Friday, April 2, 2010

Autism Awareness Month

It's another April. Another April living with Autism

My son was born in January of 2005. My son was born with autism. He was also born beautiful and funny and smart. He was born to loving parents who just think he is the greatest thing since sunshine.

We still think that way, through the sleepless nights and the temper tantrums. Through the poop smearing, constant monitoring, biting, item throwing, paper-eating, furniture destroying days.

We love our son. We hate that autism has decided to take up residence.

Autism is a neurological disorder marked by challenges in social interaction, communication, and by restricted and repetitive behaviors.

And how!

David is now 5 years old. He doesn't have many words. He is unable to dazzle us with his opinion on whether triceratops or stegosaurus was the mightier of the dinosaurs. He can't tell us if he is in pain, or confused, or worried. We don't hear question after question about the world.

I would give my left eye to hear David utter a question. Just one question.

He can ask questions, just not with words. He uses his body. He uses his hand to ask a question. A look to me with a raised eye brow and the palm of his hand placed on the item he wants to know about. He uses a grunt if he can't touch the item Because of David, I know the origin of the Cadillac emblem ( Thanks, little dude)

Kids like David have to be taught behaviors. Behavior is everything you do.From sitting to eating, to walking in the grocery store. We are now attending a training session once a week to teach David how to behave in the grocery store. We meet a behaviorist at Whole Foods and we are working on getting David to hold onto the cart, not touch anything, and not run away. For neurotypical kids, you can teach them by example and by telling them what is acceptable behavior in public places. For kids with autism, behaviors have to be broken down into small units and taught over and over again until they understand. I figure by September we should have this down!

Today is World Autism Awareness Day. Autism Speaks has asked that iconic buildings turn their light blue on April 1 and 2. Please join them in lighting your home, business, website, or anything you want blue to shine a light on Autism!


Hummingbirder said...

Thank you for sharing this post and your son with us. Many blessings upon you and yours.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Hummingbirder! The same to you!

dressers said...

Thanks for this post. I have lots of friends that have children who have autism and it is easy for them. They really are a blessing.