Sunday, May 2, 2010
Autism Awareness in my own words
What does Autism Awareness mean to me? I have an unfair advantage in answering this question because I live with autism everyday and all I know is there are good days and not so good days and it seems we are always preparing ourselves and working with the same objective each and everyday and that is to make sure our son will be ok today and we always work towards doing our best to help him get through each and every day. It becomes more difficult now that he is in school but that means he is becoming responsible for his own actions and there is not a day that goes by when I am not thinking of my son and how his school day is going. In school he has accomplished many good things that we are very proud of but he also has struggled particularly with social development. He has speech therapy and occupational therapy in addition to his normal class schedule. The teachers obviously are aware of his background and are working to prepare him for larger classroom settings. We are concerned about this because from his early days in school through his current 4th grade class he has had intimate class settings with no more than 6-8 students in his class. He seems to learn better in a small class room setting and we fear that if he is moved into larger classes he will get lost and will fall behind. He has come along way and we would hate to see him regress.
Now my answer to Autism awareness as I have come to hope and pray for is my own internal wish that I believe all parents of autistic children can relate to and may even hope for as well. To me autism awareness is an effort made by people whether they are directly affected by it or know of someone who is to take an interest in understanding the condition of autism so they can try to relate and help in some way the child who has autism. No one truly knows the reason why autism has been so much more prevalent today. The need to recognize this condition is to try and better understand it so proper action can be taken in helping the child or young adult in their daily lives. To understand autism and be aware of it is necessary if we wish to help the many children who live it everyday. We need to learn all we can on autism and in helping our children who are affected by it and make their lives meaningful and purposeful. We need to encourage autistic children and help develop their confidence and make a conscious effort to understand the way they see things. We need to fully accept them as they are and empower them for they can certainly show us the way.
Despite the epidemic proportions related to a diagnosis of autism stemming from one of the many disorders on the Autism spectrum there still seems to be a lot of ignorance on the subject and that is why making autism a subject to discuss and debate is essential. We need to raise awareness each and everyday if we wish to help these kids and young adults. Autism awareness also is taking action in participating in events to help raise funds for helping fund schools so they can hire more teachers and trained staff to suit these autistic kids needs. It also means raising funds to help in research and in helping families who are struggling because of the staggering medical costs and finding proper doctors to help reach these poor children.
When you look into the eyes of an autistic child you will sense isolation and a fear because most autistic children can not make eye contact and they have difficulty verbalizing their feelings so a major concern for these autistic children is repairing the breakdown in communication they experience and help develop their self confidence. Autism is such an isolating and frustrating condition that seems to impact tremendously on an individuals life and it makes a parent very sad. Once a parent gets through the initial shock and painful reality that there child is or most likely is autistic can they start to make decisions in dealing with recognizing their child needs and provide the proper support required. We must show these children compassion, understanding, love and a lot of encouragement to help them through.
Autistic children tend to be very fussy in their eating habits and they need to be structured in their everyday routines. One of the major considerations in understanding an autistic child is knowing they find comfort in familiarity and have a need for following a routine that if altered can result in a major meltdown that will make the child rebel, fight and become very difficult to control. It really tests a parent's patience and can result in parent-child separation which would be devastating to both the parent and the child.
We love our children regardless of their autism and we will always support them and try our best to guide them and work with them in improving their social development, their behavior and their self confidence. My son has difficulties with relating to others and that is what we are working towards helping him improve upon in addition to helping him concentrate better by eliminating all the distractions. Autistic children seem to be very sensitive to sound and have a lot of sensory issues that affect them in how they approach what is going on in their day.
To help raise awareness it starts at home and we all have to take the initiative and the responsibility if we wish to address our son's immediate needs and help him with making the necessary progress he needs to and we hope for. Autism awareness is what all parents strive for including myself and it is a means for networking and lining up the help that most certainly is necessary to help the child through the myriad of choices they will face in their young lives.
Matty, Don't feel you have to take on the world. We are here with you every step of the way and we will help you at every waking moment and help guide you and teach you the way. We know it is not easy and we fully support you and love you and will always love you and help you in every way we can.
Edward D. Iannielli III