Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Autism RECOVERY Awareness
It dawned on me yesterday after a phone call with the mother of one of my son's classmates. Maybe my best contribution to Autism Awareness month comes in the form of recovery information and hope to others. That is what I try and accomplish all year long. But, as my previous posts have stated, I worry that the message of Autism Awareness is being missed by those it really needs to target. But yet again, I had another parent who sees my child in the classroom environment on a weekly basis and who did not realize my son has a diagnosis of Autism. She asked me about the chart that gets filled out at the end of the day with him and marked how supportive the children are about it. When he earns all of his stickers for doing his tasks you always hear "Great job" and "Way to go" from the other kids. I want to cry when I hear it. There is so much love and compassion in that class, in that school. The children are always encouraged to support one another and think of the whole, not the individual. This mom said that she saw the sticker on my car, a National Autism Association Autism ribbon magnet. The fact that we have gotten to the point where the only way someone really knows we have been affected by Autism is by the sticker on my car is a pretty darn cool thing! I got to explain yet again how different life was just 3 short years ago when our wonderful school we attend was NOT an option. How he was non verbal, would not play, would not make eye contact. I did not hear the "I love yous" and the "Thanks mom, you're the best" like I do now. There was screaming and overstimulation in its place. Birthday parties were avoided and excuses made, knowing those environments were just too much. We still have our "days" and yet even neurotypical children do too. I know when my son is "on the verge" and we can divert those meltdowns much easier now. This past weekend was filled with school carnivals and trips to the zoo. We could never have done both in a single weekend, or stayed as long at either places. Huge steps that I consider major victories for my son. Maybe this is the better message. Yes Autism is rising but no it is not a life sentence. There ARE things you can do to change the course of Autism. I do not say every child will have the same success as my son. Some kids will respond better, some not as well. But isn't it worth the try? So I challenge those out there that Autism is not a hopeless diagnosis. I say that the journey takes you into a world you never knew existed. I have learned about healthy eating, supplements that support and nourish the body and eliminating the daily toxins that can negatively impact our health. Changing those things CAN change the course of Autism and I think that is what I really want people to know. Sometimes people don't wake up until they are immersed in our world. And with rates now 1 in 91, more people will be joining this club. So hopefully as they do, they realize they can make changes. I certainly hope that people wake up earlier and we see a decline in Autism, but until that happens, at least maybe people can read our story and find hope in recovery.