Monday, 27 October 2014

If There Was A Cure

This is one of the most heated questions in the autistic community - if there was a cure for autism, would you take it?

Firstly, I think the whole uproar over this debate is fueled by one little word - cure.  

According to, the definition for 'cure', in this context, is:

"Relieve (a person or animal) of the symptoms of a disease or condition"

Photo Credit :

Many parents with children on the spectrum take great offense to this word - it implies to them that something is wrong with their child, that they have a disease.

And many individuals on the spectrum, who are on the high functioning end, tend to get upset about this and feel they don't need any curing.  And yes, those who are very gifted such as Jacob Barnett, might not have their talents if they weren't on the spectrum.

But what about those who are on the lower end of the spectrum?  Those who are in a constant, daily struggle with their bodies.  Those who can only communicate through screaming, crying or self-harming?  Those who suffer from such anxiety, they cannot bear to hold another person's hand, let alone walk through a busy shopping complex?

Or those individuals who get so frustrated, because they cannot speak. Because everything is so loud.  Because they are unable to always perform the smallest task, such as tying their own shoelaces.  Because their minds' function well but their bodies have a mind of their own? And what about those who hardly sleep? Or who wander off and get lost?  

For those on the lower end of the spectrum, it interferes with everything in the individual's life.  It interferes with how the person can function, communicate, socialise, live.

Cure.  Heal.  Help.  

It doesn't matter how you word it or what you call it.  What matters is; if you had the opportunity to reduce or even relieve the above challenges. 

Would you?

Monday, 13 October 2014

Gabriel's Progress Report 1

In the short amount of time that Gabriel has been home schooled (roughly 4 months) and considering that he only has 2 hours a day, 4 days a week of ABA therapy, he is doing remarkably well.

Here is what we have noticed :

1. There is a lot more eye contact.  At times it is for a few seconds and other 
    times for a good minute.  

2. He is so much more verbal.  Although most of his speech is echolalia-based, 
    he knows when to use the words 'up' and 'come'.  At this point, G-Dad and I 
    are just thrilled to hear him speak!

3. We have noticed he has far fewer meltdowns.  This is freaking awesome!

4. Gabriel is a lot more relaxed and confident.  He is more willing to try things   
    (except new foods).

5. There is far less bolting!  Before, we would have to keep a firm grip on his 
    hand.  Now, Gabriel is starting to understand he needs to stay close to us 
    when out and about.

6. Gabriel is far more responsive when called by his name.  He will often look at 
    us when we call him.

7. He loves to learn!  He really does and looks so forward to G-Mary Poppins' 

8. His fine motor and gross motor skills are improving dramatically! He is
    starting to cut paper with scissors more often and more confidently, and his 
    ball throwing and kicking skills are slowly improving. The following photo 
    shows how beautifully he is progressing drawing with a set goal (along 
    dotted lines).  Before, there wasn't a chance he would have even attempted 

9. Finally, his tactile tolerance is improving dramatically.  He will touch shaving 
    cream, bubbles etc. without gagging or flinching!

These, for a parent of a typically developing child, may not seem like monumental achievements, but trust me, for a child on the Spectrum, they are GIGANTIC!  

Sadly, the only downside we have discovered to having Gabriel home schooled, is that he seems to have regressed when it comes to social interaction/tolerance with other children (not that there was much to begin with and is also anxiety driven). But this was to be expected and is being worked on, with monthly structured play dates, so as not to overwhelm him.  We just need to remind ourselves that Rome wasn't built in a day!

Thank you for reading Gabriel's 1st Progress Report.  We hope you are as immensely proud of him as we are!