March 6, 2018

Is Autism a Disease or a Disorder?

Many of us who support those who are autistic don’t think it is a ‘disease’ we can cure. Autism is a ‘disorder’ that is sometimes adversely affected by things that can be cured such as eating challenges . Hypersensitive hearing benefits from a  hearing aid that blocks most noise. Acceptable strategies to deal with sensory overload such as using an exercise machine instead of flapping and spinning may be favorable.

Many of these ‘symptoms’ of underlying disorders can be treated and cured. Curing underlying illnesses means less complicated teaching of communication and social skills to those with ASD. 

If you couldn’t communicate what you needed or wanted you would become very frustrated too. Maybe you might not even be able to figure out what the is needed. Perhaps, you are not understanding what is happening in the world around you, if you are even noticing it. Eventually you will communicate something. It may not be in a very acceptable manner. Thus, it can often be an unacceptable behavior that results in the needed attention.  

Maybe it does not take ‘rocket science’ but we might have to be very creative in our efforts to find ways to help manage the disorder.

Therapy Possibilities

Often it takes many years of intensive therapy and we have found several effective ways to do that. However, the cost is often very prohibitive; one that often only the wealthy can afford. Also therapies may not be “one size fits all” so 1 year of 1 specific therapy may not be what is needed for all on the spectrum.

We do need trained therapists for sure. They need to be able to think outside the box too. Having training/knowledge/experience that will assist them in developing a program that meets the needs of this person and their family is essential.

Early Intervention

There is an assumption here on my part that we are providing therapy to a young child while teaching & supporting parents/caregivers the skills they need to deal 24/7! This is called Early Intervention. So early in fact that it is done in the home because the child is not going to school yet. If we do this right, many or maybe most will not need intensive 1 to 1 support in school (another story).

We know that autism is a disorder and we were smart to call it Autism Spectrum Disorder. The ‘spectrum’ part tells us “one size does not fit all”. We need to diagnose and identify as early as possible. A team of specialists can assist in planning an individualized program plan to teach children and families; to learn skills that bring order to the disorder.

The greatest need will always be to provide a way to enable effective communication. This is a two way exchange remember. Then we teach socially acceptable behaviors/strategies. Now the autistic person will be able to better manage to do what they desire to do in the world! It is important to realize, there will always be autism but it will be better understood and accepted!

Perhaps those children we feel we have “cured” should have been diagnosed as having autistic tendencies or autistic like behaviors. We treat underlying diseases and we effectively change those behaviors and they are “cured”. BRAVO to those who have managed to accomplish this for many children who had some special needs.

There is no ‘cure’ for Autism Spectrum Disorder; at the present time, in 2018, it is still being diagnosed in 1 of 68 children. With our support to recognize their strengths and provide for their specific needs they can live happy productive lives.

About Jean
Jean Nicol is the Inventor and Patents owner for The Eating Game. She is the owner of the business EYECAN CREATIONS Publications, the home base for all business related to The Eating Game. Jean is a retired Special Education Teacher who is a very passionate autism advocate. Her inspiration for creating The Eating Game was an autistic boy whose family wanted the best for him, starting with good health promoted by healthy eating. The Eating Game accomplished that for him and now many more children and their families around the world. Learn more at Jean enjoys contact with Eating Game users and will reply to emails as quickly as she can to answer any questions or concerns.

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