Thursrday Blurb: A Subject Near and Dear to My Heart

I am slowly catching up on my reader this evening. It’s under 8oo for more than two hours for the first time in DAYS! Any-who … I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw Rebecca’s post about a reading challenge for Autism Awareness Month (April).

Pixie from the The Page Turners blog came up with the idea of raising awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by hosting a reading challenge.  We are encouraged to read and review at least one book dealing with ASD or learning disabilities. She doesn’t specify fiction or nonfiction, children’s books or adult literature, so the field would seem to be wide open.

As some of you know, Autism is a subject near and dear to my heart. What do you say when your child asks “why can’t I be normal like other kids and not get in trouble?” or doesn’t understand when the joke ends and all the other kids have moved on. ASD isn’t like high blood pressure. There is no “cure” for it you can’t medicate it into oblivion. Being Autistic is about the long and constant journey to build strategies to manage what comes easy and natural for others.

There is no single set of criteria that define the conditions on the Autism Spectrum. There is no test to “find” it. In fact you’re not likely to know about medically confirm an ASD diagnosis until your child is three.

There is a saying, if you have met one child with autism, you have met one child with autism. It is true. Some children are developmentally delayed speaking … others never stop talking; some children can’t sit still … others have rituals that verge on obsessive-compulsiveness; some are hyper-sensitive to getting their hands dirty or itch because of the tags in their clothes … others jump from the monkey bars just to feed the need for sensory input. Autism doesn’t look like anything else and it looks like everything else. Is it ADHD or is it a precocious child? Is it a hearing problem or is it sensory processing disorder? Is that a parent who has no control over their child or a caregiver who is working through a planned strategy? Sometimes there are tell-tale signs, but not always.

I cannot tell you the frustration of hearing “oh, I would never guess X is autistic” or “oh, I’m sorry. Will they ever be cured?”  Life with an autistic child is unbelievably full … but it is not always easy, for the parent, sibling, extended family members, and most significantly the child. With more and more children diagnosed with ASD, it is imperative that we get smart about the spectrum of disorders not only for ourselves, but for our family members, our neighbors, and our kids.

You can learn more at Austism Speaks, the website for the nation’s largest autism science and advocacy organization.

7 responses to “Thursrday Blurb: A Subject Near and Dear to My Heart

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. It’s hard to put into words how comforting it is to know you aren’t alone. Especially that there are others who are happy, successful and still have bad days, but still love their kiddos more than any of that.

    It’s such a tough disorder and I feel like it’s always changing. Morphing and at the same time staying constant with those same struggles day in and day out. What a blessing to be able to learn from one another and support each other. Thank you.

    1. It is a constant journey, and one that offers rainbows that we have to keep remembering to look for. There is a blessing, as Sandra says, in the presence of an autistic child in your life. There are so many things I want to learn from my daughter … she embraces life at 150% all the time; her memories of sour events and people are fleeting; and she has such insights on how she views the world. Now, remembering all that "in the moment" … well, I'm not so good at that.

  3. I have no autistic children of my own but feel that God has blessed me with several autistic students. Many teachers would find that statement "blessed" to be off the wall. I guess it is all in how we choose to look at it. Every year for the last 8 years I've had at least 1 autistic child that I have taught in some capacity. I don't see them as a burden that many do I see them as a wonderful child that I have been given the opportunity to learn from. Because as any parent of an autistic child knows, every day is a learning experience. Some days are more challenging than others. I have never had real severe autistic children so I can't identify with those parents. Unlike parents of autistic children I have them for a short period each day but their parents have them all the rest of the time. My thoughts and prayers go out to each and every parent of an autistic child. May God give you the wisdom and strength to continue in your journey together

    1. Sandra, thank you so much for your perspective as a teacher. We have been very lucky to have more teachers with your outlook than not … I just wish this year was one of them! Autistic children can be ‘high maintenance’ but the greatest things in life come with work, no? I couldn’t agree more about your use of the word “blessing.” **hugs**

    1. Thanks for doing this Rebecca. I was amazed when I saw the stats that showed how Autism research receives the least amount of money but affects the most people. Clearly, raising awareness is critical!

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