Thursday, May 28, 2015

On the Autism Spectrum

Yesterday, at a meeting for one of my little's, I had the opportunity to look around the room at documentation that was posted. Written on a poster, hanging from the wall was the following....

The 14 Signs of Autism
1.      May avoid eye contact
2.      May prefer to be alone
3.      Echos words or phrases
4.      Difficulty interacting with others
5.      Spins objects or self
6.      Insistence on sameness
7.      Inappropriate attachments to objects
8.      Inappropriate laughing or giggling
9.      May not want cuddling
10.  Difficulty in expressing needs; may use gestures
11.  Inappropriate response or no response to sound
12.  No real fear of dangers
13.  Apparent insensitivity to pain
14.  Sustained unusual or repetitive play' uneven physical or verbal skills

As I was reading the words, not once but several times, it amazed me how the signs of Autism seems so cut and dry. Then I began categorizing my little one who was just diagnosed with Autism, who having eleven of the fourteen signs, my six year old and fifteen year old who each of them having ten of the fourteen signs. What is interesting to me how different all three of my children on the spectrum are then again how very much alike they are too. Each having a diagnosis of Autism or ASD.

While I write this, I keep thinking is this diagnosis truly this simple?

I am not a doctor or a psychologist. I do not have a PHD or MD as a moniker after my name, I am just a Mother who tends to go by their gut. I totally understand that some actions, behaviors and habits maybe the age period. However, when things so not seem right, even more than the terrible two's or delays of milestones, early intervention is key. I do believe with resources many things can be overcome or at least help with progress.

I am very realistic, blunt to the point, researcher of all things, books and articles are great tools, I use Google or any online search engine for that matter, bounce off Family and Friends, be involved with different groups (try to stay objective) all knowing more than likely I can take my child to ten different doctors or specialists and get ten different diagnoses. With that said, no matter what is diagnosed or not, what truly matters is obtaining the proper resources for my child and my family.  Here are some Facts and Statistic in regards to Autism -

About 1 percent of the world population has autism spectrum disorder. (CDC, 2014)
Prevalence in the United States is estimated at 1 in 68 births. (CDC, 2014)
More than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. (Buescher et al., 2014)
Prevalence of autism in U.S. children increased by 119.4 percent from 2000 (1 in 150) to 2010 (1 in 68). (CDC, 2014) Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability. (CDC, 2008)
Prevalence has increased by 6-15 percent each year from 2002 to 2010. (Based on biennial numbers from the CDC)
Autism services cost U.S. citizens $236-262 billion annually. (Buescher et al., 2014)
A majority of costs in the U.S. are in adult services – $175-196 billion, compared to $61-66 billion for children. (Buescher et al., 2014)
In 10 years, the annual cost will be $200-400 billion. (Autism Society estimate)
Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention. (Autism. 2007 Sep;11(5):453-63; The economic consequences of autistic spectrum disorder among children in a Swedish municipality. Järbrink K1.)
1 percent of the adult population of the United Kingdom has autism spectrum disorder. (Brugha T.S. et al., 2011)
The U.S. cost of autism over the lifespan is about $2.4 million for a person with an intellectual disability, or $1.4 million for a person without intellectual disability. (Buescher et al., 2014)
35 percent of young adults (ages 19-23) with autism have not had a job or received postgraduate education after leaving high school. (Shattuck et al., 2012)
It costs more than $8,600 extra per year to educate a student with autism. (Lavelle et al., 2014) (The average cost of educating a student is about $12,000 – NCES, 2014)
In June 2014, only 19.3 percent of people with disabilities in the U.S. were participating in the labor force – working or seeking work. Of those, 12.9 percent were unemployed, meaning only 16.8 percent of the population with disabilities was employed. (By contrast, 69.3 percent of people without disabilities were in the labor force, and 65 percent of the population without disabilities was employed.) (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014)

Interesting factoids. Whatever the case maybe in your daily world of Autism or special needs, remember you are your child's voice, their advocate. If you are not familiar with a process, read about it, ask questions, do not be afraid to appeal a decision if you can and have supporting documentation to uphold your appeal. Believe me, I have learned many things over the years by asking, rocking the boat, getting second and third opinions but I have also been the novice and did not know where to start which cost a lot of time and resources too. Sometimes you just need to dive in head first, coming up for air in the middle. Living in a world where technology changes like the wind...use it to your advantage. Just take a moment, research, figure it out and go from there. We all have it in us, sometimes after the long days, many emails and phone calls, umpteen denials, therapist, specialists, doctors and everything else of the daily grind of life, you just need to find that little voice that says you can do it. Always have Faith!

“What lies behind us & what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson GOD BLESS

Until Next Time...Make A Great Day!

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