My mom always dreamed of moving from Canada to the United States, of becoming a huge star and, hopefully, while she was at it, of being a teacher of spiritual wisdom. This has been her dream as far back as she can remember; hopes of stardom and followers were never enough to make her take the leap. What eventually brought us to the lovely little town of Teague, TX, was my mother's dream for her autistic children.
The dream that they could live in a place where she was not the only person who would believe in them, where she was not the only person who would teach them while believing they could be taught, and where she was not the only person who would let go of the odd convenience or easy fix to help them become their best selves. After traveling around the continent for years in a red and silver van -- all eight of us kids dubbed it the Disco Van-- never living in one place for more than two years, she finally found a home for our family. Believing in the saying "it takes a village to raise a child' we were finally home in Teague, Texas. We have been here for thirteen years.
Lynette Louise-my mom- is now a global autism expert, author, speaker/performer, host of an autism podcast and creator and host of the upcoming reality series FIX IT IN FIVE with LYNETTE LOUISE aka THE BRAIN BROAD. When offering her unique approach to autism for families around the world (play therapy, family dynamics counseling and neuro feedback) she meets many parents like herself, parents doing whatever it takes to give their challenged children the most positive and beneficial environment that they can. This is a beautiful and difficult thing. Parenting is never easy, it's not supposed to be, and parenting autism is that much harder.
Autistic children and adults have challenges that are difficult for others to understand or anticipate. Autism is a spectrum disorder with three main components: social challenges, repetitive behavior and communication disorder. Symptoms manifest in so many different ways that true autism awareness is difficult to spread. One child may be completely nonverbal (like the oldest of my four autistic brothers) while another can speak clearly but will have only a few very limited interests (like the youngest of my autistic brothers). Knowing one autistic individual in no way educates you about others.
For my mother, the single mom of eight children (four of whom were autistic), with dreams of fortune, fame and acceptance of her challenged and challenging family, it was acceptance for us crazy kids that drove her. And, luckily for us, she paid the bills by singing and doing stand-up comedy. Laughter was a rule in our home!
Now, three of my four brothers are living independent lives. In Teague, three of my brothers were able to attend Drivers Ed and eventually became licensed drivers. In Teague, my brothers made friends. Eventually one bought himself a home in Corsicana where he works as a laborer, one joined the National Guard and lives in Vermont as a helicopter mechanic, and the youngest remains in Teague, sometimes inviting our still low functioning brother for sleepovers at his apartment. He pays the bills by working for a local barber filling shampoo bottles and mowing lawns for friendly neighbors around town. And when he starts to lose his temper in the local library, the lovely ladies that work there send him home and tell him with kindness and faith to come back and try again another day. Teague believes in my brothers. My mom believes in my brothers. So, my brothers believe in themselves!
My mom, who had dreams of stardom and becoming a wise woman on the mountaintop, travels the world as a performer, brain expert, speaker, author and hands on therapist as she spreads autism awareness in a myriad of ways, especially through answering questions about autism. Her bank account is empty and not many know her name, yet she is surrounded by adoring fans. Her clients, struggling parents, the professionals for whom she has presented and autistic children are all grateful for her ability to truly see them as are, of course, her children. Always and forever, we are her biggest fans!