Thursday, March 21, 2013

New Estimates about Autism

This article has been all over the place today.  It's so stupid - the CDC calls parents and asks them if their child has autism.  Maybe they ask if their daughter or son, probably SON, more BOYS have it than GIRLS, dontcha know, is quirky, has communication issues, etc., etc., and they ... say yes?  They say, yes!, my son DOES have autism, that weirdo!  It's autism!  I mean, sometimes I think Maria is a sociopath, in that she just blasts through her life and mine without any regard for the effect she has on others, but I wouldn't tell the CDC that if they called!  By the way, they haven't called.  If they did call me, I'd say that Anthony has autism, debilitating autism which means that he can't go to a regular school, he can't be left alone or he might run into the street.  I'd say that Maria can be mean but is charming, Veronica sometimes goes through periods where she is obsessive about getting her air out, and Felicity is bossy but - and this is the key - Anthony is the only one who has autism.  We took him to a psychiatrist and SHE said he had autism, then we went to a developmental pediatrician for a second opinion, and he said, and I quote, "I have no doubt that he has autism".  We don't have any doubts now, either.

Denis Leary wrote about autism in a chapter of his book called "Autism Shmautism".  He talks about how kids with autism have inattentive parents who want an explanation of why their kids is a dumbass so they just SAY they have autism.  I have read the excerpt many times and it always hurts my feelings, which is so dumb, because he is not talking about me.  I mean, I don't think Anthony has autism so that I can make excuses for him!  Why would I want to make excuses for him?  Almost every day when I pick him up from school, his therapist says some variation of "he is so smart!".  He is!  Why would I make excuses for that?

Anyway.  As usual, I am railing on about nothing.  It just bothers me a lot that the CDC is putting out these numbers that just only may or may not be true.  Not to drop names, but when Mike and I saw Temple Grandin speak she said that she didn't know why Anthony's kind of autism was on the rise, but she felt like the reason that Asperger's or mild autism was on the rise was because no one makes their kids DO anything anymore.  She said her mother forced her to say PLEASE and THANK YOU and look at people, and behave herself, even thought it was really hard for her.  I don't know.  They talk about sending Anthony to a public school, even for 10 hours a week and I am struck with fear.  I don't know if he could do it, it doesn't seem like he could.  But maybe I am holding him back?  I dont' know.

We got an email about this art class that is offered for people of all special needs and I wrote to ask if I thought it seemed reasonable for him to take such a class.  Two different people wrote back and said sure!, it will be great! and such and such and it doesn't really sound like it.  The second email said that - well, here's a quote:

 It sounds like your son would be just right for our Saturday art class.  Our classes are adapted to meet the individual needs of students who have a wide range of  disabilities.  This 90-minute class will have a 45 minute session of clay and a 45-minute session of painting and collage.  All students are part of a short 'techniques' demonstration and then have about 40 minutes to work on a project at their individual pace.  While some make 2 things in that time and others might not finish 1 thing, they are all encouraged to explore the method and create their artwork with the help of the teaching artist who goes around to each student and helps them as necessary.

Um.  It doesn't really seem like he would be just right, not exactly right, really.  A teaching artist goes around and helps as necessary?  I don't think he could do any of it on his own, and I specifically said that he is *severely affected* by autism and that he was non-verbal and he sounds perfect?  Perfect for a class in which he watches a short techniques demonstration?  I'm tempted to sign up and drop him off and say GOOD LUCK and just come back in 90 minutes.  I don't even know.  Painting and collage?  Clay?  Last Sunday Anthony jumped off the couch onto the coffee table and bit through the middle of his tongue.  Should I tell them that?

I feel like he is the worst case that anyone has ever heard.  I feel like people have this idea about this Max-on-the-tv-show-Parenthood about autism and that's not our situation.  I feel like I say this all the time but that's not us!  That's not him!  And I feel like if they keep putting out false information about how 1 in 2 people have autism or whatever, people are going to have an unrealistic view of what autism is.

I don't know what to do about it, though.  I think the CDC is filled with a bunch of jerks, politically minded jerks but what can you do about it?  Obviously, nothing, not right now.  I will keep you posted on the art class and on ... oh, on everything.


Anonymous said...

Sorry for your frustration...(hugs!) Did I read that wrong!? It seemed like Temple said if people teach their kids manners...POOF! no more autism?! Forgive me if I read that wrong! Ummm, you're NOT an inattentive screw Dennis Leary. Try not to stress over the Art Class, or any class. You know your son best, and with some guidance from his current teachers, you'll find the right answer for you all at this time. I agree with you about CDC!! They wouldn't even get to ask me..i automatically say "take my number off your list" to everyone and hang up! Haha! You, Mike and your family are my heroes. My love, friendship and prayers are all yours, always! Much love to all.
God Bless........Stay Strong (or somewhat sane, haha!) xoxo -ALY-

Limefreckle said...

I saw Temple speak last year, and she talked about the same thing....she didn't seem to have a lot of patience for families that give in to their kids with autism, that's what I took away from what she said, anyway. I kind of laughed when I saw that she was also talking about the same thing when you saw her must really stick in her crow!

My son is not in typical school, he goes to a wonderful school for kids on the spectrum....I would call him pretty "high functioning" for lack of a better word. That art program sounds like a NIGHTMARE for him! From the quote you wrote, to me it seemed like perhaps the people running it haven't actually worked with autistic kids yet, just have an idea of what they want to do. I laughed out loud when you said you were tempted to drop him off and say "see you later!"

Looking forward to seeing what you decide


Joanne said...

I think we are going to sign him up and one of us will go with him for the first class. It says that a parent can join the student the first time. After the first class, I assume that we will either give up completely or we will just go with him every week. We are desperate to do stuff on the weekends and I think he'd like it if we could ever get it together enough with him - like if he could focus enough on it. But I don't know if it's possible. Anyways I will keep you posted, thanks!

Oh and I definitely felt like it was a THING with Temple Grandin, it seemed like HER mom just kept riding her and riding her, forcing her to look at people and speak to them even if she didn't want to, so maybe she thinks everyone should have to, ha!