I couldn’t kick off the month of April without mentioning that it is National Autism Awareness Month. You might not know that the CDC estimates that 1 in 88 children has an autism spectrum disorder.
This is the Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon that according to the Autism Society:
“The puzzle pattern reflects the mystery and complexity of the autism spectrum. The different colors and shapes represent the diversity of the people and families living with the condition. The brightness of the ribbon signals hope—hope that through increased awareness of autism, and through early intervention and appropriate treatments, people with autism will lead fuller, more complete lives (para.1)”.
If you don’t have this ribbon, now is your chance to grab it. You can copy it easily right from here. Post it on your facebook page or anywhere else where others might see it. Hopefully, someone will ask you what it means and you can take the time to mention the importance of this month.
I have a doctorate in clinical psychology. I’ve been trained in childhood disorders and treatment. During my internship at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, I even took a year long training course which was designed to teach clinicians the interdisciplinary care for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. I received my Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) certification.
You might be asking yourself why I’m sharing with you my professional resume and education. I’m not trying to brag. I’m doing so in order to make a point. I have extensive training in relation to autism spectrum disorders and I’ve worked with lots of children with these disorders, but do you know who has the most information on autism spectrum disorders? Do you know who has the most knowledge and the most experience? Who knows all of the latest research? The pros and cons of different treatment approaches? Who can tell you more about it than I ever could?
I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. It’s not the “experts.” It is the parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. These parents are the real experts. They are the ones who know the most. They are the people we should listen to. They are the ones who can provide us with the most valuable lessons regarding this disorder. Not me. And not anyone like me, although, I’m sure I’ll get a few angry emails from pediatricians and other mental health professionals for saying so. Oh well.
If you want to become more aware of autism, the research, the struggles, the treatments, and what it is really like than you should ask the parents.
Here’s a list of some of my favorite blogs of parents dealing with autism spectrum disorders.