No matter which winter holiday you celebrate, it’s a magical time of year. Provided you’re not a grinch, most people look forward to the holidays for a chance to look back on the past year and reflect, to be with their families, to decorate, to give, and to just – be happy. Continue reading “Autism and the Winter Holidays”
We all know how difficult it is for a differently abled individual to navigate the world with its prejudices. There is much to be desired when it comes to acceptance and inclusions. It often makes me nervous thinking about what kind of a world will my son find himself in when he grows up and when I might not be around to be his eyes , ears, and voice. So, in the midst of all the uncertainty, when a child walks in like a breath of fresh air, it gives me hope. Continue reading “When a child gave me hope for a better world for my son”
Even though some calculations report that autism occurs in 1 in 48 births, some parents may not realize the signs and symptoms right away – or, may be in denial about the symptoms. Old wives’ tales commonly go around that tell parents, “don’t worry, boys are late talkers,” and other semi-truthful adages passed on from generation to generation. Continue reading “Early Warning Signs of Autism”
Many of our readers on PatientNextDoor have probably seen the movie Rain Man (1988, starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, directed by Barry Levinson) or Forrest Gump (1994, starring Tom Hanks and Sally Field, directed by Robert Zemeckis.) Continue reading “The Worldwide Human Phenomenon of Autism”
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a disorder that is often hard to explain or qualify. Those who suffer from autism fall on a spectrum, with degrees of severity at either end. Autism and its related disorders are qualified with several diagnostic criteria, including a difficulty in communicating, following abstract concepts, and difficulty using language, among others. No two cases of autism are alike, and you will often here people say, “if you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” Essentially, this means that everyone on the spectrum is a bit different from each other. For example, many children and adults who are autistic are non-verbal throughout their life, but those with Asperger’s syndrome (a different part of the autism spectrum), may talk nonstop. Continue reading “Common Comorbidities with Autism”
A few days back, while I was browsing the aisles of a store, my 9 yr old son brushed against another customer. I was hoping it would not be a big deal but she had something else in mind. I said sorry and explained that my son is autistic. She was not ready for that excuse and said that if that’s the case, I shouldn’t “let him loose” and that she has been watching me let him “walk free “!!! My son has a tendency to wander off so I’m hyper-vigilant and ensure that my son is literally at palm’s length from me. So clearly, he was not running amok. Besides, he has issues with personal space so he tends to reach out and touch people who come his way every once in a while. While not many people take offence , there clearly are some who feel extremely overwhelmed by coming in contact with a 9 yr old and make sure they are taken to task for that. Continue reading “This is why I will forgive”
Ishan Guha, a ten year old boy with high functioning Autism, being interviewed on Dooradarshan. Ishan had been highly acclaimed for his paintings in different exhibitions in the country and his different interests and hobbies keep him a busy body at this age, challenging his apparent challenges due to Autism.
Many parents look forward to the back-to-school time every year. For parents of neurotypical children, it’s a chance to finally have the house to themselves after a long summer vacation. For parents of children on the autism spectrum and other children with special needs, having a “parent break” is also incredibly important, but many parents face an uphill battle with the school system every year when it comes to specialized education and care for their child. Continue reading “A New School Year and the Special Needs Child”
Those who know me think, as a mom of a child with autism, I’m generally positive in my outlook. I would like to believe that is true. However, in me hides a realist–not to be confused with a pessimist. The realist me rears its head every now and then and I kick it back in, hoping it will stay there defeated and quiet. But some days it bounces back with so much strength that it clouds the sunshine in my eyes. Even on those days I listen to it’s whispers, quietly shed a tear, and go on with my life pretending it’s all going to be ok, and it might, but it leaves behind that doubt that lingers on — a doubt that forms a knot in my heart and makes it a little harder for me to breathe. It was one such day when my optimism had to bow down before my realist self.
If you are a parent of a child with special needs – Autism or otherwise, you know that the tug-of-war between the school and the parent is real and stressful. The IEP meeting every year is something all of us dread. You probably attend seminars , ask for ideas in Autism groups online, read various tips and tricks, try talking to a family advocate and gear yourself for the D-day . I’m guessing, the school ,on its part, does a ton of meetings and collaboration to come up with an IEP that they believe is practical and effective. Same goes for almost everything that involves your child and the school. There seems to be a constant back and forth trying to figure out what is best for the child. While every school year is an opportunity for the students to grow, it is also an opportunity for the teachers to learn more about the kids who need that extra attention because of their challenges.
If I was asked what I would want the school to know about my child and Autism in general, this is what I would say:
Autism was a word barely known 20 years ago, with America’s only real reference an award-winning performance of an “idiot savant” in Rain Man. Projection rates and real calculations vary, but the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Network reveals a startling 78% increase in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnoses between 2002 and 2008 alone. The cost of autism is high, with economic costs falling in separate categories of direct, indirect, and intangible. Continue reading “The High Costs of Autism”
Before my son’s diagnosis of Autism, I had never even heard about the condition. No one in my family was familiar with it and I knew of nobody who had this diagnosis either. So I started with a blank slate, with absolutely no idea what to do, how to deal with its plethora of challenges , who to reach out to or where to start. I had no clue if what I was doing was right or wrong. Just as my successes were my own, so were my failures. We, as a family, learnt along the way as we experimented with different things. Over the years we’ve perfected a few things or so we think and there are some that we are still trying to figure out . Continue reading “8 mistakes I made as a mom of an autisic child”
I stood in the middle of my son’s classroom , watching all his classmates confident and excited ,dressed as their favorite people from history. There were scientists, presidents, baseball players, civil rights activists and many more. Continue reading “The conflict within”