Friday, August 31, 2012

Myth # 3

Myth: People with autism are just like Rainman.

Autism varies greatly from person to person. If you know one person with autism, you only know one person with autism. That person will have completely different characteristics than the next autistic person you meet. For example, my son could not count toothpicks off the floor in a matter of seconds, but he can remember the smallest imperfection in a building from years ago.

Source: Autism Speaks

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Autism Myth #2

Myth: Autistic People will have autism forever.

Research shows that early intervention have helped people "test out" of autism. Some parents also think that certain diets have helped their child overcome autism. This is why an early diagnosis is so important.

Reference: Autism Speaks

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Autism Myth #1 (A week of myths)

Myth- Autistic people are intellectually disabled.

Most autistic people have normal or even above average IQ's. They simply learn in different ways, and sometimes at a different pace. Often they are brilliant with numbers or artistic abilities.

My son is great with artistic skills. He could draw better than me at age 3 :) He loves music and could build the best skyscraper you've ever seen out of blocks.

What is your child great at?

Reference: Autism Speaks

Monday, August 27, 2012

What Are the Signs Of Autism (our story)

Cases of autism are on the rise. Now, 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with autism. When little bear was diagnosed in 2009 the number was 1 in 110. Research has yet to figure out why the numbers are increasing so quickly. The good news is that many doctors and parents are more aware of the signs, and are taking advantage of the great services out there for children and adults on the autism spectrum.

What are the signs? This can be tricky because the red flags of autism vary from person to person. Many of them are developmental delays. According to Autism Speaks here are a few red flags to look out for.

- no smiles by age 6 months and thereafter
-no babbling by 12 months
-no pointing or waving by 12 months
-no words by 16 months
-no meaningful 2 word phrases by 24 months
-any loss of verbal and/or social skills at any age

If your child has any of these red flags, it does not necessarily mean they are autistic. It simply means you may want to bring it up to your doctor for evaluation. I can't stress enough (as a mother of an autistic child) that finding out early is very important! The earlier you can access services for your child, the brighter their future will be.

Our son was diagnosed when he was 2 years old. He had always been behind developmentally. He was able to sit up at 11 months and started walking at 21 months. When I would mention this to doctors, they would just say that he'll get there when he's ready. Honestly, that is what I wanted to hear, even though my gut was telling me something wasn't quite right.

When he went in for his 2 year check up he was, for the most part, non-verbal. This is when our doctor ( a new one due to a recent move) decided to send him to a psychologist for an evaluation. The evaluation confirmed our suspicion that our son was autistic.

There are varying degrees of autism. All are considered to be an autism spectrum disorder, but they vary from mild to severe. The autism spectrum disorders currently consists of autism disorder (classic autism), asperger syndrome, and Pervasive Development not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).

Our son was diagnosed with autism disorder. He has come such a long way since that diagnosis. We immediately enrolled him in early intervention. They worked with him 2 to 3 times a week in our home (helping us reach goals) until he was 3 years old. When he was three he entered preschool. We also had him involved in ABA therapy when he was 3. He went from being non verbal to speaking more and more each day! It was so exciting. There are no words that can describe how exciting it is for parents of autistic children when they reach new milestones. Our little guy just started kindergarten and is learning at the same level as his peers! We are so thrilled!

Hopefully someday research will solve the mystery of autism. I hope we can find a way to prevent it. Until then, we need to just embrace it. I love the unique ways of our son. He is such an incredible person. Anyone who meets him loves him. I personally think he makes the world a brighter place :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I love this!

I am so tired of hearing people say that autistic people are not smart. It is quite the opposite actually!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fans, Lights, Action!

We let our son take a pictures with the camera and this is what we got...
He LOVES fans and lights. I think this is pretty common with children on the autism spectrum. Fans calm him. He goes to sleep with the fan on. I do too, but that's not the point.. :) A few days ago all three of our children were drawing pictures. Little bear ( what I will now call our autistic son) drew a bunch of fans and electrical outlets. He is fascinated by both.
What do you think your child would draw a picture of?

Older fathers = more autism risk?

I just read an article that stated a risk factor for autism was an older father. My husband was only 24 when our son was born, so this does not apply to us. What do you think?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Great info

I advise many of these techniques with my child.

Kindergarten has begun!

Our little man has started kindergarten. It's bitter sweet because he is our youngest, but I am really excited for him. We had his first IEP meeting this week and it went great. I was nervous because we recently moved and he was in a new school. His teachers all seem like they will enjoy their year with our son. I found out that he has only had to leave the classroom once over a meltdown due to lights. Lights are a big thing with him. Usually, he is upset if they are off. This time, he told his teacher they were too bright. So, they dim the lights when he says they are too bright. I love that the school cares enough to understand his demands. They know little things can make him feel very anxious, and they want him to be comfortable at school. That is every mom of a special needs child's dream. I was also super excited to hear that they will not be changing any curriculum for him. He is learning on the same level as his peers. This was such good news to me because I know he can do it! I'm just so happy the year is off to a good start!