With autism now more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined, if your child isn't on the autism spectrum, chances are good that he or she knows (or will eventually know) someone who is. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 out of 150 kids have autism, an increase from previous estimates.
April is Autism Awareness Month, and at Boston.com's Child Caring blog and at The 36-Hour Day, I'm writing about ways you can better understand and help a child with autism.
Autism may be characterized by varying degrees of impaired social interaction or communication, but a little insight can go a long way toward making social situations easier. Start by shattering the Rainman myth, and take a moment to see what autism is like from the point of view of someone on the spectrum.
At Child Caring, I've reprinted (with permission) Ellen Notbohm's amazing essay, "Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew," adapted from her book of the same name. The mother of a child with autism and another with ADHD, Notbohm's books provide an enlightening glimpse into the minds of children on the spectrum, and have been an eye-opener for many people who are coping with a new ASD diagnosis or wondering how to interact with a child with autism. Go over and read it -- it provides eye-opening insight to what it's like to be a child on the spectrum.
At The 36-Hour Day, I've offered up a list of my top autism resources, including AutismWeb.com, Wrongplanet.net, The Autism Research Institute, Autism Network for Dietary Intervention, and AutismSpot.com.
Each week this month, I've devoted a Child Caring post to autism awareness. Stay tuned: This week, I'll tackle the controversal question of whether autism can really be cured.