Thursday, October 18, 2007

What is autism, revisited

I had finally come across a website that explained autism without controversy (I think). That really just explained the Triad of Impairments.

1. Impairment of social interaction
2. Impairment of social communication
3. Impairment of imagination

In addition, the following observations are often made in individuals with autism:

  • Delays in development of language
  • Inconsistent patterns of sensory responses (egs: apparent insensitivity to pain; an apparent deafness at times, yet distress at certain everyday sounds like a dog barking; over-reaction to being touched)
  • Uneven patterns of intellectual functioning/ special (savant) abilities in certain areas, yet poor development in other areas
  • Marked restriction of interests and activities/ tendency towards repetitive stereotyped activities.
Pretty short explanation I think. Not the run of the mill "Autism is blah blah blah enter what ever degree handy here to further understand droning explanation." nor the BS of "Robot, lack of empathy, only literal, no emotions, no personality..."

The best part of the site was the FAQ. These were the questions I needed answers to when we first found out, and questions I needed polite answers to for others. Questions like;

  • Is autism caused by bad parenting?
  • Is it a mental illness?
  • Is it the same as mental retardation?
  • Do they look different? (I know my sister loves this one!)

Short quick answer for me to give in order to keep it polite...NO!

I still stand by what I said in the previous post that autism is personal. What is said about one person with autism can not necessarily be said about another. What one family goes through in their daily lives are not always what another family goes through. What helps my son may not help your child and vice versa.

Yet I have another explaination as well. Autism is what makes it so emotional when my 3 yr old son, with out being prompted or had it said to him first tells me "I wuv you" when I dropped him off at school this morning.


Jeni said...

Ya know, life with an autistic child is GOOD - today, in our house, it's very good as a matter of fact. Check the post I just made and you'll understand why I say that. What a birthday gift my little Maya just gave US -and herself too! I'm so excited, happy and crying at the same time!
And, I can just imagine your joy at hearing those words this morning too!

Life is, indeed, very, very grand, isn't it?

Suzy said...

Your piece is so beautifully written and understood.

'"I wuv you" is what he gets from you and your family and your hardwork and love for him.

Connor gets it.


Casdok said...

I wuv you! awwww, brought a tear to my eye!

Jeni said...

We're trying something new here now - a little chart with symbols for meals, cleanup, playtime, snacks and potty -laminated with velcro backings and we just tell Maya to "check her list" and depending on what symbol is placed there she is to pick up the symbol and then go do what it says. So far, she seems to respond very well to it -her teachers says she picked up on it quite well at school and if last night is any indicator, it looks to be a darned good method! Cross your fingers, and PRAY!

Drama Mama said...

Beautiful post. Yes. Exactly.

dgibbs said...

Jeni - Your Maya sure has done great! We use the PECS cards too, but so far only for picture schedules. We had been slowly working in using them for choice making.

Suzy - I think your right, he does get it!

Casdok - Even though I said "I love you too." I kept telling myself that isn't really what he said and it stopped me from balling my eyes out til I got home.

Drama Mama- Thank you. Hope Miss M had a good picture day.

Momo Fali said...

Well done.

Michelle O'Neil said...


I wuv it! Congrats!

merry weather said...

The definitions - impairment is a fair word - implying a range of possibilities - which is sensible and far more bearable than those other words.

I wuv you - what a brilliant moment!
My 3 year old boy said it to me for the first time recently, funnily enough, then came another first - a beautiful smile and at the same time he bit me! sigh..