Thursday, December 22, 2011


Parents of an autistic child know that the long lines, pulsating and twinkling lights and loud noises can be overwhelming for their child – even unbearable. If you haven’t heard of this before, this should gladden your spirit at Christmas. I found a story about a sensory-friendly Santa Claus event. articles on autism. The event was sponsored by the Lawyer’s Autism Awareness Foundation in Tampa, Florida. Two Hillsborough County circuit court judges traded off playing the role of the patient jolly man in red. No twinkling lights or loud music were used in ensure that children were comfortable. Appointments were scheduled to ensure each child had one-on-one time with Santa without having to wait in long lines. What a great holiday story! Perhaps a bit late for this year, but I think some of you can make this happen in your locality next year.

One day ago, Derek posted this on Facebook. It is as poignant a statement of what this kind of careless child removal does to a parent as any I have read before.

Ok so quite the past few days I have had.... spent much of it on the phone trying to get as much advice as possible on how to move forward under the circumstances. I am waiting to hear when a meeting with MCFD will be possible for the soonest date. And hopefully the next meeting I do have with them will be very productive. With my proposal in and my offers to overcome visitation long since presented, the next steps seem to be resolution based. I am ignoring the calendar for the most part, but got a peek at it today and I am absolutely aghast that it could possibly be so late in the year. Going to post up little packages of the stuff we had printed off for everyone to see and get. And I think I will spend a bit of time today listening to some of Ayn's music and making some crafts with the boys for her; perhaps will play around a bit on Photoshop as well. There is a looming sadness which hangs on each minute, it doesn't abate, it doesn't grow smaller, it just hangs there staining each second with memories that draw smiles then tears.

I am sure that Derek would have loved to take Ayn to one of these sensory-friendly Santas. It’s a difficult season for him. He will be resilient for the sake of the two sons at home with him. They deserve his joy-filled presence and he will deliver.

Are you as intrigued as I am to read in the first paragraph of the Lawyer’s Autism Awareness Foundation in Tampa? How incredibly beneficial that is to families of autistic children, to have a group of informed lawyers available to advise other lawyers and families and represent them well in legal entanglements with child protection agencies that have mistakenly or irresponsibly erred in the administration of their functions. I can only hope for that to develop here and in other localities. You can find the Tampa group on Facebook.
And here is a YouTube story on the foundation. Understandably, it began with lawyers with children with autism.

Another video version of a Michigan Santa is presented in this story. Santa Visits Children with Special Needs.

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