What Do You Know About Autism?
Why is the boy in the above photo looking at the wheels of the toy car?
It’s at least a bit of an understatement to say that there is a glut of information out there about autism. Twelve years ago, when my husband and I were concerned about our son Charlie‘s not developing speech and his apocalyptic tantrums when we tried to get him to walk left not right down the sidewalk in St. Paul, I already felt overwhelmed encountering the masses of material out there, in books and, most of all, on the internet (and this was 1998). With so many more websites, organizations, books, movies and so much, much more out there about autism now (this website is one I particularly value), I sometimes feel relieved that Charlie is 14 years old now and I have some (I emphasize, some, as there’s always more to learn) understanding and experience.
One new site, GivetoAutism.com, has a novel way for readers to see how much they know, or don’t, about autism. At GivetoAutism.com, a new question about autism is posted every day. Funds generated from sponsors of the site will then be donated to autism-related organizations:
GiveToAutism.com’s mission is to educate the public about autism and to promote autism awareness.
Too many organizations serving individuals with autism are either shutting down or struggling to stay afloat as a result of state and local budget cuts. As a result, families with individuals with autism are being underserved.
GiveToAutism.com seeks to provide help by providing an easy, free, and educational way of donating to autism-related organizations.
I’m hopeful GivetoAutism.com will note which organizations it is donating to and will make funds available for smaller, local groups, such as regional autism associations. As fascinating as it is to read the latest scientific study about autism such as this one about unusual shapes in the lungs of some autistic children (could that be why my son makes those curious throat sounds?), so many autistic individuals — children and adults — and their families and those who support them have a multiplicity of needs. Extra funding for something like an after school program or to help support autistic adults live in their communities is always needed.
Since my son was diagnosed in 1999, more groups that represent individuals who are themselves on the autism spectrum have been formed. One such group, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, has just made available a handbook for students on the autism spectrum entitled Navigating College, an “introduction to the college experience from those of us who’ve been there.” It’s a great resource available for free (via a PDF file) for autistic individuals and educators alike and it would be wonderful to continue to support ASAN and such organizations in such advocacy work. Today’s question at GivetoAutism.com was indeed about adults, group homes and levels of staffing, all topics constantly in my thoughts as we plan for Charlie’s future.
What questions about autism would you like to see on GivetoAutism.com?
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Photo by KOMUnews