I know I said I wasn’t going to throw a bunch of facts and information at you, but here is a bunch of facts and information. ONLY because I know there’s going to be at least one “Martha on a Mission” who just HAS to get her two cents in and tell me all of the things I could do or should have done differently. I still love all my Martha’s, very much so, but I’m tired of that conversation. So here is where I stand on it.
There is a common misconception about people with autism. Some don’t fully understand that it is a spectrum disorder, which means it looks different for each individual. Autism is a mental condition that presents itself early in childhood and can cause an array of different symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms are difficulty communicating and forming relationships with other people. Often times a person with autism may struggle with sensory issues and abstract concepts as well. No two people with autism are alike. Their symptoms can range from non-verbal and learning difficulties to highly intelligent and hyperactive. Dr. Stephen Shore said it best when he said, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” It truly varies depending on the individual. Unlike a lot of other conditions, there is no set of rules or symptoms that you can check off and diagnose that way. It involves interaction and observation as well as a truck load of paperwork from parents and teachers.
As far as what causes autism, there are no clear cut answers. Everyone has a theory, an idea of what they think causes it, but the truth is, we have no definitive answers right now. There are so many falsified studies out there that claim they found the answers.Some have even admitted that their studies gave false information, and yet people still swear its the truth. It’s MSG and pesticides in our foods, vaccines, gluten, the gut, mom’s diabetes, genetics, brain development and so many more, but none of which are conclusive and show causation. Don’t believe everything you read online, or what your Aunt Susie’s neighbor said about her great nephew’s ex step kid. Seriously, no one has answers right now, and until then we continue with therapy and appointments, lots of therapy and appointments. And paperwork, did I mention the paperwork?
Anyway, I digress. My point here is that 1.) it’s different for everyone 2.) no one knows why. I say all of that to say this, I will not ever, under any circumstances debate or argue with you over these topics. Also, if you believe one of those theories, power to you man! I don’t. And most autism parents don’t either, so please don’t push that on us. We know about all of them. Trust me, we’ve had strangers who don’t even know us tell us we could have prevented this had we not eaten msg while we were pregnant or vaccinated our kids. We’ve gotten really good at gracefully (sometimes not so gracefully for me because this mouth) bowing out of those conversations, but we already carry so much with us, please don’t add more to it. We know that 90% of advice and information givers are just trying to help, and we love you for that, really we do. I’m not going to tell you that you could have prevented anything in your life had you changed your habits. It’s rude, and it’s unnecessary. We are already here anyway, and if there were any preventative measures we could have taken (and there’s not), it’s too late for that now. Instead, just ask how we are doing. Pray for us. Pray for our kids. Include us even if we are a little weird, you’ll laugh a lot. And ask questions. If you don’t know, ask. We would be so happy to answer those questions, I promise. The day our kids were diagnosed, we all signed an imaginary contract to inform and educate the world on autism, so it’s ok. And PLEASE don’t think I’m a crotchety lady, because I’m not…usually! I’m just tired of the debate. Keep sending me all of the articles ya’ll send me discussing different perspectives and tools regarding where we are now! I love those and I love you!