Autism Awareness Month

14 years ago, one in 10,000 children were diagnosed with autism. Now that number is more like 1 in 200. Autism crosses socio-economic lines. Rich and poor alike have people with autism in their families. So it's finally making it into the news, because people with power are dealing with it in their families. Today Oprah is having a show about autism.

There are two children in my extended family diagnosed with an autistic disorder. Thankfully , there is more known now than years ago because of groups like Cure Autism Now, Defeat Autism Now, The Autism Society of America, etc. Parents don't have to be alone, and don't have to depend on old books from local libraries that give no hope and suggest your child be institutionalized. There's brighter hope now, that intensive intervention can help some children. But families often have to go to the brink of bankruptcy to get their autistic children the treatment they need. Because more children are being diagnosed, there are less $$ available for intervention services. Many people can't afford them at all. And some families are squeezed because there are NO childcare services for their child, so they face a loss of income for the family just when it's most needed to pay for services.

Families with children with autism can become isolated. It's hard for children with autism to deal with social situations - they're not predictable, they usually are loud, etc. So parents take turns participating at family functions, attending church, etc. I know of a family that hadn't gone on vacation in YEARS other than local visits to the beach etc. A year ago they were finally able to have the normalizing experience of taking a vacation to Disney World. What a wonderful normalizing experience. Yet it comes with an incredible amount of work over YEARS.

Take some time to learn about autism. You may be able to be an encourager to a family with an autistic child as a result.


Unknown said...

We have a friend with an autistic boy from our Church. and another friend who is a scientist, who does research on autistic childrens sleep. wow!!! Thanks for sharing that info Dixie!!!


Gerushia's New World said...

This is a great post Dixie. One of my best friends has an autistic niece. This particular family is quite wealthy, so they had the funds to go the extra lengths for special therapies and such. Unfortunately, most people don't have such unlimited funds. But even with the money, it's still a hard hard road.

Thanks for making people aware:
Garden Painter Art

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden