This subject, this word, this disorder is something I have no first-hand knowledge to write about. I am in awe of parents and grandparents who deal with autistic children in their daily lives. We know so little about autism. The word hardly existed until the 60s. But then it was not understood. In the late 70s, enough brain research finally brought about more understanding, better diagnostic and treatment techniques.
Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life, and affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills. Autism is a physical condition linked to abnormal biology and chemistry in the brain. The exact causes of these abnormalities remain unknown, but this is a very active area of research. There are probably combinations of factors that lead to autism.
Genetic factors seem to be important. For example, identical twins are much more likely than fraternal twins or siblings to both have autism. Similarly, language abnormalities are more common in relatives of autistic children. Chromosomal abnormalities and other nervous system (neurological) problems are also more common in families with autism.
Recently I had the privilege of sharing a writing class with a grandmother who is the daily caregiver for her autistic grandson. Her love and perseverance are making a difference in her grandson’s life.
Another blogger sent me a video about autism that is incredible. I believe this video should be mandatory viewing to give us all empathy, knowledge and a good shaking up. We are all so quick to judge children and adults who are “different.” Who are we to determine what is “normal.”
What would it be like for an autistic child to suddenly, after 11 silent years, to be able to tell us what it’s like to be in her body?
Watch and find out: http://youtu.be/34xoYwLNpvw