April is Autism Awareness Month (1 Viewer)

primadox

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Tomorrow starts Autism Awareness Month. Many of us here are touched by autism in some way, which is not surprising since autism is found in 1 in 150 children. My son is 10,and in 4th grade in a "regular" classroom, making almost straight A's. Early intervention was a key with him, thanks to an observant pediatrician who recognized similar symptoms in him that she had seen in her own son with Asperger's (a form of autism). We were able to start therapies for his speech delay before he turned 3, and shortly after he started classes for the speech delay, we received an official diagnosis of autism when he was 3 years, 4 months old. The educational support and therapies he received in those very early years have allowed him to be a success in the regular classroom today. Early diagnosis and intervention is critical for our children who have autism. Connor is a loving, smart child...he goes into his own world at times, has struggles with some social situations, and can't keep his work organized, but he is interactive with people, and has a pure sweetness about him that everyone is drawn to. And he can make ANYTHING with Lego's! Each child with autism has their struggles and challenges, but they also possess some pretty special and unique gifts.

Here is some information on autism from the Autism Society of America:
Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a "spectrum disorder" that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause for autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.

In February 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDME autism prevalence report. The report, which looked at a sample of 8 year olds in 2000 and 2002, concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 150 American children, and almost 1 in 94 boys. The issuance of this report caused a media uproar, but the news was not a surprise to ASA or to the 1.5 million Americans living with the effects of autism spectrum disorder. Nonetheless, the spotlight shown on autism as a result of the prevalence increase opens opportunities for the nation to consider how to serve these families facing a lifetime of supports for their children.

Currently, ASA estimates that the lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism ranges from $3.5 million to $5 million, and that the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism (this figure includes research, insurance costs and non-covered expenses, Medicaid waivers for autism, educational spending, housing, transportation, employment, in addition to related therapeutic services and caregiver costs).
Autism Society of America: About Autism

Feel free to add your thoughts, links, and stories to this thread! And support special ed in your school systems...it's a better investment to work with these kids while they're young, rather than push them aside to be supported by the government later on.
 

rpm28

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Thanks for the reminder Kellye. Autism awareness should be every month. Best to you & your son!
 

Wisdom Tooth

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CNN did a feature today on it and it got me wondering what's triggering the rapid increases in kids diagnosed with it. Maybe something in the foods we eat or vaccinations kids get?
 

bclemms

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CNN did a feature today on it and it got me wondering what's triggering the rapid increases in kids diagnosed with it. Maybe something in the foods we eat or vaccinations kids get?

I think it has a lot to do with much better diagnostic tools and a wider spectrum of cases being considered autism. I'm not saying that is the whole reason, just a large part of it.
 
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primadox

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I think it has a lot to do with much better diagnostic tools and a wider spectrum of cases being considered autism. I'm not saying that is the whole reason, just a large part of it.

Exactly. We're better at diagnosing, but our kids are also exposed to a whole lot more than they used to be...I'll post a link when I find it that compares the number of vaccines years ago vs. today; combined with the fact that many were preserved with a mercury derivative until recently really makes you wonder if that is a factor in some autism cases. I'd love to see articles on these topics linked in this thread as we go through the month; I'll try to add something every day or so.

Mods, is this thread worthy of a sticky for the month, like last year? Thanks! :)
 

MSUSousaphone

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Its also because of stuff like Asperger's syndrome being diagnosed as autism now. There's rumors going around that the DSM-V will actually place ADHD under autism but I'm not sure how serious that is.

It would be interesting if some cross cultural studies involving autism here and autism in places where the accused vaccinations aren't given would be conducted.
 

ra

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Definitely awareness month.... definitely.

CNN did a feature today on it and it got me wondering what's triggering the rapid increases in kids diagnosed with it. Maybe something in the foods we eat or vaccinations kids get?

I believe it's not a matter of it growing in alarming rates rather than it being diagnosed now that it's been categoried. Just like alzheimers. What used to be retardation has now been subcategorized into a bunch of different diagnoses. What used to be senility is now subcategorized into loads of things including alzheimers.
Hopefully the cures can be as specialized as the ailments.
 
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primadox

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Definitely awareness month.... definitely.



I believe it's not a matter of it growing in alarming rates rather than it being diagnosed now that it's been categoried. Just like alzheimers. What used to be retardation has now been subcategorized into a bunch of different diagnoses. What used to be senility is now subcategorized into loads of things including alzheimers.
Hopefully the cures can be as specialized as the ailments.

Ah, an important nail has been hit on the head...thanks, ra. There are so many therapies and interventions out there that can help a child overcome autism, and what works for one child doesn't work for another. And yet it's hard for schools to offer what these kids need (even ABA therapy, which is successful in many early intervention situations, isn't offered in many public shool special ed curriculums), and to offer specialized plans for each child is hard for those districts without the funds. Add in the fact that medical insurance won't cover most of these therapies, and these specialized "cures"/therapies, which are around, are inaccessable for many parents of autistic children. Realize that many of us cannot be a dual-income family because of the special needs child, and that adds to the financial burden. The specialized therapies are out there NOW, and more are being developed; they just need to be made available to the average family of an autistic child, via the public school system or insurance or both.
 

MSUSousaphone

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Good point.

There are many therapies out there, some of which have a good success rate. But these are just like therapies when it comes to smoking or pedaphiles....it cures some, makes others better, but also no effect on others. Its really shocking to find out just how much we don't know about how are brain works. I know most people think that autism is bio-chemical but they havn't been able to prove that....so I've heard. Hopefully they'll find the cause soon, and after that, a cure.

My wife is actually getting her masters in ABA right now.
 
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primadox

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Today's story

Celebrating Autism
By Michele Sweeney

In October of 2004, while at work, I received a phone call from my daughter Katie.

"Mommy", she screamed with joy, "I made the court!"

It took me a moment to process what she meant and then I started screaming, too. "Wow! I am so proud of you!"

I opened the office door and hollered, "Hey y'all, Katie made the Homecoming Court!"

Working in a dialysis clinic, despite (or maybe even because) of the serious nature of the work, is often like attending a daily family reunion. We were a close knit group, so my announcement was met by a series of cheers. Everyone, including the doctors, the secretarial staff, the patients, and my co-workers, knew that Katie had autism and many of them had known her since she was a baby.

The reality sunk in; no matter the outcome of the election for Queen, my Katie, my baby, my “former child from hell, lock her in an institution, throw away the key" sweet baby girl was on the Homecoming Court. Despite what people said about autism and a lack of "social skills", my daughter with autism had just won one of the biggest social contests of high school.


continued: Autism Speaks, Community, In Their Own Words, Celebrating Autism
 
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Thorin

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CNN did a feature today on it and it got me wondering what's triggering the rapid increases in kids diagnosed with it. Maybe something in the foods we eat or vaccinations kids get?

I was wondering the same thing, but now I understand from y'all's posts. The things I learn on SR...

EDIT: BTW I remember before my daughter was born, I constantly worried that she might have problems. We are so lucky. Raising a perfectly healthy kid is challenging enough. Kudos Primadox!
 

saint hdawg

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Thanks for the heads up. I have a nephew borned with autism and I cherish every moment with him. He's a big sports fan, so we would sometimes watch the games together or play catch once in a while.
 

tenordas

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Ah, an important nail has been hit on the head...thanks, ra. There are so many therapies and interventions out there that can help a child overcome autism, and what works for one child doesn't work for another.

Which brings up another scenario about causation. Since there are many therapies and interventions, one of which works miracles on one child and does absolutely nothing for the next one (the best example I know is diet therapies like gluten free and/or casein free), it speaks to the very great possibility that there are actually any number of causations, the common factor probably being genetic (which almost seems certain). It may be that what amounts to an overdose of mercury through vaccines did cause the trigger in one child, while for another the trigger may have been through a inner chemical reaction to something as seemingly innocuous as fluoride toothpaste, a particular food, or even because of a grass allergy reaction gone haywire (both of us suspect the fact that Connor was born 6 weeks premature had something to do with it). We just don't know at this point!

Because we don't know, I think researchers should continue to hunt down every possible culprit. Not because parents can exact some sort of financial revenge should they an environmental element caused by human companies, but because if found, those elements can be lessened or even removed from societal exposure. Along those lines, I applaud the pharmaceutical companies for removing thimerasol from vaccines (despite their motivations probably being mostly for legal protection). At the risk of overgeneralizing, every attempt to lessen the chances of future children developing autism is a good one.
 

efil4stnias

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I think it has a lot to do with much better diagnostic tools and a wider spectrum of cases being considered autism. I'm not saying that is the whole reason, just a large part of it.



I am more and more inclined to lean toward the food additives/preservatives that cause the increased risk. I know of a chicken farmer in Tylertown, MS that can grow a chick to a full grown chicken in under 14 days with "special" feed. That cant be healthy for anyone.
 

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