Shining Some Light on Autism

Hey guys and girls!  Happy Easter!!  Have you had an amazing day with your families?  I had a great day with my kiddos and hubby.  Some pancakes, webcaming with Grandma and Grandpa, park, sidewalk chalk, baskets, egg hunts, delicious dinner…it doesn’t get much better than this!  Here’s a little peak at what our day looked like.

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Patiently waiting for mom to tell them they can come downstairs so I can record them opening their baskets.  I only wish I would have realized I didn’t actually push record!  And btw, none of my kids were dressed like this when they went to bed last night.  They love to change after I’ve already put them to bed!
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Here are some of our Easter pancakes.  Don’t worry…they tasted better then they looked haha.
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 And finally going through all their eggs after waiting all morning!  I would say it was a pretty good day!  Hope your day’s were just as good!
So, now that Easter is over we are getting into April.  For our family this is a very important month.  After 4 years of fighting to get a diagnosis for our son, we were finally blessed with a school team and doctors who saw what we did and diagnosed our son with Autism.  April 7 will be 2 years since we received his diagnosis.  Seeing as we are reaching our 2 year mark and April is Autism Awareness Month I decided to make a little post to help spread the word but first here is a picture of him because I’ll never pass up a chance to show him off!  He’s pretty much the cutest boy I know 🙂
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 Here’s a little info about Autism…

Did you know …

  • Autism now affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys
  • Autism prevalence figures are growing
  • Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
  • Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average
  • Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
  • Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism
  • There is no medical detection or cure for autism

Core symptoms

The severity of symptoms varies greatly, but all people with autism have some core symptoms in the areas of:

  • Social interactions and relationships. Symptoms may include:
    • Significant problems developing nonverbal communication skills, such as eye-to-eye gazing, facial expressions, and body posture.
    • Failure to establish friendships with children the same age.
    • Lack of interest in sharing enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people.
    • Lack of empathy. People with autism may have difficulty understanding another person’s feelings, such as pain or sorrow.
  • Verbal and nonverbal communication. Symptoms may include:
    • Delay in, or lack of, learning to talk. As many as 40% of people with autism never speak.1
    • Problems taking steps to start a conversation. Also, people with autism have difficulties continuing a conversation after it has begun.
    • Stereotyped and repetitive use of language. People with autism often repeat over and over a phrase they have heard previously (echolalia).
    • Difficulty understanding their listener’s perspective. For example, a person with autism may not understand that someone is using humor. They may interpret the communication word for word and fail to catch the implied meaning.
  • Limited interests in activities or play. Symptoms may include:
    • An unusual focus on pieces. Younger children with autism often focus on parts of toys, such as the wheels on a car, rather than playing with the entire toy.
    • Preoccupation with certain topics. For example, older children and adults may be fascinated by video games, trading cards, or license plates.
    • A need for sameness and routines. For example, a child with autism may always need to eat bread before salad and insist on driving the same route every day to school.
    • Stereotyped behaviors. These may include body rocking and hand flapping.

I think that most everyone has heard about Autism.  My fear is that the word autism is so well known and used that people don’t really think about it when they hear it.  They don’t really think about what it is and how it affects the people with it.  I hope that one day we won’t need to educate people but the reality is that not everyone will know what Autism is.  And it won’t ever go away.  Our son will live with Autism the rest of his life.  If I can help to educate even a small number of people so that they accept him and others living with this disorder then I will feel like I have done part of my job for him.  I hope that people will read not only the stats that I have posted but also the signs of Autism and try to understand what it is like for someone living with the disorder.  I will never know what it’s like to be my son.  I’ll never know why he can’t step foot into a grocery store for 4 months and then all of a sudden be fine with it or why he repeats the same phrase over and over.  There are many things that I will never understand but I feel that as long as I do everything I can to show him that he is loved, respected, and accepted just as everybody else then I have done my job.  I hope you all take some time to learn about Autism and I have a favor to ask of you.  The next time you are in a store or restaurant or anywhere else and you see a kiddo having a meltdown or that you think is being a “brat” please don’t judge.  One thing I have learned through this process is that one of the hardest things about Autism is that my son looks so “normal” and people expect him to act like any typical 6 year old.  That’s just not going to happen.  I have learned not to judge people because I never know what their story is.  Their kid might be a “brat” or he/she may have Autism or simply might just be having a rough day.  So, please think twice about passing those judgmental stares to the already stressed out mom.  A little understanding smile goes a long way 🙂

And another thing to remember is that someone with the diagnosis of Autism is not just a person living with Autism.  While it is a big part of our life and we want everyone to be educated about it, it does not define who our son is.  To us he is just an energetic, sweet, easy going kid.  He has a crazy person laugh when he thinks something is hilarious, he loves anything that can transport you from one place to another, and he loves running around playing with his sisters.  And Subway.  He loooooves to “eat fresh” as he says at Subway.  So if anyone who works for the company is reading give me a call.  I think he would be a great candidate to be the next Subway spokesperson.  He even knows that a footlong is 5 dollars.  Haha

To learn more about Autism go check out Autism Speaks.  They are a great place to start.  And if you would like to help raise awareness and/or donate check out my Light It Up Blue for Autism page.  You can help show your support by purchasing a blue bulb for your front porch on April 2nd.  If you do “light it up” I would love to see some photos!  And if you have been battling for someone to listen to you about your son or daughter just stay strong and keep fighting!  Remember, you are the expert when it comes to your kiddos so don’t let a doctor tell you there is nothing wrong.  It can take you 4 years or longer but just keep at it!

So do any of you have any loved ones with Autism?  What are you doing to help raise awareness?  And do you have any tips, tricks, or anything else you want to add?  Hope you all have an awesome night and thanks for listening!

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~Steph

PS–I know this post had nothing to do with the lumber part of Simply Lovely Lumber!  I’ll be back this week with a few posts for you all.  One is a little quickie project and one is a definitely NOT quickie project…see you in a few days!

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