Monday, January 29, 2007

Toni Braxton Breaks Down and Cries on The View Over Autistic Son

by Paula Neal Mooney

Today was an amazing episode of The View, with the whole show dedicated to issues of autism. Toni Braxton co-hosted with the other women, but she wasn't discussing her latest Las Vegas appearance, nor some scandalous barely-there dress.

Toni Braxton spoke of her youngest son, Diezel, 3, and his recent diagnosis of autism. And like any mother reeling from the shock of an only 4-month-old diagnosis, Toni Braxton broke down and cried when describing the symptoms that clued her in that something was wrong.

"I'm sorry," Toni Braxton wept, dropping her face into her palms. "I get all emotional."

"That's okay," Rosie comforted.

I, too, wept along with Toni Braxton, empathizing with the raw and real pain a parent can feel when coming to the realization that their child might not be "normal" in the eyes of the world.

Thankfully, there were other parents of autistic children on The View that shared how they deal with autistic children, and even provided hope of actually "coming out of autism."

One mom was Karen Stiff Exkorn, author of The Autism Sourcebook: Everything You Need to Know About Diagnosis, Treatment, Coping, and Healing--from a Mother Whose Child Recovered, whose son Jake was given a diagnosis at only 2 years old that he'd never talk again after his speech and activity decreased like a "dimmer switch."

Karen and her husband (and her mother and babysitter) were trained in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) techniques -- which Karen says all parents with autism diagnoses are entitled to for free for children of a certain age -- that helped Jake develop into the gregarious 10-year-old leader of the pack type of boy with plenty of friends that he is today.

Another amazing and always intriguing guest was Temple Grandin, Ph.D., a woman who recovered from autism to write books, her latest one being The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships.

Dr. Grandin, in her always effervescent and excited manner, described how she constructed a type of "body press" similar to the one that she saw on her farm -- which calmed down the cattle -- to calm down her own mind that used to scatter about like a lion in a room filled with snakes -- always looking for danger.

Once Dr. Grandin began taking medication as well, she felt calm and focused enough to begin learning.

Throughout the show, The View showed clips from the new movie, Autism Every Day, from the Autism Speaks organization, with real parents speaking about what it's like to deal with autistic children. It was quite an amazing show filled with hope, sadness and parents sharing what autism is really like.

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Bonnie Calhoun said...

I can identify. I have a girlfriend who has an autistic child, and it's an uphill battle!

I will say though...that with dedicated parents willing to learn the child's capabilities and how to deal with them, it can be a blessing!

James said...

This is an emotional topic and one in which 1 in 166 new births are a part of. My wife has been a tireless advacate for our 18 year old autistic child. We are proud of him and everyone loves him. A blessing yes, but sometimes it is hard to understand the blessing for the affected child

Paula Neal Mooney said...

I found this site too that claims to have healed some forms of autism in mice:

I hope it's true...

supermom_in_ny said...

Hey Paula!

It's me...supermom_in_ny. I can tell you that autism is not easy to live with. My youngest of 7 was diagnosed with autism. That is one of the biggest reasons why I (like you), choose to work from home.

I realized early on that he was regressing and immediately took action. (I even had to aruge with the "professionals" because they said he "looked" like he only had a speech delay.) A pediatric neurologist immediately diagnosed him with on the autism spectrum.

Ironically, my first blog is about my life with 7 kids and dealing with autism.

Snow White, 7 Dwarves and PDD

Now I earn a full time blogging. I'm happy to report that he is progressing nicely.

God always works in mysterious ways...

Great article!

Paula Neal Mooney