Autism Reality

Family With ONLY 3 Children With Autism

Unlike the Kirton’s of Utah who have six children, all with an Autism Disorder diagnosis, Randy and Lynn Gaston have ONLY 3 children, triplets, with autism. The Washington Post, in an article by Susan Deford examines the realities of family life for this family with triple the challenges, and impacts on family life, of having a child with autism.

No Group Discount For Autism Care

Now even mundane details of the daily routine are carefully orchestrated, driven by the boys’ need for sameness: identical sheets on their beds, baths in the same order every night, the same kind of pizza from the same kind of box.

The Gastons rarely go out as a couple; it’s difficult to find babysitters. The family has never eaten in a restaurant together, because crowded, unfamiliar environments sometimes make the boys anxious and upset. And the couple never get a full night’s rest. Like many autistic children, the boys don’t sleep well, going to bed at 8 p.m. and often waking for the day between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.

A recent attempt to go to a park came to an abrupt halt when Zachary started yelling in the car. Lynn pulled over and found the reason: Hunter had taken off his shoes and socks, disrupting his brother’s uneasy equilibrium.

The Gastons’ experience, though extreme, is shared by growing numbers of families.

http://tinyurl.com/yud37c

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June 4, 2007 Posted by | auism disorder, autism, autism awareness, family, family stress | Leave a comment

Autism – Parents Can Be Prisoners

Her autism often prompts Kristi Jansen not only to bite her own knees, hands and feet but to pinch and bite her mother Sandy. She would pinch or bite Sandy up and down her arms ‘really hard,’ her mom says, and even while her mother slept.
Glenn Baglo, Vancouver Sun

The following excerpt from Part One of the Vancouver Sun‘s six part series Faces of Autism portrays the realities of life for many parents of autistic children. Sun columnist Peter McMartin, and photographer Glenn Baglo, are painting a graphic picture of the realities of life with autism. For doing so there will be outrage from the joy of autism crowd, as there was following release and showing of the Autism Every Day video, but Mr. McMartin is speaking the truth and painting an accurate picture of autism realities. The biting and other experiences described in this article have also been part of life in our household and in that of many other families with severely autistic family members.


Parents can be prisoners of child’s condition

Pete McMartin, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, April 20, 2007

Marriages and friendships come under great strain as the family’s time and energy is gobbled up by the disorder’s demands. Parents of children with autism are not like parents of typical children.

This truth is easily said but not easily understood.

Depending on the severity of their child’s condition, parents are prisoners to that condition just as their child is.

Their other children suffer unintended neglect because the child with autism commands so much of their attention.

Autism also puts its own unique strains on marriages. ….

http://tinyurl.com/yuuwvg

April 21, 2007 Posted by | autism awareness, autism disorder, autism every day, autism reality, family | 2 Comments

The Joy of Conor




Because finding joy in Conor does not require struggle; Because the point is he is Conor, he is not his Autism; Because he does not comprehend what Autism is and can not offer his opinion about autism; Because Conor is a joy but his Autism is not; Because he rises in the morning and greets his family with a smile; Because he waits, faced pressed against the window, for his Dad every day and lifts his Dad’s spirits every day; Because despite his intellectual, communication and behavior problems he is worth it; Because, like any other child, he deserves to be educated to the fullest extent possible and to learn in the way that he learns best; Because it takes hard work and sacrifice, not accepting or singing the praises of Autism, a serious and debilitating disorder, to ensure Conor learns and develops to the best of his ability; Because the tremendous joy that he brings me every single day does not arise from his autism it arises from who he is and his Autism, a serious developmental disorder, will not be given credit for that great joy he shares with us every day.

January 28, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, Conor, education, family, joy | 7 Comments

Conor’s Snow Fun






The day after the big storm and Conor gets out to enjoy the snow – and gets Dad out there too!

January 20, 2007 Posted by | autism, Conor, Dad, family, snow | Leave a comment

Breaking the Autism Taboo (2) – The Harris Family of North Texas

In a recent post I commented on the fact that those speaking truths about the difficulties faced by many autistic persons and the families and other caregivers who love and care for them are often set upon by internet posters who criticize, mock and ridicule them. But such pressure is not forcing parents of severely autistic children into silence. The Harris’s of North Texas have told their story and that of their 16 year old son Colton. It is a haunting tale but one which many parents of severely autistic children are familiar with. Parents of children like Colton Harris do not give up on their children. They continue to love and care for them at great expense to their own health, finances and emotional well being.

I applaud the Harris’s for speaking out and telling their story.

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/mld/sanluisobispo/news/nation/16479635.htm

FORT WORTH, Texas – As a little boy, Colton Harris punched his fist through living room walls and bedroom windows.

Sometimes he would twist his pale thin legs like a contortionist. Twice he bent his ankle until it broke.

Now 16, Colton is the size of a man, but with three times the testosterone. Instead of shoving his fist through a wall, he slams his body into it. Just after Thanksgiving, he knocked out the only windowpane in the family’s north Fort Worth home that had not been replaced with Plexiglas.

Colton’s parents worry as their autistic son grows older, stronger and more aggressive. In five years, Colton will no longer be eligible for special-education services.

The Combating Autism Act signed by President Bush last month authorized $920 million in federal funds over five years to pay for research, education, screening and intervention. Advocates praised leaders for acknowledging autism as a healthcare crisis. Others say there’s too much focus on research when services require more immediate attention.

“We also have got to do something for the here and now,” said Anna Hundley, executive director of the Autism Treatment Centers, which have offices in Dallas and San Antonio. “It’s like cancer; you have to find out the cause, but you have to treat the disease, too.”

“Most people’s idea of autism comes from the movie `Rain Man,'” said Anne Dachel, a member of the National Autism Association.

But the disorder affects children in different ways. Some can grow up to be fully functioning adults. For example, some children with Asperger syndrome, sometimes dubbed “autism light,” can graduate from college, hold jobs and live independently. Others will always be dependant on caregivers.

Nearly bankrupted by the cost of caring for their son, Colton’s parents aren’t sure what kind of future he faces.

“My greatest fear is that one day we’re not going to be here for him,” Harris said. “It haunts me day and night.” Raising Colton has meant no family vacations, dinners out or even a moment of relaxation.

He is among the 40 percent of autistic children who are nonverbal. He cannot use the toilet by himself.

As a child, Colton typically became aggressive when he was in pain caused by a gastrointestinal disorder common among autistic children. The outbursts became more frequent and aggressive with adolescence.

“It would get so bad that he would dig his teeth into anything or just bang them into stuff,” Harris said. “You’re thinking, please, God, don’t let him break his teeth.”

Aggression, aimed at themselves and others, is not uncommon among people with autism, Karni said. But it’s often because they become extremely anxious. As they age and get bigger, it becomes more of any issue, she said.

Colton was 14 before doctors diagnosed him with autism.

The family tries to keep the furniture clean and the floors swept, but Colton is tearing apart the house a piece at a time. His parents have learned to set their routines around Colton and to ignore the incoherent sounds coming from his bedroom.

“You try to do your best, but what can you do with a child that is just not there?” Harris said. “This is a 24-hour-a-day, in-your-face-with-no-breaks life.”

Yet they refuse to give up.

“He’s still your kid, and you love him,” said Harris, who will not consider institutionalizing Colton. “My fear is that since he can’t speak people will take advantage of him.

January 17, 2007 Posted by | autism, family, treatment | 1 Comment