Be Mindful… 1 in 68

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The statistics are shocking: one in every 68 children are born with autism and one in 42 are boys. Although 68 children may seem like a large sum, it is around an average first grade class size. This developmental disorder is the fastest growing disorder in the United States. The common saying is, “autism speaks, ” yet, many people do not hear it. It is present in the local grocery store, the park, your child’s school, and a neighbor’s house.  With one and every 68 children being born with autism, everyone’s community includes these children, visible or not.

The statistics are not meant to be frightening, but to be kept mindful. Not only do we need to search for a cure, but we have to be mindful of those with this developmental disorder. Parenting children with autism can be especially difficult. Many parents receive criticism from fellow shoppers or neighbors who do not understand their position, as their children’s appearance gives no tell-tale signs of their disorder. As you can imagine, judgement from an uninformed stranger is not always appreciated. As a community, it is necessary to stay mindful that, with autism being so common, it is likely present in public spaces.

Aside from difficult outings, the parents can face troubles at home, such as sibling rivalry and “behaviors, ” and financial dilemmas.  On average, it costs families of children with autism $60, 000 a year. Often times, children with autism bear other medical conditions. There is no known cure for autism, but therapy can help, especially if started at a young age. Therapy, though extensive (almost daily), allows these children to learn skills such as language and communication, coping mechanisms, daily routines, and improve their social skills. Therapy can also help reduce behaviors some of the children may have. Each child is different, and there is a large spectrum of this disorder, meaning there are many different impairments and levels of skills and symptoms each individual can have.

With autism affecting such a large percent of the population, the population needs to be mindful of this disorder. From my experience, therapy can improve a child’s behavior and reduce symptoms significantly. I cannot go without noting that these children are some of the most intelligent of the kids I have met, which is a large number. They are bright, strong, playful, and witty. Each day I work with them teaches me just as much, if not more, as I teach them. Aside from being mindful of autism as a prominent disorder in our society, it must be remembered that these children are very intelligent and their disorder does not define them or their abilities.

 

Bibliography

“Facts about Autism.” Autism Speaks. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.

Follow Kathleen Collins:

Line Therapist at Wisconsin Early Autism Program

Kathleen "KC" Collins works as a Line Therapist at Wisconsin Early Autism Program in the De Pere metro area, where she is presently a Sophomore at St. Norbert College. She is a Psychology and Fine Arts double major with a Spanish Minor. She is VP of her sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon, and very active in volunteer work both in De Pere and Milwaukee.

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