For those of you that are following me and have read my last post, you know about my son, for those of you that are new to my blog I would like to welcome you and let you know My son Devon is Autistic. I know there are still people out there that don't know much about Autism, so I will give you some information. Here is a quick glimpse into my life. Devon is now 18 years old, he was diagnosed with Autism when he was about 5 years old.
I knew something was wrong when Devon was about 1 1/2 years old and he stopped talking. He did everything early, from rolling over to walking and talking. But when those magic words disappeared I knew something was not right, but like other parents, I kept saying ” he will start talking again” but that never came, yes he would say things but not actual words, then the tantrums came, not the regular terrible 2's I mean these were really bad, nothing would console him, at the age of 3 I had my school district test him and we put him into school. Devon used to wake up at night with Night Terrors, ” That is when he did sleep” these terrors were so bad, that I would just sit there and cry because I didn't know what to do for him. For many years I lived on only 3 hours of sleep because Devon didn't sleep, I was worn out.
Think about how wonderful it is when your child is finally potty trained, ” Devon isn't and may never be” he is 18 yrs old and I still change his diaper. I am not complaining at all, he is my child and I would do it all again if I had to. There are a lot of things parents take for granted when it comes to their children, I don't take my children for granted at all. This could be you telling this story. I have been told by some people that they don't think they could do what I do. This is my son, I carried him for 9 months and I have so many wonderful moments with him that I would never give up. He is my reason to smile, especially when I see him smile, his smile lights up the room and my heart.
I could not imagine my life without him. Devon has taught me so much, that yes there is more to life. I might not be able to do the things other parents do, and I accept that. Devon will be living with us until I am old and not able to do it anymore, then I am sure we will find other options. But I could never put Devon into a home, ” Not that I am putting others down for doing that” It just is not an option I ever thought about. So while other children go on to live “Normal Lives” Devon will live his Normal Life with us, and we are OK with that. So this is what I mean by taking children for granted because in a flash this could be all taken away from you.
When Devon was born, we had so many dreams for him, Sports, College, girlfriends, marriage, grandchildren. I adjusted to the fact that I will never get to hold his Firstborn or send him off to College or Dance the Mother/ son dance at his wedding. I won't say that it doesn't still pain me, it does. But I cry that tear and I move on because now we have different dreams for Devon, wonderful dreams.
Devon Looking Cool in his Sunglasses This Summer
Here is some information about Autism:
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 of autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.
In March 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 88 births in the United States and almost 1 in 54 boys. 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 support for their children.
Know the Signs: Early Identification Can Change Lives:
Autism is treatable. Children do not “outgrow” autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes.
Here are some signs to look for in the children in your life:
- Lack of or delay in spoken language
- Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
- Little or no eye contact
- Lack of interest in peer relationships
- Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
- Persistent fixation on parts of objects
The Information above came from The Autism Society.
Here is a little Autism 101 I found on Autism Spectrum Disorder, through my eyes It is a Facebook Page,
Here are a few things you need to know when dealing with kids with autism. Those of you that have typical kids, or love someone with autism, please take note:
1. Please don't say to the parents, “can't you just”. No, we can't just give him something else to do, distract him, blah blah blah. If we could, don't you think we would?
2. Please don't tell us to ignore his behavior. “Have you ever tried ignoring it when he tells you something repeatedly?” Well, I challenge you to hear “I can eat dinner at 6” every 30 seconds for five hours. Seriously.
3. Please don't ask us “why do you think he is having a meltdown or why is he so upset?” when it seems to be for no apparent reason. Um because he has autism, that's why. If I could get that info, I would.
4. Please don't say the following, “wow you have so much on your plate”, or “oh you are a saint”. We have our plate and it's no bigger than Anyone Else's. I am far from a saint and pity is really offensive. Everyone has life and parenting challenges.
5. Offer to help and mean it. If you want to help your friend or family member, babysit, come over and engage the kid, or just listen if we need someone to talk to. We don't expect anyone to solve our problems, we just need empathy and action.
6. Don't ask us if our kid is going to college, going to drive, or going to live on his own. We would have a better chance of drowning in the bathtub than knowing that.
7. Never give up on your kids. Never look at them and think they have limitations. They may be different but they are not less!!! (TG credit there).
I am sure I can come up with more. Just like autism, nothing is as we expect it to be, so this is not a top ten list, it's a top seven!
Here are some more great Helpful Resources For Parents and Teachers of Special Education Children!
For students of all ages:
Creating the Optimal Environment for a Kid with ADHD
Suggested Classroom Interventions for Children with ADD & Learning Disabilities
The Life-Changing Impact of Autism Service Dogs
Addressing Special Education Needs for Students Learning English as a Second Language
22 Tips for Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
50 Must-See Blogs for Special Education Teachers
The Ultimate Guide to Water Safety for Parents and Caregivers of Children with Autism
Teaching Your Child About Peers with Special Needs
And here are a few that high school and college educators, parents and students will find helpful:
Teaching College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism and Addiction: Coping with and Treating Your Dual Diagnosis
Choosing a College: Planning for Teens with ADD
College Resources for Students with Disabilities
I hope these will make a positive impact on special needs children, educators, and families!