It’s no secret that autism has become a more prevalent topic in recent years. A surprising 1 in 68 children are affected by autism spectrum disorder, and there is no known cure. There are several organizations, including Autism Speaks Canada, that strive to increase awareness and raise much needed funds for research, but there are no amounts of pamphlets or studies that can quite compare with the real-life impact of having a child with autism. It’s a task that highlights the challenges and triumphs of autism, which can also be extremely rewarding.
A Unique Experience: Every child with autism is different, which can make it difficult to know what kind of treatment or therapy will work best. Parents often find that they have to experiment with different methods, which can be frustrating. On the other hand, this particular uniqueness means that your child isn’t a simple statistic. She’s a complete individual and knowing how best to work with her can create a special bond.
Detail Oriented: It can be exhausting to listen to a list of every person involved in making an episode of your child’s favourite television show or how his favourite electronic device works. This particular focus on the minute details of life keeps them from completely understanding the larger picture, and it often makes day to day life difficult for parents who also have schedules and To Do lists. Fortunately, this attention to detail can lead them to successful careers in the areas that are most important to them. Many companies are interested in employees who can understand the smallest facets of a problem and understand how to successfully solve it.
Communication is Key: Many autistic children find that communicating with others is one of their biggest problems. It may be difficult for them to express themselves effectively, and when they see they aren’t getting their point across it often leads to emotional meltdowns. Unfortunately, a meltdown only halts the conversation further. This issue doesn’t mean that they aren’t intellectual; they simply don’t know how to make others understand. Some may not be able to speak at all. The upshot here is that therapy for autistic children often involves finding ways in which they are able to make connections. There are numerous forms of speech and communication therapy, including art, music, and even horsemanship programs. This can help discover new talents and interests that the child may never have explored otherwise.
Although children that struggle with autism spectrum disorders may see their world in a variety of different ways, they can also present us with amazing and unique experiences. It is because of these special children that communities have banded together like never before to assist those touched directly by autism. While tremendous strides have been made to raise funds, generate support and foster understanding, there is still much work to be done.
For more information on Autism Spectrum Disorder, please visit:
Autism Speaks Canada
Ontario Ministry of Children & Youth Services – Autism Parent Resource Kit
Autism Society of Canada