By Diane Smith
April is Autism month. If you see blue lights lit on porches, people wearing pins and ribbons in a puzzle shape, or having blue streaks put in their hair, chances are they are supporting Autism.
If you mention the word Autism to people you get a common reaction. “Oh, you mean like Rainman?” The famous movie with Dustin Hoffman. Many who watched the movie pick up on the traits of repeating and no eye contact, but what they failed to catch is the savant skills of the character.
People on the Spectrum can vary in degrees from severely impaired where they have no verbal communication and difficulty learning, to high functioning where they are able to function cognitively higher than other people with Autism.
Much research has been done on Autism. As to the cause, no one can agree. There have been studies suggesting a relation to it being a genetic condition, an environmental condition, a gastrointestinal condition, or even a vaccine-induced condition.
I learned a lot about Autism first hand. One of my grandsons at the age of 2 ½ was diagnosed with high functioning Autism. At first, I didn’t know what that meant. I just remember riding home from Detroit feeling sad. My perfectly beautiful grandson who up until that point was just a regular little baby meeting all the milestones, became this physically sick little boy who wouldn’t answer to his name, wouldn’t make eye contact and spent all day lining up the cooking utensils on my kitchen floor and playing with my vertical blinds.
Thanks to a lot of information on google, (I received a degree on Autism from the University of Google), we found out there were people who had experienced the same thing we did, we’re trying different diets, vitamins, and supplements and having success. We found a DAN (Defeat Autism Now) doctor in Ann Arbor, MI who guided us in what we felt was the right direction. These methods were the same methods that the CDC, some general doctors, and teachers were telling us were useless.
On June 4, 2008, my husband and I marched in the Green Our Vaccines rally in Washington D.C. We marched in front of the CDC and straight to the capital. It was organized by Jenny McCarthy who also had a son on the spectrum. We met Bobby Kennedy Junior who is very active in making vaccines safe for our children. We are not anti-Vaccine. It is our opinion that too many vaccines are given to little bodies that can’t handle them. We wanted a new vaccine schedule and we pushed to have Thimerosal, a preservative containing mercury put into some vaccines, be removed. Thimerosal is still found in some flu vaccines.
I am happy to say my grandson today is a regular teenage boy with his own interests. If you sit with him he will talk your ear off about the solar system, the planets, and their moons. When he was in third grade he taught the 5th grade class about the solar system at his school. He will tell you about all the countries of the world and their capitals. He can draw the whole Periodic table of the elements, has created his own character comic strip, plays an instrument in his school band and camps every year with the boy scouts.
So, light your porch with blue lights the month of April to show your support. To learn more about Autism click here.
Born in Niagara Falls, New York, Diane has lived in Port Huron for 30 years. She was employed in the auto industry in Metro Detroit for 20 years as payroll accountant. She also worked as the Student Services Representative at St. Clair County Community College for 5 years before retiring. Diane is married with 4 children and 10 grandchildren.
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