Living in the Light
By Lillian Csernica
Fifteen years ago my son was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Very little clinical information was available, much less biographical writing by families raising autistic children.
The best guide I found for what my daily life would become was a series of graphic novels written by a Japanese mangka named Keiko Tobe.
In With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child, Sachiko and Masako Azuma are overjoyed to welcome their baby boy, Hikaru. This joy is short-lived when Sachiko realizes Hikaru is not reaching the usual developmental milestones. Doctors diagnose Hikaru as autistic. Although, Japanese culture may be quite different from life in the United States, Sachiko’s love for Hikaru and her determination to do right by him creates a universal appeal. Sachiko sees how much is right in Hikaru and keeps working toward … Continue reading in the Fall 2018 issue.
by Samantha Blache
Twitching, screaming randomly, shouting curse words, and making rude gestures are what many people think of when they hear the word Tourette’s. Why? Because it’s what they’ve seen in movies. The truth, however, is different. That leads to the question, “What is Tourette’s?”
Tourette’s Syndrome (TS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder. The term is used to describe a deficit in the function of the brain or central nervous system. With TS, the barrier in the brain that keeps certain signals from going into the body are weakened. This allows them to travel throughout the nerves and causes the movements and oral sounds. These movements and sounds are called tics.
For most, TS becomes evident in early childhood and are characterized by motor and vocal tics that wax and wane. These tics can be … continue reading in the Summer 2018 issue.
Just Keep Swimming
by Lillian Csernica
To many people, summer means the beach with hot sand, cool water, sunshine, cold drinks, carnival rides, and all that glorious junk food. I remember the day my husband and I took our son, John, to the beach for the first time. John wasn’t even in kindergarten yet, but he already showed a fondness for water.
In early spring, the weather was still cold, the water even colder. John stood there holding his father’s hand, staring out at the Pacific Ocean with his eyes wide. The sight of it blew his mind.
Later, once the weather warmed up, we took John to the beach for the usual fun. That’s when we discovered the sensation of cold means … continue reading the Summer 2018 issue of SEARCH Magazine.
by Emerian Rich
When you have a baby, your whole world changes. Everyone tells you this will happen when you’re pregnant and it’s one of life’s solid truths along with death and taxes. Still, no matter how you prepare for it, or think you’re ready, it always seems to catch you off guard.
My son was born happy and healthy, if a bit early, twelve years ago. Despite complications during and after pregnancy, we were pretty happy for about a year. We reveled in the new baby smell. We giggled at his baby bandito burrito shape. We even smiled when he pooed. Every parent on the planet can recount these cute stories, whether you want them to or not.
At about a year old we realized we needed to get our son checked out. Even though he was a happy, energy-filled cutie, with the exception of…continue reading the Spring 2018 issue of SEARCH Magazine.
by Lillian Csnernica
When Winter break is over and school is back in session, the temporary ceasefire is over. We’re back in the trenches for the Homework War.
I love my sons. My boys, John and Michael, are the two most important people on the entire planet. There are many joyful moments with my boys, but there is also a really staggering amount of frustration.
John has come so far from the days when we had to have a behavioral specialist and a one to one aide come to our home and “play” kindergarten with him until he got the hang of his first icon-based schedule. John’s a sophomore in high school now. Even with…continue reading in the Winter 2017 magazine.
Our Food Story
By Ashley Vrublevskiy
In my early twenties, I ventured into the world of organic foods and slowly started making healthier choices for myself. I read book after book, loving all the information.
When I became pregnant with Zander, my first son, I vowed to only feed him organic, nutrient dense foods that nourished his body. When he got old enough to start expanding his food options beyond the mashed variety, we realized he was not on board with my food revolution ideas. I became desperate to get him to try new foods. This was the beginning of our long road of food battles. “He won’t even eat cookies! COOKIES!”
I remember saying to a friend to emphasize the severity of my then three-year-old’s eating restrictions. He truly only ate a handful of foods: pretzel sticks, squeezable baby food packs, raisins, and a few fruits, namely raspberries. My only saving grace was he absolutely loved soup. I made the most vegetable filled soups I could think of to be sure he would be getting some key nutrients in his diet. He would gag and refuse anything else. He wouldn’t touch a cookie, pizza, or pasta like most kids his age. I thought he was just picky, and if I kept trying, he would eventually eat more variety.
Around this time…read more in the Fall 2017 issue of SEARCH Magazine.
Your New Adventure
by Ashley Vrublevskiy
This is for all the parents just starting out in their journey through an autism or a similar diagnosis for their child. It’s what I wish I would have known before diving in head first into the journey of a lifetime. It’s scary and unknown. There’s no map, but I do know this. You can do it. So, here’s to your new adventure.
There are moments in your life that can immediately change who you are and who you will become. Mine came with that first person who said she was concerned that Zander had autism. Even though it was over four years ago, thinking back on it, I immediately begin to feel the sinking pit grow in my stomach and fill with anxiety. On that day, I honestly felt like I was unable to swallow, choking in a way on the words she spoke.
“Zander shows signs of autism, and I think we should get him evaluated.” My whole body felt instantly heavier as a thousand pounds of worry settled on my chest. I felt so many things in that moment: scared, angry, worried, sad, but oddly, and quite surprisingly to myself, I felt betrayed. I felt betrayed by all the mystical stories of motherhood and the “normal” I would have with my son. It felt like that beautiful dream had been snatched from my grasp by the word “autism” like a selfish thief of joy….continue reading the Summer issue of SEARCH Magazine.
Take Care of You
by Ashley Vrublevskiy
Even as the tides turn on societal definitions of gender specified parenting roles, I still tend to hear how much burden mothers hold in raising their children.
I’m sure there’s a biological and scientific reason for it, but whatever it is, as moms, we take on this added weight in how parenting affects our daily lives. Moms in particular need to pay special attention to our personal health and wellbeing. This is even more essential when you factor in the added difficulties in raising a special needs child.
Moms, this one is for you. I know all too well the immense pressure…continue reading the Spring issue of SEARCH Magazine.
What is it Really Like to Have a Child with Autism?
by Ashley Vrublevskiy
“I really don’t know much about it,” she said. “What is it like having a child with autism?”
She was twenty-something, my age, even. I was getting a haircut by someone new, and since my children are a huge part of my life, autism always seems to come up. Usually, it’s following one of my least favorite questions or comments from well-meaning people. It’s always a little different version of the same thing: “Oh, what fun ages. Do they play well together?” or “I have a kiddo the same age. Isn’t it so much easier now that they are older?”, etc. I don’t blame them. This is a perfectly acceptable way to talk to most mothers. It just doesn’t work for me.
I found myself spewing a rehearsed version of life that sounded something like roses and butterflies. Simply put, “It’s tough, but worth it.”
Really, that’s not a lie. It truly is so worth it. I obviously absolutely adore my son, but honestly, there was a lot of gritty truth missing. It was all a bunch of fluff, because she couldn’t possibly begin to fathom what it’s really like, what a life like this truly entails. Maybe that’s unfair to assume, but unless you live this every day, you have no idea.
What I really wanted to say…read more in the Fall issue of SEARCH Magazine.
In the Summer Issue of SEARCH Magazine,
we explore autism awareness with Ashley Vrublevsky.
“He’s running. I’m chasing. The ocean is in view, and there is no stopping him. A few glances back reveal his enormous grin, his pure joy. High pitched squeals of delight escape his lungs. I have to keep a close distance, or we will both be taking a swim in the icy Pacific. There’s no fear in his eyes. No worry. No doubt. He sees what he wants, and he’s determined.
He is brave.
Every day since his birth I have questioned myself in one way or another. Since his diagnosis, I’ve been even harder on myself. Paralyzing doubt is not something I had ever had to experience. I was young and in love, graduating from one of the top business schools in the country, and had a year under my belt at a cushy government job. No complaints, right? Then my world opened up to the beautiful mess of motherhood. I learned what it really meant to love and live for the health and well-being of a tiny little person. This tiny little person has forever changed who I am and who I will become…” to read the full article, check out the free eCopy here.