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Category Page: Parenting

Autism: 9 Things Autism Parents Want the World to Know

Here’s a post about autism parents that we wanted to reshare from a great blog called The Mighty (more info on the blog below)


The word autism entered my heart as a whisper. It later entered my brain as a possibility. Later still, it entered my life.

I worried, bought a book on autism, devoured it and then felt like that must not be what my son has. He was nothing like the boy in the book. Maybe he just has a language delay, I thought. I waited for him to start speaking more. For him to start playing in the way that he was supposed to play. He did play, though unlike the boy in the book, so certainly, his issues were different. I stopped worrying about it. Sure, he ran laps around the house. But only when he was tired. Don’t all kids do that? Don’t they all twirl their hair, around and around and around, while drinking a bottle?

I’ve mentioned before that parents and friends assured us that Tucker would catch up, and that his delays were likely due to me being at home with him as a baby. They were wrong. But what did I know then? I had no other child in the house to compare him to. He loves to snuggle, and, from what I’d read, autistic children don’t. He looks at me in the eyes. I’d already learned from Dr. Google that children with autism don’t make eye contact…

This photo was taken four years later. Does Tucker look like anything other than a little boy having fun in the snow?

My point is, autism doesn’t look like anything but the way it looks. It doesn’t look like “Rain Man.” It doesn’t always include hand-flapping, rocking or issues with language. Sometimes it does. But sometimes it doesn’t.

9 Things Autism Parents Wish You Knew:

1. People don’t need to feel awkward when they’re around my son. Yeah, they may need to treat him a little differently, but I wish they wouldn’t be weirded out.

2. Not all autism is the same. People seem to think that because my son isn’t like the one single other person they know on the spectrum, that he must not be autistic.

3. These kids love. They need love. They are wonderful and bring enormous joy and laughter to those who love them.

4. Please don’t tell me my son doesn’t have it because he looks so different from the other kid you know on the spectrum. Knowing one child with autism doesn’t mean anything really — they’re all so different.

5. Kids with special needs are smart, talented, creative and thoughtful. It may not be obvious all the time — their minds work differently.

6. If my daughter is making strange noises, feel free to look. She’s just excited. But please don’t stand there and gape at us with your mouth hanging open.

7. If you see my son in a grocery store, he may be head nuzzling, chewing on the corner of his shirt or spinning. He’s anxious. I will not scold him, so please do not look at me as if I should. He can’t help how his body receives stimuli. He is trying to cope with the way he’s affected by his surroundings.

8. From onlookers who think I am not addressing my child’s odd behaviors: I ask for a little empathy. Don’t judge. Try to understand that his environment strongly affects him.

9. Please accept our kids the way that you assume we will accept yours.

I think I’m speaking for all of us when I say that what we really want you to know is that we, as parents, are both terrified and brave. Just like you.

That while our children may act differently from what you’re familiar with, they are our normals. That they’re full of fierce love, tender hearts and hope.

Hope.

Our special needs kids are here, on purpose and out loud. Even when they’re silent.

A version of this post originally appeared on Finding Ninee.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one moment you saw your child’s disability and/or disease through the eyes of someone else? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog postto community@themighty.com. Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio.

 

Click here to check out the original article on The Mighty blog.

Do you know 5 Early Signs of Autism?

5 Early Signs of Autism

Understanding early signs of autism can help you provide your child with the help and resources that they need from as early an age as possible.  Here are 5 early signs of autism that we’ve sourced from Autism Speaks. You can find a link to their entire checklist at the end of this article.

1) Lack of facial expressions

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No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter

 

2) Challenges with interaction

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No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months

 

3) Lack of body language

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No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months

 

4) No babbling by 12 months

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5) Delayed Verbal Communications

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No words by 16 months

 

 

 

 

 

MORE INFO

Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers

Raising a Child with Autism. Can you relate?

Raising a Child with Autism

We wanted to share a short story for parents raising a child with autism who be able to relate. Whether their diagnosis is from the low functioning end of the ASD spectrum to the high-functioning Aspergers end.  After all, we’re all in this together.

This spring we spent months in and out of Sick Kids Hospital with our son Junior. After noticing that he was losing weight, we turned to the incredible team at Sick Kids. They discovered that Junior had been suffering from digestive challenges and was in significant pain for nearly a year.

It was heartbreaking as a parent to not have known or been able to understand his suffering. But autism is a strange, curious and challenging puzzle – more prevalent than pediatric cancer, AIDS and diabetes combined.

1 in 68 children will be diagnosed with autism. This means that at least 1 in 68 families and parents have to manage the challenges of raising a child with autism. Staggeringly, that number is four times greater for boys than girls, with 1 in 42 diagnosed.  The inability to express or communicate feelings is a tell tale symptom that you’re raising a child with autism. Sadly, our son Junior couldn’t share his pain until we started to physically see it for ourselves.