THE YEAR Autism KIDnapped Me
A Journey from Uncertainty to Breakthrough Leanna Rodgers
1 The Year Autism Kidnapped Me
Copyright ÂŠ 2011 by Leanna Rodgers All rights reserved. Reproduction and distribution are forbidden. No part of this publication shall be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any other means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author. This publication is designed to provide accurate and autobiographical information with regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the author and the publisher are not engaged in rendering medical, psychological, or any other professional advice.
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FOREWARD I'm observing that my writing is very 'guttural', shooting straight from the hip...which I think is so liberating to me, as an author, from my previous writing styles. Is using the word “Kidnapped” over-the-top, yet appropriate? I say to my experience, YES! Because it has taken me from everything I have known and have yet to learn. It has striped me from everything familiar. Let this book serve you as a spiritual-self-help piece, as it has served me in sharing my autobiography of this Chapter in my life, in a way that is 'in reflection' of what I’ve learned. Let it serve you, the reader, in what you can learn in yourself and reflect upon your own challenging life experiences (as a mother, a woman, an individual), so as a way to shed light that 'it's all gonna be alright, you WILL get through this and be just fine”. Isn’t that the goal we all have, to learn from our experiences, learn what shapes us, what brings us to the point of revelation? Reveal yourself in this book, as I have revealed a private piece of me that I never wanted to reveal to anyone, let alone the masses. Peace and Blessings and Thank You for Being You! Leanna Rodgers Self, Woman, Mother, Author – Ever Expanding Being
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Chapter A A IS FOR AUTISM
Autism – don’t say it. Autism – share with no one. Autism – it’s not my fault, it’s not his. Leaving the Regional Center with a diagnosis that was somehow inevitable, given the signs this past year, was still a pill I couldn’t seem to swallow. I was alone on this one. Husband - not answering the phone. Can’t breathe…call Mom. Entering the freeway, dial the phone, she picks up, can’t breathe, can’t speak, only to utter what I heard from the Psychologist – HE HAS AUTISM. I’m driving south on the 110 Freeway, can’t breathe, can’t speak, but somehow need to keep driving – without a destination; no destination seems familiar. Keep Moms’ familiar and comforting voice on the other line. I’ve entered a fog, maybe worse than our D’Angelo is experiencing – or so it feels that way. It’s a release, in a surreal way, to finally get an answer. Husband didn’t want to believe there was anything wrong; sister kept pushing me to seek help. Both grandmothers stood by in silent support, knowing ‘something’ was not quite right, keeping silent vigil for their grandson, the perfect angel, and secretly hoping that I would listen to my womanly, motherly (now) instincts, as they had done in their own way as mothers’ centuries past; to protect and nurture this child, as only a mother can. It wasn’t fair, it’s wasn’t right. I was suppose to enroll him in regular toddler classes, suppose to maybe find him an agent, as my own parents had done with me – this doeeyed, beautiful boy was destined for the camera – only he couldn’t chat up “the director” in an audition, couldn’t smile on cue, couldn’t follow directions. It really wasn’t fair. “What’s your name, cutie?”, a stranger would ask…NOTHING. So to even hope for our little angel to remember lines for a commercial audition, or sing a jingle or two…NOTHING.
Spiritual Synopsis – Chapter A Divine Spirit will never give me anything for which I cannot handle. Hold to the faith that I cannot walk by “appearances alone”. Do you recognize your own faith in the unknown, and how it benefits your path?
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Chapter A “TAKE 2” A IS FOR ADALINA
Adalina – our daughter. Adalina – it can’t be. Adalina – she has Autism. Leaving the Regional Center a second time with a diagnosis for Adalina that was somehow inevitable, given the signs this past year, was still a pill I couldn’t seem to swallow (wait, am I repeating myself?...ABSOLUTELY!). I was, again, alone on this one – like I was for D’Angelo’s diagnosis. I’m beaten down, yet knew what to look for; “the signs”, and FOUND THEM IN HER! I’ve entered a TORNADO! It’s swirling around me, I knew it would be coming, but thought I could just outrun the Autistic storm. Just take me, up, up and away. It will be a ride like no other. Will I land safely, or will the twister just twist my brain into delirium. I’m somehow calm, sad, calm, in shock, calm…no time for rest. What am I going to do NOW! Spiritual Synopsis – Chapter A Once AGAIN…Divine Spirit will never give me anything for which I cannot handle. Hold to the faith that I cannot walk by “appearances alone”. Do you recognize your own faith in the unknown (or a repeat of the same!), and how it benefits your path?
Chapter B B IS FOR BREAKTHROUGH
Breakthrough – it’s the environment. Breakthrough – doctors that can help. Breakthrough – he said “Oh My God”.
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This week ends the first week of the discovery that our son, D’Angelo and daughter Adalina (formally diagnosed just months after her older brother), will recover, will speak, will come out of the fog. I have Jenny McCarthy (and Jim Carey) to thank for this, and a dear friend who posted on my Facebook page, a YouTube video of spiritualist Esther Hicks speaking about Autism in our Children. I still haven’t replied to the Facebook Wall post from my friend, because I still don’t want my son to be labeled and for my 500+ friends and family to see that I acknowledged the video and relate it to D’Angelo and Adalina, somehow. So there are these DAN! Doctors out there that actually believe there are ways out of this, ways to recover our children. As outlined on ‘about.com’ The Defeat Autism Now (DAN!) project, created by the Autism Research Institute, created an approach to autism treatment called the "DAN! protocol" based on the biomedical theory of autism. Many parents believe that DAN! doctors are the best choice to treat their children with autism, and there are many testimonials to the effectiveness of the treatments. DAN! doctors, however, do often prescribe treatments and diets that mainstream doctors question or even denounce. Hmmm, yah, think?! No one wants to talk about it, especially me…not to anyone outside my husband, that is. Why? Simple - I don’t want D’Angelo and Adalina to be “labeled”. Fine, if the “establishment” needs to label our son and daughter “autistic”, so they can give them special attention and give a reason to do so, GO FOR IT! I don’t need to agree, nor disagree. I can just go along with “the game”, make them feel important…all the while, my husband and I, within one week (oh, yeah, my point in starting this Breakthrough Chapter), having changed their diet, removing all dairy and wheat and making it “gluten free” and WHALLAHH: both kids are already showing signs of recovering. More eye contact, calmer, more focus, and repeating words: “Oh My God”, says D’Angelo, the other night, repeating ‘dear ol’ Mommy’. Ok, this would be frowned upon by any adult, who was hearing this come out of the mouth of a two year old…but coming out of the mouth of my ‘20 days from turning FOUR year old’…is a blessing, a welcomed mimic, from him hearing Mommy say it, at my guttural reaction to seeing the flood of water in the bathroom (a lake really), caused by his lovely overflowing bathtub fun. “Oh My God” – this is exactly IT! “OH MY GOD”…”Oh My God, My GOD… THANK YOU” for opening our eyes to the truth and leading us on this path of healing and recovery for my family, our son, our daughter, our relationship with food and the deeper understanding of the pain and contributors that we unknowingly exposed D’Angelo and Adalina to. Spiritual Synopsis – Chapter B Listen to the spirit that is my ‘womanly instinct’; if you listen carefully – it provides all the answers you need. Where have you recognized your “inner instinct”?
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Chapter C C IS FOR CRY
Cry – a necessity for release. Cry – why OUR CHILDREN? Cry – there’s a light at the end of the cipher. A wail that only comes from a mother’s pain; deep, deep desperation. They’re alive and healthy, why am I crying? I’ve heard it said that ‘expectations’ are simply a recipe to set us up for disappointment. I agree. Cry inside without showing my brother that it hurts to see that his twenty-one month old daughter is saying words, well beyond D’Angelo and Adalina, who are both older than she is. I’m happy for him, I really am. Have you ever cried inside, without showing one bit of emotion on the outside? Just smile, show love and support. Don’t let on that it is so very painful to see that your very own children cannot express their feelings with words. Ok. Enough with the pity party! Cry because my children are unique, are so very lovely. Not your typical children, and it is I that should cry for this blessing that God has given us. There is No Thing – Nothing, I am given by God that I cannot handle. This is my solace. This will be a short, very short Chapter, as I’m done crying. Spiritual Synopsis – Chapter C Crying is a form of release. Don’t hold it back, let it flow. You are not weak by your tears, this is God’s form of allowing you to see the lesson and remind you that you are Alive! When was the last time you cried?
Chapter D D IS FOR D’ANGELO
D’Angelo – a boy with a story. D’Angelo – ‘of the Angels’ D’Angelo – a perfect and unique emulation of the Divine
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I documented and captured this image, because this was a day that will be itched in my memory. A simple day at the waterpark, turned into hell in an instant – with everyone around us the onlookers, even family, as they watched me, stirring, uncomfortable glares, I was the dramatic interlude to their waterlogged afternoon, as if to ask me, “what are you going to do about this?”. D’Angelo had had a full blown autistic meltdown, and by the end of the episode, all we could do together was meld into each other’s energy, and gaze off into the sky. He was beaten down by his own autistic ailment and he didn’t understand why. Sheer exhaustion set in. It was at these times that I had to just hold him, calm my soul and give him my love, my simple, unconditional love and open heart – when all wanted to do was scream. No matter which way you look at it, this boy is absolutely amazing. Every day now, something new, every day another peddle in his flower opens to bloom in front of us and my God, if we are not “ever amazed” at the site, sound and discovery of his personality. I have to place credit where credit is due, and that is with Early Intervention. The school district, the IEPs (Individual Education Plan), the teachers along his path, the counselors, the speech therapists, the occupational therapists…the TEAM! D’Angelo has been our collective project, and through this, this little boy has learned, has grown, has, at 5 years old…written his own name today, all on his own, on his own accord, with no prompting from anyone. He just wrote what he felt and it was his personal identification…his name:
Spiritual Synopsis – Chapter D Lemonade out of Lemons…set up your Lemonade Stand for Life!
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