After I wrote this post, on my thoughts on the article reporting on the study that seemed to conclude that it was possible that children may grow out of autism, I was kindly asked by the charity Autism Initiatives to contribute to their blog post on the same subject. You can read the blog post here . You can also read about the work that Autism Initiatives do here Their mission statement is:
expectation is that people with autism can learn and develop and we support this process every single day. We will create unique services for people to enable them to have ownership of their own lives and future."
and this is something that is very close to my heart. It explains brilliantly what I was trying to say in my blog post.
My further thoughts on the article were as follows:
"Articles such as the one published on the BBC website frustrate and upset me. The headline was not carefully chosen, and only serves to give fuel to those who don’t understand ASD and don’t make any effort to. Life for those on the spectrum is enough of a battle, without unhelpful articles such as these making the battle for awareness and understanding even harder than it needs to be.
No one has ever specifically said to me that our son would grow out of his autism, but I have had people say to me that he would grow out of his autistic behaviours. Implying that it was just a phase, that he could stop behaving this way if he wanted to. I have tried to explain many times to people that it is a question of can’t, not won’t. That there are things he just can’t do, rather than things he is refusing to do. I would say that I get this type of comment less often then I am told “We’re all on the spectrum somewhere” which I find just as frustrating, if not more so. This comment implies that everyone has these kinds of difficulties, and that my son just needs to get his act together. Again, it’s a case of can’t, not won’t, and that’s something that is often difficult for people with no experience of autism to understand.
I worry that this type of article may give false hope to some parents of those with autism. That they may think that it’s just a question of time, of just waiting for things to get better as their child gets older. When in actual fact the support needs to start as soon as possible, the earlier the better. Routines, which are so vital for someone on the autistic spectrum, are easy to form and difficult to break. My son is only 9 and his diagnosis is less than a year old, but I have already seen proof of how he can be taught life skills that don’t come naturally to him. That he can be taught ways to deal with social situations in which he would not know how to react otherwise. That he can gain in confidence and independence. These things make me very hopeful for his future. Articles such as the one I read only serve to make me worry more about the attitudes that he will have to deal with as he makes his way through life"