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Posts Tagged ‘Autism Today’

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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