April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day.
Did you know that the CDC (Center for Disease Control) tracks statistics on Autism? The current rate is 1 in 68 children; occurs in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups; 5 times more common in boys.
NO ONE is exempt from having a child with autism, no matter where you live, how much money you have, how big or small your house is, or how many good or bad deeds you have done….autism can happen to anyone – anywhere.
I remember learning about autism in college. The rate of occurrence was much less and I hadn’t met anyone with autism….at least that I knew of. When my older son was diagnosed in 2003, I couldn’t think of anything worse. I remember the doctors telling me that my son had a 50/50 chance of ever speaking and much less chance that he’d live the life I’d dreamed for him. I read a book given to me which told that, “if you fall off of a ladder and are screaming in pain, your child may walk over you and not even notice.” WHAT?? My husband and I couldn’t agree on a treatment plan and neither of us could believe this turn of events…..Forward a year later when my second child was diagnosed with autism. Could it be? What had we done wrong? Members of our family and some friends accused, judged, and didn’t believe that it was true. We lost a-lot of friends and even sold our home to move to a school district that “got it” and had more special education services for my boys. We even headed to marriage counseling. Did you know that 80% of parents with a child who has a special need end up divorced?
Today, I can truly say that I’m thankful for our life. No, it’s not what we’d expected and planned for, but we would NOT trade it for all the money in the world. We’ve been through countless hours of therapy. We have spent more money on therapy, special classes, assistive technology, visual schedules, and support organizations than we thought possible. Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY. The stress of our lives is balanced by the new friends we’ve made, the joy we feel over each little milestone our boys achieve, the love we feel for those boys who we spend so much time working with and training for life. Autism has been a blessing for us and we now appreciate the little miracles that happen every day. There is a plan for us, a plan for my boys, and for those who have helped us along the way.
There is always a bright side and if you look for it, the good in every situation is always there. I do not want life to be any harder for my boys than it already is, but they will succeed, they will thrive, and they will follow their wonderful plan that God has for their lives. I am SURE of it!! We will be there every baby step of the way.
Let the Pocket Occupational Therapist help you along your journey. Our handbooks contain all of the information you need while raising a child who has autism. Hair washing, handwriting, bedtime, school, accommodations, transitions, behaviors, IEPs and SO much more! All with tons of activities you can do TODAY to help your child to function independently.
|Blessed to See my boys on the cover of AutismAsperger’s Digest|
About the author: Cara Koscinski has her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. She is the award-winning author of The Pocket Occupational Therapist-a book for caregivers of children with special needs and the new Special Needs SCHOOL Survival Guidebook. Cara is the mother to sons on the autism spectrum and with sensory processing disorders. You can visit her website for more information at www.pocketot.com