Thursday, January 19, 2012

Open Your Eyes - Autism is All Around

Sometimes I just want to scream and this is one of those moments. I just saw a clip on NBC Nightly News saying that changes may be made to the criteria that defines autism. In essence making it more difficult for children to receive an autism diagnosis. It's moments like these when my stomach sinks, tears roll down my cheeks and my autism warrior mom spirit comes out. This sort of news just makes me MAD. 

I wish the government would stop pretending that the autism epidemic is all in our heads. Open your eyes - autism is all around us! There isn't a week that goes by when I don't see an autism sticker on a car, or an autism license plate, or a child in a public place showing all the classical signs of autism. Wake up people - autism is here and it's here to STAY. Sure, making the criteria more difficult will make the numbers sound better (higher criteria = less kids on the spectrum) but that only means there will be children all over our country with undiagnosed autism. The reason? So our wonderful insurance companies don't have to pay for therapy. (Not that many of them do anyway! That's only if you literally spend your days fighting denied claims and educating every insurance provider about insurance mandates for autism.)

We preach early diagnosis and early intervention and now they want to make it harder for these children to get the help they need? One day these autistic children will become autistic ADULTS. The price for therapy as children does not even compare to the price of 24 hour live-in facilities. If we can help these children become more independent and give them the tools they need now, why wouldn't we? 

The autism epidemic is real. I'm the parent that never thought it would happen to me. I'm the parent who read the Jenny McCarthy books and thought that my son only had autism if he shut down completely... that's not the only type of autism. Autism is a SPECTRUM disorder. Autism is different for each person. Autism is real - just come live one day in my shoes, come meet my son and tell me that this is all in my head. 


blackenpot said...

So very true. I agree the government have to wake up. I think that autism should be diagnosed at the earliest age possible so that the child can be helped.

Than you for sharing

Ashley said...

The whole thing totally pisses me off. One person described it perfectly by saying that these doctors who tell us that this new criteria will end the autism epidemic is like saying that we will cure male pattern baldness by handing out wigs. Just because we are going to allow doctors to pretend it isn't there with this new criteria doesn't mean that there are less people with ASD.

As a therapist, I think about the dilemma that a lot of us will be in one day when we meet a client who clearly has autism but no longer meets the criteria. Do you "over-diagnose" and say he or she has autism, or do you deny services? It's horrendous.