Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Challenge of Autism: Hope Tempered With Reality

Noah Gates works with Paula Williams, an in-home therapist
who helps to reinforce what Noah has learned in school.

(Photo and caption from the Dickinson Press)

The MSM and the internet are rife with hope filled autism stories and neurodiversity blogs about the joy and beauty of autism. If you read enough of the "Autism" Hub bloggers you could come to forget that Autistic Disorder is a serious neurological disorder. Hope and joy are powerful sales tools. Everyone, including parents of children with autistic disorders, needs hope. A problem arises though when hope obscures or even displaces reality.

You can, and should, temper hope with awareness of the challenges that your autistic child faces. You should seek, to the fullest extent possible, and with the assistance of responsible, well informed professional advisers, to obtain treatment, therapy and education to help your autistic children overcome the deficits of their autism disorder.

In The Challenge of Autism The Dickinson Press tells the stories of Nick and Kari Gates and their sons, Noah, 5, and Benjamin, 3. The article tells of Noah's strengths AND his challenges. The Gates are an excellent example of well grounded parents, loving both of their children, who don' t hesitate to help their autistic son. Noah has a number of deficits such as public tantrums, noise and taste sensitivities. The Gates do not give up. They obtain therapy for Noah, including paying for a therapist Paula Williams, to come to their home to provide Applied Behavior Analysis . As for parents who might have read some of the misleading descriptions of ABA floating around the internet you can see that Ms William is not a stern looking task master and Noah does not appear to be suffering any discomfort. And as Nick Gates said in the The Challenge of Autism "When he’s with Paula, he knows its time to work. He does very well with her.”

1 comment:

Lisa Jo Rudy said...

Hey, Harold. I've gotta say - I keep hearing from ABA experts who want to correct misperceptions of ABA... and I've written several articles based on their thoughts.

Problem is that so few ABA programs seem to live up to the standards presented by what I think of as "contemporary" ABA experts. College kids are trained in discrete trials and candy reinforcers, and that's what they provide to school districts... nothing like the creative, naturalistic programs that highly trained, experienced ABA experts say is "real" ABA.

Very frustrating...


Lisa (www.autism.about.com)