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Dr. Robert Naseef "TITLE: "Special Children, Challenged Parents".

Thursday, April 10th at 9 p.m. (Eastern), Note portions of the text have been edited for spelling and grammatical errors, while other text with errors was left in tact in the context of the chat.

Rebecca {public msg} Hello and Welcome to our talkAutism Specialty Chat. If you have a question for our Host Speaker, "author Dr. Robert Naseef - 'Special Children, Challenged Parents", Just type a ď?Ē in the room. The names will be taken in order received. Hold your questions until you are cued by the Moderator. Also, Please keep chit chat down to a minimal, unless ok'd by the Host. Thank You and enjoy your stay!

Moderator {public msg} DR. Bob would you like to start by giving a brief bio about yourself.
DR.Bob {public msg} Sure. I am a psychologist who happens to be the father of an adult child with autism. Tariq is now 23 years old. My book is about the emotional landscape for families who have a child with special needs.
DR.Bob {public msg} Tonight I am open to whatever questions people have. I also have a web site,, which has many articles and a photo essay of my life with my son.
Moderator {public msg} DR. Bob, MommyO has a question for you.
MommyO {public msg} In your video clip you mentioned how your son has helped you to become a better person. What would you say to the parents that feel that they have been cursed by autism?
MommyO {public msg} I have allot of friends who feel very down and that autism makes life miserable.
DR.Bob {public msg} It can certainly be a hard life. At times I felt cursed as well especially in the beginning. Few people would choose to have a child with autism. Nonetheless, our children with this condition are extremely loveable. I think it helps to hold onto those precious moments we all have amidst our struggles. Whenever our child makes even a tiny bit of progress there is cause for celebration. We learn everyday what is truly important in life.
DR.Bob {public msg} Of course there is misery. It is the grief for the life we wished we had and the family and the child we wished and dreamed for.
MommyO {public msg} How can you help those parents who just don't see the good in their child?
DR.Bob {public msg} I ask them to tell me about the moments that feel good even if they are few and far between. I ask them what hurts and I tell them that it is okay to hurt. It's pop psychology but there is a lot of truth in the saying that you can't heal what you can't feel. And indeed it takes times to heal a broken heart.
DR.Bob {public msg} Maybe some people here tonight would like to share some of the redeeming moments that they have.
MommyO {public msg} For myself I try to sound positive and happy for my friendís children.
MommyO {public msg} But they don't seem to enjoy my positive comments.
MommyO {public msg} Is there a better way for me to try to help.
Moderator {public msg} Lead them by example.
MommyO {public msg} You are very right, Moderator!
MommyO {public msg} I do feel very blessed with all my children.
DR.Bob {public msg} I used to feel the same way when people noticed the little steps my son made. I was angry and hurt that he couldn't just be normal.. But eventually those people who noticed--mostly his therapists-helped me to notice and accept my son as he was. Once I could accept in the sense of be at peace with him in the moment, then their comments felt good and warm and healing. So I think you are doing the only thing that makes sense. It takes time and it hurts more than we want to admit to ourselves.
MommyO {public msg} Thanks DR. Bob.
Moderator {public msg} Dr Bob in writing the book, did you find any misconceptions about what other people thought Autism was to start with?
DR.Bob {public msg} Sure. People have a stereotype of a child who doesn't relate at all. Nothing could be further from the truth. Each is different and for sure children with autism don't relate in "typical ways".
Moderator {public msg} SideNancy has a question.
SideNancy {public msg} My son was diagnosed as educationally autistic but I had him tested at age 5 by the u of Kansas Autism Center and he was normal.
SideNancy {public msg} Is it common for all states to have a separate definition for autism for education?
DR.Bob {public msg} Children change. There are some cases where children no longer meet the criteria for the diagnosis of autism. If the new diagnosis is accurate you are indeed blessed.
SideNancy {public msg} He is 11 years old now...a twin born at 28 weeks.
SideNancy {public msg} I just got the label removed from the IEP.
MommyO {public msg} Is his brother typically developed?
SideNancy {public msg} his twin is a sister...and she had significant speech delays as well but she was never labeled only had speech therapy.
SideNancy {public msg} Speech was the only indicator.
DR.Bob {public msg} Sometimes children have traits that are part of the diagnosis but not the full syndrome. These traits still need to be treated appropriately. I think we are seeing that children with more mild traits are often being ignored in many school systems or not receiving all the help they and their families need.
Rebecca {public msg} ?
DR.Bob {public msg} Some people think that autism is being over diagnosed. I don't think so.
SideNancy {public msg} I wondered if a lot more of the autisms diagnosis is due to more extremely premature infants now coming through the system.
DR.Bob {public msg} But there is mistakes.
MommyO {public msg} Do you feel that the autism today is different than the autism 20 years ago.
DR.Bob {public msg} Premature babies are at risk for developmental delays of all sorts as well as learning disabilities which won't be apparent until later.
SideNancy {public msg} Thank you Dr Bob.
DR.Bob {public msg} Autism today is more broadly defined than when my son was diagnosed.
Moderator {public msg} Rebecca you have a question.
Rebecca {public msg} Do you know any averages of children that are miss-diagnosed, there are so many labels these days. What types of DRs do you recommend for confirmation. Due to many APD and Autistic children having so many similarities.
Rebecca {public msg} or Specialists?
DR.Bob {public msg} I recommend that people who are concerned about their child's developmental seek an evaluation by a developmental pediatrician or a psychologist or a child psychiatrist who is experienced and qualified in this area.
Rebecca {public msg} As in, did you agree when your very own child was diagnosed?
Rebecca {public msg} Or did you, yourself seek more confirmation.
DR.Bob {public msg} I was horrified. I thought my head was going to explode. It was the darkest day of my life. Almost 20 years later, when I recall that day, I shudder inside.
DR.Bob {public msg} Of course, I hoped it wasn't true and I sought other opinions. I was very angry at the doctors, at my fate, at the prognosis, etc.
MommyO {public msg} I was in denial, and fought everyone who said my son had autism.
Rebecca {public msg} One more question, did you consider an Audiologist to test for APD instead of the Autism? What convinced you the diagnoses was secure and 100 percent..
DR.Bob {public msg} It's a normal response, Sharon, to horrible news.
Moderator {action} . o O ( I spent a year in denial when my son was diagnosed with a terminal illness )
MommyO {public msg} Until I took the CARS test myself and realized "MY SON WAS AUTISTIC".
DR.Bob {public msg} It takes time and getting tests of various sorts is part of getting the right help and accepting the unacceptable.
Rebecca {public msg} did you take him to an Audiologist to rule out APD though? What convinced you?
DR.Bob {public msg} If one of my children was diagnosed as our Moderators, I think I would deny it as long as I could until I could find the strength to accept it.
MommyO {public msg} What is APD?
Rebecca {public msg} Im only asking because i know someone going through all the testing now.
Rebecca {public msg} Auditory processing disorder.
Rebecca {public msg} It runs very close lines with the diagnosis of Autism.
DR.Bob {public msg} Many children with autism do have APD- auditory processing disorder- as one of their symptoms.
Rebecca {public msg} Ahhhh ok, i see.
MommyO {public msg} Don't most autistic kids have that?
DR.Bob {public msg} A complete thorough work up of all issues is vital.
Rebecca {public msg} Some treat the APD and the Autism correct?
DR.Bob {public msg} Bless them!
Rebecca {public msg} Iím not sure how it all works out.
Rebecca {public msg} You might read Karen Foli's book on APD, very impressive. Like Sound Through Water, A Mother's Journey Through Auditory Processing Disorder.
MommyO {public msg} We just finished AIT, and our in the process of Tomatis.
DR.Bob {public msg} We can only hope and pray. No one knows the answer and we may never. Sometimes we can only talk to God or our higher power.
MommyO {public msg} I see encouraging signs.
Rebecca {public msg} Sorry, one more ? :) Can I ask what the CARS test is?
Rebecca {public msg} MommyO thatís great!
DR.Bob {public msg} It's a screening instrument to make the diagnosis of autism. It rates the severity of autism as well.
Rebecca {public msg} ok, thanks!
MommyO {public msg} Our school psychologist gave us a test called CARS that had questions to evaluate if your child had autism.
Moderator {action} . o O ( If anyone else has any questions they would like to ask, please just type a ? in the chat screen and I will be happy to add you to the list. )
Rebecca {public msg} DR. Bob i agree there 100%
MommyO {public msg} ?
Rebecca :Applauds DR. Bob fervently.
Moderator {public msg} MommyO, you have a question.
MommyO {public msg} Do you have any suggestion on keeping a happy marriage and family.
Moderator {action} . o O ( Talk talk and then try talking again ) MommyO {public msg} lol
MommyO {public msg} It takes me a while.
DR.Bob {public msg} One simple suggestion is to express your gratitude for whatever good things your spouse has done lately. Ditto for your other children. Gratitude for what we do have is often the best medicine to sooth the pain and relieve the stress of everyday life. There are a few articles on my web page that address this issue as well. I would also like to ask people here what works positively for them.
Moderator {public msg} For us it was realizing that it was not just happening to me, it was happening to all of us.
DR.Bob {public msg} Wow! Thatís really important. Sometimes we just get lost in our own heads.
Rebecca {public msg} Very good Mod!
Moderator {action} . o O ( Thank took us a while but we realized it one night )
Rebecca {public msg} Anyone else?
DR.Bob {public msg} Sometimes those really dark moments open through to peace.
Moderator {public msg} Yes Dr it sure did.
Rebecca {action} Was told, always include the siblings in everything and try to make quality time for them as well.
DR.Bob {public msg} It's the idea that everyone is special and everyone has needs.
MommyO {public msg} Thanks DR. Bob, Nice talking with all of you. (Sharon)
Moderator {public msg} Rebecca I think we did just the opposite, my kids all knew that I would give to them what ever time, energy they needed when they needed it, and it was just that their brother needed it more.
Rebecca {public msg} very well said DR. Bob.
DR.Bob {public msg} Good point Moderator. The children can and do figure that out as long as we remain aware and available to them.
Rebecca {public msg} Do the siblings ever regret the Autism or the sibling with Autism? And, DR Bob, do you have other children?
Ron {public msg} ?
DR.Bob {public msg} Sure they do. Sometimes it is scary to ask them and wait for the answer. I have two daughters. They all love their brother, but he is hard to be with, and they are not shy to talk about it.
DR.Bob {public msg} The siblings need the opportunity to speak from the heart about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Then they can find peace and love and acceptance.
Rebecca {public msg} thatís terrific DR.Bob, what are their ages if i might ask?
DR.Bob {public msg} 21, 11, and 9.
Rebecca {public msg} Son is the oldest then?
DR.Bob {public msg} Tariq is the oldest.
Rebecca {public msg} wow@that age they are doing so well.
Moderator {public msg} Ron you have a question.
Ron {public msg} what kind of parents do you find at the various support groups you hold , DR. Bob? What works in that environment?
Rebecca {public msg} My children are 8/almost 9 and 11, I canít even imagine the weight you have carried....God bless you and family.
DR.Bob {public msg} I find parents who are warm people looking to connect with others.
Ron {public msg} Is it because they feel isolated at home?
DR.Bob {public msg} What works is to ask them to share their suffering and their joys. This always seems to inspire and uplift people. Great question Ron. I will think more about it.
Ron {public msg} is it tougher for dads or moms to talk about what's bothering them?
DR.Bob {public msg} Some are isolated at home, Some not. I think it isn't realistic to think that one relationship can get you through this. As the Beatles sang, "I get by with a little help from my friends".
Ron {public msg} hmm... Never us dads. lol
DR.Bob {public msg} It seems tougher for dads. We try to be the strong silent ones.
Moderator {public msg} lol
Ron {public msg} Yeah, that doesn't feel comforting many times.
DR.Bob {public msg} Men are more able to open up with other men as opposed to in a mixed group.
Rebecca {public msg} ahhhhhh I could picture this, men donít chatter like us women do.
Ron {public msg} Hmm, I can imagine.
Rebecca {action} Smiles.
Ron {public msg} Thanks DR.Bob.
DR.Bob {public msg} Check out for great articles by and about dads.
Moderator {action} . o O ( They somehow think by not expressing their true feelings to us they are saving us from pain. )
Rebecca {public msg} DR. Bob it was great having you with us tonight. Look forward to a return date someday.
Ron {public msg} great...
DR.Bob {public msg} Thanks for having me, and I would be happy to return.
Ron {public msg} Thanks for the time DR.Bob, and thank you Rebecca and Ms. Moderator.
Moderator {public msg} Thank you Ron.
Ron {public msg} You are a good communicator DR.Bob, typist and in person.
Rebecca {public msg} Please contact Ron anytime for a return request. We are open 24/7 here if anyone ever wants to meet up and just chit chat also...
Rebecca {public msg} Thanks Ron.
Rebecca {public msg} And your welcome , anytime ;)
Ron {public msg} Folks... DR.Bob has volunteered his time to help a non profit produce a message on video... should be available on talkAutism and in another week or two.
Moderator {public msg} That is wonderful Ron!
Rebecca {public msg} Great! Thanks DR Bob!
Ron {public msg} Very moving and hopeful message about having a child with autism.
DR.Bob {public msg} You're more than welcome.
Rebecca {public msg} I will look forward to hearing it, thanks!
Cyn {public msg} thanks!
DR.Bob {leaves}

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