Autism Awareness Month – Here’s What I Think!

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April is Autism Awareness Month. If you google the word “autism” it will bring up over 19 MILLION hits. If you type the word “autism” into the search box on YouTube you will pull up over 47,000 results. Every 1 in 88 children is thought to have autism. I’m not sure how they base those numbers and that seems a bit  high in my opinion but that’s just me. In my opinion autism awareness is growing like crazy and I haven’t found a person who hasn’t at least heard of the word autism and have some idea what it means. But do you know what I have found? That although people have heard what autism is they cannot recognize it. There is no one “look” to autism. My own son has Asperger’s and I still cannot “peg” a kid with mild autism out in public…..unless of course there is a huge meltdown and then I can see that and totally relate! Autism does NOT define who you are. You cannot just look at a person (unless the case is severe) and say – “Oh that person has autism”. Instead of just spreading the word “autism” around let’s spread around to our children (and adults) HOW to act around an autistic person.

One of the biggest issues with autism and Asperger’s is that the person has a difficult time interacting socially with peers. We have spent most of my son’s little life (he’ll be 5 years old this weekend!) rigorously teaching him how to act in public, how to act with one child, in a group of children, in church, in the grocery store, in the library, at a funeral, on the playground…’s all about teaching him how to act appropriately. Every child of course needs this, but Asperger’s children need this MORE to the “Nth” degree! But the sad thing is that I have noticed the past few years is that my husband and I have tried SO hard to teach my son appropriate social behavior (even enrolling him in social skills classes which helped tremendously!) that now we are meeting children everywhere…WITHOUT autism….that are not being taught basic social skills. Now not only am I having to teach my Aspie son proper etiquette I am now also having to explain to him why most kids don’t have it and why they are acting out which opens up a whole new can of worms! I am still in my 20’s and I have run across so many incredibly rude and disrespectful kids it really makes me angry! If I can teach my son how to act appropriately and have polite manners and he has Asperger’s then other parents have no excuse for their children’s poor behavior and disrespect. I’m not talking about your child having a bad day or being in a grumpy mood-they all do, I’m talking about the children who are flat out disrespectful to adults, other children, and even no regard for themselves either. I really think that ALL children should have social skills classes as today’s generation has less parental involvement than 20 years ago.

So yes, autism is growing for whatever reason whether because of environmental reasons, genetics, awareness – it doesn’t really matter. I vote for a “learn social skills” month for ALL children – autistic or not. I vote for teaching ALL of our children how to respect adults and property and I vote that we teach children how to be children with manners and an open eye for those “different” than themselves. That’s my 2 cents anyways! 🙂

I found a great article I read yesterday called Autism is a Two Way Street.

Learn more about Autism Friendly Movie Theatres.

Check out Amy Arnold’s book Pedro Goes to School which helps other children understand autism and their autistic friends.

Educating Children about Autism in an Inclusive Classroom FREE eBook


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  1. Wow, what an interesting perspective! I have one Autistic kid and on NT kid; I never thought about it this way!! I love your resources too, I am off to check them out!

  2. Jennifer Jean says:

    You guys are doing a great job. When I see your little guy I don’t think autistism. He seems to do pretty well socially. After teaching for awhile and teaching lots of autistic students, I can notice the signs more. I hate seeing an older student that (to me) is obviously autistic, but hasn’t been diagnosed and is not receiving any services. I feel like the child is missing out on very important skills that could be learned from special services, but I’m not a Dr. or the parent.

    I know someone who has identical twins and one is on the spectrum and the other is NT. They were never vaccinated either. Her older son is on the spectrum also and so his her husband.

    1. Thanks! We were just talking last night about how far he’d come the past 2 years. When he was 2 years old it was VERY obvious and seemed impossible. I KNEW we had to fight back! We’ve put in a LOT of hard work & tears, I never ever thought he would be so functional let alone barely notice his issues most of the time. It makes me so sad for the older children who have Asperger’s but either their parents didn’t realize or they didn’t care. The only thing that has saved our family was early intervention and I wonder how much better many of our Aspie kids would be today if someone had taken the time to work with them when they were young. I was even watching SuperNanny yesterday where she tried to intervene for an autistic child and I couldn’t believe how the parents were acting & ignoring him! Within a day SuperNanny got him to say his first word and begin following commands! It was amazing the transformation with some pointed hard work.

      1. Jennifer Jean says:

        Well my daughter loves him. She even told me so. Lol He seemed to play so nice wth her! We already know he’s a smartie. 🙂 I’m glad you are seeing all your hard work. I can imagine it has been (and continues to be) tough. It’s hard enough with NT children.

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