The rate of Autism or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) diagnosis has been steadily going up with each passing year. Most parents discover the disorder during the second year of their child’s life; however, some discover earlier than that, especially when parents are aware of the disorder and look out for any signs. I started noticing my son’s atypical behaviors after his first birthday. It started gradually, but I can still recall how I dropped everything and began searching for a pediatric psychologist when I saw my one-year-old embracing another woman on the playground. At first, he would zone out a lot and look away when I would talk to him, attributing this attitude to healthy child development; however, as his behavior continued, I realized that something was off. The psychologist did not give any real diagnosis; in fact, I was told that up until the child is four years old, it is impossible to indeed assign a diagnosis. All children are developing differently, but they tend to catch up with each other as they enter their fifth year of age.
There is really no true evidence what causes Autism in our children.
There are many theories out there that heavy metals in vaccines, pollution, genetics, or poor diet can be the cause; however, there is no scientifically proven evidence to support them. One of my theories that might sound silly to many unaffected people but plausible to those who deal with a challenging child every day is that Autism is an evolving stress-coping mechanism. Have you ever noticed that many autistic children go about their days as if they live in their own worlds? They smile to themselves and think about their own thoughts. They don’t let the stress affect them. They go with the flow without paying much interest to any objects or individuals. In some way, their unique ability to stay detached creates a special kind of resilience. Autistic children are very peaceful with themselves if left undisturbed; however, the city sounds or bright lights or any unwanted brain stimulation aggravates them, making them scream, chin, pinch, kick, jump or run into the walls. I genuinely think that autistic children are almost a different kind of human development. We believe that Autism is abnormal, but abnormality is a very relative term. Autism might be a new way of a human being coping with stress and stimulation that we are all over-exposed to. Perhaps, it is a new norm that we all yet have to accept.
As a parent of a young child who has been recently diagnosed with Autism, you might be looking for miracle treatments to make your child “normal.” You may want your child to react to your words, follow your requests, identify all family members and parts of their body, point at the objects he or she desires, and respond to your sadness with sadness instead of an inappropriate splash of joy. I have been there and have gone through all of this. I tried vitamin shots that made my child sleepless, I tried diets that made my child hungry. I went through a dozen therapists, many of whom were not really made to provide valuable service. I also took the matter in my hands and turned myself into a 24/7 therapist. I took pictures of all familiar objects and people and placed them all over the house. I vocalized every action my son made and consistently helped him construct two to three-word request sentences.
Eventually, my son could pronounce letters, identify colors and shapes; however, now that he is seven, speech, understanding of social cues, and danger coming out from the surroundings are still hard for him to grasp. He jumps whenever he is happy, digs his chin into his hands or legs, or pinches his body when mad, or he starts crying suddenly by recalling certain sad moments. He is an absolutely loving boy with his own challenges. He loves to hug and get on your lap. He enjoys swings, trampolines, swimming on his own, and bouncing on an exercise ball. He loves life.If you are a parent who just discovered that your child has Autism or someone who is overwhelmed with the challenges that seem to never end, just embrace it. Accept your child the way she or he is. Reinforce his or her strengths, forgive, and gradually correct the weaknesses. Be there, be understanding, take breaks, and give your child plenty of breaks. It is OK to stop the therapies’ continuous flow; it is OK to let your child engage in one non-stop activity, whether it is watching the wheels roll, or squeezing a ball, or popping a balloon one after another. We ALL need breaks and time to unwind. The more comfortable you get with your child’s behavior, the more clarity his or her actions will bring to you. Listen and watch, and work towards improvement. The therapy will come from you, and this is the best long-term approach you can take.
Hi, there! Whether you are a mom, dad, uncle, aunt, sister, brother, grandparent, family friend, or someone who has recently come across the term “Autism” or has been touched by it, or has been living with it for many years, I am delighted you came across my page! I hope the blog that I started out of the desire to share my emotions, thoughts, and ideas with the world would be valuable to you.
I am a mother of two elementary school-aged children. My daughter is a bright and curious creature who loves creating arts and crafts projects, drawing, reading books, and watching her animated movie series. My son is a loving boy with moderate Autism. He enjoys bouncing on the exercise ball, jumping on the trampoline, and watching his favorite animated movies. His primary challenges are the lack of speech, poor focus, and below-average comprehension. I always find myself balancing my physical and emotional care between my extremely demanding daughter and my somewhat detached son. It is a never-ending, 24/7 job that offers no breaks and no vacations but is full of happy hours.
I am a graduate student with MBA in Technology and Entrepreneurship. Prior to obtaining my graduate degree, I worked in the financial services industry.