Saturday, April 3, 2010

Autism Awareness Month and a Flower-loop-bow

RW Autism Awareness
April is Autism Awareness Month and April 2nd was World Autism Awareness Day.  I made the above pin to wear in honor of my children.  May Arts blog has a wonderful tutorial on how to make flower loop bows using ribbon.  They are very easy to make.  Instead of just layering ribbon I added a silk flower in the center of mine.  I used craft glue to hold the flower in place and added a pin on the back.  This would be fun as a hair bow, on a gift, in a frame, in a bouquet, topping a pen or pencil, as a magnet or anything else you can think of to add it to.

Here are a couple of pins from last year.  Autism Awareness Felt Broach and a Polymer Clay Autism Awareness pin.

Lately I have taken a step back from blogging because there is a lot going on in my life.  Actually there has always been a lot going on in my life this is nothing new.  In January we got confirmation that our 5 year old is Autistic.  His older brother was diagnosed in 2004.  Just a few months after his brother was born.  My oldest was diagnosed at 2 1/2 years and my youngest was diagnosed at 5.  That is a big age difference.  So why did it take so long if we already knew what Autism looked like?  Because they were two totally different babies.  Though as they have gotten older the similarities are much more apparent.  Some of it has to do with the fact that my 5 year old idolizes his brother.  He wants to do everything he does.  He is also higher functioning in many ways.

I could write a post that goes on and on about what they are like now and what they were like as babies.  I could write about the story of how we came to getting their diagnosis’ but I have a feeling that it would be more of a mini book than a blog post.

What I am going to say is this.  If you have a child that you feel that there may be something “different” about them.  Something that you can’t quite put your finger on.  You really need to get them evaluated and the sooner the better.  My other bit of advice is that some times Autism might look like typical age appropriate behavior when they are little but the difference is that their issues impede them from being able to do tasks.  If you get them evaluated and you are told there isn’t a need for further evaluation but they still think your child needs speech and occupational therapy and qualifies for preschool through early intervention keep your eye open. (This is why my youngest wasn't diagnosed at 3.  They thought his issues were learned behaviors.) Better yet if you think they are wrong then talk to your child’s Dr. and get a referral to have your child evaluated by either a Developmental Pediatrician or a child psychologist.  Talk to their teacher and be involved.  That way you will know if your child is making progress.  You will know if they have outgrown what was “typical” behavior at age 3 or not.  You can have your child re-evaluated (here it is every year).  If the concerns you had for your child at age 3 have not resolved then you need to consider having them re-evaluated.  Education is far to important to not get all the support your child needs to be successful in school.

Having your child evaluated does not hurt them and it isn’t invasive.  In fact they think they are playing.  What can hurt your child is not having them evaluated when you suspect something isn’t right.  Early intervention is crucial to their development.  Think of it this way, you can help train their brain while it is still growing and before they get set in their ways.

Some resources are http://www.autismspeaks.org/  and http://www.autism-society.org/site/PageServer  There may also be a local chapter of the Autism Society in your area.

There is no cure but you can change their future with intervention.  There are many many interventions out there, join a forum for Autism or go to your local Autism Society and you will find hundreds of parents just like you, willing to share their stories.  They will share what worked for them and what didn’t.  Unfortunately, what works for one child may not work for another.  We have been fortunate that all the interventions we have done have made a difference.

Life with Autism isn’t easy but there are lots and lots of bright spots.  You just have to look for them.
I wouldn’t change who my children are for the world.  If I could go back and do things such that they would still be the kids that they are with out the Autism, I would.  However, I cannot change genetics.  Autism runs in my family.

Katrina
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Rebecca here:
Thank you, Katrina, for this post!  I am so thankful for all of the children in my life that have special needs (my own kids are part of this bunch)!  My life would not be as full without them.  As far as Autism goes, I am so thankful that my Nephews have Katrina as their Mother!  She is so hard working in getting them everything they need!  This is something that is an epidemic and we all need to do something about it!  We can all start with not judging others, as you never know what that person's situation really is.  I think a big thing with Autistic children is that they look just like everyone else.  There are no telltale physical signs that let you know that child has Autism.  If you saw my Nephews, you'd see what I mean because they are absolutely gorgeous boys!

I cherish the times when all the cousins are running around together with no thoughts to who "has" what!  No one says anything about my Daughter's speech delay, or my Son's hyperactivity, no one slows down when they see one of the cousin's with his back pack on that is feeding him through his stomach, and no one says anything when the cousins with Autism are overwhelmed.  I love that our children just love each other for who they are!  What a great bunch of kids we've got!  It reminds me of my own childhood and running around with my cousins.  We have kids of every nation, in our family running and playing together...not even noticing that there were differences between us.  If we could now get the rest of the world to be so wonderful!

6 comments:

Lisa said...

What a fantastic post! I work with kids with Autism for a living, and it inspiring to me to see family members raising awareness in a such a positive way. I LOVE the puzzle ribbon, btw! Where did you find it?

RootsAndWingsCo said...

Lisa,

Thanks so much for the comment. It feels good to know that something like this touches others in a positive way. For me, the best way to get through the day to day stuff is to focus on the positive and not the negative. Things can only get better right? All I can do is my best. I rely heavily on people like you who work with my children. We have wonderful people in our lives that I wouldn't have gotten to know otherwise. How can that be a bad thing?

I tip my hat off to you for taking on such a worthy cause. I try very hard to let the people we work with know just how grateful we are. Even if the parents of the children you work with don't say it, they are grateful. You are a big part of their lives. People like you make it easier to send our kids to school and let some one else mold them. You are not just shaping their life for today but for tomorrow as well. Their success is also yours.

Anjeanette got the ribbon for me. I had a hard time finding it locally. I have seen it in Joann's from time to time. The ribbon I have is by Offray. The spool has the web site of www.offray.com. The number on it is 131277JIGSAW BLUE 5. The price was $3.99 for 10feet. You should be able to google "Autism Ribbon" or "Jigsaw ribbon" and find a place to order it on line. That is what we had to do when we ordered "puzzle piece fabric" last year.

Katrina

Valerie said...

Great post! I have a nephew with autism and my family and I are all working together to help my brother and his wife do fundraising for the Autism Speaks walk that is coming up. I like the ideas that you have shared and I will pass them along. Thanks for your educational post.

Annie said...

Glad to find your blog through your comment on my sister and my blog, no fuss fabulous. What wonderful and fun ideas you have! I didn't know this month was Autism Awareness; your info and links are great. I am constantly amazed by the hidden intricasies and beauty of the human mind.
Look forward to seeing more, Annie

SpindleJigs said...

I love this post, I have six adopted siblings with special needs, three of whom are now in my care. All girls with, all three have varying degrees of Pervasive Developemental Delay, one profoundly so, one who is Autistic as well, and one who is moderately delayed and schizophrenic. It's always so nice when I come across others who see fully realized human beings. Not a list of diagnoses or problems to be dealt with. Just Stepahnie, Danielle, and Amanda.

Karen Y. Lee said...

Great post and photo. My nephew has some mild form of autism and it's been a bewildering new world for our whole family, which has never encountered it before. We're also a Chinese immigrant family so there are cultural clashes with how to deal with this as well...but all in all I'm proud of how my sister and brother in law are helping my nephew. Reading and learning more through blogs like yours will make it easier for me to help my nephew and enjoy him in his special way, and to teach my 5 year old daughter, who was born 2 week before him, learn to appreciate him for all his differences AND his similarities to her!