Has Autism Touched Your Life?

by Susan

1 in 150 births.
1 to 1.5 million Americans.
Fastest-growing developmental disability.

The statistics regarding Autism rattle me. It’s hard to imagine that this developmental disability — which I’d never even heard of when I was growing up — has become so prevalent.

It seems everyone I know has been touched one way or another by autism. Whether it’s a family member, friend, neighbor or classmate — it seems everyone is learning more about this disorder.

I think one of the positive results of this prevalence is an increased understanding and awareness within our communities. I think the more each of us knows about disorders such as Austism and Aspergers the better community we provide.

So, I’d like to open up this post to those of you who have been touched in some way by autism.

Please add a comment and share a link to your own blog and/or links to any other helpful blogs, websites, forums, books or other resources.

I imagine we have many readers at different stages of their experience with autism. Some will have a child who has just been diagnosed while others have been raising a child who has learned to live with autism for many years.

I think it would be great to share resources to help everyone along the journey.

I also believe that for those of us who do not have children of our own who are experiencing autism, that we should also learn as much as we can since it is only a matter of time before our lives will also be touched in some way by autism.

I’d like to start off the discussion with a link to a book we were recently asked to review. It’s called “What You Can Do Right Now to Help Your Child With Autism”.

Personally I was really glad I read this short, uplifting book. I’m clearly not an expert on autism nor am I a parent or anyone who has first hand experience parenting or working with a child who has autism, but to me it seemed to have some great ideas on simple, effective ways to help a child who experiences autistic traits.

In the book, the author Jonathon Levy shares his experiences working at the Autism Treatment Center of America with The Son-Rise Program.

He also has an associated website called www.TenThingsAutism.com where readers can attend online seminars.

I had never heard of this program before and Jonathon mentions that they follow a unique method of treatment and so I imagine there may be some controversy or varying opinions about the center and their methods. (Generally, when a method is unique and different from other methods that seek the same end results there is bound to be differing opinions.)

But I found the stories Jonathon shared to be so powerful as he and the team at the center used simple yet profound methods to radically improve the behavior of so many children.

What about you? Have you read this book or heard about or even experienced the The Son-Rise Program?

And as I mentioned earlier, if you have a personal experience with autism, please take this opportunity to share your own blog link and links to other helpful resources.



Email Author    |    Website About Susan

Susan Carraretto and her identical twin, Janice Croze, created 5 Minutes for Mom in 2006. Susan loves all social media, but her top addiction these days is Pinterest. She recently published a children's book titled "The Pest Detectives" which you can download now in digital format for free.

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 And Miles To Go.... August 9, 2007 at 12:56 am

We have been immensely by autism. My 12 year old son has “classic” Kanner’s Autism and my 4 year old son also has a milder version of autism. My 12 year old was diagnosed at a year and a half and has been in therapy almost constantly since then. Our four year old is attending a developmental preschool program. Our family blog can be found HERE

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2 mcewen August 9, 2007 at 1:10 am

I have two autistic boys as well as two typically developing girls.

You’re absolutely right, greater awareness and compassion, make for a much brighter future.
Best wishes

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3 EaglesWings98 August 9, 2007 at 8:05 am

Wow, so many lives touched… My cousin has an autistic boy and I read every article I can on the subject and pass it along to the family to read.
blessings

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4 Adventures In Babywearing August 9, 2007 at 8:40 am

I have friends and family affected by autism. Thank you for posting to bring more awareness!

Steph

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5 Debs August 9, 2007 at 9:20 am

I worked for 6 months with a family who were running the son-rise program with their autistic daughter. It was an amazing experience to be involved in reaching out or creating a bridge to N,to allow her opportunity to experience relationship with us, whilst also joining her where she was at. I do’nt think I explain it very well, but definitely worth reading up on I would say.
Thanks for writing this post which I’m sure will be really helpful to some people who are in the midst of making choices about their child’s future.

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6 Kara August 9, 2007 at 9:34 am

I have online friends who have children with autism, and a brother who was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s. Being able to learn more about both have helped me understand why my brother acts certain ways, and be more understanding of others with these disorders.

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7 Jean August 9, 2007 at 9:40 am

My son has Asperger’s. I’ve gotten lots of great support from the school and they have done wonders for him. He will finally get to be integrated in second grade this year.

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8 Michele August 9, 2007 at 10:45 am

My 9 yr old son has Autism.
He is non-vocal & uses a device & picture book to communicate with us. I think autism has really become a silent epidemic more then many people realize. It astonishes me how the statistics keep changing…We had a very hard beginning this summer with my son running off a lot- you can read that post here- he is doing a lot better now but this is just an insight to how hard it can really get for parents of autistic children-

http://my3littleblessings.blogspot.com/2007_05_20_archive.html

That book sounds interesting, I would love to get it & definitely check it out. I agree with you 100%I think the more awareness that is spread about autism, the more compassion & understanding people will feel..Great post, Thanks for spreading the awareness!!

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9 Jae August 9, 2007 at 11:06 am

I have several friends with autistic children. It’s crazy how prevalent it is now.

One great link … http://www.nedlife.com/autism.shtml

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10 Jae August 9, 2007 at 11:08 am

Hi Susan & Janice,

I’m sorry to bother you on such a silly lil matter, but I cannot find information online to do this without asking someone first! I want to add a “Spread the Word” line to all of my blog entries, like you have done. How do I go about doing that? I cannot find the information anywhere.

Thank you!
Jae

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11 Kim August 9, 2007 at 11:48 am

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12 Kim August 9, 2007 at 11:54 am

My oldest son has Autism. He is what you call High Functioning Autistic. He shares a lot of the characteristics of an Aspergers child, but there are some differences. There is quite a huge spectrum when it comes to Autism.

Early Intervention is Key… He was diagnosed around age three, and he has come such a long way. He attends a public school. He goes to the regular classroom for about half the day, and then is pulled out and goes to the special education room (plus Speech and OT)for the other half of the day. He has an aide that is with him almost the whole day. He is doing so well.

I don’t have a lot on my blog about “Moose” and his autism, but if you go back through my archives you will find a couple of stories about him. One of my earlier posts is about him performing in the second grade play (you will love it). There is another about him winning a gold medal through the Special Olympics, and I scanned a bit of his writing he did in school on a few posts.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.. Blessings..

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13 Stephanie August 9, 2007 at 11:57 am

I KNOW I KNOW I sound like a conspiracy theorist but my sister-in-law’s son started showing signs of autism after his booster shots. There are many many other cases out there that say the same. I honestly don’t know what I think about it except for that the website I read SHOCKED me.

They talk about the things in the shots and the problems that are arising from mixing shots. Anytime I have ever mentioned this to a dr. they always tell me that it is just a conspiracy theory and that there is no validity to it. They say the reason the numbers of autism are going up is because the increase of “layered” vaccines that are being given. Normal vaccines are fine…it’s the combo shots that supposably are bad.

I don’t know personally but it has definitly peaked my interests. My first son has had all of his shots but my second has had none but that’s because we live in thailand and I’m staying away from getting the shots here.

It’s enough to caught the attention of CDC scientists:
http://www.cdc.gov/od/science/iso/concerns/mmr_autism.htm

This is an incredibly informative/shocking article:
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=32988

One more info packed site:
http://osiris.sunderland.ac.uk/autism/vaccine.htm

someone let me know if they know of any conclusive evidence…please.

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14 Sheryl August 9, 2007 at 1:05 pm

Thank you for this “awareness” post! Much more education and understanding is needed. The more autism/Asperger’s are talked about and written about, the more people affected and unaffected by Autism/Asperger’s will be able to understand the challenges faced by those living the diagnosis.

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15 casual friday everyday August 9, 2007 at 2:04 pm

The word has been mentioned in association with my son, but we haven’t been officially diognosed.

I know quite a few kids with Austism…it really feels like an epidemic!

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16 Jeanine Baechtold August 9, 2007 at 4:33 pm

My husband has Asperger’s syndrome and my 5 1/2 year old son has High-Functioning Autism. I helped establish a parent advocacy group for parent’s of children with special needs – you can see the information here: http://www.njpase.org. I also have a blog that talks about it along with other things: http://jeanine.typepad.com.

Some great resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism
http://www.cureautismnow.org
http://www.autism-society.org
http://www.autismspeaks.org

Thanks so much for posting about it.

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17 Jo August 9, 2007 at 9:23 pm

Alot of studies have been done linking autism to vaccinations. This is why autism was unknown before they were routinely given.
Do your research before having your babies and toddlers vaccinated.

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18 Jenn August 9, 2007 at 10:18 pm

I dont have a child with Autism – however, Zachary does have Sensory Processing Disorder with a Speech Delay. I agree, better understanding and knowledge about this horrible thing that’s happening to our children (especially our boys). We must speak out, we must share our stories, and we must NOT shy away from doctors and people who just dont know our children as well as we know them! :)

I know this first hand! Doctors DONT know everything – we as mother’s know whats going on way before they do!

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19 Angie August 10, 2007 at 1:42 am

I have an eight year old who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome just about five years ago. He is just a doll, and is one of the most polite children you’d ever hope to meet. He has been such a blessing in our lives. Our six year old son also exhibits some autistic behaviors, but does not qualify for a diagnosis of autism. He does, however, have emotional issues and sensory issues.

My plug for autism is that, especially for parents of neurotypical kids, it’s important to teach kids that Autism is not scary and kids in their class who have it are not weird or strange. They are just different, that’s all. Nothing is “wrong” with them, something is just different. I have always been very open with the kids that have questioned why it is that my son does some of the things that he does.

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20 Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) August 10, 2007 at 2:39 am

Thanks so much ladies for sharing your stories and input! It is so great that we can learn and be inspired by one another. Thank you.

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21 Melissa R. Garrett August 10, 2007 at 7:53 am

My son sits on the edge of autism, and his pediatric psychologist has been reluctant to diagnose him as such (he exhibits many of the traits associated with Asperger’s). It’s frustrating that I can’t get this diagnoses and, as a result, he’ll receive no interventions in school. I just posted about it on my site:

http://melissagarrett.wordpress.com/2007/08/10/understanding-autism/

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22 Paula August 10, 2007 at 12:19 pm

My son has no official diagnosis, but as his doctor said he is “touched by the feather of Autism”. We are currently working with Stanford and the East Bay Regional center to determine whether he is on the Autistic specturm, otherwise know as Pervasive Developmental Disorder, or not.

I’ve written various things about Autism on by blog if you’d like to check it out.

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23 Michelle Miller Ramirez August 10, 2007 at 12:28 pm

LearningRx is a cognitive training center with locations throughout the country. For those high functioning this is a WONDERFUL program that will help with Memory, Attention, and Auditory Processing among other coginitve skills.

Check it out at http://www.learningrx.com

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24 SingForHim August 10, 2007 at 1:00 pm

I have a couple of friends with autistic kids. I have learned so much through Melody’s blog. Knowing more helps me relate to their kids better, and also to my friends, who probably realize few non-autism moms understand this condition.

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25 SingForHim August 10, 2007 at 1:01 pm

Also, is it possible that more children are being diagnosed correctly because of awareness, and not that the condition is more prevalent? I haven’t looked at all the research.

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26 Linda K August 10, 2007 at 2:35 pm

My 13 year-old daughter has PDD, which is a version of Autism. We fought so hard for an original diagnosis around age 2 1/2, that we were even glad to have Autism as part of the diagnosis.

She is now going into 7th grade, in a special needs class but phasing into regular ed classes for some things. She loves playing the flute and music has been a blessing.

Most people can’t tell she has problems, but we have worked really hard to get to this point. There have been times she wandered away into the middle of a busy highway, times we had to call police to help find her, walking up from behind a horse to grab it’s tail, physical violence against us as parents, and many many more things.

Each child is different but I believe that each can be helped with the right kind of therapy.

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27 Kelly August 10, 2007 at 4:41 pm
28 Mary in MN August 10, 2007 at 11:21 pm

My oldest grandson, now 17, was diagnosed with autism at 2 and Asperger’s at 8. At that time, it was quite unusual. He’s been mainstreamed in the school system and will graduate next year. It’s been an interesting journey. He taught himself to read at 2-1/2, but wasn’t toilet trained until 5. When he was younger, it wasn’t apparent that he was “different,” but the older he got, the more pronounced the autustic tendencies became. There is an enormous wealth of information on the Web dealing with autistic children, but very little concerning older teens and young adults.

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29 onemotherslove August 11, 2007 at 10:12 am

It is also possible that more children are being mis-diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Not to dismiss those who really have it – all of the previous posts sound like they know what they’re talking about. But there may be someone out there who is struggling with the diagnosis, really wondering if their child is autistic. If you are one of the ones who has received the diagnosis, but feel strongly in your heart that it is not correct, I suggest the books Late Talking Children or The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late, both by Thomas Sowell. Do your own research and do what is best for your child.

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30 melody is slurping life August 11, 2007 at 3:42 pm

Touched x2, maybe x3 :). My almost 10 yo is dx Asperger’s Syndrome and is about to undergo further evaluations…he’s “slipping away” recently. My 9 yo is dx PDD NOS and is about to undergo further evaluation…his anger and acting out issues have become huge. My 12 yo was originally dx PDD NOS as a tot, but as the years have passed ADHD and Bipolar are known to be his true issues.

Whatever a child’s psychiatric, psychological, behavioral dx…it is love, acceptance and patience that are the keys, as with any child, to guiding him into his most fulfilled life (in my opinion).

Thanks for the links. The Son Rise Program seems to be pretty much how we approach our sons. I need to read more before I absolutely confirm that statement. :) We don’t look for a “cure”…we seek to understand, accept and teach our sons.

I haven’t been blogging much about autism or anything recently, but am about to begin again. My blog does record much of our lives with our special purpose sons, words and photos. If anyone is interested, the best thing to do would be read through the category archives…as I said I haven’t blogged about our life much recently. No technical stuff at my place, just the real events of life with the boys.

Sorry so long here.

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31 Heather August 12, 2007 at 9:50 pm

My oldest son is on the autistic spectrum, suffering from sensory integration disorder among other things.
It’s been quite the roller coaster – he’s almost 6 and our lives exploded around the time he turned two.
I have been writing a lot about my experience with him as a lot of my experience involved anger and fear. As a mom who loves God, it was a rough place to be. I have been honored to be published in a book written by mothers of special needs children called Special Gifts. It will be in Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Borders etc within the next few weeks. My essay is about raising Samuel, and the struggle i was feeling at the time. I think it’s an honest, painful and helpful essay. There are other essays in the book by mothers of autistic kids too. It’s not a christian book, but has some good stuff in it.

http://www.amazon.com/Special-Gifts-Writers-Heartache-Happiness/dp/1932279598/ref=sr_1_2/104-4101900-2245539?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1181948149&sr=8-2

Links to the book can be found on my writing website at http://www.heatherristau.org
my blog where i write daily about stuff is http://www.xanga.com/hippmama
stop by either place and spend some time with me.

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32 Shannon Johnson August 14, 2007 at 9:30 pm

Hi-
I have a 12 year old son with autism. He has his challenges, for certain, but has brought our family so much insight and perspective. Fortunately for children who are now being diagnosed early with autism, there are many treatments that are proving to be very helpful. I would recommend that parents visit http://www.unlockingautism.org as a wonderful resource. They can help parents connect with other parents and resources in their geographical area for an immediate support system. My mother co-founded Unlocking Autism when my son was diagnosed 9 years ago and I have witnessed the thousands of lives that her organization has been able to touch all over the world. Also,I have recently launched a free online community for families facing autism. I encourage anyone who cares about an individual with autism to sign up and meet others who can offer help and support. Members can create a personal page, add photos, journal, participate in forum discussions, send messages to other members and browse the library for helpful articles and resources. An autism diagnosis can often isolate families as they try to build a safe haven around their child. Hopefully, my new site will allow families to find friendship and support. Visit it
at http://www.foggyrock.com/.
Thanks-
Shannon Johnson

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33 marie August 19, 2007 at 11:29 am

i have a son of 27 who was only diagnosed with autism at the age of 21 i feelso let down because more could have been done for him if they haddiagnosed it in his early years

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34 Liam Scully November 10, 2007 at 9:22 am

Susan,

There is a great article published in the South Florida’s Parenting Guide Magazine titled “Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew”. That is a primer to PRINT OUT and give to friends and family.

Its a list of things parents of autistic kids naturally know, but are not aware enough to understand why, or smart enough to teach to others.
It’s at
http://www.southflorida.com/sfparenting/sfe-sfp-autism,0,6196233.story

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35 Susan March 10, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Well I’m way late here, but just found the post! Maybe it will bump it up a little… such an important topic!

You can read about our life with autism at my blog, http://theleibyfamily.blogspot.com

And you can view Michael’s Movie at http://www.whatkindofworlddoyouwant.com/videos/view/id/670709

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