Thursday, April 10, 2008

April is Autism Awareness Month

As I mentioned earlier, April is Autism Awareness month. This is a picture of one of my favorite people, Robert. He has Autism. His parents put together a pamphlet about him and about Autism to share with his church and his neighborhood. I am posting part of it for you.

Hello, my name is Robert T.
I live with my mom and dad, Raynola and Mark, in Utah. I have a big sister, her name is Madison. I also have special foster sisters, Sarah and Becca. I have a pet helper, her name is Dos the dog. They all love me and I love them.
I am thirteen years old and I go to Middle School. My favorite subjects are reading, spelling, computers and science. I do pretty good in math and other subjects, but they are not my favorites. I spend most of my days in a special classroom with other students that have Autism. I’m a smart boy. I like going to school, I try to do my best all the time. I don’t like to write on white paper, it hurts my eyes and makes me nervous, but sometimes I have to.
At home I like to read books, work on my computer and watch movies. I also like to jump on the trampoline, play on the swing set, ride bikes with my parents and ride motorcycles. I really love motorcycles! For special activities I like to go fishing and horseback riding. I also like spending time with my grandparents. I like big trucks, riding on trains, going to basketball games with my dad and going to the planetarium or aquarium. Mostly I just like to spend time with my mom and dad. (And I like pretty girls!)
Most of the time I am very happy, mostly I have good days, sometimes, every once in a while I have a bad day. Everybody has their bad days. Most of the time I do what my parents tell me to do, even though I don’t always want to. So, I guess I’m just like most other boys my age, in
most ways.
You might have noticed that I spend lots of time alone in church. I have problems with large crowds with lots of noise, I cover my ears, and I get nervous. My hearing is very sensitive. I tend to flap my hands when I am learning something new or taking new information into my brain. Sometimes I get really happy and I laugh a little loud, but I’m just being happy. I like to kiss and hug my mom and dad, because I am so happy and love them so much. Oh yeah, I may do all these thing because I have autism. I like coming to church, I pray just like everybody else.
This church feels like our home, everyone here has been so kind to me and my family.
Thanks for reading, with love,
Robert

P.S. I Have Autism, but Autism does not have me.

What is Autism?
(Otherwise known as Autism Spectrum Disorder)

Autism is an enigmatic and complex neurological disorder that afflicts 1 in every 150 children nationwide, (1 in every 144 children within the state of Utah). There are 67 children diagnosed every day, that means every 20 minutes a child is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Order.
Boys are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed than girls, but girls are generally more severe along the spectrum of characteristics. Autism is more commonly diagnosed in children than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups.
Autism affects each child differently (thus the spectrum), symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe. It impairs the ability to communicate and relate to others. It causes restricted and repetitive behaviors, combined with hypersensitivity and/or hyper-acute senses (hearing, tactical and light sensitivity). It is often associated with the need for rigid routines and obsessive behavioral characteristics.
Parents are usually the first to notice unusual behaviors or failure to reach appropriate developmental milestones. Many parents are told to “wait and see”. And so they do……desperately hoping and praying that their child will “catch up”. There is no immediate cure, however with early intervention involving timely and cost intensive therapies, these children can lead full and active lives. Sadly most insurance policies will not cover the high costs of these many therapies. Many states have programs that will assist with the cost of therapy (this is recent), but with numbers rising so rapidly, children are often placed on waiting lists, missing their opportunity for early intervention. We are pushing and praying for legislation that mandates insurance companies to cover these desperately needed therapies.
Please join us in our prayers. Please do not look the other way or push these children and their issues aside. Look at them, embrace them for the innocent children of God that they truly are. Please know that what happens to a child today will surely have a direct impact on the rest of his or her life.
To learn more please visit : http://www.autismspeaks.org/ or read: Louder Than Words by Jenny McCarthy, The Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz, and Songs of the Gorilla Nation by Dawn Prince Hughes.
Also join us at or donate to the Walk Now for Autism Utah to be held on May 3, 2008 at Cottonwood High School ~ 5715 So. 1300 East, Murray, Utah. 9:00 a.m. For more information visit: www.walknowforautism.org/utah or utah@autismspeaks.org

5 comments:

Liz and Jake said...

Thank you for sharing Lisa. This really puts into perspective how blessed I am to have 4 healthy children.

Janalu said...

That is a great post Lisa. You are able to give people an experience with a person with autism who otherwise might not know someone or have met some one with autism. experience is the best teacher for tolerance.

Angela said...

Good for them for putting this information out there! As a former ESE teacher, I'm intrigued by their finding that he needed different colored paper to write on. It's really amazing how sometimes small accommodations like that can make such a difference!

Best wishes to their family.

(By the way, I answered your question about blog spam in my comments right after your comment. Couldn't find an email addy for you.)

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lisa. You have always been so supportive of our family and made such positive impact on Robert's life. Please know that you are one the angels whom have made a great influence on my son's life.

Jessica said...

Lisa,
This is such a great post. Robert sounds like a wonderful boy and I am sure that everyone is so glad to get to know him. After I saw Jenny McCarthy on LArry King I checked out her foundations website. IT had some really interesting info and thought it was great! http://www.generationrescue.org/