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Autism - Such a Disturbing Word!

cadams
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TV shows, books, and articles abound on the subject of autism. They immediately catch my attention because my nine-year-old grandson, Noah, was diagnosed with autism at one and a half years. While watching Larry King Live recently, I started thinking about how serious and sad parents look as they describe hearing the diagnosis. You get an increasing feeling something isn't right. It builds to the point of medical intervention, leading to a diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorder which includes autism. I remember my son giving me a book on the disorder and seeing the words, ”mental retardation”. I grieved not only for my grandson but also for my son and his wife.

Noah started to school before he was age two. We had no idea at the time what the future would be for him. Would he ever be able to communicate meaningfully? Nothing could be taken for granted. We were wearing the same worried looks I see on television.

I wanted to write this blog to tell everyone there can be an ”up side” to this disorder. Noah is mainstreamed in the public school system. He is one grade behind but performing above grade level in most areas. He is very interested in numbers, which is not uncommon. He remembers everyone's birthdays and ages. At six, he could name and tell you about every dinosaur. He knows all the stats for the Maverick's players. Basketball is his passion, and he is a good shooter. I'm including a YouTube video - watch number 12 on the court! His weakest area is in social interactions. That is improving. Being able to score points gives him status with the other kids. We still have questions about his future but the worried looks are gone. He is happy/we are happy. Isn't that what we really want for our kids?

If you have or know of a child with delayed speech, poor eye contact, who seems to retreat into his or her own world, lines up toys in orderly rows, stares at fans and mechanical gears and does not point, I recommend having the child evaluated by a developmental pediatrician and/or the elementary school the child would some day attend. Early intervention is important.

Don't be afraid.

18 Comments
Blastoff
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Carole - What a great video! I'm so happy for you and your family that this situation has resolved itself well. I think your post will give courage to all those who are coming to terms with a recent diagnosis!
Katie7
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Carole, what a beautiful point of view! Thank you so much for posting that article and video of our little guy. We are so proud of him and wouldn't change one thing about him. These children are special indeed!
Fred_Guerrero
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Carole, That was so kind to write about your grandson and my nephew. Noah amazes me with his intellect at such a young age!!!. He as well as all of the children with Autism are beautiful and very special individuals.
Leah3
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Thanks for another great post, Carole! I know a boy who is autistic & has bipolar & another boy who is autistic. The first boy I mentioned likes insects! The other boy became clingy to me & would sometimes cry when I left. They are in high school & elementary school now. I also know a girl who has Asperger's syndrome. She's in junior high now. My church has Respite Care two Friday nights a month, I believe it is. It's for parents who have children with special needs, & they have volunteers who watch them & have activities. That way, the parents can have a break. SWA LUV! 🙂
The_Bargain_Sho
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Great post! I am sad you are being audited! I Luv Southwest Airlines! I only fly the besT! ~The Bargain Shopper Lady
Claudine
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Carol-your honesty,strength,and compassion will help so many people who have or know someone who has autism.Your always an inspiration for others regardless the subject!
John5
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Carole, I loved reading about Noah and the video really added to the blog. Southwest is a GREAT airline. I have always felt safe flying Southwest and appreciate the quality of your employees. Hold your heads high! A loyal customer
pberg
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Carole - I found myself clapping and cheering out loud when I watched Noah make his first shot! The kid has got game!
Bill
Employee
Employee
Carole, I know you are a WONDERFUL grandmother, because you are a *fantastic* person. Thank you for sharing Noah's story with us all, and I hope at least one person that reads this has an "a-ha!" moment and begins to get a child in their lives the help that he or she needs. You ROCK! Bill
Alex_Plank
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I agree that the reality of Autism is much more hopeful and inspiring than what certain organizations make it out to be. Great video. Noah's story is proof positive that people with Autism can live perfectly happy lives. You're a great grandmother for celebrating your grandson for who he is instead of focusing on any negative aspects of Autism. Many parents fall into the trap of seeing the kid as a disorder instead of a kid who happens to be different. I don't think the word Autism is disturbing at all!
Alyson_Bradley
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What a wonderful video and article so well written, great child too. Reminds me of my when younger loved basket ball and was pretty good even though can be very clumsy awkward, and just like him loved music seem to have a great effect on me help release my overload of sensory issues. I also liked to be good in whatever I do, still do its the perfectionist in us and often if not really good will not want to do. We unfortunatelly tend to over think analyze most things, which can hold us back from embracing new things at times. Its great to see parents, grand parents embracing these children and there differences. ASD children types can vary greatly, but often extreme in whatever they do: The children can be over sensitive to comments at school, taking things literally Can be quite withdraw, loners, no eye contact and mumble.. Can also be the annoying (frustrated) kid, who never seems to sit still.... and/or even the bright kid who just wants to learn, always raising hand and asking questions. Your support and understanding is the key to unlocking a childÃ
linda_mortensen
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I am a teacher and a wannabe flightattendant for SWA. We have an 8 year old autistic student at my school. We love her and the children have learned so much from her. They all look out for her and take turns chasing her. She doesn't verbalize much and she doesn't play tag-just loves to be chased.- (a typical girl ) She has been with the kids since they started school, and everyone knows she is different. The teachers will all remember her as autistic. The kids just remember her as Alicia. And we all feel especially thankful for her because she has taught our students so much that they would never have learned from a book. Hopefully, our students will all become more compassionate adults!
Brenda_Brown
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Carole, this was great! What a basket! You are a wonderful grandmother. Brenda
FriendofBlogBoy
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Carole, What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful young man! This is an appropriate time of year to remember that even though some folks like Noah may have more externally noticeable "problems", we ALL have shortcomings and handicaps that separate us from being perfect! The Good News of this weekend is that there is the promise of wholeness for Noah and all of us. You failed to point out one of the greatest blessings that Noah has right now. He has a wonderful, loving and caring grandmother who I am sure reminds him frequently that despite the challenges he faces, he very special in the eyes of God! Best wishes to you and your entire family, Carole! Kim EBB 🙂
Joey1
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thats my amazing, energetic cousin thats gonna one day be pro
Michelle_H__ABQ
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Hi Carole, What a wonderful post. My son is ten years old and is also on the autistic spectrum. Like Noah he is also high functioning. Noah and him have a lot in common---basketball. He loves b-ball and plays just about year-round with our local YMCA youth program. My son is also mainstreamed in public schools. And yes, his best subject is math (wish it was mine). His weakest areas are reading/reading comprehension and of course his social skills. But everyday he is improving. Back when he was 3 or 4 years old if you would have asked me how he was going to be today I would have given a different answer. Yes, I sometimes still worry about his future as an adult. But everyday is a blessing with my son. His quirky ways are part of his personality! Early intervention is so important. My son still goes to speech and a social skills group weekly outside of school. Also very important is support, especially from family and friends--even strangers. So next time you see my son on one of our planes and he's being a little aloof don't worry he's not weird, he's just autistic.
Nicole10
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Hi Carole, Great blog! Best of luck to your family on working with Noah's talents and helping him to socialize. My 36 year old brother is autisitc - in some ways very normal, but very slow with social interactions and somewhat temperamental. He too is great with numbers and dates. His great love is airplanes and he even spent a summer working at SWA! It was dream come true for him and he still talks about it to this day. My mother had to fight hard to place him in school at a time when there really was not a lot of special education. Kids with mental retardation were given up on. Because of that perserverance he is much higher functioning now than he would have been. Mom often says he is the most normal of her children. And my husband agrees.....wait a sec........;-)
Lynnie_Gustafso
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Oh Carole, this is the best video I have seen and totally enjoyed watching Noah's talent in basketball. Not to mention he is the cutest young man on the court. You are blessed to have such a wonderful family and precious grandson. Thanks for sharing your story. You are such a ray of sunshine for everyone that meets you. Your heart is the best...as someone said earlier...NOAH'S GOT GAME. Thanks for sharing your heart with all of us. lynnie