Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Off-topic post: Autism Awareness

This is the symbol for Autism Awareness. This problem, as you may know, is now receiving national attention (long overdue) because it is becoming something of an epidemic in our country. Many people are still unaware that not all affected children have full-blown, severe autism. (And it is NOT only people who act like Rainman, for those who have seen the movie by that name.) There is a "scale" or "spectrum," with children experiencing symptoms to varying degrees from milder to severe. Some are even able to attend school in regular classrooms, but most/all exhibit problems with language and social skills, in particular. Early diagnosis and intervention is key in maximizing the child's full abilities. All moms should be aware of the early signs, and discuss any concerns with their doctors. To learn more, click the link above.

I am very fortunate, because one of my sons was tested at the age of 4yrs old, though many are tested and receive intervention much earlier. My son arrived before national attention was focused on this topic, and frankly we were lost, initially,(as many parents have been) in trying to figure out exactly what was wrong, and were told by our pediatrician before he was tested "not to worry," and that "kids develop at different rates", and "boys are slower than girls". That reassurance delayed our seeking answers until preschool, when it was obvious that he was not ready, and was definitely behind in development compared to the other kids his age.

Fortunately, after testing and intervention, we found a wonderful specialist, and our son is doing very well in a regular 5th grade classroom, with special assistance in some areas (language, reading and social skills.) I am writing this to support awareness, particularly for parents with young children, to check out what signs to watch for as their children develop. We are still not entirely sure what the future holds for our son, but I can honestly say it is looking brighter each day.

3 comments:

Kathy said...

Bernadette,

Thank you for sharing Autism Awareness and your own story. I am thrilled that your child is blossoming. He is so lucky to have you as you are him. Happy Easter late.

Sue said...

Thank you for posting your story. My step son is 5 and is FINALLY getting evaluated this month. His mother didn't want him labeled. Thank god we now have full custody of him and can get him the help he needs. Glad to meet someone else who is willing to share their story.

quiltyknitwit said...

I had only heard of autism in passing over the years and didn't know much about it, but for the past few years I've worked in education and have met a lot of autistic kids. They are coming out of the woodwork! It's good to educate everyone about this.