Tag Archives | denial

Searching For A Reason, For Something to Blame

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately on all of the various possible causes of Autism and it got me to thinking… we really have no clue! I am no doctor and certainly not a scientist but let me give you a rundown of a few things that I have read, and a few things I know.

Possible causes have been tracked down to genetics, birth defects, gastrointestinal tract problems, vaccines, viruses, pollution… ok, I can’t list them all or you may be here reading all day. A little more specifics, they tracked down a rather high rate of Autism in a small town down wind of a sunglasses factory where the pollution was heavy. They have discovered that Autism happens more frequently in boys, especially if they have an older sibling with Autism. They’ve discovered that more people with certain viruses get Autism and of course, vaccines.

Here’s what I know, some children have Autism despite no family history of it, no pollution, their country doesn’t get vaccines and they didn’t catch the same viruses. So… what caused it?

The organization that wrote the main article accusing vaccines has since retracted their findings, one organization in Europe actually found that children with vaccines had less cases of Autism than those without!

What this all means is that if your child has Autism, it’s perfectly natural and quite alright to want to find out why. It’s perfectly natural to blame yourself, someone else… to spend all of your time and energy looking for a reason.

However, unless you are a doctor or a scientist and even then, a very very good one… your time and energy can probably be better spent elsewhere, like learning how to help your child through it.

Since Cameron was diagnosed, we’ve had a lot of questions from a lot of people and I think it’s safe to say that the majority of them have been about vaccines and what we think caused the Autism. People asked if we were still going to get our second child vaccinated…  we did. They asked about our family history, if we thought something went wrong somewhere. They still ask us why there’s more kids with Autism today than before, what we think causes it, what we think about vaccines and diets.

Superman has villains, your child does not.

Denial, anger, shock, self doubt… I went through them, every parent does. If they don’t, they’re not human. But sooner or later you’ll have to accept it. If you don’t, you’ll eventually find that you’re focus hasn’t been where it should have been and for that, you’ll have only yourself to blame… and that brings with it a whole new circle of grief cycles.

Your child doesn’t care what caused it, you do. You finding something to blame is for your own self satisfaction because if you have something to blame, you can feel that it’s not yours nor your child’s fault… even though you already know that.

Put down the lab coat and find out what you can do moving forward. Your child will appreciate it much more.

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Autism Denial – Einstein Didn’t Talk Until He Was Four

In my experience, the most likely person to be in denial of a child having a disorder like Autism is the parents, primarily the father. However, in my family’s case, my wife and I never denied it for a moment, everyone else did!

At first our family, trying to be supportive, told us that some kids are just like that, some kids are just quirky, some kids just don’t talk until they’re older. When you observe each individual ‘sign’, they weren’t wrong. Every sign that a child has Autism can be viewed as just a quirky thing that some kids do, when you look at them individually. But when you group all the signs together to form a diagnosis, you realize that they’re not just quirks.

Unfortunately, no one really spent time with Cameron as much as we did so no one could really ever know. Being in denial was a matter of convenience for some because it also meant being supportive at the same time, helping us feel that there was nothing wrong. While that is appreciated, it’s not what we needed, as parents. What we needed more was information. “Awareness” means more than just knowing it exists.

The next case of denial came from the most unlikely of sources, our family doctor. He is an extremely smart and gifted doctor and has a wealth of knowledge in many areas, we are lucky to have found him. But when we brought up the word Autism with him, he immediately dismissed it, assuring us that his quirks and delayed speech are fine.. there was still a lot of time for him to “catch up”.

Did you know that Einstein didn’t talk until he was four? Did you know that he didn’t form complete sentences until he was nine? And he was fine! He was brilliant.

Perhaps, but I’d venture a guess that if Einstein were a child today, he’d be diagnosed with Autism. And the thing with Autism is, no two children are the same. maybe he beat the odds and went on to become a brilliant man, but obviously that isn’t true for everyone. Telling me that Einstein was a delayed speaker does not put my mind at ease when I look at my son at the age of 2.5 who is still unable speak.

Eventually we got into workshops, got speech therapy for Cameron, learned all new ways to teach him, diet tips and more and by the time Cameron was 3, he had a pretty full vocabulary. He’s approaching 5 at the time of this writing and he can speak as well as any other 5 year old.

The reason I mention this is that we’re still facing denial from family and friends who now approach us saying “he is so smart, he seems to be a perfectly normal child… are you sure he ever really did have Autism?”

It hurts a little, to have people dismiss 2 years of very hard work that we’ve done… saying that he must have been perfectly fine all along. But it’s also very flattering and a wonderful compliment as well. After all, what could be better than for people to think an Autistic child is not Autistic??

Those who are close enough to us to spend a decent amount of time with Cameron know the truth. They see it. They realize the extent of what Autism can do when a child is at their worst.

All I can say is, if you suspect Autism, or you know someone who suspects it in their child… don’t deny it. Don’t be supportive by comparing their child to Einstein. Instead, help them get the information they need to find out for sure. Maybe, with your help, they’ll get their child all the help they need that in 2 years others will ask them “are you sure they ever really were Autistic?”

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