Blindsided by Autism

Thanks for joining me and happy July!

For July, our theme is Autism. Many children from hard places are diagnosed with autism either from genetic causes or from brain trauma that mimics autism. We’ll be writing about how to cope with a diagnosis, therapy and strategies to use at home, and talking to moms of autistic children.

Many adopted children fall in the special needs category. Children adopted from institutions can suffer from Institutional Autism. This sounds professional and scholarly as if I am in the know. I am not.

The truth is, I was blindsided by autism.

My four adopted children (from Poland) have struggled, battled and fought through FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome), Attachments Issues, Sensory Issues, learning challenges and  developmental delays. I have stood with them, shoulder to shoulder, arming myself with research and education. A few years back, with a house full of teens and a couple of married daughters, I thought I had come to the end of the diagnosis season. I was ready to lay down my research glasses and focus on just enjoying the last few years of homeschooling and child rearing. I had logged my years, trudging deep in research and applied sciences.

My youngest son stagnated in his progress. Some of the theories of child rearing I had established backfired with him. I didn’t know which way to turn.

Over a Christmas holiday season, daughter Audrey sent me multiple articles about Asperger’s and in each article I saw a picture of my son. It was eerie reading words that so accurately described what I was seeing on a daily basis. My definition of Asperger’s was a highly intelligent being with no social skills. My picture was a stick drawing compared to the highly integral work of art that Asperger’s is.

“Asperger’s syndrome (also known as Asperger’s Disorder) was first described in the 1940s by Viennese pediatrician Hans Asperger, who observed autism-like behaviors and difficulties with social and communication skills in boys who had normal intelligence and language development. Many professionals felt Asperger’s syndrome was simply a milder form of autism and used the term “high-functioning autism” to describe these individuals. Uta Frith, a professor at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience of University College London and editor of Autism and Asperger Syndrome, describes individuals with Asperger’s as “having a dash of autism.”-http://www.autism-society.org/

My journey to a diagnosis was like any story, the plot didn’t resolve quickly and perfectly. It was random. I researched. Took notes. Stayed up late reading and taking various quizzes (http://www.rdos.net/eng/Aspie-quiz.php) for my son. I had sessions with counselors and friends whose children were on the Spectrum. I had a new set of words to learn, new protocol to follow, new diet restrictions (for my son). I’ll touch on all these subcategories as the month progresses. Here are some of my July post titles:

Institutional Autism: is it the same as regular Autism?

My self-imposed education on Autism (including resources)

Four Great Characteristics of Apserberger’s

My Daughter is on the Spectrum and I missed it!

Expectations of Family and Friends and How to deal with them when you have a child on the Spectrum

My Aspie Tendencies (You probably have a few too)

 Autism and Diet 

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