Sunday, April 4, 2010

Autism Awareness Day

** I tried to post this for two days. For some reason Blogger did not want it. What gives?

~~~ Original Post that I did on Friday Morning, Autism Awareness Day~~~

As you may or may not know... today is Autism Awareness Day. April is Autism Awareness Month. I wanted to make sure that everyone who reads the blog knows the latest statistics.

1 in 110 children are now diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. 1 in 70 Boys are being diagnosed.

As a mom of an autistic child, these are so alarming!!!! Every year when the NIMH does their latest statistics... it gets worse and worse. When Trevor was diagnosed in Feb of 2006 with Autism the ratio was 1:163. Now just three years later (the latest statistics are from 2009) it is 1:110. I know I am not alone in wishing more research would go into the study of Autism and ways to help.

Now for some personal info. In case you would like a glimpse into raising a child with autism... keep reading.

Autism means lot's of guessing. At least for me. I am continually guessing what is bothering Trevor, what is wrong, how he feels, why school was hard that day, why he can't wear most clothes that are bought for him, why he is angry, why he is frustrated, why he can't just explain his reasoning.... and on and on. Life with autism for me means many hours of planning ahead for holidays, birthdays, special events. It means schedule boards, behavior charts, many phone calls to and from the school, battling homework, battling reading on a daily basis. It means worrying if he is going to eat when we go somewhere, if he is going to eat if he is home. It means wondering if this little change of routine is going to cause some mild questioning, or screaming on the floor. It means thinking about how uncertain the future seems.

But I also can say this about Autism. I have been truly opened up to another life that I never imagined or could prepare for. But even though it has been a hard and extremely frustrating at times journey... I would not change it for anything. I have learned so many things on a personal level that I could not have learned otherwise. I think I am more patient with the kids because I know that Trevor truly does not understand the most basic of things at times. I think that I am alot more compassionate to other people and especially those I see struggling as well. I am ashamed to admit that I used to be annoyed by the screaming child at the store. Now I have so much compassion for them. I want to walk up and give that mom a hug and tell her I understand. Even if the child is a neurotypical child, I know how it feels to be looked down on for a screaming child. I think I have a special place in my heart for children with special needs that I could not have had if I didn't experience it for myself. I just latch on to those kids and truly love them even though I don't' know them well. Case in point (sorry to put you on the spot Jessica) but a friend of mine I have met on this special needs journey has become one of my best friends... someone I go to for all sorts of advice. Her little boy Jonah, has Bronchiecstasis, a lung disease that is like Cystic Fibrosis. When little Jonah has problems, does not feel well or has his 'clean-out's' down at PCMC, I am on constantly thinking of him and praying for him and Jessica to make it through whatever trial they are going through. I love this kid and am amazed at what he goes through. These special needs kids are amazing!!!! I can honestly say that I have hear that term many times throughout my life, but never truly understood what that meant until now.

I am so grateful for the things I have learned from Autism. I am glad that we are able to have the help we do for Trevor and he has the people in his life he does. Some days... I will admit I do hate Autism and wish it was not anything I had to deal with. But since I do have to deal with it, I am glad I have been able to embrace it and learn as much as I can in order to help Trevor has the best chance at life as possible.


Jessica said...

By the second paragraph I was already tearing up. How much you go through, and you are always so positive. it has been a true example to me. Melissa I am so thankful everyday that we have crossed paths. I don't know where I would be if I never met you, so much you have tought me, and continue to teach.
now... If I could just borrow you to help orgNIZE Mr. jonah's room...

I I too hope tha a cure could be found, but until then keep educating those around you! You have definatly found a calling in life!

Deb and Spence said...

I can't imagine what it's like being the mother of a child with autism. My class has been peer tutors with the self contained autistic group in our school and I love seeing kids who befriend people who are a little different from them. You amaze me all the time Melissa!

Chantel and Brian said...

You never cease to amaze me. The statistics are getting scary. I'm sorry you have to go through so much with Trevor. Just remember we all love him and you.

Amy said...

I think you are the best person to handle an autistic child. You have done your research and are an amazing mom. You try to do everything you can to make things more comfortable and enjoyable for Trevor and the other boys. We are always praying for you.