Since April is Autism Awareness Month, and this is a cause that means a great deal to me, I've asked a friend to guest blog for me about her family's experience with autism. Here are her words:
Autism Awareness Month - Part One
Guest post by AutumnMommy-Laura
This month is Autism Awareness Month. What do those three words mean? What is Autism Awareness and why do it only one month? For me every month is autism awareness month. Not just for me, but my brother, many of my cousins, my parents, and so many others. We are the ones who live with or are close to an autistic child, teenager or adult. We are the ones who get stared at in public and people wonder why the people with them make too much noise, or are brats, or are rude.
Autism Enters My World
My brother has a son who is autistic. He was the cutest baby. His eyes were filled with wonder. I would show him photos of nebulas and planets and others from outer space. He would sleep through the night so soundly that when I would baby-sit him at my house my housemates wouldn’t even know a baby was there. Then I went away for a year and when I came back he wasn't walking or talking, we were told it was a hearing problem. My nephew got ear tubes and a wait and see. So we waited and still as he got older he wasn't acting like a typical toddler. Potty training wasn't working and fewer words were spoken.
Finally it was time to start thinking about school and special education was needed. My nephew was classified as mentally retarded. He was not retarded we all knew this. We had heard of autism and started learning more about it. We all clearly saw that my brother’s oldest child, my nephew was most likely autistic. It took my brother and his wife a long time to get him classified as autistic. I think when he finally was classified as autistic we cheered because he could finally get the assistance he needed.
That was over a decade ago. Today my nephew is still in his own world but there seems to be a crack in his world that lets him ever so slightly to enter into ours to interact. Those moments are priceless and we have found that he has a sense of humor. He also is a typical teenager. He wants his own space his is my nephew and I love him. He also was my first exposure to autism.
My autism experience expanded when I was a camp councilor at a camp for the blind. One of my campers was deaf, blind and autistic. I still remember how happy she was. She loved to run and play with the other campers. Then we heard that the oldest son of one of my cousins had Asperger's Disorder.
Asperger's Disorder or Syndrome was new to us. We knew he had some quirks. His speech was different. It was very proper and advanced. He liked to use big words. Then another cousin also had a child with possible asperger’s. Then another cousin, there seemed to be a trend happening. I too had a son and he had his quirks. I started to pay attention to them now.