I'm a parent of an autistic adult. My son, Nathaniel, was diagnosed around 3 years of age (he's now in his 30's), but as I look over some family movies (see March 30, 2011 post) I can see that he displayed many of the 10 signs of autism well before then.

His mother and I had only one thing in mind. What do we do?? In the early 80's there was little we could find about autism (no internet - what a lifesaver now!). We had his immediate needs to worry about. Was there a cure? Did he require medication? Childhood education had not yet come to mind. But with time, we needed to find out what resources were available around us.

Planning usually comes late for parents with autistic kids. We (well his mother and I) worried about his immediate needs and not the future. When Nathaniel reached 18, life as an adult posed many questions.

I hope that this can be a place where parents with autistic adults and children can communicate with those of us who have dealt with autistic adults. Yes, there are books and magazine articles about what to expect, and legal advice, but I have yet to find a place where experienced parents can share these experiences, give advice, and help parents of young children cope with the future of their child.

Aug 6, 2011

Autism and Aspergers

I have always had a problem comparing Aspergers syndrome with autism. Call me old school. When Nathaniel was diagnosed with autism he displayed most of the characteristics (10 total at that time) that were associated with autism. Along came Aspergers and the concepts changed. A major developmental challenge became a minor one (by comparison and in my view, of course).

The Autism Support Network just posted a video of an "autistic" 17 your old girl that stretches the condition further and I can't resolve my difficulties with this. ). It is incredible to me that the girl was diagnosed with autism when she was 2, and in 1996. A "normal" child has not developed the social skills yet, let alone a child that might eventually be diagnosed with autism. And now her ability to communicate with people seems miles away from someone with autism. She does speak of some characteristics that we see in autistic children like noise (although I don't think that reacting to sudden noises is a condition as a good example. Nathaniel always had a problem with loud noise). And repetition of actions is more a stress reliever than anything else, according to psychiatrists.

I am happy that the girl has found her place in the world and has been able to cope with her condition. It's just that her symptoms don't fit in to the picture I have regarding the autistic condition. A I said, I myself have a hard time dealing with this.


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