April is Autism Awareness Month

With the Center of Disease Control and Prevention’s recent announcement that Autism is now estimated at being found in 1 out of every 88 children, the need for public awareness is at an all-time high.

Please check out the following information about Sensory Processing Disorder, which often co-exists with Autism, though it can be seen alone.

As the mom of triplets all diagnosed on the Spectrum (one with Autism, one with PDD-NOS, and one with Aspergers Syndrome), I have put together the following pages of links to more information about Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.  If there are any broken links on these pages, please let me know— though I did my best to make certain that all the links are updated, I may have missed a couple.

I have also found that the podcasts at Midnight in Chicago are very helpful.

Information about Non-Verbal Learning Disorder can be very informative as well.

My Gifted and Talented page includes a few links to information about “Twice Exceptional” children—those who are Gifted as well.

My own experience:

In 1982, while in college going for a degree in psychology, I had to volunteer at an approved organization.  The one I chose was an organization that provided afternoon recreation program to children with autism.

Years later (2000), my triplets were born.  One day when my children were 16 months old and receiving multiple therapies due to being so delayed (we were thinking it was because they had been preemies, but we were at the stage where they should have been beyond that delay) I walked through a room and saw one of my children doing something very particular… something that I had seen many of the children in the program I worked at in college doing , and it got me thinking. The conclusion: my kids did a LOT of things the children in the rec program had done!  I ran to the computer and did some research on the earliest symptoms of autism, and when I recognized my kids, I promptly went into denial.

A couple of months later, one of the special education therapists that had been coming to the house asked to see me alone and dropped what she thought would be a bomb shell – she believed the child she worked with was on the spectrum.  Surprising the heck out of her, after an initial moment of thinking I was right! I replied, “I know, and since you don’t see them, I should tell you that so are the others.” It turned out that the other therapists were all trying to find the courage to give me the same speech, not realizing that I wasn’t going to be shocked.  Eventually, one was diagnosed with severe autism, one with severe PDD-NOS/Autism (depended on which doc you spoke to) and the school system declared her mentally retarded, and the other had Asperger’s Syndrome and was Gifted.

I did one heck of a lot of research into therapies, took a little from here and a little from there, and made up my own for each child, based on what I thought would be helpful to each. I worked with them almost constantly, while the county Early Intervention therapists continued doing their thing.  If something didn’t work out, I researched some more and found something else to try.  When it was time for preschool, I chose the one that was the best fit with what I had been doing with the children.

We still have our share of challenges, mind you, but all three are in 6th grade, mainstreamed, and don’t need IEPs.

Thank you, God!

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