Monday, October 27, 2008

Autism: The Mystery

Almost everyone knows a family affected by autism. Autism occurs in approximately 1 out of every 150 births. This is significant considering that just a few years ago, autism occurred in 1 out of every 10,000 births. The cause of autism is still a mystery although there are several theories. There has been much publicity surrounding the claim that autism is caused by the preservative used to prolong the shelf life of childhood immunizations. Autism changes the lives of the families affected in many ways. These families face many difficulties in seeking a diagnosis, a lack of support, feelings of helplessness and grieving over the future they had dreamed of for their child that would now be very different. Some of the challenges that parents face include dealing with people that can be very judgemental, lack of resources, expensive treatments, maritial stress and negative effects on siblings. Families often have difficulty attending church due to a lack of care for their child, difficulty maintaining friendships due to the behaviors of their child, and difficulty with schools and understanding the special education process. As difficult as autism can be to deal with, there is much to be learned from these children. I personally owe so much to the first student I taught that had autism. I truly believe that I learned more from him than he learned from me. He was such a remarkable young man that was not understand by the average educator. These children have so much to offer and so much going on in their heads. The challenge lies in teaching them to control their negative behavior and to discover their gifts and talents. Children with autism often suffer from depression and anxiety. They realize that they are different, want to fit in but do not have the skills needed to maneuver the social world. I will be attending a workshop tomorrow on autism and managing behaviors. I have a very special interest in helping families that have children with autism and have had a lot of training over the years. One reason I wanted to start this blog was so that I might be able to provide some support and help for families dealing with autism. .I hope to be able to report some interesting new findings after attending the workshop tomorrow. Keep these families in your prayers and pray for increased funding and research to help identify the causes.

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