Thursday, 3 April 2014

World Autism Awareness Day 2 April 2014

I know World Autism Awareness Day was yesterday but I have been stewing about a few Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) related things so I thought maybe a brain dump here may help. If getting this off my chest helps with Autism Awareness then that is great. Of course, I may not be helping but I hope I'm not hindering ASD awareness.

My first point isn't only ASD related, I think it applies across board. It has been used in the context of ASD and I've heard similar comments about Boy Child and some of the behaviours he has displayed. So while the recent comment wasn't directed at Boy, it certainly pushed my buttons. So dear person I know - you attended the course as me so you should know better than than to ask "What's wrong with so and so?". That comment pissed me off so much I still get riled up whenever I think about it, weeks later. Perhaps next time you could ask "What assistance does so and so need?" or "How can I help?" perhaps even "What diagnosis does s/he have?". Your job is to help - regardless of whether the child fits your idea of requiring assistance.

Just like neurotypical (NT) children, ASD children can have high, average or low IQs. An ASD diagnosis doesn't stop you being identified as gifted either. You can't assume that because a child has an assistant or helper in their class that they are (or will be) struggling academically. Children get assistance in the education system for various reasons not just because they are behind their peers academically. If a child doesn't fit your idea of children who need assistance it doesn't mean that that child doesn't need or isn't entitled to support.

Grandparents discussing ASD children's behaviour as chucking a tantrum or putting it on make me wonder how much information they have regarding ASDs. I understand that different generations are different and ASD in our communities is fairly new but not everything can be 'fixed' by tougher parenting.

Please think about this: if your grandchild had diabetes or cancer you may need to find out more about their condition. There is no difference with ASD. I'm going to use an extreme example here - Would you say that your diabetic grandchild was playing up when they are vomiting due to Hyperglycaemia? No? Then maybe consider that your grandchild isn't having a just temper tantrum or 'putting it on' because they are having their hair or teeth brushed, or because their food is touching or is on the wrong coloured plate. Maybe the melt down is due to the child being overwhelmed by sensory input.

I'm getting down off my soapbox now. Thanks for reading.

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