Maybe write about autism, what is is, misconceptions about it, etc.
This is a fantastic topic, but not one that is easily answered. There is a saying that goes, “If you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met ONE person with Autism.” So true.
- So, what exactly is Autism?
Autism is an umbrella term for a group of brain development disorders. These disorders range from mild to severe, and can affect speech, social skills, and behaviors (like tics, flapping, and repetitive motions). Right now there is an estimate that 1 in 88 kids are diagnosed each year, with more prevalence in boys.
You will sometimes hear the terms “high functioning Autism” or “Aspergers Syndrome” – which usually mean that the person is on the Autism spectrum, but they typically speak, have more social skills, and less tics. These folks are usually able to attend school and even sometimes in a “regular” classroom, and later can hold jobs.
I must say that I HATE the term “high functioning” because it implies that people that are not in this part of the spectrum are somehow “less” of a human than the “high functioning” people. I tend to differentiate the sides of the spectrum by “verbal” and “non-verbal”… rant over.
- What causes Autism? Is there a cure?
Truth is, nobody knows for sure. There are many theories such as vaccinations, mercury, genetic factors, pesticides, food allergies, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies (to name a few). There is no known medical cure, though there are people that have had successful treatments that are able to “drop” their diagnosis.
Our family uses some of these treatments, which are called “biomedical treatments.” We are able to help my son with some of his symptoms of vocal tics, stimming, and conversation skills by eliminating gluten/casein/soy from the diet. My son also takes vitamins and supplements. It has made a world of difference for him.
- How do I know if my child has Autism?
Truth be told, I have never heard of a parent being caught completely off-guard when doctors mention that a child should be tested for Autism. Parents know when something is different about their child.
We knew Poppy was different. He was sensitive to heat, cold, light, sound, motion… you name it. He had to have constant motion. He had to rock in his swing in order to sleep when he was a baby.
As he has grown older, he likes to collect things. We have many collections of toys. Once the last item is acquired, interest is quickly lost and we move to the next collection. He also used to talk non-stop and at times his volume was loud! He is very kinetic, and is often in motion (this has slowed some since biomedical treatments started).
Other kids like to line things up, spin things, rock, stare, or cannot make eye contact. My son has never demonstrated these particular behaviors, but they are common for Autism Spectrum Disorder.
If you notice these behaviors, be sure to talk to your child’s pediatrician. If the doctor dismisses your concerns – SEEK ANOTHER DOCTOR. It is not up to the pediatrician – or ANY other person – to make the decision for your child to be tested or not. It is up to you as a parent/guardian.
A diagnosis of Autism was not a surprise at all for our son. It didn’t change our love for him, or what we think his abilities are, or what his future could be. He is not less of a person. He is intelligent, amazing, and the most wonderful human being I have ever known. One little word doesn’t change any of that for us.
I hope this overview of Autism gave you a bit of insight on this often misunderstood brain disorder. If you’re looking for more information on Autism, I like the organization TACA (Talk About Curing Autism). You can do a web search to find many other groups that support people with Autism and their caregivers.
If you have questions, you can also send me a message through the “Contact Us” link at the top of this blog page.