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Posts Tagged ‘Autism Speaks’

by Shannon Penrod

In case you didn’t know April is Autism Awareness Month.  For me every month is Autism Awareness Month, because I am one of the millions of parents worldwide who is raising a child with an autism diagnosis.  It’s an interesting  journey that is frequently made tougher by a lack of information among the public.  So here are the five things I wish everyone knew about Autism:

1.  One size does not fit all with Autism.  In fact, it is better to think of it as “Autisms” instead of “Autism”.  Children on the Autism Spectrum have a wide variety of symptoms, sensitivities and capabilities.  Try not to assume that the label Autism means they are capable or incapable of doing anything.  Some children with Autism can’t bear to be touched, others require frequent touching to stay engaged.  Don’t assume, ask questions and be willing to look at those diagnosed with Autism as individuals with individual needs.

2. Autism is not the result of bad parenting.  I’m sorry I even have to say that, but I do.  There are still people who think that Autism is caused by bad parenting, it’s not.  However, it is true that superlative parenting, via ABA Therapy is helpful in diminishing or eradicating  Autism behaviors. Currently most insurance companies don’t pay for ABA Therapy, even with the new Health Care Bill, which is why it is so important that individual states pass legislation to make insurance companies accountable.

3. Autism is treatable and in some cases it is possible to recover from Autism.  There have been countless cases of children diagnosed with Autism at an early age who, after extensive early intervention, later tested as being neurotypical.  There are video tapes of many of these children that clearly show autistic behaviors at an early age and their progress has been scientifically documented.  It’s not a rumor, a false hope, snake oil or urban legend.  There is hope and studies clearly show that the earlier the intervention the greater the possibilities in outcome.  So if you have or know a child that you have concerns about you should not take a “wait and see” approach.

4. It is no longer politically correct to refer to children as being “Autistic”, the correct term is that they “have Autism” or “have an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis”.  You can even say that they are “on the Spectrum”. Stop and consider that we would never refer to a child with Cerebral Palsy as “Palsic”, or a child with Leukemia as “Leukimic”, we simply say they have the disorder, it should be the same with Autism.

5.  Children on the Autism Spectrum and their parents need your help.  There are charities raising money for research and to fund treatments, if you can give generously.  I highly recommend Autism Speaks and ACT Today.  If you know a child with Autism, ask the family what kind of assistance they could use.  It could be something as simple as a regular play date that could make a difference in a child’s life.  These children are worth the effort, please offer them what you can.

Shannon Penrod is the host of Everyday Autism Miracles on Toginet Radio.  The live talk radio show airs every Friday at 2pm EST on www.toginet.com  Free Podcasts of the shows can be downloaded at www.toginet.com/shows/everydayautismmiracles and on iTunes.

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by Shannon Penrod

Friday is World Autism Day.  In honor of the day Autism Speaks has asked us all to “Light it up Blue”.  The “it” to be lit blue is up to each and every one of us.  The Empire State Building will be blue, Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia will be blue and my porch light will be blue.  It’s subtle, but the idea is pure.  This is something that affects all of us.

If Autism isn’t affecting you now, it is my sad job to tell you that it will soon. Whether it is your child or the child who sits next to your child, your friend’s grandchild or your bosses child, someone in your life is or will be dealing with Autism soon.  The statistics are staggering.  Conservative estimates have us at 1 in 100 children worldwide, 1 out every 70 boys.  Before you excuse these numbers with theories of misdiagnosis or bad parenting consider for a moment the disservice you do these courageous children who are fighting daily just to be a part of our world. 

Autism is real.  It’s not going away.  But there is help and there is hope.  This Friday please put your cynicism aside and offer the children and families that are on the front lines of Autism your support.  Find something to light up blue, whether it means wearing a blue shirt or sending all your emails in blue type, make the effort.  Because as Dr. Suess once said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”

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