Something wonderful may soon be happening for me. I’m ecstatic about a job I will hopefully be getting a call on real soon–it’s the job I’ve been waiting for for the last 15 years; it couldn’t be more perfect for me, for more reasons than one. It’s working with Autistic children. And the best part is, I would hold the second highest position in the company, though its just entry-level for me, technically. It would be the first job I have gotten since I got my BA in Psychology in 1999. When I graduated I was highly encouraged to give up my education, temporarily, in order to focus on the highly successful mobile auto glass business my new husband and I opened in early 1998, which made us a lot of money over nearly a seven year period. But that was well over a decade ago. We have had several businesses since then, but the time has finally come for me to do what I was meant to do–what I set out for and was determined to do when I made the decision in high school to make Psychology my life, after taking my first Psychology class my senior year of high school and realizing, without a doubt, I had found my calling.
Naturally I wasn’t sure why at the time, but I always– from early on in my college career– took a very special and active interest in children with Autism. Because of this interest, I spent many many hours of my own personal time, completely unrelated to school, researching Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Autism Spectrum Disorder, My purpose in writing this blog was not to spend twenty minutes educating people on Autism; this is all about raising awareness of the prevalence of this disorder and how deeply it affects the families of those suffering from it. However, in an effort to increase the accuracy of the information that is carried along from person to person while raising awareness of autism, I’m going to briefly describe and sum up the disorder that is Autism.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder (an impairment in the growth and development of the brain and/or central nervous system) characterized by varying levels of impairment of social interaction (mild or very minimal impairment to severely impaired) as well as an impairment [to some degree] in verbal and nonverbal communication. Further characterization of autism includes some type of repetitive, restrictive, or stereotypical movements, posture or utterance. Common examples of those movements are simple, like rocking, head banging or slapping; or more complex, like self-caressing, crossing and uncrossing of legs, or marching or jogging in place. These movements are not unique to autism; examples of some other disorders characterized by the same movements are mental retardation, tardive dyskinesia, or even schizophrenia. I sincerely hope that my rundown of autism allows readers to quickly understand what the main characteristics and/or issues relating to autism are and how to immediately recognize someone with autism immediately upon viewing him or her.
- There is only one simple reason I felt the need to get in on the current wave of people making a huge effort and attempt to not only BECOME aware of autism and it’s characteristics but also to be one of the hopefully many people who step forward and BE A HELP in increasing the awareness of everyone in this country. Can you tell me what the reason is why I now, today, right now and from now on, feel a responsibility to help educate people about autism in this country?
A psychotic woman who most definitely had to have been completely stark raving mad when she did this–wrote an anonymous letter and mailed it to a woman who has her grandchildren during the week in the summertime and that includes a grandchild with severe autism, who she brings with her and the other children to the park for a couple of hours each day. The woman’s word’s were so hateful and despicable–calling Max, her grandson, a
“wild animal”, not to mention a “mental retard” who “nobody is going to love one day”…and, as the woman suggests, she should have Max “euthanized” because everyone would be better off. The words and statements made in the woman’s letter were so hugely mean, hateful, and widely unaccepted that the authorities are considering making her letter a hate crime, for which the woman would be charged with a crime.
When I heard the letter being read aloud on national television, I was disgusted, I was sick to my stomach but not just that–I was so upset that I sat and sobbed for more than just a few minutes, but not before turning off the television and deciding that something needed to be done to make up for what the woman had done. It wasn’t until today that I came to conclusion that, the only way to make up for the evil, heartless thing this woman had done, would be to do something big, something to show her that what she did was noticed by everyone in this country and that she wouldn’t get away with a hate-crime against anyone but most definitely not a hate-crime against a child with a developmental disorder, that was wrong, sick and completely worth whatever stern punishment she gets.
And even more, America will be stronger because of that women, so maybe in some small way, we should thank her, because now, thanks to that sorry, sad, and unfortunate woman’s evil ignorance, America is now more educated, more aware, and more prepared to handle anyone else who should ever (stupidly) consider committing any type of hate crime against another American, but in particular one who cannot fight for him or her self. That disgusting woman should be ashamed of herself.
One last comment. There is one final reason why I was interested in autism years and years ago, before I knew anyone with autism…it was preparing me for, number one, working in a field with autistic children and adolescents each and every day. But more importantly, it was preparing me, perhaps so that I could help in preparing my brother and his wife and eldest son, to be patient, caring, and full of as much love as possible for my precious angel nephew, who is six years old and was diagnosed with autism in early 2011.
So just let me sign off by sending a couple shout-outs: Here’s to my nephew, I give a silent hug, I haven’t forgotten you sweetheart… And here’s to Max, whose mother’s ignorance and intolerance of another human being is unfortunate; Max, here’s an America-sized kiss we blow to you. And to everyone else who deals with autism each and every day, whether with a child or another loved one, or even with him or herself– we are sending this message: “If you don’t support Autism Awareness, GET THE HELL OFF MY PAGE!”
- Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders (everydayhealth.com)
- Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome- Causes and Cures (anjalipanwar1991.wordpress.com)
- DSM-5 and what is new… (initatory.wordpress.com)
- Picture Exchange Communication (PECS) (julieanstey.wordpress.com)
- Facts about autism early symptoms (myworldofmedicine.wordpress.com)
- AutCraft: the safe gaming server for autistic children and families (bristolautismsupport.com)
- What is Autism? (lightupcolumbus.org)
- Autistic people are people too, you know V.2.0 (cityofneurodiver.wordpress.com)
- My thoughts on the recent “poison pen” letter in Canada (spectrumeye.wordpress.com)
- Disturbing Letter sent to Autistic Boy’s Family: Lets end the Ignorance (edubabbling.com)