Saturday, April 5

April is Autism Awareness Month

Our Little T was the handsomest new born baby I'd ever seen. In fact, I shocked my own children by exclaiming he was so beautiful. Of course, my kids were beautiful in my eyes but there's no doubt that they were also red and wrinkled. That wasn't the cause with Tomas. To just look at him now, he appears to be a very handsome--and normal--little boy.

He is not normal in our definition of that word. He's been diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Just what are some of the signs of autism?
Autism varies widely in its severity and symptoms and may go unrecognized, especially in mildly affected children or when it is masked by more debilitating handicaps. Doctors rely on a core group of behaviors to alert them to the possibility of a diagnosis of autism. These behaviors are:

impaired ability to make friends with peers
impaired ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
absence or impairment of imaginative and social play
stereotyped, repetitive, or unusual use of language
restricted patterns of interest that are abnormal in intensity or focus
preoccupation with certain objects or subjects
inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals

That's from the National Institute of Health's fact sheet about autism. There is more information about the signs of autism looking at development at different ages from Autism Speaks.

You can see from these pictures that there are times when Little T is not engaged with the rest of the world. We all do that to some extent but with Tomas those periods of time last longer. He also has trouble communication with speech. On the positive side, he does engage and make eye contact and is very pleased when we understand what he signs (or the few words he says).

Tomas is in a special education preschool program that addresses his needs. He receives speech therapy and occupational therapy twice a week. What a difference that has made and how far he's come since he was first diagnosed!

1 comment:

Betty said...

What a handsome little boy. Thanks to you and another blogger who has written on autism, I am now more informed as to what it is all about. I never knew much about it before now.

Thank you for visiting my Show and Tell post and leaving such a nice comment. Yes, I only started blogging around the first of November last year, but it seems longer than that. There is so much to learn, but I have come a long way with the help of other bloggers.

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