(Image from the “Autism Speaks” website)
It may not be autism awareness month, but autism is something to be aware about. I was glancing at the television when a commercial about autism aired and I must admit that is caught me by surprise. I did not expect the commercial to go in the direction that it did, because I was not fully paying attention. There was a young boy playing with toy, and his parents were calling his name several times…he did not respond to them nor look in their direction. The child continued to play with his toy, his attention was consumed by the likeness of the object. His parents said things such as “well maybe he’s just really focused.” The reality came at the end of the commercial when the spokesperson said “preoccupation with objects is an early sign of autism.” That caught me off guard, however it is so true.
As parents and caregivers, we hope for the best when it comes to our children. We only want them to succeed and be the best in their respective fields. Not everyone is aware of autism, the effects, or signs of it. It is important to be aware, because it could be effecting your child and you wouldn’t know, parenting would become frustrating. The worse part is, you wouldn’t know how you could help your child overall. This particular commercial almost made me cry because I am a parent. My daughter is not autistic, however when I was pregnant I was concerned about her health and well being and I still am til this day. When I was pregnant, the doctor tried to encourage me to get an abortion because I had fibroids and they could cause problems. I just looked at the doctor and nodded, but my mind was already made up…I was going to carry my child and give birth, because I knew that God had His hand over me and my baby!
Getting back to the commercial, I’ve worked with autistic children in the past on various stages of the spectrum. Even with higher functioning autistic children, there is a preoccupation with objects that occurs, so that is why that commercial hits home for me. However just because a child is diagnosed with autism doesn’t mean that is the end of the world. There is plenty of assistance out there for families of all backgrounds and income levels. There are fantastic schools that specialize in helping children with autism, as well as support staff that are there to work one on one with a child based on a treatment plan that is developed by a therapist, that specifically works with the child. From my experience, these treatment plans are very helpful and cater to the child’s personal needs and goals.
As real as autism is, so is the help that can be provided to a diagnosed child. Be aware of the signs and do the research to help your family or others become aware and take advantage of the tools that are available to help families who may have autistic children.
As always…thanks for stopping by…