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April 22, 2012

April Is Autism Awareness Month!

Autism is worldwide, this is one Mother's story from Australia.

This story tells how your life can change overnight when your child is diagnosed with Autism, told by Karen, a blogger from Australia, see her profile here  . To read more about Autism and for beautiful awareness graphics please visit her blog at  .


April is Autism Awareness month in America. I'm in Australia. We don't have the month long awareness but the 1st of April is World Autism Awareness day. I don't usually post much about my son but today i will share some info.

My son is 19 and was diagnosed with 'classic autism' when he was 2 and a half. He was developing normally up until around the age of two. 

He laughed, played, even said two word sentences and then suddenly he didn't speak, didn't laugh, played in a corner or behind our couch. He lost eye contact and started twisting his hands in front of his face and rocking (this is called stimming and many autistics have some form of it.) He didn't respond when you called him or spoke to him. At first they thought he was deaf, but i knew he wasn't. He did have ear problems and ended up having 3 sets of grommets, but this didn't change how he was. It just stopped his ear infections.

We ended up with Early Intervention for him. He had this for 3 years. The third year he was still hiding under the table when the therapist came. But hey... she just got under there with him. lol.

We used Macaton sign language with him until he was around 6. We had pictures of everything and signs of words on everything. My son, as many autistics, only learns visually. He gets lost on verbal prompts alone. He still does and you have to repeat things over and over sometimes.

He went to a normal school with an aide. He really didn't cope well in that situation, but because his IQ was 72 (70 and under here is an intellectual disability) he was not allowed to go to a special needs school... all because of a stupid 2 points! The first few years were ok, but he just got more and more behind because he just didn't understand what they wanted from him. Plus as the school years go on the teachers use more verbal prompts that visual. This was a huge problem for him. He ended up being very violent. I had so much trouble getting him to school. It ended up he had me in a headlock on the ground (he was bigger than me by then). Sometimes i couldn't breathe and was scared it was the end. He was refusing to go and i couldn't put up with this violence any longer. No one would help me from the school - even though i told them what was happening. So i decided to home school him. The best decision i have ever made! Though it's not for everyone.

I home schooled my son until he was nearly 15. The work was getting way beyond him by then. He was good at maths but only at a primary level. He had a huge problem with English as he responds to the here and now. He has no imagination. He never speaks about the past. But the good thing was that he was starting to smile, he was starting to speak in sentences. Factual, but at least he was speaking.

I had him retested at 15 and they found he does have an intellectual disability with the autism. He now has a Yorallah (a company that help disabled people cope with world) worker.He is very happy now. He is not violent at all... well not unless someone really upsets him. I know what to avoid and now have no problems. Well other than not leaving the house much. He has a phobia of the outdoors. If i'm in the back yard he won't come out. He will bang on the back door to get my attention before he would come out and get me. This is why i got into making graphics. My son is home 24/7 and I have to be here. At least making graphics takes my mind off the boredom of being home looking at the walls. Plus i fell from a window and hurt my back (i have severe nerve damage), so can't do much even if i wanted to, or had the freedom to.

But moving on... My son is now 19, as i said. He has a worker and he's happy. He is on a disability pension as he is far from being able to cope in the work force. He will live with us the rest of his life.. well our life. And i'm happy with that. He is a lovely young man now and i wouldn't change him for the world.

I have some April Awareness tags on my Autism Graphic site. Here is a sample. Just click this link to go to the page.  More Tags Here 
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