Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What about autistic children?

I want to go back to something I touched on in my last post. More and more we're hearing about autism, especially with many people believing there might be a link between the disorder and vaccines. I know this scares many parents, including myself, who actually considered postponing some of my little one's vaccines. However, the cause of autism is still unknown.

We know children with autism don't follow the same pattern of development as other children.
I've even read that many individuals believe that autistic children have no feeling or understanding of others emotions and that it needs to be taught. The Crazy Carrots game I mentioned last time helps children learn about emotions. It's something I never really thought of, but can make such a difference, even if your child isn't autistic.

So what do you do with an autistic child when it comes to school?
Homeschool, regular school? I've heard/read horror stories about autistic children in regular schools. Stories that will make you cry. The thing is, autistic children need more time than other children to start a new activity/subject, and since some don't function as well socially, many are bullied and made fun of by their peers.

As tiring as it can be for a parent, it is much harder for the child. Autism and school don’t always mix well. A typical day in school for a child with autism is like pulling double duty – not only does he need to learn his academic subjects, but he also needs to adapt to the classroom environment – often on a daily basis – the sounds, smells, or lights of the classroom, the interaction with other students, adjusting to changes in the daily routine, and more. It can be exhausting.


The Glasers said...

I saw a link between vaccines and Pamela's physical health. She even broke in a rash after getting eye drops for pink eye that had thimerosal (the mercury ingredient in question). We did not figure it out until it was too late. I think it definitely contributed to her autism, if it did not cause it. I do think there are other factors and I think it is not prudent to state vaccines cause all autism.

People who believe that autistic children lack feelings must not know many. Autistic children feel just as much as anyone, BUT sometimes it takes an intense emotion for it to appear on their face, which is how WE interpret emotion. Some autistic children do have a hard time reading facial expressions and need to learn that, but I believe they understand what the emotion is, what it feels like, etc. They may lack the words for it, but the cognition (ideas) and feelings are already there. But, who am I? The mom of a lovely 19yo autie!

Pamela was in special ed preschool and then we homeschooled her from age 19 on. I have NEVER regretted that decision. NEVER! She is a happy person, she is still learning and growing, she is very connected to us in wanting to relate to us and be with us. I think the social environments of many schools are not able to facilitate the desire to connect with people.

The Glasers said...

P.S. I love your profile name . . . Math Confused--that is my NT son, liberal arts lover, unlike his dad, the engineer, and his mom, the mathematician--yet, another example of God's sense of humor. Not only that, my dh is the tallest of his siblings, aunts, and uncles at 5'6" (and I am only 5'4"). But, our David turned out to be Goliath--16yo and 6'1" without the help of Miracle-Gro, wheaties, or veggies. Yep, God has a sense of humor!!!