Friday, April 30, 2010

Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month, and in less than one hour it will be over. Throughout the month, I tried my best to post a daily tidbit about autism onto my Facebook status. I thought it would be a neat to gather all those little thoughts into one place, namely here. I wasn't intending to dedicate my Facebook status to autism for an entire month, but that's how it kind of ended up, and I rather fancy the idea.

It was a very rewarding exercise to come up with something new and interesting each day. Throughout the month I discovered that the subject of autism is vast, and there are many other things that merit discussion that I didn't have the time, knowledge, or energy to delve into. I posted what came to mind, some I had previously found memorable, or was something I was actively thinking about in my own household.

Thanks for helping me celebrate Autism Awareness Month.

April 1 - If you are in the store & you see a child who seems to be throwing a tantrum, try to think twice before judging them. That child may be having an autism-related meltdown, not a temper tantrum.
April 2 - Today is World Autism Awareness Day! Wear blue today to show your support and increase autism awareness. 1 in 91 kids are being diagnosed with autism!
April 3 - Kids with autism crave routine to bring some order to their often chaotic world. Picture schedules are very helpful tools, especially for the young ones who don't yet read.
April 5 - Many kids with autism also have GI symptoms related to food allergy. About 2/3 of kids placed on a gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet see improvements in autism symptoms.
April 6 - The HBO movie, "Temple Grandin," is a simply brilliant depiction of one of the most famous women today with autism. It's available to view for free at the link below. I highly recommend it as a glimpse into the mind of autism.
April 8 - A great book for families unfamiliar with autism, or newly diagnosed, is "The Autism Sourcebook" by Karen Siff Exhorn. It's available to check out in my support group's lending library.
April 9 - It has been a very "autismy" morning around our house! We have our good days and our bad, and breaks from school are typically a huge trigger. Thank the Lord that Spring Break ends today.
April 10 - Did you know that 1 in every 70 boys in the US is being diagnosed on the autism spectrum?
April 11 - Want a comedic look at Asperger's in action? Try watching CBS', "The Big Bang Theory." Sheldon, a main character, is a physicist that exudes Aspie.
April 13 - Parents of children with autism are highly prone to divorce. The divorce rates can be 80% or higher! It's crucial to have a team approach, which can strengthen and not sabotage your marriage.
April 15 - It's estimated that the lifetime cost of raising a child with autism is $3 million. I've got 2 - yikes! The societal economic impact of high rates of autism is a huge $$$ issue!
April 16 - Unfortunately, adults with autism have a higher rate of incarceration and a MUCH higher rate of unemployment. What can we do to change that?
April 17 - A great local support group for autism families is TACA. In fact, there's a meeting this morning and I plan to be there! Visit to learn more.
April 18 - One of the most common comorbidities of autism is sensory processing disorder (SPD). It can create extreme under or over-sensitivities to sensory input (touch, hearing, smell, etc.). This is why a lot of these kiddos have meltdowns.
April 19 - "It seems sometimes that there are 2 types of adults who are not AS [Asperger Syndrome] parents: the ones who think you're an evil monster, and the ones who think you're such a softie you can't keep order with your own offspring." -Jeffrey Cohen, author of "The Asperger Parent."
April 22 - As we celebrate Earth Day, let's remember that autism kiddos are like canaries in the coal mine. Their bodies react to environmental toxins much more than we realize or understand. Our diagnosis turned our family into environmentalists!
April 25 - With autism rates now 1 in 91 children in the US, and many other developmental delays also on the rise, are neurotypical ("normal") kids becoming the minority? What are your thoughts?
April 26 - Autism can be a gift! Just take a look at these 5 inspirational examples of people succeeding with an autism diagnosis.
April 27 - In the UK: Autism is more common than Down's syndrome and cerebral palsy combined. In the US: Autism is more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined.
April 28 - It comes as no surprise that populations who are unvaccinated don't have the same prevelance of autism, and some reports say there are no cases at all in unvaccinated groups.
April 29 - It's speculated that many historical figures had autism: Einstein, Mozart, Beethoven, Warhol, Tesla, Newton, Dickinson, Orwell, Jefferson, Darwin, Yeats, etc. If true, can you imagine a world without the autistic brain?
April 30 - Last day...I thought I'd wrap up autism awareness month with a quote from a famous woman with autism, Temple Grandin. "I am different, not less."

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