons.”  This makes more sense to me.  It is a change of seasons.  Some days the weather is hot, some days it’s cold while it figures out what season it truly is.  This explains why I keep taking clothes off and on like I’m a stripper looking for work in a recession. It also give me peace that even though I am always sad to see one season go there is always something about the new season to look forward to.  I’ve never been great at transitions, but I’ve survived a lot of season changes.  Chances are I’ll survive this too, let’s hope the same can be said for my poor husband!

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by Shannon Penrod

Last week a NASA scientist reportedly claimed that the recent earthquake in Chile had shifted Earth’s axis by three inches.  Okay, is it just me or is this freaking anyone else out?  What does this mean? Suddenly I am picturing earth like a tin row boat my Dad used to take us fishing on. You know, the kind where you need to make sure that the weight is evenly distributed or the whole thing will flip and everyone goes swimming spontaneously?  Is Earth’s orbit that tenuous that an earthquake can actually move us? So….does this mean that if all of the fat people in Russia decided to jump up and down at the same moment we could find ourselves the fourth planet from the sun?

Am I the only person who’s a little uncomfortable even thinking about Earth being “bumped” by an earthquake?  I’ll admit it’s making my butt cheeks a little tight and not in a 24 hour fitness kind of way.  I can’t wait to see what Hollywood is going to do with this.  By this time next year there will be every imaginable Armageddon movie featuring Earth teetering off its axis and careening into asteroids, planets and black holes.  

And honestly, has anyone else noticed that everything seems to be…off center?   Last week everything seemed to be out of whack.  My cell phone didn’t seem to have a signal where it normally does.  My son was definitely out of sorts, all of my electrical equipment seemed to go haywire…everything was just weird…like everything had been picked up and moved three inches to the left.  Oh, right, according to NASA it was.

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by Shannon Penrod

In my next life I want to be a heterosexual, white male.  I know, generations of oppressed people have felt the same way.  White straight guys could vote when no one else could, they weren’t captured in their homeland and taken half way around the world to be sold into slavery.  White straight guys got to be heads of countries, corporations and county fairs.  The truth of the matter is that all of these bastions of white straight maledom have been shattered – there is only one remaining discriminatory practice and I ran squarely into it this week.  Shelf liner paper.  Think about it.  No one ever asks a straight white guy to line shelves.  It simply isn’t done.  This is why I want to be a straight white guy in my next life.

I wrestled a six foot long peice of Contact paper this week that had enough adhesive on it to glue Rush Limbaugh’s mouth shut permanently.  I wrestled and I won – okay, it has more wrinkles in it than both the Gabor sisters together – but it’s down.  Now my family is safe from—-why is it we put shelf paper down?  I don’t even know!  But there is some inbread genetic code that clearly tells my x chromosome driven brain that you can not unpack dishes into a cabinet without first lining the shelves.

My husband lifted, he toted, he packed- but he didn’t put shelf paper down.  I know if it were up to him there would be no shelf paper.  He could have slept soundly knowing that our dishes were sitting on …I can’t even say it, can’t even think it…gasp…gulp…unlined shelves.  As he pointed out, the shelves were already lined.  With the last person’s shelf liner.  I explained to him that it didn’t count unless you put the liner paper down yourself.  He looked at me like I was from another planet.  Don’t they teach this stuff to boys?  All the women I know understand this concept perfectly and frankly so do my gay male friends.  Even my straight guy friends who are not caucasian get the shelf liner paper thing.  Where were all the staight white guys when the rest of us were being indoctrinated into the nightmare of shelf liner paper?

These are the kinds of questions that keep me up at night.

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