Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Autism Jabberwocky, Excellent Autism Blogger, Signs Off

There are lots of autism blogs on the internet.   One of the best autism blogs, possibly the very best,  has been the Autism Jabberwocky blog which features the thoughtful, reality based, well informed and well written commentaries of "MJ" who has now indicated, in his comment, The End of the Beginning, that the initials stand for Matthew Joseph and  that he will no longer be commenting on the Autism Jabberwocky site.  In departing Matthew Joseph has left us with 8 excellent points to consider.  I am posting those points below because I think they are helpful for many, particularly parents with newly diagnosed autism disorders to consider:

"1. Your children are your children, your children are not "autism". "Autism" is just a word used to describe a set of behaviors, it is not something they can be.  So love your children but feel free to hate "autism".
2. Not everything your children do is because of autism.  Autism may be pervasive developmental disorder that has an incredibly broad impact but it doesn't cause every problem behavior does not it grant every area of talent.  So if your child is good at something that is probably because they are good at it.  If they have issues it could be something other than autism causing them.

3. Autism is not "genetic", at least not in the way that most people mean when they say "genetic".  Genetic alterations do play a role in autism but autism is not solely (or even largely) controlled by our genes.  So ignore all of the breathless announcements about new discoveries about "autism genes" because it is not going to be that simple.  Autism (or more likely autisms) is going to look a lot like cancer when it comes to genes - there will be genes that increase risk but none that directly cause the condition.

3. Autism is an ongoing disruption of biological homeostasis.  Your body is an exceptional machine that works extremely hard to keep things in balance.  Autism, whatever it is, comes in and takes a sledgehammer to that carefully maintained balance and then keeps it out of balance.

4. Recovering from autism is a two step process.  First you have to try and find and correct the underlying biological issues that are preventing progress and causing problematic behaviors and then you have to teach the skills that were not learned normally.

5. The number of people with autism is growing at an extremely alarming rate.  You can argue about what factors are artificially inflating the numbers but at the end of the day you are still left with a substantial real increase.  The rate of this growth shows no signs of slowing down.  If you are not concerned about this then you are either not paying attention or are in denial.  Autism is not the only developmental disorder growing like this.

6. The online autism "community" is largely filled with asshats pushing their own ideology.  You can and should ignore most of them.  Don't focus on an ideology but instead find the bits and pieces that work for your family.

7. Organizations such as ASAN are top 1 percent of the autism world.  Yes, most of them have something that you might be able to call autism but it bares little resemblance to what the other 99 percent of people with autism look like.  Their slogan might be "its all about us" but they really have no clue about what life is like for the other 99 percent of people with autism.

8. Parents, you need to achieve peace with your children having autism.  You need to take time for yourselves and to find a way to relax and enjoy yourselves.  If all you  do is live and breathe autism 24 hours a day then you will burn out."

Goodbye Matthew Joseph I still hope you will comment on occasion be it on your blog or on Twitter.  

Best wishes for you and your family.

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