Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an umbrella term that refers to a range of conditions that share some common symptoms, including Autistic disorder and Aspergers disorder. The causes of ASD are unclear, but its symptoms include difficulties with communicating, problem-solving and social skills.
We dont know exactly what causes ASD. But the
latest research shows that in children with ASD:
The way people think about Autism has changed in
recent years. It is best described as a group of disorders with a
similar pattern of behaviour in three key areas - communication, social
interaction and imaginative thought. The currently favoured term is
Autism Spectrum Disorder, with
A person with an Autism Spectrum Disorder is affected in four major ways:
There is no specific diagnostic test for Autism Spectrum
Disorder. The best way to get a diagnosis is
A Personal View
I have found over the years though that because Autism and Asperger's are Pervassive Developemental Disorders and concern the activity of the brain they tend to scare people off. There have been many attempts to set up respite centres for families with a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder but the local neighbourhood has kicked up a fuss and the plans have had to be scrapped. I find this offensive and this kind of attitude just further alienates a group of people who are already socially isolated because of the nature of their disability. What people forget or perhaps don't even realise is that where these people may be deficient in some areas they usually advance in other areas. Asperger's for example is often referred to as High Functioning Autism because those with it are often performing in the genius range in some activity. Because their brains work differently they can often grasp creative or abstract ideas in a way that those who think along traditional pathways may miss.
If Someone can not learn in the way we teach then we must learn to teach in the way they Learn
This, I believe, is one of the biggest struggles for people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. It requires resources and resources require funding and funding requires grants from Government agencies and donations from people. It is complicated though to raise donations when people do not even recognise as an issue worthy of support. The public's perception of Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders is very biased. There was recently a report in a local newspaper about a school near our house. The media decided to make a big hulabaloo about the way the teachers managed resources at the school especially relating to children with disabilities. A number of students were placed in reflective vests during recess and lunch time. What the media focused on was the singling out of a small number of children with a disability forgeting that these children were being encouraged to participate in mainstream schooling but due to a few quirks of their Autism they had a tendancy to wander off. The school having no external fencing had found that if the teachers could see the children in the mass of swirling children they could keep an eye on them without being over protective.
Why are we so scared to make it obvious that someone is different? Surely we should be encouraging diversity and providing the safety net that such inclusion requires. We should focus more heavily on inclusive teaching practices and become more organic in our methods thereby including all children. We must also acknowledge that somepeople take longer to accept and address issues of bullying that arise.
In this regard I feel that those parents who are residents in areas that have rejected the respite centres are doing their own children a disservice as they are depriving them of the ability to appreciate diversity without percieving the diverse as abnormal.
It is for these reasons I became interested in Drawtism.
Why am I doing this?
I have many family members and friends specifically with Asperger's and when I heard about Drawtism I was impressed at how exactly the game of Pictionary does reflect the frustration people feel. Communication and Interaction are difficult especially when you do not know the person and the wider community needs to really slow down and not judge these people as stupid or slow. Most people with Asperger's are very intelligent and creative. Through publicising events such as this we broaden the community's understanding.
After our game of Pictionary on the weekend I have one prize left over so I thought that I would have a bit of a draw.
The Wayfinder has kindly donated a Family Pass to The Druid's Dreaming Valued at $160 and so I am running a bit of a competition.
For anyone who makes a donation of $5 or more to the Drawtism Fundraiser: raising money for people with Autism
They will go in the draw to win a gift pack of the tickets and a Pictionary game valued at $200
This will run until June 20th.
Winner will be notified after that date.
Autism Spectrum Disorders affect so many people and
most of us would know at least one person.
If you wish to contact me you can either email me on email@example.com or via the above link. As an official fundraiser for Alpha Autism I have an authority to fundraise and the above link is on the official site if security concerns you.
A Sky with no Rainbows
My hope is that one day all children will be accepted for the unique and marvelous individuals they are in their own right. How boring would the world be if everyone was the same? It is a bit like the sky with no rainbows.
I have often in the past written about indigo and crystaline children and I have found that this is a very illuminating area of research. There are a lot of sceptics around about the theories originally put forward by a parapsychologist Nancy Anne Tappe and further expanded in a very well selling book The Indigo Children by Lee carroll and Jan Tober. The scepticism arises due to the misunderstanding that parents are seeking an alternative to a disgnosis when what parents are really seeking is understanding of their children and the role they will play.
The Indigo Child is a boy or girl who displays a new and unusual set of psychological attributes, revealing a pattern of behavior generally undocumented before. This pattern has singularly unique factors that call for parents and teachers to change their treatment and upbringing of these kids to assist them in achieving balance and harmony in their lives, and to help them avoid frustration."
Supporters of the idea believe that Indigo Children are the next step in the evolutionary process. Sceptics scoff at this idea but I would propose that this is not impossible and inded could be highly probable. Consider this. At some time we lived in an age when we never travelled further than the village we were born in. We went to bed with the sun and we lived of the land we held. At some point we as a race of people began to think differently. Our brains started to operate differnetly and ideas began to come out. This is often referred to as the age of enlighenment. We discussed philisophical ideas like our very existence and we made scientific discoveries we had never concieved of before.
Social and cultural advancement can only be attained through the creation of new ideas and new ideas require new ways of thinking and viewing the world.
I began referring to children as Rainbows long before I found anything about Indigo and Crystaline Children. My ideas came from the underlying belief that every child is sacred and special and unique. I was first confronted with these ideas when a friend became pregnant and due to her age and risk factors she decided to have an amniocentisis to test for Downs Syndrome. I had the personal battle with her decision but respected her right to make her own decision. This incident led me to acknowledge that I would not personally undergo the risks if I was pregnant. I would accept whatever child I was blessed with by the Universe as a unique and special gift of the universe to the world.
My first daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia at 7 ½ months and died just before her first birthday but in the brief time on this earth my little ray of sunshine made many rainbows in people's hearts. Children are powerful, they are fragile yet fearless as they embrace new ideas with such enthusiasm that we should all learn from them. Every day should be filled with moments of beauty and wonder.
Last night I was dropping my daughter off at soccer, its nearly winter here and cold and nearly dark when her training starts. I took the little ones with me to get them out of the house for a moment. Their joyous wonder at watching the moon and the stars appear and the magic that they saw in that moment made me relook at the evening sky. It is truly beautiful. It is a thing of wonder. So why do we forget to appreciate it?
This is what children bring to our lives and especially children who think and interact differently to the rest of us. They make us have to look at the world in a differnet way and thats why I believe that most of the community are doing it wrong. We can't make them fit in with us, we can't force them to assimilate into a world they don't understand we need to adjust to them and accept the wonder and beauty that their diverseness brings to our world. We need to learn to appreciate their uniqueness.
I find the diversity of thought and belief in this world facinating and I just can't get enough of learning about all the different ways people interact and operate. This diversity encompasses culture, spirituality, race, gender and environment but also must incorporate those who have a new way of thinking and looking at the world.
Viva la Difference!
Autism and Asperger's Syndrome
other topics include Crystaline and Rainbow Children.... just google away!
An organization that I am happy to support is Autism SA. I have many family members and friends who have Autism spectrum disorders and other such disorders and when I found out about this event I though how completely appropriate. Click on the link and register if you are in Australia as it is happening all round the country. http://drawtism.com.au
would love to recieve emails containing FEED
BACK about her column so please send an email to:
Site designed by Mystic Grove. © Copyrighted 2003 - 2009. All Rights Reserved.