Hope everyone had a good Autism Awareness Day (April 2)! I had big plans to wrap up this Giveaway, but got very sidetracked by life. My mom has been here in Hawaii for 7 months, helping with the new baby, etc. She flies 'stand-by' on Delta thanks to my wonderful brother in law, Ron Knott, who is a retired Delta pilot with buddy passes! However the ugly side of flying stand-by means that for every time you easily get on a flight and score first class tickets, there are several times when you can't get a flight to save your life. This was one of those times! Getting her packed, making last minute shopping trips, and trying for THREE days, she finally got a seat and arrived home this morning. I'm thankful she was able to be here and help, and the kids will sure miss Grandma.
Since this is Autism Awareness Month, I thought I would have ONE MORE Austim Awareness blog post and then do the Giveaway. So here is one more chance to get some entries and increase your chances of winning a great prize!
Details about giveaway at the end of this blog post.
For the last topic, I want to share the importance of facing your fears, and getting your child evaluated, if you think he/she may have autistic traits.
Have you ever known someone who thought they might have cancer? I have a friend who suspected she had breast cancer. She first noticed a lump, and got it looked at pretty quickly. The doctor thought it was a swollen lymph node but referred her to get a mammogram although she was in her late twenties with no family history of breast cancer. The lump looked suspicious enough to then operate and have it removed. Thankfully the biopsy showed that it was not cancer, but if it had been, she would have needed to start treatment right away. I've known people with cancer and unless a miracle occurs, cancer doesn't go away and the sooner you get it looked at, the better your chances of dealing with it.
OK so autism is NOT as serious as cancer, thank goodness. But my point is, autism is not going to go away IF your child does, in fact, have some autism-related developmental issues.
YES it's scary. YES it's overwhelming. YES it's life-changing. Trust me, I know.
However, if you suspect that your child has 'something quirky' or 'unusual' about them, it's time to take action!
IMPORTANT: having an autistic child is NOT a reflection on you; you didn't do anything to cause this (taking meds while pregnant, vaccinations, etc.). Having a child with autism does not mean you are a 'bad' parent. HOWEVER, neglecting your childs needs and ignoring red flags about developmental delays WILL make you a bad parent!
WOW that was a strong statement but I stand by it. It's like watching your kid while they stand there bleeding, and doing nothing. Who would do that?? And yet, I see or hear about kids with obvious delays and issues and the parents remain willfully in denial about it. They refuse to face the fact that their child might need a little extra help, and in doing so, they just make the situation worse, sometimes.
FACT: if a child does, in fact, have autistic traits, all the studies show that the EARLIER intervention can begin, the better your child will do. The quicker you can get her/him help, the better off they will be! The brains of kids are still developing during their earlier years, and putting them into speech therapy, social therapy, etc. can SIGNIFICANTLY impact them in a positive way. Most kids with autism who receive help before ages 5-7 are usually able to transition into 'normal' schools along with their peers, and by the time they reach middle school most people won't know they even have an autism diagnosis. Waiting until they are older makes it VERY difficult for intervention to be successful.
So I don't mean to be harsh, but I want to speak up on behalf of the wonderful quirky kids out there who just need a little help.
If you have a little niggling fear that your child might have autism, call your pediatrician and ask to be referred to a child psychologist for an autism screening and testing. In my son's case, I was totally clueless until his preschool teacher recommended that we get him tested. Talk about shocking! But I'm a person of quick action when it comes to my kids, so within a few days I had talked to my insurance and the pediatrician and had called every single child psychologist on the list they gave me. One called me back and spoke to me personally, and made an appointment to see Samuel. He was such an awesome doctor and did alot to make us feel at ease.
Look at it this way: the screening and testing may show that your child is totally fine, without any delays or autistic traits. Then your mind can rest and be at ease! Or, if a diagnosis is confirmed, then you can shift into Momma Bear Mode and start moving mountains to get your child any and all help that he/she needs. I KNOW that most moms would lay down their lives, if need be, for their kids. And while autism does not ask for your life, it WILL require that you become your childs advocate and biggest supporter. As if you weren't already!
So check out the Autism Speaks website here and read about getting an autism screening, and what the biggest clues are about a child having autism.
The giveaway is open to anyone and basically, the more entries you have the better your chances of winning a prize! You can view the FANTASTIC prizes in the prize vault here.
How to get entries:
1) Register here. You only have to do this ONCE so if you already have, skip to #2.
2) After reading this blog post, comment below. You can say anything about this blog post, how you felt reading it, something it made you think of, something you learned, etc. Comment once specifically about this post and be sure to leave your name!!
3) Post a link to this blog post on your FB and comment back here that you did.
4) Tweet this and comment back here that you did.
5) Mention this on your own blog and comment back here, with a link to your blog post.
6) If you didn't read the first Autism Awareness blogs, you can do so and follow the instructions at the end for even more entry opportunities! There is Series I, Series II, and Series III.
Be sure and watch for the next Autism Awareness / Giveaway blog and more chances to win!
Thank you for your interest in spreading education about autism.