I am the mom of an 8 year old son with autism. Being the parent of an autistic child, may sometimes feel like being the parent of a lost child. Autism is a world within itself. I am blessed that my son is able to express love and feel love. He is in intergrated 1st grade, which means he is in class with regular students. My son is considered nonverbal, but we have our own language, I understand him he understands us. I was really apprehensive about allowing him to be intergrated, but its' okay. He is developmental dealyed, so it is a big challenge for him. He has supports to help him through his day. I have been back and forth about this decision, because I only want the best for him, and honestly at times, I don't know. It gets hard at times, but I try not to get discouraged, because I know I am not in this fight alone. Autism affects alot of families, there isn't to many people that aren't affected by it, or know someone who is. Seeing my sons beautiful smile and sweet warm spirit, keeps me going. Alot of parents don't have that, because there are hundreds of childen with autism who exist in their own world. They are unable to understand the concept of love and emotion. I can't even begin to imagine my son not smiling and being happy.The journey ahead is long and challenging, But as long as I have his smile, will be okay!
Friday, February 6, 2009
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder. It affects 1 in 150 children, making it more common than AIDS, pediatric cancer, and diabetes combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups, and is more common in boys than girls. It impairs a person's ability to communicate and relate to others. There are five disorders under the autism spectrum: Asperger Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, PDD-NOS(Pervasive Developmental Disorder), and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. These disorders vary by different degrees of impairment in communication and skills and social abilities. Autism can usually be reliably diagnosed by the age of 3. New research shows that diagnosis can even be made as early as 6 months. Parents are a child's best advocate. If you notice unusual behavior, or failure of your child to reach appropriate milestones, there may be cause to have your child evaluated. Pediatricians may dismiss signs of autism, thinking your child is just slow. But if you feel something is wrong ,you are probably right, follow your gut. Early intervention is critical. The earlier the diagnosis, the earlier intervention can begin. Research shows that early intervention in the appropriate educational setting during preschool years, can result in significant improvements in young children. Programs should focus on developing communcation, social, and cognitive skills. There is no single treatment for children with autism, but most respond best to highly structured behavioral programs.