Autism? That’s Rainman, Right?

When my son was diagnosed with autism back in December, I was talking with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. I told her that we’d been having a tough time because our son has autism. She blurted out, “Now what’s that again–that’s Rainman right?” With everything in me I wanted to defend my son. I thought, “No, I mean, yes, Rainman had autism, but that’s not my beautiful, curly-headed son with the bright blue eyes. He’s not like that. And that won’t be him!” I don’t say that to diminish those that have kids that are profoundly affected with autism, but I mention it because I want people to know that autism can be hard to spot by a casual observer. It looks different and presents itself in varying degrees for every kid, so that’s why awareness is so important.


Today, April 2, was the first-ever World Autism Awareness Day. I’ve got to say that I am so impressed with CNN. They have devoted the entire day to continuing coverage to share stories of families, address the many issues associated with autism, and get the conversation going. Several stories can be viewed online if you weren’t able to view them live.

 I also applaud for devoting this Autism Awareness Month to a 31-day effort to get thousands of people praying to “Turn the Tide” of this epidemic of autism. You can download a prayer calendar to pray for someone you love each day. We need God’s help to get a handle on this mystery of autism and to expedite a cure. We need him to move on those in authority who have the power to put legislation in place, help families and those kids who are growing up with autism, get research going, and look at what is causing this epidemic. I really think we’re going to get there one day if we wake up as a society!

If you happen to be a parent that is in the process of trying to figure out if your child may have autism, I would really recommend going to the Autism Speaks video glossary. For me, it brought real clarity to the subtle differences for young children who have autism as compared to how a typical child would act by showing videos side by side. After watching it, I knew before we had the official diagnosis that we in fact were dealing with autism. That might sound like a scary thing, but it helped me to mobilize while we waited for three months to get the appointment for diagnosis.


On a different note, I’m so proud of our little Josiah. The last couple of weeks we’ve seen some great changes in him. He’s engaging with us so nicely, and he keeps getting more and more words every day. He’s saying things more spontaneously, and we notice him filling in the blanks when we sing songs a lot more than before. That kid listens more than we think! He’s also following commands at home and school better–leading the way to the lunch room, grabbing my hand when I say “It’s bedtime,” and leading me into his room. Little by little we’re seeing the layers peel away. And, he’s a really happy guy. I know that we shouldn’t take his temperament for granted right now, because so many kids with autism have a lot happening in their minds and bodies and it’s often hard for them to regulate their feelings and frustrations. Autism presents itself in such a range of ways for each different kid, and that can be frustrating, because you kind of want to know what to expect, but at the same time, it keeps you from putting limits on his capabilities and who he will be in the future. Anything is possible!


5 Responses

  1. It’s fabulous when [if] the words start coming.
    Best wishes

  2. Hi, I’m glad your little Josiah has had great progress in his battle with autism. My son was diagnosed with Asperger a little over a year ago and he has done very well with constant daily therapy.

    God bless

  3. Hang in there! Progress can be slow but it does come in lots and lots of ways.
    Also, sometimes I wish Rainman had never been made – that and Forrest Gump – I’ve had so many people think that my son will be either one or the other and it drives me nuts! 🙂

  4. Autism has been flourishing since 2000. Cell phones have been flourishing since 2000. Cell phones emit microwaves. Microwaves affect the brain and the fetus. Put down your phone and don’t stick it next to your brain again. Take that phone off your waist if you’re pregnant. Take it off if you’re not. We cook food, not people with microwaves. I think there are some new questions to ask for Autism Month.

    Try putting cell phones and microwaves and health into google. Try putting microwaves and autism in. Try cell phones, microwaves and cancer. Search on YouTube. It will make you sick.

    Microwaves are not only emitted by cell phones, but also by cell towers. They make our wireless internet possible. We are all paying.

  5. I am autistic. I am PROUD of my autistic identity. I don’t understand neurotypicals and they don’t understand me. That gives them reason to want to change me? They label me as “moderately” autistic. My life experiences are profound, and that’s BECAUSE of the autism. People are SORRY that I “have” autism. This infuriates me. As well as the “have” part. I do NOT “have” autism, I AM AUTISTIC!

    I fear I will lose my temper if confronted by this mentality in others, this fear of autism, or autism viewed as a disease as opposed to a difference, a variation, a neurology all its own. And this “fear of autism” can be traced back to a broader “fear of Otherness.” It’s caveman logic, essentially. Previously in time, in caveman time, there were various groups of humans. The superior group of humans at that time committed acts of genocide against the other groups of humans, and “fear of Otherness” perpetuated itself within the genetic structure of these humans. This, of course, was maintained well into modern times, with its racism, its sexism, its neuroelitism. Thus “autism” is a thing to be CURED, not understood, which is preposterous, and is tantamount to genocide.

    I am autistic, and I object to the demonization of autism and the autistic community. YOUR SON IS FINE! Your son would be much happier if you didn’t try to change him to fit your own expectations. Teach him to be a proud autistic, and LET HIM BE AUTISTIC. Autism is good. It is beautiful. And autistics have better things to do than be social. They have autistic things to do, which is how they are wired. They are not in constant distress, either, Don’t change him. He belongs to a group of his own. Don’t think that you’re doing him a favor if you try to change him. You’re just setting him up for depressive issues in adolescence.

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