Friday, April 20, 2012
Autism: Myth vs. Truth
|photo by Maria Alexandra Photography|
MYTH #1: Autism means that kids act bratty and have melt downs but it's not their fault.
TRUTH: While my kids do act out and have meltdowns autism is more than just an excuse for bratty behavior. AND kids who have autism can have bratty tantrums too (a mama knows when she's being played) these are different from true meltdowns. As parents my husband and I often look at each other when our kids are misbehaving and call it what it is, either: "Wow... he's just being a manipulator... this has nothing to do with autism" ... OR ... "Man it's been a tough day, he just needs to cool down."
A true meltdown can be caused by sensory overload, not understanding a situation, or not being able to communicate, and the affects from the melting can last for days.
TRUTH: Kids don't grow out of autism. My hope is that as my kids get older they will recognize needs and triggers and be able to control their own environments enough to prevent meltdowns or freak-outs but for now that's my job. Through diet (for my kids), keeping things low key and not taking on too much at once we lead a pretty mellow lifestyle... it's when I try to pack too much stuff into our schedule or overdo even fun stuff that my kids start going down hill.
AUTISM LOOKS DIFFERENT IN EVERY CHILD
MYTH #4: All kids with autism are great at math and science because that's how their brains work.
TRUTH: I'm sure there are a lot of kids on the spectrum who are great at math and science but not all are. My oldest son has such a hard time with math but he's great at science and reading and anything on the computer... my four year old has an amazing memory and is a great artist... they are just like any other child in the fact that they have gifts and challenges... the label of autism doesn't automatically mean they have a photographic memory and can count cards.
MYTH #5: Kids with autism ALWAYS act out, ALWAYS melt down, NEVER have "good" days.
TRUTH: While autism doesn't come and go... my kids have good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks. If something is off in their bodies or they ate something off their diets, if they're sick or if we have crazy changes in weather, if there is a tag bothering them or they feel out of control... our day is going to be harder, sometimes that means our week or even a month can be harder, it seems like we take 3 steps forward and 10 steps back, everyday is different for us and I wait every morning as they wake up to see what kind of day it will be. But we also have a lot of great days when we laugh and play and talk and snug... everyone has good days and bad days, kids with autism aren't exempt from this.
These are just a few common misconceptions I thought I should clear up. As a mom, I still expect my kids to have manners and respect others... autism is not an excuse or a crutch in this house... and this fact alone can make life a little more challenging at times. But, it will also help grow my wonder boys deeper in character and faith as they have to learn how to live and deal with this disability. Autism is more than out of control kids, I have had many friends compare their hyper typical children to what I go through with my boys, and while I DON'T think I have it worse than anyone else... it IS different. Be compassionate to that fact, and don't discount youre friend's challenges by saying you understand, you can't possibly, and that's ok. My favorite line ever in the history of the world from the Temple Grandin movie is "AUTISM IS DIFFERENT... NOT WORSE". Our life is amazing and we are blessed... it's just different than I thought it would be and most likely if I'm honest, it's even different in real life than how I let you see our family from the outside.
If you have learned anything from this post, please share it and pass it on... the more people know and understand what autism really is... the more families living with it in their lives can be loved and accepted.
New To The EMM Blog?Just in case you're new around here I thought I'd introduce myself.... I'm the scattered crazy Earth Monkey Mom Lindsay:) And this is my family. My kids never have clean faces, my house is usually a mess and I always have 3-15 loads of unfolded laundry sitting on my couch. My family just received an Extreme Home Makeover and it's crazier than ever here! I post on Fridays and we're glad you're here and we hope you'll stick around... More than anything we want you to know that none of us have it all together... and wether your kids are 40 or 4 you're not alone in your journey through motherhood!
Autism: Myth vs. Truth
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