Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Truth About Autism, Part I

As a mom I have dealt with autism for many years now. Does it make me an expert? Maybe. But mostly know. Autism covers a huge field and my range of expertise is my son. I'm hoping this will help people understand a bit more though. If this helps, feel free to share the link to this page with others.

At this point in time There. Is. NO. Cure. for autism. With early intervention, a whole lot of hard work, patience and perseverance, many kids do improve. Some lead fairly normal lives. But they still have autism. 

Kids with autism grow up to be adults with autism. Don't be so quick to judge someone you think acts strangely for their age. You don't know the whole story.

NO, they are not all savants like Raymond in Rain Man. Yes, some do have an exceptional gift in one area or another. A lot don't. But conversely, they aren't dumb. They can learn. Some are quicker, some are slower, just like the rest of us.

Autism is a neurological disorder. It is not a disease you can catch, it is not a mental illness,  it does not necessarily mean there is mental retardation. If you place 100 kids with autism in a room, you would likely notice two things: There are more boys than girls, and there is a wide variety of symptoms/ behaviors going on. They don't all share the same.

If the mom or dad nearby is cool with the behavior going on and there is no danger, then nine times out of ten it's okay. The situation is under control so there is no need to stare.

FYI, staring is rude. Ask questions, make a comment if you must. I'm very happy with questions.  And yes, I know when you make comments behind my back. Either tell me what you think or shut up and mind your manners.

Autism doesn't necessarily mean oblivious. Do not ignore my son and talk around him as if he wasn't there. Speak to him! He may very well not respond, but he also may just surprise you with a smile or other acknowledgment.

These are just a few things off the top of my head. I'll add to it later, especially if there is interest. I know I sound like a Debbie Downer at this point, but honestly, it's a joy to get to know my son and others like him. It saddens and angers me when people refuse to take the time to really get to know him or dismiss him or treat him badly. It hurts more when family members are the ones who do this. Thanks for listening.

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