Reflections on Beating Austism

The New York Times Magazine published an article called The Kids Who Beat Autism by Ruth Padawer. Did you see it?  It was an interesting article, full of information about Autism and personalized with stories from specific families.

Padawar talks about children whose diagnosis of Autism is removed.  It is clear from the research, however,  that predictions of diagnosis removal are not possible.  Although, Fein, one of the researchers discussed in the article, has studied autism for 40 years, she herself cannot identify any indicators of prognosis when diagnosing. 

My take on the inability to predict changes in diagnosis is simple.  Small beings who receive a diagnosis of Autism are small beings.  While we may wonder and dream and research factors that cause some small beings to thrive and others to struggle, we must not forget that every small being is an individual. Their individuality, in turn, effects their developmental journey.  For any small being given a specific set of challenges and circumstances, it is not clear how he or she will evolve and grow.  We as big beings need to provide them with the best support and opportunities given the information and resources we have at the time.  Then, we need to step back and let their life unfold.

The other main theme in the article is: the label of Autism.  While some beings may grow out of the label of Autism, many with Autism feel that their diagnosis is a piece of who they are and it can not be removed. In their eyes Autism is not something that can be cured. Labels and diagnosis are beneficial in many ways, as they help us understand characteristics and best treatment options.  Yet, as a behavior therapist, I also look past all labels to specific behaviors. What exactly is the small being doing? How does the family react? How does the small being react to their reaction?

Let's consider the behavior of the families in this article. All parents took the initiative to become very involved in their small beings' development.  They researched, explored various options and applied creative strategies to teach their small beings.  These are critical activities for all families, as they are essential indicators of parental involvement and dedication.  Beyond any label or questions about curing Autism, fundamental involvement of big beings in the journey of small beings is reliably transformational.

Be the change that your small beings need. (Tweet)  

Let's talk! How does this resonate with you? 

What changes have you seen in your small being because of your efforts? 


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