Raising kids isn't the only thing that parents do. On last night's Parenthood, after feeling mounting pressure from his career, extended family, and Max's Asperger's, Adam triggers when a man at the grocery store makes fun of his son. Beyond the responsibilities of making good decisions for their children, a mom or dad also has to worry about finances, the future, and a myriad of other things. Are you ever overwhelmed?
All kids are different, but when a child has a disability should they be told? Last night on Parenthood, Max is enthused about getting the entire family —Team Braverman — together to participate in an Autism Speaks walk. Though the boy is extremely passionate about helping kids with autism, he has yet to realize that he is on the spectrum. Wondering whether they should tell Max that he has Asperger's syndrome, Adam and Kristina consult their son's doctor. He doesn't give them a direct answer, instead he says that the 8 year old will clue them in when it's time. Do you agree that children will figure it out themselves or give their parents a cue for delivering such news, or should parents be upfront at the time of diagnosis?
When your kid makes a friend, a relationship between the children's parents also evolves. Last night on Parenthood, Adam and Kristina encourage Max to make friends. The eight year old skips out early on the first get together, and his mom and dad are none to happy to cut the loony parents loose as well. But when a couple they really like do the same thing to them, it frustrates Adam. He says:
So now we're relegated to the short bus? We have to hangout with people like the Lessings instead of cool people like the Genatasios?
To which Kristina says, "Maybe it's not about us right now, maybe it's about Max." And Adam replies, "Can't it be about us just a little bit?" Do you meddle in your children's friendships?
When a parent comes to you for advice, how do you answer? Do you tell her the truth or what she wants to hear? On last night's episode of Parenthood, Julia worries about Sydney's behavioral issues and obsession with a rubber band ball so she seeks Kristina's advice. Though Max, who has Asperger's, also had a rubber band ball, Kristina withholds the information and tells her sister-in-law that everything will be fine with her daughter. In the end it turns out that Sydney isn't autistic, but gifted. When fellow parents come to you with concerns about their kids, what position do you take?
Some children are particular when it comes to the fabrics they wear or their sock seams. For these sensitive kiddos and their parents who want the children sporting more than sweats, there's an affordable line that will suffice — Soft Clothing. Created by a mother and a Special Ed teacher, the company uses bright colors and simple lines to make comfortable clothing look a bit more stylish. It even offers the dressy option in the form of chinos ($22), tie tees ($16), and dresses ($22). The company's mission is clear. It says:
Many children are extra-sensitive to the texture and feel of clothing. Soft is the first line of inclusive clothing designed with the needs of all children in mind, including those with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, and tactile defensiveness/sensitivity. We use flat seaming and seamless construction for extra comfort, 100% of the softest combed cotton and our specially developed Soft Sensory Blends, wide collars, encased elastic waistbands, printed labels (tagless), custom fits, and much more.
While the clothing is designed with sensitive children in mind, it fits all discerning tots size 4-12.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis. And disorders on the autism spectrum are diagnosed in one in 110 children in the United States each year. Advocate Jenny McCarthy says her son Evan, 7, has been healed from the developmental disorder. It's a claim that many refute. Holly Robinson Peete and her daughter, Ryan, 12, wrote My Brother Charlie ($11), a children's book to spread autism awareness. The text is loosely based on the relationship that Ryan has with her twin brother, RJ, who has autism. At one point in the story, Callie (the main character) talks about what she'd like to do for her twin brother Charlie. It says:
I wish I could crawl inside Charlie's world and move things around for him and me. I know Charlie wants to be in my world, fitting in, making friends, having fun and laughing.
This sentiment of wanting a child to fit in is what motivates and exhausts Adam and Kristina Braverman on NBC's Parenthood in their efforts to help their son Max who was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. As parents, as sisters, as brothers, we want our children, our siblings to live like us, but is it what they want?
In last night's episode of Parenthood, Adam was approached twice by other parents who heard that Max had been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. First Hank, the baseball coach, told Adam that "he heard about the situation" with the 8-year-old and asked the child back on the team. Later on, while watching Max's game, a teammate's father leaned forward and said, "By the way Adam, if you guys need anything — help with meals, rides to school, anything." to which Adam replied, "Thanks Scott. We can still feed and clothe ourselves." When a child is diagnosed with a physical or development disability, some people view it as a disappointing "situation," do you?
We've been anticipating the premiere of Parenthood, and it was well worth the wait! Though the first episode packed quite a punch covering everything from frozen sperm, biological clocks, and quasi-engagements to divorce and dating as a newly single parent, it was a scene about Asperger's syndrome that left me with a lump in my throat. Both the words "Asperger's" and "autism" have become so viral in recent years that many people have become almost immune to their impact. But Ron Howard and Brain Grazer's new series doesn't talk about the developmental disorder so much as it shows its effects in a single compelling scene between three generations of Braverman men — Craig T. Nelson (Zeek), Peter Krause (Adam), and Max Burkholder (Max) — when Adam tells his father that there is "something wrong with his son" outside a school event when the child is puddle jumping. Perhaps the scene seems so authentic because it's been reported that writer/executive producer Jason Katims has a son with Asperger's. What did you think of the way it was portrayed?
Both anorexia and Asperger's, a form of autism, remain highly misunderstood. Ongoing research out of the Maudsley Hospital in London points to a surprising relationship between these two conditions. Maudsley researchers believe anorexia is an inheritable trait, rather than a psycho-social problem, and is related to autism. Although the two conditions present differently, both conditions, according to autism expert Simon Baron-Cohen (Sacha's cousin) share a "narrow focus of attention, a resistance to change and excellent attention to detail." Research has also shown that 15 to 20 percent of patients diagnosed with anorexia are also on the autism spectrum.
More on the overlap after the break.