Friday, June 3, 2011

Are you aware of awareness?

Next month is Autism Awareness Month. And as you all know- I have an autistic  child. So my blog and  my "mainstream" Facebook page will be all over it. I am aware of Autism every damn day- and I  post news articles, fundraising events, advocacy opportunities  and blogs concerning  Autism all of the time.  I share my son's life- his ups and downs and my joys and frustrations pretty much daily.  Just forewarning you all- that in April it will be a constant bombardment. My goal? To educate as many people as I possibly can about Autism.

 Like I said- it is Autism Awareness Day every single day at my house- as well as for anyone else dealing with it. Highlighting a month to be more aware, spread information and put the spotlight on things is a good thing- don't get me wrong- but how many folks (with the exception of those dealing with these things daily) remember squat about these things?  I feel it is my mission to bombard the masses (in my own special little corner here) with facts,myths stories, videos, and whatever else I can do until it is burned into their brain. And if people only remember one thing- just one- and share it with someone else, and they share and so on and so forth, then I have accomplished a small part of my goal.

So let me start by saying that many people (maybe you) rely on what the media tells you about autism. Let me say that the media representation of Autism is built on the most outrageous or sensational things just maintaining a grain of truth.   Not ALL Autistics are Rain Man- that is a VERY small percentage of what is known as Savantism and not all autistic are savants- just as all savants aren't autistic. Believe me- when the word Autism first came up with my boy- that was the first thing I thought of.  Yes- a lot of autistic kids and adults have an area of expertise- my son's happens to be about dinosaurs. He can remember a 100 different dinosaurs names, time they lived , what they ate, but can't memorize his times tables. Go figure.  It's just the way his brain is wired- and that's that.

Autism occurs now in 1 in 100 kids- 1 in 70 boys. This number has changed drastically even since my son was diagnosed in 2006. From 1 in 150, to 1 in 110 and now to 1 in 100. Damn. Scary thought isn't it? Now many will say that the jump in numbers is due to better diagnostics, increased awareness, etc. It IS true that Autism is a SPECTRUM disorder- ranging from the high functioning such as Aspergers Syndrome  and High Functioning Autism, to Severe Autism to PDD-NOS ( which is just a way of saying your child doesn't meet all the diagnostic criteria for Autism- but has enough so we can label them) and yes- to some degree there is some truth to the better diagnostics answer- but I really don't believe that is all there is to it. But that my friends is a blog for another day. 

So this blog is just a preview for the month of April.  I will be writing about different things about Autism, organizations affiliated with Autism. my giant let down by Autism Speaks and my mission to win my son's teacher an iPad for her class and so much more! I am hoping to get some guest bloggers  that I can showcase as well. Hint, hint people! Hit me up- I want to hear what you have to say! Even if you aren't a parent of an autistic child, ask me questions, give me ideas and opinions. It is what awareness is all about after all.