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I'm a mother of 3 who started blogging as a way to share our many adventures and to expand beyond the everyday "mommy world". While there IS so much more to us mommies than the title, there is very little that doesn't in some way or another lead us back to or influence our children...if anything. So, I hope you enjoy following our family's randomness, because as all moms know- you can never anticipate what tomorrow will bring! Thanks for visiting and have a blessed day! :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Autism: A Parent's Perspective

Photo courtesy: Arkansas Autism Network
As many of you know, our son has Asperger's Syndrome (and we recently learned that this term is no longer being used.  Now, it's just called high-functioning autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD).).  Anyway, I'm often asked about the signs of autism.  Parents want to know the symptoms so they can keep an eye on their own children and recognize any problems, to answer the question of "how and when did you know?".  Those who have children with a recent diagnosis want to know how we handle certain situations, the logistics, and how we cope with the challenges that having a special needs child creates.  Students want to hear from a parent's perspective and humanize the clinical description of the term "autism", to find an answer to the question of "who are these kids, what do they look like, and how will I recognize them out in the real world?"  Others are just curious and wish to know more about it and raise their awareness. 

The truth is, the spectrum is wide and varying.  I can give you our personal experience and some general things to look for, but every child is different.  And I mean, EVERY child-from the neurotypical to the not-so-neurotypical and the last thing I want to do is limit or stereotype a certain "kind" of child.  The "not-so-neurotypical", though different by nature, are still children and still enjoy what most children enjoy.  Jackson, for example, loves pizza, ice cream, french fries, candy, playgrounds, video games, movies, camping, and parties.  He forgets to pick up his toys or brush his teeth.  He argues with his brother and sister.  I guess that is part of the reason that there are so many questions about autism.  In many ways, they are like any other child.  Any one of the symptoms, when isolated, doesn't necessarily mean your child has autism.  It could just mean they are "quirky" in that way or a little "high-strung".  It's the combination of symptoms that should give you pause.  Here is what we observed in our son...