Autism Awareness Day - Please Read This

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Dec 13, 2006
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April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day, and April is Autism Awareness Month. I hope you'll take a moment to read this post, for me and all of the Cafe members who love someone with autism.

Most people have heard of autism, but a lot of people don't recognize it when they see it. There are rarely any visual clues to tell you someone has autism, and unless you recognize the behaviors, you might assume a child with autism in the middle of a meltdown is just a brat, or a teen or adult with autism is just odd.

I've often found that people who would never harass a physically disabled person for not getting up and walking are unusually quick to jump to conclusions about behaviors my son can't control. They don't see anything physically wrong with him, so when something happens that upsets him and he has a meltdown, they assume he's just a brat. They make mean comments...but when I explain that he has autism, they suddenly regret their harsh words. It's situations like this and the need for research that brought about the autism awareness movement.

What is Autism?

Autism is a neurological disorder affecting mainly speech and social interaction. Some people with autism have little or no speech, others speak fluently but tend to have very one-sided discussions and miss social cues we take for granted. It's a spectrum disorder, which means severity and symptoms vary by case.


How can you recognize it?

Here are some things to look for:

  • lack of eye contact
  • slow development, or lack, of spoken language, with lack of gestures to communicate
  • difficulty initiating or sustaining conversation
  • not involving others in activities
  • repetitive language and/or behaviors
  • lack of imaginative play appropriate to developmental level, focus on parts of toys instead of normal use (like spinning a toy car’s wheels instead of playing with it)
  • rigid need for routine
  • hand flapping, rocking, or similar behaviors
  • sensory issues, such as covering ears to avoid sounds or covering eyes to avoid light
Not all people with autism show all of these traits. You may see only some of these behaviors, and they may be severe or subtle.


Does people with autism have low IQs?


Not necessarily. Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein both showed signs of having autism, but lived before the diagnosis existed. Being unable to communicate well doesn't mean there's nothing going on inside--it may just be difficult for them to express it.


For those of you who haven't dealt with autism before, I hope this helps you understand it a little bit better. I hope you'll be just a little more patient next time you run into someone who isn't behaving quite as you'd expect. You may be seeing someone with autism. :smile:

Here's my son, expressing some humor--this is a new thing for him! He put the strawberry on his nose and said, "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer!" For anyone else, that might not be a big deal, but for us, it's huge. :biggrin: :Love:

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Happy World Autism Awareness Day!
 
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I have a grandson that was just two days ago diagnosed with Autism. I have much to learn and hope that I can be of help to this little guy. I have 33 normal healthy grandchildren and so this will be a new experience for all of us in the family. He will get lots of love and understanding, of that I am sure.
 
Joined
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I have a grandson that was just two days ago diagnosed with Autism. I have much to learn and hope that I can be of help to this little guy. I have 33 normal healthy grandchildren and so this will be a new experience for all of us in the family. He will get lots of love and understanding, of that I am sure.

I'm sorry to hear about your grandson's diagnosis, Gordon! I am, however, delighted to know that his grandfather is taking positive steps to be understanding and supportive!

It's a difficult diagnosis for families to deal with, and affects life in ways you can't imagine until you live with it. Everyday things most people take for granted become a challenge--working, shopping, going places. I could go on at length about it, but I won't. :wink:

If I can be of help in any way, please let me know. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions I can answer, or if you just need to chat about it. I've been living with this for 11 years now and writing about it for some time...I've picked up a few things along the way, and would be happy to share what I know. :smile:
 
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Thanks, Peter & Phil!

I find most people who react poorly toward those with autism honestly don't intend it--they just don't realize what they're seeing, and jump to conclusions. A lot of them open their mouths without even thinking there might be something more than meets the eye. That's why spreading awareness is so important.

I appreciate you taking the time to read my post! :smile:
 
Joined
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Mill Creek, WA.
Thanks for the post Dawn. People are pretty ignorant on many issues including mental illness as well. All the best to you and what a great photo of your son. Thanks for the information.
 
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Thanks for the post Dawn. People are pretty ignorant on many issues including mental illness as well. All the best to you and what a great photo of your son. Thanks for the information.

Thanks, James! Glad to share. :smile:
 
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Caring for those wonderful people is what my Wife does for a living.

Your wife is officially awesome! :biggrin:

One thing I've always said, and I always will, is that it takes a very special person to work with those who have autism. I live with it because I must...and I admire those who make that choice willingly.

I don't know what I'd do without people like your wife. I have deep appreciation for all of Kyle's teachers and therapists. :Love:
 
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She loves it.
I read your response to her and she said "my job is a blast!!" :biggrin:
She is an Angel.
She runs two day programs so she has a full plate.
 
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She loves it.
I read your response to her and she said "my job is a blast!!" :biggrin:
She is an Angel.
She runs two day programs so she has a full plate.

As I said, it takes a special person. :biggrin:

I can see that she MUST have a full plate! I have a full plate, and I only have to care for ONE child with autism! :eek: :smile:
 
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Dawn, thanks so much for posting this. Many of us have autistic children here on the cafe. My son was diagnosed at age 2. He will turn 4 next Sunday. he has made amazing progress this year starting at an Autistic preschool.

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He's a cutie, Dan! :smile:

I'm glad to hear he's making good progress! My son's in an autism unit in his school, and making progress, too. It's slow, sometimes, but as long as it's continual, I know he'll get there eventually.

Best wishes to your family, and all of our Cafe members who love someone with autism! :biggrin:
 
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Caring for those wonderful people is what my Wife does for a living.

Tom , I agree with Dawn, you wife it officially totally AWESOME!!!!!.

My Son's therapist and teachers have made an amazing impact on my son's life. I hold all the admiration in the world for people who work with special needs children!!

Dan
 
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Please also remember those with Asbergers and other forms of autism spectral disorder.

Always, Tommy. :biggrin:

For the record, ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) includes:

  • Autism (classic autism)
  • Asperger's Syndrome
  • Rett Syndrome
  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
  • PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specified)
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Payson AZ
Tom , I agree with Dawn, you wife it officially totally AWESOME!!!!!.

My Son's therapist and teachers have made an amazing impact on my son's life. I hold all the admiration in the world for people who work with special needs children!!

Dan

She says thanks. :biggrin:
 

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