Monday, February 12, 2007

Autism EVERY DAY

I can't believe that it has taken me so long to post! I have been busy getting stuff finished for the mini swap. This has been so much fun just to create . . . especially for a little girl. I am excited to post the pictures of my little projects.

I wanted to also post an update on the film Autism Every Day from the Sundance Film Festival. First, I just wanted to let you know about this shocking new statistic. Researchers have said that 1 in every 166 children is Autistic. Just recently, that number changed to 1 in every 150. Interesting, huh?

When Sterling and I arrived at the theater, we quickly realized that almost everyone there had an autistic child. Just listening to the conversations around us, we could tell that everyone there was looking for some sort of answer or acknowledgment in regards to this disorder . . . something to help us feel like we were not so alone in our struggles.

When the film started, Sterling squeezed my hand and said, "This is going to be hard to watch." It was. The movie featured about 8 families with moderate to severely autistic children. All of the kids were boys, except for one girl. The film showed the struggles that these families had gone through, starting with the realization that their child was autistic. The parents talk about how the illness had affected their child, their lives, and marriages. The families spoke about the daily uphill battles that they have had to fight and the countless hours of therapy that they have done with their child.

It was very sobering. On one hand, it was nice to have our feelings confirmed. Sterling said that he wished that he could have a copy of the film to give to anyone who asks us, "what is it like with an autistic child?". The heartache, the feelings of inadequacy, the struggles are real and somewhat universal in this little (but growing) community. It was comforting to realize that we are not alone and that we are normal in our experiences and frustrations.

On the other hand, the children featured were mostly severely autistic. Our little Asher is higher functioning and for that, I am sooo grateful. I left feeling a sense of relief and peace that my challenges were my own. I would not trade them for any one else's . . . that is for sure. The film made me see how far we have come with our little boy, who has been in early intervention since he was two.

Ultimately, the film was a great introduction to the world of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Sterling and I appreciated the candidness of the families. However, we wanted more! We wanted answers. Why is autism on the rise, what are possible cause, what are the rates of success with early intervention, what have others experienced?! What treatment/programs/methods have people found to work? For now, we just have to trust that we are moving in the right direction. The film did mention a possible genetic link, something that we can attest to after seeing our little Myles display behaviors similar to his big brother's. Ohhh. I don't know.

This is life as we know it and I am just grateful to know that we are not crazy. To know that there is a group of people out there experiencing the same things. To know that we have help and that the research is moving on . . . hopefully we will get to see another film with some more answers in the future.

6 comments:

Rachelle said...

You are a strong woman. I admire all you do for your children. Not having an autistic child yet, I'm grateful for this small glipse into your feelings on the subject.

shellyC said...

Glad the film was good and has helped you some what. I am sure you will always have unanswered questions. Thank you for sharing your feelings.

Lei said...

Wow Zoe! I'm sure it was nice to have so many of your thoughts and feeligns validated. And I can udndrstand why you left wanting more... you are an incredible mother and if anyone can give those little boys the best odds, then you can.

:)

Lei said...

PS - i linked to you on my new crafty blog! there's not much there yet; it's a work in progress!

Tee said...

I'm glad the film was worth it. It sounds fanstastic. And it must have been something special to be in that room knowing that everyone there understood what you've been through.

smart mama said...

i am glad you got to see it- there does need to be more out there- to educate, validate, and help