Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Friday, April 6, 2012

22 point increase in 2 years.. seriously?



I am bothered today, sitting here, watching Ben spin his heart out to their new favourite show, "Cat in the Hat". No, I'm not bothered he is spinning, not bothered the show is continuous rhyming, I am even not bothered that I get told to turn it up because I am too loud (thanks Maddie).. I am bothered because as I watch Owen listen and stim off his iPad, and I watch Ben spin like a champ.. I can;t believe that in 2 years, the increase in having a child with potential Autism has increased by 22 points, and I can't understand why.

Every new appointment I go to, now more so the appointments in our lives are for Ben, one of the first questions I am asked is, "was your pregnancy normal?". I 'm serious. My answer is, "yes, but had a c-section".. Specialist will then of course ask why I had a c-section then I have to go into, "welllll, they thought Owen was going to be bigger than he was (7.14) and his head size seemed abnormally large, so they were worried if I pushed I could cause brain damage"...(now look where we are, regardless if I pushed or not, interesting). Then, if the appointment is for Ben, I explain I had him as a c-section because all of my children are 15 months apart.. blah blah blah.

My 3 pregnancies were the same, I had the same horrible diet for ALL 3, I gained close to the same amount of weight will ALL 3, all of them were c-sections, I didn't eat fish, no diabetes.. everything was, "normal". A difference with Owen, was months prior to conceiving him, I took anti-depressants for a divorce a year prior and a miscarriage 3 months prior - rough time, but studies are now showing anti-depressants could have been a factor with Owen in particular, as they may have still been in my system at the time of conception.. but not Maddie or Ben.

When Owen was diagnosed, he was part of the statistic of, "Every 1 in 110 children with be diagnosed with Autism", which at the time, seemed very scary, knowing that Autism seemed to be on the rise.. but we never really knew how fast it would be. Skip to his year, in the past 2 months (also since Ben has been diagnosed) now they are saying, "Every 1 in 88 children with be diagnosed with Autism". Really? That is a 22 point increase, from ONLY 2 years ago. What are they going to say when my children have children? Maddie has a huge risk to be a carrier, and has a large potential to have children that may have Autism, and if they don't have full blown like her brothers, they may be at risk to have speech difficulties, sensory processing issues, learning disabilities... and the list goes on.

Ryan and I joke, when the boys will do something, "odd", that this may as well be evaluation in our society. In decades, this could be the new "way of living", this will be human intelligence, and this will be a way of life. You think about the 3 major areas that Autism effects in a person being:

- Social

- Communication

- Behaviour

Social) Even though we crave being social creatures, and you think we would need to be social to survive, how are we social now? Facebook, Twitter, Texting, Emailing? We are changing the definition of being social, to something that, say a person with Autism would have an easier time to adapt to.

Communication) Even using Facebook constantly like I do, all I really use it for is to post something that I care about, not really noticing if other people care as much as I do.. I also use it to, "like" certain things, not really using it as a form of a conversation, more of just a point I am making.. is that the new normal?

Behaviour) More and more people, and we have even noticed in ourselves Ryan and I, we have certain behaviours... and we (well me for sure) are classified in society as, "normal, or typical".. I have to have all the lights off at night, shut all the cupboards.. we all have different patterns of behaviour, so why are we noticing just people with Autism or special needs? Do we do a better job of masking it so no one is to find out?

I was just saddened and shocked to see the jump in increase in just 2 short years of my boys being diagnosed, and how much more prevalent Autism is, and is going to be. Us as a family has participated in several genetic testing and research to help find out a cause, which I read this morning that they have found there is not just 1 specific gene that causes Autism, they believe it is 1000 genes, calling it a, "genetic mutation" that results from both parents, but more so from EITHER the egg from the mother, or from the sperm from the father.

All I know, is I watch my boys and see in them quirks both their father and I have, which makes them:

Awesome
Unique
Totally Wonderful
Intelligent
Special
More to love

Their disability that they have made their ability inspires me everyday, and if in years to come, Ryan and I can say we contributed to the super-human evaluation of the brain then I am pretty proud of that .. so spin away Ben, spin away.

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