Monday, December 21, 2009

Allow me to climb up onto my soap box for just a moment

On Friday, the National Center for Disease Control released some startling statistics.

The rate of Autism Spectrum Disease has increased from 1 in 140 (as of 2007).

Autism now affects 1 in 70 boys, 1 in 110 children total.

Second, it is now classified as "Autism Spectrum DISEASE" as opposed to the old diagnostics "Autism Spectrum DISORDER."

ONE out of SEVENTY. And the rate is even higher in Minnesota, New Jersey, Florida and Michigan. (1 out of FORTY in NJ)

Think about that, for just a second.

Hunter is lucky. Other children with ASD's are not so lucky.

Every Tuesday, I take Hunter and one of his classmates to bowling practice for the Special Olympics. There are 9 other children on the team, 7 of whom have an ASD. The function on a wide range of levels - from Curtis, who unless you've seen a meltdown, you would never know he was autistic. Down to Delilah, who uses a communication advice to speak. But when she laughs, oh does your heart melt. And those few times, when she does speak, with a bashful look on her face, you have to control your urge to hug her closely.

She doesn't like to be touched, you see.

Autism not only affects it's victims - it affects their families. Delilah's parents have dedicated their lives to making hers reach its full potential. Hunter's father has given everything he has to put his son in the best possible environment.

Other children are not so lucky.
I had a child come through my work last week with his father. The child was visibly autistic. His father slapped him on the head and called him a "fucking retard."
I've never felt so heartsick in my entire life.
Hunter's mother chooses not to be in his life. His father stepped up and is his only parent. He lives with his parents to get support - Hunter is hard to care for on your own all the time.

Curt's mother is a single mother. She is trying her hardest to do what's best for him, but it's hard to keep your temper with him sometimes, especially when he is having a meltdown.

The rate of autism has more than tripled since 2003. Pretty soon, the statistic will increase again. What will it be next? 1 out of 20? When will people sit up and realize that this is truly an epidemic that is kidnapping our children from us?

I'm stepping down from my soap box now.


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