Sleepy Time Thought 3/21/2012 Autism Edition
This isn’t a political post but it’s been nagging at me for a few days. As you may or may not know, my son Jordan has mild autism. I take him to speech therapy twice a week and while he’s in with the therapist, I chit-chat with the mothers in the waiting room (they’re almost ALWAYS mothers for some reason). One of them told me about how her son developed autism before his first birthday, after he had learned some words and had a vibrant personality of his own. Slowly but surely, he lost his ability to speak and he became a blank slate. All traces of the child he had been disappeared behind the wall that is autism. It must have been like watching her son die.
I know other children develop ASD around their second birthday and my daughter, Anastasia just turned 2 last month. She is a loud and happy and energetic kid. Were she to suddenly withdraw it would be like a knife in my heart. All traces of who she was would be gone forever if it was severe enough. We were very lucky with Jordan; not only is his ASD very mild but he developed it very early on. He only spoke three words before his speech went away and his personality never altered because he hadn’t really developed one yet. He is who he’s always been. We’ve never faced the anguish of losing a child and having it replaced with a stranger. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is where the legend of the Changeling comes from.
I raise this issue because autism is a widespread and extremely poorly understood problem. While the Irish Wench and the Moderate Conservative can literally writes books about how to deal with the effects of autism, medical experts are still in the dark about the causes of autism. They know part of it is genetic but not necessarily what triggers it and certainly not how to avoid it or, the Holy Grail, reverse it. Yet, it receives crap for funding. These are the statistics from Autism Speaks, one of the premiere advocacy groups:
- Leukemia: Affects 1 in 1,200 / Funding: $277 million
- Muscular Dystrophy: Affects 1 in 100,000 / Funding: $162 million
- Pediatric AIDS: Affects 1 in 300 / Funding: $394 million
- Juvenile Diabetes: Affects 1 in 500 / Funding: $156 million
- Autism: Affects 1 in 110 / Funding: $79 million
Sleep tight you filthy liberal scum!