April is National Autism Awareness Month

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.

Autism Wonderland

Aspie in the Family

Four Plus an Angel

Extreme Parenthood

Autism Daddy

Mommy Be Good

Don’t forget to grab your ribbon! Here it is again in case you missed it the first time.


This entry was posted in Aspergers, Autism Spectrum Disorder and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to April is National Autism Awareness Month

  1. Thanks for the shout-out Mama! I am honored to be included with these fellow special-needs parents.

    • Mommy Psychologist says:

      You’re welcome! One of the things that I love about blogging is all of the really great people you get to “meet.” I always appreciate the honesty that I find on your blog.

  2. Jessica says:

    Thanks so much for mentioning my blog and for bringing attention to such an important cause.

  3. Deb says:

    Thankyou so much for mentioning me and for bringing attention to autism.

  4. Kat says:

    It’s wonderful that you shared this. My nephew has Autism and I’d love for more to be aware of how amazing the kids with Autism are!

  5. Thank you so much for writing this! So often parents are made to feel like they know absolutely nothing when it comes to Autism and knowing what’s most appropriate for their children. I’m sure it’s easy for many parents to feel like they do not know what’s best. So thank you for reassuring us that we do.

    And thank you so much for mentioning my blog!!

  6. Zoe says:

    Parents are the real experts? You’re getting warmer, but you’re not quite there yet. The truth is, autistic people are the real experts on autism. No one else can tell you what it’s like to be autistic.

  7. Kathy says:

    This is a great article. (And Zoe makes an excellent point!) I am a music therapist in private practice so I mostly see kids in their homes. It is so frustrating to watch the school system time and again treat the parents like they don’t really know anything, resulting in a miserable school year for the child. And an insane amount of stress for the parents, like they don’t have enough already.

    • Mommy Psychologist says:

      Thanks for your comments, Kathy. I’ve sat in some really terrible IEP meetings and been so frustrated with how the parents were being treated by administrators. I hope this month sparks lots of conversations that helps all of us to address some of these issues.

  8. Thank you so much for all that you do and post. I have been a “secret” ̶s̶t̶a̶l̶k̶e̶r̶ follower of your blog for a little bit here 😉 I just started an Autism blog about 7 months ago when we got the diagnosis for both of our two toddlers (we also have a 4 month old). My hope was to make my blog a place where someone who was new to the Autism community could come to and find EVERYTHING they could need in one place, activities for their child, GFCF recipes, resource information and just some comfort by reading posts on our every day life. I’m still in the progress of executing that =) I hated having to blog hop for information we wanted to get our hands on when we were first new. I love all that you post =) Thank you. ~ashlie

    • Mommy Psychologist says:

      Thanks for sharing your secret:) I’ll have to check out your site. It sounds like a great idea, a “one stop shop” for the autism community.

  9. Theotherlion says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I am the parent of a child with Fragile X Syndrome, which is often misdiagnosed as autism or PDD-NOS, although some kiddos have a dual diagnosis in the end. (My point being they are quite similar.) I would have to agree that the parents I talk to are some of the most insightful, helpful, and hopeful individuals I have ever met.

    • Mommy Psychologist says:

      Thanks. The first thing I do when a child is given a diagnosis of autism or any other disorder for that matter is to point them in the direction of other parents. Parental support from others is an invaluable resource.

  10. Louise says:

    Like you, I am a pediatric psychologist. My speciality is clinical neuropsychology. I have 2 children and my older one has autism. My child has transformed my world in so many ways, but my professional outlook has been humbled. I knew so little about ASDs based on my PhD and my clinical training but I didn’t know that, until I had my own ASD child. I have learned much from the “experts” that I have worked with but some of them will do well to try to learn as much as they can from the parents and children that they work with (as you astutely point out). I now take my “experts” (and myself, at times) with a grain of salt. Only when parents and professionals work together can true expertise be realized.

    • Mommy Psychologist says:

      Thanks, Louise. When I first started blogging I wrote an apology to all of the parents who I used to work with because you really have no idea what it is like to be a parent until you are a parent. I thought that I did and I certainly had lots of ideals, but really had no clue. I too have been humbled. I hope I stay that way.

  11. ck says:

    I highly recommend autismum.com.

  12. Pingback: You’re Not On This Path Alone! | Imagining A Way Through Autism

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The Mommy Psychologist TM