Autism: What can YOU do? | Organizing Made Fun: Autism: What can YOU do?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Autism: What can YOU do?

I hope this month has brought many of you awareness, encouragement, and understanding of autism.  You will indeed meet autistic people in your life - since this is so epidemic.  Let me tell you some things you can do to help with autism. 

First book I read about autism. It was truly helpful!

Pray for the parents of autistic children - pray for patience, endurance, consistency, and pray for therapies to be available to help their children.  Some are severely autistic and will never talk or function like a typical child. Many have spectrum disorders that have varying degrees of difficulty in certain areas more than speech, but in social skills and  sensory processing disorders {PDD, Aspbergers' syndrome, SPD, etc.}.  

Just because you hear a kid screaming in the store, it doesn't mean the mom is a bad mom.  It could often be the result of a child with autism who is expressing him/herself in a way that only they know how.  As a toddler my son often screamed loudly and for no apparent reason, as there was something slightly off or lighting that bothered him that I had no idea about or could not control that something was out of place in a store.  Be sympathetic to those moms.

Lovingly reach out to them and ask them if you can push their other baby in the cart while they grab up their child to take them to the car.  Offer to watch the cart while they run after that kid.  Tell them you will pray for them because, if you've never had a child with autism, you will truly never understand the helplessness you feel at times - the feelings of being ostracized for having a child that won't act typically or respond to things typically.  {Go to Caffeinated Autism Mom for great tidbits about autism.}

You can this book here

Another great way to help your niece, nephew, grandchildren, or friends I would suggest you read a book about autism.  This will be eye opening.  My aunt bought a book and read it, then sent it to my mom as soon as she heard about Adam having autism.  My mom devoured the book and sent it to me.  It was such a great help to me and taught me all the things I had no idea about, that book was Facing Autism by Lynn Hamilton, a Christian missionary.  Because they read a good book about it, they were able to better understand things about why Adam did what he did, and this helped them to better support me as a Mom.

Another book, that is my new favorite, is Finding Your Child's Way on the Autism Spectrum by Dr. Laura Hendrickson. This book has been so great for me right now as she focuses on discipline and dealing with certain ages and how to handle that {particularly adolescence}. She has a son with autism, now graduated from college.  

Here is Adam having an opportunity to run with the L.A. Dodgers last spring. It is truly amazing that he can NOW handle all the noise and excitement of doing this. Autistic children have a hard time drowning out so much input into their system, but he is doing amazing! His Grampy was able to get him on the field for this opportunity.
Another thing...we have tried it ALL!  Trust me, so many people want to tell us this new "cure" they have heard about for autism. It's sweet, really.  I get newspaper articles, magazine articles, emails from friends, church people, and any one who knows us, tell us they heard about a new cure for autism.  But, I've probably heard about it or tried all of it!  It's not that we don't appreciate everyone helping, because I know people want to be able to help, it's just that we are doing everything possible now to improve Adam's quality of life.  Let me list a few of the things I can remember that we have tried or are still doing:

Gluten-free, Casein-free diet {4 1/2 years}
Vitamin B shots {every other night for two years}
-  Speech therapy {for the last 9 1/2 years}
-  Occupation therapy {off and on for 7 years}
Vision Therapy {currently for the last year}
Social skills group {for the last two years}
Behavioral intervention {for 3 years}
Holistic supplements {9 years}
Biomedical work {and here}
-  Shadow/aide in school {for 4 years}
Interactive Metronome {1+ year}

I'm sure there is more we've done the last 9+ brain just can't remember it all!  It's a lot of things we've tried or are still doing.  You really can't know what has been the "cure" or helped the most.  Quite honestly, it's a lot of hard work, parenting, discipline, consistency, faith, and all these things, too.  

Adam and Dr. Nishida, his vision therapist.

Adam and Miss Jennifer, Dr. Nishida's assistant and wonderful vision therapist!
We have had the most amazing therapists, too.  Adam is a joy to work with, according to all of them.  He is motivated and loves to please them, so he works hard for them.   They also keep us up to date on new things coming out for children with autism. This list is a very SMALL dose of what you could do - there is a LOT more things to try.  Yes, it's expensive having a child with autism {some of you have two or more}.  Our state and our health insurance does not cover most of his therapies.  They do not feel it is necessary or that it hasn't been completely evaluated as being helpful as of yet.  But, when it's your child, you will sacrifice and find the money. Therapies, supplements, gas to and all adds up to a lot of money!  You can support legislature that is trying to get insurance companies and states to fund for these. 

Adam with Miss Teresa, his speech therapist! She is working on conversational speech with him - the most important speech for him now.

Well, I hope this month has really taught you a lot.   It has been amazing at all the emails I have received!  Please use this information as a resource.  I now have an autism "tab" at the top of my blog so you can refer any friends you find out have a child with autism or for your own personal reference.  

So thankful for our speech therapist, Teresa.  She is a blessing to us!

One last thing you can do, support AUTISM Speaks and other autism organizations.  Support a team or start a team to help out your friends.  This is another small way you can help!

Again, visit the bloggers below who have stories and/or are supporting autism this month.  

Autism websites:

Autism Speaks

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