Support, Not Judgement {Autism Awareness Month}



Autism can be one of those trigger button topics. Even the puzzle piece logo is divisive. People arguing over what does (or doesn’t) cause autism. Parents going to extraordinary lengths to try any and all possible treatments, sometimes at great financial cost. Divorces due to the strain and struggle of raising an autistic child.

Unless you have a child with autism, and I don’t, you can’t fully comprehend what it is like. And I respect that.

The closest I get is my friend with a child on the spectrum. I read her Facebook posts about her trials and struggles, her triumphs. And through it all, she asks what all moms ask: be supportive, don’t judge my parenting, don’t judge my child.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) statistics are on the rise. The CDC released findings showing 1 in 68 children now have ASD. There is, yet again, an argument as to whether more children are developing ASD, or if more children are being diagnosed. Regardless, 1 in 189 girls and 1 in 42 boys are now diagnosed as having ASD, and the numbers are expected to rise. There is no conclusive proof as to what triggers ASD, but there are risk factors, such as having certain genetic or chromosomal conditions.

Treatment for ASD varies greatly. Early intervention services, for children from birth to three years, can help with development. Some parents have success with dietary changes, some with alternative medicine, and some use medication. A variety of therapies and applied behavior analysis have proven helpful. But ASD is still much of a mystery.

So, for this Autism Awareness Month, and on behalf of my friend who is a wonderfully patient mom, I ask all the parents who have neurotypical children, those who haven’t lived the struggle that so many parents face these days: be compassionate, stop judging, and support ASD research.