What She Wishes Your Child Knew About Autism

 

Photo Credit: Emily Willingham (knowmore.tv)

Photo Credit: Emily Willingham (knowmore.tv)

Shannon Des Roches Rosa wrote a piece for KnowMore.tv (which was reposted on Huffington Post) that hits on 10 things she wishes you knew about her son, Leo, who is (as described), a cheerful, curly-haired, soccer playing, iPad-loving 13-year-old.

Specifically, she’s talking directly to the parents of non-autistic children.

You should check out the full article and list because I have a feeling that many of you would want to share this list with ‘uninformed,’ if you will, people you may know/have come across…but in the meantime here are some excerpts:

On friendship: No offense, but Leo is not waiting around for non-autistic kids to be friends with him. If you’re interested enough, and if you talk to him with respect, maybe he’ll want to interact with you.

On being non-verbal: Non-speaking does not mean non-intelligent. Leo understands pretty much everything people say to him, whether or not he response in a way that makes sense to you. So, please, presume competence.

On processing language: Leo appreciates your patience, because, like so many autistic people, it sometimes takes him a few beats to process spoke words…You don’t need to simplify your language or shout; he can hear you.

On his stealthness: Leo has no qualms about stealing other people’s pizza or French fries. Especially if he thinks you’re an easy mark. He will absolutely outsmart you on this, so pay attention.

On being loved: While his cheerful nature is partially genetic…I believe Leo’s happiness also stems from being loved, and accepted, and supported. This might not be every autistic child’s story, but it is Leo’s, and I wish the media would tell more stories like his.

We couldn’t agree more.

Lynsey, Community Manager

Environment Equally Important as Genes (Study)

It’s a question that many parents ask – ‘If I have a child with autism, what is the risk my next child will have autism too?’ This question is what prompted the largest analysis to date that looked at how autism runs in families.

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And what researchers found out was that environmental factors are

more important than previously thought –

and, based on their findings, they are actually as big of factors as genes. Their research, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), suggests that heritability is 50% of the story, while the other half could be related to environmental elements such as birth complications, socio-economic status or parental lifestyle.

They found that a brother or sister with autism are 10 times more likely to develop the disorder and 3 times more likely if they have a half-brother or sister with autism. To read more about this study, check out this article.

Lynsey, Community Manager