Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Autism in April

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Autism in April

Article excerpt

This April, I'm still going to drag out my autism awareness sign and plop it in my yard ... I'll try not to be as callous and put my best foot forward in the hopes of some good information sharing on our usual media channels, but I'm going to put my foot down on one thing.

April is here. Another Autism Awareness Month has arrived. I don't know why, but it seems I've grown a little callous or, to put it a little more gently, complacent, as each Autism Awareness Month passes. Maybe because I'm slowly learning not to be as naive as I used to be when my son was just diagnosed. I used to actually get excited each April. I would run to the store early so I could buy as many blue lightbulbs as possible and pass them out to my friends. I wanted to see how many blue lights I could get in my neighborhood. A friend of mine, who also has a son on the spectrum, gave me a blue autism sign. I would proudly display it in my yard each year and then store it after the month so I could salvage it for the next year.

I kept telling myself. "This is the month that is going to make a difference." I would anxiously watch the news on World Autism Day in the hopes of seeing profound programs about autism that would reveal researcher's conclusions on studies that were currently being conducted. This would be the year that would promise parents an answer to their question, "Why does my child have autism?" To much of my dismay, I haven't been blown off my couch yet. I've seen less coverage of autism or, should I say, less useful coverage on autism. I'll see a blip once in awhile on what certainly does not cause autism and I'll read articles and watch news stories about what research our organizations are spending money on, in an attempt to find a cure or cause of autism.

Granted, I am not a brain surgeon and I'm not a geneticist. I'm only a parent who is trying to do her best and that's all I've ever tried to do. One thing I'm not is gullible. I've learned to be more selective of what programs I watch and what articles I read concerning research on the neurological disorder. Facebook could easily be the death of me if I didn't screen what I read. Research has told us that our children with autism need to eat more broccoli. Yes, money was spent on research to tell us our children need to eat more broccoli. I have been told that mothers who were very sick during pregnancy have a higher risk of having children with autism. …

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