A Dad's Journey

Father of Autistic Twins Speaks Out

Browsing Posts published in April, 2013

from today’s NY Times:

a new study raises the possibility that analyzing the placenta after birth may provide clues to a child’s risk for developing autism. The study, which analyzed placentas from 217 births, found that in families at high genetic risk for having an autistic child, placentas were significantly more likely to have abnormal folds and creases.

“It’s quite stark,” said Dr. Cheryl K. Walker, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Mind Institute at the University of California, Davis, and a co-author of the study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry. “Placentas from babies at risk for autism, clearly there’s something quite different about them.”

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/health/study-ties-autism-risk-to-creases-in-placenta.html?_r=0

My boys just turned 13.  God help me, they are now teenagers.  The other day I was at a challenger youth baseball game in which only Michael was participating.  Sean was still in the car having refused to get out.  I was talking to one of the other dads and he asked me, “What does Sean do for fun?”. 

That should have been a fairly easy question to answer.  But I stammered during my response because I knew I didn’t have an appropriate response to give.  Could I say, “he either blows bubbles, watches You Tube on the iPad, stims with his food or goes up to his room for private time.”  I mean that is basically the truth, but I couldn’t say that, so I threw out the kitchen sink of every activity that Sean has done in the past year and tried to pass it off as her normal routine.

It made me realize how “Dangerously Numb” we can get as parents.  You get through the day and you feel you’ve done your job, but what have you done to break through the bubble?  In this case, literally bubbles.

That question woke me up out of my comfortable state.  The next day, Sean was scheduled to play challenger youth tennis.  Of course, he refused to get out of the car, but this time I refused to allow that to happen.  I was hoping he would play for 15 minutes or so and then I could build on that.  Turned out he played for the entire hour.

And that gives me something to build on.  I didn’t get into this comfortably numb cocoon overnight and I won’t get out of it tomorrow, but if I stick with it, I’ll actually have a straight answer when someone asks me what my son likes to do.

 

Can I say “Happy Autism Awareness Day?”  Not really, but we can be thankful for some progress that has been made, as you can see in this piece from the HuffPost:

1. High-quality early intervention for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can do more than improve behaviors, it can improve brain function. Read more.
2. Being nonverbal at age 4 does NOT mean children with autism will never speak. Research shows that most will, in fact, learn to use words, and nearly half will learn to speak fluently. Read more.

3. Though autism tends to be life long, some children with ASD make so much progress that they no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for autism. High quality early-intervention may be key. Read more.

4. Many younger siblings of children with ASD have developmental delays and symptoms that fall short of an autism diagnosis, but still warrant early intervention. Read more.
5. Research confirms what parents have been saying about wandering and bolting by children with autism: It’s common, it’s scary, and it doesn’t result from careless parenting. Read more.

6. Prenatal folic acid, taken in the weeks before and after a woman becomes pregnant, may reduce the risk of autism. Here’s the story.
7. One of the best ways to promote social skills in grade-schoolers with autism is to teach their classmates how to befriend a person with developmental disabilities. Read more.
8. Researchers can detect presymptom markers of autism as early as 6 months — a discovery that may lead to earlier intervention to improve outcomes. Read more.

9. The first medicines for treating autism’s core symptoms are showing promise in early clinical trials. Read more.

10. Investors and product developers respond to a call to develop products and services to address the unmet needs of the autism communityRead more.