When you look at the title of this blog, what do you think of?  Some obsurd profanity, or maybe just something you don't like? When I speak of the "A" word, I am speaking of Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Many people do not know what it is, or what an "autistic child" looks like.  Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication, and by restrictive, repetitive, or stereotyped behavior.  My youngest daughter was diagnosed at the age of 7 with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified).  It is also called "atypical autism", because not all of the criteria are met, but the child still has symptoms of autism.  Some children with PDD-NOS have a mild case, while there are others that are severe.  In my daughter's case, it got pretty severe at times.

I knew something was wrong before she was one year old....she was not attempting to walk, she constantly rocked her head from side to side, and she had problems with many things that other babies had no problem with.  She was lactose and soy intolerant, so for the first year of her life she was on special formula.  Before she was two years old, she had already been to a neurologist, who diagnosed her with "benign congenital hypotonia", or weak leg muscles.  We worked with her and got her walking at the age of 2.  It was a wonderful feeling!!

When the time came for her to attend a Special Ed Preschool, some days were a nightmare.  From that time up until the first grade, I got calls 3-5 times a week, sometimes more.  She did not like loud noises, she didn't want to socialize, she didn't like the bright lights....these were because of the sensory and communication problems associated with her condition.  There were times when she would lose control and throw things or walk out of the classroom, and it was very difficult to calm her down. But with hard work and persistance, we were able to calm her down.

There is so much more I could tell you about my daughter, but I want to get straight to the point.  People that have autism are no different than you and me, their brains are just wired a little bit differently.  Young children that have autism sometimes cannot help the way they act.  So when you see a child acting "different", do not label that child as a "wild child"....there just might be more to him/her that meets the eye. ♥

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