Thank You Rain Man For Ruining What Autism Really Is.

Posted: July 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 “Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Both children and adults with autism typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities.” 

Their is 5 different types of autism. I don’t think people really understand what autism actually is, so let me explain who my son is not. He is not Rain Man! I think a lot of people think that autistic children are some type of wonderful genius that is going to talk about bugs like Max Braverman (Parenthood) These are actors, these are movies. We are not living the “Miracle Run” lifestyle, my son is not going to pick up a guitar and just play as if he has played his whole life. He is not going to decide to join cross country because he loves to run. You don’t see the struggles parents, families in general go through. Therapy sessions and doctors appointments. Deciding which route to go, whether it is to medicate or not to medicate. Testing and the worries of epilepsy(big fear of mine). 

Lets say you know someone with autism and they are highly intelligent and they speak with no problem. Well thats not every case. Again their is 5 different types of autism. My little monster might not ever talk, but he is making progress with things and thats whats important. He has no way of explaining to me what hurts, or what he wants. I look for signs that he shows me. 

So after explaining sort of what my son is not. Remember that no 2 cases of autism are the same. The child you know might be potty trained, but is non verbal. My son has amazing social interaction skills with people he trusts and he is starting to notice other children which is a big step. He is non verbal so he lacks communication skills. I’m not saying my son isn’t a genius in his own way and I most certainly am not saying he isn’t smart. Trust me he is too smart, he is problem solver! If he wants something then he will figure out how to get it. He is a quick learner and loves to play piano. I believe every child has a purpose and maybe my little guy will change someone, if not change the world. But 1 thing I know he isn’t is Rain Man and I am perfectly fine with that. Autism is a bad thing, if I could change it I would. Anybody would! But I am glad he is who he is, and since autism is a part of that…well thats okay I will take the good with the bad! 

And if you need more explanation, watch Temple Grandin (movie, Claire Danes). It helped my family understand the monster better and maybe it will help show you what autism and the actual struggle is! 

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Comments
  1. Pamela says:

    temple grandin movie is what I used to explain Autism to.. loving your blog my son is 4 and not yet dx but its coming up next month it will be official and l will be relieved we can move on too.

    • I wish you luck on your diagnosis! Keep your head up! and I watched it and thought it was amazing…so I had Mike watch it and then the rest of my family. They understood why my monster was always going. It is a good movie to help explain it a little better without it being too sugar coated.

  2. Meri says:

    I have a 14 year old son with severe autism, very low functioning, completely non-verbal, epileptic, and ADHD. It has been very difficult. You will find out that you have strength you never could have imagined, you wii find out who your TRUE friends really are. My best advice is to absorb as much knowledge as you can from theREAL experts, the PARENTS and the children themselves. we autism “warrior” moms and dad’s are some of the most incredible people. Even if we never meet in person, we can be some of your best friends, confidents, cheerleaders and therapists. Come to us when you need to. It is very true (though very hard!) that you MUST take care of yourself as well as your child. Sending you big hugs, I hope for all the best for you and your child, good luck!

  3. Maria says:

    I have a 2yr old non verbal autisic son also…you just described what I go through daily fears and all…great blog 🙂

  4. Norma says:

    It is a long road ahead. I have twins boys with autism and they are very very different. Take one day at a time and keep learning as much as you can. You are the only person your child has to advocate for him. Hang in there.

  5. Sarah says:

    My son is also not Rain Man! He is just James! Diagnosed with Classic Autism (2006), Epilepsy (2008) {40 % if kids with Autism also have Epilepsy} and a Tic Disorder (2010) {Tics are very common in Autism but James’ seem clinically different to his doctors}. He is super verbal and in a typical class at school where he keeps up academically with the NT (neuro typical) kids. Did I mention, he is JUST JAMES!! He is super sweet and a killer negotiator!

    Enjoy your child and let others worry about their preconceived notions about who they think he is or should be.

    I look forward to future blogs to see your path unfold.

    • I truly believe every child is a gift from God in their own way. My son is a wonderful gift and I love him to pieces, but honestly without autism it would be so much easier…but then again I don’t know if he would still be the cutest kid in the world either.

  6. Manic Mom says:

    My husband has had a hard time with Kaden’s diagnosis of Aspergers. He thinks Autism is Rain Man, that movie ruined some people’s perception of ASD. But, the more time he spends with him and the older Kaden gets, the more he sees that he’s not the normal average kid. What Kaden did at 2 doesn’t cut it at 5. I homeschool all 3 of my kids and spend a lot of time with them that my husband dosent have the opportunity to do. So, I am thankful he is coming around and accepting that yes Kaden is on the spectrum.

  7. Wendy says:

    I tried to leave a message but I am veteran of this world now. Been living in it since 1998 with our son.

    There are lots of wonderful things I learned over the years – such as don’t let others tell you your child won’t

    You know your child best! You may come up against people who think they know best (especially with school) – agree to check out their recommendations (perhaps it is the right thing) but don’t be afraid to say nope that is not right for him.

    Mourn the “invisioned child” – its ok and you need to so you can focus on the child you now have and you are not chasing that other child down with “fixes” to make the autism go away. Its ok to be autistic…they have a place and way of seeing the world that if we go to their level you will be in awe of how they see the world. (this was the best advice I got from a TSS we had)

    be aware that up to half of kids on the spectrum may have another issue such as Bi-Polar that develops. That will need to be treated so you can work on the autism stuff. Our son is one of those and once we got him stable in the BP it was remarkable how much he was able to learn and grow.

    Stims & other behaviors can be modified into things that are more acceptable OR you can discover what is causing the stim etc. My son loved to turn on and off the lights quickly (simular to finger waving effect) and our TSS said to try and put your autism eyes on see what they may get something from it. Sometimes you can give a child a fan etc to wave etc.

    don’t be afraid to ask for help. Parenting a regular kid is hard enough but a special one is really uncharted waters for most of us. Wraparound was a true blessing to us! They helped our family learn how to work with the autism and learn what we can do to modify or figure out what is causing meltdowns etc.

    Biggie! LET YOUR LOCAL POLICE, FIRE & EMS know you have an autistic in your house – that way if they must come out they know what could be happening and how to handle it.

    Also if you child elopes do not be afraid to call 911 and ask for a K-9 search unit right away. I am now in a place that I was able to join a local unit and the faster we get called the faster we can find them.

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