7 Things Every Parent Needs to Know About Autism

BY: - 8 Apr '14 | Parenting

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You’ve probably heard this statistic by now: 1 in 68 children have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released this statistic from their most recent report just in time for April, which is Autism Awareness Month. The report, Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years made headlines across the country.

The report revealed that 1 in 81 black children are on the autism spectrum and that black children were less likely to be identified with ASD than white children. It also revealed that black and Hispanic children who have ASD were more likely to have an intellectual disability than white children.

Despite all the statistics that this report gave us, there are a few disclaimers that need to be noted. We must note that the report was done in 2010 on eight-year olds in 11 states or sites. Many of the states included are not known for their diversity.

We must also note that the report includes the following statement: “network sites do not provide a representative sample of the entire United States, the combined prevalence estimates presented in this report cannot be generalized to all children aged 8 years in the United States population.” This means that a study that accurately represents the entire U.S. needs to be done.

As flawed as this report is, it still encourages us to learn more about autism. Here are seven things you need to know to get you started:

  1. Early detection of autism is extremely important. Early intervention can increase your child’s chances of improving developmentally. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies between 18 and 24 months should be screened for autism. The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-Chat) is a great tool that can be used when you take your child to the pediatrician for well visits.
  2. Autism is a spectrum disorder. It presents differently in each individual. We need to be respectful of and compassionate toward those differences.
  3. Autism is a not a dirty secret. We need to bring autism out of the shadows and discuss it more. Eradicating the stigma of autism is a crucial step toward autism acceptance.
  4. Children with autism grow up to be adults with autism. The cute little kid flapping his arms and lining up his toys will become a grown man one day. We need to do all we can to ensure that our children grow up to be as independent as possible. We need to equip them with the adaptive behaviors they will need to reduce the chances of being stigmatized when they are out in their community.
  5. You can’t beat the autism out of a child to make them act right. Efficient behavioral intervention techniques trump a good spanking when parenting children with ASD.  If this does not work for you, then seek professional guidance on how you can effectively help your child.
  6. Autism is not a death sentence. Every parent remembers the day when they found out that their child has ASD. There was doom and there was gloom. As time progressed, we realized that our child’s diagnosis was the beginning of a new journey. It can be an emotional roller coaster but it is not the end of the world.
  7. Autism is not going anywhere. We have to look past our cultural and social biases and accept this fact. When the blue light bulbs go out and the blue t-shirts are returned to the closet, autism will still be here.

BMWK:  What does autism awareness mean to you? What have you learned about autism that you did not know before?

About the author

Kpana Kpoto wrote 38 articles on this blog.

Kpana Kpoto, also known as Miz Kp, is a special needs advocate and blogger. She provides resources and support for autism parents through her blog, Sailing Autistic Seas and her support group, Bronx Parents Autism Support Circle. Kpana lives in New York City with her husband and only child, six-year old "Angel" who is conquering autism one milestone at a time.

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6 Things I Hate to Hear [My] Children Say

BY: - 9 Apr '14 | Home

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I love it when I see and hear children expressing themselves. It brings me joy to see them thinking and blossoming, especially my own children. What I don’t like, is when children express themselves to adults in a disrespectful manner OR they say things that are discouraging about themselves or others. Here are 6 things I absolutely HATE hearing children say.

1. Yeah. When someone asks a child a question, the answer should be “Yes” or “No”. You can even throw a “Sir” or a “Ma’am” in there for good measure. Hearing a child say, “Yeah” just does something to me. Not in a good way.

2. What?! I don’t which one I hate more: Yeah or What. When kids are talking to each other – fine. But, when an adult calls a child’s name and they answer, “What?!” just take me on out, because I can’t deal.

3. I’m bored. Attention kids: There are way too many things that you could be doing with yourself or for others. I saw this awesome picture on the web that I’m going to post in my home the next time they say they’re bored. It reads:
Have you….

Been creative?
Outside play?
Read a book?
Exercised (for 10 minutes)?
Done something helpful?

4. I can’t. I jokingly, but seriously, tell my kids that saying “I can’t” is fine if you’re telling your friends that you can’t come out to play, but I have a problem when we’re going over math problems and you say those two words. If you say those defeating words, especially before you even try, you’ve already lost the battle. “I can’t” are two words we don’t do in our home!

5. I’m fat/ugly. It saddens me to hear children say these words about themselves or others. The world is cruel enough without beating yourself up! Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I truly hate to hear thhis. They’re blessed. They’re smart. They are beautiful!

6. Everyone else was doing it. Really? Really? As soon as they pull this one out, I pull out a variation of the age old comeback: “So, if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you follow?” Come on, kids. You can do better than that!

Call me “Old School”, but I think there should be a distinct difference in how children talk to their friends and how they talk to adults. I’m hopeful that if I reinforce the positive things that our children say and do, that we are making them better people in the long run.

BMWK – What words bother you when you hear children say them?

About the author

Sheree Adams wrote 117 articles on this blog.

Sheree is a wife and WAHM of three who passionately blogs about marriage, family, health tips and more as Smart & Sassy Mom. Sheree is committed to helping blended families and keeping marriages strong, healthy, fun and SPICY!

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