Tuesday, March 31, 2009

April is Autism Awareness Month

So here comes April. This month is Autism Awareness Month and even though most of you who see this blog are close friends and family and hear this a lot from me, I'm sorry here it comes again. For those of you who don't know, our middle child Xander was diagnosed with Autism April 2006, before that we knew he was on the Spectrum, because he had been given the diagnoses of PDD NOS, which basically means that he was to young for the team of specialist to feel comfortable with giving a more definitive diagnosis. But because it was on the spectrum of disorders associated with Autism, which we had been told that the likelihood of one of children having something was close to 70%. It was hard because I knew that it was coming, and I was truly hoping for a diagnosis of Aspergers, which is what Andy has. It was hard to hear, but we realized very quickly that no matter what Xander was still Xander, no matter what label was attached to his medical chart. We realized that no matter what he was still our son and no matter what we would love him. There was never any question of curing him, or changing who he is, we just want to find the best way for him to express and be himself. It is all a matter of figuring out how we can help him. We have to love him, that is what he needs. After that we learned, and continue to learn more everyday. Xander as of today is talking more and more and can say just about any word you can say, and he will parrot back anything he wants. Now we are working on attaching meanings to all those words. He regularly says "please" in voice and sign, as well as "thank you" He also says "go away" or "away" if he doesn't want something and will shake his head vigorously. These don't sound like a whole lot, but they are huge break through in his communication abilities. He also regularly uses pictures to express his needs and wants. He goes to gymnastics once a week and is making huge strides there as well.

Now all of this is not due the sole wonderful parenting abilities of Andy and myself, as much as we would love to take credit for it. We have a wonderful support system in our family, schools, and therapists. We have very involved Grandparents on both sides, who Xander loves and adores (as do Izzy and Dimon), our extended family and friends are always willing to help and offer a hand. We have exceptional therapists who work and work and don't give up. And we have wonderful teachers in school, in gymnastics, and in church who want Xan to succeed and so he is. And lastly Xander has two siblings who love him unconditionally and except his differences and do their best to protect and love him. To this extensive system we want to say thank you and tell you how much your love and acceptance means to us. Thank you.
So for those of you who are in our support system thank you. And check out some of the links that I have posted here to learn more about different things you can do or support if your so inclined.
http://www.taaproject.com/ - The Autism Acceptance Project
http://www.esteeklar.com/- The Joy of Autism
There are tons more, but these are some good sites. Some of which have some really enterting things to buy on them. Others are strictly info. But all good stuff!
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