Thursday, April 2, 2015

Light It Up Blue

Today, April 2nd. is World Autism Awareness Day, so wherever you see blue lights or blue shirts it may be someone touched by or supporting Autism families and research.
Having an adorable, clever, winsome little grandson with autism my knowledge of the disorder has grown exponentially since my Psych. nursing days. Our little fellow is a miracle to me, until a couple of  years ago he was non verbal and wracked with unpredictable and uncontrollable meltdowns in his inability and frustration to communicate his needs.
We had no clue when we welcomed his birth that he would have such an enormous challenge in his life, and the diagnosis was a blow to us all.
Today at almost six he is in kindergarten at a wonderful Elementary school, talking a blue streak all day long, singing and generally behaving mostly as any little boy would. He requires speech therapy for articulation, some words are not clear and when he speaks quickly he may run all the sounds together in  his excitement or distress. He struggles with some aspects of grammar, pronouns he is mastering now after a lot of practice. He knows good manners [though as with any child he can need a reminder].

He loves the water and can stay underwater for the longest time, so swimming is a favorite sport.
 He succeeded far beyond the instructors expectations in his first skiing adventure and loved every minute of the snow time.
He is mastering the bicycle beginning with this Glyder Bike and moving up to a regular two wheeler.
Recently he has begun taking horse riding lessons and again is making impressive progress.
He loves to cook especially baking and begs "can we make banana bread please Grandnanna?" 
He can tell me all the ingredients that we need and always wants to measure them himself, so he is learning not only about cooking basics but about weights and measures too. He is beginning to read and add and subtract and experiment with little science  projects and has an excellent  memory.
He is a happy, funny, loving and enthusiastic child who enjoys learning and trying new things. He can be a real clown and has a wonderful sense of humor. He is sensitive and can struggle with aspects of life that the average child may not but he is learning ways to manage them and tries very hard to battle the difficulties he encounters. He can also be very difficult and trying at times, and we all need extra patience to guide him through.
He discovered electronics early on, really before he was verbal, and must be strictly limited in time and exposure to the plethora of games available on phones and tablets.
 One of his favorite treats is a visit to the games arcade.
But he also fills our lives with joy and wonder and constant challenge, he is exactly the way God made him and we believe with the dedication of family, teachers and all the others who encourage and shape his life he will continue to face and overcome the challenges of Autism until he is champion of every one of them. God has a special purpose for his life and it is our privilege to help him to find it.
So next time you hear the word "autism" I hope you will have a better understanding of the kind of success these children can achieve and do all that you can to assist any you know. If you see a child with a "meltdown" it may not be a temper tantrum but an autistic child struggling to make sense of his world, have compassion on his family and say a prayer for them!
"I Lost my tooth"

Some current stats on autism
1% of the world population has autism
The incidence has grown alarmingly, prevalence has increased by 119.4% from 2000 to 2010 from 1/150 to 1/68
Males are 4-5% more likely to be affected 1/42 boys, 1/189 girls
Autism is the fastest growing disorder and the most underfunded
The cost of autism in children is over $200 billion/year
These stats do not include Aspergers and other spectrum disorders

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love Willie

Anonymous said...

All of you must be very proud of his accomplishments. He is a very blessed boy to belong to such a wonderful family. Love Willie.

Dawn said...

These children do so much better in homes where they get the love & support that your family is giving Matthew. Keep up the good work, it is totally worth it. Hugs to all, Dawn

Margot Ah Kuoi said...

Beautifully written...thanks for sharing our amazing little boys life in a nutshell :)

joanne said...

Beautiful post Ros, beautiful boy. He is growing so fast and I'm so glad to hear of his progress. We suspect but don't have a definitive diagnosis, our grandson may be autistic. He is two and non-verbal, meltdowns and etc that you describe. He is working hard in a special pre-school and I have no doubt he will be a wonderful, contributing boy and have a good life. Thanks for posting about this important disorder...I was not aware of the 'day.'

Tatersmama said...

What a wonderful post! That little fellow is learning and growing at his own pace, and it's heartwarming to watch the changes that can be made, with the right love and support from family!
When I was doing foster care and day care, I 'specialized" in children with children on the Autism spectrum, for many, many years. Yes there were heartaches and frazzled nerves at times, but all in all, it was wonderful experience - I think I got more out of it, than the children did!