Saturday, March 31, 2012

April: Autism Awareness Month

I plan to do a Our Face of Autism picture every day in the month of April. Sometimes it may be the "sibling" of our face of autism, or "family member" of our face of autism - but doing a multitude of pictures really puts an interesting perspective on things.

I hope you all enjoy it!

Friday, March 30, 2012

1 in 88 children has Autism

Coming on the forefront of Autism Awareness Month, the rate of Autism has increased from 1 in 110 to 1 in 88 children being diagnosed with Autism, with 1 in 54 boys being diagnosed as calculated by the CDC. In 1999, when Ashton was born, the rate was 1 in 500!

In the thirteen years since Ashton was born, the rates have increased over 460%!!

Amazing. Appalling. Disabling. Staggering. and just plain ole sad.

WHY such a dramatic increase?! Just in the last two years alone, the rate has went from 1 in 110 to 1 in 88 ... that's a percent increase of 23%!

We have to consider and accept that there may never be any one known cause for autism, at least not in the foreseeable future for the millions of families affected by autism. But that there are excellent and worthwhile treatments that are available that allow these special children and adults lead more independent lives. (I had to think about what term to use, fulfilling doesn't seem right as it leads you to think that an individual with autim's life is not fulfilling, nor did normal as it makes it seems to personify that a person with autism is not normal and they are.... independent is the best way I can describe the way I want Ashton to be as an adult). However, those treatments often come at a very steep cost, both financially and emotionally.

We need to come to the realization that no one way of treating autism is the right way. What works for one child, may not work for another. What one family can afford, another may not. But, what the government and the schools can do is more easily uniformly teach their staff, teachers and administrators how to interact, teach and love these special kids, to at least get them out on the right track.

We're fortunate. Ashton's a very happy, social and smart nearly 13-year-old. He is pretty high functioning in the grand scheme of things. He does not act, nor will he likely ever act like his chronological age. But he's so incredibly sweet and funny and quirky. He's our very sweet boy whom we all love very much. I wouldn't want to change anything about him, other than to help make his life easier. But, he leads a very happy and fulfilling life, but he's not where he can be independent and these are skills we need to start working on as his parents, to help him be more successful as he starts to go through these hard teenage years.

But wow ... 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys. Absolutely staggering and jaw-dropping.