World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognised day on the 2nd of April every year, encouraging Member States of the United Nations to take measures to raise awareness about children with autism throughout the world. It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution “62/139. World Autism Awareness Day”, passed in council on November 1, 2007, and adopted on December 18, 2007.
National Autism Awareness Month represents an excellent opportunity to promote autism awareness, autism acceptance and to draw attention to the tens of thousands facing an autism diagnosis each year.
Kudos to Special Education teachers! it takes a lot of courage to be a mentor without stepping on someone else’s toes and it takes double that courage to be able to treat another person’s son or daughter as your own. these people must be angels sent down to us families with children who have special needs. our heartfelt gratitude and may your tribe increase ten-fold!
NYC AutismCharter School Holiday Fundraiser – Marco
Press “DONATE NOW” to support NYC Autism Charter School — the first and ONLY PUBLIC charter school in New York State devoted solely to children with autism, at no cost to families. I have always wanted to do charitable work and I’m taking on this challenge in honor of Sal, who has autism. MaryJo…
Someone asked me if vaccines can cause autism and I said yes. But that’s just my personal observation as a mother to a child with autism. After John received his MMR shots, the once vivacious boy almost immediately became prone to tantrums. We could not call it a meltdown then, thinking that it could just be because he’s a toddler and prone to that. Then, the banging of the head began and the hair pulling and rocking back and forth. Until one day, all the light that used to shine in his eyes was gone, extinguished to oblivion— as well as all his verbal communications completely disappeared.
Having been gone through a string of difficulties with my eldest son’s Tourette’s, I really thought I could not make it through with John’s diagnosis. There came a time that amid all the signs, I would tell myself that perhaps, the vaccine will be flushed from his system and he will be back to being a precocious little lad who always sports a smile. But two, three weeks passed then, a month, two, and then, the head-banging, constant body rocking and aloofness set in.
That’s when I realized that something is terribly wrong. At that time, I felt that the vaccine triggered John’s autism, that he had a negative response, just like he was “rewired” by the vaccine. I strongly believe this still. As a Mom, it was the most painful thing to see our son being transformed into something he had no say in. I castigated myself for having him take that shot. But that was 15 years ago. Who would have thought that such a routine vaccination could change our lives, forever.
When John was diagnosed with autism, the doctor’s cannot answer what caused it. There were already a lot of speculations about the health risk of MMR to young kids years ago but, it was (as always) debunked by the medical community as a farce. Vaccine means safety. No vaccine can cause an outbreak, a breach in the economy, an imbalance.
Truly, there are a lot of findings, observations, researches, and what-have-you debunking the link on vaccines and autism—and I totally understand it. There are also countless autism families who also believe that vaccines DO NOT cause autism—and I totally understand it, too. But as a Mom to a son with autism, I am firmly resolved that that vaccine played a significant role in my son’s autism—and I know this may cause a lot of opposing reactions but..
I am not asking anyone to follow my convictions. Your life story, as it seems, is definitely not the same as mine, in the same way as every autism case is unique.
I am not asking anyone not to get a vaccine. You should know what is right for your child. My only obligation is to my own.
I am not asking anyone to believe me. I just felt that I needed to take a stand as I have grown tired hearing and reading this endless debate on the vaccine-autism link.
Again, I am firm in my resolve that my son’s autism is caused— triggered or what you may call it— by a vaccine but, that’s just me. I am not asking you to believe me nor am I fetching your opinion on my personal issues.
This is what I believed in so, I hope you can stop debunking my belief. I respect the expertise on both sides of this argument and I do hope you can also respect my belief as a mother who carried her child with all the love in the world.
To many people, winter is making Christmas wish list, of Santa Claus and his reindeers, of frolicking in the snow with friends and family or of drinking a mug of sensational chocolate. To some autism parents and children, however, this is a dreadful time of the year when the days are growing shorter and the night colder and darker. Some call it the “winter blues.” I call it “meltdown magnet.”
Yes, as many people await the celebration of Christmas and New Year, many autism families are also getting ready for the long haul ahead. Cloudy and cold days can easily run kids with autism’s emotional and psychological battery. Depression and anxiety easily gets into them as the cold swirls around Canada and neighboring states.
One of the scientific reasons behind this contention is that during winter, a child’s (whether autistic or not) melatonin and serotonin level can be disrupted. Lack of daylight put photoreceptors which stimulate the production of serotonin as well as cortisol at a standstill. It also affects the pineal gland’s overproduction of the sleep hormone, melatonin. These two conditions often result in lack of energy, mood swings, poor or erratic impulse control, depression, anxiety, and sleep problems. To kids with autism, this could mean meltdowns in epic proportions.
What to Do?
Preparation is always the key to autism families. Every change of season, kids with autism are virtually prepped on what to expect for the dreary days ahead as well as in understanding the concept of Christmas and gift-giving, and why we celebrate the New Year, Thanksgiving as well as Halloween. Holidays can be such a struggle to these kids as their senses can go on haywire with all the festivities that these occasions bring. Keeping them informed with visuals especially videos will be useful but still, it is important to be always on guard especially when out and about.
This is also a time to engage in physical exercise to some. Not only will exercise keep the mood light, it helps relieve stress and anxiety, two of the most common meltdown triggers. Kids with autism love to wander and discover things that interest them. A morning walk around the block or in the part—with you (you may even bring his or her service dog, if you have one) can be of great help. To some, phototherapy and mind-body therapies like yoga, body massage, and guided imagery can also help keep the blues away. Some also resort to prescription anti-depressants. But before you engage on this, make sure to consult with your doctor beforehand.
In our case, we often bring John to somewhere sunny during this time of the year. Last time, we opted to do some cruising on board the Independence of the Seas. John loves to cruise. The sun, ship activities and water adventures made him less agitated. I also see to it that his room gets as much light as possible. Drapes and curtains are replaced with a much lighter shade. Luckily, he also loved the smell of chamomile or lavender which is very relaxing. The chamomile tea for John, however, is not that successful.
Indeed, in all these it is important to always plan ahead. Autism leans on repetitions and familiarity. Taking steps the earliest time possible will help keep the triggers at bay. A quick check with your son’s or daughter’s holidays.
“The Importance of Realizing You Are Not Alone”, this is what Pamela Bryson-Weaver hopes her book, Living Autism Day-by-Day: Daily Reflections and Strategies to Give You Hope and Courage will accomplish… This book may be read all at once and then re-read day-by-day. The second time hopefully you will take the time to journal in your feelings as this has proven to be very therapeutic.
The entries address the world of autism and include some of the following:
inspiring stories and quotes
facts and statistics
hope and encouragement
strategies and tips on autistic child-care
insights for family, clients, and friends wanting to learn more about autism
The question of who will eventually care for their autistic son, Adam, weighed heavily on Deborah Pugh and her husband until their daughter stepped forward to lift the burden.
Adam Elsharkawi, 24, will live with his parents in North Vancouver, B.C., working part-time in a bakery, and will eventually move in with his sister, Jemana, and her husband.
Adam hasn’t been told yet that he will one day have to move. Pugh knows parents of children with autism who aren’t as lucky.
“It makes me feel incredibly fortunate that my daughter is actually prepared to do this, incredibly fortunate,” she said. Pugh said a “tsunami of teens with autism” will soon reach adulthood, and many families are struggling to plan for their children’s future care.
One in 68 children live with the complex neurobiological condition that affects their ability to communicate and interact with others and often results in repetitive behaviour and attachment to routines or objects, said the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Some will be able to live independently but others won’t, as the symptoms range from mild to severe.
Easy! Free! Save Time and Money! – Find trusted autism service providers; Living Autism Now is a resource website directory that links parents, guardians, and individuals with autism to caregivers and service professionals as well as like-minded individuals who support its cause. #livingautismdaybyday