Dont Discount Their Opinions Just Because They Have Autism
As individuals we like AND need to be heard.
Our thoughts and opinions, however insignificant to others, are important to us. They are part of what makes us who we are.
When you immediately discount an autistic persons opinion you are belittling them. This is demoralizing, and makes someone feel unimportant.
I talk about this a lot because it is so true and SO important.
Autistic children are people too!
Their thoughts and opinions are just as important to them as yours are to you.
And one can argue that their input may be even more valuable as it gives you insight into what is important to them. It can be the best way to get valuable information about what they are thinking.
There Is Not One Member Of Their Board With Autism
Autism Speaks is one of few disability charities that refuses to include individuals with disabilities on their board or in leadership positions.
They are trying to make decisions regarding the future of autism without consulting any individuals with autism.
In fact, after being criticized so heavily for this, Autism Speaks added John Elder Robinson, an author and autism advocate who has autism, to the board.
He later resigned because the organization had no respect for individuals with autism and he could no longer align himself with their beliefs. You can read more about that here.
For those who say that its simply that there arent autistic people interested and qualified, the Autistic Self Advocacy Networks board includes several autistic self-advocates.
*Update: Autism Speaks has responded to this criticism and has added autistic members to their board. While its a teeny, tiny, baby step in the right direction, it doesnt rectify the damage this organization is done.
Autism Speaks Caters To Parents Of Children With Autism Rather Than The Children Themselves
Autism Speaks remains successful, despite the lack of support from people with autism because it caters to parents of children with autism. I am not saying helping families with autistic children is not necessary and important, but if Autism Speaks only focuses on programming for parents, it abandons the children who are certainly in equal if not in more need of Autism Speaks help. In addition, the children are not aware of the problematic nature of Autism Speaks for obvious reasons, but the parents are also not necessarily aware of the problematic nature of Autism Speaks because they are new to the community. This means those who are the most supportive of the organization are those who are not educated about the issues, which is quite disturbing, especially considering that Autism Speaks claims to increase education about autism. On top of that, many families turn to Autism Speaks for education and will only receive the problematic representation of what it is truly like to be autistic that the organization provides. Their scare tactics help keep families grateful for their services and encourage them to continue to use their services. This problematic representation will affect the way these families raise their children, which in turn, could increase stigma. I think anyone should be suspicious of an organization that takes in support from vulnerable families but can not keep the support of less vulnerable or more informed members of the community.
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An Autistic Child Is Not Broken
The first thing to realize is that an autistic child does not need fixed.
I named this site Autism: Some Assembly Required for a reason. Our autistic kiddos, in fact the entire autistic community does not need fixed.
They need to be understood.
They dont need to be reprogrammed to think or feel differently, they simply need help understanding how other people think and feel, and to learn how to react to these things when possible.
As neurotypical people, we have the ability to quickly and efficiently relate to others. We can readily identify a social situation and can communicate and react appropriately.
People with autism struggle with this. And by struggle, I mean in some instances they simply arent capable.
An ASD diagnosis itself identifies areas that an autistic person may not have the ability to understand or control.
You cant teach a blind person to see.
And its completely unfair that as a society we accept that a blind person cant see without passing judgment, while at the same time we refuse to accept that a kiddo with autism cant tell the difference between sarcasm and being mean.
We accept that someone with a missing limb experiences phantom pain, but refuse to acknowledge that bright lights or loud noises might bring physical pain to an autistic person.
A blind person is not forced to see. We dont force the person with phantom pain to just ignore it.
An autistic child should not not be forced to not be autistic.
What Are The Symptoms Of Non
The symptoms of any condition are crucial and provide information about the nature of the condition. The primary symptom is an inability to speak and communicate. Apraxia of speech may be present in which the brain sends vital signals to speech muscles, but the muscles do not respond to these signals. This causes frustration, which children often express through inappropriate behaviours including aggression, anger, tantrums or withdrawal.
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Autism Speaks Doesnt Help Autistic People
Only 4% of their huge budget goes towards actually helping individuals with autism and their families with their family grants.
Autism Speaks is arguably the largest autism organization in the country, and yet they really arent focusing at all on helping families who actually experience autism.
For a comparison, 22% of their budget is spent on fundraising efforts.
I simply cant support an organization that pays their CEO such an obnoxious amount while they ignore the real needs of the families the organization claims to support.
Autistic Burnout: An Often
During an autistic persons life, there may be times when they seem to lose skills or show more obvious signs of autism. For example, a toddler who had a vocabulary of a dozen words may stop talking altogether. A social teenager may find it harder to make appropriate eye contact or take turns in conversation, despite having learned these skills as a child.
This phenomenon is called autistic burnout . Autistic burnout can be very distressing for the autistic individual and their family, especially if they dont know what is happening. However, it is important to note that autistic burnout is not necessarily an omen of permanent regression or skill loss. Recovery is possible.
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Why Does Autism Mean That Some Children Cannot Speak
We know that joint attention is reduced in autism and this may be preventing autistic people from learning to speak, The picture and the word must be on the same side of the card, the world can be an overwhelming and confusing place full of people who arent always very kind, director of research at the Marcus AutismWhy do many kids with autism not talk at all?There is more than one reason why children with autism dont talk at all, Memory is complex it uses many different areas of the brain.
Study Concludes Nonverbal May Not Be Permanent
Some parents of children with ASD have been told that if their child isn’t speaking by age 4 or 5, he or she isn’t likely to ever speak.
But in 2013, researchers countered this view with a study of 535 children with autism published in the journalPediatrics that concluded even those with severe language delaynot speaking at all or using only single words or phrases without verbsat age 4 could develop language skills during grade school or even adolescence. The results of the study determined that 70 percent of those children in the study attained communication of short phrases and 47 percent attained fluent speech at or after age 4.
Working with your child’s ABA Therapistwho can help you select and use the best communication strategiesyou can contribute daily to an effort that encourages your child’s language development.
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Why Do Many Kids With Autism Not Talk At All
There is more than one reason why children with autism dont talk at all. Their level of functioning may interfere with them obtaining the ability to speak. Or they have receptive language skills and clearly understand what is said but cant verbalize themselves. Or they may need assistive devices that help them talk and formulate words and sentences.
The psychosocial aspect of speaking is to communicate wants and needs. It requires that we connect to others on a more personal level, and because some children with autism dont like the sense of intimacy that creates, they will avoid it like the plague. Other children with autism may avoid speaking because they can get their needs met through highly refined non-verbal communication. Moms and Dads who are deeply in tune to their children can read body language like most people read a book, and therefore language becomes a secondary skill instead of a primary one.
If the problem isnt an auditory one, and it isnt a level of functioning or non-verbal body language one, then the last possibility is that the child doesnt, cant or wont speak without intensive therapy. If caught early, many autistic kids can pick up some verbal skills, even if they are very limited. Many of them are also taught sign language and it really works for them, but the goal is to move beyond that and really speak, especially if their vocal chords are healthy and can make other noises.
Dont Act As If Their Identity Is Strictly Autism
Its often said that autism does not define a person. That autism is something a person has, but not who they are.
There is some debate regarding this as many people, some autistics included, feel that autism does indeed define them. That they would not be who they are, for better or worse, without autism.
Im not going to debate that in this article, but I will say that autism is not ALL that makes up an autistic person.
Autistic people are just thatPEOPLE! They have likes and dislikes. Dreams and hopes for their future.
Your likes, your dislikes, the things in life that are important to you, these are what you want to be talked to about. These are the things that make you YOU, and someone with autism is no different.
They are people first, just like you and I.
If you simply think of someone as autistic and treat them as such, you miss out on all of the other things that make them who they are.
You dehumanize and categorize them in a way that can be demoralizing. This is NOT something you should do to anyone, especially someone with autism!
Its OK to seek a better understanding of autism so that you can support an autistic person in the way that they need, but always remember that they are people first and foremost.
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Treatments For People With Autism
There is no known cure for autism. For young children with autism, it is best to get help early. Ask about local early intervention and preschool programs. Adolescents and adults with autism also benefit from treatment to help them communicate better in school, at work, and in the community.
A variety of specialists might work with a person with autism throughout their lifetime. These can include SLPs, audiologists, psychologists, special educators, vocational counselors, and job coaches.
SLPs play an important role in autism treatment. They can help the person with autism build communication and social skills in various settings like home, school, and work. SLPs can also help the person learn to use AAC if they need help communicating. SLPs may work with the person alone or in small groups. Groups can help the person practice their skills with others.
Depending on the persons needs, SLPs may work on some of the following skills:
- Getting along with others in a variety of settings
- Using appropriate communication behaviors
- Transitioning from one task or setting to another
- Accepting change and expanding interests, including trying new foods
- Improving reading and writing skills
For people with autism who are transitioning to work, SLPs can also
- help them write cover letters
- practice interview skills and
- learn strategies to communicate better at work.
Why Does Autistic Burnout Happen
Like other types of overwhelm, autistic burnout occurs when lifes challenges exceed a persons resources. Perhaps a person is undergoing a stressful life transition or they may have been pushing themselves too hard for too long. Regardless, the coping mechanisms they had been using are no longer enough. Certain skills and abilities shut down temporarily as the brain recovers. The brain may take a while to remember these skills as the person adapts to their new situation.
Research into autistic burnout is still a relatively new field, so science has not found a definite answer as to why autistic brains react this way. One theory is that autistic people tend to have high levels of neuroplasticity. In other words, autistic brains may find it very easy to create new connections between nerve cells. Neuroplasticity may contribute to some autistic peoples exceptional problem-solving abilities. However, the brain may sometimes redirect its resources away from certain skills as it develops new solutions to problems, taking those abilities temporarily offline.
It is important to note that autistic burnout is not a conscious behavior. An autistic individual is not ignoring social norms or neglecting work simply because they are tired. They cannot willpower their way back to their old level of functioning. In fact, autistic burnout is often caused by people working too hard to appear normal.
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Find Opportunities To Interact
When an autistic personisn’tinterested in doing any of the activities presented, you might still be able to find opportunities for communication and interaction.
For example, if a child is lining up their cars in a row, you can join in the activity by handing them the cars one by one. This way, you play a part in the game and the child includes you in what they are doing. If they are only interested in throwing the toys on the floor, you could use a basket to collect them before giving them back, establishing a pattern of interaction and communication with the child.They may begin to learn that interaction with another person can be fun.
What Causes Autism And Why Are More And More Kids Being Diagnosed With It
Does a friend or family member have a child with autism? Autism rates seem to be skyrocketing. Among children who are 8 years old, autism has nearly doubled from 1 in 150 to 1 in 68 for children born in 2002.
Autism is part of a larger group of related conditions, called autism spectrum disorders , all of which usually involve delayed verbal communication and difficulties in social interactions. Studies suggest that children with autism tend to have other problems with how their brain functions, with as many as 20-30% developing seizures or epilepsy.
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Older Children And Teenagers
Communication can be characterised by very limited use of language or they may use it excessively, they may have a flat tone to their voice and repeat certain phrases over and over. They might talk at others rather than having a back and forth conversation, or talk mostly about their topics of interest. In interactions with others, they may not understand facial expressions and non-verbal cues, have difficulty with small talk and have a limited range of responses in social situations. They may also find it difficult to use gestures, facial expressions and eye contact when talking to others.
What Is Nonverbal Autism
Despite the prevalence of autistic people who don’t speak, the term “nonverbal autism” has no official status, and there is no such diagnosis as “nonverbal autism.” In part, that’s because there is no clear line between verbal and nonverbal individuals with autism.
For example, some people with nonverbal autism do develop the ability to use a few words in a meaningful manner but are unable to carry on any kind of significant conversation. For example, they may say “car” to mean “let’s go for a ride,” but would not be able to answer the question “where should we go?”
Some have the ability to speak but lack the ability to use language in a meaningful way. They may “echo” scripts from television or expressions they’ve been taught by therapists. Instead of using these scripts to communicate ideas or desires, however, they seem to use “scripting” as a form of self-calming stimulation.
Quite a few nonverbal individuals can’t use spoken language effectively but are able to communicate with written or typed language, American sign language, picture cards, or digital communication devices. Once an individual is effectively communicating, even without spoken language, their ability to engage in the world expands dramatically.
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What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. The term spectrum refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment that people with ASD can have.
ASD affects people in different ways and can range from mild to severe. People with ASD share some symptoms, such as difficulties with social interaction, but there are differences in when the symptoms start, how severe they are, the number of symptoms, and whether other problems are present. The symptoms and their severity can change over time.
The behavioral signs of ASD often appear early in development. Many children show symptoms by 12 months to 18 months of age or earlier.