Thursday, October 17, 2013

Meet Mrs. Google Face

411. Information please. Do other parents find themselves researching acronyms at every possible moment? The library was my second home as an only child growing up. I've always been curious. But now I fear I may have an addiction problem.

Hello. My name is Perky and I'm addicted to Google. I have no intention of quitting, but I thought I should announce it. Call it my public service action towards Google Addiction Awareness.

My friends and family suspect that I have an addiction to Facebook. Ha! That doesn't even scratch the surface. Oh, the autism facts my hard drive history could tell...

I take breaks from researching my latest alphabet soup issue (ASD, ADHD, OCD, SPD, etc.) to scour Facebook for breaking news on my key topics. Laws, therapies, meds, op-eds, technology breakthroughs, visual aids, strategy, coping, opportunities, forums, groups. I mark my calendar and set alarms for local parent and family events, podcasts, blogcasts, online discussions, conferences, support groups. I sit down to search one item and find my head whirling hours later with no clear solution. I'm faced with multiple possibilities and little time to put them in cohesive order, let alone an action plan.
Do we have too much information at our fingertips? Today's searches by the numbers:

Autism: 45,300,000 results
ADHD: 36,700,000  results
OCD: 19,800,000  results
Asperger's: 4,360,000 results
Sensory Processing: 8,980,000 results
Anxiety: 137,000,000 results
Autism Symptoms: 22,000,000 results
Autism Treatment: 55,300,000 results
Autism Diet: 35,500,000 results
IEP: 11,100,000 results

So many results, so little results.
I used to stay awake at night, struggling to put the information to work. Debunk, sort, prioritize, fit into my complex family life. Now that G's sleep is more regulated and his bedtime earlier, my body and brain collapse each night as if rejoicing after the years of brief interrupted sleep. I may be more rested, but I don't have the balance time of sifting through my daily research that I used to. Before, I'd be so worked up from G's late night energy surges and meltdowns that I'd research myself into exhaustion, then toss and fret myself to sleep for a couple hours. These days, I just crumble and pass out at midnight.
I justify my addiction. As autism parents, we're isolated in our oddity. Our disordered kids don't have neatly stacked symptoms and phases. Our kids often carry multiple acronyms in their diagnosis file, each adding complexity to their struggle. We don't have the luxury of calling a friend to compare notes and share parenting strategies. Our kids are individually wrapped with unique challenges and gifts. Rarely do we find a friend offline who's working on the same solution. We're left to seek out our lone epiphanies. When we do call another autism parent, their child may be in major meltdown or manic state, interrupting an enlightening conversation. We have other children to tend to, jobs, household and personal endeavors, sleep to catch up on if we're lucky.

Support groups are wonderful. Even if we don't get a chance to voice our concerns, we can offer hope and tips to other struggling parents. It gives us a lift to be able to guide or comfort another in our Lonely Hearts Club. But then at times our own issues pale by comparison. How can I bring up my frustration of my son's nose picking problem when the last bruised mom sobbed about her child's violent outbursts? This can work both ways: we may feel relieved that we're not currently in that horrific phase, yet still frustrated that we didn't share our own troubles.
The answer: we return home to google the quirks out of our own daily acronym-ism. We search for answers from fleeting e-relationships with peeps the world over who are dealing or have dealt with the same concern. We give virtual hugs. We friend them on Facebook if we've encountered each other in the same rocking boat multiple times. We invite them to like our pages or blogs as if we're inviting them to coffee. Come over to my blog, read awhile. Would you like cream and sugar? We seek community. We seek acceptance. We seek validation.

I seek, you seek.
We all seek for nice speak.
We take a break to see what our typical friends are up to. We wistfully sigh. We die a little inside. We throw up a little in our mouth. We share their joy, humor, triumph, love. We wish for them to never ever personally know the challenges we conquer. We wish for them the maturity, beauty, delights, warmth and human perspective that autism/special needs can bring to a home. We share happy photos, searching for the one in 238 pics where our kid has eye contact, no drool, no nose-wiped sleeves, no stains, possibly a natural smile. We celebrate our other kids a little too often. We post jokes and memes a bit too intensely, attempting to cheer ourselves as well our friends. Sally forth!

Then we return to our dear research. There's no expert on your child...except you.

Dear Google.
I love you a google and a peck. Indefinitely. Not gonna stop. Gotta get my fix. Must get my Google on.

Love Always,
Mrs. Google Face

((((((((virtual hugs))))))))


1 comment:

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