Did you see that the CDC released the newest statistics on Autism……1 in 88 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 strike everyone everywhere.
I remember learning about autism in college. The rate of occurence 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 more hours of therapy than can be counted. We have spent more money on therapy, special classes, Dynavoxes, support organizations than we thought possible. Is is 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, maybe bright BLUE for autism….but 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.
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By- Cara Koscinki MOT, OTR/L
Author of The Pocket Occupational Therapist- a handbook for caregivers of children with special needs. Questions and answers most freqenty asked to OTs with easy to understand answers and fun activities you can do with your child. Order anywhere books are sold. www.pocketot.com