What started as a 2-sentence phrase about something I learned about Autism for the next edition of What I Learned This Week has turned into full-fledged post about Autism instead…
If you’re at all interested in Autism, then read on.
My Interest In Autism Started Long Ago…
There’s so much to say about this topic, that it ventured beyond the bounds of “a sentence or two” and into a lengthy summary about my passionate search to educate myself about Autism.
When I was in college, tossing about various life-goals and career paths, there was a point where I thought I wanted to work with Autistic children.
They intrigued me so, and my heart ached for them — trapped in their tiny little bodies and silent worlds.
I even chose Autism as the theme of many of my reports, while pursuing my degree in Psychology at Indiana University. And when I went on to pursue my masters in Family Counseling at Texas Tech University, I continued studying Autism even further.
I didn’t get hired by the National Autism Association when I applied for the job in 1990, but my desire to learn more and know more about this terrible disease has never waned.
Autistic Kids Tell Their Stories As Adults
To this day, I find myself becoming more and more intrigued with Autism and what’s going on in the minds of those who are Autistic.
Our 4-year-old niece Shelby was recently diagnosed as Autistic, so we are “indirectly” learning a lot from Jim’s side of the family about it at the moment.
Most recently, my mother-in-law shared with me a book written by an Autistic woman who was eventually able to start talking and communicating — to the extent that she has since graduated high school and college.
Today, she is gifted animal scientist who has designed one third of all the livestock-handling facilities in the U.S.
The book is Thinking In Pictures and Other Reports from My Life with Autism by Temple Grandin, Ph.D. (Here is Chapter 1 as posted on her website.)
We later saw the movie Temple Grandin. It’s definitely a must-see if anyone in your life is Autistic!
I am so interested in hearing about the ordeals that Autistic children have gone through — when they are finally able to share their experiences with the world (usually as adults).
I cannot wait until the day that little Shelby can tell her story…
I’ll be the first in line for your book, Shelby!
Autism Is Being Talked About Everywhere
Then, there’s the fact that Autism itself is becoming more and more mainstream. I can’t count the number of times I hear of another report on TV or another family in the news dealing with Autism. In fact, NBC recently ran a week-long series called “Autism: The Hidden Epidemic“, and included in-depth coverage on a number of local affiliate stations — including ours here in Nashville.
We were able to share something new about Autism with Jim’s parents when we informed them that there are now Autism bracelets available to:
a) show your support of the research and treatment of Autism by wearing it on your wrist; and
b) make a small contribution toward Autism research with each bracelet you buy.
These Autism bracelets are very inexpensive… roughly $2 – $3 each. They’re very durable. And, the best part: They serve to open others’ eyes about Autism in general.
To assure that every penny goes to finding a cure for Autism, you’ll want to get your Autism bracelet from the National Autism Association (NAA) directly.
If you’d like to be tre chic with your jewelry in support of Autism, consider this fashionable silver bracelet with the signature “puzzle piece” — which has become the universal symbol for Autism.
An Interesting Sidenote…
It has become so “trendy” these days to wear one (or more) different colored bracelets in support of one cause or another. When did it become fashionable to wear your support on your wrist?… The day Lance Armstrong started selling yellow rubberized bracelets imprinted with the phrase: “Live Strong” — all in support of Cancer research.
In fact, we heard Lance Armstrong on The Jim Rome Show recently talking about his Live Strong bracelets. He said something along the lines of this: Nike approached him with the idea of selling 5 million little bracelets at $1 apiece in order to raise $5 million for cancer research. He thought they’d only manage to sell about 300,000 of them, and the rest would be used as rubber bands that they’d flick at each other. In fact, they sold all 5 million very quickly and printed another 25 million — resulting in 30 million LiveStrong bracelets in circulation.
From there, the idea caught on quickly and other charities began jumping on board with similar bracelets.
- Have you become more aware of Autism in recent months or years? Wondering what’s behind the rise in Autism cases lately? Check out this online survey by MSNBC… Respondents like you and me tend to think: “It’s due to a combination of factors.” Followed by: “Childhood exposure to mercury or other toxins.”
- The Autism Speaks Resource Guide is a great place to start to find helpful resources in your state.
- For a wealth of helpful resources, check out Helpguide: Helping Children With Autism.
- Watch for even MORE news and information about Autism to enlighten us in the very near future… April is officially “Autism Awareness Month”.
- Cure Autism Now (CAN) is an organization of parents, clinicians and leading scientists committed to accelerating the pace of biomedical research in autism through raising money for research projects, education and outreach. UPDATE: They’ve since become Autism Speaks.
- Here are some great tips for keeping your Autistic kids safe.
- Round-the-clock coverage of Autism, including up-to-date daily news feeds.
- And finally, some good news! Companies like Microsoft and Home Depot are changing their health care policies for their employers to better assist those with autistic children.
- The Temple Grandin movie is one that peers into a mind that’s different, not less.
Professionally, I pursued my Masters Degree in Family Therapy at Texas Tech — where I obtained invaluable expertise and experience helping people with a wide variety of physical and emotional health issues. Personally, I think it's useful when people realize that they're not the only one going through a difficult time. So any time that I think my personal health experiences would be helpful to someone else going through the same thing, I will share my story here. With health issues that I've personally experienced (like Endometriosis, Lyme Disease, Hysterectomy, Skin Cancer, Ganglion Cysts, Autism, and other topics that very few people enjoy talking about) and health products that I've found beneficial (like sleep aids, essential oils, and medications)… I do my best to provide my own raw and honest firsthand experiences that I think others would appreciate hearing about and (hopefully) find helpful. I'm grateful that I have a number of friends who have also been willing to share their very personal stories here — regarding their own physical and emotional health. When I'm not writing about health topics, you will find me sharing Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).