Hello Strive for Progress readers.
Autism is very near and dear to my heart because my son at the age of three was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified, part of the Autism Spectrum Disorder. According to the CDC an estimated 1 in 88 children will be diagnosed with some form of Autism. That number staggers me, because it occurs in 1 in 54 in boys and 1 in 252 girls.
What is Autism? Autism Speaks.org states, “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. They include autistic disorder, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome. ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art.”
PDD-NOS is not my son’s primary diagnosis, but his secondary. When my son was born he had many health problems, some of which continue to haunt him even today. Autism was never something I even considered as part of his underlying issues. I heard about autism, because I had a nephew with Aspergers, but as a mom I figured Tristan was behind because he was sickly and also a boy. Yes, denial was part of my issue, but much of it was because Tristan did not have all of the classic signs. I look back now and there are many things I wish I knew then that I do now.
I wish I knew the warning signs of Autism better, and not just the flapping of arms and hands, the lining up of objects, and the limited eye contact. If I was more aware, Tristan’s diagnosis could have come earlier than it did. I also wish I knew that each individual state of the nation has programs to help young children who are behind and struggle. When Tristan was younger we lived in North Carolina and never did anyone I recall tell me about state programs. It was not until we moved to Maryland when an Army doctor told us about the Infants and Toddlers of Maryland. This program helps children to the age of three by giving them in-home speech, occupational and physical therapy sessions. Maria and Donna, the therapists who came to our home, were wonderful, and Tristan gained much with them in a few short months. I wish I knew about services like these, and took advantage of them in North Carolina.
I am no expert in Autism and it is hard for me to write about. I feel awkward even writing to SPF and my own readers about this subject. Autism is a subject that needs to be spread because more research needs to be done. Not one individual is the same within the spectrum, which makes it even harder to figure out the cause.
There are several wonderful resources and articles out there. My hope is you come away from this post with a better understanding and with resources I have linked below you can be better informed.
Thank you Mae for having me guest post again!
Amee from Inspired-Housewife