Clouds, May 2010

Clouds, May 2010

Monday, April 3, 2017

light bulb

You can post it, say it, wear it, or light it up blue. You can flash your colorful puzzle pieces & catch phrases. But who isn't aware of autism at this point? What I mean is we don't hear people say, for example, that their loved one has been diagnosed with a condition called autism... & then wait for them to elaborate with an explanation of what that means.

Awareness is at the root of understanding & is therefore crucial. But at this point a societal move towards acceptance is long overdue. Progress needs to go beyond movie theaters with sensory-friendly screenings or airport programs with special accommodations for people on the spectrum. People living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are not characters on a prime time TV show, they are human beings trying to function in a world that has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to understanding their needs.

Autism is called a hidden disability because it is not immediately apparent. And by that description fragile x syndrome (FXS) falls under the same category. 
While one is a behavioral diagnosis & the other a genetic condition, they are both spectrum disorders & many of the associated challenges overlap. Other hidden disabilities can be visual, auditory, psychiatric, or seizure disorders to name a few. 

Both ASD & FXS can cause behavioral challenges, difficulty communicating, global developmental delay, & sensory processing disorder. Both can affect sociability, speech, & sense of empathy (either under expressed or heightened). Both disorders often cause repetitions in behavior & reinforce an inherent need for familiar routine.

They are autism & fragile x-- described by many as different pieces within one puzzle.
While most people are familiar with ASD, they do not realize how it is scientifically linked to FXS.

If you know someone with ASD or FXS you're very lucky that you have an opportunity to understand a different perspective in life. Recognizing a date on the calendar reserved for awareness is a great start, but the reality doesn't go away the other 364 days of the year. I hope more people make an effort to turn their awareness into acceptance. Be a participant in someone else's life & allow them the opportunity to participate in yours-- it's a simple reciprocal relationship just like you have with anyone else that you know. 



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